Sunday, 2 September 2012

Max Bygraves Has Left The Building

Max was born in Rotherhithe, or Redriff as we often call it. It is a famous and deeply historic little peninsula that sits by, and is generally accepted as being a part of, Bermondsey. Its a district that is known almost as much for producing artistic talent as it was for being the tough heartland of the London Docks for many years, indeed centuries. I was for some years a governor of Redriff school, something of which I am very proud. Max attended St Joseph's school, one of two schools in the area bearing that name (the other being in St George's row, on what was once known as Jacob's Island, and which my daughter attended), when it was in Paradise Street at the heart of the old Bermondsey ghetto.

Max was an ex-RAF man like myself and so many of my family. He served during the Second World War.

To be frank, we have been expecting this news for some time. Max has been unwell for a while now, and the passing of his wife Gladys last year left him vulnerable. Gladys had served with the WAAFs.

Max was one of the biggest stars in British showbiz, and was also huge in Australia, where he spent his final years.

He took the London tradition of music hall and turned it into contemporary entertainment for a new audience. Despite what appears to be a mild criticism of Teddy Boys in his  hit recording of Lionel Bart's  'Fings ain't wot they used to be', Max is much loved by London Teds for his elegance, humour, and the fact that he never attempted to hide his Cockney roots. 

89 years is a good innings, and Max enjoyed his life. He gave a huge amount of pleasure to so many people. I remember watching his TV show with my grandmother when I was a nipper. He was a truly great entertainer.

Max Bygraves 1922-2012

No comments:

Post a Comment