A Filking Good Time

September 29, 2009

Filk is a musical culture, genre, and community tied to science fiction/fantasy fandom and a type of fan labor. The genre has been active since the early 1950s, and played primarily since the mid-1970s. The term dates back to 1955.

I told you I would discuss filking later; I just didn’t say when. Now that we’re on the subject, I suppose I should answer the proverbial question of why? As Bluto from Animal House would say: Burp! “Why not?” A reason is not needed in order to filk. One filks because one feels the need to express his inner Weird Al Yankovic from time to time.

I, myself, am a filker, but I do not participate verbally in song. That would be a tragedy. I’m a filking writer…er, I mean, I’m a filker who expresses himself through writing. And just what exactly is filking? Well if you didn’t already click the link, I will give you the “short, short version.” To put it simply, filking is when a person takes a particular song and exchanges the lyrics for a Fantasy/Sci-Fi story. Even simpler: Star Wars: Episode IV to the tune of Don Mcleans’ “American Pie.” That would be interesting! It would probably go something like this:

Long, long, time ago
In a galaxy far, far away…
I met a young man who lived on Tatooine.
His uncle kept him farming water,
But his aunt knew he was like his father,
And she knew one day he would be a Jedi.

If you’re still reading this blog, and you don’t think I’ve completely lost my marbles, then you may be a little crazy as well. Filking is not a new concept, nor is it completely unknown. Since entering the Amazon.com forums I’ve met multiple people who not only partake in the art of filking, but they are pretty damn good at it too! There are even those who can perform. C.S. Marks comes to mind. (Thanks for the mini concert you gave Stef and me.) More amazing is the fact that there are conventions held just so people can filk each other…er, I mean, to each other. OVFF: The Ohio Valley Filk Festival is one such gathering.

So maybe this blog enlightened you to your life’s new calling, or perhaps you’ve decided to ignore the rest of my posts from this point forward. Either way my work is done, and you can now spread the word and teach people how to filk. You just never filking know when you will have to express your inner musical geek.

-Matt

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