12 February 2010

"Hey bro, where are you from anyway?"


"Yeah, I thought so. I was gonna say, Wales."

No you fucking weren't.

Please, don't lie to me.

You don't know anything about Wales. Nobody does. You drove through it on your way to Ireland after a few days in London. You might know Tom Jones. Princess Diana. You might have an image of a castle. That's it. You wouldn't know a Welsh accent if it was spitting in your clueless face.

Being Welsh, you get used the world knowing fuck-all about your country, or being written off as a corner of England, or as backwards sheep-shagging thugs by the English. VBS continue the tradition of Welsh bashing, and going a step further by zeroing in on my home town of Swansea,

Not one to be derailed by a little heroin epidemic, Swansea’s throwing a major bash for St. David’s day, the Welsh St. Patrick’s Day. The festival starts on the 22nd of February and carries on till March 1st, but expect the colorful bunting to hit Swansea City Center well before. As for the menu, they’re serving “Corn-Fed Chicken Supreme stuffed with a parsley and Laverbread farce, served with a creamy Penderyn Whisky Sauce with Bacon, Bara Brith parfait (Dragon Brasserie).” Yumsies! Looks like we might have to start filming a new episode of Munchies if their Dragon Brasserie is as de-lish as it sounds.

I suppose if you’re one of the few straight laced folks living in a town comprised 11 year-old junkies, 50 year-old junkies, and unemployed crack-heads you’d probably love throwing a festival that made your town feel normal for a few weeks. Even if “normal” in this case means dudes walking around wearing leeks and blood-colored water spurting from the public fountain. Wait a second! Maybe this is how that place got so fucked up in the first place!

Obviously they are taking the piss and they are behind a so far so good documentary about drug culture in Swansea. But let's be fair, this could be any city in almost any country. Obviously Swansea's history and economic deprivation have played a huge role in creating the right atmosphere for such rampant drug abuse but this is not by any means, a unique Swansea experience. What is unique are the accents and the juxtaposition between inner city grit with majestic coastlines, the industrial past and Male-voice choirs.

Here are parts one, two, three and four. Given I spend a lot of time with homeless drug addicts in the States, I can safely say, I only think I can do it because of the cultural disconnect. No way could I do it back home...