Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?

Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Boris Vian translation project

After 2007's Le Déserteur, I am moving on to one of the lighter pieces; La java des bombes atomiques. Lyrics here and here; my translation, loosely in the style of a music-hall monologue, below:

My Uncle Tom built atom bombs; he never went to college
But he was Wigan's nuclear sage, as everyone acknowledged
He'd spend each Sunday afternoon, inventing in his shed
Then tramp back in the living room, and this is what he said;

"A nuclear bomb, me bonny lad, is not a piece of cake
The A-bomb, granted, right enough, that any fool could make
But getting yer plutonium's a much more tricky task
An H-Bomb? No, impossible, don't even try to ask

But ask we did; he stamped away and worked all afternoon
We went to bed. But midnight came, and howling at the moon,
We saw him running in his nightgown, halfway down the street
Sobbing "t' bloody blast radius doesn't stretch twelve feet!"

All winter long he banged and hammered, missing meals and sleep
The shed began to glow a bit; old Tom was seen to weep
"I never thought", he sobbed "that it could be this bloody hard"
"To make the bloody crater even six or seven yards!"

I tried to comfort him; I said "Now never mind, old Tom"
"It isn't just the size of fallout makes a nuclear bomb"
"By Jove! You've got it!", Uncle said, as from his chair he sprang
"It's where you blow the bugger up that makes the bloody bang!"

Well that was it; we gathered round our friends and our relations
And sent official telegrams to the United Nations
Inviting all and sundry round to visit Uncle Tom
And telling them to "Watch out world: Wigan's got the Bomb!"

Well that put cat among the pigeons; as you might remember
The Heads of State all came to visit us in late November
They saw the Pier; we gave them pies and when they all were fed
Progressed down to the testing site, in Uncle Tom's old shed.

They put their fingers in their ears and counted "6, 5, 4"
While Uncle Tom sneaked out the shed and bolted up the door
He stepped eight yards away and finished "3, 2, 1"
A small - but big enough - cloud rose; the shed was bloody gone!

There was a trial of course, so we all took a trip to t' Hague
I spoke in Uncle Tom's defence; I wasn'tt shy or vague
I pointed out his duty to defend our mental health
They pardoned him with honour, and showered him with wealth.

10 comments this item posted by the management 4/27/2011 08:08:00 AM

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