I’ve been meaning to do a write-up connecting my experience at Worldcon to the topic which has been brewing for the past couple of months amongst the #mythicfolk community – “The DIY ethos amongst geek communities”, but I’ve not managed to get the time or energy to do so. However, I will offer you pictures from the Saturday and Sunday night filk circles at Worldcon which partially inspired this topic. Led by the talented Ann Poore with her harp, the filkers allowed us to travel to distant lands, to the sets of disaster movies, to outer space, to various zombie apocalypse scenarios and beyond. There was magical harp music, there was a continuing filk dedicated to “Professor Tolkien” (which was played on two nights), there were filkers from Japan and South East Asia! What I was really impressed with was the “filk circle” which was inclusive and even allowed newbies like me to be part of it. The system was “pick, pass or play”, where, if you were not going to play you could either pick a song or a filker, or pass. I was sneaky. I picked Ann Poore to play, twice, because her harp music was beautiful. Also, I was too shy to play my own compositions. Maybe next time.
There was also a harpist from Germany who entertained us with her own compositions inspired by the Lord of the Rings and other fantasy sagas. Beautiful stuff.
Here’s the guy who wrote (and sang) the “Oh Professor Tolkien, What Have You Done”, song. Apparently he writes a lot of filks, but I forgot to take down his name. If any of you know who he is, do let me know! The song is such an earworm!
And this lady, was magical. Her music was the kind of music I’ve come to associate with filks – the old school kind.
Again, I do not know her name.
Why was I inspired by the circle? Perhaps it was the rough and ready aspect of it, the acceptance that even if you didn’t get it right the first time, it was fine. That some people would know other songs and just chime in. It was a spirit of free-flowing creativity that didn’t apologize for riffing off works of sf/f, and which defied the ideas of what a fan should be. It’s this boldness that I admired and which I think is part of the “Open Source” mentality and the D-I-Y ethos that I respect in geek communities. Of course, it’s not all roses. I think that the ideas behind copyright and creativity, appropriation and homage are tied into other issues to do with the D-I-Y ethos. But within the filk universe, everything gels well. Originating creators are respected, as well as these individuals who are creative in their own right. Lurking there amongst them, I decided that they were also mythic folk. Larger than life, creating communities where the mythic texts that were repeated in their songs were works of science fiction and fantasy.
I’d like to talk more about this D-I-Y ethos before October breathes its last gasp, but we’ll see if my wrists -and deadlines – will allow me to do so. But I’m also opening this topic up for discussion, either here or in chat.