Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"Y 'Steddfod Seicadelig!"

This outburst of Cymric counterculture comes via a trippy trail head-dead inadvertently by a "Babylon Wales" blog entry (which I found searching for a post that same month, May 2006) about 1960's activist John Barnard Jenkins and the MAC, Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru, Movement for Welsh Defence. 21 May blog: "Welsh Terrorist Chic," not a title I'd have chosen. MAC acted far more responsibly, in that heated context of armagideon time, than most radical factions. Perhaps Christian currents swayed their socialist and militant stances: always an intriguing twist; an ideology which appears to distinguish them from their fist-raising peers. On this day of the Prince of Peace, I wonder what would Jesus do if asked to condone pacifism. Many of the Welsh in those days of rage sought an uneasy blend of resistance and endurance, as the lessons of their Beibl translated by William Morgan must have infused their dreams of liberation with a rather mystical, otherworldly tinge compared to Little Red Books or even the IRA's Green Book. Better the Black Book of Carmarthen, Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin, "Merlin's fort."

This week, I had featured Anthony Brockway's related "The Wolf Man Knew My Father" guide to Welsh popular culture; his blog "Babylon Wales" displays excellent snippets, pictorial and anecdotal, about this theme. It even mentions Mark E Smith and his admiration of Arthur Machen! The Fall were always fans of this alchemical scribe's influence on everyone from H.P. Lovecraft to Borges to Guillermo del Toro. MES: "The real occult's in the pubs of the East End." Spectre vs. Rector! Coach & Horses: I reviewed that song and its CD "Reformation Post TLC," on Amazon US.

"Babylon Wales" also reviews another favorite artist of mine, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci's singer Euros Childs' CD "Chops," and a link at the right of that month's archive takes us to Welsh Rare Beat 2. Gruff Rhys, of Super Furry Animals, had been instrumental in reviving the Sain-label's best from this period of acid-folk efflorescence. The reissue label, Finders Keepers, boasts freaky platters reissued from the Welsh Riviera of Dyfed, Anatolia, Hungary, Japan, and even France. Not to mention their splendidly titled cult craze curio mixtapes from Andy Votel: "Songs in the Key of Death" & "Music to Make Girls Cry." This hip map of the "Dyfed Triangle" comes from:Welsh Rare Beat 2 Press Release


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