The shop window of the newly-opened All Saints store on the Hayes is full of beautiful, antique sewing machines. They sit there in nice rows, neatly aligned and dormant, subservient to the window aesthetic. Once individual icons, their sole function now is just dressing for the multi-million pound St David’s 2 complex. Their heritage equally pawned and ignored as customers head for the cash-till.
Okay, they’re probably not antique anyway, they’re probably snap-fixed in Spitalfields and have less milage than Katie Price’s typewriter. But looking at those sewing machines on the weekend felt like standing outside the Point just a year ago, pondering the future of Cardiff and the embarrassing cultural death that seemed to be conspiring against it.
The Coal Exchange already closed and the Point served with a noise abatement order that would ultimately contribute to it’s closure, it felt like a solemn question mark hung over the head of everyone who loves dipping their daps into the city’s music venues. With the craggy spires of St David’s 2 emerging above the horizon it seemed the city couldn’t give a shit about our heritage. Shut down, decay and move on – like Cardiff always has done (look at pictures of the old decaying docks in the seventies for instance, and compare it with Bristol or Manchester; history you can still see and touch).
Cardiff doesn’t love us, you see. They won’t close a tiny, cobbly lane for Swn Festival and having shown little support for the Point are prepared to lose yet another venue in the Globe. But like the beautiful suckers we are, we love Cardiff. We fight to keep the Vulcan open; we put our hard-earned into Kruger and 3 Syllables gigs; we sit and watch the colours change in Bute Park. We buy chips on Caroline St, but we put the wrappers in the bin. We suffer the closure of a venue, or the loss of a promoter, but we move on; or we stand up and do it ourselves.