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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

I wanna tell you a story

My earliest experience of being in the presence of celebrity occurred when I was only about 5 years old.

The New Cross Empire was just a short walk from my chlidhood home.

It was built as a music hall in the early years ot the 20th century.

One day, as I was being wheeled towards the theatre, a figure came out which, even at my very young age, I recognised as Max Bygraves.

Max was a popular entertainer. He had many hit songs and TV shows. Everybody knew who Max was. The Empire was a local venue for him, as he was born in neighbouring Bermondsey, SE London. His catchphrase was "I wanna tell you a story." His most famous songs include "Tulips from Amsterdam" and the naive (children's?) song (these days I wonder...) "You're a pink toothbrush, I'm a blue toothbrush".

A few years ago I idly googled Max and was surprised to find he was alive and well and living in Australia. No more. On Friday he died, a last link with my childhood.

The theatre itself was demolished many years ago. This is what they did with the site:

That's right, folks. For more than 50 years it has been a used car lot. Every time I went to secondary school the view slapped me in the face, as the site is bang opposite my school building.

What a waste.


Sandy said...

What a shame to tear down such a grand looking building.

JoJo said...

Sad that he passed away and that the city tore down the old theatre. Like the Joni Mitchell song says, 'They paved paradise and put up a parking lot'. Did you get his autograph? If so, do you still have it?

Eliza said...

I was sad to hear Max grandad liked him so I grew up listening to his songs....,toothbrush was my favourite

val said...

JoJo, I was five at most.I didn't even know what an autograph was.

Anonymous said...

I used to love the 'toothbrush' song when I was a kid :0)

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