Author: Brent Ashley


I am doing my bit to preserve some history.

My friend Hugh Robert Lane Smith is 90 years old. He has had a long career as a Music Hall style piano entertainer and ventriloquist under the name of London Bobby, performing at pubs, expositions, and on cruise ships. Along the way he collected a gold record, royal attention, and the lasting admiration of fans worldwide. You can see him standing there in the picture from 1973 at the top of this blog post, resplendent in his hat and jacket covered with mother-of-pearl buttons.

The Music Hall style of entertainment and the Cockney Pearly Kings and Queens represent a bygone era and these entertainers along with their craft are slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past.

Bob himself developed and maintained a website for some time with details of his own history and that of his peers and links to videos and sound clips. Unfortunately, over time, control of his domain lapsed and needs to be regained, and the hosting expired and was deleted, so there are some tricky bits that need to be navigated and the content needs to be rescued and rebuilt. Bob has expressed that he would like this information to remain in public view after he is gone and wants someone to act as a steward.

I have offered to take on this project for my friend, to restore his site to its original glory and to undertake its ongoing maintenance. To make this happen, I will visit Bob at his home in Spain and endeavour to resolve issues, collect photos and memorabilia, and share ongoing maintenance of various social media accounts.

Huge thanks to Arctiq – as an Arctiq employee I am pleased to have tremendous flexibility and support to undertake a project like this that promotes personal growth and wellness and contribution to society at large. I will soon be spending a week with Bob to tackle these issues and I will share some of the technical lessons learned here on my Arctiq blog.

Keep an eye out for my updates!

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