Oct 9, 2010

#30before30: Write a song

The amazing thing about this #30before30 project has been how incredibly generous people have been with their time and expertise. I'm just some schmuck with a wish list, and people have bent over backwards to help me out. It's extraordinary. A few of my challenges were music-related, and I got a lovely email a few weeks back from the good folk at the Independent Music Academy at Bowen Hills offering to "teach me music". I rocked up one Saturday, was handed a guitar, and sat down with a lovely lady named Miranda, who was tasked with being the wise Yoda to my petulant Luke Skywalker.

Miranda is one of those effortlessly cool people. She has long, wavy dark blonde hair that looks like it gets washed everyday in a fresh mountain stream. She's about 6ft tall and wears boot cut jeans and a t-shirt and looks more stylish than 100 models. She'd be on the front cover of Frankie magazine if she was in the least bit pretentious. Because that's the best thing - she's super nice, and watches my fumbling attempts to move my fingers across the frets with the patience of a saint.

Our first lesson is some basic chords to a popular song (which I won't mention here, as I need to do it for my upcoming busking challenge and I don't want to spoil the surprise). They were actually only half chords, as my fingers are so clumsy I could only manage two out of three fingers on each chord. Miranda then asked me about my song idea. I'd had a thought about something that I thought might be a song, and hummed a few bars of the melody that had popped into my head. She picked up on it straight away, and noted them in the TAB notation system guitarists use so I could go home and practise.

During our second lesson, she helped me practise again, and work my dodgy lyrics into a half-decent rhythm. She also worked out some "power chords" for the song's bridge, even though I hadn't fully fleshed out the words to it yet. But it was enough to allow me to wind up with something that at some point in the future could one day maybe resemble a song.

It's a quasi-whimsical piece about "beautiful women" of days gone by, and how we'll never actually know what they looked like. I like the idea that there are women walking around the world who look just like Helen of Troy or Cleopatra - but we have no photos so we would never realise.

After my two lessons though, I think that if Helen of Troy looked like anyone - it would be Miranda.

The video clip was shot on an iPhone, and it's been squished by conversions and whatnot. It was shot on October 7, at Uber in West End after I was asked to go back and try stand-up comedy again. I'll get to that in a future post but for now, excuse the dodgy singing and the even dodgier playing - here is my song Helen of Troy.

There's no reason, there's no rhyme
Why beauty standards change with time
What ancestors considered fair
Judged today would not compare

But what about stories of yore
Of famous beauties found in lore
And if I might be so bold
What if I might fit that mould

What if Helen of Troy looked like me?
What if Helen of Troy looked like me?
Would people drop down on their knees
Write poems of love and worship me

Would your stomach tie in knots
If I looked like Mary, Queen of Scots
And would I cause a rift with the Holy See
If Henry the Eighth had fancied me

What if Helen of Troy looked like me?
What if Helen of Troy looked like me?
Would people drop down on their knees
Write poems of love and worship me

And would it matter about my lips
If my face could launch a thousand ships
And would it matter about my thighs
If I had Cleopatra's eyes
And would I be less pessimistic
If I was a lot more narcissistic
And would I get free flights on Qantas
If I looked just like Pochahontas?
(OK, I realise that one's quite unlikely)

But what if Helen of Troy looked like me?
What if Helen of Troy looked like me?
Forget that Angelina Jolie
What if Helen of Troy looked like me?

What if Helen of Troy looked like you?
You're a Capulet next to a Montague
Someone should really write a haiku
I think Helen of Troy would look like you


  1. This is a wonderful song. You should be very proud. It has been stuck in my head for at least three of the seven days since I first heard it.

  2. Not too shabby lyrically. Actually -- big marks for the whole performance, GC!

  3. How amazing! I love it, GC. I must agree with Dan - I, too, had it stuck in my head. It's very catchy and the lyrics are absolutely fantastic, not to mention very witty.