Last walk through Copenhagen

Ooh, Copenhagen hipster Dan Turèll wrote a poem called Gennem byen en sidste gang, translated by Thomas E Kennedy as Last walk through the city – see the multimedia presentation, lacking only the thing på dansk.

Written in 1977, a version with composer Halfdan E was recorded shortly before Turèll’s death in 1993. Googling reveals that the poem is a school standard, a sort of Stop all the clocks for Denmark.

Re the translation, perhaps it’s because I know Danish and Copenhagen, but translating place names really grates. West Bridge? What? Only the fourth most hip neighourhood in the world (this week). And what is a serving house? Is it an American thing? I’d expected the Danish to be bodega, but it turns out it’s værtshus. What’s wrong with ‘pub’?

Update, 31 July: turns out that TEK translated the placenames as it took him four years to get his head round them. I have a certain sympathy with this as it was several years before I linked Vestamager metro station with Amager – I though it was Vesta-mager. Apparently American readers like the translations, although Danes find them hilarious.

Here’s Dan’s reading with shots of CPH before it got tidied up:

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