Khahali Khuzd re Khafeleki Tûm

It’s been unreasonably hot of late (maximums hovering around 40° for the last three days), which means that I’ve found it rather difficult to sleep. I’ve tried what I often do under such circumstances which is to stay up watching weird, late night TV until I can barely form a coherent thought (La Brea seems interesting, at least when horribly sleep deprived) then crawl into bed in the hopes of passing out, but it never actually works, so I’ve spent much of the last few nights tossing and turning while my brain whirls away like a merry-go-round with a broken speed governor.

(Do merry-go-rounds have speed governors? Is a speed governor even a thing? You can tell I’m not all here can’t you?)

Anyway, as I was writing in mental and physical torment last night my brain spat up a really silly idea, which was to attempt a translation of everyone’s favourite Dwarf song – Diggy Diggy Hole – into Khuzdul, the language of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Dwarves.

What do you mean you don’t know Diggy Diggy Hole?! What have you been doing with your life?! Here’s Wind Rose’s version to get you up to speed.

Anyhoo, translating it isn’t quite as crazy as it seems because we don’t really know a lot about Khuzdul words and grammar – which gives me plenty of scope to just make things up!

So I looked up what scraps of the language we actually have, and threw in the Neo-Khuzdul lyrics of The Bridge of Khazad-dûm from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack which helpfully provides a basic grammar and a number of words found in Diggy Diggy Hole despite being wildly different in tone.

And here it is! The first verse and chorus of Diggy Diggy Hole translated into what we might call Neo-Neo-Khuzdul…


FELEKA TÛM

Gûza mêngalaribarâ!
Mênfelakarâ khul!
Mêntakarâ felak lamâ!
Mênorodalarâ khul!
Mâsalani buzra zar
Mak tabandi bazanar
Gilim samil, zigil, nim
Abilul sanzigil bin
!

Mâbala ni buzra
Kûman taranasha mâ
Mâzikada ni aznân
Suruk ni kathalamâ
Paragul kurdumâ
Sanbaragul bishkumâ!
Feleka tamahaldi rûza
Mênorodalarâ gûza!

Khahali Khuzd
Ra khafeleki tûm!
Khafeleki tûm!
Khafeleki tûm!

Khahali Khuzd
Ra khafeleki tûm!
Khafeleki tûm!
Feleka tûm!


Translated back to English…

DIGGING A HALL

Brothers you will rejoice!
Dig with me!
Use our tools and voices!
Sing with me!
Deeper and deeper we go,
No one knows what lies beneath,
Shining gems, silver, gold,
Mithril hidden deep
!

We were born underground,
Nourished by stone,
We grew in the dark,
Secure in our mountain stronghold,
Our skin is iron,
Our bones are steel,
Digging makes us free,
Brothers sing with me!

I am a Dwarf,
And I’m digging a hall,
I’m digging a hall,
I’m digging a hall,

I am a Dwarf,
And I’m digging a hall,
I’m digging a hall,
Digging a hall,


And finally for those who care about such things, a line by line gloss…

Gûza mêngalaribarâ
all-brothers you-celebrate-imperative
Brothers you will rejoice!

Mênfelakarâ khul
you-delve-imperative me-with
Dig with me!

Mêntakarâ felak lamâ
you-use-imperative tool voices-our
Use our tools and voices!

Mênorodalarâ khul
you-sing-imperative me-with
Sing with me!

Mâsalani buzra zar
We-descend-are deeps more
We go deeper and deeper

Mak tabandi bazanar
No-one it-know-are below-things
No one know what lies below

Gilim samil, zigil, nim
Shining gems, silver, gold
Shining gems, silver, gold

Abilul sanzigil bin
hidden true-silver beneath
Mithril hidden below

Mâbala ni buzra
we-born-were in deeps
We were born underground

Kûman taranasha mâ
stone it-nourish-did us
Nourished by stone

Mâzikada ni aznân
we-grow-did in darkness
We grew in the dark

Suruk ni kathalamâ
secure in mountain-stronghold-our
Secure in our mountain stronghold

Paragul kurdumâ
iron-of skin-our
Our skin is iron

Sanbaragul bishkumâ
true-iron skeletons-our
Our bones are steel

Feleka tamahaldi rûza
To-dig it-create-does freedom
Digging creates freedom

Mênorodalarâ gûza!
you-sing-imperative all-brothers
All brothers sing!

Khahali Khuzd
me-be-am dwarf
I am a dwarf

Ra khafeleki tûm
and me-dig-am underground-hall
And I’m digging a hall

Khafeleki tûm
me-dig-am underground-hall
I’m digging a hall

Khafeleki tûm
me-dig-am underground-hall
I’m digging a hall

Khahali Khuzd
me-be-am dwarf
I am a dwarf

Ra khafeleki tûm
and me-dig-am underground-hall
And I’m digging a hall

Khafeleki tûm
me-dig-am underground-hall
I’m digging a hall

Feleka tûm
to-dig underground-hall
To dig a hall


So there you go. I’m done for the day. Mênmahaldarâ lara! (make your own entertainment)

Pigeon Girl

Fly, fly, pigeon girl, my beautiful pigeon girl,
When I see you flying,
I think about the birds in the sky,
But you’re better than them ’cause you’re pigeon,
And pigeon has much nicer eye,

You’re Maltese,
Just like me,
And like Nathan Buck-a-ley,
And you’re also like that other Maltese person,
Darren Gauci,
He might win the Caulfield Cup,
But I don’t mind,
Because,
All in all for me,
You are my pigeon girl,

Fly, fly, pigeon girl,
Fly for me?

Bye-Bye,

This – I hesitate to call it a ‘song’ – was submitted as a theme for the Pigeon Racing segment on Triple J’s breakfast show in the early 2000s, despite the fact that the Triple J breakfast show did not have (and never has had) a pigeon racing segment. It has lived rent free in my head ever since.

A Random Selection of Truly Excellent Lyrics

I drive ’round cities in a chariot,
I get preferential treatment at the Marriott
,
— “Record Collection” Mark Ronson and the Business Intl

The New South Wales right have cocks like mastodons
— “Dicktatorship”, TISM

Now you’re the only one here who can tell me if it’s true,
That you love me, and I love me,

— “Kiss me, Son of God”, They Might be Giants

I don’t think there are any Russians,
And there ain’t no Yanks,
Just corporate criminals,
Playin’ with tanks,

— “The Walls Came Down”, The Call

You see the ANZAC legend neglected to mention,
The mud, the fear, the blood, the tears, the tension,
Dad’s recollection, beyond comprehension,
Didn’t seem quite real until we were sent in,

— “I was only 19”, The Herd

Überheblich, überlegen,
Übernehmen, übergeben,
Überraschen, überfallen,
Deutschland, Deutschland über allen,

— “Deutschland”, Rammstein

Music was a product, now it is a service,
Major record labels, why you trying to hurt us?

— “Download this Song”, MC Lars

I volunteered for the Army on my birthday,
They draft the white trash first round here anyway,
— “Copperhead Road”, Steve Earl

There is no horizon I cannot set my eyes on,
— “The Ocean”, Lemon Demon

God bless the people in New York when they were attacked,
God bless the children being bombed there in Iraq,
God bless the goddamn junkie with a monkey on his back,
God bless everybody under the sun,

— “Something’s Gotta Give”, John Butler Trio

Watching for signs in an empty sky,
We never thought that the rain would fall as the years went by,

— “Children of the Sky”, Mike Batt

Scatman, fat man, black and white and brown man,
Tell me ’bout the color of your soul,

— “Scatman’s World”, Scatman John

I met my bebop baby at the Union Hall,
She could dance all night and shake the paint off the walls,

— “And we Danced”, the Hooters

Tonight,
The sky above us,
Dark and wondrous,
How could you be unsure?
— “Wild Surf”, Ash

An Intimate Relationship with Fossil Fuels

It has come to my attention that there doesn’t seem to be a decent version of the lyrics to the Chasers’ appallingly obscene yet incredibly funny take on our appalling former Prime Minister’s intimate relationship with fossil fuels. I cannot let this stand, so here is my best shot at a transcription.

COAL MAKES ME CUM by DJ SCOMO (THE CHASER)

Fuck you, and your family, and the essential services you rely on,
Right now – as a criminal – the thing I love is corruption,
Fuck you other cunts facing floods and the bushfires,
When disaster strikes I’m ready to go on vacation in Hawaii,

Coal makes me hard, coal makes me cum,
My dick is always hard for coal,
And it’s only getting harder,
Coal makes me hard, coal makes me cum,
But the thing I love about coal,
Is it doesn’t run away in disasters,

All those build up, and when those floods build up, well, we know what happens,
It makes me hard when I think about coal,
New South Wales used to party hard and we endеd all of that,
So we could have more coal, the dеstroying of fun, I want you cunts to know,

I’m a criminal with a capital ‘C’,
I love coal!
I’m a criminal, Mister, Mister, Mister,

I want to destroy the world,

Coal makes me hard, coal makes me cum,
My dick is always hard for coal,
And it’s only just begun,

Bullying, bullying, bullying, and I want you cunts to die,
China, China, China, being racist gets me hard,
It’s Australia’s fault that I’m such a cunt,
This election is a choice,
For the destroying of lives, people would die,
Attention to genocide,

PM I think we’re going to have to move on…

Sure….

Meine seltsame Freizeitbeschäftigung

Have I mentioned my strange hobby of translating Rammstein songs into English?

Jolly Neue Deutsche Härte minstrels Rammstein sure know how to construct a terrifying wall of Teutonic sound, and it’s a lot of fun to fight back against their particular style of sonic assault by singing along. However there’s something unsatisfying about growling out German words that you don’t understand and which no actual German would understand either because they’re not actually German words, they’re just your dime-store impersonation of what it sounds like Till Lindemann is muttering/bawling about.

“IN GOD ARISING VELL MY NAME IS IRON!” – Till Lindemann
(Photo by Sven Mandel)

There are a few ways to deal with this. One – of course – would be to learn German. This however is a lot of hard work for someone as lazy as I am. Another would be to memorise the lyrics of every Rammstein song along with their correct pronunciations, but that would take up memory space that could be more profitably used to store odd facts about the history of London or the exact taxonomical relationships between members of the Latrodectus genus of widow spiders. So I choose the easy route and write English lyrics that attempt to preserve the general meaning of the German ones while fitting the tunes and rhyming in the right places.

This is not as difficult as might be thought. English and German are very closely related, both being members of the West Germanic language family (along with Dutch, Frisian, Yiddish and a few others), which means simple German sentences tend to be about the same length as and use similar words to their English equivalents. Many can be understood right away or with only a few seconds’ thought – for instance…

  • Wir haben ein Problem
  • Hier kommt die Kavallerie!
  • Die Katze ist gut, ja?
  • Hast du Schweinefleisch?
  • Mein Hovercraft ist voll von Aalen!
  • Oh, lass nicht zu, dass die Räder deines Corporation-Lastwagens, der schmutziges Wasser aus Löchern saugt, über einen armen alten Mann fahren!

As such, translating a song from German into English is fairly simple, especially when compared to doing the same for a song from a different language group (I once tried translating a song out of Moldovan and almost died).

So my latest attempt is an English version of the song that taught millions of people the wrong German word for “ten” – Sonne

(I’ve left the counting in German because it’s obvious what it is and sounds so much better than boring old “one, two, three”. Furthermore ‘vier’ sounds like ‘fear’ and ‘sechs’ like ‘sex’, the combination of which sum up Rammstein’s music pretty accurately…)

SONNE by RAMMSTEIN
Translated into (mostly) English by Purple Wyrm

Eins, zwei, drei, vier, fünf, sechs, sieben, acht, neun, aus!

We’re all waiting for the light,
Be afraid but don’t take fright,
The sun is shining from my eyes…

Tonight the sunset will not come,
And the world, it counts along,

Eins!
Here comes the sun!
Zwei!
Here comes the sun!
Drei!
Of all the stars the brightest one!
Vier!
Here comes the sun!

The sun is shining from my palms,
It can burn and blind and harm,
When it breaks out of my grip,
It falls upon your face and lips,

Tonight the sunset will not come,
And the world, it counts along,

Eins!
Here comes the sun!
Zwei!
Here comes the sun!
Drei!
Of all the stars the brightest one!
Vier!
Here comes the sun!

Fünf!
Here comes the sun!
Sechs!
Here comes the sun!
Sieben!
Of all the stars the brightest one!
Acht! Neun!
Here comes the sun!

The sun is shining from my palms,
It can burn and blind and harm,
When it breaks out of my grip,
It falls upon your face and lips,
It forces hard against your chest,
Digs it’s claws into your flesh,
It hurls you down, your senses gone!
And the world, it counts along!

Eins!
Here comes the sun!
Zwei!
Here comes the sun!
Drei!
It is the brightest star of all!
Vier!
And from the sky will never fall!

Fünf!
Here comes the sun!
Sechs!
Here comes the sun!
Sieben!
Of all the stars the brightest one!
Acht! Neun!
Here comes the sun!

Investigators! Mount up!

It’s a clear black night, a place remote,
Robert Stack is on the corner in a pale trench-coat,
Got the mystery cases that remain unsolved,
Robert Stack is gonna lay out some trails gone cold,

He’s got all the reports, tracked the witness down,
Who didn’t think that it could happen in their own hometown,
He’s droppin’ all the facts ’cause it’s not too late,
For Robert Stack and
Unsolved Mysteries to investigate…

(You can blame Crystal and Robert at Re-Enacted: An Unsolved Mysteries Podcast for this… thing…)

Hello Zero

As is my way, I have once again become utterly captivated by a song. This time around it’s Zero by New Zealand’s own Alastair Riddell.

Now, some may say I’m late to the party, the song in question having been released 41 years ago, but I prefer to think of myself as making a deliberately delayed dramatic entrance. In any case I can hardly be blamed for not knowing a song that was only released in a foreign country and which (completely unfairly by the way) utterly failed to make an impact there. In any case it’s making an impact now, on me, and that’s what matters.

It is also my way to – when captured by a song – want to know the words so I can sing along and possibly even dance in an extremely undignified manner. These days this is pretty easy, as the lyrics to every song you could ever want are freely available online. Except it seems those of Zero. In digital terms the song barely seems to exist. This could not be allowed to stand, so I have done my best to transcribe it myself and present it here for the education and edification of the world.

Zero – Alastair Riddell

Zero has a way, she’s often bad,
Plays round, I’m always sad,
She knows what to do,
She’s a royal pilot too, oh,

She stares into my eyes,
Should see her lover’s eyes,
She’s a light above,
A light to guide,
A light,
What she knows,

Commander Zero,
Hello Zero,
I want you Zero tonight,
Won’t you come in on my airwaves?
Commander Zero,
Hello Zero,
A special feeling today,
Well you ought to see the sparkle in her eyes,

Last night I dated Zero,
I wanted her to see,
That as no one else will do,
The one she needs is me,

She laughed and shook her head,
So foolish and serene,
She looked so beautiful,
Her flight suit was in green,

Commander Zero,
Hello Zero,
I want you Zero tonight,
Won’t you come in on my airwaves?
Commander Zero,
Hello Zero,
A special feeling today,
Well you ought to see the sparkle in her eyes,

Zero,
Zero,
No one knows like Zero,
She’s got the world in her hands,
Zero,
What am I going to do?
(What am I going to do?)

Commander Zero,
Hello Zero,
I want you Zero tonight,
Won’t you come in on my airwaves?
Commander Zero,
Hello Zero,
A special feeling today,
With your,
Strange hair and,
Strange eyes and,
That’s why I love you,

Oh-oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh,

Zero!

Oh-oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh,

Zero!

Oh-oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh,

Zero!

Oh-oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh,

A Meal with God

A dozen turkeys,
Fresh orange peel and some veal,
Well kneaded dough and a dozen turkeys,
Do you want to hear about the meal I’m making?

You,
It’s you and me,

And if I only could,
I’d make a meal with God,
And I’d get him to set our places,
Be chopping up that cod,
Be chopping up that dill,
With no problems,

Come on, baby, come on, darling,
Let me seal this doughnut with you now,

Come on, angel, come on, come on, darling,
Let’s exchange the ingredients…

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