Skip to main content

On 10 Welsh connections in my life

                                                    People at eisteddfod, isn't it?

Thinking again about Wales made me try to recall all the things in life that connect me to the land of sheep and nice singing:
  1. My father’s mother was born of Welsh parents, which makes me, er, one eighth Welsh?
  2. Because my father’s family all lived in Liverpool, we often took day trips across the border into north Wales whenever we visited our Scouse ‘rellies’.
  3. When I was about fourteen, we spent a summer holiday in Llangollen. I remember visiting an eisteddfod, and thinking how weird and beautiful it was.
  4. I once learned to say (with a bad accent), the longest place name in the UK (it’s in Anglesey): Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
  5. At a wedding party in the 1980s, I nearly got into a fight with a red-headed Welshman after we had argued all afternoon about Mrs. Thatcher and I had ended up calling him ‘boyo’.
  6. One of my fellow students at art college was the lead singer of the Super Furry Animals. We once played a game of pick-up football (soccer to you ‘Murkins) at night in a deserted square in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter.
  7. When I went to Wales two years ago, I stayed at Baskerville Hall Hotel in Powys. Yes, as in ‘Hound of the’. The only dog I saw, running around the gardens,  was a yapping toy dog that you could fit in the palm of your hand.
  8. One of my best friends in England was proudly Welsh Kim Thomas. That’s actually her full name: Proudly Welsh Kim Thomas.
  9. I’ve always loved films with Richard Burton in, the poetry of Dylan Thomas, and the art of David Jones (a poet and artist whom T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden held in high regard).
  10. And Catherine Zeta-Jones.

See also:

On 10 cool things about being an artist
On 10 things people have said to me at opening nights
On Albee, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Burton
On a follow up to Albee and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

 Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader


  1. Catherine Zeta Jones? Okay then, I'll take Michael Douglas.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Brancusi in Plastic

Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:

Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.

How to etch a linoleum block

Linoleum as a material for printmaking has been used for nearly a hundred years now. Normally, you cut an image out using special gouges similar to woodcut tools, cutting away the lino around the image you want to print. This is called relief printmaking, because if you look at the block from the side, the material that remains stands up in relief from the backing material. You then roll ink with a brayer over the surface of the block, place paper over it, and either print by hand or run it through a press. You can do complex things this way (for example, reduction linocuts), but the beauty of the process is that it is quick, simple, and direct.

A few years ago, I saw some prints that were classified as coming from etched linoleum blocks, and I loved the textures I saw in them. In the last few months, I've been trying to use this technique in my own studio, learning about it as one does these days from websites and YouTube videos. I've also had email exchanges with several pr…

Artist-Writer-Artist: Gerard Woodward

I am extremely pleased that poet and author Gerard Woodward agreed to be interviewed for this series. Gerard and my wife, Patty, were colleagues for a short while at the end of 2008, when Patty taught for one semester at Bath Spa University, where Gerard is a faculty member in the Creative Writing program. Gerard spent the spring semester of 2011 in Chicago on a reciprocal visit. Gerard has published poetry, short-stories, and novels. "Householder", his 1991 collection of poetry, won the Somerset Maugham Award in the UK, and his novel "I'll Go to bed at Noon" was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction. Of his most recent novel, "Nourishment", The Daily Telegraph reviewer wrote: "It is a novel to be savoured, and Woodward is a novelist to be treasured." It turns out that in addition to his success as a writer, Gerard started his adult life in art college, and still draws and paints when he can. So here, from a writer's point of view…