The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #92616 Message #3580971
Posted By: GUEST
03-Dec-13 - 06:18 AM
Thread Name: Songs about World War I
Subject: RE: Songs about World War I
Perhaps it's time to start to pass the ball: I made a small contribution to the film of Oh! What A Lovely War! back in 1969, by finding the original uniforms they copied. The only time I ever took a salute, from Gielgud and Olivier, the Richardsons and all, on the morning they drove down to Brighton to film it, all on an original charabanc in the London-Brighton vintage car run. Memories...
My real point, though, is that with the centenary coming up, perhaps it's time to restart the bus. The dulce et decorum crowd seem to have gotten away with it once again, hijacking the very real heroism of our troops in the greater glory of politics. The Cenotaph still reads "Our glorious dead" - when the reality of death in war is far from glorious. The MOD still dissemble and deceive, failing to support the wounded as they should. For example, in 1925 the mining community in Clydach in the Swansea Valley clubbed together to build their own hospital, possibly one of the first steps towards the NHS. Named the Memorial Hospital in memory of their dead in WWI, it was run entirely by subscription geared to affordability throughout the community until the NHS took it over, as far as I know for nothing. Far overshadowed by Morriston Hospital a couple of miles away, it has languished unloved by the NHS but still supported by the neighbourhood, standing unused for the last ten years despite the investment of a couple of million just before. That hospital is now being sold off, and after protests from the community, part of it is being converted into a care centre for the quarter million veterans in South Wales - but as a private profit-making hospital. The rest is to become yet more money-making housing, in the teeth of local opposition. At the same time, George Osborne is saying the NHS is unaffordable.
It was behaviour like this which got the Theatre Royal Stratford shifting in Oh! What a Lovely War! The problem, though, remains: the same kind of jokers who sent the troops to the front are blissfully allowing the same profiteering to occur in peacetime, refusing to address the power companies freezing thousands to death, the list of iniquities is long. Perhaps it's time for Bellowhead and The Folk Roots Cooperative to justify their existence by creating a similar workshop, Oh! What a Lovely Peace!, bringing together the heritage of social movement since.