Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rachel Trezise at Cardiff Barfly

Book launches are conservative affairs. They take place in bookshops, libraries and arts centres. Passages are read, polite applause follows. There is usually some small talk with the author afterwards and a glass of cheap plonk. If you're lucky.

Dial M for Merthyr - Rachel Trezise's latest work was launched in an altogether more rock'n'roll spirit. For a start the event was held at the Barfly - Cardiff's premier indie-rock venue. And on the bill were Midasuno the Merthyr band who are ostensibly the subject of her latest tome.

First up though was the author herself who took to the stage in a long black dress, her dyed hair turning blood red under the Parcan lights. In one hand she clasped a copy of her new book, in the other a pint glass (half-full) which dangled louchely against her thigh. People who write books aren't meant to look this cool.

Trezise read a section from Dial M. She emanated confidence at the microphone, or maybe she was just a little bit drunk. Anyway her words were ironic and funny and the crowd laughed. Photographers snapped. Down the front the literati rubbed shoulders with heavily made-up teenagers who were clearly no strangers to Boots firm hold hairspray.

Following Trezise's departure her muses Midasuno arrived on stage for their acoustic set. Acoustic sets are usually quieter than this and with fewer swear words. But I guess you can't come on all Simon and Garfunkel when your forthcoming album is due to be called: Songs in the Key of Fuck.

As the sound of Young Merthyr bounced around the walls of the Barfly Trezise looked on intently from the front. Hers might seem like an odd fixation but she and Midasuno do share a common working-class Valleys heritage and an urgent desire to have their marginalised voices heard. But let's not get all sociological here. The launch of Dial M for Merthyr was first and foremost a great night out - a triumph for Rachel Trezise and the liberating power of rock'n'roll.

Dial M for Merthyr is published by Parthian and is on sale now.

*The above photograph is used with kind permission of Maciej Dakowicz.