by Anna Campbell
A Little of What You Fancy is the title of a rather saucy Edwardian song sung by a rather saucy Edwardian music hall star called Marie Lloyd who lived between 1870 and 1922.
She's a fascinating character - although you wouldn't think so if you'd watched the recent BBC movie about her life. I was looking forward to it because it featured the gorgeous Richard Armitage as her first husband. Sadly, even the gorgeous Richard couldn't save this mess! Although I think that's a really cute picture of him laughing his head off with the girl who played Marie.
Marie Lloyd rose from poverty in the slums of Hoxton in London to become one of the world's highest paid entertainers. She went through three husbands, including a last guy who was considerably younger than she was. She stood up against the entertainment moguls of the day to make sure less famous music hall performers received decent pay and conditions.
And she was very, VERY naughty!
She was always in trouble with the censors. One of my favorite stories about her is that when the authorities complained about a song called I Sits Among the Cabbages and Peas (yeah, good old British toilet humor!), Marie shrugged, told them any double entendre was all in their dirty minds, and changed the lyrics to "I sits among the cabbages and leeks." Cheeky, huh?
Another of her famous songs was Every Little Movement Has a Meaning of its Own. Again, the lyrics without her delivery could be seen as quite innocuous! But you can imagine what the delivery was like. Ooh la la!
And all this in the prim and proper late Victorian era! They weren't quite as buttoned down as we'd like to think, those Victorians. Ask Donna!
Sadly, Marie ended up falling victim to drink and her last days were rather pathetic with her playing to dwindling crowds and acclaim. But for many years, she was unrivaled as the queen of the music halls and she became that without being a great beauty or even a terrifically good singer. It was all chutzpah and guts and spirit and sauciness. My sorta gal!
She died in rather a sad way. She was performing in a shabby music hall and she was singing one of her songs that had been a hit for her since her childhood on the stage, I'm a Bit of a Ruin that Cromwell Knocked Around a Bit. When she started to stagger and eventually collapsed, the audience rocked with laughter because they thought it was part of the act. But Marie was desperately ill and died three days later. 100,000 people attended her funeral!
All of which is a rather long winded introduction to what I'm talking about today. A Little of What You Fancy Does You Good, as Marie would have said!
I'm talking about small day-to-day luxuries. The thing you regularly use as a pick-me-up. Something that offers a tiny highlight in a day that might be all hard slog otherwise.
I work very strange hours! I get up very, very early, usually around 4am and I work through until about 11 when generally my brain is tired and I'm utterly sick of my office.
Then I stop for a couple of hours. I cook lunch as my main meal of the day, I watch a bit of TV, I often have a bit of a nap. It's quite a European way to spend the midday hours, actually! Then I head back around 2 to start work again, feeling like a new woman.
And if I can't get a new woman, well, I suppose an old one will do. Ha ha. A joke good enough for a Maria Lloyd song? Nah, I didn't think so either!
But the moment of real luxury to me is that I have a glass or two of wine. Generally a nice Aussie red. Aaaaaah. Big sighs of satisfaction when I take that first sip after a hard morning at the computer face.
So do you have a small reward you give yourself most days? A piece of chocolate? Some other favorite food? A favorite TV show? A photo of a gorgeous guy you drool over (you can't have Richard, he's mine!)? A cuddle with your honey? Something, heaven forbid, physical like a swim or a walk or a bit of gardening. I'm not talking about the big luxuries here like a trip to Paris or a couture gown or spending up big at a bookstore - although reading a chapter of a romance or another good book would definitely count.
Come on, share! I want to see if there are other daily sybarites out there!