The Friday Fillip

Earlier this week on Slaw Evan Van Dyk asked about podcasts and got a number of good suggestions. Must be the Zeitgeist, because at roughly the same time Alex Iskold of Read/WriteWeb reported how podcasting is on the decline, losing steam to video, among other things — and I’d teed up a sound file as today’s fillip.

My offering this Friday is Dylan Thomas’s Under Milkwood read (not acted — audio, remember?) by that other son of the red dragon, Richard Burton. And in case you don’t want to close your eyes and let the sonorous sloe syrinx of the thirsty thespian (…okay, okay, I’ll cut it out) run in and out of your ears, all greensound and lullmaking (…okay, okay, so I lied), there’s the text right there for you to follow along with.

And in the further case that you just can’t get into something so… dreamy without a stiff shot of law to brace you, I can offer you Thomas v. Times Book Co. Ltd., [1966] 1 WLR 911 (H.C.), a delightful gift case (which I cannot for the life of me find online) involving the manuscript copy of Under Milkwood that Thomas gave (it turned out) to Douglas Cleverdon, his BBC producer and motivator. Thomas was leaving for his tour of the United States (from which he didn’t return, dying there) and, out drinking the night before, had misplaced the manuscript at one of the pubs he’d visited. He told Cleverdon that if he could find the manuscript, he could have it. Which he did. And which he did — have it, that is — despite the challenge from Thomas’s estate.


  1. Can’t top you on decision, but Time’s archive has a quintessentially Lucean summary of the case from the issue of the week of the judgment:

    Somehow, during some Soho pub crawl in October 1953, the lyrical tosspot lost the manuscript of Under Milk Wood, a play in poetry and prose. The BBC had already made a copy, fortunately, and since Poet Dylan Thomas had to be off for his final and fatal U.S. lecture tour, he told BBC Producer Douglas Cleverdon to keep the original if he should find it. Cleverdon found it, in a pub on Old Compton Street. Later he sold it to the Times Book Co. for $5,600, and Dylan’s widow Caitlin Thomas, 50, sued, saying: “The idea he would give it away is unthinkable.” After a three-day trial, however, a London high court justice decided that give it away is precisely what Thomas did, in a “generous and impulsive gesture.” The widow and her children went home without so much as an iamb.

  2. [1966] 1 WLR 911 is a ChD decision by Plowman J. I can’t find that the case went to the HL.

  3. Now why did I read HC as HL? Sorry.