Saturday, 27 December 2008

"Real Wrexham" by Grahame Davies

"Real Wrexham" is an unexpected gem of a book by Coedpoeth writer Grahame Davies. I had the pleasure of working with Grahame's mother at the Evening Leader many years ago but I've never met Grahame himself. After this book, I feel I know him - and Wrexham - a lot better.
In under 200 pages he teases out the unique character and heritage that make up our town - "a place where landscapes, economies and cultures converge. A place of encounter and transition. A place where one and one makes three."
It's very much a personal history of Wrexham, the town and its environs, with enough quirky facts, myth busting and anecdotes to keep the pages turning.
As a village boy, he's particularly good on the localised identities - why Coedys are different to Jackos - but also outlines the underlying identities that shape us all.
Like every 40-something football fan, he was there when Rotherham got tonked 7-1 to take Wrexham FC up to the old Division Two in 1977-78. But he also wanders away from the parochial - the poet in him can sometimes take over. It's no bad thing because he ties Welsh poet R S Thomas and Congo martyr Winifred Davies to the area as well as making the bold claim that Minera helped bring down the Roman Empire.
"Real Wrexham" should be essential reading to those who want to brand Wrexham - a border town that knows on which side of the border it's on.

Real Wrexham - Grahame Davies, Seren Books, £9.99

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