Times Literary Supplement review

Posted on Sep 10, 2012
In ‘NB’, back page, September 7th, 2012 by C.M:
Thanks to the recently completed footpath, Coastal Wales was this year named by Lonely Planet as ‘the best region on Earth’.(La Ruta Maya, Central America, came second and Northern Kenya, third.) Planet: The Welsh Internationalist has responded by introducing a new regular feature, :Retracing Wales’, in which the writer – there will be a new one each issue – takes aparticular stretch of coastline and extrapolates from it “to examine the significance of the coast path as a whole: from narratives of ‘nation building’, the power of the heritage industry and the ‘branding’ of locality.., to the politics of public access to the countryside”.
The artist David Rees Davies, the first to accept the commission, will be a difficult act to follow, having reproduced a section of his painting “Dangerous Cliffs (On A Clear Day You Can See Ilfracombe)”. This detail draws on his childhood and features not only “a pompous, beer-gutted ex-sportsmaster’ who drunkenly enters into a ludicrous argument over the Viking vs Mabinogi etymological origin of Witches Point” and the “disquieting presence of of the Mari Lwyd, who I knew to secretly living nearby, but was out for some mischief in a party dress”, but also “Nazi POW escapees from the Island Camp [and the Mari Lwyd) waiting patiently at Tusker Rock for a German submarine that never materialises” along with memories of my uncle Danny, who as a boy in the 1930s feared he had become prematurely bald as a result of my father  singlehandedly pulling him up by his hair – he’d broken one of his arms whilst stealing gull’s eggs and was dangling, stiff with fear”. And we are not to imagine that it stops there: the painting is a painting in progress and, as the artist points out, “paintings can make their own mind up”.