Dear Tom Jones: It's not unusual to want to keep going for as long as possible, but wouldn't it be better, suggests a long-time fan, to retire gracefully to the green, green grass of home?

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Indy Lifestyle Online
You are 54 and about to go on tour again and frankly I wonder how long you can continue to, as one of your early hits so aptly puts it, 'strike like Thunderball'.

I mean, Mick Jagger is three years your junior, and every time he sings 'Start Me Up' it sounds less like rock 'n' roll and more like a request for medical assistance. So I really worry about you, just as I worry about James Brown, a man who's 'Living in America' but who will be living with a hernia if he keeps on doing the splits night after night, town after town, show after show.

I'll tell you the truth, Tom, I have visions of you, Mick and James put out to permanent pasture at some Retired Rock Stars' Stud Farm, puttering around instead of putting it about, having a nice bowl of soup, just grazing on the green, green grass of home. I can see it in my mind's eye, and my mind's eye sheds a tear of sudden happiness.

It makes me happy because I'm a huge fan. The problem is my father is also a huge fan - get my drift? In fact, I think my Dad bought every album you made during the Sixties; they blared in the background as I grew up.

John Lennon went on about working class heroes, but you actually were one to my Dad: Tom, Tom, the miner's son. You made good . . . and looked good too.

Your ring-around-the-blue-collar masculinity was cheering: when women got their gussets off and pelted them at your curly head, it was DH Lawrence meets TP Alley and, baby, it was a blast, a sublime joke about show-off prole sexuality that never failed to move my father. He would listen to your records, disappear from the everyday and dream of being a (bump, grind) Sex God.

It's not that you've gone to pot like your late friend Mr Presley ('Elvis's stomach has now left the theatre') or that you're dating Super Models to prove that you're still Super Willie; you're probably more discreet now about your extramarital CV than you've ever been.

But after more than 30 years in the business of show, and various nips and tucks and Lord knows what else - who knitted your hair? - you've become a pickled version of the man who was, Dorian Gray as international superstar.

It's creepy that you seem, at a distance, younger than your own son, and even creepier that in close-up you're simply glazed and confused: a simulacrum running through the old routines, a Perma-tanned male Marlene Dietrich, drawing on our nostaglia for the image that originally intoxicated. Whatever happened to you, the guy called Tom Jones?

So I won't be paying for a ticket to see you perform, if that's OK. It's not that I love you any less, but because I love you more. See, I remember yesterday and my memories, Tom, oh my memories . . . they're simply beyond compare.

Best wishes (Photograph omitted)

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