Sing a Song of Star Trek
Okay, I admit it. I am a Star Trek fan. I spent years in the closet, trying to pretend to be normal. Admitting to being a Star Trek fan is pretty much the kiss of death in certain social circles. However, I've just about given up on getting in with the cool crowd. So here goes: this is my confession. I am a Trekkie.
Yes, I know that self-respecting people call themselves Trekkers, not Trekkies. But I have no pride!
Not only that, but I am a Trek filker, which is possibly the most loathed designation of all. I am the kind of person that not only watches that show, but then has the gall to write songs about it.
When I finally found a group of Trek aficionados in the 1980s, they weren't just Star Trek fans. They weren't just science fiction fans. They were -- gasp -- filkers. And having fallen in with the wrong crowd, I promptly wrote my first filk, which was about T'Pring, from Amok Time.
Image Credit: StarTrek.com
Spock battles Kirk -- to the death!
by Aya Katz
Based on Lerner & Loewe's "The Simple Joys of Maidenhood"
Milord Surak, my lord, Surak,
'Tis I, T'Pring, I'm all alone.
Milord Surak, my lord, Surak,
I'm over here beside this stone.
I'm unemotional, prim and staid.
You are aware that I have never strayed.
But, oh, Surak, my lord, Surak,
This once, my lord, the choice is mine;
My vow I shan't fulfill.
To mate with Spock betrays my line,
And liefer will I kill!
Most high Surak, I know your creed:
The sanctity of life.
But rather than accept bad seed,
I'll kindle deadly strife!
Surak, when you, in olden days,
Forbade the kill and waging war,
You left intact the ancient ways,
The rules that govern the Ponn Farr!
Where are the simple days of violence,
When every problem could be solved by death?
It was far better then, it seems to me,
When none frowned on the Kalifee,
Genetics then was never left to chance.
Where are the honored days of blood and gore,
Will these brave and simple ways return no more?
Let green blood flow again 'neath crimson sky,
To find who mates and who must die,
As ordered in our old primeval lore!
Before, when all were forced to meet the test,
To die in shame or fight to kill,
Then none survived but Vulcan's best.
Oh, would that it were still!
Where are the simple days of violence?
To revive the old tradition I will dare!
I can find no logical objection
To natural selection,
But I have need of Stonn, so him I'll spare.
Then let the officers of Star Fleet,
Do bloody battle at my feet,
And whichever one should win,
I do not care!
Oh, where are those heroic days,
Dignified and stoic days,
Where are the simple days of violence?
(c) 1985, 2009 Aya Katz
Julie Andrews sings "The Simple Joys of Maidenhood"
Song at the Ready
Having dashed off this brilliant rip-off of a pre-existing song, I rushed back to the filksing, and I tried to get our best keyboardist, Larry, to play it. Larry said: "I can't play anything without the sheet music." Okay. I was living in the Dallas Fort Worth area at the time. There were plenty of music stores. Even though I couldn't afford it, I bought the sheet music to Camelot. The next week, I showed up at the filksing again. This time Larry played the music, but he refused to sing the words. Maybe it was because he wasn't a soprano, and his falsetto was not up to speed. I was disappointed. I couldn't get anyone to sing that song. Not then. Not ever!
That's kind of what happened with every filk I wrote thereafter. It's a common phenomenon at filksings. Even if you can sing and play your own songs, which I can't, you have trouble getting a turn. Suzette Haden Elgin even wrote a song about it: Song at the Ready.
Yolanda Del Rio sings "La Hija de Nadie"
One of my favorite filks that I wrote from that era was "The Misbegotten", based on the animated episode "Yesteryear." It was to the tune of "La Hija de Nadie", and I couldn't even find the sheet music to that. It was a popular song by Yolanda del Rio.
For years, nobody could even attempt to sing the "The Misbegotten", because nobody knew the tune. However, I just recently discovered that Yolanda del Rio's best songs are now available on YouTube! In this new era, anything is possible!
by Aya Katz
Tune: La Hija de Nadie by Yolanda del Rio
I lie down in the garden amid grass and fern.
My sehlat beside me is lying.
Footsteps sound, Sarek comes, grim and stern.
I'm sure he suspects me of crying.
They shouted "barbarian!" They said even worse things.
They claimed I'm a Terran and dubbed me an earthling.
"Spock, being Vulcan means meeting the test.
"We demand much of both mind and body.
"You rebel, but you know that our way is best.
"You brawl like a deckhand; your school work is shoddy."
"It's true, O my father, I started the fight.
"They say I'm a Terran, perhaps they are right!"
"For ten days in the desert all nature you'll face,
"To try out your strength and strive to prevail.
"You are my son, you'll avoid a disgrace."
"Father, but what if I fail?"
Children who taunt speak the truth unawares.
The flaw is in me, and the fault is not theirs!
Spock, Sarek and Amanda in "Yesteryear"
I blame none but my father and mother,
Who in reckless, impassioned embrace,
Heedless of me, but entranced with each other,
Mingled green blood with red, race with race.
To my conception they never gave thought.
Now they reject the flawed work that they wrought!
Sarek is stoic and very demanding.
To display of emotion he sternly objects.
Yet I watch as he dotes like a fool on Amanda,
And muse on the sterling example he sets.
Father, though I long for your esteem,
I can't walk in your footsteps. Mine's another dream.
Kind, loving and tender is mother.
And she wants her affections returned.
Yet she swore to behave like a Vulcan for Father.
How much of my love has she earned?
I'll be tight-lipped and closed to maternal appeal.
She who bids me obey must not know that I feel.
But someday I'll leave them and never come back.
I'm doomed from the day of my birth,
Outside to be Vulcan still more than Surak,
And within, more human than all those on Earth.
I seek for the future in vacuum of space,
To find home and friendship in some foreign place.
(C) 1985, 2009 Aya Katz
Leslie Fish sings "Banned from Argo"
Star Trek songs by Others
But enough about my Star Trek filks. "What sorts of Star Trek songs were being sung around the bardic circle in those days?" you are probably wanting to know. One of the most popular was "Banned from Argo" written by Leslie Fish. It's a great song, but if you run into Leslie Fish in the con suite late at night, don't ask her to sing it. She's tired of it. It's kind of like Bob Dylan and "Blowin' in the Wind."
When I joined the filking community, The Wrath of Khan had just recently come out in theatres. Around the bardic circle, many of Julia Ecklar's songs based on that movie were being requested and sung. I've included YouTube videos of the best three below.
A Song from Khan's Point of View
The Ultimate Friendship
These were great songs, and they have aged well. They aren't only for Star Trek fans and they are not just about the The Wrath of Khan. Their subject matter is universal: love and friendship, death, loss and mourning and the thirst for revenge. Who hasn't experienced these feelings at one point or another?
Today, I don't go to science fiction conventions and filksings. I am locked in a cage with a chimpanzee twelve hours a day with only a computer screen as my window on the world. But Bow and I still listen to Julia Ecklar singing about Khan!
(c) 2009 Aya Katz
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