In the latest ambitious
offering from the Real... series, following acclaim for Real Cardiff
and Real Cardiff Two, Finch takes on the alien land he didnít
know was his, until he 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
Real Wales. Seren
Books. £9.99. Available now.
cover photograph by Aled Rhys Hughes
syncopated and witty prose, Finch presents 30 years of journeys through
the familiar, the bizarre, and 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,
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.
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