The Crowds in Cardiff When Wales Played the All Blacks

Crowds in Cardiff for Wales vs All Blacks-7932-2There is something truly magical about the city of Cardiff when Wales are playing a rugby union test match.  You can almost taste the buzz of excitement and anticipation.  The streets are full of colour, with supporters wearing bright red jerseys and red scarves around their necks.  The dragon on the Welsh flag flutters on every street corner as street traders try to sell their stock of scarves, hats and flags.  People suddenly find themselves compelled to purchase ridiculous hats in the shape of a daffodil or dragon.  There is a tremendous feeling of national pride and even people who don’t speak a word of Welsh find themselves singing Sosban Fach or Calon Lan with tears in their eyes.  Beer flows like rain sodden rivers and we are thankful that Cardiff’s most famous brewery, SA Brain, is busy brewing just minutes away from the city centre.

One reason why there is such an amazing atmosphere in Cardiff is because the stadium, the magnificent Millennium Stadium, is in the heart of the city.  Most international stadiums are located outside of any major city, but the Millennium Stadium proudly sits on the banks of the River Taff.  Many players have openly stated that this is their favourite stadium as the atmosphere and noise if like anywhere else.

Crowds in Cardiff for Wales vs All Blacks-7965-2One of the most treasured test matches is when Wales play New Zealand, otherwise known as the All Blacks.  On match day, God must be inundated with prayers from Welsh fans asking for that miracle.  As of 2014, it has been 61 years since Wales beat the All Blacks, an embarrassingly long time.  And in recent years, every time the All Blacks arrive, there is always a just a glimmer of hope.  But each time this glimmer has quickly been distinguished by the formidable All Blacks.


Early this month (November 2014), I was in Cardiff covering a pre-match hospitality event, but took some time to photograph the atmosphere at the bottom of St Mary’s Street.  With my Canon 1000D and a 70-300mm lens I discreetly leaned against lampposts and shop doorways and watched the world go by.  This selection (and there are more on my website) was taken in the free 30 minutes I had before going onto the hospitality event and over 4 hours before kick off.  By then Cardiff was bouncing!  And by 7pm the inevitable had happened.  The All Blacks had won again!


All The Fun of the Fair – Funfair Photographs

Cardiff, Cardiff Bay, Funfair

Spinning around in Cardiff Bay

Funfairs have a mystical feeling that takes me back to my childhood.  The funfair would come to town and park itself on an open area of ground somewhere and metamorphosis from a stream of trucks into a plethora of bright coloured, noisy, stands, booths and rides that made me feel warm and excited inside.  Often, the open ground would be transformed into a mud within a couple of days, but that still did not deter the visitors.  There were chances to win a cuddly toy or terrorise yourself in the Ghost Train.  And throughout I would walk around with my eyes wide open, often carrying a pink candy floss or chocolate ice-cream.

The funfair in Cardiff Bay didn’t have the rough edges of a travelling group, but even though I am now nearing 50, I still felt that tingle of magic inside.  Out came the camera and I tried to capture some of that magic, using the amazing bright colours and exciting movement of the rides.  I walked away happy to have experienced the magic of the  funfair, just in a very different way to when I was a child.

The photographs of the funfair can be seen by clicking this link.

3 Views When Walking Through Cardiff

Fisheye lens view in CardiffI was in Coffee Barker, a fantastic café in one of the arcades in the centre of Cardiff in South Wales, and had just finished the 2nd of two meetings. It was time to wander back to the car and so I clicked my fisheyes lens onto my Canon 5D, ready to take some unconventional images of the beautiful city. Firstly, there was the arcade and the tables lined up outside Coffee Barker. The arcades in Cardiff are amazing and I reminded myself to return and spend an afternoon photographing the arcades. I then ventured out into St Mary’s Street and took a photo looking down away from the castle. After crossing the road, I headed up towards The City Parish of St John the Baptist, where the blue skies and gorgeous clouds framed the church perfectly.

Although only the church photo is on this blog, the others can be seen on my website (although with other urban photos of Cardiff)

We Are The Mods!

Mods & Scooters in CardiffThe Mod culture from the 1960s is still alive and well in the streets of Cardiff.  The Mods may be a little older and the coffee shops, like Coffee Nero, may be a little grander, but the fashion and image is still as distinctive as ever.

I was born in the 60s and so missed the birth of the Mod.  However, in the late 70s and early 80s, when the music scene was full of youth and anger as they protested against Thatcher’s unpopular policies, there was a revival in the Mod culture.  Suddenly the streets were full of youth dressed in their Parkers, drainpipe trousers and Fred Perry shirts riding Lambrettas.  It was amazing.  The late 70s and 80s also saw an explosion of other fashion trends, with Punks, Ska Boys and Rockers suddenly emerging from the undergrowth preaching the glory of their favourite bands.  I was into Ska, loving The Specials, Madness, Bad Manners and The Selector to name but a few.  And then my best mate, Tim, introduced me to one of the Mod groups of the time, The Jam.  I was and remain hooked.

Now I had a decision to make.  Mod or Ska?  Mods were hated (who knows why?) but I loved the way they dressed and their style.  I evolved, although never made that complete transition to being a Mod, but not far off.

So, I am now in my late forties and I am walking through Cardiff on a lovely Spring day and outside Coffee Nero near the castle in Cardiff, South Wales, there are three beautiful scooters.  There are long mirrors, loads of lights, high backrests, blue/red/white target stickers and flags.  The Mods are back.  Sitting at a table sipping on their espressos are three Mods.  None of them were as young as they once were, but the style was still there.  We chatted for a while and they kindly allowed me to take a load of photographs, which can be seen on my website –

As I walked away, something deep inside stirred and I found myself desiring a Parker and some drain pipe trousers.  And then I thought of Quadrophenia, the magical album by The Who that was made into a film.  Quietly, as I walked back towards the castle, I mumbled those memorable words from the film.  “We are the Mods! We are the Mods!  We Are!  We Are!  We Are the Mods!”