Thursday, May 15, 2008


Kid Kid Shirt tells me she thinks Boney M have ripped off her song "Hooray! Hooray! It's a Holiday!" Sad to say, it's been worrying her quite a bit recently; tho I'm not sure why now particularly...she just looks at me sadly sometimes and says, "But, Dad, it's exactly the same as that song I wrote - you know, the one that I sing sometimes when we're about to go on holiday..." And, you know what, it does sound pretty similar. So, I think she might have a valid cause for complaint here...

What really impresses me is that she's so sure of her facts without ever actually having heard the 'original' Boney M version...I've got a yellow vinyl twelve of it sitting round here somewhere, but I've never played it to her and we certainly don't have it on any of our car CDs...I'm starting to think that maybe she might have some sort of pre-determined ontological knowledge of the record, wh/ isn't quite as crazed as it sounds. Okay, so what if some songs have always existed (or were always destined to exist), so it ends up almost inevitable that an individual (or a whole bunch of people) 'discover' it, rather than actually composing it...? Perhaps "Hooray! Hooray! It's a Holiday!" is one such which case, no single individual could ever rightly claim sole authorship, y'dig: instead, it might be some kinda a sort of Universal Public Domain deal... actually, this happens far more frequently than you might think: songs or myth-cycles from totally unrelated cultures sometimes seem scarily similar, as if they're just variants of some pre-history Ur-Song that originated in Atlantis/Mu/Lemuria/Pangaea (delete as applicable)...more recent examples might be PJ Harvey and Patti Smith/Joy Division/Beefheart (depending on which album/era of her career you wanna focus in on) or The Strokes and every Post-Punk band ever.

Anyway, I listened to her concerns in a fatherly way, explaining that I thought it had probably been written by a guy called Frank Farian..."No, it wasn't," she said, firmly, but not brattily (cos we don't encourage that sort of behaviour): "I wrote it..." And again, she launched into something that involved various joyfully-shouted chants of "Hooray!" and "Holiday!" around a faintly-familiar melody-line...

I tried to explain the concept of copyright, royalties and intellectual property, but I soon realised that it just sounds like bullshit to a 7-yr old...she couldn't (or didn't need to) understand who Frank Farian was or what relevance he had to her life: "That's my song, daddy - not his...he doesn't own it. " She looked at me very seriously: "I thought music belonged to everybody...How can someone own music? That' s just stupid. " Wellll...actually, she's got a valid point here...

She asked me what we could do about all this. I suggested that perhaps we could phone up Frank Farian and complain...(by now, I was getting a vibe that she might launch a retrospective law-suit against him, claiming back-royalties that might date back to the late 70s , even tho she hadn't been born then...we'd have to get musicologists and pop.cultural philosophers involved, possibly even fuckin' Zizek...I could see a lot of corporate & political obstacles looming in front of us, even tho I felt her case was a strong one...some people just don't think right, yeh dig - even tho I know folks like yrselves would be on our side... )

And what would we say to Frank if we called him? (I'm a big, big fan of "Love for Sale", btw, so this is a bit of a philosophical dilemma for me) Kid Kid Shirt and I hatched a plan where we would phone up Frank Farian and trick him into saying "Ich bin ein nincompoop."

(This seemed a reasonable trade, I suppose...tho, I still believe that KKS 'wrote' the song, along w/ many millions of other people who just haven't realised it yet.)

I told Chris, my wife, that we were seriously thinking of phoning up Frank Farian and duping him into saying the words "Ich bin ein nincompoop."

"But what if he's dead?" she asked, suddenly serious.

"Well, that would be even better," I said, laughing.

And it was.


At 10:51 pm, Blogger doppelganger said...

Boney M merely manifest the human Jungian coillective consciousness.... you can't copyright the race memories of a species...

The desire to pronounce the word holiday as 'holi--holi-day' is patterned by an a priori innate linguistic acquisition device as revealed by Chomsky...

This is the best post I have read all year BTW.


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