“To begin at the beginning” – there’s really no other way to start a blog about Laughrne, the small former cockle-fishing town on the Carmarthenshire coast which I visited this week to pay homage to its most famous son, Dylan Thomas.
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.
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.
Written for radio, Under Milk Wood has been widely considered impossible to translate into film, such is the profusion of two-line characters and surrealism of the content. Kevin Allen, however, supported by Michael Breen, performance poet Murray Lachlan-Young and actor Rhys Ifans, has done just that and done so magnificently.