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A Filk Melody [Feb. 13th, 2015|03:09 pm]

A while ago, I wrote Filkarvisan, where I referenced various lyricists that I and other Swedish fans have filked (or were filking, in one case). Only trouble was, I also mentioned Nils Ferlin, who never has been filked by science fiction fandom (at least as far as I know).

So I had to fix that. "A Filk Melody" is based on Ferlin's most famous poem, "En valsmelodi", with a tune by Lille Bror Söderlundh. Here's a YouTube (there are lots more; it's a very popular song over here), but it has also been translated to German as Schnulze aus Schmalz by Wolf Biermann (available on iTunes) and to English by Roger Hinchliffe as A Waltz (On the Wild Side).

Day is now dark, darkness has sparked,
starlight and catfight and filkers.
All of our clan, trekker and fan,
sleep now from beers and from bitters.
The neos now dream before they will rouse,
how Roscoe on his rocket travel round our house.
And lonely in night I surrender,
to filking an ose-filled wreck,
and my legs are too skinny, too slender,
and so are my arms and my neck.
I have sung my songs off key in circles at times,
and hope you may forgive me some rhyming crimes,
for my legs are too skinny too slender,
and so are my arms and my neck.

Now comes regret, from the cassette,
playing for Hansel and Gretel.
Filker alas, damn fool alas,
now I am showing my mettle.
Please give me something rhyming with fiddle,
I've already used middle and riddle.
And lonely in night I surrender,
to filking an ose-filled wreck,
and my legs are too skinny too slender,
and so are my arms and my neck.
I now say that fandom is just a goddamn hobby,
and soon in my grave worms and maggots so blobby,
find my legs are too skinny too slender,
and so are my arms and my neck.

That should fill up my ose quota for quite some time.

[User Picture]From: asg_qa_s7
2015-02-20 02:59 am (UTC)

I'm missing something

It's probably Swedish cultural background. I don't get the inside jokes about the original lyrics, so I have to get amusement from the face value of the lyrics. Some thoughts, hopefully correctly getting your intent

You follow the melody very well. Separating the chorus from the verses by at least a line space, and preferably 2 + big friendly letters saying "CHORUS:", would help dimwits like me pick up the structural shift.

Roscoe & his rocket? Actual reference?

The English version sets first a sleazy world for the singer, then contrasts it with the snug, carefree children dreaming (SF dreams). This heightens the pathos of the chorus, where the singer indulges his love of the waltz, despite knowing that his whole body is depressingly awkward & unfit to meet his aspirations. He will go to his grave loving the waltz, and despising his own lack of mettle for it.

Slender has connotations in English too positive for your perceived purpose. What could you do with
"For my legs are too knobby and skinny
My arms and my neck are too scrawny." An English thesaurus might help with associations for word choice; at least it offers synonyms.

Also, showing mettle is taken for granted as a positive, so he needs to lack it in this case, otherwise you violate the English-speaker's expectations.

It was an excellent touch that even that maggots despised him as too scrawny. (laughing & cringing here)

Finally, know that I couldn't do as well in another language, and I respect what you've done here. Keep at it!
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[User Picture]From: kjn
2015-02-20 10:24 am (UTC)

Re: I'm missing something

This was originally written as a poem, without any chorus markers or similar. I just think of it as a song with two verses, with some lines repeated.

Roscoe is a common figure in my filks: see http://fancyclopedia.org/roscoe.

Are you analysing Hinchliffe's version? I believe you're a little off. Ferlin is describing making a living writing lyrics for popular songs, and is now stuck late at night having to finish a song to deliver in the morning (that last part is unsaid). He has come to hate having to mass-produce ditties with bad rhymes and lines. (Rumour has it that the intended melody for this song was the same he had to write some popular lyrics for that night.)

The surrender/slender lines I stole from directly from Hinchliffe; I couldn't work out how to handle them myself. Word values are always tricky, but I think it comes across anyway.

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[User Picture]From: asg_qa_s7
2015-02-20 10:53 am (UTC)

Re: I'm missing something

Thanks for the link to Roscoe. I took Hinchcliffe because I was too tired to even consider the original Swedish.

Edited at 2015-02-20 10:57 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: kjn
2015-02-20 11:41 am (UTC)

Re: I'm missing something

Yeah, I was more unsure if you were analysing my version or Hinchliffe's version, or some mix.
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