Ceri Gould: Tom Jones is a giant of showbusiness

Not our cover story star Tom Jones though. The small screen seems to strain at the effort of containing so much silver-topped talent in its HD pixels. (If you have pixels with HD.) I swear, come Saturday night, my screen is bulging.

And yet… some have wondered why the legend is bothering with something as small fry as a talent show but I answer with an enormous raspberry. You can’t have it all ways. You can’t bitch because there aren’t stars of sufficient calibre as prime-time judges and at the same time be aghast when a genuine 22 carat Welsh gold knuckle of talent takes his turn in the hot seat.

Unfortunately, I am yet to meet Sir Tom in the flesh. But I’m sure he would tower in front of me. The Valleys troubadour, the Voice, the Twinkly eyes.

I say it again, you meet someone off the telly and they either tower or teeter. Remember when Radio One was the station for the young masses? (Maybe it still is. Maybe it’s just no longer for me and hasn’t been for quite some time.) Anyway, remember their road shows? We went to Porthcawl to see one and my brother was squeaking with excitement on the back seat of our Viva car because Simon Bates was crossing the road by the Grand Pavilion. And yes, he touched, he actually touched the window and made a little grimace-y expression. Leigho wouldn’t let dad wash the car for a month. Or was it six months?


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Lenny Henry, however, he is forever maligned in our household ‘cos when we passed him in the car on one of the many childhood journeys to Great Ormond Street Hospital which my brother was forced to endure, he did not wave to us. And for the despicable crime of not waving he is forever more held in pitifully-low esteem in our family. Lenny Henry? Not only not funny but not, you know, nice.

So being famous is a tricky business. You hold an uncertain place in the public’s affections. On Twitter the tower/teeter dichotomy is even more bizarre as those famous ones who boast thousands of followers are often plagued by those who love to hate them. Or, as my mother would put it, those who “really can’t stick him!”

Poor Robbie Savage, for example, puts up with loads of banter yet happily retweets the nasty messages posted against him. Former England rugby star Matt Dawson though is less sanguine. He lost it this week, stroppily tweeting, “Not doing anything today. If you don’t want to know about my life stop following me.” It was something along those lines anyway and I have some sympathy for him. Only a bit mind because I also have some sympathy for his love-to-hate followers.

And that’s because I have a confession to make. I really enjoy disliking England’s Chris Ashton. And Dylan Hartley. There’s just something about what I perceive to be their schoolboy arrogance that really gets me. All that swallow-diving and posturing on the pitch. Okay so Ashton, or Ashtray as he is delightfully known in some quarters, is the only player in the history of Six Nations to score four tries in one game, but did he have to perform that idiotic swallow-dive for two of them?

When Shane Williams performs some little acrobatic flourish I swell inside. When Ashton does it I cringe. “Prince of Wings,” I sigh. “Prat of Wings”, I grimace. I realise my Janus facedness and so I’ve chastised myself saying I’m being harsh, that maybe he’s not such a prat in real life.

To that I can now say, “Ha!” There really is nothing quite so gratifying as having your prejudices confirmed. I was at Old Deer Park last Sunday watching London Welsh beat Bedford and earn a place in the final play-offs for a chance to enter the Premiership. It was a joyful clash with the Exiles rising to the occasion.

Ashton, Dylan Hartley and other polo-shirted, pecs-flexing lookey-likeys behaved impeccably as the game ran on. Guffawing and swigging their icy lager in plastic glasses, they fitted in among the rugby crowd. But once the game was over, the gang swaggered to the practice pitch. There they decided that what they really needed to do was to perform chin-ups using the rugby posts’ crossbar. As the uprights bent and buckled under the weight of 15-stone-a-piece English internationals peacocking their strength a middle-aged, rotund, red-breasted Welsh man walked past. Unimpressed he deadpanned, “Watch you don’t break the posts, boys.”

Ashton stopped his antics. The muscled Englishmen shuffled off.

Smaller, yes, way smaller than they seem on telly.

Article source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/columnists/2012/05/19/ceri-gould-tom-jones-is-a-giant-of-showbusiness-91466-30992400/