Britishness, Entertainment, Family, Family Matters, Love

Music Hall Memories

Cross-posted from Ricochet:

Oh, “dear, dear, dear.”

I tried out that phrase, beloved of my father when dealing with a screaming infant, on my 18-month-old niece a few days ago.  She immediately picked it up and responded, “deoo, deoo, deoo,” thus instituting the first two-way conversation we’ve ever had, even if only over the phone.

I’m feeling a bit glum and reflective and have finally–after years of putting it off, dug out the very large picnic basket into which I’ve thrown, over the course of about twenty years, every bit of video I’ve ever recorded (see photo).  It is a disheartening prospect, to say the least.  Hundreds (literally) of DVDs, both mini and full-size, dozens and dozens of digital video cassette tapes, and a considerable quantity of memory cards in all sizes, shapes, and formats.

And, speaking of formats, so many of them obsolete, and lots of the footage, however it’s saved, not even finalized for viewing.

Still, I’m my father’s daughter.  So, Never Say Die!  I’m determined to make a start and (gradually) to sort it all out.  And when I actually do pass on to my Great Reward, my [stepdaughter] will “rise up and call [me] Blessed” for not having left her with an obscure and inexplicable mess (apologies, Proverbs 31).

One of the first mini-DVDs I pulled out was labeled “Dad and Pat, May 2007,” and was, somewhat miraculously, playable after a “repair.” I remember the occasion well.  It was just a few months before Dad died, and I’d gone to spend a month with him in England to try to help him recover from a broken hip.

Pat spent the day with us, and I’d brought along a CD of music hall songs of the 1920s and 1930s, which I thought might light them up.  And so it did.  Dad’s family used to love them (although they were much frowned upon by his in-laws), and–almost 80 years later, Dad and Pat could both recall them fondly–and I can do a pretty good turn with a couple of them myself.  (The one in the middle, about riding to Bangor in the eastbound train, I don’t remember.)

Pat’s reminiscences about Marie Lloyd are especially poignant.  She was the queen of the British music hall, much celebrated, although leading a very sad life of her own.  Pat references a TV movie made about her (won’t play on most US DVD players) which I saw when it was broadcast here a number of years ago, and which I thought was quite good; as well as a few contemporary stories, including Miss Lloyd’s banishment from the annual Royal Command Performance (at which the King and Queen were present) because of her morals.

And so, without further ado, and because you’ve been so kind about them over the years, here are Dad and Pat:

And their contemporary sources:

Wishing you all, my dear friends here, the best, most prosperous, and happiest New Year ever.

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