Posted by: docdenbow | June 5, 2012

The Peerless Doris Karloff

Been having a glance around “What’s on in Swansea.” Mostly it involves going to a deserted pub or heading to Wind Street to get your face punched. There are of course other evening’s entertainments that the discerning can partake of should you venture from the 4 walls of your own increasingly endangered habitat. There’s cinema, where you can go to what these days is called a multiplex to watch a shite film which can be downloaded in shite quality via the numerous (illegal) film sharing sites out there on t’internet. The best part of watching pirate movies that have been recorded on a cam is that the TV screen remains almost black and the sound is so bad it is virtually silent.

Doesn’t put you off your book then.

You could go out for a meal at one of the fantastic restaurants dotted around the fair city. Yes my friends or should I say fy ffrindau goriau, if you like the carvery style of repast then the second city of Cymru is certainly the place to be. The choice of venues to indulge in your passion for Venezuelan Water Buffalo is really and truly beyond belief. Via checks in assorted good food guides and using t’internet I have discovered that, MacDonalds et al aside, there are some 317 restaurants in Abertawe. Yes, fy ffrindau goriau, 317, which I’m sure you agree is a really impressive number. This number does, however, have a caveat. Just 309 are carveries. A mean and measely 309. Therefore, prior to travelling to your chosen restaurant I feel that I should point out that telephoning ahead would be advisable so that your expectations are truly met in terms of the quality and type of food served.

There is then live entertainment. One could partake of a visit to the Grand Theatre. “The Grand” as this magnificent edifice is colloquially known plays host to some truly highbrow entertainment. For example, throughout the month of July I have never heard of anyone appearing there or indeed any of the shows that they are appearing in such is the high standard of artistes booked.

The direct rival to “The Grand” is the Taliesin Arts Centre which is located within the confines of Swansea University. This establishment does make an effort to provide entertainment but I for one would rather risk sullying or indeed soiling myself rather be seated next to a student.

This leaves the last choice for a potential evening’s entertainment would be to go and listen to, and indeed view, some of the numerous musicians who ply their tuneful trade out and about in Abertawe. Let me account to you a typical musical evening of such variety that it would leave you gasping for more.

We will begin our evening in a proper Welsh public house that is secreted off the beaten track on the Gower Peninsula. It’s name is The Owain Glyndwr who was the last Welsh Prince Of Wales. It is faithfully and stoically Welsh, from the rugby jerseys hanging from the ceiling, to the signed photographs of Welsh celebrities, from a jukebox featuring The Superfurry Animals, The Manic Street Preachers, The Stereophonics, Catatonia, The Alarm, Bonnie Tyler, Shirley Bassey and no one else. To complete the look of this bastion of all things Welsh there is the gallery in the snug featuring photographs of burning holiday cottages that have been acquired across the decades. To be English in The Owain Glyndwr invites ridicule which is why I always visit with Catherine Zeta Jones as my date for the evening and continually whisper “tu es la plus belle fille que j’aie jamais vue” so that I may pass myself off as a love-struck frog muncher.

Eventually we will see the band hit the stage. The Alan Shearers are truly a magnificent band combining traditional Welsh songs, heavy metal, reggae with smaltzy swing ballads. To hear the segue from “Run To The Hills” into “Men Of Harlech,” the seamless switch from “Myffanwy” into “No Woman No Cry” and “Sospan Fach” to “Paranoid” and back again makes one marvel at the total musicality of this band. The stage show is only equalled by Alice Cooper and whilst Alice ends the evening by cutting off his own head, The AS’s (as we afficionados call them) bring on one of their herd of sheep (who are all called Alan) and proceed to shear him to the pumping bass riff of “The Immigrant Song” whilst the audience howl and bay with joy.

From The Owain Glyndwr we’ll return to the city centre to where we can take in a sample of “The New Wave of Abertawe Rap.” It’s finest exponents are usually in High Street or close to big Tesco’s or any multi storey car park for that matter. To you or I the lyrics and also the rhythms or these bangin’ choons may be a tad obscure, but I have managed to pick out just one the word, “Gissue,” and that is repeated every 20 to 30 seconds with metronomic regularity. The other style of choon involves the M.C. appearing to be completely out of control of his bodily functions whilst absently waving around a bottle of White Lightning and growling something that sends shivers up and down your spine.

“To get out of the cold I’ll take you into the The Queens Gusset, a “fun pub” opened in the 1970s. These days it deserves neither epithet, but they do put on live music. I’ll get a couple of pints of impossibly fizzy and overpriced warm Harp lager and you can listen to the “band.” The band are 2 grizzled guitarists neither of whom can sing in tune. Well what do you think? They are shit aren’t they? Where’s the bassist and drummer? Oh yeah, right,they’re on tape from the sound of it? Can you hear the hiss and that wowee sound cos the tape’s stretched? Look at the chords they’re playing! Everything is G C D and Em! What’s wrong with playing in something approaching the right key? C’mon lets go. These are dire! I think I can’t play guitar – I know these jokers can’t!”

So the best thing I can do is take you to The Garage in The Uplands. Now you’re talking. Proper musos play here. Albert Lee, Fish (from Marillion) The Groundhogs, Focus, Dodgy. Proper bands, People who can play and now and again they put on a famous comedian like Stewart Francis.

Of course we may get to see the peerless Doris Karloff if we’re lucky .

We can only hope.

Ciao For Now – It’s your round



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