Sunday, 3 October 2010

Look What They've Done To My Song

As a rule I don't mind being edited, in fact I enjoy the batting of words and phrases to and fro with a good editor; but it's hard to get used to being edited without your knowledge or consent. This normally only happens with time- and space-sensitive media like newspapers and magazines. Typically, someone at the publication will cut down the odd sentence, add a couple of linking phrases or simply jettison an adjective or two. For them, it's housekeeping; for the writer, it's putting out something as yours, which patently isn't, and I know it's childish but I get quite worked up about it..

Here is a link to Giles Coren's famous letter from July 2008 to a Times sub-editor. Okay, it's a little rude - but when I read it part of me says, 'YES!'

Melanie Safka, too, got it right in her 1971 hit 'Look What They've Done To My Song':-

Ils ont changé ma chanson, Ma
Ils ont changé ma chanson.
C'est la seule chose que je peux faire
Et ce n'est pas bon, Ma.
Look what they done to my song.

She even had a solution:-

Wish I could find a good book to live in
Wish I could find a good book.
Well if I could find a real good book
I'd never have to come out and look at
What they done to my song.

Here's a link to a live performance, on YouTube:

By the way, Melanie didn't have to worry about others messing up this particular song: it was covered by Nina Simone, Billie Jo Spears and Ray Charles.
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