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My Old Man: A Personal Journey Into Music Hall

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  23 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Former prime minister John Major takes a remarkable journey into his own unconventional family past to tell the richly colourful story of the British music hall. Music hall was one of the glories of Victorian England. Sentimental, vulgar, but patriotic and champion of the underdog, it held a mirror to the audiences' hopes, fears and the general absurdity of life. Vast, ...more
Hardcover, 363 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Nicholas Whyte
Jan 27, 2013 Nicholas Whyte rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012, xz, 1212
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2044946.html[return][return]This is a detailed and yet very readable survey of the British music hall, from early days in the 1850s to death by competition from cinema and broadcasting after the first world war. I had not fully realised just how rooted British popular culture is in music hall, even today. It was the source of many well-known catch-phrases. Harry Champion sang "Any Old Iron", "Boiled Beef and Carrots", and "I'm Henery the Eighth, I Am". Harry Clifton ...more
Ken Hall
Sep 20, 2013 Ken Hall rated it it was amazing
Well here's a surprise I never thought I would praising a book written by en ex Tory Pm . However this is a thoroughly well researched book as good on the antecedents of music hall as of the music hall era itself. Character studies of many of the great music hall artistes such as Marie Lloyd, Little Tich, Gus Ellen George Robey and many others famous and not so famous abound and Major makes a very moving tribute to his parents who worked in the music hall in the foreword. I enjoyed this book so ...more
John Newcomb
Jun 02, 2013 John Newcomb rated it really liked it
I loved this book. My Great Grandmother had a brief career in Music Hall and so there was a certain amount of perssonal interest. I heard JM read his hostory of cricket, a subject I have little interest in on Radio Four and the story telling was such that I thoroughly enjoyed the story despite it not being my sport. This however is a subject I love and JM is a master story teller relating the history of the halls with balance and judgment. We have lost so many books by his political career. I am ...more
Katie
Jun 21, 2014 Katie rated it it was amazing
I have literally just finished this book and at the end of it, I feel excited and happy and....very buzzy. It's the first full bodied piece of work I have ever read on this topic and it sucked you into the genre whole-heartedly.
The books is wonderful. It is a history of music hall, even though in the first chapter, Major says that it is only a small one. This, does not restrict the book though. It opens up so many questions and opportunities for further study.
John Major looked into all sorts of
...more
K.J. Charles
An excellent overview of music hall. Written with great affection and warmth. The chapters about his dad's career, Marie Lloyd and bizarre music hall, in particular, were really engaging and interesting. Lots of great quotes.

I recall the hard time Major got from braying Oxbridge twats on both sides of the political spectrum when his background became known. This book, shamelessly in favour of popular taste ahgainst highbrow sneers, is a terrific belated two fingers to the sneerers and snobs.

I
...more
Clifford Elmer
Oct 13, 2012 Clifford Elmer rated it it was amazing


Do not be confused by the title. This is not a biography of the former British Prime Minister's father but rather a most affectionate portrait of many of his father's contemporaries from the world of British music hall. The author obviously has deep affection for his subject and the book is the best 'general history' of the heyday of music hall I have read. Highly recommended!
Harrison Fuller
A wonderfully detailed book on the origins and fate of music hall, taking in its stars, entrepreneurs as well as its highs and lows. John Major paints a personal and passionate portrait of music hall, providing a wonderful read about an undervalued genre.
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Sir John Major, KG, CH.

Member of Parliament from 1979-2001. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 28 November 1990 – 2 May 1997.

Invested a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in 1999 and a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (KG) in 2005.

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