常時英心:言葉の森から 1.0

約10年間,はてなダイアリーで英語表現の落穂拾いを行ってきました。現在はAmeba Blogに2.0を開設し,継続中です。こちらはしばらくアーカイブとして維持します。

live (from) hand to mouth

ウェラーのインタビューの続きです。特に歌詞に関して本人の口から言及している箇所なので、しっかり読みたいです。ウェラーの歌詞は(というよりも当時のバンドやシンガーの歌詞を読んでいると共通して見いだせるけれども)、子供の時の記憶や周りの状況などからインスピレーションを受けていることがわかります。ウェラーの出身地であるサリー州ワーキングは、サッチャリズムの影響で、都市部との収入格差が広がっていました。

そこで赤字のlive hand to mouthという言葉が使われています。このlive hand to mouthは、「その日暮らしをする」という意味で、ご存知のことと思います(『ジーニアス英和辞典』)。Oxford Advanced Leaner’s Dictionaryですと、live from hand to mouthのかたちで“satisfy only one’s present basic needs (especially food)”と定義されています。こちらの定義の方がイメージしやすいかな、とおもいます。さらにa hand-to-mouth existenceなどの表現もありますので、こちらも抑えておきましょう。(Othello)

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How we made: Paul Weller and Bruce Foxton on Town Called Malice | Music | The Guardian

I had most of the lyrics before we started the song, but they were just words written down in a book at that point. They're partly about Woking, where I grew up, which had always been a depressed place in a way. That line "rows and rows of empty milkfloats dying in the dairy yard" was directly influenced by Woking, where there was a milk yard. The "ghost of a steam train" is about my childhood, because we lived close to the station, and I could always hear the trains shunting about at night. Those suburban images were very strong in my mind, and a lot of people connected with it. "Cut down the beer or the kids' new gear" was about how people were struggling and had to make decisions about what to buy. Even before the 80s, a lot of people were living hand to mouth. I remembered my mum and dad: I don't think the swinging 60s ever hit Woking. They were forever rowing about not having enough money. By the mid-1970s onwards, it was fucking depressing, really. The Heath government had been brought to its knees by the unions; I think that was the root of Thatcher dismantling the power of the working class and trade unions.

Malice was our third No 1 [for three weeks, in February 1982], which I thought was very deserving. It's one of my best songs, lyrically and in terms of what it means to people. I think it's still relevant. I don't think things have moved on too much since. I started playing it again because it's a great song – it's also entered the realms of being a great folk song. When we play the opening bars, you can't help being swept along.