Fantastic idea is a real help in store

Last week I was shopping for some ‘Odds and Ends’ which I needed to match up with some ‘Evens and Beginnings’ that I’d bought the week before.
I wandered into a branch of a well-known store (which I won’t name). It’s the one that sells bargains for the home.

I saw a notice that took me aback. Had he been there, the late Chico Marx would have asked, “Just-a how a-far did it a-take you a-back?” But as he was more than just late – he sadly died many years ago – he didn’t pose the question. In any event, I don’t a-suppose he ever a-shopped where bargains were a-sold for the home.

The notice mentioned upcoming dates when the shop would be staging autism friendly hours, with lighting and piped music dimmed. I thought this was a fantastic idea.

Cinemas have autism friendly screenings and many pantomimes have autism friendly performances when the music, lighting and special effects are lowered so not to upset any autistic child in the audience. Doing some research, I found that certain supermarkets have had autism friendly hours for some time, when even the till ‘beeps’ are quieter.

I also discovered that out of the 700,000 people in Britain on the autistic spectrum, 60% of them avoid shopping because they see, hear and feel the world in a much more intense way to the rest of us.

According to the National Autism Society, a small change like autism friendly hours in shops can make a big difference to the lives of people with autism.

You and I know what supermarkets can be like at busy times, with seemingly hundreds of shoppers pushing their trolleys around, loud ‘muzak’ and sudden announcements over the Tannoy – “Gaynor to Till Seven please!”
Imagine how painful all that would be to anyone, especially children, with autism?

That’s something to remember the next time you’re stuck in a long queue at the check-out and starting to feel hard done by . . .

Welsh Factor and raw local talent

The highlight of last week for me was attending the now ever-popular Welsh Factor talent show, held at the Neath RFC clubhouse. I do enjoy these occasions immensely as they keep me in touch with the grass roots of the entertainment industry. You get to see future stars in the making.

Once again, a sell-out audience witnessed acts from all across Wales.
The place was alive with new raw talent. All acts on the night were eager to win a place at the final, which will be held in the early part of 2019 in Llanelli.

The event was hosted and held together by one of the safest pairs of hands in showbiz, the Swansea legend, my long time friend, Kev Johns.

More than 25 acts graced the stage, many of whom I hadn’t seen perform previously, which demonstrates that we do have an abundance of talent close to home. I challenge each and every one of you to check out the local entertainment scene and support live entertainment as often as you can.

This can be extremely beneficial to your local community.
Go on, I dare you.

We have a duty to keep live entertainment alive. I firmly believe this.
Together we can make a difference.

Zombies? Who’d believe it!

Zombies! Who likes ’em? Not me!

They never brush their teeth, shave or change their clothes.

They never send Christmas cards or invite you around for drinks on a Friday evening. Which is just as well . . . because they’re rubbish at small talk.

Most annoying of all, they move so slowly. You wait for ages if you’re stood behind a couple of them at the supermarket check-out.  And they take all day at reverse parking.

While you and me know there’s no such things as zombies, there are people who believe they exist.

These aren’t impressionable teenage horror fans who’ve watched every version of “Night Of The Living Dead” and its many sequels, remakes and spin-offs.

They’re not little ’uns who know about zombies thanks to ‘family friendly’ scary films like “Hotel Transylvania” and episodes of “Scooby Doo”.

Thankfully, any ‘zombie’ featured in that long-running cartoon series turns out to be the evil proprietor of an abandoned amusement park who (in the closing minutes of the episode, as he’s taken away by the cops) complains that he could have got away with it . . . “If it wasn’t for you pesky kids!”

No, according to a recent survey, 25% of adults who were asked, believed a zombie apocalypse could happen and had taken steps to prepare for it.
They’d stockpiled food and water and planned safe routes out of their home city or town into the mountains and forests.

Presumably because they think zombies rarely enjoy country rambles or go hiking in the hills.

Now, if the 25% of people who believe in zombies are the same individuals who believe that the world is run by Lizard People; that the Loch Ness Monster exists; and that one day “Casualty” will end its 30-year run, we have nothing to worry about.

But if they’re not (and there are millions of gullible people out there who truly believe in these things), then this Halloween the rest of us have good reason to be scared!

Oh no… it’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas

The festivities have started:

Is it just me, or does it feel like Christmas is arriving earlier each year?
Last week, I attended two dinner functions and was amazed at the fact that Christmas trees and all the trimmings were on display.

The only thing missing was Christmas crackers, hats and Nana standing up at 3pm for the Queen’s speech.

Personally, I’m not at all ready for the festivities due to work demands, but shops, hotels and restaurants are gearing up for the silly season.

It’s great to see so many venues already booked up for Christmas.
I am currently writing and preparing to entertain an audience in Pembrokeshire that are ready to start their festivities in about three weeks’ time.

On the plus side, the comedy material virtually writes itself at this time of year as stories of old tend to get resurrected, much like that old Christmas jumper.

One thing is for sure – you won’t catch me dressing up like a Christmas tree and wearing a silly Val Doonican cardigan anytime soon. Well, not in public anyway . . .

Right then, I’m off to start my Christmas gift list ready for my dash around the shops at 3pm on Christmas Eve . . .