This album I’m holding by the Human League was the first I ever bought. Being Boiled was the only song I knew. It was the cover I was really after; showing what appears to be a team of huskies dragging a man and sleigh across the beach with the sun setting below a crimson sky. It was as if global warming had suddenly sent the glaciers of Patagonia into a summer meltdown. Vast tracts of land and sea oozing out to form Chile and Argentina. Once purchased, I left the record in its inner sleeve and pinned the image on my wall, next to that of Kenny Dalglish.
I sit down at my laptop with a mug of tea and read about the spectacular opening ceremony from Beijing. The Olympic competitors march around the track to the acclaim of the crowd and act the goat with each other. For a moment the world seems in keeping with John Lennon’s utopian vision. Then I read about the war between Russia and Georgia in South Ossetia. Meanwhile, British soldiers are dying in Afghanistan once again, in what are now called peacekeeping missions.
I had first heard of the latter when the Soviets invaded; causing American athletes to stay at home in protest during the summer of 1980. The CIA were busy training and assisting the Islamic radicals of the Mujahideen in sabotage techniques. Saddam Hussein was a friend of the West in the Gulf. Countries of the world are fickle. Borders ebb and flow. Good guys go bad.
Extract from the novel Countries of the World © Steven Porter/Breogan Books 2011
- South Ossetia vs. Georgia: Conflict (socyberty.com)