My point is ...
A Long Zeibekiko for Nikos
« on: 2002-07-28 15:07:40 »
As I couldn't contribute much to the discussion about crime in the mailing list, here is an off-hand translation of a very controversial and memetically virulent Greek song of the 80s by Dionisis Savopoulos, refering to a true incident of the 70s. (There was even a film, called "The Request").
A problem could be that there are several references to Greek recent history and specific subcultures. Feel free to ask factual questions if you need to, but my interpretation of the text will be as good as yours (as a pomo would say).
The song was in the form of a ballad, but it was holding to an unnoticed taint of traditional urban Greek music (rembetica) by keeping the tempo to zeibekiko (9/8) and using bouzouki improvisations in the background. Zeibekiko in this kind of music was a one man dance.
A Long Zeibekiko for Nikos
Well, pen and paper. Dispair has opened a tunnel.
Arcades stuffed in a narrow cell, with glimpses of a blade.
High up, in veils of blood, the moon was making mocking sounds.
He has no hope. He does not seek freedom. Only justice.
He was born at a dirt place near Katerini.
Shadows from an oil lamp sliding behind Hade's screen.
Nikos was the elder. The other one was Demosthenis.
A silend bond, a chilhood picture in another time, set on fire.
His old man was hiding on the mountain since '45,
and the villagers, for fear of the authorities, kept clear of the kid.
So, he was watching them settled in their work, and fury was feeding.
The fury of the trapped between the people and the police.
Until one day, without any baggage, rolling his hole's wheel,
he rolls from Macedonia to Athens, and yet who knows where else?
He'll always reach for the star where no police can reach.
For the castaways, this sky is the underground.
Niko... I can touch your ghost.
Niko... through the subworld of the tong.
Two arrests, six years for theft. I can see him when he got out.
He was keeping a distance from insanity, not to save himself,
but to save insanity, if that makes any sense: He wanted to get married.
They told him: "Come to us to inform." He flatly refused.
To get away from their fury, he escaped to the country,
but wherever he went the message had been received. In Saloniki they smashed him.
Almost stumbling, he returned to Athens. Then they got his fiancee.
They told her things, her parents helped too, until she cut him off.
But he was living totally serious, sleepwalking in a State
which triumphs in an endless shriek: No escape!
He was holding just one secret breath: The gheto of the buzuki clubs.
A deep tableau where ecstasy is still alive.
"I wanna hear", he said, "the words, the voice, and see my little brother rising.
I wanna look at him alone in his dance, and something to happen inside me."
Niko... Doghouse, Saturday
Niko... Full of broken plates
"A request", everyone sitting and waiting, and the loudspeakers anounced it
and all the instrument got in tune for Demosthenis' dance.
As he rose, the dancing floor was crouded. He let out a shout:
"'tis a request", as he saw the evil approaching in large strides.
The floor was now empty, except two cops, who danced with their backs turned.
The boy pushed them with a shout: "This piece is mine".
They threw him down onto shattered glass. He was screaming while dragged around.
A fast forwarded movie, Nikos' life. His brakes were burnt.
Except insanity, he had nothing to hold on, because they had shattered everything.
He rumbles under the spotlight of his darkness in his horrendeous performance
so violently that I am unable to say what happened down there.
The whole drama was performed, I think, in the sphere of the invisible.
He said to himself "Niko, get a hold", but he was already pulling out the blade.
I can see the first one who got hit, bending, holding a police badge.
Three dead, six more injured, screams, "open the door, they'll slaughter us".
While pulling out the boy, he was talking to himself: "You, they can't touch".
Niko... You heady stock.
Niko... What have you done?
Then he went to hide at a friend's, but he felt they'd turn him in.
"I'll get a boat", he said, "sail to open sea, and get drown in a storm."
"They'll get mad, searching for Niko, and finding no Niko."
But as he got out he saw them, like derby dogs, one of them holding the handcuffs.
They were all around, appearing from everywhere. His life was hanging
from a thread which he wouldn't let to them. So he threw a knife
to make the cops kill him, but they just aimed for the legs.
He was crawling and swearing till a restaurant keeper hit him with a plank.
His trial was held in the Bloody November. I wonder if he was feeling it.
The press, anyway, presented him clearly as a bloodthirsty beast.
The same was said by many liberals. That wasn't strange.
Their convention saw in him another threat.
The same was said by many popular musicians to the reporter of a magazine,
But Bithikotsis waves him away and says "Too much trouble to explain to you..."
Nobody wittnessed for him except his employer and his landlady.
The lawyers were saying "An ubnormal psyche! Look at his papers!"
Niko... You blacked out village.
Niko... Who are those around you?
He wrote himself off right away. He said "I must die".
He got into the trouble of the judges, but they didn't get into his.
While he was talking about his life to the deaf. I thought I couldn't stand it.
The court was operating in there, but justice was outside.
In his letters from prison, life was no diferent.
He was suffocating like a mythical beast, here as much as there.
Could this be one shiver further, showing a distance from the drama,
and carrying, like a volatile wonder, the galley of justice?
My art has lived strange moments and knows of justice.
His motives were not lowly. I can see him in slow motion,
like a deity being unchained of its panic and expanding, breaking loose
on the unsuspecting crowds of the fiest that violate its asylum.
Let the queue get longer by spitting on him in rage, trying to shake him
with the straightjacket and the electroshocks. They'll get what they deserve,
driven in labyrinths of nightmare, eternally, with no salvation,
through the cosy slavery of the judge who does not understand.
Niko... It will never be like that
Niko... It is the disease that saves us
As it brings you away from your cell
Niko... To the sky of your music.