It was a great pleasure to see Paul Merton's Silent Clowns show at Newbury's Corn Exchange last night. There was a full house to listen to Merton's enthusiastic introductions to a selection of excellent silent comedy films.
But the real star of the show (apart from Buster Keaton, that is) was Neil Brand who played the piano. It is easy to forget the role of the many improvisational pianists who accompanied millions of silent comedy films in their heyday. Neil Brand showed how it can be done brilliantly, adding to our great enjoyment of the films, particularly the feature showing, Buster Keaton's "Seven Chances".
It was a bit weird to be thoroughly enjoying a film made the year before my dad and, indeed, Her Majesty the Queen were born.