Newport (Ymerodraeth State Of Mind)
The Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind) YouTube sensation of the last 24 hours has today become the UK's most-favourited clip on the video-sharing site, and the second most-favourited in the whole world.
Watch the video on YouTube (contains strong language).
With his colleagues in the endeavour, Al, Tom and MJ, they've encapsulated some of the characteristics of Newport that even the occasional visitor will recognise. Its clever lyrics and its thematic parallel between the glamour of New York in Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' original and the complete lack of glamour of Newport (not to mention its pin-sharp take-off of the video) have made a wickedly effective combination.
He referred in the interview to the self-deprecatory nature of Newport - it never takes itself too seriously. I got me thinking, seeing as this is far from the first comedic look at the 'Port (the first few Goldie Lookin' Chain LPs laid into the city with affectionate abandon).
One of the things I like very much about Newport is that it feels real - sometimes raw. It doesn't have the same shininess that the 21st century Cardiff has. There's a studied cool to Cardiff that makes it great for leftfield music - indie music thrives. Newport is more rock 'n' roll, less concerned with the trimmed edges of its beard than the AC/DC patch on its rucksack. It is - and I mean in the best possible way - is less Cool but more cool.
A lot of Newport's culture thrives under the radar; while Cardiff's music and arts scenes get the press coverage, Newport just gets on with it. There's a gentle rivalry which pretty much boils down to Newport thinking Cardiff takes itself too seriously.
Kai Jones, a journalist who's been on the south Wales music scene for many years, says: "Rich from 60ft Dolls once gave a good explanation in an interview: 'Newport; we're Anglo-Welsh - hated by the English and hated by the Welsh'.
"I think it's this feeling of exclusion that partially led to the DIY ethic in the 80s and 90s and still lends itself to the self-deprecation now. However, as much as I admire GLC and this video, I wish Newport would actually take itself more seriously."
He's right of course, while there's merit in the idea of lightheartedly mocking one's town (it's the sonic equivalent of those 'Crap Towns' books), it can't be the exclusion of proper musical development.
I say enjoy this while it lasts; the lyrics are genuinely funny and there's a lot to admire. Just as long as it doesn't simply give the impression of Newport as a one-horse town...
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