Real and raw
Tonight at 7.00 at the Riverfront, there will be a unique event.
Ann Drysdale's thrilling revelations of the delights of Newport will be launched. Named 'Real Newport' the book has convinced me that I have been viewing the city through a haze of half light. Now revealed in sparkling Technicolor are the city's treasures and secrets.
Who knew that the new police HQ is a giant Lego construction, that the new pedestrian bridge is overtly sexual, that the River Ebbw is a 'bloke' and his 'buttie' is the Sirhowy, and that Dr Who's K9 broke the municipal by-laws in Belle Vue park?
Ann makes the ordinary exceptional, the familiar glow with new interest, and the drab warm and intriguing. She resents the Newportonian failing of downplaying the city's virtues. She hope that the Transporter Bridge will assert the city's pride and,
After reading Real Newport for the first time, I sent her a fan e-mail of extravagant praise. She replied that she will keep it close and dab some of it behind her ears at times of low spirits.
She once worked for the Argus- as she points out pronounced locally with an added 't' at the end. Someone noticed that they had a gifted writer on the staff, who produced work of elegance, humour, wit and sensitivity. The Argus has always taken a firm line with that sort of excess. Her desk disappeared and she left with a few cuttings from a pot plant.
She wrote a column named "Afterthoughts' which alternated with a political gossip column that I wrote. She says that I "remember the small liaison with pleasure, though we slipped past each other like ships in the night, settling turn about into each other's still warm spot.'
Everyone with affection for the city will be bereft if they fail to see Real Newport through through the eyes of Ann the poet. We are indebted to her. Thank you, Ann.
Real Newport published by Seren at £9.99.
The sad news of the death of former Councillor Steve Fairie has been announced. He passed away on Monday in New Zealand.
He was a doughty fighter for Bettws and one of the City council's unsung heroes. His politics were sharply focused on his socialist roots and he was loyal to his party and his colleagues. This news will greatly sadden the thousands of people that he helped in a long period of service to the city. He stood down at the last election because of failing health.
The funeral is to take place in New Zealand but a gathering of people will be arranged in Newport when the family return from New Zealand. There will be no religious service or flowers, this is at Steve's request.