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Month: January 1999 Page 1 of 2

Don’t Panic

Don’t Panic
by Robert Wynne and Jeffrey Williams
Music: “Pink Houses” by John Mellencamp
© 1999

Well there’s an ad man in his bathrobe
Living in his dreary world
They built a new bypass right up to his front door
And you know he’s not feeling so good
Then his old friend, down from Guilford
Says “Arthur, there’s no where to hide,
Let’s go have ourselves a couple of drinks at the pub and talk
and then we’ll catch a ride

Come roam the Galaxy along with me
Come roam the Galaxy, its something to see, Arthur
Come roam the Galaxy, be lonely and free
The Guide says Don’t Panic, Arthur, come roam with me!

Well there’s a Vogon, he’s a captain
Writing down his Vogon poetry
He’s got greasy skin, never smiles
And you know — he doesn’t like strangers
So he threw them in the airlock
Said they would never grow old
Kinda cold and lonely floating round in outerspace
But then came the Heart of Gold


There’s a strange man, on Magrathea, building a brand new planet, oh
He signed his name into a giant glacial mass
and he says he made the fjords in Oslo
And there’s robots, and there’s white mice
But they ain’t no big deal
Cause there’s crazy guards baby
And they will shoot, and shoot, and shoot to kill



The creative process is a funny thing. I was driving home from work late one night when John Mellancamp’s “Pink Houses” came on the radio. When I heard the line about the black man with “an interstate running through his front yard”, I thought of poor Arthur Dent in the Hitchhiker’s series, and this song came out. The scansion’s a bit odd in the chorus, but it works the way I do it.


by Bill Sutton and Robert Wynne
Music: “Kodachrome” by Paul Simon
© 1999

When I think back on all the trolls I’ve fought in dungeons
It’s a wonder that I’m alive at all
But my lack of constitution hasn’t hurt me none
I can hide in shadows on the wall

Your tunnels are dark and twisty
Your underground lakes are misty
Makes me think all the world’s so far away
I got the monster’s treasures
I love to take it home with me
[So] mama don’t take my catacombs away.

If you took all the ghouls I slew when I was single,
Put ’em all together for one fight,
You know they’d never beat my sweet Holy Avenger –
Everything looks worse to a blackened wight.


Mama don’t take my catacombs away
Mama don’t take my catacombs away

Mama don’t take my catacombs
mama don’t take my catacombs
mama don’t take my catacombs away

Mama don’t take my catacombs
and leave me broke so far from home
mama don’t take my catacombs away


Bill Sutton and I play AD&D every Thursday night at his house in Marietta. This is one of two songs inspired by that campaign.

This song was published in Xenofilkia #74, and in the Gafilk 2000 songbook.

A Con Spent A Circle

A Con Spent In A Circle
by Robert Wynne
Music: “Circle” by Harry Chapin
© 1999

A con spent in a circle
All our troubles gone
The music echoes through the night
Till the breaking of the dawn
A con spent in a circle,
Friends sharing harmony,
We’ll give no thought to sleep now —
Come on and filk with me

I met you sometime last year,
I don’t remember where,
But I know we shared a song or two,
Help me circle up these chairs.

I’m glad to see you came again,
we’ve still a lot to do —
The convention day is over,
but the evening is still new.


A voice lilts out a melody
A single strumming hand
A bodhran adds a rhythmic beat
It’s better than a band

When other fans have gone to sleep
We circle up and sing
And each takes home full measure
of all the joy we bring

I wrote this song shortly after the first GaFilk. I remember leaving the hotel on Sunday and commenting to Teri Wachowiak that I had a great time, even though it seemed I spent most of the weekend rearranging chairs into circles. The phrase “A con spent in a circle” wandered through my head, and connected with the Harry Chapin song, and I wrote the lyrics over the next few days.

I’ve been very flattered at the attention this song has gotten. It was published in Xenofilkia #64 and the Gafilk 2001 songbook, and was nominated in 2001 for a Pegasus Award for Best Filk Song.


by Robert Wynne
Music: “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett
© 1999

Down in the cavern
Far from the tavern
Cold and lonely down here in the dark
Monsters all around
Making some weird sounds
Now I know this is no walk in the park

Hiding away again down here in Dungeonville
Hoping my luck doesn’t turn for the worse
Some people claim that there’s a fortune to gain
But I know, I’ve got to find it first

The monsters are scary
They’re mean and they’re hairy
I try to avoid them whenever I can
But if I am fast then
I can sneak past them
It’s all a part of my cunning plan

Hiding away again down here in Dungeonville
Hoping my luck doesn’t turn for the worst
Some people claim that there’s a fortune to gain
But I know, I’ve got to find it first

Now there are some fighters
Who like armor brighter
But I like dusty old leather just fine
While the others are fighting
I will be a-lighting
Out through the backdoor with all I can find

Running away again, right out of Dungeonville
Hoping my luck doesn’t turn for the worst
Some people claim that there’s a fortune to gain
They’d be right, ‘cept that I got there first


Another gaming song. The first D&D campaign I was in was run by a fellow with an unfortunate tendency to kill off our characters. My friend Jeff was the first of us to have a character actually survive one of Larry’s dungeons, and this song is about how he did it. (We probably would have tracked him down and expressed our displeasure at being deserted in battle, but, well, we were all dead.)

This song was published in Xenofilkia #74, and in the Gafilk 2004 songbook.

Georgia’s First Ever Filking Con

Georgia’s First Ever Filking Con
by Robert Wynne
Music: “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce
© 1999

On the south side of Atlanta
Came a different sort of fun
You know we’d never seen
Something quite so keen
As a real live filking con[1]

There was no masquarade or art show
Michael[2] sold tapes from his room
All day we gathered round
And made a joyous sound
In the Ramada’s main ballroom

It’s Georgia’s First Ever Filking Con
Three southern nights of joy and song
And no one ever had so much fun
As the con called GaFilk One

Juanita Coulson[3] was delightful
But then, when’s that a surprise?
How does she not go hor-us
Growling out each chorus
With that twinkle in her eye?

Mike and Anne came[4] ‘cross the water
With British filk they did entice
The Great White North was on board
With a Canadian Horde[5]
And boy did they sound nice!

At Georgia’s First Ever Filking Con
Three southern nights of joy and song
And no one ever had so much fun
As the con called GaFilk One

Well the weekend went too swiftly
Much too soon we reached the end
When Brenda[6] took the floor
To sing “Strangers No More”
Every single one joined in!

Bill[7] declared the con was over
But we all let out a cheer
When he took up the call
And told one and all
“We’ll be right back here next year

At Georgia’s Second Ever Filking Con
Three more nights of Joy and Song
So no matter what else you do
Make sure that you’re at GaFilk Two!”

[1] This was the first filk con ever held in Georgia
[2] Michael Liebmann got “the whole store” from Random Factors and was the only (and much put upon) dealer
[3] You don’t need me to introduce this lady, do you? 🙂
[4] Mike and Anne Whittaker (of the filk band Phoenix)
[5] Glenn Simser (the Interfilk guest) and Dave and Judith Hayman were down
[6] Brenda Sutton“Strangers No More” is the official song of GaFiA, the Georgia Filking Association.
[7] Bill Sutton was the con chairman

I wrote this after arriving home after the first Georgia Filk Con, when everything was still fresh in my head. I had a great time, and five years later, Gafilk is still going strong. Being a part of the Gafilk concom has been a wonderful experience for me the last four years, and I’m looking forward to many more.

Update (August, 2018):  Holy cow, we’re prepping to put on Gafilk 21 in January…

Jeff’s Wedding

Jeff’s Wedding
by Robert Wynne
Music: “Get Me To The Church On Time” from the musical My Fair Lady
© 1999

I’m getting married in the morning
To hell with writing stories down
Ive got no time
for prose, verse, or rhyme
I’ve got to catch my plane on time

I’m getting married out in Houston
Strange, but it wasn’t my idea
Don’t try to stop me
She’ll always top me
Just get me to my plane on time

If I am typing, turn off the power
If I am sleeping, remind me of the hour

Cause I’m getting married, no escaping
No turning back now, thats for sure
No time to re-think
Pour me a stiff drink
And get me to my plane
(Don’t mind if I complain)
Just get….me…to…my….plane


Jeff Williams is my writing partner, my best friend since Jr. High School, and the brother I never had. I was unfortunately unable to attend his wedding, but the night before he left for Texas, I did write this song for him. My biggest regret was being unable to perform it at his reception.

Littleton Aftermath

Littleton Aftermath
Words and Music by Robert Wynne
© 1999

April 22, 1999

It’s a thing that shouldn’t happen, but too often now it will
And it breaks the heart each time you hear of someone’s children killed
Last night I turned on the evening news, and felt my blood go cold
And cried as I watched the story there unfold

The scene was Colorado, in a nice suburban school
Things like this don’t happen there! It goes against the rule
It’s not the inner city, but it happened just the same
And the reporters were all wondering who to blame

And you can say we need more gun control, or armed guards at the schools
Or that we could reach these kids with more counselers and their tools
But somehow I doubt it matters much just who the blame falls on
To a parent whose child won’t be coming home

There were sixteen or maybe more whose lives were just erased
The contributions they might have made can never be replaced
They won’t have the chance to fall in love or spread their wings and fly
And all that we can do is wonder why

What could have we done different? With whom can we find fault?
What can we do to bring this vicious cycle to a halt?
Each expert on the evening news has an viewpoint of his own
And each forgets the families left alone

And you can say we should get rid of all the violence on TV
Or that we need more laws to regulate society
But somehow I doubt it matters much just who the blame falls on
To a parent whose child won’t be coming home


I wrote this the morning after the Littleton, CO, school shootings, in an attempt to make some sort of sense of it all. It’s primarily a reaction to the talking heads and pundits who were all saying ‘Well, of course, this happened because…’ and proceding to try and tie this tragedy to whatever their pet theory about “What’s Wrong With The World Today, Especially These Kids” happened to be. The thing the media always loses track of is that these are, at heart, not national tragedies — they’re human tragedies…whatever the societal implications, there are families who are missing their loved ones tonight.

This song never did help me find any answers. It raised a lot of questions though.

I never perform this song.

Nobody’s Ranger Now

Nobody’s Ranger Now
by Bill Sutton and Robert Wynne
Music: “Nobody’s Moggie” by Eric Bogle
© 1999

Somebody’s ranger just inside of the door
Someone’s player character who won’t roll nice no more
Someon’s favourite fighter who ran clean out of luck
When he ran up, threw wide the door, and shouted out “Oh……BUGGER”

Yesterday, he roared and rolled his purple pair of dice
Decapitating nothing much, and fumbling badly twice
Now he’s just a page of useless stats and tasty food for mice
He’s nobody’s ranger, now.

So if you love your ranger, don’t let him run ahead
For if he opens doors alone, he’ll likely wind up dead
And everything he’s ever owned will go for monster’s pleasure
How else do you think those monsters get all of their treasure?

Always stick together when exploring caverns vast
That’s the way to guarantee your characters will last
But wandering alone you’ll die, and very very fast
He’s nobody’s ranger…
So ends his life of danger…
He’s nobody’s ranger….now.
Another song inspired by the Thursday Night Gaming Group. This one really did happen, and the song should serve as a cautionary tale against splitting up the party.

This song is for you, Joey. We miss you.

This song was published in the Gafilk 2004 songbook.

Open Source Of Frustration

Open Source of Frustration
by Robert Wynne and Amanda Marlowe
Music by Robert Wynne
© 1999

I untarred it just an hour ago
Then I made a tiny fix
The error list’s a hundred lines
It must do this for kicks
And the compiler’s complaining that it don’t know what to do
I got the I can’t compile without an error blues

Don’t know what’s it’s asking
It’s really got me pissed
Cause the libs its says are missing
Came right in the dist!
And the docs are in Norweigan…I haven’t got a clue
I got the I can’t compile without an error blues

I started on this project
I thought it would be fun
I finally got the source compiled
And the damn thing wouldn’t run!
Why does anyone write software that no one else can use?
I got the I can’t compile without an error blues

I tried a different angle
Forget what’s on the shelf
But this one don’t run either
And I wrote the thing myself!
And it can’t be Y2K, cause it’s now 1902
I got the I can’t compile
(I can’t even save the file)
without an error blues


Amanda and I wrote this in #filkhaven back when it was still on TalkCity. I was chatting with her at the same time as trying to compile some software which wasn’t cooperating, and I was venting my frustration to her since she was there to talk to. Writing the song was very theraputic, and eventually, I DID get the errors in the code fixed.

Pale Horse

Pale Horse
Words and Music by Robert Wynne
Based on the short story Once Upon A Time by Jeff Williams
© 1999

On a pale horse in the desert is the rider
Asking questions but not listening to the answers
Met Coyote by an outcrop in the desert
Walks beside him off’ring answers obtuse riddles

I’ll give you my food and my water I’ll share
As we ride through this place where the answers hide from my eyes

Can a bridge made of mere words span the vast aeons
Gleeming steel beams yet so fragile crumbling dust cloud
You thought nothing could secure her for your own love
She flies home now she’s her own guide, her own compass

Coyote’s enraged at my fear of the void
Tears at my soul and won’t let me hide from myself

On the hard floor of the desert lies the rider
Badly beaten bloody wounded empty inside
The Coyote says he’ll be back to the desert
And the rider feels the great wheel once more turning

I’ll lie here alone till my emptiness heals
Then leave from this place as the cycle starts once again
Jeff Williams wrote a rather cryptic short story called “Once Upon A Time” that plays all sorts of fun with archtypes. I wrote this song as a reaction to it, and also a way of asking Jeff “Well, did I get it?” He said it was pretty close to his meaning.

Go read the story. I’ll wait. Enjoy.

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