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June 19, 2005: CulturePulp stands in awe of Welsh supercrooner Tom Jones.


Endnotes and Digressions:

1. Grey-tones and color for this installment by Chad Essley.

2. What really struck me about the Tom Jones show was how its sex-vibe is only slightly toned-down from Feb. 1992, when SPY Magazine wrote about him in a sidebar titled "99 Percent -- No, Make that 100 Percent -- Perspiration: Sweat Etiquette Among Vegas Royalty." Writer Lisa Birnbach summed it up as follows:

"Probably the premier living show-biz sweater is Tom Jones. When he performs at Bally’s with a five-piece rock band, the beads of man-dew (is it sweat or pure testosterone?) glisten all over. Women, the majority of his audience, know the drill. The well-prepared will come bearing flowers or other gifts (one brought a Nintendo Game Boy for Jones’ grandson the night I saw the show) as well as tarty undergarments.

“Tom ... will savor the panties, saying something like, ‘Oh, Victoria!’ -- a reference, I assumed, to Victoria’s Secret -- or 'My favorite brand!' Then he will wipe his face with the panties and hand them back to his breathless fan. She will also get a kiss on the mouth. One particularly insistent fan refused to accept her purple G-string back until she had wiped sweat from Jones’s chest too."

Now, Jones wasn't kissing any women or wiping himself with unmentionables during the June 19 concert -- Portland ain’t Vegas, and at this point, those sorts of behaviors would probably feel a bit ... Richard Dawson-ish anyway, if you know what I mean. But the decadent, vaguely orgiastic vibe was still totally intact. (And, for the record, Jones's shirt was pit-stained by his second song.) "Pure testosterone," indeed.

3. It’s worth mentioning here that Jones is touring in support of no fewer than three albums: “Tom Jones: Greatest Hits,” “Mr. Jones” (a collaboration with Wyclef Jean) and “Tom Jones And Jools Holland.” You can learn more at the singer’s official site,

Type too small? You can download a high-rez PDF of CulturePulp 31 right here: CulturePulp031.pdf
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Mike Russell is a film writer and cartoonist living in Portland, OR. ... full profile