The drums have been beating and the cymbals crashing, yes its 100 years since Dylan Thomas was born.
What we don’t hear much of, is the fact that in South Wales he was largely ignored at the time, as being too ‘English for the Welsh’. His voice didn’t explode with valley’s lilts, neither did it ooze the dulcet whines of inferiority complex.*
He threw whisky bottles and fags at Welsh Chapel hypocrisy, not to mention dropping his pants without as much as a by your leave, at any woman who just happened to be passing by, Bible thumper or not.
All good stuff in my book, the man lived and thus his ability to knock out a tidy poem or two.
A fan of the 1920’s writer Caradoc Evans, who believed that the foundations of the ‘Welsh way of life’, were prejudice, philistinism and sexual guilt*, Thomas even today, is still ignored by those ivory towered Welsh literary creationists in Welsh academia.
This sorry lot, prefer to excuse the extreme Welsh nationalist antics of those grand old arsonists and bombers, Saunders Lewis and John Jenkins.
Dylan? Don’t be silly, he wasn’t a Welsh speaker for starters, how much more do you need to know?
Thomas was a master of the written word and like any fine writer, he ignored the bleats of conventional tedium. A career sexist to his core Heaven forbid (feminists will be trying to erase Henry VIII from the history books next!), a drunk, an exploiter of friendship, but what the hell, he’s in good company when it comes to literary genius.
And as for the highbrow, self-serving neuroses of bookish Welsh academia.
Those who can’t, teach.
*I know how he felt!
Julian Ruck – Editor