Hiking Epic Rap : Hiker Tim

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Epic Hiking Rap : Hiker Tim

Lyrics / Q&A
Download free MP3

Inspired by Dan Bull’s Skyrim Rap

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Unclimbed mountains by night, Jiptik Valley, Batken Province, Kyrgyzstan

Hiking Epic Rap : The Background

So you’ve seen the Epic Hiking Rap, and now you want the background?

Are you serious or is this a joke?

I’ll leave you to apply Poe’s Law.

Where did this start?

For years, the University of Manchester Hiking Club had a tradition where a specific longstanding club member would write and present a poem at their AGM. In 2012, for the first time in a long time, that club member was absent, and so people were each egging each other on to write something. Originally, I parodied Dan Bull’s Epic Skyrim Rap, and included various bits of club folk-lore.

This looks like a skyrim screenshot, only even prettier.

Sometime afterwards, I cleaned up the lyrics, rapidly recorded it, took various videos of me rapping in Sweden & in Kyrgyzstan.

A friend saw one of timelapse stills from Kyrgyzstan, and mentioned Skyrim, and it started to come together. I finally finished the video editing, put it on youtube, and there you go!

How long did it take you?

Days, sporadically, over several years.

How did you record the track?

Poorly. With much difficulty. Ardour and some condenser mics were my friend, but gosh, it’s hard work. New respect was developed for people who can perform stuff well enough to record it easily. I’d say I’m good enough with audio editing to produce something that’s a thing out of what I can perform. That’s not a very high bar.

Where was the video shot?

Sweden, Kyrgyzstan & the UK. All mountainous timelapses are in Kyrgyzstan (with one of the mountains shown currently being unclimbed), there’s two shots of the peak district, and two from the lake district.

What was the video shot with?

I shot all but four of the shots on a Canon 5D mkII with the Magic Lantern Firmware. The remaining four shots were a Sanyo CA100 (I bet you can easily spot 2). I think they’re all with my f24-105 f4 lens except the timelapses, which were a 50mm f1.8, and all the shots in Sweden were taken with a Glidecam XR-2000.

It was edited on a Debian system with Kdenlive.

Who do you have to thank?

Dan Bull, for being a massively awesome and generous dude, for giving me the track to record onto, and always being so supportive – it really makes a difference! Anyone who’ve ever had me point a camera at them, or held a camera for me. (There’s a shot in there that my girlfriend Clara held the camera for on our first date!). Anyone who ever encouraged me to try something, or give it a go.

What are the Lyrics?

Who’s rapping?
Hiker Tim!
Where?
I’m in nature’s gym.

I’m sprinting like a shadow,
who knows I’m running right behind him.

My hike-shout-flow is sweeter than a post-hike swim
You won’t believe you eyes
I’m like an overload of adrenaline!

An ice-axe in one hand
and a scared hiker in the other

I’m the last of the Hiking Kings!
There’s no other my brother
don’t run for cover!

If you’re going up-dale
then I’m on your tale
and I will NOT fail

like a half-crazed freesoloer
I’m off the rails
I walk the trails
through awful gales
and storms of hail
til all your ramblers
are racing for the bottom

I’m not stopping, til you’ve all gone home
and I am alone
in amongst the peaks
there’s silence for weeks
until I’m disturbed
by the sound of your shrieks

And I walk with this bloodthirsty hound!
She follows with a growl and a bound!

I’m draining my force, so chemistry comes into play with retorts and recipes.
Ceildih dancing like a DJ
HYDRATION. RESTORE my energy!

My legacy,
odessy,
elegy,
prophecies
written in heavenly bodies
and buried
with every hiker
that ever did bother
to mess with me
Deading them
Terribly
Horribly

I’m a celebrity!
Honestly!
You’re a wannabe!
I’m a prodigy!

The suggestion you’re better than me at being a hiker?
Ha!
Comedy!

It’s a gift to me, I don’t just bag peaks lyrically, but literally
and the OS maps are scripts in which I’ve written your obituary

I am the Hiking King
I’m risking life and limb!

I’m Hiker Tim,
known globally
you’re nobody at all!

Mountains near Nallo, Northern Sweden

If I were a religious man.

Occasionally forms have a field labelled:

Religion

followed by a bunch of tick boxes.

A tick in a box is rarely very descriptive and so I thought I’d try and explain where I stand on faith.


Background

I was raised as a non-religious person in a largely non-religious pseudo-christian culture. What do I mean by pseudo-christian? Well, our family and friends have always celebrated Christmas and Easter, but as secular holidays – some of my family have been to local CE Church for midnight mass on Christmas Eve, but that is about as far as it’s ever gone – I’ve certainly not noticed any stronger religious influences in my family.

As I’ve grown older, and grown outside the environment in which I grew up, I’ve interacted and known various people from various different religions and faiths – I feel that going to school holding a very diverse distribution of beliefs has helped shape my understanding of the world.

If you were religious, what would you be?

Whilst one can “pragmatically” choose a religion in the same way you might choose which used car to buy, I’m pretty sure you don’t. This is not really how [at least most mainstream religions] are designed to work – “shopping around” for the one that suits you best isn’t what happens – in the vast majority of cases, it’s something you’re born into, occasionally it’s something people marry into and even less frequently, it’s something people find their own path and convert to.

However, if I were to look rationally and exceptionally pragmatically at the religious communities I identify most strongly with, two I’d point to would be the Quaker Movement and Unitarian Universalism.

(This is not an exhaustive list by any means – these the movements I’ve had the most chance to research and feel somewhat able to comment clearly upon. I’m certain that if I had more familiarity with different branches of other major religions, I could probably identify others with favourable aspects which might also be preferable, however after lots of time-consuming research I figured this was enough.)


The Quakers

The Quakers believe in creating a community that is free to challenge, question and explore their own beliefs, values and ideas. They believe everyone is equal and with no sort of hierarchical clergy, all decisions are made by consensus.

This [relatively] sane mode of governance (in Britain, taking place at the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends), has allowed them to update their religious doctrines and approaches to fit the changing attitudes within their community.

Most topical, Quakers in the UK (in line with changing attitudes) welcomed Equal Marriage to the point that they campaigned for it, since 2009.

Quakers seek to live lives built on principles of “simplicity, equality, truth and peace”, which resonates well with me.

As they neatly put it:

It is a faith and a way of life that is both timeless and contemporary.

(I should add the disclaimer that whilst both my parents and grandparents weren’t Quaker,  about 60-70 years ago, various friends and family on my mums side were, and whilst I don’t feel this affects my judgement, I feel it’s worth mentioning.)

Unitarian Universalism

The Unitarian Universalists don’t really have a set of doctrines or beliefs but they “affirm and promote

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

One of the things that make Unitarian Universalism attractive is that it is often referred to by its members as a “living tradition” so the religion is well suited to adapt and change with a changing world.

This means that in that often Unitarian Universalist congregations are happy to welcome LGBTQ relationships into their communities.

Personally, I find the emphasis on a personal search, respect for others, and the ‘auto-updater’ ability that allows for their community to adapt their values as they see fit.

This reddit thread goes a long way to explaining many of the virtues and this BBC article is also worth a read.


Realistically though, I’m not one of the members of these religious groups.

In the same way that you’re not a member of a political party just because you agree some things that are said, I’m not part of a religion, simply because I can find agreement with some of the things they say.

Where I stand

Now if I was to take Pascal’s Wager – I’d probably join one of these organisations – but ultimately, I remain unconvinced it’s necessary to do so.

I try to live life as a “good person”, so whilst I respect, and indeed follow many of the above movements aims, I don’t feel the need to be part of one of those movements to do so.

This is because I don’t feel that the existence or non-existence of a greater being would care whether I’d been part of one of those movements as long as I’d tried my best to do good things.

Effectively, I’m an agnostic, with a strong system of values and a secular/cultural approach to Christmas.


In my next blog post, I’ll ask, “If I were an Atheist, man.“…. stay tuned!

Why am I vegetarian? A two decade retrospective.

I’m vegetarian, but I talk about it as little as possible.

Years and years of people asking me the same question, throughout my childhood, teenage years and adult life have rather blotted out any emerging desires to talk about it, but I think it’s important to explain

I was raised in a vegetarian family. When I was born, my parents were vegetarian, thus I was vegetarian. Your parents actually made a similar decision for you too probably. You  probably ate what your parents ate, which in likelihood was “everything”, so you ate that.

Homemade pasta bake
Homemade pasta bake

There’s a joke that goes:
Q: How do you know if there’s a Vegetarian in the room?
A: Don’t worry they’ll tell you.

Throughout my life, I’ve always had to deal with people who have unfortunately come to assume that as someone who doesn’t eat meat or fish, I’ll be a vegetarian like the one in the joke. People assume I’m about to inflict what they imagine “my beliefs” are on them so they come up fighting – trying to reason with me, trying to get me to try meat, how I get email protein, trying to persuade me that ‘what they cook is lovely’, asking me whether I’ve ever tried X.

There’s another (much rarer) reaction, which is where people say that “they don’t eat much meat” like that’ll instantly mean we’re best buddies.

The thing is, I don’t care what anyone else eats (so long as they don’t force their views down my throat).

Combative culinary experiences were rather tiresome in the first decade of my life, dull in the second decade, and now, I can hardly think of few subjects I’d wish to debate less than vegetarianism.


If you’re an omnivore’s who’s been brought up to enjoy to the taste of meat – everyone has said “om nom nom” etc to when they were little, imagine how difficult it’d be to retroactively condition your brain to find the idea of your favourite meat unpleasant.

I mean, you’ve probably thought that turning vegetarian would be very difficult – what I’m asking you to do though, is to work out how difficult it would be to teach yourself to like something that you’ve always been taught is unpleasant.

For me to eat meat, I’d have to condition my brain to think that something I’ve always thought/been told was disgusting etc, was nice. I think this would be a considerable effort – imagine trying to persuade yourself to enjoy eating a cowpat – I think it’d be comparatively difficult for me.

Once when I was in France, my exchange partner’s grandmother, on hearing I was vegetarian, asked “well how is he so fat?”, and could barely comprehend that I’d survived thus far in life without meat or fish.

Since things are going pretty good, and I’ve no burning desires to change anything, I’ll continue as I am – things are going great. :)

I’m a vegetarian because I’ve always been a vegetarian.


Footnote:
If you were wondering, “evangelical” vegans and vegetarians disproportionately annoy me, probably because I’ve over two decades of experience being preached at, and it is an exceptionally unpleasant experience.