Friday, March 23, 2018

And now, labies & genitalmen... how about some prehistoric rap?


how now laotse maotse cowboy tung taodung
need ye grow olde if you never been jung
why sigh fakeye take a break snakeye
recall being born forget to die
bake a cake stay awake cry for joy
O! blakeye

shout aloud jump about fall on your rump
pigs roast slowest that are most plump
cook a plot write a book rob a crook run riot
keep quiet look tired don't sleep go on diet
smart tart twit her twat now what
don't fart

big ben beats crime pleasemen cheat time
peahen eats grime in the pigpen
bleed greed breed weed feed your mind
go blind grow grass quit the line feel fine
smoke a toke don't choke vat 69's no joke
ice floe nice shmoe g.i. joe gung ho
edgar poe deathrow

now bow say grace meow ratrace great place powwow flatface
tightroped pooped pope wallops trollops in the craptrap
rubin rude rapes bob hope & raps the cape of good dope
grunt grope chomp chow chew bread it's homemade
dull as lead get weighed your shell be shed
your soul be free so flee fly flow fled
go right ahead mister blister my sister
who can resist her she's such a sprightly maid
but don't sue me if you don't get laid

the mayor learned his trade well
the player played the part swell
they made their cellmates burn in hell

blue petulance expels true flatulence propels
your dad poohpoohs smells bad he's a cad
sells your mum to alan ladd
mum's glum dad's sad you're mad we're glad
platypus flatus & oedipus status are to blame
shame shame! captain ahab's bladder's inflamed
and jacob's ladder can't take the strain
it'll crack that's a fact you'll land smack whackthwack
on your backside & spill your brains
what a pain it's insane too much! you'll be crippled & lame
as such you'll need a crutch:

maurice suggests you change your game
horace requests a change of name
but boris professes you'll be the same

everything's done where's the fun? there's none
every song to sing's sung every pun to spin's spun
honkytonky monkspunk anybawdy anynun granny franny
jurisprufrock's earthquacker in hanniballoon crunch
sanny franny petticrockers crisco crackers
for cannibaboon brunch
think of gin sink in gum drink some rum dream of rintintin

all's fair balls square scream in fright uptight delight
in lassie's breath & aleph beth
henry stanley & livingstone's bones
huge rods huger cones buck jones &
being alone with death

flint splinter frog frigger
dread fred be bold don't enrol feel blue
see red lose your head regain control
prayers said so stay in bed
flip flop plip plop gyrotop wobbles
stops & drops down manhole &
polecats tapdance on tiptoe
with pipco tadpoles

click clock bloody cop with hickory cock
goebbels shit hot in the pit of the pot of
the ruddy rotten ruck
fuck ladyluck!
get sucked
get pluck come unstuck
let yourself be struck
chuck the duck

I wrote this bit of doggerel in 1970 - never suspecting that 20 years later, this sort of staccato rhyming by free association would explode into a global artform called rapping or hip-hop. The title was inspired by the late Charles E. Gaunt III, my drama teacher at West Essex High School, whom some of us nicknamed Chuck the Duck.

Of course, I can't lay claim to having invented the rap form. This is what Wikipedia says:

Rapping can be traced back to its African roots. Centuries before hip hop music existed, the griots of West Africa were delivering stories rhythmically, over drums and sparse instrumentation. Such connections have been acknowledged by many modern artists, modern day "griots", spoken word artists, mainstream news sources, and academics.

Anyway, Chuck the Duck was turned into a hip-hop number by the incredibly versatile and talented Rafique Rashid - back in the days when we used to hang out together a great deal. He still has the original 4-track cassette master but he gave me a copy which I recently digitized and uploaded here.

A few years later, the prestigious Australian a capella Song Company, under the baton of Roland Peelman, actually premiered Chuck the Duck as a six-part polyphonic fugue in Kuala Lumpur. How on earth did this happen? Roland Peelman had commissioned Malaysian avant-garde composer Saidah Rastam to contribute an original work to the Song Company repertoire - and, of all things, Saidah decided to use Chuck the Duck as the libretto for her astonishingly witty masterpiece.

Thinking back on the strange history of Chuck the Duck, it strikes me as extremely intriguing that two wonderful musicians I have known and loved for years were inspired to set to music this wacky exercise in wordplay written by me as a 20-year-old - and both subsequently unbefriended me. Could it be some kind of mysterious curse? In view of the tragic outcome of both attempts to musicalize Chuck the Duck, I no longer encourage anyone to do so.

Listen to Chuck the Duck by Rafique Rashid

Listen to Chuck the Duck by the Song Company

[First posted 16 May 2012, reposted 29 August 2016]