All and Everyone

Album: Let England Shake (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • This near six-minute track is one of three songs that alludes to the 1915 battle for Gallipoli, a grotesquely bungled attempt to seize Constantinople, which wiped out much of the Australian and New Zealand Army. In an interview with her local newspaper, The Bridport News, Harvey explained she did an enormous amount of research for the project and the writing process, "took about two and half to three years." She added: "I read lots of books on war from all different eras. I read about war in a philosophical way, I read about it from all angles. I did lots of research on English history. I looked at the way other artists have spoken about England. I did a lot of internet research; I watched lots and lots of documentaries with interviews of people who had actually been there. Interviews with WW1 soldiers right up to present day interviews with Afghani people to produce the broad spectrum. I just tried to absorb as much information as I could. I looked at lots of artwork, lots of painting, for instance Salvador Dali's Spanish Civil War era and Goya's Disasters of Wars series. That's just two, but there were many different angles that I looked at. Lots of photography and lots of current day photography where I came across a photographer called Seamus Murphy, who spent the best part of 10 years in Afghanistan. I was extremely moved by an exhibition I saw of his called A Darkness Visible. So much that I actually I got in touch with him because I wanted to speak to him more about his experiences being there in Afghanistan.

    The whole time I was writing trying to get the voice right, and I suppose what I kept coming back to, was that the place I did feel qualified to speak from was a very simple, human, emotional point of view, because we are all human. We all feel these things, or you can feel how it would have been for somebody in that situation. You know how much your heart can break after watching a documentary about somebody else's misfortune, a soldier who has been in these terrible situations, or a man who has lost his wife - blown up by a suicide bomber, and you feel. It's very human."

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