Caught by the River

In Praise Of Lost Causes

31st October 2013


In the most recent edition of An Antidote to Indifference, Richard King wrote a lyrical piece about mining. Issue 7 being an all-Welsh edition, there was some inevitability that the subject would be covered. The mining industry remains a source of perpetual rawness in Wales. Travel just a generation or two down most of our family lines and you’re sure to end up at the coalface. As this month marked the anniversaries of two utterly devastating mining disasters (Senghenydd in 1913, Aberfan 1966) and next year is the thirtieth anniversary of the start of the Miners Strike, the Welsh obsession looks unlikely to change any time soon.

Coming of age in the Valleys in the mid ’80s, it’s inevitable that mining would have helped shape the ideology of Manic Street Preachers. The strike acts as the backdrop for the video for their latest single: directed by longtime Friend of the River Kieran Evans, Anthem for a Lost Cause is an incredibly moving tribute to the power and support of wives and partners during that time. Anthem’s low-key companion piece is It Will Take More Than A Grave To Bury You. A bare bones piece, it was recorded by the band’s James Dean Bradfield for the recent Senghenydd Memorial Event. While each of these pieces attempts to dissect Welsh truths, their emotional impacts are universal.