Julian Ruck

Ignorance is Nine Points of the … What?

For many years, conscientious people have deplored a lack of clarity and principle in some reaches of our cultural life. The circumstances and the results have been rehearsed in great detail, and discussed again and again. Julian, however, like a number of other people, is under the impression that nobody else had noticed. Part of the blame for this lies with our print and broadcasting media, which have failed to acquaint many sections of our society with what is undeniably a matter of public record.

Julian asserts that he has recounted his [belated] discoveries to Keith Davies AM and to Nia Griffith MP. As culture is a devolved matter, it was at best otiose to involve Ms Griffith, although she is to be congratulated for maintaining a courteous and patient demeanour. He goes on to declare his attention to present his findings to the body in London known as the National Audit Office. Again, since this is a devolved matter, the relevant body is the Wales Audit Office – which, as it happens, regularly publishes reports on arts funding and the bodies concerned with it. There is something sadly amiss with higher education when a man who, as he tells us, has been a law lecturer, does not understand this.

There was a time when hostility to the Welsh language, and contempt for those of us who speak it, was the default position in many social circles. These are now reduced and isolated, and such unlovely prejudices are no longer publicly acceptable in polite society. Intelligent politicians in a system of representative government realize that such hostility and contempt are a net vote-loser and, whatever they may think privately, tailor their public remarks accordingly. Our society must be drastically fragmented, and our general education sadly ineffective, for a man of Julian’s status nor to have realized this.

He tells us that he will address a meeting in Cardiff on these and related matters, towards the end of November. Popular report has it that the relevant payment will be £3. I find this hard to credit. A payment of £5 would not be enough. An offer of free beer might bring in an audience to rival that of the Kidwell-e Festival, but otherwise I think it would be kinder to look the other way.

It occurs to me that many of us would benefit from reading a brief account of our present system of government. As far as I’m aware, no such book exists. It would have to be accurate, comprehensive, concise, and in both languages. There are plenty of able and well-informed people who could write it, and I hope earnestly that they will consider doing so as a matter of urgency. A useful model would be Guide de l’État in the ‘Les Essentiels’ series published by Milan. Some 60 pages long, it summarizes the evolution of the French state from the time of Clovis up to now, explains the principles and functions of representative government, and describes how the administration, the system of justice, and the legislature work. It reads as if aimed principally at the equivalent of sixth-formers, but is readily accessible to a wider public. It is, in short, exactly the kind of thing we need here – urgently.


17 thoughts on “Ignorance is Nine Points of the … What?”

  1. He is doing a talk specifically about publishing, under the thoughtful title ‘Welsh Publishing Is Shit’.
    The man and his unsubstantiated claims are something of a joke, particularly as he strikes me as a particularly bitter self hating Welshman who failed to have his books published by a real publisher.
    This makes his claims to ‘never paid a penny’ to my publisher laughable and even more amusing since you could buy signed copies online for a penny.
    I imagine the penny price tag was to pay for pulping.
    Also Seren, Parthian and Gomer make a profit. I have tried posting my housemates MA dissertation as a response to his lurid claims on his blog but he blocks them.
    His dissertation is on Welsh publishing, state funding and the commercial markets. Sadly for Julian the evidence shows they make a profit.
    He also claims books published by universities to be published by independent publishers, which is dumb.
    In a previous post of yours on Mr Ruck I added a few comments yesterday, copy and pasting from his blog.
    In my opinion they are hilarious but they show him for the joke that he is.
    Why has he got a problem with so much Welsh culture including publishers, language and today Kyffin Williams, who I quote ‘.and our Kyffin hardly has a worldwide reputation does he?
    I assure you as an artist Julian he has a great reputation worldwide and is an asset to Wales which is more than can be said of someone who writes this..

    ‘Suddenly he leapt up from the table and dashed for the dilapidated toilet situated next to the stables. It had to be this toilet; it was reasonably sound proof and hardly ever used by anyone. He reached the toilet door, yanked it open in a thorough state of panic and let loose a surging Niagara of vomit, at the same moment his bowels detonated and nearly lifted him off the ground. For one hour his arse and stomach continued to ambush him. All he could do was sit on the toilet and wail ‘Oh God!… Oh God!… Oh God! over and over again. He wanted to die.’

    Brilliant writing there Julian.

    Also for the record Owen Sheers has graciously accepted much arts council funding in grant form Julian.
    To quote Phillip Pullman’s website
    ‘I received my secondary education at the excellent Ysgol Ardudwy, Harlech,’

    It didn’t seem like he

    ‘Philip Pullman. Born in Norfolk, did a short stint in a Welsh school, never to be seen again. Once more, no tax-payer handout for his work. Genuine talent doesn’t need to rip-off the public purse. The same with Ken Follett.

    More like he enjoyed spending his formative years in Wales. He spends alot of time here as you would know if you know anything about the man.’

    On a previous topic on this site I have directly copy and pasted particularly comic posts from Julian’s blog (note the correct apostrophe) read them if you’ve not.

    I would like to ask Julian to talk to me about any of the above as I can’t have a dialogue with him on his?

    Hope you oblige Jules!


  2. All this is very germane to the general drift of the argument, although I must stress that I don’t share Julian’s fascination with Julian. He combines a quite breathtaking ignorance with semi-literacy and a conviction that he is interesting in his own right. He’s useful as a specimen of a social type once prominent in our public life, and should be put under a glass dome and preserved as such.

  3. John and Tim,

    I’ve been following this story for a while with a combination of amusement and concern. I was born in Wales but live in the States, and enjoy Welsh literature in both languages tremendously. I just finished Lloyd Jones’s excellent “Mr. Vogel,” and I am also reading Menna Elfyn’s “Merch Perygl” as well as the latest issue of Taliesin. Once or twice a year I order a few titles from gwales.com, so I am an active supporter of the Welsh “literati” that Ruck prattles on about.

    Does anybody take this man seriously? I’ve been worried that his constant noise could endanger the Welsh literary scene. I’m appalled by his bigotry and chauvinism, not to mention his sneering attitude to anything that doesn’t conform to his dubious definition of literature (for instance, his constant use of quotation marks around the word “poet”). I’ll admit I prefer “literary” works, but I don’t look down my nose at popular, entertaining fiction.

    What troubles me even more is that the Western Mail and other papers uncritically republish his press releases and repeat his claim to be a “bestselling” author. I’m happy to see plenty of “Julian who?” comments in response to these articles. However, his claims even reached American shores in a poorly researched blog post on the New York Daily News site.


    I must say, too, that the story on various websites, including Wikipedia, that Dinefwr Publishing has approached Catherine Zeta-Jones about starring in a film adaptation of “Ragged Cliffs” as a “six-foot blonde Viking” is risible. I wonder if the company has been alerted to the fact that their name is being used to spin this particular fantasy of Ruck’s? Anybody who knows the slightest about the film industry knows that small-town publishers don’t propose movies to Hollywood agents.

    Anyway, I thank you for the laugh provided by the embarrassing excerpts above, and hope you two gentlemen can confirm that Mr. Ruck’s bizarre crusade is nothing to worry about. There is always a legitimate debate to be had about the quality of literature and the role of public funding in its support. However, Mr. Ruck clearly has neither the talent or knowledge to lead it.

  4. Thank you very much for your illuminating post. As you point out, mendacious and semi-literate imprecations can all too easily elicit a favourable response amongst the ill-informed.

    We should not, of course, take Julian seriously as an individual. He reminds me vividly of several people I have encountered on the Internet, availing themselves of electronic remoteness to express themselves in ways that they would not dare in ordinary civilized life. One encouraging aspect of this episode is the fact that his unlovely prejudices are no longer acceptable in public life. A quarter of a century ago, you could utter them and be taken seriously as a political figure. Forty years ago, they were the norm. Julian’s rantings – not a words I use freely – would be consistent with frustration that this no longer obtains.

    However, one cause for concern is that he may muddy the waters for those diligent and courageous citizens who have for decades championed integrity and openness in our public life, in culture, politics, and commerce. Weaselly apologists for unacceptable practices will readily deploy a rider to the ad hominem argument by equating anybody raising legitimate concerns with Julian and his intemperate remarks and his unhappy attempts at organizing a festival.

  5. Julian, I know you are reading this, since you’ve deleted it from your blog, despite claiming that no-one dares to contradict you!

    You’re not just an unpleasant man, but a factually-challenged one and an inveterate fantasist. Just in your last few bilious posts alone, you’ve got some serious errors. Seren don’t publish Jasmine Donahaye’s book of poems, and she publishes her poems with an extremely good (partly grant-funded – the Great Satan!) English press. Owen Sheers is published by Seren who are partly grant-funed, and RS Thomas was publsihed not in Wales but in England, by the grant-aided Bloodaxe Books of Newcastle.
    You however are quite another story: in your laughable press kit for your festival, you claim to be represented by Nurnberg agency, along with, as you put it, ‘Jilly Cooper, Jackie Collins et al’. You are, need I say it, not represented by them (I’ve checked with them). Why do you say you are? Why do you write that in a (ahem…) ‘Press Kit’ for your rotten failure of a festival? You claim never to have submitted to a Welsh publisher. But you have, haven’t you Julian? Come on now, be honest. Why don’t you tell the truth about your own travails on the circuit, before you plumped for publishing yourself?
    No-one else would publish you, that’s the truth, and your visceral hatred of the idea of the arts as a publicly funded public good is simply your revenge on everyone who’s turned you down and ignored your bitter ravings.
    Rest assured that people will be providing detailed rebuttals not just of your claims on your nasty-minded blog and your nasty personal attacks on individuals, but also subjecting many of your claims about your good self to – as you’d call it – scrutiny.
    You refused to answer perfectly decent and clear questions about yourself on Cambria Politico, and you claim to want to engage with others but you abuse them and delete their posts. The issues raised on the Cambria post went into your factual errors and your outright untruths, and I know you read them because you visited the site and left some pompous comments. But you never denied – did you – that you’d invented the stuff about your bigshot agent and your never having submitted to Welsh publishers.
    The reason people don’t engage with you is that they don’t have the time, the axe-grinding energy, the sour grapes and the sheer malice that you clearly have.
    Watch this space.
    Meanwhile, can you give us details of your own sales figures please, and on what grounds you call yourself ‘Best-selling’?
    So far as I can tell, your books are crap, your festival was a catastrophe, and you’re lashing out at better writers and less shitty people than yourself. It’s a pretty foul spectacle, but oddly addictive. You crowed recently about 300 visitors a day to your site. You’re such a narcissist that it may not have occurred to you that 298 of those people (i.e. apart from Gillian Darkmore and Viv ‘I’m furious not to be Nigel Jenkins’ Griffiths) think you’re a comically nasty piece of work.
    More soon, Julian, more soon. But meanwhile, take it easy on the Messiah complex.
    Today’s blog post about a ‘sexy pass’ form an old lady in Birmingham at your so-called signing is an unpleasant piece of your typical ageism and sexism. Your allegation of selling 40 copies of the Blenched Briefs are also risible. Who to, Jules, who to?

  6. I am very much looking forward to the brilliantly titled ‘Welsh Writing Sucks’.

    Robert Humphries I commend you on your taste in literature! Thanks for pointing out his claims about Catherine Zeta Jones, his claims are astonishing!

    Tim, fortunately I am in my mid 20′s and from a Wales where thankfully Mssr Ruck’s opinions are not the norm. We have thankfully moved on.

    Welshnot you have posted on here exactly the same things I have been trying to post to Jules blog, unfortunately I have never been allowed through his censors.

    Today’s lovely blog post.

    .’A quick in and out of WHSmith, 40 copies gone, smiles of all shapes, colours and creeds to help them on their way and plenty of reader ‘chats’ to finish off!

    I spent six happy years messing about on the trams, getting drunk in Broad Street and going multicultural on lips from all corners of the globe. Divorced, full of hell and laughter, I had a grand old time. Urdu one minute, Punjabi the next and God knows what in between!

    It was good to be back in open mental spaces and frightening city chaos, readers were interested and indulged Ruck’s written words – no doubt I will find out soon enough if their ‘indulgence’ was well placed or not!

    I even received the odd sexy ‘pass’, albeit that the lady in question was over eighty and in an invalid scooter, never mind it’s the thought that counts!’

    Going multicultural on lips? Eurgh Jules stop it you perve! That whole paragraph!?
    Sexy pass, as said in Welshnot’s post, its just rough.

    Julian is a joke. If you tell the world you are successful gullible local journalists will believe you. It is obvious he is not. 1p signed copies on Amazon is depressing.

    I get annoyed with him because of his bitterness, contempt of others, contempt of the Welsh, chauvinism, fear of debate, incessant lying and self aggrandisement.

    Welshnot has just hung him out to dry, it is so easy to do. My housemate and I are putting together an essay to lay him and his claims to rest completely. Anyone could do it. What I don’t understand his how he is impervious to rational argument. I think spending years utterly pissed (by his own admission) have destroyed his powers of reason.

  7. Despite claiming on his blog earlier not to be anti-Welsh, this is Julian Ruck on Welsh: “sounds like a turkey being strangled and should, like the Dodo, have been confined to the history books years ago.

    Constantly having this gobbledygook rammed down my throat is too much. It’s made me miss my train on more than a few occasions I can tell you.”

    You’re both a bigot and a liar Mr Ruck. I’d have put this in your blog, but as you know, you tend to edit and censor inconvenient truths. Come here and answer the charges you coward.

  8. How strange, Cambria politico – you publish two blog posts on Mr Ruck, then decide you don’t want any more comments on the subject. Perhaps he’s got to you too, or you’re a closet fan of the man’s work. Or perhaps it’s only (Labour) politicians who get dragged through it on your blog. OK, your blog, your rules.

  9. Welshnot. Perhaps you’ve heard of the phrase ‘ oxygen of publicity…’?

    Yes indeed, which is why I’d have to ask you why you posted 2 pieces on him, with accompanying photo, in as many weeks, but somehow get shirty when people make comments on both him and the issues – of rotten writing, anti-Welshness and fantastical relationship with facts – that your blog posts touch on and engage with.

    Never mind.

  10. I get the feeling that you have information that you’d like to share. Why not consider providing a short summary, if you believe that it would shed light on our present state of affairs? My view was that Julian, while neither particularly interesting in himself, or at all important, nicely illustrated a number of the characteristic weaknesses of the society in which we live. The impression I formed was that everything pertinent about him had been well rehearsed. Julian himself demonstrates neither originality or style, and his boorish manner does not encourage me to sample his writings. However, if you have further information that you can substantiate, why not draft a succinct account to present in public? No sensible person would refuse enlightenment, after all.

  11. I shared some of the information above, inviting the man himself (as you did Tim) to address my points about his lack of agent (though he still says on his site and in his presskit that he’s represented by a biggie) and his claim not to have submitted to a Welsh publisher (he has), and so on. I’ve also established that the event he boasted about being invited to at the Bridport Festival has been cancelled, but my attempts to ask him why are blocked by him on his site.
    In essence I am trying to explore the discrepancy between what he says and what is true, and thereby to assess how valuable his contribution might be to the debates that really are worth having. I believe in a holistic approach to debate, whereby one debates the issues and checks on’s opponent’s qualifications for making the claims they do. So an assessment of the crapness of his books and the outright untruthfulness of his claims – about himself, and, as you know from correcting him on his blog and being edited out, about the people and institutions he smears – surely go hand in hand.

  12. You’ve got a good point here. How about a piece examining Julian’s claims and activities, in the context of Welsh publishing generally?

  13. By the way, I was very amused by his characterizing of Bridport as genteel. Gentility isn’t the first quality one would associate with the home of the monofilament net!

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