For Wales Arts Review:
This is, we are told, a ‘post-factual age’. The EU referendum has seen myth collide with fact, and myth has won to devastating effect. It has been said that the UK has ‘had enough of experts’, and such a situation has proven to be fertile ground for a politics based on untruth.
To mark the 100-year anniversary of Dylan Thomas’ birth, Wales – or, more accurately, the BBC – has been gripped with an attempt to align the poet’s life and work with the country of his birth. There is nothing untoward about this initiative in itself – anniversary-governed programming plays a huge role in the BBC’s arts output – but the tying of Thomas to Wales and its national and cultural identity doesn’t quite work here, and belies a quiet desperation to inject a dose of nationalism into a subject that doesn’t quite warrant it.
To kick-start the promotion for their upcoming eleventh studio album, the Manics have just released the new record’s title track, ‘Rewind the Film’. It’s a great song, and the addition of Richard Hawley is a perfect touch, but the real emotional weight lies in the accompanying video. The film depicts a day in the life of Trehafod in the Rhondda Valley, and is described by Michael Cragg in The Guardian, somewhat brazenly and patronisingly, as ‘[following] an elderly man around a dilapidated village, before he and the locals enjoy a cheery game of Bingo.’