David Phillips column: Looking for a perfect day
What makes a perfect day for you? The death of Lou Reed this week got me thinking about his song Perfect Day and what such a day in Swansea might be.
A perfect day in Swansea for many would be the Swans beating Manchester City at home or Manchester United away. Or Valencia for that matter. Our Spanish friends are due a visit on November 28 so let's hope we can make it a double over them and with it entry to the Europa League knockout stages at the first attempt. Perhaps, though, we'd settle for victory at Cardiff on Sunday — 10-0 would be just perfect!
The Ospreys? Can they make something of their Heineken Cup adventure this year? Well, given they currently flying high the Pro12 league, maybe they can. A perfect day for them is a result that clinches Heineken knockout stage status too.
Or it could be the quintessentially Swansea tub of cockles in the market or a Joe's ice cream or Kev John 'daming' it up in the Christmas panto at the Grand Theatre.
For my part a perfect day begins at home with back-to-back Fred Astaire movies on a Saturday morning. Then sitting outside with a cuppa — I'm lucky enough to have a fantastic view of the sweep of Swansea Bay. It's something I never tire of. A walk on the beach might follow, hopefully without the wind and rain.
A future perfect day might include a reflection on how we successfully challenged poverty, promoted prosperity and improved the way we looked after our city's vulnerable children.
And then there's the City of Culture bid. We are making our final bid for City of Culture 2017 on November 15. We won't know if we've won that day; we'll probably have to wait until November 20. But when the announcement comes and we've won, that'll be another perfect day.
All of the above are part of a picture that speaks of Swansea, who we are, what our city looks like and what we stand for.
The lyric of Perfect Day describes a quiet, lazy day with someone you love, a walk in the park and feeding the animals, a glass of wine, catching a movie and a quiet evening at home. That sounds about right to me — no ringing phone, no emails to answer, no reports to read. 'Problems all left alone'.
And we don't have to go to New York (one of Lou Reed's album titles) to get it. We have all those things here, on our doorstep in Swansea. We need to remember how lucky we are and appreciate what's in front of us. "A poor life this, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare."
And from the genius of Lou Reed to another, arguably more influential and certainly a more home-grown one. I am sure I'm not alone in looking forward to the Dylan Thomas centenary celebrations next year. Few of us need an excuse to return to our favourite Dylan piece, but if you do you, there'll be no shortage of excuses next year.
As a foretaste of what's to come I co-hosted, with Geraint Davies MP, a packed Parliamentary Reception at Westminster last week, where the stellar guests included Culture Secretary Maria Miller, Welsh Secretary David Jones, Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith and Gryff Rhys Jones. Our guest of honour was Dylan Thomas' grand-daughter Hannah Ellis.
There were some really good 'turns' including a wonderful choral rendition of the Rev Eli Jenkins' prayer which included Hannah's father as the pragmatic preacher.
I've no doubt at all that 2014 is going to be a very special time for Dylan fans the world over, all of whose eyes will be turned to 'perfect' Swansea. So 'goodbye — but just for now'!