It is set to be a momentous month here at The Abacus this July as the radiant masterminds of the whole project, Sam Worthington and Helen Bur, finally get to display their own work in a duo exhibition entitled ‘Smoke without Fire‘. The two have been endlessly working for the last year to ensure that the artistic output of our city has a space to breath and be admired, now it is their turn to fill the sought after space. One could be forgiven for thinking they know what to expect from these two, after all it is hard to avoid one of their many pieces adorning the walls throughout the city, but this exhibition promises to be a stride away from this work as you can expect to see paintings, murals, drawings and film portraying the themes of control, ritual, the unknown and the uncanny. The event opens on July 10th and runs until the 26th. On the inaugural night you can expect an extra buzz of visual and audio enjoyment with performances from Swansea based electronic post-rock mind fuckers C I T I E S and the hauntingly beautiful acoustics of Beresford Hammond. It really does promise to be a sublime gathering of Cardiff’s artistic community and a full house of friendly faces is no more than they deserve for their tireless work over the last year; as well as on artistic integrity alone.

A taste of the work to come at 'Smoke Without Fire'.

A taste of the work to come at ‘Smoke Without Fire’.

Before all that, July 5th to be exact, The Abacus hosts what has now become a regular meeting of the Cardiff People’s Assembly, the Cardiff arm of a UK wide movement that opposes austerity and organised the recent demonstration in London that was attended by a quarter of a million people. (You may have read about it in the papers. If they weren’t controlled by a malicious, conservative elite.) These meetings are open and friendly discussions about actions that can be taken to better our communities and are open to anybody that feels they would like to become politically active. In preparation for this months ‘Pots and Pans’ protest on July 8th, to coincide with George Osbourne’s emergency budget, master drummer Victor Frederik will lead a drumming workshop to make sure we can rouse a rebellious rhythm.

The mood of the march - Photo by Sam Worthington.

The mood of the march –
Photo by Sam Worthington.


There are a few chances to gain skills that will make you feel a whole lot better about your ecological impact on our world this month also. Firstly, Green City Workshops presents Seed Saving and Unusual Edibles on July 15th. Eirlys Rhianon is here to introduce you to veggie delights you may never have heard of. Whilst on July 25th you can join a free workshop that shows you how to create your own garden planter out of old pallets. All materials are provided and there’s a chance to buy seeds. No reason that by the end of the month we all can’t be a little more sustainable and enjoy the fruits, or veg, of our own labour. The Abacus has become a champion of local music over the last year, hosting a range of quality local acts such as Heil Zilla, Junior Bill, Spider Kitten, Gung Ho and tons more, as well as being able to provide a performance space for such nationally treasured acts as Sly & The Family Drone. It feels great to say that The Abacus has established itself not only as a gallery, but as a choice of live music venue in the city that can offer surroundings unlike any other. This month only serves to prove that with two beautiful gigs. You can catch a Super Furry Animal on the 18th of July as bassist Guto Pryce arrives with his exquisitely ethereal band Gulp for A Night of Sensory Indulgence, presented by Frontal Lobe. Joining the Psychedelic landscape for the evening will be local purveyors of disco prog-pop Hipicat and a managerie of artistic endeavours from Abacus stalwarts such as Sam Wall and Lucy Alice Martin. For the punkier side of things, you can arrive at The Abacus at 8 o clock on Saturday the 25th to catch angsty, in-your-face-mother-fuckers Wall release their new EP. Plenty of sweat to be shed at this one and for a good cause as all on the door profits shall be given to New Pathways.


Getting ready to explode. Wall at the Abacus on their last visit.

Confirming the fact that The Abacus caters for all forms of artistry are two nights of comic exploration from Aberystwyth based stand-up James Baker on the 23rd and 24th. The recovered alcoholic shall take us through a comic journey of monologues, improvisation and wisecracks focusing on the strange romanticism of notions of madness and creativity in the modern world. Another month of sweet artistic intoxication and creative thinking lies ahead, the sun is amongst us and here at The Abacus we feel as powerful as ever in our pursuit of a prevailing expressive and progressive culture for our city. Full listings here.


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