The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post -
Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy.
You might agree; you might disagree.
But my mind is made up: I'm not a big fan of TV talent shows (you know the ones: Britain’s Got X Factor Talent Come Dancing With Celebrities).
Yes, judging by the ratings and viewing figures, TV talent shows seem to be very popular.
I dare say that for some, they are compulsive viewing.
But they are not compulsive viewing for Phil Evans, comedian of this parish.
For me, the true talent is out there in the clubs, pubs and theatres every weekend – singers. comedians and entertainers serving their apprenticeship at the showbiz coalface.
That's the way it’s been done down the years – and that’s the way many of the household names we have grown to love over the years did it.
No short cuts, just hard work and perseverance, building a steady following on the way.
Today, we seem to have become a nation of everyone wanting their five minutes of fame (OK, Andy Warhol said it was 15 minutes, but he never performed ‘against the tide’ at a South Wales workingmen’s club).
The craze for immediate fame is such now that non-one seems to want to put in the hard graft any more.
Over the past few years, I have seen some amazing talent starting out. Some are now being groomed and mentored by seasoned professionals in the entertainment industry.
Having said that, I’ve yet to see someone playing the bagpipes.
Playing the bagpipes for the first time must be like going on a first date with an octopus.
Just sayin’ . . .
I was lucky enough to be asked to judge some of the final heats of the very popular Welsh Factor Talent Show.
These shows are held throughout the land – live entertainment giving people the chance to display their talents before local audiences.
I am pleased to report that Welsh talent is alive and well.
The founder of the Welsh Factor is an amazingly hard working young lady by the name of Anna Marie Thomas, who was awarded Business Person of the Year 2011 at the Admiral/Bay Radio community awards ceremony.
Here we have a showbiz entertainment model that provides new talent with the opportunity to stand before an encouraging and supportive audience, helping to nurture talent and instil confidence from the off.
They spot talented individuals and give them a platform to develop skills which benefit them if they choose a career in entertainment. Contestants also gain other skills they can make use of all their lives.
The organisers are careful not to crush and ridicule young people (which can happen on some big TV talent shows).
We have seen so many people over the past few years being openly humiliated on TV reality shows, all in the name of ‘entertainment’.
This is wrong and should be considered the lowest form of entertainment. It is degrading to see bullying tactics used to enhance TV ratings.
Why do we tune in to this barbaric behaviour and so-called entertainment?
What’s become of us?
In some cases the TV bullying could cause very low self esteem, or even worse, depression and mental health issues.
Every single one of us thrives on encouragement and support.
All over Wales, this weekend, individuals will be out there in the pubs, clubs and theatres doing what they love.
If I had a ‘showbiz’ wish, it would be for more people to put down the TV remote control, get up off their backsides and get out there to enjoy and support more live entertainment.
It’s not much to ask for is it?
Weigh up the price you’d pay for a takeaway or getting a pizza delivered to the house.
As an alternative, you could take the family for an unforgettable night to the local theatre, get the chance to support local talent, spend quality time with your family . . . and maybe even have change for a bag of chips on the way home!
Take a leaf out of the Nike brand book – ‘Just do it!’
Your wonderful South Wales Evening Post does a very fine job of telling you what’s on and where to find it. Do yourself a favour and treat yourself next weekend.
Those of you who know me well, will appreciate I am into leather.
Before you get any ideas, I should have said ‘leathers’; I am a motor-biker.
I just love the free-wheeling spirit you get from being able to hop on the bike and cruise wonderful West Wales at the weekend.
As a fully-trained motor-biker, I am always conscious of safety.
And those safety messages came home again this weekend with another motorbike fatality on the roads of West Wales.
I think there were five deaths over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend and by my reckoning there have been nine bike deaths in the Dyfed-Powys police force area so far this year.
It’s too much, guys.
For all you bikers out there, heed the safety messages.
The warm weather brings more bikers onto the roads.
Let’s stay, safe, guys and girls.
Cue shrug of shoulders or rolling of eyes (take your choice).
Children (apologies to the editor; I should never use the word ‘kids’) have so much more than when I was a lad (which is quite some time ago!).
Times have changed – and I am also convinced that today’s children are smarter.
It seems that way. Children with mobile phones are getting younger and younger.
The other day, I swear I saw a woman with a pushchair.
Suddenly, a voice came from it, ‘Can’t talk now; I'm in the pram!’
Everybody and his dog have got mobile phones. If you admit you haven’t got one, people look at you as if you’re from the Dark Ages.
Pretty soon, when you use a public callbox, a big sign on top will flash, telling the world: ‘Hasn't got a mobile!’
I remember the time when somebody stole my daughter’s mobile.
I didn't bother reporting it; the bill was down by half!
You can follow Phil Evans on Twitter @philevanswales