On the eve of the big rugby match against the Old Enemy, we’re reminded of how far reaching the sport (although far from being unique in this sense) in interpreting and transporting Welsh identity to a wider audience. An example of how this interest in the game has highlighted this identity is the Vlogger and Welsh speaker from Cardiff, Andrew Forde, who had a profile in Wales Online recently for a particular video he composed his best bits of the last six years, including his 2017 exploits with Scarlets, Wales and the Lions. His Youtube channel of unique rugby montages has attracted and audience of millions across the world and has brought Wales is identity to the fore in the digital world. Here he discusses being a Welsh speaking Welshman from his own perspective and being known as “the Welsh guy”on Youtube.
Do you identify as being Welsh? If so, can you explain why this is?
I definitely identify as Welsh. I was born in Cardiff and I’ve always felt Welsh. I lived in Wales until I was 18 years old, but now I live in England, although I’m still a very passionate Welshman. I hae a Welsh flag draped in my bedroom so that the first thing I see in the morning is the red dragon to remind me of where I’ve come from.
When you think about Wales and the Welsh identity, what factors come to mind? What do these mean to you?
When thinking of Wales one of the main factors that come to mind is sports and definitely rugby Our rugby culture differentiates Wales from other countries, especially European nations and personally it means a lot as it reminds me of good times with friends watching rugby vitories in the past as well as the fact I wouldn’t be broadcasting rugby videos if I wasn’t Welsh. Welsh culture is alsounique in terms of music and the feeling of singing Welsh songs with friends on a match day or even walking down the street is one of my favourite feelings.
If there was just one thing you could tell the world about Wales, what would this be?
I’d tell the world about the Welsh language, by emphasising it’s uniqueness and beauty One word that means a lot to me is the word hiraeth as there is no real translation into English and it’s a feeling I’m sure that every Welsh identifying person has felt away from Wales. Since moving to England I’ve felt hiraeth many times and so I appreciate every chance I get to go back.
Can you think of any events or situations from your personal or family life in which being Welsh played a particularly important role?
Something that has definitely helped me is the fact I undertook the Welsh Baccalaureate at school. There is no equivalent qualification available to English pupils, and the qualification allowed me to reach university. If I wasn’t a Welshman, it’s possible I wouldn’t have achieved university as I wouldn’t have studied the Welsh Baccalaureate. R
At what level would you say is your Welsh language ability
I speak Welsh often and am fluent. I learnt Welsh by attending Welsh medium Ysgol y Wern and Glantaf in Cardiff. My parents can’t speak Welsh but they felt strongly that I should have Welsh medium education and I appreciate the fact that I can speak Welsh.
Can you think of any incidents or situations from your academic, personal or professional life in which the Welsh language played a particularly important role? If so, please describe one of these.
The Welsh language has played an important role in terms of personal opportunities. For example, I’ve been on the Jonathan programme where I had the opportunity to speak with the ex-player Gareth Edwards in discussing THAT try he scored against New Zealand in 1973. The Jonathan programme is through the medium of Welsh and it’s certain that without the Welsh language it wouldn’t have been possible for me to have this chance of speaking with Gareth Edwards.
Briefly describe your current job, professional role or company/organisation/brand.
At the moment, I create rugby videos, kind of 'Rugby Montages' on YouTube. I aim to load around 5 videos per week, but this varies. The type of videos also vary as sometimes they focus on one player or it’s a mixture of a particular theme within a game, for example, I’ve created a video of one of the stupidest decisions in a rugby match.
How would you say that your brand is contributing to the future of Wales and/or use of the Welsh language?
To a degree I’m contributing to the lasting identity of Wales as I try and ensure that the videos, I create ar of young Welsh players. An example is the videos of Josh Adams, Tomos Williams and Seb Davies before they established their national rugby careers which allows people who don’t watch regional rugby to see how good individual players who are called to play for Wales are.
Is there anything about your company/organisation or brand which you would regard as being uniquely Welsh?
On THYoutube I’m seen as “the Welsh guy” as I focus on Welsh players and the fact that it’s obvious that I’m Welsh makes me unique on Youtube. There are no similar Youtube channels which are Welsh per se and it’s completely unique. On the other hand, I’m seen as showing bias towards Welsh players by many of my viewers.
What are the main goals or challenges facing your company or industry in the next few years?
My main objective is to grow bigger each day. In the last few months I’ve managed to attract around 1,500 new subscribers per month, and the aim is to maintain this growth. This can be challenging as it forces me to keep being productive and I need to ensure that all of my videos ar of the same standard. There’s also the risk of running out of ideas, and therefore I must ensure that there are enough themes in the pipeline. As the video themes vary, it can be a challenge to ensure the same number of viewers for each video.
What main message or tip would you like to give applicants to help them secure a job with your company/organisation?
The most important thing is to ensure good editorial skills. The process is difficult and it’s not easy to learn and it needs to be of a good standard to enable me to share videos often and ensure that a large number of viewers watch them. In the past, I’ve had to put a lot o work towards a number of video creations that have not performed as well as others and I’ve ensure that this is minimised.
Finally, is there anything else you would like to tell us that may be of interest to readers of the Swyddle blog?
At the moment, my channel has over 14,000 subscribers as well as some 15 million views of my videos on the whole channel, with over 1 million views of one video. I aim to load a number of videos every week, an I would appreciate it if Swyddle readers could watch my videos!