There will be music from Merthyr's own Jamie Bevan , whose song 'Strydoedd Merthyr' is a fine evocation of our town's wild nights. This promises to be a lively set.
There will be plenty of poetry, as we launch the collection 'Poems For A Welsh Republic' in magazine format, similar to 'Red Poets' itself.
Many of the contributing poets will be there to read, including Patrick Jones, whose cd 'tongues for a stammering time' is one of the best fusions of poetry and music since the days of Linton Kwesi Johnson.
Other poets reading will include some of the very finest performers in Wales, such as Neath's Phil Knight, Cardiff's Mab Jones and Mike Church, the funniest poet on the scene today.
I was delighted to be asked to put this collection together. The startling cover by Alan Perry is an inspiring starting-point. I had permission to use poems by Harri Webb and Terry Hetherington, so two vitally important Welsh political poets from the past are in it.
Two others I hope will turn up to read are Herbert Williams and Alun Rees. Both have been publishing since the 1960s and the birth of 'Poetry Wales' magazine, under the editorship of Meic Stephens, in Merthyr.
It's a tribute to Cymru that we have so many excellent poets willing to contribute to 'Poems For A Welsh Republic', especially when some writers have taken the 'Queen's Shilling' doing jobs and receiving honours from this abhorrent institution.
I do regret not including work yn Gymraeg. I tried to get a Welsh language poet to act as co-editor , but failed because of the time-scale of the venture.
It would be very satisfying if this eventually became a bi-lingual book, with many republican poems in Welsh. I am not optimistic though, as times are very hard in the publishing trade as elsewhere.
The political outlook which imbues the collection is certainly Welsh socialist republicanism and I am also very pleased a number of the writers are English people who have come to Cymru and embraced it fully. Their presence refutes any notion that the English are not sympathetic to such causes.
As well as poetry, there will be singing from Cor Cochion and speeches from longtime socialist republican Tim Richards, Christopher Trefor Davies of Cymru Rydd, Gruff Meredith (aka MC Mabon) of Cymru Sofren and Adam Phillips of Balchder Cymru/ Celtic League. An interesting and varied selection of opinions, I'd say.
We have received support from AMs Lindsay Whittle and Bethan Jenkins, though I did ask many more.
So, this has been a week when I've been full of acute disillusionment and a sense of betrayal. As The Who said - 'I won't get fooled again'. More significantly, I'd like to quote one of my favourite bands, whose song 'Kings' is the best ever at exposing the hypocrisy of rulers -
' And though we sung his fame
We all went hungry just the same'
I LEFT THE PARTY
I left the party early
empty bottle in hand,
some of my family left behind.
It was a celebration
of her election, went on
for weeks, so much elation.
I slipped out into the night
and the streets were deserted,
no police to be seen.
When we’d arrived, bottles in hand,
she didn’t greet me,
was too busy to notice.
We praised her, raised our glasses,
I felt part of it all
(my vote also had counted).
She stood on the table
and made a rousing speech,
applause quaked the walls.
Neighbours complained later,
but we never heard sirens,
there was much debate, good-humoured.
She was one of us,
with our accent, never talking down :
‘Hope not fear!’ her saying.
We became drunk with more than beer:
our nation’s music, folk and rap,
rock and reggae, we danced to as one.
Till traders came in from outside,
gate-crashing with their wares ,
every item emblazoned with Union Jacks.
There were disputes and fist-fights,
broken chairs thrown through windows;
I stood aghast; she tried to calm them down.
A disguised reporter put up a picture of the Queen
and when the cameras arrived she led a toast
and spoke in deferential tones of ‘public service’.
I left the party early, never to return ;
some of my family sat silently in the corner,
staying to see what would happen.
I threw the bottle into the air,
watched it explode and shatter on tarmac,
scatter like splinters of Christmas tree stars.