The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post


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.

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If you’ve stepped inside a supermarket in the last couple of months, you’ll know ‘tis the season for...Christmas decorations and fireworks and six-foot tall, battery-operated, glowing-eyed skeletons.
Remember ‘Four Seasons In One Day’ by Crowded House, the New Zealand band that broke up in 1996 and reformed in 2006?
Between those years, the founders of the band, Tim and Neil Finn, toured under the name ‘Considerably Less Crowded House’.
Because there were only two of them. Geddit?
The song popped into my head last week when I wandered into a supermarket and was confronted by Three Seasonal Celebrations In One Shop.
In front of me stood a trio of colourful displays, all vying for my attention.
The Christmas Decorations Display.
The Fireworks Display.
And...the biggest of all...The Halloween Display.
Oh, how I loathe Halloween, Trick Or Treat, Rubber Bats, Pumpkins....and everything else associated with the spooky ‘celebration’.
In saner times, Halloween barely registered with us Brits.
BBC 2 might have broadcast a documentary about witches or ITV slipped an old Hammer film into the late-night schedules. But that was about it.
It’s no co-incidence that Halloween started becoming more popular here after 2003 when the law was passed to prevent under-18s from buying fireworks.
Retailers, desperate to replace their lost income, noted how popular Halloween was in America and saw it as a way to take more of our hard-earned cash. Thus, the British Halloween industry was born...
Looking at all three supermarket displays, I found myself shaking my head at this blatantly greedy attempt to empty the purses and wallets of a population still in a recession.
The displays were designed to persuade parents accompanied by wide-eyed children to spend money they can ill afford on horror masks, plastic spiders and other meretricious macabre merchandise.
Although there are still firework displays, for individual families November 5th is (pardon the pun) a bit of a damp squib, no longer such a big date in the calendar. And I don’t hear as many loud explosions during the run- up to Bonfire Night as I used to.
Unless I’ve been out for a vindaloo curry!
So there’s been a definite sea change from Rockets & Roman Candles towards Tricking & Treating and we can blame those damn Yanks, who’ve been Halloween crazy for decades.
Like most things American, where they lead, many Brits follow.
Some of you might think “Halloween‘s just a bit of fun for the kids”, but it’s also a worrying night for old people, especially those living alone.
They don’t want children and teenagers banging on their doors all evening, so they draw the curtains and switch off all the lights, hoping their evening won’t be disturbed.
They can of course obtain “No Halloween Callers Please” posters from their local police station. But they’d better hurry because I’ve got two-dozen stuck on my front window.
And if the kids don’t get the message, the six-foot tall, battery-operated, glowing-eyed skeleton standing in my porch should do the trick...a treat!

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With the weather offering us little more than rain showers followed by the occasional rain shower, the highlight of last week for me was a fortunate encounter with Swansea magician and entertainer, Matt Steele.
This lucky meeting took place at my favourite coffee stops; and, due to the downpour outside, the place was crowded. Matt offered me a seat at his table, explaining that he'd be leaving soon to perform at a party. Little did I know that we'd all end-up having a party of our own!
Within moments of Matt delving into his box of tricks, he'd created, not only an amazing balloon helicopter, but a room full of laughter.
He went on to bewilder and bemuse all of us there with his comedy versions of magic tricks.
He went further to make sure that all the little children there had a wonderful balloon to take home with them. It caused such a buzz that the manager approached us, not knowing whether to chuck us out; book Matt for a party, or ask him to make a balloon for his daughter.
You can see Matt's work on Facebook. Like 'The Occasional Twist' page and make your parties amazing!

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Last week I was invited to partake in and celebrate a very special wedding anniversary.
Can you imagine being married to the same person for 50 years? Clearly they were into 'injury time'.
Such an achievement is seen as rare in today's day and age, which is sad.
The funny material for this occasion was so easy to write, to the point where the jokes were writing themselves. On occasions such as this it's a blessing to be a comedian.
The lucky couple were a delight to meet and it was clear to see how proud they were of what they had achieved.
Here we had a couple who were best friends and made for each other. It was an honour to be part of this amazing celebration.
My job was to face and entertain a varied age range for an audience and they were easy to work with and happy to engage.
But another interesting statistic came to mind following this event.
People born between 1997 and 1999 have lived in three decades, two centuries, and two millenniums and they are not even 18 yet. I bet you didn't know that.

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You can follow Phil Evans on Twitter @philevanswales

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