Hollywood connections

I always knew Susan Sarandon and I had some kind of connection.
On the face of it, the links appear thin. She, after all, is a brilliant Hollywood actress, who speaks out bravely on a number of political and social issues.
I only ever appeared in one school play. As a tree.
She’s rich and beautiful, and I ain’t.
So it’s good to find out she’s been back in Wales checking out her roots.
And the search, according to the Carmarthen Journal, has included Laugharne.
Now, a friend of mine maintains that Laugharne is the source of all that is dark and ungodly in my character, my mother’s family having lived there for centuries.
But if Sarandon’s ancestors are town folk, surely the place is a beacon of goodness and light.

Lots of coverage of the death of Hollywood actor Glenn Ford on BBC Radio Wales this morning.
No mention, though, that the 90-year-old, Canadian-born star of Gilda was born Gwyllyn Ford and was of Welsh descent.

FAO Springsteen fans: divorce rumours scotched?

Bruce Springsteen fans will be interested in the world scoop on a small New Jersey news website Red Bank Green.
The site reports that rumours (which started in the right-leaning, anti-Springsteen newspaper the New York Post) that the singer-songwriter’s marriage to Patti Scialfa is over, appear to be untrue.
According to Red Bank Green, the couple were out shopping together in Red Bank, New Jersey, on Friday afternoon.
The site’s editor, John T Ward, reports they were holding hands and laughing, while Scialfa admitted the rumours were “the pits”.

Adventures in the school science lab

GCSE results tomorrow. Science was my weak spot.
Back in school the lab was a place to mess around.
I remember how we laughed so cruelly one afternoon when a magnet placed in a glass container full of oil leapt towards another being moved along the outside.
The experiment – God knows what it was about – was successful. But the magnets collided at such speed that the glass broke and oil spilled all over the harassed teacher’s trousers.
Our laughter seems very hurtful now, particularly as from the lab we watched him make the long walk up the school drive to change.
Funny now, that I enjoy science programmes on the TV. Perhaps I am playing catch-up.
Experiments at school never seemed connected to anything, or I certainly never made a connection. History and literature at least had themes which seemed to matter.
Now, of course, I see it differently. Last week I interviewed one of the most controversial scientists of the last few decades, Chandra Wickramasinghe.
He was one of the first to propose that life started not here on earth but was generated with material from comets which smashed against the surface of our planet.
Fascinating man and career. Although my CSE Physics provided me no help at all during our conversation.

Brief details: A Bullet Saved My Life

A Bullet Saved My Life tells the remarkable story of Bob Peters, one of the last surviving veterans of the Spanish Civil War.
Penarth-born Bob left Wales to go to Canada during the Depression. He found work on the Great Lakes and also became interested in politics.
Early in 1937 he sailed from New York to France and was smuggled into Spain where he joined the International Brigades.
He went into battle against Franco’s armies at Brunete and was shot in the back while crawling through a trench.
The bullet was too near his spine to be removed.
Bob was transferred from the frontline to work as a motorcycle dispatch rider.
Incredibly, the bullet moved with the jarring impact of the rough roads and doctors could eventually cut it out.
As casualties were so high in his former unit, Bob says that if he had stayed on the battlefield he would have been killed.
The book features more than thirty photographs and fascinating reproductions of Bob’s membership, pay and safe passage documents relating to not only the International Brigades but the Socorro Rojo Internacional and the anarchist CNT union.
It features a foreword by First Minister of Wales Rhodri Morgan and a preface by the late Alun Menai Williams, another International Brigader.
The book is available from http://www.warrenandpellpublishing.co.uk/ and from Amazon.
: Further reading Western Mail & Western Telegraph

Tredegar, Bedwellty workhouse, Labour Party history

Anyone know the area well?
Question posted as follow-up here . Can anyone answer this one?
“Bedwellty workhouse has a small part to play in Labour history (with a certain resonance to today’s political scene). In 1927 the workhouse guardians were disqualified by the government for spending too much on supporting out of work miners. It would be interesting to know whether there is a memorial to this in the town.”

Dic Penderyn Commemoration

Good turn out for today’s Dic Penderyn Commemoration which took place at the entrance to Cardiff market where he was hanged in 1831.
The event honoured not only Penderyn, but the late Councillor Charlie Gale and Welsh volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, especially Alun Menai-Williams who died last month and Bob Peters.
The event was hosted by Eluned Morgan MEP and First Minister Rhodri Morgan, and the speakers included Sally Robert Jones and me! I waffled on about Alun and Bob.
: For those interested in Spain, my obituary of Alun Menai-Williams is in The Times today and the book on Bob Peters, A Bullet Saved My Life, is available now from Warren & Pell .

Cost of war, price of a stamp

Stop the War claim 1,000 people a day is calling its office to support an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East.
But, so far, Cardiff Stop the War Coalition has only received support from a small group of Welsh politicians: John Marek AM, Julie Morgan MP, Leanne Wood AM, Jill Evans MEP, Helen Mary Jones AM, Councillor Mohammed Islam, Councillor Ray Davies, Councillor Gwenllian Lansdown and Lord Dafydd Ellis-Thomas AM.
That number is shamefully low. There might not seem much we can do to stop the killing, but we can start by urging our elected representatives to speak out.
It’s time to email or write to our MPs, AMs and councillors demanding they condemn the British government’s failure to back an immediate ceasefire.

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