Is Uplands really as hip as it claims to be?

After being tagged in a WalesOnline article dubbing Uplands as ‘one of the hippest places in the country’ which was mainly due to a series of artwork appearing throughout the area, one question came to mind: is Uplands as hip as it claims to be and was I hip enough for the place up the hill from my house?

To begin my investigation, I had to look up the definition of ‘hip’. This involved consulting the most reliable book I know: The Merriam-Webster and Garfield dictionary. It was within this knowledgeable book, and with Garfield helpfully pointing it out to me, that hip means to be ‘keenly aware of or interested in the newest developments or styles’. With the research done, it was time to make myself ‘hip’.

The source of all knowledge in a book, leaving me wide-eyed in awe

Now, for anybody who knows me, I’m not exactly the hippest person out there and tend to rock a geek look, with ‘geek chic’ on a good day (yeah, I laughed too as I typed this). After a quick consultation with Waterfront’s Fashion Editor, Gwen Miles, about some hip outfit suggestions, Gwen informed me that ‘long length floral skirts, tea dresses and bright block colours’ were in at the moment. It was with that fashion intelligence that I tried to my best to create a ‘hip’ outfit for my trip, as seen here:

Note to self: although looking away from the camera was a good idea at the time, it didn’t turn out as well as I initially thought. ‘I was obviously going for the Sia look’ I thought to myself as I saw the photo.

Was I hip enough for my outing? Only time will tell as myself, Becky (Waterfront’s Crime Editor) and Rory (the ‘Waterfront Groupie’) set off up the hill to Uplands.

In 2017, it was announced that Uplands was the 14th hippest place by TravelSupermarket’s UK Hip Hang-out Neighbourhood Index. This is partially due to a series of artwork popping up in various places around Uplands since 2017, mainly celebrating Dylan Thomas but also featuring characters from his works such as Under Milk Wood (if you can find them, be sure to Tweet us @waterfront.) The most obvious ones are found on the main road, by Sainsbury’s and Kingdom Hall. However, if you go down the road by Costa Coffee, you’ll find a unique painting which breaks the mould of Dylan Thomas’ signature or a portrait of him. My ‘hip’ clothing may have helped point out the ‘hip’ paintings, or it was just me using my eyes – it’s hard to tell.

One of the first pieces of artwork as you enter Uplands

Although there are some pieces in Uplands itself, some can also be found in Brynmill Park: unfortunately, that wasn’t a part of my cultural trip, but if you find yourself in Brynmill Park, look out for Dylan Thomas on a bench, as well as a flowery bench. In fact, due to the paintings being so popular thanks to funding from local councillors Irene Mann and Peter May, national lottery funders have given it a further £10,000 for future works and the development of the Dylan Thomas trail. There’s a current application for national lottery funding that, if successful, could mean that places such as St Helen’s Rugby and Cricket ground, as well as benches near the cenotaph on the beachfront could also feature artwork and murals.

The piece by the Costa (and a personal favourite)

As to whether Uplands is hip or not, well, with the array of coffee shops and restaurants making Uplands more modernised than ever, it would appear that Uplands is hipper than initially thought (and this is coming from me of all people). Although I didn’t get any recognition for my ‘hip’ outfit (apart from one friend calling me ‘mental’), I also didn’t get any weird looks, either. As a result, I can only assume that I was cool enough to blend into the crowd and therefore accept the hip label, even if it was just for a short while.
However, is Uplands the top hip hang-out? No. Is it the 14th hip hang-out? Well, I think you’re onto something there…

If you’d like to look at the WalesOnline article for yourself,
then be sure to check it out here

Many thanks to Megan Thomas for tagging me in the original article!

by Carys Svendsen


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