I joined Mogi, Richard and wife Claire back in October for a very pleasant Saturday evening at Crafty Devil in the Canton area of Cardiff where the conversation flowed happily alongside the beer and Claire looked especially at home that is always a good indicator of a comfortable atmosphere for me, the Crafty Devil staff were over generous with their welcome and certainly did not jump up to punch the air and shout a collective “YES” when the final bell rang behind the bar at the Chapter Arts Centre where we finished off the evening. It was after wishing designated driver Claire goodnight at Crafty Devil that I suggested to Richard and Mogi, who had never been there before that we pop around to the nearby Chapter arts centre for a nightcap, however I had an ulterior motive in mind for I wanted to check to see if this publically funded body set up in the 1970s was still there for the benefit of the staff only, things began looking good as I noticed that Chapter cinema now presents mainstream Hollywood films and has moved on from the dark days when the Chapter founding fathers believed they were not there to entertain in the arts but to inform and educate by inflicting such pretentious nonsense upon us as Federico Fellini’s 8½, I never saw the film but anyone who did always considered it to be 8½ too long.
Back to 2017 now and with Mogi already aware of my views on Chapter we decided to use stickler for good service Richard [see his blog] as our Guinea Pig and it wasn’t long before he was faced with an obvious attitude beginning with barperson A who while serving us with our first round knocked a full pint and spilling some made no effort to top it back up again, barperson B for our second round actually took a taster of Richards beer while pouring it, finally bar person C looked at us like a collection of irritating pests who shouldn’t be encouraged when we failed to remove our pints fast enough from the drip tray after time was called and of course you already know about the last bell celebrations by bar persons A through G.
I felt that my experiment had been a success when both Richard and Mogi after only one visit vowed never to return to the arts centre ever again and I had proved to myself that the staff still work within an inherited culture embedded some 40 years ago that looked down upon the general public as art illiterate rabble to be tolerated just sufficient enough to keep council funding in place and even then only let in through the back door of what was the old Canton High School.
The general public have become a lot more sophisticated these days and now have the confidence to question art so if a urinal [Marcel Duchamp 1917] bricks [Carl Andre 1972] and a shark in formaldehyde [Damien Hirst 1991] can be art then why not beer?
I didn’t actually see any “art” at the Chapter Arts Centre on that Saturday night and if anything there is more art and design to be seen and experienced in the new craft beer outlets so what with the private sector recently having moved in to run leisure centres in Cardiff why not now focus on art centres by straight away handing the Chapter bar over to the craft beer industry with the brewer as artist in residence, as for the “ambitious, multi-art form cultural space that presents and produces international art, performance and film alongside a dynamic social space” as quoted in the Chapter mission statement then why not turn that into a brewery – or am I being a crafty devil?