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Lancashire Post

Performing on cruise ships is not all plain sailing 150 150 mhamer

Performing on cruise ships is not all plain sailing

Hi folks! Here is my July @leponline sadly I have to report that this wonderful Passenger Shipping Company is no longer trading, and is now a casualty, and another repercussion of Covid 19. #StaySafe

Jimmy Cricket talks about performing on cruise ships in his latest newspaper column – and how it’s not always as idyllic as it sounds!

In the 27 July edition of the Lancashire Post, Jimmy recalls one particular time when things did not go to plan.

He posted a copy of his column (above) on social media and a full transcript of it is below.

As a postscript to his message, Jimmy said: “Hi folks! Here is my July @leponline 

“Sadly I have to report that this wonderful Passenger Shipping Company is no longer trading, and is now a casualty, and another repercussion of Covid 19. #StaySafe”

Scrumptious grub

You know I met my good lady on a cruise ship.

We stood on the deck looking out on the moonlight glimmering on the waves and she said, “You know you remind me of the sea”.

I said, “You mean I’m rough and rugged?”

She said, “No, you make me sick!”

I wish I had a disinfectant cleaned ten pound note for every person that’s said to me how much they envy me sailing round the world seeing all the sights and tucking into scrumptious grub and getting paid for the privilege.

Now I don’t want to seem ungrateful for all this.

And I’d be telling a lie if I said I didn’t pinch myself whenever looked out of the cabin window, as the ship sailed into breathtakingly beautiful places like Venice.

Having said all that, being a passenger and an entertainer on board are two very different things, especially if you are a comedian.

If you tickle their funny bone on the night it’s your turn to perform, you can strut around the decks the next morning with your chest out drinking in the compliments.

However, if your humour doesn’t appeal to them and you struggle during your spot, you feel like you want to hide in your cabin and get your meals pushed under the door.

Here’s the thing folks it may not be your fault because cruise ships, like life itself, can throw you a curve.

I’m going to give you an example and l warn you, if you’re of a nervous disposition then look away now.

A few years back, I was booked to do a stint on a cruise ship with one of the big cruise companies.

Collective groans

I flew to Honolulu via LA and joined the ship.

The next night after I arrived on board the Captain himself came on the intercom in the cabin to say he was very sorry but the ship had developed engine trouble and that when we docked in Auckland, New Zealand, it would have to stay there for a few days and we wouldn’t now be visiting Bora Bora, Wellington.

As he reeled off the names of these exotic places I could almost hear the collective groans of the passengers.

Remember this was a round-the-world cruise and most of them had paid a small fortune to be on there.

Some had even made arrangements to meet friends and family at these ports.

An air of despondency settled over the ship and the next morning a group of angry passengers attended a hastily arranged meeting to see what legal action could be taken against the shipping company.

The next night I was due to do my spot and I toyed with the idea of jumping over board and heading for the nearest shore.

It was either that or play to a roomful of disgruntled passengers and from where I stood on the deck the sharks seemed a much more pleasant option.

I finally succumbed to my senses and did my show. I won’t say I did badly but after my show they held a minute’s silence.

You’ll be happy to know, dear readers, that I’ve shook off the emotional scars from that incident and in Easter 2021 (lockdown permitting), I’ll be doing cabaret on a Maritime Cruises ship, The Columbus, and we’ll be stopping off at ports around Great Britain and the Channel Islands.

Stay safe and healthy.

 

LEP column was epitaph to the ‘wonderful’ Vera Lynn 150 150 mhamer

LEP column was epitaph to the ‘wonderful’ Vera Lynn

Hi folks! I had no idea when I wrote this May @leponline column it would be as an epitaph to this wonderful performer and humanitarian. R.I.P. our Vera!

Jimmy Cricket’s latest newspaper column was devoted to Dame Vera Lynn – just weeks before she died.

Dame Vera passed away on Thursday (18 June) aged 103.

She was known the Forces’ Sweetheart, whose songs helped raise morale in World War Two.

The Queen, Prince Charles and Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney were among those to pay their respects to her.

People knew her best for her wartime anthem We’ll Meet Again.

Jimmy’s column in the Preston-based Lancashire Post on 18 May (above) was all about Dame Vera.

The headline read: Remembering the forces’ WWII sweetheart Vera Lynn.

He tweeted on the day she died: “Hi folks! I had no idea when I wrote this May@leponline column it would be as an epitaph to this wonderful performer and humanitarian.
“R.I.P. our Vera! Performing arts

The BBC reported: “Six weeks ago, ahead of the 75th anniversary of VE Day and during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Dame Vera said simple acts of bravery and sacrifice still define our nation.

“A week later, she became the oldest artist to get a top 40 album in the UK.”

The BBC recalled that Dame Vera had sold more than a million records by the age of 22.

The article added that she “was also remembered for singing The White Cliffs Of Dover, There’ll Always Be An England, I’ll Be Seeing You, Wishing and If Only I Had Wings.

“The Queen echoed her famous WW2 anthem during a speech to Britons who were separated from families and friends during the coronavirus lockdown in April, telling the nation: ‘We will be with our friends again, we will be with our families again, we will meet again.'”

Looking on the lighter side of the lockdown 150 150 mhamer

Looking on the lighter side of the lockdown

Jimmy Cricket talks about life under the lockdown in his latest newspaper column.

Jimmy Cricket talks about life under the lockdown in his latest newspaper column.

The UK government announced on 23 March it was imposing strict new curbs on life in the country following the global outbreak of coronavirus.

It has included restrictions on leaving the house and also meant people observing social distancing when they are in public.

Jimmy, 74, tells readers of the Lancashire Post in his own inimitable way to “come closer but stay two metres away”.
The famous Northern Irish comedian says: “I’m having nothing to do with this coronavirus. I’m washing my hands of the whole thing.”
During the lockdown, Jimmy has been producing daily videos containing jokes and posting them on his social media channels.
‘Lift people’s spirits’
He has branded them part of a We’re doing this together series.
The veteran entertainer says in his column: “I think it’s important for someone like me to lift people’s spirits during these trying times.

“So after lunch I’ll put on my hat and wellies on and record some jokes and birthday wishes to send out on social media.

“I’m so blessed that my good lady May is such a whizz kid on modern technology, so she acts as director and producer on these little movies.”

He says he puts aside some time each evening to phone his friends.

“They’re all going to be in, that’s for sure.”

Jimmy adds: “We also look forward to our family get-together through Zoom and Skype.

“We get to see to see the latest drawings and stories from our grandkids, and extended family.”

 

Nicholas Parsons: TV and radio star was ‘a remarkable man’

The late Nicholas Parsons is the subject of Jimmy Cricket's latest newspaper column.

Actor, presenter and broadcaster Parsons died in January at the age of 96 after a short illness. Here's how BBC News reported his death. Tributes were paid to him from across the entertainment world, including from the likes of Stephen Fry and Graham Norton. Comedian Jimmy worked with him on The Joke Machine, a children's sketch series which aired as part of CITV in the UK. In his Lancashire Post column for March, Jimmy recalls one of the sketches involving Parsons and paid tribute to him. He recalls: "Although it was only a short sketch, it rained incessantly that morning and everybody had to run for shelter.
'Unforgettable few hours'
"The nearest refuge for me was the car. So I promptly parked my Rickshaw up against a lamppost and jumped into the passenger seat. "There, over a bacon butty and carton of tea each, Nicholas told me the story of his astonishing career." Jimmy says it was "an unforgettable few hours with a remarkable man".
Parsons also appeared on the Benny Hill Show for several years and fronted ITV's popular Sale of the Century. His other TV appearances included Have I Got News For You, while he played master of ceremonies on Radio 4 show Just a Minute. Also read: Nicholas Parsons: A great career and will be sadly missed Below is how the BBC broke the news of Nicholas Parsons' death.

Nicholas Parsons: TV and radio star was ‘a remarkable man’ 150 150 mhamer
The tall Texan who saved the day in Rochdale 150 150 mhamer

The tall Texan who saved the day in Rochdale

My Feb @leponline column folks, here I tell how at the very last minute, the Texan @AndrewJBoyer with his great voice, saved the Remembrance Day Concert at the Rochdale Town Hall for me and my fellow performers, which was in aid of the Lord Mayor, Billy Sherrin's Charities!

Jimmy Cricket has recalled the story about a Texan who came to the rescue in an English town.

Let’s hear it for the wee man is a musical which Jimmy created a few years ago.
It is about Northern Ireland’s only recipient of the Victoria Cross, submariner James Magennis.
The musical was performed in front of 300 people in aid of the Mayor of Rochdale’s charity appeal on Remembrance Day last year.
However, as Jimmy recounts in his latest Lancashire Post column, a week before the event, the singer playing the title role pulled out.
So Jimmy and wife May frantically began looking for a replacement and even put a plea out on social media channel Facebook.
And just a few days before the concert at Rochdale Town Hall, a Texan called Andrew J Boyer called them.
Andrew J Boyer will play war hero Jim Magennis in Jimmy Cricket's musical at Rochdale Town Hall on Remembrance SundayAndrew (pictured left) is a 24-year-old piano-vocalist from Dallas who had just moved to Salford.
He has been a performer for almost a decade, and sings and plays the piano from time to time on cruise ships.

The musical tells the courageous story of Magennis who joined the Royal Navy aged 15.

He won the UK’s highest military honour for his bravery onboard a midget sub that attacked the Japanese cruiser Takao on 31 July 1945.

His job was to attach six mines to the enemy vessel in the risky covert operation in Singapore Harbour.

Jimmy and @RochdaleMayor Coun Billy Sheerin having a good old yarn about the James Magennis play

Jimmy with Bill Sherrin, the Mayor of Rochdale

However, he ran into difficulties and faced grave danger.

But he persisted with the mission before returning to the sub exhausted.

King George VI recognised his heroics by awarding him the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry.

Magennis continued his service until 1949 when he returned home with his wife Edna Skidmore and their four sons.

In 1952, he lost his job and was forced to sell his VC medal.

However, an anonymous benefactor later returned it to him on the condition he did not sell it again.

Blue plaque

Magennis spent the rest of his life in Yorkshire working as an electrician before dying of cancer in 1986 aged 66.

His heroics were commemorated in 2018 with a special blue plaque in his honour.

Belfast-born Jimmy, who has lived in Rochdale for many years, wrote both the words and the music for the play.

It also featured actor Charles Lawson, actress and singer Sue Devaney and comedian Jimmy himself.

Find out where Jimmy is performing and his other forthcoming shows by viewing all his tour dates on this website.
My chance meeting with ‘courageous’ BBC journalist 150 150 mhamer

My chance meeting with ‘courageous’ BBC journalist

Here is my November LEP column where I tell of my chance meeting with this wonderful courageous lady @OrlaGuerin in Manchester Airport on my way to New York this summer!

Jimmy Cricket has been recalling the moment he met a BBC TV news reporter on his way to catch a plane.

The famous entertainer was travelling to the United States to attend his daughter Jamie’s wedding earlier this year.

In his latest Lancashire Post column, Jimmy tells about his encounter with news presenter Orla Guerin.

He posted the image above and an accompanying comment on Twitter about his November column.

Jimmy said: “I tell of my chance meeting with this wonderful courageous lady @OrlaGuerin in Manchester Airport on my way to New York this summer!🎭

Orla Guerin MBE is an Irish journalist currently working as a BBC International Correspondent based in Istanbul.

Jimmy says: “How many times have we looked at our television screens and heard those dulcet Irish tones calling out from some war-ravaged part of the globe?

“Shining a light on injustice, holding dictators to task and giving a platform to the oppressed and downtrodden?

‘Spoke with affection’

“Now here she was standing opposite me uttering these immortal words ‘what’s your surname again?’

“Yes readers, I was face to face with BBC correspondent Orla Guerrin. And she couldn’t have been nicer.

“We weren’t in a life-threatening situation now, although going through security at Manchester Airport can be quite stressful.

“Orla was a delight.

“She smiled and, after she’d retrieved her belongings from the security belt, Mrs Cricket took a photograph of the two of us.

“Then, later on in the airport lounge, we talked about comedy and the entertain industry.

“She spoke with affection about the entertainers from her hometown in Dublin that we both knew.

“Then she was off to Istanbul for another assignment and we were off to New York for our daughter Jamie’s wedding.”

My football song intended to inspire Rochdale FC 150 150 mhamer

My football song intended to inspire Rochdale FC

Jimmy Cricket writes about football chants in his latest column in the Lancashire Post

Jimmy Cricket writes about football chants in his latest newspaper column.

The June article in the Lancashire Post begins: “The other morning I was eating my breakfast and it was going, snap crackle and pop, which surprised me. It was a kipper.

Then for some reason football songs came into my head. You know the ones fans sing to cheer on their favourite team. I don’t mean the things they chant like, ‘What a load of rubbish’, or, “There’s only one ‘insert coach or manager’s name here.’

No I mean the songs they adopt from other sources. Take the jazz classic, When the Saints Go Marching In, Manchester United fans have changed it to, When The Reds Go Marching In. West Ham fans have hijacked an old Music Hall song called, I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, and wait till you hear this:

My son, who is a catholic Priest, (he calls me dad and I call him father), was given a a treat a few weeks ago when one of the parishioners in Salford invited him to Liverpool’s ground Anfield, to watch them take on Leicester City.

He said when the home crowd broke into, You’ll Never Walk Alone, the emotion was palpable. When my other son Dale, took his family to Portugal recently they went to see Sporting Lisbon play and the home fans were singing My Way.

All this is leading up to a secret I want to share with you: Many moons ago when I first arrived in my adopted town Rochdale, the local football were languishing at the bottom of their division and I, like a lot of club comics at the time did jokes chronicling their ineptitude.

Things like, I rang Rochdale Football Club and asked them what time was the kick off this coming Saturday. The voice at the other end said, ‘What time can you make it?’, and there’s more. The steward saw two guys climbing the wall at Rochdale Football Club. He shouted, ‘Hey, you two get back in and watch the match!’