I’m sitting in what has to be the hottest hotel room in Cardiff. An arcane air conditioning system is only good for wafting the heat around and all the windows are sealed. I’d say something, but walking down to the bar just now I realised everyone is probably in the same boat/sauna. The bathroom has a volume control knob on the wall. The couple I met in the lift have a neighbour from the same street in Cork where my mother was born.
Something is lacking in Cardiff. This is my third time here and I still feel like I’ve missed a secret turn somewhere that leads to some secret city within a city. Even the “This Is Cardiff” guide in the hotel reads like it’s bullshitting me. I don’t get the fuss. Maybe there isn’t a fuss.
I was talking to a guy outside a cafe this morning in the Northern Quarter in Manchester and he was telling me it’s getting really jakey due to the addiction centres and homeless shelters. He seemed pretty pissed off as he talked. That may have also been because some jakey guy nicked his cigarette from the outside ashtray while he’s inside getting a coffee.
There’s a decent photographic exhibition in the modern art gallery. Some good work. I liked Public Housing by Thomas Demand, Turning Hallway by James Casebere, and one from Ray’s A Laugh by Richard Billingham (can’t remember the actual title):
I don’t normally go in for Casebere’s kind of work, but this composition is good. I imagine some of you who know Thomas Demand’s work might deride his inclusion (he had a piece in GOMA recently which may still be there). I really like his work. Billingham’s photograph is from a book celebrating his close but dysfunctional family. This is, I think, his alcoholic house-bound father. I’d say it’s worth picking up a copy, as it’s great work, but you’d have to spend a few hundred quid on Amazon for the privilege.