Jan 8, 2009

An Interview With Ian Price

Ian Price will need no introduction to most Americymru members. He is a regular contributor to the site and his contributions are always of the finest quality. He also runs two community websites ( Treorchy.net and Treherbert.info ) based in the Rhondda Valley. Ian kindly agreed to answer a few questions about his work and artistic inspiration.

1. You run Treorchy.Net What would you describe as its mission and purpose?

I run Treorchy.net and Treherbert.Info with my partner Rosemarie. It's a community website insomuch that we created it in order that people can pass on information, make enquiries, advertise societies or businesses or whatever they wish. It's complimented by a magazine we produce about three times a year in which much of the information we've collected is published and distributed to local communities in order that those who do not have access to t
he internet can also benefit from and or contribute to the information we collate. We research information for ex pats, send them photographs of their families homes, help them contact relatives etc. We do this for free. The magazine and the upkeep of the websites are funded by local businesses who wish to advertise with us

2. You have a keen appreciation of the history of the Rhondda Valleys. What future do you think they have in the aftermath of the coal-mining era?

Rhondda is becoming a largely residential feeder area for Cardiff and the M4 corridor. There has been some sobering talk lately of reopening the pits. However at the moment there's very little industry here.

3. You have contributed many short prose pieces to ( read Ian's blog here ) Americymru. What would you describe as your main inspiration as a writer?

My inspiration would be the absurdity of life, its whimsy and it's humour. I particularly enjoy humour being used to show up the self important and the sanctimonious.

4. Who do you like to read and why?

Gwyn Thomas, Tom Sharpe and Alan Coren are the authors who make me laugh the most.

5. You have also contributed many photographs to this site ( view Ian's photo's here ). What inspires you as a photographer?

Fun. I was trained as an artist and so it was just an extension of creating a picture. Believe me it's a damn site easier taking photographs than carting an easel and paints all over creation. I still use pencil, ink, pastel brush et al though.

6. Once again you have contributed a great many masterful caricatures some of which are featured on this page. How long have you been a caricaturist and what is your favorite character?

I just fell into caricaturism as an extension of my leaning towards humour and art. As a kid I started to watch Warner Bros and Tex Avery cartoons and was fascinated and entertained by the whole concept. The characters in these cartoons inspired me not only because of the surreal nature of the whole genre but also because of the talents of people like Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc who put it all together by artistry, mimicry, characterisation and timing. I still have to limit myself to about three of these cartoons at a time because I laugh so much it hurts. My favourite character would have to be Yosemite Sam closely followed by Foghorn Leghorn and the Dawg.

7. What inspired the creation of your character Quentin Whistleton Thyne (Col Retd) . Anyone you know personally?

I created QWT to show up the absurdities of the worst of The Conservative Party in Britain and all it stands for. This was inspired in no small part by living through the Thatcher Administrations. I found it much more effective to use an overblown imperialist buffoon to make the points I wanted to make about inequality, feudalism, royalty, unbridled capitalism, the public school system and all the other trappings of establishment tripe that we're fed every day. I studied politics at university and could have launched humourless attacks on all of the above but as I've a tendency toward the eccentric I thought I'd make my points with humour. The character himself is a combination of characters played by Peter Cook, Stephen Fry, C Aubrey Smith, Terry Thomas and the stiff upper lip chaps portrayed in films like The Four Feathers.

8. In the wake of the deplorable conduct of certain parties in the colonial elections, do you think it's finally time to admit that this whole "independence" experiment has been a ghastly mistake and humbly reapply to rejoin the British commonwealth?

Wouldn't it be ironic if there was the United Kingdom of America and Wales would have to fight for it's independence. We'd win of course and call ourselves The Peoples Republic of Ton Mawr. We'd stride the globe like a cockle. Possessed of an economic powerhouse based on cawl and grass, Nations would tremble before us. Se what you've done now Ceri! You've sent me off on a trail of whimsy. Ha ha!

9. On a lighter note....I recently referred to a walk home from the pub in Llwynypia to Newport . What do you estimate to be the distance involved?

Depends which way you went. Shortest route would be about 30 miles or so.

Read Ian's entry in the Left Coast Eisteddfod Short Story Competition HERE. Enter competitions HERE.

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