Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Una storia sbagliata - A Story in Error

E' una storia da dimenticare
è una storia da non raccontare
è una storia un pò complicata
è una storia sbagliata.

Cominciò con la luna sul posto
e fini' con un fiume d'inchiostro
è una storia un poco scontata
è una storia sbagliata.

Storia diversa per gente normale
storia comune per gente speciale
cos'altro vi serve da queste vite
ora che il cielo al centro le ha colpite
ora che il cielo ai bordi le ha scolpite.

E' una storia di periferia
è una storia da una botta e via
è una storia sconclusionata
una storia sbagliata.

Una spiaggia ai piedi del letto
stazione Termini ai piedi del cuore
una notte un pò concitata
una notte sbagliata.

Notte diversa per gente normale
notte comune per gente speciale
cos'altro ti serve da queste vite
ora che il cielo al centro le ha colpite
ora che il cielo ai bordi le ha scolpite.

E' una storia vestita di nero
è una storia da basso impero
è una storia mica male insabbiata
è una storia sbagliata.

E' una storia da carabinieri
è una storia per parrucchieri
è una storia un pò sputtanata
o è una storia sbagliata.

Storia diversa per gente normale
storia comune per gente speciale
cos'altro vi serve da queste vite
ora che il cielo al centro le ha colpite
ora che il cielo ai bordi le ha scolpite.

Per il segno che c'è rimasto
non ripeterci quanto ti spiace
non ci chiedere più come è andata
tanto lo sai che è una storia sbagliata
tanto lo sai che è una storia sbagliata.

Una storia sbagliata © 1980 Fabrizio De André/Massimo Bubola



It’s a story to be forgotten,
it’s a story to remain untold,
it’s a story somewhat complicated,
it’s a story in error.

I’ll start with the moon in its place
and finish with a river of ink.
It’s a story a bit discounted,
it’s a story in error.

Different story for regular people,
common story for special people.
Of what other use to you all are these lives
now that heaven has struck them at their core,
now that heaven has sculpted their edges?

It’s a story on the periphery,
it’s a hit and run story,
it’s an unfinished story,
it’s a story in error.

A beach at the foot of the bed,
Termini Station at the base of the heart.
A night rather excited,
a night in error.

Different night for regular people,
ordinary night for special people.
Of what other use to you are these lives
now that heaven has struck them at their core,
now that heaven has sculpted their edges?

It’s a story dressed in black,
it’s a story of the decline of the Empire,
it’s a story but poorly shelved,
it’s a story in error.

It’s a story by the carabinieri,
it’s a story for hairdressers,
it’s a story a bit disgraced,
or it’s a story error.

Different story for regular people,
common story for special people.
Of what other use to you all are these lives
now that heaven has struck them at their core,
now that heaven has sculpted their edges?

For the mark that’s still left,
don’t repeat to us how it saddens you,
don’t ask us anymore how it went.
You know so well that it’s a story in error,
you know so well that it’s a story in error.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


"Una storia sbagliata" was co-written with Massimo Bubola on commission as music for a television broadcast titled "Behind the Trial" ("Dietro il processo"), by journalist Franco Biancacci. The song was released as a 45 in 1980, and included in a 2005 anthology In direzione ostinata e contraria. The song is about the brutal unsolved murder in 1975 of Pier Paolo Pasolini, who was active and influential as a poet, journalist, philosopher, novelist, playwright, filmmaker, actor, painter and political figure. Pasolini was, courageously for the times and culture, openly gay. The court convicted as the murderer a man who said that Pasolini had come on to him, and then they subsequently got into a fight. But it was an unconvincing verdict, and in fact the convicted murderer recanted his testimony years later and said that three men "with southern accents" had been responsible, leaving open the possibility of other more sinister motives based on Pasolini's strong and controversial social and political views - there was a lot to dislike for Italians of disparate views in a communist-turned-Radical Party homosexual who sided with the policemen during the student protests of the 1960's, opposed liberalization of abortion laws, decried consumerism, globalization and the loss of traditional Italian culture, and spoke both intelligently and provocatively through his many writings and films (his last movie, Salò was named "Most Controversial Film" of all time in a 2006 film guide from Time Out magazine).
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