Sunday, 10 February 2008

La mauvaise réputation - Video Lyrics Translation

In this song Brassens expresses his sense of standing apart from conventional society. He had anarchistic sympathies and is quoted as saying: "I am not very fond of the law." He was impatient of middle class values and stuffy sexual prudery and held strong anti-clerical views.

Because of this he was well aware that in polite society, he had a bad reputation






Au village, sans prétention,
In the village, without pretention,
J'ai mauvaise réputation.
I have a bad reputation
Qu'je m'démène ou qu'je reste coi
Whether I make an effort or whether I keep quiet
Je pass' pour un je-ne-sais-quoi!
I am regarded as a I don’t know what.

Je ne fais pourtant de tort à personne
Yet I don’t do harm to anyone
En suivant mon chemin de petit bonhomme.
Going on my own sweet way.
Mais les brav's gens n'aiment pas que
But the good folk don’t like that
L'on suive une autre route qu'eux,
You follow another way than them
Non les brav's gens n'aiment pas que
No the good folk don’t like that
L'on suive une autre route qu'eux,
You follow another way than them.

Tout le monde médit de moi,
Every-one speaks ill of me
Sauf les muets, ça va de soi.
Except for the dumb, that goes without saying

Le jour du Quatorze Juillet
On the day of the 14th of July
Je reste dans mon lit douillet.
I keep to my cosy bed
La musique qui marche au pas,
The marching music
Cela ne me regarde pas.
That doesn’t concern me
Je ne fais pourtant de tort à personne,
Yet I don’t do harm to anyone
En n'écoutant pas le clairon qui sonne.
By not listening to the bugle that sounds.

Mais les brav's gens n'aiment pas que
But the good folk don’t like that
L'on suive une autre route qu'eux,
You follow another way than them
Non les brav's gens n'aiment pas que
No the good folk don’t like that
L'on suive une autre route qu'eux,
You follow another way than them.

Tout le monde me montre du doigt
Everyone points at me
Sauf les manchots, ça va de soi.
Except for those without arms, that goes without saying

Quand j'croise un voleur malchanceux,
When I run into an unlucky thief
Poursuivi par un cul-terreux;
Chased by cultural chap
J'lance la patte et pourquoi le taire,
I stick out my foot and why keep it quiet,
Le cul-terreux s'retrouv' par terre
The cultural chap finds himself on the ground
Je ne fait pourtant de tort à personne,
Yet I don’t do harm to anyone
En laissant courir les voleurs de pommes.
By letting apple thieves have a run.

Mais les brav's gens n'aiment pas que
L'on suive une autre route qu'eux,
Non les brav's gens n'aiment pas que
But the good folk don’t like that
L'on suive une autre route qu'eux,
You follow another way than them.

Tout le monde se rue sur moi,
Everybody pounces on me
Sauf les culs-de-jatte, ça va de soi.
Except for those without legs, that goes without saying

Pas besoin d'être Jérémie,
No need to be a Jeremiah
Pour d'viner l'sort qui m'est promis,
To guess the fate that awaits me
S'ils trouv'nt une corde à leur goût,
If they find a rope to their liking,
Ils me la passeront au cou,
They will put it around my neck
Je ne fais pourtant de tort à personne,
Yet I don’t do harm to anyone
En suivant les ch'mins qui n'mènent pas à Rome,
By following the paths that don’t lead to Rome.

Mais les brav's gens n'aiment pas que
But the good folk don’t like that
L'on suive une autre route qu'eux,
You follow another way than them
Non les brav's gens n'aiment pas que
No the good folk don’t like that
L'on suive une autre route qu'eux,
You follow another way than them

Tout l'mond' viendra me voir pendu,
Everybody will come to see me hanged
Sauf les aveugles, bien entendu
Except for the blind, that goes without saying.

Biographical notes

Brassens was not an outsider in the sense that he was rejected and alone. In comment that I will add to the post on "Chanson pour l'auvergnat" below, we will see that he had many long-lasting friends. His instincts were, however anarchistic and he is quoted as saying: "I am not very fond of the law." He was impatient of middle class values and stuffy sexual prudery, and often shocks - as will clearly be seen in other songs.

The theme of petty thieving touched a raw nerve with him. -
When he was seventeen, Georges and some schoolmates decided to make money by stealing from their families. Georges stole items of jewellery from his sister. The police were alerted and apprehended the gang. Some of the parents felt little mercy for their sons and left them to serve prison sentences. Brassen's father immediately picked up his son from the commissariat to support him, but Brassens was expelled from school and his parents decided to send him to Paris in February 1940 to escape the scandal. He lived at the house of his mother's sister, Aunt Antoinette (and there he met Jeanne Planche who was to play a big part in his life......)

CLICK HERE TO GO TO ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF  BRASSENS SONGS



9 comments:

Anonymous said...

excellent interpretation! thank you very much for posting it, and good notes too :)-Melissa

pp said...

Excellent work.I'm surprised by the translation of cul-terreux ( cultural chap). Cul-terreux is a rude term to describe somebody unsophisticated who lives in the country-side.

Piet Noest said...

cul-terreux would be best translated as 'redneck'.
I have met George Brassens personally in Sète in 1957.
He still had a house there for the summer holidays and I had befriended a beautiful girl Pierrette who lived next door. Her family lived on 38 Chemin Rural and he was just unloading his car when I was walking her home. He and his boyfriend were both very friendly and he was very pleased when I told him I was an admirer, being Dutch, different language.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful webpage, thank you very much for making this! Johan.

R said...

Great work on the translation, and a beautiful song. Just a thought, your translations would be easier to read with some formatting on either the French or English text, just to differentiate the two. Thanks R.

Sujit Phatak said...

Thanks for this blog! Greetings from India. I don't understand French but recently came across Brassens's music. This blog helped me get an idea about what this song 'la mauvaise réputation' is about. Cheers! Love and Peace!

- Sujit

petersmith said...

Excellent sharing, poems are very nice to read.
regards
Loan Against My Watch

Paul said...

Thanks so much for the translation. Brings back memories of my French lessons in the late 70's.

Windward Flutes Blog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.