Monday, 20 May 2013

The Legend of Emilie

Emilie's House
On the hill overlooking the harbour their stands a house, where before the great war lived a young artist named Emilie.

Emilie moved  to Tempelhof straight out of art school, and even though was an outsider her quick wit and charm was very appealing to the community and she was quickly accepted by the locals as one of their own

Although Emilie was never really that well known to the greater public, she was very skilled and she did have a reputation locally and in the art world for creating the most memorable paintings of the Tempelhof area, particularly of the residents and the village of Tempelhof itself.

Bar on harbour front
Emilie's work was very popular in the village and she was considered somewhat of a local treasure, always friendly and with a whimsical sprit.  She enjoyed spending a lot of her time "people watching," as they worked in the harbour and the theatre, on a weekend late in the evening she would go down to the bar on the harbour front, and just sit and watch people interact as they drank.  Occasionally Emilie was known to sing with a local folk band there. Emilie did not have a strong singing voice, but was considered very memorable,  her voice has been described as a musical whisper that was enchanting to those who heard. 

Emilie spent quite a bit of time talking to fishermen at the harbour and became quite interested in the sea and talking about how she wanted to capture the "Emotion of Ocean." She spent ages painting the sea from all different directions on Tempelhof, the most wonderful scenes of the sea, but she was never satisfied with the results no matter how much people praised them.

Emilie came to the conclusion that the only way she could really paint the sea was to understand it better, so one day Emily simply took a small boat and went out to sea with her painting kit, while out the sea started to get choppy and the fog rolled in taking Emilie from sight of the shore and Emilie was never seen again.

Many local residents claim that on certain days when the sea is rough and the fog rolls in you can  still hear Emilie's whispering song in the wind.

While Emilie's paintings never became that well known, the story itself inspired the song "Emilie."

As a special offer "Tempelhof in SL" offers a free copy of a record of the song Emilie with the purchase of this edition. (Click the Youtube link below)


This story was actually inspired by this song which was written and performed by "The Box" a French Canadian (Québécois) band that mostly performs in English and was from the album "Closer Together." The lead singer Jean-Marc Pisapia was an early member of Men Without Hats (you may remember them from the song "Safety Dance"). He recruited guitarist Guy Florent and bassist Jean-Pierre Brie for the band, The band was originally known as Checkpoint Charlie before settling on the name The Box.

This song may be far from everyone's taste but as a child I found it very moving and emotional and so I wrote this story as an excuse to share the song with you. 

Special thanks to Clyde Barrow for finding this song online for me.  



  1. Clyde Barrow here..

    I have heard Emily.

    I live above the Unsink Bar which sits right on the waterfront. Some few months ago I found myself unable to sleep. A good walk out to the lighthouse and back can set that right, so there I was. I would put the time at about 3:30 am. It wasn't cold, oddly enough, foggy yes, but a gentle warm breeze fluttered over the pier boards, which is terribly uncommon anytime of the year. The oddness of the tepid breeze created a dream like quality to the moment. Just as I was noting to myself how weirdly warm it was a silence broke over the docks. This is not only uncommon it is impossible! We are talking about crashing waves smacking the narrow walkways since time immemorial.

    Frankly I would not believe it if I hadn't been there myself. Was I dreaming? No, no way, I didn't just pinch myself, I shook and stamped my feet to feel the ground under me. I was there alright, bathed in warmth and eerie silence. That is when I heard it. It sounded like an old music box wound loosely, a chiming quality slow and soft. But there were words... can a music box sing? A record player then! That must be it, someone is playing a record. No. record players cannot approach .. the sound, the voice was moving towards me. I just FROZE. My mind stopped grabbing for answers. I just stood. Still.

    The whispering, singing voice was now inside of me. That is the only way I can explain it. It began in the distance ... moved closer, but was now ... inside.

    "Will you like a painting, will you pose for me? Beauty, love and passion, taken by the sea" A woman's soft and lovely voice sang. The melody so simple and eternal that I could have sung along without ever hearing it before.

    Then as quick as gunshot - a crash, and the splash of salt water and wind broke the spell.

    I was left alone by the cold and thunderous sea.

    I swear it to be true. It happened. To this day I have never forgotten the lyrics, melody and sadness of that moment.

    "Will you like a painting, will you pose for me? Beauty, love and passion, taken by the sea"


  2. Interesting, however we know about you bohemian types with your absinthe.

    1. Ah, absinthe. My offer of drinks still stands lovely lady.