Tag Archives: clwb ifor bach

Sŵn Festival 2018 – full line up announced!

With the news earlier this year than Sŵn Festival had changed hands, we were excited to hear about the line up announcement … and it’s finally here!

The final wave of Sŵn bands have been announced for this iconic Cardiff city festival, taking place Wednesday 17 – 20 October 2018. WHOOP!

Previous announcements already brought you Gaz Coombes, Boy Azooga, Drenge, Gwenno, 77:78 and Queen Zee – and now there are 30 more awesome acts …

Heavenly’s The Orielles will open Thursday’s mammoth gig at The Great Hall alongside grunge rock brothers Drenge and Melbourne’s tough surf pop outfit, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever.

Jacob’s Market on Friday will be a massive night, with Cardiff homegrown Darkhouse Family curating a night of hypnotic, jazz and dance tunes with Bugz in the Attic performing live, alongside Esther and Andromeda Jones.

Cardiff-based Estrons are one of our favourites (they’ve just released their debut album You Say I’m Too Much , get yours now!) have a reputation for their bold, electrifying gigs, which means they’re certainly not one to miss this year – they’re playing on the Saturday. Joining them is Canadian artist Boniface, who unites 80s synth-pop with contemporary 21st century indie-pop to create a rare and electrifying performance.

Sŵn Festival takes place over four days (17-20 October) and 17 venues: Buffalo Bar, Clwb Ifor Bach, Fuel, Gwdihw Café Bar, Kongs, Nos Da, O’Neills, Off Track Café, The Big Top, The Blue Night Café, The Great Hall, The Moon, The Old Market Tavern, Tiny Rebel, Tramshed and Undertone.

Adam Williams, Live Manager at Clwb Ifor Bach (who are now managing the festival) said: “We’re over the moon to announce the final wave of artists for Swn Festival 2019. It’s been six months since we were asked to take on running and booking the festival and we’re super happy with what we’ve produced. Now all we have left is to deliver it!

“Sŵn Festival has been a vital part of the Cardiff music calendar for the last 12 years and it’s been really exciting for us at Clwb to build on that success – we hope we’ve created something special and that people continue to enjoy this festival for many more years to come.”

Wristbands for Sŵn are on sale now. For more information and to get your tickets, go to swnfest.com. Follow @swnissound on Twitter. or join the party with Sŵn on Facebook or Sŵn Instagram.

GET HYPED FOR THE FESTIVAL WITH THE PLAYLIST:

TICKET INFO:

Wednesday, Tramshed, £15

Thursday, The Great Hall, £16

Friday, various city centre venues, £20 (general release)

Saturday, various city centre venues, £25 (general release)

Weekend, across the city, £35 (2nd release)

4 Day Golden Ticket, £60 (second release)

Full line-up (we’ve highlighted out picks in bold, in case you give a fork …)

77:78; ACCÜ; Adwaith; Al Moses; Andromeda Jones; Annabel Allum; Another Sky; Argrph; Bandicoot; Bitw; Bo Ningen; Boniface; Boy Azooga; Breichiau Hir; Bugz In The Attic; Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard; Carolines; Carw; Cassia; Castorp; Chartreuse; Christian Punter; Cosmo Sheldrake; Cousin Kula; Cowtown; Cpt. Smith; CVC; Dead Method; Dream Wife; Drenge; Drunk Yoga DJs; Ed The Dog; Esther; Estrons; Farm Hand; Fling; Frown Upon; Gaz Coombes; Giant Party; Goat Girl; Great News; Greta Isaac; Grey Hairs; Griff Lynch; GRLTLK; Gwenno; Halo Maud; Hana2k; Heavy Rapids; HMS Morris; Ivan Moult; I See Rivers; Keeva; Keir; Knowbetter; L.A. Salami; Lewys; Los Blancos; Low Island; Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard; Marged; Martha; Mellow Gang; Mellt; MRPHY; My Name Is Ian; Night Flight; Oh Peas!; Perfect Body; Pizzagirl; Private World; Queen Zee; Quiet Marauder; Rascalton; Red Telephone; RedFaces; Right Hand Left Hand; Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever; RYD; Sam Evian; Scott Xylo; Silent Forum; Snapped Ankles; Sock; Spinning Coin; Suuns; Talkshow; Tamu Massif; Teddy Hunter; The Blinders; The Death of Money; The Effect; The Gentle Good; The Go! Team; The Mysterines; The Orielles; The Pitchforks; The Witching Hour; Tigress; Tracy Island; Vive La Void; Wasuremono; Wild Cat Strike; XY&O; Y Sybs; Ya Yonder; Yassassin; Yves; Zabrinski; Zac White

Have a scroll through We Are Cardiff’s previous Sŵn content

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Astroid Boys – Broke Album Release, Clwb Ifor Bach

Local outfit Astroid Boys hit a sweet milestone recently, with the release of their Broke album. Photojournalist Aiyush Pachnanda went along to document the night!

In their own words: Rising out of Cardiff’s unlikely CF10 area code, Astroid Boys have cultivated a movement that transcends multiple sub-cultures – a growth that defines them less as a band, and more as voice for the youth.

With a DIY ethos rooted in the punk and hardcore scene, mixed with the raw, narrative approach of grime culture – their sound fuses together multiple perspectives, channeling their aggressions and woes into a platform for creative expression and escapism.

Bringing everything to a climax through their high-energy live shows, the combination of attacking vocals, crushing guitars and Dellux’ signature production never fails to get a crowd bouncing, both cult followers and innocent bystanders alike.

BUY BROKE NOW

LISTEN TO BROKE NOW

www.astroidboys.com

Astroid Boys Facebook

Astroid Boys Twitter

Astroid Boys Instagram

Astroid Boys YouTube

See more of Aiyush’s photography at YO Snaps!

Listen to Ep 23 of Minty’s Guide Gig – where Minty speaks to Benji Wild

And to finish up, Phoenix’s favourite Astroid Boys song: Foreigners

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Independent Venue Week – Cardiff, 25 – 31 January 2015

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

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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.

Imperial Music presents When We Were Wolves / Set To Break
Facebook Event – http://on.fb.me/1wrtxE9

THURSDAY 29 JANUARY

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!

Turnstile Music presents R.SeiliogTRUST FUNDLos Campesinos! DJ Set
Facebook Event: http://on.fb.me/1GoKC4y

FRIDAY 30 JANUARY (SOLD OUT)

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.

GB Live presents Save Your Breath (Last Show) / As It Is / Cardinals
Facebook Event: http://on.fb.me/1rUGYN0

As part of the Independent Venue Week celebrations, I Ka Ching Records curate a line-up showcasing some of the best artists on the label.

Recordiau I KA Ching Records presents…. Candelas / Sŵnami / Yr Eira
Facebook Event: http://on.fb.me/1C7Jxyc

Zerox
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.

SATURDAY 31 JANUARY

Future Of The Left / The St. Pierre Snake Invasion / TBA
Event: http://on.fb.me/1vn1iAX

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.

Nos Galan
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

 

Gwdihw

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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)

THURSDAY 29 JANUARY

Huw Stephens presents: Frankie & The Heartstrings with Houdini Dax &Wasters | Thu 29 | 8PM | £5/7
EVENT: http://on.fb.me/1C4d4ch

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.

FRIDAY 30 JANUARY

Johnny Cage & The Voodoogroove‘s Rock n’ Roll Revue | Fri 30th | 9PM | £3
EVENT: http://on.fb.me/13h3PGg

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.

SATURDAY 31 JANUARY

Hully Gully x On The Corner Records Tropical Discotheque Part Deux w/ DJ Izem & J-Buck | Sat 31st | 9PM | £3
EVENT: http://on.fb.me/1u4CTXu

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.

Get yourselves out on the town and ENJOY!

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“Cardiff will always be synonymous with friendships, good music, and unlimited fun” – Gwen

Today’s We Are Cardiff piece goes back in time … and visits a lively gal by the name of Gwen Love, who – in 1996 – is enjoying her 20s in the city of ‘cool Cymru’. Read on to find out what she’s been up to!

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I cannot imagine being anywhere more exciting than Cardiff in 1996. I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing city at such a buzzing time. Right now, Cardiff is at the heart of the Cool Cymru movement. It has been amazing to witness the explosion of the Welsh music scene before our very eyes – watching our home-grown talent become part of the Britpop brigade has made us all proud of our heritage and roots. I have been lucky enough to see Catatonia and Super Furry Animals morph from obscure Welsh language bands to being on Top of the Pops and playing with some of the biggest bands of our time. I love the fact that I have seen these bands live several times at venues around the city – and that they just get bigger and better.

I knew I wanted to study in Cardiff as soon as I set down my country-bumpkin-North-Walian feet in the bus station in 1993 – three years ago. An excited gaggle of us were here for the university open day and it was as though we had found utopia. Cool people, friendly bars, and live music. This was what I had yearned for throughout my awkward, frustrated teenage years. I’m ashamed to admit that I paid a lot less attention to the details of my course of study than I did to the events calendar.

It’s not just live music that Cardiff excels at either. The variety of night life is endless. As students we are spoiled with our fantastic Student’s Union and we have all enthusiastically taken part in Fun Factory, Jive Hive, or Cloud 9 at some point in time. The town centre offers everything from the sterility of Zeus (RIP Cocos) to the dirty, dingy yet delightful Metros. At the moment my favourite venue and night out is Clwb Ifor Bach’s newly opened Popscene. A fantastic indie club upstairs playing everything from Oasis to Puressence, where the DJ will kindly oblige to the musical whims of most indie kids. Then, downstairs, for a change of tempo is the Cheesy Club; funk, disco and cheese. It is impossible to dance without a smile. It’s the happiest dance floor in town.

Downtime, when I’m not studying hard, can be spent idling in the beautiful parks with friends after a magnificent breakfast from Ramones. What better way to cure a hangover than by watching the beautiful people play baseball, turning slowly pink in the sun amidst the sleepy floral scents.

When the student loan has been freshly deposited in my bank account my other method of relaxing is to shop, shop, shop. I love Cardiff for its independent shops. I love exploring the arcades to find an elusive vinyl, that perfect 70s shirt to emulate Jarvis, or some beautiful, hand crafted jewellery. It is so easy to buy retro in Cardiff and develop your own sense of style.

I hope to graduate this summer but have no plans to leave Cardiff just yet. I love this city and feel very proud to be studying and partying here. Whatever the future holds, whereever I will be in 20 years time, Cardiff will hold a very special place in my heart and will always be synonymous with friendships, good music and unlimited fun.

 

Having graduated from Cardiff University in 1996, Gwen Love then moved to Bristol and spent many years in marketing until she retrained as a primary school teacher. She has been teaching for 10 years and is a mother of two young children. Her retroblog came about through her love of music and through a selfish need to do something creative for herself. She always wanted to write and, as she was still in possession of her eventful diary from ’96, she was inspired to write a blog set in that year. During ’96 she left her long term boyfriend, reached the grand old age of 21, and graduated with a respectful drinker’s degree – all to a thoroughly researched Britpop soundtrack. Follow Gwen on Twitter @GwenLove3 and on her blog site www.gwenlove76.wordpress.com. She hopes to publish as a novel in the near future. During 1996 Gwen lived in Cathays. She currently lives in Canton.

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“The Cardiff music scene is very much alive” – Ben

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I returned to Wales to live in Cardiff in 2009 after spending the previous ten years flat-hopping around London. When I left the mothership, there was no such thing as the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Bay was just a glint in a developer’s eye and my beloved Cardiff City were still in the lower reaches of the league, and playing at a stadium which advertised bread on its roof.

During my time in the ‘other’ capital, I was part of a band and so was regularly setting up, playing and dismantling equipment two or three times a week, but I also got to sample many of the up-and-coming bands on the London pub-circuit. When I left and came back to Wales – or Cardiff in particular, I felt that I was going to miss out on the nightly gigs.

My memories of going to gigs centred on Newport which was still embarrassingly being touted as the ‘New Seattle’; my memories of the Cardiff music scene were few and far between and I feared that my days of enjoying new music may be numbered.

However, this luckily wasn’t the case. Almost as soon as I passed the ‘Croeso I Gymru’ sign as I came off the Severn Bridge, I was thrust into an amazingly busy scene, with many venues playing host to exciting bands. On one of my first evenings back, some friends took me to see Los Campesinos! playing a stage in front of many hundreds at the front of City Hall. Soon after, I went to Clwb Ifor Bach and witnessed one of the greatest gigs I have been to; the wall of math-rock noise that is Truckers Of Husk supporting the off-kilter pop of Steve Black aka Sweet Baboo. My mind was made up, I was never going back.

Since then, I have tried to juggle my day-job and my love of music to the best of my ability. The one thing about Cardiff that you never get in London is that you are forever bumping into friends. The only time it happened in London was when I took a sickie and (literally) ran into my boss at the train station as I headed off for a day of sightseeing. Pretty much everyone knows everyone in the Cardiff music scene, and because I managed to get in with the right ‘crowd’, it was easy for me to pick up on who I should go and see, and of course who I shouldn’t.

The number of venues in Cardiff may have dwindled over the years, but new venues keep popping up all the time. Clwb is obviously still the most loved, but the new kids on the block – or at least new to me – like Buffalo, Gwdi-Hw and Ten Feet Tall have provided me with lots to see and write about over the past few years.

So it basically seems that none of my fears have been realised. The Cardiff music scene is very much alive and even though I am advancing in years, I still try and get to as many gigs as possible – the trainspotting element to my psyche will just have to be put on hold for now.

Ben Gallivan is a freelance writer and works within the SEO industry. He lives on the longest road in Cardiff without any junctions (it’s in Victoria Park) and writes a music blog called BenLikesMusic when he has the time. He likes being quizzed.

Ben was photographed at Gwdihw by Ffion Matthews

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

pippa_web

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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“Cardiff’s nightlife might be a haphazard affair…” – Adam

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Arriving in Cardiff fresh and slightly chubby-faced in late September 2001, I couldn’t have predicted I’d still be here, more than 10 years later. Through a combination of Cardiff’s unique charms and my heroic lack of geographical ambition, I lived in such far-flung nether-regions as Cathays, Roath, Canton … and Roath.

Like a lot of people, my first three years in Cardiff were spent slowly – oh so painfully slowly – refining my interests from ‘drinking heavily in terrible bars during the week’ to ‘drinking heavily in more interesting bars at the weekend’. But one of the ways that I can track my time in Cardiff is through the music venues and events that have come and gone while I’ve lived in the city.

I arrived in Cardiff at the tail end of Cool Cymru – when the Manic Street Preachers (post-Richie) and the Super Furry Animals were some of the biggest indie names around. The Millennium Stadium had just been built, Tiger Bay had been refurbished within an inch of its life, and Charlotte Church was still young enough to have not realised opera was for losers.

Coming from a small-ish town in the South West (Yeovil), the prospect of live music most nights of the week was something to get excited about, and the Barfly (now replaced by the weirdly named Bogiez) more than provided. Tiny gigs by bands who would later go on to much greater things – The Libertines, The Futureheads, and, err … Grand Drive – stick in my mind.

The Toucan – a Cardiff institution with a habit of closing and re-opening down the road several times a year – was on St Mary’s Street when I first started to frequent it, providing a reason to venture into Hell’s Hen Party. Even with its weird giant pillars blocking views of the stage from almost all positions other than right-down-the-front, some formative musical moments occurred in that place. All the big names of the (then) burgeoning UK hip hop passed through – Jehst, Braintax, Mystro, Rodney P … and when the Toucan moved to Splott (and then eventually back into town before closing for good) it was never quite the same.

Down in the Bay, initial enthusiasm about its face-lift had faded to a general acceptance that studio flats, executive hotel rooms and ‘world’ cuisine were probably not going to be producing the sort of cutting-edge culture that Cardiff was craving. The Point – a beautiful renovated church –  was hosting some incredible gigs for a few short years (Four Tet, Cinematic Orchestra and Deerhoof stand out). And the Coal Exchange was always there for bigger bands – with a set by Mogwai remaining the loudest thing I’ve ever heard. But both these venues went the way of the Dodo, occasionally re-opening in name, if not in spirit.

The closure of key musical venues in Cardiff is a constant throughout during the decade I’ve lived here. Its always sad to see the passion of promoters dashed on the rocks of reality – but unfortunately, although Cardiff has some great musical culture, it doesn’t have the strength in numbers to support much in the way of an ‘alternative’ scene. We can basically only handle one or two successful venues at a time – and the only place that has ridden this bumpy road successfully for the entire time I’ve been here is Clwb Ifor Bach.

My first forays into Clwb were for Friday night mind-manglers – with Hustler running tings on a decidedly student-ey hip hop tip. I saw my first ever dubstep set in Clwb – way back when Digital Mystikz were just emerging out of Plastic People in London, and long, long before dubstep was providing the soundtrack for everything from shit mobile phone adverts to shit mobile internet adverts.

The family of venues that began with Moloko (home of the much-loved drum’n’bass Thursday nighter that launched High Contrast’s career) and now includes Buffalo and 10ft Tall has proven another resilient strain of Cardiff’s nightlife. Buffalo is still the closest thing Cardiff has to a trendy East London hangout, and although Cardiff Arts Institute looked like a strong contender for that crown for a few happy years, it too became a victim of the Cardiff curse: shitloads of interest and enthusiasm, but not enough punters through the doors.

That pretty much brings us up to date, and I’m about to hotfoot it over the bridge to Bristol after nearly 11 years in Cardiff’s familiar folds. Bristol’s a bigger city – it doesn’t suffer from the Cardiff curse. But what are the odds of running into half a dozen people you know on a random night out in Bristol? Cardiff’s nightlife might be a slightly haphazard affair, but there’s something reassuring about seeing the same faces in the same places wherever you go.

Don’t be a stranger Caerdydd …

Adam Corner is a male human who lived in Cardiff until 2012. He loves music, food and fine wines (e.g. Buckfast). He does research on the psychology of communicating climate change at Cardiff University and writes about this kind of thing for the Guardian. Nose into his life on twitter @AJCorner.

Adam was photographed at Catapult Records in the Duke Street Arcade by Doug Nicholls

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“three floors of music and a cold staircase guide you skywards” – Richard

richard arnold by Ffion Matthews

Cardiff is rapidly changing; the new shopping mall is only the physical side of this growth coming to fruition. It is colossal; it is grand, yet it is anonymous. Now progress is natural, and I am little too young to daydream in sepia but I am concerned that any sort of unique character in Cardiff is becoming too rare a delicacy. What Cardiff will look like in the future is a mystery to me, but I would like to briefly write about a place that I hope survives the evolving landscape, where others have fallen (the Point). That remains, even if just for my own selfish memories.

Clwb Ifor Bach, or Welsh Club to those of an English disposition, sits on Womanby Street, in the shadow of Cardiff Castle. It looks unremarkable. Illustrated posters of upcoming events line its outside wall. Occasionally a queue and puffs of cigarette smoke line the air as mobile phones illuminate the dark, the time reminding impatient hands how long they have been waiting. Other times the emptiness of the cobbled street follows with the absence of bodies on the dance floor. On such occasion the emptiness is only exaggerated by a green laser, which trickles from bulb to the tapping feet of the few dancing. My mind is filled with fond memories of my friends and I dancing to Le Tigre, Hot Chip, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and miming the Smiths to the unimpressed ceiling.

There are three floors of music and a cold staircase to guide you skywards. Music seeps from each level creating a cocktail of sounds. People crowd to talk, their tones varying from the joyous to the bleak. Eyes lined thick with mascara are the most telling in sadness, a trail of black make up thinly descends down their cheeks.

The majority of the time you barely catch a glimpse of smiling expressions as groups rush from room to room chasing a song, meeting people, enjoying the playground that is Clwb Ifor Bach.

I enjoy the scope of fashion you see paraded in Clwb Ifor Bach, it accepts the eccentrics. Its red brick interior provides the backdrop to polka dot dresses, arms swathed in tattoos, flat caps tilted to impossible angles and piercings protruding from the faces of strangers. The eclectic tastes of the punters are mirrored by the different types of music played there. From indie to dubstep, drum and bass, electro, pop and (although rare) hip hop. It is nice going out to a night, and the songs not being inane and bile educing as Lady Gaga crooning that she wants to ride your disco stick. Wales is a country that loves music, and Welsh Club caters for those whose thirst goes beyond the Radio 1 daytime playlist.

We live in a western world connected by chains and franchises that mean every city centre is all too familiar; any mystery vanquished under the strain of luminous logos and the sea of striped shirts and squeaky-clean shoes. In Clwb Ifor Bach there is a sea of styles, of stories waiting to unfold, of romance and rejection, of bravado and bravery spurred on by music, alcohol and dance moves. It has been the host of many of my happy memories, and I hope it will continue to be a venue that will offer a haven from the beige discothèques that line the more commercial St. Marys Street.

Richard Arnold is in his third year at Cardiff University studying History and Politics. He currently lives in Cathays.

Richard was photographed at Clwb Ifor Bach by Ffion Matthews

Richard Arnold by Ffion Matthews

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