It’s been awful quiet around these parts …

But I’ve had a really good excuse! Honestly!

pile of paper on a table

 

So, that massive headache of paper on the desk (yes I was having breakfast in Wetherspoons, what about it?) is MY NOVEL. Or something like a novel. It’s a really freaking long story.

THAT’S what I’ve been doing.

 

In case I haven’t mentioned it on here, and I don’t think I have, I am a MASSIVE Parks and Recreation fan. Leslie Knope is the greatest character ever created. Also I massively identify with parts of her personality, in particular her inability to focus on doing one thing at a time (I refer you to Season 4 Episode 16. ‘Sweet Sixteen’, where Leslie tries to run her campaign, work in the Parks department and arrange Jerry’s sweet sixteen birthday party, and ends up messing everything up because she’s spreading herself too thin).

I took some good advice from that episode, and also from my Editor-In-Chief, who told me I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO DO ANYTHING ELSE – NOT EVEN PLAN ANYTHING ELSE – UNTIL THIS WAS FINISHED.

Ron Swanson is not my Ed-In-Chief (although CAN YOU IMAGINE), but his advice is sage, and good for everyone.

Don’t half ass two things (in my case, fifty things). Whole ass one thing.

That is what I am attempting to do. And hence, the radio silence.

The novel, or “the long thing” as I’ve been describing it to people, was spawned from a creative writing exercise I took in a novel writing class, last March, run by Cardiff University’s Lifelong Learning Centre, and tutored by the AMAZING Lynne Barrett-Lee.

If you’re based in Cardiff, and thinking about maybe taking a writing class, I would definitely recommend hers. As well as being a great writer, she is a really, REALLY good teacher. Those two things don’t always go hand in hand, but she’s brilliant. There are details about all Cardiff Uni’s writing courses here: Creative Writing and Media classes.

I had no idea about what I would write before I took the class. I didn’t even think I would write anything. I just wanted to take a class to try and get myself into the habit of writing regularly, and picked this one purely at random, because it fit my work schedule. I had not planned to write this story all my life, or anything like that. It literally (ha! literally) came from an exercise in that class, and then grew and grew, and here it is. One hundred thousand words later.

papers and post in notes on a bed

Apparently, NOW the hard work starts?? wtf.

More updates soon…

6 reasons Cardiff is the best city in the UK

admin:

Got myself a wee byline in the Metro this week. Read and enjoy!

Originally posted on Metro:

(Picture: Flickr/Geraint Rowland) (Picture: Flickr/Geraint Rowland)

Cardiff is frequently to be found at the top of lists of best cities in the UK to live in. Don’t believe me? Take that, and then that!

Don’t just take their word for it though. Here’s why this big little city by the sea is so great – in the words of a local.

1. Location

On the basis of the three Ls (location, location, location) Cardiff’s got to be the best situated city in the UK.

Drive for 30 minutes and you can be in the middle of the Brecon Beacons, add a little on to that time and you’ll reach the beautiful, unspoiled beaches of the Gower, and a little further to get to Pembrokeshire.

Also, we’re only 40 miles from Bristol and 150 miles from London, so if you want a big night out or weekend away in one of our…

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Music writings

amps

I’ve been a professional journalist writing mostly about music for far longer than I’d actually care to remember (since 2001, if you must know…). I’ve written for Rolling Stone, NME, CRACK magazine, as well as various titles that have come and gone in that time (Sound Nation, Plan B, Kruger). I also wrote the first unofficial biography about Lady Gaga, published by Orion in 2010.

For examples of my music writing, click here.

The urbanist’s guide to Cardiff – blogger of the week on the Guardian!

Originally posted on We Are Cardiff:

Well well, eh? I pack my bags and head off to Glastonbury for a couple of days and what happens? BLOGGER OF THE WEEK ON THE GUARDIAN HAPPENS, that’s what!

helia guardian cities featured blogger june 2014

click the picture or this link to go read the article: The urbanist’s guide to Cardiff: ‘the UK’s most sociable city’

I got a bit of shit in the comments for being too generic and not listing enough specific independent bars / cafes / shops etc etc in the city – also there were comments saying that there actually aren’t many independents, which I know to be A LIE. There are OODLES of amazing independent businesses in the city, many that I frequent, and I wanted to give a list of my favourites below. This is by no means exhaustive, and if you’re reading this and think I’ve missed one out in your area, PLEASE ADD IT IN THE COMMENTS!

Also I…

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Interview for France Culture: “Cardiff, Histoires Fantastiques”

Last summer I was interviewed for a French radio documentary about Cardiff, called “Cardiff, Histories Fantastiques”. I am described as a ‘bloguese’! Literally the best thing I have ever been called.

Apparently I also have the capability of speaking two languages simultaneously! Who knew.

If your French is functional, listen below! If not so much, concentrate, and you’ll hear me talking in the background.

Access the radio show here: ESCALE 2 : « CARDIFF, HISTOIRES FANTASTIQUES »

Documentaire de Michel Pomarède
Réalisation : Guillaume Baldy
Prise de son et mixage : Claire Levasseur

Cate Le Bon, The Gate, 8 February 2014

Last night, I went to a rather marvellous gig at The Gate in Cardiff, featuring Cate Le Bon, who I’ll happily claim as a local artist (okay, she’s not really from round here, but she cut her musical teeth here over the past six or whatever years). I’ve been to see her before, many years ago at a Kruger show. Last night’s show reminded me of a great interview that we published in Kruger (a local music magazine that I used to write for, that sadly no longer exists).

Luckily for YOU, the article still exists on Kruger’s Issuu page, so you can read it there. The wonderful Lisa Matthews wrote it, and the photography is flipping ACE too. Click on the picture below to go read!

cate le bon Kruger

Kruger Issue 14: Krugerville / Cate le Bon by Lisa Matthews

writing, music, web stuff, Cardiff, sometimes

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