Today’s fame game leaves me cold

I always keep my finger on the pulse of the ‘hip’ and the ‘happening’ – except when I’m driving or pulling-up weeds from my driveway.

I read newspapers, listen to the radio, watch television and visit the cinema and theatre.

I talk to friends, family, colleagues and anyone I meet in the frozen food aisle at Tesco’s, gleaning information about every subject under the sun. Or the moon, if it’s dark outside.

My editor would like me to point out that other frozen food aisles are available.

Even though I’m so well-informed, I often feel distanced from the rest of the world, because of my total disinterest in those individuals whose faces fill the pages of glossy ‘celebrity gossip’ magazines for which entire forests of precious, oxygen-generating trees are sacrificed every year . . .

Reality TV ‘stars’ who are famous purely for being famous.

Actors/actresses, singers, comedians, writers, directors etc who spent years building their careers must find it galling when talent show rejects and talentless Big Brother contestants land a television series in which cameras follow their every mundane move.

They’re instantly dubbed ‘celebrities’ and quickly appear on other TV shows, all over the press and quite often, in lucrative commercials.

There are so many of them around it’s impossible to keep up.

As I realised when I recently read this headline in a tabloid…

“Caitlyn (Formerly Bruce) Jenner goes to cinema while rest of Kardashians support Khloe at recovering coma victim Lamar Odom’s bedside after his three-day, $79,000* drink and drugs fuelled binge in Dennis Hof’s Nevada bordello** ”.

As I tried to absorb what the headline was all about, I felt like a Martian who’d just arrived on Earth and picked-up a copy of the Post.

Okay, I’ve heard of the Kardashians, although I’d be unable to pick any of them out of a police line-up, have no idea what they do for a living or why anyone would be interested in people whose lives are permanently lived in the glare of a camera lens.

However, I’m aware there are people who would make sense of it and may even be concerned at the plight of Lamar Odom…whoever he is.

If you’re one of them, do please accept my sincere condolences.

*$79,000 for three days! How much does Dennis Hof charge for a pint?

** My editor would like me to point out that other bordellos are available.

. . . but how would he know?

Is technology really good for us?

Well, fancy that, a few weeks after I decided to change over from Talk Talk, their customers were subjected to a “cyber attack”, which saw personal details of thousands of customers stolen online.

Honestly readers, I wasn’t tipped off!

In this age of modern technology, though, it does make me wonder if we are actually much better off than our grandparents were?

How could my gran ever be subjected to a cyber attack when her wads of notes were always neatly kept under the embroidered runner on the sideboard?

I think she had the right idea!

The Post Office was the nearest technology our grandparents had in those days, and a trip there was today’s version of social media; that’s where you got all the village gossip and updates!

Now the best bit, if you’d walked all the way to the Post Office and someone back at home had forgotten to ask you to get something, you couldn’t ring them…. no mobile phones!

And everybody had more exercise….

Now don’t get me started on that….

Stand up for Welsh comedy

Being both Welsh-speaking and a comedian, over the years I have been persuaded to venture into the world of Welsh stand-up comedy, something I must admit that I did not embrace with open arms.

However, over the past few years I have found myself not only performing in, but also fronting many Welsh comedy events.

The problem many of my Welsh speaking comedy chums and I have experienced is that demands have been put on us to do more and more Welsh events and to keep Welsh language comedy alive.

But, in my experience, the people making these demands don’t seem to be venturing out and supporting the shows, or helping towards ensuring these events are well attended.

This is why we find ourselves doing most of our work in the English language in order to pay the bills.

Last Saturday, I found myself in a new Llanelli venue ‘Y Lle’, entertaining a room full of strong supporters of the language, organised by Menter Iaith Cwm Gwendraeth.

Great company with such friendly people and, to top it off, an extra hour in bed!

Oh yes, we all make mistakes sometimes

We all make mistakes.

Yes, we all make mistakes, as the short-sighted Dalek said when he tried to get fresh with a dustbin.

Even I’ve been known to do or say the wrong thing at an inopportune moment.


I’ve just done it again.

I often make the mistake of watching a trailer for a new film which looks interesting, then, when I return to the multiplex the following week to hand over my hard-earned, it turns out to be two hours of bombastic, ear-splittingly loud, intelligence-insulting nonsense.

Although I should know better, I’ll probably keep being suckered-in by brilliantly-edited trailers for the rest of my life. Because that’s what brilliantly-edited trailers do.

If I‘m in a strange town at lunchtime and I see two restaurants next to each other, the one I decide to eat in is invariably the worst choice  – even if I’ve stood outside for an hour looking at both their menus, carefully deliberating.

(By the way, deliberating is allowed in most towns between 9.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. as long as you do it carefully.)

I realise I’ve made the wrong dining decision as I wait in vain to be served and it becomes apparent that the owners have taken the day off and left the running of the place to the species scientists call ‘Celebritus Obsessivus Non-Stoppus Gossipus‘ –  ‘Saturday Girls’.

Too timid to venture out from behind the counter alone to take an order, these unfortunates huddle together for safety . . . and to discuss which club they intend getting legless in that evening.

I’m thinking of setting up a fund for such poor souls.

Some mistakes only involve myself. Others have repercussions on the rest of humanity – otherwise known as the population of Carmarthen.

I recently made a mistake that affected someone else in a busy car park where I could only find one space big enough for a car as long as mine.

When I returned later, the car park was almost empty and I found a note on my windscreen complaining that I had parked so close to the car behind mine that the lady owner couldn’t open her boot.

Her handwriting was neat and controlled but she was obviously annoyed because she called me a four-letter word that starts and ends with ‘T’ and rhymes with ‘Hit’.

Even though I hadn’t done it deliberately I took her admonishment on the chin because I can be very annoying at times. Make no mistake about that!

My sympathies are with Dolly!

Rumours started that she had stomach cancer – I hate it when that happens.

It has been reported this week that Dolly is doing well after being diagnosed with kidney stones and already out of her hospital bed and honouring commitments, despite the fact that she is still recovering from this very painful procedure.

I can sympathise wholeheartedly with her, having been a sufferer of kidney stones myself over the years.

Thank God for morphine is all I can say.

On one occasion, I even had a morphine injection before going on stage to perform as the kidney stone pain was so excruciating.

Rumour has it that I did a great performance that night, not that I could remember much about it as the medication worked so well!

As a hard-working comedian I felt it was my duty to keep going like a real trooper, but as Dolly is estimated to be worth £325 million and counting, I’d have cwtshed up in bed a bit longer if I was her!

Bikers riding high to give charity a boost

Last Sunday saw another successful charity fundraising event with a difference which started at Aust Services and ended at the Chepstow Racecourse.

This amazingly well-organised and attended annual charity gets together and attracts close to 4000 motorbikes and riders.

One man describes this as a “motorcycle museum on the move”, which, to me, sums up this unique event perfectly.

The public turn out to line the streets in their thousands, providing support and donations as the bikes make their way through local towns and villages.

The bikers end up at Chepstow Racecourse where there is time to chill out with food, drink and entertainment.

In 2014, more than £13,000 was raised for the benefit of many local charities.

Bikers often get so much bad press, but they have huge hearts and an amazing knack of pulling together to making events such as Hoggin’ the Bridge so spectacular and worthwhile.

Let’s hope they can top last year’s donations so many charities will benefit from this great event.

Freedom is governed my many laws

Did you know that in 2009, more than 3000 new laws were passed in the UK?

No, of course you didn’t.

If you want to know how many have been passed since then, look it up yourself. I’ve done my bit.

Despite the fact we’re knee-deep in laws, rules and regulations, millions of people around the world believe we British live in some sort of ‘demi-paradise’ – to quote Shakespeare.

Not that he ever quotes me. And you can quote me on that!

People flock here because they have an idealised vision of our country.

While we’re blessed with freedom of speech, the freedom to roam and the freedom to grow and compete in business, those who arrive here legally or otherwise soon get a reality check when they realise 98% of us don’t live in country mansions a la “Downton” or Canary Wharf apartments and that the streets of Wales aren’t paved with gold – with the exception of certain areas of Morriston.

They soon encounter the myriad problems we have here, not the least of which is, we’re not the most united nation in the United Nations.

Certain political parties have their own vested interests in separating the countries that make-up Great Britain.

Further schisms are created by religion, the reluctance of certain minorities to integrate with the rest of the population . . . and football supporters whose devotion to their particular team makes it abundantly clear that ‘fan’ is derived from ‘fanatic’.

If you think I shouldn’t include sport alongside serious topics like politics and religion, you’ve never been caught between two rival groups of football supporters on match day.

The number of new laws being introduced on a weekly basis is verging on the ludicrous.

The latest one is the ban on smoking in cars.

I realise why it was brought in, but I think it’s draconian and unenforceable.

And I don’t smoke!

The way things are going, in 10 years time, devoted smokers (‘nicotine-agers’) will be banned from lighting-up in their own homes and only be allowed to indulge in their habit inside purpose-built shelters at the bottom of their gardens.

And in 20 years, smokers will be ostracised from society in the way drug addicts are now, hanging around on street corners waiting for a dealer to come along with 20 ‘Players’ and a box of matches.

When that happens, you’re free to quote this prediction from October, 2015.

Who needs Shakespeare?

A cunning plan of a night out

My spies inform me that the ever-popular and truly talented Llanelli Little Theatre Company are already rehearsing for their next  production, Blackadder, which will be performed at the Ffwrnes Theatre Llanelli from 19th to 21st November.

This small and dedicated group of performers do comedy so well.

So, I am in no doubt that this latest venture will be one of their best productions to date.

If their last performance of Fawlty Towers was anything to go by, I, for one, cannot wait to see this production.

Every show I have seen from Llanelli Little Theatre Company could easily tour the country.

Blackadder fans are everywhere and the success of the classic TV series was without doubt an influence on so many other shows and performers which have become household names today.

Work commitments permitting, I am really looking forward to seeing the live and finished product so close to home.

Why not treat yourselves to a really good night out? I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

A burgeoning reputation makes SA1 the place to go

For a number of years now, Swansea SA1 and the Waterfront area has become a very popular part of town to visit, relax and unwind.

It features many attractive bars, restaurants and plenty of musical entertainment.

This part of town can easily be mistaken for some European holiday resort and, when we get the right weather in Wales, this is the place to be!

I regularly take friends and family to SA1 as it ticks all of the boxes and has something for everyone.

Even ‘nan’ loves it, although the sea breeze sometimes gets a bit much if she’s forgotten to wear her vest.

It is fast becoming an area for local talent to use as a showcase.

One venue that hosts such events is Garbo’s cafe/bar.

Garbo’s is steadily building a reputation for great quality food and drinks, whilst occasionally surprising its clientele with class entertainment.

There is so much on offer in the area, if we were only prepared to venture out and explore a little.

Fancy a coffee anyone?

So, are the rules just there to be broken?

Are the rules meant to be broken?

I’m nothing special – in fact I’m a bit of a bore.

If I tell a joke, you’ve probably heard it before.

Some of you might be forgiven for thinking, “Phil’s just written a goodbye note to his career as a stand-up”.”

While the more musically-minded among you will have recognised the lyrics of “Thank You For The Music” and be thinking “Phil’s not only leaving comedy . . . he’s joining an ABBA tribute band!”

You’re all wide of the mark.

I’ve quoted Benny and Bjorn’s words because, while I’ve never thought of myself as anything special, I’ve noticed there are many people around today who believe they’re so special that the laws and rules that we’re supposed to abide by don’t actually apply to them.

I’m referring to . . .

Drivers who blithely ignore speed restrictions on motorways.

Motorists and cyclists who think a red traffic light means they alone can proceed while everyone must come to a halt.

And passengers sitting in the Quiet Carriage of Inter City trains – where mobile ‘phones and personal stereos are ‘verboten’ – who ‘must’ leave their mobiles on because they’re so important.

Isn’t it amazing that industry and the business world managed to survive before the invention of mobile phones?

When their ‘phone inevitably rings – and I guarantee their annoyingly ‘quirky’ ring tone will always be eardrum shatteringly loud – they leap out of their seats and head to the vestibule between carriages shouting into the ‘phone, “Hang on a minute John/Garry/Marcus . . . I’m in the Quiet Carriage!” while the rest of us seethe, “Well it was quiet until now, you thoughtless twonk!”

There’s more . . .

This is taken from a Government website –

It’s illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive using hand-held phones or similar devices.

The statement couldn’t be clearer.

Yet we see people ignore it every day.

These motoring morons regard themselves as above the Law – the modern-day equivalent of Wild West gunslingers.

But, whereas many outlaws died at High Noon, idiotic iPhone imbeciles could be destined to die at High Speed while making ‘vitally important’ phone calls (“See the match last night?”) or sending ‘urgent’ texts (“C.U. down the pub later”).

I’m fascinated by the thought processes of these individuals – if indeed they’re capable of processing thoughts.

While aware they’re breaking the law, they go ahead anyway because they believe the usual rules don’t apply to them.

Is this arrogance or ignorance?

It’s no good asking me.

I’m nothing special . . .