Mark My Words July 2015

Mark My WordsA word from our managing editor Mark Ritchie

The title of the Sergio Leone spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is often applied to people or situations in popular media circles. UK Cabaret never claims to be original in terms of content and the entertainment industry frequents reveals its good, bad and ugly sides.


Variety, cabaret and cruise ships all provided a happy hunting ground for that very special entertainer Dick Van Winkle, during a long and successful career. Dick, from Doncaster, has been forced into retirement due to a condition known as vascular dementia. This all-time great of show business was in my audience with his devoted carer and other half Susan, during a matinee show that I was appearing in at Doncaster little theatre last month. Despite being not so much touched as clobbered by this dreadful affliction, Susan and Dick organised a garden party, held at their home recently, which raised funds for a Dementia and Alzheimer’s charity. The event was opened by the very wonderful Jimmy Cricket and the generosity of spirit that lives within the very souls of so many entertainers was there for all to see.


Many people were shocked to read in one of the tabloid newspapers about singer Andy Hammersley, who performs a tribute act to Olly Murs and was reviewed in an earlier issue of UK Cabaret. The singer was convicted last month of having groomed and subsequently had sex with an under-age girl, who he met while appearing at a holiday centre. Having been involved for a long time in the holiday centre entertainment business, I know that coat-style entertainers have, with great justification, to be CRB checked. There is now considerable speculation that Hammersley’s crimes will result in a legal requirement for CRB checks on all visiting cabaret artistes, who work in family holiday parks in the not too distant future.


The present rash of bile and vitriol appearing on social media, concerning those involved in the entertainment industry continues. There seems no end to the depths that many of the Faceless Facebook warriors, who do so much of their mucky washing in public, are prepared to sink in order to embarrass or damage the reputations of others. For the most part, in my view, many only succeed in embarrassing themselves. I saw only recently an agent ‘naming and shaming’ and alleged non-commission payer. Others use social media for the purpose of Soapbox rants, which can be cathartic to those engaged in the ranting and mildly amusing, from time to time at least, for the rest of us. I wonder sometimes if those working in the entertainment industry care how they are perceived by others when they reveal their often jaundiced opinion of fellow show-business professionals. Facebookers and Tweeters seem blissfully and bullishly unaware that they too are subject to the laws of libel too. I am, as they say in the Twitter-Sphere…Yes sayin’!

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