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Month: January 1998 Page 1 of 2

The Flamewar Never Dies

The Flamewar Never Dies
by Robert Wynne
Music: “The Dangling Conversation” by Paul Simon
© 1998

If you will not heed what I say
I’ll repeat it louder still
And you think you can ignore my words
But I don’t think you will
I will shout it from the ramparts
Locked in my position
Like an overzealous twit
You can watch me pitch a fit

Full of righteous indignation
And my superficial lies
The flamewar never dies

And you all howl out with outrage
How dare I break the peace
Although every response to me
Ensures I never cease
Though you put me in your killfile
Still I will be lurking
On the edges of the net
I won’t let you forget

About my righteous indignation
And my superficial lies
The flamewar never dies

Oh, I speak things that don’t matter
Just to prolong the thread
No analysis is worthwhile
No logic’s in my head.
Yet I won’t stop my babble
I can keep this up forever
My fingers never tire
Of this neruotic, senseless ire

Or my righteous indignation
And my superficial lies
The flameware never dies

 

This is the second song I wrote as a result of the Cineviews flamewar on rec.music.filk back in 1998. The other was The Gold Standard.

While this was inspired by a specific flamewar, this sort of thing happens on USENET all the time. Apply as needed.

Fratricide and Spirits

Fratricide and Spirits
by Robert Wynne and Jeffrey Williams
Music: “Rainy Days and Mondays” by the Carpenters
© 1998

Talking to myself and feeling cold
I don’t know what I’m to do
Really wish I had a clue
Walking around wearing a solemn frown
Fratricide and Spirits always get me down

What I saw would drive most ’round the bend
My dead father said to me
Son, you’ve gotta kill the king.
But I don’t know
Which way I ought to go
To be or not to be, I sure wish I could know

Funny but it seems i’d know exactly what to do
Don’t know why i cant decide it
If anyone suspects, they’ll probably lock me safe away
So I guess I’d better hide it

Even my best friend thinks me insane
But I knew the play’s the thing
I caught the concience of the king.
Now that I’m sure
Vengence is the only cure
There’s only one more act i’ll be forced to endure

Now I must go
To calculate the final blow
And lay Claudius to rest beneath the falling snow
This song was written because Jeff and I wanted to write a song based on Shakespeare (we were both English majors).

This song was published in the Gafilk 2000 songbook.

Gingrich of Congress

Gingrich of Congress
by Robert Wynne and Jeffrey Williams
Music: “Lord of La Mancha” from the musical Man of La Mancha
© 1998

Hear me now, all you old disenfranchised white men!
CEOs and your rich companies!
Clad in armor of God and American flags
I call forth my majority!

I am Speaker Newt Gingrich
I’m from Pennsylvania
But Georgia’s been kindest to me!
Political backstabbing’s
my bread and butter
I thunder on self-righteously

Elect me and I’ll stamp out the gays and the poor
And the lib’rals who stand by their side
And we’ll smuggle our spies into every bedroom
To ensure that you’ve nothing to hide

I am Speaker Newt Gingrich
I’m from Pennsylvania
But Georgia’s been kindest to me!
Political backstabbing’s
my bread and butter
I thunder on self-righteously

When I speak I weave visions of futures untold
Technological marvels are neat
But we must stay on guard from the liberal horde
Who aren’t among our elite!

I am Speaker Newt Gingrich
I’m from Pennsylvania
But Georgia’s been kindest to me!
Political backstabbing’s
my bread and butter
I thunder on self-righteously
I thunder on self-righteously
Come sign my contract
Come sign my contract
Behold!

 

The problem with writing songs about the news is that they are so quickly “overtaken by events”. I wrote this back when Newt Gingrich was still the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

While Gingrich did have his good side (he was a major supporter of the space program), I found his political tactics obnoxious and divisive, and lay a lot of the blame for the atmosphere that surrounds our political machine today on him.

The Gold Standard

The Gold Standard (To A Modern Tune)
by Robert Wynne
Music: “MmmMmmMmmMmmM” by the Crash Test Dummies
(or, if you prefer, “Headline News” by Weird Al Yankovic)
© 1998

Once, there was this guy who
Wrote a bunch of filksongs and
thought that they were cool
But when he sent them in to
a fanzine, they were bounced back in his face
He didn’t understand it,
The tunes were so well known

MmmMmmMmmMmm (etc…)

Once there was an editor
who published filkdom’s very best
and most prestigeous journal
But when she got these filksongs
She found she didn’t know the right music
She asked all of her friends
and they didn’t know them either

MmmMmmMmmMmm (etc…)

It wasn’t that the songs were bad
But it sure made that poor guy mad

And so he went to USENET
And said that she had unfairly rejected his poor filk songs
But he found to his dismay
She was well loved by all of the folks there
They flamed him rather soundly
and put him in their killfiles

MmmMmmMmmMmm(etc…)

 

This is the other song i got out of the Cineviews flameware on rec.music.filk in 1998. (If you really want to know, see the notes at the bottom of The Flamewar Never Dies.

This one is more specifically addressing the topic of that flamewar, and as a result doesn’t hold up as well over time, but I’m fond of it for the reaction it provoked. While I tried to keep the tone neutral and reporting merely what actually happened without actually showing favour to either side, I got a vitrolic e-mail from Cineviews accusing me of being a “Lee Gold Apologist”. I related this to Lee, and suggested that perhaps we could form a “Lee Gold Apologist Society” and get little buttons to wear at cons and maybe a neat graphic for our webpages and stuff. One day I’ll actually get around to designing those…

I Can’t Stand The Sunshine

I Can’t Stand The Sunshine
by Robert Wynne and Jeffrey Williams
Music: “Walking On Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves
© 1998

Oh I am a creature of night, I’m at home in the dark
And you surely dont want to meet me all alone in the park
You don’t want to see me on weekends, or even week nights, oh-no now
Cause meeting me is an experience, baby, that bites

And I can’t stand the sunshine, no-oh
I cant stand the sunshine, no-whoah
I cant stand the sunshine, no no no
I crumble to dust, yeah

This is a most lovely party, I wish I could stay
But I really have to get home before the break of day
Please put away all of your mirrors, they just bring me down
But if you Leave your window open maybe I’ll come back around

And I can’t stand the sunshine, no-oh
I cant stand the sunshine, no-whoah
I cant stand the sunshine, no no no
I crumble to dust, yeah

I’m not alive, i am undead, im just ahead of mornings light
I will survivie if I can make it to my casket, it’s alright
Can’t stand sunshine, baby, NO! it burns!
Can’t stand the sunshine, baby, so

I turn away from the sunshine, whoa-oh
I cant stand the sunshine, no-whoah
I cant stand the sunshine, no no no
I crumble to dust, yeah

 

I always loved the song “Walking on Sunshine”. It’s such an energetic piece of music, and it can’t help but make me happy. At the same time, I had gotten rather tired of angsty vampire literature and songs about same, and decided to write some cheerful songs about vampires. This one seemed a natural, somehow.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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