Sunday, 3 June 2012

gopher tuna

I've posted about alternative lyrics to Carl Orff's O Fortuna before. However, I recently came across another version, and realised there are alternative alternatives.  There are several versions on YouTube, with their surreal lyrics (but little more so that some possibly drug induced lyrics of real songs) made even more surreal by the accompanying pictures. (A few pics may be mildly NSFW, depending where you work, but they are uniformly wonderful.)  My favourite version (which is the one I stumbled across today) has hand-sketched internet meme figures.

Realising that there are several versions, and that some extremely different readings seem to fit just as well, made me look up the original medieval Latin lyrics, and do a compare and contrast:
O Fortuna
(O Fortune)
Oh, four tuna //
Gopher tuna
velut luna
(like the moon)
Bring more tuna
statu variabilis
(you are changeable)
Statuary on his knees //
Statue of big dog with fleas
semper crescis
(ever waxing)
Some men like cheese //
Cement like cheese
aut decrescis;
(and waning;)
Hot, temperate cheese //
Hot Democrat cheese
vita detestabilis
(hateful life)
Vimto can taste of kidneys //
Green chalk can taste like hippies //
We took a taste of me knees
nunc obdurat
(first oppresses)
Lukewarm two rat //
You caught two rocks? //
Look up, you brat
et tunc curat
(and then soothes)
Bet too cool, rat //
Pet two cool rats //
That took cool rat
ludo mentis aciem,
(as fancy takes it)
You don't get cheese or chicken //
Luke don't make tea. Sore chicken
egestatem,
(poverty)
Bend chips all day //
Play chess all day
potestatem
(and power)
Hot and salty //
Hold his sock tip //
Poke Tess all day
dissolvit ut glaciem.
(it melts them like ice.)
Dip sore feet. Good, hot chilli //
She sold me good, hot chicken
---
Sors immanis 
(Fate - monstrous)
Saucy codpiece // 
Saucy hot peas // 
Saucy mommies
et inanis, 
(and empty)
Ate spleen of neice // 
Get me cod, please // 
Get in on knees
rota tu volubilis, 
(you whirling wheel)
Brought up too full food in me // 
Rock talk to boy who believes // 
Broke up to follow minis
status malus, 
(you are malevolent)
Suck juice from moose
vana salus 
(well-being is vain)
Fun with some goose // 
Fun, handsome goose
semper dissolubilis, 
(and always fades to nothing)
Second these so rude big knees // 
Cement pizza? Noobie please! // 
 Second this, all who believes
obumbrata 
shadowed)
Open bra top // 
Open bar tab
et velata 
(and veiled)
Get them loved up // 
Get him locked up
michi quoque niteris; 
(you plague me too;)
Leaking foot when near cherries // 
Leaky aquariataries
nunc per ludum 
(now through the game)
Look, they look good // 
Look there! Fruitloop! // 
Look, them look dumb // 
Look there look good
dorsum nudum 
(I bring my bare back)
Dogs sure look cute // 
Don't sue YouTube // 
Hot soup look good
fero tui sceleris. 
(to your villainy.)
Farewell to knees and berries // 
They wrote teh dictionary // 
Farewell to ancient berries
---
Sors salutis 
(Fate is against me)
Salsa cookies
et virtutis 
(in health)
Windmill cookies
michi nunc contraria, 
(and virtue)
They'll give you gonorrhea! // 
They gave you gonorrhea!
est affectus 
(driven on)
This octopus // 
This know is loose
et defectus 
(and weighted down)
Let's give him boots // 
Let's cook this goose
semper in angaria. 
(always enslaved.)
Send him a carburetor // 
Send him to North Korea // 
And give him half a pizza // 
Send him a car or pizza
Hac in hora 
(So at this hour)
Lovely Torah // 
Ow, paper cut! // 
Monkey, Dora
sine mora 
(without delay)
Send me more of // 
Sandpaper, ahh!
corde pulsum tangite; 
(pluck the vibrating strings;)
Potato soup and chicken
quod per sortem 
(since Fate)
What mess again? // 
Go taste the dip! // 
I miss old friend // 
Hot mess all day
sternit fortem, 
(strikes down the string)
Sing it, ugly // 
It's made with cool whip!
mecum omnes plangite! 
(everyone weep with me!)
Be good for Peace Monkey's sake // 
Make room for a piece of lovely cake // 
Be good for a piece of cake
Clearly these alternatives aren't all independent, but there's enough variety to be amusing. Most of the variation seems to be around lines that nothing fits very well.  Also, once a variant has been used, it appears to affect nearby versions: once you have rats in your head, they stay around.  I suspect that a trained historian could work out a family tree of which version influenced which.

Listening to any of the recordings whilst reading the original words is interesting: in some cases the words really being sung appear to fit just as poorly as some of the alternatives.  Presumably this is a combination of a large choir singing not quite simultaneously, in a foreign language, filtered through a non-perfect sound system.

Knowing what to listen for makes all the difference.  Once you are listening for "Vimto can taste of kidneys", it's easy to hear.  But then so is "Green chalk can taste like hippies".  These surreal lyrics are much easier to hear than alleged mumbled satanic phrases in rock music played backwards (but for the very same reason).

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