Friday, November 26, 2010

Ne me quitte pas

Don't quit me! Don't quit me.

Je creuserai la terre jusqu'après ma mort
pour couvrir ton corps d'or et de lumière.

I'd scour the earth unto my death
to cover your body in gold and light.

The words are so intense, and Jacques Brel sings them with such complete devotion, the result is really a masterpiece.

It took me a long time to translate that first line ("I'd scour the earth unto my death") because the translations I found online didn't work for me. I think the words "scour" and "unto" are key.

I also think "don't quit me" or "don't give up on me" works best for "ne me quitte pas," although most translations seem to prefer either "don't leave me," or "don't go away," or something like that. I think that the obvious fact that "quit" is linguistically tied to the word "quitte", and works just fine in colloquial English, should be observed. (Not sure that it's even all that colloquial.)

This page explains the complexity of translating the phrase "jusqu'après" into English. There is a problem with translating between concepts of time here.

Overall This is the best complete translation I've found, and it does use multiple translations for "ne me quitte pas".

It's true that I was introduced to this song 16 years ago by Nina Simone on Verve Jazz Masters 17, but this version has become my favorite.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Attractive American

2 oz. Applejack
3/4 oz. Campari
1/4 oz. Crème de Violette

Pour over ice, stir well, strain into a cocktail glass.

Applejack is one of the earliest American distillates. It dates back to the late 17th century, predating Bourbon. It's apple brandy, although the 100% apple brandy version is only sold in small quantities. The type I am using is a blend of 35% brandy and 65% neutral spirit (vodka). Today it's sold by the only remaining distiller, Laird's. It's a superb and inexpensive spirit that you should definitely have on your shelf. It can be substituted into many recipes for whiskey, adding an interesting dynamic to old favorites like the Manhattan.

Crème de Violette was until recently considered to be a dead ingredient. It is now sold at many good liquor stores, and one bottle will probably last you a decade or two... or three. A little bit goes a long way and there's not a lot of recipes that call for it, although it is a divine spirit.

I garnished this with a lemon twist, spraying the oils onto the surface of the drink, but I'm not sure it really needs that. The bright yellow provides a nice contrast to the dark, wine colored drink, but spraying the oils should probably be avoided because the drink works perfectly as is, although it's also good... hm.