Dear Tom Jones: Congratulations on your fellowship of the Welsh College of Music and Drama, but for the sake of womankind, please don't give up being an open-shirted sexpot

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Or should that be 'Dr Jones'? Whichever - congratulations. It is unusual for a boy that left school at 16 to be awarded a fellowship to the Welsh College of Music and Drama. But, as you so memorably belted, there's nothing like The Green Green Grass of Home.

The college authorities aren't sure how active a role you'll take in academic life. Shirley Bassey, fellow fellow, hasn't been back to the college since accepting the honour last summer. In the hope that you'll make more of a commitment than the Queen of Tiger Bay, can I offer some advice?

First off, don't worry about your academic credentials. I realise that the classical theatre boffin Michael Bogdanov is included in this year's roll-call of honours - but then so is Wyn Calvin, 'one of the country's best-loved pantomime dames'.

Next, you need to think carefully about dress code for lectures. I understand you junked the Saturday Night Fever look some time ago. In that case, I should stay with the tight jeans, black silk shirts, undone to the waist, and the chunky gold chains nestling in the grizzled shagpile. Not very donnish, but then I can't really see you in a mortar board and cords.

Another thing: security. How are you going to stop hordes of knicker-throwing housewives from storming the lecture halls? Actually, the college's female students are equally likely to get out of control. Even the college press officer says: 'We're hoping this will be the beginning of an ongoing relationship.'

It's no good saying, 'My request to the girls is keep your knickers on and listen to the songs. The knicker-throwing image has grown much too big.' Face facts, Tom: it's out of your hands. Or as you so memorably put it: 'I pump up the tyres but let the husbands ride the bike.'

The point is, are the college authorities prepared to pay for mob damage, as well as provide facilities for the St John Ambulance, in case of fainting? What about extra bodyguards? Are Red and Sammy West, whom you inherited from Elvis, still on the case?

What will you be teaching, anyway? The Welsh choral tradition? One of those trendy, modern courses like beer and baritone singing? Or pelvic thrusting (as part of the dance course)? Can you teach without pelvic thrusting? As you once said, 'The bloody movements were instinctive.'

Just a couple of niggles. I know the knicker-throwing has got you down in the past, and you - together with your son and manager, Mark - have been keen to change your image. In the past few years you've collaborated with Billy Idol, Malcolm McLaren, Van Morrison, Art of Noise, and others. So I guess fusty academic is another new spin.

But what about us - the women that buy your records, that fill the lounges of Vegas, that book you for executive hen nights? We have needs, too. We don't want hip, we don't want highbrow, we want raw sex. Elvis is gone. Liberace is gone. You and Barry Manilow are the only middle-aged sexpots left.

So for goodness sake, no guest appearances on The Moral Maze, no elbow patches and no beard. By all means lecture, but keep your shirt open.

Yours in anticipation,

Ruth Picardie

(Photograph omitted)

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