Saturday, 22 May 2010

Inhabitants of a lost world

1950s music hall (from here - out in paperback now):
The joy, perhaps as much in memory as at the time, was in the variousness: the magician Ali Bongo ('The Shriek of Araby'), the illusionist Cingallee, the pigeon act Hamilton Conrad, the animal and bird impersonator Percy ('I Travel the Road') Edwards, the drag act Ford and Sheen, the mind-reader The Amazing Fogel, the lady whistler Eva Kane, the male impersonator Hetty King, the foot spinner and raconteur Tex McLeod, the yodelling accordionist Billy Moore, the human spider Valantyne Napier, the mental telepathists The Piddingtons, the novelty xylophonist Reggie Redcliffe, the speciality dancer Bunty St Clair, the pianist Semprini, the aereliste [me neither oh yeah] Olga Varona, and many, many others - inhabitants of a lost world.
Lady whistling?

We went to a travelling circus when we were on holiday in France a couple of years ago. One of the acts (all of them performed by a combination of the same family) was a cat circus. Daredevil stunts performed by a couple of scrawny creatures. Preparation and training appeared minimal but it's amazing what you can do with a handful of ham.


worm said...

never been to a circus but I like the glimpse of Albion within those earlier times of shabby end-of-the-pier entertainment

Vern said...

Phil Baker's The Devil is a Gentleman: The Life & Times of Dennis Wheatley provides many fantastical glimpses of this lost Albion. Great book.

Gaw said...

Worm: It makes you wonder whether Monty Python was as much documentary as anything: 'mental telepathists The Piddingtons'.

Vern: Thanks, as ever, for the tip. It's now on my list.