An Oldie But Goodie—sung to the tune of “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General”

COLUMBIA ARCHITECTURE PROFESSOR and architectural historian Ken Frampton was once asked about “the cult of New Urbanism.” It’s “ersatz kitsch colonialism for the modern middle class”, he said. Faced with a statement like that, what can one do except write lyrics to the tune of “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General” from The Pirates of Penzance?

The lyrics need the music to work — you can listen here.

We are the very model for the modern middle class is all,
They like their buildings regional, traditional or classical,
And that can mean that we might draw facades a bit symmetrical,
But that’s just what the people want, and no it’s not fanatical.

These creeps in academia should go on a sabbatical,
Until they learn the fallacy of public art too radical.
With architects like Frampton though, who want to be rhetorical,
New Urbanists just want to ask, Oh must be you didactical?

So Ken if you think what you say is clever and so apropos,
Then you should know the thoughts you sew are from a long, long time ago.
We do not want to be too rude, and certainly not crassly crude,
But oh we would be delirious, if you could be less serious,
And from your thoughts just let us go.

We have the best developers, we quote the towns historical,
From Charleston to Santa Fe, in order categorical.
We’re very well acquainted too with all things architectural,
We understand the orders well, and make them all grammatical.

For our plans we need to know the buildings typological,
At other times we like to make a building prototypical,
So if you want to criticize, just kindly up open your eyes,
We are the very model for the modern middle class is all!

A bonus song, after the jump—

“Me and Andy Duany”


Sung to the tune of “Me and Bobby McGee”

Rested up in Baton Rouge, and chillin’ by the Lake,
We was feelin’ good and lovin’ the cuisine.
Kroloff thumbed his nose at us, and gave us our big break
That drove us all the way to New Orleans.

We set our charrette up in a school in Gentilly,
We was drawin’ quick so everyone could choose.
Gotta get it right this time, drawin’ shotguns in a line,
While Steve showed every house that big crowd knew, oh yeah.

‘Cause free plan’s just another word, for nothin’ left to lose,
Nothin’ don’t mean nothin’ hon’ if rooms cain’t be, no no.
And doin’ good is easy, Lord, when we let them choose,
You know, doin’ good was good enough for me,
Good enough for me and Andy Duany.

From a New Orleans street car in the Louisiana sun,
We toured the Marigny and saw it all,
Through all kinds of weather, through everything that we done,
Yeah, Andy baby kept us on the ball, yeah.

One day up near the Quarter, Lord, Steve he slipped away,
He’s looking for that home and I hope he finds it.
But I’d trade those creole cottages for a single way today,
For the levees to keep holdin’ the next time.

Katrina’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose,
Nothin’ don’t mean nothin’ hon’ with no Big Easy.
And doin’ good was easy, Lord, while Reed he sang the blues,
You know, doin’ good was good enough for me, mm-hmm
Good enough for me and Recovery.

LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA , LA LA LA LA LA LA LA
LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA Recovery yeah
LA LA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA LA
LA LA LA LA LA LA  LA Recovery oh yeah

LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA , LA LA LA LA LA LA LA
LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA Recovery yeah
LA LA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA LA
LA LA LA LA LA LA  LA Recovery oh yeah

Share Button
This entry was posted in Architecture, Classical, Culture, Joke, Music, New Urbanism, Urbanism, Veritas et Venustas. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *