lunes, 16 de enero de 2017

Listening test: Blaenavon, the Book Town boom

Listen to a news report on the Welsh city of Blaenavon. Choose the option A, B or C which best completes each sentence. 0 is an example.

0 Example:
A. is an industrial village.
b. is in a prosperous region.
C. is trying to become rich and successful again.

1 For James Hanna New Orleans (...) than Blaenavon.
A. has better food and weather
B. has more honest people
C. is more violent

2 According to the reporter, Blaenavon
A. has never been known for its cultural life.
B. has tropical weather.
C. is well-known for its sophisticated cuisine.

3 James Hanna’s plan
A. consists of opening 40 bookshops.
B. involves selling second-hand books.
C. met the local council’s objections.

4 According to John Rodger, Blaenavon
A. declined because a lot of supermarkets were opened in the town.
B. had around 6,000 inhabitants in 1985.
C. has lost half of its population.

5 James Hanna's idea of transforming Blaenavon resulted from his
A. fascination for the Welsh landscape.
B. friendship with Richard Booth.
C. love for books.

6 Hay-on-Wye, the famous book town on the Anglo-Welsh border,
A. attracts literary tourists from around Britain.
B. became well-known in the 1970’s.
C. has a literary festival that lasts for 20 days.

7 Blaenavon
A. is a World Heritage Site.
B. is not attractive to tourists these days.
C. still has the most advanced ironworks in the world.

8 About the local population James Hanna says
A. hardly any of them reads books.
B. they are now outnumbered by foreign visitors.
C. they represent about 50% of bookshop customers in the town.

A visitor to the Welsh village of Blaenavon would never guess that it played a leading role in creating modern Britain. Today, the industrial activity that brought prosperity to this remote region has entirely disappeared. However, the community is now attempting to revive its fortunes with an unusual approach. The architect of its plan for regeneration is a bookseller called James Hanna. He has come a long way to revive Blaenavon's fortunes and now faces a series of formidable challenges. One of the least of these is to adapt to a way of life radically different from that of his native New Orleans.
Well, the weather, of course, is much better here and the food is superb! It is a jolt. It is a culture shock. I grew up in the American South and, frankly, I think being here is comparable to the '50s, or maybe `60s, in the rural South. So it's different, it's enjoyable. The people are honest and open and there's not the... in New Orleans, well, we were, for a number... I think two or three different times, we were the murder capital of the States and, you know, there may be a Saturday night fight here, but that's about it.
James Hanna was, of course, being sarcastic about the weather and the food. Relentless rain is the typical forecast for the valleys of South Wales, and their working-class communities are not known for sophisticated cuisine. In fact, the poor reputation of the area's cultural life was one reason why considerable skepticism met James Hanna’s plan for reviving Blaenavon — to open 14 shops selling second-hand books. But even if local residents are not great readers, the local council welcomed James Hanna with open arms. John Rodger, a council project director, explained why.
This community grew over 100 years. It was a kind of Klondike based on the iron and coal industry and these industries declined dramatically. So the population of this community fell from about 12,500 in 1921 to about 6000 in 1995; a town which was economically in decline, socially in decline and physically in decline. When you add to that the changes in distribution, the pressures from out-of-town supermarkets and this sort of thing, we ended up with half of the shops in town boarded up. We were looking for some sort of re-use for these shops, which would be of interest to tourists, and Book Town fits that like a glove.
The challenge facing James Hanna might seen immense, but he has a blueprint to follow. Hay-on-Wye, the famous book town on the Anglo-Welsh border, has already established itself as a Mecca for bibliophiles under the leadership of its unofficial 'king', Richard Booth, a close friend of and major inspiration for James Hanna. Since the '70s Hay-on-Wye has attracted literary tourists from around the world and its flourishing bookstores have stimulated the growth of hotels, restaurants, cafes and a literary festival. Booth's formula is now being applied in over 20 communities around the world. A major boost to Blaenavon's chances of enjoying similar success to Hay-on-Wye is its unique industrial heritage. The local ironworks — once the most advanced in the world — and the nearby Big Pit mining museum are the core of an officially designated World Heritage Site, and they already attract a steady flow of tourists. James Hanna is optimistic that he can induce many of these visitors to buy books. In fact, the village's recently-opened bookshops are already attracting a strikingly cosmopolitan range of customers and some of them even come from the surrounding area.
We had people here from Cyprus, India, South Africa, Italy, Greece, literally around the world. We have 50 per cent what I would call local, meaning within 30 or 40 miles of here, then 50 per cent coming from, literally, every place. It is really interesting, when we opened, because I had heard from some of the locals, "Why are you opening a book town in Blaenavon? Nobody here reads." Well, in fact that couldn't be more untrue. When we did open, we found that (the) valleys were flocking to us like they'd been hungry and we were feeding them. It was absolutely amazing. They came in thanking us for coming here.

KEY: 1C 2A 3B 4C 5B 6B 7A 8C