Literally literary cat

Reading paper and books

Continuing the cultural theme, I thought I would take you along on my stroll from the recent appreciation of architecture and geography through to literature. I’m sure you can’t help but notice that I have a liking for reading… that’s the literature thing not the strange town in Berkshire thing!

Fortunately for me the ‘resident brain cell’ makes some efforts with the newspaper and books, because I sure as hell don’t get the luminous screen thing. Perhaps it’s the paws, but those keyboards were definitely not designed by a clever cat.

I don’t like to limit my reading just to the Observer newspaper and the workaholic’s limited range of interests. So if we’re looking at depth and diversity of subject matter I’m talking libraries, and specifically as I live in the centre of the fine city of Cardiff, I’m talking Central Library status. But wait, what have they done to the good old fashioned library? The blissful silence and respect for genteel surroundings seems to have given way to what I can only describe as ‘event reading’.

As I slink my way along The Hayes in the centre of town, past people mindlessly addicted to a vacuous social media mind mush, I’m arrested in my tracks as I approach the site of the grand old library… it seems bereft of its bookish bona fides. And I’m certain those workmen are not stocktaking the latest intake of literary wonders…

Old Library [1]

Old Library [2]

The grand old dame has succumbed to the city centre thirst for reading beer bottle labels and micro brewery advertisements, rather than the classics of world literature. So, where is a discerning cat going to get her knowledge fix? Well, look no further than the other end of an upgraded Hayes thoroughfare. I struggle to avoid drifting back into architectural critic mode (trying not to become a feline Prince Charles, or Charlie the Greek as he seems to be known to my resident comedian). But it does seem like those old Victorians had something of the splendour about their building aesthetic, as compared with the modern day Elizabethan minimalist trends for glass and a fake leather cladding…

Old Library [3]


<<< The old



Central Library [1]



The new >>>



Then again, who needs architectural splendour when you can throw in a huge hoop & spike combination to keep the punters in a state of confused wonder?

Central Library [2]

On entry a whole new world of wonder opens up, completely distracting from the so-called main purpose for which the building stands…

Inside library [1]

Inside library [4]

Inside library [2]Inside library [5]













It seems there was a glut of glass and steel at the time of construction, so they have not been spared on the inside either. I find myself within a strangely illuminated cathedral for books, that in reality is more a cathedral of space (no, not the ‘outer’ kind). Further distractions are provided by the views out into the aforementioned Hayes, leaving less reasons for stocking the covered paper things after all. Just set up a floor full of the luminous flat screen things, and for good measure litter them around each of the other floors as well.Inside library [6]Hayes from Library





What with local Council information and other advice centres, and even live musical interludes, it seems like the whole idea of the library as a place where a down and out could come to read the newspaper and stay warm all day has seen its own day.

Until we speak again it looks like I will just have to take the lead from the ‘indoor scribbler’ and write my own books! Whatever happened to reading for relaxation? In line with the concept of ‘proof of life’ please send all your answers on the back of a library book dust jacket.

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