Published on 1st January 2009 by Peter Finch.
In this ambitious offering from the Real… series, following acclaim for Real Cardiff and Real Cardiff Two, Finch takes on the alien land he didn’t know was his, until he grew and went to see it: Real Wales. A cotton-wool nation, full of football and big-brother slim-screen television, or a land of demons, where white robed druids would wail at you through a never ending mist?
In muscular, syncopated and witty prose, Finch presents 30 years of journeys through the familiar, the bizarre, and to all those places on the TV weather map he never before had cause to visit.
In a country of small and scattered populations, who are all certain of who they are, and where doubt is a quality none possess, Finch comes across poetry in Merthyr, an abandoned castle in Dinas Powys, UFOs and Waldo Williams in West Wales, Jack Kerouac on the beach at Gwbert, the military at Epynt, bizarre sports in Llanwrtyd, flying gravy in Cricieth, panic on Snowdon, and a stripper at the Royal Welsh.
Whether reading a mountain as Braille or clearing a tent at Hay with one poem, Finch seeks to embrace the permanently stern independence of spirit he sees across the country. Personal but never pedestrian, in a country where the past is so near the surface but can never quite be picked up, he accompanies oddballs and novelists, historians and local experts, to find something usually forgotten in a world of oil-powered multi-national commercial empires and federal enormity: Small is beautiful.
‘Real’ Series Editor: Peter Finch