Radiohead – Harry Patch (In Memory Of)

I am the only one that got through
The others died where ever they fell
It was an ambush
They came up from all sides
Give your leaders each a gun and then let them fight it out themselves
I’ve seen devils coming up from the ground
I’ve seen hell upon this earth
The next will be chemical but they will never learn

The words above are those of Harry Patch, the last survivor of the Great War, who died last week aged 111. Now, in what amounts to a beautiful act of coincidence to mark his life, and his passing, they’ve been made into a song by Radiohead.

Recorded live in an Abbey, with strings arranged by Radiohead’s guitarist Johnny Greenwod, the song was & is, according to Thom Yorke, meant as a tribute to Patch who, from the age of 100, became a living reminder of the horrors of war. And, showing that being a pacifist doesn’t mean disrespecting those who have died so that we can live the lives we lead, Radiohead are donating all proceeds from the sale of Harry Patch (In Memory Of) to the Royal British Legion, the charity which cares for British soldiers and their families. I suggest that you download it now.

In a similar act, this week also saw the announcement that the Arctic Monkeys will be releasing their new single as a 7″ and will be selling it in branches of Oxfam, with proceeds going to the charity. It is, like Radiohead’s move, an extremely admirable one. It also makes me think of an article I read recently about how marketers need to become ‘Chief Meaning Officers‘: it’s rather overblown in its language and its theses, but there’s also definitely something to it, and I think both of these releases are signals of that shift.

The Arctic’s single, Crying Lightning, is released on August 7th and, for those who think that a 7″ is something that shouldn’t be talked about in public, will include a code to allow the track to be downloaded as a free MP3 too.

Before I go I’ll just leave you with the thought that Britain’s biggest cunt wears a poppy badge every day, despite pleas by the British Legion not to. If you live in his European constituency of the North West, and you didn’t vote in the recent Euro elections, then it’s your fault that he can cheapen the sacrifices made by Harry Patch & his comrades on a daily basis and get paid by the taxpayer whilst doing so.

Poppy field by foxypar4 on flickr

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