When I was young the family stereo came with about a dozen promotion records. One was a Bell Telephone Hour presentation of The Mikado featuring - get this - Groucho Marx. My mother and I memorized it and would sing parts of it to each other. At the time I didn’t realize it was an shortened version, but that didn’t matter as it started me down a G&S appreciation path. G&S purists may be appalled, but I find it an amazing bit of history. At the time television was trying to find its “voice” with televised versions of live music and plays commonplace.
Last night I saw a video of the original performance for the first time - a gift from my sister and brother in law. Such a delight - I attempted to track this down several times when I worked for AT&T, but it was tied up with a variety of rights issues.
A fish-like thing appeared among the annelids one day. It hadn't any parapods nor setae to display. It hadn't any eyes nor jaws, nor ventral nervous cord, But it had a lot of gill slits and it had a notochord.
Chorus: It's a long way from Amphioxus. It's a long way to us. It's a long way from Amphioxus to the meanest human cuss. Well, it's goodbye to fins and gill slits, and it's welcome lungs and hair! It's a long, long way from Amphioxus, but we all came from there.
It wasn't much to look at and it scarce knew how to swim, And Nereis was very sure it hadn't come from him. The mollusks wouldn't own it and the arthropods got sore, So the poor thing had to burrow in the sand along the shore.
He burrowed in the sand before a crab could nip his tail, And he said "Gill slits and myotomes are all to no avail. I've grown some metapleural folds and sport an oral hood, But all these fine new characters don't do me any good.
It sulked awhile down in the sand without a bit of pep, Then he stiffened up his notochord and said, "I'll beat 'em yet! I've got more possibilities within my slender frame Than all these proud invertebrates that treat me with such shame.
My notochord shall turn into a chain of vertebrae And as fins my metapleural folds will agitate the sea. My tiny dorsal nervous cord will be a mighty brain And the vertebrates shall dominate the animal domain.
I caught Lucius on random play during a recent walk. A friend who tips me off to interesting music pointed them out about a year ago and they were on All Songs Considered's Tiny Desk Concert. Some very interesting musical roots and tight harmony. The Tiny Desk Concert series is such a terrific resource.
Tim Blaise - a physics masters degree student at McGill mixes a bit of recent physics history, a capella singing, Queen and a sock puppet ... very cute and probably destined to more fame than any string theory paper...