Surviving the U boat sinking of the RMS Laconia 12 September 1942 — Broadsides – A collection of bits and pieces

What John doesn’t mention here is that he was a young schoolboy in Gibraltar in the 1950’s and has fond memories of his many escapades there. You can find further details on his blog and he also contributes, on Facebook, to Gibraltar Old Photos 2.

I lived in Gibraltar, as a serving Royal Signals soldier, from 1974 to 1976. I was a Corporal, and single when I first arrived, living in Governor’s Cottage camp. I was promoted shortly afterwards and move to the Fortress Sergeant’s Mess, in Town Range, just above the The Convent.

I returned home to get married in July 74, and my wife joined me in Gib, even though we had nowhere to live. We hopped from quarter to quarter when people were on leave in UK and then ended up in 263/7A Main Street, a very small flat that cost £14 per week.

Our daughter was born in October 75 and holds dual nationality, so Gibraltar, of course, holds a very dear place in our hearts.

Gibraltar:  British families, survivors from the RMS Larconia, torpedoed by German U-Boat on the 12th September 1942 RMS Laconica was originally commissioned as an ocean-going luxury passenger ship for the Cunard line. With the outbreak of WWII she was requisitioned by the Admiralty and fitted with eight six inch guns and two three inch guns. […]

Surviving the U boat sinking of the RMS Laconia 12 September 1942 — Broadsides – A collection of bits and pieces

Song Lyric Sunday – 2 May 2021 – Brothers in Arms

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. This week we should aim for a song that contains one of the words Fix, or Make

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

The song I’ve chosen this week is Brothers in Arms by British rock band Dire Straits. It is the closing track on their fifth studio album of the same name. It was written in 1982, the year of Britain’s involvement in the Falklands War

The word that features here is “make” and Jim postulates that it means to create something. However, in this song it is attached to “war”, and to make war is far from creating, it is pure destruction!

In the first two verses the dying soldier speaks to his own comrades, i.e. the “brothers in arms”. Only in the final line does it become clear that all enemy soldiers are included within “brothers in arms”.

“Brothers in Arms” was first released as a single on 14 October 1985. The song is reported to be the first CD single ever released; it was released in the United Kingdom in 1986.

The lead guitarist, and singer, is Mark Knopfler, described by Classic Rock as a virtuosofingerstyle guitarist. He is one of my all-time favourite guitarists!

In 2007, the 25th anniversary of the war, Knopfler recorded a new version of the song at Abbey Road Studios to raise funds for British veterans who, he said, “are still suffering from the effects of that conflict.” “Brothers in Arms” has become a favourite at military funerals.

There are just so many fantastic performances of this iconic song that it is difficult to pick one that is the best.  I particularly like this one.  There are so many reasons why, most of which would be of no interest to you whatsoever. Being an ex soldier of some 28 years and 151 days I can’t help but have an affinity with my brothers in arms.

Here, for your enjoyment, is Dire Straits playing Brothers in Arms LIVE at Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute, Wembley Stadium, 1988. You might just spot someone you recognise, at 6:22, helping the band out!

The following are a selection of recordings.  Some of them are excellent, none of them are bad. I believe they all show what a huge part of himself Mark Knopfler puts into this song, every time!

Brothers In Arms – With pictures of Brothers in Arms

Brothers In Arms – Royal Albert Hall – Which shows that they still perform well in 2019

Brothers in Arms – 1996 London

Brothers in Arms – Wembley 1985

Brothers in Arms

Dire Straits

These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home was the lowlands
And always will be
Someday you’ll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you’ll no longer burn to be
Brothers in arms

Through these fields of destruction
Baptism of fire
I’ve watched all your suffering
As a battle raged high
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

So many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

Now the sun’s gone to hell
And the moon’s riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it’s written in the starlight
And every line in your palm
We are fools to make war
On our brothers in arms

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Mark Knopfler

Brothers in Arms lyrics © Straitjacket Songs Ltd.

Song Lyric Sunday – 13 December 2020 – Orange Crush

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us Apple /Banana /Cherry /Olive /Orange /Strawberry this week to be included in the title or lyrics.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

The band I’m featuring this week is R.E.M. an American rock band from Athens, Georgia. The band was formed in 1980 by drummer Bill Berry, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and lead singer Michael Stipe, all of whom were students at the University of Georgia. They disbanded, amicably, in 2011.

Orange Crush was released as the first single from the band’s sixth studio album, “Green”, in 1988. It was not commercially released in the U.S. despite reaching number one as a promotional single It peaked at number 28 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the band’s then-highest chart hit in Britain.

The song’s title is a reference to the chemical defoliant Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War. Stipe opened the song during The Green World Tour by singing the U.S. Army recruiting slogan, “Be all you can be… in the Army.” Stipe’s father served in the Vietnam War.

I think R.E.M. were best when performing live. Here is a recording from a 2003 performance in Germany.

….and here a remastered studio recorded version

The middle section of the lyrics mimics the helicopters flying over and around to disperse the defoliant Agent Orange, used to destroy the overhead cover of the Viet Cong. Little did they realise that it was also destroying the lungs, and other organs, of the civilian population, and American soldiers and airmen. That legacy continues to kill people today!

Lyrics

I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(Collar me, don’t collar me)
I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(We are agents of the free)
I’ve had my fun and now it’s time to serve your conscience overseas
(Over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me (oh, oh)

I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(Collar me, don’t collar me)
I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(We are agents of the free)
I’ve had my fun and now it’s time to serve your conscience overseas
(Over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me (oh, oh)

High on the roof, thin the blood
Another one came on the waves tonight
Comin’ in, you’re home

We would circle and we’d circle and we’d circle to stop and consider and centered on the pavement stacked up all the trucks jacked up and our wheels in slush and orange crush in pocket and all this here county, hell, any county, it’s just like heaven here, and I was remembering and I was just in a different county and all then this whirlybird that I headed for I had my goggles pulled off; I knew it all, I knew every back road and every truck stop

I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(Collar me, don’t collar me)
I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(We are agents of the free)
I’ve had my fun and now it’s time to serve your conscience overseas
(Over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me (oh, oh)

High on the roof, thin the blood
Another one climbs on the waves tonight
Comin’ in, you’re home

High on the roof, thin the blood
Another one climbs on the waves tonight
Comin’ in, you’re home

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Mills / Berry / Buck / Stipe

Orange Crush lyrics © Night Garden Music

Song Lyric Sunday – May 31 2020 – Mint from the 60’s

song-lyric-sundayJim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. I’m pretty sure that this one will be unfamiliar to the majority, including me!

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

With Jim’s prompt this week I just could not get away from Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme so I had to start trying to think laterally.  I came up with a song title from the psychedelic era, Incense and Peppermints, recorded in 1967. OK, it’s not Mint, but it is a type of mint.

I’m not going to try to analyse the song, or the group, or the era. It is what it is. You either get it, or you don’t. You may like it, even though you don’t get it! This was happening in the USA in 1967 while on the other side of the world, in Vietnam, 11,363 American soldiers were being killed in that one year!

I’m pretty sure that the group,  Strawberry Alarm Clock, were very self conscious dressed up for this performance, but, would you believe it, the group  carried on and on, with a couple of breaks, and is still performing today!

There are two videos, the first is a TV recording from 1967.

and the second carries a flashing lights warning for epilepsy sufferers or anyone suffering from migraines. It has lots of psychedelic flashing colours.

 

 

I hope you enjoy:

Incense and Peppermint

Good sense, innocence, cripplin’ mankind
Dead kings, many things I can’t define
Occasions, persuasions clutter your mind
Incense and peppermints, the color of time

Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win but nothin’ to lose

Incense and peppermints, meaningless nouns
Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around

Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah, yeah
Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah, yeah, yeah!

To divide this cockeyed world in two
Throw your pride to one side, it’s the least you can do
Beatniks and politics, nothing is new
A yardstick for lunatics, one point of view

Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win but nothin’ to lose

Good sense, innocence, cripplin’ mankind
Dead kings, many things I can’t define
Occasions, persuasions clutter your mind
Incense and peppermints, the color of time

Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win but nothin’ to lose

Incense and peppermints
Incense and peppermints

Sha la la, sha la la, sha la la, sha la la, sha la la

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: John Carter / Timothy P. Gilbert

Incense And Peppermints lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Rapid rhyme #20

This great entry

For King and Country!

Remember.

For freedom!

Remember.

For the security of our country!

Remember.

For the betterment of Mankind!

Worthwhile causes all.

But always remember.

What it cost.

to Rochelle’s weekly prompt, by Ali, has, in turn, prompted a rhyme by me.

Ali surprised himself by coming up with his entry at Christmas, and I surprised myself by what it generated as a pondering.

Life is full of surprises, and of hate, injustice, and sorrow, but it is also, thankfully, equally full of goodness, joy, and love.

May the latter always prevail

Those who gain

don’t feel the pain

don’t count the cost

as those who’ve lost

and families

when left to grieve

do not receive

the spoils of war

and yet there’s more

who feed the hate

and don’t relate

to those who died

and those who cried

because they lied

a sorry tale

a human fail

that’s oft repeated

by those who cheated

yet there is hope

a little scope

to find salvation

for our nation

I pray that hence

we see the sense

and save our world

with

love

 

Song Lyric Sunday 04/08/2019 – Song from a TV Show

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tygpress

Thank you to Jim Adams, who hosts Song Lyric Sunday and gives us the chance to share lots of familiar, and some not so familiar, songs.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

The theme for this week posed a bit of a problem for me as I could quite happily live without television in my life!

I was 14 when we first had a television. Black and white of course, and only one channel. At 16, I joined the army and went to college for 3 years. No television. At 19 I deployed to the Middle East. No television. At 21 I went to Germany. Very little television. My daughter grew up with Sesame Street in German. So it goes on. I watched TV intermittently. Today, if the television is on, the chances are that I am reading blogs rather than watching it.

However, I think it is impossible to be untouched by television. I have seen a fair selection along the way, and one thing I MUST see, when it is on, is Later……with Jools Holland. He is a consummate musician and performer in his own right and , over the years, has introduced a gargantuan list of artists of every genre imaginable, and then some! You can see the list here.  

So I thought here we have a huge number of songs I can use for my SLS choice this week.

WRONG!

Instead, I suddenly thought of one show that I found to be both funny, thought provoking, and, at times, downright sad!

M*A*S*H (an acronym for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) was an American war comedy-drama television series that aired on CBS from 1972 to 1983. It was developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970 feature film M*A*S*H, which, in turn, was based on Richard Hooker’s 1968 novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. The series, which was produced with 20th Century Fox Television for CBS, follows a team of doctors and support staff stationed at the “4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital” in Uijeongbu, South Korea, during the Korean War (1950–53). The show’s title sequence features an instrumental-only version of “Suicide Is Painless,” the original film’s theme song. The show was created after an attempt to film the original book’s sequel, M*A*S*H Goes to Maine, failed. The television series is the best-known of the M*A*S*H works, and one of the highest-rated shows in U.S. television history. (wikipedia)

This was, of course, being shown at the time of the Vietnam War, and was highly controversial. What started out as a comedy, with drama overtones soon became a drama with added comedy!

It’s a long time ago now, but I seem to remember that the “squaddie” humour really came across well, and could evoke real feelings of sadness, even the odd tear or two.

Suicide Is Painless is a song written by Johnny Mandel (music) and Michael Altman (lyrics). It was the theme song for both the movie and TV series M*A*S*H.

Director Robert Altman had two stipulations about the song for Mandel: it had to be called “Suicide Is Painless” and it had to be the “stupidest song ever written”. Altman attempted to write the lyrics himself, but upon finding it too difficult for his 45-year-old brain to write “stupid enough,” he gave the task to his 14-year-old-son Michael, who wrote the lyrics in five minutes. Ironically, the son’s income from royalties for the song far exceeded his father’s income for the film.

So here it is. The Tongue-in-cheek theme song for the very sad tongue in cheek comedy about the Korean war. The film was released in 1970, at the height of the Vietnam war, and the TV series debuted in 1972, appealing to the growing anti war crowd, lasted 11 years, and was arguably one of the most successful series ever.

The TV series used instrumental versions of the song only.

Suicide Is Painless

Johnny Mandel

Through early morning fog I see
Visions of the things to be
The pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see

That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please

The game of life is hard to play
I’m gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I’ll someday lay
So this is all I have to say

Suicide is painless (suicide)
It brings on many changes (changes)
And I can take or leave it if I please

The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn’t hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows stronger
Watch it grin

Suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please

A brave man once requested me
To answer questions that are key
Is it to be or not to be
And I replied oh why ask me?

Suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please

And you can do the same thing if you please

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Johnny Mandel / Michael B Altman

Suicide Is Painless lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc