Cognitive dissonance

[aka Fucking with your mind!]

Be confused… be very confused! If you were brought up on the myths and legends of a corner of Cardiff known as Tiger Bay, then the latest extension of the 21st century docklands redevelopment will mess with whatever is left of your functioning brain cells. After air-brushing a major part of local history out of the picture for a few decades, the latest in local bureaucratic administrative hype is set to house, employ and entertain you. Put your hands together and welcome the vision that isĀ Porth Teigr!

I live here

Whatever that is… because what is emerging out of the primordial slime of Roath Basin bears no relationship to the proud badge of Tiger Bay; and it isn’t even in the same place as the original! Not that the location of the original has anything of architectural merit to draw the attention of the discerning student of urban mythology… the southernmost boundaries of the original, relatively small Tiger Bay area, is demarcated by some prime examples of skyline blight, which actually looks even more attractive than the low level flats and houses that hold many of the original street names…

Tiger Bay [1]

Porth‘ is Welsh for ‘gate’… so in modern parlance are we supposed to have created a misdemeanour on such a scale that it becomes ‘Tiger Gate‘? Well, if you look at the blandness of the 1960’s architectural replacement for the previous Victorian ‘slums’, perhaps we have. Social engineering had become a slight of hand for so-called urban redevelopment… a destruction of world renowned character makes way for the monumental achievement of bland mediocrity.

Why are we so reluctant to celebrate our gritty historical reality when it doesn’t conform to the textbook presentation of swords and sandals, or castles and stately homes? Here we have the site of the very first multicultural society in the UK, built on the necessity of world trade, and testimony to the power of the melting pot to bring people together in local harmony. Heaven forbid that we might put the cost of demolition and reconstruction into refurbishment of what already exists. Or perhaps the forbears of the Ukip tendency were subtly at work, with a long-sighted determinism to break up any thriving community based largely on immigration. It becomes less easy to blame it on the immigrants if we have the tangible evidence of their hard-working contribution to our financial and cultural wealth.

As a cat who originates from London but was duped into relocating into the old docklands of Cardiff I am intrigued by all this Tiger-stuff, and hope to bring you more of the true history of this historical and cultural landmark. Until we speak again I have been ‘Immigrant Juno’, scrounging off my native ‘repatriated refugee’, and contributing mainly through my litter tray!

No Joking!

No joke!

http://www.cardiffcomedy.co.uk/festival/whats-on

Alternatively, my surrogate sports fan told me that this poster was a reference to Cardiff Rugby Club’s season 2012-13. I hear the locals have a lot to talk about with Welsh rugby on the international stage. Just as well, because it seems the local stage has great big holes in it, and the theatrical troupe are slowly losing all their talented actors.

Jamie Roberts is off to France to spend more time with his expanding wallet. Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny will soon form exhibits A & B in the great summer rugby auction, following rave reviews on the Aussie stage (where ‘Wales and a few others’ did rather well so I am told).

As for Cardiff Rugby Club fans in 2013-14, you always have a great history and tradition to look back on, as I’m not sure that competing with Newport Gwent Dragons to avoid being the lowest Welsh regional club in the league is an edifying spectacle… particularly when the football fans down the road are entertaining Premier League guests all season.

I’ve been Juno, but I’m not available to sign for the Cardiff Blues rugby team, as I have my standards to maintain.

Dealing in fractions

I often like to do some silly impressions just to pass the time of day, and as a means of expressing my considerable talents. Here is one of me in a ‘Half Cat Half Rabbit’ moment:

Half cat half rabbit

It got me thinking that there is plenty about what I see around Cardiff that falls into various halves and quarters, and here are just a few reflections to share with you. Firstly, I was somewhat dismissive when my personal claw clipper came back from a Council meeting telling me that we live in an area of the city that has a below average crime rate. After all this is the edge of the city centre, in the south of the city that was the old docklands. I remember living in the old docklands in East London, and I wouldn’t say that these areas are noted for domestic open-door policies, if you know what I mean. But I can see how crime rates are so low in Cardiff, largely because the criminals are so obvious to spot… here we see ‘Half Swan Half Burglar’ going about their trade:

Swan burglary

Doing things by halves isn’t necessarily going to get you anywhere, particularly if you are a dumb animal. Why not at least try under the cover of darkness?

Then as I stroll around the neighbourhood I feel sorry for some of the buildings… here is ‘Half Building Half Dream’, as I imagine this shabby excuse for a pile of glass and concrete thinking ‘when I grow up I want to be like that picture’. You didn’t know buildings have feelings?

Buildings dream [1]

Now, the Shard in London, that’s a dream…

The Shard June 2012

Enough of these halves, it turns out that Cardiff is really a city of quarters… from the previous dreaming building I can see there might one day be a Capital Quarter, to go alongside the Brewery Quarter, Castle Quarter and Morgan Quarter:

Buildings dream [3]

Brewery Quarter

Castle QuarterMorgan Quarter

 

 

 

 

Just to mess with your mind a little, I thought I would throw in a fifth quarter… the Blue Sky Quarter (complete with Welsh flags at the entrance) just to stimulate your own thinking, put in any quarter you like (that probably means something different to our American readers):

Blue sky quarter

Anyway, all this strolling around the city and thinking in numbers eventually gets to a cat, so I am off back to my own quarters. See you again soon. Juno