Friday, May 19, 2023

Shirley Road

I am reading the Author's Proof of Sean's new novel. Chapter 10 begins lamenting the sparseness of middle class enclaves where people gather to be apart; "no doorstep chats, no shared legends, no sense of community."

I thought immediately of the article The hidden lane in Cardiff covered in amazing art that tells fantastic stories. Colourful murals decorate the walls of an alleyway behind Shirley Road in Roath (Northcote Lane's sister?), and I particularly thought of one.

Shirley Road resident Jan Evans has been sitting smoking all day, every day, outside her house for the last ten years

One of the most striking murals is a celebration of the community of Shirley Road - capturing how they came together during the lockdown. "They were talking about the processions they were very proud of in the lockdown," says Alex, the artist. A number of times during the lockdown, two dhol drummers who lived nearby - Raj Singh and his father - kept spirits alive, making music as they led a procession along the lane. Residents of the street followed in their wake, and some even wore fancy dress for the occasion - one person dressed as a clown and another in a dinosaur costume. Alex's mural captures the fun and uplifting occasion, Including Jan, sitting on her chair with a cigarette in hand as she gazes at the parade.

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