Why are outsiders so contemptuous of the Rhondda? Why do they think nothing good deserves to happen here?
I remember during the fabulous last night of the June Tabor/Oysterband tour hearing some woman sniffily comment in the queue for the Ladies, "Why on earth did they choose this place for the last night?" Well, why not? The Park and Dare is a beautiful little theatre. Anyway, what's wrong in having big city dwellers forced to travel to an event for a change!
Likewise, when I searched for reviews of Tonypandemonium, recently put on at the Park and Dare by the National Theatre of Wales, I found the following written by a Cardiff resident, who braved driving along the "relentless ribbon of squat miner's [sic] homes" [the houses are not much different to a lot of houses in Cardiff, actually, although set in much nicer landscape] to a place which to him "might as well be on the moon as many of us lot down on the coast less than an hour away are just as likely to tour outer space." to Treorchy, a place where he feels "it’s extraordinary to find a theatre flourishing up here" - Why should Treorchy not have a theatre? It was paid for by the miners of this place.
More recently, another Cardiff bigot was sounding off on Facebook about "Valley girls", who according to him, start 99% of all fights that take place in Cardiff centre on a Friday night.
I have only found civility and courtesy among the people of the Rhondda. Young people move aside to make way for me in the street, people say "hello" and smile.
Another misguided perception that is wheeled out over and over again is that the Rhondda is ugly, full of slag heaps and barrenness. I was delighted to attend a talk given to the Rhondda Civic Society in Treorchy by Richard Wistow, County Ecologist. He told us that the Rhondda is one of the most biodiverse regions in the United Kingdom. It is specifically the coal spoil that has allowed the development of some unique habitats!
I am so glad that I did not let any of this prejudice affect my decision to move here from Nottingham six years ago. I go into cities when I have to, but am always glad to get back home to my peaceful and beautiful valley.