I’ve mentioned filk music here. Not often perhaps since it’s not a primary activity of mine these days – part of that whole “adulting” thing where we don’t get to do the things we like so much because we’re so busy doing the things we need to do. (Or so we tell ourselves.)
In brief, “filk” music is the music of science fiction and fantasy fandom. There are endless attempts to define it, but I always just defined it as “anything sung at a filksing.”
In the late 40’s and 50’s at early SF conventions, filksings were born as an activity to be pursued in the wee hours of the evening, generally in a hallway or hotel lobby, often with alcohol involved. Get a dozen friends, a couple of guitars, a comfy spot, and stay up singing weird songs until 2 AM, or 4 AM, or breakfast, and you’ve had a filksing.
Some of these songs are goofy, written in the “Mad Magazine style,” to the tune of “Greensleeves” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or something by the Beach Boys or whatever. Some are serious. Some are about TV shows or movies or books or cons or fans or space or dragons or aliens or any of a zillion other topics. Some are written to original music and can be stunningly beautiful. Some are standard folk songs by folks like Stan Rogers or Eric Bogle, some are “found filk” like “The Battle of Evermore” from Led Zeppelin IV.
Back in the early 1980’s, before I had kids and a career and didn’t have to do “adulting” 100% of the time, I helped to start some filk conventions in Los Angeles. I also started printing a filk-based monthly fanzine, “The Philk Fee-Nom-Ee-Non,” which was nominated for a Best Fanzine Hugo Award in 1984.
Time moved on.
I had kids and started “adulting.” We went to a lot of bigger SF cons with the kids (like Westercon and Worldcon and Baycon) and did a lot of filking. We went to a lot of smaller filkcons like Consonance and ConChord. But PFNEN went the way of the dodo.
Time moved on.
I stopped running filkcons. We started not getting to Worldcon or Westercon or Baycon every year. Or even every other year. But the cons kept happening, including the filkcons, now run by new fans. I got to a filkcon every now and then.
Time moved on.
And the kids grew up and moved out – and kept in touch with cons and fandom on their own. As my demands for “adulting” became a bit less overwhelming, we started going back to filkcons and other SF cons.
Meanwhile, a group of filkers in the Toronto had started their own filkcon. Associated with FilkOntario they began, twenty-four years ago, a Filk Hall of Fame. A couple of filkers every year are inducted.
In January I got a call, informing me that I had been chosen for induction into the Filk Hall of Fame, based on my work years ago as one of the founders of ConChord and the monthly Los Angeles Filkers Anonymous house filksings as well as my publication of PFNEN.
It’s been a secret, since the inductees aren’t revealed until the HoF banquet at FilkOntario. I hadn’t ever been to a FilkOntario, but obviously I was going to make it this year.
Now we’ve had the banquet and the induction ceremonies so I can share the news.
I’m still more than a little bit amazed, despite having known about it for a couple of months. I look at the list of musicians and filkers who have already been inducted and I’m incredibly honored to be thought worthy of inclusion with all of them. I’m grateful to the nomination group and the jury which made the final picks for this year’s inductees.
So that’s why I’m in Toronto this weekend. Spending a wonderful weekend with a whole group of old friends, many new friends, singing songs, listening to amazingly talented musicians, all doing things we love just for the fun of it (believe me, no one is getting rich or even making a living doing this!).
Wow. Who would have thunk it?