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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 -
EXIT INTERNATIONAL - 'The
MOWBIRD - 'Happy Active Horse
BLACK ARROWS, THE - 'Give Me
What I Want'
PLYCI - 'Ebol Ebol'
QUIET MARAUDER - 'Pretty
Girls Are Pretty'
SEN SEGUR - 'Unreal (Or Is
DAN AMOR - 'Y
FALLING WITH STYLE -
'Waves Are But Water'
STALIN'S STREET PARTY
- 'Northern Gutters'
I FIGHT LIONS -
CUT RIBBONS - 'Bound In
PEOPLE THE POET, THE -
GWENNO - 'Chwyldro (R. Seiliog
AFAL DRWG EFA - 'Gwyll
EL PARISA -
JAGUAR MIN - 'Splix'
LARA CATRIN - spoken contribution
ALED RHEON - 'Dyma Fi'n Mynd'
CATE LE BON - 'Sisters'
ANDREW PAUL REGAN - 'Empathy
VIOLAS - 'Glide'
FUTURE OF THE LEFT - 'Donny Of The
JOY FORMIDABLE, THE - 'The Greatest
Light Is The Greatest Shade'
BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT - 'In Your
Care (Radio Edit)'
DAUWD - 'Silverse (Dub
MY FAVOURITE RUNNER UP
DOUBLECROSS, THE - 'Precious Time
FERNS - 'I've No Mind'
TRAMPOLENE - 'Under The Strobe Light'
BABY QUEENS - 'Life
UNDERSOUND - 'Forever's
HELEN JONES - 'Beautiful Man'
PULCO - 'Double Denim'
MOWBIRD - 'Carousel'
BEN HAYES - spoken
HUNTERS, THE - 'Russian Spy And I'
COWBOIS RHOS BOTWNNOG - 'Tyrd Olau
GUTO DAFIS - 'Cân Yr
CLIMBING TREES - 'Setting
South Wales valleys
COLORLIST - 'Sky Song'