FAQ Table of Contents


Updated May 29, 2012
This area is for definitions of filkish terms and other FAQ info that doesn't fit anywhere else (see For The Record); please send me any others you think should appear.

See also Welcome to the Filk Circle

Bardic Circle: Filksong organizational rules whereby participants sit in a circle and take turns. Turns pass sequentially along the ring with each person given the choice to perform, pick someone else to perform, or pass.

Dandelion Conspiracy: Filkers - The dandelion is the symbol for filkers springing up like weeds. See The Dandelion Conspiracy handout

Dead Dog: An event held after the formal end of programming at a convention, generally after most of the immediate break-down and clean-up is done and the con staff have a chance to finally relax. I have no idea how it got its name (well, had - see below), unless it's that by this point the staff are ready to collapse with all four legs in the air.

From Joe Kesselman:
  • "Dead Dog parties", which are probably the original use of this term, are parties primarily for the con staff, though they're often open to anyone else who's foolish enough to not have gone home yet and is at least known by sight.
  • A "dead dog filk" is a filk circle run after formal programming has ended. It's often one of the last events to end at a con, since it requires nothing more than that the hotel staff not chase us out and that we not collapse from sleep deprivation. This can often be a surprisingly good circle, as people have had time to unwind, have performed the stuff they most wanted to get out, and are thus willing to take a few more risks in accompanying each other.
From Mark Mandel

I've always figured it came from "stay until the last dog is hung". From phrases.org.uk:

"The earliest appearance of this phrase in print that we have been able to locate is in a novel by Stewart Edward White. Called The Blazed Trail, it was published in 1902 and contains this line: 'They were loyal. It was a point of honor with them to stay 'until the last dog was hung'.' White spent much of his early life on the frontier, first in the West, later in the Hudson Bay country. We would hazard the guess that the original 'dogs' hung were of the human species and that the reference is to the kind of vigilante lynchings known as 'necktie parties' in the early West. Nowadays, of course, the expression is most often heard in reference to the inevitable two or three people at every cocktail party who hang around everlastingly -- 'until the last dog is hung' and the host shows them the door." From the "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).

Instafilk: "Instant Filk" - a filksong written on the spot.

Non-topological (Poker-Chip) Bardic: Filksing organization rules whereby each participant is issued one turn per round, this turn symbolized by a poker chip or other counter. To take a turn, the participant tosses in a chip and announces his or her intentions. To pass, simply toss in a chip without comment. When all turns are used, the round is finished, and each participant gets a new token.

ObFilk: "Obligatory Filk". A filksong or poem, or fragment thereof, included as part of post which would otherwise be off-topic for this newsgroup, usually rephrasing part or all of the off-topic issue in lyric form. Generally instafilks.
{thanks to Joe Kesselman for the above}

Ose: From morose, via the pun more-ose. Classic description: "The kind of ballad, usually sung in a minor key, where everyone dies except the dog... Then he dies too." Generally, any moody/depressing/horrific song will be tagged as ose. Example from my own work: "Stole of the Seal" would probably be considered ose by most folks.

Not necessarily a negative term. Used mostly as a catagorizing tool, and as a reminder that doing too many "downer" songs in a row tends to lower the energy level of a song circle.

As with any attempt to catagorize songs, the line between ose and non-ose is fuzzy at best, and made more so by humorous (humor-ose?) parodies of ose songs and the like. [humorous ose is also called "cheeryose." Kay]
{thanks to Joe Kesselman for the above}

Chaos: Filksing has no particular organization; filkers participate as they please.

For The Record:

"Hal's Song" is by Neil Belsky and Vinnie Bartilucci. There's an error in the attribution on Vince Emery's funny computer songs tape.
Meg Davis wrote "Captain Jack and the Mermaid".
Crystal Paul performed "Dairy Queen" on the album, "Shoot the Moon" (it's misattributed to Roberta Rogow on the insert.)
"Austin Ditty Limits" has two printings of the insert, one of which misattributes "Home on LaGrange". The correct attribution is to Bill Higgins, of Fermilab. The song called "Western Movies" on one version of the insert is titled "My Baby Likes To Watch Bad Movies" on the other; at the moment it's not clear which is correct (anybody?)