Remembrance

To borrow an idea from radio, specifically the current incarnation favoured by Planet Rock (Rob Birnie’s show begins with the Planet Rock Connection every weekday morning), and to mark the date, as it should always be commemorated, here are eight songs connected by a theme. The primary theme of my track selections is obvious, but there is something else that all bar one of these songs share in common. Can you identify what that is and spot the odd one out? (Clue: You will need to be familiar with the lyrics.)

– Black Sabbath, ‘War Pigs’
– Iron Maiden, ‘Tailgunner’
– The Kinks, ‘Some Mother’s Son’
– Metallica, ‘One’
– Pink Floyd, ‘The Gunner’s Dream’
– Status Quo, ‘In the Army Now’
– Wishbone Ash, ‘Warrior’
– Neil Young, ‘Living With War’

Please forward eight of your own, using a suitable theme to bind them, ideally keeping in mind the significance of this anniversary: 92 years since the signing of the armistice which ended the Great War, the horrors of which should never be forgotten and which inspired the great poet, Siegfried Sassoon, to write this short yet agonising poem, published in 1918, among so many brilliant others:

‘Suicide in the Trenches’

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain;
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

He also wrote, in ‘Aftermath’, published in 1919:

Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you’ll never forget.

I would not wish for it to be misconstrued that I write either in support of, or to glamorise, war in its various ugly guises. I do not care in the least which television presenter chooses to pin a poppy to his or her chest in respectful remembrance or not (be it for the benefit of audience or conscience). Simply, and hopefully without condescension, I desperately do not want anyone to overlook the severity of the fact that tens of billions of innocents have followed orders and paid with their lives before they’d had a chance to live them. Is there any greater tragedy than that? So, please, look up. Two minutes of co-ordinated silence, duly observed yet doubtlessly interrupted fleetingly by other invasive thoughts, is all well and good; but what those poor souls went through, the unimaginable hells that have claimed such ‘youth and laughter’ alike, and what many continue to experience to this day beneath the flags of all nations, deserves an awful lot more than that.

If you have a particular piece of writing in mind (it doesn’t have to be poetic) from the period of the First World War, or the many conflicts which have followed it, do share. Ditto a film or a play or a painting. All were created to stir our emotions.

If you’d like to hear your eight connected songs over the airwaves, you can submit them for consideration; as you know, everyone can listen to Planet Rock online.

Thank you for allowing me to preach a little.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour's official blog, The Blog ('Features' previously being its rather naff title), affectionately - or lazily - shortened to 'FEd'.

83 thoughts on “Remembrance”

  1. There is good story about a war, written by Leonid Andreev, called “The Red Laugh”.

    Here you can read it in English. Maybe it will be interesting to someone.

    1. Oh, by the way…

      This is about another war, of course… The translation is in comments.

      I know a lot of good songs, stories and films about the war 41-45. But they are in Russian language.

    2. Where would we be without the Russian soul? Spacebo, Anoska! 8)

      I only know a handful of words, but I love the Russian arts, cinema, history, food, etc. My husband is even more involved from the language – literature side. Thank you for this.

  2. I desperately do not want anyone to overlook the severity of the fact that tens of billions of innocents have followed orders and paid with their lives before they’d had a chance to live them. Is there any greater tragedy than that?

    No it is not, especially if you consider the pain that their families had to suffer.

    It’s a mystery to me, why people still believe in wars for peace… They are not drying wet cloths by putting them into a bucket of water, but they shoot at each other to live in peace. I must be an idiot not to understand this!

    Sorry FEd, important as it is, this topic is so sad (my grandfather died in WWII, I never saw more than a snap shot in the family album), I won’t add any songs to the list.

    Kind regards

    Taki

    1. Sorry FEd, important as it is, this topic is so sad (my grandfather died in WWII, I never saw more than a snap shot in the family album), I won’t add any songs to the list.

      Understood, Taki. I don’t have the heart to, either.

      My condolences… from a fellow idiot. 🙂

    2. Taki, Fed, I completely agree with you both in the sentiment that war seems so idiotic. (Everyone surely wishes for world peace and freedom from want. Seems like an oft quoted and meaningless phrase now doesn’t it?)

      I think though, when we say that type of thing, maybe those people who have gone to war may think their sacrifices have not been appreciated. I absolutely agree that war is not glorious at all. Their heroism and willingness to defend their country is glorious and noble.

      I feel that, unfortunately, there will always be wars because someone will always try to take something that does not belong to them, from the meek. If people do not defend themselves from such people, how will they survive? They can run away, no blood shed, there comes a point surely when you have to stand and fight back.

      Do we tolerate antisocial behaviour? We do to a point. War is the outcome of the aggressor’s antisocial behaviour on a massive scale.

      I’m not saying war is good. We wish there was no need to fight back though.

      I understand you both too when you say you don’t have the heart, we should talk about it though to keep the memories alive because if we don’t we will too easily put aside the horrors and forget that war is the last resort. I don’t think we should brush the subject aside because it is too horrific for us to contemplate. That is the us that have not been in a war. We should know about it and imagine the horror so that we will endeavour to go to war only as a very last resort.

      That said, I do enjoy Rob Birnie’s quiz too, even had my name read out twice for getting the connection.

      ash (sorry to have rambled on so much)

    3. I won’t add any songs to the list.

      Why? I think, it’s not just for a fun.

      It’s for people who must always remember WHAT the war is. If people will remember it, maybe they will not do it anymore.

    4. Fair and important points about never being allowed, or allowing others, to forget, no matter how unsettling it is to remember or to try and imagine the horrors experienced by past generations; certainly shared at the time of writing the post itself if not when it came to thinking of other examples of how conflict has been expressed through art (which often seems an entirely pointless and needlessly tiresome exercise, I know).

      Do we tolerate antisocial behaviour? We do to a point. War is the outcome of the aggressor’s antisocial behaviour on a massive scale.

      On a different note, then… I saw a documentary last night called Would You Save a Stranger?. As the title suggests, it was about real-life examples of people intervening (or not) when witnessing violence towards strangers in public places. Apparently one in three (Brits) admit that they would certainly not get involved in an attempt to protect a stranger from harm. Quite interesting – and available here to some of you, if curious. (It dragged on a bit, offering no real conclusion beyond how each individual case study reconstruction personally affected you, but was thought-provoking enough to not require one.)

    5. To ash:

      I respect your opinion, but I can’t imagine a more antisocial behaviour than dirty old men, sending young people to war. Even if they survive they are crippled emotionally for their lives (and their families, too). War is not multiplied behaviour of individuals, but well organised killing of masses. If one individual misbehaves, we have laws, police and courts, we do not get a gun and start shooting…

      I’m realistic enough to understand that the killing will never end, but what I can do is not to support it, by any means. I have no easy solution here, the way is hard because others must be convinced to live in peace and that’s not always easy. Stop selling guns and stuff would help a lot. Also boycotting companies that produce them helps…

      BTW: I’m not for brushing anything aside, I just said, that I’m not in the mood to search for songs.

      Thanks for commenting!!

      Taki

    6. To anoska:

      Well, I’m just not in the mood to search for songs, while having to think about war. I’m your opinion that the topic is important, and I never assumed FEd was having any kind of fun posting it.

      As a child my mother never let me to play war with wooden (later on, plastic) guns, as most of the boys did in the neighbourhood that time. She explained me how her father (my grandpa) died in WWII and her experiences as as 6 years old refugee and since then I loathe war and everything connected to it.

      Best regards

      Taki

    7. “Would you save a stranger?”

      I’d like to think I would, because it is a noble thing to do. I think the reality is, most of us think twice before intervening because we have to weigh up the risk to ourselves. (That said, we all would help whenever we could. Look at what we do to help when disasters strike.)

      I read some interesting articles a few years ago about the benefits to individuals of altruistic behaviours. With regard to humans, it was believed the behaviour evolved because helping others in time of conflict or famine, allowed them to survive and others reciprocated. The benefit to the individual was survival to pass on their genes, the benefit to the group was insurance against conflict and famine. Humans are altruistic. Our closest animal relative, the chimpanzee, demonstrates altruistic behaviour so it is a very long standing trait. I hope we are not evolving a new one.

      However, modern life makes us think twice. If we felt we could depend upon the ‘group’, I bet more of us would intervene.

      Such a terrible story about the girl attacked on a bus. Some young people appear to have gone mad. Maybe we need to step up the level of force used to prevent such behaviour from propagating because ASBOs and detention for a couple of weeks don’t work.

      ash

    8. war is the outcome of the aggressor’s antisocial behaviour on a massive scale.

      But who may decide which side is aggressor? Usually each side in conflict thinks that the aggressor is another side.

      Would You Save a Stranger?

      Indifference is most evil.

    9. If we felt we could depend upon the ‘group’, I bet more of us would intervene.

      Going back to the main topic…

      The cynic in me considers the current setup the perfect breeding ground to produce yet more willing recruits capable of killing someone from safe distance, though. We don’t trust, we don’t need to help on an individual basis, we don’t even need to care; but with a group of like-minded people to depend on, intervening is suddenly easier, particularly when in uniform and carrying weapons.

    10. The cynic in me considers the current setup the perfect breeding ground to produce yet more willing recruits capable of killing someone from safe distance, though.

      I was thinking the same thing in reading through this thread.

      It suits society that so many of us are oblivious to other people’s suffering. That can only mean the perfect cannon fodder for army generals and politicians.

      My feelings are the same as Taki’s.

    11. But who may decide which side is aggressor? Usually each side in conflict thinks that the aggressor is another side.

      Maybe I haven’t thought about enough modern conflicts or who apparently started it, but I think an aggressor in a war would be defined as, for example, the one who invaded another’s country. Or the one who sent missiles to another country. Or one who decided to move the borders between countries to gain valuable growing land. These are ‘off the top of my head’ examples.

      I think if you take it down to its most basic level, it is taking something from someone which does not belong to you that is an aggressive act. You might let them get away with it if it is a little thing, you might be able to negotiate for the return of the item or to share or other terms, if the ‘thief’ won’t cooperate or indeed does it again despite your pleas or warnings, you have two choices: let them do it, or fight back.

      Scale that principal up to two countries. It’s not just fisticuffs in the street then or throwing the thief in jail for six months, if negotiations fail, it’s war.

      I haven’t thought about all possible scenarios Anoska, these are just my ideas. 🙂

      ash

    12. Taki, if you read my other comments you will see that essentially, we do not disagree.

      When I spoke of antisocial behaviour, I was making a simplified comparison. If a thief steals something you give him a warning, second offence fine him, give him some education on why it is bad, third offence fine again plus very severe warning, fourth offence, put him in jail.

      If a neighbouring country performs an antisocial act such as invading and stealing land, there may be a few options: ask them to withdraw, offer to sell the land. If they refuse your attempts at negotiation or do it again what do you do? You can let them have the land. You lose valuable arable land though. Then they advance to take more. What do you do? Allow escalation?

      I really feel as a species we should talk about war, about how terrible it is, if song can be used to convey this important message, why not also use song? We use song to teach so many things. We really must not allow it to be forgotten how terrible war is then we will remember to only go to war as a very last resort. That’s all I meant Taki.

      I didn’t mean to imply you were brushing aside the topic Taki, I apologise if that’s how it came across.

      ash

  3. There is so much good literature, film and music on the topic of war. My favorite writing about war is the novel “Slaughterhouse-5” by Kurt Vonnegut. It is about the absurdity of war and the serious effect that war has on people. It is a very powerful book.

    My favorite song about war is from DSotM, “Us And Them.” For me, the title alone says what one needs to know about the motivations for war. Without “us and them,” there’s no war. Another favorite war song is Stevie Wonder’s bitter “Higher Ground.” And The Byrds’ “He Was A Friend Of Mine.” And Peter Paul & Mary’s “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”

    Film: Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” and Tim Robbins’ “Jacob’s Ladder.” Also, the film “Johnny Got His Gun.” This trio of films, each in its own inimitable way, paints a very disturbing portrait of the horrors of war and the effect of war on the people who go through it. And no discussion about war films is complete without mentioning Steven Spielberg’s brilliant “Saving Private Ryan.” This may be the most powerful film I’ve ever seen on any subject at all.

    1. Tim Robbins is exceptional as the tortured Vietnam veteran. Actually, I think he’s been exceptional in everything I’ve seen him in. What a talented actor he is.

      I’m troubled by Saving Private Ryan and by Spielberg in general, really. I can’t decide if I want to commend (for its no-holds barred depiction of the Normandy landings, which was a slaughter, and therefore shows war for what it really is: something you wouldn’t wish anyone to experience ever) or criticise (for its mushy over-sentimentality and even vulgarity in parts).

      That opening sequence, however, combined with horribly effective sound effects, is the most harrowing introduction to any film I’ve seen. Maybe that’s all that matters?

    2. Spielberg is a flawed film maker, to be sure, and a lot of his films leave me wanting more. They do have a way of being mushy. “Private Ryan” goes there about mid-way through. But the beginning and the end of this film are very powerful, so I count it as a great film. As is “Schindler’s List,” made just a few years earlier. That is kind-of a war film, as for me it is hard to separate the Holocaust from WW2. Maybe that’s because I’m American and we got into the war late, and for the wrong reasons, but our presence had the effect of ending the Holocaust.

      A more recent war film that really makes a statement is “The Hurt Locker.” War is a powerful drug.

    3. A more recent war film that really makes a statement is “The Hurt Locker.”

      Haven’t seen that one yet, but will look out for it; thanks for the recommendation, Dan.

      Schindler’s List was incredibly powerful. Two great films, I would have to agree.

    4. “Full Metal Jacket” is great film.

      And I like “Apocalypse Now”.

      But I don’t like absolutely “Saving Private Ryan”. 😐

    5. Hey,

      Remember the quote in “Schindlers List”: If you save only one persons life, you save a whole world.” (Don’t know if it is said correct in English.)

      And the final scene, where the descendants of the survivors, that he saved, puts stones on his grave.

      This spring when me and my family visited the concentration camp Sachsenhausen just outside of Berlin, it all came to life for me, when we saw many grave monuments with small stones on them… these people were not just names or a number in some statistic, they were sons, fathers, brothers, and someone loved them – and their families are still here.

      Your post really got me thinking FEd: Is there such a thing as a fair war? How about a civil war? A war for freedom? How about the revolutionary wars? Isn’t it always the winner who writes the history?

      :!

    6. I have not seen the classic cut of “Apocalypse Now,” but I did see the more recent director’s cut with significantly more footage and added scenes. It was a very strange film. I loved Martin Sheen’s scenes early on that depict a soldier having a severe mental breakdown, and Marlon Brando’s character having come back from just such a breakdown and no longer choosing to follow orders.

      Yes, this is a great antiwar film.

  4. Thanks Fed for Remembering.

    I attended our ceremony and heard an incredible speech someone gave, saying, imagine if all the deceased of all countries including soldiers, family and children were to pass a cenotaph. It would take a year and more since many are still perishing every day.

    Powerful thought indeed. 🙁

  5. I’m sorry I couldn’t identify what your songs shared in common. But reading the lyrics gave me an idea for these ones:

    – Pink Floyd, ‘Jugband Blues’
    – Michael Jackson, ‘Earth Song’
    – David Gilmour, ‘On An Island’
    – Alain Bashung, ‘Madame rêve’
    – Metallica, ‘One’
    – Pink Floyd, ‘Sorrow’
    – Green Day, ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’
    – John Lennon, ‘Imagine’

    (Clue: You need to read the lyrics. Think of the famous speech that Martin Luther King made in he ’60s, calling for racial equality and end to discrimination.)

    Fernand Léger – French cubist painter – was fascinated by the ‘Great War’ (I don’t like this expression). He left us some non conventional, disturbing but interesting drawings and paintings like this one and this one.

    1. Ah, I see. ‘Dream’, or a variant of the word, is mentioned in the lyric.

      I guess the odd ones out are Green Day and Alain Bashung, as these are the only ones to include the word in the song title as well?

      OK, I give up.

    2. That’s OK. ‘Dream’ in the lyrics.

      But you asked for THE odd one out, not TWO. Don’t you know I’m very docile and obedient? 😉

      Only one odd one out: ‘Madame rêve’, just because ‘rêve’ is also ‘dream’, but in French. Hmm… I know, it’s not very good.

    3. I didn’t get all the songs Michèle, but I soon realised that your connection was different names for the devil. 🙂 I found this to show you (Fed, I hope this link works, it looks every bit as formidable as the subject).

      I’ve actually seen this piece and the picture doesn’t convey the size or how truly formidable the sculpture is. It is both beautiful and terrifying at once, there is a menace about it. Scary.

      I also found this by the same sculptor. 😉

      ash

  6. Too easy, so you’ll have to fill in the blanks, too. 😉

    1 – ‘_____’s Bells’ – AC/DC
    2 – ‘_____ Rejected My Soul’ – Morrissey
    3 – ‘_____ Sam’ – Pink Floyd
    4 – ‘What _____ Wants’ – Roger Waters
    5 – ‘_____’ – Puppetmastaz 😉
    6 – ‘The Number Of The Beast – Iron Maiden
    7 – ‘Am I _____’ – Danzig
    8 – ‘_____ Inside’ – INXS

    Not sure if the odd one out is really an odd one out, though. 😉

    1. Well, I needed the two links to confirm my suspicion, and will have to pass on the Morrissey title, as what I know about Morrissey can be written on the back of a postage stamp (or the front, if you’re fond of resisting subservience to royalty). Assuming that Morrissey also uses one of the Devil’s many names, the odd one out is God.

      Brilliant song, by the way.

      “What God wants, God gets
      God help us all”

      Am I right and what do I win? Please be money.

    2. No money.

      You win my esteem and a big ‘Wow!’, which is much more precious than any money, don’t you agree? :))

      #2 was ‘Satan Rejected My Soul’ and don’t worry, I had to cheat to find that one. 😉

  7. Something I would like to share is a famous Italian movie, “La grande guerra” (“The Great War”), by Mario Monicelli.

    I don’t know if it’s known outside my country (Wikipedia says it is), but I think it’s worth watching.

    1. About WWI, I would recommend the films:

      ‘J’accuse’ directed by Abel Gance (the title coming from the famous ‘J’accuse’ by Emile Zola about the Dreyfus case). The final scene is incredibly moving.

      ‘La Grande Illusion’ by Jean Renoir. A classic.

      I have also heard of ‘La bataille de Verdun’ as being a very powerful and realistic movie, but never saw it.

      The review of these movies can be read here.

    2. Alessandra,

      “La grande guerra” is indeed magnificent. A real must-see.

      Another personal favourite is Roberto Rosselini’s “Roma citta’ aperta” (Rome, open city), again a raw no-frills, almost documentary, filmed in 1944 in a Rome still full of gaping wounds. Extraordinary actors in both films.

      Bella xo

    3. “La Grande Illusion” by Jean Renoir is a very beautiful film.

      “Roma città aperta” is also a great movie, one of my favourites, too.

    4. Another I’d recommend is the German film Der Untergang (Downfall), directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel with Bruno Ganz as Hitler in the final days of the Reich. It captures the claustrophobic doom of impending defeat so effectively and covers the erratic mood swings, the likely Parkinson’s, the poor boys sacrificed as one last futile attempt at holding off the Soviets, the tragedy of the Goebbels children, the mixed emotions (guilt, relief, denial) of all those remaining in the bunker following Hitler’s demise as they elected to either commit suicide or try to escape through the ruins of Berlin.

      The bravest and most brilliant film I’ve sever seen, I’d go so far as to say. It leaves you with many questions.

  8. I had occasion to visit a hospital where some war injured soldiers are patients. Whilst waiting outside for the taxi I had ordered, I got chatting to patients who are allowed out of the ward for fresh air (this was during summer).

    Some young men came and joined us, one had several metal rods through his upper arm all held in place by a metal cage, another young man had an electric wheelchair controlled with a joystick by his right hand. He had lost both legs above the knee and his left arm above the elbow.

    It made me think.

    Both these men were less than thirty years old. The severely disabled man will live for the next fifty years, (I’ve purposely put a figure on that to help us remember that that is 18250 days), with pain, with memories of playing football, walking, making his own meals, washing himself. He will probably never have a job, he may get a pension from the army, he may get compensation, he’s never going to be rich or have the opportunity to get rich. All his benefits and pensions will be spent on the care and support he will need for the next 18250 days. He probably hasn’t realised all this yet, he was obviously so glad to be alive.

    Eventually however, I fear a depression will set in if he realises he actually lost the life he should have had.

    I was dismayed to see a protest against what poppies represent, freedom of speech in a free country was won by war dead and maimed.

    ash

    1. He will probably never have a job, he may get a pension from the army, he may get compensation, he’s never going to be rich or have the opportunity to get rich.

      You know, it’s not so bad. In some countries pension and compensation are so negligible, that invalids of war must to work to have a piece of bread or just to panhandle. And it’s after what they did for their country.

      How could they be patriots after that?

    2. True Anoska. Some countries do not for whatever reason, look after their disabled ex-service men and women. Yes, you do wonder how they could remain patriots. I don’t think any service man or woman thinks about that before they enlist in the armed services.

      The only way to stop ALL wars and fighting all over the world, is for ALL service personnel to stop doing what they do. Forever. That is never going to happen. The reality is, people will seek to protect what is theirs because someone else will always seek to take it from them.

      ash

    3. The only way to stop ALL wars and fighting all over the world, is for ALL service personnel to stop doing what they do. Forever.

      The only true way to stop ALL wars and fighting all over the world is to kill all people. 🙂

      But I hope that is never going to happen.

    4. :)) Yes Anoska!

      The scary part is that we do have the ability now. Fed, we should have a discussion sometime about the good things we could do with our big human brains to prevent wars.

      ash

  9. I think this song Prospekt’s March by Coldplay, explain well concept of war.

    Smoke is rising from the houses
    People burying their dead
    I asked somebody what the time is
    But time doesn’t matter to them yet
    People talking without speaking
    Trying to take what they can get
    I ask you if you remember
    Prospekt how could I forget?

    Drums!
    Here it comes
    Don’t you wish that life could be as simple
    As fish swimming round in a barrel
    When you’ve got the gun?
    Oh and I run

    Here it comes
    We’re just two little figures in a soup bowl
    Tryin to get behind some kind of control
    But I wasn’t one

    But here am I on my own in a separate sky
    And here I lie on my own in a separate sky
    I don’t wanna die
    On my own here tonight
    And here I lie on my own in a separate sky

    1. I’d never seen the ‘Army Dreamers’ video before, although I did think of the song in drawing up my list, along with ‘Pull Out the Pin’ (for which David provided backing vocals, of course).

      Just one thing in it: me or him?
      And I love life
      Pull out the pin

      What do you think of the ‘Army Dreamers’ video? The blink of the eyes in time with the sound of each gun reload is particularly evocative, I feel.

  10. Another great movie about war, in my opinion: “Born on the Fourth of July”, by Oliver Stone.

  11. Guillaume Apollinaire, the war poet par excellence, penned his incandescent “Poems and Letters to Lou” from the trenches of WWI.

    “La nuit descent
    On y pressent
    Un long destin de sang”

    (“Night falls; one can predict a long destiny of blood” – the first letter of each line spells her name.)

    War stories rarely end well. My grandfather was a bit of a rogue and had a son with a German lady around the time my father and his brother were born. All three were called up on different sides of the WWII conflict. My German uncle was a beautiful, gentle boy, a pianist and a poet. “Mutti,” he wrote his mother, “when I shoot I am afraid of killing my brothers.” He died, 22 years young, on the Russian front. The brothers, meanwhile, had joined the Free French (London, de Gaulle, North Africa) and ended up in Syria, where, it must be said, they had a ball. The senselessness of war in one family alone.

    Was that terrible war in vain? I don’t think so. The thought of a Thousand Year Reich with continuing holocausts of all kinds of “categories” of people (gays, Jews, gypsies…) deemed “bothersome” is too chilling to consider. We may not have known each of their sweet young faces but we remember and honour everyone of them.

    Love,
    Bella xo

    1. And let’s not forget Jean Giono who, in his novel, ‘Le grand troupeau’, not only describes the horrors of war in trenches, but also the awful (physical as well as moral) conditions of life – if we can call it a life – that civilian people (and even animals, hence the title, I presume) had to endure in the villages (here, in a Provençal village, on the front line during the First World War).

      It’s a powerful account of the terrible effects of war on a whole community.

      I think it’s called ‘To the Slaughterhouse’ in English.

    2. One of WWII’s most unforgiving battlegrounds, the Russian front.

      It’s really truth. I heard a lot of stories about Stalingrad and about hunger in besieged Leningrad. This is so terrible that I even don’t want to spoil your mood.

  12. I appreciate any information about Mr. David Gilmour and Syd Barrett time expending on Formentera Island at the time the movie “More” was filmed by director Barbet Schroeder in 1969, the movie sound score was a great P.F. work.

    There is any Mr. Gilmour photo on the island???

    Actually I prepared an article for a Spanish newspaper about Syd Barrett, David Gilmour and the other Pink Floyd members and their relationship with Formentera Is. (Spain) – here.

    Sincerely,
    P. Martin

    1. I have no information or insights about the 1969 visit to which you refer. But Nick Mason’s book “Inside Out” details a visit there in 1967 where the entire band went along with Syd to seek professional help for him.

      The book describes a stormy night during which there was lots of thunder and lightning, and Syd was literally trying to climb the walls of his hotel room.

  13. I think though, when we say that type of thing, maybe those people who have gone to war may think their sacrifices have not been appreciated.

    You know, taking this down a different alley (blame Kate Bush and ‘Army Dreamers’ if you must), I don’t understand those who so loudly complain that anti-war sentiments – expressed in any way, shape or form – are an unforgivable attack on the soldiers serving or those who have served. Isn’t it better that we would want them to stay safe: by ensuring that they’re well-equipped for any given situation, provided with the very best training and guidance, and preferably never sent into harm’s way unless absolutely necessary? If I were a soldier, I think I’d much rather that be the view of the general public; I’d hate to think that nobody really gives a damn whether I return home in one piece or several just as long as The Nation has something to collectively feel proud about somewhere down the line.

    I wonder if many in the military don’t actually find more revulsion in the ‘smug-faced’ crowd ‘with kindling eye’ that Siegfried Sassoon wrote of.

    What do you think? (No offence intended; I’m genuinely curious.)

    1. You want my opinion, FEd?

      It is not the individual soldier that’s criticised, it’s war and military as an organisation. I believe that all those soldiers lying dead in their graves or elsewhere, or those who were wounded didn’t like their part in this evil game and I wonder if the living ones really do, because I think that most of them in the line of fire, did not choose that profession by intention.

      I wish politicians or their children were forced by law to join battles for wars they approved. I wish the same politicians would have to talk personally to each mother of a killed soldier.

      To answer your question: yes, I want all the soldiers safe (also the enemy’s, too) and they are safe with no arms of any kind in their hands.

      Best regards

      Taki

      BTW: I noticed that I can’t choose the “mobile” theme/view on my cell phone any more. Was that intended?

    2. OK, have thought a bit more, I should tell you where I got that idea from Fed. During a conflict 20 years ago, there was an appeal for parcels for our soldiers, ” not receiving much mail from home.”

      People all over the country responded, we were asked to fill a shoe box with toiletries, sweets, loo roll, music tapes etc.

      I received a thank you letter from a soldier and we struck up a pen friendship until he arrived back home safely. 🙂

      One of the things he told me was that all the anti-war sentiment worried him, he said he was doing his duty and he felt people didn’t understand. I think he and his fellows felt that people were anti them for what they were doing. I dunno, this was the impression I formed of what he said. I wonder if soldiers’ confidence gets shaken?

      He told me he’d seen things no one should ever see.

      I think as well, war changed an innocent youth into an old man with haunting behind his eyes. I wonder if soldiers don’t like talking about what happened because they feel people who haven’t experienced it, won’t understand. (Mercifully, both my grandfathers survived the Great War, my father in law survived WW2. None of them liked to speak about it though.)

      Maybe this is what made Sassoon seem to write bitterly about the crowd’s reaction. Maybe he didn’t know the crowd was wishing the troops well and a safe return or cheering that they had returned safely because by the time he returned, his view of what it was all about was very different to the view he had before he left therefore different to the crowds’ view.

      I think his writing makes you think about what troops go through emotionally and that can only be a good thing.

      I dunno, have I gone off the track?

      ash

    3. I wish politicians or their children were forced by law to join battles for wars they approved. I wish the same politicians would have to talk personally to each mother of a killed soldier.

      I’m with you, Taki.

      Did you ever see Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11? The reaction to his trying to enlist the children of members of Congress, so that they could join the war effort in Iraq, was unforgettable. The look of sheer disbelief on some of their faces was priceless.

      BTW: I noticed that I can’t choose the “mobile” theme/view on my cell phone any more. Was that intended?

      No. I’ll fix this now.

  14. Apparently one in three (Brits) admit that they would certainly not get involved in an attempt to protect a stranger from harm.

    Last October a man attacked a woman at Roma Anagnina underground station.

    It seems only one person intervened to stop the man who was moving away, while the passing people just pretended to ignore the woman on the ground.
    She went into a coma and died a few days later.

    The video is so scary that it seems unreal.

    I don’t think the lack of responsibility is enough to explain such an inhuman and antisocial behaviour. Fear is the key, in my opinion. People have become so afraid of strangers that they can’t even help them when they’re in need.

    This kind of irrational fear can’t be natural.

    I agree with Michael Moore and the others before him, when they say the governments and mass media promote the “Culture of Fear” to manipulate people’s behaviour and political consensus.

    That’s exactly what’s happening here with the immigrants. We make them work (underpaid) where and when we need them, but they’re treated like the enemy and considered dangerous anyway.

    By the way, the woman attacked at the station was Romanian.

    1. Unbelievable footage, Alessandra.

      I read yesterday that nearly half of all 11 to 16-year-olds in the UK witness bullying either on the way to, or from, school. 47 per cent of those who see it do not report it. The majority of those who do not report the bullying they have seen say they did not do so because they believe that it was none of their business.

      School bullying ‘goes unreported’ (Daily Mirror, 15 November 2010)

      How worrying that young people should think it none of their business when they witness something that they clearly know is wrong.

    2. How worrying that young people should think it none of their business when they witness something that they clearly know is wrong.

      I also think it’s worrying.

      Privacy should never be confused with this kind of “couldn’t care less” attitude, but isn’t the society itself teaching them (and us all) that if they mind their own business they’ll be stronger and they’ll have a successful life?

      Besides, such an indifference seems particularly strange in young people. If they are so unemotional in adolescence, I’m afraid to imagine what kind of adults they’ll become. 8|

    3. Thinking again about what you said, FEd, are we sure these episodes of violence are perceived as wrong by the young people, actually?

      Reading the (Italian) sample surveys on secondary school students, it seems more than the 80% of them has been (one time, at least) a victim of violence both outside the school and in the classroom/other school areas.

      I wonder if it still makes sense to treat the bullism (or any other phenomenon) as a deviant behaviour, when the percentages of the victims become so high.

      Maybe, the young people’s indifference in front of the episodes of violence is not only a consequence of their selfish education, but also indicates they’ve got quite used to these kind of behaviours and to violence in general and that’s what we should worry about, first.

      Who’s to blame about that?

      I’d definitely put the mass media (much more the TV news than the video games or Marilyn Manson, in my opinion) and their use of violence as a way to increase the audience at the top of my list.

      Sorry if I took so long to explain myself and if I went off topic. It’s a very interesting subject.

    4. Inside school, when we, teachers, witness bullying, violence and want to stop it, for example, to separate pupils fighting hard for some reason, we always get this kind of reply (OK, often in a more polite form), even from the one we think is the victim:

      “What? What’s the problem? Leave us alone, we are just playing.”

      All is said, I think…

  15. I looked for the lyrics of your eight songs, FEd, and I’m not sure about the odd element, but it seems to me they’re all anti-war songs, except Wishbone Ash “Warrior”, that, if I didn’t misunderstand, speaks proudly enough of being soldiers and conquerors.

    Just an hypothesis. 🙂

    1. That wasn’t what I was thinking of exactly, but you’re correct… I think. (I’m not sure about the Wishbone Ash lyrics, either.)

    2. It’s probably not what you were thinking of, but I noticed that all the songs’ lyrics mention ‘weapons’ used during WW1 or WW2 (‘war machine’ – ‘bomb’ – ‘gun’ – ‘landmines’ – ‘remote control’ – ‘grenades’ – ‘rockets’ and ‘bombs’), except Wishbone Ash’s ‘Warrior’ which mentions the word ‘sword’.

      A consolation prize for trying hard? 😉

    3. Michèle, you’re so close, but ‘Warrior’ is not the odd one out; ‘War Pigs’ is (as its lyrics include no specific weapon as such).

      I like your suggestion better, actually. Well done. 🙂

  16. The Metallica song “One” that you mention in the intro has an incredible video. I was wondering if anyone ever saw the movie that is interspersed in that video. I believe it was called “Johnny Got a Gun.” Of course the message that Metallica delivers is quite powerful and the video does support that message. I was just wondering if anyone saw the movie and if it is considered a good movie.

    Thanks.

    Andrew

    1. Andrew,

      I know about a movie called “Johnny Got His Gun”. It’s about war, so I think it might be the same that features in “One”. This is what Wikipedia says about it.

      I also like that footage, but I’ve never seen the movie anywhere here.

    2. “Johnny Got His Gun” is a very powerful film, a rather disturbing film that really puts you in the shoes of a person who has lost his identity (physical as well as emotional), and has also lost any ability to communicate because of war.

      THERE is a film that makes a strong case against war!

  17. The first song that comes to mind is this – sang by a minister in our parliament.

    The second one is a song called “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” – here. My favorite version is by the Bushwackers from the album “Beneath the Southern Cross. Tthis is another.

    So that’s three from the not so great war.

    This song was first called “A Walk In the Light Green”. Now the hair on my arms are starting to stand up.

    Cold Chisel – Khe San.

    Now back to the Minster of schools – here.

    Two to go…

    This and this.

    Sorry FEd, I hope you don’t think this is spam, but in the ’80s and ’90s the Oils were very passionate about this subject.

    So with a tear in my eye and a quenched fist I say, I have a right to vote freely, don’t anybody try and take it away from me.

    1. The Midnight Oils have been a well kept secret. I’ve never heard them before Snow so thank you for the links, I enjoyed them. Pity they are not performing anymore.

      I read one of the comments on YouTube from an environmental scientist who was pleased Peter Garrett had been elected as he is a keen environmentalist too. 🙂

      It’s great when someone who really does care gets elected, you feel like you can trust them more. Peter is obviously doing it for the passion of it rather than financial gain… I’m guessing he’s already made a fortune as a rock star.

      ash 🙂

  18. Just want to add that it’s very easy to declare oneself “anti-war” (as I also do today, of course) in times of peace (in one’s own country).

    For example (and with no hard feeling to anyone here, of course, I know that many of us – myself included – have a sad story linked to war), when a country is invaded and oppressed, is there any other solution for the nation than enter the war to recover freedom?

    Thanks to all the people – dead or still alive – who helped us in the past to keep free those ‘green fields of France’ (Cheers, Paul). I’m not a poet, I never felt myself part of “smug-faced crowds with kindling eye”, I’m just grateful to you all.

    Sorry if I couldn’t express myself very well in English. Hope I won’t be misunderstood, it’s why I hesitated to join the discussion.

  19. Don’t know if anyone saw, on TV, the memorial services at Coventry Cathedral on Sunday.

    Well, I wasn’t there – all too religious for me. However the place was all open till midnight so instead I went for a wander round at about 11:30pm.

    I was on my own for most of the time. It was lovely and peaceful – and cold. Quite different I guess to how my father described the area when he had to go and help extinguish the fires.

  20. War and Peace. History ticks away through their gravitational pull.

    I’m personally drawn to this topic through a family tie: a Great Uncle on my husband’s side was a member of the AEF 32nd Division during World War One. I spent countless hours with a trunkful of mementoes and family stories. A priceless experience.

    He fought in France and lived to tell the tale. In his honor (also in honor of WWII veterans), and in honor of The Final Cut which I love), my garden is planted in Flanders’ Field Poppies.

    So here’s a haiku I wrote in honor of my soldier:

    Wild poppies flutter
    Crimson flags, ribbon bunting
    Memorial breeze.

  21. Hi Fed and all.

    We can all bang on about how wrong war is. Yes, most wars are, at the top for me is the 1st World War (absolute criminal), but the 2nd World War was justified. It had to be to crush Hitler. I honour all who fought and died for my freedom: British, American, Russian, and last but not least, my Grandfather who is 92 and still alive to tell me the tales.

    And for all those people who were murdered in the Holocaust, I will never forget.

    My song is Us and Them.

    Damian.

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