Achosion I Laweni
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#4 - Ninjah
For the last installment of the A-Z Of Music feature on The Art Of Noise, Paul wrote about Nottingham legend Frank Robinson. Better known as Xylophone Man, he used to busk with a small toy xylophone in the city centre, his enthusiasm and cheery demeanour more than making up for his lack of musical talent. He was a part of the city, and everyone loved him - as became abundantly clear in the wake of his death in July 2004.
Every city has its characters, and Cardiff is no exception. Mention must be made of Toy Mic Trev, an oldish busker who earnestly and passionately belts out renditions of crooner classics with one of those toy microphones that distorts your voice, but it's another fixture of Queens Street (as well as Chapter) who is most widely known.
Walking through the city centre on the first day of the Six Nations tournament, it was a riot of red-shirted rugby fans - noisy and boisterous but good-spirited. I walked past a very tall dreadlocked chap who was drumming away with sticks on a bin. Naturally I assumed this was in aid of the rugby, but I was wrong - Ninjah's out doing that most days, or otherwise loudly proclaiming his philosphies on life, how great he is as a rapper and how to find his MySpace site (as he was the other day).
You see, this guy really does fancy himself as a demon MC, a street poet, an artist with knowledge to impart. And, as deluded as he obviously is about his own talent, you've got to love him for the colour he brings to the city - not least when you know that he "is often seen wandering around in a Pharaoh's headdress, with tights upon his head or wearing cricket whites for no apparent reason" and when you read the testimonies of others (via his BBC Wales biography and Knowhere):
"He never forgets a face (I have even had to introduce him to my mum and yes, he was wearing Speedos at the time). A word of warning: do not ask him about how he had to bury his mother - it involves nailpolish, a turban, ballet slippers and some wardrobe doors. Just don't!"
"I astounded him with an amazing fact one night that cats have 37 muscles per ear. Ever since then, whenever I bump into him, he runs up to me and shouts 'Cats have 37 muscles per ear' then roars like a tiger and paws the air with his hand. A legend".
"Ninjah once told me how he used to live naked in Sofia Gardens, we had an indepth conversation on what's best to wipe with when caught short there (grass and leaves came out on top)".
"I once dislocated my knee playing football in Bute Park and he freestyled for me until the ambulance came."
"Favourite Ninjah line - 'Peter Andre got a 6 pack, Ninjah got an 8 pack'".