Currency: British sterling
Wales is part of the United Kingdom, though unlike Northern Island and Scotland, it has yet to obtain a parliament separate from England. No doubt the majority of the Welsh are unhappy about that, particularly as they are unique among the spate parts of the UK in that they still have their own language. In addition, they are incredibly proud of their culture. Though they have cricket and football teams playing in the English league, many manage to separate themselves from English culture with sports such as Rugby and a thriving music scene.
One wonders if Wales have produced so many influential people because of the power England has held or in spite of it. Whatever they certainly have had some unique voices. Quite literally. Tom Jones, Shirley Bassy and Richard Burton all have a deep, baritone voices that seem to be a unique characteristic of Welsh performers. In addition, they have produced many famous writers and poets, including Dylan Thomas and Roald Dahl.
The Green Man Festival is a private festival that is as its name suggests it is a non-corporate, environmentally friendly festival. Over three days, usually at the end of August, it celebrates films, literature and of course music. In the past Jarvis Cocker, Billy Bragg, the Flaming Lips and the Super Furry Animals have all headlined.
In the 90s, Wales was known as the Seattle of Britain, meaning of course that it produced great bands. First came the Manic Street Preachers who people either passionately hated or passionately loved. After the probable suicide of their lead singer they became more commercial, releasing the working class anthem, and British number one, Design for Life. The Gorky’s Mygotic Myncis were and still are a more underground band. They sing in both English and Welsh, carving songs that sound distinctly Welsh. The Super Furry Animals have been called the Welsh Beatles, but many more compare them to the English band Blur. Like Blur they experiment with different genres and a have a very charismatic frontman in Gruff Rhys.
The Welsh national sport is rugby. When the Welsh have a strong national side, the Welsh have a strong voice. Best of all for the neutrals the Welsh really know how to entertain as anyone who saw the 60s and 70s Welsh side will testify. During those years they dominated the Five Nations competition (tournament played between England, France, Scotland, Ireland and Wales- with the addition of Italy it is now known as the six nations), winning seven times. They would have probably won the world cup during those years if there had been one. Instead, they had to wait until the first world cup in 1987 where they finished third. Since then their form has been up and down, but they are always a dangerous side to face.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Simon Arms (Berlin, Germany) for story editing.
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