Wales

Constant peals and hyperbolic proclamations

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Once upon a time there was a flaxen-haired, boss-eyed boy who lived in a remote village in the blasted hills of north Wales.

He was a bit clumsy with tools; was useless hunting rabbits because he thought they were too cute; and couldn't be trusted to tend a crop in a field because he got distracted and let all the crows and gulls eat the seeds before they'd had a chance to flourish.

"He says that they need to eat too," tutted the village chieftain, plucking another clump of fur out of his impressive but fake lion mane cloak.

So the village elders ordered that a tower be built for the boy on the outskirts of the settlement, where the winds were wildest and the buzzards flew in bobble hats.

"Boy, we need you to keep your eyes and ears open for any approaching bards and minstrels. This is a hugely important position, perhaps the most important in the village. If anyone interesting is coming, sound your bell and let the whole village know! We can rejoice together at the originality of their sounds."

Within a week the elders rued that they'd ever give the boy a bell. He rang it - it seemed to them - every time a bird chirruped or a peasant strolled into sight whistling a half decent tune through broken teeth. This went on day and night, month after month, year into year.

"Come and listen to these! They're ace! Probably the best bards it's been my pleasure to listen to since, erm, well, the last lot came over the horizon. Five minutes ago."

The population of the village quickly evolved an auditory blindspot to filter out his constant peals and hyperbolic proclamations.

Still the boy stood in his tower, scanning the horizon with as much vigour as he had done on that very first morning. He noticed that the quality of the bards had improved notably since those early days. He had also noticed that no one in the rest of the village was paying a huge amount of attention.

"They're as good as 60ft Dolls?" they'd say, as he walked back through the village to his home in the dusk.

"A new Super Furries?" followed by a disbelieving shake of the head.

"They'll crack America, yes I'm sure they will," with a desultory guffaw.

So, in a last ditch attempt to have the villagers take these new bards and minstrels seriously, and to value their remarkable talents, the boy – well, by now a middle-aged man who some thought should have known better - decided to etch the vibrations of their music into slate, reproducing the sound later with a rusty nail and an empty tortoise shell.* **

The boy took the slates and the rusty nail and the tortoise shell into the middle of the village one night at a rather godforsaken hour and played them three hours of the sounds he loved the most that particular week.

Despite some protestations – especially from a lank-haired, mono-browed family living next to the dump who demanded "some Roses" – the reception was pretty good.

"I particularly like this new one from Mowbird," said the chieftain, doing a dance that no one should attempt in a hemp skirt with no undercrackers on.

"There are also debut plays for Falling With Style, El Parisa, My Favourite Runner Up and Helen Jones, about whom I know very little," said the boy.

And the whole village rejoiced, even if a large proportion of them were secretly hankering for their hooky Shane Ward best-of compilation.

* no tortoises were harmed in this self mythology. The tortoise had emigrated complaining that he was suffering from over exposure to Future Of The Left.

** these Duncette players have since become incredibly popular within settlements with a high proportion of hipsters.

HEAVY PETTING ZOO - 'Broken Bones'
Swansea

EXIT INTERNATIONAL - 'The Creeps'
Cardiff

MOWBIRD - 'Happy Active Horse Organ'
Wrexham

BLACK ARROWS, THE - 'Give Me What I Want'
Cardiff

PLYCI - 'Ebol Ebol'
Rhyl

QUIET MARAUDER - 'Pretty Girls Are Pretty'
Cardiff

SEN SEGUR - 'Unreal (Or Is It)'
Penmachno

DAN AMOR - 'Y Ci'
Penmachno

FALLING WITH STYLE - 'Waves Are But Water'
Pontypridd

STALIN'S STREET PARTY - 'Northern Gutters'
Cardiff

I FIGHT LIONS - 'Frankie'
Bangor

CUT RIBBONS - 'Bound In Love'
Llanelli

PEOPLE THE POET, THE - 'People'
South Wales

GWENNO - 'Chwyldro (R. Seiliog Remix)'
Cardiff

AFAL DRWG EFA - 'Gwyll Gwawr'
Wales

EL PARISA - 'Illuminate'
Cardiff

JAGUAR MIN - 'Splix'
Newport

LARA CATRIN - spoken contribution
Bangor/Cardiff

ALED RHEON - 'Dyma Fi'n Mynd'
Cardiff

CATE LE BON - 'Sisters'
Penboyr

ANDREW PAUL REGAN - 'Empathy 101'
Cardiff/Bristol

VIOLAS - 'Glide'
Cardiff

FUTURE OF THE LEFT - 'Donny Of The Decks'
Cardiff

JOY FORMIDABLE, THE - 'The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade'
Mold

BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT - 'In Your Care (Radio Edit)'
Neath

DAUWD - 'Silverse (Dub Edit)'
Llangollen

MY FAVOURITE RUNNER UP - 'Poison'
Llandudno

DOUBLECROSS, THE - 'Precious Time (Single Version)'
Cardiff

WRIGHTOID - 'Dalmation'
Bangor

BURNING FERNS - 'I've No Mind'
Newport

TRAMPOLENE - 'Under The Strobe Light'
Swansea/London

BABY QUEENS - 'Life Goes By'
Cardiff

UNDERSOUND - 'Forever's Calling'
Cardiff

HELEN JONES - 'Beautiful Man'
Wales

PULCO - 'Double Denim'
Bangor

MOWBIRD - 'Carousel'
Wrexham

BEN HAYES - spoken contribution
Ruthin

HUNTERS, THE - 'Russian Spy And I'
Amsterdam

COWBOIS RHOS BOTWNNOG - 'Tyrd Olau Gwyn'
Llyn Peninsula

GUTO DAFIS - 'Cân Yr Ychen'
Cardiff

CLIMBING TREES - 'Setting Sun'
South Wales valleys

COLORLIST - 'Sky Song'
Cardiff label

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