I followed on with me ol’ cock linnet

a creased memento

a creased memento

A  part of London life that has always been close to my heart has been the music hall. I’ve grown up with the songs – first sung to me by my grandad when I was just a nipper. You probably know most of them as well, “Let’s all go down the Strand”, “The boy I love is up in the gallery”, “My old dutch”, “Doing the Lambeth Walk”. These have been part of British life for over fifty years. And a small, new exhibition at the music library, Barbican, brings to life places where these songs had their debuts – the various palaces of varieties that dotted pre-war London.

I had a quick shufty yesterday on my way back from Whitecross Market on an unsuccessful mission to visit the fruit and veg man who is no longer there. To be honest, the exhibition doesn’t look much as it mainly consists of three to four perspex boxes with specimens culled from the Metropolitan Archives, but the history that it tells is fascinating. The artistes, the fame, the beautifully decorated interiors and the eventual decline of the halls.

So if you’re around the area, have a gander and get all misty-eyed for the old times. But don’t dilly dally on the way, cos it’s only on till the 27th February.

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