View Sidebar

Archive for category: Cardiff

Ahhh…. Cardiff…

Ahhh…. Cardiff…

When I first moved to Cardiff in December 2001 and found myself at numerous friends’ Christmas house parties, I did note – as you do – that everybody’s music collection included plenty of CDs by the Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers – and even Catatonia, depending on how old the partygoers were. Via some magical osmosis, without actually sitting down and listening to those CDs, by 2006 I was quite familiar with a fair few tracks, thus sparking off a sense of Welsh nostalgia every time Kelly Jones (he was in my local pub in West London, once) or James Dean Bradfield‘s voice spikes out of the radio.

Anyway, fast forward to today and I’ve only just heard the new single, Innocent. And I loves it. That quite Welsh lyrical combination of sour nostalgia for a time in the future. And a rockin’ good tune.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Gareth David-Lloyd, and Welsh drag queens…

Gareth David-Lloyd, and Welsh drag queens…

Not exactly my cup of tea, but if you’ve ever wanted to see Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones of Torchwood) compering a Welsh drag queen competition for a Welsh short-film comedy then:

More about the film on their own website or Facebook – and don’t forget to tell your friends…

I used to live here…

I used to live here…

Pink Hat – Cardiff

Originally uploaded by © Maciej Dakowicz

Maybe this is where my slight fear of Saturday nights started, after I spent five years living in Cardiff City Centre and seeing sights like this most Saturday nights. And Friday nights. And Wednesday nights, for that matter. And, of course, hearing teenagers sobbing and arguing outside my bedroom window at 2am. But I did kinda like it, in the sense there was always life outside my window. So why go any further?

These pics are part of a gallery that a photography student is having exhibited in London. One of my flatmates used to also take random pics of drunk people on the streets of Cardiff. Then he graduated to video – and there’s a classic one where he’s filming two very drunk women arguing with a bouncer, and then they slowly turn to camera and shout “WHAT THE F**K DO YOU THINK YOU’RE LOOKING AT?”

Also covered in BBC News Wales

What is there to do in Cardiff?

What is there to do in Cardiff?

A friend of mine is planning a visit to Cardiff, and asked me what there was to do there. And despite living there for five years, I couldn’t think of anything in Cardiff beyond the Castle, the Wales Millennium Centre, and Cardiff Bay (which is just a glorified upper-class entertainment mall) that was great and unique to Cardiff. So all I could suggest was the BBC Doctor Who Locations Guide (I made that!).

Have you got any suggestions?

While we’re on the subject, see what happens when a Chinese chef and a Welsh chef decide to make beautiful food together. Although I’m wondering what they CAN come up with…

Ambivalent about Doctor Who

Ambivalent about Doctor Who

Ahhh, dear reader. I have a bit of a quandary – whether to run along the North Wales coast to see a big-screen screening of the premiere episode of new Doctor Who with David Tennant and Freema Agyeman seven hours before the rest of the UK – or to stay in bed and have a nice lie-in. I fear, I may choose the latter…

After all, around this time last year I was in Cardiff hob-nobbing with the press corps at the press preview of Doctor Who and writing Doctor Who preview-related gags for a newspaper. And now I’m not – and besides which, the press previews were in London yesterday.

Watching Doctor Who these days tends to bring up bitter-sweet memories and feelings these days. Whether it’s spotting old colleagues lurking in David Tennant’s fantastic video diaries, or just seeing a random Cardiff location masquerading as London or a foreign planet, it just keeps reminding me of my Cardiff and BBC days. Indeed, that’s partly the reason why I avoided Torchwood – in another universe, that could have been my web project, damn it!

But then I was never entirely happy there either, and a change in my life was well overdue. I think I’d have felt a lot better about it if I’d left by choice instead of having the decision thrust upon me. For the third time. Ah well…

So this is Torchwood…

So this is Torchwood…

Just how many “cinematic” shots of Cardiff can one BBC Three drama sustain? Just how many night shoots? From the looks of Torchwood, a lot of them.

Some of the shots did manage to make Cardiff look glorious and cinematic, particularly the sweeping helicopter shot of Captain Jack – so good they kept using it over and over again. Apart from anything else, what on earth *would* he be doing on the roof?

The production team also managed the neat trick of making me look at certain less salubrious parts of Cardiff and go “oooh, that looks pretty” in a way I never thought when walking back at midnight. Must walk around Cardiff more often the next time I pop down there.

The plot itself was fairly formulaic and dull – as inevitably any first episoder would be – but the story actually went in a different way to the way I thought, and had me almost at the edge of my seat by the end.

But oh dear, oh dear, oh dear … spoilers ahead

It's taken me fifteen years…

It's taken me fifteen years…

but this morning, I did something that I haven’t done for fifteen years. It was curiously and strangely satisfying basking in the glory of the sun, getting wet and dirty with it, and I look forward to years of doing it with Miss R.

Yes, I put some of my laundry out to dry on the washing line.

Ever since I left home at the tender age of 18, joys such as hanging washing out were denied me as I lived in a succession of student, then bedsit, then one-bedroom flats in city suburbs. With no garden or back space, I had to hang my damp clothes on radiators that would slowly turn dark with damp, and wait about a week before the clothes would dry out.

But when I moved into my new temporary digs, it not only came with a cool resident landlord and a huge airy room with jungle plants and wireless internet, it also came with a garden complete with washing line. So early this morning, I was taking my clothes out of the washing machine and hanging them on the washing line, juggling clothes pegs and sagging lines in the glorious sunshine. And lo it was good, working slightly in the sunshine. I stood back, and admired my handiwork as if I had personally handcrafted the Holy Grail of washing.

Fast forward four hours later, and it’s raining in Cardiff and my clothes are probably extraordinarily damp again. Sod’s bloody law.

And the top story in South East Wales is…

And the top story in South East Wales is…

Listening to the news on local station Red Dragon FM this morning, what was the top story?

None of those things. The top story on the 9am bulletin from Red Dragon FM was about the rise in teenagers going to self-tanning salons. Shock, horror.

You can argue it was an “exclusive” news story, but it’s hardly earth-shattering news. Unless you are only concerned about South Wales teenagers.

Oh, and I met Tom Cruise. But more on that tomorrow.

Car crime, drug dealers and carjacking – just another Friday night in Cardiff

Car crime, drug dealers and carjacking – just another Friday night in Cardiff

Last Friday was just another average Friday night in Cardiff. Or so I thought.

There I was, all dressed and ready to go to the pub. So I left my front door – only to find a policewoman about to ring my doorbell. And she asked if I was me – well, of course I’m me, who else am I? – so she then told me that my car had been broken into. Again. Which makes the sixth crime to deal with my transportation – and the second car break-in in a week right outside my front door.

Oddly, it’d stood there unmoving, broken for three months. I’d taken it to a garage earlier in the week, who charged me £120 to install a £30 battery, I’d taken it back that night, and voila it got broken into. The silly thing is that (aside from the fact they just opened the door) they couldn’t find anything worth stealing. Indeed, they left behind some rizla papers and a sunglasses case. As yer do.

So after an hour of to’ing and fro’ing with the police, I was off to the pub. Only to find that the traditional Friday Night Gang were no longer there – to be fair, it’d been at least a year since I’d last gone, and they’ve probably all gotten engaged or something. Fortunately, after some intensive phoning and re-dialling, I find someone else who fancies going to the pub. So I head off to his local.

On the way, two cars screech past me into a dead-end junction, one guy jumps out and just legs it past me down the road, while another guy shouts at him to come back using suitably sweary language. The way the cars screeched and roared, I had to assume it was a drug deal gone wrong or something.

I finally reach the safety of the pub with my mate. We have a pint, then go up to the bar. Where the barmaid asks me if we noticed the Indian gentleman who’d popped into the pub earlier. Because apparently he’d come in with someone else, who had a GUN stuck to his back, and was being forced into the pub before his car got car-jacked or something. I’m not too sure. And neither was the barmaid. Who decided to solicit extra protection by getting her 14-year-old son (in his PJs) to come down from playing with his X-Box or whatever to scan the local streets for any sign of crime.

Three pints of Brains bitter (3.7% alcohol, fact fans) and a small sherry later, I’m back home doing a great impersonation of a very drunk person.

The next morning, I emerge with a splitting headache, all the signs of a hangover and the kitchen looks as if a very drunk person had tried to cook two packets of Ramen noodles while blindfold and tied to a chair. Unfortunately, I have to immediately jump on a train for four hours voyaging to North Wales. A cup of British Rail tea has never felt so good in my entire life.

Heaven knows how I’m going to get through 36 hours of drinking this weekend…

Cardiff gets Metro-ized ?

Cardiff gets Metro-ized ?

When I lived in London, one of the ways in which I’d figure out what was going on in London and feel somehow connected to a city of 7m people was by picking up the free daily copy of Metro outside all the tube stations. Then I could see what was going on, and get my daily news feed as it were.

Fast forward 5 or so years, and Metro has come to Cardiff. As many people in the office have commented, I’m not too sure how this is going to work – hardly anyone I know in Cardiff uses public transport to get to work. They either drive or walk, but they don’t sully themselves with the outrageous prices charged by Cardiff Bus – the bus company that’s apparently owned by us. Pah!

I, of course, have no such compunction. Caught the bus to work this morning, and found a newspaper dispenser stuffed full of Metros. Given that this was about 10am – a time when in London, Metros would be rarer than a viable dotcom plan, this was quite surprising.

Perhaps the commuters just didn’t feel the need for a anodyne daily newspaper. Because Metro feels about as relevant to Cardiff as the New York Times. There are two pages of listings culled from the PA (spreading its net as far as that other bustling metropolis Newport), a couple of tiny news stories, and a couple of tiny interviews with artists who are “coming to Cardiff soon” – and that’s about as Cardiff as it got. For the launch issue. Oh, and a free voucher for a bottle of Japanese beer.

Still, at least I can finally catch up on the adventures of mainstream goth girl Nemi.

%d bloggers like this: