Monday, November 4, 2013

Nuvole barroche:
   Il fannullone - The Slouch

-Senza pretesa di voler strafare
io dormo al giorno quattordici ore
anche per questo nel mio rione
godo la fama di fannullone
ma non si sdegni la brava gente
se nella vita non riesco a far niente.-

Tu vaghi per le strade quasi tutta la notte
sognando mille favole di gloria e di vendette
racconti le tue storie a pochi uomini ormai stanchi
che ridono fissandoti con vuoti sguardi bianchi
tu reciti una parte fastidiosa alla gente
facendo della vita una commedia divertente.

-Ho anche provato a lavorare
senza risparmio mi diedi da fare
ma il sol risultato dell'esperimento
fu della fame un tragico aumento
non si risenta la gente per bene
se non mi adatto a portar le catene.-

Ti diedero lavoro in un grande ristorante
a lavare gli avanzi della gente elegante
ma tu dicevi -il cielo è la mia unica fortuna
e l'acqua dei piatti non rispecchia la luna-
tornasti a cantar storie lungo strade di notte
sfidando il buon umore delle tue scarpe rotte.

-Non sono poi quel cagnaccio malvagio
senza morale straccione e randagio
che si accontenta di un osso bucato
con affettuoso disprezzo gettato
al fannullone sa battere il cuore
il cane randagio ha trovato il suo amore.-

Pensasti al matrimonio come al giro di una danza
amasti la tua donna come un giorno di vacanza
hai preso la tua casa per rifugio alla tua fiacca
per un attaccapanni a cui appendere la giacca
e la tua dolce sposa consolò la sua tristezza
cercando tra la gente
chi le offrisse tenerezza.

È andata via senza fare rumore
forse cantando una storia d'amore
la raccontava ad un mondo ormai stanco
che camminava distratto al suo fianco
lei tornerà in una notte d'estate
l'applaudiranno le stelle incantate

rischiareranno dall'alto i lampioni
la strana danza di due fannulloni
la luna avrà dell'argento il colore
sopra la schiena dei gatti in amore.

Il fannulone © 1963 Fabrizio De André/Paolo Villagio

"Il fannulone" was the A-side of De André's third single on Karim, released in 1963. It was co-written with Paolo Villaggio, a childhood friend. There are several strains in this early song that will surface regularly in later songs: going against the grain of mainstream society, a sense of irony towards so-called respectable folk ("la gente per bene"), and an irreverent and playful attitude. The song no doubt sprang from the anti-conformist lifestyles of the two young authors. Riccardo Venturi called this song "deliciously revolutionary and subversive" and described it as a "hymn to doing nothing," where to do nothing is to live life truly, not allowing a dehumanized corporate complex to take it away from you.



Genoa at night - "The moon will be silver in color
over the backs of the cats in love."
"With no pretense of wanting to overdo it,
I sleep fourteen hours a day.
Also for this reason, in my district
I enjoy the reputation of a slouch.
But don't scorn the good people
if I don’t manage to do anything in life."

You roam the streets almost all night long,
dreaming a thousand tales of glory and revenge.
You recount your stories to a few men now tired,
who laugh, fixing you with blank, empty stares.
You play an annoying role for people,
making of life an amusing comedy.

"I even tried to work,
with all my might I tried hard,
but the only result of the experiment
was a tragic increase in hunger.
Respectable people aren’t offended
if I’m not well-suited for carrying the chains."

They gave you work in a big restaurant
washing the scraps of the elegant people.
But you said, "The sky is my only good fortune
and dishwater doesn't reflect the moon."
You returned to sing stories along nighttime streets,
defying the good humor of your worn-out shoes.

"I'm not, then, that malicious cur
without morals, tramp and vagabond
who contents himself with a pierced bone
discarded with affectionate scorn.
For the slouch, the heart knows how to beat,
the stray dog has found its love."

You thought of marriage as a turn at a dance,
you loved your woman like a day on vacation.
You took your house as a refuge for your sluggishness,
as a rack on which to hang your jacket,
and your sweet spouse consoled her sadness
searching among people for
anyone that might offer her tenderness.

She went away without making a sound,
perhaps singing a story of love.
She recounted it for a world tired by then,
one that walked inattentive at her side.
She'll return on a summer night,
they will applaud her, the enchanted stars.

From up high the streetlamps will illuminate
the strange dance of two slouches.
The moon will be silver in color
over the backs of the cats in love.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Nuvole barocche, released in 1969, is a collection of De André singles on the Karim label from 1961-1966.
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