Blog posts by year and month August 2011

Posts (96)

  1. A Cardiff-based community arts project is celebrating its first birthday with an exhibition showing highlights from its inaugural year. If you've not had the good fortune to stumble across the We Are Cardiff website before, let me point you in its direction. This great little creative projec...

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  2. The National Portrait Gallery in London will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Tenby-born Augustus John with a new display of portraits of the artist. The display of portraits are drawn from gallery's collection and includes photographs by Alvin Coburn, Howard Coster, Bill Brandt, Yousuf Karsh, Norman Parkinson, Ida Kar and Cecil Beaton. The display spans his life from youth to old age and charts his early career, relationships, his fascination with Romany culture and his success and reputation as an artist. It also includes images of pivotal figures from his life including Dorelia McNeill, Lady Ottoline Morrell and Talitha Pol. Augustus John, 1937 by Howard Coster. Image courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London Augustus John, 1902 George Charles Beresford. Image courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London Augustus John: A Life in Portraits complements portraits by and of the artist currently on display in the gallery. It runs until 18 March 2012.

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  3. The legend of the Llanddona Witches might not be the best known of Welsh legends but it is one that has a clear origin - well, as clear as you are going to find at this distance in time. Llanddona beach (image by Kristofer Williams) According to the legend a boatload of men and women, ...

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  4. There are lots of small festivals in Wales, many great little events existing because of people's love of the genres they're working with, but most don't achieve the recognition of something like Green Man or Wakestock. I took a call last week from Richard James of the Aberjazz jazz and blues festival (25-29 August, Fishguard). He explained to me how Aberjazz has no external sponsorship or funding, and exists simply because of a passion on the part of the organisers to get great acts to Fishguard each year. "Aberjazz is a community group made up of a core of six people and a full committee of about 12; all of us are volunteers," he said. "We all love jazz and blues music, but most of all we love our special coastal county of Pembrokeshire and we all do our best to plan and organise a festival that combines our pride of place with fabulous music. Eddie Martin, headlining the blues side of Aberjazz 2011 "We have no major sponsor and we have no grants from a government agency. We put together our festival with money gathered from advertising in our festival programme, ticket sales and bucketing, bucketing, bucketing. All year round we try to put on small events and busking sessions just to add to our budget and with the help of local clubs and pubs who help pay towards our performers we have succeeded in putting on seven festivals so far. "Each year we go through nerves and minor panic as we hope to balance our books, but we are all still driven by the desire to create a premier event in Wales. We try to bring the best of jazz and blues to our local populace, who would never normally get the opportunity to see such great musicians live, whilst providing a special venue for all jazz and blues lovers to come to enjoy. "The members of our little team are Paul, an IT professional; Alice, a doctor's receptionist; Hazel, a local authority officer; Liz, a social worker; Chrissy, who runs a B&B and me, Richard, a project manager. Each of us tend to live our music through the festival, each with his or her job to do to try and make it happen. We all feel that we provide musicians with an opportunity to perform for their audience and we all believe that what we do is for the good of our community (smaller and larger)." While I have seen a lot of Welsh festivals come and go over the years, whether through incompetence or misfortune, events like Aberjazz, run by people with an obvious passion and amazing work ethic, enrich the cultural life of the country massively. People like Richard should be applauded for endeavouring to bring something different to music fans in Wales. Jazz acts playing in 2011: Kit Downes sextet The Dave Jones Trio James Morton's Porkchop Adam Palma Wonderbrass Jason Yarde Organic Little Rumba Moodswing Freewheelers Tudor And The Rhythm Kings Wibble Blues acts playing in 2011: Eddie Martin Virgil and the Accelerators The Grey Goose Band Lowri Evans Pat Grover's Blues Hawks Simon Stone Duo Red Eyed Fly Smokin Hoggs Hideaway Trio West Coast Blues Band Mark Pontin Group Call Me Albert Karl Griffiths Are you going to Aberjazz? What do you think of the festival? If you want to have your say, on this or any other BBC blog, you will need to sign in to your BBC iD account. If you don't have a BBC iD account, you can register here - it'll allow you to contribute to a range of BBC sites and services using a single login. Need some assistance? Read about BBC iD, or get some help with registering.

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  5. The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) needs help in recording the movements of one of the lesser spotted visitors to UK shores and is urging everyone from coastal path walkers to sea users, to look out for leatherback turtles. Leatherback turtle by Mike Daines Weighing up to a tonne and measuring almost three metres in length, these incredible creatures are unlike any other reptile in that they can maintain their own body heat up to18 degrees centigrade warmer than even the chilliest of British summer seas. While leatherback turtle populations face extinction in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, many nesting populations in the Atlantic appear to be increasing. MCS Biodiversity Programme Manager, Dr Peter Richardson, said it's not clear why the Atlantic Ocean has become the last stronghold for the leatherback turtle: "While conservation action at important nesting beaches is likely to be playing a part, it may also be due to the increasing availability of their jellyfish prey, combined with collapses in the populations of predatory fish such as tuna and sharks." August is the peak time to see leatherback turtles in UK waters, as they arrive from their nesting grounds in the Caribbean to refuel on our abundant seasonal jellyfish blooms. So far this year 12 sightings have been reported from south west Wales and England, seven of which have been seen in the last fortnight. "The leatherback is the largest of all marine turtle species and at a distance could be mistaken for a floating log, but if you approach them slowly and carefully, once you see their large reptilian head, massive flippers and ridged leathery shell you can't mistake them for anything else," said Dr Richardson. MCS has been encouraging the reporting of marine turtles in UK waters since 2001, and leatherbacks make up 75 per cent of those sightings already recorded. To help identify turtles in UK waters, spotters can download The UK Turtle Code, created by MCS with support from Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage. The code describes the different species and how to identify them and who to report them to. UK and Ireland turtle encounters can also be reported to MCS online at www.mcsuk.org.

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  6. A gruesome list of the 10 worst wildlife invaders has been revealed by the Environment Agency this week - the natural world's version of the '10 Most Wanted'. They've concentrated on the species threatening Britain's waterways and top of the list is the so-called 'killer shrimp', which has been ...

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  7. As previously announced, Michael Forever, a tribute concert for Michael Jackson, is due to be taking place in Cardiff on 8 October and has apparently booked its first big name act. Celebrity-chasing tabloid website TMZ has reported that Jackson's mother, Katherine, has been personally inviting music megastars to perform. They say that so far Cee Lo is the only one to say yes, Christina Aguilera and Kayne West are 'leaning towards "yes"' while Chris Brown, Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars have "respectfully declined".' CNN Entertainment are reporting that more line-up details will be announced today, as the family and Global Live Events attempt to steady the concert in the wake of cancelled announcements and fan denunciations. This statement was put on the company's website earlier this week: The organisers of the Michael Forever Tribute Concert are very mindful of the expectations of the fans, who have waited over two years for an event that will do justice to Michael's musical legacy. Some of the greatest names in music are already signed, and more are trying to shuffle other commitments to come on board. Chairman of Global Live Events Chris Hunt said "We will be announcing an incredible line-up very soon. The registration period was put on hold because we want people to know who they are registering to see. Between now and October we will be continuing to add names to the line-up so more announcements will follow. Fans of Michael's music will get the concert they've been waiting for." But reactions from fans on the event's Facebook page are sceptical: "Hopefully we might start getting the truth now. They are rapidly running out of options," said Jamie Smithson, while Sam Bol said simply: "Has this farce been cancelled yet?" As I said in my original blog on this concert, this concert needs to deliver; there have been too many false hopes raised among fans of Michael Jackson over the months since his death. Concerts are mooted, announced and then abandoned. It would be great for the fans and for Wales if Michael Forever gets off the ground, and can sell out its 70,000 tickets. Time is running out, though. And if you missed it, here's a great clip of Michael Jackson fans before his 1988 Cardiff Arms Park gig: Are you planning to go to Michael Forever? What do you think of the latest news? If you want to have your say, on this or any other BBC blog, you will need to sign in to your BBC iD account. If you don't have a BBC iD account, you can register here - it'll allow you to contribute to a range of BBC sites and services using a single login. Need some assistance? Read about BBC iD, or get some help with registering.

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  8. The London riots affected the UK music industry last night in a devastating fashion. An arson attack at Sony DADC's distribution centre in Enfield totally destroyed the building and the stock inside, including the UK's largest stock of independently-released records. Pias Entertainment Group ...

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  9. Few people these days have ever heard the name Thomas Pennant but, in the second half of the 18th century, this remarkable and fascinating man was one of Britain's foremost naturalists and antiquarians. He ranked alongside men such as Gilbert White of Selbourne and, perhaps more importantly, was...

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  10. This week's show is now available via the BBC iPlayer. Please visit the link any time between now and the start of the next programme. I'm going to keep this brief because I'm in the midst of writing the Mother Of All Blogs detailing (well, not too much detail) my experiences at last week's National Eisteddfod in Wrexham. Much of the show reflects some of the great sounds I heard there. But there is much from elsewhere too, including debut plays for: His Naked Torso, Wibidi, Bury Me In L.A., A Skylight Tonight, Bodez, The Hotel Ambush, Angelpig, Substance, Kryophere, NecroNath and Castor. Huw Williams brings us something unintentionally ironic from Major Rowely. Ben Hayes blows us away with something from Robert Palmer's early back catalogue that's a world away from exploiting models and causing a dip in the world's hair gel market. I'm always hungry for excellent, new Welsh music. Please direct creative ace to themysterytour@gmail.com (mp3s/download links) or by visiting the BBC Introducing Uploader. Longwinded, but sound, advice on submitting music to the show is available here: Submitting Music to the Show Dos & Don'ts #1 Submitting Music to the Show Dos & Don'ts #2 Submitting Music to the Show Dos & Don'ts #3 Submitting Music to the Show Dos & Don'ts #4 I've written a love letter to one of the songs on this week's show. I'd love to know (either reply or post a comment on the blog) about the pieces of music that have completely poleaxed you. Just so I feel less embarrassed about having bared my soul so unflinchingly). Gigs of the week are Shy And The Fight/Denuo and Winter Villains at Ten Feet Tall in Cardiff this Tuesday (9th) night & Race Horses at the Fairy Falls Hotel, Trefriw, Gwynedd on Friday night (12th). Feel free to share any of this information with all and sundry. Have an excellent week, Adam Y NIWL - 'Undegpedwar' Gwynedd SUPER FURRY ANIMALS - 'Guacamole' Wales CRASH DISCO - 'Lemon Juice' Bangor Y TRWYNAU COCH - 'Lipstics, Britfics A Sane' Silc Du' Swansea SŵNAMI - 'Mwrdwr Ar Y Manod' Dolgellau COLORAMA - 'Magic Lantern Show' Benllech DAU CEFN - 'Cariad' Caernarfon/Cardiff R. SEILIOG - 'Sturdy Seams/Wingsuit Dreams' Peniel/Cardiff HIS NAKED TORSO - 'Von Teeto Bon Bon Dito' Cardiff HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT - 'The Light At The End Of The Tunnel ( Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train )' Birkenhead BASTIONS - 'The Lengths ( When Wants Become Needs )' Angelsey DEFICIT - 'Pressure Cooker' Bethesda WIBIDI - 'Some People' Cardiff DREAMWELL - 'Anelu' Ynys Môn BURY ME IN L. A. - 'Alien Heart' Cardiff A SKYLIGHT TONIGHT - 'Let Me Tell You' Newport/Cwmbran/Pontypool GRETA ISAAC - 'Don't Go' Cowbridge SOFT-HEARTED SCIENTISTS - 'Mountain Delight' Cardiff HUW WILLIAMS - 'Spoken Contribution' Swansea MAJOR ROWELY - 'There's A Riot Going On' Newport IFAN DAFYDD - 'Miranda' Llanrug TELEGRAM FROM THE QUEEN - 'Faceplant ( Bodez Re-edit )' Cardiff/Newport/Bristol TRWBADOR - 'Sun In The Winter' Camarthen/Cardiff SHY AND THE FIGHT - 'Living' Chester/Llangollen HENRY'S FUNERAL SHOE - 'Dog Scratch Ear' Ystrad Mynach HOTEL AMBUSH, THE - 'No More Second Chances' Caerphilly ANGELPIG - 'Sports Volvo' Swansea GWILYM MORUS - 'Er Dy Fwyn' Bangor MC MABON - 'Gad Dy Ben Yn Syml ( Session )' Caernarfon SIBRYDION - 'Uwchben Y Drefn' Waunfawr/Cardiff CULPRIT 1 - 'Grains Of Light' Newport SUBSTANCE - 'Atom' Oswestry/Wrexham KRYOPHERE - 'Assume The Position' Cardiff NECRONATH - 'Rock The Party Illuminati' Sandycroft CASTOR - 'Leon's Theme' Prestatyn LLWYBR LLAETHOG - 'Bethesda' Blaenau Ffestiniog/Cardiff BEN HAYES - 'Spoken Contribution' Ruthin ROBERT PALMER - 'Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley' Batley YUCATAN - 'Cur' Caernarfon SQUAREPUSHER - 'Tommib' Chelmsford

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