Benedicto’s “O aparato”

familias-viendo-televisión-pasadoThis is a funny Benedicto’s song, from his 1979’s LP Os nomes das cousas (The name of the things), where the great Galician songwriter makes a wise critic about the television in a swing music style. I guess the most of the things that Benedicto is talking about are so known all around the world: consumerism, manipulated information by the interested groups, inegnuousity of the audience (that sometimes become into faith), consciensce numbing, etc. Anyway, in the Spanish society of the last 70s, it has its social importance: after the years of economical development of 50s and 60s, it was considered as a social backwardness not to have one of those wonderful apparatus:

O Aparato

No meu pobo hai unha rúa
nesa rúa hai unha casa
e na casa pasan cousas
pasan moitas cousas raras.

Disque en lugar preferente
xunto á figura dun santo
coma se unha iglesia fora
hai agora un aparato.

Adornado de puntillas
ben limpiño con plumeiro
seica nos días de festa
zúmbanlle o botafumeiro.

O aparato deste conto
asemella un bicho-caixa:
ten dous cornos, tamén rabo
por diante moita cara.

Ó tocarlle nunha orella
sutilmente preparada
asubía moi finiño
bota a falar e non para.

Debe ter falar moi sabio
ou falar en lingoa estraña
porque cando o bicho empeza
alí todo o mundo cala.

Ten monecos que se moven
sempre dentro da súa caixa
e por moito que lles miren
eles nunca a vista baixan.

Dice que mira por todos
que por todos é mandado
debe ser corto de vista:
do goberno é noticiario.

Trapalladas non lle gostan
as verdades sempre canta
se di que mañán non chove
hai que saca-los paraugas.

Conselleiro da familia
a felicidá sinala:
pode estar na lavadora
na botella ou nunha laca.

Dádo-los tempos que corren
como as cousas van moi caras
el discurre xa por todos
e a cabeza así non gastan.

No meu pobo hai unha rúa
nesa rúa hai unha casa
e na casa pasan cousas
pasan moitas cousas raras.

The apparatus

In my town there’s a street/ In that street there’s a house/ and in the house happen things/ happen a lot of funny things.// As they say, in a preferencial place/ beside a saint’s figure/ as it were a church/ now there is an apparatus.// Adorned with laces*/ quite clean with the duster,/ perhaps on holidays/ they buzz it with the botafumeiro.// The apparatus of this tale/ look alike a box bug:/ it has two horns, also a tail/ in the front it has a large face [Alt. it has very cheek (see note below)]**// As it’s touched its ear/ laid subtly/ turn up very gentle/ start to talk and doesn’t stop.// It musts to have a very wise talking/ or a talking in a strange language/ because as the bug starts/ everyone there shut up.// It has puppets that move/ always inside its box/ and although the more they are looked/ they never look down.// It sais that it looks after everyone/ that it’s told by everybody/ It musts be weak-sighted:/ of Government it’s the news bulletin.// It doesn’t like the lies/ it always sings the truths/ if it sais tomorrown shall not rain/ it’s better to take the gamps.// Family’s adviser/ it points happiness:/ it might be in the washing machine/ in the bottle or in a hair spray.// In view of the actual times/ as the things are very expensive/ it already thinks instead of everybody/ and so they don’t waste their heads.// In my town there’s a street/ In that street there’s a house/ and in the house happen things/ happen a lot of funny things.

Benedicto García Villar

* An old Spanish practice, actually into abeyance: mothers and grandmothers used to decorate the TV machines with homemade laces and curious figures.

** I don’t really know if Benedicto is making a kind of wordplay between the literal meaning of to have a large face, talking about the TV screen, and the figuratively way in Galician (and Spanish) of to have very cheek. So I let the meaning to eanyone’s choice.

Spanish translation:

One response to this post.

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