Mudcat Café message #2528208 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #12277   Message #2528208
Posted By: Cats
31-Dec-08 - 08:35 AM
Thread Name: Music: Police and Striking Miners
Subject: RE: Music: Police and Striking Miners
Jon Heslop was living in Pontypridd at the time of the Strke, working in the Welsh Office and was the Vice Chair of Wales TUC and chair of IPCS at the time. He was involved in many of the very high profile union meetings, including the one where a General Strike was called for. He was living in the mining community and close to them. He happened to be in a pub in Porth one lunchtime and saw some old men who were talking about The Strike. It was only after a while he relised they were talking about the 1913 strike and not the 1984 strike. By the time he had got home he had written 'Old Soldiers' a song about The Strike, Within a week it had been recorded by Calennig on their Snowy Days of January album and was being sung all over Wales and beyond. One a cold frosty February morning he was called out of his bed at some unearthly hour and told he had to be at the local pit gates to see the miners go back. He went and saw the procession come down the street, union banners held proudly on high and led by the Brass Band. As they got to the gates they played Old Soldiers and that was what his friends went back to their pit with ringing in their ears. He always says it was better than having a number one hit. Last year friends of ours happened to be in a pub in Newport and there was a lad of about 20 playing in the bar. Out of the blue he began to play Old Soldiers and you can imagine his surprise when they all joined in with the chorus. That lad wasn't even born when Jon wrote the song.