Monday, 18 July 2011


XTC was never a band I knew much about until Dan joined an XTC cover band so when his Kieran I want was to come watch him play – it was Swindon here we come. Turns out he is a multi talented musician and quite the singer. Having not known many if any XTC songs prior to the gig we were treated to a back catalogue bonanza in a pub that might be Swindon’s saving grace (that and the Glue Pot which had quite possibly the best collection of real ales). XTC were never particularly mainstream successful nor trendy or sold vast numbers of records but they were influential and the Fossil Fools did them proud.

After the gig we decided not to tread the well worn local path to liquid/envy style night spots and ended up in Furnace, the indie rock hotspot – but for some reason Saturday is clearly not the night out of choice in Swindon so it would need a reshow of the XTC fossil fools to venture back to Swindon.

On the way out we came across what is quite possibly the scariest junction known to drivers – the Magic Roundabout consisting of five mini-roundabouts arranged in a circle. Turns out (thank you wiki) it was voted the fourth scariest junction in Britain and having messed it up the first time, we had to manoeuvre around it again to ensure us we were set on the right path. It also turns out that it inspired the song ‘English Roundabout’, a pop song by the Swindon band XTC! What a coincidence, not sure it was on the set list though.

Colin and I swung by the village of Avebury en route back to Cardiff which is and I quote ‘World-famous stone circle at the heart of a prehistoric landscape, in Wiltshire. It is one of the most important megalithic monuments in Europe’. A great site although not sure what the people in the village hall were doing to loud techno; random yelps and body shaking seemed to be the Sunday service.

Dan XTC can currently be found during July and August as part of a small group cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats. To add to the adventure they are stopping off along the way to play gigs, busk and put their weary bodies through more torment.

Remember the golden rule: if it looks like it's going to hurt, it's worth sponsoring. The ride is in aid of Cancer Research and they are called Buskers on Bikes. Here's their sponsorship page:

and follow them on their adventures here:

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Ice Cube

You know that feeling when you look at someone and think to yourself, I know them from somewhere and then your brain riffles through your internal address book trying to match the face to a name and some kind of indication of where or why you know that person? Walking out of work yesterday I spotted someone sitting outside a bar I thought I recognised so my brain started to do that internal shuffle; perhaps from London days, perhaps from Radio Cardiff. As I got closer I tried to place them before saying hello completely unannounced. Thankfully just a few metres my brain actually clicked in as on the terrace was Ice Cube. Not the everyday person you expect to see chilling in Cardiff seemingly minding his own business and having a beer by himself.

I knew he was scheduled to play Cardiff at some point but since the closure of the Music Hall I had forgotten to get tickets or find out when or where the gig had been re-scheduled. I resisted the urge to go and say hello because I figured it can’t be often he gets the chance to hang out without people like me pestering him for an autograph. However a quick search and a ticket later I watched the hip hop legend tear down Cardiff Student Union, Solus. He was enigmatic taking the crowd ‘Back to the beginning, Right back to the beginning, the NWA beginning’. He had us in the palm of his hand with all our West Side W’s in the air. Brilliant.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Pulp at Glastonbury

I had my fingers, toes and heart crossed in the hope that PULP would turn up at Glastonbury as a special guest sometime during the festivities. I even made them a T-shirt:

Dear Jarvis,

We’re your Glastonbury Common People, waiting for Acrylic Afternoons, we’re on the Razzmatazz but where are you?

Something Changed, one Monday Morning this F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E came back when Pulp renewed

Please let me I Spy a Sunrise Disco (2000) one Worthy farm afternoon

Dear Jarvis Do you remember the first time? Come Party Hard, your Mis-Shapes are waiting for you

So when the rumors started flying I was in a dizzy state of excitement and could barely contain myself when they showed up asking the crowd if we remembered the first time.

Dear Pulp

Thank you



Sunday, 19 June 2011

Kieran I want you to come to Ascot

The day before we had planned to go to Ascot for Tim’s 30th the paper ran the headline ‘It's Royal Bash-cot’ as a group of folk got over excited and started a fight; plastic tables and chairs flying everywhere. In a similar vein when we arrived for the Saturday races the atmosphere didn’t have that quintessentially British, aristocratic, la di da feeling that I thought it would be. Although the vast majority had dressed up for the occasion seeing some people in jeans and t-shirts didn’t quite match up with my allusions to a regal day out, although having said that a sprinkling of royal fairy dust was created when the Queen rode past waving from her horse and carriage, making for a highlight of the day.

I bet and lost and bet and lost as the bookie’s humoured my £2 to £5 bets. Some of our group got some nice wins and pocketed the winnings, resisting the urge to bet again. In all in, it’s just about the perfect excuse to indulge in an all day drinking session by getting all dressed up, taking a picnic and sipping fizzy wine before battling the masses onto the train platform to squeeze onto the sardine sized tin trains.

But before the night was through for Tim’s 30th I was introduced for the first time to the infamous swan bar and club – which was adeptly described as being like a students union full with people long past their student glory days but seemingly trying to relive their memories by drowning in snake bite black – can’t beat them, join them in rapturous sing-a-longs; ‘I am the one and only’.

And with a suitable snake bite hangover the next morning I went and did what no one should do on a hangover - and that is go shopping – about an hour or so later my bank balance had plummeted as I gleefully came out clutching a pair of inline skates with all the necessary padding. You can’t say I’m not committed to my Kieran I want list…as roller skating to work is most definitely on my list. Now all I need is to learn how to use them and not slice myself open.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Kieran I see Daniel Kitson

For Kieran I want Mr Cobb asked me to place a bet on Swansea making it to the premiership and come to see Daniel Kitson with him. Foolishly I never went to the bookies to place the bet and so never made any money on their promotion but thankfully I did take him up on the offer of seeing the comedian Daniel Kitson.

We saw Daniel Kitson at Aberystwyth years and years ago when Tuesday night at the union started with a comedy night – up and coming acts took the long journey to the seaside to play to a student crowd – we paid a pound to watch them so who knows if they ever got paid, but we got to see some great acts in their infancy on the circuit – I remember Jimmy Carr, Reginald D Hunter and others but Daniel Kitson stands out above all. I seem to remember him telling us at the end of his stint to all go away and listen to Belle and Sebastian – how can you not love a comedian who also imparts musical wisdom to you as well.

Subsequently I have seen him a good few times, his shows sell out quickly so when his latest tour was announced – ‘The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church’ and sold out in Bristol, Jim, Colin and I went down to Newbury to see him perform.

It’s a story of Daniel Kitson’s investigations into the fate of Gregory Church. Having stumbled upon 30,000 letters including a suicide note discovered in Church’s attic, he unravels the story of this middle aged man and it’s unbelievably brilliant.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Kieran I want you to take me to Liverpool

My ipod has 8071 songs it can choose from when on random shuffle. 8071 songs that it could have chosen from, but when I stepped off the train at Liverpool it happened to pick a Beatles number and so started a jaunt up to Liverpool with Mum.

Dear Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, I Want to Tell You the trip to Liverpool was a Good Day Sunshine, With a Little Help from My Friends, Mum and I got some great recommendations. A Day in the Life of our trip included visiting amazing churches seeing Lady Madonna and child Etcetera and seeing all kinds of street sculpture including saying Hello Little Girl to Eleanor Rigby. There are plenty of galleries but sometimes It's All Too Much as some of the artwork is Junk done by Madmen. However the idea of a silent disco in the Tate where people can dance All Together Now was very amusing.

One highlight was a Day Tripper; we got a Ticket to Ride on a train to Cosby beach to see the Anthony Gormley sculptures. But the Two of Us shouted Help! when the Rain started to lash down Here, There and Everywhere. In My Life I’ve never seen the rain Come Together with such high tides. We really needed a Yellow Submarine but instead huddled under cover then took The Long and Winding Road along the Long, Long, Long beach; the weather was Getting Better until we were pleased to note; Here Comes the Sun. The further along the beach we went the more bits of Another Place we saw until finally we could see a full sculpture looking out to sea like a Nowhere Man looking out Across the Universe. After a drying off and a cup of tea we thought it would be a good idea to and Follow the Sun and Get Back into town. That evening we managed to get into the Cavern for a Good Night, where people shout Hey Jude to celebrate some band called the Beatles, I know I almost joined Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band so who knows What Goes On after dark Because after A Hard Day's Night it was time to say Good Night ready for another Good Morning Good Morning.

I'm In Love with Liverpool, it gets All My Loving as Every Little Thing was a Revolution it was Something like being on a Helter Skelter or a Magical Mystery Tour. The people are very friendly so If You've Got Trouble or need to shake Yer Blues away I can strongly recommend the ‘pool. Any Time at All it’s the sort of place where All You Need is Love and you feel as Free as a Bird like you are Flying better than Memphis, Tennessee or being Back in the U.S.S.R.

Mum and I had a fantastic time so Oh! Darling I promise It Won't Be Long before I'll Be Back for sure I can’t Wait and will definitely return When I'm Sixty-Four. It’s a shame there aren’t Eight Days a Week and then perhaps we could have seen Penny Lane but Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da there is so much to see and do so I Will try and Get Back soon.

When I get home I will remember The Night Before anytime I look From a Window at Mr Moonlight or spend time Watching Rainbows, or when I’m Down, I know There’s a Place, That Means a Lot. All I’ve Got to Do is close my eyes and I Feel Fine remembering those Strawberry Fields Forever just like it was Yesterday.

So Let It Be said from Me to You, your Paperback Writer this it The End for now but The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill is always on the Tip of My Tongue

Monday, 18 April 2011

Kieran I want...things I want to do before 30...ride a unicycle

Having a go on a unicycle could possibly the best £3 I have spent. I promise you it’s not easy but the giggles and comedy falls you do whilst trying make it all worthwhile. I took a friend of mine and in between fits of laughter resulting in strained stomachs we managed to progress from clinging onto a wall and a kind persons shoulder, peddling for a few inches to no wall, one shoulder and laps of the room. No Fit State Circus in Cardiff offer classes on a Thursday and I would recommend it to anyone.

I may have got a little bit over excited as the next day after a search on gumtree I brought one. After finding two for sale; one in Brighton one in Bristol (strangely both being sold by people called Gary) and a series of text messages and phone calls I brought a unicycle. I don’t think my sister has ever received such a random phone call; ‘Siobhan, I think I have just brought a unicycle’, ‘OK’, ‘Its in Brighton, but he can deliver it to you’, ‘OK’, ‘He can come round tonight, can you meet him and give him £25 for me’ ‘OK’

Siobhan sent me this message when he turned up at her door; Purchased!! It looks good! Battery very low, will call later on. Hilarious. He looked like a clown in a way…xx. Turns out Gary is a kids clown entertainer and parting with his back up of his back up unicycle. His final text to me read; The secret is to practice in a narrowed hallway. Enjoy!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Kieran I want…things I would like to do before 30…Visit John O’Groats or Orkney.

The Lonely planet guide to Scotland describes John O’Groats as:

“A car park surrounded by tourist shops, John O’Groats offers little to the visitor beyond a means to get across to Orkney…it serves as the end-point of the 874 mile trek from Land’s End in Cornwall”

I couldn’t have put it better myself, how disappointing it must be to anyone that has made the arduous journey of 874 miles to be greeted with such a depressing site; closed down pubs, a boarded up hotel and kitsch shops.

The sign is a private enterprise so you have to ask nicely to take your own photos if you don’t want to pay for their photographic services; although cheerfully enough the photographer waved us to go ahead and asked for a donation to a cancer charity they collect for.

I can’t see that anyone would want to spend anytime here at all, so Colin and I snapped away and then scooted off to catch our ferry across to Orkney.

Who would have thought that so many wonders of the world could be packed into such a tiny collection of Islands; Skara Brae, a 5000 year old prehistoric village predating Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Giza. Maes Howe; a stone age tomb also about 5000 years old and broken into by Vikings searching for treasure in the 12th century – those cheeky Vikings carved runic graffiti on the walls; ‘ Olaf was ‘ere’ and ‘Thorni bedded Helga’. Then there is the Tomb of the Eagles, an Italian Chapel, Standing Stones and Scapa Flow among other wonders and yet somehow a sign with the words Twatt on it is enough to make the journey worthwhile.

A week or so later when we were heading back to Cardiff and stopped off in Chester for an overnight stay we wondered into a local pub and started to play Deal or No Deal on the pubs game machine. No word of a lie but one of the questions that came up was what is the name of the village in Orkney called – you can’t make up coincidences like that.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Kieran I to re-ignite/get into METAL

I can’t go anywhere without my ipod and love it when people recommend music. I used to try and stop myself using the shuffle option as I used to think albums should be listened through in their entirety but who has time to keep up that conviction especially on their walk to work. So the majority of the time a track will come on and I won’t have a clue on the artist. I used to be quite curtailed in my choice of music; indie often melancholy, guitar based bands often four sweaty boys intent on inflicting their woes and sorrows on my ears for my musical appreciation.

Dan Kitson sums it up nicely:

‘I like a very specific sort of music, not too specific, I like various things but basically if all the music I liked met at a party it would all get on. Although it’s not really the sort of music that would go to a party…I like sort of fairly whimsical, fairly melancholy, fairly lyrically ambitious stuff, that’s what I like’

I remember saying to my cousin that I wanted music for every mood but then would go to a club and dance along to all those indie boy songs in my head rather than what was played. Thankfully over the years I have had a burgeoning appreciation for all types of music and although was still a devoted Melody Maker/NME reader way past the explicable time limit of late twenties (When you make the leap from NME to something like Q and then Q to Mojo; your passing years played out in glossy magazine format) indie provided the bedrock to this otherwise flourishing music appreciation.

So when Rich from work challenged me to:

Re-ignite/get into METAL (I’ll provide the CD) and

Watch the DVD Metal: A Headbangers Journey, best Heavy Metal Documentary to date (I can also provide) for my Kieran I want I loved the idea

The documentary is done by Sam Dunn a 30-year old anthropologist who decided to study the culture of heavy metal a culture he has been a part of since he was a 12-year old. He jets across the world to find out why 'his music has been consistently stereotyped, dismissed and condemned and yet is loved so passionately by its millions of fans'.

And concludes in a festival mosh pit that:

"Ever since I was 12 years old I had to defend my love for heavy metal against those who say it's a less valid form of music. My answer now is that you either feel it or you don't. If metal doesn't give that overwhelming surge of power that make the hair stand up at the back of your neck, you might never get it, and you know what? That's okay, because judging by the 40,000 metalheads around me we're doing just fine without you"

And 30 hard rocking, mind blowing and gut busting tunes for 30 years now happily on rotate in on my ipod as below:

ACDC - For those about to rock
Metallica - For whom the bell tolls
Megadeath - Peace Sells
Motorhead - Killed by Death
Slayer - Raining Blood
Saxon - Wheels of Steal
Black Sabbath - Iron Man
Dio - Holy Diver
Motley Crue - Dr Feelgood
Guns n Roses - Mr Brownstone
Iron Maiden - 2 Minutes to Midnight
ZZ Top - La Grange
Whitesnake - Still of the night
Alice Cooper - Welcome to my Nightmare
Ozzy Osbourne - Mr Crowley
The Answer - Come Follow Me
Danzig - Am I demon
Def Leppard - Armageddon It
Dragonforce - Fury of the Storm
Judas Priest - Hell Bent For Leather
KISS - Detroit Rock City
Poison - Nothin' But A Good Time
Rainbow - Stargazer
System Of A Down - Chop Suey!
Tenacious D - Wonderboy
Van Halen - Runnin with the Devil
Probot - Shake Your Blood
Slash (Myles Kennedy) - Back From Cali
School Of Rock Soundtrack - Fight
Rage Against The Machine - Know Your Enemy

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Kieran I want...the list so far

I started writing things I’d like to have done before I’m 30; Milk a cow, Learn to Eskimo roll a kayak, Have a go on a Unicycle etc But this all seemed a bit self indulgent. So I asked friends and family what they want me to do for them that I can add to the list…Kieran I want (read about it here)

The list so far….

Milk a cow
Learn to Eskimo roll a kayak
Have a go on a Unicycle
Learn to sign a full sentence in Sign language
Roller skate to work
Organise a Karaoke eve
Go to a Michelin star veggie restaurant
Walk Ben Nevis/Scafell Pike
Sleep rough/work in a soup kitchen
Watch Dancer in the Dark
Watch Last of the Mohicans
Clear out phone messages
Clear out e-mail inbox
Fix bike
Place a bet
Donate sperm
Be an extra in TV/Film
Be a life model/ get portrait painted/caricature
Make some money for charity
Give blood
Steer a canal boat
Go on the aqua bus
Go for a Ghost walk in Llandaff
Row a boat on Roath Park Lake
Start or join a flash mob
Visit lands end or Orkney
See l’Palace ideal
Organise a night out in Minskeys
Go to Edinburgh festival/Bristol Balloon festival
Take mum to Liverpool
Ride a Sedway
Go to Morocco

Suggestions for Kieran I want you too:

Write a blog post about this for the hackflash blog
Bake a cake for charity (Bobath)
Get the portrait done at the moulin rouge
Get a tattoo
Go to a dance class in Cardiff
Come and stay at my flat and have me treat you to breakfast
Get your hair permed again
Find somewhere to learn a flying trapeze
Pick a list of 'must reads' and try and read them all before you're 30
Go to digger land
Go to Glasgow
Throw a pot? Or pour iron; iron pour events are pretty amazing
Finish your book and let it go; either send it to a publisher or set it free on its own ceremonial voyage into the world
Come over and see my flat and then for us to go for lunch in Brighton which has always been something we have said that we would do - I have been living in my flat for over 4 years now, Hehe!!
Take me to see a cracking band of your choice (like that time we saw 'Seeing Scarlet'...i wonder what ever happened to them)
You to find a nice girl who appreciates you :-)
Go horse riding in the Gower
To have a colonic irrigation please.
Take part in capoeira classes
Option 1
Kayak trip down the wye valley - learning how to eski MOOOOOO roll with me and the Aber crew
Option 2
Come with me to Nepal in October to trek to base camp Everest for charity
Come and see me and Stu and watch 'Little Shop of Horrors'
Do a sprint triathlon, I can help if needed.
Instead of doing Ben Nevis and Scar Fell Pike; do the three peaks challenge which is doing those two and Snowdon with in 24hrs.
A sky dive? Finchy is trying to organise one soon so you could do it with him.
Come and watch the magnificent Daniel Kitson with me
Host a karaoke party with family and friends
Host a progressive dinner party for 4-8 people which involves 4 locations, only one of which can be at your home
Come to the Bingo
Organise and run a quiz evening at your local pub
Come and watch me and Em at an open mic night
Come to my stag do at Field Day festival
Do a stand up slot
Get in touch
Ride a horse
To come to Royal Ascot for my 30th
Attempt to break a world record (however silly it is)
Come to our gig in Swindon in July? It’s Saturday 9th July at the Swindon Vic.
Come support Buskers on Bikes gig somewhere near Bristol
Double your reading speed. Apparently we read at between 200-400 words per minute, and it’s not that difficult to get to 1,000 words per minute.
Learn to knit
Come see Daniel Kitson with me
Let me treat you to something you want:
A holiday
Drive a fast car for a day
Try golf lessons
Flying lessons
Record a song or poem at a recording studio
Be a alter boy for church
Plant a tree
Work in a zoo for a weekend
Grow and eat your own vegetables
See a classical concert
I wouldn’t mind having a cup of tea with you at all ;-)
Shave your head…or dye it
Eat mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
Sell your soul... and join Facebook (for at least a year).
Come along to see me at my treatment room and have a chest or leg wax
Document all your experiences or at least hear all about them sometime :)
Re-ignite/get into METAL (I’ll provide the CD)
Watch the DVD Metal: A Headbangers Journey (I can also provide) best Heavy Metal Documentary to date.
I would like it very much if you would come to the pub with me at some point in the future because you're so lovely
Become a litter champion
I want you to do a First Aid Course. It may come in handy one day. I believe St.John Ambulance used to run them.

Plant a tree I'm sure there must be a scheme available somewhere.
Volunteer to help out at either Cubs or Scouts.
Have a photo taken with Nanna
Teach me how to use my camera and how to upload photos
Take me to a golf driving range

Any suggestions...cardifference at

Kieran I want to watch Dancer in the Dark

I started writing things I’d like to have done before I’m 30; Milk a cow, Learn to Eskimo roll a kayak, Have a go on a Unicycle etc But this all seemed a bit self indulgent. So I asked friends and family what they want me to do for them that I can add to the list…Kieran I want (read about it here)

On more than one occasion I’ve gone into the library with the intension of hiring a movie, walked up and down, round the aisles, scanned the spines, circled the library, picked up, put back, but eventually ended up shrugging and leaving empty handed. Some of the same titles now leap out convincing me that I’ve seen them just because I’ve picked them up and read the backs so many times. 

I once read the Paradox of Choice which promised to ‘explain why too much of a good thing has proven detrimental to our psychological and emotional well being’ a bold statement some might say and the conclusion was equally disquieting ‘As the number of choices we face increases, freedom of choice eventually becomes a tyranny of choice’. Which seems a bit dramatic when relating this to looking for a movie but the back of the book told me: ‘he makes the case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety and busyness of our lives…he offers practical steps for how to limit choices…and derive greater satisfaction from the choices you do make’

Now that sounds a bit too much like self help but kind of makes sense when I’m staring blankly, overwhelmed, facing rows and rows of film titles and not one I end up hiring or buying. It’s the same at massive supermarkets; all that choice but I can’t think of anything to cook, huge book stores or looking on amazon; I have to leave or click away after a while scared rigid at the thought that I will never have time to make even a slight dent at reading lists or when I find myself stuck at a restaurant with a menu so long that there can’t be any ingredients left in the world (it helped when I turned veggie which reduced choices overnight). I remember trying to choose a tent to buy once; after two hours the patience of family and the guy serving had warn inextricable thin.

And so with all great 21st century inventions there is a label for this; consumer hyperchoice so it’s always easier for me to take recommendations than go blindly into searching for a movie; Dancer in the Dark was such a recommendation.

A little bit of a person comes with the attachment to the movie/book or whatever when recommended. Their character and proverbial fingerprints come with it; what did they like/dislike about it, when and where did they watch, read, see it; how did they find out about it. It’s a little window to the soul. I love it when second hand books are inscribed so come with an unknown history and when someone gives me a recommendation. Having gone through the whole look of distain with Last of the Mohicans, admitting that I’d never watched Dancer in the Dark was like sticking pins into Hannah so it was put on the list through a strong recommendation.

And thank you for the recommendation; Bjork was incredible, the impromptu musical numbers a surprise, the best quote being when Bjork is talking about loving musicals but annoyance at the last song: “Because you just know when it goes really big... and the camera goes like out of the roof... and you just know it's going to end. I hate that. I would leave just after the next to last song... and the film would just go on forever” that felt (rightly or wrongly) like a fingerprint or window. I was braced to cry as the film had been described as the saddest movie ever made that only took the opening credits for Hannah to reach for the tissues but thanks to the warning I was ready and so the tissues laid dormant.

Kieran I want to ride a Sedway

I started writing things I’d like to have done before I’m 30; Milk a cow, Learn to Eskimo roll a kayak, Have a go on a Unicycle etc But this all seemed a bit self indulgent. So I asked friends and family what they want me to do for them that I can add to the list…Kieran I want (read about it here)

When we turned up for the horse riding in Scotland the centre had just brought and set up a Sedway track. I retrospectively put riding a Sedway onto my list as this was definitely something I would have wanted to do pre 30 had I known. The machines had only recently been brought in but they agreed to take Colin, Ben and I out.

It’s the closest thing to back to the future hover boards that you can get, absolutely bizarre looking and feeling. Its undeniable we looked like complete idiots rigged out in helmets and high vis jackets and going around the course like we’re floating.

You couldn't wipe that grin away if you tried

It wasn’t as expected in that the controls are through your toes and heels not through the column; that is just the steering wheel, not accelerate/break as we’d assumed. The movement feels a lot like skiing or that type of balance. They cost about 10p to fully charge and each Sedway costs £5,000.

The owner maybe made the mistake telling us that there were two modes; so we switched from ‘turtle’ mood to ‘rabbit’ to go off road. They can get up to 12mph and one nearly ended up crashed against a telegraph pole when Ben tried to race and get them up to their full rabbit speed. Back on the track we tried the ramp which we mastered after Colin had a slight tumble and cautious Kieran just made it over.

Off road here we go

Fair play though, the owner is going to send herself to any early grave with worry, with constantly checking over her shoulder and asking us to behave, not overtake and fret about any crashes but we reckoned it was a fine investment; her machine could do with wing mirrors to help lead groups and save her a heart attack but if you get the chance you should jump at the chance to have a go. All of us came off wanting one, you couldn’t get the smiles off our faces for the rest of the day and the girls got stitches with laughter just watching.

'Are those two brothers?'

Kieran I want you to go horse riding

I started writing things I’d like to have done before I’m 30; Milk a cow, Learn to Eskimo roll a kayak, Have a go on a Unicycle etc But this all seemed a bit self indulgent. So I asked friends and family what they want me to do for them that I can add to the list…Kieran I want (read about it here)

Both Cassie and Claire wanted me to go horse riding for Kieran I want. Although Claire first of all said Kieran I want you to find a nice girl who appreciates you :-)

... failing that I want you to take me to Barbados ;-)

But after asking for some achievable ones her further suggestion was:

Kieran I want you to go horse riding in the Gower

Cassie’s was also: Kieran I want you to go on a horse ride.

So although it wasn’t in the Gower (still keen though) and although I’ve ridden before it was years ago, so the chance to have a go in Scotland, see Colin on a horse (never been on one in his life) and take a trot around was a must.

Colin's first time on a steed
Ben provided the highlight of the experience when his horse Mr Giddy described as a racehorse was brought out, thinking this was for me, he started to laugh but quickly reigned that in (get it reigned in) when it turned out that the poor excuse for a horse was his. His feet nearly touched the ground, the horse had a beer belly and wouldn’t move and when he rode past a hedge you could barely see him bobbing alone.

Ben and the not so Mr.Giddy
I had Max who is ‘what is known as a horse’ not donkey, so while Cassie cantered off, Colin overcame his fear and had a great dismount, Jess tried to egg her horse to get into the grove and I had a bop around, Ben had to pick his feet up to stop them dragging along the floor. ‘What as known as – Classic’

No comparison really Max vs Mr. Giddy - only one winner

Kieran I want to watch Last of the Mohicans

I started writing things I’d like to have done before I’m 30; Milk a cow, Learn to Eskimo roll a kayak, Have a go on a Unicycle etc But this all seemed a bit self indulgent. So I asked friends and family what they want me to do for them that I can add to the list…Kieran I want (read about it here)

Admitting to Colin that I had never watched Last of the Mohicans generated the same look of despair that greeted Kat years ago, who studying film and TV and English at university admitted to never watching Top Gun.

A wave of bafflement, a shake of the head, a muttered tut tut or look of bewilderment; having missed some seminal pieces of cinematography and being greeted with looks of distain has happened to me before; never seen Lord of the Rings, are you insane, didn’t get round to watching the Kings Speech, how? missed Titanic; where have you been?

I even pretended to having seen the original Tron when the remake came out to avoid similar accusations; then never got around to watching the re-make anyway. I hadn’t seen Easy Riders until recently, never watched Dark Crystal or Labyrinth as a child, I’m sure I will get around to watching some of the classics; Ben Hur, When Harry met Sally or Gone with the Wind someday (I can hear the sighs and cries of blasphemous scorn though my computer screen) and Dancer in the Dark and the Little Shop of Horrors are on my list. It’s fair to say my film habits are erratic.

I can barely recall the last film I saw, can’t answer film trivia, forget actors and actresses, am bad at describing films and try and avoid being asked what my favourite film is because my mind goes blank. I end up turning over in my mind the only film I happened to have seen the most (about 17 times)…Gremlins 2 which is the first film I brought and a staple watch at all sleepovers during my childhood years, I can’t hear New York New York without picturing dancing and melting gremlins, that or I end up panicking and saying Point Blank, thanks to boyhood crush on Minnie Driver.

I find it amusing that you somehow suddenly become alien when your film tastes or watching habits don’t measure up. I’m suspicious of people that have massive film collections but love going to the cinema, rarely watch a film twice (Gremlins 2 aside), had my first date to the cinema to see Beauty and the Beast, get giddy when watching a good comic book film, finally got round to watching the notebook and pretend there was something in my eye, think 3D films are a bit rubbish and still chuckle to think I caught Ben with ‘It’s complicated’ staring Meryl Streep.

When a copy of Last of the Mohicans posted from Guernsey with no indication of who it was from landed on my door step I thought I had a DVD admirer. Unfortunately that copy didn’t work but the re-issued one coincidentally with a stamp from Enterprise video in Brighton came I watched it (Thank you Colin for sending me the copy and being the DVD mystery sender). I even remembered a line from the movie ‘The whole world is burning’ but don’t ask me to review it for you – it was good, I enjoyed, it’s worth a watch and now it’s ticked off my list.

Kieran I want to help at a soup kitchen

I started writing things I’d like to have done before I’m 30; Milk a cow, Learn to Eskimo roll a kayak, Have a go on a Unicycle etc But this all seemed a bit self indulgent. So I asked friends and family what they want me to do for them that I can add to the list…Kieran I want (read about it here)

As most of you probably know I don’t need a lot of persuasion to go on a little jaunt around the country so when Iron and Wine tickets came up for Leeds, a place I’ve past through and been too on a number of occasions on a day trip but never been for an eve, I jumped at the chance.

Leeds has all the charm and character of Cardiff with its arcades and markets, is city that you can easily walk around and as we were out on paddy’s day was full of plastic paddy’s celebrating the event sponsored by Guinness.

The gig was ace, the night out brilliant. Highlights include:

Real ale at Whitelocks – an old world, real ale pub a world away from its bizarre location – just down an alleyway off the busiest shopping street in Leeds

When Iron and Wine played ‘Women King’

Bad dancing in the bars on Call lane

Trying to explain to someone what a falafel is (they don’t exist in Leeds apparently)

Joel trying to get Colin to suck the corporate nipple of McDonalds and get chips

And the vintage shops filled with delights (but it’s too easy to fall foul to sensory overload and end up leaving with nowt)

Anyway as Colin and Joel drove up further north for a stag do I went down to Manchester to visit Hayley. Ironically this timed in nicely with Hayley’s regular soup kitchen volunteering as feeding the homeless is on my list, so Friday night we went down to a charity to help out on their soup run.

I have never buttered so much bread or seen a kitchen so well organised and slick; we loaded the van with an assortment of hot and cold foods and went to their usual spot under the railway arches where a crowd had already started to assemble.

Aside from a minor scuffle at the start the people were polite and grateful and sometimes surprisingly picky. We perched on the edge of the lorry and dished out sandwiches and had a chat to those who wanted to talk. Some take food and disappear back into the night while others hang around for a natter.

What ever people’s thoughts or perceptions on the homeless it is startling to realise how close we all are to being on the streets – apparently its less than three missed mortgage payments away from homelessness, how being made redundant, an unexpected tragic situation or change in social circumstances can see you on the streets. No one knows how we react to future situations; how losing work can knock you out of society, a break up can tear your world apart, a death can make you fall off the tracks, or an illness becomes a barrier or reducing you to being incapable to support yourself. All issues that people talked openly about. Introducing myself to one chap, he visibly took a step back. He had a neck chain with Kieran on it, his little boy, a twin, died of cot death and he hadn’t recovered from his death. How may of us can honestly say that if we found ourselves faced with some of the problems or issues that these people have been through that we wouldn’t find ourselves in the same situation; guys and girls my age, older and younger each with a story about why and how they ended up on the streets.

It struck me how importantly I would rely on family and friends if faced with becoming homeless. But then if those social structures are not in place or have been dismantled due to disagreements, breakups, abuse, or whatever then what do you do? Its support structures like this and many other charities that are essential.

For the last ten minutes I really started to feel the cold, until then as stupid as it sounds I didn’t think about where or what people would do after collecting sandwiches, fruit, some curry or drinks. A small gang of the group were talking about the village or the garden, in any other context on a Friday night you could imagine that those are names for pubs and we were all off for a Friday drink together. But I assume these are not pubs but gardens were they would spend the eve. As we were walking back my hands and feet felt chilly, I cannot begin to imagine what nights on the street really entail.

Yes, many seemed to be on something or filled with drink but again how many of us can say that if we were in a similar situation and had to go through the night on the streets that we wouldn’t take to something to numb the pain, not just of the cold but of whatever problems made them take to the streets in the first instance.

In total we probably saw about 30-60 people, the charity said that they are seeing more and more as the recession bites. I know I am simplifying the evening and helping out once isn’t making a huge difference, but back in the flat with a roof and friends around its hard not to get overly sentimental about the simple things in life.

Each week I try and buy the Big Issue. I have a regular lady that I buy from and she explains that it is a way to help her back on her feet, through it she has been able to go to job interviews and is trying to find work. The Big Issue exists to offer homeless and vulnerably housed people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income. Vendors buy for £1 and sell to the public for £2, keeping £1 for themselves:

‘We believe in offering ‘a hand up, not a hand out’, but we also recognise that earning an income is the first step on the journey away from homelessness. The Big Issue Foundation is a registered charity which exists to link vendors with the vital support which will help them address the issues which have led to their homelessness. The Foundation works exclusively with vendors, offering support, advice and referrals’.

If you are interested to know more about their work visit

Please support their vendors.

Kieran I want to clear out phone messages

I started writing things I’d like to have done before I’m 30; Milk a cow, Learn to Eskimo roll a kayak, Have a go on a Unicycle etc But this all seemed a bit self indulgent. So I asked friends and family what they want me to do for them that I can add to the list…Kieran I want (read about it here)

Without a doubt one of the things I wanted to do before I was thirty was to clear out my inbox not just e-mails but also on my phone. I’m overtly sentimental when it comes to keeping messages and e-mails hence the reason my inbox at this moment (9th March 16.20) contains 1537 e-mails (136 unread) and 3016 sent items that I seemingly can’t delete. A good spring clean and purge is something I often attempt but it inevitably leads to a similar hypnosis I get when I start looking at photos – I start daydreaming and suddenly hours have flashed by and I’m no closer to making any progress on the job at hand.

So when I had to take a train trip to Leeds and back in a day (phew wee what an early start and long day that was) for a conference it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up to clear out my phone.

Apparently I have received 12390 messages but only (!) sent 12176 so first off apologies for the 214 messages that I didn’t reply too, secondly my phone doesn’t tell me in what time scale this wealth of communication was undertaken so I can only assume its since I had the phone. If you have seen it, it is more suitable for a museum and people still laugh when I take it out – I have no clue when I brought this but thirdly that is a lot of messages/time, if I was going to characterise my phone usage I would classify myself as a low usage but that figure has freaked me out. I am still very much of the side of my phone isn’t an extension of my arm, I would rather see you face to face or ring for a chat, Maybe I will reply to a text but No my time keeping for messages isn’t great and yet here I am faced with a reality that I’ve sent 12176 messages.

What my phone might look like

But when I try and purge stuff I often get overtly sentimental and wistful. Part of the problem of not being able to press delete all messages is that I like those messages, they are little prompts, small injections of the past; miniature time machines if you like. I can’t see what I sent back so it makes me remember a time, a place, a situation. So at around six in the morning en-route to Leeds I started writing down the ones I wanted to keep and then pressing delete.

I guess writing them down is no better than keeping them in my phone in the first place but the phone is now clear and no longer greats me with ‘No space for new messages’ every time I try and use it.

The oldest message was at 18.26 on the 27.06.06

He he he thank you very much for my wonderful game, just found it, but only got two words so far. You shouldn’t have but thanks x x x

Some phone hijack and funny ones:

It happened again dude, another wet dream about my mum! I keep doing it and can’t seem to stop. Running out of bedsheets. Any Advice? 20.37 15.01.09

I wish U peace, love and health…Blah Blah Blah F**k that S**t! I wish you lots of sex, alcohol and orgasms and hope you win the f**king lottery. Happy New Year 02.28 01.01.10

Others timely:

Emilia Grace Edwards was born this morning at 8.51, weighing in at 6lb 6oz, and is the most beautiful things we have ever seen. Mum and daughter are doing fine and dad is over the moon! 10.28 03.01.11

Some archived seemingly for no reason:

831849835 09.57 07.05.10

Hey sorry whos this x 19.06 10.02.11

2 words…True legend!!! 09.57 07.05.10

Morning pudding, I had to (banana) split otherwise I would have been in a sticky toffee situation but I don’t want to be trifle I’m back in the gateaux a little bit sorbet after the journey but had a ice scream and more than a raspberry ripple of fun x

07.50 13.07.10

And some characteristic:

Hey K K, snowed in on my first day back at work. We hit the anchor what a blast from the past! Had a fab New Year thanks so much for joining, believe you offered to impregnate my mother which has made her year already! Much Love xxx 18.24 06.01.10

I’m so on fire at the moment it really hurts! But in a good way – Lovin it. Did you get a full house 23.49 23.02.11

Pina Colada 1,2,3 A little bit of Malibu, sounds good to me. Baileys in mugs nearly as lovely as hugs 20.33 19.03.10

Hey how goes it? You seem the type who might enjoy pirate themed festivities. There’s a ceilidh on saturday at the ‘roath park’ on city road. Fancy dress optional…x 16.15 18.10.10

The phone spring clean is the first time I have seen –no messages- it’s a purge I can recommend and I hope to keep control over this. I cleared all message counters on the 17.10 09.03.10 and will see how many I send and receive from then till my birthday writing down the ones that I can’t completely delete into the ether.

Kieran I want you to bake a cake for my charity event

I started writing things I’d like to have done before I’m 30; Milk a cow, Learn to Eskimo roll a kayak, Have a go on a Unicycle etc But this all seemed a bit self indulgent. So I asked friends and family what they want me to do for them that I can add to the Kieran I want list

Kieran I want you to bake a cake for my charity event

As a bit of a useless cook I am quite astounded how successful this cake came out for this Kieran I want you to bake a cake for my charity event and so wanted to share the recipe below. I also made flapjacks but more for selfish reasons as they’re my favourite.

Thanks for the recipe Mum.

Anne from work asked me to add a cake to the selection that she and others bake for a Bake for Bobath event. She could be found covered in flour and eggs for four days previous, furiously baking and as you can see the spread was amazing.

Thankfully the donations were very generous and Anne raised £220 for the Bobath charity. I am pleased to say that all my cake and flapjacks got sold and no reports of food poisoning from them were reported.

The Bake for Bobath event aims to raise funds for Bobath who make a difference to children in Wales who have cerebral palsy which is ‘a permanent disorder of posture and movement resulting from brain damage occurring in the baby or young child’ and that ‘Every 6 hours a child is born who will have cerebral palsy’.

So without further ado the recipe for a Pineapple fruit cake is;

¾ lb Mixed fruit

8oz Self Raising Flour

4oz Margarine

8oz Brown Sugar

1 tspn Mixed Spice

1 tspn bicarbonate of soda

13 ½ oz tin of crushed pineapple

2 beaten eggs

Pinch of Salt

Boil the mixed fruit, margarine, sugar, spice, bicarbonate of soda and pineapple for 3 minutes and let it cool

Then add to it the flour, salt and mix well

Add the eggs and mix well

Bake in an 8” round or square tin for 1 ½ to 2 hours 325f/160˚C/Gas Mark 3


Anne said of the event:

‘Every year I organise a bake sale within my team in the Council. Raising funds makes a difference to children in Wales who have cerebral palsy. When you realise every 6 hours a child is born who will have cerebral palsy you realise it is an important charity to support. This year my team and other colleagues in the building surpassed themselves by gorging themselves on cakes and savouries, and helped to raise £220!’

Kieran I want you to come to the Bingo for my Birthday

Kieran I want...

One of my first replies aside from writing a blog post on my ‘Kieran I want’ idea which you can read about here was ‘Kieran I want you to come to the Bingo for my Birthday’. To recap I started writing things I’d like to have done before I’m 30; Milk a cow, Learn to Eskimo roll a kayak, Have a go on a Unicycle etc But this all seemed a bit self indulgent. So I asked friends and family what they want me to do for them that I can add to the list

Kieran I want…(your suggestion here)

Here are some thoughts on the first

Kieran I want you to come to the Bingo for my Birthday

What ever happened to:

Two little ducks, legs eleven, made in heaven, you and me, Clickety click and all those other old school bingo calls made from a revolving metal wheel. When I used to play bingo with my Nan along the seafront on a typically stormy British day in Bournemouth there was a sense of the ridiculous to the game which made it so appealing.

Not now. Wednesday the 23rd February as part of my list of ‘Kieran I want’ challenges Kat asked that I go with her and friends to Bingo. With images of quaint frivolity I readily agreed.

But what greeted us was an intensity that I’ve never experienced. With casino lighting, no clocks on the walls, slot machines lining the walls and serious expressions normally reserved for a jury we brought our tickets for the 7.30pm game and found seats in the packed out gladiator arena that is the bingo hall.

And wow it’s fast, furious and slightly intimidating. As soon as the caller starts; silence. A silence you wouldn’t even get in church overcame the room. I don’t deny with six cards per game to mark off I lost track on a number of occasions as my mind started to wander. Everyone is eyes down and locked in concentration, and with some big money to be won there is no messing around. A few false calls electrified the room with excitement as a few games had to be re-started and the link up for major money gripped everyone.

In my naivety I half expected it to be A. empty for a Wednesday eve and B. Filled with little old ladies perhaps with a selection of blue and purple hair rinse.

Neither of which it was. It was filled with people of all ages and I mean filled. It was packed out. I don’t deny it was fun but with no talking during games and the need for extreme concentration it brought out the hot sweats in us. One of our group struggled with breathing due to the need for fast thinking; having to hold his breath during games turned him a lovely purple colour throughout. Plus I’m not sure any of us would have even had the temerity to call out Bingo if we had a line or full house as the majority of players seemed to be regulars who were intimidating in their intensity.

But it’s when you catch sight of the few people cutting a lonely figure, sitting on their own that you remember it’s gambling through and through, basically scratch cards in disguise with its own associated addictions. Computerised and efficient, even the ‘Bingo’ call sounded stunted and unenthused. It’s not like on the old sea front days when a win was greeted with cheer and a pat on the back (excuse the nostalgic recollections I’m sure it was as serious back then) but now it’s tut tut, an envious look and cards thrown down that hails the winner.

Next time I think a birthday meet up might revert back to the usual meet for a drink so that we can actually talk. I don’t think we will rush back to the fabled full house.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Student Bucket List

Each week on the on xpress radio show we have been compiling suggestions for our Student Bucket List - what should you do before leaving Cardiff?

Here is the updated list thus far....

Experimental travel around Cardiff by asking bar staff what they drink and where they would drink it then going there and so on and so on

Partake in the Photo marathon

Have photo taken under Brains advert like in Super Furry Animals album

Go to Barry Island and act out some Gavin and Stacey scenes

Take a Roald Dahl book to the Roald Dahl Plas or the Norwegian Church where he was baptized and have your photo taken

Go to Splott Market

Buy a Love Spoon and send to a stranger

Go to the castle dressed as a king or queen and pretend to be royalty

Take the Jaffa cake challenge – eat as many jaffa cakes (or chosen confectionary) on the Bay train – Queen Street to Cardiff Bay lasting no more than 4 minutes.

Go for a Ghost walk in Llandaff

Streak at a sporting event like Varsity

Take a trip on the aqua bus

Have an impromptu rave under the Tempus Fugit sign which - launched on Saturday 22nd January 1994 at the Coal exchange – Time Flies

Stop walking past Wally’s deli and go in

Spend a lazy Saturday buying an antique gift from Jacob’s antique market

Get a spillers t-shirt

Become a food expert at the Riverside/Roath food markets

See a film of someone else’s choosing at Chapter

Row a boat on Roath Park Lake with an umbrella as sunscreen

Walk/cycle/ride to Castel Coch

Go to an international game

Get your stethoscope out with the Aneurin Bevan statue – founder of the NHS

Start or join a flash mob

Be caught doing the walk of shame in fancy dress

Go and watch the Cardiff Devils play, buy a foam hand for the occasion

Shhhh…go to a silent disco

Visit the Manic street preachers plaque at the library bearing the words ‘Libraries gave us power’ – a line from their 1996 hit A Design For Life.

Take a Doctor Who tour and see the who’s who sights

Further suggestions? Please send to


On Friday’s show we talked with Bethan, Cardiff’s newly appointed Nightline coordinator.

Cardiff Nightline is a confidential listening, emotional support and information service for members of Cardiff University, UWIC, RWCMD, and Glamorgan University.

Run by students for students you can ring them about anything from wanting a pizza or taxi number, to feeling lonely, feelings of depression, emotional issues or exam stress.

Nightline is totally confidential, non-judgemental and non-directive. We won't try to solve your problems, but we can help you to do it yourself.

02920 870 555

8pm - 8am term time.

Find out more at:

OR on Nigel the Nightline bear's facebook:

Bethan said ‘Nightline is a great service to help you vent any thoughts, concerns, worries or if you just need some advice. With the forthcoming exams people often use the service if things are getting on top of them and we are here to help. We are run by students for students so we can listen to you; it’s anonymous and confidential and we’ll listen, not lecture. If you are interested in helping with the service we are always looking out for new volunteers across all the universities to keep the service open, training will be given and will begin at the start of the new academic year in October’

Friday, 8 April 2011

Today on the show.....

On today's show we will be talking about the forthcoming BigLittleCity exhibition (see below), talking with a guest from nightline, which is a listening, emotional support, information and supplies service, run by students for students, chatting about some great new ideas for our Student Bucket List and telling you about some fantastic charity events that are coming up this weekend and next week.

So tune in to xpress radio 12-1 to bring more of this beautiful sunshine into your life, through your ears and into your soul.


BigLittleCity will be having its grand opening on Thursday 14 April, 5pm til late.

After that We Are Cardiff will be exhibiting and inviting you to interact until 22 July


BigLittleCity is a celebration of Cardiff and Cardiff’s creative talent for photography, art, film, writing, music and performance, animation, illustration, painting and graffiti. BigLittleCity is about the city and the experience of its residents. The team has been invited to stage a four-month exhibition to help launch Cardiff’s prestigious new people’s museum The Cardiff Story at the Old Library building, The Hayes, in the heart of our city. The BigLittleCity exhibition will showcase everything that is special about the Welsh capital and is set to attract tens of thousands of people.

So where is it?

The Cardiff Story is a new city museum for the capital of Wales, situated in The Hayes (between House of Fraser and St David’s Hall). More here The Cardiff Story

We Are Cardiff is a storytelling project in which the citizens of Cardiff are invited to tell their story of the city.

What’s special about your neighbourhood? What do you love about living in the capital, and what do you hate?

We Are Cardiff will be exhibiting a selection of stories athte BigLittleCity exhibition gathered since We Are Cardiff launched in 2010. They will also be inviting visitors to the exhibition to write their own Cardiff story, which they will be adding to their storyboard throughout the course of the BigLittleCity Exhibition.

Cardiff Students represented in new museum

A new museum dedicated to the history of Cardiff has officially opened in the city; The Cardiff Story Museum shows how much the city has changed over the last 200 years. The Museum focuses on telling Cardiff’s history through the eyes of those who made it – its people. was asked to contribute to this exhibition and highlight some of the positive influences of students on the city. You can explore a number of photos and quotes from the cities student liaison officer and on the digital screens related to the ‘Changing face of Cardiff’ section in the exhibition.

An example of student volunteering

“As well as the financial benefits students bring to a community they volunteer hours of their time using a wealth of skills to help within the community. It’s my job to encourage good relations between new and existing residents, by educating students about social responsibilities and finding ways where we all can contribute to a cleaner, greener, safer, healthier and more optimistic city.” Kieran McCann. Cardiff Council’s Student Liaison Officer.

The new Museum provides an introduction to the city for visitors and a community resource for residents. The Museum is open seven days a week on the site of the iconic Victorian Grade II* listed Old Library. Entry is free.

Museum Manager, Dr. Kathleen Howe, said: ““It’s been a unique opportunity to start a city museum and collection from scratch – a mammoth but very enjoyable task! I know that The Cardiff Story team has found it a real privilege to work with the community groups, individuals and organisations across the city and county, to gather objects, information and stories that will represent Cardiff’s long history for generations to come.”

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Living on £1 a day

On Fridays show you heard from Sophie Gale a third year student at Cardiff University. We spoke to Sophie just as she was finishing her challenge of living on £1 a day or less for five days in order to raise awareness of extreme poverty.

Sophie is raising awareness of the ‘Live Below the Line’ campaign launching in the UK in May and will promote the £1 a day for five days challenge as a means of raising money and awareness of those who live ‘below the line’ on less than £1 a day. Sophie took the challenge to get a better understanding of the challenges faced by people living in Extreme Poverty, and to raise funds for crucial anti-poverty initiatives.

Sophie completed her campaign on no-frills food like rice, couscous and soup, throughout she was fundraising for Results UK, a group which is geared towards generating the political pressure needed in order to end world poverty. Sophie was surprised at how difficult it was to ensure she was eating three meals a day, how little she could buy with £1, she spoke about how it was affecting her social life and how having to live off mainly stodgy food like carbohydrates wasn’t meeting her dietary requirements.

There’s not much you can do with £1. However, surviving on this small amount each day is the reality for the 1.4 billion people currently living below the extreme poverty line. Sophie is now campaigning for students to take part in the challenge and come to a special screening of a 1.4 Billion Reasons DVD presentation.

1.4 Billion Reasons is a thought-provoking journey that explores how we can see an end of extreme poverty within our lifetime. Based on leading research, 1.4 Billion Reasons clearly articulates the challenges of extreme poverty and demonstrates that by making simple changes, everyone can be part of the solution. It has been described as a groundbreaking movement that will certainly catalyze the movement to eradicate extreme poverty.

A brief snippet of the 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation can be found here

On the 25th of March, it will be coming to Cardiff University. You can find details of the event via Facebook here

The event itself will be free of charge and there will be refreshments provided, as well as a professional speaker on hand. We are anticipating that the screening will be extremely popular and as such it is necessary to register your interest early!

So if you are interested in attending, please contact Sophie at:

The presentation has been made possible with the backing of the Global Poverty Project and in partnership with RESULTS UK. The special screening of their 1.4 Billion Reasons DVD is an exciting and very exclusive upcoming event.

To find out how you can take the £1 a day challenge visit:

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Cardiff Students’ Union Elections

Campaigning begins today across campus for the Cardiff Students’ Union Elections

Download the list of candidates standing for each position here

You can come along and quiz your candidates at the Candidate Question time on Thursday 17th at 6.30pm in the great hall.

Here on the Union show ‘cardifference’ Friday 18th 12-1 on we have an exclusive interview with the current Union president Olly Birrell talking about the elections, how you can vote, why it’s important to get involved and all about his work this year and his aspirations for the coming years.

Download the candidate’s manifestos at:

The Executive Committee are the elected representative of the whole student body who work for you to make sure that your views are represented. Part of this committee are the Elected Officers, a team of students who have taken a break from their studies or recently graduated who are elected yearly by the student body to lead the union as a whole. All positions are up for election.

Monday, 14 March 2011

On the show on Friday we were very privileged to host two members from STAR – Student Action for Refugees. Hazel Hathway is the president of the Cardiff Union group and alongside her campaigns officer Miriam they came to talk to us about the work of STAR nationally and at a local level here in Cardiff.

STAR is the national network of student groups working to improve the lives of refugees in the UK by:

• Promoting positive images of refugees

• Volunteering for local refugee projects

• Campaigning for refugees

Refugees and asylum seekers are a vulnerable group of people who often have a long and difficult struggle to secure their safety in another country. As people fleeing persecution, torture and prejudice they need and deserve our support. The group here in Cardiff help promote a positive image of refugees as they believe it is vital that our fellow students have a positive attitude towards refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people.

Here in Cardiff Hazel and Miriam talked about how some of their projects past and present including:

- Volunteering every Wednesday at a local drop in for asylum seekers and refugees teaching conversational English.

- Asylum monologues

- Refugee rhythms

- A sleep out as part of the still human still here campaign

Up coming events include:

- Taking part in the student power debates at the union

- 'STARs' in their eyes fundriaser with act one

- Another performance of asylum monologues by act one

- Cup cakes and cast offs the festival.

You can find out all the details about the Cardiff based group on their facebook page here and the contact email is

The drop in centre is open every Wednesday for asylum seekers and refugees at Trinity Methodist church, four elms road (just off Newport road) 5.30 - 7.30. There is a social area upstairs and an informal English conversation class downstairs. The group is always looking for new volunteers to get involved and everyone is welcome to come along. So please e-mail Hazel if you are interested:

To find out more information about STAR’s national network and their work visit their website:

Friday, 4 March 2011

Kieran I want...

Thank you for listening to the show today. We had a great interview with Samar Wafa talking about the Census and Kelda Remington from People and Planet chatting fairtrade and ethical and environmental campaigns. We will post up the interviews soon.

If you have stumbled across us from the amazing blogspot that is hackflash then welcome – thank you for visiting. Thank you hackflash and Helia for our guest blog. 

If you haven’t come via hackflash you are still more than welcome have a read about the Kieran I want challenge and Student Bucket List feature; all suggestions welcomed!

I’ve watched as throughout the last few years friends have been having mini melt downs when their 30th birthday approaches. There is little doubt that when I was in my formative teenage years I was convinced that I would not make 30 and that it was such a seminal and preloaded date with various connotations connected to it.

When one of my closet friends turned 30 I did what all good friends should do and facebook hijacked him with a list of all the ways in which he had changed as a person written as if by his own fair hand

I’m 30 ‘I’ve changed’ I think you all saw this coming as I:

Have bladder problems and need to pee every few seconds (in fact just reading about wee makes me want to go)
Feel comfortable telling everyone I get my eyebrows plucked
Suffer from hangovers – if you can get me down the pub in the first place
Have not been near a club in years, when you say club I think biscuit
‘Extreme’ is a word I now use to describe the weather
When you say Stella I think ‘that’s a nice name for a girl’
Think hooters is a sound a car makes
Think a gentle ride in a canal boat was a good idea for a stag trip
My super bike now has peddles
My winkle pickers are now slippers

Then just last week I realised that it was 34 weeks until my 30th

Far from dreading it too much I am pretty excited it’s like Albert Camus says: ‘At 30 a man should know himself like the palm of his hand, know the exact number of his defects and qualities, know how far he can go, foretell his failures - be what he is. And, above all, accept these things’.

So I started writing things I’d like to have done before I’m 30:

Milk a cow, Learn to Eskimo roll a kayak, Have a go on a Unicycle, Learn to sign a full sentence in Sign language, Roller skate to work, organise a Karaoke eve, Go to a Michelin star veggie restaurant, Walk up Ben Nevis/Scafell Pike, Sleep rough/work in a soup kitchen, Watch dancer in the dark and Last of the Mohicans, Clear out inbox, Fix bike, Place a bet, donate sperm, be an extra in TV/Film, be a life model/ get portrait painted/caricature, make some money for charity, give blood…

But this all seemed a bit self indulgent. I’m fortunate that I have done many things some quite major in my short life in no small part to all my friends, family and random acquaintances so it struck me that I should ask them what they want me to do for them that I can add to the list, stuff that I promised to do but never got around too for example pre 30 I would like to take mum on a weekend away as we missed out last year or finally go and watch my mates band. Basically stuff they want me to do with them…or something they want to teach me or something they thought I should see/read/watch (you get the idea).

Kieran I want…(your suggestion here)

So I’m giving them a few weeks to send in their suggestions. I sent this out last week and so far its great to know that my friends what me to:

Have colonic irrigation please
Get your hair permed again
Find a nice girl who appreciates you (surprisingly not from any family member)

One friend said ‘It's hard to consider what someone else should do without bringing yourself into the process’ which I liked as lots of requests involved the responder or were asking me around for food, visiting flats or new homes, to go for a cup of tea or for a pint. I’ve had offers to help with suggestions on my list, been sent some unachievable ideas and many ‘Kieran I wants’ which I’m waiting on…hint hint. Some other examples:

Kieran I want you to:

Write a blog post about this for the hackflash blog (consider this achieved)
Find somewhere to learn a flying trapeze
Trek Everest base camp
Walk Hadrian’s Wall
Take me to Glasgow or Liverpool
Bake a cake for my charity event
Come with me to the bingo
Take me to see a cracking band of your choice
Get the portrait done with a friend (take me!) at the Moulin Rouge
Come around for dinner and watch little shop of horrors
Get into Metal (I’ll provide the CD) and watch A Headbangers Journey
Go to diggerland (don’t you dare go without me)
Come to my treatment room and have a chest or leg wax

I wanted to have a bundle of ideas as I still want them relatively spontaneous and not feel contrived but I find that if all else fails making a list is a good start to focus the thoughts (is that my age speaking!).

It’s nice to see that things I’d been meaning to do over the last few years; various visits et al are things that friends want, so this way if its on a list it gives it that bit more focus. It’s so easy to put off trips, visits, or cups of tea so over 30 weeks I will try and do 30 things or more. I’m not going to laminate the list or set it in stone so it can change and then obviously I can have a party to celebrate.

As excitingly The Kieran I want idea sparked a feature for a radio show on xpress radio. Alongside my personal Kieran I want we are creating a Student Bucket List – all those things you should do before leaving Cardiff, some I have already stolen for my list:

Experimental travel around Cardiff by asking bar staff what they drink and where they would drink it then going there and so on and so on

Partake in Photo marathon
Have photo taken under Brains advert like in Super Furry Animals album
Go to Barry Island and act out some Gavin and Stacey scenes
Take a Roald Dahl book to the Roald Dahl Plas or the Norwegian Church where he was baptized and have your photo taken
Go to Splott Market
Buy a Love Spoon and send to a stranger

So I throw open the challenge to the world and see what bounces back.

If you don’t think this is too contrived or egotistical and have any suggestions, comments or thoughts send me an e-mail at

Student Bucket List ideas….

Kieran I want…..

Following the progress of the list and Kieran I want on this very blog as I will update as we go along.

Today on the show.....

Live at 12-1 on the cardifference show is pleased to announce that on today’s show we will be:

Talking Fairtrade with a member of People and Planet

Exploring your ideas for our Student Bucket List

Asking what all this census fuss is all about

Playing some brilliant tunes especially related to the show last night with the amazing Alex Sedgmond and King Louis Collective

Asking is cake rage a new social disease plus

Other chitter chatter, and help and advice to help you through your student life inside and outside of the student bubble.

What would you do before leaving Cardiff? Get involved with our new feature – The Student Bucket List. We are making a list of all the things you should do before you leave Cardiff – we want your ideas and suggestions e-mail us at or text Studio and your message to 82010 – thank you for listening

Tweet tweet we are on twitter @cardiffdigs

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

I Will For Wales

Your cardifference show presenter (Kieran McCann) has signed up to Keep Wales Tidy’s ‘I Will For Wales’ campaign because he believes everyone should do their bit to look after their local environment.

On last weeks show we had Sarah Philpott, Communications and Campaigns Officer for Keep Wales Tidy (KWT) on the show talking about KWT and the I Will for Wales pledges.

The mission of KWT is to encourage local action to protect and enhance the environment of Wales. They will engage in activities that encourage individuals, groups and organizations to act in a way that achieves a Clean, Safe and Tidy Wales.

The ‘I Will For Wales’ campaign asks people to make a 2011 resolution online at
You can pick one out of ten simple pledges relating to rubbish or create your own.

The pledges are everything from simple changes to your everyday life to active involvement. There is something for everyone to sign up for including using a bag for life, disposing of cigarette butts and chewing gum responsibly, being a responsible pet owner by clearing up your dogs mess, to becoming a litter champion or joining a KWT volunteer group.

cardifference presenter Kieran McCann signing up
for the I Will for Wales campaign

I would encourage everyone to sign up. We have signed up because we strongly support Keep Wales Tidy’s belief that small changes in our daily lives can make a huge difference to our communities. Keep Wales Tidy is asking people to make small changes to their lifestyles that will make huge differences to their local communities.

On the show one of the suggestions that came out was that students could make a pledge to sign up for Tidy Text. Tidy Text is a free texting service just launched in Cardiff. This easy to use service sends text messages to remind you when your recycling bags and waste are being collected.

Students are being encouraged to make full use of this service to help them understand their waste and recycling responsibilities. Sign up is free when you subscribe online at 

Alternatively, you can register by texting ‘Tidy' with your house number and postcode to 60066.