Once a town, now a city, Newport is where markontour’s parents were born and bred. They fell in love in the sixth form of Newport Grammar and fifty-six years later the three of us plus Mum’s older brother, my Uncle Malcolm, undertook a pre-Xmas tour of the haunts of their youth. Along the way I learned a thing or two about the Newport Uprising of 1839, how the snow fell so deep in 1947 that schools were closed for three blissful months, how the New Year was celebrated in the 1950s, and what constitutes a dingle.
Being a creature of habit, every year on our summer holiday I read a biography of a favourite band. It tends to drive my partner mad, because serial playing of their entire back catalogue accompanies the historical investigation. This year, I’m pleased to say, conflict was avoided, because while The Stone Roses: War and Peace was an engrossing read, the band only knocked out two albums, the first of which was of such sublime, epoch-defining quality that it is what the ‘Repeat All’ button was invented for.