Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Brenda and Tom: A Touching Real-Life Story From Our Correspondent In Spain

It's not what it used to be, this little part of the Costa Del Sol. It's not what it was this time last year.

It's all too much now. Too many buildings both built and being built, too many holidaymakers spoiling what used to be a peaceful little holiday resort. The recent influx of Spanish holidaymakers is particularly noisy. Unlike the English, they talk at such a volume. Constantly.

That's not to say the English tourists and the ex-pats don't enjoy themselves to a degree. The weather's still lovely, you can still see the sun rise from the comfort of your bed in the morning, and there is still a thriving local entertainment scene.

At the hub of this scene is a young Welshman whom I shall call "Tom". Tom was a plumber back in Wales, but he wants to be a star. He's moved his young family to Spain to build an audience, doing what he loves doing: singing for women of his mother's age.

Women like "Brenda".

Brenda is Tom's biggest fan. She follows him everywhere. She giggles when she asks him to sign an autograph. To every woman over a certain age she meets she says, "You really must see Tom." She wants to spread the word.

Seeing Tom live is an experience. We go down some steep steps into what feels like a cave. Once downstairs, though, it's like a dingy northern working men's club of the 1970s.

Tom works his audience. He sweats buckets. He wipes the sweat with a clean handkerchief. When the handkerchief is sopping wet, he asks the audience for something dry to wipe himself with.

Brenda volunteers with a tea towel. The tea towel has illustrations of sheep on it to remind Tom of back home in Wales. He wipes himself down with the tea towel, teasing the women of his mother's age. He loves this job and he has a belief that one day he will be famous. He doesn't want to go back to being a plumber.

Brenda says she can't believe Tom hasn't got anywhere. All he needs is that one break. I ask her if he's thought of going on X-Factor. She says he did, but Simon Cowell was rude to him. Said he had one of those "typically loud Welsh voices". Simon Cowell is an ignorant pig.

Tom will make it. He's got too much talent for it to go to waste.


  1. I need to buy tickets to see Tom. I think he sounds pretty *good* actually. I've just been catching up on all of your posts. I love that poem. I'm off to have a peep at the other blogs. Can you get signed sheep tea-towels d'ya reckon?

    But *whispers* oh Lordi...I used to (still do oh god) have a massive crush on Rog McGough. My husband thinks that I am completely mad. What is wrong with me?

    Let me die a young man's death,
    Not a clean and in between,
    The sheets....blah blah blah

    I also love Tears for Fears.

    No I don't.

  2. I think Tom was a bit embarrassed by the sheep tea towel but he's even more lovely when he's blushing. That bloody Cowell wouldn't know a real singer if he bit him on the arse.

    One of our friends had a McGough poem read at their wedding. Can't remember what it was but there wasn't a wet eye in the house.

    Shout shout
    Let it all out