Friday, September 08, 2006


It turns out that Jerry Scott's seventh anniversary do is on September 8, not September 9, so I've been frantically rewriting and then rehearsing to try to replace the old lines with the new in my Campari-soaked noggin. It looks as if this will be the final version of his musical toast:

It's been seven—
Seven awesome and extraordinary years
With a pianist who hasn't any peers.
Lift your glasses and convert your "Cheers!" to cheers!

Lucky seven—
Seven seasons filled with gaiety and tears,
Which we fondly keep among our souvenirs.
Lift your glasses and distil your "Cheers!" to cheers!

Let the riffraff sit through Phantom
And be hit by chandeliers;
As for us, we'll keep "Perfesser" Scott
Another seven years.

Some are satisfied with K-Fed—
Even worse, with Britney Spears;
But for us, we'll take "Perfesser" Scott
Another seven years.

—Scott, m'boy!
You play one hell of a song!
—The spell of a song
That swept us along

(Count 'em, seven)—
Seven cycles of the Music of the Spheres.
Thank the Lord, he chose the best of all careers!
Lift your glasses and transmute your "Cheers!" to cheers!

Lyric © 2006 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Once again, you can have no idea how many times certain lines were changed, only to end up as they began. Moving Seven seasons filled with gaiety and tears from the final section to the second section certainly changes the whole tone of the thing. To me, at least.

And, since it appears The Sunday Times has no virtual space for fripperies, even high-brow ones, here's the ditty I sent to 'em, to the tune of Stephen Foster's Camptown Races:

"A.N. Wilson is a sh*t"
(Doodoo! Doodoo!).
Betjeman took an awful hit;
Sing: "Oodoo-day!"

Swine to Wilson's right;
Swine to Wilson's left:
I'll bet a nickel it's a Hillier hoax;
Nobody's quite so deft.

Lyric © 2006 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

In reporting the Wilson-Hillier flap, The Sunday Times did not scruple to print the four-letter word au naturel. I suppose I shouldn't have been so coy.

What I find mildly gratifying in this hurried effort are the number of unintended felicities: the (gratuitous) echoes of Sumer is icumen in and The Charge of the Light Brigade; I'll bet a nickel and Nobody's, where Foster wrote I bet my money and Somebody; the public schoolboy Swine in place of Gwine; and the use of Pig Latin to comment on a literary feud. None of which alters the fact that the thing's another cheap throwaway, instead of Something for the Ages, like Hello, Muddah, Hello, Faddah. Ah, me.


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