Friday, April 25, 2008

One of Us! One of Us!

As prophesised in our ancient tomes of Silurian lore - The Red Book of Hergest, the Black Book of Carmarthen, the White Book of Eifionydd and the Blue Books of Treason - the lost lands of Lloegr, Cantre'r Gwaelod and America are returning to the well-upholstered bosom of Gwalia.

The workers, peasants and progressively-inclined intellectuals of the village of Audlem in Occupied Swydd Gaer (Cheshire) have raised high the standard of Glyndŵr in their flippery hands and cast down the tattered banner of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Battenburg-Mountbatten-Windsor- (I could go on).

Literally sickened by millenia of English rule, these plaintive rustics have converted to Welsh in order to seek salve for their Saxon-shriven shingles, buboes and agues.

As regular S4C news broadcasts make clear, the National Health Service in England has been largely given over the campaigns against the Tudor-given right to smoke fags and neck pints of rusty ale while eating your way out of a giant steak-and-kidney pie.

We in Wales, thank Annwn, still believe that a doctor is there to stitch your palms up against self-pollution and dispense pink pills to mad old women. Hospitals are for harassing nurses and comparing Friday-night battle-scars. Chemists exist to employ teenage girls for the maximum embarrassment of the smalltown STD and rubber-purchasing communities.

Our Audlem prodigals appreciate this, and have humbly petitioned to rejoin Wales. We in the Targeted Outreach Division of the Cymru Rouge welcome them, their hard-currency Post Office Savings books and their real shoes.

Soon all the Marches will embrace their new role as a Welsh Remilitarised Zone, thereby opening a great chasm of friendship between ourselves and our English neighbours.

We will however take some pleasure in turning down any application for Welshness from Telford. It will remain an English exclave in our motted, bailey flank. The London government will have our permission to ship in weekly consignments of pasties, teenage-pregnancy kits and tattoos.

Myn Duw mi a wn y daw.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

St George's Day: An Apology

Welsh Police Apologise in Advance For St George's Day Violence

Text of report from Taffinfform news agency

Morgangrad (formerly Cardiff), 22 April: The Prif Forthwyl (Mattock-in-Chief) of the Tangnefeddwyr (Peacemakers - Welsh police), Chwyldro ap Ffistan, has issued a formal apology to the English community of Wales over the state-sanctioned violence against them on St George's Day.

"They's going to be right ffyct over again. Sorry," Ffistan told scuba-diving onlookers at the launch of Gwynedd's first underwater political prison facility just off Bangor.

St George's Day is marked by an official parade in Morgangrad, attended by the ambassadors of Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Montenegro, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Canada, Catalonia, China and Ancient Anatolia, at which the Welsh artillery fight a human dragon kindly supplied by the Chinese Correctional Facilities Service.

Representatives of the English minority have long asked in a diffident sort of way whether it might be, you know, ok if they were to join in if that's alright with everyone.

Wales's Cymru Rouge government insists that the parade is a diplomatic event, and points out that it arranges an English Folk Day celebration every 23 April which the English community is encouraged to attend.

"They dress our people up as Morris dancers in Jeremy Clarkson masks, then drive us at pitchfork-point through the teeming streets of Bethesda," Dave Eversough-Sorey, chairman of the banned Plaid Sais (English People's Party) commented from his fissure in the Martyr Cerys Matthews Re-Edjucation Camp, Brymbo(formerly the National Coal Board slurry storage dump).

"This follows the three-day local mushroom festival and coincides with National Small Arms Practice Day," he went on, blinking uncertainly in the natural phosphorescence. "They are rarely that pleased to see us."

Cymru Rouge Youth League First-Secretary Dim Clem denied allegations that English Folk Day was little more than a pogrom-building activity for schools in the Ogwen Valley.

"The practical sections of the Welsh Baccalaureate Demographic-Realignment Module are carried out in the Demilitarised Zone (formerly Shrewsbury), especially as we can't get the Katyushas and cages of apes up the road to Bethesda anymore," he explained

In further developments, the official Welsh Commission of Welsh Human Rights has referred Eversough-Sorey's comments to the Director of Clandestine Prosecutions and Ministry of Food on grounds of "cockiness".

Dim Clem, the regional representative of the Rights Commission, Prosecutor's Office and Food Ministry, was adamant that the late [sic] Eversough-Sorey would receive a fair trial prior to his execution, as was also the case with the missing members of last year's Amnesty International monitoring team.

"We didn't eat them!" he concluded firmly.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Et puis je fume

Richard "Elastic" Bond, linguist and Depeche Mode analyst, had an effective way of deciding what people were like without having to get to know them. He asked which side they would have fought on in the English Civil War.

It's a deceptively simple question, but reflection on it drapes the inner walls of your brain with doubt. I'd always considered myself one of Nature's Roundheads, but an access of honesty made me realise that I'm a Cavalier. I've had no concern for the common weal ever since.

Being a Cavalier doesn't mean you're a Royalist, social conservative or git. It's an attitude. A certain élan, insouciance, indifference to details like success, fondness for French words, a blithe torpor maintained through flashes of ruthlessness - these mark the Cavalier.

A Roundhead need not be a Messianic reformer or friend of the poor. An inexorable quality, dependable but not always right, marks Cromwell's children.

It's not a question of left or right. The Bolsheviks, apart from Trotsky, were Roundheads. The Nazis in the main were Cavaliers. In Spain, the Nationalists were Roundheads, and the Republicans Cavaliers.

There's a queasy glamour attached to being a Cavalier. Minor royals and suburban punks don't turn up to fancy dress parties dressed as Comrade Beria (although Mrs Boyo does).

If you want to be remembered far beyond your worth, be a Cavalier. Look at Dixie.

Like Elastic Bond, I tend to sort people into two groups. Mine are smokers and non-smokers. As with Prince Rupert versus the New Model Army, it has little to do with whether you're a slave to the weed or not.

Smokers don't know the way but usually get you there, by which time you don't care anymore. They are not always kind, but feel some remorse later. They have wit and no sarcasm. They write and play music with aimless enjoyment, don't object strongly to ironed clothes, and are lazily good in bed.

Non-smokers. Well. The chances are you work for one, unless you're a burlesque dancer.

I gave up smoking week before last. I'd come to it relatively late and applied myself with zeal. When cigs weren't doing it anymore, I switched to the pipe - aptly described by leechmeister Ward Cooper as "the smoker's equivalent of meths". Gradually I cut down in line with shrinking fugged-up public spaces and expanding family.

I don't miss it, because I will always be a smoker. It's a lost cause, and worthy of devotion - with a cigarette or without.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Zona industrială

The Curse of the BBC strikes again, but this time it claims a worthy victim in its Lonely Planet subsidiary.

I felt vaguely sorry for the various Jocelyns sacked over the Brendarama and Socksgate scandals, in the way you do on hearing how a remote Persian satrap was once forced to eat his own hands by gurning Yazidi madmen.

I have no sympathy, however, for the Lonely Planet writer who got sacked for rhapsodising about countries he'd not been to.

I would normally salute a louche fellow slacker, even though he looks like a medical student who larks around the morgue at midnight. But not this time, as Mrs Boyo and I once orbited Lonely Planet long enough to fall for its advocacy of the Romanian city of Suceava.

Suceava, the guide to Romania & Moldova assured us, has a "real charm", and "harbours some of the funkiest, most happening clubs and bars" in the country. No it hasn't, and no it doesn't. Three categories of people might disagree:

1. The Suceava Guild of Licenced Victuallers.

2. The Suceava District Psychiatric Hospital Concert Party.

3. Someone who has talked to, and believed, one or both of the above.


The few cars had straggled away across the inky plain, carrying our fellow-travellers into the dust that was settling around Suceava airport like an elderly dog.

A series of requests for lifts from local thugs got nowhere, as Romanian is an Esperanto for Etruscan centurions and soundly defeated my every attempt at more than "two beers and the bucket of polenta you always bring whatever I order, please".

Mrs Boyo eventually found a soul at the ghostly terminal who called us a taxi. As Mad Iancu ferried us across the acres of murk that surround Suceava, he muttered "zona industrială". Little did we know we'd just past the city's chief attraction.

I am being rather unfair, as Suceava has a fine castle, working synagogue, splendid graveyard and a rain-soaked ethnographic museum to rival the one I tricked Mrs Boyo into visiting in Cluj.

It has an excellent Italian restaurant, and is the ideal base for visiting the painted monasteries of Moldavia. I also drank the best afinată fruit brandy of the whole journey in the nearby village of Marginea.

It's difficult to dislike a place that has a signpost to the Borgo Pass, but it is not the Seattle of the Carpathians that we were misled into expecting. The nightlife is dominated, as everywhere in smalltown Europe, by clumps of hair gel and hormones hanging out of badly-modified cars.

The Lonely Planet didn't even have the grace to get the map of the tiny downtown right, so it took ages to find the one travel agent who could get us back to Bucharest, where the dead travel fast but at least don't pause for handbrake turns outside our hotel window.

Some time later I was reading Tim Moore's sublime Frost on My Moustache and came across a casual comment about the refined indignities to which he and his wife would like to subject the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Romania at the wretch's inevitable show trial.

So I rushed off to read the LP guides to Central Asia and Ukraine, areas I know well. Sure enough, they too were pants.

Once BBC Worldwide announced they were buying this tie-dyed sack of patchouli-stained porkies, it was only a matter of time before the subprime travel guide market leapt off the window ledge into the "always bustling town piazza" that's been closed for years due to that massacre.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Starry Wisdom

Our daughter Arianrhod ferch Saisladdwr is interested in subacquatic lifeforms and betting, and entertains ideas of owning a brace of racing lobsters one day.

She's at the stage where she names everything with enthusiasm and added accuracy. Except for the octopus, which she once called "octopus" but now dubs "Ee-ee-eh".

This baffled me, until I realised that she'd overheard my casual incantation to the Great Cthulhu - Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Ftaghn!

Cthulhu could be the One we meet on Judgement Day, and doesn't sound the meek, forgiving type if his prophet Mr Lovecraft can be trusted. I'm hardly pious, but do like to keep my options open.

I've been thinking about when to begin Arianrhod's religious education, but she seems to have picked it up all on her own.

Als das Kind Kind war,
wußte es nicht, daß es Kind war,
alles war ihm beseelt,
und alle Seelen waren eins.

Mrs Boyo doesn't know about it, so keep it to yourselves.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Angleterre: Mode d'emploi

This web blog is a sort of lay-by for foreign readers with more time than sense. Often they ask "No Good Boyo, yes we know what Wales is. But what is this England of which you write about?"

I have therefore taken some time out of my schedule as agitator and vivisectionist to compile a brief guide to England and those who live there:


A network of motorways and military bases on a broad isthmus between Wales and Scotland, England is among the world's leading entrepôts for tobacco and drink smuggling.

Like many other Germanic and Scandanavian tribes, the English have been cowed by self-doubt in recent decades, and have turned from beserking empire-hurlers into a nation of social workers, drones and emigrants.

Despite brief periods of independence in 954-1066 and 1649-1660, England has largely weltered under Norman, Welsh, Scottish, Dutch, German, Belgian and again Scottish rule.

High taxation has kept the mass of the population impoverished, with potential leaders subsumed into the ruling elites through the enticement of civil service pensions. Anyone else with any sense has moved to a cottage in Wales.


All major parties are either run by Scots or soon will be. The Barnett Formula requires 2/3 of each cabinet to be made up of Scots of various types.

Welshmen were given their own country by the Here You Are Boys Act of 1998, but campaigns to let the English have one as well have been vetoed by the Labour government under the Parliament Act (Retention of Majority) of 2006.


Major English exports include all clever people and the Armed Forces. England has an extensive foreign investment programme, with franchises of drunk louts and plain, shouty women in the beach resorts of most Mediterranean countries. Imports include contraband toxins and child brides.

England has an extensive and influential European diaspora centred on the criminal community of Valencia, adulterous City commuters in Normandy and newspaper columnists in central Italy.


Britain transferred all rights to the English language over to the United States under the Lend-Lease Programme during the Second World War. This requires all English pop groups to sing with American accents with the exception of XTC, The Fall and other regional comedy acts.

English classical musicians are also required to have daft girly voices like Peter Pears or to look like dils (see Nigel Kennedy).

This has left the English with football and beer, both of which are consumed lukewarm according to the national taste.

In recent years cricket has been outsourced to South Asia, but rugby has acquired popularity among women who drive Range Rovers.


The replacement of lard and cigarettes with Scotch bonnet peppers and crack has made the English diet more vibrant and diverse. Life expectancy and general cheeriness nonetheless remain stubbornly high, but forthcoming budgets are expected to address this.