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Krisgar
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Bedfordshire, UK
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In the UK on Channel4 we have a programme airing at the moment about the way travelling communities opperate and celebrate weddings, they are huge and very grand occasions. On the programme there was a DJ, I'm not sure if he was part of the travelling community, that was never highlighted.

Has any entertainer here, or know of anyone that has entertained at such an event. How did it go? or isit a common occurance that I just haven't had yet?
Krisgar Entertainments
Childrens Entertainer in Bedfordshire
Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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Many years ago, about '95, I performed at a birthday party for a little girl from a family of Irish Travelers. It didn't go well, the kids were wild, the parents wouldn't participate or help in any way, and I had to find the mom after the party to get paid, AND she seemed to resent paying me. My act is much better now, plus I use a sound system, so I think I could avoid some of these problems now. But I probably wouldn't have even gotten the show because I used to work really cheap, too cheap, and I doubt they would have booked me if I were charging anywhere close to what I charge now.
David Pitts
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Al Angello
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Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
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Travelers is a new one on me. I have heard them called Roma, Roman, and Romanie. Is there a difference?
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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Al Angello
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Mr Pitts
I can't believe that you were performing 95 years ago, you look so good for your age. LOL
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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keeblem
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Quote:
On 2011-02-09 11:05, Al Angello wrote:
Travelers is a new one on me. I have heard them called Roma, Roman, and Romanie. Is there a difference?


I think it's because in Britain there are two types of Gypsies - Irish and Roma, so I think Travellers is a PC term to incoporate both of them.

I have never performed for them, but I was speaking to a wedding photographer the other day who did do a job for a gypsy wedding and he described them as "a law unto themselves" Smile

Mark
rossmacrae
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Before I retired, I did several birthday shows for American gypsies. For some reason this one family called me several times with different "customer names" every time, so I never knew I had served them before and I kept bringing the same show - they had to be bored of it after the 4th time!

Anyway, that culture seems to like things to be boisterous, and I needed to try not to get upset when the show would get interrupted multiple times by the arrival of Aunt This or Uncle That insisting that their immense armload of presents get unwrapped immediately. Other than that, things went OK.
Russell Davidson
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I wouldn't give travellers the time of day in the UK. In my area they are known as pikeys, or do as you likeys.

They are without a doubt the most awful collection of people you'd ever want to meet let alone work for. Fighting is part of life for them so violence would be an issue & I doubt you'd get paid.

Can't speak for other parts of the world but in the UK I'd steer well clear.
TonyB2009
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I have performed several times for Irish travellers. Travellers are boisterous, unruly, and fun. I have never had a difficulty getting paid. Just don't expect them to sit quietly.

Often they can be generous tippers as well. If they have the money they are not scared of spending it.
Potty the Pirate
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Many travellers are lovely folk. I used to share a squat with an absolutely lovely Irish "Gypsy" as she insisted we call her. Though NOT "Gippo"! In fact, both terms are regarded as derogatory. She made me realise that the vast majority of travellers are actually very decent people, they just have a very different way of seeing things. Unfortunately it's the ones who trash the sites they live on, steal and vandalise around the local area, and are offensive and violent, that are the ones that make the headlines.
I've also entertained at a traveller's birthday party, but they were fairly wealthy, and the "caravan" was more like a luxury house. You didn't realise the place was actually mobile, until you looked beneath the fake bricks-and-mortar cladding around the bottom of the place, and saw the wheels!
The kids were pretty wild, it's true, but they were also a wonderful audience, albeit incredibly cheeky and unpredictable. They paid my full fee without ever asking for a discount, and gave me a nice tip.
;)
Potty the Pirate
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Here's a story about Mary-Ellen - the Gypsy lady I got to know very well when 10 of us were living in a squat in Tooting:
Mary-Ellen's life had been very troubled, her ex-husband was violent and had murdered two of her kids. She had four others, 3 of whom lived in the squat. They were ages 4, 6, and 8. One time not long after we all met, another of the squatters and I were heading into London, and agreed to take the 4 and 6 year olds with us. We went by tube, and from the moment we got on that train, they turned into the kids from hell. They were charging up and down the carriage, screaming and laughing, and taunting the other passengers. The more my mate and I tried to calm them and have them sit down, the more they played up. Nearing our destination, a woman with a child of about 5 boarded the train, and sat near us. Her little boy had a "Mars" bar (that's a "Milky Way" to you guys in the US). Seeing this, the 6-year old we were "in charge of" grabbed the candy and guzzled it down, running with glee down the carriage.
I was mortified, and paid the woman for the candy.....
The rest of the outing was similar, with these two kids behaving SO badly, like nothing I'd ever seen before.
We eventually got them (with some difficulty) back to the squat. I was EXHAUSTED!
The two kids reported to their mum that they'd had a fantastic time...they really had a good time, it seems!
Well, the thing that was remarkable, was that from that day forward, those gypsy kids were like little angels. I NEVER once saw them playing up again! I realised that it had been a test to see how we would react. I'm sure more subconscious than deliberate. Would we box them round the ears, swear at them, and have them cowering in fear? Because we didn't, and just dealt with them kindly, despite their bad behaviour, we'd passed their test. In time I became very fond of them, they were actually the sweetest, most adorable kids you could imagine. They even loved going to school (which unfortunately was a very rare treat for them).
We were all of the opinion that Social Services would have put them into care instantly if they knew of their circumstances. My belief then, (and it still is), is that this would have been a far greater problem than allowing them to grow up with practically no education. They were devoted to their mum, and putting them into care would definitely have resulted in that wicked side of their personalities being brought right to the fore.
Sadly Mary-Ellen and her kids vanished one day. She left a note to say that certain folks had caught up with her, and she had to leave. I often wonder what happened to those kids, it always struck me that they never had much of a chance in life. But at least in their hearts, they were kind, loving and funny, which I believe is more important than anything else.
Oh, God, that's made me feel so sad to remember. If I knew then what I know now.....
TonyB2009
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Hi Doug. Thanks for sharing that touching story with us. It is good to see that someone can look beyond the stereotypes and see the humanity in these people. Tony.
David Thiel
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Wonderful story, Doug!

Thank you for sharing it.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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rossmacrae
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In connection with my interest in fairground/carnival history, I wrote a page on Gypsies and Travelers - turns out to be overwhelmingly the most-viewed page on my site. 53,000 views and climbing ... and every now and then I get an outraged response (or the very occasional approving response) from a Gypsy.

You can see it HERE
TonyB2009
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Is it just me, or does anyone else find the comments of Russell Davidson offensive and racist? Most British travellers have Irish roots, and as an Irish man I am deeply offended by his rantings.
Potty the Pirate
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Yes, I agree Tony. But sadly he does voice an opinion that is held by a lot of english folk. The press have done little to change public opinion, you only read about travellers when it's negative stuff. I didn't see the Big Fat Wedding prog, but have noticed it's been all over the national papers - again full of negative rhetoric.
For some reason racism and bigotry in the UK seems to be OK, so long as it's directed to our own people and religions. I'm glad that I'm a Welsh/Scot, and have not a drop of english blood in me!
Russell Davidson
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Sorry you're offended Tony but I can only speak from experience. The traveller community I have encountered have caused many problems in my life. I have witnessed first hand violence, theft & total disregard for the law or anyone's feelings.

They may not be all the same but I won't be taking any more chances. If that makes me a racist then so be it.
TonyB2009
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Yes, Russell, it makes you a racist and a bigot. There's nothing more to add, really. I don't accept justifications for racism.
Tony James
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This term 'traveller' is accurate, all-embracing and very old. My maternal Grandmother was a traveller. As she died before I was born and my own mother died when I was only a few months old I never knew my maternal side for a very long time. But when I did, it answered many questions. I am a traveller. It can be a confusing term.

The problem lies with its general application to a very wide and differing range of types of people who travel. Some are semi-settled and are thieves and vandals and a curse on their surroundings. People speak as they find and understandably if you have your property devalued and your possessions stolen and trashed, you will be wanting such people to move on or be moved on and not to return.

Others are also semi-settled and honest workers, good family people who live as well as anyone in the surrounding houses. Some lack of understanding will always exist as generally people keep themselves to themselves. House dwellers might be surprised at some aspects of their house-life they considerer essential which certain travellers - gypsies particularly - find unhygienic and quite unacceptable.

You might also be surprised by the personal lifestyles of many travellers. They respect their families, respect themselves, sometimes the girls dress like tarts but believe me, mostly marry as virgins and maintain a strong Christian belief.

One reason why people generally use the term 'travellers' is to avoid the complications of separating out the different types of traveller, all of whom fiercely defend their own lifestyle as quite different to those of all the other travellers.

Part of my family worked and lived alongside one of the most well known of UK Gypsy families - the Boswells - at the turn of the 19th/20th century when Blackpool was developing around what is now the Pleasure Beach. I learnt from an early age that Romanies are people to be respected as any other.

There is a world of difference between Romanies, Irish Tinkers, Pykies, New Age Travellers (the travelling Hippies of the 60s and 70s), fairground families and workers, Circus families and workers and people like me who, like my maternal Grandmother a hundred years ago, travel my show around the UK outdoor showgrounds from Easter to October and the town and city centres the rest of the year.

Any group of people, whoever they are will be a mix of the good and the not so good - in every application of that word.

It is a fact that in the UK people who travel are often of 'No Fixed Abode' which infers distrust. Indeed, at one time the police could stop and check your address and if a traveller - of no fixed abode - demand proof of self sufficiency. You had to produce a shilling (one twelfth of a pound sterling) as that was considered the minimum required to obtain a nights lodging. That fell into disuse in the 1970s. Indeed, and again until only a few years ago, any actor or entertainer was automatically considered under the Vagrancy Act along with Thieves and Vagabonds.

You see, the people who create the rules live in big houses and only ever dream of running away to live in the circus.

Anyone really interested in UK entertainers and travellers of old should consult the UK Census Returns from 100 and more years ago. Here they will find the people recorded who lived in caravans where they were on Census Day. My neighbour recently checked an old census for his and the surrounding cottages. Surprising result. They were being used as theatrical lodgings.

Some cottages had people from the local theatre show who were of 'no fixed abode' - many variety/vaudeville acts owned no property and spent their entire lives in lodgings. His cottage was accommodating a Mr Fred Karno whose company were in the other cottages. He had Bed and Board and it appears also the use of the landlord's daughter who he took with him when he moved on and eventually married her when it was lawful. At the time she was only 14. I think he eventually left her here in the UK when he moved to America.

And next door was lodging another of his company who went with him to America. A Mr Charles Chaplin.

I wonder whatever happened to him?
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
Russell Davidson
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Quote:
On 2011-03-15 05:50, TonyB2009 wrote:
Yes, Russell, it makes you a racist and a bigot. There's nothing more to add, really. I don't accept justifications for racism.


Well maybe one day someone will invade your life, make it a misery & commit acts of violence towards you. Then you can be aloof & still love them regardless.
magicgeorge
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Quote:
On 2011-03-15 09:45, Russell Davidson wrote:
Well maybe one day someone will invade your life, make it a misery & commit acts of violence towards you.


Insert 1970s marriage gag here.

I sincerely hope nothing of the sort happens to Tony but if it did maybe he'd view that "someone" as a bad person rather than that person's community or culture.

I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience, Russell. It doesn't justify your opinions though.
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