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A few weeks ago I had the following message from my 13 year old brother.
URGENT Mum won’t let me buy Modern Warfare 2. All my mates have it. PLEASE SPEAK TO HER.
My brother has not been very convinced about how cool I am. His branded tracksuit look does not approve of my peace-loving-guitar-wielding-folk-goddess look. He could do with using less hair gel and I could do with using something, anything, he pleads, to tame that wild bird’s nest, that lion’s mane that I call hair.
Lately, however, I have been on telly. And I have been writing songs about computer games. And his mates think I’m cool.
'Really? Her? You do know that she plays the banjo?’
And so lately he has been appealing to me as an ally against the forcefield of reason that is our mother.
It just so happened that when I received his message I was in the middle of playing the game myself, deepening my gaming wrinkle as I tried to assess it’s worthiness. I allowed myself to be enlightened by seeing the game through the eyes of my 13 year old brother.
I can see the appeal of being in the army. Risking ones life in the service of others, seeing the real world, having adventures, and stepping out of the plastic, life-sucking consumer culture to be part of something greater than yourself is truly admirable.
My brother is more interested in the shooting than the nobility but nevertheless there is something that draws us to stories about battles and the hero’s journey, because we are all involved in a battle and a journey of our own. And a lot of the time we are busy anesthetising ourselves, letting moments, weeks, years go by while we sit in front of some kind of screen watching or playing someone else’s drama.
Cue Rebecca Mayes song/sermon/battle-cry.
Some people found it depressing. That was not my intention. It was meant to be some kind of love-song to each of my listeners to say, you are infinitely more interesting than any game. Same is true for my little brother, even though he hasn’t spoken to me in weeks. I joined forces with my mum. How could I not? No one wants a 13 year old in the army.
Is it everything you hoped for? Is it flawless, like the moon is tonight Is it everything you’ve worked for With the latest technology, with all we can achieve Does your heart break as you fall through that snowstorm Does your heart break as you fall through submarines, helicopters and all the world’s adventures To fight, to fight for your life Will you fight, will you fight for your life Cause will we talk about this game for years to come Or will we talk about you, about you Oh what might you do? Is it every bit the sequel that you wished for On your favourite star Are you every bit the soldier that you know you are In your secret heart Are you in love with the countless weapons you will never touch Are you in love with the feeling of living all the world’s adventures Will you fight, will you fight for your life Will you fight, will you fight for your life Cause will we talk about this game for years to come Or will we talk about you, about you Oh what might you do?
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
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