nawr 001 spring 2020

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n awr where you to?

WHERE ARE WE GOING? The picture is looking down onto the A483 near Cynghordy, in the heart of Wales. The road is one of the main North - South trunk roads in Wales, running from Swansea to Wrexham, and is a popular route for travellers from the west of Wales accessing mid Wales and the borders. At this point the road cuts through the rugged hill farming and forestry landscape of Mid Wales, clinging to the hillside as it passes along the Bran valley. The views in this area have been in a state of flux in recent times, with a great deal of mature forestry being commercially harvested or cleared due to larch disease. Not long ago the road could only be heard and not seen from this vantage point, but the clearance of a larch plantation has revealed this view, with just these few tall trees remaining. What drew me to the scene was the way the tree on the right leans at the same angle as the road, and I enjoy the enigma of the road, the unknown direction of travel, and its transitory emptiness. North - South road travel in Wales can be a time consuming and arduous business, but the rewards are the intimate access with the landscape that’s not afforded to motorway travel, and the proximity to the towns and villages that make up the spine of Wales. Andrew Dally is a photographer based in Powys. Working mainly in black and white, his work is inspired by the landscape, history and literature of Mid Wales. Instagram: @amdally


poetry Hello and welcome to the first issue of nawr!

It’s been a hectic three months behind the scenes for us lot: in just a few months, nawr has transformed from a drunken seed of an idea into a beautiful mostly-sober oak tree (okay, maybe one of those trees that’s still got the little stick tied to it to keep it up). It’s been absolutely class being part of something so fast-moving and we’re so grateful to everyone that’s shared and supported us so far in any way. The fact that other people are as excited as we are about this has made what could have been something stressful really fun, and we can’t wait to see where it goes from here. The vision behind nawr is basically in the name: we want to see what people are creating right now in Wales, regardless of whether people class it as ‘highbrow’ or ‘lowbrow’, and regardless of age, race and gender. The question of what it means to be Welsh and live in Wales is an increasingly relevant and important topic right now, and we want to see how that’s captured in art. The practice of art takes place everywhere and anywhere: it happens in pubs and cafes as much as it happens in studios and universities - in the living room in front of the telly and at a desk in the library (but don’t you dare go to any of those places to get creative for the foreseeable future. Nawr does not condone unnecessary contact). The theme of this issue is ‘Where you to?’. We decided to start with a theme that closely connected to our vision, looking at how space and place impacts our identity. When we’re asking ‘where you to?’ in this issue, we’re asking not just where you are physically but what that means to you. It’s been amazing seeing the different ways that submissions have responded to this theme and pairing pieces that work really well together. There’s something ironic about the fact that our first theme is all about place, when right now, none of us can go anywhere. We didn’t think the first issue of our mag would come to you from quarantine, but coronavirus had other plans. For us, a lot of these pieces are a whole lot more poignant now that we’re all stuck in one place. We were buzzing when the very talented Ffion Morgan agreed to be our first featured artist. We didn’t think it was possible to concentrate the theme of identity and a space into something the size of a pea, but that concentration makes her work all the more profound and enchanting. We think you’ll really enjoy her thoughts.

We’d like to give a big thanks to the lovely Chloe Erin for her transcription talents, and the wonderful Anja Quinn for her design magic. So, without further ado, welcome to what is the first of many issues of nawr, and the start of something exciting. Cariad, Anna, Jamie, Martha & Puck - aka, Team nawr x

contents Poetry






FEATURED ARTIST: In conversation with Ffion Morgan


Back Home, Sophie Squire


a blue hot sky, Jamie Davies


“Happy to see the sheep and hear the local gossip”, Millie Bethel


a dawn more red, Jamie Davies


Notre Dame, Martha O’Brien


The day Mum got rid of the bunk bed, Martha O’Brien


Assorted photographs, Ollie Howard


in a queer time and place, Chloe Erin


Clydach Forest: Summer Seventeen, Rhys Milsom


That Time I Saw a Car Floating in the Water in Brixham, Rhys Milsom


Self:Build:Self, Julian McKenny


To Let, Puck Stagg


The long way home, Zoe Kramer


¿En qué idioma sueñas?, Luisa De La Concha


Silver, Ronnie Pope


Directionless, Henrietta Page


alternate kingdom, Amy Doyle


Nero, Zaru Jonson


“oi, where you to, mate?”, Eugenia Taylor


Quality Quarantine: nawr’s isolation entertainment guide



SPRING, Sunita Tarusha Edirisooriya untitled, Curt Perrett


Wait, Huw Alden Davies


Up Till Now, Georgia Gifford

Back Home In the Midlands, The middle of nowhere And everywhere Is where I’m from. Where the word flat Only refers to gone off pop And the way a joke Your misogynistic uncle Told falls. Never the roads, Higgledy-piggledy Up-down-left-right Hit start and repeat For a cheat, over the potholes That the council Outline in yellow As a promise. But the paint fades Before any wheels can be saved. Take the train, All tracks lead to home But where is home? The jagged hills of only road, Or the rolling hills Of old Wales. Where potholes are seen to In the time it takes To make a brew, It is a city after all. Where your friends Rinse you about your accent; The grass or the grarse Say it like you’re wiping your arse. In the Midlands Is where I’m from, But Wales is where I’ve gone.

Sophie Squire 23 Cardiff/Staffordshire


‘Happy to see the sheep and hear the local gossip’ Millie Bethel’s discussion of Martin Parr in Wales and reflections on the valleys


iving in the valleys has always been something I’ve been extremely proud of – the hills, camaraderie, accents, people – it’s a place which always welcomes you back, no matter how long you’ve been away. And although I’d defend my hometown to my death, it will always be somewhere that leaves me feeling conflicted. Loss of industry, repressed feelings, and empty precincts mark these small towns as places which haven’t been able to move on. Martin Parr’s photographs of Wales expertly capture these tensions with a humour and vulnerability that enable his images to do so much more than just document. Seeing the series for the first time at the National Museum Cardiff last weekend, I was almost relieved to witness something which encapsulated my feelings so well. Parr himself has said that his photographs ‘make fiction out of reality’, and I think that’s the thing about belonging to a place – it’s often so close to you that it’s hard to articulate what you think, to even begin to put Martha’s lovely biro impression of Martin Parr, Blaengwynfi, 2008 those thoughts into order. Original image at: What you say about your hometown often then becomes a kind of fiction. How you represent it to the people around you reworks past stories, sayings, and moments, and how could it not when you are from somewhere which is suspended between its past and its future? Take for example, Parr’s photographs of miners at Tower Colliery, Glamorgan. These photos were taken in 1993, just a year after the government announced it was going to close a third of Britain’s deep coal mines. The half-deflated balloons and sad, home-made decorations act as the ominous twist in this image; half comical, half empathetic as they contradict the miner’s blackened clothes and blank expression. This is a story that I doubt any child growing up in the valleys has escaped: you don’t know when you learnt about the courage of your grandfather, but now it seems like something you’ve always just known.


Parr’s highly saturated colours only work to reiterate the fact that these stories are part of a tradition. The vivid aesthetic, much like a glowing coming of age film, invites us to add our own meaning to the photographs whilst simultaneously offering us something of the surreal. It’s as if these stories are happening in their own self-contained worlds, firmly separated from, and unattainable in the present. When I looked at the image of the miner, I was surprised to note the date. Almost 30 years have passed since Parr took the photo, but somehow I thought it would be longer. Maybe that says more about how much I don’t know about my own history – which I have to say, is a constant niggle in my side. It seems to remerge now and again as if to say now, now, don’t go thinking you’re as Welsh as the rest of them. But maybe moreso than my anxieties about my Welsh identity, my surprise reveals how Valleys’ culture continually regurgitates its past. Our very recent history instantly becomes something much older because it already belongs to a long, potent tradition of injustice and anti-Thatcherism. And if your present is so strongly tied to a past you never witnessed, how do you fit in, in the right now? It is the unattainable, unrealness of Parr’s photographs that are perhaps then a comfort for me. One glance at them can summarise the conflict of feeling frustrated that you never got to live through something, and the simultaneous annoyance that people are stuck in a culture three decades old. And maybe that’s the problem with being such sentimental and proud people: we get stuck relaying these stories because we don’t know how to tell the new ones with a transparency that reflects the everyday. Parr doesn’t believe his photographs are a direct comment on Welsh culture, but to me they sum up a hometown that is both fun and sad, exciting and lonely. I will always love being from the Valleys, happy to see the sheep and hear the local gossip, but it is the hidden honesty of Parr’s photos which allow a breath of fresh air to wash over my little patch of land. Millie Bethel, 22, Tredegar, South Wales valleys.

Another of Martha’s lovely biro impressions, this one of Martin Parr, Miner at Tower Colliery, Glamorgan, 1993 Original image at:


Clydach Forest: Summer Seventeen A river. Water. Flowing. Whispering to the river banks and rocks and pebbles and things drowned long ago, disintegrating, broken, lost. Hushed voices, lighters click, then the exhale. Or a sigh? Footsteps tap on the rocky path. Dewy grass. Unwashed clothes. Mud. Dirt. Old beer. Dying barbecues or smoke? Wood. Freshly cut. Strong hands. Something hard: wood, metal. My feet struggle. Films of saliva. Blood. Old. New. The tangy taste of copper


That Time I Saw a Car

Floating in the Water in Brixham

Across the water a swarm of bees – embers: the car headlights sink. Across the water crisp, hung linen: the fish nibble until there’s nothing left. Across the water a wedge of glacier: melting into the mud, the drains, our throats. Across the water northern lights: fade, struggle, resurface, drown. Across the water you sing hymns: the black water clamps your lungs. Across the water and all I can see is miles: darkness looks the same.

poems by Rhys Milsom 30 Swansea


Self:Build:Self Julian McKenny Self:Build:Self documents the construction of our straw bale house at our no-dig Permaculture market garden in north Pembrokeshire. Designed in the vernacular style of a Welsh longhouse, the build took over four years.



itting on rows of paired car tyres which are rammed with pea gravel to avoid the use of concrete, it has load bearing straw walls which support the roof without the use of a timber frame. Inside the walls are hand rendered with clay dug on-site, outside with lime putty. These materials absorb moisture and allow the house to ‘breathe’, creating a very balanced living environment.

walls is slow and all the internal work takes more time and skill. Surfaces were finished with home made clay plaster and clay paint or with wood sourced locally. Finally, after ten years of living in a static caravan, we were able to move in and at last could answer the question we were most often asked, "Will you be in by Christmas?" Self:Build:Self is one of several photographic series that make up the project About A Place which looks at the development of the market garden, life on the land and construction of a second dwelling to PassivHaus standard, which is a very different method of building.

The bales were sourced locally, from Fishguard, and are trimmed to fit the layout or split and re-tied with two foot long needles. They are pre-compressed using lorry straps before the weight of the roof is lowered on to them, compressing them further and solidifying the structure. The straw is so tightly compressed in the bales See it is not flammable, especially when place-homepage for more. clay rendered, and is not attractive to rodents (one of the questions we were asked the most by customers at our farm gate stall). Straw houses are usually raised from the ground to keep their feet dry and have an overhanging roof to keep rain off. The main structure of the house goes up quickly - the straw walls were put in place during a one week straw bale course. After that things slow down. Hand rendering the

Julian McKenny is a fine artist and photographer based near Cardigan in West Wales. He has an MA in Photography (Distinction) and a BA in Fine Art and is part of the collaborative art group Rhys Reece Rees who have shown work in Cardiff as part of Made In Roath - see for more information.



Photographs by Julian McKenny


To Let

I used to live in a haunted house where I was the pale, frail, veiled ghost I pushed prizes off of mantelpieces I frightened the dog only the baby seemed to really see me so I scrawled my letters on walls the tenants didn’t want to stay but my rent was oh so cheap.

When they started to earn a little more though they decided that they wanted to move. Better schools for the baby, nicer cafes, a proper garden for the dog and only half an hour away. Then I came cringing from behind the radiator and there was no baby to cry or dog to bark. I enjoyed the silence for a while, that peace which settled over the central heating. I took sandpaper to the walls grew basil in the windows waited patiently. I think the landlord forgot that I was there until you came. Now we live in a haunted house. And we turn up the radio to drown out my ghosts we put your storybooks on the mantelpiece, we’re thinking of getting a dog. You cannot be here always, but you leave me love letters on the walls. Now we live in a haunted house and I have made it home.


Puck Stagg 21 Cardiff

¿En qué idioma sueñas? In English or Spanish? In which language do you dream, speak, remember? There is a highway at the south of Lebanon that inexplicably reminds me of a highway at the south of Mexico. A crane is buried between the mountains. A bed of rocks has formed underneath. Geographical debris that reminds me of my own geographical wasteland. Snapshots of moments I could not capture. The bus moves away from the crane and the image is replaced by a church with no windows, just concrete arcs, like the one in Tintern Abbey. It doesn’t matter that this one is a Muslim church and that one is a Christian church. My memory sees the same church, juxtaposed. Geography and time are inevitably linked when we talk about memory. Did you know that Notre Dame was in flames? I saw the images and videos of it burning last night. You used to talk about Paris all the time. You, a Mexican mother that had only been to Paris once. Did you know that the only woman that threw herself from its now non-existent ceiling was Mexican? Cegada por desamor, looking for peace in the concrete floor. In the same way that some words in English do not have a direct translation to Spanish, some feelings do not have a direct translation. This is why I constantly find myself in a limbo. Between here (aquí) and there (allá), between then (entonces) and now (ahora). I have taken the decision to not come back. I told you on the phone a month ago and you simply said: ‘Sí, eso pensé. No estás lista para volver.’ However, I will always return to you. To you, to the country, to the past, to my mother, to the Mother, to the Earth. Madre tierra, México.

Luisa De La Concha Mexico/Wales


~ SPRING ~ The trees are already in blossom as if it is ordinary as the sunset as expected as the sunrise. How extraordinary that this is the ordinary. The seasons -all of them nowthey have come and they have gone as if it is nothing. They didn’t have to try, they just did. And the world didn’t stop, it didn’t end, nor did I. And the trees, have you seen? They are in blossom. And the trees, they show off their flowers like a new dress,

like a bride dressed in white, so lively, enjoying every little breath and eager to say hello. Why are they so beautiful? Don’t they know I’m not ready for spring. Some time has passed, enough time for the trees to blossom once more as if it was nothing. Some time has passed and I have been keeping so busy you see I didn’t notice the blossom of the trees.

How can so much change in a moment and yet 4 seasons have passed. It is as if nothing happened at all. As if this is normal.


The trees are in blossom once again, yet I have not moved.

Both of you bring a smile to my face.

Spring you are a gift for those who choose to see you, for those who will not see your gift go to waste.

Sulking in spring is not such a bad thing. At least the sky is blue and the snowdrops they sulk too crying drops of morning dew.

But have you seen the trees? How carelessly spring has sprung so soon.

Spring, you arrived too early, I am not yet ready.

The sun is shining on everything. Relentlessly. She catches me in her gaze -it is not a trapshe is just doing what she knows to be true,

How you inspire me Spring, You bring me comfort.

to shine. She does not care that you are not there. But spring, she’s so sweet like you she is effortless.

Spring, You melt my soft heart, I am not yet ready. And perhaps I never will be. Hold my hand, Spring hold me before time sweeps me away.

Sunita Tarusha Edirisooriya 21 Cardiff


in the wilderness, the tall trees of wild thought blocking out the light If only we could burn it all down Make a fresh start in the ashes But for now we get our fix from cigarettes Patiently rolled between deliberate fingers And campfires, singing songs and drunk Taking small parts of the trees at a time

Curt Perett 23 Cardiff



Taken from Scaffold to the Moon | By Huw Alden Davies “I walked to the bottom of the clothes line this morning, and there your father was, smoking. I was so upset I cried. I couldn’t talk to him the rest of the day. He has only just had a heart attack. He tried to talk to me. He said he’d cracked. I just had no words”. Pearl Strange, it seems that only a little while ago prince laid in a bed surrounded by doctors having narrowly escaped death, joking none the less about how shit the hospital food was. And in that moment we had an awakening, well, we being my mother, brother and I. This awakening failed to reach my father, who was devoid of this realisation that maybe he wasn’t immortal after all. We wait and we wait, and we hope for change. Although people, rarely change. We are who we are, and my father is who he is, and change for him it would seem, might never be an option. However, waiting, or more precisely, making others wait, is compulsory or somewhat an inevitable personal trait for him. Much of my childhood memories involve waiting for his highness to return home, often from the Workingman’s Club, where I believed he worked. My brother and I are still waiting for a giant train-set. And it's not that he didn’t get one, we are just waiting for him to put it together, as it was going to be a complicated set up, see. It’s only been 27 years, but we live in hope. My mother, however, has waited more than most. Only thirty years ago my father came through the door declaring that we were all going on a family holiday, and demanded that we packed our bags. We had never been on a holiday before. My father then said he would be back ‘in a bit’, and that we should make sure that we were ready, and then left again. So immediately, my mother ran up the stairs and packed our bags and got us ready. By the time that he returned, we were washed and ready for bed. Those suitcases were packed and ready to go for some time later, but like us, they never got a break. Only last year, it was all set, Prince was going to get his own passport. I even took his photograph. But we will just have to wait to see how that turns out.


Up Till Now One morning on the way to school when I was only three, I stepped onto an icy sheet and ended up knees deep, Another time I tripped and fell and got glass in my knee, When we got down to the church mum pulled it out for me. In the car she’d always have the heating on ‘full blast’, Me and sister in the back drew faces on the glass, Watching snowfall melt onto our greasy fingermarks, With two CDs to choose from: Will Young or the Carpenters. Once we rolled in muddy puddles at the woods when it was warm, Poured water down the slide, ran bare feet around the lawn, Being sure to avoid the big-white-bush where bees would congregate, Stopping to meet my neighbour, to tell her I was eight. I listened to ma and deez at teatime: ‘Don’t lick your knife, elbows off the mat’, ‘Stop feeding the dog, off the table cat!’ ‘You don’t need salt on everything, fork goes in the left hand’ ‘Just finish off those smiley faces then you can get down’. Perched on the kitchen counter in over-sized tops That dad got for free at a work conference, Once he brought back boxes of pens and paper pads That we used for a secret club that we convened ‘down the land’. I watched The Hoobs with sister and we ate Nutella toast And every Sunday lunch dad cooked us all a roast, Then, in the evening there was ‘family tea’ at Grandmas, Or Nans where we would play with Styrofoam and washed-out jam jars. I made visors once with Grandma and sister for the theatre, ‘Fame’ across the front in fairy dust and golden glitter, One Christmas I unwrapped a guitar; it was bigger than me, Whilst the paper was torn to pieces by puppy paws and teeth. Each year I’d pack my ‘boat bag’ for the ferry over to France, But not before checking my little sisters in advance, In a shop before our mum panicked and thought that we were gone, When we heard our names on the tannoy we came out the child’s play-home.


One time the bunk bed ladder fell onto the fish tank: smash! So we put Angel into a bag and blue tack on the crack, Another time Dad put me on his yellow motorbike, engine whirring loud, He let me ride it down the driveway, mum shouting ‘get her down!’ Once when we were young he let us drive the car along the beach, Back when there was no one there but the sand dunes and the sea, There where I used to jump over the waves in sparkly welly boots, Dad would chase them really far and then run back, quicker than I could. It was summer, a BBQ at the Hughes’s; I was on the trampoline, And my friend threw a ball on and I snapped my ankle clean, Later on, a similar thing, driving a homemade go-kart, I swerved and my leg went underneath, trying to go too fast. Each day for two years I did paper rounds in the pouring rain, Some times twice cause sister hurt her ankle playing netball again, I didn’t mind though because it meant I could buy my train to Bristol, First thing I bought was a yellow jumper and a chocolate-flavored facemask. I took a school trip to Italy where I sang and ate gelato, Acted in some musicals and made a great soprano, Spent lots of evenings curled up in bed; cat at my feet, Writing songs for next weeks gig and drinking cups of tea. I stole mum’s Southern Comfort to take camping with my friends, Once on the way home from school I smoked a cigarette end, On the last day of sixth form we did paint handprints on the walls, It was tradition, but it wasn’t tradition to also do the toilet stalls… When I started going clubbing it was like riding a bike, At the start it felt quite strange, but by ‘first year’ of uni I was out every night, I had my first long term boyfriend, then my first broken heart, Stopped drinking so much, did some exercise, and studied really hard. Now it’s 5pm and Mum is downstairs watching The Chase, Both of us waiting for dinner, her sat in ‘her place’, Sister is at uni and I’m sure I’ll head back soon, But first I’ll cook with dad and talk to mum in the living room. Georgia Gifford 22 Cardiff



Ffion Morgan nawr’s anna bland speaks to ffion morgan, a miniature construction artist

Our featured artist for this issue is Ffion Morgan- a miniature construction artist from Llantrisant in South Wales. Ffion Morgan studied stage design in Wales and now works as a barista whilst also working on art commissions, making small framed constructions of buildings, structures, and landscapes. Anna met Ffion in Bristol where she now lives and works to discuss Ffion’s memories of home, her travels around the UK and beyond, and the development of her work and her artistic inspirations.


I first met Ffion last year when we both worked a temporary barista job in Bristol’s most notorious cultural

quarter, Stokes Croft. It was one of the oddest jobs I have ever worked, attracting the most eclectic mix of people. Getting to know Ffion, sharing our interests and stories, was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the job. Ffion’s love of her Welsh heritage and language is a joy to behold. As soon as we started planning for this first issue of nawr, she leapt to mind as a creative that, while not living in Wales, carries with her such a strong sense of Welsh identity both in her work and her daily life. Her miniature constructions not only capitalise on the charm of everyday objects in miniature, but are also a medium through which Ffion expresses exactly this sense of ‘home’.


ince w’ve known each other, it’s been clear just from speaking to you that you have a very strong sense of where you come from and where you grew up. So do you just want to start by telling me a bit about Llantrisant? Ffion: Yes, so Llantrisant is a cobbled hilltop, old market town. It feels very earthy; it's got a really tight community in, I would say, not an invasive way. I feel like it's healthy and there's a really cool culture going on there. And there's like five pubs! The live music scene is amazing as well. The history of Llantrisant is so well documented from at least a thousand years ago-- the church is over a thousand years old, and we still have Freemen of Llantrisant. There is a lot still drawing people to the place. What led you to leave Llantrisant and what brought you to Bristol? Ffion: I've always lived really far from Wales, just to try to experience other things. After university I lived in Cornwall for a bit, then moved to Australia for a year, but moved back to my family home last summer. I missed my language and I missed the terrain of Wales and I missed my family. But Cardiff -- and I have worked in Cardiff and been creative in Cardiff-- but I just wanted more of a London feel. So, Bristol is like an hour away from my family. I'm able to speak Welsh, and I'm able to be Welsh in Wales but it still is just that one step away from being too comfortable to move forward with my own creativity.

What was it like being home again, after having lived elsewhere for so long? Ffion: It was lush. There was one corridor in-between mine and my dad’s workshops. We do relatively similar work in the tools that we use because he's a violin maker, so a lot of what he does is woodwork to a very small scale. Sometimes we'd listen to the same music and we'd put the same radio stations on, and he would always be running into my workshop to show me what he was doing. Or just to tell an anecdote that had popped into his mind and vice versa, and it was just this really wholesome, creative space. And actually, I haven't found a space that I feel more comfortable and more creative in yet, that is actually my happy place. And we both enjoy it so much! I think it's something that we both hold really dear to ourselves. He's become very respectful of my work and he's not done that lightly. When I was growing up, I would have to really work for his compliments, and he would never ever give them to me if I didn't deserve it. I remember as a youngster, as a teenager, he had criticised a piece that I'd done. I literally was like, " At least just f***ing lie to me!" I was just sick of the criticism. And then the next time I showed him something he was like, "Jesus Ffion, that's like the best thing I've ever seen in my whole life!" all patronising and sarcastic! But now he’s so positive about what I do.


Do you see where you come, do you see Llantrisant, in your creative projects? That sense of place and home? Ffion: Oh yeah. Big time. I think in a very large way I identify with being Welsh and identify with Llantrisant and, because I'm a young artist, I clocked on that I needed to do what I know for it to be of worth. As a young artist, I've just tried to keep it really local and try to keep what I'm doing really rooted within my own identity and upbringing so that I can do something with an essence of wisdom. 'Cause if I go for something that I don't know, because I'm a young artist, it's probably not going to be as vibrant as something I do know. So Llantrisant is a huge part of the way that I go.


How did you get into doing these miniature constructions? Ffion: I studied Set, Prop and Costume Design and went into mostly set design for theatre and film. Within set design you always make it in miniature which is then scaled up in size. I was just like, "Sh*t, I can actually model!" I'm probably a better model-maker than I am set designer, so it happened by accident. And the crazy thing is that people are so taken in by miniatures, it's freaky! When I show people my work, they get like really... they react in such an interesting way. There's a lot of screaming, a lot of cooing, it's like people just react really strangely to it? People get freaky about it. And I was just like, there's something here.

Tell me about this specific piece that we have featured in this issue? Ffion: The miniature village is based on Llareggub from Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood (1954 radio drama). Dylan Thomas’ description of Llareggub was so detailed and accurate that I saw so much of Llantrisant in the characters and layout of the town. So, I

created my own mini Llareggub, drawing in a big way from the twisty streets of Llantrisant. The shed in one of the photos is an exact copy of the shed in Laugharne that Thomas wrote Under Milk Wood in. I wapped it right in the centre of the model as a nod to the playwright himself. So now you work, and you do commissions for people now. Is it different, making art that is so personal for other people? Ffion: It's a different joy now. I see half of the reaction: when someone commissions me a piece they're already feeling really proud of themselves because they've picked this one thing that defines or is really important to their friend or family member or whatever. And then when I give it to them, they are always so excited to actually pass on the gift-- it’s almost always a gift-- and I can just be a part of that. I can be like the third party to that handover?


Where do you hope your work will take you? Where can you see it going? Ffion: Do you know what? I really just want to go back down to Cornwall and be able to live off my work and be by the sea, be able to just post my commissions away and just be in Cornwall and have like, loads of windows. I just want a workshop with loads of windows, that's my dream! What is it about Cornwall? Ffion: Oh, it's just so... it feels very Welshy, actually. It's very Celtic. And I really identify with that, how Celtic it is. I think if you spend time in Cornwall you just know that it is so special, isn't it? I do feel like my Welsh identity can just be like, passed over to Cornwall. And it's lush, isn't it? One last question… what does ‘now’ mean to you? Ffion: I love that question, mostly because I use the word now so loosely it actually could be at any point. Because if I was going to... say I had a flight to Australia in six months' time and I was working up to that point, I'd be going to Australia now! ‘Now a bit!’ Only Welsh people misuse the word now and I think it's beautiful. Is that why you asked that question?

we wanted to showcase what was happening creatively now in Wales and for Welsh artists, but I think the theme of place was very conveniently summed up by that Welshism "Where you to?". We love its playfulness-- a stretchy idea of time. Ffion Morgan: [laughing] stretchy?! Love that. Yeah. It can be almost aggressive can't it, like, "I'll be there now mun!" It's like, "Hold it, I'll be there now!" Do you know what, I was on a..? I'm going to sound like a dick now, but I was on this proper tropical island and we ended up spending so much time with this guy whose site we were camping on, and I asked him what the time was, and he wouldn't tell me. He was like, "Why do you need to know, you don't need to know." And I just think there's almost a similar vagueness about exactly what time it is, because I think it's really easy to like, count the seconds? I think it's really unnatural. When you're on a tropical island where have you got to be? Ffion: I had nowhere to be! I had nowhere to be, I just wanted to know the time because I'm British. Well, because we are trying to like, watch the time in such a way, in a really capitalist way almost, isn't it? But being there now in a minute... nothing capitalist about that, is there?

That's why we wanted to call this mag ‘nawr’.... well, we called it ‘nawr’ because

Follow Ffion on Instagram @ffimini

interview by anna louise bland


Llareggub from Thomas’ ‘Under Milk Wood’



a blue hot sky a blue hot sky and a full green tree and the light from the wine dances on her cheek and the smoke endangers itself by opening the world to its embrace and curls out into the softest midnight, a stately lapislazuli mirror brought to encase a human condition coolly instigated. the necklace wound round her neck almost too tight the pink light of the night burst too honest she said you’re too honest and stop now she said and he sat at the typewriter and his fingers ached and his back ached and he saw a rushed vision of time cast out onto the sea. the waves, he said, look at the waves. watch them now. they sat out on the edge of the horizon and their feet draped the universe she touched with her bare toe the waiting infinity like tar below them and he said watch again the waves. a red neon sign above them of a cyclical illusion it hung slanted she said that Camus said to create dangerously and he shrugged his shoulders and the horizon gagged him it choked him he said he couldn’t speak and she said like Pessoa abandoning and he said he couldn’t speak but she looked in his eye and saw there a galaxy voiceless and shining but not a self to redeem or an ego to reify she said it’s fatal, the self. he could hear her cutting her nails in the other room and he could hear the record from the other room and he could hear her heartbeat from the other room when he woke to the sound of waves in the Other’s room. he reached for


a dawn more red What is true has no windows; nowhere does the true look out to the universe. Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project Simulation‌ is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. Jean Baudrillard, Simulations


he emergence of, the radical to be unconcealed of, Now. In a state of perpetual crisis or unending emergency, consciousness becomes trapped in a dis-temporality. Our aim is to re-establish the spatiality of the temporal Now. We have a duty to bleed upon the world. To sow it and to score it, to keep track and to weigh it out. A certain temporality predisposes us to stagnation. The time is not now, the time never was, the now never was. Our fleeting and permanent instantaneity was only ever a fragment of a more fundamental rift. We are sat watching as the image spreads itself thin. It saturates the subject, envelops it, consumes it, appropriates it. The image becomes the subject. The image spreads the subject so thin that it snaps. The visual becomes the virtual. That which is passively viewed becomes that which is passively seen. This seen becomes The View. The View is no longer seen. On the horizon of experience rests a fragmentary remnant of unadulterated, untouched and erotic space. It is virtually entirely visual, for the haptic has been subsumed by the optic. We can touch nothing, and we can see everything. Yet the nihilistic dialectic rears its head and absolute visibility becomes its own inverse and to see all is to become God daydreaming of the Human. To be Human is to be dreamt into aliveness and aliveness is the precondition for being drugged into dreaming. I dream; therefore, I sleep. I dream; therefore, I am. A war machine between the optical dialectic and the erotic dialectic. The simulated taboo is no longer the transgressive for the taboo has become the Real. The Real has become asymmetrical to the Symbolic, to the dreamt, to the Virtual. To desire everything is to desire the spectral phantasm which in liminal form subsists on the horizon of Being. Being has become a Horizon; Being is the edge of Experience. Experience is the mediator of Being. The Angel of History


can now only see the simulacra of disaster. A global horizon emanates outwards from Being. A fractured and highly charged space imbued with the absence of potentiality. On this pure horizon of Being resides the last remnants of the Real. An event-horizon of event-less totalisation, an event-horizon of pure immanence, isolated idolatry. To worship the Self, one must see. To desire above all is to become virtual. It is to situate oneself in a space bordering the Real, that space which is symbolizable but as yet unsymbolised. It is virtual space, that space of pure immanent potentiality. We begin to raise a monument to cultural fracture, a desperately necessary injection of contemporary discourse analysis. There is a domination inherent in the optic, the seer names; naming is to condemn. In naming our crisis we condemn it. Where you to? Our space, our place, the enduring river of Heraclitus, the eternal recurrence of the Now, Proust’s visions of time fade as they cascade. To begin with subject-ness, the individual as a cosmos still unbearably bright, onwards. We have a duty. We no longer watch passively as the subject snaps and the image and the simulacra absorb us in a phantasmagorical dance of hyperreal illusions. There is a Real, and the Real is Now, and the Now is here.

‘a blue hot sky’ and ‘a dawn more red’ by, Jamie Davies 21 Cardiff

Notre Dame Our friends were in France that winter you died. There was a card posted through the letter box a picture of Notre Dame at night, and on the back, your name, scribbled by a stranger, yet somehow, kind. We said you’d loved that cathedral mass. Your name uttered in a cavernous refuge: the only place big enough to match this colossal gap, hole, tear that had been left. It was only a week after you were found in the flames and somehow your name had travelled across the sea, through whispers and writings and finally, at last, to a spire that for one hour was dedicated to you. The echoes of that sentence, cette messe est pouryou, it must have sounded like a million voices, for one moment you must have been as infinite here as you always believed you would be there, because of course, as fleeting and fickle as life is, that spire held promise, it was sterling and solace, it was the place that I’d visit and know that for an hour, that spire, one Sunday afternoon, was wholly appointed and dedicated to you. Today I watched it burn and snap in two. Angry flames licked like they did at you. That mass card on the shelf. The way that it fell. It’s like, somehow, the spire knew.


The day Mum got rid of the bunk bed I should’ve seen it coming, really. That stick stained ricketing old thing that me and Rachy shared for years. I was nineteen before I was without those wooden slats. above my head and pink fairy lights strung around the top two, a crude reading light by my pillow. Me and Rachy spent night after night laughing ‘til we cried. We hung band posters on that small bit of wall we each had next to our beds, and Christmas cards got blu-tacked up, left ‘til the tack turned hard and dropped off. I’d be just about to sleep and Rachy would say, “are you still awake?” I’d hum yes - another new story, up two more hours. Knocks on the wall said we were being too loud; Tried to keep our giggles quiet for Mum’s sake. “You’re only back when you’re visiting,’ true though it was, I was slow to nod goodbye to that mattress with the broken spring I’d hated more than loved. Yes, and it was gone by noon. The room looks bare with only Rachy’s bed and at Christmas I’m on the settee. We outgrew that broken ladder. I can see that, always did. But God, that laughter rings in my head. poems by Martha O’Brien 21 Cardiff


Typical, Ollie Howard


Ford Upon Alun, Ollie Howard

Ford Upon Alun, Ollie Howard


in a queer time and place it is 1988 & bodies fill holes bodies chill in morgues bodies are chained by their bodies to starch prisons, frail flesh that once vogued & glittered sweating into sheets that had not long caressed the backs of lovers lost & mothers loved, it did not care for mercy & it flickered & licked through lives until it had kissed us all on the cheek or given mouth to mouth without even asking first before it came, then it is 2020 & two dreamers press together two bellies slick in nighttime two rings on special fingers, when we kiss zeus applauds & petal lips part tingling with intent delirious with luck at both winning that time lottery & oh it still hurts to love her sometimes, god how it burns when these hands intertwine so someone glares at the joining of our bodies like it does not belong but at least my body is living here, now Chloe Erin Cardiff @chlo.etry


The long way home


I took the long way home the day I realized I could fall in love with a place, or an idea of a place. That day I watched the mayflies rise over the lake, gossamer against the solstice sun. The chickadees were echoing a song about nightfall which I did not want to hear. It’s too soon. Just one hour more, but the day stretches and coils around the next and the next still I want to stay here on the dock in our little inlet and watch the universe expand, the brilliance of celestial shrapnel and long-dead stars I want to stay here, even as the mosquitos bite and swell my too-soft skin. I want to stay here, feet reaching hesitantly for the water until, just as the sun is lost in the rosy smoke of July haze, I take the leap & the lake drinks me completely. Zoe Kramer


Silver My mum is 5’9. When she was my age, she was probably 5’11. We were in the Mies Van Der Rohe pavilion, on the outskirts of Barcelona. I found a twenty pence piece in my pocket, and asked her to stash it in a crack in the marble that I couldn’t reach.

R. Pope Wales @_rxnnie


directionless {%%%%%%%%%%%%%} Grey light filters through rain and slips between the gaps in the blinds. The dishwasher whirs. Someone walks past on the pavement outside. It strikes me that, in other circumstances, this scene would be a peaceful one. I run my hands through unbrushed hair and grimace. Today, much like every other, I am searching for jobs. When I decided against applying for a graduate programme or an office job in favour of pursuing my dreams in TV I felt empowered, exhilarated, and capable. But big creative dreams don’t pay rent and opportunities to turn them into reality are few and far between. As the months scrape by I feel more directionless than ever. At twenty three years old, everyone asks you what you’re doing with your life. The honest answer is that I don’t have a clue. I naively assumed I’d have my life together by now. As a student I created this idea in my head of graduate success- that I would find an opening in my chosen field and in a few short hops would make it to a respected level in the span of a couple of years. I think a lot of us do that. We build a picture in our minds of what graduate life will be like. If we can just land that one shot, suddenly we’ll have it all figured out. Reality is rarely that simple or that kind. In light of my own expectations, I feel a failure. On afternoons like this one it is hard not to panic. In the empty days filled only with temping agencies and rejection emails the passage of time is almost a physical sensation, and not a comfortable one. It is difficult to escape the gnawing feeling that, as my savings dry up, so does my inspiration. As the days pass, pressure mounts. Am I running out of time? The more of our own needs we can meet, the more comfortably we can survive, the broader our sense of the here and now becomes. It is so difficult to think beyond the very immediate, personal sphere of selfish needs and thoughts when things are so uncertain. When your mind is taken up with “what can I afford to eat today?” “how will I make rent this month?”, “will anyone ever hire me?”, it’s not that there's less room for wider thought and reflection, but I’m less inclined to indulge in it. It feels frivolous, wasteful, certainly unhelpful. Then again, I see my own experiences reflected in so many others, especially the other young people I have met on previous projects and will no doubt continue to encounter. This shared feeling of hopeless drifting is, all at once, unifying and isolating. It is as if we have collectively been promised a bright future during our teens; a future in which the only limit to our success is the amount of time, energy and passion we are willing to pour into our work. It is as if we have collectively come of age full of hope and inspiration, only to find that we are limited by far more than our own motivations. Like waking on christmas morning to find our stockings empty and our trees bare, it is rapidly dawning on us that Santa Claus isn’t real. This rumination is interrupted when a mug of tea is pressed into my hand. I lean against the warmth of my best friend and close my eyes. My mind wanders back to previous moments of comfort like this one. Tears dried and traumas aired and anxieties allayed over and over until we forget whose baggage is whose. The last few years have made these people precious to me. I never expected that of myself. To be so capable of love and friendship that I could make another person feel strong, and that they could make me feel the same way. To find a little family in a city that once felt as lonely and hostile as it is rainy. We have changed so much, learned so much, and we’re still growing. Still coming of age. We are so young, and life is long and the world is wide, but we’ve already come so far. Grey light filters through rain and slips between the gaps in the blinds. The dishwasher whirs. Someone walks past on the pavement outside. A hand pushes through my unbrushed hair, but it isn’t mine this time. Tomorrow I will scroll a hundred more miles on job search websites, and the same desperation will rise in my throat like bile. But when that happens, there will still be George, and Jane, and Maddy and Connor, and a hot mug of tea, and a future full of possibilities.

Henrietta Page, 23, Cardiff




Timaeus testified that I am here in my Forms, in Glasgow’s West End, a vegan café with hummus and pickled courgettes in sandwiches of brown, and a rain that drips down the pane washing my pains away – the ache in my back, the homesickness, and the scald on my tongue from a dirty chai too hot. I’m writing a letter to my mum and maybe I’ll call later too so she can talk about the cat, and the house, and my bed all the place where I am not. instead I make my home in an Old Northern tea house a skylight for my window and for my roommate a mouse nestled in the gap between the oven and the fridge that burns too cold, I leave him accidental crumbs and readings aloud on times of old on Urien Rheged who was beheaded and on flower-faced women called Blodeuwedd, on witches tossing golden apples across the fjord and a man named Arthur pulling from a stone scabbard a sword, all ladies and all lords far from Wales in death condemned who lived here in this little vegan tea house in Glasgow’s West End. just as the Gododdin march in all their glory south I trace their footsteps with my pen and raise my mug to my mouth. Amy Doyle 20 Edinburgh



an absolutely neutral wash of brute and useful bodies

with pilots prone to plenty paling dangerously peaceful libertied from shrugged-off shawls and all they'd surely knotted a new, completely aimless, naked, vagrant breed of people ; barely denting spacetime spent from foetal 'til the falls-apart ready to ignore the dark and walk as sure as sunlit a fumbled lust for dusty Earth and faith in her abundance. why else would long-forgotten gods have sown a seed so strong, so feeble? Zaru Jonson 29 Cardiff



I started a new job last year; it involved thorough research into the verybest locations, stories, history and wildlife the Wales Coastal Path has to offer in order to make a six part television series. When first faced with this prospect I was a bit nervous, to say the least. It took me getting this new job to realise just how little I actually knew about Wales, the very country in which I was born. To begin with, I had only ever ventured from South Wales a handful of times and that was usually to go to Tenby, the holiday destination of 13-year-old Eugenia's dreams. My knowledge of anywhere outside of Cardiff was pretty limited and if I'm honest, I was worried. Can I deliver on this job? What if I struggle to find a diverse range of stories? For some reason, I had always assumed that Wales just wasn't as interesting as other countries. Well, I couldn't have been more wrong. The beauty Wales has to offer is unlike any other. If you need instainspo, I quickly realised you don’t need to venture far. We have views for days. We were dropping great stories and locations from the series left, right and centre because we just couldn't fit them all into the halfhour programmes! I was actually gutted when we couldn't squeeze the smallest house in Wales into the series because I was really looking forward to meeting the little Lady dressed in traditional Welsh costume who let people go inside to have a look. Nonetheless, I was super excited about finally discovering the rest of Wales with the production team. When I first heard 'Where you to?' was the theme of nawr's first issue, my mind was instantly drawn to the question (that soon became a ritual) that my boyfriend would ask me while I was away. Almost every day I'd receive an 'oi, where you to today?'. Naturally, I would send him THE most stunningly, beautiful, flattering photo that was taken of me in each location we covered. While journeying around the Welsh coast I found myself in many a boat. I sent a photo of me in one of them to Liam when he asked me 'Where you to now?'. I had major travel sickness and my way of dealing with the constant waves of nausea was to simply sleep. My manager thought this was hilarious and took a photo. Since that photo was taken I chose to smile through the pain the next time I was on a boat ride for work. The ‘where you to?’ request was not just reserved for while I was away with work. I went to Cornwall with family for a few days and I obviously had to send him a photo of our doggo Cinderella, captioned ‘Making new friends in Cornwall.’ (By the way, we took Cindy around in a dog pram because she still likes to get involved even at her elderly age of 14 years. Previously I was ashamed to admit that I had never climbed Pen-y-fan peak before, especially not in the hail or snow. So when Liam sent ‘Oi where you to then?’ last week I was beyond proud to send over a classic thumbs up pic of me when I reached the top. Often, if I’m driving back to Cardiff from a shoot alone, I am forced to stop and take in the gorgeous sunset on the horizon of the Brecon Beacons. I would never dare to underestimate what this country has to offer now. The wealth of people who live and work along the coast who I had the privilege of meeting truly inspired me and their love for the Welsh Coast has rubbed off on me quite a bit, (in case you haven’t noticed). Wales may not have the best weather at times but she is a bloody gem of a country and I cannot wait to continue exploring. Eugenia Taylor, 21, Cardiff

QuALITY qUARANTINE: nawr’s isolation entertainment guide ANNa: My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh RENDANG by Will Harris Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation is an epic tale of a young woman who, in an attempt to escape what is known as ‘life’, enters into a year of sleep, made possible by an intense cocktail of prescription drugs. Coupled with Marquez’ haunting and mysterious Love in the Time of Cholera, these novels provide perfect (‘relatable’?) lockdown reading. And, for a bit of poetry, I highly recommend Will Harris’s newly released RENDANG because, well, he’s just great.


Blindness by José Saramago The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham Both of these books share a very simple, and pertinent, theme: vision. Vision as a contagion. Or lack thereof. They speak most significantly about human nature when it is confronted by a rift in its symbolic world order. Relevant now in a literal way, but profoundly relevant to our time in a much more deeper way, they are brilliant reads.

I love you. It’s a fever dream. by The Tallest Man on Earth The Tallest Man on Earth’s latests album is a summer’s album, an album that manages to capture a moment of peace. Confident and subtle, it’s a great way into his discography.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople by Taika Waititi A vicarious excursus outside, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a beautiful film, painfully human and above all else, uplifting. A film to re-watch now or watch for the first time, it has the adventure and warmth we’re perhaps craving.


martha: Reply All by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman I love podcasts that feature documentary-style stories, and along with This American Life, this is my favourite at the moment. I especially recommend listening to ‘#158: The Case of the Missing Hit’ which is the most mental, funny story I’ve heard in a podcast, maybe ever.

Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas I‘m a huge Dylan Thomas fan and this is just the nicest play to sink into. There are so many lovely versions of this to listen to on youtube, and copies of the text online - though I’d definitely say you’ve got to listen for the full effect. It’s bizarre, funny, touching, and basically Dylan Thomas at his best. (Plus, you can see how class Ffion’s model of Llarregub is for yourself!)

puck: The Magnus Archives by Jonathan Sims and Alexander J. Newall Being a cowardly listener (yet weirdly also into horror) has yet to stop me diving headfirst into The Magnus Archives, a podcast which, though terrifying, has enough narrative satisfaction to justify the sleepless nights that followed it… Season 5 begins on the 2nd of April, so I would really recommend starting from the very beginning if you’re looking for something scary! Any (fellow) horror nerds out there will enjoy the use of well-known tropes explored in new ways – without a lot of the problematic/over-used stereotypes that can spoil the genre. It’s a blast!

Upcoming in Cardiff: ... (Maybe next time. Thanks for reading!)


Ollie Howard Edited by Anna Bland, Jamie Davies, Martha O’Brien and Puck Stagg. Designed by Anja Quinn. Transcription by Chloe Erin. All work is copyrighted to the author or artist. © nawr mag 2020 | @nawrmag

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