David Price

Location: Rugby, Warwickshire
About me...

For more than 10 years now I’ve been giving talks to Women’s Institute branches, U3A monthly meetings, history societies, and other groups, as well as teaching adult education classes, bringing my unconventional view of history to as many people as possible. I’m the author of a book on the Cancan, the dance.

About my talks...

All of my talks are illustrated, many with film clips and music, and I have my own equipment – computer, projector, screen, extension leads – which is all PAT tested. The talks normally last 45 minutes to an hour, but the length can be adjusted if required. I will always answer (if I can!) questions at the end.


My fee for a group of up to about 50 people is £80, but for larger groups I charge a little more. I am based in Rugby, Warwickshire but willing to travel up to about hour into surrounding counties, particularly Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and West Midlands.

My Contact Details:

01788 334658

Kick and Frills: The Story of the French CanCan

Did you know that the first cancan dancers were men?! Or that the original dance was a ballroom dance, and it was only much later that it became an all-women chorus-line stage dance? These and other curious facts are revealed in my talk on the cancan, based on my book on the dance, Cancan!. The cancan first appeared in 1830 and by the 1860s people were describing it as the “French National Dance”, but it’s most associated with the 1890s, when Toulouse-Lautrec’s famous models La Goulue and Jane Avril were dancing at the Moulin Rouge. Illustrated with film clips (with music), and contemporary photographs, cartoons and paintings.

Notorious Ladies of the Night: the 19th Century Parisian Courtesans

In Second Empire Paris, the courtesans were regarded with more fascination than ladies of the aristocracy – and they were often as rich and nearly always better dressed! Yet many were originally poor working-class girls who had caught the eye of rich gentlemen and so embarked a career of pleasing men, being showered with gifts and money in return. They weren’t only sought after for sex: many were highly intelligent and witty conversationalists, well versed in the arts, literature, and politics – much more so than most “respectable” women of their day. Illustrated with photographs, cartoons and paintings from the period.

The Life and Times of Franz Lehár and The Merry Widow

Perhaps surprisingly, the operetta The Merry Widow was highly controversial when it was first performed in 1905. It actually caused riots in Croatia, and in Germany, a local dignitary called for it to be banned because it was so indecent! None of this prevented the composer Lehár becoming a millionaire many times over through its worldwide success. But notoriously it was Adolf Hitler’s favourite musical work – and this fact probably saved the life of Lehár’s Jewish wife when the Nazis marched into Austria. With video, photographs, and art works.

The Infamous Hollywood Production Code and its Effects on Musicals

The Production Code was self-censorship by the Hollywood film industry, introduced in the 1930s in response to increasingly risqué imagery and dialogue. This talk looks at musicals both before and after the Code, with some amusing examples of scenes that the censors hoped to prevent in future (nothing too shocking!). Before the Code, dancers’ costumes were often much more revealing, the dancing was much more suggestive, and the words of songs and the situations in which boy met girl sometimes “offended against common decency” – according to the men who created the rules, that is. Including film clips and photographs.

Women of the Russian Revolution

We often hear about the men who led the Russian Revolution in 1917 but very rarely anything about the women. There weren’t many intellectuals in Russia before the First World War, but many of those who did exist were women, and some played significant roles in the revolution. One of these, Alexandra Kollontai, became the first woman government minister in Europe. Another woman, Fanny Kaplan, effectively undermined the ideals of the Revolution by attempting to assassinate Lenin in 1921. He never really recovered, allowing Stalin to seize power, and later to turn the clock back for women’s rights. Illustrated with photographs.

Editing and Proofreading: What’s the Point?

Ever read a book or magazine and found a sentence that doesn’t quite make sense? The job of a copy-editor or proofreader is to make sure that doesn’t happen. Sometimes just the insertion of a comma or changing the spelling of a word can make all the difference. I’ve been a copy-editor and proofreader for more than 20 years and know many of the pitfalls. My talk explains the differences between editing and proofreading, using some entertaining examples of misleading sentences. I also look at other forms, like photo editing, and show how editing can be used deliberately to deceive and even for more sinister political purposes. Illustrated with slides.

David Price Contact Details:

01788 334658

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