Ugly Stamps (Song Lyrics)

While sending a gift abroad from Canada,
I came face to faces with a little dilemma.
All the stamps I had bore a pic of the Queen,
More Queen Lizzie Twos than I had ever seen!
Ah- aaah! Ah- aaah! My eyes can’t bear all those ugly royal stares!
Ah- aaah! Ah- aaah! What a scare! I’m gonna have nightmares!

All of those Queens were staring back at me,
Bugaboo-eyed and as wrinkled as could be.
Geriatric clones of the royal kind,
They were horrid enough to make me wanna go blind!
Ah- aaah! Ah- aaah! My eyes can’t bear all those ugly royal stares!
Ah- aaah! Ah- aaah! What a scare! I’m gonna have nightmares!

Phase out those stamps, I begged of Canada Post,
Make stamps that look like art instead of British ghosts!
Those Queenie stamps scared the shit out of me!
They left me scared shitless as anyone could be!
Ah- aaah! Ah- aaah! My eyes can’t bear all those ugly royal stares!
Ah- aaah! Ah- aaah! What a scare! I’m gonna have nightmares!

Ah- aaah! Ah- AHHH!! AH- AHHH!!!

04.20.04 – 02.12.05



Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion.



Notes to this poem…

This set of song lyrics was from a poem I had written in 1992 called Ugly Stamps.

Queen Lizzie Two stamp referenced.
Queen Lizzie Two stamp referenced.

Not having written many songs (just two at the time) and being a concepts guy rather than a story telling guy, what Myers-Briggs calls iNtuitive (capitalized N is correct) rather than Sensing, this was an unexpected song because us iNtuitive types don’t write story telling songs. We’re concepts and systematic people, not linear and details people. What prompted me to spend time on it was the idea of the chorus to include screams, whereby I would be singing the “Ah-aaah!” as part of the chorus, but that someone would be screaming at the top of their lungs, a few octaves higher or at any other interval. At the end, I try to match that, ending on a high B (B note on guitar high E string… for a guy!).

You can read the annotations of Ugly Stamps for the story behind the lyrics because that was the original poem, and see how that got changed to fit into a lyric, because there was enough that did change. All I’ll say about this song, though, is that it might ultimately get me kicked out of the Commonwealth for dissing the queen. It should be understood it’s not so much her old looks I am dissing as much as the fact they keep making stamps of her staring back at you! Few people look pretty in old age, and I’ll probably look worse than the queen when I get to her age, but I’m not going to allow my staring self to be put on a stamp sheet, even if some government wanted me on one! That’s what the song is really about, not the queen’s looks that is just a minor part of it.

Upon finishing this song, I was quite happy and had a good laugh, like many good laughs I had throughout. However, I never intended to perform it or anything. At songwriting camp just recently on Jul 2 2008, though, without many songs in my songbook, I decided to pull it out for a public performance, in front of what was probably a pretty conservative audience at a songwriting circle night. My fellow songwriters were quite supportive of me doing it and I am grateful for their support, even telling me to keep the swear word in. It went down moderately well, I’d have to say. There were laughter, but also some shock, in the audience throughout. One lady, I was told, was quite ticked off at it. Yeah, leave it to the one immigrant and Asian in the group to be the punk and a foul-mouthed one at that. 🙂

However, several elder gentlemen told me afterwards they loved the song, the viewpoint and the humour. Then it got good reviews from the Humber College Songwriting Workshop just a few weeks later, including a comment from a participant named Jeanette Lee that she couldn’t get it out of her head one day. Ah, my first earworm! 🙂

With that sort of feedback and having gotten the song out there now, I must say, I think I will be putting it in my repertoire in the future, but with a little caution where I will play it. Let’s see how long it takes for me to get kicked out of the Commonwealth. 🙂

Please click here to see the progress of these lyrics to version 2.0.


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