'We Didn't Start The Fire'

Not according to Billy Joel, we didn’t; we “inherited it”.

Billy Joel (taken Sept 2009 by David Shankbone)

Billy Joel (taken Sept 2009 by David Shankbone)

We Didn’t Start the Fire’ is from his 1989 album, ‘Storm Front’. I loved this song from the moment I heard it; actually, I love the whole album.

Billy Joel's album, 'Storm Front'

To be honest, I haven’t listened to it for a long while until this morning. There’s a girl doing work experience at the stables where Liam works and her name is Alexa, which reminded me of another song from this album, ‘The Downeaster Alexa’. And that’s why I chose the album for our morning drive.

We Didn’t Start the Fire’ has been criticised because it doesn’t delve deep or provide any context other than being a list of celebrities and events from 1949 (the year Joel was born) to 1989, when the album was released. In an interview in ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine (Nov 1989), Joel explained that the song is “not meant to sound preachy… What I’m trying to get across is that we didn’t start this stuff, we inherited it.” Which is a fair point; the ‘fire’, the problems that are mentioned in the song, started before he and his generation were born.

Obviously, not every historical event or icon or public figure from 1949-1989 is mentioned. Why would they be? Billy Joel is a musician, and his song isn’t a history lesson. But I think it does a good job in piquing interest; it certainly did for me, spurring me to find out more.

Personally, I like the way the lyrics flow, almost like a child’s rhyme, and I like the tune.

I’ve decided to include the lyrics; if you want to know more, you can find references to everything mentioned HERE.

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, The King and I, and The Catcher in the Rye
Eisenhower, Vaccine, England’s got a new queen
Maciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc
Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, Rock Around the Clock

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland
Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev
Princess Grace, Peyton Place, Trouble in the Suez

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, Bridge on the River Kwai
Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather homicide, Children of Thalidomide

Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia
Hula Hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go
U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Hemingway, Eichmann, Stranger in a Strange Land
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion
Lawrence of Arabia, British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson
Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK blown away, what else do I have to say

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moon shot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law
Rock and Roller cola wars, I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
It will still burn on and on…

Fantastic Friday - Memories of Malaysia

July, 10 years ago… I went back to Malaysia for the traditional Hindu ceremony that’s held one year after the passing of a family member; this one was for my mum. We were going to go together as a family, but Neil’s mum had passed earlier that year, and he didn’t want to leave his dad, which was understandable. I didn’t want to miss the ceremony so we decided the best thing was for me to go on my own, just for a week. But I didn’t go alone.

My lovely Hatty had been going through a hard time herself, having lost her beloved grandfather. I suggested she come with me. To my delight, her husband agreed. She was so excited, it was unbelievable, she’d never been anywhere further than Spain!

We were lucky when booking our flights – got an amazing flight-hotel deal, staying at the Shangri-La, of all places. Never stayed in a posh hotel before or since!

That trip had sad moments for me, but there were good times too, seeing my home town through someone else’s eyes. Kuala Lumpur had never looked so beautiful to me, thanks to Hatty.

Murugan statue at Batu Caves - a network of limestone caves - with the 272-step climb to some of the caves and the inner temple

Murugan statue at Batu Caves - a network of limestone caves - with the 272-step climb to some of the caves and the inner temple

Up the steps we go... me puffing like a steam train!

Up the steps we go... me puffing like a steam train!

One of the long-tailed macaque monkeys that have free run of the place - love that expression!

One of the long-tailed macaque monkeys that have free run of the place - love that expression!

Hatty after climbing the steps
Me after climbing steps

Hatty and me after climbing the steps - still smiling!

And... more steps leading to the inner temple

And... more steps leading to the inner temple

Petronas Twin Towers

Petronas Twin Towers

At Selangor Pewter

At Selangor Pewter

At Kuan Yin temple

At Kuan Yin temple

Part of the temple roof 

Part of the temple roof 

View from the top level of the temple - KL Tower and Twin Towers

View from the top level of the temple - KL Tower and Twin Towers

Dragon motif on outer wall

Dragon motif on outer wall

Shangri-La: outside terrace and interior

Our New Addition

I’ve been excited about introducing you to the latest addition to our family. But I can’t ignore the sad, sad news of the death of the tremendously talented Chester Bennington.

Chester Bennington

Linkin Park was my first taste of what is labelled alternative rock, different enough to the sort of rock I was used to. Once I got over being startled by the use of expletives (I’m not a prude, but that was a new experience for me), I was hooked.

Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory album cover

In time, I introduced the boys to their music, and they were hooked as well. One of the things I like about the band, they all come across as really nice guys.

I cannot begin to imagine the torment Chester Bennington must have been suffering. I thought the same when I learned about Chris Cornell’s death back in May. Chester seemed happy and content; he seemed to have finally found some peace after his long struggles. Both men had young families. And yet…
RIP, Mr Bennington, I hope you find true peace, rocking up the afterlife with your good friend, Chris Cornell.

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Our happy news...
I always said we’d never have any more cats. Well, never say never, as they say! This is Kito (it means ‘jewel’ in Swahili); she's about 11 weeks now and is Liam’s late birthday present.

Liam and his new kitty, Kito

She was born at the stables where he works, and he fell in love with her from the moment he saw her when she was just a day old. Every time I saw him with her, I knew he really wanted to have her even though he kept saying it probably wouldn’t work.

Kito, about 4 weeks old

Kito, about 4 weeks old

Our biggest worry was Gordon’s cat, Mlia. She just about tolerates the ‘baby’, Tamu, and that’s after 7 years! As the weeks passed, Gordon wondered if maybe having Kito might be ok. We discussed it with Liam and decided to go for it. One of Liam’s worries was that no one would take Kito (she’s 1 of 4 kitties) because she’s got a hernia.

That's Kito's mummy, aptly named Tiny because she is!

That's Kito's mummy, aptly named Tiny because she is!

Kito's siblings

Kito's siblings

Anyway, long story short, she’s now home with us. Considering she’d never been in a cat basket and never been in a car, she was so chilled on the ride home. So chilled, she fell asleep!

Kito sleeping in cat basket

Took her to the vet’s and she was chilled there too – she continued purring even while being injected with her vaccinations! The vet said she wished all her patients were that relaxed.

While we’re home, she has the run of the lounge. But when we go to bed, and when we’re out, she’s confined to a cage, which is roomy enough for the litter tray, her sleep area and food bowl. Once she’s a bit older, we’ll leave her out all the time. And she’ll be let out of doors once she’s been spayed; the hernia will be sorted out then too.

Kito at home

We’re planning on introducing her to the others at the weekend; fingers crossed, it’ll go ok.

She is a darling little kitten with a very loud purr, and I’m glad I took leave of my senses and said ‘yes’!

Kito