Comedian Mark Steel visits Newport for BBC Radio 4 show – South Wales Argus

NEWPORT is the “true capital of Wales”.
That is according to comedian Mark Steel, who visted the town recently as part of his BBC Radio 4 series Mark Steel’s in Town.
The 12th series of his award-winning show sees him visiting towns that have “nothing in common but their uniqueness”.
After thoroughly researching each town, Mr Steel writes and performs a bespoke evening of comedy for a local audience.
In this fifth episode, broadcast this evening, Mr Steel visits Newport’s “salubrious” Riverfront Theatre.
He branded Newport the true capital of Wales, to cheers from the audience.
“It’s also the true intellectual capital of Wales, like Oxford in England,” he said.
“It’s where you hear great minds saying things like ‘S’appening clart?’”
South Wales Argus:
On a walkaround the city Mr Steel remembered another such incident, seeing a man shouting to onlookers “I’m going to punch that pigeon in the face”.
Newport, he said, used to be an industrial town, “full of noise and grime and squalor”.
“The docks and factories have gone, but somehow the noise and grime and squalor are still here,” he said.
“Cardiff may have its fancy castle with its turrets and cannons, whereas you’ve got a vague lump of stone on a roundabout behind a metal fence.”
There are new developments though, he admitted, with one being the new Newport Market.
“The new market I’ve heard is controversial,” he said.
“Some people are like ‘I preferred it when it was horrible, what are we, Chepstow?'”
He also touched on the debate as to whether best to serve “Newport’s favourite dish” (cheesy chips) with curry sauce or gravy.
“This obviously happens in an area of great culinary taste,” he said.
“In the new market, they’ll sell stilton and chips.”
He asked if anyone in the audience spoke speak Welsh.
“One important phrase I’ve learned in my time here is ‘Dw i’n mynd i ddyrnu colomen’,” he said.
“It means ‘I’m going to punch a pigeon’.”
Mr Steel said Newport was a city of bridges.
“They’re everywhere, proper chunky bridges – and best of all the Transporter Bridge,” he said.
“It’s in Pill, people must expect that to be the posh part.”
On his experience of climbing the bridge, he said: “The floor is wire mesh, you can see straight through.
“You’re thinking to yourself, ‘surely it’s safer to swim through the mud’.”
Returning to Newport’s cultural scene, he popped into Pill institution Fanny’s Café and recounted a hilarious TripAdvisor review, which began with the line “I travelled to Newport to collect my impounded car…”
Mr Steel also compared seeing Goldie Lookin’ Chain in Le Pub to seeing James Brown in Harlem in 1964.
In this series, Mark Steel will also be popping to Nottingham, Tring, The Isles of Scilly, Salisbury and Paris.
The show was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 6.30pm today and will be available on BBC Sounds shortly afterwards.
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