Midwatch 1953

Lyrics

The light of the dawn

Midwatch
Who could foresee?

MIdwatch
Who could foresee what happened in 1953?

Midwatch
Who could possibly see what happened in 1953?

(1)

Notes

1. Unfortunately, hindsight hasn't made things much clearer. But we do have this, from Reformation:

"Smith's second film with (Mark Aerial ) Waller Midwatch, dealt with nuclear issues, this time Operation Mosaic, the first nuclear tests carried out in Britain in the 1950s."
(from Simon Ford's book, Hip Priest). This may well have been the catalyst for the song.

Britain carried out its second nuclear test in 1953, Operation Totem. It has been alleged that aboriginal people in the area were exposed to nuclear mist subsequent to the test, which may have resulted in a higher incidence of cancer than might otherwise have been expected.

In 1999 (one year before the release of The Unutterable) MES appeared in a film by Mark Aerial Waller called Midwatch. The film was set in the galley of a ship returning from Operation Mosaic, atmospheric nuclear tests conducted by Britain in the Montebello islands off the northwest coast of Australia (Operation Totem, the apparent subject of the song, was conducted in the desert of southern Australia, at Emu Field, in October 1953).  The only two passengers are a mutineer (Steve Evets) and a caterer (MES) who has time traveled from the era of Admiral Nelson. 

"Midwatch" is British naval terminology for the watch from midnight until 4 a.m.

avsp points out that it "might be worth noting that the bleeps resemble the radiation counters that run continually at nuclear facilities to warn of any leak, etc."

^

Comments (5)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 21/04/2013

For Waller's film, see: http://www.markaerialwaller.com/midwatch.html

dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 21/04/2013

Oh, and in the navy, of course "midwatch" refers to the watch duty between midnight and 4am.

bzfgt
  • 3. bzfgt | 21/04/2013

Thanks Danny, I have some bookmarks now for when I come back to this one, I want to put a little time into it but I just wanted to remark that I'll follow up on your comments here and elsewhere...

dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 05/03/2014

You can in the middle of the song somewhere here a voice in the background say "radiation".

The lyric is longer than you have here. Just listened, and this is what I get. In transcribing I've stuck to the strongest MES vocal line where I can, but there are lots of voices:

"The light of the dawn

Midwatch
Who could foresee?
Midwatch

Midwatch
Who could foresee what happened in 1953?

Midwatch
Midwatch
Midwatch
who could foresee?

Midwatch
And who could foresee what would happen in 1953

Midwatch
Midwatch
Who could foresee?

Midwatch
Midwatch
Who could foresee what would happen in 1953

Midwatch
Who could foresee?

Midwatch
Midwatch
Who could foresee what would happen in 1953?

Midwatch
Midwatch
Who could foresee what happened in 1953?

Midwatch
Who could foresee?

Midwatch
Midwatch
Who could possibly see what happened in 1953?

Midwatch
Midwatch
Midwatch
Who could foresee what happened in 1953?

Midwatch
Who could foresee?

Midwatch
Who could foresee what would happen in 1953?

Midwatch
Midwatch
He could possibly see what happened in 1953?"

avsp
  • 5. avsp | 18/09/2015

Might be worth noting that the bleeps resemble the radiation counters that run continually at nuclear facilities to warn of any leak etc

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