Saturday, March 25, 2006

He's Not As Bad A Bart As All That

Some years ago--maybe fifteen--I parodied Lionel Bart's Consider Yourself (again from Oliver!--what else is there?) for a friend's birthday. It began something like this:

Consider yourself
Old hat;
Consider yourself
Mr. Methuselah.

And on and on it went. A nice generic gag, suitable for birthdays, anniversaries and bar mitzvahs, or is it bars mitzvah. He lost his copy (perhaps conveniently), and, for once, I hadn't kept my own, so the parody is lost to the ages. The consequence is that the song has always nettled me slightly: it ought to be parodied, but--all that weary work to do again.

The third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq prompted a fix. A few cherce phrases sprang up on Thursday, and Friday night liberal doses of Campari and soda knitted 'em together into a first chorus:

Consider the War
Consider the rest
Merely formality.
It's going along
Just swell!
We're sure
Wondering how to tell.

Consider the dead:
Not bad!
A coupla thou;
Nothing to bawl about.
Iraqis are free,
And yes!
It's true!
Torture 'em less and less!

Maybe you call our inconclusive claim of victory
At best,"
But if you guys are wise,
The Party Line,
'Cause it will be on the test!

Consider the facts!
. . . Or not.
It's no-never-mind
To us.
For, after we eliminate dissent, mein Gott!
There isn't a lot
To discuss.

Lyric © 2006 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Like Who Will Buy?, this needs another release and final eight. But that'll come, somehow. Perhaps more Campari is needed.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Ribald? Or Obscene?

I give my faithful readers fair warning: this fragment is not quite the Done Thing, especially in an age ruled by blue-nosed, lily-livered, mealy-mouthed Pecksniffs (N.B. A.D. 2006). The lyric below popped into the coconut, so I thought I'd better bung it down. But I give you fair warning.

It came to me without any indication of how to handle the release when I get to it. That's often the way with this stuff. Bit of an idea comes along, and all is smooth sailing for a while; there are times when I feel as if I could repeat the pattern of the first eight bars ad infinitum. And then comes the release. And the hell of it is, when the words to the release finally come, they often bring such a sense of artistic fulfillment (yes, even I feel it sometimes), that I regret that the darned passage occurs only once in the song. And any attempt to write a second chorus forces me to admit that I couldn't really repeat the pattern of the first eight bars ad infinitum. The whole thing becomes a big pain in the neck.

Well, enough of that. The song (or half-song), to the tune of Loewe's With, or is it Wiv, a Little Bit of Luck:

They say that Man's a spiritual creature,
And that he does not live by bread alone;
They say that Man's a spiritual creature,
With a little tit to suck
And a little clit to fuck,
He'll be satisfied with just one bone.

Now, Man has brains and intellect and reason,
To see the truth, instead of flying blind;
Yes, Man has brains and intellect and reason,
With a little tit to suck
And a little clit to fuck,
Every man has got a one-track mind.

Lyric © Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Incidentally, anyone who senses a discordant anatomical inaccuracy in this lyric is probably unacquainted with the young lady from Niger, who smiled as she rode on a tiger. (And well she might!) What is sometimes forgotten is that the tiger eventually smiled, too.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Timely Reflections in Tax Season

Yesterday, I did a little light reading: the 2005 edition of the instructions for federal form 1040. A laff riot, beginning with "Do You Have to File?" It takes the IRS two thirds of page 12 to say, "Yes. You do." That tickled me. Then I hurled the goddam booklet against the wall as hard as I could.

Many IRS instructions and publications word it this way: "Who Must File." (To which the quick answer is, "Look in the mirror.") As that phrase revolved in what passes for a mind in my neck of the woods, it set itself to music, and last night and this morning, the rest of the song followed—to the tune of Who Will Buy? from Lionel Bart's musical Oliver! (Mr. Magoo appears again here; if I'm not careful, he's going to become my King Charles's Head.)

Who must file? It isn't Bugs Bunny,
Gomer Pyle, or Mr. Magoo.
Shout, "Siegheil!" and cough up the money,
So Uncle Sam can spy on you.

That's how we wage the War on Terror,
And that's how we will win—
So make it payable to "bearer"
And mail your paycheck in!

Sure, it's vile, this snooping and prying.
Try to smile, and do it with style;
All the while, your freedom is dying.
It's tragic, but it's true: the Feds are out to screw
The poor schlimazels who must file.

Lyric © 2006 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Fastest Parodist in the West

As my nearest and dearest know, I frequent a jernt on West 46th Street, Danny's Grand Sea Palace. Its generous pianist, Jerry Scott, allows me to get up, try out material--and usually fall flat on my face. It occurred to me on the way home from my DAMP this evening that Danny's, like most places, will probably do St. Patrick's Day up brown, and that a jingle to advertise the do might be in order.

Between the Hoboken and Pavonia PATH stations--a few minutes by my Ingersoll--the following workmanlike effort popped unbidden into my head, to the tune of Cohan's Harrigan:

Danny's on St. Paddy's Day.
What a grand occasion to be merry--
Whether you're County Cork or County Kerry.

That's the place to be.
Eat a lot; drink a shot;
Sing a song (thanks to Jerry Scott)--
Celebrate with me!

Lyric © 2006 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Not clever, but serviceable--mentions the name, the food, the drink, the music--and, in keeping with the season, faux Irish.

A Quickie

The following simply rolled out, without a by-your-leave. How could it not? There's simply oodles of material to work with, and the only real problem is deciding what to omit.

A thought of parodying Gershwin's Strike Up the Band! has been rolling around in the noggin for years (as well as the 1900 song, Strike Up the Band [Here Comes a Sailor]). The thought never got further than a Spoonerism of the title. But I ask you: who bikes up the Strand? I'm not even sure that it's possible to do so; perhaps one bikes down.

Last night, though, a hook occurred to me, followed by the release and the punchline, and this morning throwaways for the beginning suggested themselves without the trouble of thinking. With only 85 syllables to the song, though, there's no room for conjunctions and dependent clauses, so it requires a lot of scenery-chewing to put across. What's wanted are the facial muscles of a Rich Little or a David Frye. And one must start out slow and build up to it:

Every cross-town bus . . .
Is a rattle-trap.
Take a tip from us : . . .
Hike up the fare!

On the subway train
Is a pile of crap—
And an unknown stain.
Hike up the fare!

See the mud and the crud and the blood;
Note the grime and the slime and the crime;
Here a rat went 'n' shat; and is that
Pubic hair?!

If it is—well, hey!
We’re the MTA!
We simply hike up the fare!

Lyric © 2006 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Friday, March 03, 2006

"Atchison" Release

I've struggled all week with the release of On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe, and I might as well have been struggling with Jacob's angel. The thing simply refused to yield an inch. I tried taking care of the sounds, but the sense wouldn't take care of itself; I tried making sense, but no sounds would come. This, then, is all I have to show for it (along with the rest of the lyric, as she now stands):

When Al Qaeda bombs the Pentagon,
Celebrities will organize a telethon—
But September 12th, they'll be on their way
Back to Aspen and Tahiti—and to St. Tropez.

When the market outlook’s none too good,
There’s cheery camaraderie in Hollywood,
Just as long as things still are A-OK
Back in Aspen and Tahiti—and in St. Tropez.

Holy crumbs!
When a movie crew laments, "Boo-hoo"—
Hey, Jim! You bet the game is rigged.
Cock-a-doodle-doo! I never knew
That stars were good at showing off.
Well, I'll be jigged!

When Katrina wipes out New Orleans,
The movie stars‘ll rally ‘round with pork-and-beans;
But they hoard foie gras and crème brûlée
Back in Aspen and Tahiti—
Far away from all graffiti—
Back in Aspen and Tahiti—and in St. Tropez.

Lyric © 2006 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov, and I'll bet he was glad to get rid of it
Ultra Linking