But for me his work has never been about the Eldorado cabaret posters of Bruant, or the cynical twisted grin of Mlle Weber as she enters a restaurant on the arm of her sister. It has always been about his fascination with the demi-monde and his - and I mean this - respect for the girls who made their living sleeping with men for money.
The Bluebird of Happiness, as I remarked to a friend, was well and truly back in Bluebird of Bitterness territory, and any attempts at landing on my shoulder and singing a happy tune would undoubtedly have ended in me giving it a lesson in just how unlucky it is for a bird to crap on someone, despite beliefs within the Jewish faith to the contrary, as there's no good luck in having your feathers used in a new and interesting headpiece for the racing season.
But as I lie here now, post Weekend of Whoah, mulling over this pile of Prussian blue plumage-related poo, and daring that bloody BOB to whistle anything other than Johnny Cash's 'When The Man Comes Around', I recognise the following self-evident truths.
Despite all the sorrow, all the anger, the truly heart-shattering words, encounters, and elements that made up the last 72 hours, I couldn't say I didn't find gratitude in them... nor grace.
Because both were present in so many small gifts I am grateful for.
I realise this may sound too twee for words, but seriously - we get so wrapped up in whether we ourselves are happy or unhappy that at times, we tend not to celebrate our friends and families' exciting moments in a way that does them justice. I am not talking about hiring a blimp or skywriting 'CONGRATULATIONS ON TURNING 38 AND THREE QUARTERS' across Sydney, mind you - I am just saying when there's something big going down, let them know how fantastic you think it is. Take time out from your own blather and bullshit for just a moment and say 'Squee!' Or, in the immortal words of Babe the Pig, 'la, la, la!'
I was thinking late last night that I hadn't written a gratitude post for a while. And I have a confession to make. Whilst there have been some fairly big things that I have wanted to get off my chest in the last few posts, and which weren't suited to the attitude of gratitude - and boy, has that resulted in a few hiccups - there has been another reason for a slight reduction in the ratio of thankfulness.
I haven't actually been feeling very grateful for much at all.
I think, to put it plainly, that I have been having a violent attack of a well known disease of the twenty first century. There are a lot of sufferers out there - although sufferers is perhaps a misnomer. Malingerers is probably a better word for it.
To be blunt, I have been feeling sorry for myself. Having a fit of FirstWorldItis. Things have been going wrong. Laptops acting up. Banks stuffing me around. Telstra (shudder) messing with my ADSL. Health not - well, not crash hot, although that perhaps is a fair whinge in small doses at least. Really bad sleeps. Sebastian Vettel winning the Bahrain Grand Prix (again). And a few other things which I had best not talk about because this will simply become a diatribe rather than what it is supposed to be, which is a post about positivity rather than the reverse.
Then I woke up this morning in my comfy bed. And I looked out my window at the view of the sunrise, which I am lucky enough to do, and realised something.
I realised I am lucky enough to wake up in my comfy bed and look out my window at the view of the sunrise.
And felt like slapping myself around the head for all the negative and dark sulks that I had allowed to take over for the last little while, because so many people don't have that privilege. So many people.
This is not supposed to sound Polly-Anna-ish. I am not trying to be saintlike - goodness knows I am more on the side of the devils than the angels when it comes down to it, and realistically quite cheerfully so. They seem to have more fun without the shame attached, plus devil costumes are way sexier at Hallowe'en. But I do know this - and I am speaking for everyone I know, and for everyone who I believe reads this blog; if we, as intelligent, educated individuals, hold our gratitude inside ourselves, or indeed don't acknowledge everything that is good in our lives, and instead focus on the black and dark and dreary, then we may as well not bother going forward. Because we have so much - so very, very much - and we take it for granted 98% of the time.
Every person has crap to deal with. Often it is a case of same crap, different day.
When you woke up this morning, were you waking up in a bed? Yes. Did you get to look out at a sunrise, or at least at the sky? I'd say so. Did you have technology at your fingertips, and food to eat, and coffee to prop your brain and your eyelids open, and a shower to shock yourself into sensibility with?
Then you are on the sunny side of the street.
And the very bright side of the road.
And life in its entirety is something to be truly grateful for. No matter what. This is something I am going to endeavour to carry with me today, and tomorrow, and the day after that. Because no doubt FirstWorldItis will strike again soon, and I will need a reminder of this morning's sunrise.
This may seem initially like a very depressing post, and nothing at all to do with gratitude, or even shoes for that matter (and when shoes aren't helping it means it's a bloody great beast of a black dog kind of day). And you would be right in some ways. It isn't a happy, marshmallow-filled, fluffy bunny kind of entry. But that's OK. Because sometimes, life just isn't like that - which is one of the reasons why I write about shoes some of the time (see Heel Thyself for background on that one).
I have been having what I tend to term a Long Dark Teatime of The Soul, or as I also call it, A Need To Give Myself A Good Slap Around The Head And Sort Myself Out. I am aware that the latter is not a technical psychiatric or psychological term, and quite possibly is actually frowned upon in said circles, but it tends to work for me most of the time. And one of the ways I deliver said Slap is to write down what is wrong - and also what is right. Having now done that, things are seeming to make a lot more sense.
Nobody can be happy one hundred percent of the time. That would make them robots. But sometimes - well, sometimes the happiness quotient slips below the acceptable mark to a point where it's hard to get the energy to come back to the median point on the table. And this is where the Slap is so important - and also hard to deliver when one is physically and emotionally tired.
Please be aware that I don't go around physically hitting myself in the head - I may be depressed but I am not masochistic (those who have witnessed me wearing shoes that are vastly uncomfortable but incredibly gorgeous please hold their tongues. Oh - I just mentioned shoes - see, writing things down does help!).
What I am talking about with the Slap is recognising that something is wrong; that you are perhaps caught in the UnderToad of Life and are being swept out from the shore. That the frantic hand gestures are not a sign of buggerising around in the waves and having a good time but are actually a gesture for help.
This is where the gratitude comes in. And it takes two forms.
I am grateful that I have incredible people around me who both are close enough and intuitive enough to recognise when I am in fact flailing and coughing up salt water. They are supportive and empathetic without being sooky-la-la (which they know I can't stand above all else) and they reach out to grab me without my having to reach for them first. They are all incredibly busy people - some in massively stressful situations or even outright dangerous occupations - but they support me, and in the right way. And secondly - I am grateful to myself. Which sounds supremely egotistical I know; but once upon a time I would not have had the strength to admit I was going under the water; and would instead have just let it take me out to sea and ended up who knows where for who knows how long.
So you see, this is about gratitude. As it turned out, it was also a little bit about shoes.
Mostly though, it's about not going under.
Because the School of the Slap doesn't believe in that.