Tag Archives: blog about cardiff

“Music – Culture – Politics – Parties – Great Outdoors” – Maka

Ode to Cardiff

The million pound deals in the biggest docks, where our black gold was swept out to sea to fuel the rest of the empire. That was just a memory, a memory dredged up by Gran as we took the thrill of the double decker bus to town.

Those docks became Tiger Bay as we became the washed up dock town at the end of the line. Bringing people of the world to a corner of Wales, changing the face of the place as town turned hesitatingly to city to Capital City. As a pride in a nation a language and an idea was formed around this new title.

In school we studied the docks as History, the mix of cultures that brought injera, plantain and pickled herring to our shore. The sailors, the dockers, the chancers, the old hopes of new lives. We were told of an idea to redevelop ‘the bay’, we went to Butetown, to see the tower blocks marked for demolition, to see change set-in as a glitter of steel and glass descended. In the new bay, we were told, the water was supposed to be clean enough to swim in; we looked at the black-running Taff and laughed.

As the bay was building we forgot to care. We were making music and music had changed. Squirrel and G-Man showed us how we could take our guitars and drums and play like 24 hour party people. Chapter Arts front bar meant a different world now for us, teenagers getting to play psychedelic dance jams to rooms full of grown ups. Now gigs, now girls, now long hair and baggies, then bleeps and fleeces.

The Indie Chart on the Chart Show was full of rave, the hills around Cardiff were alive to the sound of this music. Adventures planned from service station to station, forest to forestry. New best friends made and lost in forgotten nights as we danced imagining the world would have to change now.

Music had its hooks in, and Cardiff was the place to be pulled about. In the face of poor promoters DIY was the answer. Clwb Ifor Bach let us try, and the Toucan, and Dempsy’s, and we found Rajah’s, a busted up pool-hall in Riverside that let us play and DJ and dance all night.

That set the tone, music was all: Oval Sky, Dark Bazaar. Kah Buut Sounds, Optimas Prime, Pink Pussy, Tiger Bay warehouse raves, SOUNDWAVE, Adi Boomtown, Secret Garden. Twenty years of making and taking music in and out of Cardiff.

Been all over the world, but keep coming back. As well as friends, family, work and opportunities, Cardiff has great open space at its heart, stretching from the Castle all the way up the Taff. And escape is all around, places so near it’s amazing you feel so far away: west to the beaches of Monknash, east to the top of Machen mountain, north to the Garth, south to Flatholm island. Walking, climbing, surfing, taking in the views, getting out of our little city.
The smallness leaves us equally cursed and blessed. Sometimes you can’t escape, and everybody knows your name, your business. Sometimes it’s hard to get stuff going, to build up a scene, to get bars and clubs busy and bubbling. Sometimes it feels like the city planners don’t listen to us, and are throwing away everything that makes the city special and individual for the sake of massive mall clone-culture.

But there are chances here to get involved in anything you want, from intellectual flights of fancy to making a fool of yourself. I’ve enjoyed drumming at the SWICCA Carnivals; performing at Blysh; reflecting on the future of the city at the Nutopia Symposium; dancing as a righteous pineapple at Chapter; and more, and more.

As well as being a place to party, Cardiff is now the political centre of Wales. Social justice has an illustrious history across our country, and it still has echoes in our modern capital – the Senedd attempting an openness and accessibility of government that other nations envy. I’ve been fortunate to work for organisations that have successfully lobbied and pushed for changes to policy and governance, realising that people and organisations can shape legislation here. This gives a sense of ownership and accountability missing in Westminster.

We’re still finding our feet as a nation, and a capital city, still struggling with the dual identities that come from seeking to embrace Welsh and English; heritage and modernity, fairness and conservatism, the past and the future, hedonism and responsibility… but this is a great place to be while we try.

Music – Culture – Politics – Parties – Great Outdoors – Family and Friends – All I need to get by.

Now my work, will and wanderlust takes me away from here for the next few years, which is odd, unsettling and exciting; but Cardiff, my adopted city, will always be my base, my place, my home.

Mark Maka Chapple grew up in a little village outside Caerphilly and started promoting discos in the local village hall when he was 14. Llanishen High brought drums and the first band of many. Years of playing and promoting led to seven years lecturing on music and performing arts, then onto a career with Save the Children, eventually managing the Wales Programme – working across Wales and the west of England. A deployment to Zimbabwe ignited a passion for humanitarian work, one that’s led to him now leaving Cardiff to pursue an international career in South Sudan. He has lived in Roath for the last nine years, and still DJs, drums and performs in various venues and festivals in Cardiff and across the country when he gets the chance.

Maka’s tips for a good time in Cardiff are: Milgi’s, Gwdihw, WMC, Roath Park and Madhavs. For the best view of the city head up the lane past the Ty Mawr pub in Lisvane to the top of Caerphilly Mountain, hop in to the field and soak it up.

Maka was photographed in Bute Park by Ffion Matthews

 

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“ME is debilitating, misunderstood, confusing and unpredictable” – Pippa

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12th May is International ME awareness day. You know ME, it’s the lazy people’s disease? Well, it’s estimated that over 28 million people now suffer from it in the world and in the US alone, more people now have ME than AIDS.

I have suffered from ME for 13 years, since I was 14. I got glandular fever and it simply never went away. Instead it mutated into a new, terrifying beast. ME is debilitating, misunderstood, confusing and unpredictable. Even the name is debated. Many people prefer the term CFS or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome over ME which stands for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. It is pure medical semantics, but they both generally describe the same condition – depending on your doctor’s preferred interpretation! The prognosis is ill-defined and unknown too. The best anyone can tell you is that if you contracted is when you were under 18 then you stand a better chance of one day getting better than if you contracted it over the age of 18.

I first came to Cardiff because of my disease, but this was ultimately an extremely happy and serendipitous event. I had been told by my doctors I wasn’t well enough to go to university, but that wasn’t a very sensible thing to tell me, a stubborn over-achiever –  Cardiff was near enough to home for me to be a part time student and have my wonderful mother drive me to each lecture, then straight home to bed again. The understanding and kindness afforded by Cardiff University’s English Department – especially Prof. Martin Coyle – was what made me first love the city. I didn’t just feel welcomed by the university, but the place. After battling through school and a system not set up to understand my disease, I was met by people determined to help find a way to make it easy for me to study because they saw the passion I had for the subject. Without their dedication I would never had gained the confidence to explore Cardiff, make friends here and make this city my home. I cannot imagine living anywhere else in the UK.

Cardiff Council on the whole is pretty terrible with regards to disability – but the people more than make up for that. Certain councillors and fabulous people like journalist Hannah Waldram (ex of Guardian Cardiff) have helped me, for example, when the council wouldn’t let me park outside my home (pretty vital when you often need sticks to walk with!). Also, Cardiff is a small enough city (and a flat one!) to make city living easily accessible to me.

The welcoming, friendly mood of the city has helped me grow in confidence with my illness. The stigma with ME/CFS is so strong I have spent much of my life terrified to tell people I am ill, but of course you have to. Firstly, because you need to know if your friends are ok with it otherwise they’re pretty lousy friends, and secondly, because people need to know they are encountering people with the disease – otherwise how will we ever help spread awareness?

I feel I have received such positive reactions from my friends in Cardiff. It’s been so different from other experiences when people are too uncomfortable after a while to talk to you again. Even my parents have lost friends because of my illness – it made their friends embarrassed, uncomfortable. Instead, the people I have met and come to cherish in Cardiff, if they don’t know about it, they ask, or they just accept it. Perhaps in Cardiff we’re all slightly odd and so we are ready and willing to accept each others’ foibles and issues. Who knows? Whatever it is I can’t help but feel it is unique to the city as it is an attitude en masse that I haven’t experienced anywhere else.

I have always loved music. My ME only really got very severe when I was 19 and before that I was training to be an opera singer. I come from a musical family too and so, unsurprisingly, the often-dubbed ‘friendly incestuousness’ of the Cardiff music scene is something that I cherish about the city. We are so lucky here to have a ridiculously talented pool of musicians and music professionals; Gruff Rhys, Future of The Left, The Gentle Good, Swn, Spillers Records, Musicbox. I do a lot of music photography and my favorite event each year to shoot is undoubtedly Swn festival. I hate stadium shows, I hate the impersonality of the photographs they produce. I like sweaty, cramped gigs where you feel the music, which is what Swn provides. Shooting that passion and energy is exciting and energising in itself. Each year I have been lucky enough for my photos to be used by various news outlets such as BBC and Guardian Blogs, so even in the face of this horrible disease, I make sure when I am having good periods, I make them count. I don’t miss out. I am trying my damndest to build a life and a career that can sometimes be dipped in and out of, although it is often an impossible struggle, and the older I get the more difficult this seems to be.

Each year I live in Cardiff I watch it develop, become more creative and exciting with the introduction of things such as Third Floor Gallery. And yet one of the most exciting artistic elements of the city has stood here for nearly 100 years. Once described by a Daily Telegraph art critic as Britains “hidden artistic gem”, The National Museum of Wales in Cardiff is my favourite part of the city and I still remember my first visit there in technicolor with each painting and sculpture still perfectly arranged in my mind. I remember seeing some of the Monet Rouen cathedral paintings and being bewildered. I’d seen others in the series in the Musee D’Orsay in Paris but some of them had been missing, and they had been here, in Cardiff, in this beautiful white marble home. In short, its collection of art is breathtaking. It houses such important and beautiful pieces that take so many people by surprise. The gallery works as a metaphor for Cardiff. We get a bad wrap for being the “binge drinking capital of the world” and such, but when people actually take the time to truly experience cardiff, walk through the rooms and study the pieces and “gems” that make up this city, they are astounded it was here under their noses all along and that such a small corner of Wales can house such talent, compassion, and culture.

At times I have been almost completely well, which has been magical. I have managed to do long distance swimming (keeping as fit as possible is definitely the key to keeping on top of the disease), I’ve travelled the world (if only to sit in the sun, but that doesn’t make me much different from anyone else), and I’ve enjoyed a full social life. I’ve had to fit all of my life’s experiences, however, into about 20% of my time, because the flip side to the last 13 years have been overwhelmingly debilitating, unpredictable, and totally devastating relapses that take months to years to rehabilitate from. I get to a point where I am in bed, struggling to reach for a drink, or turn over without help, unable to hold a book. I’ll need help getting to the toilet, washing, brushing my hair, dressing. Most people’s belief of ME is that it makes you tired. Which it does, but in the most extreme way that would be, in layman’s terms, more akin to military sleep deprivation. However, it also causes many other symptoms relating to your central nervous system, cognitive problems – the most common being a ‘foggy’ brain with short term memory loss and concentration problems, muscular pain (fibromyalgia), a compromised immune system leading to higher rate of infection and constant flu like symptoms, sleep disturbances, photo and phonophobia and many more besides. When I relapse I am unlucky enough to be put in the worst five percent of M.E sufferers. Some people with M.E/CFS experience a more constant low level tiredness which is no less debilitating or upsetting – there are simply varying levels of severity of the disease. To be in the most severe five percent means I have been ill enough to be hospitalised, and many sufferers even need feeding and oxygen tubes – Something I am grateful I have never had to experience. In short, M.E can kill you because you are left without the energy to keep yourself alive.

There are other worrying medical abnormalities associated with your body being too tired to regulate itself too. For example, last June I was in a hypoglycemic coma (though I’m not diabetic), and more recently spent nine days in hospital because I had a rare form of migraine that mimicked a brain tumour – all caused by my brain and body being exhausted from the ME.

Sadly, and I can honestly say I understand why this would happen, many ME sufferers cannot overcome the horrific reality of their illness, especially in adulthood where it can break up marriages, cause infertility (if you are well enough to look after children at all), and leave you unable to work. The desperation is made all the more pressing so little is known about the disease. Unsurprisingly, the suicide rate among ME sufferers is very high. Some months I manage to work part time as a photographer. But many I can not. It drives me mad. The unpredictability. Not knowing when you might relapse is heartbreaking sometimes. You learn life is about compromise early on with ME. You learn you don’t get to socialise unless you pace yourself and rest and you don’t get to work unless you pace yourself and don’t really let yourself have too much fun.

Many people believe that ME is a modern illness – an indulgence, if you will. It is anything but. ‘They’ think the modern world panders to eccentrics, that ME is ‘allowed’ to go on and it is almost too painful to write the things I have been told over the years to this effect. Obviously the most common stigma we have to overcome is that often, because we have good periods and bad periods is that people will say we don’t look ill. Also, it is impossible for some people to accept that even young people in their 20s can be disabled. This sounds weird but it is true. I have a disabled badge for my car, but I still have to argue most trips to the supermarket, as I am being helped out of my car by my boyfriend, that I have the right to park in a disabled space. People see a young person with no disfigurement, not in a wheelchair and cannot connect that with disability. The fact that swimming has been my main physiotherapy causes similar problems too. I often need help getting into the pool, but when I’m in the pool I am pain free because my body and blood pressure is supported and can move so much more freely. So I can’t be ill, right?

ME is anything but a modern disease, however. Literature chronicles people dying of ‘failing’ going back hundreds of years and there is a strong argument that this ‘failing’ in many cases could have been ME. For example, if you had ME just 50 years ago you were either put in a mental institution, many believing this ‘refusal’ to move being some sort of madness, or died from not having the energy to feed yourself or from the inability to fight the constant infections you were subjected to due a compromised immune system and a lack of antibiotics. There was no sick pay. If you couldn’t work, you couldn’t earn, you couldn’t eat, you couldn’t live. I grieve for those who have suffered from this disease before me. We are still in the dark ages. We still desperately need more research as every glimpse of ‘proof’ or theory is disputed by each country’s scientists, but at least we live in a time where this disease is now ‘indulged’ enough to mean that ME sufferers have medical help to be kept alive.

In Wales we are worse off than most areas of the UK for ME specialists. We have one consultant in Newport and there is a pain management centre in Brecon, but even people like me aren’t eligible for funding for it. And it is for pain. Not ME. This illness ruins lives. I was almost better then an inexplicable relapse put me in hospital and left me unable to work for an unknown length of time. Many people severely affected even need oxygen and feeding tubes. It is so much more than people think and the USA is doing fantastic research, but here we need to improve understanding and increase research funding.

So please support International ME Awareness Day. The best thing you can do is to learn a bit more about the disease – The best place to do it is at the ‘Get Informed‘ page at the actionforme.org.uk charity site. On May 12th, tweet the link, post it on your profile and help increase awareness and understanding for this stigmatised disease. We need the government to put more money into research. You can also support the Facebook page for ME awareness day. Or donate to ME Research UK, the UK body funding biomedical research into the disease.

You can see Pippa’s photography including music photography online at pippabennett.com and she writes a blog about her experiences about living with ME. She currently lives in Cardiff city centre.

Pippa was photographed at Clwb Ifor Bach by Adam Chard

 

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“I don’t think things would have worked out if I wasn’t living in this brilliant city” – Alex

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I moved to Cardiff when I was 18. All I wanted to do was leave home and get out into the world on my own, and university seemed like the best way to do this. I’m not sure why but Cardiff had always appealed to me, long before I’d even visited the place. I still to this day have no idea why that was.

From a young age I have been obsessed with film, mainly horror and fantasy but I’ll pretty much watch anything. I was watching films that should have sent me running and hiding, but from talking to my sister (the main culprit for letting me watch them) I was absolutely fascinated by them. The creatures and effects I was seeing on the screen captivated me. I went to my local college with the intention of getting into the world of special effects make-up, however I was shot down by a tutor who told me it was a pipedream and that it was completely unrealistic as a real career path. This “advice” sent me into the direction of graphic design but it was never truly what I wanted to do.

I was miserable, I disliked everything about what I was doing and I really needed to change my situation or forever think “what if?”. So I decided to have a go at getting into special effects make-up with a real “now or never” attitude and I haven’t looked back since!

I started doing special effects at home while learning the basics of make up at a local college. I’m my own biggest critic when it comes to my work but I knew I was doing something right when I uploaded the first pictures of my make-up to Facebook and I had a barrage of texts/calls/emails asking if I was ok. This carried on for a few months; experimenting at home, reading books and watching tutorials online and my passion began to grow into almost an obsession!! I realised this was my true vocation.

Probably the biggest thing to me career-wise was when I entered a competition with the Stan Winston School of Character Arts (only after a bit of arm-twisting from friends). The competition was for a zombie artwork/make-up and the unexpected happened – and I won! It was the first thing I had ever won of this nature and I was totally blown away by it all. My work was reviewed by Greg Nicotero who has worked on some incredible films but at the moment is most well known for his work on The Walking Dead…. And he liked it! It was like a dream come true.

Since then it’s been pretty non-stop for me, working on local projects with some amazingly talented people such as 441 films. I also have work coming up on a slasher movie being filmed in south Wales and a music video where I will be turning about 30 people into zombies and letting them loose on a local band by the name of Inhalite.

My knowledge is what I would consider basic in the world of special effects but I’m determined to carry on learning and developing, I send emails everyday to various companies and people asking them for even a few hours of work experience even if it’s just making tea or letting them use me to experiment make-up techniques on. Hopefully one day an opportunity will arise.

Cardiff has such a strong creative community and I don’t think things would have worked out like they have so far for me if it wasn’t for the fact I was living in this brilliant city. The fact is you’re only a short walk away from seeing something creatively amazing be it some graffiti on a club’s wall, a poster outside a shop or a local band doing a set in a small bar down a side lane, the city is full of artistic influence and no matter what happens with my career I’ll always happily say this is where it all began.

Alex Harper is a make-up artist working from his house in the heart of Cardiff. You can contact him and see more of his work at Facebook. He currently lives in Adamsdown.

Alex was photographed in front of the National Museum in Cardiff by Adam Chard

 

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We Are Cardiff invites you to Roath Rocks – 4 May, The Gower Pub Roath

Wouldn’t you know it. Our wonderful friend Wayne Courtney is throwing us a fundraiser to try and raise some cash for the We Are Cardiff: Portrait of A City film that we’re making! The party is taking place at the Gower Pub in Roath as part of the Roath Rocks Weekend. It’s on Friday 4th May – there’s a raffle with some amazing prizes – and YOU are all invited!

Friday 4 May
The Gower Pub, Roath
6pm til late

Line up for the night:
– Hullaballo
– The Fflip Fflops
– Calum Ross & The Scarlets.
Also making special appearances that night will be Hobo Bogweed and comic duo The Chicago Boys.

RAFFLE PRIZES!

We also have a pretty amazing raffle as part of our fundraising … check out the list of prizes below!

A bottle of champagne (courtesy of EstatesDirect Cardiff)
A 60 minute treatment + spa voucher (value £50) (courtesy of City Marshall Massage Therapy)
A rare first issue of Blown magazine (courtesy of Blown)
Five free zumba classes (courtesy of Sarah Sen)
Two amazing plush toy robots from Milkwood gallery (courtesy of Milkwood Gallery)
Photography session and stills (courtesy of Pontcanna Photo)
2 tickets to any Indigo Live event (shows listed below, courtesy of Indigo Live)

So get yourselves down to the Gower Pub in Roath on Friday 4 May, and have yourselves a fun evening – win some prizes – and help us raise money to make our film!

The Gower Pub, 29 Gwennyth Street, Roath (click here for the map)

Join the Facebook event for the night here

A MASSIVE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS DONATED A PRIZE!

INDIGO LIVE
Indigo Live are passionate music fans first, and promoters second. As Indigo Live is not a commercial venture, but a labour of love, it enables us to have a diverse booking policy so that we are not limited by genre, venue, or demographic. Cardiff has a very vibrant and diverse music scene which is seeing a resurgence in local Welsh talent. Where possible we always seek to add local supports to touring artists/bands in order to generate exposure or introduce the band/s to a new audience. There will always be a place for live music in Cardiff, and Indigo Live in its small way is looking forward to playing a part in promoting the city, its culture and music.
Prize:
Indigo Live is offering 2 free tickets to one show of their choice from the following:
An Audience with Howard Marks | The Gate, Cardiff | 12 May | 16+ show
Keep it Cash w/Rusty Shackle | The Globe, Cardiff | 12 May | 14+ show
Said The Whale | Buffalo Bar, Cardiff | 20 May | 18+ show
Mark Morriss/Chris Helme | Clwb Ifor Bach | 24 May | 14+ Show
The Christians | The Globe, Cardiff | 25 May | 14+ show
Fossil Collective w/Paper Aeroplanes | Clwb Ifor Bach | 6 June | 14+ show

ESTATES DIRECT – the 0% Commission Agent
At EstatesDirect we charge a fair fixed fee to sell or let your property.  To see how much you could save and find out more please visit our website.
EstatesDirect Cardiff is owned and run by Paul and Helen Walters. We pride ourselves on offering excellent customer service throughout your property sale or let, from the initial FREE valuation, through to viewings and finally the sale or let of your property. We are local to Cardiff, and will offer expert advice on marketing your property to its greatest potential and to as many targeted buyers and tenants as possible.

BLOWN MAGAZINE
blown magazine is cultural intelligence from Wales, wrapped in a super glossy format full of pictures to make your jaw drop and writing from established heavyweights and emerging new talent: Art, performance, literature, music, fashion and photography. It’s distributed to Tooting, Toronto and Tokyo; Newport to New York and Sydney and Swansea. Produced with passion and sheer derring-so from the blown  Bunker (aka Chapter). Issue two has sold out but we have a few rare copies of issue one and issue three is on its way. Find us on facebook and on our (soon to be redeveloped) web site www.blownmag.com.

CITY MARSHALL
City Marshall
is located in the heart of Queen St and has been voted by Wahanda as the Best Therapeutic Massage practice in Wales. It offers 18 therapies and every session is individually tailor made. Enjoy free use of their luxury spa and gym facilities with every treatment. City Marshall is located on the First Floor of Vitality Health Club
8-16 Park Place, Opposite The Parc Hotel and next to Henry’s Bar – Cardiff City Centre CF10 3DN. Call or Text: 07502 104 339. City Marshall website  Find City Marshall on Face Book
and 
see a detailed street map here

Sarah Sen – Zumba!

Sarah’s Zumba classes have been running for over two years, and are a great deal of fun whilst also gaining fitness benefits. Zumba is a Latin inspired dance fitness regime and takes flavours from all kinds of music internationally. It is exercise in disguise which is why many people have joined the classes whom may never have done fitness previously. And more importantly, they keep coming back for more. Classes in Cardiff are Monday and Thursday 7.45-8.45pm and Tuesday 7-8pm in Roath Park Primary. For more information, call Sarah on 07545 326650 or email her.

 

Behind the camera: Ffion Matthews

You may have noticed that the We Are Cardiff website features some rather wonderful photography. We’ve decided to run a series of posts introducing you to our photographers, who volunteer their time to keep this website looking as amazing as possible. For our first post, please meet the lovely Ffion Matthews!

Give us one reason why Cardiff is an ace place to live

There are so many reasons Cardiff is great, but the one thing everyone always tells me, and I completely agree, is that it is such a friendly city!

Favourite place to eat out in Cardiff

Oh gosh! There’s so many to choose from Mezza Luna on City Road to Bayside Brasserie. But one food that I just can’t resist is Mexican, and thanks to Las Iguanas (Centre and Bay) I can feed my addiction at any point! But Cardiff has so many great places to eat, I hope to go to Patagonia (Canton) soon as I hear such fantastic things about it.

Favourite shop in Cardiff

I don’t often go shopping, but when I do, I head straight to our historic arcades, losing myself in all it offers, and can’t resist visiting and playing dress-up in A Vintage Affair. Upstairs there is a whole playground of hats, shoes and other amazing vintage clothes, I could spend all day there!

Favourite Cardiff venue

I have a couple of favourite venues for different reasons. Gwdihw is great for an intimate (and sometimes crazy) gig, which also offers board games, comedy nights and great beer. Ten Feet Tall offer a mean cocktail. And Undertone right next to it for a long night of dancing – great things come in small packages!

Best Cardiff memory

I think one of my fondest memories is before I moved to Cardiff. For my 16th birthday, my brother bought us tickets to see Incubus at the then called CIA, he lived in Splott at the time so I stayed for the weekend and loved ever minute of it!

Book/s you’re reading at the moment

At the moment I am swamped in research for a piece I’m writing, all regarding the phases of postmodernism, feminism and female artists. I think you’d all rather me not bombard you with my readings 😉 Go Girl Power!

Film/s you’ve recently seen

I’m usually a bit of a film buff, but I haven’t watched many recently (now with all my feminism books taking over), and certainly not many good ones. I have Sin Nombre lined up though, which I have high hoped for!

Some of my fav/recommended films:
The Orphanage
This Is England
Let the right one in
City Of God
Mulholland Drive
Pan’s Labyrinth
Spirited Away

Band/s you’re into atm

After going to a gig at 10 Feet Tall to see Golden Fable, a friend of mine who performs as Elephant and Soldier was supporting them. Having never seen him perform before, I was absolutely blown away by his voice. So if you are into acousticy, gruffly voice that you can lose yourself in, check him out.

What’s your one Cardiff secret you’ll let us into?

I’m still searching for my secret spot. Having lived her for about three and a half years now, I’m actually still finding my feet to an extent. Every new place I go feels like a hidden gem, I always ask myself “How did I not know of this place before?” and then often it becomes a favourite; like Gwdihw, Undertone, the arcades, the beautiful surrounding villages and towns. I adore the fact that I can go from the busy city centre, to a fantastic quiet country walk around Garth Woods, stopping off at Gwaelod Y Garth Inn for a cheeky pit stop. So I think there is more to Cardiff than I know, I’m still learning, and loving this place more and more as I go along.

Any projects you’re working on at the mo you want to big up…?

At the moment most of my time and focus is being put into my degree, which leaves little time to manage my own work. But I will be displaying my latest project at an Exhibition at the Riverfront, Newport from the 23-25th of May.

What camera do you use? Any favoured lenses for portrait photoshoots like the We Are Cardiff shoots?

At the moment I have a Canon 450D which I mainly use, but looking to upgrade it soon. I also have a beautiful Mamiya RB67, and Nikon FG-20 that I don’t use as often for the simple reason of that in this digital world it takes precious time to develop/print/scan nowadays. Although I do still love using them, but more for personal projects than anything else.

Most memorable We Are Cardiff photoshoot

I have enjoyed every single shoot I have done for We Are Cardiff; it is always so interesting to meet such a variety of different people. But I think my most memorable has to be photographing the lovely burlesque dancer, Cherrie Pips at 10 Feet Tall. Never had I shot a burlesque dancer before, and she was such a pleasure to be around, and made even more interesting with my lighting equipment failing and having to think on my feet. Luckily for me she was fantastic about the whole thing and I don’t think we stopped laughing the whole way through!

Thanks Ffion! More about Ffion here: website / blog / twitter

 

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BAG YOURSELF SOME WE ARE CARDIFF SWAG! Visit our online shop

We Are Cardiff on Facebook / Twitter @wearecardiff / We Are Cardiff: Portrait of a City documentary