Today is a good day because today is the day I release a brand new song.
The song is called “The Golden Monkey”. It is inspired by the wildly popular book The Golden Compass written by Phillip Pullman. I wrote the song back in September for a performance with The Bushwick Book Club Seattle.
You’ve probably read the book, seen the movie, or watched the TV show, so I’m guessing you’re already familiar with the basic story. I won’t bore you with a full recap here.
For the few out there who are not in the know, here is a short spoiler-free blurb to bring you up to speed. Please imagine the following paragraph as something that you might read on the back cover of a book. It will be more fun that way.
In the pages of The Golden Compass, we follow the adventures of a little girl named Lyra. She runs around and does stuff. A lot of people want to kill her and she gets kidnapped a lot. She has a talking pet that is cosmically linked to her “soul” (everyone else in the world has one of these too). She also has a magic compass (it’s golden!) that she can use to answer questions, kind of like a modern-day magic eight ball. She teams up with a giant polar bear and together they kill a bunch of people. And the main bad guy is a lady with a golden monkey.
My song inspiration comes from this sentence.
“Lyra wondered how she had ever, ever, ever found this woman to be so fascinating and clever.”
It’s a fascinating moment in the book where Lyra is disgusted with herself (like puke in your mouth disgusted). She realizes that a woman she completely admired earlier in the book actually sucks. Not only that, the woman had sucked the whole time. All the clues were right there, clear as day, but Lyra was too smitten with this lady to see them. Lyra understands all this now and she’s grossed out, mad, and embarrassed by her past self.
That’s what “The Golden Monkey” is about. Moments like those.
The only other thing you should know before listening to the song is that the main bad lady in the book has a golden monkey for a pet.
Bonus Song Nugget #1
Not My Cup Of Tea
I had never read The Golden Compass before but I was excited about it because I had heard so many good things! Then I read the book…. turns out, I am not a fan. I think this is mainly due to the fact that it is essentially written for kids, which I no longer am. I’m now a curmudgeony old fart of a man.
I think The Golden Compass is boring. Reading it wasn’t fun for me, it was a chore. I can see how others might like it, however, this book was not for me.
I’m sure I would have LOVED the book as an eight-year-old. I especially would have enjoyed the polar bears and the twist ending.
Bonus Song Nugget #2
I Used Artificial Intelligence to Create the Graphic For This Post
There’s a wonderful thing on the internet called DALL-E 2. It uses artificial intelligence to conjure original images based off of a written description. You got to try this thing. It is so much fun!
Look at what DALL-E can do!
Mr. T Punching a dog, pixel art
A ninja stabbing a giant banana with a fork, oil painting
a gold statue of an evil monkey playing the guitar in the style of van goh
I used that last batch of golden monkey images to create my featured graphic for this post.
Bonus Song Nugget #3
My fav part of the song arrangement is the “horns” in the chorus. I used quotation marks for “horns” because they are obviously not real horns. I used a midi-patch. I spent a lot of time trying to get a realistic horn sound and getting the swells right but couldn’t figure it out. Eventually, I just said “fuck it” and went with what I had.
In future recordings of this song, I hope to use real horns.
Bonus Song Nugget #4
I Can’t remember the last time I ate at McDonald’s
When I was a kid I used to LOVE eating at Mcdonald’s. I mean fucking LLLLOOOOOOVVVVVE it. It was my favorite thing. My Mom would treat me all the time. It was the best.
As I grew older, my taste changed. Sadly, I don’t ever eat there anymore. For a while there when I was a young pup in my thirties I used to try to go to Mcdonald’s at least once a year. And then over time, instead of actually going I would just have the thought that I should go because it would be fun. And after even more time, I don’t even have those “should” thoughts anymore.
I’m not sure if this makes me less fun than I used to be (I sort of think it does) but I am sure that thinking about it makes me sad.
My goal for 2023 will be to go to Mcdonald’s. That will make me feel better. Then and only then will my life be complete.
The Golden Monkey
by Mike Votava
This is my friend Mark
I think he’s a 10 out of 10
he likes to kick me down the stairs
We are BFFs
I think that’s why he breaks all my stuff
he gets to do what he wants
or I get punched in the junk
What the hell was I thinking?
my future self is cringing
I can’t believe I could ever be so wrong
It’s awful and I know it
Embarrassed by the moment
The monkey’s not as golden as I thought
My eight-year-old self
would lose his shit on a trip to Mickey D’s
there’s nothing better than a happy meal
Now as an adult
I can’t fathom why I’d go there to eat
cuz what I thought was D lish is so obviously garbage
The big mac I just ordered
tastes like fancy cardboard
but as a child I love to throw them down
My younger self expired
now my tastes buds are much wiser
that burger has no business in my mouth
That nice lady seemed so lovely at the time
but now I know she’s super evil
it disgusts me knowing that she pulled one on me
I do the best I can
I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed
but I hope my future self can recognize and be forgiving