The #ArmisticeTour is imminent so all thoughts turn to the ‘Potter’s Field’ songs.
These are war stories, but they are also simply stories about people; people whose opinions on what they have witnessed may not fit in with yours.
I say that because these songs get heckled occasionally, but each is based on a survivor’s account and each is its own truth, it just may be at odds with your own version of truth. That’s ok. They were written to make history personal, and they are just doing their job.
I don’t believe in the ‘glory, honour and sacrifice’ narrative, it aggrandises death and is the fastest way of creating more; but nor do I believe in the ‘mud, blood and slaughter’ narrative because it casts these men as victims. Those conscripted can be viewed as such, but those who volunteered by and large did so of their own free will, and whether hindsight tells us differently or not, in their own minds at least, they were fighting for ‘freedom’, whatever that actually means in the context of war.
So yes these men died for their country, but they killed for it too, and they were prepared to make victims of others in order to survive themselves. That brought with it problems they lived with the rest of their lives, and they had to survive not just bombs and bullets, but many days and years of reckoning with themselves.
These gigs are those stories.
Strictly no flags.
Bring an open mind and you will find something in the no man’s land between the narratives. Among the shell holes of real lives.
Be good to have your company.