Wednesday, 31 December 2008

"Stop me oh-a oh stop me..."

Morrissey may have implored listeners to interrupt him if his lyrical meanderings seemed overly familiar, but for some of us, repeated listens to humour set to music aren't a chore.

Watching a recent documentary about comic songs, I couldn't help but notice the frequency with which the participants took on a defensive attitude. It seems that the comedy song is much derided and undervalued. On one hand that is odd to me, as it's a medium of humour I like very much. On the other, I can understand the wariness - whilst a bad Christmas cracker joke might annoy for a few seconds, a bad comedy song has the potential to elicit far more lasting displeasure. I experienced this first hand when I went to a Linda Smith charity benefit gig last year; though the woman herself was very funny, not all of her friends paying tribute were as amusing as they thought they were, and we were subjected to some 'comedy' songs so dire I wondered if I would ever laugh again.

But no matter - we recovered from the trauma eventually. Fortunately there are enough good songs out there to keep me on the writers' side. Given the frequent doom and gloom in the news of late (aka always), I thought it would be nice to wrap up this year (or start the next one, if you're temporally ahead of me) by sharing a small selection of some of my favourites.

So, to kick off, here's 'The Vatican Rag' by Tom Lehrer. As a Good Catholic Girl I should probably heartily disapprove, but it seems to me to neatly summarise a heck of a lot about Catholic practice and is rather funny to boot, so there you go.

Fast forwarding to the 80s, with a rather more earthly subject matter, 'Let's do it' is probably Victoria Wood's most famous song:

Already a hero of mine for his stance on Ginger Pride, Tim Minchin deconstructs romantic destiny in 'If I didn't have you'. The extent to which I find his mathematical analogies amusing may go some way to explaining why I am still single.

Back to this side of the globe, proving that not all the humour has to come from the pros are the Amateur Transplants. I was directed to 'The Anaesthetist's Song' (below) by a friend who aspires to make a career out of knocking people out. They appear to have done plenty of comedy song homework, as their 'Drug Song' pays heavy tribute to Tom Lehrer's 'Elements'.

Picking up on my previous blog post, it seems appropriate to link to one of Mitch Benn's most recent efforts. As a resident on The Now Show he has the (un)enviable task of having to come up with 2-3 songs per episode that reflect the week's news. Here's '(Stay the hell away from) Hallelujah':

And finally to finish with a spot of Bill Bailey. 'Love Song' was one of the highlights of 'Part Troll', and it's a testament to its popularity that when I saw him on his most recent tour, he performed this as an encore and the audience matched him word for word.

I hope that at least some of the above have raised a smile. Happy new year.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, happy new year.


Anonymous said...

Excuse me while I bore you with another thought, which is that Tim Minchin is both amusing and right, but only up to a point.

It's true that, at the start of a relationship, there's no such thing as Miss or Mr Right. There's only Mr and Mrs We-Can-Make-This-Work. But this is progressively less true as the relationship goes on, or, expressed mathematically, as (t) tends towards infinity, (p) that you make a go of it with someone else tends towards zero. Which is why even divorced couples stay attached to one another, though often in toxic ways. And if you stay married, well, mmm, mmm, oh, yeah. Or as I said at the dinner-table the other day, sex becomes very precious, when you are the only two people in the world who can bear to see each other naked.

At which point our teenage son ran out of the room.

So, dear Ginger, marry that nice boy who quite likes you and that you quite like, and in twenty-seven years' time, you too may have a teenage son or two to embarrass.



Ginger said...

"that nice boy who quite likes you and that you quite like"

Gosh, you don't demand much of me, do you? That's a heck of an equation to balance. How about something more simple like identifying the square root of -1?

I guess I could try though...

cannot compute... equation too difficult.... circuits frying.... parameters too complex.... gagggghhhhh!.... CLUNK............

Ginger said...

Actually given that Mr Minchin is unavailable, I wouldn't mind someone like this:

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