THE above title relates to a book I once read, which turned out to be a dark comedy about the seaside town of Aberystwyth in Ceredigion.
I don’t particularly remember much of the story, but I do remember that the idea of loving a town, above any particular human being, seemed quite comic to me at the time.
But, dark? Yes, I could get that part. I could relate to that.
Mainly as my university experiences in Aberystwyth were overshadowed by a persistent anxiety which both clouded my time there and retained its hold for many years to come in terms of memories of my time there.
But, fast forward to today, and I have come to realise that dark is really the totally wrong epithet to attach to Aberystwyth.
Not only from a personal perspective having come to terms with the story of Aber and me, and reaching a peaceful accomodation with the past.
But, because Aberystwyth is just really the polar opposite of that illusion of darkness.
Blinded by the light. And transformed by it. The experience of the Apostle Paul along that Road to Damascus still has a resonance for the human imagination even today.
And there’s also something transformative about the light in Aberystwyth itself.
Something in that interplay between sea and sky and space that seems to coalesce so effortlessly together in the seaside town.
Along that iconic promenade, that light has a translucent brilliance, almost hypnotic in its effects on all who are fortunate enough to experience it.
Even those bikers who roar in from the Midlands of England for a run on a Sunday afternoon, seem transfixed by it.
Sure, the standard reving engines and herd gang mentality are still in place to an extent.
But even these hardened bikers appear rendered almost soporific by the light.Humbled by it even.
Meanwhile, my week long stay in the humble surroundings of Ty Barclay, while my parents live it up in the nearby Marine Hotel, also shares that same sense of bliss.
Ty Barclay is now forever associated with the bliss of writing for me. A place of light within a surround of light.
As a passionate Welsh nationalist, perhaps nothing can ever tempt me away from the national movement’s cultural and political powerhouse in Caernarfon in Gwynedd.
But, the light and bliss and Awen Aberystwyth(the muse of Aberystwyth) will always provide another paramour.
And that’s nothing to laugh at any more…