Thursday, November 09, 2006

My Favorite Mondegreen

Yes, that's right, punk, I said MONDEGREEN, and I do hope you'll start using this word, too.

Right. So, when I was a kid, my parents did what any logical ex-hippies would do and raised me up on a steady diet of folk music and Free to Be You & Me. It totally worked, of course, as I am now a left-of-left progressive liberal who protests the war and dresses my cat in an apron. During these lovely formative years, as my constant readers know, I had every single possible speech impediment known to man. Due to my inability to speak correctly, and also possibly because I was stupid, I referred to my favorite musicians by my own private pet names. I called Bob Dylan "Bob Dyl," which totally makes sense. It's like a nickname for the world's coolest uncle. But I also referred to my favorite singers as "Parsley Sagels."

"Parsley Sagels," for those of you who don't speak 2-year-old, referred to Simon & Garfunkel. Because I really, really, really liked the song "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme," and if you're stupid, or two years old, or just really RILLY awesome, you just might abbreviate those lyrics to "Parsley Sagels." And so I did.

And if I ever launch a successful folk singing career, I guarantee that I will record under the name Parsley Sagels.

So, my house was often filled with the mellifluous sounds of Bob Dylan or Buffy St. Marie or Judy Collins and, quite often, Donovan. Because my little brother and I were TOTALLY obsessed with Donovan. We loved his music with all our little hearts and souls even though we had absofuckinglutely no idea what he was singing about.

And we each had our favorite song. I think I really loved "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" and we would sing "Dramamine, dramamine" instead of "that I may, that I may" and we thought it was simply hi-larious. And I definitely knew that we were being silly.

But my brother's favorite song was "Mellow Yellow." And his mondegreen was that he TOTALLY heard Donovan singing "Quite right, slave."

As in:
[Refrain:]
They call me mellow yellow
(Quite right, slave)
They call me mellow yellow
(Quite right, slave)
They call me mellow yellow

As if Donovan were singing, in his dainty twee British accent, to his slave. As if the scene went like this:

INT: A lavishly decorated, opulent throne room. DONOVAN sits atop a purple throne, dressed in flowing silk robes and scarves. A large HOOKAH rests at his feet.

DONOVAN: Step forward, slave.

A small, malnourished boy steps out of the shadows. His eyes widen as he stares at Donovan, the fairy folk king.

SLAVE: (stammering) Y-y-yes, Sir?

DONOVAN: Slave! Come here where I can see your face.

The SLAVE approaches DONOVAN. DONOVAN thrusts his hand under the boy's chin and turns his face upwards. DONOVAN licks a finger and wipes a smudge off the boy's cheek. The boy is embarrassed but slightly thrilled to be on the receiving end of so much attention from such an amazing being.

SLAVE: Thank you, sir.

DONOVAN: Slave! They call me ... "Mellow Yellow."

SLAVE: "Mellow yellow," sir?

DONOVAN: Quite right!

SLAVE: Really, sir? They call you "Mellow Yellow?"

DONOVAN: Quite right!

SLAVE: But ... but, sir, you don't really seem the type who'd be called "Mellow Yellow." I mean, sure, you do seem laid back, and, admittedly, you do look a bit jaundiced, but I'm finding it hard to believe that a man such as you could actually be called something as glib as "Mellow Yellow."

DONOVAN rises in ire, extending his arms so his robes billow out in all directions. His eyes whirl madly around in his head as pulls himself up to his full height. He is ferocious, like a shiny demon.

DONOVAN: I told you, you measly, meager excuse for a human being, that they call me "Mellow Yellow."

DONOVAN blasts fireballs from his fingers. The SLAVE is engulfed in flames and beats himself with a large palm frond to extinguish the fire. Finally, he emerges, smoldering and charred. He can barely see out of the burnt slits that were once his eyes, but he shuffles forward and prostrates himself on the ground in front of DONOVAN's throne.

SLAVE: They call you "Mellow Yellow."

DONOVAN: Quite right, slave.

and ... SCENE.

4 comments:

Jeffeh said...

That's the funniest thing I've read in a while. I actually slapped my knee twice during the read.

Leigh said...

Hi there :) Found you through Lattegirl, and am glad I did. That was too funny! I so loved Donovan as a kid. Now you've given me reason to love him again! LOL Thanks for the laugh!

Rocket Ray said...

Heh. A friend of mine was *totally* convinced that Donovan was saying, not "Quite right, slave", but "With white stripes..."

And we weren't children, mind you! My friend was certain that he, and he alone, had figured out what the lyrics really were, and that "white stripes" made absolute sense in the context of the lyrics.

Of course, he was a guy who gave the impression of never having quite come down from his last acid trip, but I'm sure that had nothing to do with it.

:-) :-) :-)

emily said...

Way, way, way better than "if he can't raise ten inches then I'll have to let him be" (Material Girl, duh) or "sleepin' on top of you baby" (during the fade of Wouldn't It Be Nice) -- both heard through my sick, perverted child-ears.