Desde el la primera vez que oí «Southern Cross» me encantó, especialmente las voces, las armonías que crean y que le dan una dinámica muy especial a la canción. Stephen Stills canta la primera parte y en la segunda se le une su compañero Graham Nash, junto a sus voces se unió también Art Garfunkel, pero David Crosby no canta en la versión que salió en el álbum Daylight Again. En el vídeo, que fue transmitido por MTV, David Crosby si prestó su voz y el vídeo se vio una y otra vez en los años cuando en MTV ponían música.
Always loved this «Southern Cross», especially the harmonies they sing, the way the voices grow and form a powerful melodic transition. Stephen Stills sang the first part with Graham Nash joining in. Art Garfunkel also lent his voice to the lads. David Crosby did not sing in this…the album…version, (Daylight Again), although he did sing it onstage and on the video which got a hell of a lot of airplay on MTV. Of course on the days that MTV actually played music…
El super-grupo Crosby, Stills & Nash lo formaron entre 1968 y 1969 estos tres músicos que procedían de otros grupos norteamericanos bastante famosos. Por ejemplo David Crosby era miembro de The Byrds, Stephen Stills de Buffalo Springfield y Graham Nash (el único inglés del grupo) era miembro de The Hollies, uno de los grupos que vinieron a EEUU como parte de la supuesta «Invasión británica» de los años sesenta.
The super-group Crosby, Stills & Nash was formed in 1968/1969. The members all came from older bands. David Crosby came from The Byrds, while Stephen Stills had formed part of Buffalo Springfield, (where Neil Young also played) and Graham Nash had been with The Hollies, you know The Hollies, one of those groups that was part of the so-called British Invasion (of the US of course).
Os he hecho un paréntesis para introduciros a un pintor contemporáneo y he elegido a Miquel Barceló porque admiro su obra y porque creo que en ella se nota la influencia de los grandes maestros de la antigüedad que seguramente estudió durante su estancia en las academias de arte.
I thought it would be nice to take a break from the old and begin to introduce some of the new. I chose Barceló because I do admire his work and I think that in it one can see the influences that the study of art history and of the masters can bring to modern art.
Ah, the melodic and quite rhythmic sounds of the UH-1, my beloved Huey, guaranteed to scare the shit out of these germs…that’s what we called the communist guerrillas…that are trying to make of this country another Cuba.
And I was right, not a single shot and the threat was gone. Those cowboys up there at just about 150 metres from the Earth are my heroes for sure. I let out the air I was holding, I guess for about three or four minutes, took a deep, cleansing breath, and looked for Sandra.
“Corporal, you alright?”
“Yeah,” she whispered.
We were both looking up at the chopper, still low in the sky, but flying back eastward, towards the Caribbean coast, back to base, or wherever it was that they came from. Knowing that was above my pay grade I guess because no one ever told me.
“I think we should do the same thing.”
“Head back home.”
“No class today?”
“Maybe, but I think a stop at the student bar, a few cold ones and some quality time with the pinball machine will make me much happier.”
“Then it’s a plan,” she said with a smile that made me think of her as a little girl who has just agreed with her mother that it would be better to go for ice cream than to the dentist.
I went right to my room after a few beers. I was still a little shaken up. It wasn’t the fact that they fired at us, I’ve been in combat before. What scared me was that they didn’t kill us. The shots were either a warning or a way of them telling us that no matter what we did, no matter what we brought with us, this was their territory, their land, they knew it well…we didn’t…and they could do whatever they wanted to us. We were a handful, they were everybody.
This country had come out of a revolution where they ousted the communists that had come into power through their own revolution. They had endured an uncertain time when guerrilla fighters would shoot up stores, buses, trains, anything that they associated with the government or with “the rich”. These hit men would ride through the cities on motorcycles and the guy in back would be the shooter.
Finally a military man took control of the government. He set up a sort of “benign” dictatorship to get the country back on track, to fix the economy, and most importantly to rid the population of the threat of violence at the hands of the marauding communists on motorcycles. It became illegal to ride two on a bike, of any type.
It was January 1977. Scientists had just discovered the bacteria that causes this strange disease that had been troubling the minds of all and that they called Legionnaires’ disease. President Ford had pardoned ‘Tokyo Rose’ on his last day in office as President of the United States and Jimmy Carter had been sworn in as the nation’s thirty ninth president, and the great blizzard had hit upstate New York. The hottest song on the hit parade was “Tonight’s the Night” by the one and only Rod Stewart…
I was twenty two years old and a sergeant…E-5…in the United States Army. As soon as I finished my fourth year in university I’m going into OCS, no doubt. I’m not interested in rising through the ranks but I want to be able to make a few decisions and becoming an officer is the way to start. Although everybody tells me I am wrong, I follow my own drummer.
My phone rang at 0237 hours. Was that the fucking phone, or did I just dream this? No, shit, there it is again, it’s the phone and nothing good can come through that line at this hour so I quickly shook the sleep from my head and replied.
“I’ll be right there sir.”
C.2021, Francisco Bravo Cabrera, 24 NOV 2021, Valencia, Spain
“You will look without looking, listen without letting anyone know you are listening, and you have to, in a matter of brief seconds, absorb the environment you are in. Any and every detail can count and they’re all important. Don’t take anyone or anything for granted. The job you are doing, they are doing too, don’t lose sight of that and don’t forget you are being looked at, judged, sized up. You are suspicious to them…”
“I would say we are suspicious to a lot of people, including the university’s administration…”
“And don’t interrupt me, goddamit!”
Silence. The Colonel looked at me with a silent, but extremely powerful stare. He looked like a Greek statue of one of those generals about to go and defend Sparta from the Persians or the Medes.
“Look here,” he guided me to a different room, windows were closed, it was dark. He walked towards a table and switched on an overhead lamp that cast a circular glow upon the items on the table.
“Take a look at your new best friend. This your assigned weapon, it ain’t just a Smith & Wesson M39. It’s the ‘hush puppy’, the modified one called Mk 22 Mod 0, 9mm, with a fourteen round magazine. Here”, handing it to me, “get the feel of it, the other’s for Sandra, go fetch her sergeant, you’re dismissed.”
“Yes sir.” The pistol safely in my pocked I walked out wondering when I’d get the fourteen rounds and a couple of extra magazines…
Leaving the room and out the door I turned right and walked down the wooden stairwell to the basement where Sandra had been reading one of my rock and roll magazine, one that was quite popular and that I always read called CREEM.
“You into rock Sandra?”
“Yeah, more or less, Doobie Brothers, the best!”
“They’ll never surpass the lads from Liverpool.”
“The Stones have, remember the Beatles broke up a few years ago.”
“Get up there corporal, the man’s waiting, he’s got a little something for you.” I said as I pulled out the Mk 22.
“Cool serge, that’s special forces, Navy Seals kinda hardware they’ve given you.” She smiled and made a pistol gesture with her left hand, pointing it towards the ceiling.
“Go get yours, we’ve more classes to attend to today.”
“On the double sir!” and she climbed the stairs two by two, or three by four…
“The day here starts at 0600 hours, that’s when the sun rises over this forsaken jungle, swamp, forest, whatever you wanna call it, so be alert and greet that yellow ball in the sky with dignity and respect,” said the Top. He was twice our age and twice stronger, meaner and disciplined. I guess three solid tours in Vietnam will change your personality forever. He was our new contact and instructor.
“Twenty metres metres from your eyes you’ll spot the first one. No matter what he says or does, he is the enemy. The one you see. Thirty metres behind him, or her, is his back-up and the one that’s gonna send you to your maker and ten steps to the back-up’s right, or left, is his. Be aware, be fast, don’t hesitate, he ain’t no innocent civilian. Fire continuously, empty out that clip cause you’ll have to neutralise the backups or it’s all over for you, you’ll be dead in thirty seconds. This is how these bastards operate. They’re trained by the fucking Cubans and the Soviets. They’ll challenge you, they’ll risk their fucking life just to get you. They know you’re here”
We practised until 0830 hours that morning. We killed imaginary bad guys in the forest, behind every tree, under bushes, up in the branches, anywhere and everywhere they could possibly hide. We were sharp, not a branch or leaf had a chance to fire back.
The Top, First Sergeant that is, top dude in our chain of command…the Colonel didn’t count, we really didn’t know where he came from…picked up an attaché and marched away towards civilisation. He looked funny carrying something an accountant would be hauling off to the office. Then we sat against a tall pine, I took out a cigarette, a Lark, the brand I smoked at the time because I think I read that those were the ones John Lennon smoked, and passed one over to Sandra.
“We’ve class at 0930 hours, Philosophy of Law I think.”
“No, it’s social psychology…”
“Sociology,” I interrupted.
Then I heard the machine gun and felt the bullets ripping through the tree-trunk right above my head…
“Sandy, take cover!”
We slid quickly behind the tree, hugging the ground, thanking Mother Earth for her generosity in giving us a place to shelter, at least momentarily until we could assess the situation.
I counted thirty seconds and no more bullets coming in our direction. Silence…
“They fired from…”
“They’ll hear you serge.”
“They’ve eyes on us Sandy, it doesn’t matter.”
(C.2021, Chapter 3, Fiction by Francisco Bravo Cabrera, 21 NOV 2021, Valencia, Spain)