I started this blog in 2010 because I thought I had a book coming out imminently and someone told me every writer these days had to have an internet presence. Publication of the ‘book’ was repeatedly delayed for all sorts of reasons (see Writing category). The years went by, I felt obliged to regularly add content, the blog kept on expanding. Slowly it dawned on me: in Wales, where there is no indigenous English-language media, the blogosphere has special responsibilities and importance. The gaping chasms that a plural press would occupy in an independent country need to be filled, and all the divergent, dissenting, non-consensual voices silenced by the London-based monopolies in control of the Welsh media need a platform. What is taken for granted across the rest of the world is effectively non-existent in Wales.
Therefore, in this blog I grapple with many roles that are going begging, neglected or just plain absent in Welsh public discourse: sociologist, cultural critic, political commentator, historian, polemicist, satirist, lampooner, humourist, essayist, controversialist, contrarian, poet, serious writer, propagandist for Welsh independence, football reporter and urban guide – and that’s just for starters. Readers will discover that there is no topic I consider myself unqualified to write about. Please note, this is a blog for adults – of all ages. When all’s said and done my subject is Wales, and if I have a theme it is this: make ’em laugh, make ’em cry, make ’em think – that’s entertainment.
Text © Dic Mortimer 2010-2023. All rights reserved.
Pictures, maps, diagrams © Individually credited
I am a Welsh scriptwriter & film-maker now living in London (I made what you will probably think is a syruppy piece of WW2 nostalgia (and maybe it is), ELENYA, back in 1992 which you may have seen it won some Welsh Baftas for its sins – anyway cut to the chase I was fascinated and very moved by your vivid story of the Gwaelod mining disaster in a recent blog having grown up just two hundred yards from the Llan colliery entrance in a house which I suspect actually stands over Brass Vein. Is there a (unsentimental) film in this I ask myself. I think there is. Those men and boys (and their families) deserve a memorial, as you said so very eloquently at the end. I almost forgot to add the strangest and most personally affecting aspect of reading your piece – I previously knew NOTHING if this tragedy. I grew up in that village and no-one ever told me… collective amnesia? Even 1975 saw no memorial that I can recollect….
I can confirm the level of dedication needed to produce such a comprehensive guide of Cardiff requires someone with excellent local knowledge of the area. Im really looking forward to the publication to get a better understanding of my fantastic community…… PS – tremendous theme!!!
Your faithful admirer. Simon 🙂
Dic, I really enjoyed 90% of your writing on this blog, but find your views on Catholicism and especially Irish Catholicism incorrect and highly offensive.
I would be interested for your to clarify your view that the influx of Irish people throughout the 19th & 20th Century held back the progress of Cardiff, especially in Worker’s rights. My Great Grandfather a Trade Union Leader, and My Great uncle the agent of a Labour PM would surely disagree if they were still alive.
I challenge you to find any fourth or fifth generation Irish emigrant, who classes themselves as Irish rather than Welsh.
In terms of the Sex scandal within the Catholic Church, I am not condoning those people involved one bit. Those guilty of such offences should be dealt with with the full force of the law. However I find you associating all Catholics with these terrible crimes deeply offensive.
Westwinds44, I was raised as a catholic and therefore have an insight to the religion. Everyone knows about the abuses within the Catholic Church, in fact Cardinal Brady refusing to resign today demonstrates the fact that the Church authorities are still not coming clean about their role. I’m sorry you find Dic’s comments offensive, but the truth of the matter is that if the rank and file of the Church had stood against the ‘wall of silence’ then maybe things would have been different.
Rather than respond briefly to your comment I am preparing a full blog on the story of religion in Wales which will clarify matters I hope.
you may find most of the cases of child sex offences in the Cardiff area were Anglican in nature.
Hi there, I’m a regular visitor to your blogs, and I’m pretty sure I’m the ‘uneducated, yet intelligent’ one referred to in The Story of Wales.
Thanks for that – bastard! Also, thanks for regularly making me laugh.
@ Neil Sinclair, historian & keeper of Dockland memories: If you remember we chatted at Cardiff Book Festival where you talked so passionately about the ,’ old days in the Docks’. I wanted to let you know Friday 3rd.March Professor Bernard Knight & myself will be discussing crime fiction at Stow Hill Library, Newport (7pm ). I will be the ,’warm-up’ talking about the background of my Kindle crime novel, “Blood in Butetown ” set in 1980’s Dockland, and how a sense of ‘place’ has influenced my book G.K.Brightmore.
Always love Dic’s writings. He sees the city as an English-speaking nationalist Cardiffian, which is my view. If Denmark and Eire can be Free States, why not us? FREE WALES!
Hi Dic, Please contact me regarding a documentary production for french-german tv channel arte.
Thank you, Mathias
Interested in yr history of Cardiff Fire Brigade. I lived in Westgate St fire station from birth (1942) until I went to college in 1961. My father was Stn Officer Bert Hiscocks. The station was like a mini-village, being home for about 30 families. A past Chief Officer, Mick Mace, wrote quite a lengthy history of the Brigade years ago. When my father died I gave it to the archive in the old central library. I wonder if anyone besides me remembers the fire on Christmas night in (I think) 1955 when the roof went up in flames? I don’t know whether the cause was ever determined. It was the basis of much ironic comment at the time! Jan Hesford.