[Bards] Early History styles, filk, and frumpery - was - RE: My apologies to John Travolta and the Beegees, but it just kind of happened

Gerald of Leesville gerald.of.leesville at gmail.com
Mon May 26 20:51:42 PDT 2008

I don't know, Emma.  I get feedback all of the time.
Now.  Granted, I mix in Irish traditional music with the early history
music, but what feedback are you looking for.
We all play different games.  Some people want others to play theirs.
So.  Do I approve of behaviors where someone announces that they wish a song
hadn't been created?  No.  But I'll play my own game with that one.
Do I think we should disbelieve in filk?  No.  Me, I'd work a bit on the
meter on some of the verses in the piece below, but it'd be fun to watch, I
But that's the game I play.  I'm a minstrel.  I wander about and play and
sing.  I occasionally compose, and I perform for others when asked.  I have
currently not offended while performing but for one time, and to the person
who took humbrage at that moment, my sincere apologies.  For the lady who
came at me with a knife the other day while performing ... well, what can I
say.  There's a little madness in us all ;-).
To Emma:  Every one of us that are performing attempts forms in historical
style from time to time.  Some may come close to the truth of it, but we'll
never really know.  I have a good friend with a doctorate in historical
music and dance and have performed with her troupe on occasion.  While she
enjoys the historical forms, she (and others) believe that the form was
mostly for entertainment, and with that, most of it varied from the accepted
form now and then.  Good art does that.  It presses the boundaries, and
sometimes the boundary breaks.  I would encourage you to keep trying, if you
want to.  I do.
To Allon:  The hardest thing to receive in a work that springs from your
brain, no matter how guided the form might be by another media, is critique.
Especially when unasked for.  In a judging situation I provide critique,
though I will in the future ask that forms include a "Do you want critique?"
question somewhere on them, for those who DON'T.  I think where Kenneth's
coming from is he doesn't want a whole bardic circle based on variants of
"Gilligan's Island" or the like.  I don't see that happening, but he has
probably attended more bardic circles than I and it wouldn't take many of
that type of circle to make one ... twitchy.  If I were you, I wouldn't take
it personally.  Easy for me to say.  Hard for you to do.  
To Kenneth:  Don't write when you're tired and frumpy.  It doesn't come
across well.
Gerald of Leesville.
A bard of Stargate


From: bards-bounces at lists.ansteorra.org
[mailto:bards-bounces at lists.ansteorra.org] On Behalf Of Esther
Sent: Monday, May 26, 2008 3:42 AM
To: Ansteorran Bardic list
Subject: Re: [Bards] My apologies to John Travolta and the Beegees,but it
just kind of happened

And it was funny, and it was applauded as such.

On the other side of this coin, it's much easier to get applause for a filk
than it is to get feedback and comment on attempting period forms, or at
least that's been my experience for the last 15 years. So I don't try
anymore, which is probably just as well, because as bards go, I'm a poor


James Rushin <dweezle at pcsok.com> wrote: 

For the love of the Gods!!  This is exactly why I don't post to lists.  I
could go on and on and rebuke different points and argue my "case" as it
where.  But I don't have to.  Its been done by countless numbers of people
over many different lists ever since I began playing 10 years ago.  But this
was posted in fun.  As to singing it at an event, I wouldn't even sing it to
my wife while sitting in front of the computer after I filked it.  I
personally am quite tired of hearing the whole argument for and against
filk, its been beaten to death and bantered over for at least 10 years.
It's a Game played in Fun.  I wish we could remember that and keep it that


From: bards-bounces at lists.ansteorra.org
[mailto:bards-bounces at lists.ansteorra.org] On Behalf Of Ken Theriot
Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2008 5:53 PM
To: 'Ansteorran Bardic list'
Subject: Re: [Bards] My apologies to John Travolta and the Beegees, but it
just kind of happened
OK, just as an example of what I was saying before..this is all in good fun,
and appropriate for certain venues.  I can certainly appreciate it in that
way.  But may I please make an appeal to everyone to NOT sing this at an
event, at least not until it is well after midnight and sufficiently drunk
out?  I know I'm gonna get yelled at, and I don't mean to kick anyone's
puppy.  But I just wish the bardic arts in Ansteorra could steer itself away
from filks to obviously modern songs.  It starts out as something everyone
gets a good laugh at, and then before you know it, people are singing it at
competitions and bardic circles, and it spreads and can't be contained.  So
what is wrong with it?  Well first and foremost, it is illegal.  The song
this was filked to (and I could name half a dozen others that I have
recently heard sung in competitions that are in the same category) is under
active copyright.  That means the tune AND the words.  Most of the filks I
hear actually don't even change that many words from the original!  I have
literally heard someone sing a song that was identical to the modern
original except for changing one word to "Ansteorra."  When you publicly
perform a copyrighted work that is not your own, you break the law.  And
guess who is liable?  Not you!  The person/group performing the copyrighted
song is not who would be sued in the event of legal action.  It is the
venue.  So technically, any of the sites where we hold events could
literally be sued for copyright infringement if one of our members performs
a song under active copyright.  Even if the filker changed every word, and
wrote a completely new lyric (would that it were so!!!), the use of the tune
is still protected.  Secondly, as I mentioned in an earlier post on filk,
obviously modern tunes can snap people out of the medieval reverie.  You
would NEVER blast a boom box of The BeeGees in the middle of an event.  So
how is this any different?  We strive to avoid it in every other area, but
seem to actively encourage it in our art.
I recently judged the bardic competition (with Dona Antonia) at Squires and
Cadets, and one competitor sang a filk called "Always a Herald to Me."  The
mere fact that I am a huge Billy Joel fan in my mundane life is the main
reason why that performance killed the SCA atmosphere for me.  I had "Always
a Woman to Me" stuck in my head the rest of the day.  

Don Mateo, who is an excellent bard recently moved into Ansteorra, has a
great filk story.  He said he wrote a filk several years ago, and stuck the
paper away somewhere.  A few years later, he found the paper and had
completely forgotten what tune he had filked it to (which means he wrote a
completely new lyric, and didn't just change 3 or 4 words from the original,
or he would have recognized it...hint..hint).  So he was forced to write an
original tune to it.  Voila!  A completely new work, words and lyrics.  

OK, so I made a big deal out of something that was just for fun.  I realize
that.  I posted the Viking filk to the Llama song on this list..but as an
example of bad versus better filk.  I just wanted to voice this opinion once
again after hearing sooooo many modern filks this weekend.  

Now I am going to try to stave off this descending cloud of fatigue and
unconsciousness until bed time..if....possible.  Bjornsborg....far


PS  I heard some fantastic performances at the competition last night!  Our
kingdom is truly blessed with some awesome talent.




From: James Rushin [mailto:dweezle at pcsok.com] 
Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2008 2:51 AM
To: 'Ansteorran Bardic list'
Subject: [Bards] My apologies to John Travolta and the Beegees,but it just
kind of happened

Stayin' Alive
Tune by the Bee Gees
Words by Ld. Allon McBaine

 Well you can tell by the way I use my walk

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