Barry Band: I didn’t expect that grand old price

Blackpool Grand Theatre'Photo: Courtesy of The Grand from their archives
Blackpool Grand Theatre'Photo: Courtesy of The Grand from their archives

It’s grumpy week, folks!

Exclusive to Memory Lane readers, here’s another reason why so many shops are closing.

Barry Band's book Blackpool Grand Theatre 1894-1930

Barry Band's book Blackpool Grand Theatre 1894-1930

It’s not entirely due to internet shopping.

It’s the lousy music being played in High Street stores.

It’s emptying shops faster than a shout of “Fire, fire.”

Who chooses the music?

Possibly a young person who thinks everyone shares his/her likes.

Now, if more and more people are buying on-line, that leaves we oldsters as a majority among personal shoppers.

Suggestion to chief execs who may be worried by declining sales: Make your stores sound better!

* * * * *

And while we are on about customer service, how do you like to be addressed by check-out staff?

How long is it since you have heard the words ‘Sir’ and ‘Madam’?

They were always used by counter staff when dealing with our purchases.

Good grief, it must have been 20 years ago.

Maybe 30!

At a local convenience store, the young man behind the counter is often chatty and calls me mate, buddy and pal.

We won’t go into the greeting that some young people give when handing us a leaflet or asking if we would like to take part in a customer survey: “Hi guys.”

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Pet grumble number two is about music used in another context – the stuff that’s ever-present in the background of documentaries and reality TV shows.

In most cases it’s unnecessary.

I call it dinky-do music, produced for people with a short attention span and inflicted on everyone.

It seems to be part of the policy of TV producers to fill their programmes with noise.

Another example is seen and heard in morning TV discussions where everyone seems to shout over another person’s opinion.

This is a total turn-off.

We hit the off button and reach for the newspaper.

A more educated way of spending an hour!

As Michael Winner used to say in the TV commercials: “Calm down, dear.”

* * * * *

I calmed down after switching off and Googled the words Barry Band Blackpool to check what was happening on the book scene.

Have you seen the price being suggested for used copies of my 1994 centenary history of the Grand Theatre? Book One, a 72-page A5 softback covering the years 1894-1930, was being offered at £47.

But the 200-page Book Two, covering the years 1930 to 1994, was quoted at £895.53.

Ridiculous! Where does the 53p come from?

Seriously, who is paying these huge sums for my scholarly tomes? And why?

A contact observed: “It’ll be well-funded university libraries in America.

“You’ve researched lots of American plays and musicals that toured Britain and came to the Grand in the 20th century.

“You also mention Tallulah Bankhead, Dorothy Dickson, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, Gertrude Lawrence and Tyrone Power.”

Oh, so I did!

But £895.53 is still ridiculous.

If there is an eager, well-funded theatre historian who needs a copy I have one for only £95.53.

Clearly, a bargain!