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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Georges Brassens

I’ve not been able to write, and I’m still so stressed, I don’t really know how I manage to stay upright (most of the time).  But as I’ve been getting some adamant requests for more posts, I’ve decided to share some easy favorites of mine.  Videos, links, juicy awesome things to laugh and revel over.  Enjoy this video.  Yes, it’s in French, but the translation is below (it’s line by line so you can follow along), and it came from this truly unique Brassens in translation website.  The singer is the unbelievably beautiful and somewhat talented Carla Bruni, former model, now the first lady of France.  All you really need to know is that this song is by the legendary Georges Brassens, it’s considered so lewd it was banned (and is still banned) from the radio, and the verb “bander” means “to have or to get an erection.”  If you know any French at all, do not use this word in conversation.  It’s very vulgar.  Of course, it also means “to bandage,” so, you know, unless you’re a nurse or something, be careful.

Fernande
Une manie de vieux garçon,
Strange habit of an old bachelor
Moi, j’ai pris l’habitude
I have got into the way
D’agrémenter ma solitude
Of spicing up my loneliness
Aux accents de cette chanson:
With the accents of this song

Quand je pense à Fernande
When I think of Fernande
Je bande, je bande,
It’s so hard, It’s so hard,
Quand j’ pense à Félicie
When I think of Félicie
Je bande aussi,
It’s hard as well,
Quand j’ pense à Léonore,
When I think of Léonora
Mon Dieu, je bande encore
Good Lord, it’s hard once more
Mais quand j’ pense à Lulu,
But when I think of Lulu
Là, je ne bande plus.
There, it is hard no more
La bandaison, papa,
An erection papa,
Ça n’ se commande pas.
Decides things for itself.

C’est cette mâle ritournelle,
It is this popular male refrain
Cette antienne virile,
This long-time virile chant
Qui retentit dans la guérite
Which rings out from the sentry box
De la vaillante sentinelle:
Of the valiant guard on sentry duty

Quand je pense à Fernande
When I think of Fernande
Je bande, je bande,
It’s so hard, It’s so hard,
Quand j’ pense à Félicie
When I think of Félicie
Je bande aussi,
It’s hard as well,
Quand j’ pense à Léonore,
When I think of Léonora
Mon Dieu, je bande encore
Good Lord, it’s hard once more
Mais quand j’ pense à Lulu,
But when I think of Lulu
Là, je ne bande plus.
There, it is hard no more
La bandaison, papa,
An erection papa,
Ça n’ se commande pas.
Decides things for itself.

Afin de tromper son cafard,
In order to beat his boredom
De voir la vie moins terne,
To see his life less gloomily
Tout en veillant sur sa lanterne,
While tending to his lamp
Chante ainsi le gardien de phare:
The lighthousekeeper sings out like this.

Quand je pense à Fernande
When I think of Fernande
Je bande, je bande,
It’s so hard, It’s so hard,
Quand j’ pense à Félicie
When I think of Félicie
Je bande aussi,
It’s hard as well,
Quand j’ pense à Léonore,
When I think of Léonora
Mon Dieu, je bande encore
Good Lord, it’s hard once more
Mais quand j’ pense à Lulu,
But when I think of Lulu
Là, je ne bande plus.
There, it is hard no more
La bandaison, papa,
An erection papa,
Ça n’ se commande pas.
Decides things for itself.

Après la prière du soir,
After evening prayers
Comme il est un peu triste,
As he is a little sad
Chante ainsi le séminariste
The trainee priest sings out like this
À genoux sur son reposoir:
Kneeling at his altar

Quand je pense à Fernande
When I think of Fernande
Je bande, je bande,
It’s so hard, It’s so hard,
Quand j’ pense à Félicie
When I think of Félicie
Je bande aussi,
It’s hard as well,
Quand j’ pense à Léonore,
When I think of Léonora
Mon Dieu, je bande encore
Good Lord, it’s hard once more
Mais quand j’ pense à Lulu,
But when I think of Lulu
Là, je ne bande plus.
There, it is hard no more
La bandaison, papa,
An erection papa,
Ça n’ se commande pas.
Decides things for itself.

À l’Étoile où j’étais venu
On the Place de l’Étoile where I had come to
Pour ranimer la flamme,
In order to revive the flame
J’entendis ému jusqu’aux larmes
I heard moved to tears
La voix du Soldat Inconnu:
The voice of the unknown soldier :

Quand je pense à Fernande
When I think of Fernande
Je bande, je bande,
It’s so hard, It’s so hard,
Quand j’ pense à Félicie
When I think of Félicie
Je bande aussi,
It’s hard as well,
Quand j’ pense à Léonore,
When I think of Léonora
Mon Dieu, je bande encore
Good Lord, it’s hard once more
Mais quand j’ pense à Lulu,
But when I think of Lulu
Là, je ne bande plus.
There, it is hard no more
La bandaison, papa,
An erection papa,
Ça n’ se commande pas.
Decides things for itself.

Et je vais mettre un point final
And I am going to bring to an end
À ce chant salutaire,
This salutary song
En suggérant aux solitaires
By suggesting to lonely people
D’en faire un hymne national.
To turn it into a national anthem

Quand je pense à Fernande
When I think of Fernande
Je bande, je bande,
It’s so hard, It’s so hard,
Quand j’ pense à Félicie
When I think of Félicie
Je bande aussi,
It’s hard as well,
Quand j’ pense à Léonore,
When I think of Léonora
Mon Dieu, je bande encore
Good Lord, it’s hard once more
Mais quand j’ pense à Lulu,
But when I think of Lulu
Là, je ne bande plus.
There, it is hard no more
La bandaison, papa,
An erection papa,
Ça n’ se commande pas.
Decides things for itself.

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Hit “play” and keep reading.  Just do it.  I’m aiming for some atmosphere here.

Another Friday, another wine tasting.  The wine shop had a decent soundtrack. Sade always takes me back to the summer of 1997.  I had just graduated from high school, I was about to start my first year at the University of Chicago, and life was just buzzing.  I found a great summer job at the Rand McNally store at the mall.  A combination travel bookstore, map store, travel accessories and luggage store, and fancy travel-related gift store (expensive globes, paperweights, penknives with compasses, etc), it was kind of a perfect place for me to work.  My parents were gone half the summer, I had my own car, MTV still played awesome music videos, grunge still clung, nobody had heard of Britney, summer festivals and parades were on the agenda, and the weather was fine fine fine. Not a care in the world.

And Sade.

So much of retail is the same.  You end up standing around a lot.  Today’s wine tasting, included.  I remember three states of being while I was at work: 1) bored; 2) frustrated and ready to go home, and; 3) so busy I couldn’t keep up with the customers and demands.  The time was broken up evenly between the three.  The store’s CD player (a boom box on the floor in the back) alternated between the Best of the Police and Sade.  Perhaps we had some Enya, too.  I was thankful.  The summer before I had to deal with fitting lingerie on fat old ladies while listening to “smooth jazz” (Kenny G and his contemporaries).  I can safely say this is perhaps the one genre of music I really loathe.  But when I hear Sade, I’m transported to that store, the awesome collection books I got to devour, the globes to play with, the funky trinkets like airplane ear plugs and bizarre “hidden” money belts, the word and number and geometry games I would invent for myself when it was slow.  No – it transports me further.  I hear Sade and I can even feel the clothing I wore on me (khaki trousers and bright polo shirts – oh yes it was rather ugly and rather butch), the first diary I ever kept with the cover of Monet’s painting of the woman with a parasol on the hill with the blue skies behind her (I would write dozens and dozens of pages every day, at home, on coffee breaks and lunch, it felt so important somehow), my first NC-17 film (The Pillow Book), and the pennies, yes, probably the hundred or so pennies I tossed up with wishes, one every day, into a large pseudo-rococo fountain in the mall near the store.

My journal cover

And Sade.

And today.  And then.  What a difference.  What little has changed.  I remember my general state that summer being one of sheer excitement.  My “whole life was ahead of me.”  I knew that I would be going away to four years of incredible adventures in universityland.  And four years was an eternity.  As scared as teenagers can be.  As anxious as teenagers can be (and boy was I anxious – those were the days before I knew what panic attacks actually were).  Anything was possible.  And everything was certain.  Now, nothing is certain.  Four years of knowing where you’ll be as opposed to not knowing what each day will bring.  Not knowing what work I will have.  Not knowing where I’ll up and move to.  Not knowing.  And lots of worries about practical things – money, transportation, bills, chores, money, veterinarian appointments, dentist, money, parents, work, work, work, money. Jeez. Is this life?

The funny thing is, I’m still OK.  I’m very OK.  I’m calmer.  I’m dealing.  I am a healthier person.  But boy do I wish I had that certainty again.  Four years.  Sure, there was anxiety up the wazoo, big time.  Mood swings.  Depression.  Self-confidence in the toilet.  But the rapture! College, books, writing, art, travel, the future.  Absolutely certain of the fact that things were about to get better and better.  I’m healthy now.  But I want that optimism back.  The energy.  The certainty.  With my deeper understanding of and perspective on reality, is it possible?  Is this perception even real?

It was a good tasting.  Sold about 10 bottles, 5 of which were really gorgeous, expensive single vineyards.  I haven’t lost it.  If I love something, really love something, I can sell it.  But only if people want to buy it, that is.  Boy was it amazing when I discovered that.  I could sell guidebooks, suitcases, globes, almost anything in that store, because I loved almost everything in that store.  I gave restaurant tips for people going to Paris, for goodness sake.  At 18.

And Sade.

This is no ordinary love.  How ethereal.  How evocative of… a time and place that you feel you remember intimately, but only vaguely, like a dream, like a Mr Holland’s Opus Bill Clinton is Sexy Manhattan Project Priscilla Queen of the Desert  Blade Runner The Real World Milan Kundera Pearl Jam Wimbledon and Chocolate Carmina  Burana Silver Cigarette Case Sunrise on Lake Michigan Womyn’s Bookstore Rocky Horror Endless Cup of Coffee Tori Peppermint Tea Rainbow Melissa Atom Bomb 1984 Washington DC Shakespeare Picasso Posters The Tempest Names Project Angel Hair Pasta Kate Winslet Borders Books Volkswagen Indigo Camp Visit Words Words Words and Heat, kind of place.

No ordinary love. God. What is that?

But.

What love is ordinary?

Retail is limbo.

Christ in Limbo, after Hieronymus Bosch (16th century)

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Eva Cassidy

Her voice is soul wrenching.  When I’m feeling down, I always put her music on.  She was a master of musical interpretation.  Many claim her “Fields of Gold” better than Sting’s original.  I found this video of her performing “Time After Time.”  Below it is a recording of “Fields of Gold.”  If you don’t know her or her music, you should.  Eva Cassidy died in 1996 at the age of 33 from melanoma.

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