Sainte-Anne (English translation)

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Sainte Anne

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I don't even know where to start, actually.
That said,I'm doing this for the first time
so you'll excuse me
if it goes a bit all over the place
or if I am too muddled.
 
Have to say that those days
I had to struggle to sort my thoughts, after all
I'm struggling for words
Well I'll sketch it out for you
 
I was born in a rather well-off family
I always was privileged
I never lacked love or anything else for that matter
even though my mother, who is a bit working class,
was sometimes a bit strict with my brothers and me.
I was good at school, I behaved at home.
I don't remember screwing up too much as a kid.
On the other hand I have got pretty good degrees
and now I know my future is more or less set;
let's say I know where I'll end up if I follow down that track.
I'll probably have a wife and beautiful children,
a loan to repay, an English spaniel and a hardtop convertible.
 
And still, you see,
for six months now I've hardly been able to sleep,
I can skip meals for two days
without even noticing
and when I look in the mirror I see a weird guy
washed out, translucent, so livid
it would make a genocide smile
 
Doctor, I'm not kidding
You have to do something for me
Anything
Grab a hammer and smash my fingers, I don't know,
because right now I'm at the end of my rope.
 
I can't go out in the streets anymore
I can't set foot in offices anymore
Anyway I became unable to take the subway
It reeks of death, it reeks of piss
It makes me claustrophobic and agressive
Also, I really look like a dickhead in my oversized suit
that does not fit, so even if I cared to pretend otherwise
I still would have "cannon fodder" written all over me.
And there's all these people trying to cram themselves in no matter what,
pushing, sweating, hissing between their teeth like snakes.
Go ahead, you jerk, get in, get in, that's right
Anyway, even if you come first
in the end we'll all endure the same sleazy day
eyes stuck to the computer screen
you burn your eyes out skimming over
things you have no clue about.
"See, you got to realize this file is top priority
he coughs up 300€/h, our customer
so work it out, do a Google search if you have to
but you get it done pronto, lad"
Sure, you're absolutely right, Sir.
My bad, I'm not responsive enough.
Hah, that's right, that's funny, just slap me in the face.
You cunt.
Why don't you rather try ramming a few doorknobs up your ass?
 
I am sick of pigging out on
overpriced1 mixed salads
or junk meat like boiled cardboard,
sick of eating in a hurry
then spending shabby afternoons nitpicking over nothing
and finally jumping straight into afterworks with coworkers.
What a downer! Seems we love so much being screwed over
all day that we cry out for more in the evening.
 
Well, it must be said we meet skanks there.
Or rather "career girls"2,
namely chicks with emotional problems just like us.
We get acquainted, we feed them bullshit,
pretending we're coworkers while we're mere students,
and in reality we spend our time
wearing our butt against too narrow benches
listening to bald guys ranting
all day long
ranting about anything and mostly every meaningless thing3
 
Fortunately, all days end up the same:
we come home and dress to kill.
We put our pollo shirts on with the collar turned up,
then we meet at the HQ
to binge on overpriced beers.
By the way, once we're a bit pissed
we often feel like acting the rebel
and shouting at the bartender:
"who do you think you are, asshole?
don't you think your beer is a bit expensive?"
We would do that if we had a bit of nerve in our arteries,
but we rather keep still
and go on wasting our money,
spending our breath to no great avail
and smoking our lungs out
just to wear ourselves down real good before we get old,
to deepen the shadows already rimming our eyes.
 
Other than that, we mostly talk about girls we saw on the net,
and about the ones we would like to score with in parties.
For tonight, like every night, we'll try to get laid,
but definitely not to make love,
because love is for fags.
Nothing to get worked up about, really:
guys talking about the girls they do,
girls getting done so they can let people know.
Sex often leaves regrets,
diseases sometimes too.
In the end we get no pleasure out of it,
we don't really want it.
We do it mostly to stop thinking.
 
That hides the raw wounds, but that is a secret.
To tell the truth, we are lost, idle, jaded,
all alone like wounded animals.
We are sad and our hearts are bleeding,
but we hide behind our big mouths and our harsh words.
Between us we call ourselves "dude", "skank", "bastard", "bonehead", "bitch", "butch", "asshole"...
Because though we don't want it that way, others are an endless struggle
 
Really, doctor, it's a wonderful world
and a wonderful city too
 
Paris
Paris the necropolis
Paris that reeks of overripe meat
Paris that drags bits of our lives down little by little
as it collapses
Paris is so healthy, and we are good people,
so good we're too good for our neighbours
to whom we don't pay more attention
than to the piss behind the toilet bowl.
 
Sometimes I just want to scream:
"Don't get any closer!
Don't get any closer!
Don't you touch me!
Don't get any closer!"
 
Doctor, I need something
anything
or I'm gonna lose it.
I could hit an old bag, a bystander, a brat
and that will be ugly.
That will be really ugly.
 
"Don't get any closer!
Don't get any closer!
Don't you touch me!
Don't get any closer!
Don't you touch me!
Don't you touch me!"
 
  • 1. In Paris in 2014, a mixed salad would cost about 6€ instead of 12€ in an average restaurant. These kind of prices are found around white collar workplaces, typically in La Défense. Same goes for the beer a bit later, typically in the trendy Oberkampf/Bastille area.
  • 2. the French uses an odious mix of "single" and "combatant"
  • 3. a hijacking of "tout et n'importe quoi" ("everything and anything"). "n'importe quoi" alone can mean "rubbish"
Thanks!
thanked 9 times
Submitted by GuestGuest on Sun, 02/08/2015 - 10:16
Author's comments:

Sainte Anne is the biggest psychiatric hospital in Paris.

The other translation by evfokas is really good, but this song rings so true to my ears that I simply could not resist the temptation to have a go at it.

I did my best to carry the strength of the original, but only a native could tell what the outcome sounds like, so any advice would be appreciated.

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Sainte-Anne

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Comments
GavinGavin    Mon, 24/08/2015 - 18:39

Firstly - You have a good grasp of gutter English! ;-)

It all reads really well - I have a couple of small style suggestions to consider but they are mainly just nit-picking...

Have to say that these days - Have to say that in those days - these days sounds current which does not sit well with the past tense of the next line.

Even though my mother who is still of rather modest extraction - I'd lose the 'still' as it brings it into the present which I don't think is the intention. although there is the 'Quand même' is there in the French I think you can skip this. 'Of modest extraction' is fine but you could consider 'From humble beginnings' or 'who is a bit working class'

Un crédit à payer - We would probably say 'a loan' or, as it's a significant one and probably for a home - 'a mortgage'

For six months now I can hardly sleep - This would more likely be in the continuous tense in English - For six months now I've hardly been able to sleep - or - for the last six months...

'winning single females' I think I know the type meant... Perhaps 'Career Girls' is a more typical phrase?

A typo - definetly - definitely

And a couple of french notes for me...
'Gland' - haha - I'll add that to my 'other' vocab list :-)

'enculer les mouches' this sounds even fiddlier than 'couper les cheveux en quatre'

Un peu de plombe dans l'aile - Ooh I came across this recently didn't I? Oh yes - 'Douze Belles Dans La Peau' :-)

GavinGavin    Mon, 24/08/2015 - 19:50

I'm reminded of the Bukowski short story 'Politics is like trying to screw a cat in the ass'

He had a way with words too! ;-)

Les politics c'est comme essayer d'enculer les chats?

About right?

GavinGavin    Mon, 24/08/2015 - 20:36

Ah bon - merci.

I may need that phrase some time - on ne sait jamais!

;-)

GavinGavin    Mon, 24/08/2015 - 21:37

Sale affaire la politique - Je préfère rester avec les chats

GeheiligtGeheiligt    Thu, 20/07/2017 - 10:09
5

Travail vraiment impressionnant.

Alma BarrocaAlma Barroca    Sat, 09/02/2019 - 22:06

Don't mention it. In case you come across one of your old translations and you really like it, just contact us and we'll edit it.

líadanlíadan    Sat, 09/02/2019 - 22:10

I'm online but am currently dealing with a situation, sorry.

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