Saturday, 21 June 2014

The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God (J. Milton-Hayes) Updated... twice now and now thrice.. and for the forth, and last bloody time...

Sometime ago, while I was stumping the streets for a charity, I thought, 'I must know some poems'.
I jumbled this list together:
  • Jabberwoky
  • Ozymandias
  • The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God
  • This be the Verse
It was a start.

I found the texts, recorded myself reading them out loud, loaded up the pod, and set out walking...

I suppose Green Eye is more likely to be described as a monologue.
Here's what J. Milton-Hayes had to say about it:
"I wrote The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God in five hours, but I had it all planned out. It isn't poetry and it does not pretend to be, but it does what it sets out to do. It appeals to the imagination from the start: those colours, green and yellow, create an atmosphere. Then India, everyone has his own idea of India. Don't tell the public too much. Strike chords. It is no use describing a house; the reader will fix the scene in some spot he knows himself. All you've got to say is 'India' and a man sees something. Then play on his susceptibilities."
"His name was Mad Carew. You've got the whole man there. The public will fill in the picture for you. And then the mystery. Leave enough unsaid to make paterfamilias pat himself on the back. 'I've spotted it, he can't fool me. I'm up to that dodge. I know where he went.' No need to explain. Then that final ending where you began. It carries people back. You've got a compact whole. 'A broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew' They'll weave a whole story round that woman's life. Every man's a novelist at heart. We all tell ourselves stories. That's what you've got to play on."

So, after all these years I thought I'd have a go putting it to music... or the sword, depends on your point of view I suppose.

I robbed the double tone chord sequence from the world Calypso.
I like it.
It fits.

The initial recording was made using my dying iPod Touch.
Transfered to the lap-top for editing.
Transfered to the iPad to add a baritone uke track

(There was quite a lot of this transfering business BTW)

I ended up with this:

(Recording removed because I sodded up the mix and didn't hear how badly I'd got it wrong until I got it up on the monitors.
I'll re-post when I've fixed it.)

I want to add this to The Flying Aspidistras set.
I think it sort of fits.

Update: 01
The Wiki-lazy-pedia entry seems sane enough:

Update: 02

I had to do quite a bit of remedial EQing of the track.
I have a very sibilant voice which can generally be hidden behind a hi-hat or other hi-freqency element.
In this arrangement - lacking any percussive element - there's no hiding place.

The sibilance is compounded by the devices I use to record with.
The iPod mic is about the size of a pinhead, but, I keep reminding myself 'this is just a demonstration of what the framework will be when I eventually get round to recording it properly... with Harriet.'

Another side effect of the EQ setting the seeming transformation of the Broom Pole and Tin Box Bass into, what sounds to me like, a Crumhorn.

So, just me then...

As a final addition, here's the monologue in full:

The Green Eye Of The Little Yellow God

There's a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
There's a little marble cross below the town;
There's a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,
And the Yellow God forever gazes down.

He was known as "Mad Carew" by the subs at Khatmandu,
He was hotter than they felt inclined to tell;
But for all his foolish pranks, he was worshipped in the ranks,
And the Colonel's daughter smiled on him as well.

He had loved her all along, with a passion of the strong,
The fact that she loved him was plain to all.
She was nearly twenty-one and arrangements had begun
To celebrate her birthday with a ball.

He wrote to ask what present she would like from Mad Carew;
They met next day as he dismissed a squad;
And jestingly she told him then that nothing else would do
But the green eye of the little Yellow God.

On the night before the dance, Mad Carew seemed in a trance,
And they chaffed him as they puffed at their cigars:
But for once he failed to smile, and he sat alone awhile,
Then went out into the night beneath the stars.

He returned before the dawn, with his shirt and tunic torn,
And a gash across his temple dripping red;
He was patched up right away, and he slept through all the day,
And the Colonel's daughter watched beside his bed.

He woke at last and asked if they could send his tunic through;
She brought it, and he thanked her with a nod;
He bade her search the pocket saying "That's from Mad Carew,"
And she found the little green eye of the god.

She upbraided poor Carew in the way that women do,
Though both her eyes were strangely hot and wet;
But she wouldn't take the stone and Mad Carew was left alone
With the jewel that he'd chanced his life to get.

When the ball was at its height, on that still and tropic night,
She thought of him and hurried to his room;
As she crossed the barrack square she could hear the dreamy air
Of a waltz tune softly stealing thro' the gloom.

His door was open wide, with silver moonlight shining through;
The place was wet and slipp'ry where she trod;
An ugly knife lay buried in the heart of Mad Carew,
'Twas the "Vengeance of the Little Yellow God."

There's a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
There's a little marble cross below the town;
There's a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,
And the Yellow God forever gazes down.
I can't help feeling there's a whiff of - dare I say it? - SteamPunk about this.


Le Sanglier said...

I really like this -- the poem, the author's chat, and your musical rendition of it. All good!

Dale Robins said...

This is really rather spiffing. Where can I buy it?

As this ditty will be in my head for the forseeable future, can you please advise me of how to claim the compensation needed to pay for the psychiatric care that this will, no doubt, necessitate.

P.s. I am not a robot, I am a free man (I do impressions, you see).

Outa-Spaceman said...

Thank you for letting me know my dastardly scheme is working...

This is the original 'structional' demo.
I think I've made it available for download on SoundCloud.

The 'ornamentation' demo is also available.

I'm about to begin work on The Flying Aspidistras version (c/w Pocket Bass Harmonica)


Herr Döktor said...

Bloody good old poem, and yes,more than a hint of St**mp*nk.