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You will have noticed the above is signed ISLWYN MAEN.

Islwyn is the name my dad wanted to give me but my mum vetoed it. Too unconventional for  her rather culturally conformist tastes I guess. Instead, the less unusual David was chosen. Has both Biblical & Welsh connotations. Biblical, as in King David (David King, geddit?) At an impressionable age, was sent to Sunday School at the Methodist Church. Was I being set up to write Psalms, I wonder? Seems like I've been up against a metaphorical Goliath more than once in the course of my life. Still am.

 

 

 

 

 

Anglo-Saxon version of St. David circa 750 C.E.


From the Vespasian Psalter, produced perhaps

 in Canterbury or Minster-in-Thanet.

Was born near both & lived in latter later

 

 

  Music, clapping, dancing, as referred to in the Psalms.

Sounds like fun.

 

 

Welsh? Well, as you know, the Patron Saint of Wales is St.David. Can't say I'm a great believer in saints (though I'd certainly love a patron - you can donate here). At least he was vegetarian. One of his emblems is the delightful daffodil, a ubiquitous spring flower that inspires me no end. Look: (1) a few daffodils (2) dwarf daffodil (3) don't die daffodil.

 

Hence Davy, which mouth-sounds & written form have long been used to point to this mind-body, localised quantum foam, I tend to identify with when I forget I am not "really" a separate entity but one with all, the Whole, seamless existence, awareness, transcendent & immanent, that sort of thing or, more accurately, no-thing, fully interconnected.

 

 

Relevant background information:

Islwyn was the nom de plume (feather, as in Shakespearean quill. Nowadays, nom de clavier or computer keyboard might be more appropriate!) or bardic name of a writer, who lived near Blackwood, the then little town in South Wales (recently notable for the wonderfully-named Manic Street Preachers), where my father was born & grew up.

Incidentally, Islwyn is now the name of a UK Parliamentary constituency, which is rather degrading, so, in some ways, I had a narrow escape.

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Maen, as far as I can gather, welsh for stone. Not sure of spelling or correct pronunciation, I was a small kid when I heard this family anecdote. Might have been Main, meaning fine or slender. I was told our great, great grandfather or one of my progenitors (forget exactly how many "greats", a fair few, so long ago) was a press-ganged sailor in Queen Victoria's navy. He deserted & the penalty for so doing in those benighted days was capital punishment. To escape such a grim, undeserved, premature termination, hung by the neck till dead, he went into hiding, discarding his good old Welsh surname & adopting an assumed name which was common & sounded harmlessly patriotic. Henceforth, our family was known collectively as the Kings. Sporting that nom de guerre, we have been in disguise & on the run for generations.

Another opportunity to reiterate, despite my surname, am no supporter of monarchy. An undemocratic, outmoded institution that should have been phased out long ago, or not allowed in the first place. Am against -archies, pro-an-archy. Hope no-one called Archie takes offence!

 

The Prince of Wales, not that he's Welsh by birth, is constitutionally (not that we have a constitution) scheduled to become our next King. I paid homage to him on his investiture in 1969: Investiture Verses (A Laureate Lay), for which I could be done for lèse majesté. I was somewhat satirical, downright rude in fact, about him here too: Right Charley!

 

Click pic? Year of the Dragon & other animals.

 

Some decades ago, for fun, I flirted with the idea of  reverting to my "genuine,"  ancestral surname (on the sword or spear - what macho aggro - as opposed to distaff side of my biological family, that is.) Went as far as going to a free (legal aid) solicitor, who carried out the necessary legal, bureaucratic paperwork, so I could formally change my name to Islwyn David Maen by deed poll. He told me that, in this country, anyone can legally call themselves anything they like, simply by asserting such. A D.I.Y. deed poll is easy: "I [old name] of [address] have given up my name [old name] & have adopted for all purposes the name [new name]." Then it just  has to be signed in the presence of 2 witnesses, who also have to sign.

By that time, having existed as David King for over four decades, I would have had to print & send the necessary deed poll info to my bank, GP, the DWP etc etc & to be frank (another alias), & putting it bluntly, I just couldn't be bothered.

So, Davy King, I am,  though by true nature nameless & without form. 

 

 

Definitely not Dave! During my childhood, back in the 1950s, there was a comedian & singer called Dave King. For some reason I couldn’t discern, he was considered popular. Used to see him on TV a lot. There were only two channels in those days, so less choice. I disliked, nay detested, his act. Every-time anyone addressed me as Dave King, I’d involuntarily squirm with shame & embarrassment. I have never & will never refer to myself as a Dave. By contrast, Davy is an hypocorism of David. It shows closeness & affection. Davy Crockett was also popular on TV during the 50s. I liked him. I’d sing along to “Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.” Indeed, I still have a rather fetching fake fur Davy Crockett hat that I used to perform in. Voici. The wild frontier is the place to be, unless it's "biotechnology's wild frontier" & you are a non-human animal, being experimented on in a Lab.

 

For a short while, the name I.D.Maen amused me with it's satirical suggestion that my I.D. or identity was mine & that's what it was, none of anyone else's business. I used it to sign the cover of a small publication I produced, called Beginning Origami, in loose leaf format, a folder containing many sheets of paper on which I had photocopied different creative texts. Here's a tongue-in-cheek review of it. I still have some analogue copies left, mouldering among my neglected, dusty archive of copious papers.

Islwyn Maen is, of course, only IM, an I'm (for I am) or 'im (an abbreviated him)!

Final confession: was actually born a Man of Kent (near Margate, the sea's gate, see certificate below), but Wales is literally the Land of my Fathers. My dear departed Welsh father was, in his own right (or write as Lennon punningly put it) an accomplished poet. Here are two samples of his output: Aberfan, Remembrance. When I was a toddler, he won a local Eisteddfod.

 

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Awen Amen

 

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Text & artwork of above verse by Davy King circa 1982

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