Artist Guest of Honor
"Hey, Uncle Bill! Tell us a story!"
Once upon a time in the city of Chicago, there lived a very funny man who wrote very funny songs."
"You mean like Tom Smith?"
"Well, sort of, but this was long before anyone had heard of Tom. This fellow's name was Frank Hayes and he worked for the Chicago Reader. The Reader was one of those strange little free weekly papers... although, I guess it wasn't that little. The thing weighed a ton.
Anyway, when Frank wasn't writing for the Reader, he was writing other things. Like Filk songs. Lots and lots of funny songs like the 'S-100 Bus' and 'Grandfather's Clock'."
"What's an S-100 Bus?"
"Part of an obsolete micro-computer. I guess I'm dating both uf us. I used to see Frank a lot back then. It was funny, though, because we both lived in Chicago, but we pretty much only saw each other at science-fiction conventions. It got to be a standing joke after a while, that we could not see each other unless we left the state of Illinos.
But we had a great time back then. I still remember the look on Frank's face when we got him to play 'Ozymandias' and Misty Lackey pulled out a couple of those twirling ribbons that cheerleaders use and gave him the full accompaniment that a good fight song ought to have."
"You mean Misty Lackey, the famous fantasy author? She led cheers for Frank?"
"Oh, yes. Of course, that was a long time ago. We were all a lot younger then. But we used to have a great time at the filksings back when I was a boy."
"That must have been cool!"
"Oh, it was. But you know, there's always some reason that things change. In Frank's case, he fell in love with a lady named Teri Lee who lived out in Berkeley. She was one of the people who ran a company called Off-Centaur that recorded lots and lots of filk songs. And before too long, they got married and Frank moved out to the west coast."
"Did she marry Frank so she could record his songs?"
"No, no munchkin. She married Frank because she loved him."
"Do they do mushy stuff like kissing?"
"Yes, they do. You'll understand more about that when you're older."
"That's what you always say."
"Trust me on this one. Ayway, Teri did record a couple of albums of Frank's songs, 'Never Set the Cat on Fire' and 'Frank Hayes Live', but Frank got kind of busy after a while and didn't really have time to do a lot of filking any more."
"No! What's more important than filking?"
"Frank became a respected computer journalist. He worked for magazines like Byte, Unix world, and Computerworld."
"Cool! Do people send him free computers?"
"No, that's Jerry Pournelle. Frank's much more fun."
"Anyway, Frank hadn't done much filking in a long time, but he was invited out to Chicago to be Filk Guest of Duckon. And they asked him if he could write a new song and he did. It was called 'When I Was a Boy'. And it was such a good song that it won a Pegasus Award for best filk song. So I guess he's still got it."
"But Uncle Bill, it says here that Frank's coming to ConFusion as the Artist Guest of Honor. What sort of stuff does he draw?"
"Oh, Frank doesn't draw. You don't have to draw to be an artist. Frank's just an artist who works in notes and chords instead of paint."
"Do the AASFA people know about this?"
"We're not going to tell them. It'll be better that way. Anyway, let me check my watch. Why, look at that! It's almost time for Frank's concert. Come on down with me and you can see why we really love having Frank around."
"He's not going to sing mushy stuff is he?"
"Not unless you count doing 'Mary O'Meara' as a polka."
"Hey cool! Let's go!"
Biography by Bill Roper