Welcome to the page introducing the Welsh section of the Global Gimblett empire. There are a lot of us about, from Wales to USA to Canada and over to NZ. And probably a lot more we don't know about.
This page is what's happening here in South Wales, UK. at the beginning of the new millennium (I'm just disappointed that I'm not wearing silver clothes, and my car doesn't glide above the road noiselessly...).
A bit about me: I was born in Wales, and have been here all my life, apart from a brief jaunt to London for a few months, where I lived in Vauxhall and Tulse Hill, for a while. (Saw a few good gigs in Brockwell Park, though most of the bands are now long-gone, like Scarlet Party, Classix Nouveau, and Sting...)
I moved back to Wales when my nerves were completely shot.
I also sort of 'lived' in India and some other S E Asian countries for 5 months in the mid-1980s, travelling through India (staying in some buddhist monasteries in Ladakh), Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, and Sumatra. I've travelled a lot, liked most places, hated none of them (though don't go to Portugal if you're vegetarian). Look in the next section for some travel stories.
I work in a busy public library. Whereas even a couple of years ago our entire business was book-based, now we do much of our work with computers: many visitors come in solely to use our IT facilities. I do a lot of storytimes for younger children, aided by my puppet Mr Frog (and while we're on the subject, why not write to him for advice of any kind - firstname.lastname@example.org.
But then again, why not e mail me while you're at it - especially if you're a Gimblett and want to get in touch. I'm at email@example.com.
I'll say one thing for Gimbletts - they like to travel. I've spent time in many countries, whether it's a day in Bangladesh, or 3 months in India. Most recently, I went to Italy with my wife, Sarah. Some countries are better for vegetarian food than others. Best? - India. Worst? - Portugal.
Where have I been altogether? Well, it's a long list, but goes something like this:
USSR / France (Brittany) -2 / Republic of Ireland / Spain / Gibraltar / Morocco / Portugal / Greece -2 / Turkey -3 / Tunisia -2 / India -4 / Bangladesh / Burma / Thailand / Malaysia -2 / Indonesia (Sumatra) / Italy.
Still a lot of places left to see, but I'm always drawn back to India, and as ridiculous as it sounds, I feel almost homesick for the place sometimes, especially if I see Ladakh on a travel or wildlife programme. I have my next trip planned already - that'll be Orissa, cyclones permitting.
I usually write about my travels - my last book was 'Mr John', though I've published a lot of poetry, stories, articles, etc. since that one. This year I'm hoping to publish my Selected Poems. That, and finish the novel I've been writing for ages. As of the end of 2000 the Selected Poems is almost finished and waiting to go off to the printer. It's called 'A Wasted Life' and you can follow the link from this site to that of the publisher, Torana Press.
There'll be a collection of travelogues too one day. When I get around to it.
Art is one of the main ones. I paint (badly) and enjoy doing so, and a lot of my paintings in the past have been of the same place: the Men an Tol standing stones in Cornwall. I'm painting in acrylics these days as I'm a bit impatient, though I prefer oils. I can't draw. I just like colour, and shapes. Especially when they work together.
I take photographs - still saving up my pennies to get the dozen or so black and white portraits framed which I took in India in 1998. These are mostly pictures of beggars or lepers. Most of them are smiling.
I've done some collaborations in the past year: prose to go with black and white photos, poems to go with paintings, paintings to go with Polaroids. These have worked well, and I've enjoyed doing them. I'm looking to do more of this sort of thing.
I collect some art also. Prints by some favourite Welsh artists (well, they live here, even if they weren't born here) such as Harry Holland and John MacFarlaine. Paintings, drawings, all sorts. I have a lot of folk art I've picked up on my travels, or bought here in Britain.
I read a lot, of course: anything that interests me, really. Favourite books of the late 20th Century? American Psycho - Brett Easton Ellis, Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden, The Secret History - Donna Tartt : these are the ones that stick in my mind the most, though the rest of my choices would probably change from day to day.
If I'm going through my record collection, it might be something from the 70s like early Genesis, or Springsteen, or New Order, etc. If I'm looking through my CDs it'll be something a bit later - Adorable, Weezer, The Clash, John Cale, MSP., American Music Club, Red House Painters.
If it's recent, it'll be tapes, and playing in the car at the moment I have the new Badly Drawn Boy album, and the Avalanches remix of his 'The Shining'. I'm also playing a tape of the Manics gig at Cardiff Coal Exchange.
Like I say, it'll change as often as my mood. My fave band ever is probably Husker Du, or Bob Mould.
The best band I've ever seen live is My Bloody Valentine, in Cardiff, or Swans at TJs in Newport. Though Robert Fripp at the HMV shop in Oxford Street in c.1979 was memorable. MSPs in Cardiff with Richey was the hottest; Devo or Swans the loudest. Led Zep at Knebworth was by far the longest.
Some recommended albums and singles:
John Cale - Music for a New Society
Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians
Gorecki - Third Symphony
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Shahan Shah
Weezer - Pinkerton
Boris Vian - Boris Vian Chante
Husker Du - Candy Apple Grey
My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
Yes - Tales from Topographic Oceans / Relayer
Manic Street Preachers - Motown Junk
The Clash - White Man in Hammersmith Palais / Tommy Gun
Sex Pistols - Holiday in the Sun
Flowered Up - Weekender
I'm married to Sarah, as of 10.10.98. No kids, but two cats - Wallace & Gromit. Wallace has a fondness for Belgian or Czech lager, and empty cheese 'n' onion crisp packets. Gromit's much more introverted. We live in a 1930s semi with a nice back garden, and a front garden in dire need of some TLC.
My mother lives nearby, in the house we moved into when I was 4 years old. My father died in 1987.
1999 saw me finish 6 years of study with the Open University, and being awarded a BA (Hons) (Open).
2000-1 has been a period of publishing on various web-based poetry and lit. journals, whilst simultaneously preparing my long-planned Selected Poems, which will now be published sometime in 2001. The title is: A Wasted Life (Selected Poems), and will be published by torana press here in Wales. I'm lucky that Max Gimblett, an excellent artist working in NYC and NZ, is working on the cover of the book, and Rachel Jones has taken the author photo for the back cover.
torana press can be reached by following the link on this page.
Sarah and I are also preparing for our next trip, back to Tunisia in May 2001. I'm drawn to Carthage, and Tunis is a good place to wander around. Stay at the Maison Doree for some old French charm.