Dylan Thomas would be drinking in Wind Street today says Mumbles Community Councillor, who dismisses calls to join festival
DYLAN Thomas was a binge drinker who would be spending his time in Wind Street if he were alive today, according to a Mumbles councillor.
The claim by councillor Brian Arthur came as Mumbles Community Council was asked to discuss whether to contribute to celebrations to mark the centenary of the poet's birth in 2014.
A country-wide series of events to mark the occasion was announced by the Welsh Government late last year, with a programme including performances, exhibitions and tours.
Dylan Thomas 100 will also see events being held in America, but the main focus will be based in settings which inspired him most, including the Uplands in Swansea, Laugharne and the Ceredigion countryside.
Dylan also had strong links with Mumbles, being a regular at pubs including The Antelope and The Mermaid, as well as rehearsing with Swansea Little Theatre at what is now The Mumbles Motor boat and Yacht Club.
But community councillor Brian Arthur questioned whether it was the right to be spending tax-payers money on celebrating Dylan's 100th birthday.
He said: "Dylan was no better than the people who drink in Wind Street today.
"I think we should wash our hands of him.
"He was a binge drinker, and he was a person who hasn't done anything for Mumbles.
"Why should we get involved? Is it a good way to be spending money?
"He is a bad role model for modern youngsters.
"If he were alive today he would be drinking in Wind Street."
Dylan Thomas is one of Britain's most well-known writers, responsible for poems, books, stories and scripts which have continued to inspire artists across the world, including John Lennon and Bob Dylan.
Before Dylan Thomas 100 was announced by the Welsh Government last year, academics and experts had long been calling for a suitable memorial to mark what would have been his 100th birthday in 2014.
The festival has been hailed by the poet's family, with his granddaughter Hannah Ellis agreeing to become festival patron.
It is hoped that it will share some of the success that marked similar celebrations to mark the 100th birthday of Charles Dickens last year.
Jeff Towns ran Dylan Thomas Bookstore in Swansea for forty years, and is president of the Dylan Thomas Society of Great Britain.
He said: "In Laugharne, they are planning all sorts of events to mark Dylan Thomas 100, as well as in Tenby, which is where painter Augustus John came from, who introduced Dylan to his future wife Caitlin.
"And a company is coming over from Canada this year to perform Under Milk Wood at the Edinburgh Festival.
"So if Laugharne, Tenby, Scotland, Canada, and all these places are planning to mark the occasion, why on earth shouldn't Mumbles be involved?
"Most people have grown up by now, and seem to have separated the two Dylans; the great poet, and the man who lived his life the full, and the two do not necessarily have to be connected.
"I read somewhere that his poem Do Not Go Gentle is read at around half the funerals in the UK, which shows the extent of his influence,'' he went on.
"We still go and see paintings by Van Gouch, and Matisse, and read Byron — why should Dylan be any different?
"To say Mumbles should not be involved with Dylan Thomas 100 is so off the mark."