Sunday, April 18, 2010

A lust for war

When 'A Momentary Lapse of Reason' came out, I used to have it on Vinyl, and on VHS. I must have seen this video a hundred times back then, but I haven't seen it since, nor even heard the track more than once or twice. Listening to it now brings back some ironic memories. I was pissed off that Waters was gone, but I still liked the Pink Floyd sound, the sound of David Gilmour's guitar solo's. This track always worked for me. I particularly like the way the three backing singers movetheir hips to the initial rhythm, though you can hardly see them on You Tube resolution.

In 1989, a few weeks before the fall of the Berlin Wall, I joined the Danish National Guard (HJV) and if I'd had the chance, I'd already have signed up for full military service. In 1987, it had been my plan upon leaving school. The discovery that I had one leg longer than the other, thus curving my spine into an S shape, ended that big idea and instead I spent four years in the HJV learning how to shoot every weapon they had and running through the forests playing war, right up until a surgeon cut 4 cm out of my right femur (and boy did that hurt!). In those days despite my curving spine (it never gave me any great discomfort), my head was full of illusions and I would fantasize about the Cold War destruction of everything. Militarism fuelled by an already long fascination with science fiction stories detailing a post Apocalypse world meant I was all ready to believe in a future of 'romantic devastation'. My post operation, lack of mobility, changed everything but my fascination with the romantic notion of my surviving humanity destroying everything around me. I shrugged, left the HJV and moved to Ã…rhus where the first girl I met (she lived next door to me) was Annemette.

Charmed life?

Listening to this song now, twenty one years later, I can still feel that lust for destruction in my heart. I still love the romantic idea of war, even after I've long grown out of the fantasies. I can still hear the brazen trumpets and marching feet in my head. Still see the legions forming ranks. I think at some level, all men feel this, deep downside and hidden away perhaps, or lurking just below the surface, its in our blood and its why nothing ever changes.

Its not the killing. Its the drama of it. The realisation that your never more alive than right now, in this very moment, and when you go into battle, everything you are, everything you might ever be, is at stake. The risk is immense, the gains few, but the urge to fight persists, even if its by proxy, seen on a screen or heard in head phones whilst sitting on a bus, the urge to unleash Hell is ever present.

Good old Ridley Scott. No one does cavalry charges like Ridley!


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Blimey - Ridley Scott and the Floyd in one post - does it get any better???

At the nub of it all I think that's why so many wargamers are men - any wargamer worth his salt has done a fair amount of reading into the subject of war - we know what it's like (or as well as we can when reading rather than actually experiencing it) and yet we still understand about the flags, the glory, the bravery, the sheer unmitigated courage of men under fire.. it's stirring stuff - man at his worst, and his finest, at the same time...

Jan (moif) said...

I also like story telling though, possibly more so than the war stuff which is probably why I don't play all that many actual war games like you and GM

brando said...

"The risk is immense, the gains few, but the urge to fight persists."

That's well said.