Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Downtown Guy

I feel so grown-up, sitting at a Starbucks in downtown San Francisco with my laptop open. Treating myself after yet another all-day Orff workshop, this one with some highly musical teachers from the Oakland Unified School District. I have a movie in mind in the neighborhood and a couple of hours to enjoy before it starts. The only downside is being at the mercy of Starbucks music selections, which sometimes leans towards Frank Sinatra, but now is on some insipid Pop playlist. Oh well. Petula Clark’s “Downtown” would be an appropriate choice, as I try to catch that feeling of downtown energy— the buzz in the streets, the twinkling lights, the dressed-for-success folks strutting their stuff.

And speaking of Petula’s classic song, I’m reminded of driving with my colleague James over a decade ago to an Orff conference and somehow we started making up a new version based on the homework assignments we were starting to get from our middle school students. We’ve sung it a couple of times at school since, but mostly it lies buried on my computer. So now’s the time to share it with the world. Enjoy!

DOWNLOAD —sung to the tune of Downtown by Petula Clark
Written by James Harding and Doug Goodkin, April 2001

1) When you’re alone and homework’s getting you down, you can always go—
Download.
The teachers won’t know and your folks aren’t around, so turn it on and go—
Download.
Just boot up to the Web on your personal computer.
You’ll have time to go outside and try out your new scooter.
What can you lose?
The figures and facts are there,
you can be printing them out while you’re dyeing your hair, so go
Download, it’s just a click away.
Download, no work for you today.
Download, it’s the new techno way out.

2) It’s late at night and you’ve got pages to write about the Civil War—
Download.
Hit the Website, you know it’s really all right, ‘cause that’s what techno’s for—
Download.
Your prose can be as complex as Immanuel Kant,
All you’ve got to do is chose the paper and the font.
Palintino.
You won’t have to think for yourself,
You can forget all those Cliff Notes, leave the books on the shelf and go
Download, there’s information there.
Download, what do you really care?
Download, sit in the easy chair now.

3) You didn’t do the reading and now you are needing facts about Vietnam—
Download.
It’s not really cheating, you’ll find out the meaning if you click dot.com—
Download.
You hand in a paper that you barely understand.
It never has to pass through your brain or your hand.
Why work so hard?
The grades are much higher there
You’ll be hangin’ at Stanford or in Harvard Square when you
Download—open your eyes and go
Download—you will look wiser if you
Download—just plagiarize, it’s okay.

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