One of the really wonderful things about living in the UK is the quality of radio broadcasting. I am lucky enough to have DAB radio in the car. And since I spend a lot of time commuting to and from places of work, I get to listen a lot. I have broad tastes, but I tend to default to the comedy and drama station of Radio 4Extra which is full of gems. But one of the success stories that does not involve reruns of classic comedy series is a magazine show for children called The 4 O’clock show. In addition to interviews and music and discussions about books and films, they serialize a story. This is usually at the end of the hour and I occasionally catch the last few minutes of one of these. This last week it was Tom Moorhouse’s tale of water voles, The River Singers. And what lifted this one into the stratosphere, apart from the pace and excitement, was the reading by Shirley Henderson (you will know her as Moaning Myrtle from the HP films). Her vocalization of the animals was masterful in a soft Scottish accent. I took the opportunity of listening to all five episodes and it was well worth it. A great story for children. I’m not sure how easy it will be for anyone to listen from across the pond, but if you can, give it a whirl. You will not regret it. This is the first of 3 books. I wonder if they’ll be able to persuade Shirley Henderson to do the audio book.
Archives for March 2014
To be honest, I’d rather be writing than blogging. I have no interest in sharing with the world the minutiae of my day and, like a lot of people, find a blog a bit of a nuisance. I still remember the old days when the only way you could communicate with anyone was through a letter. Yes, it’s true! before instant messaging and emails and whatsapp, it was either the telephone or a sheet of paper and a pen, preferably with a plastic tip that you could chew whilst mulling over the words, and the unspoken hope that the top didn’t leak and leave you with a lip the colour of a ripe blueberry.
And, as a college student, it used to be a bit of a chore to think up things to say even though this was a communication to those nearest and dearest to you–you mother or brother or sister, not a meandering thought bubble to the rest of the world.
These days, the idea of having to do something as primitive is frankly laughable in an age where you can Facebook your cat from the top of a mountain. If you google ‘why I don’t blog anymore’ you’ll find, ironically, a slew of blogs on that very subject (i.e. why they don’t blog, not why their facebooking a cat from the top of a mountain). Most of them have the same theme. A dawning realisation that the need to share every little thing with the world is a little pointless, takes time, and is usually immeasurably tedious for anyone other than the writer. It may be self serving, it may be unappealing, it may be simply pointless. So, unless I have a point, I am going to limit posts to thing of import in the context of this website.
So what is it, Rhys, that you have to say?
Well, last night I was taken, rather reluctantly, to a stage performance of Under Milk Wood in The Swansea Grand, a home town staged performance of Dylan Thomas’ play for radio by Theatre Clwyd. I am not a great fan of theatre and this, of course, was written as a play for voices, ostensibly to be performed on the radio. But it is Thomas’ centenary year and this was an all Welsh production with authentic, homegrown accents. And so I went, and have to say, I enjoyed it. The ‘action’ of the cast is limited to augmenting the verbal badinage because the narrative is nothing more than a montage of snapshots as we revisit the lecherous, frustrated, plotting, pious drunks and gossips and feckless fishermen as they exist for twenty four hours in a dazzling, star-skinned soup of words. Yes, you could watch this play with your eyes closed if you wanted to, because it is the prose and poetry that seduces. And yet, to do so, diminishes the skill and style of this performance delivered with tenderness and paradoxical bursts of gusto. As Kenneth Tynon said in 1956 when the naysayers insisted that this was a work, like the antithesis of childhood, that should be heard and not seen; do they, I wonder, go blindfold to symphony concerts?
It will embark on a world tour and America beckons. if you get a chance, see it because it resonates with love and despair, tragedy, religion and humour and is what, I think, Thomas surely wanted his play to be.
And as for me and my own literary efforts, The Beast of Seabourne, number 2 in the Artefact series is almost at the printers for an October release. And the amazing Lisa Amowitz has designed another stunning cover. So, next time I post it will be to show the world this wonderful cover.
So, watch this space….