Going Like Elsie

I was about 18 years old when I saw the film Cabaret (1972) for the first time and it blew me away.  Not only did it show me that sexuality could be fluid as I watched the rich playboy Max flirt and sleep with both Brian and Sally but it had a very strong message about death. In her show stopping solo Sally invites us all to “Come to the Cabaret” of life.  Excuse me if I include a fairly lengthy quote from the song:

“I used to have this girlfriend known as Elsie

With whom I shared four sordid rooms in Chelsea

She wasn’t what you call a blushing flower

As a matter of fact she rented by the hour

The day she died the neighbours came to snicker

Well that’s what comes from too much pills and liquor

But when I saw her laid out like a queen

She was the happiest corpse I’d ever seen”


O my days – the notion of living life to the full and taking the consequences echoed loud and clear to me.  I was living at home and contemplating the decision to leave home and go off to university.  No one I knew had ever gone to uni and most still lived either at home or within about 5 miles of their family.  But I knew at heart I was a party girl who wanted the chance to go a little crazy.  I heard loud and clear that “life is a cabaret oh chum” and I wanted to be part of that cabaret.  And if it cost me some days, weeks or even years when I got to my old age.  Well maybe it would be worth it to be a happy corpse and to know that…

“When I go I’m going like Elsie.”


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