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One of Our Submarines

From: Jamie Andrews <>
Date: 11 Jul 1988 1024-WET (Monday)
Subject: One of Our Submarines
Fcc: outbox

     I saw an interview with Thomas Dolby somewhere (Trouser Press?) a
few years ago in which he explained the song.  The immediate
inspiration of the song is the story of TMDR's uncle, who was killed
in the sinking of a submarine in the English Channel during the second
World War. ("Shallow water, channel and tide"; "I can trace my history
down one generation to a home in one of our submarines".)

     However, it was written during the Falkland Islands episode, in
which British public opinion was deeply divided over whether they
should go and reclaim the Falklands (with, among other things,
submarines), or whether that was just archaic British imperialism that
died, or should have died, with the death of the British empire at the
end of WWII. ("Bye-bye Empire, Empire bye-bye, time's illusion
drowning tonight".)  Dolby claimed to be of the latter group, ashamed
at his country's return to jingoism.

     It's a great, great song.  Compare Elvis Costello's
"Shipbuilding", off _Punch the Clock_, written around the same time
from much the same point of view.

"I could think of worse places to be"