Cymru Culture

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The snows of yesteryear (December 2013)

(December 01, 2013)

But, where are the snows of yesteryear? *

Boyd Clack (Photo- Ben Hussain)Boyd Clack (photo - Ben Hussain)

I used to go up the valleys, to Porth or Ponty quite often in my late teens, but I always found it disconcerting. The boys there had some sort of sensory disassociation, an almost autism. How it came about I don’t know, maybe a chemical secreted by the factories up there, or something to do with the waste from the old coal mines and iron foundries. Whatever it was it had an unmistakeable and uniform effect on their young minds. You'd be walking down a street at eleven after stop-tap say, and if you passed one of them, or more (they normally went around in groups, or 'gangs' as we called them), they wouldn't be able to relate to your object of vision. One would have to enquire what it was you were looking at at that particular moment. He'd be qhite blunt and open, "What are you lookin' at?" he'd say. Then I'd explain, "I was looking at the bridge there over the river and thinking how impressive it is. There must be hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of stones gone into that central pillar alone and it was constructed in the mid nineteenth century by manual labour. Think of the work involved, the commitment. An incredible achievement".

But the sensory disfunction also affected their comprehension, because he would then invariably say "Uh!?", which is Welsh Valleys-speak for "Pardon, I didn't quite get that." and I'd have to repeat it ... what I'd said about the bridge. Then it would get even stranger. He would fail to understand the intention of what I'd said and ask "Are you tryin' to be funny or wha'?" I'd say "No, I'm no Bob Monkhouse, but even I could be funnier than that if it was my intention to be so." Then things would sort of fall apart and he and the other lads he was with would start hopping about, grunting and pawing at me and eventually trying to grab hold of me. I'd have to run away through the dark streets with them chasing after me shouting out things like "Get 'im boys!" or "Kill 'im!"

They varied this hunting cry by calling out for me to stop. They failed to understand that their behaviour gave little or no incentive for me to stop. Fortunately they were relatively easy to escape from, because if you simply stood dead still they couldn't register your presence and would run off howling and screaming past you into the hollow silence of the night.

I wonder if it's the same now?

Boyd Clack, December 2013


Walk along Deeside

Iestyn Lewis caught a bus from Colwyn Bay
Took a trip to Wrexham for the day
Had sausage egg and chips in a greasy spoon
Complained to the waitress that he didn't have a spoon
She says, "Hey Iestyn,
take a walk along Deeside"
She said, "Hey Iestyn,
take a walk along Deeside"
use a knife and fork
The fat unnatractive drunken girls sing,
they sing
Duw duw duw Duw duw duw duw duw
Duw duw duw Duw duw duw duw duw duuuuuuw.


Boyd Clack, 1 December 2013
Tribute to Lou Reed (2 March 1942–27 October 2013)



* Mais, où sont les neiges d'antan? (But, where are the snows of yesteryear?) taken from Ballade des dames du temps jadis (Ballad of the Ladies of Times Past), a poem by François Villon (c. 1431–1463)


Also from Boyd Clack:

     The snows of yesteryear; September 2013
     Requiem; June 2013

     Mother to her son; March 2013 (with Kirsten Jones)

     The snows of yesteryear; December 2012

     The snows of yesteryear; September 2012

     The snows of yesteryear; June 2012

     Interview with Boyd Clack; September 2011

Boyd's new website is

Boyd Clack's latest album, Labourer of Love is available in Tesco and ASDA stores now, or online from Amazon - as a CD at £8.99, or mp3 at £5.99.


Boyd Clack - Labourer of LoveBoyd Clack's latest album, Labourer of Love


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