Blog posts by year and month October 2010

Posts (132)

  1. Take advantage of this break in the weather to stretch your legs and if you've got kids - wear them out! ;) Nice selection of walks over on the visit wales blog today and there are plenty to choose from in our things to do - walking section. Choose your region and try out one of the walks De...

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  2. Sŵn = Noise. Sŵn = Music. Sŵn = Cardiff. Sŵn = three days of everything. Sŵn = exhausting. Sŵn = fun. Sŵn = friends. Sŵn = no sleep. Sŵn = excellent festival. Whatever it means to you, Sŵn festival curated by Huw Stephens and John Rostron is an adventurous journey into what can happen with a ...

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  3. In the history of unexpected collaborations, this was up there with Axl'n'Elton at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert; David Bowie and Bing Crosby and The KLF with Tammy Wynette. Yesterday, popstrel Charlotte Church joined The Klaxons in an impromptu version of the band's new single Twin Fla...

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  4. This year's Dylan Thomas Festival takes on a twist as it aims to celebrate not just one Welsh writer with the surname Thomas but a whole host of worthy literary and broadcasting greats who share the name. The annual festival runs from 27 October, the date of the poet's birth, until the date marking Dylan Thomas' death - 9 November. Now in its 13th year, this time the festival will also celebrate the life and works of fellow poet and contemporary R.S. Thomas, Edward Thomas, Gwyn Thomas, Wynford Vaughan Thomas and John Ormond Thomas together with the contribution made by the wives of Dylan and R.S., Caitlin and Elsi respectively. The festival opens on Wednesday with a discussion by Peter Hain on his new book about his personal friend Nelson Mandela, Mandela: The Story of a Universal Hero, while The Jen Wilson Ensemble will perform tracks from their new CD of Dylan Thomas-inspired compositions, Twelve Poems: The Dylan Thomas Jazz Suite. R.S. Thomas, who died a decade ago, will be celebrated in a number of events at the festival - the first of which comes on Saturday 30 October with a showing of the film, The Man Who Went Into The West. RS Thomas Other events to mark the poet's life and work include a reading of some of his finest poetry, selected by author Othniel Smith and read by actor, writer and director Michael Kelligan. On Saturday 6 November there is a one day R.S. Thomas 10th Anniversary Conference that will include talks, John Ormond's film on the Welsh poet, plus the poet's son Gwydion in conversation with Tony Brown of Bangor University's R.S. Thomas Archive and Study Centre. Gwyn Thomas. Photo: Gwyn Thomas estate Gwyn Thomas, the great Welsh storyteller and chronicler of the valleys, is another influential writer that will be celebrated at this year's festival. The Fluellen Theatre Company will present a script-in-hand production of Thomas' 1962 play The Keep, which premiered to great acclaim at the Royal Court Theatre. (The next production by National Theatre Wales is inspired by his collection of novellas The Dark Philosophers - read more about it in a previous blog post.) Other festival highlights will include former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion talking about his love of the work by Edward Thomas, who died at the end of World War One, plus a session involving the former National Poet of Wales Gwyneth Lewis with rising literary star Damian Furniss. Meanwhile, Jon Tregenna has gathered a cast to perform a rehearsed reading of his play Buggerall, inspired of course by Thomas' Under Milk Wood; Peter Read presents his new play Time Passes - in which he plays Dylan's ghost, who looks back on a tragic yet comic life - and the Swansea Little Theatre Group present a production of Under Milk Wood. This year's festival also includes a world first as a series of sketches drawn by artist Dodie Masterman and Dylan Thomas himself, during his famous North American lecture tour of 1950, will go on show. A sketch by Dylan Thomas The sketchbook features more than 30 sketches by Thomas and Masterman as well as sketches the two worked on together. Some of Masterman's sketches show Thomas reading a book and others include his doodles by the side of her drawings. Dodie Masterman Masterman's sketchbook lay undiscovered for more than half a century but was found by her son after she passed away last December, aged 91. Swansea's Dylan Thomas Centre has now been given permission to put the sketchbook on display during this year's festival and beyond. For more information about what's on at the 2010 Dylan Thomas Festival visit www.dylanthomas.com, and browse the BBC Wales Arts site for a wealth of information on Dylan Thomas.

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  5. Sŵn Day Two. I wake up and regret it immediately. Too much fun the preceding night, most of it very blurred. It's a busy day today and I should have taken that into account. But who amongst you - who? - would tiptoe back to their hotel for an early night when there are pubs brimful of people who...

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  6. The recent BBC One adaptation of Sherlock Holmes was a huge success but Conan Doyle also inspired the winning article in the 2010 Natur Cymru nature writing competition. The storyline was a familiar one, about reading the signs of nature, but told in a novel and engaging way. Accompanied b...

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  7. The biggest ever whale sculpted from Welsh sand took form yesterday at Goodwick Parrog in Fishguard Harbour. The first day of the half term holiday saw over 50 Sea Trust volunteers turn out to create the 25 metre long replica of Moby Dick in just under five hours. The whale building exercise ...

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  8. A poet's life is never dull. Tuesday 19th October and I'll be in Betws-y-Coed with Ifor ap Glyn. He is a good poet, and very entertaining - but will anybody come to the gig? The drive north from Ceredigion is glorious. Vast rain-clouds peel off the Irish Sea, sweeping east and leaving a clear blue sky. From the moment we turn inland at Aberystwyth, the mountains are red with bracken, trees turning gold, with the most intense rainbow I ever remember over the slate grey town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. The room in the Gwydyr Hotel awaits. Dwynwen from Llanrwst sets out her stall of books for sale, the Academi banner is hung. We talk over high tea, egg and chips and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. The usual early birds don't arrive. Fearing the worst, Ifor and I prepare for a change of plan. We abandon the lectern, draw comfortable chairs close, and wait. In the event we're not a crowd but an intimate group, which has its own charm. Ifor and I read a few poems a time, responding to each other, matching poem to poem. He has prepared translations to hand to the audience, and reads in Welsh and in English, weaving between the two as nimbly as a sheepdog. One curious fact: I am exhausted! It takes far more energy to communicate poetry to a few in a big room than to light the spark with a full house of adults, or an audience of 2000 teenagers. Thursday 21st October - off to Builth Wells to read at the Wyeside Centre with Paul Henry. I am as confident in Paul as I was in Ifor, but success lies with the audience. They can make or break the magic, so I'm nervous. Again, the drive is beautiful, 60 miles through red mountains even rosier in the light of a low sun, with sudden visions of yellow - a golden tree, a sunlit slope. Is there a lovelier season to travel through Wales? I need not have worried. It turns out to be a great evening. Builth is a town with a heart, a feeling of community, and the Royal Welsh has established a habit of gathering. In the excellent High School poetry is valued in English and in Welsh. The venue is warm, arty, purposeful, and as we arrive people are gathering in the bar. The little theatre space is comfortably full. People have come from Hereford, Presteigne, Cardiff. Paul is funny, warm, and moving too, and the lovely audience makes the magic happen. Phew! What a relief! There's a long and winding road to go before Christmas. Gillian Clarke National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke is blogging for the BBC during her seven-date poetry tour of Wales, which runs until 10 December 2010. For more information on the National Poet's tour of Wales visit the Academi website.

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  9. Exploring Wales' wooded gorges and ravines is increasing in popularity amongst walkers, canoeists and extreme sport enthusiasts. Now, there is a short film on the CCW YouTube Channel that highlights the natural wonders of gorges to help people learn about our celtic rainforests before they arrive. Presented by naturalist Ray Woods, the ten-minute film reveals that gorges in Wales' ancient woodlands harbour hundreds of different kinds of mosses and liverworts, some of which are very rare throughout the world. Having fun, sliding down the gorges. Image courtesy of CCW: With up to 200 people or more, passing through the most popular ravines and gorges each day - a simple code of conduct has been developed to help conserve these special places. According to Ray Woods: "Most of the world's population of filmy fern lives in Welsh gorges. Black-eyed Susan is another rarity - a lichen found in only a handful of gorges in west Wales." "These gorges are not just obstacle courses to rush through - they are incredible beautiful environments where people can enjoy and wonder at rare plant life." Top tips for looking after gorges: Avoid stepping or standing on moss covered rocks and boulders Stick to established routes, please don't make new ones Walk single-file to avoid erosion Groups should assemble on bare rock or on shingle areas

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  10. Mike Peters, singer with The Alarm, has recorded a song as the theme song for the forthcoming film Vinyl. As we've previously blogged, Vinyl is the story of the stunt in 2004 in which The Alarm recorded a song and released it under a pseudonym, got a fake band to front it, and released it to great acclaim. Speaking to the North Wales Daily Post, Peters explained: "I was asked about writing the track for the film and I knew it had to be punchy and it had to have the conviction of being a hit. "It had to be something that could be sung without any instruments on its own and had that communication between people. "Within days I had written the song. I knew The Automatic were not far away, so I grabbed them and asked if they wanted to help and we did the first recording. It was done in Cardiff. "It is being committed to the film." There is no title as yet for the track. Feel free to comment! If you want to have your say, on this or any other BBC blog, you will need to sign in to your BBC iD account. If you don't have a BBC iD account, you can register here - it'll allow you to contribute to a range of BBC sites and services using a single login. Need some assistance? Read about BBC iD, or get some help with registering.

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