I’ve been living in the U.S. for a few years now, and one Canadian holiday I really miss is Queen Victoria day. Or, “fireworks day,” as we used to call it when I was little. I think we were missing the point, though I bet Queen Victoria liked fireworks. Maybe.

In the U.S., we have Memorial Day instead. I’m not really sure what it’s about, but Victoria Day should be self-explanatory to any self-respecting Victorianist. Aside from the fact that it doesn’t fall on her real birthday almost ever in the interests of having a long weekend.

In honour of Victoria day and Neo-Victorian month on “The Floating Academy,” I thought I’d put up a verse from Leonard Cohen’s song “Queen Victoria,” which is both Canadian and Victorian. It goes:

Queen Victoria, my father and all his tobacco loved you
I love you too in all your forms
The slim and lovely virgin floating among German beer
The mean governess of the huge pink maps
The solitary mourner of a prince.

Cohen goes on to ask Victoria to punish his errant lover. I can see this.

We talk a lot about neo-Victorian novels, but less about neo-Victorian poetry, and even less about neo-Victorian songs. The only other pop song I can think of is the Kinks’ “Victoria.”And I’m not even sure if it counts as neo-Victorian just because it has a Victorian theme. Any other good examples of neo-Victorian songs out there? I’d love to listen to the mixed tape (err ipod shuffle) of Victorian-themed pop.


6 thoughts on “Victorian Pop

  1. I don’t know of any examples, but I have seen a number of references to steampunk bands out there.

  2. great post Karen! but that was a bad thing you did, introducing the idea of a neo-Vic mix-tape… now my mind will be combing through the archives for hours thinking of what that should sound like. my first song suggestion would be the Fall’s “Spoilt Victorian Child.”

    … And you know that servants keep their order knowledge
    And as you walk in on the footsteps steed babe
    In the encrusted green unwild
    You know you are a spoilt Victorian child…

    The Fall has a great cover of the Kinks song too, by the way.

  3. Paul McCartney has a song called “Jenny Wren” — presumably a reference to Jenny Wren from Our Mutual Friend.

  4. Now I’m thinking we should actually make this mixed tape… I wonder where the best place to play it would be. The drinks after a conference?

  5. First, allow me to thank you for this blog. Growing up, I loved looking at Victorian houses in my area and that love quickly grew into a love for all things Victorian. Recently, I have started trying to incorporate more Victorian style into my daily life. This includes in my music. Now, also having a history in the Gothic subculture, I know of some great neo-Victorian groups and artists. My neo-Vic playlist includes: Emilie Autumn, Rasputina, Johnny Hallow, Julia Kent, Kanon Wakeshima, Indica, The Clockwork Dolls, and Voltaire. While their songs are usually a bit on the darker side, they have great sounds that envoke the feeling that the era has returned.

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