Blog posts by year and month November 2010

Posts (134)

  1. They might have just pulled out of this week's gigs (including the special homecoming Blackwood Radio 2 gig) but Manic Street Preachers have announced they're appearing on this weekend's Strictly Come Dancing. Speaking on Twitter Nicky Wire said: "Unbelievable-we have got 'strictly come danci...

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  2. These stories seem to come and go throughout Wales and the UK but many experts believe that it's highly likely that big cats have escaped or been released from captivity and are alive and well in the UK. Indeed many were set free and subsequently shot after the Dangerous Animal Act was introduced in 1976. There are countless records of lynx and jungle cat being shot dead after attacks on chickens and sheep in the 1970s. Big cats, most probably black leopard (black panther), puma and lynx have subsequently bred here and made our isolated forests and moorlands their home. Interestingly though big cats are not a new phenomena in Wales and have been part of our own folklore for many hundreds of years. The medieval Welsh poem 'Pa Gwr' mentions "Cath Palug" meaning 'Palug's cat' or 'clawing cat' which roamed Anglesey until it was slain by Cei - King Arthur's foster brother. For many 100's of years, the myth of the spectral Black Dog was also common across Britain. It was often described as a large black animal and usually symbolised death. Sightings have been documented all over Wales from Newport in the South East all the way up to Dolgellau in Southern Snowdonia as well as Mid Wales and Pembrokeshire in the west. I actually interviewed big cat expert - Danny Nineham for a live web chat on this very subject some 8 or 9 years ago when I first joined BBC Wales. Here is a guide to big cat paw prints from Danny's website. This latest story comes from two farmers in Pembrokeshire, one of whom claims to have actually seen a big cat on his land with a lamb in its mouth as well as finding paw prints in the mud. It does make you wonder why trained tracker dogs can't locate them though, doesn't it? Watch a clip on this latest story on BBC News online. As ever, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this sometimes controversial subject! Links: British Big Cats Society website UK big cats Big cats in Wales Gull

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  3. Cardiff area Status Quo tribute band A Taste Of Quo are "bringing back the classic Christmas single" with a new track raising money for the Tŷ Hafan children's hospice. A Taste Of Quo I Can't Wait For Christmas Day is out on 13 December. Jonathan Walker of the band said: "A lot of ...

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  4. Unfortunately due to an illness the Manic Street Preachers' show on Thursday 2 December at Blackwood Miners Institute is cancelled. Radio 2 is hoping to reinstate this show in January and will contact ticket winners for first refusal when we have the new date. The BBC apologises for the in...

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  5. Following the success of their previous exhibitions, contemporary art and design gallery project/ten are set to present their fourth pop-up gallery of 2010: winter #1. The gallery returns to Cardiff's Morgan Arcade for the exhibition, but this time it will occupy the old solicitors' office in ...

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  6. This time last year we were putting together our Top 10 Welsh albums of the Noughties. This year we're not going to come up with yet another critics' list - there many others to choose from - but instead we're going to hand the reins to you. What has been your favourite Welsh album of 2010? Comment below or email wales.music@bbc.co.uk and in the run-up to Christmas we'll round them all up. Whether you've loved the unusual pop of Marina And The Diamonds or you thought Bullet For My Valentine's Fever was your album of the year, be sure to let us know. Let us know! Feel free to leave a 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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  7. Rare medieval paintings that have been uncovered at the church of St Cadoc at Llancarfan, near the market town of Cowbridge in south east Wales. According to a Wales Online article, the restoration of the 800-year-old church, funded by Cadw, Heritage Lottery Fund and private funding, has revealed a number of stunning 15th century paintings on the walls behind the lime washed walls. A painting of St George and the Dragon which is said to be one of the best examples of its kind in the UK and a mural depicting Death and the Gallant - the only one of its kind found in Wales - are just some of the artworks revealed during the restoration of the church. The paintings that have been described as "beyond compare" and had been hidden beneath 21 layers of limewash since the Reformation. During the Reformation, whitewash was used to obliterate religious wall paintings in Catholic churches, transforming them into stark places of Protestant worship. Ironically, many of the finest medieval church paintings that have survived have done so because they were whitewashed at the Reformation. Visit St Cadoc's website to explore an interactive gallery that reveals the stories behind the artworks. Currently, except for services, the church is closed to visitors for restoration until December.

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  8. The cold spell tightened its grip over the weekend with record breaking temperatures in Wales making it colder than Greenland. Cold snaps and snow are not unusual in November but the cold we're currently experiencing is more severe than usual. Our coldest weather normally comes after Christ...

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  9. This week's show features three hours of the most interesting (mostly) new Welsh music, collected by a crack team of music-hungry polar bears from the multitudinous, fractal corners of Wales. Special ursine attention is paid to The Gentle Good's delicate, heart-rending and hiraeth-fuelled Album ...

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  10. Saturday 27 November Y Drwm, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth Another veil of snow, and all has turned to ice. It's very, very cold. People phone: 'Is the reading still on? Are you going?' Of course! Try and stop me. The Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, is on the train from Manchester. The coldest November for decades would not stop her keeping her promise. The car takes the first icy hill in the helpful tracks of tractors. After the mile to Post Bach, the A486 is clear. Kites are aloft, flying in pairs and in fours, scanning the land for carrion. David drops me at the library and goes to meet Carol Ann's train. Aberystwyth looks gorgeous, the town spread below, the great library building high above the sea, the curve of Cardigan Bay against miles of snow covered mountains. We take it in joyfully, then retreat for a warming bowl of broccoli and stilton soup, bread and cheese, in the National Library café. The Drwm is drumming with life as we enter. The audience applauds, and I feel like applauding them too for coming through ice and snow to be with us. Fifty per cent of the atmosphere of every good poetry reading is created by the audience. The circular shape of the Drwm helps too, a cosy, enclosing arena that seats 100 people. Rocet Arwel Jones introduces us eloquently, and Dafydd John Pritchard reads a special poem written in response to Carol Ann's The World's Wife. The perfect Welsh introduction. A full house, an audience alert to the movements between solemn and light moments. These are what a good audience gives to make a warm afternoon in a cold world. We rise to the occasion, enjoying ourselves. There is no strain in communicating music, meaning and perhaps magic to such a gathering. Carol Ann reads some of her innovative new bee poems, the movingly beautiful elegies and remembrances to her mother, poems of war (Afghanistan, and older wars recalled). Her litanies come close to inventing a new form, using a historically sacred form to weave the ordinary with the epic. The audience love John Barleycorn, listing old pub names, and her rebuke to Royal Mail for abolishing the poetry of county names in favour of postcodes only. Try replacing 'all the birds of Oxfordshire' etc with 'all the birds of CF11', or equivalent! Turn in your grave, Edward Thomas. I read mostly unpublished poems, a new Carol of the Birds, and a few old ones to mark the season of Advent. Afterwards we linger to talk with old friends, people we've tutored at Ty Newydd, met at other gigs. Then an elegant bone china cup of tea and a slice of home-made lemon cake with friends in St David's Road, and off to the station for the little train which will carry Carol Ann across the icy map of mid-Wales, where, in the night, the temperature at Llysdinam plunges to -18 celsius. Another typical Welsh gig, as Carol Ann would say. 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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