Culture vulture

21st October 2005 at 01:00
Owain Sion Williams relishes his Welsh roots

Best book ever

Un Nos Ola Leuad (One Moonlit Night) by Caradog Prichard, the dark story of a middle-aged man and his journey through the north Welsh village of his childhood. I like the structure of the book, the clever way landmarks recall the events of his youth during the years 1903-17, memories of poverty, war, industrial strife that led ultimately to insanity and death.

I like the way it is woven together, both comic and tragic.

Best film ever

Stand By Me (1986, director Rob Reiner) is another story about life's journeys, about four teenage friends who take an overnight hike in woods to find the body of a missing boy. I like the innocence and uncomplicated lives of the children as they run wild in the outdoors, embarking on adventures that test their friendship. It reminds me of my own childhood in the countryside, when we could go anywhere. Children now don't have that freedom.

Best event

The first Welsh medium show, part of the Urdd Eisteddfod last spring, which marked the opening of the Millennium Centre in Cardiff. My choir took part and made me very proud to be part of a Welsh-speaking youth movement.

To share with students

The National Eisteddfod is a must for students going to a Welsh medium school. Many pupils at Glantaf are from English-speaking families and they are always surprised by the number of people they meet who speak Welsh all the time. They don't have to take part in the ceremonial side of it, but just going to the gigs at night makes them realise that Welsh is very much alive and kicking. Also, the BBC Wales website (www.bbc.co.ukcymru) which is full of news and reviews in Welsh that are handy to give out to students.

Looking forward to

My choir, CF1, making its next album. We sing a mixture of gospel, classical, folk. We meet once a week and then go for a pint. It makes for a great social life.

Owain Sion Williams, 27, teaches Welsh at Ysgol Glantaf, Cardiff, an 11-18 Welsh medium school. He has a masters degree in Welsh creative writing and sings tenor with the CF1 youth choir of college students and young professionals in Cardiff, which last year won the festival choir award at the National Eisteddfod. Interview by Elaine Williams

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