Monday, January 30, 2006

Demand for 'ethical' clothing on the increase

I feel like Huw Edwards, after appearing on programmes such as Sgorio (great site), Hacio and many others whose titles don't end with -io on S4C, I today appeared on BBC Breakfast. I wasn't invited to give my important opinions, but instead I was...a model! There's hope for you all.

I've previously blogged (in Welsh) about the Oyster shop in Cardiff, and this morning there was a correspondent for BBC Breakfast broadcasting from the shop to coincide with an item about Marks & Spencers introducing fair trade clothing. The company (M&S that is) hasn't been doing well in recent editions of The Good Shopping Guide, but hopefully it's more than an attempt at Greenwashing, indeed the feedback from it's customers has shown that the public are concerend about where the products they buy come from.
Meanwhile, a survey commissioned by M&S showed almost a third of shoppers had put clothes back on the rails amid concerns about their origins.

It also found 78% of shoppers wanted to know more about the way clothes were made, including use of chemicals and conditions in factories producing the goods.

On the food front, one in five shoppers had left goods on the shelves as a result of concerns about where they had come from or how it was made, the poll discovered.

Anyways, it was excellent publicity for Oyster, it's a nice small friendly shop in the centre of Cardiff. They've just started selling trainers, which is good news for me - maybe I can persuade them to stock New Balance, whose trainers are made in the UK.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Dell lead the way in promoting the Welsh language


I sometimes think it would be a good plan for public organisations in Wales to send out correspondance in Welsh only and offer a English version on request (rather than the other way round), as this might be a good way of measuring the demand for services in Welsh - and also ti would give non-Welsh speakers a glimpse of what service Welsh speakers currently recieve. This would obviously upset a few people.

Well, Dell have made a start at least (even if it's unintentional) by sending out computers with the Welsh version of Windows XP set as the default. This has caused problems (apart from the obvious):
Dell computers sold in the UK as of late 2005 ship with a new Windows XP SP2 OEM version, which has the language set to Welsh by default. This setting causes Photoshop and the Editor of Photoshop Elements to freeze.

Although it's a rather funny story and the probllem is easily solved, it does raise the question of how many programmes aren't going to work with the Welsh version of XP?

Thursday, January 12, 2006


What does it mean to live in a bi-lingual country? To me, being bi-lingual means using the two languages how and when I want. There are people in Wales who prefer using English and there are others who prefer using Welsh. I use Welsh at every opportunity, and it's the langugae I socialise in (yes, I do socialise now and again!). You'd think what language I socialise in is my business, but in Wales things are never that simple.

This post is going to be about the politics of pub quizes.

I go to the Cayo Arms every sunday to take part in the pub quiz. The team comprises of myself, my girfriend and our two friends who are a couple. Both my girfriend and I can speak Welsh but our friends do not, even though both have attempted to learn - so we converse in English. The quiz is also in English, although the quizmaster is a fluent Welsh speaker and some weeks almost half the teams are made up of Welsh speakers. A nice touch is that all teams call their scores out in Welsh between rounds.

There are about 90 pubs in cardiff that hold quiz nights (you can count them here). All these quizes are in English I assume. As far as I know there are two pubs who hold a monthly pub quiz in Welsh, the Mochyn Du and the Goat Major. To be honest, I'm no good at quizes but turn up for the beer. Last night I went to the monthly quiz which my friends Geraint and Dwlwen have been organising for 16 months. It was bound to happen I suppose, and it's only a surprise that it's taken this long but as Geraint started reading out the questions, a guy at the bar started shouting things like:
The Welsh language has got a lot of catching up to do with the English, doesn't it?

fairly harmless I suppose, then his mate joins in with
Why don't you do it in a language English speakers can understand?

Right, 90 English pub quizes a week aren't enough for him, the only 2 quizes a month which are in Welsh also have to be in English as well. Linguistic intolerance is alive and well in the capital of Wales.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Engrish and Scymraeg

You may have heard of the website which has examples of mis-spelt English signs mainly from Japan.
I've just started contibuting to Scymraeg, which is a collection of mis-spelt Welsh signs in Wales. Some are just plain silly and make no sense at all, while others are rather funny as the meaning is completely changed. Here are a few of my favourites:

< On this CD by the WDA, the 'n' and 'e' have been swapped, so instead of 'Do more with Broadband' it now says 'Smile more with Broadband'.

< Warning, workers exploding!

< The welsh version is a translation of 'Word Music' not 'World Music'

< WARNING Arsehole cover is high

Friday, January 06, 2006

Cymdeithas Rally, Cardiff 2/1/06

Diwrnod Calan (New Year's Day) has become a rally day in Cardiff for a few years, and this year was no different. A large crowd turned up to listen to the speakers and also joined in with visits to some of the stores on Queen Street. Cymdeithas yr Iaith (The Welsh Language Society) had produced a number of bi-lingual flyers explaining their call for a new Welsh Language Act and the responce from non-Welsh speaking shoppers was extreemly positive and supportive.

More photos

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Smiling in the Big Issue

Thanks to Greg for giving this blog a mensh in his article in The Big Issue Cymru about blogging in general and about blogs from/about Wales. The blog aggreggator is mentioned as well.