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Playing Scotsmen in mainland Europe

Twenty-first-century Scottish play-acting draws depth and energy from a European and Western tradition of dreaming Scottish dreams, and this tradition dates back to at least the late eighteenth century, to the beginnings of European Romanticism. This book explores how contemporary celebrations of Scotland build upon earlier Scottish fantasies. The Scottish dreamscape is one of several pre-modern counter-worlds which have been approached through imitation in the past. The book examines the 'Scotland' that is on the play-actors' minds. The Scottish dreamscape was formed in an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century process now best known as Highlandism. It was then that Scotland became associated with the aesthetics and supposed characteristics of its Highland periphery. The book also explores the Scottish dreamscape's spread via the channels of the British Empire and American popular culture. It identifies five key carriers which helped to disseminate the Scottish aesthetic across the world, namely epic poetry, the Highland regiments, music hall entertainment, Hollywood films, and romance novels. The book further focuses on fieldwork conducted in 2009 and 2010. It sheds some light on the different forms of Scottish play-acting, on musicians, athletes, commemorators, and historical re-enactors. The pipers and athletes do not imitate the past; they perform in what they hope are old but living Scottish traditions. Commemorators and historical re-enactors have a different aim. They seek to recreate the past in the present. Finally, the book identifies some of the main reasons for the Scottish dreamscape's special resonance in northern and western Europe.

Popular culture is invariably a vehicle for the dominant ideas of its age. Never was this more true than in the late-19th and early 20th centuries, when it reflected the nationalist and imperialist ideologies current throughout Europe. This book examines the various media through which nationalist ideas were conveyed in late-Victorian and Edwardian times in the theatre, "ethnic" shows, juvenile literature, education and the iconography of popular art. Nineteenth-century music hall was known as the 'fount of patriotism'. A heroic and romantic vision of Empire helped to widen the appeal of British imperialism, which newspaper and magazine editors insisted on communicating to the new mass reading public. Juvenile fiction included Victorian children's books, and very few seemed deliberately anti-imperialist. The book offers a bridge between the pre-1914 period and the interwar years and between the public school and state school systems. It discusses the case of Peter Lobengula as a focus for racial attributes in late Victorian and Edwardian times. The imperial economic vision lay ready to hand for the publicists and public relations men who saw the Empire Marketing Board as one of the great opportunities in the inter-war years to develop their craft. The book also argues that whereas the Scout movement was created in the atmosphere of defensive Empire in the Edwardian period, Scouting ideology underwent a significant change in the post-war years. Girl Guides remind us that the role of girls and women in youth organisations and imperial ideologies has been too little studied.

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‘Giving the public what it wants’

social freedoms, they were still more likely to visit a cinema with a male chaperone (who would probably have found little joy in watching a romance film). The preference for film comedy undoubtedly reflects a continuity between music-hall entertainment and the cinema. The widespread popularity of specific films and authors, meanwhile, was unquestionably driven by the similar promotional and distribution practices of the major producers. But, when we come down to matters of taste, the evidence 205 206 Popular culture and working-class taste in Britain shouts loud

in Popular culture and working-class taste in Britain, 1930–39

-water mark of music hall popularity which had grown from the humble origins of the singing saloons and music recitals of the mid-nineteenth century. 3 At its height in 1900, music hall entertainment appeared to dovetail seamlessly with a civilian society that had become increasingly imperial and militarised after the onset of the Boer War. 4 Indeed, both contemporary commentators and subsequent historians have documented

in Visions of empire

social classes to a poor area, and to offer a varied diet of popular entertainments. 53 Morton made sure that all classes were catered for: he offered nautical spectacles like Trafalgar, operetta, and acrobatics, as well as the usual music hall entertainments. There was also a library, and other music halls had exhibitions and emigration displays. 54 Morton’s venture was a huge success, and literally

in Propaganda and Empire

during the 1865–6 season.’35 Although the music hall did not succeed in winning the right to perform sketches as a result of the 1866 proceedings, by 1892 proprietors of the halls found themselves in a position to campaign once more for the right to perform continuous, dramatic sketches of more than one act. Hence the 1892 Select Committee was convened in order to revisit the same question. The managers argued that the educational and intellectual qualities of the drama would elevate the nature of music hall entertainments. Music hall managers’ application of barring

in Politics, performance and popular culture
The pleasure-seeking citizen

of public-house entertainment from the 1840s. During this period, proto-music hall entertainment emerged in London and across the country in places as varied as Birmingham, Nottingham, Bolton and Newcastle.24 The public houses that had successfully served food, drink and entertainment extended their premises to create singing saloons, which then developed into an independent institution. By the 1850s the Singing Saloon had grown into the music hall, some of which could boast capacities of 1,500 in the case of Bolton’s ‘The Star Music Hall’ and over 3,500 people in

in Leisure, citizenship and working-class men in Britain, 1850–1945
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Melodrama and Tory socialism

an affinity between the upper and working classes, citing the protests against Mrs Ormiston Chant’s attempt to screen the bar at the Empire, Leicester Square in her 1894 campaign against ‘indecency on the stage’ (Bland, 1992: 398). The screen was smashed by a group of ‘200–300 aristocratic rowdies’ led by a young Winston Churchill (Stedman Jones, 1983: 233); thus Humphry’s taste for music-hall entertainment situates him in a Tory tradition that unites him with the working-class Connie. The final line of the last published chapter of ‘Connie’ – Squire Munro

in Margaret Harkness
The British soldier in music hall song and sketch, c. 1880–1914

, p. 168. 8 P. Summerfield, ‘Patriotism and empire: music hall entertainment, 1870–1914’, in MacKenzie, Imperialism , pp. 31–3, argues for such a differentiation but does not always distinguish in her analysis between theatres and music halls. 9

in Popular imperialism and the military 1850–1950
Music-Hall entertainment, 1870–1914

. In contrast another historian, Laurence Senelick, concludes his study of the political content of music-hall songs by agreeing with Hobson about the manipulative Conservatism of music hall entertainment, though Senelick’s conclusions on the success of this manipulation are ambiguous. At one point he suggests that music-hall politics grew into a ‘creed’ which explains ‘why the downtrodden British

in Imperialism and Popular Culture