Magic Tricks and Music Halls

Yesterday I found a new favourite place in Glasgow. Walking into Tam Shepard's Trick Shop is like walking into another world, another era. The shop could have been straight out of the 1930s - except for the Obama masks and the nu-rave-esque wigs. It is a place where the owner will start a Victor Borge routine when he learns you are from Denmark, where a shop assistant will disappear through a hole in the floor, you can choose between twenty different kinds of fake moustaches, and tiny kids stare with much fascination at plastic spiders. Tam Shepard's Trick Shop is a family-run business and it has been going since the 1880s. You can see faded music hall posters bearing the names of ancestors and old photos of dishy dames performing magic tricks. "That's my great-grandma," the woman behind the counter informed me. Glasgow has a very proud music hall tradition, actually, and tomorrow we are off to The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall for a steam punk craft show. The Panopticon is the oldest surviving music hall in Britain - the place where Stan Laurel of Laurel & Hardy made his stage debut, no less, and where a young Cary Grant performed while he was still Archie Leach - and it is a beautiful, almost derelict building. The Panopticon Trust has been trying to save the building for about a decade now but it is still fragile. For more information (and a bit of singing), this youtube clip from the AyeWrite literary festival features Judith Bowers, local historian and secretary of the Panopticon Trust, talking about the music hall. If you are local and you have never been, you can visit the building during the Glasgow Doors Open days in September.

Finally,  I recently subscribed to My Vintage Vogue which is a tumblr feed featuring glamorous photo shoots from the Vogue archives. And I refuse to believe there has ever been a woman quite as beautiful as Cyd Charisse..