The scene depicted here goes back in time during the period the last war. The Victoria close to the George street Bridge. Granville Square area corner. It has now been pulled down and only the ghosts of the past of men who supped Hancock’s or Lloyds beer and sang the night away to the tune of the old Joanna.
Played By Frank Jacobs who had been born with no arms and played the piano.
Frank lived at Maesglas Road not far from the author. The Jacobs family home was struck by a lightening thunder bolt, which blew off roof tiles and chimney-stack. Frank overcame this disablement for those days not much disablement help was available. Frank often played at the Victoria on a weekend nights. Frank never complained and was a good trooper. Frank Jacobs did appear on the Empire music hall I believe.
Only the painting and memory of this scene of my youth remain.
Recalling how I went one evening with several lads we were very much under age for drinking.One mate in a whisper said Frank would play soon. I Witnessed Frank hooking a pint pot onto his big toe.
He drank his portion and then commenced playing. Plonking the ivories of the piano with great gusto.What a night this became of simple singsong. Enjoyable to hear and live through I treasure those time past.
I dedicate these pages and images to Frank Jacobs Memory.
In my harmless innocuous childhood day’s my playmate and girl friend was Frank’s young sister.
Oil on Canvas 36 x 24
Donated To the Red Cross for Land mine victims. Auctioned by Jefrey Archer.
Also exhibited at St David’s Hall tenth anniversary exhibition
0 thoughts on “The Piano Player”
The person depicted in this story is in fact Tommy “Toes” Jacobsen. Tommy was originally a boy from Pill but did for a time live in Maesglas. He was trained as a sign writer but eventually toured the USA and the UK in one of these circus shows that toured around the countries where he performed tricks like shaving men with his toes, firing a rifle and playing the piano at which he was very accomplished. I have quite a number of photo’s of Tommy and also of his grave in the Panteg cemetery. He died in Cwmbran on 3rd October 1973, aged 52.