Wednesday, January 23, 2013

La Volonté

Have you seen the new Les Miserable film? Me? Not yet, just the original movie (and the novel, of course).

I’d like to say I’ve been getting by, but that would be lying.

You know you aren’t getting by when lying in bed, hoping for sleep, the times you aren’t suffocating from diaphragm failure, you are trying to scream. Lots of drugs didn’t work. And it went on and on for hour after hour (golly, that sounds a lot like sex.....sadly, it wasn't sex).

If I had to describe it: it was what I thought having a grenade detonate after I leapt on it might feel like. Only instead of dying in a few minutes, the pain was just there, or it grew, and it filled days and days. Gosh, pain keeps the mind busy.

I’d never do that again, if I had the idea of what it was. Almost up to sleeping for four hours without a 'pain wakeup' now.

I’ve been listening to A La Volonté Du Peuple (For the Will of the People). The tune is similar to ‘The song of angry men’ or ‘Do you hear the people sing?’ from Les Miserable. Except before there was Les Miserable, the hit west end musical, there were songs and Lyrics written in 1980 for Les Miserable.  The English decided to use 1/3rd of the original and rewrite the rest. Then the English version was retranslated back to French for the ‘Award Winning Musical’ as it came to France in 1991.  Irony, no?


Nous voulons faire la lumière
Malgré le masque de la nuit
Pour illuminer notre terre
Et changer la vie

(We want to bring light
Despite the darkness of night
To lighten the world
And change life)

In translation/addition the song becomes about Crusades and the symbol of barricades and the sacred soil of France. Which somewhat misses the point in an anti-royalist period piece showing that France IS the people.

In English Les Miserable this song is sung by someone a bit twee, or ends up sounding like a guy pleased with his vocal cords masturbating. Hello! It is song about drinking and fighting, sheesh. The original French version by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil has one guy sounding better than a chorus. Liberte!


Baba Yaga said...

Sympathies over suffocation (ai!!) and insane degrees of pain. & duration... It tends to eat up everything around it.

& thanks for interesting light on Les Mis. - saw the West End production 25+ years ago, and spent a chunk of my teens listening obsessively to the tape: had never really stopped to think that a French version could hardly be quite like that. Not that I was thinking much, at that age!

I expect I'll revisit the novel, one of these years; the musical, I'm less keen. Ther's that idea that one can never go back; and anyway, a risk that if I could, I'd be going back to all the misery of the time. Powerful stuff, still, even in the Anglo-Saxon version.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Baba Yaga: To me, knowledge gives context. I listen to several languages a day, read a couple, and research about 3 hours. I wanted to 'hear' the song, but found I couldn't get a decent version (including the film soundtrack) so decided to trace the origins, and listen to that.

I currently face not even the best of bad choices, but the cost of unknown choices and the knowledge that I will suffer to survive, even in winter. Those few hours a week which provide clarity in though and body are almost worth it. I ponder now on Pinnochio, Edward Scissorhands, 'freak', 'real' and the effect of self knowledge as an 'outsider'. If I forget, at least God and I will have had the conversation.

Sindhu S said...

I have used one of your images in my blog -
Please check and tell me if you have any objections. If you do, I will remove it.
I am a MS patient and I know a little about what you feel. God bless!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Sindu S - thanks for letting me know. My posts and photos are free for reusage per the same principles Fuse, the anarchist music publisher outlined.

Do you happen to know which MS type? IF not four, I hope for nice long remissions. Here, the MS society has 'seated yoga' - along with free massages - a good program.

Anonymous said...

IT's Linda here. I'm really looking forward to watching the movie with you. Since you played that song for me a few days ago, the melody keeps popping into my head. I like it - and the French version is definitely more stirring.

Here's hoping for longer sleep periods with less pain.

JaneB said...

Hi Elizabeth, just briefly emerging from the circuit of work-sleep (going back to work after periods of illness is No Fun) to see what you are up to. Wishing you had more of the goos bits in your life and the nice kind of sunshine that is cheerful but not overheating! much love, and I remain your friend even when I go quiet...