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Paul Weller announces new Singleton Park concert

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New Wave and Mod Revival singer-songwriter Paul Weller has announced a new open air concert at Swansea’s Singleton Park on Sunday 31 July.

On May 14th, Paul Weller released his 16th solo album since his self-titled debut in 1992, his fourth in as many years and his second in just under twelve months following June 2020’s magnificent, chart-topping On Sunset.

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It’s not hyperbole to state that this new album, titled Fat Pop (Volume 1), is among his most compelling collections, bar none, including all of his era-defining work in the 1970s and ‘80s with The Jam and The Style Council. It’s an absolute scorcher.

The show at Swansea’s Singleton Park that will feature work across his prolific career & his brilliant new material, follows successful concerts on the site with Noel Gallagher, Jess Glynne & Catfish & The Bottlemen and again is promoted by award winning promoters Orchard Live.

Pablo Janczur from Orchard Live said: “We are thrilled to be working again with an unbelievable artist like Paul Weller and bringing the Mod Father to Swansea!’’

When lockdown was declared in March 2020, Paul Weller decided immediately that he wanted something to focus on, since it seemed unlikely, he’d be able to tour On Sunset as planned that summer.

“I had lots of ideas stored up on my phone,” he explains down that same handset, speaking from outside his London home, “and at least this gave me an opportunity to develop them.”

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So he started to record songs on his own, doing just vocals, piano and guitar, then sending those sound files to his core band members such as drummer Ben Gordelier, Steve Cradock on guitar and various other instruments, and bassist Andy Crofts for them to add their parts.

“It was a bit weird not being together, but at least it kept the wheels rolling. I’d have gone potty otherwise.”

Presale tickets go on sale on Wednesday 17 November 2021 at 10am.

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Books & Literature

Former Llanelli rugby star hopes to be victorious at The Oval

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After enjoying his fair share of success as a rugby player and team manager Anthony Buchanan now hopes to win big as an author.

The former Llanelli and Wales star has been shortlisted for The Sunday Times Rugby Book of the Year 2022 award following the publication of his biography, The Buck Props Here.

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His unique rugby journey didn’t begin until the age of 22, when he chose to turn his back on a highly promising career in football as a goalkeeper, but led to playing for Llanelli and representing Wales in the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.

On retirement he became an administrator and helped transform the Scarlets into a European powerhouse before serving on the International Rugby Board and overseeing the selection of referees at the last Rugby World Cup.

His story has been ghost written by former Evening Post reporter, Geraint Thomas, who notches up a unique hat trick of nominations having previously been shortlisted – in what is seen as the Oscars of sports books – after ghost writing Glenn Webbe: The Gloves Are Off (2020) the biography of the former Bridgend and Wales wing, and Terry Davies: Wales’s First Superstar Fullback (2017) alongside the former Llanelli, Wales and Lions star.

Former Evening Post reporter, Geraint Thomas who has ghostwritten Anthony’s biography

The pair, who are up against former Wales centre Jamie Roberts, Irish stars Keith Earls and Willie Anderson, as well as This is Your Everest: The Lions, The Springboks and the Epic Tour of 1997, and The Flying Prince: Alexander Obolensky, will attend a gala dinner in The Oval cricket ground London on Thursday to find out if they have won.

There will be further Welsh representation on the evening with Alun Wyn Jones on the shortlist for Autobiography of the Year 2022.

Buchanan, who is donating his share of the book’s royalties to securing the rugby pitch in Ystradgynlais for future generations, said: “I feel humbled to be in the running for the best rugby book in Great Britain and Ireland, but my story is not just about an individual, it encompasses the momentous shift in Welsh rugby, from the old amateur days to the introduction of European rugby, professionalism and the regions.

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“I would like to thank Geraint Thomas for encouraging me to tell my story in the first place and for weaving all that has happened into such a compelling narrative. He’s done such a wonderful job. So many people, who have read it, have contacted me to say how much they enjoyed it – and they weren’t all Scarlets supporters!”

Thomas, who trained as a magazine journalist in Cardiff University’s School of Journalism and went on to complete an MA in Creative and Media Writing at Swansea University, said: “To be shortlisted for a third time obviously feels great and, I guess, is quite an achievement, not just for me but also my publisher Y Lolfa, who have always shown faith in me.”

Thomas, who had a spell playing for Bridgend in the early 1990s, added: “It helped that I played in the same era as Bucks and have a good knowledge of the Welsh rugby landscape. But what really makes the book so enjoyable is the how Buck has recalled the banter and humour which used to be the real reason we played the game.

“People ask me which is my favourite book, but, to be honest, I really enjoyed working on all three. Writing a book is a bit like having children only the hard work comes first and then you experience the pleasure of seeing them enter the world – and if they are popular that’s even better!”

The Sunday Times Book Awards take place on Thursday 27 May 2022

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Haverfordwest

Young carers urged to capture their lives on camera

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Action for Children and the Royal Photographic Society have launched a new photography project challenging young carers to get creative and show what’s important in their lives.

Action for Children and the Royal Photographic Society, supported by Arts Council England have launched a nationwide photography project to celebrate young carers across the UK.

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The charities who share HRH The Duchess of Cambridge as Patron are asking young carers to get creative to photograph what’s important to them in their lives and learn a fantastic new skill along the way.

Selected entries will form a nationwide photography exhibition entitled ‘Young Carers – A Life in Focus’. This will follow a series of free online workshops and resources available to all young carers across the UK, created by leading photographers, on how to take unique images on their mobile phone, device or camera.

Caiden Meacham (10) from Haverfordwest is supported by Action for Children’s young carers service in Pembrokeshire. He said: “I want to learn how to take good photos and can’t wait to learn. I like taking photos of lots of different things like nature and my pets which mean a lot to me.”

Caiden taking a photo of his dog, Feebee

Vikki Phillips, service coordinator for Pembrokeshire Young Carers, added: “The project has generated a lot of excitement amongst our young people like Caiden. It’s a generation that love to take photographs and document their lives so this is a perfect opportunity to do that while learning new skills from experts in the field. I’d love to see some of their work showcased in the exhibition.

Celebrated photographer and visual artist Jo Bradford has produced the innovative and creative online workshops, which will cover technical topics such as composition through leading lines and interesting placements of subjects, lighting using objects you can find around your home to achieve professional results and editing using homemade filters and apps found on your phone.

With an estimated 800,000 children and young people across the UK caring for a family member with a disability, illness or mental health issue – some as young as five years old – Action for Children and the Royal Photographic Society are encouraging young carers to capture their thoughts, emotions and life experiences.

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Typically, young carers help with practical tasks around the home such as cooking, housework and shopping; physical care, such as helping someone out of bed; and personal care, such as helping someone dress.

To launch the project, photographer Jo Bradford shares her top three tips for young carers to get them experimenting with their photographic skills:

  1. Shine a torch on reflective, shiny objects around your home to make interesting light patterns in your photographs. A CD, vase or glass can create a glimmer or reflection
  2. Use the objects in your home to create frames by placing them in the fore and background. Placing plants in the foreground could give a great jungle effect or a hole in some bubble wrap could make a fun frame for a face
  3. Get experimental with your phone settings – using the panorama setting and shaking your phone up and down can produce abstract patterns around you

Action for Children supports over 3,700 children and young people who are young carers across the UK, giving them advice and respite through short breaks, activities and the chance to connect with other young carers.

Melanie Armstrong, Chief Executive at Action for Children, said: “We see first-hand the impact of loneliness and stress on young carers, who are dedicating a large part of their childhood to helping loved ones. These children and young people are often desperate for a break from their duties so it’s important for them to have some fun by doing a hobby or something they enjoy.

“Our photography project will offer young carers the chance to do something for themselves while learning a new skill. We can’t wait to see the creative contributions later this year!”

Evan Dawson, Chief Executive of the Royal Photographic Society, adds: “There are thousands of inspirational young people in the UK performing regular caring duties for their loved ones, whilst also completing their education and somehow finding time to have a childhood.

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“Every situation is different – but these remarkable lives are rarely seen in the media or understood by their peers. We will provide new photography skills to these young people, and help celebrate their vital contribution to UK communities.”

If you are a young carer in the UK, we’re asking you to take photographs of what’s important to you in your everyday life and we’d love to see them. Selected entries will be part of a nationwide exhibition called Young Carers – A Life in Focus.

For more information: https://rps.org/opportunities/young-carers-a-life-in-focus/

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Swansea

Swansea panto favourite Kev Johns to return as Grand Theatre announces Beauty and the Beast cast

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Swansea Grand and Pantomime producers, Imagine Theatre, have announced the first casting for their 2022/2023 panto season – with favourites Kevin Johns and Matt Edwards set to return in the cast of Beauty and the Beast from 14 December 2022 to 15 January 2023.

Panto fans will be delighted to hear that Kevin Johns MBE will be playing the role of Nanna Penny and this year will mark his 30th year in panto and his 24th at the Grand.

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Kev’s stage career has been varied including drama, comedy, musicals and of course pantomime.

He has recently returned from Snowdonia in North Wales after filming an episode of the very popular US TV show Documentary Now which is also to be seen on Amazon TV here in the UK.

Kev said he was delighted to return to Swansea Grand theatre for this year’s Imagine Theatre’s production of Beauty and the Beast

He said: “I am so excited to be returning to the fantastic Swansea Grand for panto this year. The Grand is such a wonderful theatre with a great staff and the best audiences in Panto land. Beauty and the Beast is a great panto with something for all the family and a new panto for me!

“I’m so looking forward to working with Matt Edwards who is one of the funniest people I know. Matt is a wonderful entertainer and a great friend. See you all in panto at the Swansea Grand!”

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Matt Edwards

With further star casting to be announced, Kevin will be joined on stage by Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Matt Edwards, in the role of Cyril

Matt said: “Hello Meow. It’s Me, Matt Edwards. I’m so super excited to be coming back to Swansea, for what promises to be the most spectacular pantomime the Swansea Grand has ever seen. Come and join us for some Christmas magic.”

Beauty and the Beast will be the first partnership between Imagine Pantomimes and the Swansea Grand Theatre and this year’s pantomime is set to be pretty spectacular with a brand-new production using LED screens and animation.

Swansea Grand Theatre Manager, Grant McFarlane said, “We couldn’t be more delighted to welcome our panto favourite Kev back to the Grand along with Matt Edwards. Our annual pantomime is a huge family tradition for our audiences, and we hope to see you all there for this, our first with Imagine who will be bringing our most exciting pantomime to date as it will be our first using LED screens with animated scenes.

“It’s really ground-breaking whilst keeping all of the traditional elements that our audiences have come to love”

When an arrogant Prince is cursed to live as a beast, his only hope of salvation is to find love before the last petal falls from a magic rose. When pretty village girl, Beauty, comes into his life, is this the chance he has been waiting for?

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Beauty and the Beast will be sure to make you laugh, cry and fall in love with a host of hilarious and hairy characters; so book your tickets now and discover if Beauty can see beyond appearances and learn to love a beast!

Tickets are on sale now at swanseagrand.co.uk or visit imaginetheatre.co.uk

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