Nothing, I repeat NOTHING! is as evocative of Christmas for me than Dylan Thomas' "A Child's Christmas in Wales." It sums up for me everything that childhood meant and that it felt like. When i'm able to capture those ghosts of my past, this is what it feels like the most, friends, family, tradition, innocence, fun, warmth and a sense of home.
I had a tape of a tv adaptation that we'd recorded (Dad I mean) off the television using the new found technological revolution...the cassette recorder! With microphone pointing to the tv speaker, no-one must speak, but you could hear the stifled winter sniffs and coughs in the background, and the scraping of knives on plates as we ate our tea (evening meals are called "tea" where I come from)
Every year starting about halfway through November, Christmas really began when I brought out the tape..which also had snippets of the movie "White Christmas" preceding Dylan's story. It was a ritual and every night I'd stir my excitement listening to the tape in bed before sleep...back when there were wolves in Wales......
I no longer have that tape, it's long since disappeared into the mists of time, but oh what i'd give to hear it again. I've got Dylan reading the tale himself, but that isn't quite as evocative as my taped tv version, wish I had it again...if anyone reads this and knows how to get it please e mail me!
"One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now, out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six. All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen...."
mp3 download here