What kind of silence do writers need? Absolute, according to some.
Readers seem to find the same thing. Silence notices in libraries are a thing of the past. Bookshops fill their backgrounds with pop. It’s an age of multitasking. Many young people appear able to listen to their iPods, text on their phones and cycle on the pavements all at the same time. Do any also consume paperbacks? Allegedly they do.
Thirty years ago music and poetry rarely occupied the same slice of space time. Mike Jenkins might pull out a harmonica and do a Captain Beefheart impersonation between verses but he was an exception. Mostly music stayed on the radio. Today it’s another world. The new Welsh book has to have music at its launch.
If it’s not Patrick Jones winding his words into his brother Nicky Wire’s sonic slipstream then it’s John Williams reading slices of his forthcoming biography of Shirley Bassey to jazzy riffs from Richard James. Llwyd Owen’s first English title Faith, Hope & Love swam into sight backed by The Gentle Good. Matthew David Scott’s Balloon events in
Music journalist Will Hodgkinson’s The Ballad of Britain, an entertainingly written travelogue that follows the author’s treck around the
When the title was launched (at Laugharne, where else) the author interspersed his readings with singers. When done the audience were unsure if they should now buy the book or hunt out the accompanying CD. Do both. The book comes from Portico. The CD from Heron. It’s a new world.
Aversion of this blog posting appeared as The Insider in the Western Mail of Saturday 19th June, 2010. #152