February 4, 2006 by cosmoakacitizensmith
What with it being the Six Nations rugby and all, I started the day in a fairly patriotic way by listening to the Sain records compilation Welsh Rare Beat.
This contains Welsh language psychedelia from the late 60s and early 70s and sorry but it rocks. The grooves used have even been sampled by hip-hoppers the world over. The vocal deliveries are almost choral in their intensity. And the lyrics are about everything from surreal drug-fueled benders, (Someone stole my nose by Y Tebot Piws – “the Purple Teapot” in English), to protests about the UK goverment’s decision to ethnically cleanse a whole Welsh-speaking village at Treweryn in the 60s to make a reservoir for Liverpool, (“Dwr” or “Water” in English, by Huw Jones).
And of course, a couple of tracks by the legendary Meic Stevens who, (correct me if I’m wrong), lives round here in Splott.
What a treat!
My mate Quality Tom, who ususally runs bio-diesel pinball machines on the UK festival scene, always said he reckoned the revolution will start in Merthyr Tydfil, a small town north of Cardiff.
So imagine how chuffed I was to watch the telly the other night and find out how in the 19th century Merthyr was the fastest-growing town in the world and boasted of it’s own revolution, the Merthyr Rising in 1831.
The programme afterwards detailed how the jobless in the Valleys in the 1930s mobilised to escape poverty and destitution by changing society.
I had to text Tom all about it I was so excited, (ok, maybe I should get out more).
Now of course, in South Wales like everywhere else, we have post-industrial consumer capitalism which buys us off with its technological trinkets and baubles. Maybe the youth round these parts today look to that rather than the industrial struggles of their parents’ generation.
But sooner or later we’re going to have to wake up and realise we’re living in a false economy before the drawbridge is pulled up forever. And we can draw a lot of comfort and inspiration from the history of these parts.
And of course, from the landscape as well. When I lived up in Pontypridd I really got in touch with what a powerful effect this can have.
It certainly did something to me………….(!)
So as we enter this phase of the struggle for social and environmental justice, (Up the revolution! Up the workers! Organic coke up the nostril!), unless we know and understand our past we will simply be wrestling with ourselves and our own greed, as if trapped in a huge hall of mirrors.
But we aint gonna let that happen, are we?
And with that, I’m off to watch the rugby down the Canadian.
Clint Iguana said…
I have several books covering the protests and uprisings in Wales in the 19th Century, Scotch Cattle, Merthyr Rising, Chartists, Dic penderyn etc….
Let me know if you want to borrow anything comrade.
February 05, 2006 10:10 AM