We look forward to welcoming the roarsome Albert De Lyon to Turner Sims this month as part of A Southampton Summer Night! We catch up with our four-legged friend ahead of his appearance with us on Friday 14 July…
LJ: Who is Albert de Lyon?
ALBERT: I, Albert de Lyon, am just your average domesticated lion-about-town. I like to make my presence felt at events and happenings within the Southampton area and beyond, hopefully to the surprise and amusement of others.
My personal ‘likes’ include music, culture, zebra herds and pushing things off of tables for no reason. As for ‘dislikes’, well, nobody enjoys a bad mane day! Or, indeed, vegetables! Like most cats, I have my moments of vanity, so expect sartorial sophistication, waxed whiskers and an unfailing willingness to pose for a selfie. My most prized possession is my obligatory ‘king-of-the-jungle’ crown, which is only ever worn at the most special of occasions…
LJ: You’ll be entertaining our audience by playing tunes on a squeezebox. What is a squeezebox?
ALBERT: Good question! “Squeezebox” can refer to one of several types of musical instrument. My own instrument is formally known as a ‘diatonic accordion’ – a name that is far too long and confusing for this humble lion to understand. Alternatively, some folks call these things ‘melodeons’, only for others to tell them they’re wrong! It’s all very confusing. Anyhow, regardless of its name, my instrument consists of two wooden cabinets that are joined with bellows and then strapped to my chest. I then dextrously use my paws to press the many little buttons that are arranged along its edges. With a bit of luck, it will make a glorious noise that can be heard across the plains!
LJ: What kind of music can we expect to hear from you?
ALBERT: Being a simple cat at heart, I enjoy energetic, foot-tapping tunes that originate from the rich folk traditions of Great Britain and beyond. Some of these were created for social dancing, some for the Morris tradition and others just for the fun of playing and sharing music. Nevertheless, they’ve endured the centuries because they’re good! I also enjoy tunes that come with a ‘lion’ theme – because of course I do! Aside from this, when in a sedentary mood, creating and playing my own compositions can be a nice way to pass the time!
LJ: We hear you have some party tricks…any spoilers as to what they are?
ALBERT: Whilst lions aren’t necessarily known for their dexterity, there are exceptions to the rule! My great uncle Leo spent part of his illustrious career working under the big top, so learned a trick or two from his fellow performers. A handful of these were then passed down to myself, which is obviously now a matter of pride (…yes, I went there…). Of course, the exact nature of these purr-suits (…sorry…) should only be divulged in person! So, you’ll have to wait and see what transpires and whether it warrants a roar (…ugh…) of approval!
LJ: Lastly, what are you most looking forward to about entertaining our audience at Turner Sims?
ALBERT: Us lions are very sociable animaIs, when we’re not thinking about dinner time. Thus, it will be my absolute pleasure to meet the guests, make memorable moments and share in the buzz of the event. It’s a rare honour for a lion to be invited to a venue as prestigious as Turner Sims, so I’m certainly preparing to savour the opportunity. It should be a great evening.
Book your ticket to hang out with Albert on Friday 14 July here