You’re the top! Cole Porter proves that life really is good

Who knew that a simple writing exercise could make such a big change?

Two weeks ago, me and the other journalism students on my Good Writing class at City were asked to rewrite the lyrics to Cole Porter’s You’re The Top. Here’s Ella singing it.

The exercise proved to be one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done this year – combining as it did my dual interests in writing and pretending to be Ella Fitzgerald.

On Friday, our tutor Marcelle D’Argy-Smith gathered her two classes together to judge the songs. Then AA Gill rocked up unexpectedly to present the prizes and gave a talk incorporating many swear words, which we all liked very much.

Then, as if the day couldn’t get any more surreal, I skipped off to Camden to cover the CAMRA London Drinkers Beer and Cider Festival for another uni project, Bearded London. It is, as one of my Facebook friends drily observed, a ‘hard life’.

Except it’s not, is it? Writing new lyrics for a perfect song about the best of everything was
challenging, but an utter treat. I urge you to try it. It’s a great way of reminding yourself about all the things there are to really, deeply love about the world.

My attempt is below. I’m aware that some of the rhymes are cheesy (jalfrezi/daisy) – but some proved impossible. There’s a prize for anyone can make ‘the LOLcats meme’ and ‘Martin Luther King’s dream’ scan correctly. But I had a lot of fun writing it.

It was not so much fun singing it to AA Gill. 

1. You’re the top!
You’re a fresh cut daisy.
You’re the top!
You’re a murgh jalfrezi.

You’re a Bach prelude,
A Mozart melody.
You’re a silver birch,
You’re the giggles in church,
You’re ecstasy.

You’re the moon,
You’re the stars in heaven,
You’re the tune,
Clotted cream in Devon.

I’m a laughing stock, I’m a stumbling block – a flop.
But if baby, I’m the bottom – you’re the top!

2. You’re the top!
You’re a colour photo.
You’re the top!
You’re Obama’s go-to.

You’re the glass of fizz
To the left of a private jet,
You’re a poem by Goethe,
You’re Frank N Furter,
The Internet!

You’re high art,
You’re a lazy morning,
You’re the start
Of a new day’s dawning.

I’m a rubbish bin, I’m the last one in the shop,
But if baby, I’m the bottom – you’re the top!

3. You’re the top!
You’re a spoon of cake mix.
You’re the top!
You’re The Bridge on Netflix.

You’re the crescendo
And the letting go of a sneeze,
You’re the daffodil
On my window sill
You’re anti-freeze!

You’re first kiss,
You’re a Lamborghini,
You’re the twist
In a gin martini.

I’m a hairy chest, at the very best, a sop.
But if baby, I’m the bottom – you’re the top!

4. You’re the top!
You’re a clear blue ocean.
You’re the top!
Poetry in motion.

You’re a crisp french fry
At the top of the Eiffel Tower,
You’re a Highland fling,
You’re electroswing,
You’re happy hour!

You’re the goal
In the game’s last quarter,
You’re a song
Written by Cole Porter.

I’m a dozy fool, and I’m begging you to stop,
‘Cos if baby, I’m the bottom – you’re the top!


About Christina Kenny

Christina Kenny is a music journalist based in London.
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2 Responses to You’re the top! Cole Porter proves that life really is good

  1. Lucy says:

    Absolutely love this

  2. kasiadelgado says:

    this made me very happy, I love it

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