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Max Wall and Me! 7.30pm

Tuesday 24 January 2017 £7Book now

A talk by Michael Pointon

Max Wall, who is buried in Highgate Cemetery East, is one of the great British comedians of the 20th century, as anyone who saw his character Professor Wallofski will attest.

Born Maxwell George Lorimer in Brixton, he made his stage debut as Jack in Mother Goose, going on to appear in many musicals and stage comedies in the 1930s. His distinctive facial expressions and mournful voice led to many parts in films after the war including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He played serious parts, too: Vladimir in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot being perhaps the best known.

Max’s close friend Michael Pointon, who is writing a personal memoir about him, will regale the audience with anecdotes and insights. Max was a friend of another star buried at Highgate, Leslie ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson, and Michael will tell us about that friendship and play music Max and Hutch recorded together. The talk will be illustrated with film clips and excerpts from Max’s performances.

Doors open 7pm

Peter Rabbit and a Lasting Friendship: Beatrix Potter and the Warne Family

Thursday 23 February 2017 £7Book now

A talk by Libby Joy, 7.30pm

Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) and Norman Warne (1868-1905) were both born in London within two years of each other, but their experiences were very different until their paths crossed in 1901, thanks to a familiar rabbit.

Beatrix and her younger brother led a cloistered life in a humourless Unitarian family; Norman was the youngest of eight children in a large and noisily cheerful household.

Libby Joy will explore Beatrix’s unlikely friendship with the Warne family, whose family grave is in Highgate Cemetery West, which lasted until her death and grew out of the relationship between the author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and her Warne editor, and she looks at its effect on the writing of the little books that have captivated generations.

Libby is a Trustee and former Chairman of The Beatrix Potter Society, and currently edits its quarterly journal and newsletter. She has researched and written about the life of Beatrix Potter for many years.

Doors open 7pm

Bert Jansch and his Peers 7.30pm

Thursday 23 March 2017 £7Book now

A talk by Max Reinhardt

Recognised as one of the great influences on modern fingerstyle playing, Bert Jansch, who is buried in Highgate Cemetery East together with his wife Loren Auerbach, was among the greatest folk guitarists of his generation. Alongside his bandmate John Renbourn, and Davy Graham, he forged a path along which others followed. Echoes of his playing can be found even in great guitarists such as Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, who realised Jansch’s style could accompany folk songs in a way which would make them flourish.

Max Reinhardt, who presents BBC3’s Late Junction, will put Jansch into the context of his peers and the music they were making, and will illustrate the talk with examples of their playing.

Doors open 7pm

Sidney Nolan at 100: Still Radical 7.30pm

Tuesday 25 April 2017 £7Book now

A talk by Simon Mundy

Sir Sidney Nolan was born in Melbourne on 22 April 1917, so this talk comes three days after what would have been his 100th birthday.

Nolan was one of Australia’s leading artists of the 20th century. His oeuvre is among the most diverse and prolific in all of modern art. He is best known for his series of paintings on legends from Australian history, most famously Ned Kelly, the bushranger and outlaw. Nolan’s stylised depiction of Kelly’s armour has become an icon of Australian art.

Simon Mundy, poet, novelist, biographer and friend of Nolan, has written a short biography especially for Nolan’s centenary. This talk will cover Nolan’s life and mark the anniversary of his wife Mary’s burial with him in Highgate Cemetery East.

Doors open 7pm

The Marx Memorial Lecture: Marx and The Russian Revolution

Thursday 4 May 2017 £10Book now

A Talk by Professor Stephen Smith

On the eve of Marx’s 199th birthday, Professor Stephen Smith will look into the effect Marx had on the Russian Revolution in 1917.

Professor Smith is Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. His research interests are in the histories of modern Russia and China and in comparative communism. He is currently writing a book on the politics of the supernatural which compares the efforts of communist regimes in the Soviet Union (1917-41) and the People’s Republic of China (1949-76) to eliminate superstition from daily life.

Doors open 7pm