Arthur was considered to be a delicate child, which was why his family doctor advised Arthur’s mother to encourage him to attend dancing classes and improve his stamina. Nobody could have expected this rather frail little lad to shine but Arthur was a natural and captivated by the elegance and skill involved in dancing.
As a sixteen year old he was introduced to the celebrated performer and choreographer Wendy Toye and through her he met jack Billings, who was so impressed by Arthur’s talent that he decided to create a new variety act around him and two other young boys: the trio becoming known as ‘ The Three Barons’. This experience marked the start of what became a great career for Arthur.
In his engaging autobiography Don’t Forget To Check Your Flies Arthur takes us backstage to visit the highs and the lows of a dancer’s life. From treading the boards in amateur productions in a backstreet church hall to opening nights in the West End, the thrill of working on live television and travelling all over the country in Farce to playing Shakespeare in a North `London cellar.
The opening chapter tells of Arthur’s early years, his family and subsequent introduction to dance and his love of it.
Following chapters continue in a very readable style to tell of the author’s experiences on and off the stage, overcoming obstacles and challenges along the. We meet familiar stars and shows and learn how variety was transformed by events following the World War II, and how adapting was essential if a dancer was to survive and thrive.
His journey moves from his early West End shows, to arduous endless touring, the adrenaline thrill of performing on live television. He offers the reader the many lessons he learned along the way, the most important being to always remember to make sure he had fastened his trousers properly before going on stage!
This is certainly an absorbing and entertaining book, captivatingly honest and a lovely easy read. It was certainly one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a while warranted a second reading and would be an excellent gift.
Arthur devoted his entire life to dance and the theatre. Now retired and in his eighties, he still keeps up an interest in the world of show business.
Don’t Forget To Check Your Flies is available on amazon RRP 18.95.
To buy a signed copy, and meet the author, why not join Arthur's coffee morning in Camberley, Surrey on 11th July at 10am where a percentage of all the sales will be donated to charity.
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