Oh, Newport, My Lionheart: 30 Years of Music and Nightlife in the City of Cider and Steel

Oh, Newport, My Lionheart: 30 Years of Music and Nightlife in the City of Cider and Steel

‘Let the bombs rain down on London and Bristol. But most of all, on dirty little Newport’ – Nazi propagandist, William Joyce, ‘Lord Haw-Haw’.

‘Somebody, in FHM I think, wrote that it was one of the Top 50 best nights out in the world, ever.  So to me, that’s a pretty good night out, isn’t it?’ – a TJ’s punter reminisces about the period when Newport threatened to become ‘the new Seattle’.

Newport is a town that wears its city status as uneasily as the awkward looking man who is handed a tie by the sniffy maître d‘ of a fancy upmarket restaurant.It is not in the business of slavishly following fashion or the latest metropolitan trends and moreover it will instinctively mistrust and be wary of you if it senses that you might possibly be one of those people. Newport will hug you to its manly tattooed bosom, it will buy you a pint, and let you cadge a fag off it, but it will also rough you up, try and cop off with your girlfriend, and will always, always, take the piss out of you.It is the city in which Joe Strummer dug graves, it is the city that dragged Morrissey from its stage, the city that almost killed Paul Weller’s solo career stone dead, and it is the unlikely setting of an organic mid-90s music scene that pogo-ed its way across the Atlantic from the newsprint sheets of the South Wales Argus to the glossy pages of Rolling Stone in what seemed like a matter of months. 

A contemporary outsider’s view of the city, its culture, and its people has in all likelihood been shaped via the ruthlessly unscrupulous camera lens of the interloper; its most recent national exposure having been Channel 4’s craven and exploitative schlock-fest Bouncers,  and the shamelessly opportunistic – and geographically inaccurate – global internet phenomenon, ‘Newport State of Mind’. By way of contrast, this writer’s experience of the city, its music and its nightlife, is one underpinned by a redolent sense of both affection and gratitude.At an early age, Newport emboldened me with a purpose of spirit, an entrenched sense of belonging and camaraderie, and a weapons-grade bullshit detector that works as effectively now as the day it was first bestowed upon me.It is the place where, under age, I first managed to negotiate my way past the doors of a nightclub, where I first tasted the heady toxic blast of an American cigarette and, as the fickle finger of fate would have it, where I first met the stripy-stockinged goth girl from Blaenau Gwent whom I would one day marry.  And it all happened here, here in Newport.

Despite its prevailing folklore, Newport was never my Seattle, nor my New York, though I did spend the entirety of my childhood in the leaden concrete new town of Cwmbran, its de facto New Jersey.To me, Newport was always Las Vegas, or perhaps most fittingly, Atlantic City.A shimmering, steamy blue-collar haven of exoticism and sin, its bright golden lights smeared with the stubborn late-night stains of blood, sweat and curry sauce.And loud: Newport was loud.A sea of heaving pubs, clubs, and coruscatingly tinny jukeboxes that tore at your eardrums and your heartstrings in equal measures, its glamorous jumble of dry ice, neon lights and Marlboro smoke a tantalising beacon of wanton desire and boundless possibility.And Cardiff? Cardiff was rubbish.A blandly unimaginative live music scene of formulaic jazz-funk and soulless AOR rock bands that routinely prized joylessly earnest musicianship over either maverick inspiration or ragged individuality.Cardiff may aspire to be a world city now but in the 1980s it quite happily aspired to be Level 42.Newport, in stark contrast, would never have set its sights so unpardonably low, Newport being a place that wouldn’t have even allowed Level 42 into its tinny nicotine-stained jukeboxes.In thought and in deed, Newport only ever aspired to be The Clash.To quote the one-time Newport art college attendee and council gravedigger who would later reinvent himself as the band’s now legendary agitprop vocalist: ‘Like trousers, like mind’. And Newport is a city that does not wear flares.

The Newport music scene to which I was initially and hypnotically drawn, was unapologetically tribal in its make-up, a gloriously rag-bag collective of the artistic, the creative, and the terminally disaffected; a standalone community of goths, glam metallers, and a puritanical military wing of what constituted the post-punk scene of that era. Writ through it all though was an underlying leitmotif of working class peacockery, a manner of dressing that harks back to the late 1940s and which differentiates between those who undertake jobs grounded in drudgery and repetition, and those whose working lives are either more moneyed or more personally fulfilling.At its core is the simple premise that the working class love to ‘glam up’ for a night out (and more importantly, are good at it), and the middle class who don’t (and aren’t). 

In any event, the South Wales of this period was still licking its wounds from the monumental kicking it had only recently taken from the Conservative government of the day, and whilst the NUM’s ‘death or glory’ strike of ’84/’85 had been massively supported by the politically motivated bands and promoters of that era who had arranged benefit gigs and solidarity fundraisers for the entirety of the struggle, the miners, and by association South Wales, had nevertheless woken up to a defeat that was utterly devastating and one that at the time it looked unlikely to ever recover from.The parallels between the working class experience of South Wales and the more industrialised regions of the USA were plain to see and it therefore felt entirely natural that the politicised punks of the early 1980s gravitated towards their similarly motivated musical peers on the other side of the pond.For where Thatcher implemented monetarism as a ruthless political weapon in the UK, the devastating realities of Reaganomics were having an equally crushing impact upon the traditional heavy industries of the US. In the documentary film, American Hardcore, Vic Bondi of Articles of Faith sums up Hardcore’s response to the Reagan era: ‘Everyone was saying it was “Morning in America”, someone had to say “it’s fucking midnight!”‘

Dean Lewis, an active member of Newport’s alternative punk scene of the 1980s (and now the Design Editor of this very publication), recalls the period with much affection, and with it the hugely influential impact of ‘Cheap Sweaty Fun’, the organisers and promoters of many of that scene’s now seminal shows: ‘Cheap Sweaty Fun really grew from the point at which they booked Husker Du to play the Stow Hill Labour Club, though at the time people were really worried that they were going to lose money from it.  It was £500 to book the band, which really was a lot of money in those days, but Husker Du records were selling in huge numbers in Newport at the time, mainly through Simon Phillips’ Rockaway Records’. 

Rockaway played a pivotal role within the scene, being the primary means of obtaining imported US vinyl for a demanding Newport customer base that employed the most creative and resourceful means of getting its hands on these precious artefacts, as Dean recalls:American shops and fans would be after British punk and skinhead records they just couldn’t get over there, and given that the most effective way of bypassing customs regulations was to mark a consignment as a gift, that’s what we’d do.Because of that, a huge amount of transatlantic exchange took place, of records and of ideas, and it always helped that Rockaway always had the most desirable stock because of its relationship with record labels like SST’. 

As his relationship with the people in and around Rockaway grew, Dean became more and more involved with Cheap Sweaty Fun and reflects upon the massive impact that that initial Husker Du gig had upon Newport: 

It was due to be the first date of their first proper British tour, but in reality they ended up playing a secret gig in London the night before.And though we’d been concerned that the gig might end up losing money when it came to the night itself it was like ‘Ah fuck, please don’t let anyone else in!’I think that the fire limit on the Labour Club was three hundred but we probably had about five hundred in there.It was the hottest, sweatiest night imaginable and Husker Du were just stuck in the corner.Speaking to them afterwards they loved the gig but they were more than a little bit intimidated by the experience because it was so rammed, people were so close.We took it in turns to go down the front to keep people off the monitors, but the nature of our gigs was that they were always physical but no-one ever tolerated anybody who might turn up just to cause trouble. 

It was a scene that at its core operated from a fundamental place of equality, inclusion and fairness.We never, ever had a guest list’, Dean makes clear, still with an evident degree of pride. 

Everyone paid to get in, including the people who were putting on the shows, and we’d always muck in and help people out, financially or otherwise, if they needed it.We’d travel a lot to see bands too, and in big numbers.Hitch-hiking mainly, and it was often the case that at a motorway service station or some other stop-off you’d bump into other people from Newport who were travelling to see a different band. 

The Butthole Surfers was another pivotal US band that the Newport punk scene claimed as their own.When the Buttholes played they had one of the most bizarre riders I’d ever seen’, Dean recalls. 

When you read about the kinds of excess demanded by Led Zep and the like, the Buttholes rider was something entirely different.It was the first time they’d played Newport, again at Stow Hill Labour Club, and they asked for a hundred wooden pegs, three old ladies dresses, some red and green food dye, some safety pins, and a dozen condoms.So people went round Newport’s shops picking this stuff up, and when Gibby, their singer, took to the stage he was wearing all three of these dresses at the same time with all one hundred wooden pegs in his hair.As a visual thing, it was fantastic.The condoms had been filled with the food colouring and pinned to the dresses and whilst it looked really good it was really unnerving at the same time.He stripped off the dresses and broke the condoms so he was covered in the food colouring.It had poured into his boots and at one point he took off one boot and drunk from it, real schlock-horror stuff.It was a brilliant gig, loads of people there, but the committee of Stow Hill Labour Club were not happy the next day.The green and red dye had soaked into their sprung wooden dance floor and had refused to come out and although we thought we were going to be banned from putting any more gigs on there it became fairly clear that the money they were making from our shows was the one thing keeping the Labour Club going.We were keeping it afloat. 

It wasn’t all thrills, spills and food colouring though, and Dean makes no effort to conceal an almost wilful absence of professionalism that resulted in the inadvertent sabotage of one of the scene’s potentially biggest paydays: 

When I first get involved with Disorganisation, a different promoters but still very much part of the same scene, they were really struggling to sustain things financially, even the benefits they were putting on, which were in support of the NUM initially and then Ethiopian famine relief after that.They were putting on three anarcho bands on the same bill which was all very well but never likely to attract a big crowd.I encouraged them to put on a more varied bill, to put on more local bands.By that time we’d got to know a band from Cardiff called No Choice and through them we also got introduced to a band from Hull called Threaction.No Choice approached us about a three-band tour involving them, Threaction, and another band, also from Hull, called The Housemartins who they suggested should headline.A suggestion I stomped all over.I didn’t think you could have a band like The Housemartins headlining one of our gigs, not based on the type of music that the people who came to our shows liked.So I told them that we wouldn’t be booking the Housemartins as headliners because they were shit!

I ask Dean how much The Housemartins were asking for to be the headline act.  ‘Fifty quid!’ he laughs.I told them they could play but there was no way they would be headlining.So in the end they didn’t play.And though I can’t now remember who we eventually booked in their place I do know that by the time the date that The Housemartins should have played came around, the date upon which they should have been playing the Stow Hill Labour Club for fifty quid, they were number two in the charts with ‘Happy Hour’.The proper charts!’  He laughs again, pondering the tragicomic outcome of his actions:What a twat!’ 

Most tellingly however, Dean is keenly driven to share what he believes to be the true legacy of that scene, and the impact that it had upon the hearts and minds of those that it touched:

All the people that I knew that were involved in that mid-80s punk/American Hardcore movement, go find them now and I’d estimate that the vast majority of us are either working in education, particularly alternative education, or health, particularly mental health.There’s an empathy there that comes from the way we all treated each other when we put those gigs on, and looking after youngsters at those gigs too.You had some really young kids who came to those shows, but you knew that at any gig in Newport as soon as somebody went down on the floor there were at least three of four pairs of hands waiting to drag them back up again.That’s just the way it was.

Minneapolis’s Husker Du – Mid-West blood / Newport heart

The eventual closure of Stow Hill Labour Club saw Cheap Sweaty Fun move its ramshackle charabanc to, at first Newport Centre’s Riverside suite, and latterly TJ’s nightclub in Clarence Place, a venue of legendary civic pride and forever the spiritual home of the city’s alternative nightlife scene. Other venues and hangouts came and went, most notably Brahms & Liszt, a decadent sleaze/glam hybrid of Weimar Berlin, Studio 54 and the Blitz club.A bar/club/hideaway that succeeded in creating a subculture all of its own and whose certificate would surely be R18 should a warts-and-all big-screen biopic ever be filmed about its most theatrical and notorious clientèle.Its soundtrack is already in the public domain however.It is performed by Soft Cell and is titled ‘Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret’. 

It is the musical and inspirational legacy of TJ’s, however, that towers above everything else in the city, even now, over three years after its untimely closure.And in discussing the legacy of TJ’s it is impossible to do so without focusing upon the ungovernable spirit of the man who put the ‘J’ into its name.John Sicolo, both in reputation and physique, was an uncompromising giant of Newport, a city whose traditional qualities he most uncannily embodied.Melody Maker writer David Bennun, who was once dragged to the club by inebriated members of the 60ft Dolls, remembers him as ‘a terrifying hybrid of Tom Jones and The Incredible Hulk’.An Italo-Welsh seaman of no fixed temperament, Sicolo assumed the default father figure role of a scene, and a whole swathe of like-minded bands, that in the mid 1990s briefly threatened to take on the world with an attitude and swagger inherited from its punk rock predecessors.

Formerly ‘El Sieco’s’, TJ’s, or latterly, ‘The Legendary TJ’s’, a term coined by the equally iconic John Peel, it acted as the scene’s default HQ, its CBGB’s, a venue whose medieval toilet facilities it irrefutably shared with its South Wales counterpart.Peel didn’t actually visit the club until almost a decade after he first began to eulogise it, but by the time that he did the self-mythologising legend of Newport being ‘the new Seattle’ had already taken hold.Sicolo himself was not immune to the allure of self-mythology, a very ‘Newport’ trait in itself. It was allegedly he who put about the (ultimately false) rumour that it was at TJ’s where Kurt Cobain had proposed to Courtney Love.It is true that Cobain and Love had been at the venue.Hole played more than one show there, Sicolo had cooked for them (as he did for many of the club’s headline bands), and they had indeed spent the night in the flat above the venue.Subsequently, Sicolo had allegedly threatened to cut up the sheets under which they had slept and sell them off to gullible internet punters, another Newport rumour that it would be nice to think had more than a threadbare basis in fact.When The Guardian, The Times, and most notably Rolling Stone started to visit, and write about, the city with an agenda that reeked of a ‘next big thing’ skeet-shoot however it climaxed in a fleeting golden period of alt-pop paradise that its keenest foot-soldiers still reminisce about with dewy-eyed, broken-veined, nostalgia to this day.Aside from the mad rush of global media fascination, this period also saw Cerys Matthews’ Catatonia shoot the promo film for their breakthrough hit ‘Mulder and Scully’ at the club, and culminated in James Dean Bradfield of the then all-conquering Manic Street Preachers ruminating onstage at the Newport Centre about the time when he was randomly set upon by strangers in a nearby branch of McDonalds, his jaw broken in several places.I didn’t understand those people at the time’, he mused, ‘but I do now’.Whilst Newport’s Pillgwenlly Library was the original inspiration for the line about libraries giving us power in ‘A Design for Life’, the band’s signature treatise on class consciousness and the Welsh working class experience, it is equally and undeniably true that Newport is a city that revels in its reputation as a place where ‘We don’t talk about love / We only want to get drunk’.                          

Antonia Edwards, a devotee of TJ’s in its twilight years, remembers John Sicolo with undiluted affection:

If I’m honest I was only fourteen or fifteen when I first used to go there. I used to go out with an older boy from school who DJ’d there and other friends of mine had got into Newport’s alternative scene, we were classed as ‘moshers’, and so TJ’s was obviously the place you’d go to.Because of my age I had to sneak out and make up all sorts of lies to get there though.I used to climb out of our study window, pick up my nu-rock boots that I’d left outside, run down the drive, up over the hill, and into the taxi that would be waiting for me there. Either that or I’d go to friends’ houses on a Friday night and we’d all make up stories for our respective parents about where we were supposed to be. 

It was a timeless generational ruse that only worked for a limited period however. 

My mum would turn up at the club on a number of occasions looking for me, which was fairly embarrassing.And to make it worse, John would occasionally give me a rollicking.He probably suspected I was underage but I don’t think he ever cottoned on to quite how underage I was.I remember that one of the nights my mum turned up there was a Guns’n’Roses tribute band on and even after she’d spoken with John and both of them had given me a dressing down she ended up staying regardless and she ended up having a great time.John was great.He looked out for all of us and I had so much respect for him.From the age of fourteen or fifteen right up to twenty-one that place was my life. It was such a happy place.I make it sound like a cult, which it wasn’t, but it did feel like one big happy family.We all cared about each other. We all looked out for each other, but ultimately it was all about the music, always about the music. Bands saw it as an important part of the scene too and even when bigger bands like Machine Head would play places like Newport Centre it was always TJ’s that they’d gravitate to for their after-show parties. 

John’s untimely death hit Antonia hard, but she is keen to remember both him and his club in only the most positive of terms. 

There’s a lovely photo of us both taken in around 2008.  It was one of the last times I ever went to TJ’s and one of the last times I ever saw John before he passed away.


Peches mignion 029-1

Antonia Edwards and the iconic John Sicolo – ‘I had so much respect for him’


It’s possible that it is the legacy of the city’s punk scene, through all of its various guises and generations, that singles out a Newport audience as being anything but a passive one.This writer’s first experience of a live show in the city ended in Morrissey, then of The Smiths, a band in the throes of its The Queen Is Dead imperial phase, being dragged from the stage of the Newport Centre by a throng of Ringland Ruffians.He was not to return, and whilst the delicate Stretford flower recuperated in the A&E department of the Royal Gwent Hospital the remainder of an increasingly frustrated audience responded to this perceived indignity by commencing the wholesale dismantling of the venue with undisguised rage.The band’s live sound engineer Grant Showbiz took to the stage to apologise on behalf of the band and promptly received a bottle in the face for his troubles.He was also taken to hospital, the police called, and six people eventually arrested.The Smiths were never to play either Newport or Wales again.Tony Fletcher, in his much-lauded biography of the band, There is a Light that Never Goes, seeks to encapsulate the incident in terms of the intrinsic parallel pride of both the band and the city:

Newport was a tough Welsh city rapidly losing its dock and ironworks jobs, and Smiths fans were always excitable by nature but this (over)reaction (arguably on both sides) seemed to represent a breach in the long-standing trust between group and audience.

A similar incident occurred in Preston only a matter of days later, an incident exacerbated by the wilful misreporting of The Smiths’ Newport experience according to the band’s virtuoso guitarist, Johnny Marr:

It started at Newport where Morrissey, through nothing more sinister than overenthusiasm, got dragged into the crowd. He was shaken, a bit concussed, and had a bump the size of an egg on the side of his head. There was no way he could have carried on. That all happened about three quarters of the way through the set, with maybe four songs left to go. The following day, though, The Sun reports that in the middle of the ‘first song’, at the point where Morrissey holds up the ‘Queen Is Dead’ banner, he was attacked by ‘outraged royalists’.Can you imagine it? Royalists in Newport!

The equally forthright Paul Weller who, according to his long-serving drummer Steve White, was ‘on his arse on a business level’ at the point he sought to kick-start his faltering solo career from the ashes of The Style Council in 1991 also encountered the beery gallows humour of a Newport audience during a criminally undersold show, again at Newport Centre:

Oh God, yeah. He sort of walked onstage and he said, ‘It’s like a fucking morgue in ‘ere.’ And they all started chanting: ‘It’s like a fucking morgue in yer!  It’s like a fucking morgue in yer!’

At the same time, White is equally keen to make clear ‘…but the love was there’, and this experience, most recently recalled by White in the documentary film Paul Weller: Into Tomorrow, has not prevented Weller from returning to the same venue to play before (a significantly bigger) Newport audience since.

Whilst a Newport audience of 1986 may well have seen itself as a victim of the dismantling of heavy industry, and the career and life opportunities that this inevitably constrained, the Newport of 2013 finds itself in equally challenging straits, if for radically different reasons.The city has, by any estimation, been especially cruelly impacted by the seemingly interminable effect of the global financial crisis.Testament to this is the ghostly trail of abandoned shops and premises that litter its traditional shopping streets, the desolate craters that constitute capitalism’s global bombsites and the joyless consequence of the on-going Americanisation of our city centres, the siphoning off of its businesses to identikit out-of-town Lego-parks, the dreary suburbanisation of our complicit existences.

The city’s nightlife has not been immune to this onslaught with further additions to the unremitting litany of pubs and club closures occurring on an all too frequent basis.  Newport is a place that’s never been averse to a pint and a fight however, and the fight to preserve the right for the city’s revellers to continue to down that pint has been taken up by a number of its most spirited licensees.When I speak with Sam Dabb, manager of Newport’s most creative and inspirational live music venues, Le Pub, I am struck by her resilience, her sense of purpose, and her steely civic pride.Having once been one of its resident DJs during the venue’s early years (albeit on a very loose contract best described as a ‘drink as you play’ arrangement) it is a venue that is especially dear to me, holding some of my finest memories of what constitutes a truly splendid night out in the indefatigable city of cider and steel. Despite recently being shortlisted for the NME’s Best Small Venue award its 20+ year existence was only recently at very real threat of closure.Le Pub, and its defiant landlady – ‘I simply wasn’t having it’ – fought a valiant and high-profile campaign in support of the venue that demonstrated not just the love that Newport has for Le Pub, but also the esteem that it is held in by the alternative community at large.Kids in Glass Houses did a benefit show for us’, Sam says, ‘and we had a lot of support on Twitter through tweets and retweets by some really massive, massive bands, they were all behind the campaign’. 

With a successful battle fought and won, and a new five-year lease in place, Le Pub nevertheless remains almost the sole source of live contemporary rock’n’roll in the city.As such, it has assumed even more of an important cultural role and become even more of a rallying point for the live music scene at large; even more so since the closure of the still deserted TJs.‘Yeah, we’re the only one left in many ways,’ Sam continues.  ‘The Murenger is still a lovely pub and a lot of the alternative crowd still drink there, but there’s no music in there and so hardly qualifies as a music venue.It says a lot for the Murenger and Rob (Rob Jones, its ebullient landlord) that it still manages to attract those people and be classed as a kind of alternative music venue.It’s all down to Rob who’s a brilliant landlord’. 

I ask Sam if with a greater focus of influence comes an even greater sense of responsibility to the scene, and to Newport:Yeah definitely.If we go, then Newport goes, it would be absolutely screwed as far as live music is concerned’. 

Sam is anything but a defeatist though and she has begun to observe some welcome chinks of light: 

The spirit, the Newport spirit, is still there and that’s great to see.I see new rehearsal rooms opening up and because everything is cyclical it would be nice to think that we’re coming out of the worst period and into a new productive phase.There’s no money from record labels to fund things anymore so bands need to work so much harder to achieve things, and because of that they need more support than they might previously have needed.

There does appear to be a kindred sense of community within the scene, a sense of bonding that comes with constantly needing to surf the same choppy waves of adversity.Less choice has driven an urban brotherhood that has seen Le Pub embark upon numerous ventures that has seen it partner with both its longest-standing independent record store, Diverse Music, and the city’s current stellar commercial success story, the Tiny Rebel Brewery.The ever-present allure of Cardiff remains a real problem for Newport’s pubs and clubs however, in the same way that it does for much of its daytime traders. 

‘No-one drinks in the same place for the whole of a night anymore,’ Sam explains,

and because we’re the only pub of its kind in Newport, people end up trailing off into Cardiff, simply because there’s nowhere else similar to go. We’ve taken on a booking agent to deal with much bigger bands though so I’m looking forward to what we might be putting on in the future. He’s booked a load of great bands already and so I’m very excited about that.We need to be positive.Just look at Tiny Rebel; they met the targets of their initial five-year business plan in less than half of that time. We’ve got an independent skate store, and where most places don’t even have one independent record shop, we’ve got two.A lot of people put a lot of negative spin on Newport but it’s actually a great place.

Both her resilience to succeed and her faith in the future is utterly unwavering:

Keep fighting us and we’ll just fight back even harder.                     

When the going gets tough, the vultures start swarming, and whilst the negative short-term reputational impact of Channel 4’s Bouncers did little for the perception of either the city or its night-time offering, the flagrant transparency of what amounted to little more than opportunistic poverty-porn by a once-progressive broadcaster was the real ignominy of the piece. 

For Goldie Lookin’ Chain however who, along with Skindred, constitute one the two genuine breakout acts that Newport has produced in the last decade, the global internet phenomenon of ‘Newport State of Mind’ was a lot harder to take.Though filmed in and around Newport (by day-tripping English people, no less), and though much adored by many of its citizens, the band took understandable exception to what was by most estimations a flagrant steal of their parochially gonzo take on both hip-hop and the decadent underground pleasures of the city itself.Their almost immediate response ‘Newport State of Mind (You’re Not from Newport)’ is a magnificently resplendent rebuttal of the venture, and an exemplary illustration of righteous ‘get your tanks off my lawn’ indignation.Its sublime kiss-off of a chorus – ‘You’re not from Newport / I bet you’ve never been there either / I’ll bet you a fiver’ – achieves so much more than this writer is capable of in succinctly encapsulating the age-old urban principle of declaring that whilst it’s OK for us to disparage our city, its people, and its pubs, woe betide the opportunistic interloper who seeks to play by the same rules, who seeks to cash in his gravy and chips without first having concluded his sticky-carpeted tour of duty.For like all those who hold the People’s Republic of Newport dear, the GLC acknowledge the degree to which it would be a capital crime to allow a city that was once perceived to be an unofficial cultural satellite of Minneapolis to be latterly viewed as merely a disorderly and unbecoming subsidiary of Cardiff, to see what was once ‘the new Seattle’ mutate into the new Detroit.Because, as historical experience has taught us, without the requisite investment of thought, attention, and deed that its proud heritage and rich history surely deserves that could all happen here, here in Newport.

Goldie Lookin’ Chain – ‘Newport State of Mind (You’re Not From Newport’)

Illustration by Dean Lewis