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Month: January 1998 Page 1 of 2

You’ll Never Surf Alone

You’ll Never Surf Alone
by Robert Wynne
Music: “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the musical Carousel
© 1998

When you log on the net hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of a crash
If your Netscape should fail, it’s no cause to cry
You’ll have it right back up in a flash
Surf on through the lag,
Surf on through the faults
Tho’ your mem’ry be fragged and blown
Surf on, surf on, just restore the defaults
And you’ll never surf alone!
 

I wrote this for my sister-by-choice, Dina, after she e-mailed me in a panic because her Netscape installation had gotten corrupted and she was afraid she’d lost all her saved bookmarks and e-mail. Just a bit of silliness to cheer her up.

This song was published in the Gafilk 1999 songbook.

Writer’s Lament

Writer’s Lament
by Robert Wynne
Music: “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters
© 1998

I haven’t yet begun to write
Deadlines, they come and go
Still I sit with an empty page
I haven’t yet begun

I haven’t yet begun to write
Editors phoning me
They paid advances six months ago
And still i’ve not begun

Writing down stuff that is ridiculous
Ball it up and throw it all away
If I could only get a page or two
Then I’d be well and on my way
Beginning…
Beginning…

Another day gone by and I
Got not one damn thing done
I’ll get up tomorrow and start again
And I’ve yet to begin

 

There’s a wonderful scene in the musical 1776, between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. The latter is supposed to be writing the Declaration of Independance, and the former has come around to check on his work. When Jefferson fails to produce the document, Adams sputters “Do you mean to say you haven’t finished?”. Jefferson replies calmly, “No, sir. I mean to say I have not yet begun.”

Boy do I know that feeling!

Still Captain After All These Years

Still Captain After All These Years
by Robert Wynne and Jeffrey Williams
Music: “Still Crazy After All These Years” by Paul Simon
© 1998

I met an old classmate down on Starbase Ten
He seemed surprised to see me, but I just smiled
And we talked about our old ships and had ourselves some beers
I’m still Captain after all these years

Now I’m the kind of man who tends to socialize
I have a brand new girlfriend every day
But I will not make comittments that bind me to one sphere
Still Captain after all these years

My prime directive
Tossed out
Defective
I did it all my own way
I never worry
Why should I?
I always save the day

Now I sit by my window and look at the stars
I’ve done far too much damage for just one day
But it always works out for the best despite the Admiralty’s fears
Still Captain after all these years
 

Admittedly, Kirk spent some time as an Admiral before being busted back to Captain, but it’s obvious that captain is where he belongs.

This song was published in the Gafilk 1999 songbook.

Obligatory Convention Filksong

Obligatory Convention Filksong
by Robert Wynne
Music: “Homeward Bound” by Paul Simon
© 1998

I’m sitting in the Dead Dog party
With an empty fifth of light Bacardi
The con is like a dream today
The panels and the masquerades
With all of our goodbyes to say
It’s time to get back on our way

Homeward bound
The con is over
Homeward bound
Home, back to mundane working
Home, bills and paychecks lurking
Home, where the real world waits impassivly for me

Every weekend I’ve got free
Is saved for flights to fantasy
And people that i’ve met before
Smile when I come through the door
Old friends you too seldom see
Are always the best company

Homeward bound
The con is over
Homeward bound
Home, back to mundane working
Home, bills and paychecks lurking
Home, where the real world waits impassivly for me

When I think about where I belong
I realize I’ve got it all wrong
The real world isn’t home to me
It’s not the place where I feel free
And though we wish we could stay right here
At least we’ll always have next year

Homeward bound
The con is starting
Homeward bound
Home, where my friends are meeting
Home, where the fans are greeting
Home, where the real world seems so very far away
 

Like many people, fandom is more than hobby to me – it’s a family as well. The end of a convention is always a bit like leaving home for me and the beginning of a con always feels like a reunion. This song tries to capture that feeling.

I titled it as I did because I think most of us get around to writing this song sooner or later. Many have done it better, but this one’s mine.

This song was published in the Gafilk 2000 songbook.

The Night They Drove The Death Star Down

The Night They Drove the Death Star Down
by Robert Wynne and Jeffrey Williams
Music: “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” by The Band
© 1998

Luke Skywalker’s my name and I come from the desert plains
And my life was all pretty dull until the stormtroopers came
Now I don’t mind droid repair
And I can fly anything that goes into the air
But you can’t wipe out my whole family
And expect me to take it standing on my feet

The night they drove the Death Star down
All the fighters were coming
The night they drove the Death Star down
And all the lasers were humming
They went pow pow-pow-pow-pow-pow=pow
pow-pow-pow-pow pow-pow-pow-pow

Well I left my home on Tatooine and the rebels called to me
Said “Luke, my friend, come quick, we need you to fly this X-wing”
Well, I had R-2 on my side
And I had men protecthing my hide
But instead of using the Target screen
I relied on the force of some mystery unseen

(chorus)

Like my father before me I’m a Jedi Knight
And like the others before me I won’t run from the fight
I was just eighteen, young and brave
But the empire’s sent many brave men to the grave
Han Solo said that it was suicide
But we fought because we had to stem the tide!

(chorus)

The very first Gafia housefilk I attended, there was a young couple who was also there for their first time, and they wanted to hear a Star Wars song. Improbably, no one had one at hand to sing. So I went home and wrote one.

While this song is written and performed “straight”, it usually gets a good laugh as soon as people figure out what the tune is.

Mr. President

Mr. President
by Robert Wynne and Jeffrey Williams
Music: “Mrs. Robinson” by Paul Simon
© 1998

We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files
G. Gordon Liddy’s on the air at ten
Please be sure to tell the truth and nothing but
Now could you please tell us where, with whom, and when?

(Chorus 1)
What have you done, Mr. President?
We know you wish this all would go away
Hey hey hey
What have you done, Mr. President?
Frankly we just didn’t want to know
whoa-whoa-whoa
whoa-whoa-whoa

Screwing in your office on a Sunday afternoon
Gonna raise an awfully big debate, yeah
Lie about it, dance around it, when you are deposed
Ain’t no way you’ll come out smelling like a rose

(Chorus 1)

Hidden in an office where nobody ever goes
Secret Service standing by the door, yeah.
Please answer every question in graphic detail
Did you do it on the desk or on the floor?

(Chorus 2)
Where have you gone, H.R. Haldeman?
Even Nixon never was so bold
Whoa-whoa-whoa
Who ever thought in their wildest dreams
That Watergate could ever seem so tame?
Hey hey hey
hey hey hey

 

Another song about politics that’s hopelessly dated, but it was a lot of fun to write at the time. The whole controversy that inspired this song became ridiculous in short order, and I enjoyed poking fun at the media frenzy. Of course, I always enjoy poking fun at media frenzies.

The Media

The Media
by Robert Wynne
Music: “Opening Ceremonies (The Arbiter)” from the musical Chess
© 1998

We’ve a duty as the media
On the six-o-clock news
To bring you stories full of horror
tragedy despair
Do you care?
‘Course you do

We don’t care if you are sensitive
to the horrors of man
We have pictures of the victims
and you know we’ll
ask how they feel
Because we can

We’re on the scene, the feed is live
We’ll interview the ones who survive
Oh we’re the media and we know best
Here’s the bad news, don’t bother with all the rest
We’ve got the verdicts straight from the courts
We’ve got a car crash, hold on for sports
We’re the media, and we have proof
All this carnage makes ratings go through the roof

If you wanted a slight change of pace
from all this gloom and doom
We have lying politicians, busisness fraud, lies, a
mother cries,
And weather too!

We proclaim the public’s right to know
But that’s just an excuse
To be quite honest, we’re all in a race
To win first place, sell ad space,
Now the news…

(chorus)

 

The immediate inspiration for this song was a thread on rec.music.filk about how the media propagates urban legends around Halloween time. I wrote at the time: “We have lost our innocence. Easy distribution of information (and misinformation) has made it not only easy to know what is going on all over the world, but damn near impossible to avoid knowing. And as we all know, ‘there’s no news like bad news'”.

On a related note, if you aren’t familiar with Tim Rice’s musical CHESS, check it out. It’s good, good stuff.

The Master

The Master
by Robert Wynne and Jeffrey Williams
Music: “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
© 1998

If I leave here tomorrow
I’ll just come back yesterday
Because I’ve got this stolen TARDIS
And I won’t let you stand in my way

But If you think to try and stop me
From ruling over the galaxy
I’ll just shrink you down to doll size
‘Cause i’m the Master of all I see

We have always been arch rivals
Since we both left Gallifrey
No matter where or when I’m scheming
It’s always down to you and me

And even though you always beat me
I still feel compelled to try
Cause one day I know I’ll defeat you
And then dear Doctor, you will die
Yes dear doctor you will die!
 

This song is entirely too silly. I’m sorry. Jeff and I were discussing the idea of writing a “Doctor Who” filksong, since we were both huge DW fans. The first two lines came out of nowhere, and then we had to finish it, just to get rid of it.

To be honest, I’d have buried this one, but I forgot I’d included it with a set of songs I gave to Brenda Sutton, and she chose to publish it. Oh well, serves me right, I suppose. 🙂

This song was published in the Gafilk 2002 songbook.

Life Is An Intermittent Fault

Life Is An Intermittent Fault
Lyrics by Chris Conway and Robert Wynne
Music by Chris Conway
© 1998

I woke one night thinking that I suffered from a cough
But soon after, found that I had once more switched myself off
I don’t know why it happens, It’s not the life i’d choose
I’ve tried to play a different way, but just found different ways to lose

Some lead lives of wonder, lives of joy and song
Some live out their days content that nothing will go wrong
Some lead lives of merriment, and get all that they ought
But alas for me, I fear my life is an intermittent fault

What will become of me? – as if anybody cared
It’s not a lot to ask to be ocassionally repaired
They tell me that I am the latest model on the charts
But that’s no consolation when you’re made out of spare parts

(chorus)

Bridge:
I’m completely irregular
Intermittent to the letter
Whenever I’m sent for fixing
I suddenly get better
Some folk seek the Holy Grail
And some a single malt
But I seek the cause and truth behind
Life’s intermittent fault

Robots are for serving men, and not for contemplations
We’re not expected to grow wise or build human relations
But a living mind exists inside this metal mastodon
Dreaming dreams where off is off, and on definitely on!

(chorus)

 

I wrote this song in a chatroom with British musician Chris Conway back on the original TalkCity incarnation of #filkhaven. I think it wasn’t until the very last verse that we were really sure what we were writing the song about, but I love the idea of a neurotic robot who just desperately wants his circuits to work properly. Back when we wrote this, I’d suggested Chris write music for it, since he’s a far, far better tunesmith than me, and some years later he did.

Check out Chris’s webpage, btw, and buy his albums. He’s truly talented, and a nice guy to boot

Last Flight Of The Cradle of Commerce

Last Flight of the Cradle of Commerce
by Robert Wynne
Music: “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot
Based on the short story “Triumverate” by Jeff Williams
© 1998

There isn’t much fun
On the Gettysburg run
As you prepare to drop out of lightspeed
But captain and crew
know full well what to do
And they do as well as any could need

There’s jokers and pirates
and foreigners high rates
And drink that will make you feel hazy
But that cannot compare
To the terror that’s there
When you serve with a captain that’s crazy

Now theres many crews fine
On the Chromium Line
But some still speak in whispers of the curse
That befell the good ship
On her one final trip
And her name was the Cradle of Commerce

Her crew was well seasoned
And they each had good reason
to look forward to port’s relaxation
But their old Captain he
Was now but one of three
And was given to sudden vexation

Captain Lutius they say
Ran a tight ship the way
You hear of in many a legend
But a white whale bore down
with a deafening sound
And drove the poor man off the deep end

Their ship was held late
By the right hand of fate
And a comet the captain did neglect
And the captain’s sole crime
Was to not be on time
Thus, his record was no longer prefect

Well, there’s many brave souls
At a big ship’s consoles
That have survived a misfortune much worse
But the good captain fell
Into three seprate hells
And with him went the Cradle of Commerce

So was on that last run
Past the Gettysburg sun
That the captain discovered the trouble
A thief sure was loose
And was stealing produce
Not just one for himself, but a double

Faced with such treason
The Captain found reason
To send the ship to its destruction
And the engines he told
To build to overload
And thus bring an end to the production

From all this they say
Only one got away
Though his name is now lost to our story
and sure nobody found
A survivor around
The ruins of the captain’s last glory

Now there’s many crews fine
On the Chromium Line
And their own tales are many and diverse
But they all recall well
Of this tale I now tell
The last flight of the Cradle of Commerce

 

This song was written largely on the way home from work. Jeff’s short story, “Triumverate” had been published in Aphelion that month, and I’d read it a few times, since Jeff and I often act as first readers on each other’s work, even when we AREN’T collaborating. For some reason that first verse came to me (already set to the Lightfoot tune), and the rest just flowed from there.

Jeff has complained that I managed to sum up in a four minute song what he took 11,000 words to say. I don’t really agree, though — it does summarize the story from an outsider’s point of view, but the wonderful interplay between the characters isn’t there — this is a song that I imagined might be written about this story after the fact by people who weren’t actually there. Go read the original, it’s a fun romp.

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