Wednesday, 28 February 2007
It being St David’s Day tomorrow, I’ve agreed to be interviewed by the BBC about the ‘Hendrix’ recording of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. The interview will be broadcast during Newsnight on BBC2, tonight at 10.30pm.
Tomorrow being a day of daffodils and leeks and women (but not men) in ‘traditional national dress’ and Charles Windsor’s Three Feathers and the rest of the supposed paraphernalia of Welshness, I thought it might be an appropriate moment to do something they’ve been badgering me about since the story first broke.
I suppose the BBC might accuse me of cultural vandalism, if not cultural terrorism, but I’m going to try to make a point about the myths of Welshness we’ve been saddled with, and how these myths were created.
I don’t want you to think I’m a killjoy; I think it’s really important to celebrate pride in our origins. But what makes us Welsh is our true heritage not the iconography, both political and religious, that’s been used to control us down the centuries. What’s important to me is belonging to a community of human beings who share my ancestry, my sense of ‘home’ and my struggles with life.
Also appearing on Newsnight will be my great friend and creative collaborator, the brilliant guitarist John Ellis. John founded Bazooka Joe and The Vibrators and was a member of The Stranglers. More recently he played with Peter Gabriel. John is English through and through. We’ve known each other since we were at Hornsey College of Art together in the early 1970’s when we used to perform at the Stapleton Hall Tavern in Stroud Green.
Armed with this knowledge, the gist of the Newsnight interview should come as no surprise to you.