Monday, 12 November 2012

W is for Cymru

I was doing a round-the-world-in-music thingy wasn't I? A quick catch up, we have so far heard from Argentina, Ghana, France, England, Iceland, Japan, Yemen, Brazil and Thailand. Today it's Wales for W. The Cymry themselves prefer Cymru of course, and who am I to argue? Given that the noun Welsh is merely a Germanic word meaning foreigner it must be particularly galling to use.

It seems a bit silly really to use any name for a country other than the name that its inhabitants use. Though to do away with all these other names would be to lose some linguistic biodiversity I suppose. Just had a quick check of the countries so far, the only initial that would change would be J for Japan, becoming instead N for Nihon. Too late now though, and sorry Cymru, I need the W.

To my slight shame I am monoglot, I find the thought of other languages (and language in general) fascinating but lack the capacity for the sustained effort it must take to thoroughly learn another language. I'm determined to learn German and I suppose, given that I sometimes spout off about running away to live in Cymru, Cymraeg wouldn't be a bad one to learn either.  Oh, and Klingon of course.

The three years I spent in Lampeter left very few linguistic traces in my brain. Dim Parcio - No ParkingDisgo Heno! - Disco Tonite!  That second one is related to my favourite fragment, the road sign depicting a bent, elderly couple in Welsh (sorry) bears the word Henoed, that is, people in the evening or twilight of their existence.  Very poetic.

And so finally, the track. It's by the Super Furry Animals, it's from their album Mwng, which is sung entirely in Welsh.

Super Furry Animals ymaelodi a'i ymylon

Friday, 2 November 2012

Return to Wigan

The pre-Christmas ceasefire with my mother-in-law saw me up in Wigan earlier this week.  Normally I'm content to while away the duration out in the sticks, but on this occasion a re-tweet from Pete Paphides had me eager to brave central Wigan's baffling road traffic system. For you see, Static Records has reopened. I wrote a bit about the place once. Too often this blog has documented the closure of beloved eateries and ye olde record shops, so it's nice to see a slight reversal to the trend.

Situated just behind the bus station in what must be Wigan's bohemian quarter (we went to a vegetarian cafe across the road later on) I walked past it once, they haven't got a sign up yet.  I had hoped to be able to take a picture for the post, I just hope when they do get one it'll be as snazzy as the old one.

Anyway, I walked in and started to flip through the first box of records (Soundtracks). The owner emerged and after we'd exchanged hellos he gave me a little sideways look and said he thought he recognised me from the old shop.  Turns out that was ten years ago. Bloody hell. Very gratifying to be remembered. But maybe I need to update my haircut or something.  As I said in my previous post he's a really friendly bloke and we nattered away happily regardless of the ten year hiatus in our acquaintance.

But to business, what did I buy?  As always my wants list evaporated from memory the second I stepped over the shop's threshold so I resorted to looking at every single record in the shop.  I was tempted by a Shangri La's album (Charly reissue of Leader of the Pack) and by Chet Atkins picks on the Beatles whose fantastic sleeve warranted display on the shop's wall. By coincidence I'd given this album a quick listen on Spotify a few days earlier. It's not bad, but I'd have been buying it for the sleeve.

There were others but I'm writing this two days later recovering from the worst hangover I've had in months and my brain feels a bit damaged. I think there were some Jazz things, but they might have been a bit pricier (ie: a tenner each) and in fact they might even have been in a different shop. And an album entitled The Zither Goes Pop, that was definitely in there.

In the end I settled on the first Derek and Clive album and a recording of Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats (taking in, as the bloke said, both ends of the comedy spectrum). I've never heard the latter, read by the man himself apparently so looking forward to getting that back to the turntable. I was drawn to it by the sleeve, which shows that picture of the Jellicle cats dancing. It freaks me out a bit, they look so weird.

So there you are, if you're a seeker-out of vinyl and you ever find yourself in Wigan now you know where to go.