Saturday, 28 December 2013

If You Are Shocked, You Have Missed The Point. But Jane Austen Invented Minge Topiary


One is l'Origine du Monde, by Gustave Courbet, 1866; the other is Le Sommeil, also Courbet, 1866. They’re worth seeing. Unless intimate female nudity and/or mildly homosexual activity offend you; in which case, Go Away. Go away now: you’re reading the wrong blog. There’s another blog just over there about kittens, or prejudice, or something. You’ll like that one better.

Meanwhile, for the rest of us…

A Collection of Musings on the Entirely Imaginary Rude Bits in the Novels of Jane Austen

Chapter One: Mansfield Park

My name, if needs I must become a Lady of the Night

Would be not Belle du Jour, mais non, but rather, Fanny Price

© Muriel Lavender, Summer 2013 

Jane Austen invented Minge Topiary.

Regency Ladies. Genteel.
The clues are everywhere in her work. From Mr Bingley’s home in Pride & PrejudiceNetherfield – to Marianne Dashwood’s exclamation in Sense & Sensibility, ‘I can barely keep my hands warm even in my muff!’ I could go on; but Mansfield Park is the champion. It’s stuffed with minge jokes. No? Well, here you are – these are quotes:

"My Fanny, indeed, at this very time, I have the satisfaction of knowing, must have been happy in spite of everything"

"William… more than once tried to make his father think of Fanny"

And my personal favourite,

"Come, mother, you have hardly looked at your own dear Fanny yet"

The novel was itself named after a particular 18th-Century fashion in minge topiary.  Capability Brown may have started out as a landscape gardener, but after he collaborated with Austen, he found considerable success amongst the fashionable ladies of society as a LadyGardener.  For evidence, there’s the letter Austen famously wrote to her sister Cassandra from Bath, in 1802:

“I have an appointment on Thursday next, to have my grounds laid out by an improver [see?]. Miss Perkins favours the Brazilian, but I do not care for these Colonial fashions. I shall get a Mansfield Park, as I always do.”

She wrote thus, while staying in Queen Square – which is, incidentally, another style she could have gone for.  Or a Trim Street. Or a South Parade. Or a – [that’s enough, Mu]

Austen scholars debate the potential rude bits endlessly – did she mean this, was she talking about that; from the 'well-hung curtains' of Persuasion, to the 'Rears and Vices' again of Mansfield Park. They have all overlooked the filthiest joke of them all, which also occurs in Mansfield Park. Considering how desperate some factions seem to be to prove that Jane Austen was engaged in an incestuous Lesbian affair with Cassandra*– considering how much they like to say it, I’m surprised no-one seems to have noticed this particular little pleasure but me. I don’t agree with them; but I wrote this anyway. I call it  ‘Love and Freindship’, because I consider that to be an appropriately provocative title.

A delicious fact, to me
From Gray’s Anatomy:
The soft cup in front 
Of which sits 
The clitoris
Is quaintly named;
Jane Austen writes
Of the delightful
“Sight of Miss Fanny Price
Dripping with wet
In the vestibule…”
Scholars long to imbue
Miss Austen’s works with a Sapphic hue
Perhaps a very gentle blue
Forgive me
But it’s true

© Muriel Lavender
July 2012 - November 2013

Le Sommeil, Gustave Courbet, 1866
l'Origine du Monde, Gustave Courbet, 1866

 *Seriously? Because she never married? Oh, of course that makes her a Lesbian. I believe there is a certain variety of internet meme wherein such a statement would be followed up with the phrase, ‘Bitch Please’

**Incidentally, do you know how hard it is to find pictures of Regency ladies getting it on?  You know, without having to search for a particular kind of niche porn? I am grateful to Mr L who spent some time searching for suitable artwork with with to illustrate this blog entry; I’m delighted with those he found. I love Courbet. And footnotes.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Adieu, petit cirque de papier dans ma voiture...

THE TAX DISC is to be abolished. For reasons I cannot POSSIBLY explain, I am wondering 'what on Earth will I put in my tax disc holder now?'
If you feel the same way, fret not: simply print this out and place it wherever it makes you happiest.  You're welcome.

Monday, 7 October 2013


My Bottom. I've learnt to love it.
YES, OKAY - THAT IS MY DERRIÈRE at the top of the page. I'm a little surprised at it myself, considering my age - but goodness me, how long does a woman have to wait before she gains a bit of body-confidence?


That said, this article interested me: I love Annie Lennox and I think she makes a very good point here. I'm not getting messages of body-confidence from Miley Cyrus or Rihanna (78 million Facebook 'likes'. That's a lot of teenagers to influence); rather, a very confusing and dangerous one. As I'm not writing for the Daily Fucking Mail, I'm not going to start speculating on what goes on inside the head of a 20-year-old, born to a famous dad, who has herself been famous for half her life. But I do think back to when Madonna was at the height of her 'Erotica' phase, when she first invented Sex (thanks Madge, don't know what we'd have done without you) and performed in titillating videos which were banned from our TV screens. Banned! Ha! Ha! The difference between Miley and Madonna? Madonna was thirty-four.*
One of the things I love about Burlesque is that it is often performed by slightly older women, for slightly older women. It's the same with my poetry - if they're too young, they may not get it. Of course, I'm very happy when they
Annie Lennox: a real role model
do, and I have met a great many bright, educated, gorgeous younger girls/women at various gigs. But crikey, when one starts going through the fancying-Melvyn-Bragg stage, there are aspects of one's work, inevitably, that take one to a place where the teens-and-twenties may not wish to follow. What am I trying to say? Maybe that you don't have to be 18 and perfect to wiggle your rear-end in public, and if you are, maybe you want to just give it a few years. Or at the very least, just be absolutely sure who it is you're trying to please.

I spend a lot of time surrounded by scintillating, confident, sexy women of all ages, shapes and sizes. I am filled with love and admiration for them. I don't recall ever - ever - seeing any thrusting or groping of fannies on a Burlesque stage. Burlesque seems to me to be more delicate than that. You want strong, positive, independent female role models? I'll introduce you to a hundred.

Or you could try Annie Lennox. She's really good.

*STOP PRESS: I've just read that Cher's weighed in to the debate.  Now, when Cher says things have gone a little far, you know, isn't it time to start listening?  I'm now waiting for Lady Gaga to tweet 'Ooh, that's a bit much'...

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

MURIEL'S PAPAL EDICT - ooh, where are we up to now? - #4, I THINK

In the last few minutes POPE MURIEL I has released the following statement:

© Sioux How, Sunrise Festival

"I would like to thank everyone for their kind messages of support following the apparent election of Pope Francis Bailando por un Sueño of Argentina.
I would not, however, be the first Pope to adopt the simple expedient of absolutely refusing to acknowledge the facts, despite the irrefutable evidence before my own eyes.
Therefore, my loyal and devoted followers, all dozen or so of you, I remain HER ROYAL POPELYNESS MURIEL I, POETRIX REGINA. Especial blessings and Papal Glitteryness be upon them for their messages today, at a time when doubt assailed me. Thou hast kept it real, and so shalt thou receive thy just rewards, being that which is a far greater prize than eternal life since thou canst have it on Earth, thou needst not wait til thou hast popped thy clogs. Verily shalt thou have a packet of Maltesers next time I see thee. Go in Peace. And Stockings."

Friday, 15 February 2013

Yesterday's Lenten Offerings: Papal Edict #2


Seeing as how I'm now Pope and everything, I am allowed to do what Popes traditionally do at this time of year, which is to make up new reasons to get round their own theologically-imposed dietary restrictions, and then endow them with doctrinal significance. My favourites are:
     1. Reclassifying all water-mammals and waterfowl as 'fish' rather than 'meat', thus making it ok to eat otters and such on Fridays
     2. Granting Sundays as exceptions to the abstinences of Lent, as Jesus spent only 40 days in the wilderness, and there are more than forty days between Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

"We Like Seafood, Mama" - because there's never a bad time to sing songs about oral sex

 So, here we are, two days into Lent - and I hereby deliver my second Papal Edict:
1. Popcorn was not on my list of banned substances this Lent, so it is perfectly ok for me to have scoffed a buttload of it at the cinema this afternoon. Popcorn forms part of the entertainment at the cinema, and therefore does not count as an indulgent snack.
2. The same applies to the champagne I am about to fill my glass with. I never *actually* said I would *definitely* give up fizzy plonk this year anyway, even if I thought it might be a good idea, and anyway, see rule 1 - it's Valentine's Day and therefore Champagne counts as part of the entertainment.

Go in Peace. And Stockings.