Saturday, 28 January 2012

Getting In On The Act

The travelling show of world leaders and others is becoming more and more like the days of the old vaudeville, music halls and variety theatres. Only in those days the acts were better, the scripts aimed at more perceptive and intelligent audiences and the performers knew their lines and routines.

There was also a hierarchy of halls and acts, the business of being top of the bill and all the performers had to be well aware that it was the impresario’s and the booking agents who were critical to their careers and futures.

President Obama rates a poor second to Jack Benny and Secretary Clinton to Ethel Merman. With Gringrich and Romney coming too close to Abbott and Costello for comfort, the US Gala Concert scheduled for this November looks like being one of those shows we would all prefer to forget.

In the UK our Prime Minister, David Cameron reminds me at times of Max Miller without both assurance and the class of tailoring. Osborne looks like Alastair Sim, Nick Clegg doing a Norman Wisdom and Vince Cable a Jimmy Edwards it is all less than convincing.

On the Opposition benches, Ed Miliband makes a poor copycat Frank Sinatra crooning act, while Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper are very like a Les Dawson and Hylda Baker double act. Harriet Harman is certainly a Violet Carson (Ena Sharples) who can afford to shop at Harvey Nichols.

Elsewhere, Sarkozy does not work as Jacques Tati and as for the other Europeans comparisons are difficult. Alex Salmond is too often like Andy Stewart on mogadon and without the humour. Look around the world and it just gets worse.

There was a time when all this travelling was out of the question. It is possible however that this inability contributed to wars. If the crisis of 1914 had not blown up during the London Summer Season and Asquith had gone to Berlin and Paris with the King in tow it might have been very different.

The trouble at the moment is that the audiences are becoming saturated with all this activity and tired of the old routines. This is displayed in the falling figures for turnout in many places on key political issues or elections. The international acts may put on a fine show for the media but not much seems to happen.

Possibly, this is because democratic or other governments no longer govern much. They are all in thrall to the financial impresarios of world finance and have to cringe for the favours of their local booking agents in their banks and trusts.

When George Formby once thought to skip the ukulele thing and do straight comedy his handler, Beryl, the missus, was told to instruct him that without the ukulele he would not be doing Blackpool, he would be lucky to do Barnsley.

So how long will it be before the handlers of our present acts tell them to sharpen up, improve the oomph, belt it out louder and jump higher?

Will someone please invent the equivalent of a political TV service and shut this lot down?

1 comment:

  1. "So how long will it be before the handlers of our present acts tell them to sharpen up, improve the oomph, belt it out louder and jump higher?"

    What puzzles me slightly is that they don't seem to feel the need.