Swansea is pretty shitty, but it’s our pretty shitty city
Who doesn’t love the mullet enthusiasts
Whenever I get asked “where are you from?” I always get the resigned, disheartened feeling that only comes from years of responses of disgust, pity and even hostility when I inevitably answer “Swansea.” Whether it’s the drugs, the teenage pregnancies or the mullets, Swansea’s got a bad rep, yet its population, including me, are passionate and proud about where they come from.
Those from the pretty shitty city itself, the Jack army, Gower toffs and Valley’s lot alike would agree that there are plenty of reasons to love the once capital of Wales and home town of Dylan Thomas. We acknowledge its imperfections and we love it anyway, and here is why.
Firstly, we have beaches for days stretching right the way from Swansea beach, (a mere five-minute walk from the city centre), to Mumbles and all the way to Llangennith beach on the other side of the Gower Peninsula. Risking sounding like a holiday rep, it is beautiful. If you like beaches (and who doesn’t?) Swansea has an impressive 18 in total. Rhossili beach was even voted in the top ten beaches in the world. Not so terrible now.
Apart from being able to surf and swim yourself happy, there is plenty to do in the old Welsh town to keep anyone entertained. The city’s streets are full of gems such as Hobo’s, selling a host of vintage clothing for all fashion forward residents. There’s also Derrick’s Music, an independent music store that has been trading since 1956 and is a truly remarkable place for any music fan to visit, if not purely for its incredible history, then for its great Vinyl collection.
If shopping takes it out of you, then there is no shortage of places to rest up and eat some great food, like the infamous Upland’s Diner, that has got more than a few of us through some rough hangovers and whose Mega Beast is guaranteed to put you in a food coma. But when in Swansea one must try the ice-cream, and Swansea has some of the best on offer. Residents will know the only contenders in the area are Joe’s ice-cream and Verdi’s café, splitting the opinion of the Swansea folk in the way that can only be compared to the Ramon’s vs. Cafe 37 divide of Cathays in Cardiff.
Let’s be honest though, when you think Swansea, you think Wind street. Commonly confused with the apt sounding, “Wine Street”, it is one long glorious street of pubs, clubs and bars. A haven of alcohol, dancing and downright filth, a night guaranteed to be messy and memorable especially if you end up in either Idols or Pop World. The late night cravings will no doubt lead you to Chick-O-Land for some classic Welsh drunk food (curry and chips – say no more) but apart from anything else, it is usually full of drunk Welshies and well informed students (because they chose to go to Swansea) all who know how to have a damn good time.
Sports fans will be interested to know that Swansea is also now the only Welsh football team in the Premier League, and we sure are proud. But it is also once again the host of the South Wales Varsity. So, no need to worry, you will be visiting very soon.
When all is said and done, Twin Towns ‘shitty’ endorsement may have stuck, but it is our city and I agree with Dylan, it’s pretty great.