Aphelion Issue 279, Volume 26
December 2022/January 2023
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And The Band Played Bouncing Potatoes

by Terence Chua
To the Tune of "And The Band Played 'Waltzing Matilda'" by Eric Bogle

At Westercon XIX back in sixty six
They served up one hell of a banquet
The main course was a Pot Roast you could drum on with sticks
And the gravy was thick as a blanket
But the worst bits of all whose name lingered on
Immortalized boldly in tale and in song
Were potatoes that Poul Anderson found so strong
You could bounce the damned things off the floor

So we'll all sing "Bouncing Potatoes"
As we honor dear Poul's memory
And amidst all our tears, we'll remember with cheers
All he'd written for you and for me

The Man Who Came Early was the first to arrive
When the Phoenix Inn hosted the wake
And following that Steve Matuchek and wife
Came in bearing a werewolf-shaped cake
Holger Carlsen came next with three lions in tow
As we Harvested Stars till the candles burnt low
While the Gods ceased their War as they looked down below
And the Starfarers came in to join us

And we all sang "Bouncing Potatoes"
As the others arrived three by three
They were bearing some wine which the great Nick van Rijn
Had this once provided for free

Now a Midsummer's Tempest was raging outside
As the Million-Year Boat came to anchor
And aboard were the SCAdians bursting with pride
Singing songs of Sir Bela's great valor
So the evening wore on and on into the night
And the Queen of the Air and the Darkness took flight
Agent Flandry made sure no one started a fight
Even though all our spirits were pickled

And we all sang "Bouncing Potatoes"
Even though we were drunk and off-key
Trufan, filker or pro - we united in woe
As we ushered Poul's spirit to sea

There were Hokas and Ythrians and people from Ys
And Crusaders who'd stolen a starship
When some men from the Time Patrol stumbled on these
They thought they'd discovered a timeslip
The Unicorns Traded, the lions did roar
There were Three Worlds to Conquer and more to explore
And we held back The Long Night by singing some more
Though our hearts and our souls had grown heavy

And we all sang "Bouncing Potatoes"
While we wished that Sir Bela was here
But we all knew that was just another lost cause
Still we sang though we choked back the tears

We sat and we sang till our voices were done
And the evening's end crept ever nearer
We decided we'd welcome the soon-rising sun
With a chorus of Mary O'Meara
But then Poul wandered in, with a twinkle and grin
And a Time Patrol escort all soused up on gin
For it pays to know those who know which rules to bend
To let you attend your own wake

And we all sang "Bouncing Potatoes"
With Poul joining with vigor and vim
Though he soon would leave us, we were grateful for just
One more chance to say goodbye to him

"Bouncing potatoes, bouncing potatoes,
You'll come a-bouncing potatoes with me."
And his ghost will be heard every time the filkers sing that song
"You'll come a-bouncing potatoes with me."

© 2001 Terence Chua

Terence burst onto the filking scene in 1999 when he attended his first Worldcon, introducing the world to the blasphemous concept of Lovecraftean songs based on ABBA tunes. Since then he has been steadily writing more songs, both parodies and originals, both twisted and sublime. His lament for the space program, "Once We Were Eagles," won first place in the 2001 Songwriting Contest at FilkOntario in March. He will be attending Worldcon 2001 in Philadelphia this year as well as being the Interfilk guest at the Ohio Valley Filk Festival in October.

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