The L-Space Web: Filks

Urban Legends

From: Gid Holyoake
Subject: [I] Filk.. (idle musings from the depths of time)
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2000 16:59:22 -0000

Some on here may know of my long-time fascination with the chord structure of Pachelbel's Canon, and how it's been adapted for songs over the years (Ralph McTell's "Streets of London" and Greenday's "Basket Case" to name but two)..

This set me thinking about why people wanted to put lyrics to that particular structure..

The only thing that I could think of was that there must have been some lyrics to the original at some point, which have now been lost.. after a vast amount of alcohol^W exp^Htensive research, I postulated a theory that the reason for the loss of the lyrics was that the song had originally been sent back to Pachelbel's era in a time machine, and therefore didn't mean anything to him, so he made up for the lack of meaningful lyrics by adding more and more twiddly bits (technical term) to the basic melody..

This started me thinking (oh no, two bouts of thinking on the same subject) about what sort of lyrics would have absolutely no meaning to someone of that era.. all the traditional song themes (love, war[1], sex, beer drinking, gold, sex, more beer drinking etc.) would have been equally meaningful then as now, so the subject must have been more
intrinsically "modern"..

Then it struck me.. "ouch" I said, because it struck me fairly hard and I wasn't expecting it.. I'd been following the "ring-a-ring o' rosies" thread, and it became clear that some of the "modern" urban legends would have absolutely no meaning to someone from the dim and distant past who knew little of "microwave ovens" or "panda cars"..

Thus was the Filk (to the underlying tune of Pachelbel's Canon) with the curious title of "Urban Legends" born.. one word of caution.. some of the words have to be fitted with an almost "Jon Anderson" like delivery style, though not *necessarily* in such a high-pitched voice as his..

Urban Legends:

Man in phone box lies there bleeding
From the cuts that cross his wrists on left and right sides.
All they found was the handset dangling,
Lying on the floor there was the Angling Times.

All these tales, I'm sure you've heard
And some of you've believed in them although they're absurd.
They're what's known as urban legends,
Legend being very much the operative word.

Man in Escort, stopped for speeding,
Gets away with caution and goes home to his bride.
Two hours later, ring on doorbell,
Can they have their panda car back, his car's outside.


Man out jogging finds a wallet,
Owner gives him tickets for a show on the spot.
Home from theatre, door forced open,
Nothing but the floorboards left, they'd taken the lot.


Woman's poodle needed drying,
Couldn't find the hairdryer so what did she do?
Places poodle in the microwave,
Then she wonders why she ends up with poodle stew.



[1] What *is* it good for?

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