FOUR FINGERS AND THIRTEEN TOES — A SAD COINCIDENCE


Today’s early morning regional news on BBC Wales television was marked with the usual mix of political and human interest stories – some with a sad vein – but ended (like all good news bulletins) with a lighter story … Tom Jones, or should I say Sir Tom, he of hip-wiggling fame, was celebrating a significant birthday.  I had no doubt that during the news bulletins throughout the day this milestone of a 70th Birthday would be reported upon with aplomb.

During the morning drive-time, the radio played classic Tom Jones hits, and all, it seemed, was positive on the popular music front in Wales.

Then it all changed.  News was received that Stuart Cable, former drummer with the Welsh rock band the Stereophonics had been found dead at his home in Aberdare.  There was no longer a celebration of one of the greatest icons of welsh music, but the mourning of the passing of an equally iconic welsh star – albeit from a different generation.

For me, the news was particularly poignant.  During the latter part of the year 2000, when Welsh rock bands were storming the world stage, I had the pleasure of meeting Stuart Cable, along with Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews (former lead singer with Catatonia).

It was very much a chance meeting.  The Stereophonics, Catatonia and Tom Jones were headlining a concert at Cardiff’s Prestigious International Arena, and after the show they all returned to their tour hotel, The St. David’s Hotel and Spa in Cardiff’s Waterfront development – Cardiff Bay.  We were at the hotel celebrating my fortieth birthday.  As we were rounding off the evening, a raucous group arrived at the bar, and were intent on marking the success of the evening’s gig in true celebrity fashion.

Not being a “shrinking violet” I decided to gate-crash the party and have a chat to these Rock Stars.  Tom Jones, Cerys Matthews and Stuart Cable were kind and generous with their time, and the photograph (lifted from my book) that you will find with this blog are testament to this.  These international superstars were quite happy to talk with me – and Cerys even had a ride on the back of my wheelchair!!

Stuart Cable, Rosaleen Moriarty-Simmonds & Cerys Matthews

My meeting with Tom Jones and Stuart Cable was a brief one.  However, I feel honoured to be able to say that I have met two very different icons of Welsh music when they fused two very different styles of music in one of the most successful combinations of musical talent that was seen during the late 1990’s.

I hope that Tom Jones will continue to delight audiences around the world with his unique style and presentation.  And, for those of us in the wider community who are saddened by Stuart Cable’s untimely passing, we can take comfort from the pleasure he gave to so many during his all too short life.

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