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Music / Banned from Argo

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"Banned From Argo", by Leslie Fish, released in 1977, is one of the best-known Filk Songs in existence, and the former Trope Namer for what is now Persona Non Grata. The song describes the crew of the USS Enterprise going to Argo on shore leave, and the trail of destruction they leave in their wake. It has inspired many imitators, from both the Star Trek franchise and other universes, including at least two complete songbooks ("The Bastard Children of Argo" and "The Bastard Grandchildren of Argo").

In 2021, Fish posted a longer prose version of the song's events, which can be found here.

    Song Lyrics 
When we pulled into Argo Port in need of R&R,
The crew set out investigating every joint and bar.
We had high expectations of their hospitality,
But found too late it wasn't geared for spacers such as we!

And we're Banned From Argo, everyone.
Banned from Argo, just for having a little fun.
We spent a jolly shore leave there for just three days or four,
But Argo doesn't want us any more.

The Captain's tastes were simple, but his methods were complex.
We found him with five partners, each of a different world and sex.
The Shore Police were on the way - we had no second chance.
We beamed him up in the nick of timein the remnants of his pants.


Our Engineer would yield to none at putting down the brew;
He out-drank seven Space Marines and a demolition crew.
The Navigator didn't win, but he out-drank almost all,
And now they've got a shuttlecraft on the roof of City Hall!


Our proper, cool First Officer was drugged with something green,
And hauled into an alley, where he suffered things obscene.
He sobered up in Sickbay and he's none the worse for wear,
Except he's somehow taught the bridge computer how to swear.


The Head Nurse disappeared awhile in the major Dope Bazaar,
Buying an odd green potion "guaranteed to cause Pon-Farr."
She came home with no uniform and an oddly cheerful heart,
And a painful way of walking - with her feet a yard apart.


Our lady of Communications won a ship-wide bet
By getting into the planet's main communications net.
Now every time someone calls up on an Argo telescreen,
The flesh is there, but the clothes they wear are nowhere to be seen!


Our Doctor loves Humanity; his private life is quiet.
The Shore Police arrested him for inciting whores to riot.
We found him in the city jail, locked on and beamed him free
Intact except for hickeys and six kinds of VD.


Our Helmsman loves exotic plants; the plants all love him too.
He took some down on leave with him and we wondered what they'd do,
'Til the planetary governor called and swore upon his life
That a gang of plants entwined his house and then seduced his wife!


A gang of Klingonsnote  landed, and nobody seemed to care.
They stamped into the nearest bar to announce that they were there.
Half our crew was busy there, and invited them to play,
But the Klingons only looked at us, and turned and ran away.


Our crew is Starfleet's finest, and our record is our pride.
And when we play we tend to leave a trail a mile wide.
We're sorry about the wreckage and the riots and the fuss;
At least we're sure that planet won't be quick forgetting us!

Final Chorus:
And we're Banned From Argo, everyone.
Banned from Argo, just for having a little fun.
We spent a jolly shore leave there for just three days or four,
But Argo doesn't want us any more. (Wonder why?)

This song contains examples of:

  • Ascended Meme: As of A Singular Destiny it's an official part of the Star Trek Novelverse.
  • Barred from Every Bar: The song tells how the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise took shore leave on Argo, left chaos and destruction behind them, and were banned from the whole planet.
  • Bawdy Song: Lots of sex and drunken shennanigans, and it's a reminiscence about getting kicked out of a port town. It fits the criteria of being "Sentimental with dirty bits".
  • Bizarre Alien Sexes: During the crew's off-duty rampage through the port, the captain is found "with five partners, each of a different world and sex".
  • Boldly Coming: This forms most of the song's humor. Yes, the captain has to be extracted from group sex with five different species (and genders) of alien. Yes, the head nurse commits Black Comedy Rape on the first officer. Yes, the helmsman's plants grow out of control and seduce the governor's wife. These are only a few of the reasons why the crew in question gets kicked off the planet.
  • Clothing Damage: While details aren't given, the captain has to be beamed back to the ship in the middle of an interspecies orgy and returns with the tattered remnants of his clothing.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Nurse Chapel uses an "odd green potion guaranteed to cause pon farr" to take advantage of Spock. This is Played for Laughs and treated no more seriously than Scotty and Chekov's drunken parking violation.
  • Drinking Contest: The ship's engineer and navigator take part in such a contest during shore leave. The engineer manages to drink Space Marines and construction laborers under the table; the navigator puts up a good show, but ultimately winds up in a drunken bender that ends with the ship's shuttle parked on top of the city hall.
  • Evolving Music: Leslie Fish typically sings the song with the penultimate verse referencing klingons, but the original recording and published lyrics refer to them as pirates instead.
  • Everyone Has Lots of Sex: Even The Spock, thanks to "an odd green potion guaranteed to cause Pon Farr", and the helmsman's plants. In the novelization, someone adds the potion to the city's water supply, starting spontaneous orgies all over town.
  • Horrifying the Horror: As if the Klingons being sent packing in the original song were not enough, the Firefly version has the Serenity crew doing the same thing to Reavers.
  • Love Is in the Air: In the prose version the "green potion guaranteed to cause pon farr" is dumped in the water-distribution center of Argo Port, turning the massive political protests into an equally massive public orgy.
  • Naughty Tentacles: The plants that seduced the governor's wife are implied to have used their vines, since they also "entwined" his house.
  • Nameless Narrative: The characters are identified by role rather than name, not that this obscures their identities one bit.
  • Persona Non Grata: The song consists mainly of a long list of reasons why the crew is prohibited from setting foot on the planet Argo ever again, and is in fact the former Trope Namer.
  • Playful Hacker: The ship's "lady of communications" hacked Argo's main communications net to make all callers appear naked.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: A gang of klingons arrive on the planet where the crew is enjoying shore leave, and promptly flee in horror from the carnage.
  • Tamer and Chaster: The prose version tells the story behind the Bawdy Song's lyrics, with the seemingly-sexual situations involving Kirk, Spock, and Nurse Chapel having other explanations, and Sulu's plants "seducing" the governor's wife being a hysterical exaggeration by the man to explain his wife leaving him.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The novelization reveals that the In-Universe songwriter (Yeoman Rand) didn't have the full story and made some incorrect assumptions.
  • Teleportation Rescue: The captain has to be beamed back to the ship mid-orgy as the police close in and the doctor has to be similarly rescued after he's taken to jail.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: An itemized list of what happened last night to get the crew kicked off Argo.