A little of what I fancy - observations on London

By David Munro


(Disjointed thoughts and jottings of David Munro)

IN CASE there is anyone out there who hasn't grasped what I am trying to say I would just explain that there was, in the carefree Edwardian days, a Music Hall star called Marie Lloyd whose speciality was the 'Double Entendre'.

"A little of what you fancy does you good" was one of her songs and I leave it to you to guess what it was she fancied. In another of her songs, she sang 'she sits amongst the cabbages and peas' which brought down on her head the wrath of the Watch Committee - the harbinger of morals for London.

Unperturbed she adapted the lyrics and sang: "She sits amongst the cabbages and leeks." No one objected - although she was not invited to appear in the Royal Command Variety performance. In case one assumes she brought life into one of those self-congratulatory and dreary evenings.

But I digress - I am hoping to share with you things that have given me pleasure or amusement in the hope that you will share the experience with me. Please inform the Gods who preside over our Website whether I succeed in my objective or not. They would love to hear your views and all you have to do is submit them at indielondon@yahoo.co.uk.

I should warn you that I have an obstreperous cat who, having read 'archie and mehatabel', insists on joining me at the keyboard to express her views upon life in general and me in particular - I trust, therefore, you will forgive her intrusion in the column from time to time. Her name is Bella and her attitude is bellicose, so watch out.

Having introduced myself, may I proceed to the order of the day to wit London - that being the locus standi for the website and it is only appropriate that we should pay it some heed.

I may be biased, but I find that London is more user friendly than New York, Paris or any of the other major capitals.

Irrespective of anything else, there is more park space or greensward in relation to the size of the city than elsewhere in the world. Apart from Hyde, Green and Regents Parks (not to mention Kensington Gardens) all of which are in easy striking distance of the centre of Town (and any one of which would be sufficient for the whole of most of the major cities), there are patches of green in all the London boroughs giving areas for relaxation and play areas for the children.

In addition, there are strange little pockets of green in metropolitan areas that are the sites of plague pits (where the victims of the plague were thrown willy-nilly) together with old graveyards whose churches have been destroyed by fire or wartime bombs and which, so far, are sacrosanct from development. So yesterday's horror is the cause of today's delight, something one hopes the planners will remember in relation to Ground Zero

If your taste is more for the performing Arts, which we hope it is as this site aims to cater to your tastes in that direction, I would merely mention that apart from the performances the London Theatres themselves are well worth visiting.

Most of them were built in a more elegant era and designed to accommodate an audience who "dressed" for the occasion. My grandmother - who sailed in a ship with sails as a child and lived to see men land on the moon - changed her dress (or gown) three times a day - Morning - Tea and Evening.

The Edwardians, of which she was one, were most particular in their dress code. Ladies for instance wore hats when they went visiting or entertaining others to tea which remained firmly on their heads no matter what. Therefore when Cosmo Gordon Lennox passed Allan Aynsworth's rooms one afternoon and saw through a window his wife, Marie Tempest, sipping tea with her hat off he knew the worst had occurred and a divorce was a forgone conclusion - more one assumes from the social solecism than the sexual.

The London Theatres had to accommodate ladies sartorial whims and you will find that although now the seat space may have become cramped over the years the entrances and staircases are still large enough to cope with the most flowing of fashions. In respect of the seating comfort this is something being addressed by our Lord Lloyd Webber (no relation to Marie I hasten to add) in his theatres.

I hope to deal with some of these theatres in more detail later on but in the meanwhile should you have read this far I would like to hear from you with your fancies so I can try (no promises) to fulfil them.

That's that for the moment unless Bella has some comment. No comment is the best way to deal with drivel Bella, and I will wish you a good day and good entertainment until I pick up my pen again.