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Ganglife in Pontypridd – exclusive

July 14th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

For last two days I have been in Pontypridd. Pontypridd is small industrial town in South Wales. it is not the prettiest of places (though I like it). It is certainly not a rich town.

The UK press is obsessed at the moment with youth gangs and gang violence. And so I thought I would investigate the gangs in Pontypridd.  In the interests of journalism I was forced to hang out in the brilliant local member owned Clwb y Bont.

Are there gangs in Ponty? Yes, without doubt. In a short time I found out about 16 active gangs of young people. These gangs are self organised. They use advanced technologies for communications. Many of the gang mebers were involved in raising finances for their activities. Many members of the gangs wear hoodies despite government and press panics over this obviously threatening form of clothing.

I was truly surprised by the variety of subversive activities being undertaken by the gangs.

The gangs:

  • The Film gang. This subversive gang are involved in making short films and have coerced many members of the local community to participate in their activities. (They have been nominated for an award for the Wales short film of the year)
  • The Music making gang. Members of this large and growing gang have different roles. Some are invloved in playing in bands, others in organising gigs and yet more in producing the first CD of local unsigned bands, Outside the City.
  • The Burlesque gang. This is an interesting gang in that it is composed solely of girls. The Burlesque Troupe as they call themselves have been putting on shows in local pubs and clubs.
  • The Comedy gang. This is a gang of jokers organising comedy nights in community venues.
  • The Charity Cricket gang. A highly subversive activity involving rivalry between two pubs popular with young people. The gangs are planning a ritualised clash on the cricket pitch in September to raise money for a locally run charity for kids in Bangladesh.
  • The LAN party gang. A high tech gang organising weekends of techncial development and building computers for people who want to join the gang but haven|t got a computer and can\t afford one otherwise. May provide technical infrastructure to many of the other gangs.
  • The Shakespeare gang. Very new,  have launched a Facebook group appealing for new members to establish a Shakepeare acting group.
  • The War games gang. Truly violent, they met on Sunday afternoons upstairs at Clwb y Bont to recreate and re-enact historical battles.
  • The Creative writing gang. Also based in Clwb -y-Bont, this gang appear to gather on a Monday. Who knows what they are plotting?
  • Gangster rap. In welsh. So the English do not know what they are plotting. Sinister.

So ganglife is growing in South Wales. More and more young people are joining gangs. Interestingly, few are being paid for their membership – indeed many of having to pay to be members. And a huge amount of informal learning is going on. Learning in all kinds of diverse fields. Many of these young people are students or are involved in some form of continuing learning. Is their learning being supported or recognised by the education system and education? Of course not. Because this is learning in gangs. And we all know that gangs are dangerous.

By the way, if any of these gang members recognise themselves and want to send us pictures of their anti=social learning activities, we will be happy to publish them and promise not to report them to the authorities.

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4 Responses to “Ganglife in Pontypridd – exclusive”

  1. well, they sound like my kind of gangs!

    And I can see the dangerous of what they are doing: they have grown autonomous and independent of the school system. It is seriously threatening… no!

    I could use a LAN party gang in my neighborhood – it would have helped me sort out the network problems we had early this year.
    Would also love to listen to the band, read some of the writing and watch some of the movies. Knowing what the other gangs are up to would also be interesting. Any chance they can come online through sounds of the bazaar to “subvert” us?!

  2. Lock says:

    Of course, sometimes it is really the worst thing in the world to life with gansters and other unnormal people, but you don’t know what can be worst

  3. how do you mean by “unnormal”?

    And BTW, what’s normal…?

  4. Ceph says:

    Wow, there is a shakespear gang in ponty. And a wargames place.

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