Meet The Jutes: Cardiff’s answer to Pavement … via Addis Ababa

Hold on to your pants, one of our favourite Cardiff bands (who played at our book launch back in 2015) are dropping their debut album this week as a Christmas gift to you all! Here’s Robin from the Jutes to take you through the album track by track, along with a video (made by our very own Jameso) and some gorgeous album art….

You can listen to Rumours in the peloton by the Jutes below, and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter: @TheJutes

Track 1: Permutations among the nightingales

A scene-setter rather than a first song, really, this was an instrumental guitar piece I’d had knocking around for a while that we quickly jammed and recorded in the studio. We recorded all of the basic tracks for this EP in one hectic day in the Music Box this spring – live as bass, drums and guitar, and pretty much in the same sequence as the track-listing.

Sadly Dan – our bassist – couldn’t make it, so Adam deputised on bass as well engineering/producing with his brother Paul. Adam was a complete monster – playing all these songs for the first time on the day we recorded them. I imagined this as the soundtrack to a shot of a car driving towards the vanishing point in the American mid-west at sunset. Not sure that explains the frog noises.

Track 2: Light a match

An attempt at a punchy, crowd-pleasing first proper song, we tried to channel Yo La Tengo and the Lemonheads, with hopefully some Real Estate guitar on the chorus. It’s one of only two songs on the EP about anything – distracting yourself from existential boredom by chit-chat and getting drunk. I tried to go full J Mascis with the guitar solo, but perhaps mustered up a slightly virile Norman Blake from Teenage Fanclub.

Track 3: Dear Susan

I really love Orange Juice (Edwyn Collin’s early-’80s fusion of the Byrds, Chic and fey Scottish teenagers with plastic sandals and fringes like Roger McGuinn) and this is intended as a straight-up homage.

The first line (“Evidently my dear Susan”) seemed like the sort of comically overblown thing Edwyn Collins would sing, though I couldn’t quite manage the voice – which Alexis Petridis described as like “a tipsy man launching into an after-dinner speech with his mouth still full of port and walnuts”. The lyrics are an aggressive take-down of religious extremism, which should hopefully sort a few things out.

Track 4: Gallic Way

When I formed the band I basically wanted us to be Pavement, but we could never manage their nonchalant slacker charm. Sounding like you don’t care and still being good is really hard! This is probably as close as we got. I think Neil nailed the drums, which sound like someone very drunk falling down the stairs holding a pint and somehow not spilling a drop.

The lyrics are fairly Malkmus-pastiching, but those are the sort of lyrics I like – a collection of (hopefully) striking images and phrases rather than a coherent narrative. No-one listens to lyrics beyond the first verse and the chorus anyway. The chorus refers to a traumatic haircut I once received where the hairdresser maintained eye-contact with me – in the mirror – throughout, seemingly never once looking at my hair/head, and relying on some sort of echo-location to avoid cutting my ears.

Track 5: Persian Regret

The name for this song is taken from the Jutes range of hard-wearing interior paints. The concept (for the song rather than the paint range), is that you (YOU) have just stepped out of a taxi in down-town Addis Ababa and into a club where this music is playing. Full disclosure: I’ve never been to Addis Ababa or listened to any Ethiopian music. Paul made some throat-noises, as this is what he presumes happens in Addis Ababian nightclubs.

Track 6: Borderline

This starts as a charming tale of love thriving in the tedium of low-level espionage, but quickly resolves into gibberish. Quite an unorthodox pronunciation of “archipelago”, but I’m sure Mick Jagger has done worse. After a straight-up American 90s college-rock first half we tried to seamlessly weld a 70s psych-rock outro onto the back like a backstreet mechanic. I enjoyed trying to play guitar like Neil Young, anyway.

Track 7: Plane

Another contender for most-Pavementy-song (an attempt to channel Here from Slanted and Enchanted), this was the first song we wrote as a band, and the last one we recorded. Despite playing it for over two years, 6 songs into the session I experienced some sort of studio-induced dementia and had to do star-jumps in the car park until I could remember how to play it again. Paul (producer and long-time friend and collaborator) reminds me that this is the second time I’ve used the line “sold up and moved to Tibet” in a song, which could tell you something (I’ll plagiarise anything: including myself).

I’m glad there’s some funny guitar halfway through. For me, the worst thing that’s happened in music in the last 20 years is the dominance of self-obsessed earnestness – in indie music and X-factor pop. When people talk to each other, they constantly use irony and humour, but when they pick up a guitar or a microphone they so often rely on po-faced seriousness. Whatever happened to Chuck Berry singing about his ding-a-ling?

The Jutes are:

Robin Wilkinson: guitars, vocals, songs, arrangements
Neil Williams: drums, arrangements
Adam Rustidge: bass, keys, percussion, production, engineering, mixing
Dan Holloway: bass inspiration, arrangements
Paul Rustidge: production, engineering, mixing, head of logistics
Recorded at Music Box, Cardiff
Mastered by Charlie Francis at Synergy Mastering

Photos courtesy of Lorna Cabble and Peppe Iovino, from the We Are Cardiff Press launch party in November 2015.


Jenny moved to Cardiff … because of Human Traffic

This week’s up close and personal comes from an old raver who moved to Cardiff in 1999. Her inspiration: Justin Kerrigan’s clubtastic Cardiff-based flick, Human Traffic. Here’s Jenny to tell us more.

I can still remember the first time I saw Human Traffic. Sounds ridiculous, but that film changed my life. I was living in Exeter and I messed up my A level exams, and so ended up with shoddy grades, unable to get into any of my university choices. I only just managed to get into Reading, but I didn’t like Reading at all. Most of my friends were off travelling, and I just didn’t seem to click with anyone there. One night, my flatmates suggested we watch a film before we went out. One of them had this new film, Human Traffic, on video (VHS!!! Imagine). I’d heard vaguely about it but couldn’t afford to go to the cinema back then, so hadn’t seen it.

We watched the film in the communal area (which was basically the kitchen), all wrapped up in blankets, sitting on uncomfortable kitchen chairs, smoking spliffs and drinking beers, totally absorbed in the whirlwind 99 minutes of clubs, drugs, pubs, and parties, all set in this magical narnia called Cardiff. The soundtrack was amazing, the people seemed friendly, the city like a neon playground inviting you from club to house party, back to club.

I realise, obviously, that the film’s not without fault. The dialogue is clunky sometimes, the storyline abjectly ridiculous. But it’s not really about any of that, so none of that matters. It’s about capturing a moment in time. It’s about being a certain age, being part of a scene, when you might never have really belonged anywhere before. And by those standards, it might as well be Citizen Kane. That’s certainly how I felt about it.

Also Danny Dyer. It is most definitely about Danny Dyer.

I was super fed up with Reading, and my friend Pete was at uni in Cardiff, and so during the first term I bought myself a railcard and took the train there to visit. There was some event on at Solus in the student union – maybe Carl Cox, or something? The entire union was covered in camo netting – it was everywhere. By this point, drugs had entered my recreational lexicon. I hid the pills in my bra and we distributed them amongst us when we got in there. Pete’s flatmates came with us too, they were still in that slightly awkward initial freshers phase, where you sort of have to hang out together because you haven’t met your tribe yet, but they were all lovely, if awkward.

I was off my face, ended up snogging this cute blonde that lived in a student flat a few buildings away from them. The music was a mixture of trance and hard house. It was epic, driving music, with enough weird psychedelic sounds to keep your brain tweaking while you danced and stamped away, blissed out.

Pete and his flatmates ended up meeting loads of new friends that night – we all went back to someone else’s flat in Talybont South, where they produced endless amounts of weed and bongs, lungs, shotties. I never really liked weed so opted to just keep drinking booze and smoking fags. We hotboxed ourselves in that tiny living area until it started getting light, when we all stumbled back to Pete’s flat, shading our eyes from the dazzling October skies.

We couldn’t sleep, of course, so after a few hours fitfully rolling around on the floor, Pete decided we needed a fry up and then to go back to the pub. We didn’t bother showering – I think I just about managed to brush my teeth – and back out into the wilds we went, all wearing sunglasses, clutching cans of Oranjeboom, heading up to Cathays to The Warm As Toast Cafe (Twat … RIP!) for ‘breakfast’.

After we’d managed to hold down the food, Pete started getting a second wind. We headed for the nearest pub – can’t remember which one it was now, one on the way into town. It might have been Inncognito, which later became Cardiff Arts Institute. It was late afternoon by this point and they had DJs setting up in there. We alternated between pitchers of beer and pitchers of cocktails, and although it’s almost impossible to get pissed the day after a massive session, the day-after drinking always felt so nice: like a big cushion around your come down. (I would find out years later was actual real come downs were like: when you’ve got an unforgiving 9-5 and you haven’t slept all weekend and by Wednesday you think everyone hates you and wtf does your life mean and literally want to fall into a hole and die).

Feeling slightly more sprightly, we decided to head into town. It was only about 5pm at this point and all the shops were still open, so I got a whistle stop tour of the most important independents: Hobos, for natty threads; Catapult, for all your dance music; and Spillers, for indie, rock, and everything else. I bought a London Elektricity CD from Catapult (I still have it!) and a Spillers t shirt which I wore over my shirt for the rest of that night.

We went for a burger in the Gatekeeper, and Pete bumped into some friends from his course, who were heading into Clwb Ifor Bach, which really was a ‘Welsh club’ back then: we were only allowed in as we went in with some Welsh speakers, and I got given a membership card to sign that promised that I was learning Welsh (something I’ve still not managed to master, despite having lived here for nearly 20 years now – good job they don’t check up on you anymore).

The night gets hazy after that. Endless trips to the damp loos, as Pete got some charlie off someone in the queue. Sneakily smoking spliff on the dancefloor. I can’t even remember what the music was now, maybe some sort of indie night. The crowd was completely different though. Fewer students. More young professionals.

We got to bed around 2am and slept til about 3pm. I woke up already late for my train, and had to get a taxi to the station. I made it with seconds to spare. I got a Burger King when I was back in Reading and slept through all of my Monday lectures.

And that was the first of many such weekends in Cardiff. I was back in Cardiff every weekend during that first term. I bumped into Meic again (the blonde guy I’d snogged that first night), and soon we were an item. Eventually realised there was no point in travelling back and forth all the time. My heart was in Cardiff. Not necessarily with Meic – we split up after a few months – but in the city. Pete moved in with his girlfriend so I took his room and moved in with his flatmates. Turns out we were a tribe all along!

I thought I might apply to Cardiff Uni, but my grades hadn’t been great, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do – I just knew I was much happier doing anything in Cardiff than I had been in Reading or back in Devon.

I gave up on the idea of uni altogether and started working. Like lots of people, I guess, I was temping, doing all sorts of different things, and then just sort of fell into working in events. I think I got to have the best of both worlds, back then: I hung out with students all the time. I even went to a couple of lectures, just to see if I’d enjoy it. But I didn’t really.

My memories of those days revolve around the nightlife. I made so many good friends on nights out – people I’m still close to now. Friendships forged in sweaty hugs and toilets and on dancefloors across the city. I even ended up meeting some people that had been extras in Human Traffic itself – extras in the house party scenes towards the end. They told me they’d wanted to make it as realistic as possible, so they were all smoking spliffs and drinking beers. TRUTH.

The venues were key. The Emporium, for example – where I spent so many nights – was where part of Human Traffic was filmed. You can even see some of its posters in the background of the scene where Jon Simm tries to blag his way into the club – apparently this scene was shot in the manager’s office.

Then there was Welsh Club. The Toucan. The Hippo. The Model Inn. Club M. Club X. Gretzskys. Metros. Apocalypse or Vision  or whatever it was called by  the end (it then turned into Primark … and is now some other high street chain shop). The Student Union – Solus upstairs, and Seren Las downstairs. The Philharmonic. Evolution and the party bus from town to the bay. Barfly. Sugar. Moloko. The Point. There was some place behind a fancy dress shop on Clifton Street we’d go to for after hours parties. And we used to go to everything: techno, drum & bass, the reggae parties down the Bay. Hard house was more of a push for me but I’d still go.

There were some nights we wouldn’t leave the house until midnight. These days I can’t remember the last time I was even awake at midnight without there being a baby crying or a dog with the runs demanding to be let out of the house. How things change!

Venues open and close. Unless you were around Cardiff at the start of the 2000s, you probably don’t even recognise half those places I’m talking about. The union is all coffee shops now. I read something recently about how students and young people don’t rave or drink or take drugs anymore, and it made me sort of sad, double sad, for them – that they won’t experience all those amazing things – but also myself. I miss those days. I miss being young and carefree and not having kids or a mortgage to worry about and being able to spend all night roaming around the city, smoking rollies with tramps and going back to random houses for parties.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change my life now for the world. I just wish I’d revelled in those days, in that time a bit more. Also it was a weird time in terms of the internet – right early days, so it’s not like I can just flick through Facebook albums whenever I feel nostalgic. I barely had a mobile phone at that time, and I certainly didn’t have a digital camera until nearly a decade later.

As for Human Traffic now? I actually haven’t watched the film in ages. It’s a treat that I save up for myself when I’m poorly. I love doing that really boring thing of “I know where that is!” when they’re in some of the outdoor scenes. And I know I’m not the only one that really loves it: because I still see articles about the filming locations or interviews with Justin Kerrigan popping up every so often.


Jenny Jones is an events manager who dreams fondly of her youth. She currently lives in Fairwater.

Wanna read more?


Over 1000 properties lay empty in Cardiff

Data journalist Dan Clark continues his series of investigations for us: today, he looks into the number of empty properties in the capital.

A total of 1,318 private sector properties in Cardiff laid vacant in the last financial year (2015/16), according to new figures released by the council. Currently in the city, almost one in every 50 properties is vacant. Across the whole of Wales, there are 23,000 private properties that lie empty, a figure which has risen from 19,612 in 2012-13.

The Cardiff data, published in response to a freedom of information request, shows that 166 homes have been empty for over 5 years and 39 for over 10 years. Grangetown was the parish with the highest volume of vacant properties, recording 233, although it wasn’t clear from the response why it was so high here.

Furthermore, as of June 2016, there are 205 empty council properties. The most popular categorisation of these are ‘routine voids’ (77 per cent), followed by ‘low demand’ (5 per cent). Properties classified as ‘routine voids’ refers to empty homes that require minor repairs and safety checks.

Apologies for the stats overload, but your basic take away from this is that Cardiff has a lot of empty properties. My first thought was that perhaps the demand just wasn’t there for them, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As of 1 January 2017, there were 7,893 applicants on the Council’s housing waiting list.

So, what is being done? Cardiff Council have a scheme called the ‘Housing Enforcement Empty Property Policy‘, designed to help tackle the issue. Two of their main objectives are:

  • To bring back into use as many empty properties as possible
  • To limit the effect of empty properties on the Community, Council and Owner

According to figures published in the policy, the Council are currently returning an average of 62 vacant properties a year back into use. Some of the reasons cited as to why they become vacant in the first place include, dilapidation, abandonment, unresolved ownership, property holding and care holding.

Earlier this year, plans were passed for a new £2bn “garden village” on the outskirts of the city. As part of this, almost 6,000 new homes would be built. Of that number (5,970 homes), 30 per cent would be affordable housing – half of that being social rented homes and half low cost homes. But that’s still only around 1,800 homes in total, with no further details that might help people on that housing waiting list.

Having investigated the number of empty homes that already exist within the city, building so many new ones seems like an unnecessary cost. Would it not be more beneficial to spend more resource on the empty properties policy first and increase the number being brought back into use each year?

Michelle Collins manages the Empty Homes Wales project by United Welsh, a not-for-profit social landlord with over 25 years of experience in housing and development.

She said: “Seeing homes that are left empty to go into disrepair stirs up many emotions and feelings, especially at a time when Wales has a housing crisis, with 12,000 new homes needed each year to meet current demand.

“Transforming empty homes into habitable spaces is an innovative way to provide much-needed homes and help homeowners to protect their assets.”

Refurbishing a property may seem daunting, but help is available. The Empty Homes Wales project uses an innovative leasing model that doesn’t require any financial outlay from the homeowner.

Empty Homes Wales leases properties to recoup the cost of the refurbishment, then it’s up to the homeowner – United Welsh can carry on leasing the house on your behalf, you can rent it yourself, or sell up. The rental income received during the term of the lease is used to cover the cost of the refurbishment work.

Michelle added: “We work in partnership with homeowners to overcome any barriers they may face, such as inexperience of leasing property or lack of information around refurbishment standards or contractors.”

More information on housing in Cardiff:



Catch this family friendly Cardiff Christmas show, made by feminist theatre pioneers: The Giant Who Had No Heart In His Body

If you’re looking for some heartwarming, family friendly theatre to warm your cockles before the big C hits this year, head to Chapter on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 December! Likely Story Theatre’s newest work – The Giant Who Had No Heart In His Body – includes grand tales of adventure, once forgotten fables, and that anecdote your uncle always tells at Christmas. No matter what they are about, stories can’t just be told – they have to be caught. Thankfully story catchers Agi and Dot are doing just that. Watching from their home in the clouds, they scout the sky for stories and catch them before they float away on the wind. Now the pair face something they’ve never faced before: telling their own story. Will they be able to pull it off? Only time will tell…

This is a lovely Christmas show that takes on an Norwegian fairytale using a magical mix of puppetry, live music and humour. GET YOUR KIDS THERE (grown up ones too!), THEY WILL LOVE IT.

Friday 22nd December, 6pm (British Sign Language interpreted performance) &
Sat 23rd December, 11.30am and 3.30pm.
Chapter Arts Centre, Market Rd, Cardiff, CF5 1QE Tickets: £5 / £17 family ticket (4 tickets including at least 1 child)


This heart-warming show was created by Likely Story’s founders Hazel Anderson and Ellen Groves, with the help of their young children.

“We were developing a piece with my son Toby in the room,” Hazel explains, “we were playing with ideas and getting really excited when Toby started to cry because we’d left him, our audience, behind. We did the piece again but, this time, we built up the energy more slowly and bought him with us. It meant we created a scene with a completely different feel.

“It was a good reminder that the audience wants you to play with them, not just for them.”

Motherhood hasn’t just had an effect on this particular show, however, as Likely Story acts as a flagship company that demonstrates how creative organisations can foster the talent of mothers, and how people can create theatre as a family.

“In a professional setting you so often feel like you need to apologise for your kids being in the room,” says Ellen “now we’ve changed that from being seen as a burden, to being a gift.”

With both kids and grown-ups helping to shape The Giant Who Had No Heart In His Body – and with tickets only £5pp or £17 for a family of four – the entire family can see a show that is just as funny and fascinating for the over 70s as the under 7s.

“In the mix of a very commercialized Christmas, this is a show that aims to bring families closer together with play, love and lightness. It’s a show that is created with a lot of everyday objects, so that families can play and recreate it at home” says Ellen.

Hazel explains: “It’s a show that kids will laugh at, adults will laugh at, and they will both laugh at each other laughing.”

Likely Story Theatre was founded in 2006 by likely ladies Hazel Anderson and Ellen Groves. It was created on the simple philosophy that the women shared: the belief that storytelling is magical and that stories are best brought to life through the imaginative use of ourselves and everyday objects.