Pros and Cons of living in Swansea after almost two years ...

Discussion in 'Wales/Cymru' started by William of Walworth, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    Seems about time to take some sort of stock of my having moved from South London** to South (West) Wales, after almost two years here ... a major move for me ....

    **(after 17 years in Walworth!)

    Most of these points in both lists are Swansea specific, but with some inevitably applying to S Wales more generally, at least a bit.

    NB No football related comments are allowed, footy forum thataway! :hmm:

    Just as I think of them, no particular order of merit/dismerit.

    1. Stunning coastal and other Welsh scenery within very easy reach of the City, the Gower never stops impressing.
    2. Quieter pace of life here is mostly a pro, I thought I'd miss London's ever happening hustle and bustle but on my frequent returns to the Metropolis I find it much more hasslesome to get about than I remember, and more crowded too.
    3. Massively inexpensive here, Swansea, some public transport aside, is a very cheap place to live in.
    4. Our local CAMRA gang are lovely people, never short of suggested events/pissups, and being involved in the 2nd biggest beer festival in Wales each year (see relevent threads in this forum, plug plug) is really rewarding. But see point 1 below, we fight a hard battle!
    5. Reassuring that so many people hereabouts seem to be left or leftish politically, and certainly anti-Tory. To be fair though that may be the ones I choose to hang out with .... it's more true at work than not though, as well. Union (PCS) membership an expected thing for most ....
    6. Big relieved thanks have to go back to the old Ministry of Transport, back in the early 1970s, for deciding back then to establish the (UK)-national headquarters of the DVLA here. They're Swansea's second? biggest employer, but for them I'd still be jobless! (see point 5, cons).
    7. Dylan Thomas Centre, National Waterfront Museum, Glyn Vivian Gallery, etc.
    8. Continental Cafe in town (it's Italian-run, by Castle Square). Majorly good breakfasts on Saturdays/Sundays!
    9. Seems mostly safe and crime-low, with trouble easy to avoid. This includes where we are, a poor and 'inner city' area of sorts, but quiet. Despite the Evening Post's sensationalising, we do not go about at night in fear of attack or of being robbed.
    See a couple of qualifications below, though, no shortage of petty-delinquent youth around.
    10. Last but very much not least, festivaldeb has made sure I've not once regretted moving here -- personal and love life still very much thriving. Yay!

    1. Despite point 4 above, Swansea and area is a terrible beer desert that's seriously deprived of good quality ale (except once a year!). There's a big lack of decent pubs selling varied quality choices here. The rare exceptions are great. A big shout goes to the Queens, the Potters Wheel -- with reservations -- and to the Railway Arms, Upper Killay, and a few others. But to have a city of 120,000 or so people having fewer top quality real ale pubs than (for eg) Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire (pop 3 to 4,000) is an embarassment.
    2. Wine Street. I can't express how negatively I feel about this (luckily avoidable) hellhole, and remain mystified about why so many people from in and out of town choose to flock there on Fridays and Saturdays. Maybe I'm getting too old now, but there's plenty older than me who go. That 'bar' packed thoroughfare is living proof of point 1 of my cons as well.
    3. Many years ago Swansea's most famous son, Dylan Thomas, called Swansea the lovely, ugly town, and sad to say the city itself is pretty ugly mostly, especially in the centre, with post WWII modernist vandalism (see Kingsway!) run riot. The grand view over the spectacular Bay is a very positive antidote, but overall I find this place a hard city to love visually.
    4. Treboeth, Brynhyfryd, Clase, Morriston (the areas between where I live and where I work) seem to have few to no redeeming features and thus help to make my point 3 of the cons for me ... and point 1 too ....... at least where we are, Hafod, though not much more scenic, and no better for pubs, it's close to the centre and railway station!
    5. Serious lack of work here, Swansea was unemployment central for me over 18 months, and heaven knows I tried hard to find some. Hours were grand but the pay was shit :p
    But see point 6 in the Pros list.
    6. Weather, this was a negative that I fully expected after many visits to Swansea both before and after meeting festivaldeb. Despite two unusually dry winters here, sometimes the wind and rain are relentlessly downheartening over many days, like just now.
    And I say this after by no means a bad summer, I hate to think how I'd feel after a truly shit summer along 2007 lines ....
    7. There seem to be lot of boy racer wanker-drivers around, many of whom are also drive by shouters**
    **(= ie total wankers, universally, no exceptions, zero redeeming features).
    8. Glass breaking cunts covering the roads and cycle paths (also footpaths) every weekend with smashed remnants of Bacardi Breezer and Budweiser bottles. Dog injuring, cycle-tyre-puncturing scumbags, it's a really bad epidemic here at times.
    9. Major shortage of gigs. Gaps filled by cover bands in pubs, most of whom have enough time on their hands to be pretty good at what they do actually! But it's rare for any even half way well known bands to come as far West as this. Cardiff or nothing for the tours, often nothing -- Cardiff misses out a lot too. TBF the gig shortage is made up for a bit by several good free events in the city, Castle Square particularly, over the spring and summer.
    10. The Evening Post. Vile and rubbish paper, part of the Rothermere empire .... some of its front page headlines (sensationalising, and ramping up shock horror fury! about the most minor of crimes and 'outrages') are more worthy of a village newspaper than one fit to be read in Wales' second largest city.
    11. This is quite a serious one (maybe some connection with 10). I find plenty of people here pretty parochial and limited in general life outlook compared to London (Debbie finds this too and she's lived here for 18 years).
    Perhaps to mention London is not at all a fair comparison, but I post as I find, and when I meet people in work who rarely come into Swansea even, and spend all their time in Ystrad/Ystal (Upper Swansea Valley, SA9 :eek: ) I do wonder ..... and YES! (rolleyes! smiley!) I'm fully aware that there are plenty of negatives about London/other big cities too, but they're different ones largely.

    Footnote to 11 above, and to point 3 of the cons as well, and point 1 too as it goes :
    To add to the pros though, if I ever feel particularly negative about aspects of Swansea, I just think of my fleeting visits to Ammanford, Port Talbot, Aberdare .... enough said :eek: :facepalm:

    I guess you have to know and be from those places to appreciate them!

    I can probably think of more pros and cons but that'll do for now.

    I'd also like to emphasise that I'm very conscious of posting as an incomer here, so any true Jacks reading this, please try not to feel too insulted.

    I'm well aware that there are plenty of pros of being here after all.

    Reactions/thoughts welcomed!
    phillm likes this.
  2. badlands

    badlands the mercy seat

    10 pros

    11 cons

    time to up sticks
    muscovyduck likes this.
  3. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    Suggest you re-read pro point 10 there matey! :p

    (not all points are equally as good or as bad as each other in pro-don or con-dom!)
  4. badlands

    badlands the mercy seat

    Ah! Just reread said pro10

    you've answered your own question haven't you?

    life's good

  5. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    Sure is, but I thought a pros and cons list might be quite interesting generally, would be good to see reactions from Jacks and from other South Welsh :) ... or from others who've moved here now or in the past from outside ....
  6. Belushi

    Belushi 01 811 8055 R.I.P.

    Glad to hear its worked out for you William mate, long time since I was in Swansea but its a fair assessment.

    My stepmam works at the dvla, i wont ask you if you know her though as I know how huge it is!
  7. Belushi

    Belushi 01 811 8055 R.I.P.

    Ochor-draws, my ancestral enemies:mad:
  8. Gavin Bl

    Gavin Bl terrible awful baaad

    it does sound like an awful lot of South Wales to be honest.
  9. Clair De Lune

    Clair De Lune Well-Known Member

    Totally agree about Wind st, the Gower and the post.
  10. marty21

    marty21 One on one? You're crazy.

    I was down in Swansea a few weeks ago for a uni reunion, drank in the Uplands Tavern, which I liked, nice atmosphere, good crowd, enjoyed it, we were at a place in Uplands for the do, some snooker hall with a function room, it was a bit meh. but ok.

    I thought I'd spend 2 nights down there, and on the Sunday morning, me and a mate drove out to Mumbles, then the Gower, lovely, we came back, saw a mate in the centre, then at 5 I was on my own for the evening - had a bit of a sleep at the hotel :cool: then went out for a walk around the city centre which is shit tbf, it wasn't great in the 80s when I lived there. I didn't venture as far as wine street, but found no pub I wanted to have a pint in , they just looked miserable from the outside - could have gone back up to the Uplands Tavern, or over to Mumbles, but I fancied just waling somewhere - in the centre on a Sunday night, the only place with any life was the Yate's Wine Lodge :facepalm: I was stayed nearby (Dragon Hotel) and the Yate's was heaving on a Sunday night - loads of people outside - but it was a Yates. so I didn't bother with it.

    about the only people I came into contact with on the walk about the centre - were blokes having a piss on street corners, and teenage girls drunkenly arguing with their mates

    I have a lot of affection for parts of Swansea - but they need to sort out the centre - totally shit:(
  11. METH LAB

    METH LAB Im a goat! Banned

    Drug/alcohol services are beyond shit in west wales, so never get addicted to anything

    apart from that its allright, although im a good 60mins on the bus west of swansea, where there is more welsh speaking types and backwards living, but less boy racers and bottle smashing youth (although still far too much)

    agree about the evening post aswell its vile

  12. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    Thanks for those responses folks .....

    Right now plenty at DVLA and elsewhere in Swansea are talking half with anticipation and half with fear about the infamous BLACK FRIDAY :eek:

    Not just a Swansea thing sure, but people REALLY go to town in Wine Street the last Friday before Xmas ... :eek:

    Luckily Ground Elder has told me (on the Festivals Forum) of a long festival-centred documentary on BBC4 that evening, so my out and aboutness with work colleagues will be confined to early on! Phew!
  13. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    With the exception of the work and beer, you could apply most of those negatives to Northampton.

    The gower is lush though :cool:
  14. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    1. Close to beautiful countryside
    2. Regular train service to Cardiff and London to get the fuck out
    3. Some nice Welsh folks live there

    1. It's as ugly and as depressing as fuck
    2. It's bleak
    3. It's home to the Jacks
  15. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    There are a fuck load more places in the UK worse then this on both counts!

    I actually think the view up the hill from the beach is quite nice.
  16. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Oh, there's definitely places far worse than Swansea - Ogmore Vale for starters -but doesn't stop Jackland being an utterly depressing place to be. Cardiff's like Monte Carlo in comparison!
  17. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    Never had the "pleasure" of going to Ogmore Vale!

    Out of intrest as a non welsh person what do you mean by Jacks/Jackland?
  18. marty21

    marty21 One on one? You're crazy.

    The city centre is ugly, but you get out of the centre, and it's a nice place. I never found it bleak when I lived there (apart from the centre) and enjoyed Saturday afternoons at the Vetch!

    We never felt a desire to visit Cardiff when I was there, apart from folks who went to rugby internationals.
  19. marty21

    marty21 One on one? You're crazy.

    Swansea footie term
  20. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    Ah ok! Double fail...I know fuck all about football either!
  21. marty21

    marty21 One on one? You're crazy.

    from wiki.
  22. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    Learn something new everyday on urban. My time here isn't totally wasted. :)
  23. lewislewis

    lewislewis Lumumba Cymru

    Interestingly Swansea's (city and county) GVA (gross value-added, economic stat) is 78% of the UK average, Wales as a whole is 74% of the UK average. So Swansea is more prosperous than the Welsh average.

    Comparably, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan are at 106% of the UK average, Newport and Monmouth (calculated as one region) are at 96%.

    The biggest gap of all is in the two EU classifications of Wales- "West Wales and the Valleys" has a GVA of some 68% of the UK average, "East Wales" is at 98% of the UK average.

    Despite Wales having the lowest inequality of any of the UK nations and regions (because we have hardly any rich people), there are still obvious regional inequalities within Wales that will be exacerbated further by the massive cuts Westminster are going to inflict on us.
    muscovyduck likes this.
  24. Swanseabay

    Swanseabay Member

    Having spent time in Swansea - I can honestly say I never want to go back! The Gower is nice, but once you've seen it (and the Mumbles) you don't need to see it again. Traffic is horrendous in town. The town is full of rowdy bars with people pissing on the street and worse - (as mentioned in many posts above). The weather is terrible. Students mis behave all over and I presume many of them will end up in the Cat B prison, judging by the crime rate.
    The new housing they have built around the so called Marina - is awful and is packed in like sardines. The premier Inn had a 'major incident' last weekend with a man almost killing his wife/girlfriend at the hotel. Add to that all the chavs and down and outs and its going to take more than a bit of shit housing to sort out the area. Not for me.. sorry
  25. Swanseabay

    Swanseabay Member

    Also - Wine Street - say no more! I've noticed its not just confined to that street anymore and the same behaviour and scum are over-spilling into other parts of the town... get out if you can!
  26. el-ahrairah

    el-ahrairah forward communism, forward gerbils!

    Swansea, so awful you named yourself after it and resurrected three threads to tell everyone.
    muscovyduck, Maggot, Plumdaff and 5 others like this.
  27. Swanseabay

    Swanseabay Member

  28. Swanseabay

    Swanseabay Member

  29. Swanseabay

    Swanseabay Member

  30. Swanseabay

    Swanseabay Member

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