My Old Man: A Personal History of Music Hall by John Major - review by Irving Wardle

Irving Wardle

They Laughed, They Cried

My Old Man: A Personal History of Music Hall


HarperPress 365pp £20

During John Major’s years as prime minister it always seemed to me that he and the opposition leader had swapped roles. The nimbly legalistic Blair, oozing snake-oil salesman’s charm, was surely a predestined Tory, while Major, with his man-of-the-people credentials and honestly prosaic platform manner, was clearly a missing link in the Labour tradition of Attlee and Keir Hardie. 

This impression is reinforced by My Old Man, in which he traces the history of the British music hall as an act of filial devotion to his singer-comedian father who, had he not taken the professional name of Major, would have remained Thomas Ball, and thus bestowed on the future

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

RLF - March

Follow Literary Review on Twitter