Swinging Our Beads on Caroline Street
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Wales is a very violent place with a binge drinking culture.
I say choose your friends and choose your family very
carefully. In Wales you are more likely to be assaulted by
someone you know than anywhere else in the UK.
So says Barbara Wilding, ex-Chief Constable of Wales, quoted by Zoë Brigley in the epigraph of ‘Rugby Club Love’. This is the opening poem of her word-and-image essay with photographer Nathan Roach, ‘Beyond the Barren Lands, Bridgend’s “Suicide Spate”’. There were reportedly twenty-five, mostly teenage, suicides in the Bridgend area between January 2007 and February 2009, mostly by hanging. Claims were made for a copy-cat cult, fueled by social networks and mass media coverage. Brigley’s poem, ‘Ruby Club Love’, deliberately exaggerates this death cult theory in lines such as ‘We ride our despair / like a troublesome horse; Mari Llwyd, the star-horse, horse of frost, / white horse of the sea, its skull stripped to pearly bone.’ But Roach’s photos tell a different story where death-on-a-rope isn’t the only alternative to living in the pub. Some may be of drunken crowds, but these are dancing joyously to local young bands. These lads, whether the skater boy on our cover or the chirpy members of band Your Local Hero, look to have a happy future and plans for what to do there.
Another tale of binge drinking and media frenzy is to be found in our Reviews section. Kaite O’Reilly assesses the photos of St Mary Street and capital nightlife by Maciej Dakowicz which in September 2011 sparked the Daily Mail headline ‘Shaming Images that Turned Britain into a Laughing Stock’. The images had already become a viral rash of the type you get when… oh, never mind. O’Reilly’s review of Cardiff After Dark concludes, ‘It’s Gin Lane with fewer clothes, more jokes, and no proselytizing, for Dakowicz is no Hogarth…. But… there are those who resent Cardiff being reduced to two streets and the activities of a partying, predominantly Caucasian minority. Cardiff was Britain’s first truly multicultural society, yet the breadth and richness of the city is not here. This is a Cardiff after dark, not the real, full Cardiff. Now that would be a worthy canvas for Dakowicz’s talents.’
• Pulp Kitchen
Michael Nobbs on making a living online as an artist read more...• What Rhymes with Yonkers?
Lloyd Robson in NYC read more...• Rich Text
Tyler Keevil on his story collection, Burrard Inlet read more...
The third in John Harrison's series, Islands on the Edge read more...• Alright, Cocker?
Rachel Trezise, considering titles by Nicky Wire and Jarvis Cocker, asks when lyrics make poetry read more...• The Other Wales
Catherine Fisher on the warped and wonderful image of Fantasy Wales in popular culture read more...• The Nightingale Silenced
Jim Pratt reveals Margiad Evans' manuscript on the 'self-disaster' of her epilepsy read more...
• Beyond the Barren Lands
Brigend's 'Suicide Spate': poetry and photography by Zoë Brigley and Nathan Roach read more...
• Shapes and Pieces
A story by Tristan Hughes in response to Richard Hughes' A High Wind in Jamaica read more...
• Lake Story
A short story preview from Mary-Ann Constantine's forthcoming collection All the Souls read more...
You can now get a taste of some of the excellent pieces in this issue online:
- : Dispatch from Slovenia 3, I am not an elf
- : Wales, Turkey & the London Book Fair
- Blog: Dispatch from Slovenia 1, A Bend in the River
- Blog: Dispatch from Slovenia Three, I Am Not an Elf
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 1
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 2
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 10
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 3
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 4
- Blog: DeviantArt Social Network
- Blog: NWR\'s Alternative Wales Book of the Year Shortlist
- Blog: International Art English in Wales
- Blog: All the Souls
- Blog: Bradley Manning, Baader-Meinhof & Legs Akimbo
- Blog: Dispatch from Slovenia 2, Dogs and Toddlers
- Blog: Mark Tredinnick Filmed at Aberystwyth University
- Blog: Mark Tredinnick at Aberystwyth
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 5
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 6
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 14
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 15
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 13
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 12
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 11
- Blog: Tambourine Suckling
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 9
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 8
- Blog: NWR 100 Preview 7
- Creative: Beyond the Barren Lands
- Creative: Oedipus Rex
- Creative: Lake Story
- Creative: Shapes and Pieces
- Editorial: Swinging Our Beads on Caroline Street
- Essay: The Nightingale Silenced
- Essay: The Other Wales
- Essay: Alright, Cocker?
- Essay: Spitsbergen
- Interview: John Harrison
- Interview: Tristan Hughes
- Interview: Mary-Ann Constantine
- Opinion: Rich Text: Tyler Keevil on his Short Story collection Burrard Inlet
- Opinion: What Rhymes with Yonkers?
- Opinion: Michael Nobbs on Making a Living Online as an Artist
- Poem: From Tame
- Poem: From Narwhal
- Poem: From Twobeat Deathsong
- Poem: Z: From The Everyday English Dictionary
- Review: Ice
- Review: Cardiff After Dark
- Review: Beyond the Pampas, In Search of Patagonia
- Review: Warriors
- Review: After Brock
- Review: P L A C E
- Review: Poet to Poet: Edward Thomas\' Letters to Walter de la Mare
- Review: Patagonia – Byd Arall/Otro Mundo/Another World
- Review: The Roaring Boys
- Review: Then Spree
- Review: Astonishment
- Review: Murmur
- Review: Flirting at the Funeral
- Review: Black Skin, Blue Books: African Americans and Wales, 1845-1945
- Review: A Radiance
- Review: The Ninjas
- Review: A Hunger Artist and Other Stories
- Vintage Gems: The Other Wales