The latest issue of Planet magazine is out now and contains some excellent articles. Let me draw your attention to Steve Gough's piece on Tom Hyndman. Hyndman, from Cardiff Docks, was an ex-Guardsman who during the 1930s became Stephen Spender's lover. For decency's sake he was employed as Spender's 'secretary'. The pair eventually split up with Hyndman running off to Spain to join the International Brigade. In the 1960s the alcoholic Hyndman returned to Cardiff where he earned a living as a night porter at a hotel. He wrote poetry and also drifted into the leftist political scene, penning articles for radical journal the Cardiff People's Paper. He committed suicide in 1980.
Also worth a look is Teresa Cherfas's intriguing piece on Welsh journalist Gareth Jones who was murdered in Mongolia in 1935. Here she specifically examines Jones's relationship with Nazi Germany and ponders just how sympathetic he was to their cause. He certainly had friends who were National Socialists but was he merely insinuating himself into the regime for journalistic purposes as he had done previously in the Soviet Union? It is fascinating to discover that after his murder the Volkischer Beobachter - the leading Nazi newspaper - printed an obituary of Jones. It was titled: Germany was his Beloved Land - A Man From Whom Much was Expected.
Esteemed art critic Peter Lord has written an article on an all but forgotten jewish artist from London's east end, Maurice Sochachewsky. During the Depression he lived for a few months at Talywain, Pontypool, where he depicted the local mining community. The resultant 25 paintings were exhibited at the Bloomsbury Gallery, London, in 1938 but unfortunately most of them have been lost. The Valleys, of course, have been a magnet for artists and photographers over the decades and one always wonders at the motives of these artistic tourists. Were they sincere or like, for instance, Robert Smithson were they merely holidaying in other people's entropy?
Finally, adding a bit of froth to the latest edition of Planet, yours truly has contributed some CD reviews. Martin Rossiter (The Defenestration of St Martin), The Joy Formidable (Wolf's Law), Trwbador (Trwbador) and Only Boys Aloud (Only Boys Aloud) come under my merciless scrutiny. Did I commit the literary equivalent of drowning newborn puppies by dissing wholesome choristers Only Boys Aloud? Well, you'll have to buy the magazine to find out... but I can reveal that I did manage to smuggle the word kulturkampf into my review.
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