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When I first moved to Cardiff in December 2001 and found myself at numerous friends’ Christmas house parties, I did note – as you do – that everybody’s music collection included plenty of CDs by the Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers – and even Catatonia, depending on how old the partygoers were. Via some magical osmosis, without actually sitting down and listening to those CDs, by 2006 I was quite familiar with a fair few tracks, thus sparking off a sense of Welsh nostalgia every time Kelly Jones (he was in my local pub in West London, once) or James Dean Bradfield’s voice spikes out of the radio.

Anyway, fast forward to today and I’ve only just heard the new single, Innocent. And I loves it. That quite Welsh lyrical combination of sour nostalgia for a time in the future. And a rockin’ good tune.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Mirrored from almost witty.

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Not exactly my cup of tea, but if you’ve ever wanted to see Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones of Torchwood) compering a Welsh drag queen competition for a Welsh short-film comedy then:

More about the film on their own website or Facebook – and don’t forget to tell your friends…

Mirrored from almost witty.

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Pink Hat - Cardiff

Originally uploaded by © Maciej Dakowicz

Maybe this is where my slight fear of Saturday nights started, after I spent five years living in Cardiff City Centre and seeing sights like this most Saturday nights. And Friday nights. And Wednesday nights, for that matter. And, of course, hearing teenagers sobbing and arguing outside my bedroom window at 2am. But I did kinda like it, in the sense there was always life outside my window. So why go any further?

These pics are part of a gallery that a photography student is having exhibited in London. One of my flatmates used to also take random pics of drunk people on the streets of Cardiff. Then he graduated to video - and there's a classic one where he's filming two very drunk women arguing with a bouncer, and then they slowly turn to camera and shout "WHAT THE F**K DO YOU THINK YOU'RE LOOKING AT?"

Also covered in BBC News Wales

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A friend of mine is planning a visit to Cardiff, and asked me what there was to do there. And despite living there for five years, I couldn't think of anything in Cardiff beyond the Castle, the Wales Millennium Centre, and Cardiff Bay (which is just a glorified upper-class entertainment mall) that was great and unique to Cardiff. So all I could suggest was the BBC Doctor Who Locations Guide (I made that!).

Have you got any suggestions?

While we're on the subject, see what happens when a Chinese chef and a Welsh chef decide to make beautiful food together. Although I'm wondering what they CAN come up with...
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So the Americans may be celebrating family, turkey, gift-swapping and shopping a mite early with Thanskgiving. Who cares? WE HAVE SNOW!

Admittedly, it’s only a light dusting but there may be more snow falling tonight, which will make the child and photographer in me very very bouncy and happy indeed.

Unfortuantely, the adult driver in me is facing a huge multiple-point 600-mile car journey across the southern UK over 4 days, on motorways, by-ways and narrow Welsh country roads. *gulp* Fortunately, I’ve got a phat 4×4 - and while it’s a betrayal of my environmental principles AND there’s nowhere for me to plug in my iPod, it should get my human cargo and I safely to where we’re going. Eventually.

Originally published at almost witty. You can comment here or there.

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Since I spent 14 hours yesterday mostly monitoring/watching the Tsunami Relief Concert to provide on-demand broadband video clips (with my colleagues of course), I thought I might as well give my knee-jerk reactions of the artistes involved. Although of course I COULD HAVE BEEN THERE INSTEAD, if it wasn’t for my cursed multi-skilling abilities. Rant to come.

Katharine Jenkins – nice voice, but the songs seemed a bit too bland and were too anthemic at this early stage in the proceedings. Of course, at one point I shouted across the office: “Katharine’s up but she’s a bit rough” (meaning that the video clip wasn’t the best in the world) to which one of the witty tech geniuses replied back “If only she was”.

Keane – the first band to which I would utter “Oh, so *that*’s who does that song!”. Nice performance, although nothing to write home about – although I may just buy a Keane CD. Or download the MP3.

Charlotte Church – finally, the chance for the local gal to break out of the “posh song” ghetto and perhaps give a new spin to an old pop/rock classic. Alas, no. I’m not one to judge on singing but her voice just didn’t provoke a reaction in me.

Lemar – probably the first artist to annoy me with his pretentous “let’s not forget why we’re here, people” remark.

Craig David – surprisingly stripped down. Not too sure it made an impact but at least it wasn’t his usual stuff.

Snow Patrol – second band to provoke that “oh, it’s *that* song” remark. Light up, light up.

Goldie Lookin’ Chain – who would Adam and Eve it, eh? Seven Newport boys rapping to 60,000 people. Makes a change from their first gig. Wish they hadn’t sworn though – took us ages to get rid of that swear word.

Badly Drawn Boy – the last time I saw him do a benefit gig in a stadium, he totally sucked all the pleasure and momentum that had gone before him in one annoying folk song. A trick he repeated at the gig, partly by starting a song, then stopping a minute later and doing it again. Not something I’d noticed the first time around!

Aled Jones – perhaps a chance for Aled to take advantage of his status from Strictly Come Dancing and do some versions of recent pop/rock classics using his voice. But, alas no. I didn’t even know what songs he did!

Brian McFadden – the first person to provoke a swear word from me, for having the temerity to swear right at the beginning of a song. Why, Brian? You’re not a rock rebel, and you never will be.

Kelly Jones – what on earth prompted Kelly Jones to fly back from Barcelona, only to do lacklustre stripped-down versions of Stereophonics classics that the local crowd were desperate to hear? Marks also deducted for unnecessary swearing.

Manic Street Preachers – the masters of stadium rock come to show wanna-be’s like Kelly how it’s done. Acknowledge the cause very very briefly, and kick off with a rock classic. And another one. And another one. Just about the only time when I really really wished I’d been down there instead of babysitting a video encoder.

Liberty X – for heavens’ sake, EAT SOME FOOD! You are way too skinny!

Lulu – for ages, we weren’t sure if she’d done Shout (the song she is most famous for). We had to rewind the tape to check!

Eric Clapton was the grand finale. So did he brush up his guitar skills, and close the show with some grand guitar anthems? No. He bored everyone senseless with 30 minutes of aimless blues songs that even the resident blues expert had trouble identifying.

Mirrored from almost witty.

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Well, it was a 14-hour workday producing on-demand broadband video clips from the Tsunami Relief Concert – and aside from the fact I’ve still got a glowing wristband on that would have allowed me backstage access throughout the entire gig and I had to babysit a video encoder instead – it was good fulfilling fun. Pumping out 8 hours of video content, checking it for swearing gives one a huge sense of achievement. Although not being able to spot when Badly Drawn Boy repeats a song twice is not one of my music appreciation highlights.

Mirrored from almost witty.

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Like ants to a sugar cube on a picnic.

And just when it gets interesting, and the music starts pumping out the stadium speakers, I have to go to the office to pump out 8 hours of broadband-quality on-demand video. Which will be fun, but not as fun as working backstage.

Mirrored from almost witty.

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Like ants to a sugar cube on a picnic.

And just when it gets interesting, and the music starts pumping out the stadium speakers, I have to go to the office to pump out 8 hours of broadband-quality on-demand video. Which will be fun, but not as fun as working backstage.

Mirrored from almost witty.

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You’ll never guess. My bike’s been stolen. From inside the communal garage. Again. This is the fifth bike to have disappeared from my hands since I first arrived in Cardiff 32 months ago.

This last bike I bought (second-hand) after my last bike also disappeared from the locked garage. I’d put a new saddle, new brakes, and paniers for it.

Tonight, I went down to check it out and some thieving Goldie Looking Chain fan had obviously seen fit to spend time stepping into the communal garage, and methodically take out the back wheel and saddle. They’d have stolen the whole thing, I imagine, but the front wheel was locked to a pole.

Why?! What on earth is some thieving chav going to do with a saddle and a back wheel? Mono-cycle to their next fences market?

Plus, I presume they got into the communal garage because my stupid Alzheimer-ridden elderly neighbours forgot to close the garage door behind them after driving their Porsches and Mercedes to the local benefit office to draw their bloody pension.

My fourth bike also disappeared from the garage, but I hadn’t locked it to anything under the erroneous assumption that a closed and lockd garage door is protection enough. My third bike disappeared on New Years Eve.

My second bike disappeared from the communal hallway while I was on holiday. But I’d stupidly assumed that people would close the door behind them. My first Cardiff bike - woah, there’s a story in itself. Involving cheeky thieves, lamposts, a hacksaw, and the local pub.

Why, cardiff? Why? Doesn’t Cardiff have enough bad press for crime and thieving as it is? I’d be safer in sodding Brixton or Toxteth.

Originally published at almost witty. You can comment here or there.

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All week, I’ve been hearing about how we’ll all be drowning in snow come Wednesday. Given the two weeks of emotional trauma my friends have been through, snow is just what we all needed. It brings out the child in you, and anything that can make the urban landscape look clean and pristine has got to be a good thing.

However, it’s 11am in Cardiff, the sun is shining and I can’t see any snow anywhere. This only perpetuates my perception that Cardiff somehow lives in its own parallel universe, where the normal rules of what happens in the rest of the UK and the world, just doesn’t apply. It’s as if I’m trapped in a Twilight Cardiff Zone (cue theme tune). Grrr.

Originally published at almost witty. You can comment here or there.

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Basically went to a Cardiff singles group meeting.

Which was a meeting from hell, essentially because it was just literally full of the Barbara Windsor-type of women that don’t do much for me.

The worst part, was the men - to a man, generally filthy, incredibly old - and I’ve never felt so out of place in my life. Especially since the rest of the crowd in the pub were the usual young-thin-probably dead-end-jobs type.

Living in Cardiff is making me snootier and snootier…

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Walking out of my house early this morning, I was confronted by a very emotional angry old woman, who imperiously accused me of throwing out the rubbish too early and in the wrong place. Since I don’t do that, it must be my flatmates.

But what interests me, is how she knew it was my rubbish. So it turns out she’s been going through all our rubbish bags to spot the guilty perpetrator. Which is outrageous. And I told her so, in my most outraged Guardian-reading citizen manner. But she couldn’t see what she’d done wrong. At all.


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Was cycling home after another uneventful day at work (aside from bumping into Heledd in the shop, who apologised profusely for not getting back to me about the cinema and stuff, saying she was busy, and suggesting coffee at 11am today)… when I basically got accosted by a bunch of racist bikers. Who were about 14.

As I was cycling home along the river, a couple of kids cycled past and asked me “Are you Chinese?”, “What’s Chinese for hello?” and other crap like that. After a while, I answered just to get them off my back, and cycled ahead. Then they cycled past me - about 7 of them, started doing the usual Chinese slurs and insults, and then surrounded me and tried to *push* me off the bike.

For a while I could have just stuck my foot out and kicked them off their bikes, but then of course I could get criminally prosecuted for assault etc., and that would get me into way too much trouble.

Bloody Cardiff. Yet another reason why it’s probably just not my kinda town.



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