Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Early last June I got a good run up on Bloomsday by posting song lyrics I had carved from James Joyce's Ulysses. (Bloomsday is June 16, the day the events of that novel transpire.) I seemed to have kept at it until August, and up to page 608 of my batterd Penguin edition of the great novel, with less than 100 pages to go ... when I just stopped.

Well, its not exactly reading aloud from Ulysses in an Irish pub, soaked in Guiness and surrounded by stately, plump companions, but I will observe Bloomsday 2010 by resuming my song lyric series with an eye toward actually finishing this time around. I only have nine other pages of this edition noted as pregnant with lyrical potential, so in a week or so I should have a complete list of song lyrics to start scoring - or distributing among stately, plump friends to score.

This bit is from the chapter of the novel that is written in Q&A format. So despite the litany of choice song titles in these lines - "New hat with rain" maybe being the best - I'll use the Q that provokes the A as the song title. It has an art-rocksiness to it. Like Game Theory, a band much influenced by Joyce.


She disliked umbrella with rain,
he liked woman with umbrella,
she disliked new hat with rain,
he liked woman with new hat,
he bought new hat with rain,
she carried umbrella with new hat.

There are just a hundred lovely ways you could set a sequence of lines like that to music. The one I'd like to try first is a six verse song, where verse one is the first line, verse two is the first two lines, verse three the first three lines, and so on, and then the song ends with the last line of the sixth verse, which is the first time you sing the sixth and last line - "she carried umbrella with new hat" - though maybe that line would be looped as an outro refrain ... six times.

More in this series


Image from Kissed by a Rain God.

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