Tuesday, 8 March 2011

From The Children's Writers' Songbook - Charlie Butler

[With apologies to Elton John and the Bee Gees]


What I have got to do to stay in fashion?
To keep up with the looks, the trends, the tracks?
One day leopard prints are Gok Wan’s passion,
The next they’re in the sale at T.K.Maxx.

How am I going to get some street smarts,
And write just like the kids speak in the ‘hood?
I’m more at home with hopscotch, hoops and go-carts:
What’s cool these days? I wish I understood.

It’s sad, so sad: it’s a sad, sad generation -
With jocks and dorks and geeks and chavs and nerds.
It’s sad, so sad – why can’t they talk plain English?
It always seems to me,
That YA seems to be the hardest word.

How'm I going to write that casual sex scene,
Or the one where they take drugs or sniff some glue,
When the Bible Belt thinks holding hands is obscene,
And you shouldn’t drink until you’re twenty-two?

What does it take to write a YA classic –
A novel that will last from year to year –
When every word’s immediately Jurassic,
And this week's trash was last week's hot idea?

It’s sad, so sad: it’s a sad, sad generation -
With jocks and dorks and geeks and chavs and nerds.
It’s sad, so sad – why can’t they just talk English?
It always seems to me,
That YA seems to be the hardest word.



Trilogy!
When your book's too long
But you're still going strong
It's trilogy!
When your deadline's tight
With no end in sight
It's hard to bear:
Just split it in three parts and no one will care.

Trilogy!
When you're almost through
With volume two
That's trilogy!
When there's one big scrap
Right across the map
It's hard to see
How you're going to end it - leave that till part three.

Trilogy!
Going round the bend
Tying up loose ends
That's trilogy!
If in any doubt
You can just sign out
With three sure-fire things:
Someone dies or gets hitched or turns out to be king...

Trilogy! That's trilogy! ... [to fade]




You’ve been my agent now for six long years,
You’ve sold my rights from Norway down to Spain,
And the moment you’re back from Bologna
I wanna hear you on the phone again.

You say I’m a cert for the next big prize –
Then it all goes quiet
And I dry my eyes,
And it's me you need to show,
How deep is my book?

How deep is my book?
How deep is my book?
I really need to learn,
'Cause we’re living in a world of Faulks,
Putting us down
When they all should let us be.
There's nothing easy ‘bout the ABC.

I believe in you:
You’ve ten percent of my very soul.
When people ask if I’ll “Write a real book one day”
I just remember your first breathless call.

You may not think I care that much,
But you know deep inside
That I need a crutch.
And it’s me you need to show –
How deep is my book?

How deep is my book?
How deep is my book?
I really need to learn,
'Cause we’re living in a world of Faulks,
Putting us down
When they all should let us be.
There's nothing easy ‘bout the ABC.

La la la laa la la laa la la
La la la laa la la laa la la
Laa laa la la la la laa laa laa la
La la la la la la la laa la la

You tell me to expect some great reviews,
Then it all goes quiet
And I hit the booze.
And it's me you need to show
How deep is my book?

How deep is my book?
How deep is my book?
I really need to learn,
'Cause we’re living in a world of Faulks,
Putting us down
When they all should let us be.
There's nothing easy ‘bout the ABC.

23 comments:

Rosalie Warren said...

These are brilliant and so true- thank you!

hilary said...

Superb!

Elen C said...

YAY!

Gillian Philip said...

Made me laugh! Made me wince! Fabulous, Charlie.

michelle lovric said...

brilliant!

karen ball said...

Hee, hee. Particularly enjoyed the trilogy one. How deep is my book? Indeed!

Sarah Taylor-Fergusson said...

Have you ever thought you might be in the wrong (music) industry?! Brilliant.

annajosephine said...

If only my singing voice could do this justice! I laughed so much, possibly because I'm now on book two of my trilogy... how true and wise these words are.

I just hope I don't have to kill of a character just to have an ending.

Sue Purkiss said...

Brilliant!

frances thomas said...

Great! Made me laugh out loud. (Is that LOL? I'm not putting that)

Charlie Butler said...

Thanks, everyone! I'm glad they struck a chord.

Lynda Waterhouse said...

yep chimed with me too!

Andrew Strong said...

Very, very funny. The first blog on here I've been able to sing.

Leslie Wilson said...

Brilliant! When do we get the audio version?

Savita Kalhan said...

Great post! Singing Authors coming to You Tube soon...?

Nick Cross said...

Marvelous. I can see a whole trend starting right here...

Jackie Marchant said...

These are so good! When's the album out?

Charlie Butler said...

Perhaps some albums are best left in the realm of the imaginary...

John Dougherty said...

Looking forward to the next instalment already!

Linda Strachan said...

Excellent, Charlie!

Lucy Coats said...

Charlie--we are SO singing these at the Secret SAS Summer Meeting (you know whereof I speak). Mind, it may take a few drinks.... Now, I wonder if I can learn the guitar accompaniments in time (unlikely).

Charlie Butler said...

If you do, I want a recording! (I don't think I'll be able to get there myself - sniff.)

Leila said...

This is GENIUS. Can't believe I've only just seen it!