The Search for Culture in a Small Welsh Town

One aspect of moving from London to Mid-Wales is that culturally we have fewer opportunities. In London, on one desired day or night one could choose to attend any number of talks, plays, films, exhibitions, events etc. Here, there is far less going on. Some may see this as a great disadvantage, as I thought I might. However I’ve found that because there are less things to do I want to do all those things! In London it can be overwhelming, and the copious amount of choice often means I end up doing nothing.


Here in this town on the west coast of mid-Wales, there are a number of opportunities to get stuck into large amounts of potentially riveting forms of artistic entertainment. The main hub of all these things comes in the form of The Arts Centre. Here one can find an digital cinema screen, two theatre stages and a number of exhibition areas. There seems to be at least a play on a week, and the big and limited releases are shown here. I have joined the film society which means twice a month I’m able to watch an indie film from somewhere around the world made anytime from 1932 to today.

We also have the The National Library of Wales, which not only is quite a magnificent building, but holds a number of interesting exhibitions. Having looked at the schedule on the website there is also a lecture every week from whatever professor, celebrity or general expert they can find.

The town’s cinema The Commodore also plays a range of recent films, I believe at the moment they are showing Forrest Gump.



Today me and wife made our first visit to The National Library. There was to be a lecture on the use of DNA to trace family history. Despite being discouraged by Sibyl’s reminders that my course had “nothing to with Science or anything clever like that”, I explained that I wanted to go despite that, in order to open my mind to the wonders of knowledge.

Like I mentioned in an earlier blog post, people seem to be obsessed with tracing their family history these days, ever since these Who Do You Think You Are programmes have been showing on the BBC. Sure enough when we arrived, the lecture theatre was overrun by organised people who had pre-booked their seats. We were forced to sit in the overflow with several angry 66 year old Welsh speaking women. This seemed to be fine until the lecture began and there was a problem with the television which was playing something involving Carol Vorderman laughing loudly, over the top of the relay of the Professor. This is very off putting when someone is telling you about blood sampling.

We soon lost interest and made our way to the Pen Dinas restaurant, within the same building. I got a lovely leak, mushroom and Welsh-Cheese pie and Sibyl got what looked like a lasagne but it ended up having chicken in it so wasn’t. Nevertheless both our meals were to a high standard, and very tasty.


After that, we stumbled into an exhibition on two Welsh writers of the past, Dylan Thomas and Kate Roberts. Both of which seemed like interesting people, writing interesting stuff. Thomas is the only one I have read some stuff by. In fact, there isn’t a poet that I have read more by, and a writer who can move and excite me more consistently.

Kate Roberts, who writes in the medium of the Welsh language is someone who I’ll be looking into, although Nain says her work is “very depressing”.


Next week there is a lecture on A Sword in the language battle: ‘The Welsh Film Board, 1971-1986. It promises to be an absolute classick. I hope these events don’t end up being more exciting than the course I’m actually paying for!

Film Review: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

We were a month and a bit late, but finally our chance came to watch the sixth installment of this huge money making franchise. “How huge?” I hear you ask. Well…

The film opened to critical acclaim and instant commercial success, breaking the records for biggest midnight opening gross of all time as well as biggest single-day worldwide gross of all time. In five days the film made $394 million, breaking the record for biggest five-day worldwide gross in history. It is also the highest-grossing film of 2009, grossing more than $930 million, which puts the film on the all-time list of 10 highest-grossing films worldwide.

It was directed by David Yates off of… well nothing I’ve seen.

Lead roles come from Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint & Emma Watson off of these indie films:

Not many people watched them.

Appearances were also made by…

Him that plays baddies good:



This guy, who’s in everything and has that face.

and… Tim Burton’s wife who just happens to be right and is cast for every role in his films:

What a weirdo.

What a weirdo.

So a well respected British cast. But what to make of the film?

It was definitely better than I expected. One never really predicts that a film which is this guaranteed to make millions would need to be any good however, expectations were exceeded and the thing that primarily excited me was the visual aspect of the film.

Rolling hills in what looked like Scottish countryside, super imposed into the magic school of Hogwarts.

Fabulous white snowy scenes followed by enthralling games of Quidditch where you felt like a ball might hit you in the face.


The very first scene looked the best; as a sweeping camera quickly sped us through the streets of london, it really is stunning.

As for the script, it was nothing special. For example, the decision to give away a very necessary plot device in having a teacher ask Ron, Harry and Hermione, why it is, that “whenever anything happens, it’s always you three?” to which Ron replies; “Believe me, Professor. I’ve been asking myself that same question for the past six years.” Yes, we would be asking the same thing if we didn’t all realise, it’s a film. That annoyed me.

There was much comedy, including a very humorous bit where Ron is intoxicated by a love potion and he comments on how he thinks the moon is beautiful. Funny guy.

The acting was pretty top notch for the most part. My favourite being Sir Michael Gambon, who as usual delivered in the part of Albus Dumbledore. He’s likeable and just generally very good!

Not all of the acting was good. I was particuarly distressed by Bonnie Wright who played Ginny Weasley. I can see how they were stuck with her, having cast her for a minor role in the earlier films, not knowing she’dbe required for lead roles later on. To be quite honest she hasn’t got the right look for us to believe our protagonist would even think about wanting to be with her and quite frankly she can’t act. For what could potentially be the biggest film of the decade, the production company should have made wiser choices in ensuring their cast was perfect.

ginny weasley can't act

Overall this film most definitely held my interest and it looked brilliant. It made me want to watch the next one and ensured that I did not regret spending my time and money on it.

Woolen Oyster Card by my wife

Cool eh?

Oh and as you might have guessed by the title and subtle changes to the About section on the blog, I am now married! I’ll do a more detailed summary when I’m less busy and not moving to Wales.

The story behind the Woolen Oyster Card is that it was made for an art project when she was in school. I thought it was super cool and Blewog-worthy.

Video: Telegraph reporter attacked by lion “just playing”

It gets really good around the 2 minute mark.

I love the guy just shouting no in Afrikaans, a word that we as a family have come to know quite well, as we have some South African kids in our congregation.

Previously on soopersnail…

Some quick thoughts on beauty.

I was in e-conversation with a fashionable jeweler I came across on the web (here). It led me to do some research on what the Bible does say about the beauty we are born with.

Much of the word’s opinion on beauty comes in the form of verses like this:

1 Samuel 16:7 – “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Which is a good point to make. Ultimately beauty is fleeting.

However appearance is not overlooked in the Bible:

Rebekah “was very fair to look upon” (Gen 24:16). Rachel “was graceful and beautiful” (Gen 29:17). Joseph was “handsome and goodlooking” (Gen 39:6). Jacob and Rachel fall in love at first sight (Gen 29) and he happily waits seven years to marry her: “they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her” (Gen 29:20).

As well as Song of Solomon’s obvious enrapture with the beauty of the female form:

How fair and pleasant you are
O loved one, delectable maiden!
You are stately as a palm tree
and your breasts are like its clusters.
I say I will climb the palm tree
and lay hold of its branches.
Oh, may your breasts be like
clusters of the vine,
(Song 7:6-8).