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Dear Jukebox Fest Writer

Posted on 2013.08.09 at 18:44
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I really would prefer you to write the best story you can, and one you're happy with, rather than trying to do something that doesn't suit you to fit what I asked for - optional details really are entirely optional here. I'm most interested in what you, dear writer, make of the song. (Gen, m/f, m/m and f/f are all equally welcome.) All lyrics and translations are at the end of this post.

Bele Doette as fenestre se siet

The abbey the beautiful Doette founds, which becomes grand and powerful, is allegedly in honour of Saint Paul, and Doette speaks of mortifying herself with a hair shirt, but much of the emphasis seems to be on love, not religion: the feast false lovers are unable to enter, the gathering together of those who have suffered for love. I'd love more about the abbey and its beautiful abbess - I imagine it along the lines of some of the mysterious palaces that litter Arthurian legend. Perhaps a sort of chanson d'aventure where the protaganist ends up at the abbey? (If you happen to be interested in the trouvère tradition, or in courtly love of that period, this is definitely the place to indulge yourself as much as you like, but it's not at all necessary if your tastes don't tend that way.)

You can find the music on YouTube.

English Lyrics, Original Lyrics

Le Roi d'Aquitaine

Surely this could be the base for a fascinating fairytale, whether you want to invent a traditional tale, or tell it at an angle: are the ducks enchanted princes, or do the princes share only the colour coding? Will the king put aside the queen for the duck seller, or does he want the duck seller for something else to the detriment of the queen? Perhaps this is only an incident in the story of one of the ducks/princes, or in the relationship of the queen and the duck seller? Or is the duck seller merely idly dreaming?

I originally had in mind the Ute Lemper version from Ute Lemper sings Kurt Weill Vol. 2, but I can't find it free online (it's pretty readily available for sale, however, at Amazon, iTunes etc). There is at least one recording on YouTube, sung by someone else.

English Lyrics, Original Lyrics

Lili Marleen / Death is a master from Germany

Although this particularly haunting and disturbing version of Lili Marleen is, naturally, about WWII, I am not asking for such a literal interpretation (unless of course that is what you especially want to write), but rather something dealing with the broader themes of love and war and death, and taking its cues from the music: there's the love song aspect the Lili Marleen part (though that itself becomes rather martial in the introduction), the way the music veers off into horror, the quietly reflective and chilling Todesfugue section (and Celan's words are certainly evocative and ambiguous enough to inspire any number of interpretations)...

Sadly, although I can find any number of recordings of Ute Lemper singing Lili Marleen online, I can't find a single one of this particular version (the one from City of Strangers), although it too is readily available for purchase.

English Lyrics, Original Lyrics

Så stille kan det verta

I fell in love with this song a long time before I had any idea what the lyrics meant: something about the tone of it, part way between wistful and hopeful, the softness of it (which put me in mind of the night even without understanding the words) coupled with the delicate precision of the singing. Anything that picks up that mood would be good, whether you want to go for a story with plot (anything from modern day realistic to fantasy - maybe that's a literal claw after all?), or an introspective character piece.

Sadly, given how much I love the sound of this in particular, I can't find it up online for free anywhere. You can hear Kråkevik singing various other things on YouTube, and you can buy Så stille kan det verta on Amazon UK; it's also available on Spotify and on Wimp.

English Lyrics, Original Lyrics

In General

Apart from that, this is my normal list for all other-people-writing-fanfic-for-me occasions. Things I like (provided only as indicative of my taste, not in any way as particular requirements of your story): established relationships, smart and competent characters, witty banter, slash, political intrigue, moral ambiguity, apparently simple conversations with a great deal going on under the surface, angst if done with restraint, difficult decisions with no right answer (I think I mentioned moral ambiguity?), metaphor, clever use of literary allusions, relationships where each party thinks the other has all the power. Endings can be happy, sad, ambiguous, or anywhere in between. Let's see, what else? Fierce loyalty (the tear the world apart for you variety, not the sit here passively putting up with anything variety), complicated love/hate relationships with lots of backstory, unflappable characters, arrogance if the party concerned has the requisite ability to back it up, committed partnerships between people who see the world at the same angle (even if they aren't always on the same side)...

Things I’d prefer you avoided: I’m not terribly keen on mpreg or stories told in the 2nd person, and I do have something of an embarrassment squick. Oh, all right, I also don't tend to like issuefic, but I'm not sure that's something people generally set out to write deliberately - one person's issuefic is another's searingly honest portrayal.

Lyrics: Bele Doette as fenestre se siet (English)

Bele Doette is sitting by a window
Reading a book, but her heart isn't in it:
She's remembering her friend Doon
Who has gone tourneying in other lands.
Ah, how great is my sorrow!

A squire stands at the foot of the stairs to the hall.
He dismounts, unfastens his baggage.
Bele Doette descends the staircase.
She doesn't think she'll hear bad news.
Ah, how great is my sorrow!

Bele Doette at once asked him:
"Where is my lord whom I have not seen for so long?"
The squire had such grief that out of pity he wept.
Then the beautiful Doette fainted.
Ah, how great is my sorrow!

Bele Doette raises herself again.
She sees the squire and addresses herself to him.
In her heart she is full of sorrow and anguish
For her lord, whom she will never see again.
Ah, how great is my sorrow!

Bele Doette began to ask him:
"Where is my lord, whom I do rightly love?"
"In the name of God, lady, I can hide if from you no longer:
My lord is dead, he was slain jousting."
Ah, how great is my sorrow!

Bele Doette began to mourn:
"How awful that you went there, fair noble Count Doon!"
For love of you I shall wear a hair shirt;
Nor on my body will there be fur cloaks."
Ah, how great is my sorrow!
For you I will become a nun in the church of Saint Paul.

For you I shall found an abbey such
That on the day the feast is announced.
If anyone comes who has betrayed his love,
He will not be able to enter the church.
Ah, how great is my sorrow!
For you I will become a nun in the church of Saint Paul.

Bele Doette began to build her abbey,
Which became very great, and now she will be abbess.
She will want to attract there all men and women
Who for love know pain and suffering.
Ah, how great is my sorrow!
For you I will become a nun in the church of Saint Paul.

Return to 2013 Jukebox Letter, Return to Yulegoat Letter

Lyrics: Bele Doette as fenestre se siet (as sung)

Bele Doette as a fenestre se siet.
Lit en un livre, mais au cuer ne l'en tient:
de son ami Doon li resovient,
Q'en autres terres est alez tornoier.
E, or en ai dol!

Unes escuier as degrez de la sale
Est descenduz s'est destrosse sa male.
Bele Doette les degrez en avale:
Ne cuide pas oir novele male.
E, or en ai dol!

Bele Doette tantost li demanda:
- Ou est mes sires, que ne vi tel pieça?
Cil ot tel duel que de pitie plora.
Bele Doette maintenant se pasma.
E, or en ai dol!

Bele Doette s'est en estant drecie.
Voit l'escuier, vers lui s'est adrecie.
En son cuer est dolante et correcie
Por son signor, dont ele ne voit mie.
E, or en ai dol!

Bele Doette li prist a demander:
- Ou est mes sires, cui je doit tant amer?
- En non Deu, dame, nel vos quier mais celer:
Morz est mes sires, ocis fu au joster.
E, or en ai dol!

Bele Doette a pris son duel a faire:
- Tant mar is fustes, cuens Do, frans debonaire!
Por vostre amor vistirai je la haire,
Ne sor mon cors n'aura pelice vaire.
E, or en ai dol!
Por vos devenrai nonne en l'eglyse saint Pol.

Por vos ferai une abbaie tele:
Quant iert li jors que la feste iert nomeie,
Se nus i vient qui ait s'amor fauseie,
Ja del mostier ne savera l'entreie.
E, or en ai dol!
Por vos devenrai nonne en l'eglyse saint Pol.

Bele Doette prist s'abbaie a faire,
Qui mout est grande et adés sera maire.
Toz cels et celes vodra dedanz atraire.
Qui por amor sevent peine et mal traire.
E, or en ai dol!
Por vos devenrai nonne en l'eglyse saint Pol.

Return to 2013 Jukebox Letter, Return to Yulegoat Letter

Lyrics: Le Roi d'Aquitaine - Lyrics (English)

A grey duck, a blue duck, a white duck...
The grey one walks behind the the blue one ahead.
The white one is the biggest, I'll sell it for twenty francs.
The blue one is quite small, I'll sell it for six francs.

The King of Aquitaine,
if he comes to the market
to serve the queen,
he'll send for me.
The King of Aquitaine
will take my hand.
Too bad for the queen,
tomorrow.

A grey prince, a blue prince, a white prince...
The white one has rubies, and the blue, diamonds.
The grey one has his crown and his sword at his side.
The blue loves me the best, and I love best the white.

The King of Aquitaine,
if he comes to the market
to serve the queen,
he'll send for me.
The King of Aquitaine
will take my hand.
Too bad for the queen,
tomorrow.

Return to 2013 Letter, Return to 2014 Letter

Lyrics: Le Roi d'Aquitaine - Lyrics (as sung)

Un canard gris, un canard bleu, un canard blanc...
Le gris marche derrière et le bleu va devant.
C'est le blanc le plus gros, je le vendrai vingt francs.
Le bleu est tout petit, je le vendrai six francs.

Le Roi d'Aquitaine,
s'il vient au marché
pour servir la Reine,
m'enverra chercher.
Le Roi d'Aquitaine
me prendra la main.
Tant pis pour la Reine,
demain.

Un prince gris, un prince bleu, un prince blanc...
Le blanc a des rubis et le bleu des diamants.
Le gris a sa couronne et son épée au flanc.
Le bleu m'aime le mieux et j'aime mieux le blanc.

Le Roi d'Aquitaine,
s'il vient au marché
pour servir la Reine,
m'enverra chercher.
Le Roi d'Aquitaine
me prendra la main.
Tant pis pour la Reine,
demain.

Return to 2013 Letter, Return to 2014 Letter

Lyrics: Lili Marleen / Death is a master from Germany (English)

Underneath the lamplight, by the barrack gate,
Darling I remember the way you used to wait;
'twas there that you kissed me tenderly
and you loved me, you'd always be
my Lilli of the lamplight, my own Lilli Marlene.

Time would come for roll-call, time for us to part,
Darling I'd caress you and press you to my heart;
and there 'neath that far-off lantern light,
I'd hold you tight, we'd kiss goodnight,
my Lilli of the lamplight, my own Lilli Marlene.

Underneath the lamplight, by the barrack gate,
Darling I remember the way you used to wait;
'twas there that you kissed me tenderly
and you loved me, you'd always be
my Lilli of the lamplight, my own Lilli Marlene.

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at noon death is a master from Germany
we drink you at sundown and in the morning we drink and we drink you
death is a master from Germany his eyes are blue
he strikes you with leaden bullets his aim true
a man lives in the house your golden hair Margarete
he sets his pack on to us he grants us a grave in the air,
he plays with the serpents and daydreams
death is a master from Germany.

Return to 2013 Letter, Return to 2014 Letter

Lyrics: Lili Marleen / Death is a master from Germany (as sung)

Beid der Kaserne, bei dem großen Tor,
steht eine Laterne und steht si noch davor;
dann wollen wir uns weiderseh'n,
zu zweit bei der Laterne steh'n,
wie einst Lili Marleen.

Unsre beiden Schatten sah'n wie einer aus,
daß wir lieb uns hatten, das sah man gleich daraus,
und sollte dir ein Leid gescheh'n,
werd ich bei der laterne steh'n,
wie einst Lili Marleen.

Underneath the lamplight, by the barrack gate,
Darling I remember the way you used to wait;
'twas there that you kissed me tenderly
and you loved me, you'd always be
my Lili of the lamplight, my own Lili Marleen.

Unsre beiden Schatten sah'n wie einer aus,
daß wir lieb uns hatten, das sah man gleich daraus,
und sollte dir ein Leid gescheh'n,
werd ich bei der laterne steh'n,
wie einst Lili Marleen.

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at noon death is a master from Germany
we drink you at sundown and in the morning we drink and we drink you
death is a master from Germany his eyes are blue
he strikes you with leaden bullets his aim true
a man lives in the house your golden hair Margarete
he sets his pack on to us he grants us a grave in the air,
he plays with the serpents and daydreams
der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland.

Return to 2013 Letter, Return to 2014 Letter

Lyrics: Så stille kan det verta (English)

(Please bear in mind that I do not speak a word of Norwegian - this translation is courtesy of a friend, who is also not Norwegian, but used to live in Norway, so if you're in a position to do so, please do jump in and offer corrections.)

A heart can be so quiet
It can beat so quietly
A heart can be so still
It can be so still

And once again in the morning
Open and at rest
I am released from panic
And that gnawing feeling [an idiomatic expression, lit. that firm, sad claw]

A heart can be so quiet
It can beat so quietly
A heart can be so still
It can be so still

And the nights are easier
Full of peace
One can sleep without nightmares
Against expectation, the down period is good for me

My voice can speak without revealing myself
I can bear the funeral and the celebration [ie sadness and happiness, the extent of emotion]
For I have run out of tears
I've finished with pretending
I'm finished with hiding myself

A heart can be so quiet
It can beat so quietly
A heart can be so still
It can be so still

And once again in the morning
Open and at rest
I am released from panic
And that gnawing feeling

It could be that everyone had it right,
The aloof and the wise, who said it was easy
But let them be wise
I want to be green
And open myself to life
And comfort myself in my prayers

A heart can be so quiet
It can beat so quietly
A heart can be so still
It can be so still

Return to 2013 Letter

Lyrics: Så stille kan det verta (as sung)

Så stille kan det verta i eit hjerta
Så stille kan det atlså siå
Så stille kan det verta i eit hjerta
Så roleg kan det gå

Og morgonen kjem tilbake
Åpen og i ro
Befrir meg frå panikken
Og den faste, triste klo

Så stille kan det verta i eit hjerta
Så stille kan det atlså siå
Så stille kan det verta i eit hjerta
Så roleg kan det gå

Og nettene dei er milde
Fulle av fred
Og søvnen utan mareritt
Der eg alltid skulle ned

Og stemma mi kan tala heilt vanleg utan brest
Kan tåla vera med til begravelse og fest
For eg er tom for tårer
Ferdig med forakt
Ferdig med å gøyma meg

Så stille kan det verta i eit hjerta
Så stille kan det atlså siå
Så stille kan det verta i eit hjerta
Så roleg kan det gå

Og morgonen kjem tilbake
Åpen og i ro
Befrir meg frå panikken
Og den faste, triste klo

Så får det berre vera at fienden fekk rett,
Dei kiølege og kloke, som sa at det var lett
Men la dei vera kloke
Eg vil vera grøn
Og Kasta meg i livet
Men kvila i mi bøn

Så stille kan det verta i eit hjerta
Så stille kan det atlså siå
Så stille kan det verta i eit hjerta
Så roleg kan det gå

Return to 2013 Letter

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