Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Thursday 29 January 2009

I was sorry to hear of the death of John Martyn, whose contribution to British music is inestimable. For those of you who have no knowledge of his genius, I suggest you try out his albums ‘Solid Air’ and ‘Grace and Danger’.

Thursday 22 January 2009

I have one hundred friends
i’ve never met
except upon the internet

The other week we watched a TV programme in which Rob Brydon examined the concept of Welshness and, being a Welsh comedian in exile, the nature of the Welsh sense of humour. This interests me greatly, being also an ex-pat Welshman and a bit of a comedian. There is, I feel, a paradoxical nature to the Welsh temperament which was deftly highlighted in this show.
The general perception of the Welsh as a race, as far as one can have an accurate general perception of a race, is one of dourness and a pervading sense of glum resignation.
Brydon evolved a stage routine during his tour of Wales, which began as a fairly mild ribbing of Wales and the Welsh, and, after some adverse reaction from audiences and discussions with his friends and other Welsh comedy stars, evolved into a more positive presentation.
It turned out to be a bit of a thorny subject, since Brydon’s best friend appeared to be not only anglophobic but violently antagonistic to Brydon’s affectionate pokes at Welsh life.
Having grown up in North Wales, I can appreciate the strong emotions that this subject evokes. However, my own experience is that there is a strong and vital streak of humour running through the Welsh psyche. I grew up in a family whose senses of humour were as varied as their personalities. I get my sense of comedy I think from my grandmother, who had a black and mischievous sense of humour, which can be exemplified as follows:
When I was a child, every Friday afternoon I would go to my grandmother’s house where the new edition of The Wrexham Leader would have arrived.
My job was to read out the obituaries, and then, a weekly treat, the ‘In Memorium’ poems, which were, more often than not, personally-written epitaphs to commemorate the anniversary of the passing of the dear-departed.
My grandmother found these hilariously funny, and would often have a handkerchief to her mouth and tears streaming down her cheeks at the unintentional humour that these verses contained. My favourite, or at least the only one I recall in its entirety, runs as follows:-

You have not really left us
Nor have you travelled far
You’ve only wandered on a bit
And left the door ajar.

I don’t think you have to be Welsh to see the humour inherent in this, but it helps.

Wednesday 21 January 2009

tesco queues bobbing.
strings of tired fleshy balloons
fallen to the ground.