With apologies to Cole Porter

This is what happens when you have hours of insomnia to while away:

You’re the top,
You’re a Bach partita,
You’re the top,
You’re Cinecitta,
You’re the pleasing quails in the ghostly tales of James,
You’re Messi’s verve, you’re Federer’s serve, you’re Hunger Games!

You’re the Wiz,
You’re the vaccine Pfizer,
You’re the fizz
Of a can of Tizer,
You’re the zest and zing when Beatles sing “Get Back”,
You’re Billy Bones, you’re Indy Jones, you’re Armagnac!

You’re the best,
You’re the flower bed border,
You’re the rest
That the doctors order,
I’m out of rhymes, and so, betimes, must stop,
But if baby, I’m the bottom, you’re the top!

9 responses to this post.

  1. Bravo!

    I wish my occasional insomnia was so productive.

    However, inspired by this, a lockdown lament as a version of Rodgers and Hart rather than Porter. Apologies to the citizens of Louth; a pleasant town the name of which just happens to fit. (Some of the longer lines don’t scan properly but can be sung to fit the tune perfectly well.)

    The crowded towns,
    The angry frowns
    Of people in a rush to spend their pounds
    Accompanied by urban intrusive sounds;
    I wish I were in Louth again.

    And office work
    Where the only perk
    Is missing a meeting with the office jerk
    Who thinks that farting loudly’s an amusing quirk;
    I wish I were in Louth again.

    No more pain,
    No more strain,
    Now I’m sane
    I would rather be gaga.

    Now, lockdown, sir,
    It makes us grrrrrr,
    And if you tell me otherwise I’ll loud demur,
    I’ve learned my lesson and I wish I were
    In Louth again!

    Reply

    • Brilliant! Have you done more of these?

      The scanning seemed fine to me. The occasional little liberties are no more than what the songwriters themselves do, and can easily be accommodated by adding (or removing) the occasional grace note. But it is particularly rewarding trying to do pastiches of the Great American Songbook because that wonderful generation of songwriters were so scrupulous with their scanning (a few grace notes apart), and with their rhyming pattens.

      Reply

      • Glad it’s as you like it, Himadri! No, I don’t think I’ve written words to pre-existing tunes before (but doing so seems fun). In Hart’s original the longer lines are (sort of) pentameters, whereas several of mine stretch to hexameters; they fit the tune well enough, though. I say ‘sort of’ because although they’ve got ten syllables, what they really are are tetrameters with a couple of unstressed syllables bang in the middle. This is obviously quite deliberate, and is echoed in the music. The first two lines are dimeters = one bar each, the next two tetrameters = two bars each. (Sondheim calls Hart ‘sloppy’ and ‘lazy’, and if anyone is entitled to judge him he is, but this particular song at least seems to me perfectly well crafted.)

        Hart sets himself quite a tricky task in having to find three rhymes for ‘were’ per chorus, which isn’t the easiest word to rhyme intelligently (as I’ve just found out!). He uses fur/cur/her in the first chorus, and sir/prefer/her in the second (I suppose, if we’re being picky, repeating ‘her’ is a bit lazy, but I can forgive someone who can write ‘The faint aroma of performing seals’ almost anything).

        Anyway, here’s another 32 bars worth:

        It’s the hectic pace
        Of the human race
        That makes them trespass on your personal space;
        They’re always on your back and always in your face –
        I wish I were in Louth again.

        The constant noise
        Destroys your poise,
        The traffic fumes and snarls, and who enjoys
        The drivers revving up their big boys’ toys –
        I wish I were in Louth again.

        Give a cheer,
        No more fear,
        My mind is clear,
        But I’d rather be bananas.

        You might infer
        That I prefer
        To live my life with neither shake nor stir,
        But I don’t like quiet and I wish I were
        In Louth again!

        Perhaps I should apply for a job with the Lincolnshire Tourism Board:

        Birds do it, bees do it,
        Even educated fleas do it,
        Let’s do it, let’s live in Louth.

      • I listened to that song again (I had only retained vague memories of it) and yes, I can see what you mean.
        The songwriters of that generation were very scrupulous in being metrically correct, and often used a wide range of scanning patterns. This is particularly true of Cole Porter, who seemed to go out of his way to set himself both complex scanning and rhyming patterns. It really was a quite terrific generation of songwriters.

  2. Posted by Janet on February 25, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Ha! Needed that!

    Reply

  3. Posted by animatomdobbiegmailcom on February 25, 2021 at 11:10 pm

    If i ever had a case of insomnia as bad as this, Id return it and ask for my money back

    Reply

  4. Posted by alan on February 27, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    I hope you addressed it to your wife and got a suitable reaction.
    A true poet.

    Reply

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