RAFairman's Blog

An RAF Airman's Blog

A little bit of Robbie…

Back in the late 90’s I spent a fair bit of time (although not enough for a medal it would seem – grrrrrrrrrrr!) in Saudi as part of the Coalition effort to police the UN no-fly zone over southern Iraq.  I was based at the Saudi Air base of Al Kharj, not too far away from Riyahd.

There things weren’t too bad.  After a while the old Tent City was demolished and we moved into a nice new set of accommodation blocks, with proper messes and other entertainment facilities, such as a fantastic gym, a shopping area and a superb swimming pool.

This was a fantastic place to go to chill out and get a great tan as well as be able to cool off in the water.  The only problem was that the place also had a superb sound system where people could ask the “DJ” to play CD’s they had brought along.  Given the vast majority of people at the Base were American – on a scale of almost 10-1 in their favour, it meant that the music that was played at the pool tended to be very American inspired.

But not really in a good way.

Well from the Brit’s points of views, as quite often the music would represent the type of people populating the pool.  At times it was heavy duty, hard core Rap. sometimes it would be R&B soul, one particularly bad day it was country.

Actually it was two types of music that day. Country. And Western.

And that day it went on. And on. And on. And there were a lot of Brit’s getting, well, fed up of the stuff.

And eventually I’d had enough of it too. I’d been trying to blank out the C&W music with my own CD discman (remember THEM?) but failing when I decided I’d had enough.  I flipped through the CD wallet I had and spotted Robbie Williams’ “I’ve been expecting you.”

That’ll do.

Off I stomped to the DJ…and asked him…pleaded with him to put it on…I showed him the CD and he didn’t recognise it. I said “It’s Robbie Williams. It’s good. People will like it.”

“ohhhh Robbie Williams.  I’ve heard good things about them” (Yeah, he said “Them”) “I’ll put it on next.”

I plodded back and lay down in the sun again. The Country still played until the end of the song.  Then there was a gap.

Then. The acoustic guitar of “Strong” by Robbie started and the song kicked in…and the 50 or so Brits there by the pool all cheered…just for a short while a little bit of Saudi Arabia, and the Little America that it had become, changed to become a little bit of Britain, with all the RAF there that day singing for all their worth.

Yes. Robbie Williams saved my sanity.


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