Barbarians were suffering from silicosis

30 Jul

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I love this song and I love Bernard Lavilliers when the French singer sang for hard working peoples of the Saint Etienne Region (Loire). Himself had been first a work man in steel industry (metal turner) before he began to sing. In he’s own way in this song “the barbarian” he is a health service author.

This album was first edited in 1976 and was he’s fourth album.In this song “Barbarian” he describes life of workers in blast furnaces of the Saint Etienne’s Region where coke mines existed at this time.He evokes occupational diseases like silicosis, and work related injuries (burned hands). He evokes public health concerns like alcoholism (rough red wine).

I myself was at this time one of the middle-class teenager he describes so accurately (dreaming of labour myths). Listening to this song I retrospectively understand a lot of things about my own career.

Since this old time I have never forgotten the lyrics which I will try to translate below:

Barbarians

Barbarians lived in the sharp angles of exiled cities off shores of business world. They riveted their coats of strange star-lights gleaming with madness, death and youth. At night blast furnace cooked its dollars while smoke streamed on our rusted helmets. In the dirty changing-room five minutes are stolenaway from smoke, fire, noise and despair.

[Refrain:] Oh my love take me away, take me away from the industrial site towards countrysides of sorrows, laborless and docility.

They dreamed of tropics, of tropical tropics. Full of thirty degrees hot water and bloody forests. They dreamed of coral, love, hot sand. Epinal sold them pictures of departure. The son of the Boss came visit us, after night club party with pretty women. He looked at us being working and he tried to evaluate the rise of profits curves and the heat of the flame.

[with the refrain]

Middle-class teenagers believing in labour myths, keen union-activists of this moving dream, who would be tomorrow of left-wing party or else living an orderly, tricolor and quiet life, never forgot that in the factory your flag was red. The blackness of our coats gave us dark summers like the flowers of our acrylic trees. We unrolled our chains trying to catch up the rising of love, peace and music.

[with the refrain]

When the bus swallowed its six o clock ration of burned hands, silicoses lungs and rough red wine. We got back emptied and lonely in our kitchens. A smile, a coffee, a shower, nothing moves. The radio chatted up on the lower floor. One felt asleep in the enzyme and the junction of roads. Then our heads plunged towards better worlds while our busy moms saw the deepening twilight.

[with the refrain]

Barbarians lived in the sharp angles of exiled cities off shores of business world. They riveted their coats of strange star-lights gleaming with madness, death and youth. Oh my love take me away, take me away from industrial sites towards countrysides of sorrows, laborless and docility.

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