One Night At Banquet

From The Known Words 1, long out of print and replaced by The Known Words, which doesn’t include this (among others) due to it being not of sufficiently high standard:

Raiel of Normandy wanted for years to filk One Night In Bangkok from the Chess soundtrack, and never got further than the second line of the chorus. Finally he and Marlena the Breathless and I all got together and started work. About halfway through, Siegfried der Freundlich phoned and we sang what we’d done so far at him, and he helped us with the rest. And the result, I happen to think, is one of the best pieces of filk I’ve ever written. It’s funny to think that filk is the only thing in the world that can be successfully done by committee.

Note the instructions on how to perform this: the unindented parts are spoken by one voice, the italicised parts are sung by another, and the sung chorus can be a group effort.

I’d just like to add, by the way, that even four years later I have exactly no idea what “I pitch my tents intensely, shady lady” means, but it’s a bloody good line. The “Scarlet mother”, however, refers to Mistress Kiriel, formerly one of the household called the Scarlet Women, who gives very good hugs.


Banquet, medieval setting,
And the eaters don’t know what their stomachs are getting:
The creme de la creme of the chef world in a
Meal with everything, a huge dinner.

Fur flies – doesn’t seem a minute
Since the carton in the hall had some live cats in it;
All cooked – don’t you know that when you
Eat at this level there’s no ordinary menu.

It’s eyeballs…
Or the fingernails…
Or kneebones…
Or… or this muck!

One night at banquet and the foods all oyster,
An aphrodisiac, or so they say.
You’ll find the atmosphere is so much moister;
It’s just a ploy to help you on your way.
Seems a bit redundant in the SCA.

One meal’s very like another
When your head’s down talking to the S-bend, brother

It’s a drag, it’s a bore, when you have another quarrel
Over cavalier garb with an irritated laurel

Whaddaya mean?
You’ve seen one garish over-starched, tasteless codpiece…

Real garb, warm and chic
Some are hand-sewn, looking handsome and unique.

Not ‘alf! You’re talking to a feaster
Who’s never home the week of Easter!
I pitch my tents intensely, shady lady!

One night at banquet makes the tough gut rumble.
Not much between removes of soup and stew.
One night at banquet, your resolve won’t crumble.
Can’t be too hasty or you’ll pig out too.
I can hear the first remove repeat on you.

That band’s playing, I can hear them,
In the ultimate test of syncopated rhythm.
She grips me better than another
Who isn’t a queen or a Scarlet mother!
Thank gods I’m only learning this dance, and fudging it…

I don’t see you knights trying
The kind of dance that gets me flying.
I’d let you join, I’m not demented,
But the moves we make aren’t documented.
So you better go back to your wars…
Your tourneys…
Your chivalry meetings…

One night at banquet and the food’s all oyster,
An aphrodisiac, or so they say.
I see the atmosphere is so much moister.
A bit more sweat and we’ll be on our way.
This is why I had to join the SCA.

One night at banquet and the brick walls crumble.
An education’s always guaranteed.
You find a friend who’d like to have a tumble,
Can’t be too careful when you take the lead:
Just go see Chirurgeon for supplies you need