"It's the one above yours,

the haunted attic room,"

said a friendly musician 

in a sober moment 

after I heard an old man speak from a heavy chair

while falling asleep.


During that summer season at Poole

we had our honeymoon,

needing to work

with Peters and Lee,

Max Bygraves topping the bill. 

Chas and Dave were there in another suite.

The sun was rising on all good things,

poking its nose into the quayside

the massif of Bournemouth bluecast. 


Most of my summer work was shared with fresh sea air

on impossible piers on in stuccoed citadels

with red carpets and old theatre bills,

but that summer was special,

Max working to a sea of grey appreciation. 


Later a permanent move to Australia to relax

a roll call of dementia,

a proud wall of gold discs of Singalongamax.  




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Tue 19th Jan 2021 22:11

Thanks for liking, John.

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Sat 16th Jan 2021 13:24

Thanks for that Mark. As kids we knew little colour in life, now we take it for granted. Especially poignant for me as I was married that year.

Thanks Stephen - all those ghosts haunt me still!

Yes Greg. Another icon from the past. Max was like a comfortable slipper and his music middle of the road, a bit like a follow up to the Billy Cotton Band Show. He also did the occasional bit of radio acting. His catchphrase at the time(common practice) was "A good idea son." He really used radio as a launch pad. When I worked with him in 1986 it was customary at the end of a season to give backing bands a crate of booze. Noticeably absent with Max, i'm afraid. I'd say my impression was a plausible and easy entertainer, so different from today's manic crop. Not hugely talented like say Victor Borge, my favourite of all.

Graham, I don't like the hunting and denigrating of showbiz folk. Without them life would have been a drab affair, whatever their motives and personal lives may have been. I did meet many, but the musician's job only gave a snapshot really. There was little fraternizing and we moved on.

Thanks as always for reading J.D.,Aviva, Julie and Trevor.


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Graham Sherwood

Fri 15th Jan 2021 11:21

One of the worst things about growing old is when your childhood 'heroes' are unmasked and you get to read about their 'real' lives.

So many bubbles are burst by reality. Frankie Howard, Tommy Cooper, Tony Hancock et al. Who'd be an adult eh?

I like your show biz pieces Ray. Greg's right!

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Greg Freeman

Thu 14th Jan 2021 17:52

Yep, another one for the collection, Ray. 'Haunted Honeymoon' is a great title. I would certainly feel haunted if I had to listen to too much Singalongamax. But my grandmother-in-law was a big fan; it was a gentle family joke. What was the great man like to work with?

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Stephen Gospage

Thu 14th Jan 2021 17:45

Really like this, Ray. It conjures up another time with the lighest possible touch. Thanks.

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M.C. Newberry

Thu 14th Jan 2021 17:41

Evocative, especially to all of us who were around back then as
youth took us through the "Swinging 60s " and beyond, and the
world seemed to move literally from black and white into colour.

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