Saturday, April 5, 2014

I wasn't really sure what was going on (Unknown American soldier) #157

Paul Hardcastle 19 (Extended version) / Fly By Night; Dolores  (Chrysalis 12", X 14179, 1985)

Jerry Seinfeld is on a date. The two are in his apartment, snuggled up on the couch. Apropos nothing he says, "Tan pants. Why do I buy tan pants, Donna? I don’t feel comfortable in them."

Paul Hardcastle's 19 is my version of tan pants. I do know why I bought this back in '85 though. Up to this point I was obsessed with the Vietnam war. 

An early memory (1966) is a family holiday to Sydney. As we disembarked I saw platoon's of American soldiers also arriving in Sydney for some R and R except they were flying in from Vietnam.

At school in the seventies I read Time magazine every week and every week there were updates from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. By the time I got to University in 1977 the war was over but my fascination had increased via poetry from Galway Kinnell and Robert Bly, films like The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now, and books like Dispatches and A Rumour Of War.

So I was ripe for the picking when Paul Hardcastle arrived in 1985 with a video and 12" single about the average age of combat soldiers in Vietnam being 19.

It hasn't aged well. Blame it on the eighties, sampling and the processed speech. 

I thought it had an anti-war message back then but now it just smacks of opportunism. I'm faintly embarressed to include it in the countdown but what are ya gonna do?

Hidden gems: Nope!

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