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When Will I Be Famous? is about a world of entertainment; a twilight world far from the bright lights of the West End. Among the pages of Showcall, an annual index of artistes and attractions, there is an army of hopefuls waiting for their big break. Some may be on the verge of a big break; for others, the big break came and went years ago. What they all have in common is that they are out there, entertaining people night after night, folding paper into interesting shapes, telling jokes to businessmen at corporate functions, stripping for hen-parties. Together, they represent an unalloyed triumph of hope over experience. Using acts from Showcall as a starting point, Martin Kelner travels from town to town, demonstrating that how we are entertained, what we do for fun, says at least as much about The Way We Live Now as any other indicator. When Will I Be Famous? is a fascinating and funny account of Britain as seen by the people who try to keep it happy.

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