“Everyday that I wake up, I thank the Lord I’m Welsh!” – you might not remember a time when, with the possible exception of being Irish, being a Welsh person was the biggest crime that you could be guilty of in the UK. I suppose it began with Neil Kinnock, especially after that infamous clip of him slipping over on the beach whilst trying to back away from advancing waves, shortly after being elected leader of the Labour Party. You could almost hear the newspaper editor rubbing their hands with glee. Hooray, the new Labour leader is a complete fucking twat! Also, he’s Welsh. Let’s make his life a misery for ever!!
You might remember “Spitting Image”, the satirical weekly puppet show that created wickedly funny (although some would just say wicked) caricatures of political and cultural figures and showed them in what many would call unflattering terms. Kinnock’s puppet was cruel (but funny at the same time). Oh, I can hear what you are all thinking out there – what about the legend that is Tom Jones, the genius judge from “The Voice”. Well this was back in the 1980s. Tom was not quite a legend. Many felt his best days had passed him by, and he was desperately involved in novelty hits (particularly his cover of the Prince song, “Kiss”, in collaboration with The Art of Noise). No, there was no such thing as a cool Welsh person.
Then something happened. That something was a band by the name of the Manic Street Preachers. They challenged everybody’s preconceptions of what it was to be Welsh, and if you didn’t like it then you were immediately told to fuck off. It was glorious. And then Britpop happened and we were suddenly presented with the likes of Super Furry Animals and the glory of Catatonia.
Here’s a nice little slide show of Welsh stuff that somebody has put to the song. Enjoy:
I don’t know for certain if it was ever released as a single (although I could be wrong) but I do remember hearing it played on the radio, hey it was getting late into the 90s now and chart sales were starting to mean less and less. However, I kept on hearing it on the radio, especially on any occasion when I found myself returning to the glorious motherland.
Deffrwch Cymry cysgld gwlad y gan
Dwfn yw’are gwendid
Bychan yw y fflam
Creulon yw’are cynhaeaf
Ond per yw’are don
‘Da’ alaw’are alarch unig
Yn fy mron
Fantastic lyrics, don’t you think?
You don’t understand Welsh – oh, so much for being part of a United bleeding Kingdom. Oh yes, you want us to be United but we have to be United on YOUR ENGLISH TERMS and not on ours. No wonder England is so bloody despised by so many Northern Irish, Scots and Welsh.
Awaken sleepy Wales, land of song
Deep is the weakness, small is the flame
Cruel is the harvest, but fair is the tune
With the song of the lonely swan in my heart
Did that help?
No, can you go and do me a favour and actually have something on the UNION FLAG to represent my country? Yes, the only nation that does not have a visual representation of the flag of the UK because, at the time it was created, Wales was considered to be a PART OF BLOODY ENGLAND.
Or should a phrase that Eng – ger – land?
Good, I’m glad that we got that sorted.
You may feel that I have somewhat lost the plot but it is very difficult to communicate to the English the actual level of cultural, political and even moral superiority that one country has over all the others that are part of the laughingly so called United Kingdom (which might not remain united for long if Scotland manages to get another independence referendum as a result of the entire Brexit thing).
Everyday that I wake up I thank the Lord I’m Welsh
All of this is thrown into sharp relief because I don’t live in Wales anymore. For the last 20 years, I have made my home and raised my family in the last bastion of Celtic culture outside of Wales / Scotland down in Cornwall. I cam down here because I had been made redundant, and there was a job opportunity. I went for it and got the job, and I have loved life down here. It is the only place outside of the motherland that I could ever make my home. Yes, I am an economic migrant.
My first experience of life outside of Wales was the three years that I lived in Nottingham where I went to University. In my first day, I talked to somebody in the lunch queue who genuinely thought that we all worked in coal mines, and that everything was either coal or gas powered. Yup, a twat. On my second day, I went to a safety thing at the workshop where we would be working on sculpture if we opted for it. One telling the person that I cam from a place just outside Newport, he went slightly pale. I only found out later how spectacularly violent a reputation that Newport had outside of Wales (where it actually became the arson capital of the UK). To us, it was just Newport. Fights happened. People got glassed. That’s just what happened if you went out in Newport… and we went to Newport almost every weekend as slightly bored teenagers from Cwmbran (where we had pubs but not a single nightclub, ah that made the trip to the ‘Port so worthwhile… until we realised they were shit).
Last time I went home to the motherland, I took a trip by train into Newport. I didn’t recognise it. I mean I didn’t recognise the train station, or the road when I stepped out of whatever the fuck they considered to be a shit excuse for a train station. I didn’t know where I was. It was a mess. I couldn’t bring myself to walk down Stow Hill for fear of what might have happened to it, and how it might ruin my memories of all the times getting stupidly drunk there.
Hey, that’s just life, eh?
One of the most amazing things about “International Velvet” is simply the slightly sweeter Bonnie Tyler-esque vocals of lead vocalist Cerys Matthews, ranging from being super sweet and girly at one point into roaring like a mighty Welsh lioness at another. It is a beautiful thing to behold. A thing of wonder. The Welsh voice. You may woship at this particular temple if you so wish, I do hereby give you permission. The Tom Jones alter is just over in that direction.
Talking about Tom, Cerys had a minor hit with him when they duetted on the standard “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, with Tom leering all over dear Cerys like some lecherous dirty old bugger. Hey, its Cerys so who can blame him?
Enjoy this live rendition:
Only a few months til Christmas, so until then don’t play it again.