Country Boys and Singers

I was always an Elvis fan but remember sitting up with my dad to watch the Tom Jones programmes after Mum had gone to bed. I know he has a reputation as a womaniser, but being with the same woman for such a long time I believe he truly loved his wife and she was always his number one. By the way, I’m talking about the singer here, not my father. 😀

It was only in later years I really started to enjoy his music, and even went to see him in concert in Croydon. I dread to think how many years ago that was. Age catches up with us all but he continues to encourage the younger generation and never tries to be something he’s not. To be still singing and performing at 82 is something else. Happy birthday for last week, Sir Tom.

I was reminded of this when I recently came across a YouTube concert where he sang with a variety of guests, mainly women but a few men, probably recorded in the 70s or early 80s. As it was around 2 hours long and it’s visual as well as audio, I saved it to play when I had a spare 10 minutes. Yes, it’s a little cheesy and yes it’s obviously rehearsed, but the genuine affection he has for his guests, and the irresistible twinkle in his eye makes for fun viewing.

After watching around half of the programme, it now looks as if the YouTube concert might have been a breach of copyright. It’s been blocked, and doesn’t even appear to be available to purchase so I can’t provide a link for you to see for yourself.

What has all this to do with books and writing?

The main character in ‘Story of a Country boy’ had much of the same charm and sex appeal, and although he was a fictitious character, was a conglomeration of several actual people. One was generally known by his nickname as he looked like Sir Tom, and had many of the same moves when he was charming the ladies with his dancing. It was an easy story to write and flowed without problem. Although some parts were contentious, it was a fairly accurate reflection of the times and events in a certain area.

Here’s the blurb from the book and a short extract.

It’s a long and exciting road from an insular country village to the temptations of Swinging Sixties London, but one TJ is determined to experience to the full.
Good looks and wild dancing abilities smooth his path through the seedier side of Soho life, as he seeks to achieve his dreams – if only he knew what they were. Follow his journey and decide for yourself where his heart truly lies.

I had made a pick-up and was hailing a cab when a car stopped and four hefty guys surrounded me. One flashed a badge; then I was bombarded with questions.

‘Where have you been? What are you doing? Where are you going?’

I was scared but tried to brazen it out by replying ‘What’s it to you?’

Before I knew it, I was bundled into the car and taken to the local police station. They kept me there all night, but I wouldn’t budge from my story about arranging some films for a friend’s stag night. The following morning they let me go, and surprisingly I was even allowed to take the bag and its contents with me. Shattered but triumphant, I went home to wash and catch up with some sleep.

On that occasion the bag only contained films and no flat packages, but later I discovered just how much fortune had smiled on me. If even two of the films had been the same, I could have been prosecuted for immoral material, but under the law, if they were all different, it could be claimed they were for personal use.

I had always intended this story to be the first of a series with the follow up showing the thoughts from a different generation and outlook. This is where I hit the stumbling block. Although I was alive in the 60s I have adapted to a changing environment, which is sometimes for the better, and sometimes not so much. I tend to be a pantser when writing, which means I get the story down on paper as it flows, and see where it leads me. Other authors are plotters, and have lists and data and copies of research and everything mapped out to the nth degree before they even start writing a word of the story.

Without giving away too many spoilers, someone in the first book hates TJ with a vengeance, and the second book was intended to show why. It soon became obvious that time scales wouldn’t work.

(I’ve just been side-tracked when writing this blog to check out some facts, and discovered it is possible to father a child when you are in your 80s. Even more interesting was that Enrique Iglesias’ grandfather fathered a child aged 90.)

As well as listening to Tom Jones, I also loved the voice of Julio Iglesias junior, who was Enrique’s father. It’s amazing the rabbit holes you can end up in when you’re trying to rattle off a quick blog post, so thank goodness for Google. A trip to the library at 3 a.m. would have made life a lot more difficult.

To get back to the topic in hand.

I can’t call it writer’s block because I’ve done other things in between, but ‘Son of a Country Boy’ is sitting half-finished and mocking me. It’s almost as if TJ himself is stopping me showing the opposing view because after all, he is the one who deserves respect, and he won’t let anyone forget it.

If you want to read more you can find it here.

As always, thanks for dropping by, and feel free to comment. See you next week.

© Val Portelli June 2022.

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