Dancing Like A Diplomat
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….
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