To mark the publication of my second ebook, Unofficial Cardiff: Shops & Restaurants, I decided to splash out and have a launch party. Hang the expense, I thought, this is a watershed moment: who publishes one book let alone two?
So I painted the town red and bought a round of drinks in the Canadian. Luckily it didn’t cost too much, since only Malc, Jeff the Bins and Scotch Rabbie turned up. The Can kindly laid on a choice of nibbles (crisps and/or pork scratchings), a live act (Mad Mark going on and on), party games (pool – I blame my defeat on appalling luck and the nap of the cloth), and a surprise guest (Jeff’s Mrs – now I know why he wears long sleeves).
What a night! “There’s a heady, almost palpable aroma in the air. Methinks it’s the sweet smell of success,” I said (I talk like that after a couple of pints). “No, no,” someone interjected, “that’s just Fat Josie’s incontinence pads leaking.”
Pinhead, emerging from the bogs, took me to one side. “Have you seen what’s been written on the toilet door?” “Tell me,” I urged, intrigued. “In huge red letters it says: DIC IS A CUN,” Pinhead replied, before adding after the requisite pause for the purposes of comic timing, “It’s a pity I ran out of paint.” We laughed so much the tears ran down our…legs.
Three sheets to the wind, and knackered anyway after a day bleeding the bleeding radiators, I sneaked away early under the pretext I was just popping out for a fag. Half way down Bradley Street the landlord’s voice called out behind me, “Dic! You forgot something!” “Do you mean those personally autographed, specially printed copies of Unofficial Cardiff I promised you?” I yelled back. “No mate, you didn’t pay for your last pint…” It was always my dream to see my name in lights on Broadway…but all that’s happened so far is my name’s shite on Broadway…
Now listen: Unofficial Cardiff Part 2: Shops & Restaurants (snappy title, huh?) is a book nobody living in or visiting the capital of Wales should be without. It’s the first ever comprehensive guide to shopping and eating in Cardiff not compiled by the shopping and eating industries, and the first ever written from the point of view of a low-wage local who loathes shopping and rarely eats out (like most of us).
Giving the chains a wide berth, ignoring the overtures of big business and challenging the very tenets of consumerism itself (oh yes indeed), this book will save you a fortune yet still point you in the right direction whatever you’re looking for. Consumer guides don’t have to be boring endorsements of crap: they can be sceptical, revelatory and genuinely useful – and be liberally sprinkled with corny/disgraceful/hilarious (delete as applicable) jokes. In addition to hundreds of shops and restaurants, the book rates chippies, coffee shops and sandwich bars, charts the rise and fall of Cardiff’s arcades and serves up a special Cardiff menu – and all for a lousy £3.99 max! (Thought bubble: that’s a better pitch)
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