Red Army Blues

I left the Army in December 1984 and then went to study at university. The university was approximately 1500 km from my hometown. I remember not having money to go home by train or bus, that left me to hitchhike home during the long holidays. Also in that time one should remember that it was before the digital era so all we had to supply music and diversion on the long road home was a tape recorder. The trusty 16 track Walkman

My girlfriend of that time was befriended by a DJ of the University Radio station, and through him I got introduced to the music of the Waterboys. We mostly listened to , Whole of the Moon but loved the music so made a plan to buy the whole album. in listening i found the track Red Army blues and the haunting lyrics made my skin crawl.

One should remember that at that stage living in South Africa we were in a state of emergency and I left the army the previous year. Having detested most of the time there and the unwanted waste of my and other peoples time.  The words of Red army Blues felt like it was sung for me

Used to love my country
used to be so young
Used to believe that life was
the best song ever sung
I would have died for my country
in 1945
But now only one thing remains
but now only one thing remains
But now only one thing remains
but now only one thing remains
The brute will to survive!


And it brought out a sense of not giving in not surrendering to the apathy and waste the absolute uselessness of war and fighting.

I remember my friends dropping me of on the highway me, my rucksack and my Walkman.

Imagine this standing on the side of a busy highway, the long road in front of you all alone frustrated about life not understanding any of it, and then, the haunting sounds of a violin, the music starting and then the voice, the voice that defined and and some level represents the wastefulness of war and human wastage.


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