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April 3rd, 2007

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02:00 pm - blast from the past
Wow. Found this bad boy in someone's random archive and now I'm havin' flashbacks. I wrote this particular Usenet song parody one day before my birthday, thirteen years ago. Not one day before my thirteenth birthday, one day before-- oh, you get the idea. Amazingly enough, it works okay today, even though the subject is for all intents and purposes outdated and archaic unless you like downloading illict movie bootlegs from some dude in Russia or illict porno bootlegs from some dude in Czechoslovakia.

Most amazingly (to me, at least) the song quite nearly scans perfectly. "alt.tv.saved-by-the-bell" is a stretch... well, you gotta stretch a syllable or two out, and/or maybe sing the "dot" between "alt" and "tv". If I were a retcon type I'd change the line to something a bit better today and you'd never know the different. But now that I've said that, I can't.

Me, I'm just amazed I was able to take the middle bridge and fit in the classic, loveable "This could cost the net hundreds, if not thousands of dollars" warning that newsreaders such as rn and trn would make you agree to before you posted each message. I am a bit embarassed by the aside at the end of the chorus, but I was impetuous and sarcastic then. I have taken the liberty to remove some punctuation that I don't like looking at, but otherwise, what you see here is what you got back in the halcyon days of 1994, when 28.8kbps was a friggin' luxury.

This song was picked up and published in Wired Magazine's "Net Surf" section in I think August or September of 1994. Nobody bothered to tell me about it, and along the way several lines had been changed for whatever reason -- I believe someone really, really, really wanted the key line in the last verse to actually fit with rhyme and meter.

The thing of it was, I remember receiving an email from a singer who asked permission to perform it at coffeehouses or somewhere around Harvard or Brandeis, I can't remember which. (Shades of a certain Mooninite song 13 years later!) After giving my blessing ("whoa, hey, someone actually wants to SING this?") he later reported back that his performances were well-received and greatly enhanced by adding a completely dramatic pause after the key line, which I have no doubt you will identify. HE got the point, whoever he was. Bless your heart, Mr. Random Coffeehouse Guitarist. I wish I'd heard your version.

So if it pleases the court, may I present

From: spatula@titan.ucs.umass.edu (Lucky Seven Spatch)
Organization: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Date: 20 Jan 1994 02:55:44

Here's a song I wrote when I was bored. Enjoy.

"The Flamer"
To the tune of "The Boxer" by P. Simon and A. Garfunkel

I am just a lurker tho' my story's seldom told,
I have squandered my commitments for a terminal and access,
Such are Usenetters.
All flames and jest,
Still a man reads what he wants to read and killfiles the rest.

When I started reading newsgroups I was no more than a boy
In the company of newbies, in the quiet of the on-line helpfiles,
Running scared
Confused as hell,
Seeking out the arcane keystrokes all you gurus knew so well,
Looking for alt.tv.saved-by-the-bell.

Li li li (FLAME!)
Li li li li li li li,
Li li li (FLAME!)
Li li li li li li li li li li li.
(repetive lil' sucker ain't it?!)

Asking frequently-asked questions, I come looking for a file
But I get no answers,
Just a come-on from the gang on alt.hi.are.you.cute
I do declare
There were times when I was so bored I read the posts up there


Now I'm sending this across the world,
And costing the net hundreds
(If not thousands)
Of dollars, do I really want to be doing this?
Doing this...
What the hell.

In the carrel types a flamer and an idiot by his trade,
And he carries the reminders of every piece of hate e-mail that he got
Till he cries out,
In his anger and his shame,
"I am leaving, you all suck!"

...but we flame him just the same.

(repeat chorus until you feel the song should be over.)
(repeat it again just to make sure.)

in the WIRED version, the key line was changed to "I am leaving, ego's bleeding". Nice try, I think.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:April 3rd, 2007 10:59 pm (UTC)
I would hate to see almost any parody I've ever written re-released back into the wilds. That is because I have all of the intellectual sophistication of Messrs. Beavis et Butthead when it comes to this stuff.
[User Picture]
Date:April 19th, 2007 02:57 pm (UTC)
I know I performed that song at the Chumley's coffeehouse at Brandeis a few times, actually, me and and greenlily, and that it was very well received, and I think that we added a dramatic pause after "suck".

We performed under the name "Name Withheld".

But I can't remember if we asked permission or not.

And it doesn't need tweaking. You hold "saved" a bit on alt.tv.saved.by-the-bell. So it's like, "looking for alt tee vee saved [beat] by the bell." It works well.

Of course, at this point, only filkers Of A Certain Age would understand.
[User Picture]
Date:April 19th, 2007 04:37 pm (UTC)
Oh wow. It was YOU?! Wow!! I love when the Internet makes things implode! And thus the circle is closed.

But I can't remember if we asked permission or not.

I remember at least one email sent -- it may have been after the fact. Like an "Oh, hey, we've performed this at a coffeehouse" kind of mail. I remember it was from some folks in or around Boston, and that the "I am leaving, you all suck!" line got a good response.

But I also remember saying "Wow, cool, yeah. Rock on." Or something. Back then I may have also included the word "whoot".

Now I'm going to shake my head and grin in ludicrous disbelief for the entire afternoon.

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