Mellonath Gléowine

The Stockholm Tolkien society started their choir Mellonath Gleowine in the early 1970s, and it is still going strong, and is the oldest continuous filk tradition in Sweden. They sing a mixture of Tolkien and early modern songs. Here is their concert when Stockholm’s science fiction bookstore had their 30-year-anniversary as an independent business in 2014.

Don’t miss their version of The Misty Mountains Song in Swedish and Khuzdul at 10:00!

[submitted by anonymous]

“Encounter in Space” at Club Cosmos

“Encounter in Space” at Club Cosmos:

A video of Lars-Göran Johansson performing “Möte i rymden” (“Encounter in Space”) by Sam J. Lundwall at a 2012 club meeting of Club Cosmos, the oldest still extant science fiction club in Sweden (it was formed in 1954). “Möte i rymden” was one of three science fiction themed songs on Lundwall’s record “Visor i vår tid” (“Songs in Our Time”) which was released in 1966, which also contained several more songs that had fantasy themes or were fannish in outlook. It is possible that the song was written as early in 1963, when several of Lundwall’s songs were played at a Swedish con.

Note that the linked video is only available in WebM format. Here is a rough translation to English of the song:

Encounter in Space

We anchored in space by a faraway satellite
that lied in eternal orbit around its star.
In the mess hall I met a thirsty parasite;
||: a childhood friend that I now met again. :||

“Hi, dear Oskar Fikonström, mu old childhood friend!
You old sailor, are you still alive?
What has happened to you, you’re barely recognisable!”
||: “Yes, what has happened I will tell you right now. :||

I ran away from Earth real early as you know,
since I wanted to be on the ocean of space;
and with time I found a berth on an old space rocket,
||: the boss was a devil, but he was a fan! :|| [1]

We traveled to Vega with contraband and liquor,
I was still young and green and rather naïve.
I removed rust at the prow but got hardly any pay –
||: that time was the worst one in my life! :||

Work like a dog at any weather in the black holes of space,
and have the free watch in the terrible reactor light.
Space is filled with monsters that will kill humans,
||: and at all times a spaceman should be at hand! :||

Yes, I’ve seen most things that are here to see;
at Capella I met a beautiful blonde.
We were in her apartment when she exploded –
||: all of her was made up of nitroglycerine! :||

Black from soot and without clothes, all my body as a wound,
I sat astounded there with ashes in my lap
when a man with eight arms suddenly walked up to me:
||: the Earth’s consul with an unfathomable name! :||

I got new oxygen tubes and a decent ray gun
that was filled with death and the power of wild stars.
The consul’s fourth cousin got me a berth to a very far away sun,
||: but that trip wa the worst I ever had! :||

The ship where I got a place was of a strange type,
everything was wrong, and the air stank like a sewer.
Its captain was like an cephalopod with great green scales
||: and with evil-looking eyes at front and back! :||

Twenty light-years from Earth our engine broke down;
the animals in our cargo drank all our supplies.
We had to keep us alive using beer and aspirine;
||: one can hardly believe it’s true! :||

Yes, it was hard years in space, but I managed pretty well,
and though thirty I’m still at full vitality.
So thanks for all the drinks, but now I have to leave;
||: I have contraband in the rocket parked outside! :||

And then we parted in the mess hall with some simple words
and a handshake with my old childhood friend,
while thousands of millions white stars stood above
||: on the cold and black sky! :||

[1] The word “fan” can in Swedish both be used for fen and for the Devil.

Födelsedagsfesten – Triakel

“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.

(Chorus)

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.

(Chorus)

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.

(Chrous)

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.

(Chorus)

Mademoiselle (Twist and shout, baroque style)

The Beatles has been a popular source for Swedish filk songs. Back in the early 70s the fan Bertil Mårtensson had grandiose plans on filking all of the songs on The White Album, and a few of the songs were later recorded into an ish of his cassette fanzine OGRE. Other fans, like Jan Risheden and Erik Andersson, later filked other Beatles songs during the 80s. Often this was done by the practice of translating the English text into nonsensical or absurd Swedish, mixing word-for-word translations with translations based on sound similarities and straight up nonsense.

(This practice is popular in Sweden outside fandom as well, but the results are seldom written down or documented, and often only relates to fragments of the songs.)

But it is Staffan Mossige-Norheim who arguably has made the most ambitious translation-filking of a Beatles song in Swedish fandom. Staffan was one of the few Swedish fen who can be said to have been primarily a filker in their fanac, and his Mademoiselle is both a quite decent (but with a twist!) translation of “Twist and Shout” and a reimaging of the song in baroque style.

Staffan is presented more closely by Wolf von Witting in CounterClock #17, which he wrote the soundtrack for. Staffan has also quite a few of his songs and compositions on Soundcloud.

Mademoiselle (Twist and shout, baroque style)

Jag vill bo i rymden

“Jag vill bo i rymden”, a filk song that appeared right when Sweden left the chaotic and feuding fhaaandom of the 80’s behind itself and became extremely serconnish (and abandoned filk). Instead, it became a classic in some Swedish student circles. Its origin as a filk song was rediscovered after 25 years. Original text and music by Martin Q Larson, who later went on to become the president of the Society of Swedish Composers. Here is a (for some values of) singable English translation/version:

My mother often asks me like this:
What will you do when you grow up?
How do you plan to support yourself,
you’re playing all the time!

But then I always answer like this:
I’m really training hard you know,
I’m going to be an astronaut
fly space craft all the time!

Space craft space craft space craft
I wanna fly a space craft
Travel in a space rocket
Discover another planet
Space craft space craft space craft
I wanna fly a space craft
Shoot with little laser guns
Visit some big black holes!

I’m flying among the asteroids
and hunting the evil villains
then I build myself a star rocket
and go to a new galaxy

Space craft space craft space craft…

And if a space monster appears
then I will shoot it to pieces
so I’m saving the universe
becomin’ ev’ryone’s friend

Space craft space craft space craft… :||:

A German translation was done in the 90’s (“Welt Raum Welt Raum Welt Raum” in the chorus), but it has sadly been lost in the vastness of space.

The introduction is “an old polska from space” (polska is a traditional Swedish style of dances and music in ¾ beat).

(mod note: the original video link was giving me issues, so I got a new one from youtube, so…I hope it’s the same.  Oh, and for people like me who are basically children and don’t speak Old Fannish, “serconnish” means serious, but in a way that can imply either brilliant fan literary criticism, or like…weaboo serious.)

The Paper Feed Is Broken

The filk song of Swedish fandom, “Pappersframmatningen är trasig” written by David Nessle (ttto “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”) and performed by Erik Andersson in a recording from 1980.

Rough translation:

The paper feed is broken
The papers are squished into small small balls
Oh, the fanzine will come out too late
(Cause) the paper feed is broken, so broken

The subscribers will be angry
If the fanzine isn’t out by Friday
Oh, then I will get lots of hate mail
(Cause) the paper feed is broken, so broken

That I don’t know how I
Can get the fanzine out on time
Before it gets far too late
Cause my mimeo is far too weak

The paper feed is broken
The papers are squished into small small balls
Oh, the fanzine will come out too late
(Cause) the paper feed is broken, so broken
That I cannot stand it no more
I think I want to gafiate

(mod note: this is the best day of my life, also I’m a little ashamed I had no idea what “gafiate” meant and thought it might have been mistranslated)

The Paper Feed Is Broken