Tag Archives: roath

The Broadway Project – Luke Rice

“The thing about Broadway, they always welcome you with open arms” – Brooke Shields

Broadway

Luke Rice recently completed a photography project about Broadway, a long road filled with shops and houses that lies between Clifton Street and Newport Road in south east Cardiff. He tells us about the road, and about his photographs.

According to the Welsh Government, Adamsdown is one of the most deprived parts of Wales.

I grew up in Adamsdown in the 1990s, and currently live around 10 minutes walk away. My current commute means that I cycle down the road nearly every day.

On the surface Broadway looks a bit unloved, it is a road to pass through, to get from A – B, not really a road in which you would want to stop and explore. It is fair to say that it is slightly less glamorous than its famous cousin in New York.

Gym

“Broadway is really my life” – Vanessa Williams

Rude Boy

“I believe we have to bring Broadway a little Latino flair. We have to keep it alive” – Ricky Martin

Angels

Young Family

“My one ambition was to go to Broadway, and I never gave up on that dream” – David Hasselhoff

“A lot of people now don’t know I’ve been on Broadway” – Wesley Snipes

Second Hand

Big Brother

“It wasn’t until Broadway came along that I felt I had really made it” – Julie Andrews

Toys

Bad Ass

“The only reason anyone goes to Broadway is because they can’t get work in the movies” – Bette Davis

Yellow House

“Being on Broadway is the modern equivalent of being a monk. I sleep a lot, eat a lot, and rest a lot” – Hugh Jackman

After spending a few days walking up and down, taking photographs, I realised that there was some beauty to this beast. In addition, I noticed some positive signs that things are (slowly) starting to change for the better. Presumably attracted by cheap rents, recent migrants and artists are starting to open restaurants, cafes, yoga and art studios.

Green Door

Broadway is a strange and fascinating place, full of contrasts and colours. I feel that Broadway has a lot of potential to be a destination in its own right, not just a through road. Maybe we could look over the pond for inspiration … a theatre on Broadway perhaps?

Mattress

Fence

I currently work for a charity called SWEA. I am working on a community, programme called Cynefin which aims to bring together residents & relevant professionals to work towards shared sustainability projects. My work focuses on the wards of Adamsdown, Cathays and Roath. It is hard but very rewarding at times.

I have modest aspirations: I want to be healthy & happy, I want to experience new sounds, sights, tastes, adventures. I want to meet lots of interesting people from interesting places. I want to spend my life working on things that attempt to make the world a better place (even in a very very small way).

Luke Rice is 29 and a Cardiff native. He grew up in Roath and Adamsdown but has spent time in Bristol and Camden. He currently lives in Roath, very close to the Gate. He loves living in this area because of its vibrancy, multiculturalism, proximity to nice parks and the city centre, nice cafes/bars and the fact that it is a little rough round the edges. You can see the rest of his photography project about Broadway on his Flickr.

Coke

“Cardiff happened to me totally by chance” – Biv

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Cardiff happened to me totally by chance. If it weren’t for my best mate from home not going to University and getting a job in Cardiff, I wouldn’t be writing this article today.

Born and brought up in Doha Qatar, I went to University of Warwick following school. At this point, my mate from home came to Cardiff University to pursue his undergrad. Hence, I’d been to Cardiff a few times and liked it straight away. It reminded me a lot of my hometown; though it was small, being a capital city, it had everything you’d want. Friendly people, lots of restaurant and café options, and a great vibrant night life. So when it came to applying for graduate jobs, I didn’t think twice before putting down Cardiff as my first choice for a graduate scheme with a national employer.

It’s been almost seven years since I moved to Cardiff with work; the city and its people have been very welcoming and I consider it as home. Though I’ve been approached with job roles in other parts of the UK, I can’t come to terms with leaving the city and my mates behind now. I’m in a comfort bubble but it’s one that I’m happy not to burst for the time being.

Having lived in Cathays, Cardiff Bay and now Roath, I probably love Roath the best. The neighbourhood cafes and local establishments, the park and lake, the Farmers market are just some of the things that make this a great neighbourhood to live in. Its proximity to town is also a bonus which means that it’s a reasonable distance to stagger back home after a cracking night out in town!

If I had to pick one place that I love the most and would be able to take with me wherever I went, that would be Milgi. The awesome ‘your living room’ feel, the friendly staff and the eclectic mix of clientele are desirable extras to the lush drinks (hot and cold) that they serve. However, not a big fan of the ‘only vegan’ turn that they have adopted over the last few years as that’s limited me to ordering only drinks. But hey ho, I’ve still got umpteen amazing local establishments to choose from to satisfy my palate.

Cardiff ticks all the boxes for me; like every city, it has its undesirable aspect / elements but it isn’t in your face and you have the option to stay clear of them. When one does that, don’t see why this city wouldn’t rank as one of the best to live in the nation.

Oh, those bloody seagulls!! Forgot about that…

Bivin Mathew is 29 years of age and still unsure what the fuss is about turning 30 – a sports loving foodie and movie buff who uses an accounting qualification to pay the bills. Biv has been living in Roath for the past three years and remains unconvinced about moving to other parts of the city. Spare time is spent trying to play squash and tennis, or knocking a football around in a cage, watching films (Cineworld Unlimited card should be given its own star on the Hollywood walk of fame!) and enjoying all the delicacies that the various restaurants and cafes that Cardiff has to offer. Follow Biv on Twitter @bivlar or by blog.

Biv was photographed in Waterloo Tea Rooms and in Waterloo Gardens by Tom Beardshaw

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Street seen: home

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“I’ve lived in Roath for a few years now. I really like it there.”

As seen in: Riverside

Photograph by Helia Phoenix

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Project Cardiff – new exhibition at Milkwood Gallery

Marc Thomas photographed for Project CardiffA new exhibition featuring the work of We Are Cardiff photographer Lann Niziblian is launching this weekend at the Milkwood Gallery, Roath.

The exhibition will feature portraits from Lann’s Project Cardiff – ‘a portfolio of photographs of people how have been identified as making a positive contribution to the creative life and soul of the city.’

A selection of the images has previously been shown at the Senedd and they will now hang in the Milkwood Gallery from 2-24 February.

Exhibition Dates: 2 – 24 February 2013
(Private View: 2 February 2013 from 6.00pm)

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10.00am – 5.00pm

Venue: Milkwood Gallery, 41 Lochaber Street, Roath, Cardiff CF24 3RU

Image is Marc Thomas, Editor of Plastik Magazine, with thanks to photographer Lann Niziblian.

“Cardiff Food Project has changed the way I think about food, photography and of course, Cardiff” – Lauren

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I grew up in the Vale of Glamorgan, Penarth to be exact, and although it was a great place to grow up in, as I got older I started to feel disconnected, and longed to live somewhere else. When I finished school at sixteen, I decided to skip sixth form and head straight to Coleg Glan Hafren. I still – to this day – believe this was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It got me out into the world and gave me a chance to make new friends. In fact, it was at Glan Hafren that I made friends for life. All my friends there grew up and lived in Cardiff, and most of them still do.

After college, many of them went off to university and I stayed around to work, do some travelling and generally trying to figure out what I wanted to do. At some point, I needed to start making some decisions and one I really needed to make was the choice to go to university. I knew that economically it would make sense to study in Cardiff, I had job security and all my friends were here, so I moved to Roath and went back to college. Then at the grand old age of 23 (believe me, when the majority of your classmates are 18, 23 feels really old) I started university and never looked back.

Now, I am about to embark on my third and final year, I had one more decision to make – do I stay here after university? Or do I sail off into the sunset and see where the wind takes me? It was a tough decision, but I have spent my first 25 years of life here, so I think it is time to sail for a bit. However, I needed to remind myself of what Cardiff has given me over the years, and I wanted to create something that could represent that.

So this led me to creating a project that I could really connect with. I spent a few weeks going over ideas and came up with the Cardiff Food Project. I wanted this to be a blog that offered people a chance to find a new market or a new little corner of Cardiff they may have never knew existed. Through the blog, I have found new places and opportunities, and it has changed the way I think about food, photography and of course, Cardiff.

I’ve learned so much in the two months I’ve been running it, and I know I still have a lot more to learn. It has provided me with the confidence to try my hand at new things. I have set up a supper club, and am working on a new photography and travel website, and I hope to continue my writing. I have also become more aware of what is going in and around Cardiff and my local area. It has opened up my world to new possibilities and new connections, and really the only thing I have to thank for that is Cardiff.

I still have plans to head off in other directions, plans to work and live in different parts of the world. However, no matter where I go, Cardiff will always be home.

Lauren Mahoney is currently an event management student, often dodging the ‘typical’ students of the Roath area on her way to work. When she is not doing any of those three things, Lauren is working hard on her blog cffoodproject.blogspot.co.uk and her new travel and photography website (not yet launched) and getting involved in as many food, travel and photography projects as she can.

Lauren was photographed at Gelynis Farm by Ffion Matthews

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“It’s refreshing to see how many talented DJs, producers and promoters we have” – Lubi J

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Despite being born in England, I’ve always considered myself an honorary Welsh girl. I moved to Cardiff when I was four years old, so have very much grown-up feeling Welsh and I even started to learn the language again a few years ago. I grew up in Rhiwbina and have a lot of weird and wonderful memories from there as a child, going to Parc-y-Pentre on my roller boots (or ‘Parka P’ as we used to call it), and up the Wenallt for bonfires, as well things like Rhiwbina Junior’s old headmistress Mrs Harry’s leather trousers, stiletto shoe and Diet Coke obsession!

I left Cardiff for Staffordshire Uni to study the media, and then returned with a newfound love for the city in 2002. Since then I’ve lived in many of the boroughs that surround the centre; namely Roath, Splott and Grangetown. I love Roath and Splott. The local shops, pubs and eateries are excellent. Albany Road and Clifton Street have some great independent shops; as a DJ, D’Vinyl and The Record Shop have a plethora of gems waiting for you to hunt them down, plus there are the charity shops too!

Right in between Splott and Roath are the lanes that run behind the Blue Dragon Hotel on Newport Road. There’s a constant supply of amazing art here, much of it done by close friends representing the Cruel Vapours crew. I used to sit and watch in the sun when I lived on Elm Street – the most colourful street in Cardiff.

I now live right in the thick of it, on High Street. Despite being in the middle of a busy town centre, I love living here. The location is ideal – just a 10 minute walk to the Radio Cardiff studio where I present a weekly music show and a stone’s throw from a number of quality haunts.

One of my favourite places in town has to be the indoor market. Being able to buy fresh produce without going to the supermarket is a blessing, and you can always guarantee great banter from the people that work there! There’s also the weekend farmers market and Wally’s Delicatessen offering amazing treats when you’re feeling a bit more flush. Catapult Records, in the Castle Arcade is an essential shop for any DJ and to have the oldest record shop in the world, Spillers, definitely makes me feel proud as a vinyl lover!

DJing drum and bass and also funk and soul in Cardiff for a number of years has meant I’ve been able to play in some great clubs and bars, some are still around, like Clwb Ifor Bach and Milgi’s, but some have been shut down. This is one of the things that is always disappointing to see, as a DJ and a punter. The Emporium still stands as my favourite club of all time and living opposite its empty building, I’m constantly reminded of the great times I had in there and how gutted we all were when it was shut down. The bouncy wooden dancefloor (which we all thought would give way at some point) will never disappear from my mind! The Toucan club, despite having a number of different venues, is somewhere I loved playing in and I’ve always wondered if it would ever find another place to open up again. I could mention many others… As a clubber, the old Natwest bank down the bay now known as The Vaults has to be the best venue around right now. Backroom gave it legendary status bringing some of the worlds best house and techno DJs to Cardiff with a real family-run atmosphere.

Whether a venue closes or the nights stop though, Cardiff always manages to brush the dirt off and keep putting on good nights for clubbers, bringing some of the best DJs from all over the world to this tiny capital city. It’s also so refreshing to see how many talented DJs, producers and promoters we have. We’re literally bursting at the seams with talent and this is something I heavily try to promote through my show on Radio Cardiff (which is a community station, so, it’s all about giving something back).

For me, Cardiff does quite well in catering for all musical preferences so you really can’t complain. Similarly, if you love food and cooking, you can enjoy any kind of food here. Too skint to eat out? Grab some dragon sausages from the market and have a BBQ over the Castle grounds! That really is a feast fit for any Cardiff carnivore!

Lubi J is 31 and has been DJing for nearly 12 years. She presents a weekly music show called ‘System Check’, on Radio Cardiff, Tuesdays from 9-10pm (www.radiocardiff.org) with local DJs and producers regularly live in the studio and can sometimes be found playing drum and bass or funk and soul in some of the bars and clubs of Cardiff. She has a passion for cooking which is shared in her food blog, ‘This week I have been mostly cooking’ (http://thisweekbeenmostlycooking.tumblr.com/) and she also has a fine collection of trainers and hats.

Lubi J was photographed in Roath by Doug Nicholls.

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“Life and Death In The Diffusion City” – Plangu

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17:00

Step off train.

In Cardiff.

But am I Cardiff? Is Cardiff me?

One year to find out, one journey to commence.

Problem: where’s the exit?
Resolution: straight ahead, I should have seen it.

Walking.

Man: where is Platform 2?
Riposte: I am sorry, I don’t know. Are you on Facebook?

An awkward silence like moss on a Norweigan tree in June. Is this the Day of Thunder?

I feel lost. Draw me a metaphorical mind map and I’ll lay down on your molten train tracks.

17:15

Exit the train station.

Flashing neon lights of the Burger King. Fast food generation nation. I think of fresh cod and trout, but this ain’t no rainbow city.

Me: Excuse me, where can I see a map for directional advisement?
Man: You don’t need a map, you need a new hat.

A languid finger points to a direction collection encased in grimy glass and ripe for intro-outro-meta-spection.

I walk 5-10 meters. Symmetry achieved.

17:45

Walk walk walk, stop, walk walk, stop.

St Mary’s Street, carnival and revellers. Sundown smile, my vision becoming multi-peripheral.

An Asgardian clock encased in glass, tick tock tick tock. Time flies when you’re coke and rum.

Friday the day of wages.

Factory workers reminisce of steel shaping shifts, blackened hands and tankards of ale.

Estate agents close a sale, suits pinstriped and pressed for success at half past wine.

Boozer, the Borough, Yates the wine joint.

Our money is the all the same and the drink takes the blame… or close acquaintances.

Closer yet further still, to whit the steel worker motions to a call centre executive with a closed fist and stiffening shoulder ensemble.

Conflict in Cardiff. Welsh Warriors. Fear flights through the five boroughs but I see no painted baseball clowns, only enraged dragons wearing culture crowns.

18:40

Drunk and a stumble. The Isle of Hayes.

Waterstones has a buy one get one half price.

Reminder: I’m here to learn, academia awaits.

19:30

Roath. Elegant two bedroom apartment; both en suite, but who’s counting?

Full media connection, but I need to interface with me.

This year is my journey, I need to make Cardiff my city.

I bite into an apple and open my Mac.

An email for an internship; please sir, can I have some more? Disaster interaction: the editor vexed with my corrections of his holy words. My direct style of communication is not in relation to the egos borne of procrastination and Big Ideas.

Culture: what is it? I am a force for my own stylings; drip drip drop drop, I need a trip to the shop.

20:05

Open my journal.

Words spill like snow in the winter from the requisite clouds and their multiverse formations: Afraid. Excited. New. Old. Castle. Take away food. City. Capital. Uncle Torr.

Entrance to the scene.

Roommate: I am your roommate.
Me: I am your roommate.
Roommate: We are at A, let’s get to B.
Me: And then C and D.
Both: This feels right.

Nods and smiles and flowing conversation covering a complete collection of crazed recollection. Squared. Rooted. Rebooted. Nostalgia nightmares of animatronic bears.

22:09

Speech slurring, world whirring.

Roommate: How about that 2 Fast 2 Furious?
Me: Yes! I own it on digital video disk, truly the filet of the franchise.
Roommate: Bond now assured and let me be clear; we are friends in concrete absoluteness, to which cannot often be said over such brief interaction. Rare.

01:11

Walking home to Roath.

Roommate has long since expired ‘pon a corner of the castle. Grassy knoll, well don’t we all? Life and death in the Diffusion City.

I look up to the sky, the stars aligned I see Oslo, Norway.

Focussing my spiritual and atomic distribution here I am in Cardiff, Wales.

I access, accept, and assimilate my fate for one year less one month. A beautiful city with opportunity aplenty and unto much learning to be anything less than a fleeting yearning.

We Are Cardiff? Yes. Yes we certainly are.

A writer, poet, artist and polemicist, Plangu, originally from Oslo, Norway, resides in Roath where he is undertaking a year of study at Cardiff University. Plangu’s debut short story collection, ‘Grenene Av Våre Trær’, is due for publication in late 2013.

The image above is a self portrait by Plangu.

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

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

“This is still the place I want to be” – James

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This is the place…

I’ve always thought there are two types of home: the one you have, and the one you want. Roath was definitely the latter for me. I moved here from Stoke in 2002 and straight away it felt right. In a short space of time I met an incredible group of friends, and this, together with my love of the city, gave me a sense of belonging. Aged 23 I thought this is the place I want to be.

Recently I’ve begin to question the choice I made 10 years ago. There are those friends who move away to bigger cities – some come back, some don’t. And there are those who never make the journey and ask themselves that meaningless question, what if? Big cities are naturally more conducive to creativity, offer more opportunities, and provide a bigger network to plug yourself into to find out what sparks, if any, may fly. Of course, you know this, but still, what if?

When I find myself thinking about this, I put on my running shoes and go to the one place I love more than any other in Cardiff – a home within a home – the Rec (aka the Roath Recreation Ground). I must have run, and walked, around this small park hundreds of times, and spent countless hours there lying under rare summer sun until my pale skin turns pink. It’s hard to convey why I love it – after all it’s just a park – bit if pressed I would say it’s a combination of the space and the skies above it. I’ve seen the most amazing sunsets, and formations of clouds and light, over the Rec. It may sound pretentious, but I feel like those skies have sheltered me over the years whenever I’ve been feeling low.

The final key ingredient that makes the Rec so great is the people who inhabit it. On any one night you can watch people playing rounders, rugby, football, cricket, or just reading, talking, and drinking until the sun goes down. It’s a reminder of how vibrant and eclectic this city is – I remember seeing one football game where each player wore the football top of their country of origin and no 2 shirts were alike. Having a garden is a luxury, but it’s not essential in Roath, as there is always the Rec.

When I’ve finished my run I always turn off my iPod and walk across the width of the Rec towards the Community Centre. I don’t think about work the next day, or what I’m going to do when I get home. I try not to think at all. Instead I just listen to the evening and look around me. It always gives me a sense of calm, and reminds me of how lucky I am to have this on my doorstep. Moments like this brush away all of my doubts and reaffirms that this is still the place I want to be.

James Nee works for The Festivals Company (where he directs the occasional promo and is the Director of ffresh) and is the creator of ernest – a collective of artists based in Roath who make short films and sketches. He currently lives in Roath.

James was photographed on Roath Recreation Ground by Jon Pountney

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“I still have the ration book I used to buy sweets from the shop next door” – Jenny

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Jenny Criddle - childhood

My memories of growing up in Cardiff are clearest from the age of around four to five years. We lived on North Road in the Maindy area of Cardiff with extended family, which consisted of my grandparents, an aunt and an uncle.  We had a front room, used for special events and which also housed the old piano which I would learn to play from the age of seven.  The middle room was where our family of four lived and it contained our table and chairs, easy chairs, the very large old radio, coal fireplace and gas cooker.  In an age where we want our space, I can only be amazed that we all fitted in there and never seemed to be aware of how small it must have been. The back room was where my grandparents lived. Upstairs, there were several bedrooms and this always seemed very big to me as a child. I used to love climbing the extra little set of stairs up to the attic room and from there we could see right into the Maindy stadium when sporting events took place.  Our little family had the front, very large bedroom for us all to sleep in and I do remember how cold it was in the winter, especially getting up in the morning.  It never took long to get dressed.

One of the first personal events that I can clearly recall is the birth of my sister who, less than a year later, burned her arm and was taken to hospital. Her physical scars remain to this day but while they have faded somewhat my recollection of that day has not. I also clearly remember my first day at school, at the age of five. As I had had to wait until the actual day of my birthday to be able to attend, I was very keen to start in Allensbank Primary School.  The faces of some staff and children who were at the school with me still remain in my memory.  By the age of seven I was allowed to walk to school on my own, a freedom that children would rarely be given now.  From there I went to Cathays High School, which was just literally just across the road.  One day, as I sat at my desk in school, I watched a small plane as it circled outside my window and then crashed down into the road just next to my family home. The thing I remember most was how concerned I was about my mother’s safety and I asked to go home. The plane had tried to avoid the Maindy Stadium where a sports day was being held, with many children there.  It did manage to do this thankfully but unfortunately the occupants of the plane did not survive.  As I lived so close to where the plane came down, I was interviewed by a reporter from the South Wales Echo and remember how strange it was to see my name and account in the paper not long afterwards.

As our family home was located on the main road, my parents refused my request to have a dog. My mum was afraid it would get run over by the closely passing traffic but compared to the traffic today it must have been fairly light as I was allowed to walk on my own to the library further up North Road on a Saturday morning.  I was also allowed to walk up to the Plaza cinema, now a block of flats, without adult supervision.  We only had a small back yard in which to play outdoors but there was a large covered area that served as a utility room, complete with mangle. I well remember being allowed to turn the handle and watched as the water was pressed out of the clothes on washday, which was always Monday, come rain or shine.  However, growing up in post-war Britain, the side-roads became an extended yard in which to play. They were not busy with vehicles, except for the occasional horse and cart selling fruit and vegetables.  We skipped and played marbles and hopscotch for hours on end.  Even though we did not live in an affluent area, I remember it as a happy and carefree time.  Front door keys were never needed as all I had to do was put my hand inside the letterbox to pull the string and gain entry.  In those times it was easy to close off a street for a street party and I clearly remember the one held for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. I still have photos of that event, with myself and my sister dressed in costumes made by my mother for the occasion. The Diamond Jubilee has been a good excuse to get them out and show them to younger members of the family, creating amusement. As I looked at the photos, Cardiff seemed a much different and far away place as, indeed, our modern life-style does, compared to the one I knew as a child growing up in post-war conditions.  I still have the ration book that enabled me to buy sweets in the conveniently located shop next door to our house.

We often used to walk from North Road to Roath Park and I recollect walking there while holding onto the pram that held my baby sister.  We would walk up to Whitchurch Road, through to Allensbank Road and down Wedal Road.  I remember getting so excited as I realised we were almost there and our first stop was always to feed the ducks. The highlight of the visit was to sit in the little boats and pedal them around the small area reserved for children.  It is great to see so many people of all ages still enjoying the simple pleasures that Roath Park has to offer.

Cardiff City Football Club was another place I remember well, being taken there regularly by my father, who was also a keen football and baseball player.  He proudly told us how he had had trials for Cardiff City Football Club but this was curtailed when he was called up into the armed forces during the Second World War. My elderly mother still has an old suitcase full of medals and cups that he won playing locally in his youth.  Indeed when I began to knit, my father suggested that my first project should be to make a blue and white scarf. I remember this taking me some time but I proudly wore it to watch Cardiff City when it was finished.  I particularly thought of this when recent proposals to change their colour to red were announced.

We moved to the Whitchurch area when I was a young teenager and, while I remained at Cathays High School, my sister went to a Whitchurch school.  We now had a small garden and, it seemed to me at the time, a more affluent life style than before but I now realise that conditions were generally improving in the country as a whole as people settled back into civilian life.

My own working life was mainly spent in Cardiff too and, as an adult, I became a lecturer after studying in local colleges.  This chapter of my working life was the most interesting and even led me into Cardiff prison.  In case you are wondering, I was not an inmate but a teacher in the Education Department for five years.  Now, in retirement, we can enjoy Cardiff even more. The Bay, where once we used to go through the dock gates, at the end of Bute Terrace, to see the banana boats come in, has become a vibrant and interesting place to go and walk across the barrage, or sit and people watch.  The recent 2012 Olympic Torch relay was probably my earliest ever visit to the Bay, however, arriving in time to get a good viewing point, when Dr Who (Matt Smith) started the 6.30am run from the Norweigan Church.

My life in Cardiff has been a very enjoyable one with many fond memories and it has been good to see it develop over the years into the lively city that it now is.  There is even more to look forward to with the planned additions to the sports village, including the building of a Snow Dome, which has been promised for 2013 and we look forward to that.  I feel sure that Cardiff will remain a place where families can happily work and play, just as we have always done.

Jenny Criddle is a retired lecturer/ trainer and is actively involved in supporting voluntary work with young people. In April 2012, she went to South Africa with a large group to help build a Child Development Centre. Jenny and her husband also help with Spree Wales, an annual large youth camp as well as their local church events. Details can be found at www.bethesdacardiff.org / www.SpreeWales.com / www.rycsouthafrica.org

Jenny was photographed at Roath Park lake by Ffion Matthews. Next to that image is a photograph of Jenny taken at the same spot when she was four years old.

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“I need to be in a place where people are friendly and everything’s on your doorstep” – Jessica

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I have lived in Cardiff since I was born. I was never very adventurous in a travelling sense and stayed here to do my Foundation Course in Art & Design, and then for my degree in Graphic Communication. I can’t say I’ve ever regretted it. In fact I probably made the best decision. All through university we were told that London was the place to be for new designers. I frankly had a bit of a panic, because London is just so daunting to me.

I need to be in a place where people are friendly and everything’s on your doorstep. I know Cardiff like the back of my hand because I’ve lived in most areas. I was born in Pontcanna, lived in Ely for a bit, then in Grangetown, Llanishen, Llandaff, Thornhill, and when my mother decided to move out into the country I stayed and continued my tour, moving to Penarth, Cardiff Bay and finally Roath, where I mingled with my fellow students and loved every minute.

I met my partner not long after starting university and we’ve never moved from Roath. We now live in the heart of Roath and there’s so much to do. It’s amazing. The galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, awesome little independent quirky shops and funky bars are in abundance – not forgetting Roath Park. It’s just such a lively place to live and we’re lucky to have a number of friends all living in the same area.

We’re always popping to The Pear Tree on Wellfield Road for a cheeky drink, and mingling with the locals at The Claude or The Albany. We’re both also really lucky to work in the area and I count myself even luckier to be able to work for myself from home. I’ve worked in the design industry since graduating in 2009 and I’ve done everything from designing Christmas wrapping paper (all year round) to mobile application design for iPhones and iPads. Now I’m freelance and work from the comfort and convenience of my little studio under the name Jessica Draws. As I have the time, I’m getting involved in the community as best as I can. I’m in talks to supply some craft shops with my handmade greetings cards that I currently sell online and I am also involved in The Sho Gallery’s summer exhibition Art Flare (on Inverness Place), where I am displaying some illustrative prints and cards which are also for sale. My next stop hopefully is to be involved in the new St Mary’s Street Market and Roath’s Saturday Craft market. I’ve got lots of plans and I’m still getting in touch with local businesses to over my branding and marketing services.

It’s not just Cardiff that’s getting some Jessica Draws shoved in its face. I love to draw and it’s what keeps me cheerful, and so the illustrations I do aren’t always for clients. Some recent work I created for fun around the recent Marvel film releases was featured on some prominent online blogs (here and here), which triggered some awesome responses and a few commissions (now available in my etsy shop too).

Drawing is what I do and I like to think of myself as re-designing the world, one illustration at a time.

Jessica Donnan (also know as Jessica Draws) is a freelance designer and illustrator. Since graduating in 2009, she has worked in many areas of the design industry. Check out her online shop where you can find lots of goodies, and have a gander at her blog, where she posts giveaways, competitions and her latest news.

Jessica was photographed at The Pear Tree in Roath by Ffion Matthews

 

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“I can’t imagine living anywhere else” – Matt

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I didn’t really know Cardiff despite growing up only half and hour away in Pontypool. I don’t remember coming here as a child apart from the odd Christmas shopping trip. I was well into my thirties before anyone took me to Roath Park.

Newport became the usual night out of choice for most of my friends, but there was a small group of us who’d stay on the train. Safer in Cardiff, quieter than Newport and more exciting – our first taste of Brains in the Park Vaults followed by the Philharmonic and chicken curry off the bone. Or long days in the Old Arcade to watch the rugby before missing the train home.

Cardiff was abuzz by the time I got back from a uni stint up north and started working here in 1996. You couldn’t pick up a paper without reading ‘the eyes of the world will be on Cardiff’ for something or other. There was a palpable air of anticipation about the city.

We had European Summits, referenda, a barrage and our first five star hotel, the Millennium Stadium and Centre, a Rugby World Cup, FA Cups, water taxis and cranes everywhere. It felt like just as one major event finished, another was revealed. Even London newspapers proclaimed Cymru was Cool – no need to tell us, we were living it.

It also awakened my Welshness. It was not something I’d been conscious of growing up in the Eastern Valley and I didn’t hear the language in daily use until I worked in Cardiff. But there was so much to be proud of from the city and the nation. I was signed up to Welsh lessons within the year.

This excitement of being in a city on the rise was what I loved about it, what made me want to live in the thick of it as 99 became 00.

I moved into my first Cardiff flat in the first week of the new millennium. Three storeys above High Street, I saw the city transformed in five years.

I had a bird’s eye view of the city. It was the explosion of St Mary Street – of minibuses decanting already drunks at the top end so they can work their way down towards the train home at the bottom. I’ve seen women fighting in their WRU pants and shop doorways used for everything you can imagine. And I’ve suffered through raging hangovers as a full military band – complete with goat – troops past at nine o’clock on a Sunday morning.

Then there were whole nights, sitting out on the roof of the building with best friends, laughing until the sun came up with a soundtrack of sirens, singing drunks and Cardiff Castle’s peacocks. All the while drinking so much rum that we couldn’t climb back down and through the window to get back into the flat.

I lived in an area not much bigger than a couple of hundred square metres for years – flat on High Street, office on the Hayes, more than enough proper old pubs in between, Cardiff Market and the arcades for shopping.  I’d go three weeks without needing to get in a car.

One of the best parts of it was discovering the lively little community that shares that area – the people who work in the arcades and the pubs, who fill up the coffee shops in the days and the lesser-known late night bars in the night.

In the thick of it all at home, I’ve also been lucky enough to be involved through my job in a lot of the most exciting Cardiff events of the last ten years – from the opening of hotels and bars through a first Grand Slam in 27 years to the launch of the St David’s shopping centre.

As I turned 30 I left city centre life for a few years among the leafy streets of Pontcanna before finally landing in Roath five years ago.

Roath’s been a revelation – from the obvious walks round the lake and pints in the Albany to discovering Allen’s Bakery or that you can eat in at Troy. It’s everything I love about Cardiff concentrated into one small area.

I felt immediately at home in Cardiff and after my first decade, can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love that it’s a city you can walk across in half and hour, mostly through parks if the mood takes you. I love its creativity, friendliness, informality and that more often than not, it feels like the capital village of Wales.

Matt Appleby works as a PR consultant in Cardiff and can be found at www.about.me/mattappleby. He’s on the team that set up www.roathcardiff.net , helps out with Cdfblogs and writes a food blog www.easyteas.co.uk. He’d like to solve Cardiff’s public transport difficulties by reopening the canals and launching a singing gondola service. He currently lives in Roath.

Matt was photographed in Roath by Lann Niziblian

 

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“It all began for me with my first exhibition at Milgi” – SnowSkull

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Despite not growing up in the “bright lights” of Cardiff I have always felt drawn to the city with its many different cultures – this is where I found my feet so to speak.

From a young age I’ve always been interested in all forms of art. After school was art college, where my interests also took me into music, through someone I met who is still a very good friend. Our friendship influenced me to be one of the founding members of bands such as Funeral For A Friend, From This Moment On and Dignity Dies First. This in turn led us to touring the UK including Cardiff venues Clwb Ifor Bach, Barfly and The Point (both since disappeared). Also parts of Europe in the back of tour vans – which still hold fond memories today and the amazing people I have met along the way who have helped to shape my life. I love an array of different styles of music and I believe that all music is one – there’s simply good and bad in every genre.

Through music I found poetry and philosophy, which in turn has developed me into an abstract artist known as “SnowSkull”, so-called after one of my favorite poets Gregory Corso and influenced by such artists as Picasso, Basquiat and Jesse Reno.

My plan is to delve into other aspects of art to experiment and showcase the alternative contemporary art scene which is already established in Cardiff with the likes of Chapter Arts, Project Ten and Tactile Bosch (to name a few), and independent galleries like The Sho and G39.

But it all began for me with my first exhibition at Milgi – a vegetarian art cafe run by sisters Rebecca and Gabby Kelly. It was these two young women who gave me the opportunity to showcase my art and I will be forever greatful for their help and continued friendship. You’re always sure to have a good welcome at Milgi’s – friendly staff, good organic food and a homely atmosphere. You can even pick up a bargain at the Northcote Lane Market, held at the Milgi warehouse on the first Sunday of every month, which also hosts anything from exhibitions to comedy shows and workshops. The Kelly sisters are very supportive of the local art scene, as they were when they co-ran the Cardiff Arts Institute with Kaptin and Matt the Hat.

Although only open for a couple of years, I loved the C.A.I. It was like a second home to me. I remember nights when there were sometimes just me, Kaptin and the bar staff watching great producers such as Ital Tek, Linton Brown & Pangaea who have all gone on to greater things since their Cardiff appearances. Word of mouth soon spread and before we knew, it was a thriving community where music art and friends came together on a regular basis, kind of like ‘The Hacienda meets Cheers’. Just before Cardiff Arts changed hands I was asked to paint a mural on one of the walls – of which I am still very proud of. Unfortunately, due to new ownership, my art is gone, along with the good times and bad hangovers.

Six months on I feel that Cardiff is not the same without the Arts Institute. It’s a shame because it seems that only commercial bars have the capacity to stay afloat. I have met people from all walks of life who have left their mark on me in some way or another. A big influence on my life is Kaptin – for me, one of the biggest personalities in Cardiff. He lives and breathes music and alongside local producers Stagga & Monky are known as the Chrome Kids – a family that I have recently joined. Chrome Kids are an electronic music and art collective. Our aim is to put on nights showcasing local talent. We also do a fortnightly month radio show on Radio Cardiff, generating an average audience of approx 500, but our intentions are to widen the spectrum.

I currently have a studio for my artwork at Warwick Hall. I share the building with an abundance of talent which varies from painters, photographers, ceramicists, graphic designers and installation artists who are coming together with plans to put on events and shows.

Music, art and poetry run through my veins and I have future projects involving all three. If I didn’t live in Cardiff I would never have had the opportunities I’ve had, or met the people who have influenced me. Who knows what the future holds – but at the moment I am happy to be living in Our Nation’s Capital – ‘Cardiff’.

SnowSkull is an abstract neo-expressionist painter and is part of the Chrome Kids family, Sleep Walk collective, DSY and The Nines. His hobbies include listening, looking, touching things and dreaming. Keep up to date on future shows and works at www.snowskull.blogspot.com or on Facebook or on Twitter @snowskullartist. He currently lives in Roath.

SnowSkull was photographed at his studio in Warwick Hall by Simon Ayre

 

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