Comments on my Dylan Thomas play, performed at a professional reading at the DT Festival in 2004
John Yorke, Head of Drama, BBC TV
A powerful and beautifully written piece of theatre, and I have to say that your mastery of language isn't far off Thomas' himself. I thought you did an excellent job of interweaving between the man himself and the world of the plays and the poems, and adding the Marx Brothers into the brew lent a wonderfully surreal tone.
Terry Johnson, Director 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' & playwright:
I read ‘Spitting Into the Sky’ and I loved its imaginative spiralling. I loved the setting and the theatrical gifts it allows you to indulge. I love the idea of the Marx Brothers taking us through the play: I think the language is grand, and worthy of the man. I think it's very good.
Stephen Hearst, Former Controller BBC radio 3
It brings Dylan Thomas to life, warts and all, particularly his relationship to Caitlin. The word plays are good and true. A very original piece of work..
(drawing of Dylan Thomas by my friend Mervyn Levy. He was a childhood friend of the poet and, had he lived, we would have written this play together)
I have written four plays - 'Simple Writings', 'Spitting into the Sky', 'The Old Master' and 'The Trainer' (with Anne Aylor). Simple Writings is set during the German 30 Years War, Spitting into the Sky is about Dylan Thomas, 'The Old Master' is about crime in the art world and The Trainer is a political play written to raise money for the Gaza Music School, destroyed by the Israelis. You can read about the plays and why I wrote them in Left Field.
“David Wilson and Anne Aylor’s play makes a
surreal case for less government interference in
our lives and an emotional plea for peace, love
and understanding.” Tim Pigott-Smith
For those without twitter I have started posting elliptical messages and photos - all of which have relevance to my memoir. Hopefully, they will intrigue you enough to want to pledge at Unbound for 'Left Field'.
relationship with your elderly father is described in such beautiful
style that it would not be out of place from a literary novel by an
established and seasoned author. The same goes for your childhood
years at boarding school ... The 'Balkan years', including the bits
where you fall in love with a Croat and the adventures of the mobile
bakery could be from a historical thriller. The whole 'War Child'
section could be an expose about the problems and hidden
lives of charities, especially when they become powerful.”
words from Ed Victor Agency, but, they added, you are not
'Left Field' has now received 50% of pledges in only two weeks. This is amazing progress and thank you to everyone who has pre-bought my memoir and/or helped spread the word. http://unbound.co.uk/books/left-field
other weekend I attended a retreat at Ampleforth Abbey, the
Benedictine monastery near York, on the subject of ‘whistleblowers’.
The idea came from Ian Foxley and Paul Moore.
Foxley is a retired lieutenant colonel who was appointed by the MoD
in 2010 to oversee a £2bn military communications project in Saudi
Arabia. He had to flee after uncovering bribes paid to Saudi
officials. Paul Moore was working at HBOS in 2004 as Head of Risk
when he was dismissed for exposing their banking practices.
two were joined by others from the NHS, the police, academic and
legal worlds as well as business and banking. All of them had
reported on wrongdoing in their workplace, only to find themselves
bullied, shamed, then sacked. All had experienced havoc with their
lives and serious mental distress
own experience was as a trustee of War Child at the time when David
Wilson ‘blew the whistle’. My fellow-trustees' reaction was the
same as the MoD with Foxley and HBOS with Moore; ‘shoot the
messenger'. David was sacked. I had no choice but to resign.
Charity Commission acted in much the same way as the banks and other
big organisations when faced with a whistleblower…rather than face
the truth of the allegations, the issues are ignored and the ‘unruly
element’ treated as toxic waste.
Commission appointed a quorum of ‘professional trustees’ who had
no real knowledge of the workings of this charity and its history and
very little experience in charity work at all. There was no
investigation despite questions in Parliament, Guardian editorials
and the resignation of Pavarotti and the other patrons.
charity survived the scandal but never returned to being the
cutting-edge provider of essential services that it had been during
the Bosnian war.
who came to Ampleforth had suffered mental health problems, financial
disaster and exclusion from a further career in their area of
professional competence. You will have to read 'Left Field' to find
out what happened to David Wilson.
is honest dissent not disloyal subversion, and should always be
supported and applauded.
I have been a friend of ex-SAS trooper, Ben Griffin, ever since I attended the High Court to witness his being silenced by the British government for telling the truth about his experiences in Iraq. Today he is an ambulanceman and a leading member of Veterans for Peace UK. He reminds me of ex-soldiers I know from the Bosnian war & who I write about in "Left Field'. Like them he has become a truth-teller, whose voice needs to be heard if we are ever to get over our addiction to war.
The following is a condensed version of Ben's talk at the Oxford Union.
“The idea of fighting for Queen and Country is held by those who have never fought, by those who have no experience of the suffering that war inflicts, by those who gain the most from war - politicians, generals, the arms industry and the media and its armchair hussars.
Who is doing the fighting? A well-trained and professional force whose collective desire is to go to war, any war. This force does not fight for Queen and Country. It fights when and where it is told to fight.
If you believe the media you might imagine that the fighting consists of bayonet charges, lone hand grenade assaults on enemy positions or modern-day Spitfire pilots scrambling to some noble action. In my experience the reality is a lot darker. It involves long periods of waiting punctuated by unforeseen moments of extreme violence, having your legs blown off by an IED, a supposed ally shooting holes in your chest, dying in a helicopter crash, burning to death in a transport plane, being beaten to death by an angry mob, setting up checkpoints in a country you have occupied, disrupting the lives of the people and then killing them when they approach too quickly or fail to stop in time, raiding people’s houses with explosives, detaining young males and handing them over to be tortured, killing people from the safety of a helicopter or drone control room, using words like Haji, Raghead, Sand Nigger, Chogie, Argie, Paddy, Gook, Chink, Jap. Kraut, Hun.
And with all this going on, they cultivate the myth of the soldier as hero. That you should support 'our boys and girls'. That to stop the slaughter would be sacrilege to those heroes that have died.
I am a human being and my allegiance is not to Queen and Country but to the whole of humanity. I no longer accept the lies which perpetuate war. I no longer accept that violence can lead to peace. Never again will I be complicit in the killing and torture of my brothers and sisters. Never again will I accept the vile religion of Patriotism. I refuse to pull on that rancid uniform. I refuse to fight for Queen and Country.”
If 'Left Field' goes into profit, and with your help it will, I'll hand over a portion of them to Veterans for Peace
"This is an excellent and inspiring book. David's stubborn and
yet self-effacing commitment to his ideals carried him through many
daunting situations, and his sense of humour kept him able to see
the funny side."
"David Wilson has lived a life and a half … the broken world
needed people like David then; it still does and always will."
Byrne, Head of Channel 4 TV News and Documentaries - "What
a life this man has led!"
author of The
Lost Colours of the Chameleon,
and winner of 2009 Commonwealth Prize - "David Wilson is a
former Guardian Westminster correspondent and part of Exaro team,
presently exposing paedophilia in high places - "This is the
work of a determined guy who is prepared to expose fraud and
injustice wherever he finds it."
"A must-read by my comrade and brother David Wilson. Please
spread the word and encourage your friends to buy and read David's
"One of the key people of my life has finished his book and it
will soon be out. There is a chapter that describes the times we
spent together. What good times we had while giving spirit to the
Pavarotti Music Centre. This was after my orphanage times and
steered me to who I am and what I do today. Thank you David"
the first person to read draft MS, “This is surely going to be
your core readership - the 1960's generation who grew up with you,
agitated like you, still hold true to these struggles like you and
today's new generation of angry, frustrated, hopeful young people
who are organising for a better and fairer world ...I found the book
interesting, moving, thought-provoking, instructive. It thoroughly
held my attention .. I wish I could think in visual metaphors like
Balfour, Emeritus Professor, LSE,
vivid account of a life fought for justice, full