Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy. This column appears in the South Wales Evening Post, Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star. Website – www.philevans.co.uk
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 . . .
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.
You can follow Phil Evans on Twitter @philevanswales and www.philevans.co.uk