The Coolest landlord of Cardiff: always be a hippie.

Since the crisis of finance, refugees and Brexit, many British people have turned to the right and conservative, why Fredrick still be friendly with the international students and immigrants?

Fredrick Simmons, who has been a landlord of international students for over 30 years.

I was once invited to a house party in last October in Cardiff. A gang of young men were talking loudly with glasses of wine. Nearby, a group of girls were in beautiful dresses although it was a cold autumn night. Aside from this cohort of regulars, the house is decorated by neon-coloured lights and frequented by cigarettes and drinks. There seemed nothing special unless you can tell all kinds of different accents from the noisy background music and the most amazing thing is if you pass the crowd from the kitchen to the backyard garden, you may just across the whole world. At that night, the “King of the world” is Frederick Simmons, who is more regularly called as Fred.

I did not see Fred until I went into a small living room by accident. He was drinking alone and dancing in a last-century disco style. Although he was disturbed, Fred greeted me warmly and said he usually held the party for his tenants as they were all international students.

A cool landlord

You can hardly connect Fred with a traditional landlord character even both of them look shrewd, but the temperament of him is more like a very clever doctor rather than a mean landlord who is usually late for repairing stuff but always on time for rent.

In fact, he is kind and helpful to most of the tenants and sometimes even regarded as a parent by some students. But Fred thinks he is just a friend to those young people.

“I have been a live-in landlord for more than 30 years and gradually I just take in international students as my tenants. The main reason why I do this is not just they usually pay on time,” he joked, “but I love to be with the young people since they can make me feel energetic and passionate. I used to travel a lot, but in recent years I need to take care of my old father, so the students have become a source of getting the latest information from the whole world.”

Another reason why Fred likes to be with the youth is he has a kind of empathy for them. “Almost students may meet some growing pains, that’s normal,” said Fred. “I was young, too. Thus, I would like to try my best to create a good environment for them. Hold the parties, for example, to let them engaged in the British culture and enjoy the cross-cultural communication more easily. However, this house is not a magic place and I am not a wizard. In most cases, most people come and go with their original qualities and what I can do is just accompany and listen to them when they need. Besides, compared to other model elders, I was a hippy, a bad boy, but my experience now helps me know more about the youth problems and I can feel what they feel.”

Fred is sharing his stories with his tenants.

A rebellious hippie

Born in 1955, Fred experienced the most exciting days of Hippies and he was one of them.

“Drinking, smoking, truanting, taking drugs, addicted to sex and have a tense relationship with parents, I have done almost every bad thing that you can imagine when I was still a teenager,” Fred lit a cigarette and continued, “I did quite a good job in high school but I gave up the opportunity to college, which strongly disappointed my parents. But it was too boring to me to stay in the college at that time and all the things I want to do was travelling. Since my parents were both working class, I started to do some part-time jobs to make my money and started my journey when I was 18 years old.”

The eyes of Fred turned shiny when he talked about the travels. He said, “travel benefits me a lot, even now. My vision has been broadened and it makes me not so selfish anymore, but learn to care about the whole world. When I was 20 years old, I spent my birthday in Afghanistan, in which I saw the women were treated badly and beaten by their husbands. From that day, I became a strong feminist and I know how hard it is as the man would never give the power to women actively. I don’t think people can only get a good education from the college. Like me, during the trips, after seeing so many poorest people in the world, I finally know how lucky I am. I started to understand my parents and knew I need to take some responsibilities. So I listened to my mom’s suggestion, got a loan from the bank to buy this house. When I look back my life, this decision could be one of the smartest things that I have ever made.”

Smoking when he talked about his youth experience.

A passionate earthling

Influenced by the travel and the thought of civilization process, Fred gradually abandoned the religious belief and had an open mind towards the world. On the wall above his fireplace,there is a big painting of stars which reflects Fred’s value of the world, he said, “People often regard themselves from a small place to a bigger, but I do think when we talk about the world, we should pay more attention to the earth, our planet. I prefer to call myself as an earthling rather than a British. That is why I feel ashamed of Brexit and those who anti-globalization. I admit that we have faced many problems but walk back from the globalization to isolation is definitely not a right way.”

The astronomy picture hang on Fred’s living room.

People will not really change. During the interview, even though I can only see a gentleman in appearance, I still can find some qualities of Hippies are still flowing inside of Fred. They are rebellious, curiosity and passionate towards life.

“Do not forget what I’ve told you —— get on well with the world but always keep hippie inside,” Fred said and broke into a sly grin.


The backyard garden designed by Fred.