My Old Man: A Personal History of Music Hall by John Major

My Old Man: A Personal History of Music Hall by John Major lands on the shelves of my shop, where it will be found in my Theatre section.

London: HarperPress, 2012, Hardback in dust wrapper.

2nd impression. [First Edition: 2012] Contains: Black & white photographs; Colour photographs; Photographic end papers & blanks;

From the cover: In this colourful personal history, former prime minister John Major takes a remarkable journey into his own unconventional family past to tell the story of the rise and fall of the British music hall.

Music hall was one of the glories of the Victorian era. Sentimental, vulgar, boisterous, but always patriotic and on the side of the underdog, it held up a mirror to the experiences and aspirations of its audience, and sometimes the general absurdity of life. Vast, smoke-filled auditoriums were packed night after night in nearly every town and city in Britain. The most popular performers, such as Marie Lloyd, Vesta Tilley and George Robey, were among the highest paid and most celebrated figures in the land. Yet for the majority of artistes further down the bill, life was a constant struggle with unscrupulous theatre managers, low wages and unrelenting hardship.

This was the world that John Majors father, Tom, entered at the age of twenty-one as a comedian and singer. In My Old Man, the former prime minister uses his fathers story as a springboard for an entertaining history of the music hall, from its origins in the pleasure gardens of the eighteenth century through its heyday in late Victorian times to its eventual decline with the rise of radio and cinema in the twentieth century.

Packed with vivid anecdotes about the great performers of the day, this affectionate, warm-hearted history is a celebration of a lost age.

Very Good+ in Very Good+ Dust Wrapper.

Red boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. [XVII] 363 pages. Index. 9½” x 6¼”.

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