"Allons y donc, toi et moi"
I came across an old attempt to translate Prufrock into French, and started to look for an official French version online. I found one which starts “Alors allons y, toi et moi”. I prefer my version, for the rhythm. There is something elusive about foreign stress. The ambiguity, or complexity of the rules - the rules of your native language are transparent, you only feel them in transgression, but the rules of a foreign language you fear by anticipation - that weak “s” at the end of alors, you feel it should be pronounced, but you can’t, that would make the phrase “alor zallons zy” – clearly not acceptable. So the “s” is kind of swept under the carpet like a guilty secret, like an awkward person who has just arrived at a party and doesn’t know where to put itself and skulks to the walls – to become a wallflower or, as in French, “to act like wallpaper”.
Thank you Laura, for introducing me to the work of Francesca Woodward.
That uncomfortable feeling generated by the “s” on “alors” – which would not occur in isolation but only because there will soon be another one in the phrase, and which would not affect a native speaker because they would instinctively know what to do or feel entitled to feel comfortable about their version… reminds me of a similar discomfort I felt recently working on Monk’s Blues with Françoise. There is a shift, skip, change in the tempo. Half way through our second three-hour session working on this I felt I had assimilated it, was able, in a group, to reproduce it, stay on the beat, in the tempo, but it was very unsettling and made me feel giddy, as if there was a décalage between what I was doing on the outside (clapping my hands or singing) and how it felt on the inside...
This is one of the reasons I love music.
While I was searching, I was amazed to find TS Eliot reading Prufrock. Such an unexpected treat! I do appreciate it, but I found myself at times frustrated with the way he reads his own poem. Especially “If one,” line 96. That is not how it should be read, at all. Not it, at all, I thought to myself. I suppose I was comparing it to a sort of ideal reader in my head, a mixture of Richard Burton on the War of the Worlds CD and Anthony Hopkins in the Remains of the Day… Or even real life voices of men that I know, Jean-Marie who knew it off by heart, other voices of friends and acquaintances that are my reference points, defining what the male poetic voice is for me.
There is no perfection, and tant mieux. At this point in analysis I seem to have come full circle and am back at the beginning, struggling once again to accept symbolic castration and break free of the omnipotent magical infant position… I’m stuck at a crossroads…
I have just acquired a small amplifier for my microphone and we had a laugh the other day at the idea of me taking them to a psychoanalysis session… "Now listen here, you big Other, you subject supposed to know!" Seriously I am trying to learn to listen, to myself and to everybody else, and making progress thanks to Olivier Capelle’s voice workshop on a Tuesday, trying to light candles in the dark corners of the cathedral I inadvertently swallowed. (I don’t know why she swallowed a sky, perhaps she’ll fly).
On the translation front, I am working on an anechoic chamber. A fascinating concept, if ever there was one… they say that a duck’s quack does not produce an echo.
This one looks like a bunch of blue bananas.