Murray Lachlan Young writes and performs a ballad about Dave who lives in a tent in the woods and tells tales of war, post-traumatic stress and his long journey to redemption on the back of a horse.
A dark, intimate encounter in a rainstorm, under cover of canvas and forest, produces a remarkable account of bravery, despair and the unsupportable weight of expectation when the Alien Balladeer meets a former soldier. After being tempted into the forces by the lure of recruitment posters, Dave recounts his first harrowing introduction to the real business of soldiering and of the time when he had the power in his hands to take a life, but chose instead to save it. He talks also of how life and the company of others became almost unbearable on his departure from the army, and how his equilibrium only returned after a ten-year journey though Britain with his horse Troy. From these quietly spoken, sometimes stuttering tales, Murray creates a ballad about the archetypal Soldier.
In this series, Murray Lachlan Young is the Alien Balladeer. With his outsider's eye, he goes prospecting for insight and truth from the worlds of the people he meets, bringing humour and dignity in a song to his subjects - and an occasional sharp dig in the ribs. In this programme and in the other four ballads in the series (The Pole Dancer's Lament, The Glastonbury Tatter, The God Shaped Hole and The Ballad of the Naked Rambler), myths are exploded and new ones arrive to take their place.
Producer: Adam Fowler
A Ladbroke production for BBC Radio 4.