Tag Archives: Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas, The Quirky Welsh Poet, Died This Day, Age 39, 64-Years Ago; November 9, 1953.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dylan_Thomas


Though he died when I was but 3-months old, I in my late teens felt I had a special connection to him in that I lived in Uplands, Swansea — in “Uplands House“, no less — across the road from where he was born.

I outlined much of that in this December 7, 2015 post. I don’t see a point in rehashing it again. You can just read it in the older post. {Thank You}


First song from the “The Boy With A Note” CD shown above ()


Here is his very-Welsh voice.


Related posts:
++++ Check Categories ‘Astronomy& ‘Events’>>>>


by Anura Guruge

Cambridge 2015 Christmas Revels, The ‘Welsh Celebration’ — The “Thank You” Video.

by Anura Guruge


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Click image to access the 2:06 minute video (a stills montage) on Vimeo.


Given that this was a Fantabulous “will linger in your soul for years to come” performance, the “THANKS” really should be from us — those privileged enough to have been able to attend a show at the awe-inspiring ‘Sanders Theatre’ during 2015 Christmas. (We attended the Friday, December 11 kick-off performance).

Can’t wait for 2016 Christmas Revels. What would that be … about 340 days from now. This year we might try to attend some of their, i.e., Cambridge Revels, programs other than the gala Christmas bash.

“Thank YOU” Cambridge Revels. You made MY Christmas — especially so by mentioning ‘Cwmdonkin Drive‘. That was special. Thank YOU.


Related posts:
>> Cambridge 2015 Welsh Revels: Fantabulous.
>> Cambridge 2015
Welsh Revels: Pictures.
>> Cambridge 2015
Welsh Revels: Program.
>> Cambridge 2015 Welsh Revels.


by Anura Guruge


Cambridge 2015 Christmas Revels, The ‘Welsh Celebration’ — Absolutely Fantabulous.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Cambridge 2015
Welsh Revels
: Program.
>> Cambridge 2015 Welsh Revels.

** Dylan Thomas & I.
** Dylan Thomas: ‘A Boy With A Note’.

>> Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.
>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.
>> Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>


Click to ENLARGE.




Pictures from last night provided by Revels.

Photographs by (and copyright belonging to) Roger Ide.

Click to ENLARGE.

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Lavish Production.

Brilliant.

Authentic & Empathetic.

Singing bordering on Divine.


Yes, I will readily admit that I love ‘Revels‘ — and have for years. But, I am also a stickler for tradition and class and will differentiate between brilliant, v. good and not so good as I did here.

The ‘Welsh Celebration’ Christmas Revels 2015, opening night performance yesterday, in Cambridge at the elaborate ‘Sanders Theatre‘, was outstandingly good in every facet.

This morning Teischan, Deanna and I, all veterans of Revels past, were debating whether last night was the BEST Revels we have ever seen! That alone is one heck of a testament — since I have been to about 9 and Deanna and Teischan to more than 6.

Yes, the Welshness appeals to me since Wales is one of the 4 places I consider as ‘Home’. That they actually mentioned Cwmdonkin Drive, as to where a Christmas present being delivered, had come from was an added bonus. Not sure how many people even heard the name — Cwmdonkin — or knew what it meant. I would have to think that I was the ONLY person there last night that had actually lived on Cwmdonkin Drive — directly opposite Dylan Thomas’ house.

Very authentic. A lot of men looked Welsh. The slag piles were beautifully rendered.

That they did ‘Sospan Fach‘, a classic Welsh ditty (invariably sung at Rugby matches), was another bonus. It was GOOD (but I share with you, below, my favorite version).

The requisite elements of any Christmas Revels — Morris Dance, Mummer’s Play, Sword Dance, Dona Nobis Pacem, Sussex Mummer’s Carol, Horn Dance — were of an extremely high class. But I expect that from Cambridge Revels — who are THE ‘Mother Ship’ of Revels.

The Sword Dance was exquisite and elaborate. Wow. A girl slipped and fell during it. The audience gasped as one — that was how everybody, at the edge of their seats — was engrossed in the display. She got up at once and continued without a hitch. Given the reaction from the audience they might want to incorporate that slip into future performances.

Musically it was a Master Class, especially the signing. Bravo. THANK YOU.

The singing segments in the Second Half were goose bump inducing. The audience signing Dona Nobis Pacem was WOW! Well it is Cambridge.

Well I do NOT want to appear that I am gushing TOO MUCH since we consider Revels North, at Dartmouth, OUR Revels. So we don’t want them to think that I am glorifying Cambridge too much. SMILE. We go to the Revels North ‘Scottish Bash‘ next week. Yes, TWO (2) Revels for 2015.

Brilliant production. Outstanding performance. Bravo. Kudos.

Thank YOU.



Even MORE pictures by Roger Ide.
Click to access.


MY Favorite rendition of ‘Sospan Fach‘ — and OF COURSE it is by Max Boyce.

Remember I went to University in Wales (in Swansea) and essentially grew up there.

maxsosphans

Click to access YouTube video. Sospan Fach starts at around 3:20. This is Sospan Fach at its very best and Max was the master. IF you haven’t heard Max Boyce before THANK ME for enhancing your lfe.


Cambridge Christmas Revels, ‘Welsh Celebration’, Sumptuous Program Book Available Online (Gratis).

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by Anura Guruge


RevelsCambridge10182015Related posts:
** Dylan Thomas & I.
** Dylan Thomas: ‘A Boy With A Note’.

>> Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.
>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.
>> Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>


The Program Guides for Christmas Revels,
whether Cambridge (Mother Ship) or Our Own ‘North‘ (at Dartmouth),
are always brilliantly produced — eminently collectible —
works of art.

We are lucky that Cambridge Revels has made their 2015 Christmas
program, for the ‘Welsh Celebration’, available online as a
clean, safe and easy-to-load PDF.

Here is the LINK to download this sumptuously produced guide.

ENJOY.

Merry Christmas.

Oh yea! We are going to BOTH.


A few pages, NOT IN ORDER, reproduced
so that you can savor and salivate.

Click TO ENLARGE.

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Dylan Thomas & I — Just Ahead Of Cambridge ‘Welsh Christmas’ Revels.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
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by Anura Guruge


RevelsCambridge10182015Related posts:
** Dylan Thomas: ‘A Boy With A Note’.

>> Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.
>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.
>> Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>


Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands, Swansea.
Yes, “Uplands House” was set inside a
HUGE sloping garden.

dylanthomascwm11

Click to ENLARGE.


‘Laugharne’ relative to Swansea
(and the famed rugby & mining town Llanelli).

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Click to ENLARGE.


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Dylan Thomas.

2015 Christmas Revels by Cambridge ‘Revels’, which will start this Friday, is based on a “Welsh Celebration” with Dylan Thomas, the famed dipsomaniacal and chain-smoking Welsh poet, to the fore.

Dylan Thomas (who should never be confused with ‘Bob’) & I share a connection.

No I never met him. He was born October 27, 1914 and died November 9, 1953. As such he died when I was 2 months old.

I was never a Dylan Thomas scholar and to be honest am, at best, only familiar with his most famous works, e.g., Under Milk Wood“.

The connection that we share is that I too, like he, lived on Cwmdonkin Drive in the ‘Uplands‘ district of Swansea, Wales — this being when I did my first degree (a B.Sc. in Computer Technology) at the University College of Swansea from 1971 to 1974 (before joining IBM).

I actually lived directly across the road from the semi-detached house (now with the obligatory blue plaque commemorating its historic significance) in which he was born and spent the first 19 years of this relatively short life.

I rented a ‘wing’ in ‘Uplands House’ — an old, rather dilapidated Squire’s Mansion owned by a retired couple who rented much of the house to mature students and recent graduates. I managed to get the ‘wing’ because my adoptive parents could afford the rent (given that my education, in full, was paid for by UNESCO).

When I moved to ‘Uplands House’, after getting kicked out of another boarding house because I broke the rules about visiting girlfriends, I had never heard of Dylan Thomas. But I was still new to Britain having only lived there for just over 2 years — and I had only left Ceylon four years earlier. But my then ‘live-in’ girlfriend, who was to be my first wife, was very au fait with Dylan Thomas’ work. But there was little she didn’t know about English literature or for that matter most things cultural, historic and social. She was a star scholarship pupil from a prestigious (good ol’) British Grammar School. She was beyond clever. I never worked out why somebody as clever as her saw in I. But it was great. She taught me much. And it was she who took me across the road one day and said “look, Dylan Thomas’ house”. She then had to tell me who he was …

When we eventually got a car we, for the heck of it, drove around quite a bit. And that is how I also visited Laugharne, where Dylan lived during his last years and where he is buried. Laugharne was an easy and scenic drive from Swansea. I remember doing the ‘Dylan tour’ of Laugharne at least twice and on one of these visits sitting by his grave.

So between Cwmdonkin Drive and Laugharne I feel I definitely have a connection with this great (but ‘misguided) Welshman.



Dylan Thomas & Ralph McTell — “The Boy With A Note”: In Preparation For Cambridge Revels.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.

>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.
>> Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>

++++ Refer to ‘Highland Games’ page (↑) for other Scottish music posts ↑↑↑↑


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“The Boy With A Note” CD by Ralph McTell. Click to access Amazon listing. A musical biography of Dylan Thomas.


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YouTube video of Ralph McTell singing “Summer Girls”, from the CD — one of its many evocative, very easy on the ears, songs.


Dylan Thomas, the Welsh poet (who died young at 39), best known for Under Milk Wood, is due for a resurgence of fame, at least in New England, because Cambridge ‘Revels’ (the ‘mothership’ as I call them) is doing a “Welsh Celebration” as the theme of their Christmas (Solstice) show — whereas ‘Revels North‘, (Dartmouth as I call them) are doing a ‘”Scottish Bash“. So two very British, very celtic shows by the two NE ‘Revels’ powerhouses. The “Welsh Celebration“, as I immediately knew it would be even before I read the ‘blurb’, invokes Dylan Thomas — since he is BEST known in the States for A Child’s Christmas In Wales.

Well Dylan (as well known for his dipsomania as for his classic words) and I have a connection. I know that most of you don’t fully appreciate my Welshness and have no idea that my distinctive accent has very Welsh undertones. Well given this connection I wanted to do a few posts about Dylan ahead of the ‘Revels’.

This magical CD, by Ralph “Streets of London” McTell, was a good place to start. I have had a copy of it for 23 years and still listen to it! It is one of my favorite CDs, and if the truth be known I have two copies since I like to have one in the car.

Watch the above YouTube and you will understand. Ralph McTell is an amazingly gifted musician.

There is also a story as to HOW I ended up with that CD.

In 1992 I was in London doing a seminar. In those days, from 1986 to 1998, I used to go back to the U.K. 2 to 3 times (sometimes more) a year to do seminars. So this was anothre one of those trips. The seminar was at the Holiday Inn, in Swiss Cottage, London — one of my preferred venues for London seminars. As was always the case those days I had a rental car since I liked to drive around my ol’ stomping grounds in the evening. And that is what I was doing one evening, listening to the BBC on the car radio, when I started to hear these songs. I was captivated. Loved them. I wanted that music. But for the world of me the BBC never told me who it was and where the music came from. Aaahhh!

I lucked out. All the UK seminars were invariably done for the UK IBM Consultancy firm called Xephon. Xephon and I went back a long time. My primary contact at Xephon was Mark Lillycrop, a giant of a man in many ways, and not just because he was 6′ 7″ and as such qualified per the British definition for a ‘giant’. I explained my dilemma to Mark. I begged him to find out where the music came from and to get the music for me. Mark did! He contacted the BBC. Tracked down what the program had to have been. Mark is resourceful. Today, via Facebook, where he is a ‘friend’, I thanked him for this AGAIN. He smilingly pointed out that it was NOT easy in 1992 — when there was no Web or Amazon. He is, of course, right.

So that is the story of how I got the CD.

You don’t have to jump through those hoops. You can just order it from Amazon.

Trust me. Great CD. Tells you the whole story of Dylan Thomas, graphically, with music. Basically every other track is a genuine song with short narrations, by Ralph, in between. Listen to “Summer Girls”.

More on Dylan this week.

In the meantime try saying Cwmdonkin Drive. Yes, Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands, Swansea.


Beaujolais Nouveau 2013: Celebrations In Swansea, Wales At The Morgans Hotels.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>>
Sherry-Lehmann — Nov. 15, 2013.
>> 2013 race to London — Nov. 13, 2013.
>> Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 Day — Oct. 17, 2013.
>> My review of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau

>>  2012 — Nov. 15, 2012.
++++
Search on Nouveau for ALL the 2012 & 2013 posts

and there were many >>>>


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One of the Morgans Hotels in Swansea. Do NOT remember it.

I, even today, consider Swansea my ‘home town’.

I spent 3 of the best years of my life, 1971 – 1974, in Swansea. I would not be seated here, writing this, if I had not gone to Swansea. Swansea is where I went, kind of on a whim, to get my first degree — in computer technology. My 3 years there was a study in riotous hedonism coupled with intense amount of energy expended on learning to program, programming languages and operating systems. i didn’t go to many classes. There were some that I never attended, at all.  In the British system of the time, per centuries old tradition, there was no continuous assessments, quizzes or tests. Attending class was also not mandatory. All you had to do was sit for a STIFF set of exams at the end of each year, each exam 3 hours long — and typically you had about 6 you needed to sit. If you passed your 1st year exams you were allowed to go to the 2nd year and if you passed your 2nd year to your 3rd and final. And then, at the end of your 3rd year, you had your FINALS. That determines whether you got a degree or not. So, despite not attending classes, living a very hedonistic lifestyle I still managed to get a degree and I didn’t even sit for one exam because I had no idea about the subject since I had never attended a single class! But, the British system was made for reprobates like me. 100/100 was not the limit on an exam you took! Aaahh! At the top of the exam paper it would say something along the lines of ‘correctly answering 6 of the 9 questions will enable you to get full marks’. So each question was worth around 16.7 marks — though you always got a few points knocked off. But, with luck you could get 10 to 15 points PER question. So 6 got you 90. But, IF you, in the 3 hours managed to answer ALL 9 you could get 120 or more. So that was my strategy. I knew I could ace, more than ace, anything to do with programming, computer systems and some level of calculus. So, I would set out to get 120 in the exams I sat. It is the total of the 6 exams that count. So I could scrape by and still get an Honours degree even if I stayed in bed during one of the final exams. Plus, I had an unconditional job offer, degree or no degree, from IBM. But, I wanted to get a degree just for the heck of it. So, suffice to say, I have basically good and fun memories of Swansea.

I do NOT remember these hotels from my time there. I wasn’t into hotels at the time. I was young.

I lived, for 2 years, in a delightful old mansion, with a bunch of older reprobates and an old retired couple who owned the place, called ‘Uplands House‘ — opposite Dylan Thomas’ birthplace on Cwmdonkin Drive. Can you say that: Cwmdonkin Drive. I looked for it on Google Maps. Have a dreadful feeling that it was torn down. It was old and kind of decrepit — but huge.

It appears that Swansea is now famous for its Beaujolais Nouveau celebrations.

That is new to me. Though you could drink in England when you were quite young, definitely by 16, I didn’t start drinking till I basically left Swansea. Drinking, and especially being drunk, would have got in the way of all the fun I was having! That is the reason that I also never did drugs though for periods of time I hung out with some heavy inhalers. I didn’t want anything ‘clouding’ my brain because that would have prevented me from savoring every second of my life. So to me, hedonism was always with a clear mind sans the need for any external stimulants. But, as I am the first to admit, I am strange. That said, I would not, even today, swap my 3 years in Swansea for the promise of not being strange.