**Disclaimer: This post isn't going to be funny, informative or in any way clever. It's just what happened on one weekend in Wales
True to form, the Autumn Internationals have kicked off with an almighty weekend. I don't know how they manage to do it, the only thing I ever have planned is to watch 80mins of Wales playing rugby - the rest of the time is there to be filled with whatever comes along, somehow one hell of a lot happens on an International weekend.
As I was wandering around aimlessly in the sunshine on Wedenseday afternoon, I noticed a few fly-posters stuck up with a bunch of names I didn't recognise. I dismissed the upcoming gigs in favour of the sandwich I was eating, but as I turned away - one name caught my eye, Neko Case
. I knew that Neko was part of Canadian supergroup, The New Pornographers
, and that's about it. I rather like the 'Twin Cinema
' album, so I thought I'd give her a whirl on Friday. I took along my new housemates, repeatedly telling them that I really didn't know
what the gig was going to sound like - I'm just going along to find out. They seemed quite happy so that was all good! Neko came on at about 8:30pm - and started belting out a song without even introducing herself. Her voice was absolutely mind-blowing! I've only once been to one other gig where the singer has such a powerful (and note-perfect) voice, that was Radioheads' Thom Yorke
. Neko effortlessly sang and played guitar for the next hour or so, impressing me further with each track. After the set, I managed to have a quick chat to her, then secured a couple of signed albums. I was absolutely star-struck - despite not really knowing who she was until that day. She's just released a new album, go get it if you like your Country music a little alternative.
Saturday brought with it a pretty banging headache, but that didn't stop me from getting up at 8:30am and pretty much running to my friends house to tuck into a beer. The usual match-day anarchy started with our traditional fried breakfast to line the stomach - after that, events sped up a little...12am
- Singing in the pub, drinking obscene amounts of beer and laughing a lot. There were a small number of Aussies in town compared to the ocean of Red jerseys.2pm
- Those of us lucky enough to get tickets moseyed over to the stadium in time for a 2:30pm kick off, the city was literally crackling with excitement. I found my seat here:-
Rest of the day
(which seemed to only take an hour?!) :-
The match was a classic - The classy Aussies put 17 points on us before I'd even blinked, I thought we were in for another drubbing. As time wore on though, Wales clawed their way back. There wasn't much in it at the break - the stadium was in fine voice, the renditions of 'Ar hyd Y nos
rang round. We were getting plied with beer of course so the last few (twenty?) minutes of the match got a little hazy. Just when we thought we were going to come away with the spoils, Chris Latham spoiled the party with an impressive try along the wing, pretty much levelling the points. We came back through a James Hook penalty goal to bring the scores equal at 29-29. The game could have gone either way, the final whistle went and all 75'000 people went silent. No-one cheered, it was the weirdest ending to a game I'd ever been to. Three years ago, we would have been over the
moon with a draw against the two-time World Champions. I sat there in shock repeating myself like a mad-man "We could have won, we could have won
...". An Aussie bloke snapped me out of it "Fuck it, lets all get drunk and cheer on the Kiwis tomorrow
", a small round of applause went up and we all got up and headed back to the pub. At 5:30pm I was with my mates, by 6pm I had disappeared - I thought I was with everyone all night but Text messages, photos and flashbacks I've had since show otherwise. I'd been to about five different places on my own, I was sat with a big bunch of Aussies for most of the evening having the time of my life!
Sunday was a little different. We watch the Kiwis defeat England in record-breaking fashion, quite frankly shitting ourselves at the prospect of playing them in three weeks time. After the game, the boys I was with went home but I wasn't in a Sunday evening mood. I headed out to the pub to meet some more friends. We ended up in the Buffalo bar. After chatting to a make-up artist, we somehow ended up with make-up on. A couple of random girls thought that I needed a bit more lipstick while another decided that eye-liner should be put on to "bring out my eyes"... We looked like a right couple of idiots. A photo was taken at some point, but it's not been mailed to me just yet. All I have are these:-
In a kebab shop, about 1:30am Monday. (This is how people SHOULD look in kebab shops, Léonie)
Monday morning, just before work. Eyeliner doesn't come off easily, I've found. My work-mates found it amusing, I didn't. ** Update **
And If I thought my time in Cardiff couldn't get any better, I had a few beers with Chris Cope last night. It was very funny, Cope has covered the highlights of our conversation over at his place
. I was going to write a post about it but I don't think I could cover much more than the man himself has already covered. Don't let the fact that this tagged onto the bottom of a non-related post let you think that the meeting was anything less of a magical experience, because it was one.