Cabaret mechanical theatre
moved to Covent Garden, London (from Falmouth) in 1985 and some of my wooden machines
joined the collection. Sue Jackson encouraged me to make a machine to stand outside so I
made the Chiropodist. It developed a loyal following and collected lots of money. The
income of all my Cabaret machines became enough to live off after a few years.
Unfortunately Cabaret was always in financial difficulties so eventually I let them take
all the money. This wasn't enough to turn its fortunes and Cabaret sadly closed in 1999,
though their website continues (www.cabaret.co.uk). The chiropodist, doctor and other slot
machines are now on the pier in Southwold, Suffolk.
THE CHIROPODIST 1986
Take off a shoe and put your foot into the treatment bay at the bottom of the machine.
Insert the money and the chiropodist looks down at your foot, twiddles her thumbs rather
menacingly, and then drops down beneath her desk. You then feel strange things happening
to your foot.
THE DOCTOR 1987
Hold the stethoscope to your stomach and you hear strange gurgling noises. The doctor
listens, nods as he makes up his mind and then writes out a prescription, which comes out
of the machine (totally illegible, like all real prescriptions).
The prototype writing
mechanism for the doctor, which I turned into a book signing machine after the publication
of Almost Everything There is to Know, to avoid having
to hover in bookshops, signing books myself.