Posts Tagged ‘ Newport ’

The Ringland Ninja.

South Wales has been abuzz over the weekend with news breaking of a masked crusader protecting the people of Newport. Well, that was the intention at least. The shadowy figure had in fact been caught, unmasked and prosecuted before a single criminal had been brought to book with a colourful ‘POW’ or ‘BAM’. Yet while the Ringland Ninja may have had only the briefest of periods in the limelight, rumours abound that the caped crusader (though sadly, reports indicate that this particular protector of the night had failed to incorporate an almost prerequisite cape into his costume) has already stimulated local copycats, with the Wales on Sunday today reporting accounts of at least two new vigilantes keeping a watch over leisure centre roof tops.

Of course the authorities have been quick to dismiss the Ringland Ninja as someone confusing fiction and reality, a danger to himself more than anyone else. And yet, are the actions of this lone individual something to be discouraged, laughed at, or perhaps praised? After all, how many people can we cite in the Newport area who are willing to protect their community in such a direct fashion? We have no shortages of thieves, drug dealers and thugs with a general disposition towards random acts of violence, all of whom through their actions are committing to undermining and ultimately destroying their communities, when people stand up to struggle against this tide of societal degradation, perhaps we might think for a moment as to who are the real criminals.

Put simply, everyone in and around the Newport area knows of the no-go areas, those places where, once the witching hour strikes, you would only be amongst the fool hardy, reckless, plain stupid or those in search of trouble, to enter. These are the corners where the police presence is, well, not present, they have more sense than that. Okay, from time to time some of the less intelligent of the criminal factions will be brought to rights, but in the main, the police force in this region serve to maintain a healthy balance. A balance in this part of the world which is concentrated on monitoring exactly where the criminal fraternity conflate, and do bugger all about them. So when local citizens decide that the appointed law keepers have resolved to turn their back on their responsibilities, perhaps because of a paper work backlog, we might not be so quick to dismiss their actions. You need to wear the most magenta of rose tinted spectacles to think that all is well on our streets, the reality is far removed. The Ringland Ninja might have been comical in his failings, but the template for community led action is there in the national newspapers of Wales today.

While we are of course in no way advocating such activities, we would at least suggest that the law enforcement agencies might consider approaching the vigilante question in a different manner in the future. After all, we have no real bounty hunting equivalent in our justice legislation, perhaps recent events suggest that the market is out there. We do however look forward to flipping through the pages of the local and national rags, eager to hear of any other masked figures tiptoeing through the midnight fog, and hope that those sticking two fingers up to society in the back alleys of our neighbourhoods might yet be encouraged to think twice before acting, should they hear a creek high above them emanating from the darkness.

Super Dragon Spotting.

The Newport Super Dragons are back for a second edition. Finding them is proving a little tricky with so many moved indoors thanks to rain based issues, but here are a few of those stumbled across today.

Newport Rebellion.

Not the usually commentary or photographs here, but more a promotional nod and a wave of approval for the newest enterprise in Newport (South Wales), the Tiny Rebel Brewery. It’s been a bit of a promotional nightmare for Newport in recent months. Channel 4’s ‘Bouncers’, while a fair reflection on an element of Newport life, was probably a little on the side of sensational (I was wondering through Newport a few days ago in the daylight hours and saw no signs of riots or blooded half cut teenagers, let alone any bouncers), while what should be one of Newport’s most commercially viable platforms, their European playing regional rugby team, seems to be losing player based assets on a daily basis, and let’s not even begin to deal with the ghost town that Commercial Street, the supposed economic heart of the shopping district, has become…all in all, there are few positives to be shouting about.

That being said, there are those in and from Newport, who see the opportunities for positive engagement, and this new brewery stands as a positive symbol on numerous levels. For a new business to be born in the city is an exciting endeavour, and bucks the usual news story trends to dominate south Wales headlines regarding the town, but it is equally positive to see a new micro brewery, Newport’s first, appear on the ale stage. Real ale in many respects mirrors Newport’s decline and ongoing struggle. But for new purveyors of that delicious brew, given the name of hops, is a positive for both ale in south Wales, and Newport as a whole.

Plenty to be found on the Tiny Rebel brewery here: (the art work really is worth a look on its own). It’s very early days, but it is for now, at the very least, the makings of a good news story for the city, and we might all raise a pint to what is currently a small enterprise, but given the right level of support and continued enthusiasm, might well have the potential to become a positive and recognisable Newport brand, something the city has long needed.

Cheers Tiny Rebels, and iechyd da!

Newport’s Gentleman’s ‘Art’ Club…

Perhaps a little late to this story, but still well worth a mention, Newport Museum and Art Gallery revealed it’s saucier side in a recent temporary exhibition entitled: ‘The Institute of Mental Health is Burning’. For anyone who has not yet sampled the Art Galleries most recent offerings, the opportunity to do so is there for another few weeks, the exhibition running through to the start of December, but be warned, those of a nervous disposition, those easily offended, and frankly, anyone under the age of 18, you may do well to give this one a miss.

The local museum fraternity in Wales is under as much pressure as anywhere else in the UK, as budgets are cut, and the demand to justify their existence becomes almost a daily battle. Perhaps it was with this in mind that the museum invited Neil McNally to enter the museum domain, and set about his curation of this temporary monstrosity, that in order to ensure the relevance of the local museum and gallery, the only way forward was to be as controversial as possible.

Well, perhaps that’s being too harsh, it could have been more controversial I suppose. They could have removed all the walls, and daubed the words ‘Hitler – What a Guy’ in blood red letters over an oil painting of the Berlin Olympics opening ceremony…that would have been more controversial I suppose, but not by much. For anyone who has missed for hoo-hah, the main controversy surrounds what simply amounts to a series of hardcore pornographic paintings. Close up snap shots of paintings they might be, and you don’t have to squint your eyes to make out the very clear and brazen content of the selected works. While not speaking for entire exhibition, much of which is hung around the most derivative of installation works which looks more akin to half unpacked student waste than it does a work of art fit to grace the company of Lowri, the saucy images do stand out as particularly obscure or poorly, depending on your perspective, chosen works.

With little to speak of in terms of artistic merit, this element of the collection really amounts to little more than sensationalist titillation of the basest nature. Really, the Art Gallery may as well have installed a collage of genitalia clipped from a Hustler magazine, and it would stand to make as valid a contribution to the art world as these offerings. But perhaps in these harsh economic times, this is how Newport’s Art Community wish to ensure their relevance. In time the title ‘Art Gallery’ might make way for ‘Gentleman’s Club’, where the lighting around these three works will be turned down, so gentlemen voyeurs may ‘enjoy’ the Galleries best offerings in privacy…

Really, contemporary art has an important place in Wales, but is outright pornography something that we want to encourage when presenting the best offerings from the Welsh artistic community? We can offer more, and ‘Newport Museum and Gentleman’s Club’ can certainly offer more from its vast holdings than this trash – buck up your ideas Newport, and take this installation where it belongs, out back and in the bin, for that is the very best this waste deserves.