Nasty Hype Upsets Valleys Characters

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Byline: By TRYST WILLIAMS Western Mail

A book that is claimed to portray Valleys 'characters' as sex-obsessed beer-swilling skivers has been attacked by some of the former coalfield area's most famous sons. Welsh Valleys Characters, due out next week, is the latest offering from best-selling author David Jandrell who scored a hit last year with Welsh Valleys Humour.

But his publisher's promise of 'revealing more nasty truths about the Welsh Valleys' has been branded 'a cheap shot' and 'pernicious stereotyping' even before it has hit the shops.

In its publicity hype, publishers Y Lolfa said, 'The Valleys 'characters' are portrayed as beer-swilling know-alls, skivers and terrible gossipers who have an obsession with the sex-lives of their neighbours.'

It adds, 'In the book the gossiping on sex in the Valleys varies on a scale of one to ten, with 'one' the long-term relationship between two people of the opposite sex, 'five' any relationship involving more than two people, and '10' any relationship between people who are related.'

Rhondda-born historian and broadcaster Professor Dai Smith, said such portrayals were 'pernicious stereotypes' and added, 'Do we have to go through this again?

'I suspect there aren't more beer-swilling or skiving people in the Valleys than anywhere else.

'I think 'skiving' is a particularly nasty word; it's a bit of cheek given the hard physical labour that's come out of there.

The publisher's comments - particularly the accusation of 'skiving' - also brought short-shrift from Valleys legend Tyrone O'Sullivan, who masterminded the buy-out of Tower Colliery.

'It's crazy isn't it?' he said from his Aberdare home, 'That's so far off track.

'The Tory Government put three generations of people on the dole but most of the young kids today want to work.

'The Welsh have never been workshy, they've always been slaves to someone else.

'You go through a phase of laughing at yourself but there's a balance when you stop doing it and stop making yourself the joke.'

Mr Jandrell, born and bred in Cwmcarn, near Newport, has already sold 4,500 copies of Welsh Valleys Humour, which has spent nine months in the Welsh Book Council's top 10 best-sellers list. …