My Old Man by John Major

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Major nobly honours his parents and they life they lived in these pages.


Shortlisted for the Theatre Book Prize; 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, smoke-filled auditoriums were packed every night throughout Britain. Popular performers, such as Marie Lloyd and Vesta Tilley, were among the highest-paid and most celebrated figures in the land.

This was the world that John Major’s father Tom entered at the age of twenty-one as a comedian and singer. In ‘My Old Man’, the former prime minister tells his father’s story as a springboard for an entertaining history of the music hall, from its origins in Elizabethan times through to its heyday in the nineteenth century and eventual decline with the rise of radio and cinema in the twentieth century.

Packed with colourful anecdotes, this warm-hearted account captures a golden, bygone age of entertainment.


About John Major

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Born in 1943, John Major was a member of Lambeth Borough Council 196871, then entered Parliament in 1979; he was PPS to Ministers of State at the Home Office 198183, an assistant Govt Whip 19834, a Govt Whip 19845, Minister for Social Security 19867, Chief Sec. to HM Treasury 19879; Foreign Secretary 1989, Chancellor 198990, and Prime Minister 199097.
Published September 13, 2012 by HarperPress. 448 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Arts & Photography, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Travel, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction
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Reviewed by Simon Callow on Sep 12 2012

Major nobly honours his parents and they life they lived in these pages.

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