Sunday, August 07, 2011

A few weeks before my 40th birthday, I wrote a song called "Belly Mondegreen". It began life as a boo on Audioboo – very short, just one verse in length.

Prior to this, assailed by a fear of getting old, I had been retorting upon old friends by writing hostile poems that made it hard to see how any future reconciliation could be achieved. By the time of writing the song, I had written enough of these poems to put together a collection, as many
poems as I would lose friends.

The song was a way of taking stock, of reaching out.

The enigmatic C.w Crisman contacted me, suggesting that he do a remix and a mastering of my scratchy track. We began to work on some ideas for new verses.

You can stream and download the remix by C.w. Crisman on Last FM.

And my version of said remix has an additional middle eight, making a reference to

Sibylle Baier's "Softly". There is a video on YouTube. This is the version I will play
live – autumn dates will be announced on Blogger.

Lyrics to a humble song called Belly Mondegreen

A moribund friendship, grumbling away;
An invitation to be the godparent of a child due in August;
And I've been writing poems that are bad for my heart;
I've been writing poems that are bad for my heart.

A monogrammed bible or a savings bond –
What good are these gifts when this moribund
Friendship continues to grumble away?

I would sing "Gaviscon",
Silkily and filkily replacing "Avalon"
In Roxy Music's Song,
Were I merely under the horrors of reflux;
But my rhyming couplets brux
Like gritted teeth,
And instead I sing "Papworth";
"Papworth!" over every word in Sibylle Baier's
Song, "Softly";
Callithumpianly "Papworth!" over the chosen hymn,
"Give Me Joy In My Heart".

A mondegreen is intuitive
Evidence that all of us,
Are the authors
Of every piece ever written
By anyone; and you've been writing
Poems that are bad for your heart;
You've been writing
Poems that are bad for your heart.
Every time a bell rings there is one less belly dancer in the world.
Asymmetric mondegreen trends forecast how our hearts will fare.

Proxy authors of Roxy Music's Avalon –
We are all entitled to royalties!
Assailed by fears, we retort upon
Old friends, testing their loyalties,
Writing poems, poems that are bad for our hearts.

The penultimate verse begins to consolidate the mondegreen and belly leitmotifs in a painterly style; by making an allusion to my philosophical idea that, as we read or listen to texts either in book or song form, we necessarily become the authors. The sequence of words and the meanings they carry are not simply wedged into our brains, rather it's more like we are uncovering them, wiping away the dust – they were there all the time. Chomsky may well have described this or something like it, but my point still stands – it's my idea.

"One less belly dancer" is a fairly obscure mondegreen of a lyric in a 5th Dimension song.