Victorian London - Publications - Entertainment - Theatre - Music Hall - 'Music Hall Inanities'

MUSIC-HALL INANITIES. II

[text reads, from top left, 'Es not a tall man' 'Nor a short man' 'But t's jyust the man for me, - ' 'Not in the Army-' 'Nor the Nivy-' 'But the Roy'l Artill-er-es']

Punch, 8th February, 1899


One reason why the ordinary youth felt attracted to demure places like the Birkbeck was that other attractions were not excessively compelling. The music-halls, in particular, involved a sheer waste of money. At the Pavilion and at the Oxford I often found myself in sympathy with the gallery man who at a pause in some dreary entertainment, wailed out:
    'Oh, my poor shillin'!'
    Looking back, it does seem the music-hall was devoid of any allurement. The male performers had large raucous voices; their risky allusions were never amusing, and they often had the air of men who accepted, too eagerly, the liquid refreshment suggested by admirers. Drink, indeed, was the note of these places of entertainment. The bar would take no denial; perambulating waiters became satirical when orders arrived infrequently. At Gatti's, near the foot of Villiers Street, you paid sixpence to go in, and one-half of this sum was returned to you in undrinkable alcohol. Even the Promenade Concerts at Covent Garden were run obviously enough for the sake, not of music, but for the encouragement of the sale of liquor. When the consumer became riotous, he was thrown out by the attendants into Bow Street.

W. Pett Ridge, A Story Teller : Forty Years in London, 1923