Nick Fisk, author of The Blues are Back in Town was our man in France this week following Wales who were better at staying in Europe than the rest of us.
An alarm clock and my father aided me in negotiating the first potential hazard of the adventure, the early start of 5am and a departure from Cardiff airport. After a brief meet at Toulouse airport with the legend Andy Legg who took my offer of a Blues Are Back in Town in return for a quick selfie, Fisk then had to negotiate a more problematic obstacle: poor planning.
I had hoped I would easily meet up with Bastien who, via airbnb, was putting me up for the night, but of course no. Despite assurance from my phone operators, I had no signal on my mobile and had foolishly not stored details in paper form as to where I would be staying.
I felt like Tom Hanks in The Terminal as I started to wonder if I would ever leave the airport.
In the first of a new series of articles, in partnership with Bath Spa University, Wales Arts Review looks at the concept of transnational literature.
In May of this year at the Blue Sky cafe in Bangor, at the goodbye party of iconic 55 year old Welsh language literary review Taliesin, Angharad Price spoke to novelist Alys Conran and translator Sian Northey about Conran’s debut novel, Pigeon, which was published earlier this year simultaneously in English and Welsh.
I am in Lidl on Cathays Terrace. There is a sign on the entrance, Lidl loves Cathays. Inside there is a long queue to the checkouts. I have time to watch people. Lidl on a Sunday is like that, the languages are not all English, or Welsh and the people, students and post-grads are from the four corners. They are shopping on a Sunday, a day-off for most, for Lidl offers – I buy flowers, bleach, toilet-roll, a rose wine, some olives, milk, bread, coffee...
Beyond the tills there is a poster, life-size, sort of, an early triumvirate, I recognise Gareth Bale, Ashley Williams and the other guy – “Together Stronger” it claims or in Welsh “Gorau Chwarae, Cyd Chwarae”, which isn’t the same thing but close. In the evening I have time to watch the football. The tournament in France – Albania beat Romania, France draw with Switzerland – all kicking a ball about, to be part of the world, to win, a game.