THE NEWSDESK: Land of our fathers' artex, so dear to me...
10:02am Sunday 25th August 2013 in News
CERYS MATTHEWS is on a mission.
Around 2,500 world music aficionados will be arriving in Cardiff in late October for world music market WOMEX 13.
So Matthews, artistic director of the opening concert, has hatched the idea of asking the nation “what is Wales?”
The aim is for the team hosting the event to give delegates a sense of place.
“Lots of organisations and businesses are involved in promoting Wales, in projecting to the world a little of what we are,” the former Catatonia frontwoman said.
“I want to ask the people of Wales what they think are the things that set us apart, that make this amazing country of ours unique.”
Organisers are calling on the people of Wales to get involved in the discussion by tweeting their view about what is Wales.
Hmm. 140 characters. Not a chance for me, I'm afraid.
Here's what I think makes us unique:
Low-hanging cloud on the Valley side, the taste of mist in the air.
R.S. Thomas, Dylan Thomas, all the Thomases.
Elaborate pub story-tellers, shaggy dog tales.
The yellow of the gorse against the blue of the sea.
Croeso i Gymru - an exiled friend's parents making the children cheer as they cross the Severn Bridge.
The hiraeth of the theme tune to Pobol y Cwm.
Bois bach! Cariad. Ych a fi! Words bleeding into even the monoglot's English speech.
A country built on old bones, voiced by a dead Hollywood legend.
Badfinger, Super Furry Animals, 60ft Dolls, Trwbador, Mary Hopkin. Those were the days.
Joyful defeatism - the "worst" and "best" rugby team in the world all in one season.
Winberry-picking children, fingers and mouths stained purple.
A palate of greys and white, jumbled boxes of landscape filled by Sir Kyffin Williams.
In these stones, horizons sing - the light above Cardiff Bay.
The old, grey mudflats, toy boats tied up like stray dogs. Waiting for the Usk's tide to turn.
Going up "the forestry".
The old men in the pub corner loudly reliving Newport's victory over the All Blacks. Again.
A mother telling her child sternly recently: "You're not a Valleys kid until you slide down that tump on a bit of cardboard."
The ghostly echo of a rusted winding gear, now a pithead memorial, a recording played to children born long after the last deep mine in Gwent closed.
And artex. Lots of it. In all sorts of intricate patterns.
* Those who can keep their views to 140 characters can join the Twitter conversation by using #whatiswales or in Welsh #bedicymru.
Those who don’t use Twitter can contribute their 140 characters by logging onto www.cerddcymru.com and clicking through to the What is Wales page.
The online conversation will close at the end of September. One hundred comments will be selected for projection at WOMEX events and it is hoped at other cultural venues across Wales on October 23-27.
APPARENTLY, David Cameron has "chubbed up".
Somehow, this is being presented as: 1. Evidence of his living off the "fat of the land" while others struggle; or 2. Evidence of his inability to exert control.
Is this the level of political debate in the Westminster recess?
I DO NOT CARE IF THE MAN NOW HAS A GUT!
I DO care about the state of the NHS, the alleged moves to "outsource" operations abroad, the fact our living standards and disposable incomes are falling and many people still don't have properly-paid jobs.
Some are being distracted by this celeb fat/thin shell-game.
But I would urge you all to realise the pea is already in hand, not under a shell, and start asking some tough questions about how we are being governed, not what waist size trousers the Prime Minister buys.
I HOPE by the time you read this the Gareth Bale/Real Madrid situation is resolved. If I have to read another Welsh newspaper article about where he might get tapas, I may just come over all Pedro Almodovar...
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