Bob Dylan says that a song is a dream and you try to make it come true. Here’s another in a series of songs that dream up good stories –
“And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” is s a different take on patriotism. It references Australia’s unofficial national anthem, “Waltzing Matilda”, to skewer flag-waving and jingoism. Written by Eric Bogle in 1971, it tells the story of a young Australian at the disastrous (for the Australians) Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey in World War I. The song resonates strongly in Australia where they still resent the misuse of and lack of concern for colonial troops by the British general staff. Thanks, Jack, for sending it to me.
“Waltzing” refers to traveling around as a “swagman”, an itinerant worker. “Matilda” refers to the swagman’s bundle of belongings.
“The young people ask, ‘What are they marching for?’
and I ask myself the same question.”
Here’s the Clancy Brothers’ version.