The roots of rock … Peter Finch goes from Cardiff to Mississippi and back

The lovely Peter Finch has written a book called (you’ve guessed it) The roots of rock – from Cardiff to Mississipi and back. And to celebrate, there’s a launch party!

roots of rock

Peter’s book draws on a life long love of music and the need to trace its roots … he explains the book way more eloquently than I could ever dream of, so I’ll just let him tell you what it’s about:

“I want to find out where the material I listened to as a young man and which became the backdrop to my life came from. I want to discover where it lived. How it was. How it is. How it got there. I want to find out on the ground how the blues, hillbilly, old time dance music, bluegrass, Hank Williams country and western, rockabilly,  Nashville slick and straight ahead Rocket 88 rock and roll came about. What were the components of these musics? How did they cross the Atlantic? What parts came from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales?”

“Most importantly I want to discover how the magic all this became made the transition back to rain drenched Wales. How did it flow across the Bay of Tigers to manifest itself in the bright blue drape jackets of Valley’s born Teddy Boys?  How did it appear amid the banjos plucked in folk clubs in pub back rooms on the Welsh Capital’s Broadway and Charles Street?”

How did it rock in the dance halls of Sophia Gardens, Cowbridge Road and Death Junction? And, in particular, how did it inform the taste of more than one Welsh generation? Mike Harries, Man, the Sons of Adam, Amen Corner, The Sun Also Rises, Edward H, Meic Stevens, the Manic Street Preachers, Cate Le Bon, Richard James, Georgia Ruth, Gruff Rhys,  Trampolene, Baby Queens, Climbing Trees, and Euros Childs.

The book starts in south Wales, in the place I come from. The Cardiff delta.  The flood plain made by the three city rivers – the Ely, the Taff, the Rumney – aided ably by the Roath Brook, the Nant, and that long lost waterway, the Tan. Cardiff is not the centre of the music universe by any means but it has had its moments.  Bill Haley came here in 1957 and played the Cardiff Capitol. Lynyrd Skynyrd did the same thing in 1975. John Lee Hooker was here in 1964 at a surf club on the Wentloog flatlands. Jerry Lee played  Sophia Gardens in 1962. Dion wandered to the Capitol in 1964. Chuck Berry duck walked there a year later. Johnny Cash visited in 1966. Elvis never. How and why? I want to know.

So there you go! I can’t wait to read it.

See you at the party?

Butetown Arts and History Centre
4 Dock Chambers, Cardiff CF10 5AG
Monday 7 December, 19.00

The Roots Of Rock From Cardiff To Mississippi And Back  by Peter Finch will be published by Seren Books on 7 December, 2015. There’ll be a paperback at £9.99 and a e-book at the same price. You can order your copy from Seren Books.


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We’ve been nominated for blogger of the year and Creative Industry award! Vote for us (please)!

HELLO! And a very happy Black Friday / Saturday / Sunday weekend!

So we just found out that We Are Cardiff has been nominated for Blogger of the Year at the Cardiff Regional Awards AND We Are Cardiff Press has been nominated for the Creative Industry Award!

It’s very flattering to have been nominated, and these awards are decided by PUBLIC VOTE! (our favourite kind of vote). So if you’ve got a second, we’d be awfully grateful if you could pop over to the Regional Awards to vote for We Are Cardiff in the Best Blogger category AND THEN vote for We Are Cardiff Press in the Creative Industry Award!

And get all your friends to do it! And your family! It’s good karma, see. Voting ends on New Year’s Eve 2015!

Peas, rice, and all the love this side of the Severn Bore,


PS. Wanna see something cool? Check out this photo of Glamorganshire Canal, running through the city. This is approximately the location Mill Lane today. I KNOW. Crazy, right??




Maddie Jones, and her rock and roll in the Pretty City

Meet Maddie Jones, a singer, guitarist and songwriter, originally from the Valleys, now living in Cardiff. She’s one of those people I’ve wanted to get on We Are Cardiff for ages, and ended up doing an online interview with … and then bumped into her in person at BBC Radio Wales while Hana and I were there to talk about The 42b (We Are Cardiff Press’ first book). She’s every bit as smart and funny in real life as she was to interview online – and I sat about three feet away from her while she sang on the radio. What a voice!

Anyway, enough of me … meet Maddie! Helia x


I’m originally from just outside Ystrad Mynach, which isn’t far from Caerphilly. You have to make your own fun up there, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It makes you crazy and creative. Cardiff seemed like such a big city to us, I’ve learnt since that it’s not that huge!

I wrote a song for the Cardiff Songs project about Cardiff from a Valleys person’s perspective. The project came out of the book called Cardiff Songs, by Mike Johnson – who wanted to create a legacy of songs about our city, in the way that so many other cities have. We had the option to cover one of his songs, but I wanted to make mine more personal to me, so wrote Pretty City. It’s one of the things that outsiders say about Cardiff, and I find it to be true, but also hilarious when you look at the place on a matchday, or a hen and stag filled Friday night. So, my song was about the experience of coming down on the train, to a big place, trying to cram in as much fun as possible in a few hours, and then convincing a taxi driver to take you all the way home. It’s from my Valleys perspective, but I’ve lived in Cardiff itself for over four years now, and this is my home.

MaddieJones1 MaddieJones2

When I came home from Nottingham Uni, after the standard ‘stint at your parents, wondering what to do with your life’, myself and some friends moved here to Cardiff. For me, it was to be in a good location to build my career on the music scene, be able to go to loads of gigs, and meet as many people as possible. To be near the action, in short!

I moved to, and still live in Pontcanna. It’s a completely amazing place to live, but we were very lucky to find somewhere we could afford on our artsy incomes. Pontcanna is amazing, I actually wrote a whole article about it once! My favourite cafe is Brava – amazing food, and milkshakes, and rugby player spotting! There are loads of great restaurants too, my favourites are Cinnamon Tree, The Smoke House and Cibo. Pipes Brewery is just round the corner from me, and there’s a butcher, baker (no candlesitck maker), grocer, and a few delis too. Also right by Bute Park/ Taff Trail, and plenty of good pubs too.


Cardiff’s creative scene has been building in the four years I’ve lived in the city. The music scene particularly is coming into its own, with venues like the Moon, and Gwdihw, and more recently the Tramshed, and new festivals too, like HUB and Free for All. A lot of great artistic stuff goes on, especially around Womanby St, Chapter, and the Abacus. I’m mostly involved in music, obviously, but I enjoy art, film, theatre, dance and all sorts! I try to incorporate it into what I do – designing my own CD covers for example, the most recent one people have to colour in themselves!

Thanks Maddie! Check our the video for her most recent single, Could You Be My Rock and Roll? taken from the Colour Me In EP, which was crowdfunded on Pledge Music, and is available in any format under the sun from her Maddie Jones Bandcamp page.

Maddie Jones website / Facebook pageTwitter / Soundcloud

Photos by Ben Blyth, taken at Retro-Vibe Music, Cardiff



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Social Action Lightning Talks – Women Making a Difference and Urbanistas united!

Urbanistas Cardiff and Women Making a Difference have teamed up to bring you a Christmas treat on Tuesday 8 December!


Join them for a series of ‘lightning talks’ – 20 images for 400 seconds – that focus on projects run by women making their community and world a better place.

Lightning Talks, The Old Library – Tuesday 8 December 2015: 17.30 –  19.30

Lightning Talks – Tickets via Eventbrite

What is a ‘lightning talk’? It’s a short, sharp and exciting way to tell a visual story. We’ve all sat through presentations that drone on and on – this keeps speakers on their toes and grabs your attention. These talks will focus on people taking action to make society a better place.

Do you have a ‘lightning talk’ in you? We bet you do. If you’ve been working on a project of campaign that’s working to make Wales a better place, get 20 images together and tell us your story.  Get in touch with or to pitch your talk for the night. Don’t be shy! The deadline for pitches is 24 Nov.

Why should you come? They are a friendly bunch. And they aren’t all women! Anyone is welcome. In fact, they will be hosting six visitors from around the world who are spending a few days in Cardiff as part of British Council’s Active Citizens programme run by Women Making a Difference.

And you want another reason? A glass of wine on arrival! At this special Christmas treat, we’ll be offering a tipple to quench your thirst and raise the holiday spirit a notch. For those who prefer something non alcoholic, we’ll have some delicious orange juice and water.

What happens after 19.30? In Urbanistas Cardiff style, they’ll make their way to a local bar to continue with the good cheer and celebrate the holidays.

Can’t make it, but want to keep in touch?

Urbanistas Cardiff meet monthly. Find out when the next Urbanistas event will be held by signing up to the mailing list.

Urbanistas Cardiff is a network of women who are passionate about growing women’s leadership and capacity to start their own projects and ideas, which help make everyday life in cities better for everyone. Their  motto is “start by starting” and is about empowering people to not wait for permission to have a good idea or motivation for doing something positive – sometimes you just need to say your idea out loud in a room full of enthusiastic and collaborative people. Urbanistas gives their members that space.

Women Making a Difference organise training courses and a mentoring programme to empower women to take on roles in public life. Find out when the next training course or opportunity is by signing up to the mailing list.

Women Making a Difference is registered charity that works to bring equality to public life by empowering more women to take on decision-making roles. They work with women from all walks of life, predominantly through training and mentoring. Think we should try something new? Fill out our survey and tell us what you want.

Spaces are limited. If you book a place and cannot attend, please cancel your order.

Please pass this event on to any other contacts in your network who you think this would appeal to.


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NoFit State Circus announces a new home, and some exciting events!

Exciting news for Cardiff’s resident circus, the world-renowned NoFit State – they’ve got a new home, they’re going to be exploring their history through a new archive launch, and putting on an exciting community performance as a last hoorah at their current John Street hangout!

The circus moved into the John Street building five years ago (the building is the previous home of the Welsh National Orchestra). The circus will be saying their thanks and farewells to the building in our big weekend of performance, installations and exhibitions called Journeys.

Journeys – John Street, 11 – 13 December


Surrounded by big changes, movements and announcements, NoFit State are bringing everything together for an extraordinary community performance and installation event, in true NoFit State style.

Under the artistic direction of long-term collaborator Paul Evans (Crashmat Collective, Flying Diplodocus) comes Journeys, a weekend long celebration that interweaves two promenade performances in and around John Street on 12 and 13 December with their AGM and Archive Exhibition launch.

They are looking for creative ideas, hidden talents, and suggestions on what the event should be. If you would like to contribute in some way, big or small then let them know on their interactive form.

Journeys Facebook Event

NoFit State Archive Launch

Friday 11 December, 7pm, Four Elms
(running until 23 December 2015)


You may think you know the story of NoFit State, but wouldn’t it be great to see it, hear it and explore it? Well now you can.

A year ago, with their 30th year approaching, a dedicated team of volunteers, board and staff members came together with a shared dream of assembling the brilliantly chaotic history to create an official NoFit State archive.

Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and with help from Glamorgan Archives, The Cardiff Story Museum and the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, the intrepid team has produced a fantastic new digital and physical exhibition to be launched at the Four Elms building on Friday 11 December.

NoFit State Archive Exhibition: More information

Read more on the NFS Archive blog

Where are they moving to?

For the time being, NoFit State will be moving their community and circus education programme to Cardiff Central Sports and Community Centre on Ocean Way. The space is double the length of the John Street building, with enough room and facilities to accommodate their current programme. It’s not their forever home – but it’s a good place to start.


NoFit State Circus website

NoFit State Circus Facebook page


Help women in Cardiff refuges this Christmas – with Project Shoebox 2015

Last year I saw a Cardiff Project Shoebox event on Facebook (collecting toiletries for women in Cardiff shelters), and decided to post it up on here to try and spread the word. Apparently it succeeded – organiser Mali Taylor-Powell ended up with 370 shoeboxes, plus loads more crates to give to those in need. This year, we want to help them smash that – but we need your help!



Too much stuff in your bathroom cabinet? Project Shoebox are collecting shoeboxes filled with unwanted toiletries to make gift boxes for women in refuges in Cardiff and the South Wales area.

Project Shoebox – Cardiff 2015 Facebook event page

(Not from round here? Check out the Shoebox Giving page instead)

This is a community project, where people can help women on their own doorsteps. Project Shoebox wants to help the women who will arrive at Cardiff’s refuges this Christmas. Many will arrive bruised and battered. Some will have young children with them. Some will have nothing more than the clothes they are wearing.

They want your unwanted toiletries like shampoo, body lotion, toothpaste and brushes – collected into shoeboxes! These will become a gift to give these women a new start – and remind them that people can and do care.


You can send anything from your bathroom cabinet that’s unused (or very lightly used).

Think basics like toothbrushes, shower gel, shampoo – but also anything nice like cosmetics or face cream is very welcome. If you’re unsure, ask yourself: would you feel comfy giving this to a friend? If not, recycle it. There’s a big list of ideas further down!


There will be a donation station at the Sing and Inspire office in Cardiff Bay from Thursday 26 November – Sunday 6 December 2015.

Sing and Inspire, 11-12, Crichton House,
11-12 Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff CF10 5EE

Hours: 5pm-8pm, Mon-Tues-Thurs-Fri and also 10am-4pm Saturday and 11-6pm on Sunday: ring or text when you’re outside so someone can come and pick up your lovely donations!

Telephone number: 07565 769 036


Sunday 6th December 2015 so they can be sorted, boxed, and delivered in time for Christmas!


You can choose to donate individual items or make your very own shoebox gift. Feel free to get creative, but here are some ideas:

  • New toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Shower Gel
  • Flannels/sponges
  • Facial wipes
  • Deodorants
  • Hairbrushes/combs/bobbles/clips & grips
  • Sanitary products (sealed)
  • Sample packets
  • Moisturisers
  • Perfumes
  • Body Creams/Face creams
  • Body scrub
  • Make up/ Make up bags
  • Nail polishes / Nail polish remover/ Files & Clippers
  • Cotton wool
  • Hairspray

The women’s shelters have said they are desperate for colouring books and pencils, so feel free to add in any of these sorts of things for children.

You can also choose to make (or donate things for) a baby box with things such as nappies, baby wipes, cotton buds, baby wash, small soft toys, etc.

Project Shoebox are NOT taking any donations of cash, they just want your stuff!

This is organiser Mali, with some boxes of goodies from last year. She told me about how she ended up setting up a Cardiff branch for Project Shoebox in 2014:



“Last year at Christmas time I stumbled across a Facebook page called Project Shoebox. It was a community project, with women organising themselves to help women in shelters in their area by filling a shoebox with all of the toiletries that a woman might need when arriving without any belongings, at Christmas, at a shelter.

“I immediately wanted to fill a shoebox and send it off, so I messaged the group and asked how to go about doing that. Unfortunately the Project was only running in parts of England and there wasn’t one in Wales where I live.

“So I decided to set one up. I contacted Women’s charities in South Wales to see if they were in need of these things and they said that they desperately were. Next, I made a Facebook event and invited everyone I knew to donate. Then they invited people they knew and it spread and it spread until we ended up with enough shoeboxes to donate to three different women’s charities in Cardiff; Women’s Aid, BAWSO and Llamau.”

Want to make a difference this Christmas? You can join the Project Shoebox 2015 Facebook event to find out more, or just follow the instructions above to take your donations to Sing and Inspire.

Happy shoebox making!


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The Danish Bakery – newly open in Pontcanna, Cardiff – welcome to Brod!

Okay, so this week a brand new coffee shop and Danish bakery ‘Brod’ opened in Pontcanna. You may have noticed it – it’s the one with the lovely wooden exterior and the giant queue of people outside …


You’d have known the building as a bottle shop before, but now it is replete with delicious baked goods and cappuccinos.

We’ll be doing a full review, plus interview with baking boss Betina Skovbro very soon … but in the meantime, feast on these!

You can find Brod – The Danish Bakery at:

126 Wyndham Crescent
Cardiff, CF11 9EG

The Danish Bakery: website / Facebook


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The 42b book launch party!

So, last night, we had a launch party for the first book to be released on the We Are Cardiff Press: The 42b!

The party was held at one of our favourite Cardiff drinking haunts, Porter’s, and we would like to thank our acts (Winter Coat and Waves of Newport), as well as Sam Bees and Rachael Helena Walsh for doing readings, AND Ernie Sparkles Hoop Troupe who brought some glitter and dazzle to the evening!

We Are Cardiff Press Book Boss Hana addressing the crowd …

We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party

Shots from around the party

We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party

We Are Cardiff present its first book, Porter pub thursday 5 november 2015, an evening through readings, live music and the most creative mind within the Welsh capital through an art joruney into the heart of creative cardiff.
We Are Cardiff present its first book, Porter pub thursday 5 november 2015, an evening through readings, live music and the most creative mind within the Welsh capital through an art joruney into the heart of creative cardiff.

We Are Cardiff present its first book, Porter pub thursday 5 november 2015, an evening through readings, live music and the most creative mind within the Welsh capital through an art joruney into the heart of creative cardiff.

Waves of Newport – this was their first gig after ten years of playing together!

We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party

We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party

We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party

This was Winter Coat – they have an EP out now!

We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party   We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party


We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party

We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party


We Are Cardiff Press 42b launch party

We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party We Are CArdiff Press 42b launch party

Thanks to everyone who came along. You can also buy the book from the We Are Cardiff Press site, OR come along to The Boneyard where we have our office (look for the orange container!) tomorrow (Saturday 7 November) where we’re having an OPEN HOUSE! We do Open Houses on the first Saturday of every month, between 11am – 2pm (along with our neighbour, The Printhaus!

Open House event Facebook event 7 November

If we didn’t see you last night, see you tomorrow, or on Womanby Street at 2am for some mid-Swn dancing and merriment!


We Are Cardiff and We Are Cardiff Press

Also big thanks to photographers Lorna Cabble and Peppe Iovino for their lovely photos of the night!


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Sŵn Festival 2015 – full programme released!

swn festival 2015

Sŵn is back!

Following two successful outings for its pared-back sibling, DimSŵn, the multi-venue Cardiff festival will return for two days of noise and merriment on November 7 and 8, with Clwb Ifor Bach, Gwdihw, the Moon Club, Undertone, Buffalo, the Abacus, 10 Feet Tall and Four Bars set to play host to a genre-melding bill!

The line up is something to behold. Somewhere near the top are the Go! Team, Protomartyr, Pretty Vicious, Trust Fund, Traams, Du Blonde and plenty more, with the excellent Hooton Tennis Club, Twisted, Oh Peas!, the Prettiots and the BBC Horizons team scattered throughout.

Stereoboard is excited to bring you the full breakdown for the weekend’s activities as the festival’s schedule sponsor. Click the image below for a printable PDF to get your planning started, or here: Swn printable PDF programme (PDF)

Friday night, meanwhile, will see Houdini Dax top a bill at the Abacus, while Jungle will man the decks at Clwb Ifor Bach for a DJ set.

swan schedule 2015

Oh – and don’t forget about our little Swn fringe event … the launch of ‘The 42b’, the first book to be released on We Are Cardiff Press, taking place on Thursday night at Porter’s. WHOOT!


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Roath Local Historical Society – Winter Programme, 2015/16

Members and visitors are invited to join the Roath Local Historical Society for a series of lectures on subjects of local interest. All meetings are held in the Community Hall at the Mackintosh Sports Club, Keppoch Street, Roath and commence at 7.30pm. On site car parking is available and refreshments are served after the meeting.

Please join them, and bring a friend!



Where Cardiff Edges the Estuary.  Peter Finch, author, historian and lecturer pays a very welcome return to give a talk based on his latest book.

The Kemys-Tynte Family is the subject of a talk by Malcolm Ranson, following exstensive research on this important dynasty.

The Development of Rugby in 19th century Cardiff and Roath. Writer and sports historian Gwyn Prescott will present this talk which is of interest to all rugby fans.

History of Roath – the First 500 Years is the theme that Jeff Childs will present, looking at the beginnings in the late Norman period and the fascinating feudal system that administered the old manor of Roath. This will reflect aspects of Jeffs book Roath, 1000 Years of HISTORY

A History of Albany Road School. Wil Howlett, Acting Headmaster, will trace the origins  and history of the School. Many members met Wil on our visit earlier in the year.

Cathays Cemetary – a World Tour Gordon Hindess of Friends of Cathay’s Cemetery will give an illustrated presentation on the famous people and events connected with this Victorian cemetery .


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