Tag Archives: living in splott

“Metropolis and nature; memory and future; big and little” – Alice

alice-paetel-web

Having been born in Birmingham I’ve always felt very protective of my Cardiffian status. I moved here when I was two so I think that I’ve lived here long enough to consider it home. It’s an energetic, sleepy city that has history and vibrancy all at the same time. ‘Big Little City’ seems a perfect description for a place where you can always encounter a new experience and still bump into someone who knows someone, who knows someone you knew.

When I’m away from Cardiff I realise how much I love it, and feel proud to say that it’s my home. It seems that with distance you truly appreciate what matters. There is a possibility that I might move away, but Cardiff seems to have a hold on me. My childhood memories of life and death situations at the ‘big slide’ in the rec are ones that I hope to relive through my own children (one day!). The nature that surrounds the city so tightly is reassuring, and nothing is more calming than being next to the sea. Whilst it’s great to visit other cities and countries, Cardiff always seems to be the benchmark for the perfect city of contrasts. Metropolis and nature; memory and future; big and little.

Alice Paetel is in her third year studying English and Popular Culture at Cardiff Metropolitan University (Previously UWIC). She hopes to go on to become a Secondary English Teacher and have a siamese cat. She currently lives in Splott with her husband and pooch.

Alice was photographed in her garden in Splott by Adam Chard

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“Laser, smoke machine, and two spinning turntables” – Doug

doug_nicholls_web

It finally dawned on me one day last summer that I think of Cardiff as home and have done for quite a while. It seems obvious now but it took a rare visit to the village that I grew up in to make me realise quite how much of an impact this city’s made on me.

I was back in England for a friend’s wedding and felt detached from the once-familiar surroundings. The accents didn’t sound right. Road signs were monolingual. I was a long way from the coast. People weren’t wearing pyjamas in supermarkets.

It was late last century when I first drove a car-load of belongings over the Severn Bridge with no idea of whether it would be a temporary or permanent move. To put a historical perspective on it: it was around the time the National Assembly for Wales was established, the Rugby World Cup was about to come to Wales and Cardiff Bay was preparing to open for business. As with many things in my life it turned out alright, more by luck than judgement.

Things were happening here. The promptly-constructed Millennium Stadium brought FA Cup finals and other major events to Cardiff while an over-budget, delayed Wembley Stadium was under construction. Cardiff City developed from third division mediocrity to Premier League hopefuls. Just last year the Swalec stadium put the Wales back into England and Wales cricket as the Ashes came to town.

Things outside the sporting world were gathering momentum too with gigs, clubs and daily trips to the basement at Catapult Records to keep tabs on new releases. It wasn’t long before I was immersed in music in Cardiff and I loved it. One of the main things that struck me about the city then – and it still does today – if you want to get involved, you can. This is where a compact capital city has its advantages.

I found my own slice of Cardiff, promoting and playing records at one of its true gems, Clwb Ifor Bach. It was one of the first places that really defined Cardiff for me when I arrived here. I managed to get a foot in the door, helping out at the now-defunct Hustler Showcase events and ended up doing a five-year stint with monthly club night Sumo.

Those heady days may be behind me but I still love that place. Guest DJs loved it. I’m guessing a few other people did too because they kept coming back each month: laser, smoke machine, and two spinning turntables.

Meanwhile, back in 2011, things are still happening here.

You only have to look to autumn’s Swn festival to see how well things can work in this cosy, friendly city. If anyone ever suggests that the ‘biggest bands’ don’t come here, the chances are they probably already have – and delivered a memorable gig to 100 grateful people in a city pub.

Whether you’re into music, arts, sports or something else, there are a lot of talented, creative, hard-working people in Cardiff and that won’t change any time soon. There are also a lot of people who know how to enjoy themselves. Often they’re the same people and that’s one of many things that make this city great.

Ten years after graduating from a journalism degree in Cardiff, Doug is still here and these days can mainly be found at home in Splott, at work for the Welsh Assembly Government in Cardiff Bay or running around Cardiff training for some event or other. Online: @dougjnicholls on Twitter or D_J_Nicholls on Flickr.

Doug was photographed at the Imperial Cafe by Adam Chard

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“Penguin on a down slope” – Tim

Tim by Ffion Matthews

I am childish.

I have an early childhood memory that I can’t shake off. It is of a penguin racing game where the penguins go up some stairs and then slide serenely down the chute to the bottom and then start back up the stairs… again… once more… + 1… repeat…again.

At that young age, philosophically, my budding pea-brain didn’t consider those king penguins to be trapped in the Labours of King Sisyphus and neither did I consider them chipper-as-it-goes stoic penguins from the wildlife documentaries. Rather, I just liked them and thought of them as simple penguins getting on with life, with steady ups and exciting downs – enduring, definitely doing their thing as long as my batteries lasted.

Cardiff?

My thoughts about penguins date from when I lived in Kent the county you might know as the Garden of England and my penguin racing game was purchased at a garden centre on the outskirts of Maidstone called Notcutts.

It has been lost somewhere since…

What of Cardiff?

When I moved to Cardiff five years ago in my first week in the city I saw Gavin and Charlotte out (I would later see Gavin and Stacey) and in the shop down the road found Penguin Pile-Up (pictured). In actual fact I bought Penguin Pile-Up fully expecting it to be the penguin racing game – I was wrong. The penguins in Penguin Pile-Up shuffle on a shifting outcrop and risk toppling at any moment.

In 2005 there was a big march in London about climate change. I went up on the train.

Is London Cardiff?

Back in my Cardiff home the march and the news coverage changed the way I thought about my environment, so even more profoundly did the groups I joined and the Cardiff people I talked to about climate change…

Cardiff Transition Project is Cardiff.

I like Cardiff. I like it heading for a pub after work on a Friday, when I might get an occasional weightless feeling like it’s pushing back at me with less friction than normal.

Penguin on a down slope.

Tim Fisher is a community organiser for childrens’ rights charity Tros Gynnal. He also is a keen project planner for Cardiff Transition, having organised Octobers Feed Cardiff event and recently received nomination to the Wales Green list for work with Canton Carbon Cutters. Plus he is an amateur writer, blogger and furniture decoupage-ist … don’t you know. Tim currently lives in Splott.

Tim was photographed outside Shree Swaminarayan Temple on Mardy Street in Grangetown by Ffion Matthews

penguins on a down slopy by Ffion Matthews

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