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Weird song title problem - opinions

05 Nov 02 - 05:10 PM (#819346)
Subject: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Marion

Hi all. I'm polishing up an original song about my friend's great-grandfather, who came to Canada as an orphan at 6 to make his living working on farms.

I want to title the song "Barnardo Boy's Lament" because the children who were emigrated to Canada from the Dr. Barnardo homes were generally known as Barnardo boys and Barnardo girls. I could call it "Orphan's Lament" or "Home Boy's Lament" or something like that, but I like the sound - and authenticity - of Barnardo boy.

The problem is a man (so to speak) called Paul Bernardo who everyone in Canada has heard too much about because he's a rapist/murderer who preyed on teenage girls. I've done a little casual research to see if anyone recognized "Barnardo boy" and every single person I asked said that it made them think of Paul Bernardo.

What do you think? Should I just call it "The Jed Marum Wannabe Song"?

Marion


05 Nov 02 - 05:17 PM (#819351)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Joe Offer

Yeah, Marion - it has to be something other than Barnardo Boy, and "Home Boy" won't garner the right image in the U.S. "Orphan's Lament" may not be bad, but it sounds a bit generic.
Good luck.
-Joe Offer, who also wants to be a folk singing star just like Jed Marum-


05 Nov 02 - 05:21 PM (#819357)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Marion

Yeah, I realize that "Home Boy" also has a second association, but not an offensive one.

Marion


05 Nov 02 - 05:26 PM (#819367)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: wysiwyg

Maybe we could advise better if we saw the lyric. Barnardo Boys is out, now, I agree.

~S~


05 Nov 02 - 05:31 PM (#819369)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Mudlark

Aside from nasty connotations of like-sounding names, it may be that Barnardo is too obscure to be meaningful (I'm in US...perhaps the name has recognition in Canada?) If the boy immigrated "from" the Barnardo home "to" Canada, where were these homes located? What part of Canada did he immigrate to...any other place names you could use to make the title specific to this one boy?


05 Nov 02 - 05:34 PM (#819375)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: wysiwyg

Learn something new every day....

From Dr. Thomas John Barnardo:

Bean and Melville (1989: 40) argue that Dr Barnardo was the most influential figure in the child migration of the last half of the nineteenth century, 'and his organization the most important'. The first party of 50 boys was sent to Canada in 1882; girls' migration began in 1883 (the youngest being just four years old). Cost appears to have been a significant factor in Thomas Barnardo's thinking - but it was another face that was turned to the public.

================================


From Young Immigrants to Canada, Barnardo Homes:
Thomas John Barnardo was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. As a young man, Barnardo was sent to England to train as a missionary for China. While there, it was decided that Barnardo should train as a doctor. It was at this time that Barnardo became acquainted with the problems in the East End of London and began to work in a Ragged School. As he became more involved in the work, Barnardo met others, such as Annie Macpherson, who were also interested in the plight of the children. Soon he stated a home where he said no child would ever be refused admission.
Barnardo began to send children to Canada as early as 1872 through Miss Annie Macpherson's organization. In 1881, Barnardo decided to throw himself whole heartedly into the emigration effort. He visited Canada, meeting with government officials and others who were interested in the work. A home was donated in Toronto and the work was begun in earnest. Another home was later acquired at Peterborough, Ontario, called Hazlebrae, used mainly for girls.

A colourful figure, Dr. Barnardo found himself in trouble with the law on a number of occasions. Sometimes it was a parent or relative who wanted a child returned and other times it was the Catholic Church who wanted Catholic children given over to them. But, through his efforts, some laws were changed to protect the children.

Until 1939, Barnardos continued to emigrate children to Canada. It was into the 1960s before they stoped emigrating to Australia. Some estimate that there were more than 20,000 children brought to Canada by Barnardos. Although it is this organization most people think of when they hear the term "home children" Barnardos was only one of many to bring some 125,000 young people to Canada.


================================


More information and pix at that second site, too.

~Susan


05 Nov 02 - 05:38 PM (#819377)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: wysiwyg

Seems each home had its own name-- might there be a song title in one of them?

His ad was about "Knocking on the Door" and not being refused admission-- any help?

~Susan


05 Nov 02 - 05:40 PM (#819379)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: wysiwyg

From historical remarks about the Dr. Barnardo Home, Russell, Manitoba:

In the year 1925 a change in the Immigration Laws of Canada prohibited the immigration of children under 14 years of age if not accompanied by their parents. This ended the work of the Barnardo Homes at Russell and Belleville, Ontario.

~Susan


05 Nov 02 - 05:40 PM (#819380)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Marion

Thanks for copying that in, Susan.

Mudlark, I could always just use the boy's own name in the title.

But I didn't start this thread to ask for ideas for alternative titles; what I want to know is, would you rule out a title because of the nasty, but totally irrelevant, word associations it might trigger?

Marion


05 Nov 02 - 05:49 PM (#819387)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Amos

Marion:

It depends on how strong the "might"-ness of the trigger is. In this case I'd go with The Homeless Lad or Orphan Boy's Lament or something because right now (which is when you want to use the song) the current Barnardo overshadows the historical one.

Just FWIW.

A


05 Nov 02 - 06:22 PM (#819409)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Jeri

Marion, what was your friend's great-grand father's name? You could call it 'X's Lament'. Is it really a lament or did he wind up with a home and a decent life?


05 Nov 02 - 06:33 PM (#819418)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Gareth

No - I think the bad conections would not do you or the song any favours. As a thought try "Lament of a young exile" or "Lament for hope".

Just a thought.

Gareth


06 Nov 02 - 04:24 AM (#819680)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Bullfrog Jones

Marion, presumably before performing the song you would do a preamble to set the scene, explaining who Dr Barnardo was and what he did. Leave the actual title till just before you sing it. If there's no mention of Paul Bernardo the audience should have the right picture in their minds.

BJ


06 Nov 02 - 11:54 AM (#819993)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: GUEST,leeneia

Q. "would you rule out a title because of the nasty, but totally irrelevant, word associations it might trigger?"

A. Certainly.


06 Nov 02 - 12:01 PM (#820001)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: GUEST,Tim

Can you work the proper context into the title without it getting to wordy? Something like "Lament of the Boy from the Barnardo Home", but shorter and smarter than I can do.


06 Nov 02 - 12:09 PM (#820015)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: GUEST,Russ

I've never added a song to my repertoire just because I liked the title or kept it out just because I didn't like the title. You might be devoting more psychic energy to the title than it's worth. The song will stand or fall on its own merits.


06 Nov 02 - 01:31 PM (#820091)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Santa

Keep the title. The story you are telling crosses the generations, and Bernado's charity still has meaning here (UK), and the term Bernado's boys/girls had meaning at the time to the people concerned. This transcends any temporary negative connotations it may have locally, now. They'll be gone long before the historically-important term ceases to matter.


06 Nov 02 - 02:13 PM (#820129)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: McGrath of Harlow

A writer called Frank Norman wrote his biography, about being a Barnardo boy, and he used as the title the nickname they were commonly given as school - "Banana Boy".

That'd be one misunderstanding avoided, but another one introduced, though maybe one without the same kind of associations.

Back in the country the boy came from pretty well anyone would know that as song with Barnardo in the title would have to be about an orphan. And noone's heard about the murderer with a similar name.

Anyway, noone takes a blind bit of notice of what title a writer wants for a song - look at Eric Bogle trying to persuade people to use his title, No Man's Land for the song generally referred to as Willie McBride or the Green Fields of France. People tend to use the first line, or a memorable phrase, and a summary of the plot occasionally ("The Orphan Immigrant").


23 Dec 02 - 12:03 AM (#852426)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Marion

I've finished the song and am quite happy with it. My partner definitively vetoed "Barnardo Boy's Lament", so we landed on "Frederick Shortt's Lament". But we've gotten into the habit of just calling it Fred. Here are the words - I made up how the father died, but every other detail in the story comes from what the family told me about this boy.

Frederick Shortt's Lament

The waves that ate my father's ship left us a desperate house
Twas more than mother could hope to do to fill three empty mouths
My brother, he was too young to part, my sister was too dear
It fell on me to play the man, and I in my sixth year.

My mother said, "It won't be far, 'twill be just for a while.
Be good, be strong, and say your prayers, just like on dear Wight Isle."
She packed my clothes and my Testament, I put aside my toys
And knocked upon the doorway of Barnardo's Home for Boys.

How little did my mother know
When she begged me, "Fred, don't cry,"
The waves would carry me off as well
And this was our goodbye.

Those lonely months on the mainland my home and friends I missed
Until the day I found my name at the head of the Canada list
I'd go across the ocean wide to be a farmer's ward
And sell my small hands' labour for my schooling, bed, and board.

They brought me pen and paper the morning that I sailed
My news and my fondest wishes to family then were mailed
With a trunk and a blessing for each of us we queued up at the dawn
To board that good ship's steerage and set off for Saint John.

How little did my mother know
When she led me from her door
My fortune lay in Canada
I'd ne'er see England more.

We rode the train to Toronto town, amazed by miles of trees
The farmers came from all around to pick what boy they'd please
I went to a St. Thomas farm and spent some decent years
Until my boss sold off his land, left me with naught but tears.

My next boss lived in Utterson, George Truesetter by name
I worked like hell to earn my keep but got his belt and blame
His children all went off to school but I was left behind
The cows and pigs I tended were the best friends I could find.

How little did my mother know
When she gave me to their care
The lands I was to travel in
The burdens I would bear.

As soon as I was old enough I took my clothes and pay
And married sweet little Alice Greer one bright and blessed day
We built a house on her parents' land right here by Skeleton Lake
We cleared the trees and bred the stock for all our children's sake.

My boys work hard and do their share, but I won't let them miss school
My girls will never be lone or shamed, though they don't know wealth or jewel
And as for me and my Alice, well, we're better off than then
These walls are humble but they're my own, I'll never leave again.


23 Dec 02 - 12:31 AM (#852429)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: michaelr

I think McGrath has offered the perfect solution -- "Banana Boys" is authentic to the story, and doesn't carry the Bernardo conotation.

Cheers,
Michael


23 Dec 02 - 03:00 AM (#852454)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: IanN

If you were to play/introduce your song over here in the UK there would be no negative connotations associated with your title. To change a title an account of possible negative associations could set a dangerous precedent especially in our global community. Imagine if your song had been written in Britain & played here for a while - would the title then be changed if the song was taken over to Canada/US?

I'm sure there are hundreds of songs the have entirely innocent titles/lines in one country that could be taken as offensive or misunderstood in others?

Keep your title as it is & use the title as an opportunity to have an interesting intro. to your song when you play it.


23 Dec 02 - 02:10 PM (#852677)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: pattyClink

Very nice lyric crafting, Marion. Congratulations on getting your song child to this stage!


23 Dec 02 - 03:21 PM (#852714)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Dave the Gnome

I'd say keep it, Marion - Perhaps explain what the title realy means? It would be a real pity to have yet another word hijacked! I still sing the Gay Fusilier for instance and will not let the PC lobby change my mind :-)

Cheers

Dave the verticaly challenged...


23 Dec 02 - 04:02 PM (#852730)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: GUEST,Lyle

Seems to me it depends on where you want to place the emphasis for the message of the song.

If it is on the individual you are writing about, then Frederick Shortt's Lament is fine.

If it is on the Dr. B Home, then maybe something like "Lament of the Thomas John's Boys." Or something along that line.

In any event, you've got a great song!

Lyle


23 Dec 02 - 06:06 PM (#852797)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Cluin

Aw no, Marion. I'd keep "Barnardo Boy's Lament". Don't let the actions of that twisted piece of shit hijack the name, just because it sounds close. Take the name back. Sounds like a worthy mission to me.

Besides "Bernardo" isn't even his real name, remember? He changed his surname from "Peel", because his dear old daddy was a rapist scumbag like himself.


23 Dec 02 - 11:44 PM (#852918)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Marion

Thanks for the responses, folks. As I mentioned, my duo-partner has vetoed "Barnardo Boy's Lament" so this is no longer a live issue, but it's interesting to see the various opinions.

However, I could imagine changing the title back when we tour the UK, so I'm curious as to why Ian said, "To change a title on account of possible negative associations could set a dangerous precedent especially in our global community. Imagine if your song had been written in Britain & played here for a while - would the title then be changed if the song was taken over to Canada/US?" What's wrong with that?

Cluin, where are you from? Besides my basic question in this thread, I was also curious to get an international perspective on who's heard of Barnardo and who's heard of Bernardo.

Marion

PS I know of one musician, a friend of a friend, who felt that he needed to change his name from Bernardo to Bernard when all this was in the news.


24 Dec 02 - 12:02 AM (#852930)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Cluin

I'm in Ontario and of course I'm very familiar with the Bernardo case, Marion. So does everybody named Bernardo have to change their name now?


24 Dec 02 - 12:09 AM (#852932)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Marion

I hope not, Cluin, but I'd be curious to know how many did, and to what extent people named Bernardo suffered for it.

So where are you from in Ontario (I'm in Toronto and would be glad to meet you sometime if you're anywhere close)? And did you know who Barnardo was before this thread?

Take care, Marion


24 Dec 02 - 12:16 AM (#852934)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Cluin

By the way, I'd never heard of the Barnardo Home. I'm a bit chastened in that I knew of the bad and not the good.

One more thought: How about the title "How Little Did My Mother Know"? It's the only repeated phrase in each chorus and it would help fix it in people's memory to have the title more closely tied to the song that way. Not necessary by any means, but it is a common trick.

I also agree that this whole "Should I change the title" conundrum can make for interesting stage patter (where that kind of thing is listened to).


24 Dec 02 - 12:17 AM (#852935)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Cluin

Sault Ste. Marie, up north, Marion. Don't get to The Big Smoke much.


24 Dec 02 - 04:35 AM (#852999)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: IanN

Hi Marion

My reasonings behind not changing titles is purely that it would lead to confusion:
Q. "have you heard that great song "Barnardo Boy's Lament"?"
A. "No, never heard of it" !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Which title would you look the song up in the digitrad? What would you call it on the CD etc. ???

By the way, I've never heard of this Bernado business but I would say everyone in the UK has heard of the Dr. Barnado charity. When we were at school we used to sell little calendars to raise money for the charity. Each month there was a picture of a different "Barnado orphan" - very sweet.

Cheers, Ian.

By the way, it's a cracking song!


24 Dec 02 - 05:21 AM (#853018)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Sandra in Sydney

Barnardos is a well known charity in Australia (one I support as they work with abused & at risk children).

The Canadian rapist might have featured briefly in Australian news broadcasts, but if he did I don't recall. Most, if not all Austalians hearing the song title would think of the charity.

Marion, I like your song

sandra


24 Dec 02 - 09:14 AM (#853095)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: SINSULL

I agree. The infamous "Barnardo" has had his 12 minutes of fame. The charity and those who benefited from it will live on forever, especially if you title your song "Barnardo Boy".


24 Dec 02 - 09:46 AM (#853108)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: HelenR

Marion, the last two verses had me in tears! (Wiping away the tears, I nearly rubbed chilli sauce in my eye as well - close shave...)

It's a lovely song, especially knowing that the details are actually true. The places, one of the farmers, and the wife all get a name-check - so I think it is *definately* a great idea, to give it the protagonist's name: "Frederick Shortt's Lament". It adds a whole slice of history and meaning to it, to know the name of the boy. A song reverberates with much more force if you know the story behind it is a real one. If I had thought it to be a work of fiction, I probably wouldn't have nearly got chilli in my eye...


24 Dec 02 - 09:54 AM (#853115)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: HelenR

p.s. - the Barnardo organisation may have saved many children from destitution, but they did also send young children into virtual slavery, without any protection from abuse, and without the permission of close relatives. Their high-handed approach in those days caused great misery and bitterness for many of their charges.

However, they are now thouroughly modernised (stopped running orphanages 30 years ago) and are no doubt a great force for good. www.barnardos.org.uk, if you want to know more.


24 Dec 02 - 10:03 AM (#853118)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: GUEST,EBarnacle

It's a good song. If you don't call it Bernardo Boy, you might consider using the character's name or calling it Ragged Boys Lament after one of the orphanages cited above. Calling it after Bernardo might limit it too much more than personalizing the title would.


25 Dec 02 - 09:25 AM (#853535)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Bernard

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the spelling...

As I understand it, Barnardo and Bernardo aren't the same, so where's the problem?

Your initial feeling was to call it "Barnardo Boy's Lament" because the children who were emigrated to Canada from the Dr. Barnardo homes were generally known as Barnardo boys and Barnardo girls.

So you should.


27 Dec 02 - 06:53 PM (#854276)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: GUEST,Marion

Bernard, I asked a bunch of people, "Does the expression 'Barnardo boy' mean anything to you?" and they all paused and got this wary look on their face before answering. That's the problem; although I can of course easily explain which Barnardo I'm talking about, I don't want to produce that visceral reaction for no good reason. SINSULL is quite wrong about P.Bernardo having had his fifteen minutes of fame; Bernardo is no ordinary rapist/murderer and it will be a long time before his name is forgotten. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Canadian Mudcatters have almost completely steered clear of this thread; in fact I think that answers my question as clearly as anything that's been written.

(You're right that the spelling is different, but that doesn't help at all orally, and doesn't help much in writing, as the spelling confusion in this thread has shown.)

Thanks a lot for your post, Helen R. I also particularly like it when the stories in songs are historical, which is why I learned the details for this one, and also why I like Jed Marum's work. And you make a good point about the dark side of the child emigration movement. When I read up on the general history I found that it was legal for the homes to emigrate children with living parents without consent, but to avoid a scene, they would prevent the children from writing home until they were on their way.

One other thing - I played this song for a different friend and her mother overheard it. When I was done, her mother started telling me a story from her grandfather's history. I think I may have stumbled on the secret to finding stories to write about...

Marion


28 Dec 02 - 07:03 AM (#854461)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Sandra in Sydney

About 10 years ago I met an Englishman who grew up in a Barnardo institution which contained around 1000 children who were orphaned or whose parent or parents couldn't look after them. He didn't have a good life with the 2 houseparents who tried to look after 25 children, & had many psychological problems to deal with regarding his mother's death, his father's consequent behaviour (it's for you own good)& the benign? neglect of the system.

As has been said, today Barnardos does not work in the same way.

sandra


29 Dec 02 - 07:09 AM (#854916)
Subject: RE: Weird song title problem - opinions
From: Santa

In the end it is your decision and it seems as though you have enough reasons to be wary, though (not being Canadian) I'd not be so concerned.

However, as a comparison, there were Americans who wanted a recent film renamed from "The Two Towers" because of 11/9....