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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Saturday, 6 October 2012

That's entertainment!

Saturday, October 6th., Alhambra.

Richard and I went to see Rastelli, juggler, Italian. Very good. But a shade monotonous in invention.

Enrico Rastelli (1896, in Samara, Russia – 1931, Bergamo, Italy) was an Italian juggler, acrobat and performer. Born in Samara, Russia into a circus family, both his parents were performers and it did not take long before the young Rastelli decided to join the family business. He received rigorous training in a variety of circus disciplines including acrobatics, balancing and aerial skills. His performance debut was at the age of 13 as part of his parents' aerial act, however his passion and talent lay with juggling. He practiced his juggling skills tirelessly and by the age of 19 was performing a solo juggling routine. His earliest performances involved the manipulation of sticks and balls in a typical Japanese style. Many jugglers of Rastelli's day were of the gentleman juggler style. Dressed in formal evening attire, they would juggle everyday objects that you might find at the dinner table, including plates, hat and cane, loaves of bread, bottles and even chairs. Rastelli instead chose to restrict himself to objects more suited to throwing and catching, typically plates, sticks and balls. In doing so, he was able to achieve levels of technical skill far beyond that of his contemporaries. Furthermore, his choice of three simple props is reflected in the props of choice of most modern jugglers, with balls, clubs (replacing sticks) and rings (replacing plates) being used by professional and amateur jugglers alike.

He did some of the Cinquevalli tricks, with a soft ball, not a hard. One of his best was juggling with two balls by his head alone. His finest thing was juggling with eight disks (not for long) while doing something with his head - I forget what.
Griffiths Brothers with a horse now, not a donkey, were side-splitting. So was Potter, a "comedian".
Apathy of audience to all the good things. Applause, but not enough.

This caricature depicts the acrobatic knockabout comedy duo The Griffiths Brothers. They were billed as ‘The Irresistible Humorists’. It is one of the many superb caricatures of Edwardian music hall performers that were drawn by the artist George Cooke when he was based at the Grand Theatre Hanley. He compiled them in a series of albums. The Griffiths Brothers are seen here in their sketch ‘The Motor Car and the Duel’. This was about an Englishman and a Frenchman who argue about their motoring experiences and end up in a wrestling bout, ‘the Frenchman inexpressibly funny in his make-up’. Fred Delaney (1856–1940) and Joe Ridgeway (1852–1901) were the original act. After Joe’s death, Fred was joined by his son Fred Junior, who is seen here on the left, and also occasionally by his daughter Lutie. The act worked the halls for more than 60 years with its famous ‘animal burlesque’ routines, ‘The Blondin Donkey’ and ‘The Performing Horse’.

Beckett v. Carpentier
Slow motion film of Carpentier v. Beckett. Very impressive. Like doom. Sort of inevitability. Beckett slowly falling. The towel floating into the ring etc.

Georges Carpentier (pronounced car-pont-yay) (January 12, 1894 – October 28, 1975) was a French boxer and actor. He fought mainly as a light heavyweight andheavyweight in a career lasting from 1908-26. Nicknamed the "Orchid Man", he stood 5 feet 111⁄2 inches (1.82 m) and his fighting weight ranged from 125 to 175 pounds (57 to 79 kg). Carpentier was known for his speed, his excellent boxing skills and his extremely hard punch.
Joe Beckett was a Hampshire man, he was born in Wickham in 1894 to a family of fairground workers. Joe grew up amongst the boxing booths of country fairs. By the time he was 25 years old Joe was the British & Empire Heavy weight Champion, having beaten Bombardier Billy Wells, and was challenging for the World Championship.

Gloominess of Alhambra and stodginess of audience compared to my recollection of 1889. yet probably no real difference.

When one gets intimate with a woman she generally makes assertions about herself to show that she is not like other women. A man seldom tries to show that he is not like other men.
I have recently been very worried by Dorothy. Yesterday I wrote to her as follows: "Well, I had one and a half hours sleep again last night, despite every effort and precaution. I have now put my play definitely aside, as I cannot even keep my thoughts on it; & pressing contracts will force me to leave it now for two or three months. Which is very disturbing & disappointing - quite apart from the loss of time, time being money. Not that I am worrying about that. But I am still worrying about something else - that you will disobey the doctor's advice to confine yourself to 'a little wine'." Not to beat about the bush, I am anxious that she may be disposed to alcoholism. The consuming nature of my anxiety derives from the fact that I adore her (and have told her so), I am completely wrapped up in her, and I would do anything to ensure her success in life.

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