Retracing his steps: Dancer Allister launches memoir
17 November, 2017 — By Angela Cobbinah
Allister Bain signing a copy of his book for Janette Brewster at New Beacon Books in Finsbury Park
HE taught Dorothy Dandridge to dance the limbo for the hit 1957 movie Island in the Sun and ended up becoming an actor himself in a career that spanned more than six decades.
Last Thursday, Allister Bain performed another star turn at the launch of his memoir, The French Cashew Tree, at New Beacon Books in Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park.
In an evening hosted by broadcaster Alex Pascal, the 82-year-old was on nimble form as he shared his memories of a lifetime in the arts that began as a dancer in his native Grenada.
It has seen him rub shoulders with the likes of Shirley Bassey and cast in a variety of roles, from cutting-.edge drama at Islington’s pioneering Keskidee theatre to TV favourite Dr Who, not to mention penning his own plays and stories. Written under the pen name of Parrain Thorance, the book’s title refers to a tree near his childhood home under which he would sit under and contemplate the world.
“I was a great dreamer and still am. Perhaps it was a form of protection,” he said while discussing the deaths of both his mother and father when he was a young boy. But there have been as many ups as downs and there are plenty of laughs too.
“I write the way I feel,” he added. “I always mix laughter with the serious side of life.”