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Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn? On this, her 100th birthday, I remember bombastic late 70s pomp rock paranoia.

March 20, 2017

wall

Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn?
Remember how she said that
We would meet again
Some sunny day?
Vera, Vera
What has become of you
Does anybody else in here
Feel the way I do?

Vera Lynn has been a living symbol of nostalgia for my entire life.  People have been remembering her fondly since before I was born.  And all my life people have been pointed out that bluebirds are not indigenous to North West Europe, and that if we have to wait for them to fly over Kent for the war to be over, then V.E Day will probably never come.

When I could have been listening to cool music as a teenager, I listened to Pink Floyd The Wall, over and over again, thereby remembering Vera Lynn over and over again.  I can’t even hear the name Vera Lynn without hearing Roger Waters’ sneering vocals, going on about the war by going on about people going on about the war.

(The funny thing is, I think Waters actually thought of himself as a sort of punk by the late seventies.  He was certainly bitter and nasty enough.  He just had much longer hair and it took him at least two years to record an album.)

Oddly enough, the bitter evocation of Vera Lynn’s name only serves to reinforce her iconic status.  She is a promise gone sour, a wartime spirit betrayed…. recalled with a vitriol that only goes to validate the strength of the original promise and spirit.  You can’t get angry with people who wax nostalgic about the war without perpetuating the pervasiveness of the same nostalgia.

In a matter of days, Theresa May will invoke Article 50 and treat Vera Lynn far worse than Roger Waters ever did.  The occasion of Lynn’s 100th birthday ought to remind us all that the so-called “Finest Hour” to which she provided the soundtrack was the occasion of Britain’s stubborn refusal to abandon Europe, a heroic moment of commitment to Europe’s survival.  Soon, the last nostalgic memory of this legacy will be betrayed as Britain commits itself to becoming smaller, nastier and far far duller.  Too dull to deserve to inspire love.

When those kippers appropriated spitfires (many of which were piloted by east European refugees) last horrible June, they were both rewriting history and kicking Vera Lynn.  Hitler of course, had no interest in Kentish real estate, and was perfectly happy to leave Britain pristine and isolated, trading with its overseas empire – just so long as Britain left Europe alone. If Farage had been British prime minister in 1940, there can be no doubt that he would have signed a shabby deal with Hitler and nobody would have ever heard of spitfires.  Or Vera Lynn.

 

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