Monday, 22 September 2008

Last Orders at the Local?

Another day, and another pub faces closure. According to CAMRA, 'four pubs are closing every day in Britain. This national crisis has left communities pub-less, with over half of British villages being without a local for the first time since 1066' and the situation is not much better in the cities & under the current administration in Cardiff we might be left with trendy bars for people to consume as much alcohol in as short a space of time as possible, but no places to talk, meet, listen to music and feel a sense of real community.

As the Rough Pub Guide laments:

“Life was once simple: you could choose either the public bar, stand around with a pint, play darts and enjoy a platter of roast potatoes . . . or you could retire to the lounge, where, in amongst the flock wallpaper and red velvet bench seats, an old bloke would invariably run through his repertoire on an organ."

Of course, Pubs had to change and develop, but unfortunately as is so often the case, profit seems to be placed before people.

The good news is that the historic Pantmawr Inn in North Cardiff has a reprieve with a Welsh Assembly inquiry.

The bad news is that it may be last orders at the Lansdowne Hotel in Canton as another one of our communities is gutted of a local social centre due to the shortsightedness of the Council. The news is especially poignant as the pub, perhaps once more known as a favourite of City fans, has recently hosted a series of imaginative events aimed at the wider community and families. For example, a recent 3 day indoor festival raised hundreds of pounds for War on Want and saw over 30 bands play, buskers, jugglers, snail racing, face painting, fair trade stalls, a skittles tournament and an exhibition of art by city-based artists. As well as a shabby caravan where diners could indulge in a sit-down, candlelit meal with waitress service!

The current Council administration has been incredibly obstructive to building a grassroots local arts and music scene, as witnessed in the trouble the late Toucan Club had getting a license, and the petty threats to close down the Point. Let's all unite to save our communities from the Council's vision of Cardiff PLC!

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