For a quick trip to radio heaven, listen to Cerys Matthews’ show from 9 June 2019. Jeff Towns of Dylan’s Mobile Bookstore joins Cerys to discuss Idris Davies’ poem ‘The Bells of Rhymney’, which may be the most influential poem you’ve never heard. Documenting life in the South Wales mining villages of the 1920s, and based on Davies’ own experiences of following his father down the pits aged 14, the poem clearly influenced Dylan Thomas’ ‘Under Milkwood’ (just listen to the start), inspired Woody Guthrie’s ‘Talking Centralia’ (or ‘Talking Miner’), and was put to music by Pete Seeger, only to be covered first by Bob Dylan and then The Byrds.
George The Poet just won several British Podcast of the Year plaudits and deservedly so. “Everything you know is a story”, he explains in episode one of ‘Have you heard George’s podcast?’, “like how when I was at school Pluto was a planet”. The main story-tellers of his community – young, black, poor and urban – are rappers. Collectively they now provide the content for a multi-billion pound global enterprise and yet, he laments, their stories of poverty, violence and exclusion aren’t much different from those told by N.W.A. back when George was growing up. Why?
Ms Markontour has not been well in the New Year, but the one upside is that we have had lots of time to discover and catch up on Curious Under The Stars, a magical and uplifting BBC radio drama. Having the privilege of sitting listening to it while gazing out on to the ever-beautiful landscape of the Brecon Beacons has made it all the more enchanting.