We need more good people around

People are funny.  By ‘funny’ I mean unpredictable.  Even those closest to us can behave in ways we find disappointing, especially, when it comes to the lending or the borrowing of money.

An elderly aunt warned the 12-year old me: “Phil . . . neither a borrower or a lender be!”  Being a fan of the 1960s American singer nick-named “Little Miss Dynamite”, what she actually said in her slightly confused manner was “Neither a borrower or a Brenda Lee!”

When it comes to doing a good turn for someone, we should always do it without expecting anything in return.  One selfless example involved legendary Hollywood actress Olivia De Havilland, who recently passed away aged 104, and Welsh actor Victor Spinetti, who’d just opened on Broadway in “Oh What A Lovely War”, which had transferred from London.  Not long arrived in New York, Victor entered a famous show-business restaurant to have lunch with a Hollywood agent who was considering taking him on.

As Victor walked to his table, he was amazed to see Olivia De Havilland waving at him from across the room, calling his name.  As he’d only ever seen her before on cinema screens in “Gone With The Wind” and many other films, he was in a mild state of shock as he approached her table where she spoke to him as if they were old friends and introduced him to her influential lunch companions.

Later, after Victor’s meeting with the agent was over and the actor was sitting alone, Olivia walked up to him and said “ I know we’ve never met before today, Vic, but I thought you were marvellous in ‘Oh What A Lovely War’ in London. I made a fuss of you in front of all those people because that sort of thing is important in this town. I hope it gives your career a boost over here. Good luck!” – and then she left.

There’s enough ‘funny people’ around today who enjoy doing people bad turns, so it’s a comfort to think there’s (hopefully) some ‘good people’ around with hearts as big as Ms De Havilland’s to balance things out.

We don’t need any more adverts, do we?

Those astute readers amongst you will realise that I have been writing a newspaper column since June, 2014.  The time has flown and so much has changed, including me.  I’ve gained a stone in weight (that’s coffee and cake shops for you) and my hair is a few shades lighter, but it’s still attached to my head, thankfully.

When I was approached to become a regular contributor to this well-established daily paper, it was a total surprise.  Up until that point, it was not something that I had even thought of adding to my repertoire!

Would I be able to deliver content on a regular basis with rigid deadlines?

I am so glad I agreed to take up the challenge, the amazing positive feedback I get (not only off the readers in Wales but as far afield as Ireland, Switzerland, Canada and America) makes it all worthwhile.

I meet so many fascinating characters with interesting stories on my travels (not that I have been able to travel since lockdown, I might add, but you get my drift, I’m sure).  Without them this space would probably contain a crossword or more adverts – and we don’t need more adverts do we?

Finishing on a song would not work – would it?

Someone considerably wiser than me (there’s a long list) once commented that the most melancholy of all thoroughfares is ‘The Road Not Travelled’.

From time to time we all come to a crossroads where we have to make a decision that could alter the course of our lives.  Sometimes we take the right one . . . sometimes we find ourselves regretting the path we took.  If we’re lucky, we can retrace our steps and start our journey again.

When I started out as a comedian, I used to feature songs in my act, having had singing lessons from that talented vocalist from Neath, Mister Alun Davies.  I sang in my act because at that point I didn’t have enough comedy material to fill an hour, which was the time I was expected to do on stage.

I was fortunate that in most of the places I worked back then, the audiences appreciated a half-decent singer.  In today’s comedy venues – that is, when they were open – comics rarely mix jokes with songs, if at all.

Can you imagine Frankie Boyle winding-up two hours of hard-edged, often vicious, stand-up by saying “I’d like to finish with a beautiful song dedicated to all the lovers in the room. It’s featured on my latest CD “It’s Not True I’m Married To Susan Boyle” and it’s called ‘I Will Always Love You’ . . . hit it, maestro!”  Or Alan Carr ending his act by belting out “The Impossible Dream”?  It just wouldn’t work would it?

Unless they’re spectacularly multi-talented, entertainers have to decide whether they want to be a comedian or a singer.  I was no exception in my younger days and had to make a decision whether to stick with solely with comedy or keep the songs in the act and see if I achieved success that way.

I decided to take the comedy route to fame and fortune.  I’m still on that same route, but due to encountering a few diversions, roadworks, red lights and the occasional immovable object along the way, I haven’t reached my destination yet.

Is it too late for me to start having singing lessons again?

The good thing is, I stopped sleep walking

Sleep. We all need a good night’s sleep to recharge the batteries and to maintain good health.  How else will our bodies repair?

Some of you reading this will, without doubt, have a few sleep challenges, which can range from insomnia, not needing much sleep, to needing more sleep than most.  But for me, it’s vivid dreams on an extremely regular basis.

This could be down to the fact I have an over active mind or the fact that I don’t relax or unwind before bed time.  Either that or there could be a much more serious underlying cause. Who knows?

One thing is for sure, my disturbed dreams could easily be part of a documentary on the subject of sleep and the source of many after dinner stories.  In fact, I could easily dine out on my back catalogue of vivid dream for many years to come.

The good thing is, I stopped sleep walking many years back, but if you do spot me walking the streets in my pyjamas late at night, don’t wake me up – just point me in the right direction home.