If you're lucky enough to live in a city for long enough you will see it change. This may seem like a obvious thing to say, but some times when changes happen it does give you a little shock (it shocked me to realise the other day that I've been living in Cardiff for twenty eight years). Even though you know that people and places come and go there are certain corner stones you alays expect to be there and navigate your life by. Clwb For Bach is one of these places. I've been seeing gigs there for as long as I can remember living in Cardiff.
I can't remember the first gig I went to at 'Clwb', but I first heard about it when I first moved to Cardiff to do my Foundation Course in 1989. Back then you needed a membership card to get in and I seem to remember that you had to utter a few words of Welsh or mumble a commitment to learning Welsh to the po-faced door staff. It's been the scene of a lot of hot sweaty fun over the years and I wouldn't like to guess how many bands I've see there. I did once blag my way into the backstage of a Spiritualised off-shoot band called Lupine howl without anyone asking me who I was, I know not very Rock and Roll, but there you go. 'Clwb' has also been a vital venue for a number of city festivals over the years, most notably the wonderful Swn.
The reason for my misty eyed reminiscences about 'Clwb' is that it looks to be under threat. Earlier this year Dempseys closed down on Womaby Street so that it could have a make-over as a Gareth Bale sponsored Sports Bar. It was the end of an era as it saw the final Dempseys club night of 'Twisted by Design' where I'd been doing the indie two step for over ten years. Sian, I and many friends went to the final night and gave it a last Horrah and I remember thinking that night: 'Well at least Clwb Ifor is safe', doh.
It's under threat because uber pub chain Weatherspoons is building a hotel above it's Gatekeeper pub across he road. Many of us who hold 'Clwb' close to our hearts can see the warning signs. It was complaints about noise from newly built flats which saw the much missed 'Point' venue down Cardiff Bay closed down. so we've had enough. The worrying development in Cardiff is that it's becoming increasingly homogenized.
Also at risk is the street which hosts Clwb Ifor. Womaby Street has - in the last few years - had the first flickers of fledgling art 'scene' with artists and fashion designers finding space alongisde muscisans. This especially came to light with last year's wonderfully shambolic Hub festival alongisde Swn. Both festivals really shoiwcased something really unique to Cardiff.
A campaign has been set up, #savewomabystreet which I urge you to support. There should be room enough in the Welsh capital for all kinds of fun corporate and indie. Cardiff needs Clwb Ifor, it is absoloutely vital to the city and we would be immeasurably poorer without it and Womaby Street.