I presumed, owing to the fact that my time in Aberystwyth University reading my national tongue finally became the last piece in my Welsh fluency jigsaw, that I would have been anything but critical about the town by the sea….
Last night I did what any Welsh speaker rarely does and tuned in to S4C. On it, Welsh singer and comedian Dewi Pws was informing the pitiful number of viewers actually watching the show about random Welsh taverns etc…. Sad you missed it now, huh?
It genuinely was great to see some Cofi (Caernarfon) historical culture instead of the ‘Great’ British pleasures brought to us by under-the-thumb BBC producers!
At the end of his journey around Edward I’s finest walled city, Dewi took the time to remind viewers of the day in 1969 when Charles Windsor was invested as prince of a nation who, for the large part, didn’t bloody want him anyway!
Dewi went on to interview Welsh chair-winning poet, Gerallt Lloyd Owen, and later sang a song writen by Welsh language activist, Dafydd Iwan. The song, aptly named Carlo (a less-than-affectionate name for the newly-invested prince), tells of Welsh people’s feelings towards the investiture in the late sixties and of how Charles has largely failed to make an impression on the lands claimed/plundered as his own!
I actually found myself forking out the seventy-nine fine, English pennies for the pleasure of owning a copy of this song too! To be fair, it was well worth it. I do like a bit of subtle humour!
But then I thought, I wonder what old Carlo himself thinks about this ode to his honour? I wonder what the monarch-elect makes of a song, written in a language foreign to his own, feels like?
Now I’m as republican as the next person (shock horror…. Get a life!) but to think that a young man, forced (albeit without the greatest of pressure, I’m sure) into a ‘job’ of overseeing a nation and learning her language…. I guess it must be hard. Knowing that your efforts to learn an ancient (and until recently, dying) tongue still won’t help you in the eyes of national patriots!
I guess my sympathy for the man stems from personal experiences in university. Spending a year in Pantycelyn (Aberystwyth’s Welsh-speaking halls of residence) and sampling what Welshies thought of the fact I was brought up without the language skills of a fluent Welsh-speaker was extremely tough.
Many times I was ridiculed and told I was English…. Not that being ANY nationality in the first place should be used as an insult but, to be fair, I am Welsh!
I do wonder how many of these people-disguised-as-children with whom I resided during my fresher year down in Aber’ would have learned Welsh had they been brought up in different circumstances. Circumstances similar to my own, perhaps? I wonder how many keen Welsh learners have been put off due to ridicule comprising of mindless (and what they call) humour!
So to those who oppose or make fun of we who learn languages, I bid you farewell in my very best Welsh….
Gô ffyc iorselfs!