Tommy Cooper

Moral and Comedic Anorexia

I owe everything I know about British seaside resorts (such as the unfortunately named Blackpool) to three pseudo–kitchen sink movies and a single Squeeze song.

No wonder I can’t fathom why anyone would care to “holiday” amongst such grim, press-ganged gaiety. Not even at Margate, whose century-old Dreamland (oh dear…) fairground unswathes its $45 million face-lift any day now.


  • Icebow

    I suspect that ‘Blackpool’ is synonymous with ‘Dublin’. Avoid Brighton now: it’s our answer to San Francisco. Even the seagulls may be turning gay.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    I learned about Blackpool from a Masterpiece Theater dramatization of J. B. Priestly’s “Lost Empires,” about an itinerant troop of vaudevillians performing on the music hall circuit. The hero of this novel, a young man coming of age (Colin Firth in one of his earliest roles) is working as an assistant of his uncle, a magician, in 1914. The troop is performing in Blackpool when World War I breaks out. Crowds get swept up by intense patriotism when Britain enters the war, singing “Land of Hope and Glory” in the theater. “The fools!” sputters the uncle. “They may not have been to Germany, but I have and I saw their military machine. They will crush our own and inflict killing on a scale that hasn’t been seen.” The nephew has a different reaction. He enlists and says goodbye to his uncle, who he never sees again. The drama ends when he is wounded in action and a beautiful singer from his music hall troop shows up at his field hospital to entertain the patients, and the two quickly become a couple.