I’ve never been “Flavour of the Month” before

9 10 2011

After this weekend’s mammoth Welsh weekend of sporting greatness it seems the Welsh are the flavour of the month;

“…..Now that England, Ireland and Scotland are out of the World Cup, it is natural for all British rugby supporters to hurl their weight behind the one remaining sceptr’d nation. We are all Welsh now.”

I’m not sure I’m comfortable with being a passing fancy. Then I read something even worse, it seems that the sporting results were part of a wider movement; Wales is officially ace;

There are three sheep for every human, and in winter it’s the wettest place in Britain. But today Wales, the most maligned member of the union, can hold its head up as the mightiest after becoming the only British country to secure a place in the semi-finals of the rugby World Cup.
Welsh rugby fans last night were celebrating a clinically executed 22-10 victory over Ireland in the quarter-finals, the first time Wales will play a semi-final in 24 years. And across the rest of the United Kingdom, the feeling was that we’re all happy to be Welsh now.
Yesterday’s triumph caps a run of recent sporting victories for Wales, which included a 2-0 win over the Swiss football team earlier last week, and last month’s 2-1 defeat of Montenegro, the team that England failed to beat on Friday

But it’s not just in sport that Wales is excelling. In food, literature and music, the country plagued by clichés of miners and male voice choirs is proving itself to be more than a match for its neighbours over the dyke.

Pontypridd actress Kimberley Nixon is the best thing about the new Channel 4 comedy Fresh Meat and Alex Jones is a semi-permanent fixture on BBC TV, appearing every day of the week on The One Show and Strictly Come Dancing. On radio, Cerys Matthews maintains a high profile on Radio 6.
While not previously a destination for gourmets, Wales won its fourth Michelin star last Thursday when the 2012 Michelin guide was published. The Checkers in Montgomery, which opened only in 2008, now joins The Walnut Tree in Abergavenny, The Crown at Whitebrook and Tyddyn Llan in Llan-drillo in boasting the most sought-after international culinary garland. The Checkers is part of a growing foodie scene centred on Abergavenny, home of an annual food festival, which one paper has described as being “to food what Cannes is to film”.
While the film scene is still nothing to give England or Scotland too much cause for concern, in books, the Welsh are on a roll. They already lay claim to Kingsley and Martin Amis, Roald Dahl and Jan Morris, but can now boast such names as Joe Dunthorne, whose debut coming-of-age novel Submarine has been made into a hit film, and Owen Sheers, whose first novel, Resistance, has been translated into 10 languages.
In music, Wales is recognised as home to some of the most original young talents. Yes, it did produce Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones, who both continue to entertain millions on worldwide tours, despite being in their seventies. But a new generation of artists can now be added to a list that includes Manic Street Preachers and Super Furry Animals: there’s Marina and the Diamonds, currently polishing off a second album with Katy Perry’s producers, and The Joy Formidable gearing up for a tour with Foo Fighters.
Cardiff-born Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens, who is fluent in Welsh, says his country is enjoying a golden age. “The slightly hysterical vibe that came with the whole Cool Cymru thing 10 years ago, when people were really pushing being Welsh, that has faded away,” he says. “All that promise is paying off. There’s a lot of talent here – as there always has been – but it has become a lot more usual to take that talent, whether it’s for music or sports or art or whatever, outside the borders of Wales.”
Stephens points to TV presenter Steve Jones as another significant Welsh export. “You’ve got a Rhondda accent presenting the American version of The X Factor – that’s a big deal however you cut it. And people are bringing their good fortune and success home. Michael Sheen put on the massive Passion Play in Port Talbot this year and Manic Street Preachers have con-sistently made sure their success has benefited the communities they came from and the mu-sic scene in Wales in general. Yeah, it’s a pretty good time to be Welsh.”
Jesus have you read that! Wales is cool again. Yes Wales the place that has “three sheep for every human”, the place that’s the “wettest place in Britain”, yes Wales is cool. Yes Wales , “the most maligned member of the union” is cool…………Wait a minute if they have“the feeling was that we’re all happy to be Welsh now” why did they ask  AA Gill to write  the first sentence of the article? (In case you’ve forgotten AA Gill he was the contemptible fucker that described us Welsh as “loquacious, dissemblers, immoral liars, stunted, bigoted, dark, ugly, pugnacious little trolls”. I don’t want to sound bitter about a cunt that uses an affectation like AA but I’ve sent a turd to the Sunday Times every week since 1998. How dare he call us “little“!!!)
I have a few problems with the article. Firstly it’s the patronising and hollow view of a roving eye, please take your roving eye and do one. The people that live in Wales already know Wales is cool. 
Secondly, a few sporting results are not an adequate barometer for the state of an area.  It’s probably true to say that witnessing a sporting victory helps people feel happy, and if it the victory is memorable enough it will be a fantastic memory, but usually it’s a momentary bit of joy it doesn’t create a substantially  “better life” for the people watching.
As good, and thrilling, as this weekend’s two performances were  I wonder if they really made much difference to the TATA steel workers or Conwy County Council workers that are worried about their jobs, could they put aside their worries for more than a few hours? Would someone that was made redundant a fortnight ago be able to share in the joy we’re all feeling?
Thirdly, I can’t stand this sort of article. Articles of this ilk are only produced when  a much maligned area or country has the temerity to do something unexpected, something that shocks funky media types.
All the much-maligned area needs is a few good sporting results, or a newly prominent actor, musician or tv location and the golden light of funky media types falls magically upon it. Henceforth the area becomes an erstwhile much maligned area and transforms, via the magical  golden light of the funky media types, into an area with all the gifts that civilisation can offer; charming boutique hotels, charming boutique beaches, charming boutique artisan bakers and charming boutique ipod stockists. As you can see from the article the totality of an area is involved.
Let’s look at what is making Wales so special at the moment; 3 sporting results, an actress, a tv presenter, a couple of radio presenters, a few over-priced restaurants, a couple of authors and a couple of new bands. This is what constitutes the fantastic new and vibrant place called  “WALES”. Hold on that doesn’t seem much, I must have misread it because the funky media types seem to be bullshitting.
The thing that really aroused my ire was the use of the  annoying ex-clothes horse Steve Jones as a symbol of this “new Wales”. You only need to say that this tosser is a T4 presenter and it’s enough of an indictment. T4 presenters have been described as “so annoying they make me want to punch my TV” and “the most unbearably trendy, contrived, smug, self-satisfied morons with their “oh…yah…so, like uber cool…” attitude and dress sense!”. If he’s a symbol of the new Wales I’ll turn the lights off on my way out.
Do me a favour funky media types leave my home alone, I already like the way it looks.



One response

11 10 2011

Happaned to read the article on sunday and immediately thought WTF?

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