As a fine piece of theatre, Brassed Off is strongly recommended and deservedly attracted the attention of the local BBC Look North programme, which prominently featured the production in the middle of its run. But as a raw and gritty slice-of-life take on some of the most troubled times anyone can remember since the last war, it's genuinely important - and a very timely reminder of the industrial heritage we all still share.
While all the news reports are focussing on how coal literally fuelled the industrial revolution, how at one point, one million miners were working in pits, how Big Coal is now over and heavy industry all but kaput in the UK, no one is really talking about how coal mining built communities, cultures, families, memories. My memories.
I was told to bring gifts to my first Chinese business negotiation. Something British, and expensive. Arriving I indulged in the obligatory double-handed presentation of business cards and studiously examined my counterpart's credentials. 'Give him face' I was told. I was ebullient with esteem, commenting on the seniority of his position and the size of his office.
Last Wednesday I went to Wales. Not for a typically British summer holiday (although we were all wearing waterproofs), but at the invitation of local campaigners of the United Valleys Action Group on the day Caerphilly County Council decided whether to approve or reject a proposed opencast coal mine at Nant Llesg.