Friday, 30 May 2014

Cardiff Is Mine - Tuesday to Thursday

It seems that revision got the better of me over the past few days so this latest updates comes following my final ever exam at Cardiff university! If the painful late nights and endless cramming taught me anything, it's that no matter how well you may actually know a subject, it's very difficult to convince your brain that you do know enough. None the less, that's out the way now, so I thought I'd share with you all what else I got up to from Tuesday to Thursday and the little bits of Cardiff I actually got to see.

Tuesday lunch was a highlight of that day, with my better half having her last exam that afternoon, so we piled into The Heath for something to line the stomach and gird the loins. I very much approve of their curry, answering the very Welsh dilemma of chips or rice with half of each, while her Nacho's didn't last long enough for me to steal some (though from past experience they are very good)!

Much of Tuesday and Wednesday was spent feverishly hunched over desks however, particularly in the ASSL (Arts & Social Sciences Library) to those in the know, or at least who have recently discovered that we have a magical quiet place filled with books here!

My little treat for that day came with a late afternoon stomach filler at the Taf (a much more commonly known student venue), chowing down on one of their very tasty and seemingly endless New York Club sandwiches and the cheapest pint of Amstel outside the Netherlands. Additional fun was had with a very vocal internet discussion concerning plans in the event of a possible Zombie apocalypse in Cardiff. General consensus seems to point to getting either St. Davids, or at least somewhere with a lot of height (while stocking up on food from New York Deli was generally agreed upon).

Luckily the charming welsh weather meant I didn't feel too bad about my hermit like existence before my exam and after the nervewracking experience was over, I endeavoured to try and have rather more fun on Thursday. We started off proceedings well with a ridiculous portion of Nando's (regular blog readers will recognise my love for the place, not just in food but as a great interview question), before heading on to Revs to take of advantage of it's relative quietness and had a couple of pints there. From there we visited Dempsey's and over some golden ales and a cracking selection of tunes I finally began to unwind from the stress of the previous few days.

Post-Dempseys, we had a little detour to Floyds Bar and took advantage of their ridiculous drinks deals for our final bar stop of the evening. I have a real love for the place, it's slightly quirky, you feel like your in a cinematic house party thanks to the wooden floors, squashy sofas and quality tunes. From here though, fuelled by beer we hit Propaganda at Glam and caught up with a loads of people for a fantastic night.

Props featured a headline DJ set from Finn Jones (AKA Loras Tyrell from Game Of Thrones), which I was initially skeptical, given my previous cynicism over celebrity DJ sets. What shocked me most however was how good his set actually was, a nuanced and rather paletable blend of disco, funk and soulful house tunes that wouldn't have been out of place gracing the speakers of Purrmotions or Disco Palace! It was a real pleasure to hear and groove away to and the rest of the evening was spent in a happy blur! Another update for Friday will be coming later tomorrow, but for now look out for some more photos from later on this evening. Have a great one!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Cardiff Is Mine - Day 1

This week I'm taking on the mantle of the Cardiff Is Yours blog, a weekly project which has invited various people to take over for a week and tell everyone exactly what they love about this wonderful city. I thought I'd try and share my thoughts, not just via Twitter but with a few other little goodies including these (hopefully) daily blog posts on what I've been up to, any mildly humorous observations and some recommendations for anyone who likes what they read.

As announced last night, I have my very last exam at Cardiff University this Thursday morning and so the first part of the day was mainly fuelled by caffeine and saw me tackling a couple of strange and wacky topics. If anyone wants an in depth discussion over reconciliation of Freudian Psychoanalysis and Marxist Theory responding to the Fin De Siecle crisis of the early 1900s, do please let me know, but for those whom this sentence has meant very little (myself included), don't be alarmed, that's all you'll be seeing on the subject.

Luckily, proceedings were improved remarkably with a late lunch trip to Sophie's Creperie in Castle Arcade. With a quirky basement, freshly made crepe's and paninis cooked to order even a little al-fresco dining, it's a cracking lunch spot for those dining out! Had to have my personal favourite, sadly not currently on their menu but a 'pick your own' panini that I've christened The Godfather which sees Salami, Goats Cheese and Olives combined with Jalapenos and BBQ Sauce,  Mediterranian with an American twist.

We pottered round some of my favourite streets, snapping furiously with a camera that my better half has grudgingly lent me for this week and I've managed to unearth a few hidden gems, from churches dappled in vegetation to a gorgeously lit Alexandra Gardens amongst the regular favourites. Aside stopping for a much needed pint halfway round and then meeting up with a housemate for a little actual shopping, I've tried to capture with my very amateur photography what makes locations such as Womanby Street and The Morgan Quarter appeal so strongly to me and will be posting a highlights reel throughout the week.

Would love to wax lyrical on the details, but I'm off to the Face 11 Pub Quiz which starts shortly and will be tweeting my obvious horror at the obscurity of the questions as soon as we are allowed phones again in there! See you on the other side Cardiff!


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Reaching for Chart Tops

To all of you lovely people. My sincere apologies for being a little short on the blog posts of late but finals have been rather occupying my time and normal service will be resumed shortly. By way of apology have a listen to my best mix to date. My Funky House, Disco & Classics is currently climbing rather well up the Mixcloud weekly chart, in 7th and 16th on the Funky House & Nu-Disco charts respectively and it would mean the world to me if you could give it a little listen and see how high I can push it up the rankings in the next 3 days or so! Check it out here and let me know what you think! Kind regards, Tom.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Rave 4 Life 2014, Sunday 4th May, Moon Club

What makes a quirky venue and a great selection of underground acts playing quality music even better? When every penny paid goes entirely towards a good cause. Thats the ethos behind Rave 4 Life, taking place this Sunday which will see Moon Club filled with the deepest bass lines and funkiest rhythms going in an attempt to raise as much money as possible for Cancer Research UK. The brains behind the no-make up selfie trend, they see the Rave 4 Life concept as a way of not only raising awareness and funds for cancer research, but a chance to provide a great night as well!

Not only will this gig be taking place with a selection of Cardiff's best resident house music DJ's, with mixologists of a musical persuasion from Sync, Shangri La and Mi Casa taking part, but underground rising star Lauren Lo Sung will be delivering a smashing headline set to top things off in style. Thanks to the gig being streamed live across the internet, it'll be possible for people across the world to donate for this worthy charity via Just Giving, so there's no excuse not to do a little good as you enjoy the music! Ideal World Club Radio are going to be hosting this stream throughout the night, so with deadlines fast approaching you still get the party atmosphere from the comfort of your armchair!

I really respect that what's on offer is not just a night of great music but a chance to make a difference at the same time. Every penny spent and donated is going straight to cancer research, with no percentages skimmed off by booking agents. Your paying for a good cause and getting a party thrown in for free. This should be a night of fantastic tunes, so head on down to Moon Club to enjoy a fabulous party and feel good doing so! If you want to donate extra in advance, simply go to and contribute right away!

And if you happen to be on the Moon, cause it's streamed you can listen in too!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Review: Avril Lavigne - Hello Kitty

Remember Avril Lavigne? She wrote some smash hits back in the early 2000s and managed to coin both being catchy as hell and at least a little edgy. It's easy to pretend that songs like Skater Boy and Girlfriend were far beneath you back in the day but if they got played today, a certain generation would be going crazy to them. She had a knack for a melody, was at least a tiny bit punkier than the rest of the mainstream pop establishment and could have happily lived off her hits, performing occasional gigs that early 2000s kids would still flock to in droves. So when I found out that she was on studio album number 5 (who knew!) and was releasing an Asian Market single entitled 'Hello Kitty,' I approached it with mild scepticism.

I needn't have bothered however since this particular single appears to be a selection of genres, beats and rainbow candy sugar blended in a lottery ball machine and spat out one distasteful lump at a time. Following the profound exclamation of 'Minasaiko Arigato', beats lifted from a poor cover 3OH!3's Star Struckk, she enters into a selection of cliches taken at random, including OMFG, unnecessary autotuned vox, spin the bottle and finally a drop that could be laughably called 'Dub-step' drop written on a single synth line.

The production behind it is confused, a mishmash of elements from the Bandcamp pop song sample pack 1. What I suppose is called the bridge reverts to stomping drums, more Japanese babble and then rises (alongside the bile that comes up with your throat) into a Meow, before the squeaky electronics return. If I had to pin it down, I'd call it Swagger Jagger, as mixed by DJ Blend through a series of filters designed to drain the soul from it!

As with any, errr... anthem, it culminates for a mercifully short time in both half step beats and her vocals before fading onto a processed kick. Those last 10 seconds of percussion are the best bit of the song. What has happened to the fun, the energy and don't give a damn attitude of the star who brought us some of last decades best pop hits. Pop can be cheesy, quirky and edgy but overly worked, underwritten tracks such as this are a blight on someone with a talent for so much more! Listen to the single here and let me know what you think!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Unwanted Attention At The Watering Hole

The wonderous thing about David Attenborough shows is that thanks to his friendly, affirming voice and excellent scripts, he paints a very human picture of the animal kingdom. From a newborn's first, tentative steps, through playfulness, courage and affection we feel compelled not to see these animals as mere organisms but characters in a drama. Inevitably however comes the discussion of courtship and here his light hearted observations provide a whimsical note to the aggressive males, baying and flaunting attempting to woo the often none too impressed female.

If this anecdote seems thus far bemusing in the context of a music blog, my point is this. You could take the footage of beasts at the watering hole, replace it with certain night clubs round the city and this voice over would still work perfectly well. Thanks to my various reviews, I've been at quite a few clubs far less drunk than the average participant and I've been a little shocked by some of the tactics employed from guys trying to get girls. At this point, I'll quite happily admit that there is nothing wrong with going out, on the pull, regardless of your gender but what bemused me is the voracious level that some men employ in an attempt to try and snag a female.

Having grown up going to gigs filled with moshpits and a rolling sea of bodies, I accept that you might not be able to have the same level of personal space available to you in a club, but it seems that some blokes take this coincidental contact as a come on. The resultant grope, while often clumsy is also particular forward, forgoeing a brush of the hands in favour of a rather hard squeeze on the arse or in some cases, simply shoving a hand up the unexpectant girls skirt. If you did something like that in the street, it'd be sexual assault but thanks to the accidental proximity some seem to think that this is entirely acceptable.

Just because a girl goes out in something where her knees are showing doesn't automatically mean that she's looking for the sweaty mitts of every testosterone heady male to be thrust in her general direction. If your dancing happily with another person (not merely grinding and gurning on them without their knowledge) and fancy spicing things up then as long as they're fine with it, eat your heart out. What's not fine is lunging in the direction of anything lacking a penis with hands outstretched just because you think, even though she's not chosen to talk to you she's probably cool with it cause she's not in a woolly jumper.

Beyond the mere groping, what puzzles me perhaps more is guys who size up and in some cases attempt to psych out a couple in the belief that the guy will somehow back off so you can have your go. I've had situations where a bloke has come up to a girlfriend, ostensibly ignoring me and trying to dance with her instead. Heaven forbid someone is actually left alone when friends or partners go to the toilet, in which case it's perfectly acceptable to try and chat them up (or in one particularly pathetic and seedy case, ask if you like the friend who's too scared to come over themself).

I'm sure some reading this will at this point object to some idea of prudishness, which I'd wholeheartedly reject. Whatever you choose to do with someone on a dance floor is entirely your choice, so long as both of you are happy with it. If they say no, don't limply shuffle after them in case they change their mind, and if they are already with someone, presume they are happy rather than desparate to spring free into your clutches. Personally I quite like the rules at private club, Kuku Club which states that: 'Gentlemen will not introduce themselves to ladies. Ladies, feel free to start a conversation or ask the bartender to introduce you. If a man you do not know speaks to you, please lift your chin slightly and ignore him.'

 If your going out on the pull, be respectful of those your trying to chat up and don't presume that a girl needs to slap you in the face to feel unhappy with your actions. If your trying to pull, putting out a little less unwanted aggressive attention will also probably serve you far better in the end!

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Cardiff Music Clwb

While I'm no expert on social media, I've decided to try and set up a Google+ community for anyone involved in Cardiff music, clubbing and nightlife to connect, share their ideas and promote their events. No idea how this will end up going, hopefully it should slowly grow and be fairly self moderating, without too much spam involved!

Please check it out here or search for 'The Cardiff Music Clwb' and join it, spread it, share it and it should do just fine. Being a collaborative project, I'll try to keep a handle on it and spread the word but it requires input from others too! Be you a DJ, club night, blogger, promoter, clubber, photographer or someone who just likes a pint or two, this should be a place for you. Enjoy!