Tag: Swansea

Broke down engine blues

May 27, 2017 0 Comments
Broke down engine blues

The story that follows isn’t unusual, or dramatic, or life-changing.  But it says something about the country we now live in, and what an historically abnormal attitude we have towards it. I needed to go to London for the day for a meeting.  The train left Swansea on time at 8:29am, and most of the […]

Continue Reading »

George Ace, pioneer cyclist

March 13, 2017 0 Comments
George Ace, pioneer cyclist

Wandering among the memory theatres of Wales over the last year or two I’ve come across some fine institutions, some striking objects and some remarkable characters.  In Tenby Museum they remember the happily named George Ace, a distinguished figure from the heroic days of cycling. George Ace was born in 1861 and came from Swansea.  […]

Continue Reading »

Phil Eglin’s wobbly jugs

February 19, 2017 0 Comments
Phil Eglin’s wobbly jugs

Haptic art is alive.  Marcel Duchamp’s pale followers have failed, over the last hundred years, to snuff out the pleasure of making things with your hands.  Squeezing red acrylic paint out of a tube and trailing it with a finger over a canvas still has irresistible appeal.  So does mixing and shaping clay and hardening […]

Continue Reading »

Glenys

January 21, 2017 0 Comments
Glenys

There’s only one person in Swansea known by everyone as ‘Glenys’.  And there couldn’t be a more popular or fitting choice for the Glynn Vivian’s first big exhibition after its five-year sleep than a retrospective of the works of Glenys Cour, born in 1924 and still painting daily at the age of 92. What’s more, […]

Continue Reading »

The new Glynn Vivian: Day 1

October 16, 2016 1 Comment
The new Glynn Vivian: Day 1

For five years the façade of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery has been hidden by tall wooden hoardings.  A week or two ago the screens came down, and yesterday, at last, the ‘new’ Glynn Viv opened its doors to the public. In the morning a long parade of people walked through the city centre to […]

Continue Reading »

Generosity of a bookseller

September 11, 2016 2 Comments
Generosity of a bookseller

In Swansea institutions don’t get more crustily venerable than the Royal Institution of South Wales.  But people too can grow into institutions.  Jeff Towns, the first speaker in the RISW’s new season of talks, can’t deny that he too is a Swansea fixture.  True, he doesn’t go as far back as 1835, but since he […]

Continue Reading »

Swansea art now

July 23, 2016 2 Comments
Swansea art now

Set alongside Cardiff, its ancient rival, Swansea wins no prizes.  Or so it seems. Political and financial power has long been concentrated in the capital.  Cardiff’s economic magnet increases its force year by year.  As a shopping centre Swansea has steadily lost ground – even Carmarthen has more to offer these days.  Jobs tend to […]

Continue Reading »

A Roman poet in west Wales

April 3, 2016 0 Comments
A Roman poet in west Wales

Martial – Marcus Valerius Martialis – was a first century Roman poet.  He came to live in Rome from Augusta Bilbilis, near Calatayud in modern Spain, and made his name through his hundreds of short poems or ‘epigrams’.  Witty, punchy and far too foulmouthed and sexually explicit for broadcast on Radio 4, only now are […]

Continue Reading »

The destruction of culture: a plea to Swansea Council

March 13, 2016 7 Comments
The destruction of culture: a plea to Swansea Council

What makes a city a city?  I mean, in the sense of a particular, distinctive city.  Its people, certainly, its geography, landscape and architecture, also its economy and politics.  But what really sets a city apart from its neighbours is its culture – that network of traditions, customs, institutions and habits, most of them with […]

Continue Reading »

A day at the cricket

August 15, 2015 1 Comment
A day at the cricket

Friday morning. I get to St Helen’s at about ten past eleven. Play has already started: Glamorgan v Gloucestershire, County Championship, Division 2. Day two of a four day game. It’s £15 to get in. I say to the ticket man, ‘I don’t suppose there are concessions for older persons?’. He gives me a pitying […]

Continue Reading »