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Real Cardiff 2: The Greater City

Real Cardiff 2: The Greater City

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In the sequel to the hugely popular Real Cardiff, Peter Finch explores the city further, hunts for the legendary peripherique and discovers rubbish dumps, walled housing estates and dead-end lanes.

He walks the coast around Penarth Head and on to Lavernock to find the terminal beach at Sully. With poet Grahame Davies he hunts for the mythical river Canna and uncovers what makes Cardiff Pontcanna media-land tick. With architect Jonathan Adams he trails where the walls of Cardiff once ran, looking for time vaults and gaps in the city's space-time continuum.

How did Penarth's Billy Banks get their name? Why are there so many pubs in Pontcanna? Is it Victoria Park or Canton? Who knows? Not Finch's mother, that's for sure. With John Briggs he walks the route of the Glamorgan Canal, mourning the city's loss. Russell Goodway agrees with him. But he's lost too, now. In Roath, the real capital of Wales, he finds the Goosler, lost tennis courts and the old road to Cardiff Gate. In the Bay he looks at what went before the new Wales Millennium Centre and what might have been.

Out at Creigiau he finds cromlechau and extant past in a city full of trees and slopes. The Welsh Office is surrounded with salt to keep the demons out. John Tripp has his wake at the Gower in Cathays. There's a folk-club in the Locomotive along Broadway. Queen Street Station has passages you can’t get to where the Taff Valley Railway still steams.

There are other secrets running inside the overbuilt city. Finch tells us what they are. In Real Cardiff #2 Finch no longer has his nose pressed against the glass. This time he's inside.

"Real Cardiff and Real Cardiff Two - Utterly compelling ambles around the Welsh capital, full of oddball nuggets and with a terrific sense of context and place."
The Rough Guide To Wales

Peter Finch is a poet, author and critic who lives in Cardiff. He is author of the hugely popular Seren titles Real Cardiff and Real Cardiff Two. His numerous poetry titles include Useful, Poems for Ghosts and Food from Seren. A former publisher and bookseller, he is now Chief Executive of the Welsh Academy, the Welsh Literature Promotion Agency and Society of Writers.