Eistedd-what?!

Hey Mr. Urdd, in your red, white and green: who the hell are you?

If you live in or around the Caerphilly area you might’ve noticed something odd is happening. Everywhere you turn, children are hitting harps, butchering folk songs and speaking tongues (sometimes in a creepy unison) and begging their parents to join the

Mr. Urdd, a conical mascot

Urdd. But don’t fear, they are not joining a Satanic cult, nor a strange Hitler-youth organisation, they are participating in arguably the largest youth festival in Europe: The Urdd National Eisteddfod, a celebration of Welsh arts, language and culture. This article is here to break this down for you and tell you exactly what it’s all about.

THE URDD

Urdd Gobaith Cymru or Order of Welsh Hope and/or Youth, is a Welsh-medium youth movement founded in 1922 by Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards in order to preserve Welsh language and culture and to nurture it in Welsh youth.

It manifests itself in many ways, most visually as Mr. Urdd, an anthropomorphized version of the classic triangular Urdd Logo, you might often see him wandering around public events, making a fool of himself and collecting money to fund various Urdd endeavours

The Urdd logo, simple, yet triangular.

(usually the Eisteddfod itself). The Urdd also has three main youth hostels/destinations:

  • Gwersyll yr Urdd Llangrannog: A place where Welsh students go to take part in a number of fun activities, such as Skiing, go-karting and terrible, terrible discos.
  • Gwersyll yr Urdd Glan Llyn: Much like Llangrannog, Glan Llyn is an outdoor adventure site, set beside a large lake from which it takes its name. Considering its location, many of the activities take place upon the lake and is a great place for Welsh youth to have fun with their friends.
  • Gwersyll yr Urdd Caerdydd: Basically just a youth hostel in Cardiff bay. They can’t all be fun.

THE EISTEDDFOD

This child loves singing so much she removed her teeth. (it helps with projecting her voice… probably)

The Eisteddfod (don’t ask me for an English translation) is an annual Welsh arts festival that finds its roots in the 12th century when a festival of poetry and music was held by Rhys ap Gruffydd. There are two main Eisteddfods, the National Eisteddfod (for both young and older competitors) and the Urdd Eisteddfod (comprising of just school-age Urdd members). They compete in a number of fields, music, art, poetry and drama being the main focus. Have you ever wanted to see a choir of children reciting, not singing, but reciting a poem in unison? Well the Eisteddfod is the place for you. Come to see all of the great performances, stay for the free pens.

This year, the Urdd National Eisteddfod is being held in Caerphilly county so if you’re local, now is the best time to check it out and be part of the action.

Visit the Urdd website for more information.

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Episode 2: The Nun’s Priest’s Tale… ish

THE SECOND PODCAST EPISODE

Excellent Foppery

EP2

In which we talk about the Nun’s Priest’s Tale from Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” among other, ruder things.
Starring: Joshua Gray, George Marsden and Grace O’Brien

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Episode 1: Atticus Finch is a Gangsta

So I podcasted

Excellent Foppery

EPI 1

This week’s podcast is our somewhat shambolic approach to podcasting, where we talk about Harper Lee’s new novel and also absolute tosh. I hope you enjoy!

Starring:

Joshua Gray

Rhys O’Keeffe

Hannah Williams

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I’m making a Podcast

The name is a quote from Act 1, Scene 2 of "King Lear" by William Shakespeare.

The name is a quote from Act 1, Scene 2 of “King Lear” by William Shakespeare.

For a very long time now, I have always wanted to make a podcast, and now with my recent purchase of “excellentfoppery.com” (a King Lear quote which almost reduced me to tears) I finally feel like I have an apt title. But here’s the problem: I have no idea what to podcast about. Not. One. Clue.

What I need is a central idea, a format in which to base my podcast:

The fact that the podcast’s title will be “Excellent Foppery”, a quote from Shakespeare, would lead me towards something literary: book based? A book review podcast? That’s original. But who says I couldn’t have elements of that in my videos. I may not be a youtuber anymore, but I am still a reviewer for some publishing houses.

But then, the meaning of the phrase “Excellent foppery” (“great foolishness”) would imply a certain degree of humour, or being a fool. This could be achieved in a book themed podcast (it is done excellently in “The Chapter Titles Were So Good”, an incredible Harry Potter podcast), or would it lend itself to something not even related to books.

Should this podcast be a discussion? A game show? A panel show? A book club? Narrative storytelling? Something completely different? Who knows, that’s why I need your help. I want to make Excellent Foppery into something I can be proud of, something fun to make, and something to get my arse of my chair.

I would like to make 30 minute episodes, either weekly or every other week, though I am unsure as to which yet. In the same vein, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to podcast alone, therefore more people would be needed, but how many? Who knows…?

As a source of inspiration, or if you do not know what a podcast is/aren’t sure if they should get into them, I would highly recommend the podcasts I mention in this video from my 24hoursyear project.

Tell me in the comments below, or over on twitter (@24hoursayear) what you think should be the focus and format of my podcast? How often should I release the episodes? How many people should I have on my podcast?

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24 Hours a Year is finished

In memorium

Last year I began a project that I never expected to complete. I wanted to make 24 hours of YouTube content in the year 2014, last night I achieved that goal.

That might not sound like a lot of content, bigger channels like Roosterteeth or CollegeHumour probably churn out that amount of content in a month, but for me, a student with no time, it’s an awful lot of video. It worked out as around 4 minutes per day, which I tried to achieve, but that didn’t happen.

I would not have been able to reach my goal if I hadn’t began also doing a slew of live-streams and occasional Let’s Plays, some may call this cheating, but some don’t make the rules, I DO.

I will not be doing this again in 2015. I won’t even be making many YouTube videos in 2015, but I will be posting weekly here on my blog. So stay tuned for more writing, and less vlogging.

Josh x

In case you missed it, below you’ll find a playlist of my favourite videos from 2014:

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I have been neglecting you, blog

I want you all to know that next year I intend to try to write weekly posts on this blog. I shall not let it slip away any more. I love blogging, and I don’t wanna lose it.

See you in the New Year,

Josh x

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Happy Halloween

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