Higher and Deeper – Mike Farr on Ba Fang Tong Bei Quan

•March 31, 2009 • 6 Comments
Mike Farr throws student Matt Thomas to the canvas

Mike Farr throws student Matt Thomas to the canvas

“There are millions of moves in Kung Fu, but morality must be the first one.”

This is the key message Mike Farr delivers to students in Cardiff who study Zhong Hua Si Mian Ba Fang Tong Bei Quan – a Chinese martial art with roots tracing back to the eleventh century – under his expert instruction.
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Folk’s Prodigal Son – Martin Simpson

•March 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

simmo2

If Waterstone:Carthy are the royal family of the British folk scene, and Bellowhead are the young pretenders, then Martin Simpson must be the Prodigal Son.

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Super Furry Animals – Dark Days/Light Years

•March 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Pic from Flickr user 'Barry Yanowitz'

Pic from Flickr user 'Barry Yanowitz'

The phrase “return to form” can never truly apply to a Super Furry Animals album, as a large swathe of critical opinion tends to correctly find merit in everything they release. But with their ninth record Dark Days/Light Years, perhaps it is more accurate to say the band have finally found something they themselves have been looking for.
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Peter Doherty – Grace/Wastelands

•March 18, 2009 • 1 Comment
Pic from Flickr user 'MarcDurant'

Pic from Flickr user 'MarcDurant'

The backdrop to Pete Doherty’s debut solo record – Grace/Wastelands, which was released on Monday – generated equal amounts of trepidation and anticipation for several reasons. Two studio albums from Doherty’s last band Babyshambles in 2005 and 2007 had moments of fleeting brilliance, but these were largely submerged in inconsistency. Doherty recently fuelled rumours of a Libertines reunion, a possible tacit admission that his musical career was running out of steam. Pete also became Peter, in what looked like an attempted shortcut to respect and maturity. And surely there was no time for songs in between the days lost to prison and heroin?
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Harps, Bells and Bollocks – an interview with Pete Lawrie

•February 19, 2009 • 1 Comment

pete-lawrie

The platform at Dingle Road station is dark and deserted as I climb off the train to meet Penarth’s best kept secret: local singer-songwriter Pete Lawrie. A handshake and a short walk later, Pete and I arrive before some metal shutters. With a click of a remote control, they rise gradually to reveal a silver Porsche 911.
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Bellowhead – St David’s Hall, Cardiff, 27/01/09

•January 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Pic from Flickr user 'jcoelho'

Pic from Flickr user 'jcoelho'

When a band takes to the stage brandishing a frying pan and a set of bagpipes, even the most open-minded of music fans could be forgiven for thinking it is going to be a long night. Continue reading ‘Bellowhead – St David’s Hall, Cardiff, 27/01/09′

The Good Samaritans of Cardiff

•January 14, 2009 • 4 Comments
Street Pastor Peter Joyce

Street Pastor Peter Joyce

St Mary Street is strangely quiet as Friday night becomes Saturday morning in Cardiff city centre. Most of the bars are open and music is blaring from within, but the bouncers standing outside have no queues to handle and cast regular glances at their over-sized watches. Even the sticks of doner meat spinning in the fast-food joints on ‘chippy lane’ are looking plumper than they should at this time of day.

While New Year’s resolutions and the bitter January cold may be keeping most people indoors, I am out with five faces you can count on to be in town every Friday, and as usual they are looking for trouble. Luckily for everyone else, they are the Street Pastors and they are trying to solve problems rather than cause them. Continue reading ‘The Good Samaritans of Cardiff’