Monday, 23 November 2015

The 42b: Dark Journeys In Cardiff

Firstly, I would like to take a moment to congratulate the people behind We Are Cardiff for taking the brave first step into the publishing world, a process initiated, so Hana Johnson said at the launch in November, because no-one else was as invested in the outcome as they felt it merited. I was able to briefly attend the gathering at Porter's (another good place in a city of good places in which to relax with people who don't want to stab you) before my non-alcohol-alleviated social anxiety took hold and I ran out into the fireworks. It seems I've not met anyone new in twenty years without some level of intoxication being involved, so this was a new and terrifying experience. From a distance, everyone seemed very lovely and a good time was had by all. 
Buy yourself a copy, Tidy.

Secondly, I would love to know what was the initial creative brief of this collection of twelve related short stories. What emerged, fetchingly packaged in high contrast black and silver and punctuated by designs from at least one of the nine separate authors, is a thoughtful selection of somewhat absurd and disturbing stories, hung on the central conceit of a journey through Cardiff on the fictional titular bus route, with a number of recurring themes and devices. An old-school wrestler travels to his last and likely terminal bout; a man with a carrier bag of mystery meat hopes no-one notices the flap of skin with a tattoo on it which has flopped out; a spurned lover confronts his paranoia; a suicide gone wrong has to get a spare key from his car dealership in order to tidy up an accidental murder. Grotesque, bizarre, some stronger than others but all arresting, these stories showcase the breadth of talent that sometimes cuts unnoticed furrows about the city in groups like Rhyme and Real Ale, Roath Writers and Cardiff Writers (and the hundred other worthy creative collectives that no doubt inhabit other neighbourhoods in the city) and find sympathetic and supportive readership courtesy of brave champions like We Are Cardiff and local hero Christian Amodeo of I Loves The 'Diff

To find out more about We Are Cardiff, you can probably just click one of the various links on this page and you'll get there eventually, but I thought it was worth printing their mission statement as printed on the cover of the book:
We Are Cardiff Press is a small, non-profit community of writers and artists. We publish literature and art from creators in the city, crafting collectible, limited edition runs of beautiful books, from literature to photography, and illustration to personal storytelling.
Each book is created as a special piece of art that you'll want to read over and over again.
Hyperbole you might think, but it is a statement to respect and they do try to do as they say; suit the action to the word, the word to the action, as someone famous once said.