What Ho Chaps & Chapettes

Following on from my previous blog  Angels & Demons

Angels or Demons

I thought I share with you the perceived terror that was The Yellow Peril and on which The Author Sax Rohmer’s based his Archetype Evil Criminal Genius Dr Fu Manchu.

And so from across the China Seas from the mystic east came the Yellow Peril, the dealers in The White Slave Trade and The Dope Trade.
The most renowned of The Dope Traders was Brilliant (Billy) Chang
(real name Chan Nan ) was said to have arrived in England in 1913 and went on to become a Chinese restaurateur and Drug Dealer.

He was to become one of the ultimately vilified, but enthralling characters of the decade.

It is said that Brilliant Chang was introduced to the “Dope Scene” and to the Heroin, Cocaine, Opium, Hashish and other substances that he dealt in by the hansom Jamaican Musician and criminal Edgar Manning who was known to have several white woman as lovers.

Manning became known as the “dope-king” of 1920s London and is believed to have used a hollowed-out, silver-topped walking stick to carry the cocaine in.

Brilliant Chang is known to have had a predilection for young aristocratic gals.   Many of them went on to become his customers, and some he said to have even taken as lovers.

It is said that his favorite technique to entrap these young gals was to have a waiter in his restaurant pass a note to appealing girls saying that he admired them and would like to have a quiet dinner with them sometime.

It is said that he had a laid-back manner was charismatic and his exotic appeal meant that he was able to build up a large female clientel, all vying for his attention.

One of the many London Night Clubs that Brilliant Chang supply to was The Silver Slipper, run by the infamous Mrs Kate Meybrick

Kate Meybrick was the wife of a respectable doctor, turned to running nightclubs as a means of funding her six children’s education at Harrow and Roe dean.

Ma’ Meyrick’s as Kate’s numerous night clubs including the Silver Slipper where to become know as were frequently raided for breaking the drinking curfew.

At the time it was illegal to sell alcohol after midnight, a law that Kate Meybrick chose to often break resulting in her going to prison five times and once for bribing a vice squad detective.
Ma Meybricks patrons however where not deterred by any of her criminality.

Patrons who included European Kings Prince & Princes, Dukes & Earls, she employed her own daughters as dance girls this was a smart move, as three of her daughters married into the peerage.

Gangsters, Heiress, Showgirls and the screen idols Rudolph Valentino and actress Tallulah Bankhead also patronised Ma Meybricks.

Tallulah Bankhead was beautiful and brilliantly witty actress with a breathy voice that captivated theatre audiences.

Tallulah was also notorious for her bisexuality and promiscuity behaviour and renowned for her Exhibition/Voyeurism.

Cocaine became associated with the nightclub scene and jazz, the new music imported from America, the drugs genie was out of the bottle.

Disapproval by the establishment of their chosen lifestyle and music choice only fuelled the younger generation’s obsession with jazz and the new, energetic dances that accompanied it, such as the Black Bottom

and Charleston to go to extremes and to use Cocaine keep them awake.

The extent of drug use among dance girls became known as a result of the tragic death of a pretty young woman named Freda Kempton, who worked at Brett’s dance hall, one of Mrs Meybrick’s establishments.

A middle-class girl who had become a dancer after her father abandoned the family, Freda began taking cocaine to remain vibrant and full of energy even at 4am. She died from a cocaine overdose in 1922.

In the last few weeks of her life, Freda became one of the many lovers of Chinese restaurateur Brilliant (Billy) Chang.
It is said that Brilliant (Billy) Chang supplied Freda Kempton with cocaine in return for sex.

Police however found insufficient evidence to connect Brilliant Chang to the cocaine that killed Freda Kempton.

Brilliant (Billy) Chang by now in his 30s was small — barely 5ft tall — but is said to have been exceptionally dapper.

Brilliant Chang was known to wear grey suede shoes, fur-collared coats and his thick black hair was said to be so shiny women rushed to run their hands through it.

Chang was easily cast in the role of the evil Chinese opium mastermind of the popular imagination by both the police and the public.

Brilliant Chang fitted the bill perfectly as the personification of depraved Oriental cunning, the evil foreign dope king corrupting innocent white girls.

The combination of drug taking and the consequence of inter-racial sex between white women and a Chinese man reflected popular worries about “white slavery” that was prevalent  at the time, driven by press reporting.

Brilliant Chang  was depicted as the “Limehouse Spider” in the American press, 1924

Just two months after the tragic death of Freda Kempton, in May 1922 the film Cocaine was released which told the tale of a girl from the country who becomes a cocaine addict in London, helped by a Chinese dealer

Novels by the  British author Sax Rohmer’s
Fu-Manchu series which had been published since 1913 and featured a Chinese villain based in Limehouse reflected popular worries about “white slavery” and the evil foreign dope king corrupting innocent white girls.

Dr. Fu Manchu however, was an entirely fictitious character introduced in a series of novels by British author Sax Rohmer during the first half of the twentieth century,
Dr.  Fu Manchu conversely became the archetype of the evil criminal geniu.

In 1925 the author Sax Rohmer book Yellow Shadows was published which featured a Chinese villain by the name of “Burma Chang”, it has been suggested “Burma Chang” was created on Brilliant Chang
In 1931 Sax Rohmer returned to the series of Fu Manchu with
The Daughter of Fu Manchu.

Many actors of the Silver Screen have played This archetypal evil criminal genius .
Boris Karloff was Fu Manchu in the 1932 film The Mask Of Fu Manchu.

Christopher Lee played the Evil Fu Manchu is numerous films.

as did Peter Sellers, however his portrayal was more “Tongue in cheek”
The character of Fu Manchu has featured extensively on the wireless / radio, in comic strips, and comic books and in cinema and television,  for over 90 years.

And so we decided that as we love to live “Outside The Box”  with plenty of “Blue Sky Thinking” thrown in we have based our next dance loosely on this Evil Criminal Genius.

And therefore with the venue dressed we
Welcome everyone to Fu Manchu’s China Town for a Night of Dancing & Frivolity.


Until Next Time
Rosie Lea xx