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correspondence: Lyrics in techno

Letter from Mr David Greenville, Now That's Knowledge, 19 May 2003
Dear Mrs Waymire,

Please could you inform me: will the Museum of Techno be considering the significance of lyrical content within popular dance music, and its historical antecedents? I acknowledge this may not fall within your strict definition of "techno", but I myself have dedicated 20 years of my life to researching the literary origins of Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing", which I have now traced to a discarded fragment of the famous "Canterbury Tales", written by Geoffrey Chaucer around 1392. The fragment proceeds as follows (the translation, forgive me, is my own):
Herkne, lo, that ilke songstrel
     (Listen, listen, to the travelling minstrel)
Toutes with his lyre, thro alle hostelrye
     (He sings and plays in every hostelry)
Partook his toile for the devel's honde
     (It is not real work, it is the devil's idleness)
Bistowes yifte and mistresse - blessed moot he be!
     (But it brings women and riches - the lucky swine!)

While I durste labor in fyldes nigh fermenture
     (As for me, I must toil in the harvest-fields)
Semme heerse and oxen, upon thy fey
     (Like a beast of burden - oh, believe me)
I chidde ilke songstrel, for his gentillesse and dauliance,
     (I condemn the minstrel and his fancy entertainments)
I chidde hem well spitously!
     (I condemn him whole-heartedly!)
Mr David Greenville
The Museum's reply
Dear Mr Greenville,

Thank you very much for your fascinating letter, forwarded to me by Dianne Waymire, the Museum Administrator. As you may be aware, before I joined the Museum of Techno I conducted some post-doctoral studies at Exeter University's Department of Hard Trance, my research focusing on certain aspects of the lyrical content of brainless hysterical chart crossover shite for idiots.

However, I must confess that I am not aware of any recent research into the lyrical content of genuine techno which would offer the depth of analysis which you evidently seek. In the mid-1970s, some work was carried out in Berlin - attempting to challenge Edlund's (1957) theory that the reason lyrics are rare in techno is that most techno producers are rubbish singers; however, as I recall, the results of that work were at best inconclusive.

I hope you don't find this letter too discouraging, and would be delighted if you kept in contact - should you find any interesting work in this field, I would be very interested to hear your thoughts about it and discuss with you.

Yours sincerely

BSc, PhD
Researcher, Museum of Techno

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