Newport today mourns the death of John Sicolo.
He was the owner and inspiration for the city's legendary 'TJs' The rock club gave Newport fame, excitement and musical chutzpah. It was TJs that won for Newport the title of New Seattle. A generation of Newportonians relished the buzz of hearing top World groups on their own doorstep. They fondly remember TJs at its thrilling best, robust, loud and bursting with talent.
After years of business and musical success, TJ's has recently been a sad shadow of its former self. I have spoken to John several times in the past few months. He was making strenuous efforts to restore TJs to its former glory. He also had strong views on planned new government legislation for the entertainment industry.
John was a former merchant navy seaman, where he served as a cook. He founded the club in 1971, first christening it El Sieco's before renaming it TJ's Disco.
Among Welsh bands who performed at the Clarence Place venue were Gorky's Zygotic Mynci and Catatonia.
Joe Strummer, who was an art student called Woody in Newport before finding fame with The Clash, played at the club a number of times in the years before his death in 2005.
Another late rock star with a link to TJ's is Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain, who is said to have watched his wife-to-be Courtney Love perform there with her band, Hole. A Facebook's site (below) has attracted a large number of sympathy messages.
In the past few months John was troubled by the declining fortunes of TJs. He was making a supreme effort to restore its past success - even to the extent of investing his pension. I had several conversations with him. Many of the Facebook messages hope for a revival of TJs. Many of those who enjoyed TJs at its best are now in their thirties. Their tributes make touching reading.
The city will offer its sincere condolences to John's family. Rest in peace, Friend.
Islwyn Labour Party has selected valleys man Chris Evans as Labour Candidate. He was a former researcher for the retiring MP Don Touhig and knows the constituency well. Any accusation that he has been parachuted in is false. He was selected as a local candidate by local people.
ITV Wales talked up the threat from a breakaway group. They were a gang of four but they are now a gang of three as one of them has returned to the Labour fold. It's always tempting to believe that history repeats itself. Not this time. The breakaway group have lost their raison d'etre.
Islwyn is no Blaenau Gwent.