A huge welcome to one of my new favorite writers, Jim C. Hines.
When he’s not writing the most awesome Princess series books or Goblin books, Jim writes a blog where he discusses everything from rape culture to health care plus the humorous side of being a writer. He’s also got a Zazzle store where he sells items with his fun cartoons.
It was the middle of 2007, and my second book Goblin Hero had just come out. The book opened with “The Song of Jig,” a goblin-style tune which described the adventures of Jig the goblin from the first book with about as much accuracy as your typical history text.
I wanted to post an MP3 of the song online to help promote the book, but there were two problems:
1. I didn’t have the sound equipment to do a good job.
2. My singing voice is about as appealing as gravel in a dryer.
So a friend recommended I talk to a Michigan filker named Tom Smith.
Now I had been doing the convention scene for several years as an author, but I had never paid much attention to the filk track. But I e-mailed Tom, and he wrote back. He seemed like a pretty nice guy, and gave me a few possibilities for recording my goblin tune. We planned to meet up at ConText later that year.
The con arrived, and one of the first things I did was circle Tom’s concert on the schedule. If this guy was going to sing my song, I wanted to make sure … well, that he didn’t suck. Concert time arrived. I snuck in early to get a good seat and waited for the show to start.
He did not suck. I’d say Tom was the complete opposite of sucking, except then I’d be saying he blew, which isn’t right either.
Tom had a good voice, and was quick and skilled on the guitar, but what made the concert truly awesome was the love in his songs. This was geek culture put to music by someone who obviously loved it. Who loved the culture, the people, and the music.
Did I mention he was funny, too? Crossing Winnie the Pooh with Cthulhu to the tune of Return to Pooh Corner? Or his song 307 Ale (“a beer brewed in a tesseract”)? And as a former computer tech, I could totally related to “Tech Support for Dad.”
Other songs could make you cry, like his tribute to Jim Henson, “A Boy and his Frog.” And he wrapped up his concerts with “Rocket Ride,” a high-energy tribute to everything we love about pulp science fiction.
It opened up a whole new aspect of fandom and convention life. These days I consider Tom a friend, one of the nicest people I’ve met since getting into fandom. Oh, and that MP3 for Jig the goblin? We eventually met up in the hallway. He took one look at the lyrics, pulled out his guitar and microphone, and recorded it right there on the spot. You can listen to it here (link is to an MP3 file).
Or head over to Tom’s site and sample some of his stuff. Tell him Jim sent you.
Isn’t it fun? I remember running across filkers back in the day (oh, 30 years ago or so) when I was busy helping out with the Dallas Fantasy Fair. I have very little musical talent, but love to listen and love the clever word play.
How about you? Do you have a favorite filker or songwriter that you love?
Comment below to win your choice of any of Jim’s DAW paperbacks.
Find Jim online at: