I felt a mixture of anticipation and trepidation at receiving Rhys Mwyn’s Real Gwynedd, a study of the sprawling county in the northwest of Wales. The anticipation came from being born and raised in Gwynedd, and very much looking forward to learning more about the area I grew up in; the trepidation was in anticipation of a fairly dry run through the usual landmarks, key dates and tired tales. I worried needlessly.
Reflecting the author’s background in the band Anhrefn as well as his work as an archaeologist, this book is equal parts a study of local music venues now mostly reduced to car parks, as well as an informed look at the archaeology of the same areas. The effect can sometimes be quite jarring, jumping as it does from “Roman” steps to 80s postpunk in the space of a sentence.
Mwyn is a genial companion on this Gywnedd tour, but his repeated use of the term ‘psychogeography’ only served to remind me that this book doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by fellow authors such as Iain Sinclair or W.G. Sebald. For all that, this is a fun read and one that left me eager to hop in the car myself and take a closer look at this singular county.
Real Gwynedd, Rhys Mwyn (Seren)
Price: £9.99. Info: here
words ADAM JONES
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