I love Gwyn Thomas’s work. This is one I’ve just discovered and is typical of his humour. Here’s an example of his description of a hillside rugby pitch near his Welsh mining village ….
“It was the least level pitch in Christendom. Those who survived it got a diploma from Darwin. It was the only rugby field where the players were allowed to dip their bits of lemon in adrenalin while sitting in an oxygen tent at half time, and the referee was allowed to call in a relative or use a motor horn if he lacked the breath to make the pea move inside the whistle. The Trebanog and Cymmer boys mastered the slope. They were beaten but once, and the victors were found to have two Sherpas on the wing on loan from Tibet.”
I love Gwyn’s work not only because he wrote brilliantly, much admired as he was by Dylan Thomas, but also he has a unique sense of wry humour. In later life, his wit earned him numerous television interviews, all of which were guaranteed to excite and amuse. But he wasn’t only funny, he was also admired for his intelligence and the unique angle he had on life, which he shared on the Brains’ Trust, both on TV and radio.
Although he could easily have accepted lucrative posts in England, notably London, he always returned to his home in Cymmer, in the Rhondda. He disliked academia and when studying in Oxford on a scholarship, he hated his time there owing to the cultural dissonance between his Welsh background and the oft-privileged English students.
His writing encapsulated perfectly the life and culture of the Rhondda. Just as the inhabitants of these areas used humour as a cloak to protect them from the rigours of their lives, so did Gwyn Thomas use it as a scalpel to cut through the nonsense, as he saw it, of officialdom. This is a wonderful read!
All Things Betray Thee is available on Amazon