Dolce et decorum est…

It seems that Armistice Day has taken on greater poignancy in Britain in the past couple of years. This is probably to do with the fact that, for the first time in generations, young men and women are coming back from overseas conflicts with horrific injuries and worse.

It’s beyond the remit of this blog to eulogise on the rights and wrongs of wars, but there are some songs which have hit home with me harder than any news report or Top Gear special. Granted, these are both from a liberal perspective but I urge you to take a few minutes and give them a listen – today especially. I literally can’t bring myself to play them because I find the content too moving. The Pogues’ one in particular I used to skip when listening to the album because I found it too sad. The line “The young people ask ‘what are they marching for?’, and I ask myself the same question” gets me every time. This was originally written by Eric Bogle but I’ve included The Pogues version just because it was the first version I knew.

The second one is by The Dixie Chicks. This is as much a love song as it is about war but it sets me off. As the harmonies in the chorus kick in my eyes well up like a baby. I think you can place this in a fairly definitive context given the Dixie Chicks’ stance against the Iraq war.

There are more but to stop me getting depressed I’ll save them until next year.

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