Deejay, the Great and Powerful

(Originally published on the Outlaws of Avalon Tumblr page)

So imagine that you’re a minstrel dropped into this world from a faraway fairytale universe, and your first encounter with 21st-century music went like this:


Putcho hands up, hands up!

Shawty on the dance floor,

Shakin’ it like what, wha-what?!

I’mma be with muh baby in the club,

Goin’ all night long!

Don’t you stop my song, dee-ee-jay…”

Teeth gritted in pain, Allyn forced his hands away from his ears long enough to press the power button a second time, bathing the car in near-silence once more. He glowered at Will Scarlet. “What in all hells was that?!”

“I gather that whoever played the radio last was somewhat hard of hearing,” Will said, bouncing back from a cringe of his own. “Though whether they started out hard of hearing, or only became so after listening to hip-hop at such a volume for any extended space of time, is anybody’s guess.”

[…] Brow puckered, he tried again, his finger unintentionally sliding a little bit lower. It proved a happy accident, for the radio abruptly forsook the song about the hip-hop minstrel’s encounter with the highwayman called Deejay (or such was Allyn’s best guess as to what the lyrics had been going on about)…

(From “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”, emphasis added)

Weird, sure, but as an isolated incident, it’s just one random nonsense song.

Except the more you listen to hits on the radio, the clearer it becomes that this Deejay person is no mere highwayman.

Clubbers everywhere are praying to this character as if he holds their hearts in his hands.

  • “DJ give us something to ride to”
  • “Play my song, Mr. DJ, I’m in love with the DJ”
  • “Oh DJ, ease my mind will you”
  • “I love the DJ, the DJ loves me”
  • “DJ’s got the party started, there’s no end in sight”
  • “I’m so into you ‘cause I love the DJ”
  • “Last night a DJ saved my life”
  • “The DJ’s gonna save us, DJ’s gonna save us tonight”
  • “Listen to what the DJ’s spinnin’, he’s tappin’ into just what you’re feelin’”
  • “Close your eyes to the DJ, close your eyes and fade away”
  • “DJ! Don’t do this to me – I tried to do my best – I tried not to sing out of key – DJ! Don’t you dare to leave – I tried to be the one – and now I’m on my knees!”
  • “Don’t blame the world, it’s the DJ’s fault”

*record scratch*

What are you, otherworld minstrel, to make of it all? You never once doubted that music has power, but this…

Is the Deejay a wizard?? A legion of demons?? A sentient drug?? Is he God???

In Deejay we move, in Deejay we love, in Deejay we trust! Don’t abandon us, Deejay! We pump blood to your beat! We succumb to your groove! Don’t take my baby from me, Deejay!

It’s Deejay’s party, and we’re just living in it! But of course there are those who resist.

Rebel leader Ke$ha declares “it’s time to kill the lights and shut the DJ down”. She’s backed up by The Smiths, calling for the people to “burn the disco, hang the blessed DJ”.

It is to be war.

And you can only wonder… when the smoke clears… when silence falls … who will be left standing on the dance floor?

Thanks to Marcela Laskoski for making this image freely available on

A Melodic Memento Mori

Contrary to what any strangers wandering onto this blog post might assume, Ever On Word is not in fact a music magazine. But I’m gonna temporarily act like it is, in celebration of a grand occasion – namely, my outlaw minstrel is dropping an all-new song on his trilogy’s Facebook page today! If that doesn’t call for a special author-to-musician interview, what in the worlds does?

So everyone please join me in welcoming the face of the music industry, Allyn-a-Dale Gant!


Allyn: Simply had to reference that canonical music magazine in my third novel, did you?

DEShipley: Sorry, yep, didn’t have a choice. But let’s get right into it! This new song of yours. How did it come about?

Allyn: Quite differently than my usual, as it happens. Normally, my songs spring up as a natural part of the narrative in my books, or are at the least inspired by them or my relationships with the characters therein. The inspiration for this song was nothing like that. No story involved but this:

Tirzah was driving you to work. And where you go – à la Annabelle Iole Gray and her characters in the “Inspired” novels – any number of your fictional friends will follow. So I was there, as of course was Will Scarlet, and we all of us chanced to find ourselves behind a truck bearing a load of rolled-up carpets. Somebody mentioned the possibility of the carpets flying off the vehicle and impaling us. Will didn’t suppose anyone will have ever expired that way, to which Tirzah and I made an amusing, alternating reply. Something to the tune of, ‘Well, now, Will, surely someone has, once. After all…

Tirzah: There’s a whole lot of world.

Allyn: And a whole lot of carpet.

Tirzah: And a whole lot of people.

Allyn: Everybody dies.

And then and there, we recognized the potential for a song. Thank you, by the way, Danielle, for recording the words directly after, so we’d not have the opportunity to forget them.

DEShipley: Hey, I’m the scribe. It’s what I do. How long did it take you to build a full song around that improvised, spoken-word snippet?

Allyn: I don’t believe I put my mind to it until the following day, or the one after. But once I began actively searching out lyrics and melody, it only took you a few hours to catch up with me. Then a short while with you on your lute to work out the chords. Then most of the next morning to see it all recorded, and voila: ‘Everybody Dies’.

DEShipley: The making of this video was more involved than our typical recording process.

Allyn: Necessarily so. The full song is five verses; just under five minutes long. Your phone showed no interest in allowing a video of that length, so we broke it up into parts – one video per verse, plus the introduction. And you pieced them all together on your laptop. Not a bad bit of editing, considering your lack of skill and resources.

DEShipley: The same lack of skill and resources that stands between us and ever creating a full album of Allyn-a-Dale songs, just yet. I remain hopeful for some future day, though! This plane of reality would be the richer for it.

Allyn: It is already the richer for all you’ve done to share the songs we’ve found together. Every artwork of mine known to this world has you to thank, for only through your voice can I be heard so far from home.

DEShipley: Dang it, Allyn, you’re gonna make me squirm for joy. Speaking of joy, I can’t help but notice how uncharacteristically happy you look, during this song.

Allyn: I’m afraid that’s so. How can I but do? ‘Tis a jaunty song of death. Despite all it’s cost me, I’m quite fond of death.

DEShipley: ‘Everybody Dies’ has got a definite folksy feel to it. Very Johnny Cash, or some such. A stylistic departure from much of the music we’ve heard from you, to date – with the entertaining exception of ‘A Merry Traveling Song’ from your first book.

Allyn: True, my general aesthetic tends toward romantic melancholy. But every now and then, my father’s influence shows through, and out comes the sprightly, satirical wit.

DEShipley: The latter makes for a lot of rapid-fire lyrics to get through. You had my tongue in a twist during more than one take!

Allyn: And yet, you managed. Father selected you as his author for a reason. And that reason certainly wasn’t anything to do with the temperamental compatibility between you.

DEShipley: Lord, no. Well, that’s about all the time and space we’ve got today, if we wanna leave room to share the song’s lyrics. Thanks so much for dropping by, Allyn! And congratulations on yet another musical triumph.

Everybody Dies, still frame 02

“Everybody Dies” (Click here for the video!)

‘Twas a truck on the highway, so I’m told,

Carrying carpets in great, long rolls,

And the car behind thinks it’s going too slow,

So the driver speeds up, as he plans to go around.


Wasn’t quite tailgating, but near enough to,

So when the truck braked hard and the carpets flew,

The car’s windshield and driver took one through

Like a javelin’s thrust. Now the driver’s in the ground.


Sure, it might seem an unlikely end,

A short way out with surprising long odds,

But, blame it on we mortals or blame it on the gods,

I can say this much, my friend:


That there’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta carpets. Everybody dies.


‘Twas a fellow I knew, and no buffon.

Had a long life left; didn’t think he’d go soon.

But then, like a gag from a kid’s cartoon…

Well, you’d hardly believe it if I said.


There he was, just walking down the block,

When a snap from above made him stand still, stock.

Up he looked, and plummeting down like a rock,

A piano that landed on his head.


Now, it might seem an alarming end,

And so often played for laughs, perhaps too silly to be true,

Yet a man could pass for sillier, and many of them do.

I will say this much, my friend:


There’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta baby grands. Everybody dies.


‘Twas a day not unlike yesterden.

Just an ordinary woman in a plain kitchen,

Prepping food for next day’s lunchbreak, when…

Well, you’d never guess the tragic farce to come.


Warming up a can of soup, adding spices from the rack.

Dash of salt, dash of peppercorn – she’s no hack,

But a sip of the soup’s enough to lay her on her back,

For she choked trying to get it in her tum.


Yes, it might seem quite the hapless end,

One mere problematic swallow parting body from soul,

But the smallest of mistakes can take the harshest toll.

I have seen this much, my friend:


There’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta peppercorns. Everybody dies.


‘Twas a hockey game at the community rink

For a charity for breast cancer – (have your say in pink) –

So it’s really quite ironic, if you stop and think…

But there’s no good deed unpunished, so they say.


A thwack of a player’s stick ‘gainst the puck,

And the shot goes wild! There’s no one struck,

But the scoreboard’s hit. All sparks, no luck.

One inferno later, folks are in their graves.


True, it might seem like the worst of ends,

Death by icy immolation while they’re playing for the cure,

But however wrong and random, it’s taxes-sure.

I can vow this much, my friend:


There’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta hockey pucks. Everybody dies.


‘Tis a possum in the yard, or a meteorite.

A trip upon a crack of pavement, or a small bug’s bite.

It was laughing too hard with your friends one night,

Or the loneliness of having none at all.


In the air, in the water, on fire, on earth,

From the moment we grace the stage at birth,

It’s anyone’s guess, whatever guessing’s worth,

How the final curtain’s gonna make its fall.


‘Cause there’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta drama, then everybody dies.


Let Allyn know your thoughts on “Everybody Dies” in the comments! And if another of his songs are a favorite of yours – or if this new ditty reminds you of some other artist’s work you enjoy – by all means, make mention of that, too. ^o^