Geekpop Summer song writing challenge – Prizewinner!!!

Karmadillo are pleased to announce that the song entry for the Geekpop Summer Song Writing Challenge has won the Most Contrived Rhyme Prize! Why not peruse the lyrics of our biographical song on Gregor Mendel and figure out which couplet was the winner. Or listen to the geekpop podcast and hear it for yourself!

[audio:Mendel-GeekPopAcoustic.mp3|titles=Mendel Acoustic|artist=Karmadillo]

It is the same day the career killing Mercury Award prize is announced – I’d rather have this one as if my career nosedives from here I’ll never get to play at Glastonbury again!

The overall winner was a fantastic song on the nature of Google. I didn’t catch the singers name (Naomi F…?) properly but someone worth watching out for. While lots of geeky songs are clever this was also quite moving, funny and poignant.

Thanks to the Geekpop team and the judges for their decision. Now to decide what to spend £25 of science vouchers, supplied courtesy of the Graphic Science.

Don’t forget if you like contrived rhymes more can be heard during the chorus on our single at

You Must Be Mendel – Geekpop Song Competition entry

The Babble

I’d sat down a few days ago to think of a science song for the Geekpop Science competition due tomorrow. I couldn’t come up with anything musical, though I vaguely had the idea of writing something about Gregor Mendel, who pioneered the work in genetics while a monk with loads of time on his hands (Over 25000 pea plants in 6 years!). As I have plenty of other stuff to do with a single just launched and the Bard For Life album launch coming up, as well as recovering from my knee injury, I decided to let it go.

All that changed this evening as I went to get a pint of milk at the Co-op. I started humming a tune in my head and once I’d also come up with the phrase ‘Mendel Arithmetic’ there was no going back. I didn’t have my mobile on me to get the ideas down so I am particularly proud to not loose the tune or the lyrics I was constructing on the way to the shop. Also before getting down to writing the song I had answer a quick phone call from Mrs Karmadillo and hunt around for a number in Germany for her. It was then recorded in one take for the charango, one take for vocals and then sent off as the competition entry!

The Music

[audio:Mendel-GeekPopAcoustic.mp3|titles=Mendel Acoustic|artists=Karmadillo]

The Words

You grew up on the family farm
Moved to a monastery with an experimental gar-den
Six years of wrapping bags around the flowers of plants
Giving us the music for the genetic dance

You must be Mendel Mendel Mendel Mendel yeay oh yeah

You analysed traits of the plants that give us peas
Then controlled how they got to breed
You then analysed the plants that grew from the seeds
Eventually proposing living things had genes

You must be Mendel Mendel Mendel Mendel yeay oh yeah

Its a shame they didn’t believe / in the theory you got from you plants
It was only after you died / that they gave the peas a chance

Growing 29000 plants was not the only trick
You still had to perform some Mendel arithmetic
Probabilities of hybrids, dominant and recessive traits
Giving us genetics and showing us the way

You must be Mendel Mendel Mendel Mendel yeay oh yeah

Geek Pop 2010 / Song Lyrics

Geek Pop Logo


A song about Arabidopsis Thaliana

A Musicians favourite plant’s supposed to be marijuana
But I prefer A dot thaliana
Unravelling DNA and all the drama
that entails

A model organism standing alone
With your 5 delectable chromosomes
Your genes provide a knockout selection
That I just wanna grow

The papers you’ve provided have been ample
Your my favourite genus of which to prepare a sample
For a run on
the Illumina machine

That the public don’t know you / thats unfair
But they can get your genome / thanks to TAIR
All the info’s there

A girls favourite flower is of the genus rosa
But a man who gives you those is just a poser
I wanna woman who knows the
ideas that mustard seeds

In a hundred years from now they’ll forget these days
How your hundred and 57 million base pairs paved the way
helping scientists investigate the function of genes in the DNA


Why are there no pop hits / about arabidopsis

And all the hard work you doooo for plant science

noone knows your story / roses get the glory

but lets celebrate you in these modern times

Brownian Motion Blues

I’ve got Brownian motion / do you get the notion / behind my random moves / with other air molecules
Mostly its Nitrogen hanging round in pairs
with 21% of oxygen there
Water vapour and noble gases are also present….
…but they are pretty scarce

But I can’t go where I choose and that gives me the blues
I’m stuck in my own private hell
I never make friends with other air molecules
Trapped in a Whitley Bay Smoke Cell

I’ve got Brownian motion / do you get the notion / its bouncingly cool / being here
I can start close to the ground
transmitting pressure wave sounds
that bounce right
into your ears

A stochastic models been named / to capture my game
Its not something I say in jest
Though the scientists aims / were noble I’m shamed to be
modelled by The Weiner process

Did you know Brownian motion / applies in the ocean / its just that down here / its a little slower
than up there in the atmosphere
less energy to share around
so i’ve got less of a bounce

But I can’t go where I choose and that gives me the blues
I’m stuck in my own private hell
Bouncing around with similar molecules
I could be a metaphor for you

Destination In The Sky

A song about space elevators

I will get you there, from the planet into space
You’ll have to travel down to the equator first, to find my base
Take a good look at those seeing you off, it’ll be a while before you kiss her face
Now I’ll fling you from the surface of the earth and towards the counterweight

Its not like like in the old days / Of shuttles getting you into space
Booster rockets providing 25 million Newtons to kick off the escape
monomethyl hydrazine and tetroxide, variety nitrogen
when combined fuels that burn / without the need for oxygen

Before Colossal carbon tubes and graphene they/ wouldn’t of been able
To construct a 62,000 mile long /length of cable
Wider in the middle, tapering at the ends / its on this piece of magic your journey depends
In a climber that winds its way around it to sky / to minimise oscillations they must be carefully timed

I will take you there
I will take you high
I will get you to
Your destination in the sky


Telomere / a simple repeated DNA sequence

at the end of a chromosone

our cells loose a bit of you each time they divide / and when we loose you we grow old and die

Mitosis is the process by
which cells manage to divide
In 71 Olovnikov recognised
there were limits to the enzymes

On which the process depends
They couldn’t go to the chromosone ends
Without loosing part of the DNA sequence
A fact from which there is no defense

But have no fear
At the ends lies the telomere
Everytime a cell divides
Some is sacrificed

Although we need you to live
for that we give you praise
In cancerous cells there’s too much of you
Thanks to an excess of telomerase
Thats the enzyme from which
A telomere is made
Something that should only exist
In stem cells, after that we degrade