Final thoughts: Champions League, Cardiff 2017

“I never said I didn’t like the Champions League.”

CARDIFF, Wales; August 2014: Fans of Real Madrid and Spanish rivals Sevilla bring the colour and noise of Spain’s La Liga to the Welsh capital.

Along with thousands of Spanish football fans, in the city for the revamped UEFA Super Cup, are media from across the world and Cardiff feels as if it is the centre of attention. Continue reading

Cardiff 2017: Champions League final despair

“Somebody said: ‘Football’s a matter of life and death to you. I said, ‘Listen it’s more important than that’.”

WORLD class sport has never really understood irony – which perhaps explains why people have never really known whether to take revered Liverpool manager Bill Shankly’s comments on football as a matter of life and death seriously.

Of course football, or any other game, isn’t more important than life or death and Shankly was talking, with regret, at how he’d prioritised his career, his passion, over his family when recalling a quip that had become folklore. Continue reading

Gridiron, doping and sporting redemption

Jason Livingston went from the Olympics to a Welsh American Football team via Cardiff City

BRITISH American Football has agreed an anti-doping code – which might seem strange for a sport that off the field has more in common with Sunday league than it does the NFL’s Monday Night Football – but it brings back memories of the game’s connection to one of British sport’s most infamous doping cases.

Jason Livingston # 44

Jason Livingston # 44

In July 1992 the world’s best athletes had gathered in Barcelona for the Olympic Games but as the track and field events were due to begin promising British sprinter Jason Livingston was heading home in, as these things are always reported, “disgrace”. Continue reading

Kano @ Tramshed, Cardiff

“This the motherfucking thanks I get from this scene?/Ten years deep, a thousand 16s”

IS any rapper ever satisfied their position in hip hop has been properly recognised and respected? Striving for acceptance, and resentment at any perceived lack of acknowledgment, still fuels so many MCs. kano

Kano is already recognised as one of the central figures in the emergence of the UK grime scene but that yearning for props is still evident.

2016 has however delivered a Mercury Music Prize nomination for Kano’s fifth LP, Made in the Manor, and a nationwide tour which brought him to Cardiff – and left the 31-year-old veteran in no doubt as to the esteem he is held in the capital. Continue reading

Lowkey @ Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

“I’m an anarchist and an angry academic activist”

THIS July marked the return of UK MC Lowkey from his apparent retirement with the surprise release of hard-hitting single Ahmed. lowkey2

Within weeks the rapper, who in 2012 said he was hanging up his mic for good, announced a tour including a September 17 date in Cardiff. Continue reading

Tragedy and triumph: The Cardiff World Half Marathon Championships

WHAT is the best way to watch a sporting event? Live as a spectator or from the comfort of your sofa via the television coverage?

Geoffrey Kamworor leading the Cardiff World Half Marathon

Geoffrey Kamworor leading the Cardiff World Half Marathon

To see a road race unfold across 13.1 miles the TV is really the only option but when a world championship race is passing the end of your street you would feel as if you’re missing out sat in your living room. There is also so much more, from tragedy to triumph, to the World Half Marathon Championships than can be told by podium finishes. Continue reading

Saul Williams @ Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

Chop my neck a million times, I still burn bright and stand, yo

“I’M inspired by people, you all have your own stories and thankyou for being part of mine,” is how poet and performer Saul Williams thanks a sold out Friday night crowd in Cardiff.

Saul-Williams-Cardiff-Clwb-Ifor-Bach

The story Williams, whose music is perhaps best described as alternative hip hop, has come to tell is that of Martyr Loser King – a hacker in Burundi using the west’s easily discarded technology to spread chaos through the internet; “Hacker, I’m a hacker, I’m a hacker in your hard drive… I’m a virus in your system”. Continue reading