Martin Pearson's The Unfinished Spelling Errors of Bolkien is very funny, very clever, and very hard to find.
[UPDATE: Martin says it's OK to download it for free!]
It's a two-hour, two-CD, filk-infested one-man comedy show about of The Lord of the Rings - both the book and the film versions.
Even if you don't usually like those The Fiftieth Time Some Dude Put Stuff About Elves And Cthulhu To The Tune Of "Jailhouse Rock" sorts of songs, I assure you that you are going to have a very hard time not finding Bolkien funny. C'mon, the guy actually sings the Black Speech inscription on the One Ring to the tune of "King of the Road".
The total length of the double CD, not counting six minutes of out-takes at the end, is about 115 minutes. And there are a lot of songs in it, but there's a lot of talking too.
The Bolkien CDs were recorded with a live audience, which is of course essential for this sort of thing. There are also not many of those annoying comedy-record moments when everybody laughs, but you don't know why, because it's a visual joke and you don't have video.
(There are a few videos of Pearson on YouTube, by the way.)
There are also only a couple of jokes that you won't get if you're not Australian.
Honestly, half of the world's English-speaking nerds should have a copy of this.
But they don't, on account of how it's not very easy to buy it.
Bolkien is listed here and there on podunk online CD stores (Pearson also has his own Web site, which is currently somewhat unfinished). The only online store I could find that even claims to have Bolkien available for sale, though, is Ducks Crossing, where the double CD costs a handsome $AU40 plus $AU6 delivery in Australia, or $AU12 to the USA. They do at least accept credit cards and currency-convert the total price, though, so US customers will pay a total of a mere $US48.36, delivered, for the double CD.
Which is, of course, a bit on the bleeding steep side.
Apparently you're also meant to be able to buy the CD through 7th Dimension Music. But for months now there's been nothing in that site's shop, and the product page for Bolkien has, for lo these many months, been a database error. Some of his previous stuff used to be on this site, too, but now it's broken as well. It's all very depressing.
So I e-mailed Mr Pearson (pearsonmartinXX@XXhotmail.com, without the XXs) and informed him of the large number of people who would like to give him money, if only the CDs were available at a reasonable price. I also asked whether he'd considered opening the money-tap rather wider by letting people pay for downloadable MP3s.
Martin said that if people want to buy the CD, they can e-mail him. And maybe mail him a cheque, so he can put it on a wooden table and take a picture of it, et cetera.
It struck me that buying CDs by e-mailing the artist personally is not necessarily a completely optimal e-business paradigm. I suggested he try out a sell-your-files service like (to pick a random, presumably-honest example) PayLoadz, or of course CD Baby, who sell physical CDs, and can also put artists' MP3s up on iTunes and Amazon and so on. (This is CD Baby's "Artist Sign Up" section.) But he didn't go for it.
So allow me to postulate a hypothetical situation.
Suppose, hypothetically, that someone were to illegally download The Unfinished Spelling Errors of Bolkien, from one of those intarweb bit-waterfall things that the kids are so enthusiastic about. Beats me how you'd find it, but perhaps some cunning search string featuring Martin's name, or just the word "Bolkien", might do it.
If that someone decided they liked it, they could go on to send a few bucks to Mr Pearson via PayPal. (Once again, that's pearsonmartinXX@XXhotmail.com, without the XXs.)
Martin doesn't have a PayPal account either, but I think he may be persuaded to get one if a thousand bucks pile up waiting for him.
UPDATE: Martin Pearson his own bad self showed up in the comments below, and officially gave free BitTorrent distribution of Bolkien his blessing.
So here's the torrent, people! Remember to PayPal Martin, firstname.lastname@example.org, a buck or three if you like it!
(Alternative torrent link. This is the magnet URI.)