Real Cardiff Three - can there still be anything new to say
about this drizzle-drenched place? Cardiff - capital of so many things
- changed and still changing. The western world's boom may have bust
but the Cardiff landscape still keeps on shifting. Real Cardiff -
volume three of this highly successful, idiosyncratic, informative
and entertaining series arrives on a new wave of Cardiffian optimism.
The new centre is open, a new landscape spreads. Streets are wide
and clean, lit like glory, full of buskers and traders and people
in swarms. The malls beckon like Beijing stadia. There is high rise
everywhere. New hotels, new stores, new apartments, new administrations.
Blocks that glisten, house offices, corporations, enterprises, libraries.
Stores selling everything any Western purchaser could ever want (except
maybe a can of beans or a packet of screws) open in droves.
Further out Canton's Chapter Arts Centre becomes a giant all-welcoming
bar for the creative millions. Ninian Park moves itself to an aluminium
and grass site of modernist wonder and surrounds itself with new stores
that go on forever. The Bay thrashes skywards with flickering I gotta
have one apartments. The Ferry Road peninsular flexes its sports-driven
muscles. If a city could sing as the wind blows through its buildings
then this one would.
Real Cardiff Three takes in all this is, contextualises the changes,
and makes them real.
It majors on psychogeographical investigation and gets right inside
what's been going on. With wit and willingness Peter Finch investigates
just what it is that makes the Welsh capital work. He looks into just
how nuclear the city is. Spends a day in the company of Wales Millennium
Centre architect Jonathan Adams climbing the city's highest buildings.
He walks the routes of old and vanished coal railways with the photographer
John Briggs. He checks out what's happened to Cardiff's swimming pools
as they morph into the future. He wanders the city's arcades. Looks
at the public art works. Tells the story of how wine first reached
Cardiff and how that changed things, forever. He goes underground
to see what others don't.
Away from the centre he checks the town's ancient boundaries, watches
creativity move from the west to the east. He looks into what remains
of Cardiff's once booming heavy industry. Visits the city's final
beach. Walks the barrage, checks Ocean Park, looks for the drowned
subway, the lost Red House and Torchwood's hidden base. Out west he
finds the racecourse, Leckwith's hilltop vineyard and the Apache Shadows
fans of Penarth. He climbs the Garth, wanders Llanishen, Whitchurch,
and the Ridgeway and Ruperra beyond.
There were Lords once in this city. Who were they and where are they
now? Real Cardiff Three explains.
Cardiff - best place in Wales - you can do anything here, find yourself,
loose yourself, buy the universe, sell your soul. Real Cardiff is
an essential guide. Full of the past and rich with the future. Real
Cardiff Three - Seren Books. £9.99. isbn: 978-1-85411-505-8.
Buy online from Seren here
Central: A River Walk - Atomic Cardiff - Top Rank - The Marchioness
- Bute Spam - Central High Rise - The Medieval High - City High Rise
Could Have Been - Park Street - A City of Malls - Castle - Market
- Underneath - The Greyfriars Tunnel - The Festival of Britain Steam
Rooms - Library - Wyndham Arcade - Sophia - Limnological City
East: The Boundary of the Town - Hodge - The Gardens - The
Arrival of Wine in Cardiff - The Creative East - Branch
South: Roath Dock - What Did They Do - Ocean Park - Senedd
- The Line of the Fault - The Red House - Red House Myths - The Subway
- The Dock's Master - Nelson and Loudoun - The Ballast Bank - South
and the Moors - Walking Out Along The Barrage - Cardiff by the Sea
West: Alternative Canton - Cock Hill - Leckwith Bridge -
Ely Racecourse - The Penarth Con Club - Chance
North: The Lesser Garth - Ridge - The Hollybush and the Hospital
for the Mad - Dealt With - The Asylum Future - Gnome - Treoda Castle
- Ruperra - Llanishen
Beyond: The Lords of Cardiff
View the photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterfinch/sets/72157622697245780/
View the launch at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=166123&id=633790406&l=58d8cd5f95
Real Cardiff #3: The
End of the Boom - Senedd - Whitchurch
Hospital - Leckwith Bridge - Contents
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