Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Guest Blogger - David Raybould

I am pleased present our fith guest blogger, David Raybould. If you are interested in contributing to the blog please get in touch -

Dave is the man behind the great Cynical Dragon blog.

David Raybould - Save the Vulcan, Save Cardiff

First things first, I'd never claim to be a regular at the Vulcan Hotel. In the past year I've popped in a handful of times. As much as I've enjoyed it it's a little out of my way but well worth the visit. I've always loved pubs like the Vulcan. No pretension, no airs and graces and definitely no panini's and latte. Just a pub with beer. Why add clutter to a perfect combination?

I think the plight of the Vulcan (and hopefully its salvation) is indicative of the pub scene as a whole and reflects the progress of developing a new city and the questions about what we keep and what we bulldoze. The pub trade at the moment is struggling against increasingly supermarkets and super pub chains squeezing the smaller more intimate pubs out of the scene. Because of this when re developers come they see to think that old pubs like the Vulcan are expendable. How wrong can they be?

The Vulcan, and many pubs like it, are very important. They are hubs of the community, they are physical representations of local history, they are gathering places, entertainment venues and in some cases rallying points for causes and charities. There are some people who think the pubs are the chrome clad monsters of the city centre bar scene and seem indifferent to what a pub can really offer people. These I suppose are the same people who see a couple of extra car parking spaces as more important than a historic pub.

One of the things that endeared me to the Vulcan was that it made memories flood back of how pubs were when I grew up. The kind of pubs that were there for one reason, giving people a chance to sit down (or stand depending on your preference) and have a drink. The kind of pubs where you knew every one's name and the barman knew exactly what you wanted to drink and when to start pouring it. The kind of pub where the 'food' option was a couple of sandwiches or rolls in cling film. This maybe my personal romantic view of pubs of a certain era but surely that's what this is about. If you can't wax lyrical about something you love then you don't really love it.

Critics of the campaign have pointed out that Cardiff needs to developed, moved on and that the Vulcan may be just a pub and not of historical importance. Maybe so, that's their opinion. I personally believe that we're ripping too much out of the heart out of the 'old Cardiff', that if you look around at what they've built in the vicinity of the Vulcan to see where they're going. They want concrete boxes, corporate offices and branded stores. That's not a community, that's not evolution, that's a death sentence for the spirit, independence and colour of a once vibrant community.

Save the Vulcan, Save Cardiff.

Dave is also responsible for starting Welsh Bloggers, a place for discussing and debate about the state of the Welsh bloggosphere. The first meetign is set for the 5th July at the Vulcan, let's just hope it is still standing...

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