Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Edge of the Forest

Hay Horse Fair was a good place to go if you enjoyed a fight, at least that was the opinion of the old-timers in my local Radnorian pub when I was growing-up. Nowadays locals surely approach the Hay Literary Festival in much the same way as Amazonian Indians view so-called civilisation, peering out at an alien world from the edge of the forest.

Back in the good old days Welsh writers were more likely to be found in prison than in the pages of the Guardian, now it seems that the present generation can't wait to rub shoulders with the London glitterati in Y Gelli. But wait ..... no-one of consequence noticed that they were even there or that Hay on Wye was actually in Wales. It seems we're missing out on a great marketing opportunity by not raising the Welsh profile at Hay - although none of our politicians seemed bothered when the very successful Biker show was hounded out of Builth for no good reason.

Anyway, ever eager to help here's a suggestion .... why don't the Assembly government arrange for a few "Home Rule" slogans to be painted around the town. It was Paul Theroux who said the English only took an Irishman seriously when he was holding a gun and I guess the same thing applies to the Welsh. Give the glitterati the frisson that they are entering a conflict zone and the Welsh profile of the festival could be raised for the price of a couple of cans of Dulux.


Anonymous said...

I spent a day at the Gŵyl with my daughter. I'd never been before. I wasn't expecting to find anything Welsh there, so I was surprised and pleased in a way to find one or two slivers of Welshness in amongst the overwhelming English, middle class smugness.
Oddly, I found myself feeling the same kind of self-consciousness about speaking Welsh with my daughter as I do across the border in Hereford and beyond.
I now feel like I've 'done' y Gelli, and since it's always on the same week as the Urdd Eisteddfod, I don't feel the need to 'do' it again.

Anonymous said...

Overwhelming middle class smugness ..... that rings a bell.

Anonymous said...

Hay is an independent country :)