What is the fate of Wales’ oldest cinema?


Pictured above: Wales’ oldest cinema back in its heyday.

Market Hall Cinema, Brynmawr, is awaiting its latest results for air tests relating to the asbestos crisis.

Market Hall Cinema situated in the heart of Brynmawr, has had a tough old time of it recently. But the continued support from the community never ceases to amaze. In November of 2016, the 123 year old building was closed, for health and safety reasons, due to the discovery of possible asbestos in the area of which they were planning to build their second screen.

It’s fair to say it has been a bit of a rollercoaster for both the workers and the local community, as when there seems to be a little glimmer of hope, it is taken away. A recent example of this, on the 15th of March, it was posted to their page that a member of BGCBC suggested that the council are pushing hard to get the latest results of the air tests and that they should be made available to the necessary parties involved with the cinema the following day. However, this was short lived as a post was made the following day stating, “As you are by now aware, we haven’t been forwarded the results of the most recent air tests. Maybe we’ll get them tomorrow?”

Although optimism is paramount at this time, unfortunately, there has been no update in regards to this since.

This is not the first time that this historical building has faced the threat of closure, early into the year of 2013, the cinema was closed for a short period due to the local council retracting their funding. However, the residents of Blaenau Gwent quickly came together and hosted a local protest. It is evident just how much the local community value such an historical building, and due to the perseverance and commitment of the general public, Market Hall Cinema is now being funded through donations, fundraisers and local businesses.

Back in 2014 this little cinema was awarded the ‘UK Cinema of The Year’ award. It’s hard to believe that a year before receiving this award there was a possibility that the fate of the cinema could have resulted in permanent closure.

As briefly touched upon, the support system provided by all members of the community has been outstanding. Many people have come forth to share the memories and stories that they have of this local gem on the Market Hall Cinema Facebook page. One comment from local, Julian Bosley, reads as follows “Some of my best childhood memories were born at this wonderful cinema. I would scarper home full of new dreams and then lie in bed later with my imagination running absolute riot. Many Blaenau Gwent folk are neither able to travel to a Vue, or able to afford to watch a film at one, should they get there. The Market Hall is one of those rare and beautiful things that should be protected, rather than be allowed to perish, so let’s treasure it and demand that it be saved, rather than bear witness to yet another regrettable local extinction.”

Let’s hope that the fate of this cinema is that of a positive one, because if not, it is evident just how much of a negative impact it would have on the local community.


Sieving the Dream


Pictured above: A Moomin themed birthday cake I ordered
from Hazel for my partner’s birthday

Recently, there has been speculation that a new cake shop may be making an appearance in Blaenau Gwent. To see if there is any truth behind these rumours I went out to interview the potential business owner myself.

The lady behind the baking is twenty-one-year-old Hazel Roberts. When interviewing Hazel, she explained “I first started baking when in school, I remember my first cookery class, I thought I was going to hate it…but look at me now, making a living from it”. I then went on to ask Hazel what made her decide to start selling her cooked goods, she responded “My mother encouraged me to do so, I would often bake at home and find myself experimenting with lots of different cake designs and themes.”

When asked if she is planning on opening a shop in Blaenau Gwent, Hazel laughed “Well, right now it is not something that is on the table, I run my business from home as its affordable for me, I am contemplating renting a stall in the Abergavenny market once a week just to possibly bring in new customers. I am not ruling out the possibility of opening my own little cake shop one day, but I am also a full-time student and at this point in time, I wouldn’t be able to commit”.

I then asked Hazel, “Is social media a useful tool for individuals who are just starting out with their own business?” Her response was as follows “Yes, it really is. Social media can be such a handy business tool, the ability to create your own business pages allows for constant promotion. I am constantly uploading images of my creations and then you get people that support you and what you do by sharing the images of my cakes with their friends.”

When asked if there is anyone who inspires her, she replied “My Grandmother, she has a keen interest in baking too, she doesn’t like to faff about with the icing and detailing but she makes the most amazing cheese cakes.” She continued “As soon as I realised that I had a passion for baking, me and my grandmother would spend hours on end in the kitchen baking treats, that we would later go on to share with all the family.”
I then asked Hazel what she thinks in regards to an individual setting up their own business in the Blaenau Gwent area, she responded, “Starting your own business anywhere I’m sure, has its challenges, luckily for myself I haven’t had to take any of the big risks that others may have had to take. The only money I am having to invest into my business is the cost of ingredients. I don’t have to worry about paying rent on a property and ensuring I have a constant flow of customers to be able to do that. One of the reasons I am considering starting out with a cake stall is because, it will help me get used to the idea of taking risks. I will not be putting as much on the line as I would do if I were to invest in a shop.”

I also asked Hazel, what is one skill she wishes she had other than baking. She laughed “I have always wanted to be able to play an instrument, nothing specific, but I would love to be able to pick up an instrument and make music. I listen to music everyday but I would love to discover a new-found appreciation.”

Towards the end of the interview I asked Hazel, “What is a piece of advice you would give to other young people who are thinking of pursuing something they are passionate about and making a career out of it?” Hazel smiled and responded “Go for it, if you are passionate about something and get the opportunity to make a career from it, don’t shy away. I know some people find themselves spending decades in a job that they don’t enjoy, wouldn’t you rather be able to pursue something you are passionate about earlier in life and continue to do so throughout?”

Hazel is one of many young people in the Blaenau Gwent area that have started their own at home business, hopefully the advice she has shared during this interview will go on to inspire many more young people.














A review on ‘Once Upon a Time’s’ episode 20 of Season 6 ‘The Song in Your Heart’

This episode maintained its usual essence of genres such as, adventure, fantasy and romance. However, what singles it out from the rest is the addition of music. The plot of the episode is how Snow white had made a wish back when she was living in her kingdom. Snow had wished that she had what she needed to help her daughter, a chance at a happy ending. Back to present time in Storybrooke, Snows daughter, Emma prepares for her wedding to Hook, but the final battle is on the horizon. This episode was extremely fast paced, it almost felt as though I were watching a film as oppose to a T.V programme, possibly due to the high production value. The addition of music was a major positive as it put across a new form of storytelling within the series. This is something that I would hope to see again. Although music was incorporated, this episode maintained its serious themes and forwarded the plot, not losing any of the quality you would expect as seen in previous episodes. If there was an individual that had not seen the previous episodes, I feel they would have had an enjoyable experience and it may have lead to them wanting to go back to the beginning and experience everything from the start.

A Typical Train Journey To University


Photo credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-510408/


Morning rush hour train journeys have become somewhat unbearable. There’s never enough carriages to provide all commuters with a seat. And if you are lucky enough to find yourself a seat, you will often be forced to sit next to a stranger. Squashed up against the wall, with barely any leg room, having to look continuously down at your phone or across out of the window as you fear making eye contact with unfamiliar faces. As we stepped on to the train, we were greeted with a rush of cold air, the tip of my nose, frost bitten.

The smell of morning coffee and cigarette smoke filled up the carriages as all commuters bustled to claim their seats. As the train doors closed behind us, they let out a piercing cry, perhaps a sign of how outdated the carriages were. As the train accelerated up the tracks, the doors to the toilets and other carriages were continuously flinging open and closed, the sharp loud bangs were causing anxiety amongst commuters who were still transitioning from the hypnagogic state.

As the train stopped at more and more platforms to pick up extra commuters, the sounds on the train started to become a little more enhanced, there were multiple levels of noise in terms of communication amongst passengers, from the two older ladies in the corner whispering and looking up at the commuters that were forced to stand, perhaps because they were feeling a little claustrophobic, to the younger women gossiping and letting out almost witch cackle cries, the type of cries I am sure will forever be engrained in my brain. I could empathise with the two older women, I had somewhat become claustrophobic, especially as a stranger proceeded to sit next to me.

There was a prominent smell of cigarette smoke and alcohol coming from him, he smelt like an old pub, the smell had drowned out any of the pleasant smells that may have been present in the air at that time. My chest had become tight as I attempted to hold my breath so as I didn’t inhale any of the unpleasantness. My anxiety had heightened, the smell of alcohol in the morning is almost alien to me, I tried to adjust myself to face away from this stranger, as every second I spent sitting next to him made me feel even more uneasy. All I could see of his face, was a blurry image from the corner of my eye. As I glanced down at the floor, I looked at his hands, they were dry, in between his finger nails there appeared to be dirt, he had a gold ring on each hand. To try and take my mind off him, I glanced around the train hoping to find another point of focus. But as I looked up, I saw that the train was pulling into the platform.

My entire body had found itself finally entering a state of relaxation. The man that had made me feel uneasy for most of my journey had got up out of his seat and proceeded to walk towards the exit, I followed behind. As soon as I stepped from the train, I inhaled sharply. I have never appreciated the inhalation of fresh air before, as I do right now.