Ceri Shaw



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All Good Things - A Farewell to Sioni Dda

user image 2024-02-04
By: Ceri Shaw
Posted in: News


AmeriCymru: You have some news for the readers and members of AmeriCymru. Care to share?

John: After what turned out to be a 48-year, 3-month vacation in America, I’m packing up my books, socks, underpants, musical instruments, mementos and (did I forget something?) memories, in order to head back across the Atlantic Ocean to live again somewhere near Port Talbot, Swansea Bay, or as the locals call it–San Pablo on the Costa del Abertawe.

AmeriCymru: What are your predictions for 2024? Will Wales land on the moon?

John: We already did, but it was on the dark side at midnight, and nobody saw us. Predictions? Wales will have a wet summer in 2024. 25, 26, 27...

AmeriCymru: How would you rate the success of the AmeriCymraeg course over the years?

John: I’d have to say it has been pretty successful considering. Our online Welsh language classes are ongoing, and will have to adapt to time differences, but quite a few people have gone on to become fluent.

AmeriCymru: Will you continue to teach Welsh when you get home?

John: Yn bendant/definitely. I’ve already contacted pro-active types in the area, and hope to contribute to the local efforts and also teach music in Welsh. Particularly Welsh Traditional. There’s increasing interest in both language and folk music in South Wales. Relearning and helping people learn Y Gymraeg/The Welsh Language was an act of love for me, as well as a political statement. Being able to speak to my mother in her native language, as well as showing the middle finger to the naysayers and the old enemy across Offa’s dyke, is the gift that keeps on giving.

AmeriCymru:. What can you tell us about life in Port Talbot?  

John: AAAH! I love the smell of the Steelworks in the morning!! I grew up in the shadow of the blast furnaces, and the romance of unbounded emissions has never left me. It’s the classic “Dirty ol’ Town” that everyone born there loves. Most–unlike myself–never leave, or certainly not for long. But I’m looking forward to the strange industrial beauty of the rolling mill on a balmy summer evening, the sweet coughing of the songbirds, and startling contrast of the nearby seashore, gorse-covered hills, rivers and valleys. So, to answer your         question directly, life in Port Talbot is contradictory.

AmeriCymru: Are you for or against Marmite?

John: I would remind you that I’m a part-time vegan (cockles, Mrs Evan’s pies, cod and chips excluded)!

AmeriCymru: Have you missed proper bacon?

I didn’t know he’d left.

AmeriCymru:  Any musical recommendations? Current Welsh bands/artists? 

John: Adwaith, The Gentle Good (no relation). An oldie but goody (no relation), if you can find recordings, the Rocking Sikh with his big local hit “My Poppadom Told Me”, “Turbans Over Memphis”, and “Who’s Sari Now”?

AmeriCymru: What's next for John Good? Will we be hearing from you in Port Talbot?

John: I’ll still be contributing short stories and poetry to Ninnau, and you can always see what I’m up to at my website: https://tramormusic.com

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

John: People have asked me over the years why I had left such a beautiful place as Cymru/Wales. My stock answer was that it was a slow Wednesday. It’s certainly not been slow living in San Francisco, LA, Phoenix and now Prescott Valley, Arizona. Now, people ask me why I’m leaving such a beautiful place as the high grasslands of Yavapai County. Well, I don’t have a trite answer this time. The tug of war of many close friends in both countries is intense, but in the end adventure, family, language, culture and hiraeth have won out. Strange to say these days, having been gone so long, Cymru/Wales is something of a foreign country to me, but is simultaneously my home, an old friend, a half forgotten lover, no one can turn down. I’m thankful for all my American playmates, friends of disaster and fellow dreamers. It has been a hell of a three month trip, and before I change my mind, I’ll just say Hyd y tro nesa/Until the next time.