Episode 9: Music Halls and Cabaret- from yesterday to today

Modern cabaret and burlesque shows can trace their roots back to the taverns and coffee houses of 18th century London. Hear how they grew in popularity and made history.

Making history today is Ivy Paige, international showgirl, singer and burlesque queen. Hear Ivy's experiences backstage and what it's really like working in the world of cabaret in London.

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Hazel Baker: Hello and welcome to London guided walks podcast. In the coming episodes, we will be sharing our love and passion for London. Its people, places, and history in an espresso shot with a splash of personality. But those of you who don't know me, I am Hazel Baker, founder of londonguidedwalks.co.uk providing guided walks, private tours, and treasure hunts to Londoners and visitors alike. And now bringing you a jam packed podcast during the time of the Corona.

What we discussed:

Music halls can be traced back to the taverns in coffee houses of 18th century London where performers sang songs while the audience ate, drank and joined him with them. I'm sure for those of you who've been on my road to ruin tour, Sadler's Wells comes to mind.

Joseph Grimaldi was a superstar in Georgian London. He was so popular that he performed at Sadler's Wells theatre and also Drury Lane in Covent garden in the same night and had to run between the two venues. And of course characteristically made a bit of a spectacle of this endeavour. By the 1830s taverns had rooms devoted to musical clubs where they present his Saturday evening sing songs and free and easies, which were informal entertainments for amateurs and professional performers.

And these happened all the way into the early hours of the morning. These evenings sing songs became so popular that entertainment was put on two or three times a week. They were Britain's first mass entertainment emerged broadly speaking in the mid 19th century, and ended arguably after the first world war when the halls rebranded their entertainment as variety.

One of the most famous early music halls was The Eagle in London. The Eagle was an East End tavern on the corner of city road and Shepard us walk that presented regular music entertainment and was doing a roaring trade by 1854. Marie Lloyd, who would become one of the biggest music hall stars first appeared that in 1885 at the age of fourteen.

Today, there's an Eagle pub on the spot, and that displays old music hall prints inside. Other famous musical performers you may have heard of: Florrie Ford, Charles Chaplin Sr., the father to Charlie Chaplin, Arthur Lloyd, George Formby, and Nelly Power.

Variety shows in London still continue today, often with venues with a single doorway leading out into the street. Some are steeped in history and others are making history today. Joining me today is international show girl, singer and burlesque queen Ivy Paige. Hello and welcome and thank you for taking the time out to do this.

I've seen you on so many stages in London, so many iconic ones, and Cafe de Paris as well.

You know, you're in for a good time just because the venue is so gorgeous. So my first question to you is what's been your favourite London venue to perform at?

The Cellar Door. That's a converted public toilet wasn't it?

Pop-up theatre there.

I've only done, my performing was back in the day with some of the bigger venues, the Royal Albert Hall which was just whitewashed and just smell of sweat most of the time. Some of these smaller venues like Cafe de Paris, what's it like backstage? Is it minute?

There is a lot of camaraderie backstage. It's not done for the money. This is done for the love of the art itself.

History of your career is quite varied, isn't it? Because I started, I met you first or saw you first when you were doing sort of like the compare and doing songs in between.

Then I saw you again and you were sort of like one of the main acts. You know, you're, you're holding your own on there and, and of course you've got your single, which I actually own, Queen of Hearts.

So you've tried different things, haven't you? To try and find your way.I really felt sorry for Olly Murs.

One of the historic things that musical before most were known for doing, and also comedy acts in London, was packing in two, three venues a night. Is that something that you do or used to do?

Do remember Madam Jo jo's how small the stage was as well. You know, some of the acts couldn't do the full thing because of the size of the stage, but it also had a low ceiling height, wasn't it?

So I was just thinking about, you mentioned about the situation that we're in at the moment and you're very talented. So what is it that you're doing now and how can people join you?

So I'm doing lots of stuff online. I really do enjoy the live performance experience, but you know, you have to adapt and change.

And that's, you know, one of the beauties of art. So right now you can, I'm doing a show called Ivy Paige's daily briefing, putting the bra into Cobra. And that's going to be streaming next week. And I've also been doing a complete different style show and like a daytime chat show very much more. iT's kind of, it's not late night cover a, but a real kind of coming together chat, warmth, connection.

I think we've done like 28 of those shows, and that's called Ivy Paige's Tea and Biscuits. Although I know some of my viewers prefer to drink gin out of teacup, but that old Facebook Austrade about Facebook live, and that's at 4:00 PM in the afternoon, and you, there's a group for that, Ivy Paige's Tea and Biscuits

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