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     I finally had some time to do a Weekly Tune but, alas!, had nothing in mind.  Nothing inspired.  Now what am I going to do? I asked myself and then realized that I might as well do the song whose first line asks that very same question, namely Et Maintenant?, by the well-known French singer-songwriter Gilbert Becaud.

     Americans know this song primarily through the Sinatra recording in English, What Now, My Love?, which swings entirely too much to capture the bleak desperation of the original, done by Becaud to a Bolero beat.

     I remember this song very fondly from a scene in the 1974 Claude LeLouche film And Now My Love (Toute une vie) in which Becaud appears as himself doing an interview on the radio.  At the end of the interview, the interviewer plays the LP of the song, and you see the record turning and hear the music and watch Becaud, brooding and smoking.  (The movie came out soon after my stint in France where I too did a lot of brooding and smoking and so this scene tugged at me on many levels.)

      I am neither a Frenchman nor a singer, but occasionally when prodded at parties, I used to sing this because it was the only French song whose lyrics I knew by heart.  I did it as a parody but, at bottom, I really do like the song and its short phrases fit what I like to think of as my natural parlando.  And anyway, in the bleak midwinter, when the mornings do seem to keep returning for nothing, it seemed appropriate to do something morose, and what better, as the old joke has it, than something French?

     Click on the title in red to hear it.  The French lyrics (sorry, sans accents) are below, followed by a loose translation, which differs from the actual English lyrics.

Et Maintenant (What Now, My Love)? 

Et maintenant

Que vais-je faire (So now what am I going to do?)

De tout ce temps

Que sera  ma vie  (With all this time what will  become of my life?)_

De tous ces gens

Qui m’indifferent

Maintenant que tu es partie  (With all these people who no longer interest me now that you have left.)

Toutes ces nuits

Pourquoi, pour qui?  (All these nights, for what, for whom?)

Et ce matin qui revient pour rien? (And the morning that keeps returning for no reason).

Ce coeur qui bat

Pour qui, pourquoi?  This heart that beats, for whom, for what reason?

Qui bat trop fort, trop fort.  That beats too strongly, too strongly.

Et maintenant

Que vais-je faire (So now what am I going to do?)

Vers quel neant glissera ma vie?  (Towards what void will my life slide?)

Tu m’a laissee la terre entiere (You left me the whole world)

Mais la terre  (But the world)

Sans toi  (without you)

C’est petit (is small)

Vous mes amis, soyez gentils  (you, my friends, be kind to me)

Vous savez bien que l’on n’y peut rien (you know that nothing can be done about it)

Meme Paris creve d’ennui (Even Paris crushes with its boredom)

Toutes ces rues me tuent (All of its streets kill me.)

Et maintenant

Que vais-je faire

Je n’ai vraiment plus rien.  (So now what am I going to do?  I really have nothing left.)

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