Thursday, December 22, 2011

Song for Chloe: a tragic story of a young beauty. JB Rowley

A beautiful nude hangs in pride of place in Melbourne's much loved pub, Young and Jackson's. Opposite Flinders Street Station and with a view of the timetable clocks, for decades folk have enjoyed a beer or wine at Y and J's before before catching the train home. No guest of the Vic Guild escapes town without a trip to see Chloe and civilised glass of wine.

Vic storyteller and author JB Rowley, has explored the true story of Chloe in rhyming verse.

This is a song I have written for Chloe.
Well, I have written the words but I can’t write music so I guess it is just a poem!

She came to Australia long ago
The star at each and every show.
They gave her a place of honour for all to view
But the wowsers they made a hullabaloo.
Chloe’s a disgrace, standing in the nude,
Take her away, they said, she’s far too rude.
For a work of art ‘twas a dreadful snub
But she found a home at Henry’s pub.

Long ago in Paris her name was Marie
But she’s our Chloe and always will be

The men they trooped from miles around
To drink with the queen of Melbourne town.
They brought their dreams and left their hearts
Then sailed away to war in distant parts,
Anzacs, Yanks, sailors, pilots and diggers all.
Then connies and truckies and fans of the football
And pollies and pensioners and workers from the farms
Deliriously, delightedly succumbed to her charms.

Long ago in Paris her name was Marie
But she’s our Chloe and always will be

She’s our Chloe but in Paris her name was Marie
‘Twas there she mourned a love that was never to be.
Heartbroken and wretched she died, they say
When she drank the poison she made that day.
But she lives on still; our bar room queen
Untouchable, unattainable, smooth and serene,
Loved by all who come these days
To drink with her in the bar at Y and J’s.

Long ago in Paris her name was Marie
But she’s our Chloe and always will be

pollies: politicians
truckies: truck drivers
wowsers: aggressively puritanical people
connies: tram conductors (phased out in Melbourne in 1996 which angered and saddened many Melbournians)
Yanks: a slang term for an American person sometimes used with affection and sometimes not. During WW2 the American servicemen were often regarded by their Australian counterparts with jealous anger because the Yanks, with their relatively high pay, had the resources to woo the local women.
Y & J’s: Young and Jackson’s hotel; a famous pub in Melbourne, Australia, at the corner of Flinders Street and Swanston Street.
ChloƩ: an award winning life size nude painted by French artist Jules Joseph Lefebvre in 1875.

More about Chloe here:

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