Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Ancestral Voices

Ailz and I both ate unwisely yesterday evening- though we ate different things- and were up at 3.00 in the morning feeling sorry for ourselves, drinking tea and listening to music hall artistes, courtesy of YouTube. I've been listening to lots of musical hall and variety artistes over the past 24 hours- Florrie Ford, Vesta Tilley, Harry Champion, Marie Lloyd. I've known their songs all my life; but in most cases I've never heard them do the singing. Isn't YouTube wonderful! 

Dan Leno was the greatest comedian of the late Victorian age- the doyenne of pantomime dames and the grandfather of contemporary stand-up. He died in 1904, aged 43. Here is one of his two surviving monologues. I'm not going to pretend it's great entertainment or anything other than the faintest echo of his genius, but it preserves his voice and gives some idea of his style. The extraordinary thing is that it exists at all. 

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