John Good

Featured:   Poetry    Short Stories    Articles    and:    Welsh Bagpipes   Family Kilts

Welcome to Projects

This page represents some of my personal projects, current and from the mists of past decades that fall outside the eclectic description "Tramor". They include music, poetry, short stories, newspaper articles and really, anything I felt might be of interest to people outside the confines of my precocious and gregarious second childhood. I hope that the time you invest perusing what follows is worth the price of admission.

Mini Bio

John Good, known to many as Sioni Dda, was born and tumbled up in South Wales, in the shadow of blast furnace number 4, Port Talbot. He went to university in Yorkshire, in the late 1960ís, and spent as much time in poetry readings and happenings as in the lecture halls. It was a time of cultural, social and artistic revolution, with the majority of students looking to R.D. Lang, Ginsberg and John Cage for direction.

John streetside, in Hull 1969-70John moved back to Glamorgan to study with Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott and somehow acquired a Master's degree in Music Composition, while spending more time at the Chapter Arts Center, drinking Brains' beer and losing at darts. There was a short sojourn in London, some inner-city school teaching, then a couple of years in Brighton, playing music and keeping copious diaries of his post-academic wanderings. One slow Wednesday, San Francisco looked interesting, and after a couple of months of traveling from sea to shining sea, he was offered a job playing in a contemporary jazz-rock band and accidentally emigrated.

The sun was setting on the Summer of Love in the Bay area and L.A. and a song writing career looked enticing. All this time, notes and diaries were morphing into lyrics, short stories and poems, but this was a time for collection of experiences and naive essays into the hard world of professional writing, all the while trying to shim up the greasy pole of fame and fortune in the world of Punk and New Wave music. He learned a great deal about song writing, life, folly and rejection, and needed a break, geographically and mentally. Fame and fortune supplies great material for latter ruminations, but is exhausting. John, as he says, moved to Phoenix, bought a semi-truck and took off--All Aboard!--on the Black Top sea!
John, a few years back in El Mirage,
                              AZ (Wales t-shirt & kilt)

In Arizona, a stint on the board of the Phoenix Poetry Society and evermore frequent magazine publications of his poetry and short stories began to refocus his artistic desires. Remembering quite long poetry, songs and short story re-writes, in between truck stops, is tricky business. Casting off his truck driving anchor, he remembered his degrees and took a part time job teaching in a community college and formed a Welsh-American, modern, folk band, playing folk harp, Welsh bagpipes, pibgorn, flutes, whistles and voice. He still tours the Celtic Festivals from time to time. Simultaneously, he teaches online Welsh Language classes, writes articles, book reviews, short stories and poems for AmeriCymru, and is a columnist and regular contributor to Ninnau, the Welsh American newspaper.
Now, in his early 70s, on a Saturday night, he may still do a jig or two, if influenced to do so. Living in the foothills, outside of Prescott, Arizona, he is collecting and editing his stories and poems, with a view to publishing. An interesting life has filled many a page or two.

John interviewed on BeatsOnBytes by Curt Wilson.  See link to Part 2 below.

Related links:   Biographic Info   Performances & Broadcasts
Part 2 of John's Interview with BeatsOnBytes

Poetry CollectionCollage: River Afan, mother, memorium
                          card, Kyle

Whether as part of the world-wide Welsh Diaspora or with slippered feet propped up on the hearth stones of the evergreen  home, traditionally and historically, poetry and music in the Welsh mind have been considered as indistinguishable; both having pitch, rhythm, inflection, counterpoint and cadence. What works for one, composed in the long and lost hours of scribbling, works for the other; harmony, humor, tension and meaning binding together to make a hopefully tasty metaphysical soup. I've been writing poetry (and for that matter music) all my life (too late to stop now!) and these poems, some still in the perpetual finalization stage, others seemingly finished, represent more years than I care to enumerate. Being ethnically and artistically typical in many ways, it won't now surprise you to find out that for me, poetry without melody and ambiance is prose.

                Visit the Archive!

Collage: John
              in 70s, great grandparents, motte & bailey, old map,
              hearth drawing
Short Stories
...and entertaining lies

Ah! Stories!! My mother always said I was a "romancer". I regret little, and ask forgiveness for having made other people regret.  But I do wish I'd asked my grandfather and grandmother, mother and father, uncles and aunties to tell me more about the ebb and flow, coming and going, ups and downs of their lives and times; about the stories and legends they themselves heard in their younger days.

A lot of what I write is based loosely or otherwise on traditional material or those family stories that have survived the river of hours.  I can only hope there is something here for the next generation to keep.

Visit the Archive!

Articles & ReviewsCollage: map of
                ancient Britain, manuscript, shield, Mandan indian

                Sometimes you have to tell the truth!

Occasionally, I find myself either requested or compelled to set things straight, or to recommend and applaud great and good writing. With so much spurious information readily available these days, on TV and the web, I find myself turning to Mark Twain to guide my less fictional endeavors...

     "If you tell the truth,

              you don't have to remember anything."

                                  Visit the Archive!


Retro Records is a
          Musical Timeline, click here (photos of John over time)

John's Online
          Welsh Courses, click to go to that page

The Welsh Bagpipes

John playing the Welsh
                  bagpipesI am very proud and very lucky to be involved in the renaissance of the Welsh Bagpipes and pibgorn (hornpipe), which had practically died out by the time I was born.  Here's a couple of historic quotes and links to some of my fellow resuscitators; all adept at the Heimlich Maneuver. 

"What is known as the horse wedding took place in 1852. There was all the mirth and jollity of bygone days. But one feature was missing, that appealed to the ear as well as the eye; where was old Edward of Gwern, y pebydd (the piper), who, mounted upon his white steed and pouring forth the wild music of the bagpipe, had headed many a wedding party in their half frantic gallop over hill and vale."
                                           Theophilus Jones, Carnhuanawc

"Cwm Rhondda Mabsantau, neithioirau, gwylnosau, were their red-letter days, and the rude merrimaking of the village green the pivot of all that was worth living for in a mundane existence. I do not remember much about the gwylmabsant and the gwylnos - I came a quarter of a century too late for those wonderful orgies - but I remember the neithior with its all-day and all-night rollicking fun. We did not have the crwth, but we had the fiddle, and occasionally the harp, or a home-made degenerate sort of pibgorn. I myself am a tolerable player on the simplified pibgorn alas the pibgyrn are all gone today and I doubt whether there is one left of the old shepherd players."
                                                                            William Merdith Morris, Cwm Gwaun


John's Mini-Workshop
Wikipedia - Welsh Bagpipes
The Bagpipe Society - Guide to the Welsh 'Pibgorn' pipes
John Tose Welsh Pipes   (made the pipes in the photo above)
YouTube - John Glenydd Evans,Welsh Bagpipe Maker  (maker of my traditional pipes)
Americymru Blog - John Good on Welsh Bagpipes

Click to preview
          John's music on his Catalog page

On the Kilt

Not up it!

John wearing his 'Prince Charlie'Recently, the Welsh have taken to wearing tartans.  Some think this is a novelty, but the ancient commentators tell us otherwise.

"The way they dress is astonishing: they wear brightly coloured and embroidered shirts, with trousers called bracae and cloaks fastened at the shoulder with a brooch, heavy in winter, light in summer. These cloaks are striped or checkered in design, with the separate checks close together and in various colours."


But in battle, they were astonished by the "woad-daubed ancient Briton charging into battle naked and blue."   I'd guess the kilts were at the cleaners, but seriously...

The earliest documented tartan in Britain, known as the "Falkirk" tartan, dates from the 3rd century AD.  It was uncovered at Falkirk in Stirlingshire, Scotland, about 400 metres north-west of the Antonine Wall.  The fragment was stuffed into the mouth of an earthenware pot containing almost 2,000 Roman coins.  The Falkirk tartan has a simple check design, of natural light and dark wool.  Early forms of tartan like this are thought to have been invented in pre-Roman times, and would have been popular among the inhabitants of the northern Roman provinces as well as in other parts of Northern Europe such as Jutland, where the same pattern was prevalent.  

                                                                                          Wikipedia - Tartan


The Mackintosh, Ancient Hunting Kilt

My maternal grandmother's name was Cressandra Mackintosh. 
Her first language was Welsh and her birthday was on St. Patrick's Day.

Davies family kilt
The Davies Family Kilt

My maternal grandfather was John "Jack" Davies.
He was a gentle coal miner.

This Page's Welsh National Kilt Background

For the last several years, the Welsh have proudly worn this tartan; underpants optional.

Wikipedia - History of the Kilt
Wikipedia - Tartan
Welsh Tartan Centres
MacIntosh Ancient Hunting Tartan

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