Archive for October 16th, 2008

More musical trivia: The Alt Health Guru

October 16, 2008

In which Dr Aust again falls back on (semi-second hand) musical facetiousness.

Regular readers will by now have noted my admiration for the immortal Tom Lehrer. Well, not literally immortal, but as he turned eighty earlier this year he is doing pretty well.

“The Old Dope Peddler”, recorded in 1953 on the album Songs by Tom Lehrer, is one of Lehrer’s simpler songs. The other day it occurred to me that it was just the thing for a lyrical makeover in the Bad Science cause. You can listen to the song here, and I suggest you do before you read the adapted lyrics.

I do apologise, by the way, for the rather similar subject matter between this one and “Woo is all around” – which was already probably one song too many. However, the combination of the start of the University term, various work-related writing projects with imminent deadlines, and Junior Aust engaging in a guerilla campaign of relentless psychological warfare (4 year olds are good at this stuff – she is annoyed because we have temporarily had to withdraw her DVD-watching privileges) has left me too frazzled for anything more serious.

Anyway – to business.

Tom Lehrer often introduced his songs with a spoken intro, and the one for this song doesn’t really need any changing:

“You are no doubt familiar with songs about the old lamplighter and the old umbrella man and the old garbage collector and all these lovable old characters who go around spreading sweetness and light to their respective communities.

But it’s always seemed to me that there is one member of this happy band who does an equally splendid job, but who has never been properly recognized in song or story.  This is an attempt to remedy, at least in part, that deplorable situation.”

When your aches and pains are griping,
Comes a fellow everyone knows,
It’s the Alt Health Guru,
Spreading joy wherever he goes.

Every breakfast time you’ll find him,

On a TV sofa somewhere near

With some supplements to sell you

Getting rich by tickling your fear.


He gives the kids free samples, [spoken aside: “fish oil”]
Because he knows full well

That today’s young innocent faces
Will be tomorrow’s worried well.

Here’s a cure for all your troubles,
And a nice profit from your distress.
It’s the Alt Health Guru,
With his pricey New Age Ha-a-pi-ness

[Plink plink]