Get motivated to take enthusiastic action that will help you turn that dream into reality. One step at a time and you will surely achieve anything.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Under Milkwood performed at the Dylan Thomas Theatre

Under Milkwood is performed annually at the Dylan Thomas Theatre by the Little Theatre Company. This year the play was performed up to the same high standard that we have grown to expect.

When Dylan Thomas was staying in Wales in New Quay one winter, he went out early one morning into the still sleeping town and verses came to his mind about the inhabitants. He wrote the account of this as a short story named Quite Early One Morning (recorded for BBC Wales 14 December 1944 and broadcast 31 August 1945). He continued to work on the idea for eight years.

In Quite Early One Morning there are numerous ideas and characters which would be developed more for Under Milk Wood. For instance, the short story includes a 28-line poem of which this is the fourth verse (the name and the final line reappear in Under Milk Wood).

    Open the curtains, light the fire, what are servants for?
    I am Mrs Ogmore Pritchard and I want another snooze.
    Dust the china, feed the canary, sweep the drawing-room floor;
    And before you let the sun in, mind he wipes his shoes.

Thomas wrote to his wife, Caitlin, (about 23 May 1953, from the USA, on notepaper headed The Poetry Centre), towards the end of a long letter 'I've finished that infernally eternally unfinished 'Play' & have done it in New York with actors.'

The same year, he read a part of the script in public for the first time in Cambridge, Massachusetts at The Poetry Centre. Soon after, with others, he sound-recorded a performance at the 92nd Street YMCA in Manhattan.

On 9 September 1953, he delivered a full draft of Under Milk Wood to the BBC as he left for a tour of America, intending to revise the manuscript on his return.

Dylan Thomas is reported to have commented that Under Milk Wood was developed in response to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, as a way of reasserting the evidence of beauty in the world

The play opens at night, when the citizens of Llareggub are asleep. The narrator (First Voice/Second Voice) informs the audience that they are witnessing the townspeople's dreams.
Captain Cat, the blind sea captain, is tormented in his dreams by his drowned seafellows, who long to live again and enjoy the pleasures of the world. Mog Edwards and Myfanwy Price dream of each other; Mr. Waldo dreams of his childhood and his failed marriages; Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard dreams of her deceased husbands. Almost all of the characters in the play are introduced as the audience witnesses a moment of their dreams.

Morning begins. The voice of a guide introduces the town, discussing the facts of Llareggub. The Reverend Eli Jenkins delivers a morning sermon on his love for the village. Lily Smalls wakes and bemoans her pitiful existence. Mr. and Mrs. Pugh observe their neighbors; the characters introduce themselves as they act during their morning. Mrs. Cherry Owen merrily rehashes her husband's drunken antics. Butcher Beynon teases his wife during breakfast. Captain Cat watches as Willy Nilly the postman goes about his morning rounds, delivering to Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard, Mrs. Pugh, Mog Edwards and Mr. Waldo ("It's another paternity summons").

At Mrs. Organ-Morgan's general shop, women gossip about the townspeople. Willy Nilly and his wife steam open a love letter from Mog Edwards to Myfanwy Price; he expresses fear that he may be in the poor house if his business does not improve. Mrs. Dai Bread Two swindles Mrs. Dai Bread One with a phony fortune in her crystal ball. Polly Garter scrubs floors and sings about her past paramours. Children play in the schoolyard; Gwennie urges the boys to "kiss her where she says or give her a penny." Gossamer Beynon and Sinbad Sailors privately desire each other.

During dinner, Mr. Pugh imagines poisoning Mrs. Pugh. Mrs. Organ-Morgan shares the day's gossip with her husband, but his only interest is the organ. The audience sees a glimpse of Lord Cut-Glass's insanity in his "kitchen full of time". Captain Cat dreams of his lost lover, Rosie Probert, but weeps as he remembers that she will not be with him again. Nogood Boyo fishes in the bay, dreaming of Mrs. Dai Bread Two and geishas.

On Llareggub Hill, Mae Rose Cottage spends a lazy afternoon wishing for love. Reverend Jenkins works on the White Book of Llareggub, which is a history of the entire town and its citizens. On the farm, Utah Watkins struggles with his cattle, aided by Bessie Bighead. As Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard becomes asleep, her husbands return to her. Mae Rose Cottage swears that she will sin until she explode.

As night begins, Reverend Jenkins recites another poem. Cherry Owen heads to the Sailors Arms, where Sinbad still longs for Gossamer Beynon. The town prepares for the evening, to sleep or otherwise. Mr. Waldo sings drunkenly at the Sailors Arms. Captain Cat sees his drowned shipmates-- and Rosie-- as he begins to sleep. Organ-Morgan mistakes Cherry Owen for Johann Sebastian Bach on his way to the chapel. Mog and Myfanwy write to each other before sleeping. Mr. Waldo meets Polly Garter in a forest. Night begins and the citizens of Llareggub return to their dreams again.

Next week the Dylan Thomas Centre celebrate with a week of Dylan Thomas related performances and talks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Winterland set for sixth consecutive festive outing

WATERFRONT Winterland is returning to Swansea for the sixth consecutive time from the middle of next month.

It's now been confirmed that the attraction will bring festive cheer to the grounds of the National Waterfront Museum from November 18 to January 8.

The main Admiral ice-skating rink, a children's rink and Santa's Grotto will be among the fun.

A funfair and the Miles Hire Giant Wheel with spectacular views over Swansea Bay will also feature.

image depicting Waterfront Winterland LogoNew for 2011 is the chance to ice-skate and enjoy the fun until 10pm on New Year's Eve - just two hours before millions join in celebrations to mark the arrival of 2012.

Cllr Graham Thomas, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Recreation and Tourism, said: "Waterfront Winterland has become a key part of Christmas in Swansea since its inception back in 2006.

"It's an event that generates fantastic festive atmosphere that's enjoyed by thousands of people of all ages.

"It's hard to believe the year has gone by so quickly and that we have just a few weeks left until the Christmas countdown begins here in Swansea."

Other Christmas events people can look forward to include the annual Christmas Parade and switching-on of the festive lights on November 20.

A Christmas Market will also be held in the city centre from November 25 to December 18 and daily entertainment will be arranged in Castle Square from November 19 to Christmas Eve.

Pantomime fans have the chance to catch Aladdin at Swansea's Grand Theatre from December 16 to January 15.

Have a look at for more information.

Let's Get things Going

 Press Release being distributed tomorrow

The challenge went out.  And Council Leader Chris Holley took it up and will be in the City Centre on Saturday 29th October between 10.30 and 11.30 talking to shoppers and business-people on how they view Swansea City Centre.

Mike Leahy, working with Tourism Swansea Bay, has been putting up ideas to promote Swansea and to bring some life and activity that will encourage visitors and heighten their shopping experience on his blog at He then went on to challenge the Leader to some face-to-face exchanges. He said “I love Swansea and the whole area. There is so much for the visitor but I feel there is plenty that can be done by the Council to make the city centre more inviting, to improve their shopping experience without having to spend much money”. He went on to say “There seem to be too many groups discussing these issues but not a lot of action. Committees talk, individuals take action”

He has now met with Council Leader Chris Holley who has agreed to do a walkabout in the City and find out the best and worse things perceived by both shoppers and the retailers who serve them. The three main questions they will be asking are “What do you think is the best Swansea offers?”, “What is the worst thing?”, and “What would you like to see or what do you think would be an improvement?”

Mike Leahy has now discussed some of his ideas with Cllr Leader Chris Holley and had a further meeting with Cllr Richard Lewis, the City Ambassador. It has now been agreed that three ideas would be taken up at this stage as local trader initiatives and these are appointing a Town Crier who would be out and about throughout the City at the weekends promoting events and local businesses which would be funded by local retailers: creating an Artists Quarter similar the Montremart in Paris: and finally improving the busking to as near a level as that seen in Covent Garden. The finer detail hasn’t been agreed yet but there has been considerable backing from local traders who feel that much can be done to make the City Centre a vibrant shopping destination. 

Let's not let the sun set on these ideas. Lets put them into action.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bring in the "A" Team

It seems that the biggest hurdle to achieving anything in Swansea are the different departments that appear to overlap and who need to sanction the smallest change. A question of too many chiefs? Or maybe too many cooks!

Whatever the reason the simple answer for Swansea to progress is to have a small team who have autonomy and can get quick answers and decisions. A team of visionaries who are action driven to turn the city around. To come up with a plan and put it into place immediately. From little acorns big oak trees grow. 

It will take  more than a few nods and grunts to get this off the ground. There would be loads of opposition and many obstacles but a progressive council could cut the red tape and get this going so that there are results before Xmas.

Every day someone tells me they don't shop in Swansea anymore. Too any "Big Issue" sellers. The city is scruffy. Not enough choice. Parking is still difficult. No "Wow" factor. 

The time for Action is now.

Friday, October 14, 2011

An Opportunity to bring Shoppers to town

We should be planning for bigger better shopping experience
Can't we make the Winter Wonderland and Christmas Lights launch a bigger better experience like they are in Cardiff


Cardiff, named the 6th best shopping centre in the UK is planning a dazzling launch to the festive (lets call it Christmas and forget the local authority fear and political correctness) celebrations with a full day of free entertainment backed by the city centre traders.
Swansea should be focussed already on such an event. It looks like spending will be down as consumers tighten their belts so a bump start could be a great idea. What are BID doing? We need to climb up the ladder and become a shopping centre that visitors look forward to.

Swansea must stop being the bus pick-up point for Cardiff.

Why don't we have living statues around the city bringing some life!!  Why don't we have some real statues of local heroes? These could be the product of a local competition. And perhaps they could be sited for a couple of months and changed. With the huge number of creative artists in the area this is could be a great focal point.

Go to London and walk along the Bayswater Road. Why don't we have artists displaying their work on a Sunday morning along the High Street or in the park in front of the waterfront museum. Or even along Oxford Street. What a draw that would be. You could even have an artists quarter where artists are working outside like in the Montmartre area of Paris

You have to start somewhere and sometime. So why hasn't this been done before? Why can't it be up and running in a couple of weeks? Why can't the council just a few weeks? Local artists would love this and it wouldn't cost the council anything. Charge a few pounds if necessary: just a nominal amount  and certainly nothing for bonefide students at local colleges and universities.

Get rid of the paperwork. KISS - keep it simple, stupid. Issue licenses at £20 that are valid for 8 weeks as a starter. If it works - as it will - and bingo you will soon be drawing in more visitors. Don't be greedy. Look upon this as an investment.

Come on Swansea.This could be the beginning of something really big. Lets get those visitors excited and turn the tide so Cardiff folk come here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Love Swansea Campaign

Bay of Life Campaign! I Love Swansea Campaign!

How many more campaigns are running right now to promote Swansea? Wouldn't it be better to get together and have a bigger impact? Divided we fall: united we stand!

It is now a week since I contacted the Evening Post to tell them that Cllr Chris Holley, Leader of the Council, will be accompanying me on a walk through Swansea talking to both shoppers and traders to get some gut reaction about what is good and bad in the city and ideas of what can be done to promote it as both a destination and shopping city. I should have thought it was pretty damned easy to connect this with the "I Love Swansea" campaign but it sees not.

I note in the Evening Post yesterday that the there has been no increase in usage at the High Street car park. I'm not surprised. I have asked several people in the city centre about the reduced parking fees and without exception nobody knew about it! There seems to be a poor mechanism for spreading information. I know there have been articles in the paper but I think most have been linked with safety or other negative issues.

At a meeting with Phil Roberts and two of his colleagues at the Civic Centre I suggested that perhaps free transport from the railway station to the bus station would be beneficial to rail travellers arriving in town but this was immediately rejected. This quick-fix would also encourage people parking in the High Street car park, particularly on wet or cold days and for those carrying bulky or heavy purchases.

Why aren't there Street Ambassadors giving out information? A couple of students giving out leaflets. Or perhaps the Street Wardens could give a helping hand whilst they patrol the streets. Couldn't BIDS help here too? They have put up some material in empty shop windows. Wouldn't a special parking offer be a great message in shop windows? How about distributing leaflets to the retailers. After all they are the biggest beneficiaries.

On the point of parking I still hear complaints from drivers that they are charged in the NCP car parks for their first hour on Sundays. Ballers clearly say "First Hour Free" it must be very small print about the £3 Sunday charge!!! The fact that parking is free in the council car parks on Sundays does not compensate.

Mike Leahy

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Clyne in Spring

An incredible park all year round but particularly in Spring. Apart from the gardens there is a lovely chapel tucked away and clearly visible from the road.