Home' Greymouth Star : January 4th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, January 4, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1885 - Dr William Grant of Davenport,
Iowa, performs what is believed to be the rst
1923 - Lenin dictates a postscript to his
"Lenin's Testament" in which he suggests
Stalin is too rude to be secretary-
general and should be replaced.
1930 - Douglas Mawson
discovers what became known as
MacRobertson Land in Antarctica.
1936 - Billboard magazine in US
prints rst popular music chart.
1938 - British postpone plan for
partition of Palestine.
1944 - Allied forces launch attack east of
Cassino, Italy, in World War Two.
1951 - North Korean and Communist
Chinese forces take Seoul, Korea.
1958 - Sputnik I, world's rst arti cial
satellite launched in October 1957 by the
Soviet Union, falls to earth.
1965 - Death of T S Eliot, American-born
poet, playwright and Nobel Prize winner.
1967 - Donald Campbell, British car and
speedboat racer, is killed on Coniston Water in
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
James Usher, Irish churchman-scholar
(1581-1656); Jacob Grimm, German author
(1785-1863); Louis Braille, French
inventor of reading system for
the blind (1809-1852); Sir Isaac
Pitman, shorthand inventor (1813-
1897); "General Tom umb"
(Charles Sherwood Stratton),
US circus midget (1838-1883);
Floyd Patterson, US world boxing
champion (1934-2006); Dyan Cannon, US
actress (1937-); Michael Stipe, US rock
musician (1960-); Julia Ormond, British actor
"Our civilisation is still in a middle stage,
no longer wholly guided by instinct, not yet
wholly guided by reason." --- eodore Dreiser,
American author (1871-1945).
" en God said, "Let there be light"; and
there was light." --- (Genesis 1:3).
e vivid contrast
white snow and black
volcanic rock, coupled
with the eerie silence and vastness of the
continent, were the most striking impressions
gained of the Antarctic by Gary Hopkinson,
son of Mr and Mrs R A W Hopkinson,
Tasman Street, Karoro, who returned to
New Zealand on the supply ship HMNZS
Endeavour on New Year's Eve.
Gary was the rst New Zealand Sea Scout
other than a Queen's Scout to visit the White
Continent. He left aboard the Endeavour on
December 5 and was away three weeks and
Gary and seven other youths worked and
lived on the Endeavour throughout the whole
trip. ey did seamen's duties and stood watch.
Runanga's medical problem, the absence of
a resident doctor, is expected to be resolved
today. e president of the Runanga Medical
Association, Mr J T McPhee, said this morning
that the new o cer, Dr W D May, is on his
way from Denniston by car and caravan and is
expected to arrive very soon.
e absence of a doctor since before
Christmas led to the association and mine
union groups imposing a ban on all holiday
work at Strongman and Rewanui State
collieries other than necessary safety measures.
Sixteen mercury vapour lights have been
erected in Runanga, 13 of them on Seven
Mile Road --- the main Greymouth-Westport
highway --- to replace old incandescent lamps.
e increased illumination the lamps give
should make the area safer for pedestrians at
night, the town clerk Mr W J Curragh said
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
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Sports Editor Tui Bromley
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Around these parts,
everyone knows about
Dylan omas, Wales'
Gordon Stuart not
only knows about Dylan
omas, he knew him.
Sitting in his living room, the 89-year-
old artist recalls the omas he knew
--- and who sat for him just weeks before
"He was gentle, charming," Stuart says.
"All the nice things. And his lovely voice
... He was delightful to listen to."
omas, the Welsh poet, playwright and
man of letters, is being remembered and
celebrated in a year-long series of events
leading to the 100th anniversary of his
birth on October 27, 1914.
Sixty years after his death --- on
November 9, 1953, in New York ---
omas's in uence is still felt. John
Lennon and Paul McCartney read his
work. Poet Sylvia Plath mimicked him.
Robert Zimmerman became Bob Dylan.
omas's poems have been translated
into 30 languages. ough mostly
regarded as a poet, he also wrote radio
scripts, plays, short stories and for lms.
His poetry includes Do Not Go Gentle
into that Good Night and And Death
Shall Have No Dominion. His most
famous play is Under Milk Wood, and his
A Child's Christmas in Wales is a classic.
e life omas led adds to his legend:
he was a poetry-writing child prodigy
and a charismatic, hard-drinking
womaniser who was in his grave at 39.
All of Wales will celebrate omas'
centenary with concerts, readings,
performances in disused pubs, hiking
tours, a major exhibition of omas
material at the National Library of Wales
and more. But Swansea is the epicentre.
It is where Dylan Marlais omas was
born, where he played as a child and
drank as a young man, where he wrote
most of his poetry. e city in the past
has been accused of not giving him his
due, but that seems to be changing.
"I think it's one of the things the city
hangs onto because he's so incredibly
famous," says Rhiannon Morris, who
tends bar at the No Sign Wine Bar on
Wind Street, one of omas's hangouts.
"I think a lot of pubs like to associate
(themselves) with him. 'He came here', so
they cling on, and rightly so.
"He probably went to a lot of pubs. But
this old building hasn't changed in 50 or
60 years... It has a nice feel to it."
e same can be said for omas'
birthplace at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive.
e omas family moved into the
new house in the Uplands section of
town in August 1914. His father was a
schoolmaster, and Dylan was born in the
upstairs front bedroom.
Geo Haden, who began restoring the
house in 2005 and opened it in 2008, says
that Dylan's father, David John omas,
was a frustrated writer who "channelled
all his ambition into his son".
"His father read him Shakespeare at a
very young age --- in the womb, some say
--- but at a very early age nonetheless,"
says Jo Furber, Swansea Council literature
omas's rst book of poetry was
published when he was 20. He moved
to London, became a celebrity and
hobnobbed with the rich and famous.
But the house, where Haden says he
wrote two-thirds of his published work, is
where he always returned.
" ere's a Welsh word, cwtch
(pronounced kutch)," Haden says. "It
means hug. And he'd come back here for
that cwtch. In 1937, they moved, and he
lost that cwtch."
e house and its environs show up
in omas's work. e front parlour
is central to A Child's Christmas in
Wales. He wrote about his tiny bedroom,
"the bedroom by the boiler", and the
frightening door under the stairs
("animals lurked in the cubbyhole under
the stairs where the gas meter ticked").
e rooms at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive are
as they would have looked when the
omas family lived there. Haden and his
former wife researched the house before
they began restoring it, and got help from
a woman who had been a teenage maid
for the omases in the 1930s.
"She knew the layout, the furnishings,
the routine of the house," he says. "She
was a godsend ... She said, when I rst
met her, 'Don't say anything bad about
him. He was a lovely boy.' She was
wagging her nger. 'And his parents were
e Hadens have brought the house
back to 1914, seeking out items that
would not have been out of place in the
omas household. ey tried to make it
look as though "the omas family has
slipped out for an hour, and we're just
looking around before they come back".
Since 2001 the Dylan omas Centre in
Swansea has had a permanent exhibition,
Dylan omas Man And Myth.
Upon entering, visitors nd a showcase
displaying a Harris Tweed suit. It comes
with a great story.
Shortly before his death, omas was
staying at New York's Chelsea Hotel.
Furber, who curated Man And Myth,
says the poet found himself out of clean
clothes and borrowed a suit belonging to
another hotel guest, painter Jorge Fick.
After omas's sudden death a few days
later, the suit was returned to Fick, and it
was Fick's widow who donated it to the
centre in 2006. Intriguingly, the lining
of the right pants pocket has a large ink
stain. Did omas's pen leak? Or was
it Fick's pen? No matter; it adds to the
e exhibition also features a
watercolour and a crayon drawing
omas did as a child; his death mask;
copies of the last photos taken of him, in
the White Horse Tavern in New York;
a restaurant tablecloth on which he and
some friends doodled.
omas was 39 when he died after a
night of heavy drinking. He came back
to his hotel and, according to the BBC,
proclaimed to a companion that he had
set a record by drinking 18 whiskys.
Shortly after, he collapsed into a coma.
Furber says omas cultivated a persona
that he thought poets should have.
"He'd have one pint, make it last all
evening, then if he met some friends on
his way home, he'd pretend to be drunk."
e centre will add more items for the
100th anniversary celebration, including
omas's notebooks, which will be on
loan from a United States university.
" ere are still things in people's
attics," Furber says. "One thing we're
hoping for is lm of him. He made BBC
appearances, but they were lost."
Another stop is Laugharne, about 40km
north-west of Swansea. Here omas
spent the last four years of his life with
his family --- he was married and had
three children --- living in the Boathouse
and working in his writing shed, a former
"His children recalled tiptoeing past the
shed and hearing him trying out lines for
things he was writing," Furbey says.
Among the work he produced there was
the poem Do Not Go Gentle --- for his
dying father. He also put the nishing
touches to Under Milk Wood.
Laugharne is where omas sat for
Gordon Stuart, who was introduced to
the poet in a pub.
"He said hello, and I told him I had
done a sketch," Stuart recalls.
omas liked the sketch, and the two
hit it o . Stuart asked him if he would sit
for a portrait, and they settled on a day in
early September 1953.
e plan was to do one portrait, but
they did three sittings that resulted in
four sketches, two of which are now in
university collections, one of which is in
the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Stuart has the last.
"Dylan said, 'How do you want me to
sit?' Pro le. And he was very ne. He sat
very still, was very well-behaved. Not a
drink in sight. We did the last one in the
writing shed," Stuart says.
A few weeks later, he got word that
omas had died. --- MCT
Son of Wales
John Bingham, Martin Evans,
One was swapping a life hunting wild
boar in the Carpathian Mountains for
washing cars in London, the other was a
handyman hoping to save enough money
to pay for some home improvements of
Both would have been unsure of the
reception they would receive after arriving
in Britain on the rst ight on the day
restrictions were lifted on citizens of
Romania and Bulgaria.
But neither Victor Spirescu nor Julian
Brbat, two friends from the village of
Pelior, could have imagined that the
welcoming party greeting them o an
early-morning budget airline ight
to Luton Airport would be led by the
chairman of one of Britain's most powerful
committees of MPs.
As apparently the only two people on
the Wizz Air ight from Transylvania
to be travelling to the United Kingdom
for the rst time in search of work, they
found themselves thrust into the national
spotlight as the unlikely face of Britain's
increasingly acrimonious immigration
If they were bemused by a line of
television cameras, they seemed genuinely
ba ed and a little worried to be whisked
into a branch of Costa Co ee for an
impromptu meeting with Keith Vaz, the
chairman of the Commons home a airs
select committee and former Europe
"My God --- I don't come to rob your
country, I come to work," exclaimed
Spirescu as he realised he was to be asked
to meet the politician.
"You open the border --- I come to work,
to make money, to go home."
After weeks of speculation about an
in ux of immigrants, the early morning
ight arrived only three quarters full of
Romanian workers and students returning
to Britain after a Christmas break.
Vaz announced to the Commons before
Christmas that, in the absence of o cial
estimates of how many Romanians or
Bulgarians would come, he was planning
to go and count them in person.
Yesterday he played down the
signi cance of the low numbers of new
immigrants on the ight, remarking that
it was "atypical" because it was a holiday.
"We've seen no evidence of people who
have rushed out and bought tickets in
order to arrive because it's the 1st of
January," he said.
"We'd be surprised if they did so, this is
after all only a snapshot.
"But we do need to resolve this issue in
the future, and it's an issue for the whole
of the European Union to resolve so we
don't get these kinds of dramas at the end."
Vaz, the Labour MP for Leicester East,
criticised the "panic measures" ahead of the
curbs on citizens of Romania and Bulgaria
Ninety senior Conservatives attempted
to block the move in a letter to Prime
Minister David Cameron, arguing he
could invoke a clause in EU law to keep
the borders shut. But ministers denied
such a move would be feasible.
Victoria coach station in central London,
one of the main destinations for visitors
from the Continent and a place where
busloads of Eastern European migrants
were expected to arrive, was virtually
Amid the negative rhetoric by the
Conservatives and UK Independence
Party over immigration, Labour warned
of the dangers posed by foreign workers
coming to Britain.
At Luton, Spirescu, 30, explained to the
MPs how they had been recruited to work
in a car wash but emphasising how he had
no plans to stay long-term.
e real draw, he said, was simple.
"I was receiving maybe 10 ($16.78) a day.
Here I hope for maybe 10 an hour."
e rst UK-bound ight from Bulgaria
also had little evidence of the threatened
in ux of migrant workers. e ight
from So a was less than half full with no
passengers claiming to be travelling in the
hope of nding work. --- AP
Migrant worker 'f lood' trickles in
A Bulgarian man heads for London from Varna, the day after restrictions lifted.
At the bottom of a dank salt mine
in Colombia, a 200-strong lm crew
featuring Spanish actor Antonio Banderas
is reconstructing the incredible tale of 33
miners buried alive for 69 days in Chile in
Actors from multiple countries work in
su ocating heat on e 33, which traces
the unlikely survival of the men trapped
deep underground after a collapse at the
San Jose copper mine in the Atacama
"It's not just about the physical ordeal
these 33 men went through --- it's about
the emotional one, of wondering if they
would live or die, or if they would go
crazy waiting to nd out," Gregg Brilliant,
a spokesman for the American lm
production, told AFP.
To depict the incredible story that
unfolded more than 600m underground,
the production team chose to lm at
two sites outside the Colombian capital
Behind a security cordon, curious
onlookers try to catch a glimpse of a star,
but their Hollywood hopes are repeatedly
In the salt mines of Nemocon, the
humid and musty environment combine
with the thin mountain air to recreate the
oppressive atmosphere at San Jose, located
800km north of Chile's capital Santiago.
e lm recounts the story of the mine
accident and how all 33 men --- 32
Chileans and a Bolivian --- eventually
escaped in a spectacular rescue operation
watched around the world.
Banderas, 53, will play Mario Sepulveda,
the charismatic de facto leader of the
French actress Juliette Binoche, who
replaced Jennifer Lopez in the cast, and
Americans Martin Sheen and James
Brolin also star in the lm.
Under the guidance of Mexican-born
American director Patricia Riggen, the
actors sweat profusely, keeping makeup
artists hard at work before each take.
" e ambiance is real. You dont have to
act so much," said Lou Diamond Phillips,
who plays Luis Urzua, the mining team's
shift leader nicknamed "Don Lucho" who
organised the men's food supply during
Producers relied heavily on a vast trove
of data about the incident, including the
miners' medical reports, to make the lm
as authentic as possible.
Depicting the weight loss of the miners,
who survived on tins of tuna and small
sips of milk, proved a major obstacle.
Head of makeup Ana Lozano said that
recreating the miners' emaciated look
was her most complicated task. Despite
dieting, none of the actors were able to
lose as much weight as the men they
e lm crew played with light and
shadow e ects to mark the outline of the
miners' ribs and experimented with small
prosthetic devices to accentuate their eyes.
Latex was used to simulate the redness
and peeling of their skin.
After lming wraps in Colombia,
the team will head in early 2014 to the
Atacama desert, Brilliant said.
Binoche will make her debut on set in
the desert as Dario Segovia's sister, who
organised a makeshift village near the
mine where family and media gathered to
await news of the miners.
" e lm isn't just about the event itself
--- it's about the people, both above and
below ground, who held onto their love
and their hope to pull them through what
seemed like an impossible rescue," said
e movie however will not recount the
story's real-life ending, which is less joyous.
e men's fame neither lasted nor
brought them the fortune for which they
had once hoped.
"We are like a big family --- but with
each going his own way," Urzua, the real
"Don Lucho", told AFP from Chile.
Miner Jimmy Sanchez is helped out
of the capsule as he is rescued from the
mine in 2010.
Chilean miracle miners on silver screen
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