Short Story in a Song — “Party At Ground Zero”

It’s Friday, so let’s focus on an 80s party anthem. Or, at least, that’s what it seems on the surface. Lurking beneath this upbeat ska classic is a scathing indictment of Cold War politics and the continued threat of global nuclear war. Despite the heavy subject matter, in the end this is a positive plea for the next generation to choose a different path than their parents did.

Released in 1985, at the heights/depths of the Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher era, Fishbone states its case with a tongue-in-cheek opening salvo that makes it clear we’re all doomed. From there a narrative unfolds between young American soldiers, represented by “Johnny,” and young soviet soldiers, represented by “Ivan.” There is a never-ending war machine that needs more fodder and these are tomorrow’s heroes. The band pleads with Johnny and Ivan to party instead, because the seeds for world destruction have already been sewn and further fighting is pointless.

So, you know, start dancing before we all get turned into “pink vapor stew.” Wackado, wackado, wackado!

Read the full lyrics for Fishbone’s “Party At Ground Zero” right HERE.

More “Short Story in a Song” posts:

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.

Interrogation—Michael Pool (Short Stack Books)

Who: Michael Pool

What: Editor of the new short story collection, FAST WOMEN AND NEON LIGHTS: EIGHTIES INSPIRED NEON NOIR (Nov. 1 from Short Stack Books). He is the author of the crime noir novella, DEBT CRUSHER, and the collection of noir short stories, NEW ALLEYS FOR NOTHING MEN, as well as the creator and editor of Crime Syndicate Magazine.

Where: Colorado

Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.

Congrats on your fantastic new short story collection, FAST WOMEN AND NEON LIGHTS: EIGHTIES INSPIRED NEON NOIR. Tell us about the concept.

I’m quite nostalgic for the 1980s, from the music to the movies to the culture. It’s a very strange nostalgia, though, in that the 80s were a time when nearly everything became corporate and commoditized, especially music and film and fashion. I sort of feel that if you look back it’s a point where our culture took a darker turn towards money and greed and consumption, though, of course, those things all looked very glamorous on the surface. I wanted to put together a collection of noir short stories that really reflected this dialectic aspect of glossy surface and soulless underbelly. I talk a little more about this in the anthology’s introduction, actually, so if you want to hear more, pick up a copy of the book!

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