Updated: Apr 16, 2020
Tapped Out Written by C. Noakes
Read by Emma-Jane Weeks, Odhrán McNulty, Ryan Eales and Jamie Holden.
Album Artwork by James Horne
Sound Design by Leonora Nicholson
"Tapped Out" is a poignant and resonating poem that truly captures the vivid atmosphere of Cardiff nightlife and the desolation left behind when bars, pubs and restaurants were closed.
We are privileged to have some fascinating insight from the writer about his inspiration for the poem.
" I went out into the centre on that date, knowing full well the bars were closing. Cardiff is a notorious place for boozing, so for the doors to close and drinks stop flowing, I saw it as a signifier of the magnitude of COVID-19. Cardiff's “libido" being the innate drive of what keeps Cardiff awake.
The feeling wasn't like a ‘last hurrah.’ It was quiet, an ominous weight was on everyone’s mind and Tiny Rebel was the only bar selling until the last. People were drinking fast and buying cans in bulk, which the bar was trying to get rid of (expiry dates). Police threw everyone out at midnight on the dot, and the walk home was dead silent.
I imagined the bars being abandoned, claimed by the decay of being unused. I saw them as stars of the city, normally shining in the night, and now the lights were off until June (there was talk of the lockdown coming to a close by June, but it seems unlikely now).
“Goodbye, for now” is indicative of Cardiff’s predisposition; our culture will return after the “fever" of the pandemic. The natural life of the city will only be avoided if we all “tap out" and succumb to the virus.
The poem is grave and melancholy, but closing the bars is one of those things that will be remembered. The 20th March is the day they closed the bars, and the day they'll reopen is TBA. But, Cardiff will return grasping it with both arms.
And from the Artist..
“I guess I try and pick out a narrative to illustrate, so I imagined this male character with the poem as a sort of booze-influenced monologue, sitting at the bar. The smaller figure as himself walking home on his phone checking social media, and the empty pint glass coming down is the impending isolation. But despite all that I still wanted to add my own little hope in there by adding in a few stars into the dark sky, so that it isn't a totally hopeless sentiment. I did it as a print as that's what I'm exploring now and I wanted to see what I could do with it, but I quite like the approach of it where you have to flip everything as it prints in reverse, seemed to be appropriate where the world feels a bit flipped right now!”
This is our first poem of Pandemic Poetry, a project for bringing together writers, readers and artist in this time of isolation. Please get in touch if you would like to be involved.