Tom Waits never sounded as good in Slovakia as he did at home. Which surprised me, given how poor a country Slovakia remains. Waits is a singer who chronicles the lives of the down and out. He sings about alcoholics and prostitutes, people who either don’t have the money to fix a leak in their shoes or are too drunk to notice it in the first place.
I brought a poster of Tom Waits with me when I moved full-time to Slovakia in 1995. I hung it up in every place I lived, and I loved looking at it as I would go out the door to teach, interview or carouse. But it never impressed anyone I brought home. Any more than a picture of Karel Kryl would impress a Canadian. Some things are impervious to translation, no matter how much emotion you have invested in them.
17. Jan 2019 at 7:55 | Tom Nicholson