Friday, 29 April 2016

Z Aberdeen

It's Polski Piątek! If you think that is boring, click away now.

Last night's class was eclectic. We asked each other questions about the homework reading, and we listened to a passage about doves. We reported what we thought was said in this passage; I was not very good at this. The young woman married to a Pole and one of the half-Poles were the best. We watched an online Polish lesson about ways in which to express your opinion, from the strongest version of "I am convinced that" to the helpless "Nie wiem" (i.e. I don't know.) We also watched another Big Cyc video. This one is called "Aberdeen", and naturally we dwellers in Scotland found it highly amusing.

The relationship between Poland and Scotland--and the rest of the UK--is an interesting and not always happy one. Horrible Lloyd George didn't like the new independent Poland of 1919 because thought it simply shocking that Catholic Poles were ruling over Poland's Protestant German minority. Wah, sniff. I'm sure an argument can be made that anti-Catholicism played a role in the debacle of 1939 although personally I blame the French generals and I think the Poles should, too. Quite a few Poles blame the British, which I think is unfair, except re: the Treaty of Yalta, and even then Roosevelt was more to blame. Should you ever wish to pick a fight with a Pole, this is a good theme.

Anyway, after 1939 and after the fall of France, the Free Polish government and a gazillion Polish troops (for the Poles never stopped fighting) fled to the UK, and 30,000 Polish troops ended up in Scotland  to guard the coasts from Jerry. More famously, Polish flying aces helped win the Battle of Britain. However, the Treaty of Yalta and the communist takeover of Poland meant that many Poles couldn't go home. Emergency immigration provisions were made for Polish servicemen so that they could stay safely in the UK. Speaking generally, they were not very happy about this. However, they hunkered down and often married local women and fathered little half-Poles, including the half-Poles in my Polish class who were not taught Polish as children and are sad about it.

That was the first wave of Polish migration to the UK. The second wave followed Poland's entry into the EU in 2004. A million Poles turned up, much to the surprise and dismay of native Britons. Many Poles discovered that the roads, although in better shape than their own, were paved only with tarmac and went home. They were replaced by other young Poles attracted by adventure and higher pay than they would get at home.

 In Scotland, most of the jobs available--as I found out when I went to the career centre--are in retail, the restaurant industry, fruit-picking and domestic service, i.e. "care-giving." Therefore, you can come from a reasonably comfortable (and usually intact) home in Poland with a university diploma and find yourself, like the hero of the song, washing dishes in a "horrible pub."  Of course, this is really no different from the Canadian uni grad who takes up domestic service, i.e. "au pair work", in France except, of course, for the weather.

In this song, the Expat Pole is addressing his girlfriend. (It's unclear if she is in Poland or in some sunnier and more southern part of the UK.) My translation is a tad rough-and-ready. The music is at the bottom.

 Aberdeen (Big Cyc)

Tam gdzie dyplom był w szufladzie    When the diploma was in the drawer
leży bilet Ryanair                                 [I got] a Ryanair ticket 
Wolne miejsce na zmywaku                 and [found] a job at the kitchen sink
w podłym pubie Crazy Bear                 in a horrible pub called Crazy Bear.
choć pisałaś romantycznie                    Although you wrote romantic things,
poczuj móż północnej łzy                     feel my northern tears.
możesz całkiem bezboleśnie                 You can entirely painlessly
znać Sherlocka Holmesa sny                 dream dreams of Sherlock Holmes.

Deszczyk kapie trzeci tydzień           It's been raining for three weeks,
rośnie szklanek brudnych stos          there's a growing pile of dirty glasses.
a Ty nadal tu na wyspie                    and you're still here on the Isle
z chudych kur gotujesz sos                cooking sauce from a skinny chicken.
komp już warczy całą dobę               The computer growls around the clock.
moje maile topią sieć                         My emails are melting the internet
i samotność wali w głowę                 and loneliness beats my brain.
smak Twych ust oddala się                The taste of your lips is deserting me.


Twój słodki pocałunek ma smak londyńskiej mgły

Your sweet kiss tastes of London fog.
jest jak irlandzki Guinness                 It's like Irish Guinness.
jest jak szkockie Aberdeen                It's like Scottish Aberdeen.

Twój słodki pocałunek ma smak irlandzkich pół 

Your sweet kiss tastes like an Irish field.
jest jak londyńskie Soho     It's like London's Soho. 
jak niebo w Liverpool         It's like a Liverpool sky.

na na na na
na na na na
na na na na na na na na

Gęsta mżawka nad Hyde Parkie  [There's] thick drizzle over Hyde Park. 
spada, niczym siwy dym              It rains like you've never seen.
nasze serca tak daleko                 Our hearts are so far from each other.
czuje, że ty byłaś z nim               I feel that you were with HIM.
komp już warczy całą dobę        The computer is growling 24/7.
moje maile topią sieć                  My emails are melting the internet
i samotność wali w głowę          and loneliness is beating my brain.
smak Twych ust oddala się        The taste of your kiss is departing. 

Oh dear, poor chap. The tune is rocking, however.

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