Michael Flagg, author of 'From Punch and Judy to Haute Cuisine'- A Biography on the Life and Times of Arthur Edwin Simms 1915-2003
Michael Flagg is a retired university lecturer who also dabbles in the theatre. He credits his hero Arthur Simms, with giving him his "second chance" in life, staying in touch with him right up until Arthur's death in 2003. Two years earlier, he made a promise to Arthur, his mentor and inspiration, that he would publish Arthur's story.This fascinating biography and memoir is the result.
Geoff Felix, a leading Punch and Judy performer, maker of ventriloquial figures is also the author of two books: 'My life with Punch' by Joe Beeby 1993 ISBN 0952137100 and 'Conversations with Punch' edited by G. Felix 1994 ISBN 0952137119. Geoff undertook his own research on Arthur's father 'Quisto', a well known Punch and Judy performer to royal children at Buckingham Palace as well as a creator of ventrioquial figures, which had helped Geoff with his own ideas. Geoff has used his specialist expertise and his unique access to Arthur's account of assisting his father as a boy, to contribute to Chapter 1.
The remaining thirteen chapters have involved considerable research over seven years by the biographer who was one of the many hundreds of Arthur's students at Portsmouth Highbury College Hampshire England. Leaving Portsmouth with the then Membership of the Hotel Catering and Institutional Management Association Examinations and City and Guilds of London 151 certificate in professional cookery, Michael Flagg started as an Assistant Restaurant Manager for J. Lyons, Clifford Street Mayfair London.
At the Royal Garden Hotel (Oddeninos) Kensington W8 he was firstly a controller, night auditor and then sales executive, which required on-foot promotion of rooms and conference facilities to business houses and travel agents in the west end and city. He then moved to Gardner-Merchant Industrial Caterers as a Training Instructor for new unit managers, which led to seventeen years of full-time lecturing in hotel administration subjects at Westminster Kingsway College.
After gaining two part-time degrees in Business Studies and in Human Resources Planning, he then entered higher education at the Polytechnic of North London (later London Metropolitan University), for a further eighteen years including eight years as the Programme Leader for the BA(Hons) International Hospitality Management and sixteen as a visiting lecturer at Schiller International University, London Waterloo.
Throughout his working life Michael has also followed his love of the theatre, starting with a two-year part time acting diploma at Mountview Theatre School Crouch Hill London(1967-69) and twelve years with the Tavistock Repertory Company (London) at Canonbury Tower Islington.(1970-74,76-78 and 81-82). He also performed with other companies at The Cockpit, Webber Douglas, Rudolph Steiner Regent's Park and the Kenneth More Theatre Ilford Essex including some directing. Now, living in Broadstairs Kent, he performs for the Dickens Players and the Hilderstone Players and has taken on professional engagements with Gordon Clarkson Productions at Margate. He is also part of the award-winning history of 'St Peter's-in-Thanet Village Tour' of costumed characters during the summer season, in the role of John Wesley.www.villagetour.co.uk