Sunday, July 29, 2018

Welsh "not"

Thanks to the Observer for enabling me to get better acquainted with another of the dads on the school run. Gruff Rhys spoke to journalist James McMahon of his childhood in Gwynedd, of a love of music that developed (and was encouraged) from an early age and of his strong sense of Welsh identity.

Personally speaking, it was particularly cheering to hear that Super Furry Animals were never very comfortable at being lumped in with Britpop - but it did seem odd that Rhys then went on to laud Welsh-language anarchist punk outfit Anhrefn for finishing their gigs with a rendition of the Welsh national anthem. However, it subsequently turned out that he'd been completely misquoted, much to his mortification, because an all-important "not" had been omitted: "Anhrefn ... refused to sing the national anthem after gigs which was often the norm until then in a Welsh-language context. As a teenager I found their stand to be revolutionary. They helped me form my political outlook in that self-determination and cultural self-confidence didn't mean competing in 19thC-style jingoism, or being hateful or phobic towards others. Popular culture could be incisive, inventive and forward thinking."

The error has now been corrected, thankfully, though Rhys did nevertheless issue "apologies to the visionary Anhrefn that it was ever insinuated that they would have been an anthem-happy kind of band!"

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