Pipes of Peace

One of the songs you’re more than likely to hear squashed somewhere between Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ and Tom Petty’s ‘Christmas All Over Again’ – all over again – today, tomorrow and throughout the remaining Christmas holiday, should you celebrate it or otherwise find yourself forced to endure it, is this one – from Paul McCartney:

As much as the festive charm that oozes out of Little Saint Nick, Pretty Paper, Mistletoe and Wine is a major part of whatever Christmas is these days, and as much as I enjoy it, you can always rely on a Beatle to give us something more profound. In this case, paraphrasing the Nobel laureate poet (playwright, philosopher, painter…) Rabindranath Tagore*:

“In love, our problems disappear.”

Isn’t that lovely? All you need is love, and all that.

The song’s video recreates the celebrated truce during the Great War, where hundreds, if not thousands, of men on the Front Line briefly ignored their non-negotiable duties to nations, royalty and flags and agreed to a ceasefire on Christmas Day, 1914. (You might care to read some of the letters from British soldiers which have been painstakingly transcribed by volunteers to get a sense of just how extraordinary this day must have been to those involved.) After exchanging modest gifts and singing songs, retrieving casualties for burial with assistance from those responsible for their deaths, some even played football in the barren landscape of No Man’s Land. When you consider the horrors of this most hellish war, that such compassion could be shown is remarkable.

And I’m sure you’ll agree that the song itself makes up for ‘Wonderful Christmastime’, with its horrible synthesiser and tedious ding-dongs.

Anyway, I leave you for the final time in 2011 taking, I hope, encouragement and inspiration from events of almost a century ago. For if battle-weary men given such great responsibility, sent to a most unforgiving environment to kill or to be killed can show love for their enemy, why can’t we all make an effort to be nicer to everyone around us? Maybe many of our problems really would disappear if we tried.

Thank you so much for another year of good company and conversation, for your patience and your humour. Have a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and, especially if 2011 hasn’t been the easiest, may all of life’s contradictions dissolve in 2012.

*Another of Rabindranath Tagore’s great many spiritual insights, and one I particularly like: “Trees are Earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.”

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’.

30 thoughts on “Pipes of Peace”

  1. Perhaps there’s hope for humanity after all.

    Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

  2. Best wishes FEd for a happy Christmas and New Year.

    Very best wishes to David and family for Christmas and the New Year.

    Love and best wishes to all our fellow bloggers around the world. May the new year bring us all closer to peace.

    Deepest regards.


  3. Thanks for sharing this video. What a great reminder of the REAL meaning of this season. It also is a very fitting tribute here in America to the weary soldiers returning fom the war in Iraq, even if it was never intended as such. We hear a lot about the horrors of war and the devastation it brings to the soldiers who must fight them, which is very fitting, but not so much about the good memories that the soldiers may return with. Even the worst events have a lighter side, such as the bonds of friendship with those we meet along the way. This serves as a reminder that even in the hell of war there is beauty to be found.

    I am grateful to the soldiers who fight for our freedoms, even if I disagree with war and its leaders. Let’s always remember that the soldiers are human and that the war is not of their making.

    Thanks, FEd, for this video at this time.

  4. From across the pond, in Canada, in the Nation’s Captial, Happy Christmas. Thanks for all your contributions to the blog, and to all the readers across the world.

    And Merry Christmas to Mr. Gilmour and family. Thanks for the music. 🙂


  5. Oh it’s snowing! 🙂

    What a beautiful reminder of the important things in life – no matter how dark times may be, love and kindness, even thinly spread, will light the way.

    Wishing you, your loved ones, the Gilmour family and all fellow bloggers the Merriest Christmas sprinkled with peace, love and joy. Here’s to a stellar 2012!

  6. merry christmas fed and happy holidays to all from a scot in the states. i’m in the pacific north west and am surrounded by some of the most magnificent trees i’ve ever seen, and if you ever get a chance to see the redwoods and the mist entwined, there are few sights so otherworldly and so perfect. so ancient and vibrant at the same time.

    wishing peace to all and bring on the new year, come what may.

  7. Hello!

    Merry christmas to all DG- and Floyd-Fans here! Have some relaxed days with family and friends.

    All the best for a peaceful and lucky year 2012.

    FEd, many thanks for your work. It’s always interesting to read here. Good luck for continuing in 2012.


  8. Dear Mr. Gilmour,

    my name is Leandro, I´m 27 years old and I´m a huge fan of all your works. Unfortunately, I have never seem one of your concerts. There are thousands of others, who really dream about an opportunity to have your show in Brazil.

    Please Mr.Gilmour, make one of our dreams come true! Come play in Brazil!!!!!

    Happy new year for you, the band and your family.

  9. Thought you may like to know. I inherited a pocket watch from my Grandad which was my Great Grandad’s watch which he had on him at the Battle of the Somme.


  10. Christmas was smashing! I have a nativity scene that was bought when I was born. Well, my grand daughter got baby Jesus, took him to the bathroom and baptised him in the toilet… hallelujah!!!

  11. 😀 Touché; Happy new year David. Tampa, Florida, sends hugs to you and Polly.

    Any live dates for the USA?

  12. En France aujourd’hui, 29 Décembre, c’est la Saint David. Alors, Bonne Fête, M. Gilmour! Tchin!

    Aussi, bien-sûr, je vous présente mes meilleurs voeux de bonne et heureuse année 2012, ainsi qu’à votre famille.

    Enfin, un grand merci pour continuer de laisser FEd animer ce merveilleux blog à sa guise. Que du bonheur. 🙂

    1. À l’époque de St David au Pays de Galles est le 1 Mars.

      Happy New Year, Michèle.

      Ma grammaire pourrait ne pas être correct, mais je suis amoureuse de cette Traduire Google. Je peux même traduire mes paroles en chinois et japonais du personnage.


  13. Thanks for a nice positive post. Living in England I don’t have to deal with such horrific Christmas songs as “Little Saint Nick” (for some reason we seem to stick with the classics). I have never actually heard this song before though but it is beautiful, from an often forgotten part of our history.

    All the best to you in the new year.

  14. Dear David,

    The sound of your guitar and voice moulded my early years and defined a large part of who I am and where I’m headed. Where our generation stands permits us a panoramic view of what lies ahead as well as behind us because we grew up in a time and space where music is a mind teaser and a reflection tool. It still is and always will be, as art is timeless and evergreen, materialized and poured onto us by enlightened people called artists. Your concert in Athens back in the 80s was a defining moment of my life. I was so lucky to have been there to see the magic and feel the energy.

    As for the trees, that was too close. Since childhood I thought of them as visual prayers to earth’s creator.

    Happy and fulfilling new year.

  15. Happy New Year everyone!!!!!!!!

    It has been 6 years ago to the day since I first posted on the blog. Where has the time gone Fed? It was the Five Favourites entry and I put in the following:

    1) Mihalis
    2) I Can’t Breathe Anymore
    3) Wot’s…Uh the Deal (Obscured by Clouds)
    4) The Gold It’s In The (ditto)
    5) Wish You Were Here

    A new list would be pretty similar with 1, 2 and 4 still there. A new number 3 would be A Saucerful of Secrets and 5) Dogs.

    Do you think this will start new rumours Fed? 😉

    Cheers, Howard

    1. Personally, I think they’d all sound great at the Olympics. 😉

      On a serious note, in case anybody missed my tweet from earlier this week or reference to it, David has denied there being any truth in this latest reunion rumour. He will not be performing at the London Olympics.

  16. I just wanted to say Happy New Year’s and that 2012 will be a great year for you, FEd.

    Take Care,

  17. Great thought to carry into the new year…and every day. Many thanks and love!

  18. one of the pink floyd albums that has not been heard so much is the final cut. still up to this day i freeze in my set and space out when i hear it. no other album can ever say so much about war. my only intent about writing this blog is to say the voice of david gilmour and his performance can never ever be matched by any one else on this album.

    maybe there is an old hero somewhere by southhampton dock that dreams for us all? and may it make our world and each one of us a better person.

  19. 😀 – Hey FED:

    I am here in the Brazilian coast and send my next year message – my warmest hugs and wishes to you and your family, a new year of many accomplishments, dreams, and why not say, many many many many shows.

    🙁 I’m a little pessimistic to say the human beings needs more love but I believe that each one has its way – just go through it.

    And dream of saying to conduct a tour of Latin America and include Brazil, of course. I will show you wonderful places in my beautiful land. Deal?

    I wish you the best in 2012.


    ORLANDO GOMES (From Brazil)

  20. Thanks for leading such a stimulating blog FEd and introducing me to the BRMC.

    I must admit that I’ve always found Paul McCartney’s work difficult to get into but I do agree with the underlying sentiments of his more serious songs. I’ll have a go at listening to Electric Arguments.

    I’ll also try and be nicer to my fellow people but I feel there are just so many things mitigating against this happening now including the daily battle to ‘make ends meet’ and against being ‘ripped off’/harrassed. Although in the UK we haven’t yet got conscription (and only a comparatively small number of people go off fighting pointless wars) we now always have the fear of us or our children drowning as a result of global warming or having our homes ramsacked if we get on the wrong side of angry rioters. Politicians (who don’t seem to need any qualifications except the ability to get people to vote for them) just don’t seem up to sorting anything out or lead us towards a more just, less materialist and more friendly society.

    The least our leaders could do now is allow us to get prescriptions for cyanide from our GPs.

  21. Happy New Year to you FEd, David & Polly and all Irregulars.

    Enjoyed a most memorable Hogmamay in Edinburgh.

    Birthday greetings to Guy, today.

  22. existem muitas coisas interessantes quanto a musica, cinema, poesia, fotografia, e foram elaboradas, recriadas, enfim no seculo xx, mas, pink floyd é poesia para nossos ouvidos é viagem atraves das cores, e capas de CDs. ja ouvi e ouvi, é como uma velha expressão, é tudo de bom… e quanto a david gilmour sem comentarios, sem palavras, uma voz discretamente rouca.

    Brasil ( RGS )

  23. Now the funny thing is, I always say that I do not like Paul McCartney, however, I do love this song very, very much. You have to hand it to Mr McCartney that he is one fine songwriter. Another favourite is ‘Mull of Kintyre’.

    I like the message in the ‘Pipe of Peace’ video also. We are all just human beings. So stop the silly wars, etc. etc.

  24. What a very powerful lyric this is: “Help them to learn songs of joy instead of BURN, BABY, BURN”. Gives me goosebumps and tears.

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