Fanzine Ynfytyn

Published Categorised as Music, Popular Posts, Zines 2 Comments on Fanzine Ynfytyn


My zine, Fanzine Ynfytyn, is named after a song by Welsh language post-punk band Datbly­gu (“Devel­op”). The name could be construed as either “Fanzine Idiot”, “Idiot Fanzine” or “Idiot’s Fanzine”. People either look at the name with baffle­ment, go “uh, is it Welsh in some way?” or are pleased because they know the song (those people get a free copy). In some ways I regret giving it a name that so many people struggle to pronounce or under­stand, but I’m on issue 22 now, so they’ll just have to get used to it. When I star­ted it, I only expec­ted to give a few copies to some friends who were already famil­i­ar with the song, so it wasn’t really a concern (I also had a mini collage zine called “Pobble Eh Come?” like a really mis-spelt version of the soap opera). Seeing as one of those people was a fellow language student penfriend who I had a running joke with of us mangling Welsh and German togeth­er to make one über­bendi­gedich language, I wasn’t too worried about the palat­ab­il­ity of the name. I was never expect­ing to get to issue 22, and have sold or traded hundreds of copies of some of the back issues and have them in librar­ies and academ­ic collec­tions. I was surprised I got to more than a couple of issues to be honest.

I’m not Welsh, and didn’t go to school in Wales, but I have a fairly decent pass­ive grasp of the language (I’d struggle to carry on a conver­sa­tion). I have some relat­ives who are native Welsh speak­ers (they’re relat­ives by marriage, but their son is the same age as my sister’s son, so we used to see a fair bit of them), and more import­antly, I spent my teen­age years listen­ing to the Super Furry Anim­als and Gorky’s Zygot­ic Mynci, bands who did songs in both English and Welsh.

I got into Datbly­gu through the Super Furries. They covered the song Y Teim­lad, and talked about how great Datbly­gu were in inter­views when promot­ing their Welsh language album Mwng (“Mane”) about 15 years ago, so I thought they were worth check­ing out. I went into my ever-reli­able local second-hand record shop, Magic Discs, and asked if they had any Datbly­gu, think­ing it was a long shot. The guy imme­di­ately pulled their album Pyst on vinyl out from a myster­i­ous box some­where out back and charged me £7. They really were magic, and sorely missed. I then ordered the Peel Sessions album direct from Ankst, who thought­fully sent me a dvd of Welsh language music videos, includ­ing one of a man wrapped in cling­film rolling round on a sandy beach and spit­ting out milk.

My £7 wasn’t wasted. I imme­di­ately took to the album. The compar­is­ons to the Fall make a lot of sense, but David Edward’s lyrics are more specif­ic and person­al than Mark E. Smith’s, and the music tends more towards the elec­tro-pop side. The lyrics are in Welsh, but mainly talk about how shit living in Wales in the 80s was with sly humour (includ­ing getting thrown off Welsh language TV for being “unpat­ri­ot­ic” for lines like “Living in Wales is like watch­ing paint dry” in Gwlad ar Fy Nghefn- Land on my Back, which is a pun on Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau- Land of my Fath­ers, the Welsh nation­al anthem, and also calls to mind yng nghefn gwlad/​cefn gwlad- rural /​ lit. back-coun­try or “Outside some­where two people meet, to screw like it’s the first time they’ve met, but Ben Bore’s dream­ing with the lights off”). I picked up a fair amount of the mean­ing from listen­ing, but certain phrases escaped me until years later when I bought the cd version of the albums I already had on vinyl to get the lyrics book that came with it (compre­hens­ive inform­a­tion about Datbly­gu is hard to find online), which made bits like the first half of “Pam wnes i traf­fer­thu mynd a’m mhoteli gwag Whis­key i’r banc poteli’n Aber­honddu?” (Why did I both­er to take my empty whis­key bottles to the bottle bank in Brecon?) a lot clear­er. John Peel said that the music of Datbly­gu was as good a reas­on to learn the Welsh language as any.

I also recently bought a copy of Dave’s book, Atgofion Hen Wanc, the first and perhaps last book I’ll read in Welsh. I’ve only read the intro so far, with the aid of a dictionary/​geiriadur (the Univer­sity of Wales have a great free online and app one) because I’ve been short on time lately, but it wasn’t too hard to under­stand. Having an elec­tron­ic diction­ary helps a lot as well, because the initial letters of words can often change in Welsh follow­ing gram­mar rules, and it means you don’t have to know every rule. I must say though, that I was relieved when the book came in the post and turned out to not be partic­u­larly thick.

Here’s a video of the song my zine is named after, and the lyrics. There’s two differ­ent versions around, the album version which has a more synco­pated rhythm and some good ghost and clap­ping noises, and the more disson­ant Peel Sessions version, which I’ve used for the video and included on the Spoti­fy playl­ist at the end. The lyrics seem to be taking the piss out of a very specif­ic type of repuls­ive teen­age boy, convinced he’s Morris­sey the Second.

Mae’n arll­wys dros deipiadur,
Rhoi pin yn ei eiriadur,
Powd­wr talcym yn ei esgid,
Ac mae’n gwisgo sbectolau gwas­an­aeth iechyd.

Pour­ing out onto the type­writer
Sticks a pin in his diction­ary
Talcum powder in his shoes
And wear­ing NHS specs

Fanzine Ynfytyn
Wastod Mancein­ion,
A’ch uh-huh caneuon

Fanzine Idiot
Manchester forever
And all his uh-huh songs

Ac mae jelly dros pen cassette,
Y chwarae­wr cassette yn ei ystafell wely

And there’s jelly on the cassette head,
The cassette play­er in his bedroom.

(There’s also some­thing I can’t make out about Llandrin­dod Wells in the Peel Session version)

Here is a playl­ist of Datbly­gu songs for your listen­ing pleas­ure.

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  1. It may be my Fire­fox settings, but I can’t see the playl­ist. Which is a shame, as I love Datbly­gu and was curi­ous to see which tracks you’d picked!

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