(Why shouldn’t I include the occasional piece of self-promotion?)
Here’s something different – very different! – my latest book, written with the very close co-operation of the fabulous Maggie King.
The book invites you – and you alone – to sit with Maggie as she shows you the contents of her trunk of theatrical souvenirs. What secrets will you find?
On the eve of World War Two Maggie King has been waiting for me – Russell James – to join her and ghost-write a celebrity memoir. But I’m not there yet; there’s only you and Maggie, just the two of you, in front of a cosy roaring fire. Maggie’s theatrical trunk, you’ll find, is packed with programmes, handbills, letters and photos, both from her own career and that of her parents – Albert and Annie King (‘the Royal Family’), middle-ranking performers in Music Hall and Variety. While you sit with her she will recall the ups and downs of her rackety life, including hits and flops, romance and tragedy, the men who mattered and the man who caused the scandal that blighted her career.
Having been brought on stage as a babe-in-arms by her parents, she went on to become a child performer, a pierrot, an actress, soubrette and singer. She made her first gramophone records in the early years of pre-electric acoustic 78 rpm records (before microphones!) and then, in the Twenties and Thirties, found more success as a crooner with top British dance bands.
As she shares her memories, showing you pictures and scraps of memorabilia, she’ll tell what really happened, as opposed to what she’ll tell me, the biographer. Only you will hear the stories she can’t tell.
You can read an extract right here – click How it starts
Hear the sounds of those long-lost years on our YouTube videos:
** Ella Shields, with a naughty number that Maggie’s mother, Annie King, had such a hit with: Baa Lambs
** The great (if now forgotten) George Grossmith junior, with his catchy
** A mad comic song that Maggie’s husband George pinched off Ernie Mayne:
You Can’t Get Many Pimples off a Pound of Pickled Pork
** American crooner, Frances Langford, singing
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
** Music Hall & King of the 78s, Billy Williams, singing
Here We Are Again
** Queen of Music Hall, Florrie Forde, singing
Only A Bird in a Gilded Cage
** The glamorous sister of Gracie Fields singing
I Lift Up My Finger And I Say Tweet Tweet
** A rediscovered gem of the Edwardian Music Hall:
Here Comes the Fellow with the Eye-Glass!
** An awful warning (or something women knew all along?):
Not Old Enough To Be Old (When a man reaches 50)
– and, for those winter nights, we even have a Christmas Special!
Watch any video that takes your fancy – but don’t forget to come back and read a sample of the book!