The very best of local talent recognised at great celebration
SOME of you may be aware that besides politics I have a great love of music and literature, having written and composed many songs and musical arrangements in a varied career.
Nothing gives me more pleasure than to be able to take the time either to give musical form to songs that are waiting to be written or to craft some words into a poetic form.
So it was my great pleasure to be a guest at the Carmarthenshire Celebration of Culture Awards on Friday evening, an opportunity to recognise the very best of local talent and those who dedicate their lives to supporting arts and heritage in its various forms.
We handed out 20 awards to individuals and groups and enjoyed beautiful performances from Côr y Strade and Cerys Angharad, a 10-year old harpist who has won numerous national awards, and added another to her collection by the end of the evening by picking up our special award for Young Talent.
Our Outstanding Contribution to Culture award went to Gwyn Nicholas, musical director of Côr Llanpumsaint, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
My thanks to everyone involved in organising, shortlisting and preparing for this event, and also to BBC Radio Cymru presenter Marc Griffiths who compered the ceremony.
See more from the awards on pages 28-31
CWE’RE well into spring. We’ve had some mild, sunny days and the early evenings are lighter for longer.
So, what better time to start seriously thinking about where to go for Christmas lunch?
Actually, I can think of a much better time. Midnight on December 24. However, according to a deluge of unsolicited emails I’ve received recently from hotels and restaurants, I should look at their “sumptuous” Christmas menus and consider how many lunch guests to pay a deposit for.
Yikes! It’s not even Easter and they want me to start spending money on Christmas! But that’s our world today. We are constantly cajoled, pushed, persuaded . . . blackmailed even . . . into spending money on events and “special days” from January to December.
You may remember my article about the naked greed of supermarkets which, from the moment they’ve sold the last garden table, chairs and parasol set on August Bank Holiday Monday, seem to cover all bases in their effort to prise every last coin out of your hands.
Overnight, shelves groan under the weight of Halloween tat. Posters then go up advertising November 5 fireworks for sale . . . to adults only.
And, as the staff hang tinsel and plastic Santas on the
remaining shelf space, the same 25 Christmas songs we hear every year start playing in the background.
And all this happens, not as Johnny Mathis tells us “A child is born”, but because the owners of supermarkets and the manufacturers and importers, whose goods we buy, want to take our cash from us.
It’s as simple as that.
So, when an ad pops up on my laptop, asking: “Have you thought about spending Christmas and new year with us at the No Sea View Hotel and ‘Spar’ (the shop is open Christmas morning for those last-minute gifts like a packet of cooked ham and a can of WD40”) I shout at the screen in my best Noddy Holder voice: “No! Because it’s April. NOT Chriiiisss…mas!”
Comedian Phil Evans from Ammanford is known as the man who puts the “cwtsh” into comedy