Ceri Shaw


 

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LLYFR NEWYDD I DDATHLU COFIWCH DRYWERYN!

Rydyn ni angen eich lluniau a’ch straeon! 

Mae Gwasg Y Lolfa’n paratoi cyfrol ddwyieithog i drafod a dathlu’r ffenomenon ddiweddaraf o furluniau Cofiwch Dryweryn, i’w chyhoeddi yn Hydref 2019. 

Bydd y gyfrol yn cynnwys detholiad o’r murluniau newydd sydd wedi eu creu o gwmpas Cymru mewn ymateb i’r trosedd casineb yn erbyn y murlun eiconig gwreiddiol. 

Meddai golygydd y gyfrol Mari Emlyn: “Cyfyngir y dewis o luniau i furluniau yn bennaf. Ni fydd yn bosib cynnwys pob murlun a llun yn y gyfrol, ond rydym yn chwilio am y rhai mwya trawiadol a diddorol! Bwriedir cynnwys dyfyniadau gan rai o’r bobl allweddol fu’n creu’r murluniau newydd a rhoi sylw i’r twf diweddar yn yr ymwybyddiaeth Gymreig ac annibyniaeth.” 

A fyddech gystal â chysylltu efo golygydd y gyfrol Mari Emlyn mari.emlyn@btinternet.com  i rannu eich lluniau a’ch straeon? Dyddiad cau derbyn deunydd yw Mehefin 24, 2019 



A NEW BOOK TO CELEBRATE COFIWCH DRYWERYN!

We need your photographs and stories! 

Y Lolfa is preparing a bilingual book discussing and celebrating the recent phenomenon of the Cofiwch Dryweryn murals to be published in Autumn 2019. 

The book will contain a selection of murals and images that have been created all over Wales in response to the hate crime against the original iconic mural. 

The editor Mari Emlyn said: “The choice of photographs will be mostly limited to murals. And although it will not be possible to include every image in the book, we’re looking for the most impressive and interesting ones! Quotations by some of the people who have been instrumental in creating the new murals will be included in the book, as well as coverage to the recent serge in Welsh identity and the independence movement.” 

Please contact Mari Emlyn mari.emlyn@btinternet.com to share your photographs and stories. Closing date for submitting material is June 24, 2019

Posted in: New Titles | 0 comments

Lawrence Davies is a Welsh boxing historian, the author of Mountain Fighters: Lost Tales of Welsh Boxing and Jack Scarrott's Prize Fighters. His groundbreaking work has served as the basis of a TV documentary and numerous newspaper articles. His meticulous original research has uncovered many Welsh prize fighters previously unrecorded in any publication. AmeriCymru spoke to Lawrence about his new book:- The Story of Welsh Boxing - Prize Fighters of Wales

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AmeriCymru: Hi Lawrence and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. Care to introduce your new book The Story of Welsh Boxing for our readers?

Lawrence: Hi, well my new book, 'The Story of Welsh Boxing, Prize Fighters of Wales' will be available to purchase at the start of June, 2019, and is published as a hardback by Pitch Publishing. This is the first book I have written on Welsh boxing to attempt to trace the origins of the sport of boxing in Wales, and to outline the careers of the most prominent Welsh fighters (or pugilists) recorded in the earliest days of British Boxing History.

The book introduces a number of forgotten early boxing 'champions' to have come from Wales, and features full accounts of some of the most prominent of the Welsh bare-knuckle fighters to have earned some measure of fame in the days before the advent of boxing gloves. There are some real surprises in the book and I hope that Welsh boxing fans enjoy reading about the forgotten fighters to have come from Wales.

It also introduces a full account of the career of Ned Turner, whose name might be familiar to some readers, as he is occasionally name-checked, although I don't think a full account of his career has been printed previously. Ned was a national hero in Wales in the 1820's and was thought to be the second greatest lightweight in Britain after a fighter named Jack Randall. His tale really is very engaging, Ned was a very likable and honorable man, and was greatly admired in his day. To the people of Wales it is no exaggeration to say he was a national hero. I hope that I have done him justice, and that readers enjoy his story.

AmeriCymru: What period of Welsh boxing history does the book cover? How difficult is it to research the earlier periods in the development of the sport given the dearth of written records?

Lawrence: The book covers what I would consider to be the first 'period' of Welsh boxing history, starting from the early 1700's with the most prominent Welsh fighters to have earned some measure of fame outside Wales, mostly within the 'London Prize Ring'. At this time, boxing or 'pugilism' had not yet broken away from the 'prize fighters' of the time, who were engaging in armed battles with the sword and staff, and the first chapter of the book gives background details on the types of contests that were fought with weapons, prior to fist fighting splitting away and being viewed as a separate art. It also contains details on some Welsh fighters who took part in these gladiatorial contests.

It also features those bare-knuckle fighters who were battling on native soil within Wales, right through to the fighting career of a boxer named William Charles from Newport who was deemed to be the 'Champion of Wales' by 1828, although he was not the first. The book covers a timescale of roughly 130 years, and charts the development of boxing within Wales, and the most prominent Welsh fighters that were recorded in the sporting journals and newspapers of the time.

Researching the book proved to be very difficult, in part because the first Welsh newspapers were founded at the start of the nineteenth century, and were very reluctant to print any information on boxing, or 'prize fighting' as it was known, mainly due to the influence of religious leaders and the chapel within Wales, who saw boxing as a demoralizing and brutal activity, although it was very popular, and often drew crowds of thousands to contests between prominent local 'Champions'.

Prior to the founding of the Welsh papers, what information can be found on the Welsh fighters of the eighteenth century is very hard to find, and piecing together the fragments of their fighting careers is a long and time consuming process, even after you have uncovered names of boxers who have long been forgotten. After fight accounts have been uncovered, you have to be able to review the materials critically and cross reference against other sources, which are often contradictory, in order to establish the accuracy of the material. The early history of prize fighting and boxing hasn't been explored in as great a detail as you might imagine. Most of the early works on boxing focus on the heavyweights, and the most prominent of the national champions.

AmeriCymru: What are the major differences between the bare knuckle fights of old and modern day boxing contests? Were fighters tougher back in the day?

Lawrence: One of the main differences in the bare-knuckle fights that took place in the days of prize fighting is that the contests were open ended, so there was no limit to the number of rounds. A man was expected to come up to the 'scratch' - a line in the center of the ring to fight - until such time as he was physically incapable of continuing. A round only ended when a man was sent down, rather than lasting a set time of three minutes. A fight could conceivably last hours, and often resulted in terrible injuries, particularly as a fighters supporters might well keep sending him out despite his injuries as they were naturally reluctant to lose the money they had wagered on their man.

Prize fighting was also an 'underground' activity. While there were many prominent members of the aristocracy who privately admired prize fighters, contests were always at risk of being broken up and the fighters and their supporters taken into custody and forced to defend themselves in court. Fights were therefore scheduled to take place at spots outside police jurisdiction, often on county boundaries, so the fighters and supporters could hop across the boundary in the event that they were being pursued by the constabulary of one county, and find another spot outside their reach to pitch another ring in a neighbouring one. As these contests took place outside, a portable 'ring' consisting of ropes and stakes were pitched once a suitable piece of flat turf was found, so it was a sport that took place 'on the fly'.

It seems to be one of those questions that creates a great deal of debate in boxing circles - were the old timers tougher than the fighters of today? I guess it depends on your point of view. Nowadays we have the benefit of science when it comes to physical training. Modern professional boxers are superbly conditioned athletes, but the toughness of some of the old fighters is quite phenomenal when you consider that they fought for hour after hour. They often sustained terrible injuries, with little medical assistance, without the benefits of modern methods of pain relief, and often for figures that would be unthinkably small for the professional boxers of today. Prize fighting was an incredibly dangerous sport. The book contains details of one fighter, recorded as a 'Welchman' who fought 276 rounds and was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records!

AmeriCymru: I think it's fair to say that bare knuckle fights were frowned upon by the authorities. Care to share some examples of the subterfuges fight organizers adopted to safeguard their events from interference by the local constabulary? Didn't the police face significant danger trying to break up these events?

Lawrence: The location where an important prize fight was to take place was often kept a secret until the day of the battle, usually when contests were to take place they were specified within a certain number of miles of London - which was the hub of prize fighting. This information was then circulated to fight fans of all walks of life, known as 'The Fancy' who would congregate at sporting houses, or pubs, where tips as to where the fight might come off might be heard.

At a later time, a 'special' train might even be booked to take the fighters and spectators to the scene of a battle, with the train pulling up at some quiet point on the line for the party to jump off, pitch a portable ring on a suitable spot of turf and bring off the fight before the authorities could locate the battleground.

Some prize fights drew crowds of thousands, and it might well be imagined in such circumstances it proved all but impossible for the police to exert their authority over such a vast number of people. There are accounts of people turning on the police when they attempted to break up a fight, and occasions where a posse of policemen scouring for the location of a fight were so out-manned that they had to merely watch from a distance with no ability to stop a contest.

AmeriCymru: From the book listing we learn that your "meticulous original research has uncovered many Welsh prize fighters previously unrecorded in any publication." Do you have any personal favorites? Are there any you would like to give a special mention to here?

Lawrence: Very few of the fighters within the book have been recorded at all in modern books of boxing history. As mentioned previously, Ned Turner was a symbol of bravery and honour in his day, but there are a few other fighters that appear within the book that are worth remembering. One is a particularly fierce Welsh butcher who plied his trade in Whitechapel Market, who was appropriately named 'Jack Rasher'. His fights were incredibly hard long and brutal, but he would laugh while his head was beaten 'like a rainbow, all manner of colours', and he would still spit on his fists and come out to fight. They called him 'Ironface'.

Another fighter within the book was known as the 'Wrexham Champion', he had a big reputation for thrashing everyone for miles around but died at the age of 38 after being attacked by a mob of 61 people. One of my favourites, because he sounds like a bit of a loon, is someone I know far too little about, a fighter named 'Taffy' Pritchard who challenged another fighter to eat 6lb of liver in less time than Taffy could eat 7lb of liver fried in candle wax! There are also some interesting details on the fighters that came after Ned Turner's time who claimed to be the 'Welsh Champion', whether merited or not.

Perhaps one of the most interesting accounts for Welsh boxing fans is the story of William Charles of Newport, who was genuinely held to be the 'Champion of Wales' by the general public - and was even compared to Owain Glyndwr the heroic rebel Prince of Wales. He has never been recorded in any book of Welsh boxing history before now. Charles was a smashing and powerful fighter and incredibly popular. For one of his fights in Monmouth, approximately 4,000 people traveled by horse, carriage and on foot from far and wide to a field to watch him take on one of his rivals, which seems astonishing to me, most of them trudging mile after mile for hour after hour to see their champion fight. I have tried to present as complete an account of his career as possible within the book.

AmeriCymru: Care to tell our readers a little about your earlier titles:- Mountain Fighters: Lost Tales of Welsh Boxing and Jack Scarrott's Prize Fighters.

Lawrence: The Mountain Fighters book was the first book I wrote on Welsh bare-knuckle boxing history, and it was published back in 2011. Prior to boxers wearing gloves, at the end of the nineteenth century, the bare-knuckle fighters of Wales were known as 'Mountain Fighters' because they fought on the mountains above the towns to avoid the interference of the police. I had come across references to them, but no details, who they were, who they fought, or any aspects of their lives and decided to research them. The book presented accounts of aspects of the lives of a number of the most prominent mountain fighters for the first time, including William Samuels, Robert Dunbar, Pete Burns (Dublin Tom), Sam Thomas (Sam Butcher), Dai St John, Patsy Perkins and others. Looking back it was a mammoth of a book, probably a bit too big. I wrote it in a very general style in an attempt to make it more readable to people who weren't necessarily only interested in boxing, but also in Welsh history, about a period that hadn't been previously explored.

The Jack Scarrott book finally came out in 2016 after many years of research. The name is probably most familiar to fight fans because Jack discovered the legendary Flyweight Champion of the World, Jimmy Wilde. Scarrott was a fairground boxing 'booth' owner. A boxing booth proprietor had a string of fighters who he employed to stand on the front of the booth, and he would invite members of the audience to challenge them over a few rounds. If they lasted the distance they won a cash prize. The spectators would pay an entrance fee to go into the booth, a large heavily decorated tent, to witness the contest. Virtually all the early Welsh gloved boxing champions started in the booths, and Jack handled most of them at one stage or another, the great 'Peerless' Jim Driscoll, Wilde, Tom Thomas the middleweight champion of Britain, Percy Jones, World Flyweight champion, and so many others all started out with Jack. Scarrott toured South Wales, packing up his booth and putting on contests around Wales for decades. He was a showman, a promoter, and one of the most important figures in Welsh boxing, although he had become something of a footnote in history, more of a myth than a man. His life and times were incredibly colourful, and the book shows how he took boxing from a small tent he knocked up himself in the town of Pontypridd, featuring ex-mountain fighters on his booth front, to venues where thousands watched the 96lb future wonder of the world Jimmy Wilde destroy all comers. It is an amazing story. As I learned more about Jack I admired him more and more. I hope one day that a revised edition will be published.

My new book, 'The Story of Welsh Boxing' is a bit different. It tries to present a full period of boxing history in as much detail as possible. I hope it is something that readers enjoy whether a wholehearted boxing fan, or whether they are just interested in the history of Wales generally. This is the first book that I have written that contains full footnotes, appendices, and a lot of wonderful portraiture and illustrations, and I really hope that people enjoy it. Sometimes it was hard trying to push on with writing it, and pull the various pieces together but I have tried to do credit to the courage and bravery of some of the great forgotten Welsh fighters of the past that should be remembered.

AmeriCymru: When will the book be available and where can readers buy it online

Lawrence: The book will be on general release at the start of June, 2019. I believe that Amazon are taking pre-orders. On the high street it should be available at Waterstones and WH Smiths and other bookshops.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-story-of-welsh-boxing/lawrence-davies/9781785315039

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Story-Welsh-Boxing-Prize-Fighters/dp/178531503X

https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/the-story-of-welsh-boxing-prize-fighters-of-wales/9781785315039

AmeriCymru: What's next for Lawrence Davies? Do you have any other projects ongoing at the moment?

Really hard to say right now, I have a few other things sitting on the shelf, mostly Welsh boxing related. I am also trying to fit in research time when I can, and would like to continue charting the 'Story of Welsh Boxing' when I get time to sit down and write. Hopefully people will like the new book enough that I will be spurred on to write some more, all I ever really wanted to do when I was a kid was to write something worth reading. I used to bash away with two fingers on a dusty old Remington typewriter that my dad had, the hope is that each time I try, I get better at doing it. He used to say, keep trying, keep fighting, keep going. I think thats probably the best advice I ever had.

AmeriCymru: Any final message for the members and readers of AmeriCymru?

Lawrence: I really hope that if you read the new book, 'The Story of Welsh Boxing' that you enjoy it. If you do I would be really grateful if you might be so kind as to post a review on amazon, or share your thoughts on it with others on facebook, twitter, etc. Its always wonderful to read that someone has enjoyed something that you have written, or tried to write to the best of your ability.

If you are on twitter you can tweet about the book to Pitch Publishing @pitchpublishing using #TheStoryofWelshBoxing. If you follow Pitch on Twitter you can leave book reviews, get exclusive news and enter competitions and prize giveaways.

Alternatively, you can also find out more about the book on facebook, or give your thoughts on it by visiting :

https://www.facebook.com/PitchPublishing

I am really thankful for all the people who have supported my previous books, or have been so kind as to review them, or write forum posts on them, etc. it really helps you keep trying and keep writing when you are struggling to find the momentum to keep working on a something that you know is going to take you a very long time to put together. Some people have been incredibly generous with their support, so thank you for your kindness to date. Also want to especially thank AmeriCymru for having alerted readers to my previous books when they came out, sometimes its the interest and enthusiasm of others that keeps you going when you are flagging.


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Following on from 2017’s ‘The Meanderlux Vessel’, Quodega are back with a brand new album at the end of May. ‘Only Forward’ is a departure from the scintillating post-rock debut, instead adopting the form of super-charged, perspicacious electronica. The brainchild of award-winning composer Tom Raybould, whose work has previously been released by Rough Trade and Warp Records, ‘Only Forward’ will be available as a limited vinyl run of 100 records, as well as digital release across all online platforms. 

The first single taken from the album, ‘I Design Your Eyes’, reverts to Raybould’s previous body of work under the pseudonym Zwolf, incorporating influences from the early works of Boards of Canada, Autechre and Plaid and filtering them through the unique contours of his own musical imagination. The resultant cinematic scope and aesthetic draws upon these threads alongside Raybould’s extensive soundtrack work. Recent plaudits in this field include a Welsh BAFTA for indie film ‘The Machine’, with the OST also being released in 2019 by Swiss niche vinyl label We Release What The Fuck We Want To Records. 

The album will be released on the 31st May on a limited run of 100 heavyweight black vinyl, each housed in its own laser cut sleeve, and comes with a digital download. 

The release will also coincide with a month long residency for Raybould at Shift Art Space, Cardiff. Here the album will be deconstructed in reaction to the space, resulting in the creation of interactive sound installations available for audience manipulation and culminating in a live 5.1 performance of the record. 

Posted in: Music | 0 comments

otherlander.jpegAmeriCymru: Hi Paul, care to tell us a little about your new collection 'Otherlander'?

Paul: Otherlander is a collection of poems mainly written in the last two years. Many were written for the project Gwaelod, a collaboration with the artist Chris Rawson-Tetley that is inspired by the Welsh flood story of Cantre'r Gwaelod. The poems respond to ideas of identity, memory, history, diaspora, loss, and the relationship of these concerns to the location where these events and feelings were and are experienced. It has more of a story-telling feel about it than my earlier work. It is my first attempt at self-publishing, a return to the DIY punk rock ethic of my teenage years, a chance to re-connect with the possibility of independence and a more express way of getting work out.

AmeriCymru: "A collection of poems of reverence and rage.....". Do you agree with this characterization of the poems in 'Otherlander'?

Paul: I think that "reverence and rage" is an apt description of the collection. I have included poems that celebrate marriage and others that are elegies. There is admiration for the way our ancestors struggled to survive, both economically and culturally, and anger over the way they were often treated and how their descendants are being treated today. I have been researching my family history for about a decade and have been humbled by the many sacrifices made along the way.

AmeriCymru: One of my favourite poems in this collection is 'Anger One'. What was the inspiration for this poem? Where or what is 'hangar one'?

Paul: Anger One is a middle aged rant, one of a series, I'm afraid. It deals with our changing shapes, the demands on our resources, the feeling of amnesia and our relationship with our parents. Hangar One is everywhere and is nowhere. It is the larger structures that oppress us-churches, schools, supermarkets, the Houses of Parliament, castles, prisons, the state and its offices. It is also as small as one's internal secret guilt.

AmeriCymru: One poem featured in the collection, 'Ceibwr' is written in both English and Welsh. Why this particular poem? Is this something you plan to do more often in the future?

Paul: Ceibwr was suggested by a painting by Chris Rawson-Tetley and by a request by a Welsh-speaker to write a poem about it in that language. It is a favourite landscape of mine and I think fits into the edge of the scenery of the Cantre'r Gwaelod theme due to its coastal location. Yes, I am aiming to do more bi-lingual work.

AmeriCymru: Are your previous collections Lull of the Bull (2010) and The Trigger-Happiness (2012) still available for purchase?

Paul: My previous book are available still though stocks of Lull of The Bull are low.

AmeriCymru: Where can people go to purchase 'Otherlander' online?

Paul: Otherlander can be obtained via Otherlander Face to face I will sell the book at the austerity price of £5.

AmeriCymru: What's next for Paul Steffan Jones? Will you be promoting 'Otherlander' with readings? Any new projects lined up?

Paul: I am currently nearing the completion of the next book, The Ministry of Loss, which I hope will appear next year. These poems continue the theme of identity and will feature more tales from my family's story. Also, I am writing new work for a fifth collection of about 20-25 mostly longer poems, Rant. These will include the state of the nation diatribes, Where Did I Put My Country? I hope to promote Otherlander at readings. I am still writing for the Gwaelod/ Pictures of Us project with Chris and have an involvement in the collaboration, Room 103. The latter deals with George Orwell's ideas in the contemporary world. Though this seems a fairly busy workload, I am giving thought to the form my poetry will take in the near future as I feel I need to come up with a more lyrical style acceptable to a much wider audience.

AmeriCymru: Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?

Paul: Best wishes and thanks again for taking an interest.



ANGER ONE

Grind my teeth down

mortar and pestle

molar pestilence

at the dentist

get a new set

a horse look

my masculinity blurs

whatever it is or was

weight piles on

semi-industrial consumption

of ill advice

that amorphous shape

my eyes dim with tears

my ears struggle to keep up

everyone wants

my money

my effort

my support

my attention

my input

my time

my vote

my life

while the flora

and the fauna

disappear

memory as a sequence

of half snatched-back vignettes

that perhaps I was never in

we can’t escape our parents

they’re in our faces

our ways of moving

of hoping

their bad luck

their diseases

their misjudgement

in the diaspora of kids

leaving home

the energy of synergy

in hangars of anger

the anchors of rancour

with truncheons of tension

in Anger One

anger has won


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‘Safety in Numbers’ is the third single released by the Cardiff based Post-Punk / New Wave four piece Silent Forum on Libertino. Following on from the swaggering, off-kilter, infectious pop energy of ‘How I Faked The Moon Landing’ and ‘Robot’, ‘Safety in Numbers’ explores a far more reflective musical landscape. This is a song that “expresses the importance of looking after your friends......that time will forget us, but that our relationships are the most meaningful thing we can achieve in life.”

Yet again Silent Forum delivers a song very much on their terms, a song that resonates with kindness and a musicality that captures your heart.

Performing under the name Silent Forum since late 2015, the four-piece deemed Wales' most promising band blends shadowy Post Punk with uplifting, inspiring New Wave. They move unpredictably from serious and direct to playful and overblown. Since they signed to Libertino records their sound has taken an ambitious turn, gathering praise for epic singles like 'How I Faked the Moon Landing' and 'Robot'. They have an eagerly awaited debut album set for release later this year.

Destroy//Exist "The sound sophisticated and playful at the same time, certainly reminiscent of the artful progressive pop sound of XTC, the nerve of Wire and the new wave idiosyncrasy of Squeeze and Talking Heads, while maintaining the entirety of the quartet's fervent originality."

Adam Walton, BBC Radio Wales “Silent Forum have an album planned for release on Libertino for next year, which I am really excited for. Both singles so far have been different but still recognisably them. There is something really interesting, almost PIL-like with those guitars."


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image001.jpgThis week sees the publication of Mostly Welsh, a collection of poems by Chris Armstrong. The collection blends the historic with mythological and personal themes and deals with love, loss and his relationship with Wales and Ceredigion. 

The process of writing the collection began over 15 years ago: 

“After losing my wife, nearly all of the poems I wrote were focussed on her and losing her – things I wished I had expressed while she was still alive, or at least said better, said more or more often. Poetry – both reading and writing – developed into some sort of catharsis or release for me. It wasn’t present at the time she died, as coping with the remains of family life and work took all my energy and time. Now it’s an ever-present pleasure, and I don’t think a single day goes past without some thought of my wife,” said Chris Armstrong. 

Chris Armstrong has lived in Wales for most of his life, and moved to the Tregaron area, mid Wales in 1972. The landscape surrounding him has always inspired him, as he feels a strong link to the countryside around him. 

“Wales and the local countryside has been a great influence, as is the sea. The sea is probably the next most important theme [after love and loss] as I have always lived near or on it. It often finds its way into the poems of love as some sort of allegory or symbolisation,” said the author. 

The collection has received praise from Ffrangcon Lewis:

“At their best, these poems have a directness, honesty and crispness of diction which enables the poet to communicate the most raw of experiences with a degree of sureness, restraint and power.” 

Mostly Welsh is a collection of poetic forms rooted in the Anglo-Welsh tradition that explores the poet’s life and mind after a loss, and follows his life journey. 

“In essence, this collection is a man’s life experience finding expression through verse.” 

Chris Armstrong was born in Sussex and has lived in Wales since he was 10 years old. He spent more than a decade in the merchant navy before working on a Ceredigion farm and then taking a degree which led to ten years working as a research officer before he set up his own consultancy, research and training company in the information and libraries sector. 

Mostly Welsh by Chris Armstrong (£6.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

 

Posted in: New Titles | 0 comments

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AllAtSea150x208.jpgAmeriCymru: Hi David and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. What can you tell us about your series of children's books featuring Owain and his dog, Llew?

David: The books are about a young boy and his dog, who meet people from the past, when they are out and about. I can then tell their story in a fun way.

AmeriCymru: What inspired you to start this series?

David: The Owain and Llew books come from my love of Welsh history and specific characters from the past. I have the characters in the books use their native language, with translations in to English at the back, I get annoyed when everyone from Martians to Aztecs speak English.

AmeriCymru: You have written several other titles including 'Two Five Two'. Care to tell us a little more about these?

David: I first wrote the books Eightmilez and A view to behold, hoping to get my part of Wales in with the tourist board, sadly it didn’t work. I was then approached by Cwmni a local objective one group to write The wonders that surround us. That got a great reception from locals and others around the world, sadly no longer in production. My next challenge was a book about my army life in The Royal Regiment of Wales, I decided to make it about the more humorous events. I had to put some smiles back on the faces of veterans. The last project was a Celtic star chart, using Taliesin’s work and other ideas, this chart included Welsh people who had contributed much to Astronomy, including Barbara Middlehurst from Penarth who moved to America to advance her career.

LadyoftheMountain150x211.pngAmeriCymru: You are, dare I say, an 'advanced' Welsh learner. How long have you been learning Welsh? What is your proudest acheivement to date in your struggle to master the language? What advice would you give to new learners?

David: Dw I wedi ddysgu Cymraeg ers mil naw naw dim. I’ve been learning Welsh since 1990. But off and on due to circumstances, in the last three years I have been able to get at it with a bit more vigour, and I’m now getting somewhere. I have used the ABC of Welsh, Cwrs Mynediad and Sylfain, now working with say something in Welsh and Duo Lingo. My advice to new learners would be to use your Welsh, it doesn’t matter if you know one word or a thousand, use them every day, think using them and talk to yourself using them.

AmeriCymru: What's next for David Williams? Any new writing projects in the works?

David: I have more Owain and Llew books on the go, one is in art work stage, one I’m just finishing the writing and there are five other in various stages, I’m also going back over the star chart and looking at other ways of producing that.

AmeriCymru: Any final message for the members and readers of AmeriCymru?

David: I joined AmeriCymru when it started as a Web page it was a great idea and nice to see our kin across the pond flying the flag. I enjoy reading about the events that you guys have and the passion for the land of our fathers. Mae hen wlad fy nhadau.

Cymru am byth.

Diolch yn fawr

David

(D ap E Scribbles comes from Dafydd ap Evan, Evan being my father. Scribbles is a reference to my writing.)


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John MOuse returns with a breakup song in the guitar driven indie pop vein of 2014’s “I was a Goalkeeper”. Coming off the back of the experimental art Project “The Fen Sessions” where John MOuse wrote, produced, released and then deleted an album over a weekend, “There’s a hole in my heart (an area the size of Wales) is a punchy indie dance floor classic and is backed up with a remix of Gladiator / Contender by Bristol’s Greg Stoddard exclusively via the Bandcamp site. John MOuse will be promoting the single at Devaudin Festival, Chepstow on May 18th and Sugarfest Bristol May 26th.

John MOuse is a left of centre artist from Cardiff. John’s most recent album “The Fen Sessions” was written and released over a weekend and then deleted on the Monday. Collaborations with Sweet Baboo, Prince Edward Island, Los Campesinos and TV’s Steve Jones have littered his 5 studio albums all of which have receive critical praise and garnered airplay and support from Steve Lamacq, Tom Robinson, Huw Stephens, Gideon Coe and Stuart Maconie.

John MOuse was born out of John’s previous band JT Mouse, which featured members of Zabrinksi, The Spencer McGarry Season and Steven Black AKA Sweet Baboo. John’s debut album released in 2006, on Crocfinger records was a collection of home tape recordings. It’s “A Universal” showed glimpses of the intriguing lyrical content that John MOuse future albums will become synonymous with.

2010 saw the release of the first and long-term songwriting partnership with Phil Pearce. Pearce, songwriter for Scottish fronted Prince Edward Island and Faye Davies creative partnership helped form “Humber Dogger Forties” which can be classed as the first proper John MOuse album. The album featured TV’s Steve Jones duet-ting with his step brother on “The Last Great Rhondda Romance”, a tale of two young boys falling in love in the South Wales Valleys.

“The Death of John MOuse” was mooted as the last John MOuse album. The deterioration of the song writing relationship reinforcing the title of what was to be MOuse’s most successful album to date. Lead single “I Was a Goalkeeper” a tale of old friends reuniting, another duet, this time featuring Gareth Paisey of Los Campesinos, was released prior to the 2014 World Cup and garnered unprecedented coverage for any previous John MOuse release.

A new era of John MOuse was born out of the album, and John hooked up with a new live band from his Rhondda home. Featuring members of MEA (a local Metal band) a revolving number of bass players and Paul Scunge Sheppard of 90’s Indie outfit Hopper, John went on to tour the UK. His live show, now with a new harder edge, but still full to the brim of performance, saw the band supporting the likes of Future of the Left, Half Man Half Biscuit, Malcolm Middleton and The Wave Pictures and at Festivals including two memorable sets at Green Man festival.

Eclectic, eccentric, genre hopping, have been both the strength and weakness to John MOuse career. A comparison of artist list the size of the doomsday book including bands such as Pulp, Roddy Frame, The Wedding Present, Art Brut, the list goes on and on. The saving grace and constant though is MOuse’s lyrics. The words are immersed in cultural artefact and personalities. Comic, bittersweet and nostalgia are recurring themes in all of John MOuse’s albums.

In 2018 John MOuse released “Replica Figures” the second album on Keep Me in Your Heart Records, and saw him return to work with JT Mouse member Stephen Black aka Sweet Baboo. The album was again Chameleonic in style and was somewhat a return to his lo-fi roots.

In early 2019. John MOuse attempted his most ambitious release to date. Writing, recording, producing, mixing, mastering and releasing an album over a weekend. Each track had a two-hour window and was uploaded for free download, until 9am on the Monday morning when “The Fen Sessions” would be deleted forever. Working again with long term songwriting partner Phil Pearce, Faye Davies and Jon Hodges, “The Fen Sessions” is a concept album never to be heard again.

28 musicians, both live and in the studio, have worked with John Mouse, reflecting the forever changing sounds and styles, and progressive nature of each John MOuse live show and release.

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