Friday, 31 October 2014

The Fanny Club



When not composing her much loved symphony in D minor, which she did often and wisely, Fanny Mountjoy-Williams could be found picking up stray boys lost on the streets of downtown Dungeness. Her mission was to round them up and escort them to school, thus ensuring that they received an education of sorts. Some people mistook Fanny’s activities as being purely altruistic, but Fanny had an ulterior motive for her kind deeds. Few people knew it, but during the early sixties Fanny was recruited as the international, global, and universal ambassador for Persil soap powder. Fanny took her promotional duties very seriously and was not adverse to mischievous tinkering.

In her role as ambassador, Fanny would locate a random urchin, preferably grubby from playing on the bombsites, give him a good scrubbing with carbolic soap, and then clothe him in a shirt that had been soaked overnight in a solution of 5 parts hydrogen peroxide, 7 parts ammonia, 4 parts baking soda, 9 parts arsenic, and a pinch of plutonium [do not try this at home]. This recipe would guarantee that the shirt would radiate a blinding white. To emphasise this unnatural whiteness Fanny would dunk the urchin in a vat of homebrewed ale to give his skin a hint of a healthy tan before dressing him.

As we are all aware, Fanny Mountjoy-Williams was a formidable woman; by the age of twelve she had already written a groundbreaking thesis on high wire acrobatics and aerial fire eating, which in turn led to her being nominated for a Nobel prize in chemistry, so it is of no surprise that other women were easily impressed by her lofty demeanour and the luminous urchin that accompanied her - who could blame them for peeking into her wicker basket and, on seeing the box of Persil, jumping to the wrong conclusions. Boxes of Persil flew off the supermarket shelves, but buyers were disappointed.... their children were still dismal dull and slightly grey in comparison to Fanny’s.

Not a woman to miss an opportunity, Fanny realised that she could make a pretty penny at the school gates by selling her secret recipe; eventually, due to demand, she formed The Fanny Club, collectively known as The Fannies. They were a large group of discerning women who would meet every other Tuesday for Fanny workshops to discuss amongst other things, laundry; folding techniques; and what to do with two large sheets in a high wind. Not only did club members have a secret sneer to greet each other with, but they also had a nod and a wink. The club motto, which they would recite at the start of all club meetings in reverence to Fanny Mountjoy-Williams, was as follows:- Persil washes whiter and it shows, but add a touch of Fanny and then it really glows.

In 1975 the Fannies were disbanded after a member complained of breaking out in an unsightly rash after using the secret recipe. Overuse of baking soda was thought to be the cause.

87 comments:

  1. I saw this vintage ad earlier this week.

    PS: I am doing the laundry with Persil soap as I type!

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    1. Mr Lax - Yes, I believe the same Fanny was responsible for this advertisement too. She is a long forgotten icon, and we should do our best to keep her memory alive.
      Sx

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    2. Would explain Kim Middleton ...

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    3. Kate Middleton!! Ha Ha! Yes it would.
      Sx

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    4. Blimey, Kim's led a bit of a life hasn't she? I will put her story on file for future usage. Thank you, Mr Devine.
      Sx

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    5. I thought more of Pippa Kardashian, but she seems to have married her arse already.

      I think the Fanny Club disbanded in the seventies because of a starch-related incident ; the urchins were about sixteen or so, couldn't move anymore in that school shirts - Fanny may have taken it a bit too far -, so they either hanged themselves on their school ties or went punk in London town.
      And I guess you analysed this very well, group pressure and identification by sneer, nod & wink - you should have a degree in sociology, m'love, participant observation, teilnehmende Beobachtung, is the terminus technicus I would very much like to read your observations about the "Essex"-complex - it's a complete mystery to me. I mean, I study the professional magazine in this respect, called Daily Mail, but I simply do not understand this facette of actual English c(o)untry live.
      I think Felicitas Conchita di Monte Venere would be the Spanish name for Fanny Mountjoy-Williams, but I may be wrong. Sad that Ms Quinan is not longer around.

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    6. Mr Mags: Maybe Leni will return for Christmas, as she did last year. I hope so.
      Meanwhile... The Daily Mail... it is a puzzlement to me and I am English. But I know about Essex. Fanny's boys were from Kent... but they may as well have been from Essex. After release from Fanny's dungeon, in the eighties, they went on to forge careers as stockbrokers or Bankers in the City - some indeed did see fit to hang themselves.
      Sx
      Sx

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  2. According to my recent in-depth consumer research in Greece, Persil is called "Essex". Also there is a brand of petrol called "Cyclon".

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  3. Mr Nikos.... The Essex Cyclon is a whole new chapter, I will check it out.
    Sx

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  4. You're a classic and you had me at Fanny, which in NZ is the name for a woman's undercarriage (hopefully which has not gone near Persil). The idea of a club of Fannies (does the y convert to "ies" just a technicality, should scroll up and check how you do it?) is pure subversion

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    1. Jody - I got my knickers in a twist over whether to write 'Fannies' or 'Fanny's'.... in the end I Liked the aesthetics of not having an apostrophe... probably not the right way to make such decisions! I will change it when I'm next on the big PC.
      I think Fanny's should have their own FB page... if they haven't already!
      Sx

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  5. I hate the smell of Persil....not sure how I feel about the smell of Fannies..or should that be Fanny's...? Axxx

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    1. Annie - I can only use Fairy. I am sensitive. I like the smell of the stuff for woollies.
      I have checked the Dictionary for the Fannies question and I am probably none the wiser, but here is the link plural of fannies
      Sx

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    2. Love the Thesaurus synonyms list at the bottom [forgive the pun] of the page... Jx

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    3. Jon: The Thesaurus is always an amusing read!
      Sx

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    4. Is there a collective noun for Fannies?

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  6. I've always avoided Fannies myself.

    Jx

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    1. Me too. I never did get on with all that plutonium...

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  7. Plutonium? Dunking a the kid in a vat of ale? What an interesting history lesson.
    Do you use the expression "three sheets to the wind" over there? I can picture those ladies getting three sheets to the wind before discussion their sheets.

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    1. Bill: Oh yes, Bill! Sometimes we go over the top and grapple with five sheets in a snow storm... but then the laundry doesn't get done at all.
      Sx

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    2. Oh what a wonderful winter scene - warm fire, hot toddies and getting five sheets in a snow storm. You would be seeing flying reindeer.

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    3. I'd be seeing the reindeer after 1 sheet..., and a few elves....
      Sx

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  8. My mother used Rinso. By the way, when I was a scruffy kid there was a woman in the next village who was known as "Mrs. Persil White." Apparently, a snide comment on her grey washing.

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    1. Dinah: I remember my mum commenting unfavourably on the state of a neighbour's net curtains. My mum used to wash hers every other week, and twitch them every five minutes.
      Sx

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    2. P.S Thank goodness for blinds.
      Sx

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  9. In French, persil means parsley. I just can't imagine my shirt smelling like parsley. My dear mother is still faithful to La Parisienne. They say that 4 drops of La Parisienne in 1 litre of water prolong the life of cut flowers. I wonder what a touch of Fanny would do!

    Hugs
    Jon

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    1. Holy ... and what a moustache.

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    2. Mr Deep: Well he seems a nice jolly fellow, if I do say so! He must be Fanny's distant French cousin, Dicky Mountjoy-Williams - que pensez-vous ?
      [Apologies, I am using Google translate... so haven't really got a clue what I'm asking.]
      Sx

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    3. Mr Mags: Possibly filmed during Movember.
      Sx

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    4. I was all set to comment about "persil" meaning "parsley" in French but Jon beat me to it.

      But while I'm here, may I sign up for membership in The Fanny Club?

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    5. Je pense que c'est FABULOUS. And since more gentlemen do the laundry nowadays, I can very well imagine the establishment of the Dicky Club where members will refer to themselves as The Dickies. They would conduct very serious scientific tests as to know if a few drops of La Parisienne mixted with a touch of Persil can prolong the life of other... things. **moves eyebrows suggestively**

      I found out that as long we keep to simple sentences and avoid subordinate clauses, Google's accuracy level stands around 85%.

      MJ: Did I win wan wun?

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    6. MJ: Ha! You've given me an idea! No more Blue Club members... My Blogrol will now become The Fanny Club!!!
      Sx

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    7. Mr Deep: *Blushes at the thought of these experiments* I am feeling coy today.
      Sx

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  10. Hi Ms Scarlet,

    An absolutely fascinating read.

    I laughed when I read about dipping the young urchin into a vat of homebrewed ale. And as for the phrase "and what to do with two large sheets in a high wind." surely there is some hidden meaning here?

    From one Fanny to another, Fanny Mountjoy-Williams sounds like she knew anything and everything about laundry. I am filled with regret that The Fannies disbanded... imagine all the fanny-ing around they could've done!

    Fanny x

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    1. Ms Fanny: I am honoured to have a proper Fanny in my comment box! We will have to resurrect the Fanny Club and have some Fanny-ing workshops - bugger the two sheets... let's go hell for Imperial Leather and see what we can whip up with five!
      Sx

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    2. And Ms Scarlet, I am honoured to be a reader of your wonderful blog.

      Yes, please, let's re-form The Fanny Club and do some Fanny-ing around. We could start by dunking Belladonna in a vat of baking soda and then washing her filthy mouth out with carbolic soap.

      Fanny x

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  11. Overuse of baking soda has a lot to answer for. I suspect that's what makes people's doughnuts turn out like Fanny's.

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    1. Mr Auty: Overuse of baking soda, manhandling the dough balls, and and overenthusiastic wrist action, is a recipe for a soggy fanny.
      Sx

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  12. Well, my mum certainly didn't know about Fanny's secret recipe for glowing togs. She didn't even use Persil. It might have been Ariel or Tide. No wonder my clothes were always somewhat lacklustre. Mind you, it's hard to add any lustre to a charmless school uniform.

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    1. Nick: I don't know... I get plenty of attention when I wear mine for a wander around Waitrose :-)
      Sx

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  13. I recall my elderly aunt telling me about OMO wash powder, bored housewives used to leave a box of it on the kitchen window ledge to advertise to passing tradesmen that they are "On My Own".

    I pressed the word "altruistic" and waited for the definition to pop up!

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    1. Mitzi: The OMO washing powder story has a whiff of truth about it - I can well believe it!
      Sx

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  14. Baking Soda has a surprising amount of uses - and abuses! there's usually a pinch of it in my fanny pack when I travel

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    1. Lulu: Between you and me, I only use baking soda and vinegar for cleaning my bathroom. I have a sensitive septic tank...
      My mum says she used to clean her teeth with it.... I don't think we really need all these fancy products.
      Sx

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  15. Bugger, my comment disappeared; I must have used too much baking soda.

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    1. Eryl: Ack.... I must have spilt some over my blog!
      Sx

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  16. Why wash your clothes anyway? Such a dreary chore. I see some people are advocating never ever washing your jeans but letting them get nicely stiff and crusty. I think I might give them and their jeans a wide berth.

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    1. My berth isn't wide... I can still rock skinny jeans...!!!! Oh, that's not what you were saying, Nick, apologies for my over defensive reaction.
      Sx

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  17. Didn't we all speak so very naicly in those days.- once I'd lost the Lancashire accent that is.

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    1. Pat:- I bet the Lancashire accent was lovely... I have a thing for regional accents... I'm pleased people stopped talking so naicly :-)
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  18. [sorry, unrelated]

    Have you ever visited Scarfolk ? It looks strangely familiar, in some aspects.

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    1. Thanks for the link, Mr Mags, I have added it to my sidebar.
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  19. Replies
    1. Where?!
      Happy Christmas, Mr Mags!!!
      Sxxxx

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  20. Proper advertising that is. Proper.

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    1. Indeed it is, Mr Bene!!
      Happy Christmas!!
      Sxxxxx

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  21. Scarlet, thank you so much for the laughter, support, and friendship over the years. You are fantastic!

    I wish you a very Merry Christmas full of joy, happiness, and warmth, surrounded by loved ones and friends.

    -----((*))--
    ------*o*---
    ----*o*o*--
    --*o*o*o*o*
    o*o*-]o[-*o*o

    .....[*]
    ...[*].[8]
    [+].[X].[+]

    Many the New Year bring you lots of good luck, good fortune, and good times with good food, good spirits, and the company of good friends and family. Cheers!!!

    ..*o*
    ..o.*o
    ..*[]
    ../.*.\
    ..[__]
    ..[__]

    (--*)....(--*)
    ._I_....._I_

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    1. Lovely to see you here, Mr Swings!!! Happy Christmas!!
      Sxxxx

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  22. How come your fanny never showed up in my reader? :D

    Happy Christmas to you and your fanny, shit I mean family.

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    1. Ha Ha Ha!!! It was fannying about!
      Happy Christmas, Joey!!
      Sxxxx

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  23. Hello Ms Scarlet, what a wonderful sweet message you left on my blog.

    Happy Christmas to you too, darling. I'm game if you are for a Canvey Island seasonal knees-up and some R&R under the sunlamp. I hope Mitzi will come along and bring Carmen. My only stipulation is that we insist that we are served iced G&Ts by hunky male models wearing nothing but posing pouches.

    Happy Christmas darling ... have a great one!

    Love
    Fanny xxx

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    1. Awwww... Happy Christmas to you too! It's definitely a date!!
      Sxxxx

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  24. I say a Happy Christmas to you as I place my bowler hat on and hid my face behind an apple. I do like The Son of Man.

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  25. Happy Christmas, Bill! How can I not smile as I stand before Magritte!
    Sx

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  26. Merry Christmas Miss Scarlet!

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    1. Hugs and sloppy kisses to my finest fellows!!!
      Sxxxxxxxxxxx

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  27. Frohe Weihnachten Miss Scarlet !

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    1. Let me get the mistletoe.....
      Sxxxxxxxxx

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  28. Happy New Year! Care for some eggnog?

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  29. Happy New Year, Ms Scarlet.

    Hope you get everything you could wish for this year!

    Fanny xxx

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  30. HERE SOON : MsScarlet then & NOW !

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  31. Oh come on, it's time to move onto something new because every time I come, I focus on your fanny.

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  32. Yes, yes, yes.... don't rush me!
    Sx

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  33. Hi Scarlet! I need an update on the most appropriate soap powder for my delicate lacy undies. Please advise.

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  34. I Find secret sneers quite sexy!

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  35. [not fanny-related, sorry]

    Just read in the wikipedia something about Devon. Hm - you have snow outside ? And a strong locked door btw ?

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  36. Darling, thank you for the wonderful comment on my blog about my Swan Hat. I absolutely adore your suggestion for a hat... did you go the Co-op wearing it, and what happenend?!??! I'm dying to know.

    Fanny xx

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  37. Frohe Ostern, meine Liebe !

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  38. Replies
    1. Is this the Nick from Nick Here and Now??? If so, I am now blogging HERE! I am setting myself up as an Agony Aunt. Somebody has too.
      If you are a different Nick... Hi Nick!!!
      Sx

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  39. HI BEAUTIFUL!!!! And why did I think this very interesting post was going to have to be about Fanny Love?

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