CLICK to Play: Guns & Violins (shared under creative commons license)
by the author
It was 1995, and I was stuck for four days in the Swiss Hotel in Beijing, and due to my single entry visa, my plan to visit Taipei and return to Xiamen to visit Gulangyu island had to be scrapped. So I had to spend four days in this hotel, just waiting around for my flight back home. I’d been on a Government paid round the world trip, but had basically almost run out of cash, (had no credit card at that stage, seems unbelieveable now) so when I wasn’t swimming in the hotel pool or buying snacks from a small chinese supermarket down the road, I just sat and watched CNN.
This was right in the middle of the OJ Simpson trial, which was a completely bizarre farce, and the way CNN cycles it’s (so called) ‘news’ coverage, it just seemed to accentuate the madness of it all, like some kind of relentless torture by television. The added strangeness of feeling so isolated yet experiencing the weird contrasts of CNN’s blitherings, with my daily peaceful walks into Tiananmen Square, fermented a strong urge to document the utter strangeness of it all in a song. (I have written songs for years) Eventually I recorded the song in a studio in Adelaide in 1998, before heading off to spend the summer in Italy with my partner and 2 year old son.
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Here are the Lyrics, the MP3 plays from a link above.
Guns & Violins It was an awful murder But what made it worse was, What their kids would remember They could never think of things like this But its OK, it was OK ‘cause it's OJ… Down at CNN Center they’re crossing live ten times a day, It’s something that TV invented They call it news but it’s just air-play, but I’m watching, and I’m watching a program They rented a beach apartment, But now I’m hearing Guns and Violins In TV’s American market There’s lots of killing human beings… But we’re watching, and I’m watching and I’m wincing Pretty girls attract like a magnet, We’ve got a billion eyes on a distant prize, With the foot-print down like a drag-net, Tobacco shares were bound to r-I-s-e… So this is the smart generation, We go to work and count to five, ‘cause there’s so much more information, we’ll be working, working, working all our lives… So we settle down for the evening, But we don’t talk much and no one reads, But I must thank Marg and Homer, 'cause I think they teach our children irony… and I’m changing, they call it channel surfing… Yeh, that was an awful murder, You can catch a glimpse from time to time, But someone’s taken this further, ‘cause now we seem to watch the Simpsons all the time…