The magazine for men in Wales
Ruck and roll superstar Sam Warburton tells it how it is The Manics are back! James Dean Bradfield exclusive The kidnap and murder capital... Will Niall Grifffiths survive in Cape Town? Kalahari dreaming 4x4 safari adventures
Y Gwyll is coming
Are you ready for S4Câ€™s ground-breaker?
CONTENTS FEATURES 18
James Dean Bradfield
This Is Your Captain Speaking...
At The Double!
Dying to dine
Better than the lottery?
The Manics are back with new album Rewind the Film - so James, what’s that all about? Sam Warburton on Wales, the autumn rugby internationals and staying in Cardiff Richard Harrington stars in both versions of ground breaking new S4C thriller - Y Gwyll/Hinterland Our guide to Cardiff eateries for all occasions Cracking competition prizes and easier to win!
Scene and Heard
The Back Page
24,134 Total Average Net Distribution per issue between 1st January – 31st December 2012 through an average of 862 quality outlets
Your nights out are officially sorted. Good grief. It’s Christmas soon. Better get shopping. Ever heard of Cliff Morgan? You should have done! Will Niall Griffiths get mugged in South Africa? A 4x4 Kalahari safari in Botswana Rugged styles for the months ahead From botox to filling Xmas socks, it’s all here Fancy a long hot bath? In Bath, naturally Top tips for banishing winter gloom Has Vincent gone too far this time? Oh baby! It’s the new Jaguar F-Type Books, music, films, eats and live gigs - we’ve done all the hard work for you! It’s a total write-off! Bennett is hanging up his, err, pen
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Blimey there’s heaps going on! How does Jason Jones pack it all in?
LOL’n’Roll OK. Can we now cease and desist with calling comedy the new rock’n’roll, please? Ever since stand-up started selling out stadia the length of the land the tag has been lazily trotted out – and I’ve done it myself for I am a hack –but enough. Unless Bruce Springsteen starts spouting gags or Sarah Millican belts out Born To Run there is no rocking’n’rolling crossover. Music is music. Comedy is comedy. Now I’ve got that off my chest, let’s get on with the show. The latest comic to hit stadium paydirt is Micky Flanagan, who will bring his East End Everyman schtick to the capital for a four-night residency (Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, October 31-November 3, from £28, 029 2022 4488). Less affable cheeky-chappy and more grumpy middleaged man is Sean Lock. I’ve seen the show and advise sticking around for the encore for a good old-fashioned sight gag (St David’s Hall, Cardiff, November 12, £22, 029 2087 8500). We’re still on middle-age turf with Ed Byrne who mournfully muses on the mini miseries of being in your 40s (Swansea Grand Theatre, November 13, 01792 475 715 & St David’s Hall, November 29, £22.50). Mark Thomas takes his grumpiness and channels it into his latest show 100 Acts Of Minor Dissent, which sees him take on his biggest bugbears with stunts like invading an Apple Store with a ceilidh band to protest about the company’s reading of the tax rules (Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan, November 7, £20, 01239 621 200 & Borough Theatre, Abergavenny, November 27, £15, 01873 850805). Political invective is Jeremy Hardy’s style, too, as he philosophises on the machinations of the media, the government and his own mind (Pontardawe Arts Centre, November 9, from £15, 01792 863 722).
The Real Rock’n’Roll On the real rock front, Stereophonics are still rocking out after 21 years on the clock as they tour their eighth studio album as well as rattling off the hits from their crowd-pleasing back catalogue (Motorpoint Arena, November 24-26, from £40.50). Together even longer are heavy metallers Alice In Chains whose hardcore style remains as in-yer-face as ever (Newport Centre, November 15 & 16, from £27.50, 01633 656 757) Homegrown success story Bullet For My Valentine continue their rise to the top as they take metalcore mainstream (Motorpoint Arena, December 6, from £28.95). And still on the hard stuff are 30 Seconds To Mars as they showcase their epically-charged anthems that are perfectly primed for arenas (Motorpoint Arena, November 14, £30.50). Expect a different musical direction from alt-rockers Editors now they’ve ditched the postpunk posturing – and their lead guitarist – in favour of more radio-friendly fare (Solus, Cardiff University Students’ Union, November 9, £21.50, 029 2078 1400). Mixing elements of nu-wave, garage, metal and pop is Electric Six. All together now: “Danger! Danger! High voltage!” (The Glee Club, December 9, £13.25, 0871 472 0400).
Back To Old-School The epitome of lounge lizard cool, Bryan Ferry does a one-nighter as he tours for the first time in six years (St David’s Hall, November 20, from £35). You couldn’t get any further away on the spectrum than Billy Bragg, who still has ire in his belly after all these years (St David’s Hall, November 21 & 22, £20). Another veteran of the music scene is Eddi Reader who hits the road again with her honeyed vocals and warm banter (The Gate, Cardiff, November 2, £20, 029 2048 3344). Turin Brakes have been around since the late 90s and the reason they’re still going strong is because they are ever-evolving so stay interesting (The Globe, November 3, £20, 07590 471 888). Soul II Soul has steadfastly stuck to the reggae/hiphop fusion they made their name though, but you don’t get to celebrate your silver anniversary in the business unless you’re doing something right (Solus,
Clockwise from bottom left: Bryan Ferry, Sean Lock, Micky Flanagan, Bullet For My Valentine, Stereophonics, and 30 Seconds To Mars
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November 8, £30.50). You can’t get more old-school, than Status Quo and 10cc (Motorpoint Arena, December 8, from £44) who are both still rocking all over the world and probably provided rich inspiration for more recent glam rockers The Darkness (Solus, November 17, £26.50).
New(ish) Kids On The Block Fresh from their success on the summer festival circuit, dubstep super-duo Chase & Status bring their loud, looping electro beats to the capital for a one-night stand (Motorpoint Arena, November 7, £28). Another duo, Public Service Broadcasting, has a more vintage style as they splice archive sounds with electronica (The Globe, Cardiff, November 21, £12). Now that she’s done with those frankly ridiculous chair-spinning duties on The Voice, Jessie J can get back to her day job and do what she does best (Motorpoint Arena, November 11, from £35). Also back on stage after a sabbatical is KT Tunstall, who is in a more meditative mood with her new material (St David’s Hall, November 4, from £17.50). And Tinie Tempah is fast becoming an established star of the music firmament with his brand of keenly-observed commercial rap (Motorpoint Arena, December 13, £28.95). At the start of the climb to success are blues-rock band The Temperance Movement whose eponymous debut album has just been released to much critical acclaim (The Globe, November 18, £8.50). Gabrielle Aplin’s star is undoubtedly in the ascendancy too thanks to her feathery vocals, acoustic ballads and a certain John Lewis Christmas ad last year that saw us go all soppy over a couple of snowmen (Solus, November 10, £15).
Still LOL-ing Around YES! Even more laughs this issue! More personal than political is Gina Yashere whose chatty, casual style belies a clever comedic sharpness (The Glee Club, Cardiff, October 30, £14.75). Jimeoin’s easy Irish charm coupled with his gentle observational humour have seen him rise through the comedy ranks not just here but around the world (Savoy Theatre, Monmouth, November 29, £14.50, 01600 772 467). Still with the Oirish but this time more frenzied, Jason Byrne rips through an expletive-ridden routine that is big on audience interaction (St David’s Hall, November 9, £17.50). Equally high-energy is Craig Campbell who has been hailed as one of the best comic storytellers of his generation (St David’s Hall, November 19, £15). As you’d expect from one of the stars of The Inbetweeners and the criminally underrated Cuckoo, Greg Davies’ set is a celebration of the joyous juvenility of life (St David’s Hall, November 27, £25). It’s anger that’s Steve Hughes’ motivator as he foulmouthedly mixes stinging social commentary on the big issues of the world with more conventional minor irritations (The Glee Club, November 6, £15/ NUS £13 & November 7, Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd, £15, 01443 485 934). Old-school improv is the basis of Paul Merton’s show as he and his gagsmith mates take suggestions from the audience and spin them into comedy gold (Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, November 18, £22, 029 2063 6464). And finally a quick heads-up for king of physical comedy Lee Evans, who isn’t coming here until late next year but because his last live outing did such brisk business it’s worth getting in early (Motorpoint Arena, November 25-30, 2014, £28).
Speaking Of Christmas… Doncha just hate it when people start the countdown to Christmas before we’re even midway through autumn? Well, prepare to hate, folks, because I’m about to get festive. This usually means one thing in the arts and ents world: panto. If, however, all that cheerful hamminess brings you out in hives, then there are a few other options. Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra (Motorpoint Arena, December 19, from £35.50) and Katherine Jenkins (St David’s Hall, December 8, from £37.50) will be trying to get us in the festive spirit with a couple of one-nighters in the capital, while Singin’ In The Rain rolls into town as a full-on West End bells’n’whistles spectacle (Wales Millennium Centre, December 3-January 5 2014, from £19). Let the countdown commence!
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Clockwise from below: Tinie Tempah, Gabrielle Aplin, Jimeoin, Katherine Jenkins, Jason Byrne, Greg Davies, KT Tunstall and Jessie J.
“in brief” A Christmas Cracker
Breaking the Taboo
The Events Room, supporting Velindre’s ‘East Coast Bike Challenge’, has organised a special Christmas lunch with former Arsenal and England star Paul Merson. Charismatic and funny, Merson, who’s now a Sky Sports pundit, had a fantastic career, which saw him play for England, Arsenal, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Portsmouth in the top flight before a spell as Player Manager with Walsall. He’s also a great story teller with plenty to talk about – booze, gambling and of course football. The lunch will be held at The Bear Hotel, Cowbridge on Friday 6th December 2013. Tables of 10 cost £500. Info from: www.theeventsroom.co.uk or t. 0845 108 5690
Now here’s an event worth attending – on two levels. Firstly fundraising and raising awareness of the issues related to Hepatitis C, particularly with respect to the drug use, is something that needs to be done. Secondly, Breaking The Taboo (Produced by Sundog Pictures and financed by Richard Branson) is a fascinating and thought-provoking film that examines the impact of the war on drugs, the drug trade and what can be done to sort the myriad problems caused as a result. A fund-raising screening hosted by Howard Marks aka Mr Nice and with entertainment from The Ladybirds and Sion Russell Jones will be held at The Masonic Hall, Cardiff at 7pm on 21st Nov. Tickets are £17 from www.wegottickets.com/ event/243472. For info: www.facebook. com/events/1450893785135859/
Face off Just thought we’d give a shout out for a quirky new bar that’s opened in increasingly trendy and boho Cathays, Cardiff. Called Face 11, we won’t tell you the intriguing story behind the name, but there’s a clue in the subtly skilodge/apres ski styled interior. As important for those of us fond of our food, their homemade, stone-oven baked pizzas are to die for. It’s a fully licensed bar with outdoor areas too and it’s open all day from breakfast through to chucking out time. Thanks to its great atmosphere and food it’s proving a big hit with professionals and students alike. 105, Cathays Terrace, CF24 4HU face11.co.uk
Love Your Community
How Time Flies
If you’d ask the average Joe on the street he probably wouldn’t know a philanthropist if he came up behind him and gave him a tenner. But our good friends at the Community Foundation In Wales - an organisation run to encourage and facilitate philanthropy in our lovely homeland are at pains to explain that we can all be philanthropists if we put our hearts, mind and hands to it. You don’t have to give a large wedge to be one, you can give your time, share your skills with others or contribute your labour and effort for the good of your fellow man. With Philanthropy Week Wales (the only week-long celebration of philanthropy of its kind in the world) starting on November 4th, it’s a fantastic excuse to learn more about how you can make a difference to your community. Do that by going here: www.cfiw.org.uk
It certainly does when you’re having a good time. Which is precisely what all and sundry will be doing at promoter Time Flies 20th birthday bash at The Globe, Cardiff on 31st Jan. Described by clubbing bible Mixmag as “the best thing to happen to Wales since Gareth Edwards”, Time Flies have since staged major dance music events across Wales & the West, to popular acclaim. From Cardiff to Carmarthen, from Swansea to Swindon, from Barry Island to Bristol, from Aberdare to Aberystwyth, the party hasn’t stopped over two decades. For tickets to this spectacular celebration of Welsh club culture email: firstname.lastname@example.org t. 07973 222 231 or www.timefliesuk.com
Poppadom Pop-Up at the Vale Taking a leaf out of Raffles’ book the Vale Hotel has teamed up with renowned Indian chef of Purple Poppadom, Anand George. He’ll be transforming the Vale Resort’s La Cucina restaurant into a haven of Indian cuisine on Nov 15/16th and Dec 5/6th. Expect to see perfectly and interestingly executed traditional dishes alongside some adventurous fayre such as Allepey Swordfish. At only £45 a head for the full taster menu booking well in advance is recommended. t. 01443 665863 or www.vale-hotel.com for more info.
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Scrum down It’s time for the once every two years rush to get the latest Wales kit. And for once it’s actually a serious departure from the old kit so there’ll be no hiding place if you’re still wearing the previous incarnation come this year’s Autumn internationals. If you want to avoid having the mickey taken by your rugby diehard mates then pop along to Shop Rugby on Duke Street, Cardiff or buy on-line at www.shoprugby.com
Footie Focus Doubtless the Autumn internationals will be grabbing headlines over the coming weeks but don’t forget there’s also some international football going on. Wales face Finland at Cardiff City Stadium on 16th November in what should be an entertaining match as our young guns, liberated from the pressure of world qualifiers, look to continue some recent good performances. www.faw.org.uk
Who at the Quay A quick heads up for the Dr Who weekend at Mermaid Quay as part of the celebrations marking 50 years of the ultimate time traveller. 23-24 Nov www.mermaidquay.co.uk for details
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The Stuff of Life
Live a life less ordinary with these beauties
Stream A Little Stream
The designer headphone market is smoking hot at the minute, with loads of big-name and not so traditional brands getting in on the fun. But not all headphones are created equal, with even the priciest, most hyped ear-huggers often finding themselves wanting in the quality sound stakes. Not so the Jabra REVO Wireless. They’re the real deal and are good value even at these eye-watering prices. Grab a pair from your nearest stockist to check out those sweet beats for yourselves. Price: £199.99 Retail: www.amazon.co.uk
Lost & Found Dapper dudes looking for dalliances in decadent destinations surely demand only the finest designer luggage - you don’t wanna look a shmuck before you’ve even started the holiday, do you?? So with 26 million bags going missing each year from airports around the world – all that effort and money could very easily be in vain. That’s why you need Trakdot. Designed to enable those travelling by plane to keep track of their gear via a mobile signal, it delivers city-specific information on the whereabouts of checked baggage in real time to any mobile, Apple, Android, or SMS capable devices. Here’s hoping for a swift return on your investment... Price: £44.99 (annual service fee of £13.65) Retail: www.Trakdot.com
Message In A Bottle The Scosche boomBOTTLE is a rugged, weatherproof, wireless portable speaker that has been designed to bring entertainment to the outdoors. So here’s a tip: if you’re thinking of heading out on the piste this winter – pack this for the après-ski. It’s perfect for listening to music whilst relaxing in the hot tub after a hard day skiing or just to have in the chalet. It packs dual 40mm drivers, an Omni-directional speaker cone – sending impressive audio in all directions – and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery providing up to 10 hours of continuous playback. Price: £120. Retail: www.amazon.co.uk
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Grate Expectations Whatever you do with your lives don’t become ordinary. Okay? Good. So when in the market for a common-or-garden cheese grater don’t go for the usual mass made flat, flimsy and boring type with a handle at the top that ends up grating more of your knuckle than the high-fat, high protein based fermented milk product it was intended for. Instead, go for the Koziol Kasimir Cheese Grater beautifully designed with elegance, individuality and practicality in mind. So no more sore knuckles, I promise. Price: £8.00 Retail: www.johnlewis.com
Camera Obscura I think we may have found ourselves a ‘game-changer’ here. Unlike conventional cameras, the Lytro Camera uses light field technology to give users the ability to refocus pictures after they are taken, creating “living pictures”. This allows endless reimagining and perspective shifting of your photos to tell a different story each time. You can also instantly share your images via social networking sites and websites. Price: £399 Retail: www.dixonstravel.com and www.johnlewis.com
Blades Of Glory Blokes don’t want Great British Bake Off – we want deadly serious food, prepped and presented in proper style. Believe me, you can’t get more deadly or stylish than these far-eastern inspired swords (ok, they’re kitchen knives disguised as swords – but we like calling them swords). So whether you’re a proper ninja in the kitchen, a young-Grasshopper keen to learn the mystical arts of the kitchen or just wanting to impress the ladies with your jousting (ooh-err!) the Samurai Knife Set provides bachelor-pad bayonets of the highest order. Price: £39.99 Retail: www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk
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The playmakers Wales has a glorious history of producing inspirational and exciting fly-halves. Lynn Davies profiles one of the greatest - the late Cliff Morgan
In 1929 Clifford Morgan, at the instigation of his wife, Edith May, decided not to accept an invitation from Tottenham Hotspur to play soccer as a professional. Had he not done so Wales might have been deprived of the talents of one of the greatest fly-halves ever, his son, Clifford Isaac Morgan, who one year later was born in the village of Trebanog. Had he been raised in England, Cliff junior would also have been deprived of the warm, closeted, cultural and chapel-orientated upbringing which the Rhondda Valley could offer at the time. There he was introduced to the activities of such institutions as the Urdd and the eisteddfod which, along with playing the viola in local orchestras and singing in the Porth and District Mixed Choir, nurtured his talents as a performer. Perhaps rather surprisingly Cliff didn’t take to playing rugby seriously until he was 16, mainly because Tonyrefail Grammar School had just one team, which catered only for the more senior boys. During his early years, although not immune to the importance of rugby in the local community, soccer was the game which captivated his interest and his ambition was to become a professional footballer. But gradually at the grammar school, due to the influence of Ned Gribble, the master who was in charge of games, rugby became Cliff ’s passion and under his teacher’s tutelage he began to display the skills which would in due course distinguish him as one of the most talented outside-halves in world rugby. He first won recognition by being selected to play for the Welsh Secondary Schools team on two occasions and was then invited, when still at school, to play for Cardiff in an evening friendly match. In the autumn of 1949 he enrolled at UCW Cardiff to study for a degree in science and also joined the Cardiff club as one of five fly-halves. By the following year Cliff, who had chosen to forfeit his place at university, appeared fairly often for the Cardiff first team. One of the main reasons for his promotion was that the team’s regular fly-half, Billy Cleaver, had been selected for the 1950 British Lions and was unavailable for his home club for six months. In due course, over a period of eight years, Cliff appeared in 202 games for Cardiff. He scored 38 tries and made many, many more. He established himself as one of the most exciting and entertaining players in Welsh rugby and as one of the original ‘Chapel’ outside-halves.
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His talents were recognised by the Welsh selectors when he was chosen, while still only 20 years old, to play against Ireland in Cardiff in 1951. Cliff recalled with great amusement how he received a letter (which was “like a piece of paper you’d whip off a lavatory roll”) written by the secretary of the WRU informing Cliff of his selection, which said: “You are to wear the white-topped stockings you wore against Scotland [that particular game against Ireland was Cliff ’s first appearance for Wales!]. Please do not forget to bring them as stockings have become very scarce. Are you going to wear your own white shorts, or do you wish to borrow a pair of the Union’s?” Until he retired in 1958, Cliff was an automatic selection for all but one of the next 29 matches played by Wales. He gave many notable performances during his tenure, such as the game against Ireland in 1952 when Wales clinched another Triple Crown, and was skipper for the 1956 season when Wales won the Five Nations Championship. It was generally agreed at that time that Cliff was the finest outside-half who had ever visited South Africa when he played for the British Lions in 1955. He played in eleven provincial matches and in the four Tests, having been honoured with the captaincy for the third Test. Despite the undisputed success of the Lions in drawing the series 2–2 it is generally agreed that the highlight of the tour was the brilliant try scored by Cliff in the 23–22 victory in the first Test, in front of
over 90,000 spectators. It was a piece of classic Morgan artistry and for the remainder of the tour Cliff was dubbed ‘Morgan the Magnificent’ by the national press. He retired from rugby at the age of 28, playing his last game in Nairobi for the Barbarians, a team he represented on 17 occasions, against East Africa. Cliff ’s rugby accomplishments meant that he was very much in demand by the media and his knowledgeable, infectious and ebullient personality led to his being offered a position as sports organiser by BBC Wales. This, for him, was the beginning of a glittering career in broadcasting, both in production and as a presenter. He progressed to become Editor of Grandstand, the top sports programme of the day, head of BBC Radio Outside Broadcasts and then to head of BBC Sport and Outside Broadcasts, a position he held for twelve years. He also spent a period at ITV as editor of the prestigious current affairs programme This Week. As a broadcaster he was a popular team captain in the first ever series of a Question of Sport and on his retirement from BBC TV in 1987 he made a niche for himself as the presenter of many memorable radio series, such as Sport on Four. Cliff claimed that due to his comparatively small physical stature he would never have been able to play in the modern game against players who were so big, fit and strong. Those who witnessed the talents of Cliff Morgan would disagree entirely. Great Welsh No 10s by Lynn Davies is published by Y Lolfa books priced £9.95
The Civilising Side of Football
Niall Griffiths takes his life in his own hands in Cape Town. And discovers he’s actually safe as houses
Some cities have fearsome reputations; Caracas, Los Angeles, Port Moresby, Cape Town. Don’t go out in them on your own, people warn, or at least, get a taxi between reputable bars. Get a bodyguard if you have to (unless you’re in Port Moresby where it’s the bodyguards who are the most prolific and vicious kidnappers). You’ll be abducted, mugged, raped (this last applicable to men as much as women). But, on your own in a new city, what are you going to do? Stay in your hotel with room service and the telly, while the marvellous noises of the human zoo go on outside? All those new experiences waiting to be had, and you’re there, in your room, with a chicken club sandwich and whatever passes for X Factor in whichever country you’re in? What a waste. Sooner be stabbed than let such opportunities pass by (well, in the fleshy part of the leg, maybe; just a few stitches). So I had several stiffeners in the hotel bar before heading out into Cape Town. And, yes, when I asked the reception staff for directions to Long Street, I also asked their advice about staying safe on my own, which basically amounted to keeping relatively sober, which advice I’ve had and ignored in my life more times than I can count. Long Street, I’d heard from many sources, was wild and dangerous; the temptation to plunge into that, rather than observe it from the margins, is irresistible, yet I have memories of staring down the barrel of a gun in some dockside bar in Gdansk, an experience I have no intention of repeating, so I reasoned that I’d better tread lightly. Just dip a toe in, rather than bellyflop. Test the waters and all that. Long Street attaches the waterfront to
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Table Mountain. You stand at the foot of a, well, long and thumping neon strip whose far end, way over there in the distance, touches the huge grey mist-draped bulk of the hill. It’s imposing, and intimidating, and hugely, deeply thrilling; what new discoveries await you, down there? First bar I entered was staffed by a Rwandan. Am I safe out here on my own, I asked. A few years ago, I would’ve said no, he replied, but after 2012, you’ll be fine. Second bar was staffed by a guy from the Ivory Coast. I asked him the same question. He gave the same answer; after 2012, you’ll be okay. The pattern repeated itself; different bars, same question, same answer in every chirpy and welcoming bar and club, from all warm staff and customers; welcome to Cape Town my friend, here you’ll be happy, here you’ll have a good time. Which, by God, I did. It’s the football World Cup, of course, that’s what they were referring to as the catalyst for change: that was the event that allowed Cape Town to grow from the kidnap and murder capital of the world into one of the planet’s most vibrant and buzzing cities. It’s a pretty multi-cultural place, in a pan-African sense, but when it heaved for a summer with hundreds of thousands of representatives from scores of different nations, when it opened and expanded itself to accept and accommodate them, when it was forced to realise that people the world over, regardless of skin colour, all yearn for much the same thing - to laugh and celebrate and feel something of communality - then it let itself move to fill the gap in the world’s body politic that had been waiting for it. Amazing and uplifting, the way that one game can do this. Agreed, it’s difficult to see football as a
unifying force when Celtic play Rangers, or Cardiff play Swansea, or Newcastle/ Sunderland, or Arsenal/Spurs, or any one of many other local grudge-matches which have swollen beyond petty rivalry into something close to poisonous, personal hatred. And, as a Liverpool fan, it’s impossible not to feel disgusted and appalled and possessed of a desire to retaliate when Man Utd fans belt out songs that gloat over the 96 people crushed to death at Hillsborough. But on the bigger stage of the World Cup, football becomes something quite else, something much more than a platform on which to air regionalist pride, misplaced though that may be. This does not require elaboration; rather, take a look at Cape Town where for just one summer it encapsulated much of the world - and saw that a South Korean feels the same joy at winning and pain at losing as a Swede - the essentially innocent mess and mayhem of being human is now being understood and appreciated. Encouraged, even. What this might mean for the entrenched attitudinal apartheid of much of South Africa remains to be seen; it’s far too early to say, yet. But the ground for progress has been laid; something powerful and good has been potentiated. And, as I recall, it was a tremendous tournament; Wales didn’t get there, but that was no surprise, and those bloody vuvuzelas remain ringing in my ears like mosquitoes. But at least England were crap. © Niall Griffiths 2013
This Sullen Welsh Heart As the title of track one on the new Manics album suggests - you can take the rockstar out of Wales, but… it’s the only place James Dean Bradfield feels at home. Interview by Iestyn Jones
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I’m out oddly early for a Saturday. It’s a crisp, late summer morning. And there, walking his dog just like anybody is James Dean Bradfield, enjoying a bit of Cardiff park-life. The Manic Street Preachers front man could choose to live anywhere but seems happiest in Wales. I’m a huge fan. We’ve met a couple of times when I’ve been reviewing and managed to get backstage at gigs. But the interview… I’ve never had a chance to make it happen. So I have to seize the moment. I make polite conversation and hint about a possible interview. “I’ll sort something out…October time,” he tells me. As we part company he turns back and says “I won’t forget!” But let’s be honest. He’s rock royalty for heaven’s sake. Will it really happen? A few weeks later, with a little help from his PR people, I get the phone call. Bradfield has fulfilled his promise. I caught up with him just as he took a wellearned breather after a BBC Maida Vale session where the Manics had played a bunch of their biggest songs in front of a roaring crowd. RedHanded: How did the Maida Vale session go? James Dean Bradfield: Brilliant. We’ve played Maida Vale a few times. We’ve done sessions for Tommy Vance, Jackie Brambles, Mark Goodier and Steve Lemack. This is our sixth or seventh time and it probably feels like our best so far. I feel like we’re on form and we’ve got a spring in our step! Rewind the Film. Can you tell us a bit about the new album? Once you’ve got to the 11th album it’s like ‘Crossing the Rubicon’! We’re 44-years-old – there’s a bit of ridiculousness about being in a band at our age. We’re realising there’s a bit of folly and we’re also dealing with losing things be it the culture we grew up with or the people we grew up with. So there’s a reflective, gentler and melancholic approach. There’s gentle brush strokes on there - it’s not quite the spiky rock‘n’roll that we usually are.
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What about the influences? Me and Richey (Edwards) had always wanted to do our version of Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen - something mellow, something cold and detached. We soon realised we’d never be able to do another Nebraska. But for once in my life I wanted to do something acousticbased. I think there’s a bit of Neil Young on there. There’s also a bit of Troubadour influence there too, a group from Llandeilo that I really like... One of the new tracks, Builder of Routines, is influenced by Troubadour. So, how do you find out about these artists? I listen to the radio a lot - lots of different stations. I heard Troubadour for the first time on Bethan Elfyn’s show on BBC Wales, I also heard Little Arrow for the first time on there. I listen to Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone on Radio 6. That’s where I’ve heard a lot of the music I’ve bought in the last year or so. I read a lot of music press too to keep my finger on the pulse. I’m always in and out of Spillers music shop in town. When I’m in Spillers I’ll sometimes ask what’s new. I’m exactly the same as I was when I was 15. I like to buy s*** loads of records. Spillers Records has a special vibe to it. You recorded most of the album at your own studio in Cardiff. What kind of process is involved? Does your base double up as rehearsal space? It’s an inspirational place where we hang out, watch sports, talk about politics, argue and also work on a few ideas. We sometimes just like to listen to music as we have vinyl there too. We do demos there, rehearse, record… It’s a place that’s very valuable to us. It’s enabled us to stay in Wales, the studio almost feels like a member of the band now. You’ve worked with many of your fellow countrymen including Tom Jones, John Cale, Gruff Rhys. It was Cate Le Bon’s turn on the new record with the haunting track 4 Lone Roads. How did that come about? Cate was our first idea of who we wanted to sing the song. There were only two names in the hat - Nina Persson from the Cardigans and Cate. We chose Cate because we were big fans and we’d never worked with her before. Sometimes as a musician you know if something’s going to
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work and I knew immediately that her voice was the one. We went with our instinct and we were proven right.
from Wales. Wales is a complicated place that I love - I owe it more. It’s where I’m from and the only place I feel at home.
Have you got any other artists on your wish list? I always jump at the chance to work with John Cale. He’s long been one of my heroes. He always drags you to a place which is interesting and challenging. I just love the fact that he was in one of the most influential bands of all time. It gave me the window to the world and made me believe that I could do it too. He’s from the Swansea area and he’s been hugely inspirational. Whenever I meet up with him or whenever I’ve worked with him there’s an amazing mixture of fear and excitement, he always keeps me on my toes. I think we’d always love to do something with Morrissey too because he was so big to us when we were younger. He challenged everything, he challenged the Royal Family and challenged orthodoxy itself.
We heard a bit of the Welsh language on Journal for Plague Lovers. Do you think the Manics will ever record an entire song in the Welsh language? My Welsh is getting better but I’m still at the ‘tipyn bach’ stage. When I was 5-years-old I’d sing Welsh songs in the choir. I wanted to learn Welsh at school but there was only four of us and I think there needed to be five... It’s a bit like that scene out of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest where McMurphy struggles to land the votes. Singing in Welsh would be a big challenge for me, I need to be able to know the song and to be able to let go… My Welsh language skills are very limited so it would take a long time.
What kind of child were you and what’s your earliest memory? Mute, bland and an angel up until the age of six my late mother would say. I’d spend a lot of time staring out of the window. I’m lucky to have had such a nice upbringing and a lovely relationship with my parents. I’d have small arguments with them but there was never that generation gap. I always turned to them for support and they were always there to support me. Without blindly following them I also adopted a lot of their political views. I always engaged with living in the Valleys and was in awe of the nature that was around me. One of the luckiest things that ever happened to me is being born where I was. It’s a different story when you’re a teenager though - that embittered phase when you want to escape. But then when you get older you want to return. Wales is very inspirational to me. I go back home a lot and like to go for walks on my own. Well, I take my dog with me. You’ve got to take a dog, I guess, or you just look like a weirdo You really are proud of your Welsh-ness aren’t you? Yes, my mum was immensely proud of being Welsh too. Some of my happiest memories are
You played a few shows in Australia and New Zealand to tie in with the Lions’ Tour in the summer. Welsh sport is enjoying an impressive spell at the moment isn’t it? I’m a massive rugby fan… we’ve won the Six Nations in 2005, 2008, 2011 and again this year, - it’s amazing! It’s also nice when people come to me when I’m abroad and ask about Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey. We’ve got a lot of sportsmen to be proud of, the boxers Nathan Cleverly and Joe Calzaghe. We’ve also got great cricketers amongst us too like Simon Jones who won the Ashes. And, with Cardiff and Swansea invading the Premiership it’s not just the rugby. It’s very heart-warming; there’s plenty there to nourish our sports fans! It’s been a busy year what else have you got planned? Well, there’s another record out at the start of next year - a more confrontational, harderedged and rockier sound. Our twelfth record will have a kind of European/mainland, krautrock feel to it. The Manic Street Preachers’ new album Rewind The Film is out now. Watch highlights from the Maida Vale sessions at www.manicstreetpreachers.com
Captain Lionheart in association with
Impressive as Lions captain and central to an exciting national squad, but will Sam Warburton still be playing club rugby in Wales next year, asks Riath Al-Samarrai
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“There have been some excellent Welsh squads in the years I have been involved, but I really like this one”
RedHanded: It’s a strange time at the moment, Sam, with Cardiff Blues struggling a bit but Wales seemingly in a very strong position. Sam Warburton: It is. On the Wales side it’s looking extremely good. I would actually say this is probably the strongest group of players we have had in the time I have been involved. I think one of the really good things is that we have a squad of players that has been together a very long time and yet the average age is only about 25. If you think that a team gets stronger when they are familiar with one another, that puts us in an extremely strong position going into the autumn internationals, especially when you see the young players we have coming through. Who would you say is the one to watch? That’s hard because there are a few. But the one for me that really stands out at the moment is Jordan Williams at Scarlets. He looks like a superb talent. He’s only 20, plays at fly-half and has great feet and hands. He is still coming through but he looks very promising. What’s your view on the autumn internationals? There will be games against South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia – surely it’s a good time to get a Southern Hemisphere scalp? I think so. This is a very exciting time. We seem to work in cycles from World Cup to Lions to World Cup. We are in the middle of one of those cycles right now but we have some very good momentum and I want to get that win against a big Southern Hemisphere side. Is it important psychologically to get that win as once you do there is an assumption that others will quickly follow? I don’t know about that. People talk about the psychology side of it, but I don’t think that is
a problem for us. People say it is but I don’t think so. We have not won against one of the big three Southern Hemisphere sides for something like five years and that gets to you a bit. But I think it’s because they have just been that bit better. We have got to 70 minutes and had a lead and not closed it out but I don’t think that’s down to psychology. I would say it was more to do with experience, that little bit of quality. It is not an accident that those big teams have the records they have. But I feel pretty optimistic. A lot of the boys do. Five years is a long time without a win but you can see how close we are. Looking at the Tests in Australia, you can see that. There’s a score to settle with Australia… I’d say so. We have had some amazing, close games with them. When you look at the schedule for the autumn and see that we play them last, that excites me. It feels like we will be building up to a finale, a big game at the Millennium Stadium where we can get something special. There have been some excellent Welsh squads in the years I have been involved, but I really like this one. We are up for it. It is about building some momentum and getting that win. Momentum has not always come at the right time for Wales, though, has it? The team has occasionally peaked at the wrong time in the cycle. Yes and no. Look at England in 2007. They got to the World Cup final after not having a great season. We were fourth in the 2011 Six Nations and had an excellent World Cup. A lot can happen very quickly or with just one result. It’s getting tougher because look at the depth in the game now. There are probably eight teams who would think they have a very good chance of getting to a World Cup semi-final. There is more depth in the game, but I think we are
progressing very well. It’s been a little tougher at the Blues. It’s not been a great season, but I really believe we can do very well if we can sort a few things out. If we can keep some of our top players, like Leigh Halfpenny, then this team will do well. There is so much talent coming through and some very good established players. You mentioned the need for the Blues to keep their big players, but your own future is up in the air. What’s the situation at the moment? It is, but I would like to stay in Wales. I have always said that. I’m quite relaxed about it, to be honest. I try to keep an open mind because a life in professional sport is unstable. You rarely get a contract for more than three years. But I want to stay and I have told the club that. The next step is for me to get a contract offer, but that situation is complicated. The club need to know what their budget is and that won’t be known, really, until the future of the European competition is sorted out. But, to say again, I love it here and would like to stay. In the future, do you have a desire to play abroad? Financially, France is obviously where the money is and it’s also a different experience that many players enjoy. Like I said, I’m open-minded. I can definitely see the appeal of playing in France and a lot of my good friends have gone to play there. But for this stage in my career, and in this World Cup cycle, I would like to stay in Wales. Some players are free spirits and want to try it. I can understand that. But I want to stay at Blues, if possible. When do you think this issue will be resolved? It is hard to put a deadline on it. But personally I would hope it is sorted by Christmas.
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“I was vegetarian for years and now I’m trying vegan” 24 REDHANDED ....... Autumn 2013
Groundbreaking new S4C crime thriller Y Gwyll was filmed in both Welsh and English. Richard Harrington played the lead role. Twice.
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“You sometimes find yourself getting up in the middle of the night to go for a run” San Pedro Sula, Honduras, is the most crimeriddled place on earth - followed by Acapulco, Mexico, and Caracas, Venezuela. Spill the wrong man’s pint in these places and it’s fair to say you’ll have more than a dry cleaning bill to worry about. But there could be a new contender on the horizon – many miles from the blood drenched beaches of sunny South America: Aberystwyth. Or, at least, that’s the impression that new S4C crime thriller Y Gwyll hopes to inject into the minds of its viewers. While ‘Aber’ has long been considered a quaint Victorian holiday spot which does a nice line in cream teas, here it’s painted as the Wild West of Wales; a place that lives according to its own rules, and where grudges, secrets and lies fester in every craggy corner. “It’s not overtly British in terms of its style and in terms of the typical cop genre,” explains actor Richard Harrington, who plays brilliant but troubled DCI Tom Mathias in the drama. “It is a film that is engulfed by a landscape which dominates every story. It makes solving crimes more difficult because out in this vastness there are no trails that are easy to find, so you have to battle with the landscape to find a means to an end.” Having fled to Aber in the hope that he can turn his back on a troubled past in London, Mathias unwittingly finds himself dragged into this furnace of small town hatred by a series
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of seemingly unsolvable crimes in and around the rocky hills, isolated farms and close-knit villages of Ceredigion. Before long the DCI is up to his neck in local feuds, risking everything from his mind to his body in the process. Harrington, adds: “Mathias doesn’t detach very well. He is a character who doesn’t surround himself with any form of human love at all and is devoid of any form of human contact and courtship. “He is very difficult to pinpoint. He is everyman - he is everything. He is a very compassionate character and he can be very cold as well. He is shrouded in mystery.” The end result is that you never know if Mathias is the sort of man who enjoys a Sunday pint or sidesteps anything stronger than a skinny latte. All you know is that he’s a troubled man in an even more troubled place. “He is a man who is carrying scars from the past but he never explains. Instead he reveals himself from what he achieves and the work that he has to do,” adds Harrington. Yet this only tells half the story. Along with filming in weather conditions he describes as “almost Biblical”, Harrington also had to grapple with the even more arduous task of filming the entire four-hour drama in both English and Welsh. Almost uniquely, every single scene of Y Gwyll has been shot in both languages, which means that every line had to be filmed twice. It is for this reason that while the show will be known as Y Gwyll on S4C, it
will go under the name of Hinterland on BBC4. “I found the English a lot easier because the Welsh for me doesn’t flow as easily,” says Harrington with a heavy dose of irony. “But my Welsh was infinitely better at the end of the shooting than it was at the beginning. It was like Blankety Blank when I first got in there! “The difficulty is you can’t literally translate Welsh and English as the nuances are different and there are words in Welsh that you can use which would complete a sentence a lot faster. “So sometimes you would finish a scene quicker than you would in English and your mind would start to play tricks with you because you would feel as though you had missed something out. “I try not to think about the words too much when I’m acting in English as they just come naturally. With the Welsh I would have to really think well in advance about what was coming 3-4 sentences down the line. “Invariably, it was like carriages of a train: I would be aware of an empty carriage and just hope to God that by the time it got to my vocal chords it would be full of words or nothing would come out! “I had this one scene that was pretty fuelled and passion driven and Mathias’ boss says something like ‘how can you be so sure?’ I was meant to say, ‘I am certain in my intuition’. The Welsh word for intuition is ‘greddyf ’ and the only word that came out was ‘gafr’ which
means goat.” Naturally, sentences like ‘I’m certain in my goat’ provided lots of on-set amusement for the camera crew. Thanks to lots of perseverance, however, Harrington ultimately managed to tame the Welsh language without “sounding like Pingu”. “When you watch Pingu everything makes sense,” he explains. “You don’t need words but you understand the plight of the characters because of the noises they make.” Unsurprisingly, though, after months of talking in two languages while running up boggy hills and leaping into freezing cold ravines, Harrington was physically drained by the experience. In fact, by the time filming wrapped he was almost ready to throw in the towel and give up acting.
“I meant to say ‘I am certain in my intuition’. The Welsh word for intuition is ‘greddyf ’. The word that came out was ‘gafr’ which means goat” Yet instead of recuperating on a warm sofa for a couple of months drinking tea, Harrington has since decided to go the other way entirely and combine his day job with something even more insane: the fearsome Marathon de Sables. Generally considered to be the toughest
running event in the world, this involves running 156miles over six days through the Sahara desert – or six marathons, back-toback, in 55-degree heat. “It takes up at least eight months of your life,” explains Harrington. “Between now and the 5th of January I will be doing a minimum of 60 miles a week. So you sometimes find yourself getting up in the middle of the night to go for a run because you have to work the next day. But you have no choice – you have to put the miles in.” Amazingly, Harrington also isn’t too concerned about tackling this simply phenomenal amount of mileage either. Instead, it is the sand and lack of drinking water that’s most playing on his mind. “Sand isn’t very conducive to running. So if you don’t wear the right gear you could quite easily develop septicaemia,” he says. “They also only allow a certain amount of literage of water. So if you are sweating more than you are able to replenish they have to give you a saline drip. If this happens, then you are given a two-hour penalty. So it is pretty hardcore. It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?” The only possibly answer anyone can give to this is “yes”. But then it could be worse: you could be a real life cop in Honduras. Or Aberystwyth. Y Gwyll (www.s4c.co.uk/ygwyll ) airs on S4C on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9.30pm from October 29. Both episodes are repeated on Sundays. English subtitles available. Catch up at www.s4c.co.uk/clic Richard Harrington is running the Marathon des Sables in aid of Leukaemia Research: www.leukaemialymphomaresearch.org.uk
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Feast your eyes on this! Here’s our alternative guide to dining out in the ‘diff and spinach pie is highly recommended and those with a sweet tooth will devour the wonderfully rich chocolate and amaretto brownie. 145 Crwys Road Cardiff CF24 4NH Telephone: 029 2022 8523 or visit www. thegutsygoose.co.uk
Great for… curry with a twist Great for... a mixed meat treat
The Meating Place is a contemporary grill house that’s located in the heart of St Mary Street. The unique selling point is their mixed meat skewers, hooked in front of diners for them to prize away the goodness. Served with couscous, roasted vegetables and yogurt dips, this dining experience allows you to create your own delicious, bespoke kebabs. 40 St Mary Street Cardiff CF10 1AD Telephone: 029 2022 4757 or visit www.themeatingplace.co.uk
Great for... any time of day
The blue and silver sign above The Gutsy Goose on Crwys Road marks the restaurant’s intentions clearly – breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is an all day eatery for all types of eaters – the fry-up connoisseurs, the afternoon sandwich seekers and evening diners on the lookout for finer fare. Their deep-filled chicken
Great for... timeless romantics
Tony Venditto’s new restaurant Amici is perfect for discerning foodies looking for a taste of authentic Latin cuisine. Though the pasta, pizza and risotto based dishes may taste like they’ve come straight from Italy to your table, a top tip is to force yourself past those staples and try some of the more ‘offpiste’ dishes like Bob’s Lobster – comprising of lobster, clams, garlic, chilli, ginger and tomatoes or the Anatra Con Mango E Balsamico – duck breast cooked pink in fresh mango and balsamic. With wines coming from his own vineyard back in Liberi near Naples, this is as real as it gets without stepping on a plane. 24 Churchill Way Cardiff CF10 2DY Telephone: 029 2034 3424 or visit www. amicirestaurant-cardiff.co.uk
The brainchild of award-winning chef Stephen Gomes, Moksh is as far removed from a traditional curry house as it gets. Comparisons have been drawn with Heston Blumenthal, both sharing a penchant for experimentation in the kitchen. The dishes reflect the chef ’s background and his travels through India and Asia with a menu full of Goan influence that blends traditional flavours with contemporary presentation. Stephen’s racked up some impressive silverware over the years, picking up the title of Best UK Indian Chef on three occasions in the Cobra Good Curry Guide – a clear indication he’s a champion of both innovation and taste. Bute Street Cardiff CF10 5AN Telephone: 029 2049 8120 or visit www. moksh.co.uk
Great for… Welsh food with a (celebrity) view
Tempus at Tides Bar & Restaurant at the St David’s Hotel & Spa offers some of the best views across the water of Cardiff Bay. The menu pays homage to home with steamed cockles from Penclawdd and roast sewin fillet from the River Towy. The restaurant’s beef is sourced from grass fed cattle in Pembrokeshire and matured for 21 days. Don’t be surprised to see a few famous faces whilst you’re dining; this is a decadent drop-in for some of Wales’ biggest stars. Havannah Street, Cardiff CF10 5SD. Telephone: 0844 915 0028 or visit www. thestdavidshotel.com/dining
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racks up the full house (gluten, diary and nut free). Tie your visit in with one of Chapter’s upcoming Caffi-Bar events – brush up on your Welsh skills over cake and coffee at Clonc yn y Cwtch (every Monday at 6.30pm) or sup on some 247 beers during Oktoberfest (October 23rd – 26th). Market Road, Cardiff CF5 1QE. Telephone: 029 2030 4400 or visitwww.chapter.org
Great for… critically-acclaimed kebabs
In a recent survey by The Times, Troy Restaurant was ranked one of the top five kebab restaurants in the UK. Before you turn away and scoff at the thought, these are proper kebabs – not the sort reserved for those looking for sustenance after a heavy session on the beers. The meat is cooked over an open ‘Ocakbashi’ charcoal pit, not vertically rotating on a spike. Throw in some tasty meze dishes and aromatic breads and this is anything but a stop-off for the late night boozing brigade; it’s a real Turkish delight. 192 City Road, Cardiff CF24 3JF. Telephone: 029 20499 339 or visit www.troymezebar.com
Great for… gluten free, diary free and nut free
Chapter Arts Centre in Canton is one of Cardiff ’s biggest arts hubs – a vibrant multi-platform space for cinema, comedy, exhibitions, music and theatre. It’s also home to an award-winning cafe with a menu that’s determined to cater for every dietary need. The spaghetti, roasted vegetables and homemade Napoli sauce (topped with rocket salad)
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Great for... tapas
From the ashes of the humble British buffet comes the mighty flaming tapas bar. With one on most high-streets these days it’s hard to find one that really stands out. Not any more – because we’re telling you that Bar 44 has two of the best of their kind in Wales. 14 Windsor Road, Penarth CF64 1JH / 44C High Street, Cowbridge CF71 7AG. Telephone: 029 2070 5497 / 01446 776488 or visit www.bar44.co.uk
Great for... live music and food
Great for… midweek veggies
Every Wednesday is Veggie Wednesday at Oscars in Pontcanna. What began as a trial evening is now a permanent midweek fixture. A glass of Prosecco will greet you on arrival as you help yourself from Oscars’ Pick’n’Mix section (Twitter enthusiasts are encouraged to tweet about their experience with the hashtag #veggiewednesday). Twitching carnivores have no need to fret, the rest of the menu provides a number of meat treats, the ultimate being the braised pork belly served with bubble & squeak, sour cherry & russet apple chutney and salted crackling. 6-10 Romilly Crescent, Cardiff CF11 9NR. Telephone: 029 2034 1264 or visit www.oscarsofcardiff.com
Great for… steak on the marina
Pier 64 is a wine bar and steakhouse located in the picturesque Penarth Marina. Naturally, the stunning view lends itself to al fresco dining with an expansive terrace up close to the sailing action. The standout on a predominantly meat lovers menu is the rather decadent Tournedo rossini; a fine slab of Welsh fillet beef served with pan fried foie gras, brioche and a truffle red wine jus. Book on a Tuesday and you’ll get a third off the price of your steak. In the evening, the wine bar is the ideal warm-up spot for a big night out or a round of cocktails with friends – the Spiced Rum Mojito packs a hefty punch. Penarth Marina, Penarth CF64 1TT. Telephone: 029 2000 0064 or visit www.pier64.co.uk
1 Barrack Lane, Cardiff CF10 2GS. Telephone: 07720 430272 or visit www.thegrazingshed.com
Tired of commercial classical music, loud annoying pop or worst of all...musak playing in the background when you eat out. Fret not – with live music playing all day, every day, The Live Lounge is the perfect backdrop for a burger or some nachos. 9 The Friary, Cardiff CF10 3FA. Telephone: 029 2132 8159 or visit www.thelivelounge.com
Great for...a taste of Asia
For lovely grub to go with your cold bottle of Chang Beer, we recommend Wales’ oldest Thai restaurant The Thai House for more formal dining, Bangkok Cafe on Cowbridge Road for a more relaxed night-out, and Cardiff ’s iCookThai on Crwys Road if you wanna learn how to cook it yourself. Japanese food doesn’t get much better than Yakitori#1 down in Cardiff Bay, whilst a Cardiff rock for Chinese cuisine is and always will be Riverside Cantonese. The young whippersnapper is .CN on City Road. For fantastic, inexpensive Malaysian food we want to scream KL Canolog at strangers as they walk by on Wellfield Road.
Great for... real food with a real ale
The Conway in leafy Pontcanna makes good hearty food without forgetting how to be a good pub at the same time. You can always count on the food to be at the top of its game. The beers never stand still for too long either with guest ales and local craft brews coming and going like revolving doors. 58 Conway Road, Cardiff CF11 9NW. Telephone: 029 2022 4373 or visit www.knifeandforkfood.co.uk/conwa
Great for... posh burgers
The Grazing Shed offers excellent juicy patties made from Welsh cows, fresh wheaty baps from Penarth; this local and independent fastfood joint even eschews big name colas to offer you independent versions. You can even have a glass of elderflower cordial with your burger and fries – now that’s posh! We like.
Great for... post-shopping beverages
If you’ve been purchasing some new threads in St David’s Shopping Centre, The Cosy Club is the ideal destination for some well earned drinks. Take the stairs (or lift, depending on your bag count) to the spacious bar and dining area where the dual-aspect views allow you to look down onto The Hayes below. We recommend the Old Colonial Iced Tea pitcher - a fine concoction of Smirnoff vodka, Gordon’s gin, Cointreau, a splash of Earl Grey syrup and lemonade. All those units require sustenance, so take a look at the brunch menu for a wide selection of sandwiches, burgers and tapas. Next issue we head west, north and east (but not south - we’d get wet). Michael Took
Win, win, win!
We've got some great prizes to kick off our brand new competitions page and we've kept the answers easy so what's stopping you?
Win The Ultimate Golf Tuition Package
WIN A FIVE STAR EVENING FOR TWO AT THE ST DAVID’S HOTEL & SPA IN CARDIFF BAY Tempus at Tides restaurant at the five star St David’s Hotel & Spa overlooking the waters of Cardiff Bay has introduced its autumn menu and to mark the event they are offering the opportunity to indulge yourself with a meal and overnight stay for two. St David’s Hotel & Spa is Wales’ leading luxury five star hotel, its exclusive location offering views over the water for all 142 bedrooms. The hotel is a favourite with visiting celebrities and attracts conference business from across the country. It also boasts a Marine Spa and first class restaurant, Tempus at Tides. www.thestdavidshotel.com Simply tell us the name of the restaurant at St David’s Hotel & Spa, and you could be enjoying this terrific midweek treat. Quoting St David’s Hotel competition email your answer to email@example.com. The St David’s Hotel & Spa is one of PH Hotels’ 23 unique properties ranging from countryside retreats to stylish city centre properties. www.ph-hotels.com Offer available Sunday – Thursday until March 31 2014. Prize subject to availability. Closing date January 10.
Win Welsh Open Snooker Tickets! The world’s best snooker players are coming to Newport early next year and here’s your chance to win tickets to the final. The world ranking event runs from February 19th to March 2nd at the Newport Centre. There’s a brand new format this year which means that all 128 players will start in the same round at the venue, so top stars could be facing up-andcoming rookies in the first round! We’ve teamed up with World Snooker to offer you the chance to win two tickets to the showpiece final on Sunday March 2nd. The prize also includes a backstage tour giving a unique insight into what happens behind the scenes! And two runners-up each receive two tickets to the semi-finals on Saturday March 1st.
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As host venue of the 2010 Ryder Cup and home to a state-of-the-art golf academy recognised as the Wales National Centre for Excellence, the renowned Celtic Manor Resort is a pretty impressive place to sort out your swing. From taking your very first lessons to testing your game against one of the toughest championship layouts, Celtic Manor has something for everyone – a veritable golfer’s paradise, and the ideal setting to enjoy the ultimate golf tuition package that’s up for grabs for one lucky RedHanded reader. This exceptional prize will take your game to the next level with 8 hours of expert tuition from Celtic Manor’s team of experienced PGA professionals. Put your new skills into practice at the world-class Celtic Manor Golf Academy with 800 complimentary balls at the 28-bay driving range, access to chipping and putting greens, an indoor putting studio and a short game practice area with all-weather tees and greens. Everyone’s game is unique and Celtic Manor’s qualified pros will also treat your clubs to a full MOT to ensure that you are getting the most out of your swing, plus you’ll pay a visit to their studios for a full custom fit session using Trackman Pro launch monitors to analyse the club at impact, the ball flight and a whole host of other invaluable statistics which will help them determine the ideal club specification to suit your game. For your chance to win this fantastic prize simply email your answer to the following question to firstname.lastname@example.org quoting Celtic Manor: In which year did The Celtic Manor Resort host the Ryder Cup? Terms and conditions apply. Prize is non-transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash, goods or other services. Excludes transfers to and from the Resort and any merchandise purchased as a recommendation from the professionals. Prize must be taken by October 1, 2014, subject to availability and excluding dates of Resort events as advised at time of booking. Entrants must be aged 18 years or over. Deadline for entry is January 10, 2014.
For a chance to win just answer this easy question: How many points is the green ball worth in snooker? a) 2 b) 3 c) 4 Email your answer to redhanded@conroymedia. co.uk quoting Welsh Open.
Kalahari Safari Mark Eveleigh narrowly avoids a collision with a large animal in Botswana
The immensity and isolation of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana have traditionally kept it beyond the reach of all but a few rough-and-ready explorers. Even the Bushmen – to whom the reserve was originally bequeathed as homelands – have needed 20,000 years to master the art of survival here. So when we set out to fulfil a long-time ambition to drive across Africa’s last great wilderness we went properly prepared. Our little convoy consisted of two Land Rover Defenders, fully-equipped with longrange fuel-tanks, huge water-reservoirs, intervehicle radios, recovery equipment and spares, predator-proof rooftop tents, pump-showers and ice-boxes. And, most reassuring of all,
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I had secured the help of my old friend Bart ‘Bart-swana’ Vandepitte. More than a million off-road miles in the African bush (first as a naturalist with Botswana Wildlife Services and then with Africa Unlimited Safaris) have helped to turn Bart into one of the most knowledgeable guides in the region. While Botswana is not a cheap country to visit, its policy of low volume tourism has helped to maintain it as one of Africa’s most pristine safari destinations. And a mobile camp and an independent 4x4 are the perfect way to get the most out of some of Africa’s wildest national parks. There is little in the way of budget accommodation and, apart from a couple of highly luxurious and very exclusive lodges, there is nowhere to stay within easy reach of the great wildlife hotspots. The going was slow and in the first two days we only made it out of second gear a few times and averaged less than 14 mph. We heard the Kalahari lions every night and jackals often came to visit, whining at the scent of the barbecued pork, garlic-flavoured braai bread and butter squash that sizzled on our wood fire. At first we lay awake in our tents listening to hungry lions out on the pans. The deep echoing roar of a lion in the darkness of an African night is one of the most bloodfreezing sounds imaginable, echoing back to a time when mankind was just another source of protein – frantically struggling to claw his
way up the food-chain. Within a few nights we became more accustomed to the noises, however, and were able to remind ourselves that, with luck, the local predators were unlikely to have more than a passing interest in us. The mornings revealed some of the mysteries of those haunting nocturnal hours: vultures swooping down from their lookout posts, three miles up in an apparently empty sky; a half-eaten springbok carcase with ribs cracked by hyenas; the fresh prints of two nomadic lions looking for an opportunity to move in on the local boss. The signs in the sand could be read like the morning paper and Bart helped us to unfold the drama of the night clue by clue. As I crouched by the car, photographing the recent tracks of the hunting pride, I could feel the hairs prickling the back of my neck. Dawn is the best time to watch wildlife and we would cruise slowly until the rising sun started to drive the animals into shade. Then we would prepare breakfast in the back of the Land Rover and climb onto the roof to enjoy what could have been Africa’s remotest dining table, sometimes among mixed herds of almost a thousand springbok, gemsbok, hartebeest and wildebeest. Further north in Makgadikgadi Pans (known to the Bushmen as ‘place of water’) the driving got more technical as we side-slipped
along swampy trails. Further north still, along Selinda Spillway, Linyanti Swamps and Chobe National Park the elephants did what they could to add some drama to our stints behind the wheel. Botswana has a serious elephant overpopulation problem and herds of up to 400 dominate vast areas of the country. Bart was mock-charged in the lead Land Rover several times and once an enraged bull elephant put in a serious charge that sent both vehicles fleeing back up the trail in reverse. It is notoriously difficult to distinguish between a mock charge and a real one when three tonnes of angry pachyderm is bearing down on you. On our last day in the country I was leaning out of the passenger window photographing a herd of elephants when a young bull charged us. Because of the thick acacia and his determined silence (a bad sign) we didn’t spot him until he was almost upon us. Even as I braced for the impact I was yelling: “Go! Go! Go!” But with impressive sangfroid Mad Mike held his ground and kept the Land Rover
CRUCIAL INFO Travel Adventures Botswana (www. traveladventuresbotswana.com) offers a range of self-drive guided 4x4 safaris. Online Safari holiday portal www. safaribookings.com has heaps of information about planning your Africa safari. immobile until the elephant skidded to a trumpeting halt just a couple of metres short of the vehicle. “Wow,” I said breathlessly, as we watched our attacker smashing his way back into the bushes. “Nerves of steel! How did you know it was a mock?” “I didn’t,” said a pasty-faced Mad Mike. “We were in third gear, so when I slammed the accelerator down in a fit of panic we just didn’t move!”
SAFARI SO GOOD
Three more self-drive safaris: Namibia Tribal Trails Visit the remarkable Himba tribe who dye their skin red with ochre. Britz 4x4 rentals (www.britz.co.za) offers a 13-day Kaokoveld off-road experience. South Africa Motorhome Enjoy a higher level of comfort with a motorhome. Maui (www.maui.co.za) offers Wildlife and Beach trips from Jo’burg including game-viewing and diving. Namibia Cheetah Trek Hunt this elusive big cat in Namibia and Botswana. Expert Africa (www.expertafrica. com) offers a 15-day self-drive tour full of wildlife sighting opportunities with luxury lodge accommodation.
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Chill Factor Look cool, stay warm (and grow a beard)
Photography by Mission Photographic www.missionphotographic.com
Gwilym Jacket, Woolrich - £629 Cardigan, Lyle & Scott - £90 Shirt, Barbour - £79 Jeans, Waykee Diesel - £120 Boots, Red Wing - £289 All from Pavilion Clothing
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Left: Gwilym Shirt, Napalm -£75.00 Sweater, Siege - £75.00 Hooded Jacket, Defile - £180.00 All by Nathan Palmer Clothing
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Right: Phil Jacket, Polo Ralph Lauren - £345 Vest (orange), Polo Ralph Lauren - £255 Jersey, Polo Ralph Lauren - £110 Shirt, Polo Ralph Lauren - £125 Jeans, Polo Ralph Lauren - £95 Boots, Timberland - £140 All from John Lewis
Phil (top) Jacket, Barbour - £279 Shirt, Weekend Offender - £85 Sweater, Penguin - £85 Jeans, Nudie - £105 Boots, Timberland - £140 All from Pavilion Clothing
Left: Quilted Jacket, Timberland - £130 Shirt, Timberland - £85 Jumper, Timberland - £100 Jeans, Polo Ralph Lauren - £95 All from John Lewis
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Top: Gwilym Shirt, Bunker - £90.00 V-neck jumper, Poleaxe - £80.00 Leather jacket, Mantel - £400 All by Nathan Palmer Clothing Left: Phil Jacket, Canada Goose - £625 Sweater, Barbour - £79 Shirt, Lacoste - £99 Jeans, Waykee Diesel - £120 All from Pavilion Clothing
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Gwilym Shirt, Fascine - £110.00 Jumper, Vedette - £80.00 Cashmere Sleeve Hoody, Sortie - £85.00 All by Nathan Palmer Clothing Thanks to our models Gwilym and Phil Clothes supplied by: Pavilion Clothing, Wharton Street, Cardiff John Lewis, St David’s Centre, Cardiff Nathan Palmer Clothing www.nathanpalmer.co.uk
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If you think you've got what it takes to model for RedHanded, email a full length pic and contact info to email@example.com
Glamorgan players get England call up Mike Reed, the hugely promising bowler at Glamorgan, and Aneurin Donald, a member of the Glamorgan Academy, have been selected for the Potential England Performance Programme following their success this season. Reed, the 25-year-old from Loughborough, is faced with a rigorous pre-Christmas strength and conditioning programme in his home town before heading to South Africa in January for three weeks of bowling in Potchefstroom. Donald has been selected as one of ten young cricketers to take part in the England Under-16 Winter Development Programme at Loughborough. Donald has already played for Glamorgan 2nd XI this season and his selection follows a successful week at the Bunbury Under-15 Festival which was held at Repton School in Derbyshire. Reed claimed 38 first-class wickets after producing some stunning early season performances, most notably a five for 27 against Worcestershire. “International recognition is a great reward for some strong performances, especially in the first half of the season,” said the 6ft 7in seamer Reed. “It’s a massive opportunity for me to improve as a bowler, I am really excited but the hard work starts now. “Hopefully this winter will allow me to do that by getting some bowling stamina and developing my skills. Glamorgan Membership is now available to buy for season 2014, with annual membership giving supporters the chance to see every day of the regular season domestic home matches for just £139, alternatively upgrade to Premier Membership or take advantage of the Country or Club Cricket Player membership options if you are eligible. www.glamorgancricket.com
NEW SKIPPER AT BLUES Matthew Rees talks about how he went from being a Scarlet to a Blue and taking on the captaincy at the Cardiff Arms Park I’ve settled in brilliantly at Cardiff Blues following my summer move and I’m enjoying every moment. It’s a change of scenery after my time at Scarlets and I’d obviously worked with Phil (Davies) for a couple of seasons down at Llanelli and a big factor for me was Gethin (Jenkins) coming back too. They needed a group of senior players because they had lost 20 players the year before and a lot of them were experienced. You look around the facilities here and they are excellent. It’s great for me, it’s on the doorstep but the biggest attraction was the new challenge. People talk about a move overseas, but I felt at this time in my career, with a young family as well, I just wanted to stay close to home. Everyone is different. You see the guys like James Hook and Lee Byrne and they love it in France and I’m sure there will be other boys leaving, but for me I’m a home-boy. I was just keen to stay in Wales, this opportunity came up and I have taken it with both hands.
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Cardiff is now a true sporting city and so it’s great to be here. It’s fantastic to see Cardiff City FC in the Premiership and we all wish them every success. It’s taken them a few years to get to the top-flight and if we could now follow their success with a top season in the RaboDirect PRO12 league it would be brilliant. I’ve come in and taken the captaincy - but there are lots of leaders in this team! We have Gethin (Jenkins) alongside Sam (Warburton), Leigh (Halfpenny) and Alex (Cuthbert) and all the experience they bring from the Six Nations and the British & Irish Lions tour. I’m sure we can now help Blues step it up a couple of notches. The younger boys coming through played a lot of rugby last year so they are more experienced and better drilled. Hopefully that will really spur us on. On a personal level, I’ve definitely still got international ambitions. But that comes down to performing well for the Blues. If you do that, then things will take care of themselves in terms of selection for the Welsh squad. It’s also great to be back playing at Cardiff Arms Park on the new artificial pitch. It’s our home and it’s steeped in tradition and great values. Hopefully, as a team, we can now make it a fortress. It’s the capital city of Wales in a
great location; hopefully we can get the local support behind us. It’s exciting to be playing on that pitch. We’ve only played one game on it so far and it is going to be fast. It’s a perfect surface for us to play on and we want to match it and play a fast flowing and free game.
Our friends eclectic When you step into The Morgan Quarter you enter a shopping experience filled with an eclectic mix of retailers. Comprising of the Royal and Morgan Arcades and shop fronts on The Hayes and St Mary Street, the Morgan Quarter offers a unique shopping environment with a host of well known prestige brands alongside a fascinating mix of independent retailers, offering homeware, jewellery, fashion, technology and award winning food. Walk along The Hayes and you will find retail brands such as Fred Perry, Urban Outfitters and Dr. Martens.
The Royal Arcade, built in 1866, houses 27 independent stores, such as: Vom Fass, offering unique liqueurs, cocktails, spirits, cooking oils and vinegars; Pen & Paper, stocking the finest choice of pens in Wales, including famous brands such as Parker, Visconti, Waterman, Cross, Sheaffer, Lamy and Yard o Led; Wally’s Delicatessen, established in Cardiff for more than 60 years stocking a wide selection of produce from around the globe; and new addition Eyes Lips Face, the first store of this brand to open in the UK. The Morgan Arcade offers high end brands such as: Bang & Olufsen, world renowned for
its distinctive range of quality televisions, music systems and high-performance loudspeakers; Pretty Green, the British clothing label founded and designed by Liam Gallagher; the plan café, voted as one of the top 50 cafés in the country by The Independent; and Hawkes Essentials, with a selection of men’s fashion that is uncompromising in the pursuit of quality. The Morgan Quarter can be found opposite the St David’s Shopping Centre on The Hayes and opposite the Royal Hotel on St Mary Street.
How to get the most out of your private tutoring session In an increasingly competitive environment private tutoring can be the difference between success and failure but students still need to understand the Essentials for Learning Comprehension & Retention “For students who are perhaps struggling academically or want to get ahead, scheduling tutoring sessions are invaluable,” says Simon Clay, of Tutor Doctor Cardiff. “But at the end of the day, students need to understand that it’s up to them – not their tutors – to put in the extra effort to maximize results.” For students who are working with a tutor or considering hiring a tutor, the Tutor Doctor Cardiff team has provided the following tips to maximize comprehension and retention. Before • Come prepared with all relevant worksheets, notes, handouts, materials, drafts, and supplies. • Review your most recent assignment and pinpoint any challenging areas. This will help your tutor identify any patterns and develop a strategy moving forward. • Come with a written list of any questions or concerns that can be addressed right from the start of the session.
During • Be prepared to learn. Your tutor won’t do the work for you but will help you understand the relevant subject matter and apply these concepts to homework or test problems. • Talk to your instructors about what they think you are struggling with. • Explain how you think about or approach a problem to your tutor. This will help your tutor figure out your learning style, strengths and weaknesses. • Ask your tutor to review the most important issues at the beginning of the session so that you don’t run out of time before addressing them. • Share your goals, other concerns, and your general history with the subject. • Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t understand something. • Let your tutor know when a particular method makes a lot of sense to you, or when one doesn’t. • Take notes during tutoring. Structure them in whatever way works for you so you’re
able to apply your new learning approach and concepts to future assignments. Pay close attention to how your tutor approaches subjects so when your tutor is not around, you can ask yourself, “What would my tutor do in this situation?”, and actually have an answer.
After • Use the notes you’ve taken when doing assignments on your own and practise the newer learning concepts so it becomes more second nature. • Review your school notes and tutoring notes before doing your homework. Review your homework regularly – both the questions you got right and the ones you got wrong. For more information on Tutor Doctor Cardiff and its services, visit www.tutor-magic.co.uk.
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Mushroom at the top Like all good Italians, Toni Venditto, owner of the Amici Restaurant, is passionate about food - especially when it comes to freshly foraged mushrooms “I started foraging about 10 years ago and I got absolutely hooked on it. I mainly forage for wild mushrooms: a lot of people in Britain are afraid to pick wild mushrooms so all the more for me!” “If you would like to get into foraging, I would suggest you get a couple of books on mushrooms and do your reading, then stick to what you know and enjoy your walk.” “Here at Amici we always have a feast of mushrooms, I would like to share a recipe with you.”
WILD MUSHROOM CROSTINI
Feeling a little chilly?
This Italian dish is extremely popular because of its versatility; it can be served as a snack or antipasto. Even if you can’t get hold of wild mushrooms you can use cultivated instead.
What you need are some, er, chillies, says award winning Indian chef Stephen Gomes, top man at Moksh Restaurant in Cardiff Bay
400g mixed wild mushrooms (whatever you can find) 2 garlic cloves 1 small fresh red chilli – finely chopped 8tbsp olive oil 1tbsp coarsely chopped parsley 1tbsp marjoram leaves (or mint leaves) 4 large slices of bread Salt and pepper to taste Clean the mushrooms thoroughly and cut them into cubes. Fry the finely chopped garlic and chilli in 6 tablespoons of the olive oil and before the garlic starts to colour add the mushrooms. Sauté or stir fry them briefly for a few minutes only so that they retain their crisp texture. Add the parsley, marjoram (or mint leaves) and some salt and pepper. Meanwhile toast the bread on both sides then rub them very slightly with the whole garlic clove, brush with the remaining olive oil and top with the mushrooms. Serve immediately. Buon appetito, enjoy it. Toni www.amicirestaurant-cardiff.co.uk
Laal means red, maas means meat. This traditional Rajasthani red meat dish gets its colour from the chillies used in its recipe. If you love hot curries this is the dish for you - definitely not for the faint hearted, it’s certain to spice up your winter. Serves: 2 Marinade ingredients 500g lamb or goats meat 50g yoghurt 3 tablespoons of dhaniya powder (coriander) 2 tablespoons of jeera powder 2 teaspoons of chilli powder 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder (haldi) 1 tablespoon of ginger/garlic paste 1 tablespoon of naga pickle(You can get naga pickle at local Indian grocery stores such as Cardiff’s Masala Bazaar.) I tablespoon of garam masala powder Salt to taste For curry 4 tablespoons of oil 1 tablespoon of whole garam masala (clove, cardamom, black pepper, bay leaf and cinnamon) 150g onion (chopped) 8-10 cloves of garlic (minced) 4 red chillies (whole) 3 tablespoons of tomato paste Water as required Method Prep: 15min › Cook: 25min › Extra time: 2hr marinating › Ready in: 2hr 40min Mix all the ingredients for the lamb marinade and keep it aside for 2 hours. Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onions and the whole garam masala. Saute for a few seconds and then add the minced garlic cloves and the whole dry red chillies. Add the lamb marinade and tomato paste stir vigorously for a few minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water and cook until the oil separates. Add more water and simmer until the lamb is well done. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with boiled basmati rice. Find out more about Stephen Gomes at www.moksh.co.uk
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Lifestyle Male Botox Works! Go on, admit it, says Jason at Groom For Men. Wouldn’t you just love to iron those frown wrinkles and crows feet? You’re not the only one. Times are changing, men are now some of the biggest consumers of cosmetic treatments and one of the biggest areas of growth has been botox. We all want to look good and feel good about ourselves so why can’t men have a slice of that youthful pie? Having had botox for the last decade I am aware of the difficulties with accessing such treatments in the male domain. There are the brave amongst us that have succumbed to going to women’s salons, but no more. Here at Groom for Men we have made this situation dramatically easier, providing accessibility and a discrete tailored service like never before! Even after all the years of treatments, no one had ever explained to me that us guys have to have 30% more product to ensure an optimal result. I felt cheated and just assumed that my facial muscles were abnormal. When I then needed repeated top-ups and found my results not lasting as long as I had hoped I started to lose confidence in the procedure. Only after a consultation with Dr Sha at Visify did I understand that this is a common experience for men – female botox doesn’t work effectively. The male botox treatments from Visify do. This is why Dr Sha now holds weekly clinics at Groom For Men and we can finally offer cosmetic treatments by the guys who know best in an environment designed with men in mind. Men want their treatments in an appropriately dedicated environment, where they can ask questions and address their concerns with ease. Dr Sha at Visify can also address the dreaded underarm sweat patch as well as thread veins with their revolutionary Veinwave Treatment. Increasingly you too can achieve that look you have so longed for, be recognised for looking groomed, look 10 years younger and have that confidence surge. Long may it continue! www.groomformen.co.uk 123 Crwys Road, Cardiff. Tel: 029 2132 0204
The Christmas Gift Guide, By St David’s As the countdown to the festive season begins, we’ve hand-picked a selection of the best Christmas gifts for guys available at St David’s. Whether he’s tech-savvy or a beauty buff, take the stress out of Christmas shopping with our guide to the top gifts this season. Gadgets
John Lewis, Motorola MotoACTV Fitness Tracker and Music Player, £250 Menkind, Retro Raido, £19.99 Menkind, Virtually Indestructible Helicopter £49.99 Apple, Macbook Pro, from £1,249
River Island, Navy Stag Jumper, £35 Vivienne Westwood, Camouflage Weekend Bag, £350 M&S, Leather Gloves, £29.50 Mantaray at Debenhams, Fairisle Hat, £16
John Lewis, Kent Shaving Brush, £35 John Lewis, Moustache Grooming Kit, £9.99 SuperDry, Fragrance 75ml, £35 each The White Company, Felt Slippers, £40
Gifts for the Home
Debenhams, Resin Stag Head, £20 John Lewis, Cocktail Set, £49 M&S, Large Heritage Globe, £39.50 Hamleys, Wooden Chess Set, £19
YOU EARN YOUR BODY As we hastily make our way towards Christmas and on into the New Year, there is no better time to give yourself a running start. When 2014 rolls around you will undoubtedly be subjected to the ‘New Year, New You’ slogan in gyms, high streets and many retail shops. While the notion of this is all very well, why not get ahead of your friends and be their New Year’s inspiration? Here at Bannatyne’s you’re not alone, we offer bespoke training programmes aimed solely at getting you where you want to be. Your programme will be regularly monitored by your own Fitness Advisor and new programmes are designed every 4-5 weeks
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to give you a boost and extra motivation. Your Fitness Advisor will regularly monitor your progress using several methods during your initial assessment and again every 4-5 weeks with constructive and achievable goals throughout the short, medium and long term. Your Advisor will take you through your programme step by step offering you advice and tips on how to progress, as you move towards your next appointment together. This service is all part of your membership package and is at no extra cost. So why not leave 2013 running and hit 2014 with a bang? www.bannatyne.co.uk
“LaFerrari” Ferrari inspired HUBLOT MP-05 is both a record breaker and a stunner
One of Cardiff’s hidden gems, Trade Street Café, is re-opening for business, following a new ownership buyout and £80,000 renovation. Customers will see the popular café, located in Trade Street close to Cardiff Central Station, open its doors again under a new partnership of local entrepreneurs Philip Gibb, owner of Syrus Energy and Francis Dupuy, owner of award winning restaurant Pier 64, Penarth. Phil said: “As a regular of Trade Street Café, I was hugely disappointed when it closed. When the opportunity arose to buy this prime positioned cafe, along with the partnership and expertise of Francis from Pier 64, we couldn’t resist. We are looking forward to opening the doors now following a complete re-design and renovation.” Sourcing a vast amount of its stock from local suppliers, the new cafe, with room for 50, as well as takeaway options, will offer an economic and simple version of sister company Pier 64 with new elements of fast, high end, gourmet breakfast and lunch options, including homemade chilli con carne, minute steak with home-cooked fries and freshly made salads and sandwiches. As of Monday, November 4, Trade Street Café will be open from 7am until 7pm. In addition to breakfasts and lunches customers can enjoy afternoon teas and after work nibbles and drinks, such as Champagne, fine wine and beers. Off-site catering will also be available as will hire of the Café post 7pm. As project manager Duncan Culley, who has overseen the development and renovation, succinctly put it: “With the expertise of Phil and Francis, the café is not only looking brilliant, but will be offering top quality food for everyone.” www.tradestreetcafe.com firstname.lastname@example.org tel. 029 2022 8666
We are in the world of the exceptional. The recently announced MP-05 “LaFerrari” represents a very special series, entirely designed and developed by the Hublot’s engineers and watchmakers in tribute to “LaFerrari”. Just in case you didn’t know, LaFerrari is an achingly beautiful limited edition Ferrari ‘Hypercar’ costing a paltry million quid. Why so expensive? Well, there’s only 499 of them and they use ground-breaking technology to produce a whopping 950bhp to hurtle the car to 63mph in less than 3 seconds and on to over 220mph. It’s this ground-breaking tech, namely a hybrid engine (petrol and electric), that provides the inspiration for Hublot’s MP-05 “LaFerrari” timepiece. The MP-05 “LaFerrari” truly lives up to the car, having achieved an historic world record withits 50-day power reserve. It is also the watch with the most watchmaking components created to date by Hublot (637). Designed entirely in parallel with the car, alongside the Ferrari teams, they share a number of common points. The quality of design and components make it more of a concept watch. The tourbillon, the 50-day power
reserve, its engine-like 11-barrel movement entirely visible and held in a finely wrought case - reminiscent of the car’s outline made from black PVD titanium, all topped by a titanium and carbon insert at its centre serve to make it a remarkable timepiece. But before you rush to Crouch the Goldsmiths in Cardiff’s St David’s Centre, to hand over your plastic, they’ve all been sold, despite their £150k price tag. No matter, Hublot have some rather more affordable and equally desirable watches to choose from, so your trip won’t be in vain.
EXPERIMENTICA 2013: BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN “If it wasn’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all” Albert King, Born Under A Bad Sign From November 6-10, Chapter Arts Centre plays host to Experimentica, a key event for the presentation of new performance and interdisciplinary projects across installation, film, video, sound art, dance and theatre. It is a major platform for artists from Wales to produce or introduce their work, alongside contributions and commissions by internationally established artists. In 2013, Experimentica is thirteen years old and will take its cue from the number 13 – embracing and celebrating failure, risk, chance, the experimental, bad and good luck - with five packed days of presentations. The list of artists is extensive and still growing as we go to press but already announced are Kathryn Ashill, Nigel Barrett & Louise Mari, Richard Bowers, Tim Bromage, Roy Brown, Holly Davey, Cian Donnelly, Ben Ewart-
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Dean, Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau, good cop bad cop, S Mark Gubb, Samuel Hasler, Mamoru Iriguchi, Richard James & Anthony Shapland, Jerusalem In My Heart, Pil & Galia Kollectiv, Almut Linde, Nicholas McArthur & Robert Molly Vaughan, Mike Pearson & Heike Roms. The Dancing Plague of 1518 by Robert Molly Vaughan and Nicholas McArthur sounds fascinating and will be a highlight. It’s a uniquely energetic and furious piece of physical performance that references a mysterious outbreak of dancing to death that occurred in Strasbourg. There will also be a spine tingling programme of films to complement the festival. Working with the BFI, Chapter are presenting a Gothic season across the autumn - with tales that feed on our darkest fears and desires and conjure the creatures of the night into being.
TICKETING £25 Festival Pass £10 per day £5 per individual event Tickets and passes are available online and at our box office +44 (0)29 2030 4400 / www.chapter.org
Keep warm this Winter The Pavilion Clothing team is battling the elements this winter, with four exciting new brands complementing their ever expansive arsenal Winter’s sepulchral sky looms large on the horizon, and you’re stood shivering on the pavement in your flimsy Harrington, flinching at the prospect of yet another day sat in the office in damp clothes. But, it doesn’t have to be like this. As Ranulph Fiennes (who knows a thing or two about inclement weather), once said, ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather; just the wrong clothes’. On Cardiff’s Wharton Street, in the comparative warmth of Pavilion, there’s an array of waxes, quilts and winter parkas that will banish the worst a British winter can muster. With nearly 30 years’ experience instore; it’s reassuring to know that you’re in safe - and warm - hands this winter as you browse Pavilion’s new collection of weather-beating outerwear. Dept. B is Barbour’s most intricate and experimental collection to date. Taking inspiration from a special area in Barbour’s South Shields Factory that specializes in customization (whether
it’s a hidden trim, an extra pocket, or a zip that also functions as a ring-pull), Dept. B takes some of Barbour’s most recognizable pieces and gives them a face lift. Take the Hunnam for example: a uniquely short, medium-weight waxed jacket with a shaped front placket and corduroy collar. Its deep black colourway is complemented by the 100% cotton Tartan inner lining, and the stow away hood offers protection against wintry showers. Paired up with the Becket Crew - a 100% lambswool crew neck sweater with stripe detail and rectangular elbow patches - and a stylish, layered look is achieved. Delving down another layer and you might opt for the navy Hatch Polo, a pique polo shirt with asymmetrical placket panel and Dept (B) embroidery detail. Layering is also a strong feature in Patagonia’s range; one that delivers jackets, fleeces, gilets and t-shirts. A brand that boasts ‘40 years of innovation’, Patagonia still insist today that their guiding principles in choosing and designing equipment lies in ‘simplicity, universality and good quality’. The Torrentshell Jacket perhaps best encompasses this statement, with its pared-down and packable appearance befitting effective simplicity, whereas the 100% nylon ripstop and the waterproof/breathable barrier justifies their assessment of ‘good quality’. Whether you are climbing the Brecon Beacons, walking the dogs, or trudging to the office, you will remain dry. And now to the heavy-weights. Designed to handle the most extreme of temperatures, Woolrich’s Arctic Parka confers a contemporary shape, utilizing 80% goose down and 20% feather in the padding to provide protection and comfort. Originally for workers constructing the Alaskan pipeline, the Parka has reinterpreted itself, becoming a staple of
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urban outdoor wear. Available in a range of colours (olive, blue and navy), Woolrich’s Arctic Parka is an essential long-term investment, one that will stand the tests of time and weather. And finally we reach Canada Goose, whose fifty year heritage and experience has led to the production of some of the best extreme weather protection in the world. Exclusively to Wales, Pavilion offers three styles for men (The Expedition Parka; the slimmer Chateau Parka; The Freestyle Down Vest), and two options for women (The Trillium Parka; The Montebello Parka). The most iconic of these pieces is the men’s Expedition Parka (originally developed for scientists working in research facilities in Antarctica), it has a Thermal Experience Index of five (TEI 5) making it one of the warmest and most durable parkas available on the market. The Chateau Parka uses the same highly rated duck down fill as the Expedition Parka, but incorporates front button detailing and a slimmer cut for a more modern look, making it the go to winter coat for those who want to escape the cold. Whatever the weather this winter and whatever your tastes or needs, Pavilion Clothing is sure to find something perfect for you. Pavilion Clothing, Wharton Street, Cardiff CF10 1AG. t 029 2023 5333 www.pavilionclothing.com
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Cardiff in Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff
harles Street, in central Cardiff, is home to Momentum’s showroom. The stylishly laid out floors display a great collection of new and impressive designs ranging from oak tables and leather sofas to felt office screens and sound-proofing wall panels. However, a modern showroom is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what this business can offer. Momentum is not just an ordinary furniture store, it's a company dedicated to providing the best in contemporary furniture and lighting. Momentum sells products used on a huge variety of projects, both contract and residential, all over Cardiff. This makes Momentum a unique business in Wales - not only does it sell directly to the public in a retail setting, but experienced staff also consult, space-plan, source products and install on large scale commercial and residential projects. Momentum only sells quality British and European products. “We are really passionate
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Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff
National Museum of Wales, Cardiff
about design and believe strongly that it’s not just about aesthetic, it’s how the product performs, how comfortable it is, how long it will last, how the design or product will affect the user – it’s about quality in the truest sense of the word," says Director Nicole Daniels. "By being really selective about what we sell we can ensure consistency, sustainability and be able to offer the customer bespoke solutions.” Although perceived as a furniture store, commercial projects have traditionally been the focus of Momentum's work. “We’ve undertaken many commercial projects in Cardiff including cafes, restaurants, clubs and on a larger scale educational facilities and public spaces. Our aim is to work closely with our customers to ensure we source products that perfectly match the requirements for their project, based on design, quality and value,” Nicole continues. For this reason Momentum boasts an
impressive client list, having worked on numerous new-build and refurbishment projects to provide furniture and design solutions that will last the test of time. These have included many notable Cardiff landmarks, including the impressive foyer at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, National Museum of Wales, Chapter Arts Centre and the Wales Millennium Centre. Momentum has also supplied furniture and lighting extensively within the local hospitality industry, including Bellini’s, Signor Valentinos, Entrecote, Mimosa, Park Plaza, KuKu Club, The Cosy Club and Ffresh: you can’t walk very far in the Cardiff Bay without seeing Momentum’s influence. The company is at the forefront of Cardiff ’s changing landscape. “It’s great to be involved with local businesses expanding or setting up new sites, impressive new builds and the refurbishment projects of some of Cardiff ’s favourite places," says Nicole. "We recently furnished the
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Momentum – the city’s changing façade
Kuku Club, Cardiff
National Museum of Wales - Foyle Art Learning Space
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, cafe
Waterloo Tea Rooms, Cardiff
new Waterloo Tea Rooms at the fabulous Washington Building in Penarth, and we’re right in the middle of installing the renovated Penarth Pavilion Pier which will be completed this weekend – I’m really looking forward to seeing it." Whilst the majority of Momentum’s credited projects have been commercial, you will still find furniture from Momentum in many homes in Cardiff and South Wales. Momentum’s impressive portfolio contains the best furniture manufacturers in Europe which makes it the perfect place to get quality pieces and design classics. A favourite with interior designers, Momentum works on individual home or room refurbishments to high-end short term lets and holiday home property developments. The company provides impartial advice and can share expertise on furniture with customers. Nicole says: “I still love working on residential projects: it’s nice to be able to help
customers who are overwhelmed by what they have to purchase or they are looking for something really particular – it’s rewarding. We also get sneak previews of some of the amazing new builds and refurbishments that architects and interior designers are working on." This family business was set up 12 years ago in Cardiff to bring independent and contemporary design to the city. It has continued to flourish based on the strong principle of quality designed furniture that caters to the client’s requirements - whether this is one bar stool in a kitchen or an entire bar for a restaurant. "What is most important to us is that we provide quality products to fit the specifications of our customers and that it works for them whether it be individually, or as a business," says Nicole. “We try and stay on top of what is new by visiting furniture manufacturers and furniture shows and going to expos in the UK and abroad. At the moment there is a real
shift in the design of work spaces which is really exciting. The traditional bland office is no more now that businesses realise creating a stimulating work environment has a large impact upon the functionality and productivity of employees and businesses, it’s really interesting to work with. “We need to get the message out there, contemporary doesn’t necessarily mean expensive. We’re primarily interested in the design, quality and functionality – furniture and lighting should be built to last.” It’s nice to see a business that values quality over quantity, and whilst they are not the cheapest place in town you know the service is genuine and honest. For more information about Momentum and its products you can visit the website at www.momentumcardiff.com, pop in to the showroom located at 31 Charles Street, Cardiff or call on 029 2023 6266.
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Grooming 6 of the best… PostHeatwave Products Well, that was a turn-up for the books. After spending a soul-sapping couple of years in a permanently cold and grey weather system, we had a summer, with heat and everything. We got to dust off our barbecues, rediscover the joys of beer gardens and reboot our bodies with some much-welcome vitamin D. More importantly, it gave a helluva boost to our collective mood. The only downside? The havoc that heat and that sun wrought on our skin and hair simply because we’re not used to sustained Mediterranean weather. So, put some pep back into your autumn grooming with these prime post heatwave potions:
Spa Gazing Thermae Bath Spa, Bath
Jason Jones takes a long hot bath… in Bath, naturally 1. Anthony Logistics For Men Facial Moisturiser (70g, £32) Even if you studiously slathered your mush in high-factor suncream, the sudden heatwave is still bound to have taken its toll. This lotion is great because it rehydrates driedout skin without any residual oiliness. Plus, it has an SPF of 15 so is a handy protector in case we get yet more out of the ordinary sunshine. 2. Living Nature Ultra Nourishing Mask (50ml, £35) If you weren’t so assiduous about applying suncream, chances are your face needs a more industrial injection of moisture and that’s where this mask comes in. Apply, leave for 20 minutes, job done. Use once a week until your drum’n’bass is back to its hydrated glory.
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5. Trilogy Intensive Lip Treatment (7ml, £10.50) Largely because the skin is thinner than other parts of the body, lips generally take a battering but especially so after a long, hot summer. This 100 per cent natural treatment gives immediate relief for cracked, chapped lips using a combination of jojoba oil, cocoa butter and extracts of rosemary and citrus to promote repair.
3. Kevin Murphy Born.Again.Wash (250ml, £19.50) Hair often gets overlooked when it comes to sun protection and consequently ends up bone-dry and damaged. This from Aussie barnet bigwig Murphy is the perfect recovery shampoo mixing pure-form essential oils and plant extracts with the latest in molecular technology to restore hair that’s desperate for a drink.
Signature treatment: These are the only natural mineral-rich thermal baths in Britain so the H2O treatments are the obvious option. Most popular are The Vichy Rainforest Shower (30mins, £49), which uses powerful jets of water to massage, cleanse and stimulate the body’s soft tissues and is perfect for sports injuries, or Watsu (50 mins, £64), a portmanteau of water and shiatsu that takes elements of massage and acupressure and involves having your body gently stretched and guided through a series of flowing movements in the water by a therapist leaving your body retuned and your mind relaxed. Prices: Surprisingly competitive for such a high-spec operation. For example, the Kraven Stove, which despite its slightly gruesome name is actually an Alpine Hay Chamber that uses heat and essential oils to realign body balance is pretty good value for £16 for 20 minutes. In fact, nothing on the treatment list exceeds a 100 nicker, which is impressive for a spa at this level. See the website for their pocket-friendly special packages that change monthly. Service: The staff are quietly slick, on-hand if needed and invisible when not. The X Factor: It has to be the open-air rooftop pool, where you can enjoy the warm water while admiring expansive views across the skyline of one of England’s most beautiful and historic cities. Score: For the sheer audacious uniqueness of combining the ancient principles of the curative thermal spa with contemporary blinged-out luxe it has to be a strong 9 out of 10.
4. REN Frankincense & Boswellia Serrata Revitalising Repair Cream (50ml, £27.50) Obviously, the summer hols is when we bare more skin so our bodies also get a pounding by sun and sea salt. This body lotion nourishes parched skin effectively but isn’t so gloopy that it takes ages to rub in.
6. Refinery Eye Gel (15ml, £26) Like lips, the skin around the eyes is also thinner than elsewhere on the body so is more susceptible to the ravages of the sun’s rays. This gel from the male grooming arm of Aromatherapy Associates is easily-absorbed, refreshing and shows results almost immediately.
V For Victory If you’re going to name your brand after what sounds like a comic book superhero, then you’d better make sure that your products are supermanly. Luckily for Vitaman, it more than delivers the heroic goods. Developed in Australia by herbalist Glenn Kiddell and skincare specialist Clare Matthews, Vitaman actually takes its name from the Latin meaning ‘healthy man’ and is all about using natural ingredients to enhance what nature has gifted us. Especially effective is their haircare range that both smells citrusy fresh and works a treat. Check out the Moisturising Shampoo (250ml, £20.50), which does what it says and relights lacklustre locks, and the styling Pomade (100g, £20.50) that is firm without being concrete-like.
Darker days are on their way, but Jason Jones can banish those winter blues
SMALL CHANGES, BIG HEALTH BENEFITS
Turn down the central heating It’s that time of year again when it’s time to up the thermostat dial, but if you want to lose weight think twice. Chilly temperatures stimulate the production of brown fat in your body a process which helps maintain the body’s core temperature. Recent research in the Netherlands has shown that a useful side effect of this process is that your body burns more calories producing brown fat than it does producing white. So keeping the body a little cooler and making it switch to brown fat producing mode is now being touted as the diet aid of the future.
10 WAYS TO BOOST ENERGY Get a massage Studies show that massage helps us conquer three serious energy drainers – anxiety, headaches and muscle soreness. St David’s Hotel & Spa have a great variety to ease all ills, thestdavidshotel.com. Hit the sack Getting even one extra hour of sleep a week can counteract most energyrobbing shut-eye deficits. Bulk up your diet Cardiff University researchers have found that men with highfibre diets have less fatigue than men with lower ones. Vary your routine Switch things around. Add intervals to your workout, try new lifts, cross-train. You’ll challenge your muscles, furthering their development and giving you more energy. Relax Stress is energy’s number one enemy. Next time you’re swamped, zap the stress by closing your eyes and breathing deeply for 60 seconds.
5 GOOD MOOD FOODS Eggs Loaded with mood-enhancing omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins, plus they’ll keep you fuller and more energised for longer. Asparagus This vegetable is one of the top plant-based sources of tryptophan, which serves as a basis for the creation of serotonin, one of the brain’s primary mood-regulating neurotransmitters. High levels of folate also add to asparagus’ happiness-promoting profile; research has shown that up to 50 per cent of people with depression suffer from low folate levels. Poultry Turkey and chicken also contain
Avoid trans fats Foods like doughnuts, crisps and chips raise levels of bad LDL cholesterol in the body. This narrows blood vessels, blocking the flow of oxygenated, energy-rich blood cells throughout the body. See a funny film A study in the journal Psychological Reports found that laughter pushes the energy-sapping compound neuroendocrine out of the brain. Limit lunch to 500 calories High-calorie meals, especially during the middle of the day, take longer to digest and end up pulling energy away from other cells in the body. Check your blood pressure It’s estimated that up to 60 per cent of men between 18 and 39 have high blood pressure - a prime source of chronic fatigue - but don’t know it. Light up Open the blinds and let some sun in. Our bodies need vitamin D from sunlight in order to help keep energy levels at their peak.
tryptophan. To double the mood-boost, these two types of poultry are also rich in tyrosine, another amino acid that can help the body cope with stress. Tyrosine is a building block for dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters that help control how we feel. Greek yoghurt Packed with more calcium than you’ll find in milk or ordinary yogurt, it can make you happy, too. Proper calcium levels give the ‘Go’ command, alerting the body to release feel-good neurotransmitters. Disturbances in calcium levels can produce anxiety, depression, irritability, impaired memory and poor concentration. Dark chocolate Ever wonder why chocolate makes us feel so good? Sure, there’s the taste, but it also provides an instant mood upper and even improves blood flow to the brain, helping us feel more vibrant and energised. Skip the sugary milk chocolate blends and go directly for the darkest, organic, highest percentage of cocoa you can. A recent study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that just a few ounces of dark chocolate a day results in better mood.
Change your pillow A good pillow will provide just the right support for the neck and spine, preventing or alleviating many common forms of back and neck pain. It will also prevent restricted breathing through narrowing of the airways, which often results in snoring. A bad pillow can strain the muscles in the shoulders, back and neck and this can not only affect our posture and breathing but also our mood. A pillow with too much cushioning will tilt the head too far forwards and one that is too flat will position it too far back, both of which put pressure on the neck and spine, so get a pillow that is somewhere in between.
Try cardio-fasting Cardio-fasting – performing an aerobic exercise session such as running or cycling for 30-45 minutes in the morning before a morsel of food has passed your lips – has been a closely-guarded secret of athletes and celebrities for years. A series of reports in the British Journal Of Sports Medicine recently confirmed that it could help speed up fat loss. Only do it if you already have a good level of endurance fitness and don’t overdo it. Once a week is recommended.
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Has Vincent Tan overstepped the mark at Cardiff? Riath Al-Samarrai thinks so One step too far for Tan?
Coleman needs to build trust Chris Coleman has a rather neat way of summarising his experience of being the manager of the Wales football team. “I feel like I have won the lottery,” he said in October. “But I’m not allowed to spend the money.” The reference was to the players he could pick if they were fit or, more likely, if their clubs allowed them to travel to play for Wales. He was talking mainly about Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Ashley Williams and Joe Allen. They form the core of his squad, four players of wonderful quality in a variety of positions. With five other Premier League regulars available, and two from Celtic, we have a group of players that should not be at the bottom of their qualifying group for the World Cup. Therein lies Coleman’s problem. He can’t spend the money. Bale is rarely going to be released by Real Madrid. Michael Laudrup has started grumbling, with some justification, about Williams’ involvement. If Allen and Ramsey pick up niggles, why would their club managers risk their fitness by sending them to a national side that never qualifies? This is where Coleman has to earn his money. The trust and relationship between an international manager and his club counterpart is only ever fragile at best, so Coleman needs to have the personality to convince clubs to part with their stars. He needs to persuade players that the Welsh cause is worth the extra effort and time. Coleman is a decent, passionate man, but now he needs to prove he has the personality to sell something that doesn’t look very appealing. It’s a hard sell, but if he pulls it off he could land a spectacular windfall. Sadly for Coleman, there are plenty who think Craig Bellamy or Ryan Giggs are better equipped to pull off the trick.
I’ve written in these pages before about Vincent Tan, namely my belief that Cardiff’s fans should back off the club’s owner. He’s an eccentric by most standards, with his high-wasted trousers and that red jumper. His decision to change the strip from blue to red was an odd one; his explanation that it brought luck stranger still. It’s all stuff I have dismissed because, ultimately, he delivered a promotion and the balanced books and should be a hero. Now, through his bizarre decision to replace Malky Mackay’s right-hand man, Iain Moody, he could well have undone all his good work. At the time of going to press, Mackay was still at the club. I would be willing to bet that this is not the case when the first reasonable offer comes in. Tan created instability in a club that was looking strong in its first Premier League season. It is as baffling as it is frustrating. Unless, of course, you support Swansea.
fun for the rest of us, but crazy from a tactical standpoint. Perhaps more importantly, Cleverly has far more potential for mass recognition and big cheques in the light-heavyweight division than the cruisers. Right now, light-heavy is one of the best categories in the sport, particularly among the bigger men. Cleverly would likely pick up a title at cruiserweight, in not much time as well, but I suspect he’ll grow frustrated and bored just as quickly.
Cleverly should stick to his weight Nathan Cleverly is talking about stepping up to cruiserweight after losing his light-heavyweight world title to Sergey Kovalev. I can’t see the sense in that, even if it is getting harder for him to make the weight. A Kovalev rematch should be his top priority – and I understand that it is – because all the damage of that defeat would be undone with a win, not to mention the credibility he will gain for going after such a dangerous opponent. More to the point, it’s a fight he could win. Kovalev was brutal in beating Cleverly last time, but Cleverly was plain foolish to engage him in a slugfest. Unfortunately, as gifted as Cleverly is with his boxing skills, he has that entertaining but stupid knack of wanting to trade bombs. It’s
She said what? ‘‘I haven’t slept for three weeks. Everyone was talking about it.’ Non Stanford, a triathlete from Swansea, on her less than ideal preparations for the final round of the triathlon world championship in September. Earlier in the year she also broke her arm. And yet the 24-year-old won, becoming the first woman to follow up a win in the world Under 23 category with a win in the seniors the following year.
What’s in a number? 5 – The number of teams Gavin Henson has played for since his comeback in 2010. One of his current team-mates at Bath, Carl Fearns, punched him unconscious on a night out in July. That was a month after he joined.
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It certainly was for Paul Kelly
Jaguar F-Type 3.0 V6S
Now, this is interesting. Yep, it’s still serious wedge, but Jag’s foray back into the world of purist sports cars is intriguingly priced between entry level ‘prestige’ sports cars (TT, Boxster etc) and more salubrious supercars. Which begs the question, who is the F-type aimed at? It would be nice to think Jag have taken a different approach and designed the F-Type as they think it should be and then worked out its price afterwards. Which is of course naïve. It’s most likely a canny bit of niche marketing. Create a car at a price that will appeal to both those moving up the chain and supercar owners unconcerned by status. There aren’t many of the latter and there’s the slight problem of the near perfect Boxster to contend with for the former, so it’s got its work cut out. The first big factor in its favour is it’s a Jaguar. Period. A cool British brand, with a glorious pedigree that’s currently selling like spades in a gold rush. The current crop are great cars selling on the back of considerable goodwill. The F-Type’s bare facts also hint at greatness. Designed by Ian Callum (the man behind recent Jags and Aston Martins), lightweight aluminium (or alloy) body throughout, front engine/rear drive and lots of horses. Visually, it’s lovely, particularly in the flesh. It’s not whether you like it, but how much. Well proportioned, with a pleasing mix of curves and sharp lines, whilst it can’t match an E-Type’s pure beauty, and nothing ever will, it’s a worthy successor.
Inside, it’s strictly a two-seater and luggage space is limited but that’s the only sacrifice to the genre. Otherwise, the cabin is comfortable, thoughtfully laid out (grab handles for passenger and driver) and spacious. The driving position is great and the sports seats are especially comfortable. Controls are very driveroriented and it’s nice to see that the quality and finish are top notch too. Spec is good with a Bluetooth, DAB, Xenon and most gubbins you need as standard. At its heart, are a choice of a 3.0 V6, in two states of tune 335 and 375bhp and a wild 488bhp 5.0 V8. Our V6S comes with 375bhp which with some justification will probably be the most popular choice. As well as all that power, it’s also got 331Nm of torque that combine to hurtle it to 62 in 4.8sec and on to 171mph. This is 911 territory. And thanks to use of a supercharger rather than a turbo, response is instantaneous and it revs freely making it great fun. There’s no manual but no matter as the 8 speed auto box with paddle shifts is excellent. Technically, we’re looking at an aluminium alloy chassis and aluminium bodywork, which means an extremely rigid and lightweight structure, allied to a sophisticated suspension set-up that varies in its firmness according to the driving mode selected. Though close to a 50/50 weight balance, the front engine/rear wheel drive configuration gives it a slightly lairy sense of fun when you push on in dynamic mode. The F-Type is easy to drive around town when not in ‘dynamic’ and then all hell breaks loose once you put dynamic mode AND sport
mode on. Throttle response is sharper, gearchanges quicker, the suspension/dampers firmer and the steering weights up to give a thrilling driving experience. The power and sheer rate at which the acceleration and speed hits you is enough to take your breath away whilst the exhaust note is spectacular and extremely addictive. Having said all that it’s still a fine example of Jaguar’s uncanny ability to make a performance car that’s composed and comfortable on bad road surfaces. No matter what, it remains precise, in control and well balanced. Just as good is the steering. It’s fast, accurate, nicely weighted and full of feedback making it a real pleasure on twisty backroads. It’s not that the F-Type trumps the competition in any one department, it’s more that it’s somehow greater than the sum of its parts. It just feels right, drives beautifully and is a bit different, and rather British, in the way it seeks to entertain and stimulate the driver making it a welcome contrast to the cars it’s up against. Though a sophisticated, thoroughly modern sports car, it’s reminiscent of classic British sports cars of the 50’s and 60’s in its fullblooded, hairy-chestedness. And what a breath of fresh air that is. Top speed: 171mph 0-62: 4.8sec MPG: 31 CO2: 213g/km Price: £67,520
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Seat Leon 1.4 TSI 140 FR
Spain-based Seat has long been the sporting, youthful arm of VW Group and a less expensive alternative to its North European stablemates. Surprisingly though the cache of VW’s Golf still proves an irresistible draw among many drivers, even those looking for a sporting edge. The new Leon fully deserves to change this. First off, it uses the latest technology VW has to offer – engines, chassis and components are state of the art. Secondly, it looks great. With crisp, stylish and well-placed creases it’s edgy, sharp and has bags of presence without trying so hard that it starts to look ungainly. Think of it as a lithe athlete in a sharp suit, as opposed to an overly muscled second-row poured into a body hugging t-shirt. The interior oozes quality, perhaps an area that has shunted customers towards a Golf in the past. Not now though. Everything is very well finished, has a resounding sense of substance and is aesthetically tasteful – a package you have no automatic right to expect at this price. Same story with kit levels. At the time of going to press, the Technology Pack - LED lights, sat nav and DAB radio - is free. The base model comes with air-con, an MP3compatible six-speaker CD player, Bluetooth and an excellent, easy to use, colour touchscreen infotainment system. Our top of the range FR has everything you need – dual climate, parking sensors and
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cruise, for example. It’s also the performance variant so has a nifty honeycomb grille and tweaked suspension (more later). The sports seats are comfortable, there’s plenty of space (particularly in the boot) and the driving position is good, with all controls easy to hand, and decent visibility. Diesel’s omnipotence means it’s easy to forget how delightful a good petrol engine can be. Yes, modern diesels are impressive but they rarely delight. Which is exactly what the 1.4T in the Leon does. It’s a lively, sparkling little gem that’s able to squeeze 140bhp out of its small capacity thanks to a turbocharger. The pay-off is good mpg (54.3mpg) and CO2 figures and joyous performance, with a 0-62 of 8.2sec and 131mph top speed. The power on tap gives you all the speed and in-gear pace you need but its real charm lies in its punchy, free-revving, immediate delivery. Handily, there’s a choice of drive modes to choose from dependent on mood/circumstance. Want to eke out your fuel on a long journey – pop it into eco. Want a bit of fun? Then switch to sport which’ll sharpen up inputs such as throttle and steering and engine response. For the record there’s an equally fine 1.2T 105bhp petrol, a 188bhp 1.8T petrol and a couple of strong diesels, a 1.6 and 181bhp 2.0, to choose from. Allied to the fine motor is an equally fine and very satisfying, short-throw 6-speed gearbox. There’s also the generally excellent DSG
box if you want an automatic. Not surprisingly, given the Leon shares the same chassis as the A3 and Golf, the engine’s crisp, immediate performance extends to handling. OK we were in the FR, which is the performance variant and has a more complex rear-suspension set-up. But, since the stiff, light chassis is a pearl, I suspect the story’s the same throughout the range. It’s a sharp, rewarding drive. The Leon grips extremely well, corners flat and provides plenty of feedback. Aware that ride might suffer, it was handed some scarred and noisy tarmac to deal with. It did so admirably despite erring on the firm side - being comfortable, refined and assured at all times whilst roadnoise was well contained. Seat are right to be proud of the new Leon – it’s a great car and probably the best to leave Spain’s shores. Like its national football team the Seat Leon is at the top of its game – style, performance, comfort, kit and value are all first class. Whether it can also usurp the Germans in terms of popularity, time will tell but we for one will be cheering it on – viva Espana! Top speed: 131mph 0-62mph: 8.2secs MPG: 54.3 (comb) CO2: 119g Price: £19,385
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Terry M At the heart of Wales’ ritziest, glitziest hotel lies an oasis of elegance and charm. The Celtic Manor in Newport has long since established its credentials as a first rate golfing resort and over the past few years it has become a hot-spot for haute-cuisine. The triple AA rosette winning Terry M restaurant is ‘destination dining’ defined. Following two years at the 2 Michelin starred Jean Bardet restaurant in Tours, France, Chef Tim McDougall has developed a menu that represents the best in contemporary Welsh fare; full of passion and skill and presented with flair. For a truly special occasion, consider the exquisite £70-a-head, six course Tasting Menu. From the potted ham hock and featherlight cream cheese gougere canapes to the cinnamon palmier and chocolate lime macaroon petit fours, it was a feast for the senses in so many ways, that has lingered in the memory. The setting was the essence of understated style; the classic white tablecloths and crystal chandeliers formed a sophisticated backdrop to the evening’s main event. The charming staff were the perfect hosts and put everyone at ease. The meal began with a spicy carrot soup, enriched with curry oil, walnut and a dash of fennel that was followed by a heavenly goats cheese panacotta. A torchon of duck liver poached in port, served with toasted brioche, was wonderfully dense and was enhanced by a glass of Man Vintner Cuvee Chenin Blanc from the coastal region of Western Cape in South Africa. The hand-dived scallop, stuffed trotter and fennel risotto was a highpoint indeed, and has garnered a reputation amongst those-in-theknow as Chef McDougall’s signature dish. The Cannon of Welsh lamb, sweetbreads and cassoulet of coco beans that followed was a triumph of texture and taste, as was the strawberry souffle and basil and macarpone ice cream that brought the meal to a memorable close. The restaurant may not yet boast a Michelin star, but with a growing emphasis on the use of local, organic fare executed with such an innovative balance of flavours, it’s only a matter of time until Terry M Fine Dining earns its just desserts; in the meantime, treat yourself to South Wales’ best kept secret. Terry M Celtic Manor Coldra Woods The Usk Valley Newport South Wales NP18 1HQ 01633 413 000
Coed-Y-Mwstwr Hotel Nestled in woodland sits this impressive Victorian mansion. Almost Gothic externally, inside it’s all airy elegance, particularly so in its dining rooms. Sensitively updated with Victoriana intact, Coed-Y-Mwstwr Hotel has a contemporary feel and this approach extends to the menu. Core ingredients such as rabbit or venison could well have graced its dining tables a century ago but in terms of treatment and presentation they’re bang up to date. Another theme emerges with our starters – a main act with a supporting cast of complimentary flavours and textures. I chose the beautifully fresh Scottish scallops, perfectly cooked with a charred mellowness you can only get from pan-searing, imaginatively matched to a sweet cumin syrup, crunchy pan choi and a surprisingly intense cauliflower cream. My companion A went for the delicate, slightly peppery, rocket soup with the added oomph of tangy lumps of cheese. Venison can be unpredictable but my Breconshire venison was the best I’ve had – cooked rare but as tender as a good sirloin and full of gamey flavour. It needed accompaniments that could compete and boy did it get them – a luxuriant, rich chocolate reduction, a bitter/ sweet poached pear and a spicy braised cabbage, each mouthful a sensory explosion. A’s creamy wild mushroom risotto was perfectly cooked al dente and full of rich, meaty mushroom flavour. And so to dessert. I opted for lemon curd partly for its palette cleansing potential after my rich main. It was a taste and presentational triumph. The parfait, a perfect balance of creamy depth and lemon zing, in a white chocolate case garnished with a taste journey of mojito pastille, raspberry emulsion and citrus meringue. The Chocolate Fondant a warm, feel-good extravagance incisively cut by cool mint ice cream, gel and brittle – as invigorating as stepping from a steam room into a cold bath. Coychurch Bridgend CF35 6AF 01656 860621 www.coed-y-mwstwr.com
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Urban Tap House It was sad to see the unexpected demise of Fire Island on Westgate Street over the summer but we’re pleased the huge, two-storey Victorian building has been taken on by the Tiny Rebel Brewing Co. The Newport-based microbrewers have chosen Cardiff as the location for their first bar, Urban Tap House. Like their predecessors, they specialise in craft beers from across the globe (many of which will be making their first venture into Wales) and are also showcasing their own creations from closer to home. Such is the vast interior of the building that a lot of furnishings from Fire Island remain but the addition of the Tiny Rebel logo (a one-eyed bear slouched in a hoodie) is adorned throughout. This is a trendy warehouse stockpiled with artisan beers and tempestuous casks. The staff behind the bar are informative and generous (don’t feel tight about asking for a sample or two before deciding on your tipple). My friend and I both tried the Hadouken! – a homage to the classic 90s beat-emup video game Street Fighter. Loaded with hops and a subtle bitterness, it’s equal to Ken and Ryu’s signature finishing move. All that fine beer requires sustenance and Urban Tap House keep things simple with a choice of half a dozen burgers. I chose the Big Welsh; a homemade beef patty topped with Welsh cheddar, Welsh bacon and pan-fried leeks. It was a fine creation jammed between two buns – the patty was fleshy and moist and the bacon and leeks provided a pleasing crunch. My friend opted for the spicy chicken; a chicken and chorizo patty fired up by a sizzling chilli jam and sweet roquito peppers – not one for the pedestrian diner but those looking for heat would more than relish this. Both burgers were accompanied by a deep bowl of thinly cut chips. They passed the essential taste requirement – soft and fluffy on the inside, crispy on outside. If you’re looking for an adventurous beer and a hearty burger, Urban Tap House is your destination. 25 Westgate Street Cardiff CF10 1DD 029 2039 9557 www.urbantaphouse.co.uk
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Amid the Italian, French, American, Brazilian, Welsh, Indian, Chinese (and many more) choices of restaurants on Cardiff Bay’s Mermaid Quay a very large gaping hole of a niche has been satisfied. Yakitori#1 is the first sushi and sashimi restaurant down these parts since Izakaya sadly closed its doors around seven years ago. With a large variety of styles of Japanese food available, we decided to span across as much of the menu as possible in one sitting. First we plumped for the obligatory edamame beans – salted and lightly spiced with chilli flakes washed down with a bottle of Asahi lager. We followed that with grilled tiger prawns served with a lime and chilli dip. The texture was almost silky, having been cooked very lightly and delicately in lime and soy sauce - it was so good my partner J and I could have kept on ordering this dish all night. Thankfully Meng, (owner, manager, chef, waiter, motivator, raconteur and generally very busy but very nice man) had other plans for us. With his advice we ventured onto the Maki – opting for the salmon and avocado. Having also ordered around four other dishes to follow this one we flinched at the generous size of the dish – seven portions impressively presented on the plate. Needless to say we chowed them all down. The raw salmon tasted like it was caught that morning - it was that tasty. The chicken and chive Gyoza should get a commendation for being crisp and not too greasy (a common fault of many Japanese restaurants) – as should the prawn dumplings (cooked with shitake mushrooms and served with chilli dip). But a very special mention must go out to the scallops. Cooked with a light smattering of soy sauce and presented in the shell – they were a testament to the delights of not messing around too much with stand-out premium produce. The minimal fuss and minimal tampering allowed for the true taste of the scallop to shine through – something that simply couldn’t be done with inferior ingredients. I found out later as we chatted with Meng that this was the secret to the success of the entire menu – they genuinely buy in the best, not only out of pride in their product but because they believe that their customers deserve and demand the best. Back to the eating – we finished our meal with the chicken chilli ramen (too spicy for J but I shall definitely be requesting more piquancy next time!) to complete the gastronomic tour of Yakitori#1’s menu. I shall be urging all my friends to visit this independent, family owned business – I recommend you do the same. Yakitori#1 Mermaid Quay Cardiff Bay CF10 5BZ www.Yakitori1.co.uk 029 2049 5050
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Manic Street Preachers
Green Man Festival
Newport Centre Rock ‘n’ Roll is a young man’s game, right? Someone clearly forgot to tell Blackwood’s most revered sons, Manic Street Preachers, who return with their eleventh studio album, Rewind the Film, this autumn. The Manics’ consistency amongst their fellow British contemporaries is unrivalled – almost all have split or faded away and resurfaced as a hollow shell of their former selves. Granted, the Manics’ chart muscle has lost a little flex in recent years, but their live credentials remain epic. This homecoming gig of sorts was a ninety minute trawl through the back catalogue – a neat greatest hits package sprinkled with new material. It opened with No Surface All Feeling and already James Dean Bradfield was hopping across the stage on one leg and slashing huge riffs from his signature white Gibson guitar. The Manics’ trump card is the way they’ve always managed to make the melancholic sound anthemic and the choruses that bellowed from both Motorcycle Emptiness and Tsunami proved that. Some new material allowed the crowd to catch a second wind with recent single Show Me the Wonder a real u-turn in the set – a cheery acoustic strum with lots of soulful brass. Richard Hawley made a brief appearance for Rewind the Film, and his low timbre gave the track some wide-eyed spectre. Nicky Wire had been surprisingly low-key until he piped up about the band’s recent tour of Australia. Thereafter it’s an amusing, detailed narrative of the British and Irish Lions’ successful tour Down Under. Bradfield was then left solo for two tracks – the first another new number, This Sullen Welsh Heart, and the second a stunning sing-a-long for The Everlasting – Bradfield looked genuinely moved by the crowd’s choral outpouring. The band returned to the stage for one final trawl through the classics – Revol kept the Holy Bible enthusiasts satisfied and Motown Junk had Wire strutting and scissor kicking throughout. The set ended, inevitably, with the timeless A Design for Life – one last collective roar for Wales’ unofficial national anthem. Next year will see the release of the band’s twelfth studio album, Futurology. We’ve been promised a much spikier affair than Rewind the Film, but 2014 also marks twenty years since the release of the seminal Holy Bible – here’s hoping an anniversary tour is on the cards.
Reginald D Hunter St David’s Hall, Cardiff American comedian Reginald D Hunter has been a regular fixture on British television over the past decade with several appearances on the panel shows such as Have I Got News for You (HIGNFY) and 8 Out of 10 Cats. However, like many comedians, he’s come to real prominence through controversy after an infamous appearance at the PFA Awards Ceremony earlier this year. Using the n-word in his set sent the tabloids into meltdown but the old adage of ‘any news is good news’ meant a spike in sales for his latest tour, In the Midst of Crackers, was inevitable. Reg is a smooth talking stand-up with an infectious Deep South drawl. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he doesn’t load his set with quick-fire gags and audience put-downs. Instead, he prefers to muse over his subjects and gradually build up the laughs. Reg began the set by recounting his run-in with the PFA (‘Frankie Boyle was on holiday that week’, apparently) and his use of n-word which, in Reg’s world, can be used to describe crisps
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(‘crunchy n-words’), hen parties (‘bouncy n-words’) and sumo wrestlers (‘fighting n-words’). This is Reg’s patois and he’s sticking with it. In the Midst of Crackers, Reg explained, is a reference to society’s delusions. He appeared on HIGNFY alongside MP Nadine Dorries and, after a brief conversation with her daughter at the after show party, became the subject of a Tweet from Dorries that used the hashtag #wheresmyshotgun (it seems all those Bush Tucker Trials on I’m A Celebrity… were richly deserved). Reg is an observational comedian at heart, but he does have a tendency to meander a little too much and the set could feel a bit self-indulgent on occasion. His stories about growing up in Georgia were very funny (especially the exchanges with his father about the facts of life) but his set would come to life a little more with some of the sharp punch lines he’s renowned for on the box (which is probably what the PFA expected when they booked him). A good show, but someone of Reg’s class could move through higher comic gears than this.
Glanusk Estate, Crickhowell A music festival must always be judged on its line-up, but a stunning setting can only help those performing. It doesn’t get more picturesque than Green Man – the rolling hills of the Brecon Beacons providing this mid-sized festival with a breathtaking backdrop. Folk music has always been the primary core of Green Man’s appeal but recent years have seen it swell into a showcase for cinema, comedy and literature. Norwegian duo Kings of Convenience were more than worthy of their headline status on the Mountain Stage. Eirik Glambek Bøe and Erlend Øye shared a wonderful synergy – playing beautiful, intricate guitar lines with deft precision. Eirik was the more reserved of the two as Erlend provided the comic repertoire throughout, dancing like a Scandinavian Jarvis Cocker on the stunning I’d Rather Dance With You – he was gleefully loose limbed and full of bespectacled charm. The Chai Wallahs tent had been living on a diet of dance and ska until psychedelic throwback Syd Arthur took to the stage with his band. You had to admire an artist that could change time signatures at will mid-song and still sounds wonderfully coherent. The Horrors were a much more direct prospect than Arthur, but no less impressive with a show that swayed between all out blasting riffs in Who Can Say to reflective, synth-laden loveliness with Still Life. Saturday headliners Band of Horses upped the ante further with a set brimming with pounding rock. Cardiff outfit Gulp filled the Far Out Stage with their saccharine melodies. Recent single Play was a clear highlight, sounding like a lost track from a female fronted Britpop act but very much positioned in the here and now. French collective Melody’s Echo Chamber kept the dream pop theme running and they’re on top form. This was the final touring show for their eponymous debut album before they retreated back to the studio – it provided an atmosphere that was both sad and celebratory. This was another vintage year for Wales’ most endearing music festival.
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Music Kings, Monkeys and Preachers – Jude Rogers has got some great company this issue! MANIC STREET PREACHERS Rewind The Film Colombia As the colder weather creeps in after a long, balmy summer, the Manics return with their most autumnal record yet. Rewind The Film is the group’s eleventh album, one that singer James Dean Bradfield has called a “coming of age”. It certainly has a gentler, softer feel than 2010’s raucously poppy Postcards From A Young Man, bringing in collaborators to help hone a rich, mature sound. The title track (a duet with Richard Hawley) is its biggest departure, a deep, sad ballad about looking back at the past, about wanting to feel small, holding onto your father’s hand. Singer-songwriter Lucy Rose provides sweet backing on the moving album opener, This Sullen Welsh Heart, while Newcastle Emlyn’s very own daughter Cate Le Bon adds lushness to the lovely 4 Lonely Roads. But there’s still fight in these boys around the edges: “How I hate middle age, in between acceptance and rage,” rails Bradfield in Builder of Routines. It’s good to know, boys, that some things never change.
the desert, looking for drugs and searching for a woman. Add that to the regular yowls and ‘70s soft-rock touches and old habits certainly die hard for these Nashville boys.
round are edgier, sleazier things. Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want) is particularly strong, hotunder-the-collar hip-hop, while rapper-of-themoment Drake waxes lyrical over the energetic Cabaret. Jay-Z also pops up on Murder, raising the stakes. There’s no standout single here, but this is a fascinating slice of experimental, bold pop.
ARCTIC MONKEYS AM Domino This iconic indie band have undergone quite a transformation too. Eight years ago, they were gawky, geeky Northerners singing about scummy men and mardy bums. Now they’re slick-quiffed, living in LA and making music to match. AM is the second Arctic Monkeys album produced by Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme, and it feels like it. Filthy guitars and big rock atmospheres are everywhere, with hip-hop and R&B touches thrown in, slinkily snagging the ear. Alex Turner’s on heat too. Girls are swarming on this album – “certified mind-blowers”, wearing “Barbarella swimsuits” – but our boy’s still struggling to chat them up and “spilling drinks” on his “settee”. You can take Sheffield out of the boy, but you can’t...and all that. A refreshing new chapter for Britain’s best 21st century band.
KINGS OF LEON Mechanical Bull RCA Across the pond, four other horny toads are making a comeback. Five years after Sex On Fire gobbled up the planet and three since their last, underwhelming album, Come On Sundown, the Followill Brothers have their feet firmly on the gas this time round. Supersoaker reimagines their early Strokes-inspired rocking pop, while Coming Back Again and Don’t Matter slam the ears with guitars, wails and screams. There’s a softer, swampier Southern feel on Family Tree and Rock City, however, the latter telling us about a boy running through
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HAIM Days Are Gone Polydor America’s latest pop sensation are also of a sibling-shaped variety. Haim are three allsinging, all-playing sisters – Alana, Danielle and Este Haim – from California’s San Fernando Valley. They make music that channels Fleetwood Mac and sun-kissed ‘80s film soundtracks, making you long for hot days, a clear road and a top-down convertible. Days Are Gone starts with three monster singles (Falling, Forever, The Wire), and never lets up its dreamy, peppy pace. There’s also dirty R&B on the hard-as-nails My Song 5, and a big dollop of romance on the final track, Running If You Call My Name. The Haims are fantastic musicians to boot and pretty gorgeous too. Play this if you’re craving the summer and dream on.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE The 20/20 Experience Part 2 RCA The year sails to an end with JT’s second album in less than 12 months. On paper, it may look like Britney’s ex is simply mopping up leftovers from The 20/20 Experience Part 1 (released back in March). To the ear, however, there’s more fun to be had here. The songs this time
Also out this Autumn... Wonderful Cardiff-based singer-songwriter The Gentle Good returns with Y Bardd Anfarwol (Bubblewrap Collective), a gorgeous Welsh-language album inspired by a recent trip to China. Paul McCartney also tries something different with his album, New (Virgin EMI), produced by younger studio gurus like Mark Ronson, Ethan Johns and Paul Epworth – plus Giles Martin, son of legendary Beatles producer George. Elton John returns too, with bluesy, back-to-basics The Diving Board (Mercury), as does Sting with The Last Ship (Cherrytree/A&M). If you’d rather wake up, however, try Metallica’s Through The Never (Virgin EMI), their greatest hits captured live. Enough there to fire up the belly for winter, and then some.
Read more of Jude’s interviews, features and reviews at www.juderogers.com
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Jason Jones is unmasking murderers... prepare to be spooked!
THE CUCKOO’S CALLING Robert Galbraith £16.99, Sphere As with so much news in these techie times, it all started with a tweet. Sunday Times columnist and prolific Twitterite India Knight recommended to her followers a crime novel called The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. Half an hour later a follower dropped a bombshell about the book. It simply said: “Written by JK Rowling.” So a detective story became a real-life detective story that lead to the unmasking of Robert Galbraith as the woman who brought the world the Harry Potter phenomenon, much to Rowling’s fury. But it’s hard to feel sorry for the world’s richest writer. So, maybe she should do a heigh-ho shoulder shrug and set off into the sunset on a unicorn made of gold. After all, how many authors without a ‘name’ get published in the first place? Right, the real question: is the book any good? Yes, it really is, but then what else should we expect? You don’t get to be the world’s richest writer for nothing. Whether you like her characters and her narratives or not, you can’t knock her skill as a storyteller and it’s certainly on dazzling display here. The prose is confident, the pacing polished and the plot carefully-constructed, resulting in a neat climax that cleverly ties up all the loose ends. Centred on the supposed suicide of a troubled top model in London’s super-fancy Mayfair, it’s clear from a few chapters in that the novel’s themes are Rowling’s familiar turf: honourable little people versus grotesque wealthy players, social injustice, poverty, prejudice, the messiness of families and, most obviously, death. Rowling has also added fame to the list because now, of course, she has a front row seat on celebrity and that’s why she writes so well about that spoilt, shallow world. The irony is that Rowling herself is the cuckoo in the nest, watching, listening and taking note of a life she’s now part of but clearly doesn’t entirely like.
LOVE STORY, WITH MURDERS Harry Bingham £12.99, Orion As you can glean from the title, we’re still in murder mystery territory with Harry Bingham and his second outing for DC Fiona Griffiths, who he introduced in last year’s Talking To The Dead. As is a common trope of crime fiction the sleuth has an idiosyncratic quirk that marks her out from the crowd and here the heroine has a humdinger in the form of Cotard’s Disease, which is a rare mental disorder whereby a person believes they are dead and are walking around in a zombie-like state. Yes, you did read that right and it is actually a real thing. It may sound ridiculously implausible at first, but once you get into the thick of the book you realise it gifts Griffiths a uniquely skewed worldview. The novel opens with a gruesome pair of murders. A woman’s leg is discovered in a freezer in a Cardiff suburb where it has been lying for years. It belongs to a student and part-time pole dancer. A recently-murdered male body is also found and there appears to be a link between the two. So far, so police procedural predictable, but what raises this above crime fiction cliché is the quality of the writing, which is literary but, crucially, without being stuffily worthy. Impressively only Bingham’s second novel, this really is a cracking read that is both fresh and compelling. If, like me, though, you live in Cardiff, prepare to be spooked.
DYLAN THOMAS: THE PUBS Jeff Towns & Wyn Thomas £9.95, Y Lolfa What is it with writers and the demon drink? Ever since pen was first put to paper, writers have been inextricably drawn to looking at life through the lens of a glass. Obviously, we’re not talking liking-a-drink territory, but rather the sweaty grip of alcoholism and the reasons are myriad. However, Olivia Laing’s recently-published, fascinating book The Trip To Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink (Canongate, £20) sums it up succinctly: “Writers, even the most socially gifted and established, must be outsiders of some sort, if only because their job is that of scrutiniser and witness.” And so to Dylan Thomas: The Pubs. The book isn’t an attempt to explore and explain Thomas’ drinking but instead show the central part the pub played in his creative process. For the pub wasn’t just about the booze for Thomas but “a place of refuge… a place of conviviality, warmth and shelter… a theatre in which he could always be counted on to perform, and always be guaranteed an audience”. This is therefore a roadmap of Thomas’ life through the drinkingholes he frequented across Wales, London and the States, taking in the characters he encountered along the way, most notably in Brown’s Hotel in Laugharne where the local eccentrics found their way onto the pages of Thomas’ most celebrated work, Under Milk Wood. Crammed with personal anecdotes, this is an exhaustivelyresearched and lovingly-illustrated book that chronicles the talent and times of a man whose alcoholism eventually killed him aged just 39.
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Films Adam Kennedy gives Clooney’s latest flick the big thumbs down
ONE CHANCE With his crooked teeth and – there’s no nice way to put this – pie-friendly exterior, Port Talbot’s Paul Potts seemed unlikely to craft his name into TV talent contest legend. But once the wannabe opera singer opened his mouth with a jaw-dropping rendition of Nessun Dorma (the theme to the 1990 World Cup to you and I) at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff on Britain’s Got Talent six years ago, all that changed. How this biopic ends is no surprise to anybody familiar with the Potts fairytale and there really should be more Welsh talent to avoid a pack of English and Irish actors faking the lilt as his family and friends. But with James Corden transformed from his regular risible bully-boy persona to likeable, bullied underdog in his depiction of Potts and quirky Ammanford actress Alexandra Roach as his long-suffering lady, any misgivings are swept away in a tide of deftly-executed sentiment. There are a few look-away-nowmoments, however, namely Simon Cowell making a cameo as himself. Eurgh. For fans of: Twin Town, Submarine Verdict: Worth at least a tenor 4/5
GRAVITY The irony of in-orbit thriller Gravity is that its airless universe has been thriving from the oxygen of publicity, with plenty of hype over supposedly game-changing cinematography.
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And, yes, there’s no denying that it’s one of the most visually mesmerising films in recent memory, putting the viewer in a spin as George Clooney and Sandra Bullock are cut adrift in space after a botched space shuttle mission. As they’re plunged into the terrifying nothingness, though, you’ll long for a little more plot and a touch less cliché (in Lethal Weapon-worthy fashion, it’s Clooney’s last mission). Still, at least with her NASA helmet on, we don’t get distracted by Bullock struggling to force any emotion out of her suspiciously taut latter-day face. For fans of: Apollo 13, Armageddon Verdict: Houston, we have a few problems 3/5
entirely engrossing – ageing man walks from one under-celebrated US state to another to claim a (possibly fictional) million-dollar lottery prize – then the understated performances change all that. Bruce Dern, an actor with a rep for playing bad guys, is more haunted than any villain as the lead, skilfully delivering a faraway look and a steely determination, not to mention a convincing lack of connection to reality. The result is both the world’s weirdest road movie and a captivating portrait of smalltown America. Breaking Bad’s Bob ‘Better call Saul’ Odenkirk makes a beautifully oily turn in support, too. For fans of: On The Road, Little Miss Sunshine Verdict: A rewarding – and sure to be rewarded – watch 5/5
NYMPHOMANIAC Having stoked interest and controversy with its unapologetically orgasmic promotional posters, Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac centres on the life story of a women with a sex addiction – and it’s no chore to discover that role is taken by the ever-stunning Charlotte Gainsbourg. The rest of the cast is chock with a list of star names as long as, um, a particularly impressive appendage, with Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Willem Defoe and Uma Thurman all in on the perv-fest. Sure, it could easily be written off as soft porn dressed up as legitimate cinema (most of the intimate scenes were, allegedly, very real), Yet, as with all von Trier movies, there’s an emotional punch and depth that will leave you discussing what exactly just went on for several days after viewing. For fans of: Melancholia, Antichrist Verdict: Nymphomaniac will get you hot under the collar 4/5
NEBRASKA Don’t say we didn’t warn you when Oscars season rolls around, because Nebraska could become the most-decorated film that you’ve never heard of. If the premise doesn’t sound
WATCH OUT FOR… It’s fantasy sequel time for a brace of Wales’ finest: Sir Anthony Hopkins returns as the ominous Odin in Thor: The Dark World while Luke Evans limbers up as Bard the Bowman for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (yeah, us neither on that title, sorry). Upping the blockbuster quality, despite its deathly uninspiring title, Captain Phillips is one of the movies of the season, adapting a real-life tale of the crew of a cargo ship’s heroism in the face of a hijack by Somali pirates. The evergreen Tom Hanks is at his brow-furrowing best as the titular character, replete with distinguished, grey-flecked goatee. Despite despising unnecessary American remakes of world cinema cult classics, we’re intrigued to see We Are What We Are, a US update of the fantastic 2010 movie of the same name. Disturbing and bleak, the almost-peerless original depicted a family of cannibals living in modern-day Mexico City. See also Oldboy, a Josh Brolin-starring retooling of the brutal Korean mystery of a decade previous. And finally, answers on postcards from anybody who can explain the appeal of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The prize, in return, is a recommendation for a worthwhile trip to the cinema.
Autumn 2013 .......
Doing The Write Thing Bennett’s thinking of giving up writing. Good idea or bad?
I have been a writer for as long as I can remember. I write every day. I’m even writing this now. At the age of 8 I wrote a poem about an alien coming to Earth which won a competition and was printed in a newspaper. On the last day of secondary school there was a Revue Show for which I wrote most of the sketches and songs. (Unfortunately, I was ill on the day and couldn’t attend but apparently it went very well; so much so that everyone else took credit for the writing.) Over the past ten years I have had more than 30 sitcom scripts produced on TV and have written for Graham Norton and Jack Whitehall. (I like to keep both younger and older audiences entertained.) Now you might be thinking, “Well done for showing off but do you have a point?” Well, apart from getting that whole end-ofschool-revue thing off my chest for the first time, yes, I do have a point. The point is, for the first time ever, I’m thinking about giving up. I’ll let that shock settle in for a moment. Yes, I’m seriously thinking about giving up on this whole writing thing. Not completely obviously, I mean I will still send emails and texts and I’ll carry on writing this column – not only because I enjoy it (and thank you for your lovely feedback) but also because that extra £1.75 every three months really makes a difference. [We do pay him a bit more than that. Ed] No, the main thing I’m thinking of giving up is writing sitcoms. You know that game at a funfair where you are given three broken darts and have to try and hit three tattered playing cards? Well, that’s how they now seem to choose which sitcoms to make. You’re probably thinking, “You’re just jealous because no one has picked up one of your sitcoms yet”. Well firstly, I’m not sure if you’re real or just my subconscious and secondly, there probably is an aspect of that. I’ve come close to having my own programmes produced. BBC Wales in fact commissioned me to write episodes only for the then controller of comedy to say, “Actually I don’t really like comedy. I like opera”. True story. This is why I want to give up. No one working in television knows what they want. I’ve had meetings where they’ve
74 REDHANDED ....... autumn 2013
said to me, “We’re looking for the next Gavin and Stacey”. So I’ve offered them a sitcom set in Wales and London. They didn’t want that. I offered a sitcom about a relationship. They didn’t want that. So I asked them what aspect of Gavin and Stacey did they want. They replied, “The success”. This is why I want to give up. I teach sitcom writing workshops and the first thing I say to students is: “Why are you bothering? You have more chance of winning the Euromillions and having your prize handed to you by a talking unicorn wearing a beret.” This is why I want to give up. Think of the best sitcoms you have seen over the years. Apart from a few British ones here and there - Fawlty Towers still stands the test of time - I’m sure the majority would be American. Friends, Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Frasier... great shows with skilled actors and wonderful writing. My current favourite is Modern Family. Every line is well crafted and delivered to perfection. This no longer seems a priority to UK producers nowadays. Their priority seems to be: Which ‘celebrity’ is going to be in it or can the winner of X Factor act as well as perform karaoke? Years ago there was a sitcom with Davina McCall (yes, really). I only know about it as I was called into the studio at 11 o’clock in the morning - quite literally the 11th hour - to be asked if I could script-edit the show. Why so early? Because they were filming that evening! The programme had been commissioned, the cast had been added and the studio had
been booked. It was only whilst it was being rehearsed on the morning of the first day of filming that someone had suddenly said, “Hang on, it’s not very funny, is it?” Anyway I tried my best with what little time and source material I was given. Suffice to say it was never going to win any awards. Not even Bronze Swimming. So if I do give up sitcom writing what will I do instead? Well, I recently read a book - stay with me I’m not just showing off again. It was an incredible book about a 15-year-old girl, Melanie Bowen, who was involved in a motorcycle crash that left her paralysed from the chest down. Melanie endured five horrific months of despair and indignity in rehabilitation, underwent a colostomy at 23, and was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, fighting the odds, she won medals in athletics for Wales, raised thousands for charity, became a major disability poster girl in America, met the Queen, and found lasting happiness having fallen in love with and married the surgeon who had initially told her, when she was fifteen, that she would never walk again. The story is incredible and I know it to be true – I went to school with Melanie! So this is what I want to do. I want to write and direct a film based on Melanie’s memoir. I have directed before - I directed the cast in the end of year school revue (uncredited) and I directed a Channel 4 documentary for which I was BAFTA short listed - but I have never directed a film. So my next stage is to try and raise finance to make it. Anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, I’ll continue selling my comedy wares around the country - I’m at The Glee in Cardiff soon so do come along. Mmmm a comedian gigging in the nighttime whilst trying to raise money to make a film in the daytime. This could be a great sitcom idea... See what Bennett’s up to at www.bennettarron.com Follow Bennett on Twitter @bennettarron © Bennett Arron Winter 2013
Mens lifestyle magazine for Wales