BACK STAGE AT PEPPERMINT IGUANA HQ: Gigs, Festivals, Parties, CDs, Books, Protests, travels, photography and Cardiff City FC

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

WHAT'S THAT COMING OVER THE HILL?: Sunderland 1 : Cardiff 2

With a round trip of 600 miles, Sunderland is one of City’s furthest away games. The idea of driving up and back in one hit did not come into the equation and flying would prove expensive, so with two days leave booked me and Squirrel headed north for a mid week weekend break.

The drive was not bad, the five hours plus behind the wheel flew past, but then I always enjoy going away (it is the coming back that can sometimes be gruelling). We landed at the B&B with plenty of time to kill before the game so had a bit of a look around and sunk a few beers.

The couple of hours before the game found us in the Wheatsheaf, probably the nearest pub to the ground. The majority in the pub were Sunderland fans, but there were quite a few City in there and the atmosphere was extremely friendly.

Its cold oop north

We eventually headed for the ground, by the time we got in the thousand or so that had made the trip from South Wales were already in full song, warming up the bitterly cold northern night. The ‘Stadium of Light’ is allegedly one of the best grounds in the country, I suppose it was quite decent, but maybe I had built up a picture of something more spectacular and was a little disappointed. With a capacity of 49,000 and Sunderland now half way down the Championship, I doubt it fills up like it used to when they were in the Premiership. 26,000 turned out on this cold Tuesday night but the ground looked half empty. Chants of “They’re here, they’re there, they’re every f*ckin’ where… empty seats, empty seats” brought a smile to my face, only Cardiff can make ‘em up like that.

City fans wave 'cheerio' to the Sunderland fans departing early.

The game kicked off and it was a matter of minutes before Chopra banged in the first one. The City fans went wild and belted out their remix of the Automatic Chart hit ‘Monster’… “What’s that coming over the hill, its Michael Chopra!”. I nipped to the bog and when I got back Sunderland had equalised. No matter, still top of the league. The pressure kept on and Chopra eventually knocked in the winner and City again went wild with chants of “that’s why we’re top of the league”. I don’t know how long it will last but best to join in and make the most of it.

After the game some of the famous Geordie Hospitality had disappeared on the streets and it was getting a bit leery. There were plenty of old bill about and for about an hour there were gangs running about for no apparent reason, and the sound of police dogs and sirens went on for ages. I think it was just the Sunderland ‘Yoof’, making a show, because as far as I could see there was no real agro.

Then back to the ‘Wheatsheaf’ for another pint, where the grown ups were slightly miserable because of the defeat, but far less hostile.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

INFLAMABLE MATERIAL: London Anarchist Bookfair 2006

Headed up to the big smoke for the Anarchist Bookfair again. This time there were two minibuses full of us, rather than the usual car full.

This is increasingly becoming an old boys reunion, meeting up with activists from all over the country that have crossed paths with the Iguana over recent times. The event is worth attending just for the networking, lots of contacts can be made and plenty of plotting can be done over a beer. One pleasant surprise was meeting up with me old mate Vince from the SWP, now living in London.

After a workshop run by one of CAN on ‘Academic Anarchism’ and buying some books we went for a pint in the pub that last year was site of a mini riot (bouncers made sure there was no danger of a repeat this year). As i said in my post at the time, the 'riot' really was a storm in a tea cup, but i found out this week that the 5 people arrested are going to court this week, facing a three week trial, with 25 officers giving evidence, and facing a three year sentence for affray. I really do dispair.

Then it was back up to the fair for a re-run of the meeting we held in Cardiff on mobilising for the G8. … and back to the pub for a few more pints before heading home.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

NOWHERE TO HIDE: Mobilisation against the 2007 G8 kicks off

Tonight saw the start of the campaign to build the mobilisation against the G8 in Germany next year.

Cardiff Anarchist Network held a public meeting which featured anarchists flown in from Russia and Germany specially, to talk about the protests against the G8 in Russia this year, and the plans for the G8 in Germany next year. The meeting was well attended followed up by entertainment from our old friend Cosmo.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

THE FLOOR'S TOO FAR AWAY: Latest Ozric Tentacles release lands in Iguana HQ

Nipped in to Spillers Records and grabbed the new Ozric Tentacles CD today, ‘The floor’s Too Far Away’. They have been doing this for over 20 years now and they just get better and better.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

JUST A SMALL TOWN IN PORTSMOUTH: Cardiff 1 Southampton 0

Full house on a cold Tuesday Night, things really are on the up

Called over to the Sparks in plenty of time, but somehow we still managed to get caught in traffic and spent ages trying to find a parking space because of the massive 20,000 crowd that had turned out to watch the mighty bluebirds fly.

We eventually got into the Grange End 20 minutes after kick off, to find the terraces rammed to the rafters for this top of the table clash with Southampton. At one point we were contemplating going to watch the game in the bar because we could not find anywhere to stand with a view, but we eventually managed to squeeze in somewhere to watch the two determined sides battle it out like gladiators. The Saints were undoubtedly the best side that have come to Ninian park this season and it was end to end stuff for the whole of the goal less first half.

"That's why we are top of the league"
Half time we met up again with the usual suspects and went to stand with all the ‘yoof’ next to the away fans for the second half. With the end being even more packed than usual and the yoof getting very excited about being top of the league, the view of the game was pretty crap, but the bouncing about when Thompson finally banged in the winner on the 85th minute made up for it.

Official site match review
BBC review

Saturday, October 14, 2006

JOYRIDERS: MPfree smash and grab

Joyriders, the dogs b*llocks

Some dudes we know with a distinct lack of respect for authority have set up a new website for you to download shit. Check it out THE JOYRIDERS

Thursday, October 12, 2006

THE GHOST OF JOHN PEEL LIVES ON: Dubstepping in Clwb Ifor Bach

In Dubstep, vinyl is still king

Two years to the day since the death of the mighty John Peel, and I find myself at an event bringing new music to the ears of Cardiff; Wales’ first ever ‘Dubstep’ night in Clwb Ifor Bach. I am not really sure what ‘Dubstep’ is but I am sure I will have worked it out by the end of the night.

The main thing that attracted us to this night was an appearance by the Powersteppers, who were not headlining, so we made a point of arriving early to make sure we would not miss their set. The early arrival meant we got to listen to some interesting sounds being knocked out by a DJ whose name escapes me (mainly cos I did not have a clue what was going on). Unfortunately for a good while the venue was almost empty, so despite the quality tunes there was not much of an atmosphere.

"'Ere we are lads, this is how it is done!"

Eventually the Powersteppers hit the stage and upped the tempo. Despite having ‘steppers’ in the name, Powersteppers is a strictly dub experience, as opposed to ‘Dubstep’. The Powersteppers can take many forms (see previous post), but tonight it is left to Colin to bring us bleeps and bass to vibrate the top floor of Cardiff’s number one venue. The fact that he is on his own does not deter him from his mission; to shake up and wake up the slowly filling hall. With 15 years as the backbone of Zion Train in his CV, Colin proceeds to show the youngsters that will follow how to dub it up in the 21st Century. As the set goes on the Clwb finally starts to fill up and many head straight to the dance floor… cos sitting down aint really an option. Sadly, the set has to come to an end just as it hits its peak. Definitely should have been higher up the bill!

Its dub Jim, but not as we know it

Then came Pinch, a leading light of the ‘Dubstep’ scene. It is dark and moody, with plenty of bass.. so much so everything is vibrating, tables, chairs, even stomachs… yet somehow the PA manages to cope and the sound never distorts. Starting off slowly the pace builds up to some sort of ‘Industrial Techno’ vibe, but still keeping it dub. I think I might like this new ‘Dub Step’ malarkey, even if I am still not really sure what it is yet.

Mystikz, Digital yet Natural

Then comes Digital Mystikz, the main event of the night. Dub has had something of an adventure over the years, going places many genres fear to tread. These boys now take it to places it has never gone before; places I did not even know existed, dark, deep, tribal places where the subwoofers are ten miles high and the reverb and delay are stuck on maximum. As the set goes on I become more and more confused about what this ‘Dubstep’ is all about, as the tempo and style varies. Many ‘dance’ outfits are capable of knocking out great tunes, but after a while they all blend into one, but the Mystikz are not afraid to try their hand at anything, with each tune bringing something different to the party and they are never in danger of getting stuck in a rut.

I have seen many bands and discovered impressive support bands I had not heard before, but I cannot remember the last time I went to see a support slot and was impressed by the headline act…. especially one that is not a proper live band! Yesterday I had never heard of them but no doubt I will be getting me mits on some of their releases in the near future… together with more ‘Dubstep’, even though I am still not sure what it is. I am sure John Peel would have appreciated it.

Still think Powersteppers should have been higher up the bill though.