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Dancing Like A Diplomat

Updated on October 27, 2019
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Steve Tyson is a critically acclaimed Australian songwriter, inspired by travel, family history, political satire, and tales of heartbreak

The Dancers


Talk about bull shit...

As a songwriter, I have tended to veer away from writing what I guess what you might call, protest songs. I figure there are so many great songwriters out there who do write so well in this genre, that I’ve tended to stay away from it.

Arguably, the master of the protest song was / is Bob Dylan. Of course Dylan wrote about plenty of stuff apart from politics, that’s what makes him such a great writer. But he, and singers like Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, inspired many 60s protest songwriters, of that there is no doubt. There was a whole generation of protest songwriters around the time of the Vietnam War that became well known.

(Let me back up for a moment, and correct something. If you have ever been to Vietnam as a tourist in the past twenty years, you will know the people there refuse to call it the “Vietnam” war. They call it the “American” war. Vietnam, they say, is a country, not a war. Powerful stuff).

Back to the subject matter though, and throughout the years, the protest song has come out in many forms, and via the pen of writers as diverse as Bob Marley, Nina Simone, Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon and Bono. Some incredible songs, with strong, powerful messages.

Personally I have never felt quite right trying to push my point of view onto others. As my darling mother advised me growing up as a kid, “stay away from conversations about sex, politics and religion.” Sure, I have used satire, I guess you would call it, to make some observations politically. But overall, I suppose I just think I have plenty of my own stories to tell, so I’ll leave the direct political stuff to others.

Then one day a few years back – and it was a few years back because Osama bin Laden was still alive – I was driving along somewhere listening to the news, and story after story just kept pouring out of the car radio. People smuggling and boat people, more flare-ups in the Middle East, more troops being sent into Iraq, the continued search for the elusive Osama……I just couldn’t escape it or ignore it any longer. As a songwriter, I couldn’t, well, dance around stuff any more. At least that’s how I felt on that particular day anyway.

So I pulled over to the side of the road, grabbed my notebook, and just wrote this song. It all poured out in about ten minutes. When I sat back and read what I had written, I realised it still wasn’t some overly tough political statement. But I guess that’s just the anti-protest song part of me refusing to back off. Do I feel strongly about the issues? You bet I do, but I can only write it as I see it, and I choose to see it all with my tongue stuck firmly in my cheek. That’s my way of protesting….

The Lyrics

Standing in the West Bank dodging all the army tanks

Looking for a way to get through

Sharon, Abbas, the crazy cats from Hammas

Wonder what the hell they’re gonna do

Elon, Oslo, better have another go

Are they ever gonna ever find a way?

Peace for Palestine better take another line

Never gonna happen in our day

Standing in Djakarta acting like a martyr

Telling all the people it’s ok

Boat’s got a leak got to wait another week

But I better take your money anyway

Kupan, Fujian just another taxi stand

Wonder if we need a bigger boat

It’ll be ok Australia’s down that way

All you have to do is keep afloat

Dancing like a Diplomat, dancing like a diplomat

Osama Bin Laden please beg your pardon

Never told a porky in his life

Infidels go to hell I wonder if the towers fell?

‘Scuse me while I take another wife

Living in the desert life is pleasant

Looking for my targets on the map

Kill a few innocents they’re all participants

Have you heard a bigger load of crap

Talk about bullshit Dubya was full of it

Bulletproof and ten feet tall

Afghanistan, Iraqi-land, had to lend a helping hand

Had to see Saddam take a fall

WMDs just you wait and see I’m sure we’re gonna find them one day

But in the meantime we’ll lay a pipeline

Oil is the way to make it pay

The Song


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