In The Daily Telegraph last month (Saturday, September 15th) there was a splendid feature on cafes entitled 'Take your seat at a window onto the world'. In it the author, Chris Moss, listed his 50 favourite international cafes. One of them was the Kardomah in Swansea.
I was delighted by this. I come from Swansea, I have had many a good chat and cup of coffee in the Kardomah, and I can vouch for the fact that it is great value and great fun. In fact, back in 2014, the centenary of the birth of Dylan Thomas, I proposed a neon artwork celebrating Dylan and the Kardomah, to be mounted on the cafe's facade, and I was delighted when Locws International commissioned it as a permanent installation, part of their 'Art Across the City' programme.
As Chris Moss writes in his article, the current cafe 'is not the original Swansea Kardomah - Hitler put paid to that in 1941 - but it feels and looks like it'. And the name Kardomah will always be associated with Dylan. As a young man he used to meet there with his friends, putting the world to rights, and in his radio broadcast Return Journey he describes, with great humour, everything they used to talk about - 'music and poetry and painting and politics', 'communism, symbolism, Bradman, Braque', and (the best line of all, and the one I used for the neon) 'Michelangelo, ping-pong, ambition, Sibelius and girls ...'
Swansea has become quite a centre for cultural excellence - the Swansea International Festival 2018 has just ended - and this autumn, between 27th October and 4th November, there will be a number of further exhibitions and events taking place in the city. Among them will be a guided tour of the Swansea Dylan knew. Find out more about what's going on from Swansea's Dylan Thomas Centre (www.dylanthomas.com) - and make sure you have a coffee in the Kardomah!