Happy New Year???

Well its nearly all over.  Christmas that is.  It’s been nearly 2 weeks of chocolate for breakfast, watching 3 films before teatime and everyone asking each other what day it is.  There is something special about Twixtmas, that dreamy week between Christmas and the New Year ,but now it’s back to January, talk of another Beast from the East and counting down the days to the start of the 6 nations.


This is the time of year for a bit of reflection.  I can’t say I’m going to miss 2018.  Somehow the world seemed a little less kind that it has for a long time.  Maybe that’s just because as the years pass you seem to erase the real bad things and the good things seem to shine out like memory Lighthouses.  In reality, in the early 1970’s we had the energy crisis and O.P.E.C., we had the miners’ strike, a 3-day week and power cuts and we had IRA bombs going off in London.

Yet all I remember is my new pair of flares, platform shoes, TREX singing ‘Jeepster’ at the school disco and the new 125 train that took just over 2 and half hours to get to London.  (40 years later and it now takes over 3 hours, that’s if you don’t have to get on a bus for part of the journey and of course it seems longer if you can’t get a seat!)


Having said that I think 2018 was a tough year.  I not talking about Donald Trump or Brexit, I just mean, on a personal level its been hard.  One of the main disasters was relegation from the Premier League.  Thinking back to the early 70’s the Swans were a regular ‘yoyo’ team, usually from the fourth to the third and back again.  The highlights were drawing a big team in the FA Cup and queuing around the Vetch to get a ticket with my mates. When we went up and back under Toshack  in the 80’s it was sad but somehow this time it hurt even more.  This time we had got used to the regular visits to the Liberty of world famous players. Proudly watching the ‘Swans Way’ more than hold their own, week in, week out, against teams I had only ever seen in the 4th round of the FA Cup or on Match of the Day.  If you ask me I’ll say I’m enjoying this season more than the past few years, but I still miss the ‘life and death’ passion of a Premier League home game.


Ok, well politics has taken centre stage this year and although I became completely obsessed with it I didn’t like it.  If you do use social media, you can’t fail to notice the vitriol and bile spouted out by people who seem to be shouting at each other all the time,  all backed up in their arguments using a completely different set of ‘facts’.  Most political journalists I know can’t believe their luck to be living in a time such as this.  Everyday, some story, which would be almost unbelievable in any other age, commands the headlines for 24 hours before being superseded by another equally ridiculous tale of horror.

The thing is you get hooked into the drama of it all.  At the end of December I used up all of my roaming data on my phone because I had the BBC Parliament Channel on most days, all day. I have to say it was great entertainment, but you know this was different to watching the BBC Box Set sensations ‘The Bodyguard’ or ‘Killing Eve’, no the stuff they were talking about in Parliament was real and the outcome of their decisions is going to affect all of us, possibly for generations.  Some commentators say that it’s great to have passion back in politics again.  To be honest I wish for the boring old days of turning off the TV when Panorama comes on and when Newsnight was only there to help me get to sleep.

mal pope tour1 copy

Anyway, 2018 has gone and its on to 2019.  What can we look forward to?  Brexit? With 3 months to go I don’t want to think about that for a couple of weeks yet. The football?  Well I love the fact we have a young team playing wonderful football at times and we are winning more games than we lose but I can’t help feeling that I’ll be biting my nails later in the year hoping to make the playoffs. What do they say about a second marriage, hope over expectation, sums up being a football fan perfectly!!!

For our city this is a very special year, it’s our 50th birthday.  It was July 1969 that the newly Invested Prince of Wales came to our town and left it a city.  I know there are lots of really exciting projects in the air to help our celebrations and on a personal level I have one enormous project that I can’t mention yet that will ensure that I continue to lose weight and any hair I have left as the strain will probably be the end of me as the worry leave sits mark on my poor aging body once again.

Other plans include a celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Cappuccino Girls and I’m off on the road in the spring, including dates in Swansea Grand, Ammanford Miners, The Ffwrnes in Llanelli and The Lyric in Carmarthen.  It’ll be just be me, a guitar, a piano and a pile of stories and songs and stories.  If I’m honest I’m looking forward to that more than just about anything else.  Politics and football comes and goes but year after year my stories just keep getting bigger and more exaggerated as time goes by.  Happy 2019 everybody, really, what could possibly go wrong?