Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dylan Thomas - Under Milkwood

Thanks to all the people who "signed the guest book" in my signing off post - it took me by surprise, and I'm touched by all the well-wishers. By way of thanks for all the kind comments I thought I'd leave this final offering, though it's a bit of a departure from the lounge and exotica that formed the staple fare of this blog.

To quote the liner notes:

This is the record of Dylan Thomas' final, bawdy, beautiful work, of its premiere performance on May 14, 1953, with Thomas, a cast of five American actors, and an audience.

It is the only recording ever made with Thomas in the cast, and it owes its existence to the chance thought someone had just before curtain time of setting up the little tape recorder that was at hand and laying a microphone on the floor at the center of the stage. The later performances were not taped because a studio recording for Caedmon was planned, though Thomas did not live to do it. That this recording was not erased or lost or thrown away remains some kind of miracle.

Set in the town of Llareggub (try spelling out the letters in reverse order) it tells of the trials and tribulations of a motley crew of variously henpecked, overbearing, drunken and promiscuous townspeople. It shows Thomas at his most masterful in his command of the English language.

At the end, Thomas, who was unsure of the success of his play and armed with a dozen good reasons for failure is met by a stormy ovation. His shy and stammered "Thank you, thank you" is lost in the shouts of the audience.

While not as witty, I am equally surprised by the thanks from all the supporters of this blog. So I shall echo Dylan's thanks and share this master-work by a great 20th century literary figure in response.

And now it's time for a holiday...

Dylan Thomas - Under Milkwood

Mr Snookles

p.s. this double album was one of the first ever ripped by me, way back before the bog started. My audio restoration technique wasn't as good back then, so there a couple of imperfections, and it's only at 128kbps - still, you've got to love hearing Thomas' golden tones reciting the work he loved best...