I’ll get to the EBC report tomorrow…I wanted to get this out first.
As many of you know, I enjoy music a great deal; and, for good or ill, I also enjoy televised singing (and other types of performance) competitions, like America’s Got Talent. While six worthy acts did get through to the finals this year, none of them were my particular favorites; but of those that did get through, the one who got third place was, in my mind, the most deserving winner, with the following entry for the final.
[Feel free to skip ahead to about 1:28 for the performance to begin...]
Not only is William Close a fantastic musician and performer, he’s also an audio artist/architect/engineer beyond the bounds of most people, and dazzled every time he appeared on the show this year. This one was particularly awesome, though, because he managed to do two things: do an amazing version of “Pachelbel’s Canon,” and then while doing so, also redeem a particular American patriotic song from the infamy it will live in forever more due to one particularly disagreeable political candidates’ tone-deaf rendering of it during a campaign speech earlier this year. (On that candidate: the fact that he’s a Mormon is, in my opinion, the best thing about him.)
Which brings me to a further point: there are lots of patriotic American songs–including our National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”–which are quite nice and catchy, inspiring pieces of music. The ones like our National Anthem that don’t bang the drum of monotheism over one’s head are even better. The song above is not one of those…at least as far as the original lyrics of it are concerned. However, re-cast under a tune like the one above (the way I’ve heard it in my head since hearing the original performance is slightly different), and with a few changed lyrics, it could very well be the “polytheist national anthem” for the U.S., if such a thing were desired. The imagery that extolls nature is very apt to a polytheist/animist framework and sentiment, and adding a little bit to the changed lyrics at the end to reflect the wishes of polytheists in the U.S. for a better world and a better place in this society could be done along the lines of the following:
O beautiful, for spacious skies,
for amber waves of grain,
for purple mountains’ majesty
above the fruited plain–
gods grant their gifts to thee:
with truth most just,
and peace and trust
from sea to shining sea.
Or, something like that.
Now, I’m not going to suggest that the above be universally adopted as the “polytheist national anthem” (although if people would like it to be, I’d have no objections!), and changing the tune would also be appropriate to that changed context, just so no memory of that particular politician and all of the nefariousness that he stands for could be avoided.
But, this brings me to my main point today–apart from sharing music that I first heard last week with all of you!–which is the phenomenon witnessed in this blog many times of creating a contrafactum for well-known songs that can be used ritually, or often just for fun. This is known in more common speech as “filking,” but I prefer the Latin term because almost everything sounds better in Latin. (“Quid” iterum dic, fututor matrem!) And this got me thinking further…
Have a listen to the following:
This video has me loving Jimmy Fallon even more, and wanting to learn more of the repertoire of Florence Welch and Florence and the Machine generally…she can make almost anything sound awesome, I think!
Which brings me to my point! I would like to propose a contest, which opens today, and will go through to 11:59 on September 30th, 2012.
The contest is as follows: take Jimmy Fallon’s “Balls in Your Mouth” (okay…that didn’t quite come out right, but anyway…!?!), and make a contrafactum of it that has to do with Antinous, Hadrian, the Tetrad (Panpsyche, Panhyle, Paneros, and Pancrates), Polydeukion and/or the other Trophimoi (Memnon and Achilles), the Treískouroi (Antinous, Polydeukion, and Lucius Marius Vitalis), Sabina, Julia Balbilla, Matidia, or anyone else connected into this wider thing we call the “Antinoan Pantheon.”
Here’s the further guidelines:
1) It should be at least two verses and one chorus–Jimmy Fallon’s version is one verse, and then the chorus endlessly repeated.
2) It should be (at least somewhat) funny, but also true and poignant–for example, if you wanted to write about “Drown in the Nile, Drown in the Nile, don’t tour around Egypt, ’cause you’ll Drown in the Nile,” that’s fine; but putting in stuff about how Hadrian founded the Masons and other such outright nonsense would not be true nor poignant.
3) It should include at least one of the above-mentioned members of the Antinoan Pantheon as its subject; but, the more you name, the better–and, if you happen to name all of the above and more in your various verses, you’ll likely go right to the “finals”!
4) The first verse and the chorus should follow the pattern of Jimmy Fallon’s original–so, the last word of the first verse should be the emphasis word of the chorus, and the chorus should follow the same structure as his (a four-syllable phrase, then the same phrase repeated, then eight syllables of whatever you like, followed by the four-syllable phrase repeated again, and then repeat the whole thing).
The most important criterion in judging your entries, from my viewpoint, will be if at the end of the song, the chorus is repeated endless times, and Florence Welch would sound cool rocking out to it like she does in the video above.
Post your entries as comments on this blog post! That way, everyone knows who wrote which songs, and what is already out there/has already been done, so that no one repeats something. (And, if a comment further on down the thread repeats phrases from earlier comments, it will be considered plagiarizing and will be eliminated from consideration.)
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: prizes! They will be as follows:
Second Place: A copy of any TWO of the $20 books I’ve written!
First Place: A copy of any TWO of the $20 books I’ve written, plus a copy of Devotio Antinoo: The Doctor’s Notes, Volume One! (Or, if you already have the latter, then any other two of the $20 books I’ve written.)
The books will be sent out in later October, after I’ve returned from my likely jaunt down to Portland for the weekend of the 12th-15th (if, indeed, that happens now, since I’ve not made enough money in the last few days to make it as sure a thing as it was going to be previously).
So, I look forward to your entries on this in the near future!