2014 a Short Review

I have not blogged in almost 10 months, shocking I know. Life has been rather busy and went from being very hard to being very wonderful. I had a month of work early in the year and now I am back on track and trying to finish the PhD. I have four wonderful pets, Daisy the dog, Aslan and Willow the cats and Karl the bunny. Most importantly I have my lovely girlfriend.

 

Enough mushiness now. I am going to re-start blogging so I just wanted to start with a quick recap of the time I’ve not been blogging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In The Gay Bar – Poetry

I don't wanna be horrible

But I said and she said

And do you know what I said

And no one said

And nothing was said horribly about

I'm an 8 out of 10 if you ask me

And you know it's not that bad

It's so off colour it's not even real

I'm sorry I did that

And why are you texting me about tonight

Look at your eyes

I….fuck

 

This is a found poem made up of snippets of different conversations I heard in The Kings on Saturday night. I found them quite entrancing. These photos bellow are what was written on the toilet door I was looking at as I listened to the people around me. I thought they opitomised the tone of the conversations.

 

Art in Cardiff

Art is everywhere right now, at least in my life. I bought my first piece of actual art yesterday. It’s a depressed pigeon. I just felt rather a lot of affection to it so decided to add it to my art collection, which until this point included a painting of Cardiff Bay at night I won in a raffle to raise money for ACE Cardiff.  I was told the artists name but my memory is like a sieve, however it was signed MP.

Depressed Pigeon by MP
Depressed Pigeon by MP

Cardiff Bay at Night
Cardiff Bay at Night

Before I bought my Depressed Pigeon I stumbled upon an art exhibit in Cardiff city center. I mostly just went in because I felt sorry for the woman handing out leaflets who almost no one was paying attention to. So I headed down to see some art. It was an amazing exhibit by chinese artists looking at the oppression of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese Communist party.  I learned a lot from attending the exhibit and I intend to look into the subject more. It’s going to be that the Capitol Centre until the 6th of November and I would highly reccomend people in Cardiff visit it. Not just for the political message but also very beautiful art.

Who I Am by Xiqiang Dong
Who I Am by Xiqiang Dong

 

Determination Under Pressure by  Qing Xin
Determination Under Pressure by Qing Xin

 

I also bought my first art books in a charity shop for £2 each. They show amazing urban art for Brazil and worldwide.

My First Art Books
My First Art Books

 

And finally last week was Made in Roath festival which is a local festival with loads of art, music and literature events around Roath, Cardiff. This has resulted in lots of new street art all over Roath. My favourite is a dragon on the side of the Poets Corner pub. I will probably post more about Made in Roath later as I attended a few literature events and had a midnight stroll to look at a skip.

 

Urban Art
Urban Art
Urban Art
Urban Art

The Dragon on the Poets Corner
The Dragon on the Poets Corner

 

 

25 by 25: Number 11 (Part 1) Novelty Builds Neurons

I decided on Saturday to have a day of novelty. As novelty builds neurons. So I visited the Cardiff Fashion Quarter (CFQ), which had some amazing art outside it and some amazing clothes, accessories and retro stuff inside. I didn’t buy anything, mostly because I was overwhelmed with the mountain of things, and it fact that people in the 70’s/80’s were all made around a size six.

CFQ CFQ

After that I went a bit of a wander, bought some books (shocking) and went to the library and took out more books, because I obviously don’t have enough at home already. Then I bought some new coffee (because novelty builds neurons) which I came home and drank while reading The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen. I took this book out of the library because the back page described it as “An Incoherent Nightmare of Sex”, but it sadly did not live up to what I expected; which was some horror filled sex romp about the God Pan (Pan’s Labrynth with more sex). It may have been true when the book was released in 1894 but did not live up to what I expected.

The coffee on the other hand was amazing!

Urban Art Number Two: The Best Street in Cardiff

My best friend and I were walking to the camping store last week to get last minute festival necessities and we stumbled upon the best two streets in Cardiff (except for any street with a bookshop, they obviously trump any other street). This is some of the best urban art I’ve ever seen. A five minute walk took us almost twenty as I spent time looking at all the art and taking copious amount of photographs. So here are some of my favourite pieces of art and I would highly recommend you find this street. I won’t tell you the exact location because things like this are always better stumbled upon.

This one give you a bit of an idea where we are at, love all the empty barrels and the awesome art behind it
Gangster Daffy Duck number 1
Gangster Daffy Duck – didn’t know Daffy was hip in the spray painting world.
This one completely snuck up on me. Can’t believe it was done with spray paint.
He must be more cool than I thought!
This is awesome! and reminds me of Karl Pilkington when he visits Mexico in An Idiot Abroad, Although Karl is a bit thiner and looks alot less tough.
He’s going to eat me :/
It's beyond me how people can do this, so much talent!
It’s beyond me how people can do this, so much talent!
Dog and Bombs
This reminded me of a Dr Who villain
This reminded me of a Dr Who villain
Running
Running Robot?
Don’t have a clue what this says but I thought it was beautiful. And it was the last piece of art in the street.

8 Things that Made the Age of 23 Special

Next week is my birthday and I turn the grand old age of 24. So I thought that this would be the perfect time to have a look back over the previous year and what has made it special. Not that all these things were good, or fun or really interesting, but they made my 23rd year what it was and that is special in its self.

Depression: I thought I should start with this as it started very soon after my 23rd birthday and has dictated much of what has happened this year. From my relationships with people to how I look at my life and myself. This is one of the things on my list that was not in anyway pleasant but like I said it made this year what it was and I am now looking at ways to overcome it and help myself to not relapse.

Depression
Choirs: This is a wee bit of an unusual thing I guess but my year could be split into choir events and occasions with different choirs. This time last year I had just joined my first choir Songbirds. I stayed in this choir until June this year and it was a fabulous adventure which sadly ended in June this year. Songbirds helped me find my place in Cardiff and I met some truly wonderful people and found a love for singing. I tried out another choir called Affinity at the start of the year, this one wasn’t for me.  Finally in June I joined Sororitas which is my current choir. I am having a fabulous time with these ladies and I hope to be a member for along time to come. Also some of my friends and I are organising a weekly sing-song which is beginning to get of the ground.

Songbirds
Some of the Songbirds at Corals Coming Out anniversary

 

Sororitas
Sororitas girls and Chris performing at a wedding in Brecon

Friends: I have many wonderful friends both in Cardiff, Glasgow and further afield, they make everything 100% better! I also had to cut a very good friend out of my life earlier in the year when we got into an argument about equal marriage. At the time this really hurt but I now feel very liberated by it. I am very grateful for all my friends and the many adventures they bring into my life and this week I get to spend my birthday with my Life-Wife in Wales which will be exciting.

 
My Coming Out: At 23 I came out to my parents. I was like letting out a breath I had been holding for just a wee bit too long. I am very pleased I have and both sets of parents have been wonderfully supportive in the last six months. My mother and step-father have even met and really like my Lady Friend (if over skype).

 
My Lady Friend: She is pretty awesome.

My Lady Friend and I

Dating: This ended very well with lovely trips to the beach and awkward hugs with lead to myself and the LF having the “So are we dating?” conversation at midnight in Penarth. But the first half of 23 was a minefield of online dating, written courtship and bad dates. The worse being a 3 month long affair over text and internet which was going pretty well until we went on holiday together, a foolish move when I look back on it, in which I realised she was not the one for me (and that is me being nice). But I did come back from Poland with a feck load of vodka which I ended up drinking on the first date with the Lady Friend.

Work: My PhD has spent most of the last year at the forefront of my mind. Driving what I do in my life and recently what I dream about. I went to several conferences this year traveling up and down the country to talk about science. My favourite was the Human Papillomavirus Meeting in Windermere. This was a nice small meeting with a load of lovely people and I got to present my work in the conference hall (or barn) which was awesome.

Participants of the First UK HPV Meeting
Participants of the First UK HPV Meeting

Moving House: So for my 23rd year I have lived in three houses. A few weeks after I turned 23 I moved out of the student accommodation I lived in during my first year in Cardiff and moved just round the corner with Davina and Anna. This was a very nice and busy house with some great memories attached. Alot of time spent with great friends and the Lady Friend. And then in July this year I moved into a wee house with my friend Suzy. I love this little house with its kitchen/livingroom, large bookcase in the hallway and hamster in the purple cage.

So on the whole 23 has been an interesting year with alot of changes. It was wonderful!

Urban Art

Outside of science and writing something else I love is what is a bit of urban art. These may be painting by known artists or scribbles on the street closer to vandalism. They all bring me joy.

I love walking down the street and stumbling across something interesting and out of place. It brightens my day and makes me look at the world around them more closely. Most of these pictures were taken around Roath, Cardiff and made me smile,

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This work by Scotto was found on the 30th of July 2013 as my flatmate and I walked into Cardiff city centre for a friends birthday dinner. I came home that night and had an almighty wine hangover and a carry out bag of left over curry.

 

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This one I found just around the corner from Richmond Road.

 

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The two above photos were taken as I cycled around near to Roath Park. I have since seen several other electricity boxes painted similarly but I was sadly without my phone to take a photo.

 

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This anti-Tesco art was painted on an old shop on the Taff Trail.

 

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Found next to a bus stop. Hope their bus came soon!