This side of the knife
When I was fool enough to wonder
Asked what I should not have asked
Called down rain and called down thunder
“This Side of the Knife,” a wonderfully dark and cryptic song by Talis Kimberley. This version was performed at MarCon by Seanan McGuire and Dead Sexy (Seanan McGuire, Amy McNally, Brenda Sutton, Teresa Powell, Dr. Mary Crowell, & Bill Sutton) with the fabulous Judi Miller providing ASL interpretation.
Talis Kimberley has described this song as a companion story to Crazy Man Michael, which doesn’t necessarily make it any less cryptic, but definitely provides some context.
Today in found filk: “The Griesly Bride,” a murder ballad adapted by Tom Campbell from a poem written by John Manifold.
Despite being written in the mid-20th century, it sounds like a traditional ballad, and has a very filkish supernatural twist. It’s actually so filkish that when I was first trying to track down the origin of the song, I found some folks who were convinced it had been written by filker Cynthia McQuillan.
“Födelsedagsfesten” is filk song about a birthday party, with a convoluted history. It was first written by Swedish fan, sf author, translator, sf publisher etc Sam J. Lundwall. It was recorded a few times in the 70s by various artists but then languished undiscovered by anyone until Swedish folk trio Triakel did a cover in 1998. It is their version which is linked above.
From there it received a couple more covers, and also was discovered by Swedish LARPers, among which it became very popular. They have also written new lyrics to the tune, both minor changes and full rewrites.
Triakel commissioned English lyrics by Alistair Cochrane when releasing their CD, that is fully singable as far as I know:
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
There once was a farmer who lived in the north, He was now half a century old And his guests came a-travelling the long, winding road, One hundred or more all told. He had laid in enough of the finest of food For a three week feast, so it seemed, And deep in the larder, in row upon row, The bottles of booze stood and gleamed.
(Chrous: Faddy doo dum day, faddy dee and faddy da,
Drink up and fight with your friends.
For it’s laughter and song the whole night long
Till the birthday party comes to an end.)
Well the feasting began and the strong liquor ran In and out of every glass, With brandy and whisky and strong ale and rum, The first hours of evening passed. And they ate and they drank and they talked and they joked, There was singing and laughter and fun, Till the first of the quarrelling and fighting broke out And the party had really begun.
With their knives in their hands they shouted and swore As they challenged each other to fight, And the womenfolk lamented and cried by the door, As usual on a party night. Then the farmer decided to join in the fray, And he looked both furious and grim, Till Johnny the Ripper appeared in his way – And that was the end of him.
The farmer’s wife grew as angry as a bee And she started to curse and to yell, Till the men picked her up and carried her away, And flung her into the well. And then they went back to get on with their fun, Smashing lamps in the heat of the fight, And the fire slowly spread from the floor to the walls Till the whole of the house was alight.
At the dawn of the day the sun cast its rays On the tops of the hills and the trees. It shone on the scene where the farmhouse had been And the smoke drifting by on the breeze. The farmer’s wife still clung for her life To the edge of the deep, dark well, And the last brief noise was the echo of her voice And a splash from the depths as she fell.