Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A lluman glân Dewi a ddyrchafant

When I arrived in Coventry from North Wales the English thought I had a Scottish/Irish accent and teased me a bit for it. I was 8.

When I arrived in Cardiff the Welsh knew I had an English accent and it was pretty rough for me. I was 12.

I left Wales at 18. My mum moved away so I haven't been back as much as I would have liked.

Wales has more of a sense of itself, lots to be proud of, lots to be angry about. Hatred of the English is really just opposition to power and dominion. Something I've always shared. It's the same thing Northerners feel about Southerners. It's the same thing the Cornish, The Scottish, The Irish, feel - not to mention the many places we enslaved and exploited under the Empire.

Still it is not very powerful to be an English almost teenager with glasses and no friends trying to find new friends. .

That said there is, or was, a cultural identity to Cardiff that embraced me and that I embraced. The first pubs I drank in were Cardiff pubs. The first romances I had were Cardiff romances (unrequited generally). The first bands I played in were Cardiff bands. The first place my words were performed was Cardiff. I love the city. I love it. I love its parks, its accent, its culture, its people.

I've been accepted by a small welsh village and rejected and then accepted by a small welsh city. I think I've done my time, paid my dues, I know that I'm not Welsh. But I also think I'll never be properly English. Some people I know have objected to me classifying myself as British. Well that's as close as I can get really. But still I feel part Welsh.

And certainly I approve of holidays that celebrate revolutionary attitudes (title translates as: And they will raise the pure banner of Dewi) Big believer in the need to fight the power (in a non-violent way). But also I don't like the undertones of nationalism, even believing that we need more community and cultural identity in our culture, the stupidity of saying any country or people are better than another just won't go away.

All that said Happy St David's Day.


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