I first discovered Thomas in the mid 1960's, curious to see who it was that Bob Dylan had allegedly named himself after. I began with his poetry, wrote poetry in a similar vein and becoming hooked, looked deeper into his life and found someone that I could easily admire and identify with. All these years later, looking back through the various books that I have collected about his life, it is clear that in many ways the facts of his life were falsely presented, although he did work hard at times to give people the image that they expected. And oh to have the balls to do what he did, aged 39, and literally drink himself to death one night because he couldn't face being forty. I can't say I like a lot of his poetry, just a dozen or so exceptional ones, but his stories, including the great Under Milk Wood, are fantastic, but for me there is one outright winner. Dylan reciting his "A Child's Christmas in Wales". To listen to that, in his beautiful Welsh voice, reminds me so much of how my childhood winters were.
In the same paper, a female columnist was going off about the fact that the Pope has decreed that the practice of keeping a loved one's ashes at home should be forbidden, or scattering them somewhere for that matter. I have no interest in religion at all and was moving on until one thing in her column caught my eye and made me chuckle. Did you know that there are some companies who will happily bake your loved one's ashes into a drinking mug, that's taking having a drink with your dad a bit too far!
On the subject of loved one's ashes as well, I've always been intrigued as to what exactly is in those urns that people have on their mantle-piece or wherever. Are they really the ashes of a loved one, or the ashes from a coffin, or a mixture of the two - anybody know?