Saturday, October 2, 2010

At the Music Hall: "When I Take My Morning Promenade," 1910

Marie Lloyd
When I take my morning promenade
Quite a fashion card, on the Promenade
Oh! I don't mind nice boys staring hard
If it satisfies their desire
Do you think my dress is a little bit
Just a little bit..... Well not too much of it,
Though it shows my shape just a little bit
That's the little bit the boys admire

Marie Lloyd (1870-1922) was a wildly popular (and wildly controversial) British musical hall singer of the Edwardian Era. She had the well-publicized ability to make even the most innocent of lyrics seem lewd by creating a conspiratorial relationship with her audience. Winks, gestures and intonations imparted a bawdiness to her songs that they might not have originally possessed. Some of her popular songs, however, did have a bit of a ribald side. Such is the case of When I take My Morning Promenade.

This song is still a beloved music hall favorite. Lloyd’s 1910 rendition of When I Take My Morning Promenade helped solidify her position as the Queen of Bawdiness. Of course, to our Twenty-First Century ears, the lyrics are quite tame. But, at the time, they were rather shocking.

In the following clip from the film, Trottie True, Jean Kent—in full Edwardian garb—sings the song with much the same spirit that Marie would have.

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