I often say that my iPod is where music goes to die. The 70s and 80s strut and shimmy up against sparse electronica and grungy self-indulgence from the 90s onwards. The Doobie Brothers, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Stockhausen segue to Nouvelle Vague, Nine Inch Nails, Bananarama, Hot Chip, Spiro and Bryan Adams.
I’m listening to Bryan Adams’ “Straight From the Heart” as I write this. Because, by happy coincidence, that’s what this whole project is about.
I’ve read history. I know what happens when people go to war. To the countries. To the people. I know that it’s not over soon nor does it end cleanly. To draw from the Princess Bride: “Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
The Romans sacked Jerusalem several times, causing the Jewish population to flee over nearly a century of war and revolt, then merged what was left of Judea with Syria in around 135CE to form Syria Palaestina. We are still dealing with the repercussions of these actions, nearly 2,000 years later. Modern politicians are being forced to recognise that a wound which has endured for two millennia cannot be healed with an election cycle’s application of salve.
But, despite everything, despite the moments of horror, despite the terrible realities that many people endure, there is still enough to lead me to believe that we can have a better world. A beautiful world. A wonderful world for everyone. The fact that we haven’t managed this yet is not proof that we can’t, although it’s often an excuse.
I wanted to write something that shared my belief that humanity is a wonderful thing, with the occasional terrible person. I wanted to write something that said that we needed to think about who or what our real enemies are, before we sail back into war over issues that are dark reflections of negotiations between the powerful. I wanted something where the issues of warring humans are placed against a background of true threat.
When I read the writing of the 1930s, I noticed that many writers were coming to the conclusion that, despite the War of 1914-1918 being The Great War and The War to End All Wars, Europe was about to plunge back into war. And you could read the fear and despair as people desperately tried to stop the slide.
I wanted to write an enjoyable yarn with humour and adventure that carried a more serious message.
Together, we can defeat anything.
Launch is tomorrow. Enjoy the yarn.