I was recently contacted by Catherine Bray, producer of an independently funded film called Beyond Clueless which is having four screenings and one director Q&A in Cardiff at Chapter, asking if we’d promote it on the blog. Obviously we can’t promote everything on this blog, or I’d be doing literally nothing but blog posts about mobile phone shops and hotel deals and you’d all want to punch me in the face.
However … having worked on something similar for We Are Cardiff, I had sympathy for her mission to find low-cost ways to promote a film, so thought I’d put something up here about it. Also, teen movies are the BEST, aren’t they?? The greatest film ever made is, after all, Richard Linklater’s AMAZING 70s teen rite of passage movie, Dazed and Confused. If you want to argue it, we can take this outside.
Sight and Sound have also given it some serious props:
“Titles are cut up into masterfully edited mosaics, so that stock teen-movie scenes – house parties, first sexual encounters, school corridor walks, masturbation, etc – are shown in fluid multi-movie montages in which each film, like any high-schooler, must struggle to maintain individual identity in the crowd. Accordingly, even as Lyne charts the cliques, codes and rules of teendom itself, he is also revealing the building blocks that constitute every high-school movie. Beyond Clueless is, after all, a structuralist work, using a compelling collation of similar imagery from different sources to make accessible and intelligible the system beneath the chaos of adolescent experience, real and represented.”
NB: Wanna know what I’m on about above? Watch the We Are Cardiff film that was so stressful it caused me to flee the country. Literally. Not because of its harrowing content. It’s actually a very nice film. WATCH IT.
Cardiff’s public library service is being dismantled. The Central library, voted one of the top six libraries in the world, is now going through a second year of budget cuts. Last year they lost the top floor and a quarter of their staff, and closed one day a week. Next year it could become a “Super Hub” and lose even more floorspace when Marland House, the housing benefit and council tax centre, moves into the building. Hundreds of books have already been removed and library staff have been warned not to talk about the cuts on social media.
Meanwhile up to seven community libraries in Cathays, Radyr, Rhiwbina, Rhydypennau, Roath, Rumney and Whitchurch will stop receiving any council funding at all. The plan is to ‘hand buildings over to the community’ by making trained staff redundant and replacing them with volunteers. If these “community groups” cannot be found to take over they will have to close completely.
Libraries are more than a place to store books – they are the only free space where residents can meet in the winter, and a vital place for elderly, disabled and unemployed people to access computers and to search for work. Our right to participate in cultural life is essential for a democracy, and if we don’t put up a fight for these libraries now we won’t get another chance.
Be part of history. Defend our library service in our capital city. Make the council provide a comprehensive service as the 1964 Libraries and Museums Act demands: Save our libraries!
Get yourself down to CARDIFF CENTRAL LIBRARY on Saturday 7 February. This protest will take place in front of the library (not inside!). Please bring a book to hold up as a symbol of freedom, and banners, placards and signs. Authors, campaigners and members of the public are invited to read a three minute passage from a favourite book. Join in or go along and listen.
Saturday 7 February, 12:00 midday, outside Cardiff Central Library, The Hayes.
Email a letter the South Wales Echo (under 250 words to be published include address and phone number which will not be published) explaining what the library service means to you and why it must be defended, not cut back: firstname.lastname@example.org
Write to the politicians –
In Liverpool, 11 libraries where saved when 500 authors, musicians and educators wrote to the mayor along with hundreds of school children sending love library letters. (See Cathy Cassidy’s love letter on the Internet).
Be part of history. Defend our library service in our capital city. Make the council provide a comprehensive service as the1964 Libraries and Museums Act demands. Write your love library letter to the leader of Cardiff council. Exercise your freedom of speech by discussing library cuts freely on Twitter, Facebook, Walesonline and letters to the papers. Show solidarity with library staff who have been banned from doing so.
Address your letters/emails to
Leader of Cardiff council
Cllr Phil Bale
Cardiff, CF10 4UW
Support your local independent venues! As part of the national Independent Venue Week project, two of Cardiff’s best watering / dancing / music holes are putting on some special nights. Don’t miss out!
Clwb Ifor Bach
The mighty mighty Welsh Club has a load of great events on to celebrate!
TUESDAY 27 JANUARY
Imperial Music proudly presents When We Were Wolves for their first headline show at Clwb Ifor Bach Cardiff, they hit the stage on Tuesday January 27th as part of the Independent Venue Week with support from Set To Break plus two acts to be announced.
We’re excited to announce that Turnstile Music will be hosting a night of entertainment on Thursday 29th! They’re bringing along with them Cardiff’s own R.Seiliog – Bristol’s TRUST FUND and the mighty Los Campesinos! for an exclusive DJ set!
Welsh pop-punks, Save Your Breath, have announced their plans to disband following a final UK headline tour in January 2015. The band will play ten final shows, finishing with their LAST EVER show at Clwb Ifor Bach on Friday 30th January 2015.
Clwb Ifor Bach’s PARTY Jukebox Night – Classic tunes & a wild disregard for genres, every Friday at Cardiff’s longest running independent venue. FREE entry with a wristband for the Save Your Breath/Candelas show.
Cardiff’s own Future Of the Left close the weeklong celebrations! Future of the Left are a rock band from Cardiff, Wales. They were formed in 2005 as part of a plea agreement following their involvement in an arms deal which left an actor playing tony blair dead, or at least pretending really well. They are made up of Andrew Falkous, Jack Egglestone, Jimmy Watkins and Julia Ruzicka.
Cardiff’s longest running Saturday night. Expect a huge variety of musical genres as we take over all three floors to deliver you a uniquely varied Saturday night out.
Dirty Pop – Downstairs pop and disco dancing rules the roost with DJs Ian Cottrell, Esyllt Williams, Johnny Bull and their Dirty Pop. Voted ‘Best DJ Night’ at Swn Festival 2009, it’s hot, sweaty and more than a little dirty.
Mr Potter’s Proper Disco – A veteran of the festival circuit. Mr Potter keeps the party poppin’ on the middle floor with his jump-jive, soul, funk, rhythm and blues disco.
Vinyl Vendettas – The top floor plays host to the first ladies of the Cardiff scene; The Vinyl Vendettas. Their mix of indie, classics and rock & roll has graced festivals across the land and it’s to Clwb’s considerable pride that they have decided to make our venue their home.
Clwb have also put together a rather nifty playlist of all the bands you can expect to see there this week: listen on Spotify
Everyone’s favourite owl-themed bar is putting on three mighty shows to celebrate IVW! And remember it’s 50 PERCENT OFF EVERYTHING AT THE BAR UNTIL 8pm ALL THROUGH JANUARY, AND 9-10pm ON EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY TOO! (#uhoh)
Kicking off on Thursday Jan 29th, we’re ridiculously excited that local musical maestro, Huw Stephens is bringing the unquenchably enthusiastic Indie-Rock of Frankie & the Heartstrings for a special intimate show, with incredible support from Houdini Dax & Wasters.
We have the 1st of a years worth of the brilliant rock and roll revues of Johnny Cage & The Voodoo Groove, who will be bringing their rollicking cuban guitar sound and a host of special friends bi-monthly, with amongst other things, burlesque dancers, DJ’s, amazing support acts and of course, themselves – the UK’s most righteous rock n’ roll party machine.
To polish off a wonderful trio of shows, Hully Gully bring another Tropical Discotheque (Part Deux), with On the Corner Records choosing guest DJs to choose the finest in turntablist funk & soul, with DJ Izem & J Buck heating up the dancefloor with tropical grooves with an edge of horns and bass.
We’ve featured the internationally acclaimed, Cardiff-based contemporary circus, NoFit State on here a couple of times before. This January, the circus has begun work on a yearlong project to archive the company’s history and heritage.The project, supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will catalogue a huge archive of printed material, artefacts, film, photos and documentation covering the company’s 30 year history and will culminate in an exhibition and a new interactive website.
Bianco on tour, 2014
The project titled ‘From Ball’s Up to Bianco’ will tell the story of how a group of youthful Cardiff-based jugglers assisted by thousands of performers, crew, advocates, audience members and partners became directors of one of the most successful contemporary circuses of the century. It will also show the impact NoFit State has had on the growth of contemporary circus in the UK and further afield, as well as how well rooted it remains in the community of Cardiff.
The Big Top at the Bath Fringe Festival 1999
Ali Williams, founder member and now Creative Director of the company comments, “It’s really very exciting to be starting this project, and to be working with experts from Glamorgan Archive and The Cardiff Story Museum to make some sense of all our archive which we have been collecting and storing for so many years. It’s a great fusion between the creative and heritage sectors and very pertinent to our local Cardiff community”.
NoFit State was born in Splott, and the company opened their new professional training space on Four Elms Road in 2014 while maintaining their community training space on John Street in the city centre. Recent tented tours have taken the company as far as Australia to Perth Festival. Currently, their show Bianco is part of the International Circus Festival in Marseilles and Noodles, the company’s theatre show will be presented at this year’s London International Mime Festival.
“It’s really a ‘done good’ story,” says Liz Lavender, Volunteer Co-ordinator for the project, “and we hope it will inspire people in many ways. We will be running a volunteering programme so people with very varied interests can be involved. We hope through working with local people through Volunteering Cardiff we can involve people in the whole process, from specialised activities where training will be given in oral history recording and editing for example to preservation techniques, event coordination, administration, web development and exhibition creation”.
NoFit State are also keen to hear form anyone who has memories of seeing or being involved with any of the company’s community based shows or activities in the past.
About NoFit State
NoFit State was founded in 1986 by five friends. During a politically charged time, in a recession, and as a creative reaction to the world around them, the circus was born. Today, NoFit State is the UK’s leading large-scale contemporary circus company, producing professional touring productions and a wide variety of community, training, and education projects for people of all ages. www.nofitstate.org
Dave Owens is my favourite Wales Online writer, because he covers music and arts and all the fun local stuff. Back in December he wrote an article about the 51 best Welsh songs of 2014, and it’s taken me this long to get through it!
There’s some great Cardiff talent in the list. Check out the following:
It’s heavy! R Seiliog is playing in Clwb on Thursday 29 Jan, with Trust Fund and Los Campesinos! Catch him live there! If you want to catch the Manics live in Cardiff though, you’re too late – all tickets for their epic castle gig be SOLD OUT!
Last on our list (but definitely not least!) is Slowly Rolling Camera – this cool yet epic jazz group have brought the sound back in a new and fresh way. They’re amazing! They’ve got no dates lined up for the time being, but keep an eye on their Facebook for when you can see them next: Slowly Rolling Camera Facebook
They didn’t make it into Dave’s list, but I’m a big fan of Samoans. Their last album Rescue came out last year, and this is m favourite track from it. Find out when they’re next playing live on the Samoans Facebook page.
For some light listening, here’s the full playlist:
Katie Hamer continues her A–Z series with an exploration of Cardiff’s ever-growing running community.
How are you doing with your New Year’s Resolutions? What do you hope to achieve in 2015?
Whatever you have planned, make getting out in the fresh air and exercising a priority. As I’ve discovered, there’s nothing better for blowing away those winter cobwebs. It helps to eliminate the gloom of long dark evenings, and may also have prevented me from catching a cold so far.
What’s so special about parkrun?
Parkrun events are free. All you have to do to take part, is register online and turn up with a printout of your barcode (scans from mobile phones don’t work, for some reason). They take place at many venues, both UK-wide and internationally. Local running clubs organize them and people of all abilities are welcome to take part.
At the end of the run your time appears online for all to see, provided you have brought your barcode. It’s not a race, but from my own personal experience, I’ve gained a lot of satisfaction from smashing my Personal Best.
So, it it’s nationwide, what makes the Cardiff parkrun special?
Well, this I couldn’t initially answer, as I am in fact a veteran of another parkrun venue, the one at Bryn Bach, Ebbw Vale. So I decided to set out to investigate. This is what I discovered:
Cardiff parkrun is huge
Four hundred runners on average turn up every week to participate. The most they’ve had is a staggering seven hundred, now that makes for crowded footpaths!
Cardiff parkrun has a vibrant community
They have a very lively Facebook group with 2,000 plus registered members. They’re adding more people all the time. All members are encouraged to post, and there’s almost always a vibrant conversation going on. Which got me thinking…
How could I play an active role in that community?
I had to think about this. I could turn up to the Cardiff parkrun to take part, but what would that teach me? Then, it occurred to me that what I should do is sign up to volunteer.
What happened next?
I found signing up to volunteer very easy. A few days after signing up, I received an email requesting that I marshal at the crossroads. So, on a wet and windy Saturday at the beginning of January, I turned up at the Taff’s Trail next to the big Tesco Extra, donned a high-vis bib, and stood at the side of the course to cheer the runners on.
How did I rate the experience?
Never having been to this particular course before, and not knowing anyone there, I did feel daunted. But that daunted feeling soon dissipated as I got chatting to the other volunteers. I quickly realized how passionate the people who marshal the event are. They are members of running clubs who have taken part in elite races, and yet go out of their way on a Saturday to give support and encouragement to aspiring runners of all abilities. What really impressed me is that they have a volunteer to ensure the slowest participants cross the finishing line and gain their time.
Parkrun changes lives
Parkrun has changed my life. When I turned up for my first event, I did so as a casual runner. I’m now a member of a running club, registered with the Welsh Athletics Association and training to take part in the Berlin 25km race. If you ask around at any parkrun event, you will hear many similar stories, and ones that are even more remarkable.
Cardiff – a great city for running
Cardiff is an amazing city to be a runner. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this list of forthcoming races:
Photojournalist Peppe Iovino went along to an event held in front of the Senedd in Cardiff Bay on Sunday, where Cardiffians gathered to show solidarity with the French community after the terrible events taking place in Paris last week.
From Peppe: “Cardiff people took to the Senedd square, united with the Welsh French community to demonstrate their solidarity after the terrorist French attack against the Charlie Hebdo satire magazine newsroom and the following 17 deaths. A square made by many different nationalities, religion beliefs, political ideals, social backgrounds and ages, families and students all together under one flag, one colour, the peace one, one silent shout to say We are Charlie, united global human tears under one flag, the peace: one.”
The top of our list was the post about the pop-up food hall that totally occurred on Dumballs Road between October and Christmas. We went along to the preview night, which was epic, even though they ran out of squid ink burgers JUST before we got there, sad face. Looking forward to new big things from the creative crew behind this in 2015!
At number two, it was a Cardiff ‘hidden gem’: Rose Street Flea Market, tucked away on Rose Street in Roath, and only open a couple of days a week. One of the best places in Cardiff to pick up your secondhand goods from!
This one is a bittersweet entry in the top five, because a couple of months after we posted this story, KL Canalog was forced to close. Boo! I only went there to eat ONCE before it closed down, which is a CRIME against my belly, because frankly their mie goreng with a fried egg on top was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.
And that’s our top five posts of last year! Hope you’re enjoying January and it’s not been too hard on you so far.
There has been so much stuff I’ve been bookmarking recently to post here on the blog, it’s getting ridiculous – so I thought I’d do a blog round up, like Hannah Waldram used to do when she was writing the Guardian’s Cardiff blog. Remember that? That was great.
DINOSAURS IN PENARTH
Just before Christmas, a seven foot dinosaur fossil was found on a beach near Penarth! EPIC FIND
SAVE CARDIFF’S NIGHTSHELTER
Thanks to the generous donations of people like you, Cardiff’s Nightshelter has almost raised the £21k it needs to stay open. Please donate whatever you can, however small, to help those with nowhere else to go. Imagine being homeless in the bad weather we’re currently having … also the Nightshelter is the only place that accepts dogs, sometimes the only friend a homeless person has 😦 DONATE TO HELP KEEP THE PLACE OPEN: They’re so near their target! SAVE THE NIGHTSHELTER
RIP CATAPULT RECORDS
We were gutted to find out our favourite dance music specialist in Cardiff has closed down. RIP Catapult 100% Vinyl. There’s a Facebook group you can join if you’d like to share photos / videos and mourn its loss: RIP Catapult
Friend-of-the-blog Neil Cocker recently wrote this piece called ‘Why Cardiff?’. If you’ve got friends who are thinking about moving here, why not send them this to help them along in their decision making!
EAT OUT FOR CHEAP IN CARDIFF IN JANUARY!
Wales Online have got a good round-up of cheap offers for eating out in the city in January. Screw the diet! Cheap eats in January
SPILLERS RECORDS – NEW AND IMPROVED!
After the sad news about Catapult, we’ve got some GOOD news about Spillers – they’ve just moved into their new premises, just opposite where they were before – by The Plan cafe, in the old bookshop. The new address is 31, The Morgan Arcade – get yourselves down there and visit them. They’re open now! Spillers Facebook page
GETTING PISSED? GET TO GWDIHW BEFORE 8PM!
Gwdihw have got 50 PERCENT OFF EVERYTHING (yes, they mean everything) before 8pm through the WHOLE of January. AND they’ve got some wicked nights on throughout the rest of the month. If you’re looking for a place to get drunk in January, get the Gwd! Gwdihw Facebook
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments. And happy January!
The death of the independent record store has unfortunately been a trope of the changing high street over the past 20 odd years. And it was with a heavy heart that I learned, just after the new year, of the closing of Catapult 100 % Vinyl, which had been Cardiff’s only independent dance music specialist for some years.
There’s an open Facebook group that’s been set up where people who loved the shop (and spent a lot of time there over the years) are encouraged to share photos, videos, and memories of the place. If it was a place you loved, please join (or leave comments beneath this blogpost): RIP Catapult Facebook group.
When I moved back to Cardiff for university in 2000, I went out wandering through the city centre looking for a part time job to support me through my studies. I ended up getting a job in Catapult and spending all my wages on music: vinyl, CDs, whatever. And it was the best investment I ever made.
I had some good times in that shop. Made some great friends there. And bought amazing music there.
I’ll truly miss it, and what it signified for dance music culture in Cardiff. Is this the end of drum and bass in the capital?
The shop has its fair share of successful alumni too – people who’ve worked there have gone to start record labels, work at 1Xtra and Radio 1, DJ at festivals all over the world, and even top the charts. Below is a short film I put together about Lincoln (aka High Contrast), who I used to work with at the shop a decade ago (argh!), and the album launch party he had with Hospital Records in the store.
I’ve been meaning to do a proper post about Catapult since I started this blog. Guess it just goes to show you can’t wait forever on things you want to do, because life doesn’t wait.
The shop was a massive part of my younger days in Cardiff, as I know it was for so many others. And I’ll really miss it. RIP Catapult Records.
What better way to kick off 2015 in Cardiff than to celebrate all that makes the city uniquely special?
I’m now halfway through my A-Z exploration so I decided to sum up what I’ve discovered so far. During this summing up I also uncovered the city’s involvement in the European-wide OPENCities project so I’m sharing this with you as well. Here goes:
OPENCities is a British Council project set up to examine the future role of urban spaces. Cardiff has had a pivotal role in this project since it began in 2008. I’ll explain why.
First of all, why openness matters
By 2050 two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. This urban expansion will be caused by mass migration. OPENCities examines how cities can embrace their migrant populations and offer new opportunities for all.
“Openness is the capacity of a city to attract international populations and to enable them to contribute to the future success of the city”
What makes Cardiff especially important?
First off it’s the youngest capital city in Western Europe. Since the 19th Century when the city become a major importer of coal from the valleys its population expanded tenfold. It has welcome new residents from all over the world, who have made a valuable contribution towards the city’s economy and culture. Cardiff is indeed a vibrant multicultural hub of which all its citizens can be proud.
As well as examining the patterns of migrant populations, the OPENCities project has investigated how cities such as Cardiff can raise its profile internationally. The longterm plan is make Cardiff an even more attractive place for people of all ages and backgrounds to live and work than it is now.
“By 2020…Cardiff will be a world class European capital city with an exceptional quality of life and at the heart of a thriving city region.”
In my explorations of Cardiff for my A-Z series I have indeed experienced a culturally diverse city, as my photo gallery demonstrates. Here’s to a good 2015 for you all, and Enjoy!