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The Temptation of Other People's Wars.

Journalist Anthony Loyd. He was a special correspondent for The Times, covering wars In Chechnya, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Kosovo. In his new memoir "My War gone by, I miss It so" (Doubleday), he writes about his own desire to immerse himself In the chaos and drama of war, drawn by his own family's military history, his drug addiction, and despair. Loyd was born In 1966. Before becoming a journalist he was a platoon commander In Northern Ireland and the Gulf. He later went to Sarajevo to witness the conflict, and began reporting from there when a British journalist was Injured. The Kirkus Reviews writes: "There will be more Informative books on the Bosnian wars, but none that takes the reader deeper Into the domestic heart of the conflict as this Idiosyncratic, unsparingly graphic, refreshingly self-critical, and beautifully written memoir."


Other segments from the episode on February 3, 2000

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, February 3, 2000: Interview with Anthony Loyd; Review of Aimee Mann's and Michael Penn's albums "Magnoila" and "MP4."


Date: FEBRUARY 03, 2000
Time: 12:00
Tran: 020301np.217
Head: Journalist Anthony Discusses His Memoir, `My War Gone by, I Miss It So'
Sect: News; International
Time: 12:06

This is a rush transcript. This copy may not
be in its final form and may be updated.

TERRY GROSS, HOST: From WHYY in Philadelphia, I'm Terry Gross with FRESH AIR.

On today's FRESH AIR, going to other people's wars. We'll talk with Anthony Lloyd of "The Times" of London. After covering wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, he's written a memoir called "My War Gone By, I Miss It So." He says that people who venture to someone else's war through choice all want the same thing -- "a hit off the action, a walk on the dark side." In his memoir, he examines his own motivations for seeking out wars.

Also, rock critic Ken Tucker reviews two new CDs by Amy Mann and Michael Penn.

That's all coming up on FRESH AIR.

First, the news.


GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

In his new memoir, war correspondent Anthony Lloyd writes, "Men and women who venture to someone else's war through choice do so in a variety of guises -- U.N. general, BBC correspondent, aid worker or mercenary. But in the final analysis, they all want the same thing -- a hit off the action, a walk on the dark side."

Lloyd examines his motivations for going to other people's wars in his new memoir, "My War Gone By, I Miss It So." He writes for "The Times" of London and has covered the conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, and Afghanistan. Last year he joined us on FRESH AIR to talk about Kosovo after he snuck out of the region upon learning Serb forces had put a death sentence on his head.

Last fall while covering Chechnya, he was arrested by the Russians and detained for several days.

His memoir, "My War Gone By, I Miss It So," focuses on his experiences in the first conflict he covered, Bosnia. He says that even after the war ended, his memories "fed a sorrowful nostalgia for it."

I asked him to describe this strange nostalgia.

ANTHONY LLOYD, "MY WAR GONE BY": It's a difficult and complicated state of feeling when a war is finished, and I found that paradoxically, though it generally seemed that wars are hell, wars are terrible, that in many ways for me the war was particularly -- the Bosnian war, which was the most influential time and experience of my life, was something I really missed when it was over.

It was, as I say, a very, very real experience, one's sentiments and one's thoughts were very clearly focused, and everything was very intense, from one's friendships and one's relationships and one's feelings. And there was a -- for all the badness of war, there was a great sense of clarity as an individual, and very, very strong moments, whether good moments or bad.

And when that was over, returning to life in London seemed very, very empty. And this seeded a nostalgia.

GROSS: You have what I would almost describe as a taste for war. You enlisted in the military. You were disappointed when you didn't get to see action. And then after your five years were up in the military, you wanted to find another war. Why did you want to find another war?

LLOYD: I think this is the that a lot of young men share throughout -- through -- across the world, Terry. I think that, yes, I joined the army, I was in the Gulf War, but, I mean, the action I saw was very, very limited. It wasn't really proper action at all. And I think that there are many elements to having an appetite to going and seeing war as a young man. And some of them can be just a kind of male -- the male kick of wanting to prove yourself in an environment, not necessarily fighting but certainly in the challenging environment of war, or fighting, indeed.

There were several levels to it, from my own experience. First of all, everybody in my family, every man in my family for generations back, fought or were pilots in certainly both world wars, and even before then, and fought on both sides as well, some for the Germans and some for the British. This wasn't rammed down my throat as a child, but it was certainly a consciousness I had, the details I was told and something left out already. And it left me with great curiosity to see what war was like, and also a sense that that was what you did when you came of age, you went to war.

As I say, I left the army after five years' service. The Bosnian war was just breaking out at that time, 1991 it was going on in Croatia, in 1992 it actually broke out in Bosnia. And my -- I felt very, very curious, especially in the back bloss (ph) of the Gulf, which was a lot of hype, a lot of buildup for basically five fairly frantic days in the desert in Iraq, where the action was fairly clinical and distant, even, which then kind of enhanced my curiosity.

GROSS: You know, you write a little bit about your family in your book, you know, a dysfunctional family, lots of problems with your relationship with your father. And you write you feel comparatively sane in a war.

LLOYD: Yes, I think one's options in war, one's choices are very simple in a war, Terry. Back here, you know, in London, one's baffled by millions of choices. I mean, choices as to what relationships one has, how one acts in different relationships, choices as to what kind of butter one buys, you know. In a war, it's very kind of pared of posture or pretense. Things are much more simplified. And the questions one asks oneself or that situations impose upon one offer a very stark contrast. And, you know, life is much simpler, in a way, and much more real.

And it's kind of abstract, confusing, scene, and I find a lot of it in London. In war, no, I feel real, and life feels real and sane.

GROSS: When you decided you wanted to go to the war in Bosnia, you decided to do it as a journalist. The problem was, you weren't a journalist yet. (laughs) So you studied photography and decided to go as a photojournalist. Why photography instead of writing? As it turns out, you're a terrific writer.

LLOYD: Well, there were two reasons. One, I still think that photography is a much purer medium than the written word, in that there are less filters to people's understanding of what a photograph represents. Rather than writing, one can always think with a writer, Well, that was the writer's interpretation of the situation and what the reader's interpretation of the writer's interpretation is. Already, you know, it gets -- it can get quite far away by the time someone reads someone else's account of what they saw, and to what the reader understands of it.

Whereas with a photograph, it's much simpler. The photographer takes the photograph, and bang, it's there, and you look at it, and it won't go away till, you know, you close your eyes, and it's, I think, inherently more simple and more attractive.

And so that was the first reason. The second reason was, furthering that last answer, it's much easier to get a break in the media, with the British media, for sure, if one goes out with a camera, because people can't argue with a photograph. It doesn't matter what your journalistic pedigree or lack of it beforehand. If you go out, you take a good picture, people are going to want to buy that picture.

Whereas if you go out and you've never written for anyone before, and you haven't maybe got particularly advanced education qualifications, people will be very snotty about employing you as a writer. Like, Well, where is he from? Well, yeah, maybe he writes well, maybe he doesn't write well, whatever. But, you know, who did he know, and has he worked for a newspaper before? This, that or the other.

You can short-circuit it definitely by going with a camera, stills camera.

GROSS: And this was important to you, because you weren't hired by a magazine or a newspaper, so you were just in the war as a freelance journalist.

LLOYD: Yes, I was in the war in the early stages, certainly, as a wannabe freelance journalist, in that I had my cameras, but I wasn't working for anyone at all, and I didn't even have anyone to send my film to, which is quite an invidious position, or it felt like an invidious position at the beginning, because other foreigners there are particularly quick to judge other foreigners present in a war who haven't got a clear-cut aim and agenda in a war, as war tourists, which is a term I don't think sticks.

But there was certainly a lot of self-questioning and questioning by other people when I was first out there, until I got -- until I started selling my work and was kind of defined, Oh, yeah, he's a freelance fellow journalist.

GROSS: So when you got to Bosnia, you were unarmed, because you were there as a journalist and not as a soldier. After having been a soldier for five years, what it was -- what was it like to be in a war without any weapons?

LLOYD: It's strange. People have often said to me, Oh, it must have been a great advantage to have been in the army and had all that training and experience and then gone to Bosnia. That must have stood you in good stead. Well, in fact, I think the bonuses are fairly limited for having been a soldier, because in Northern Ireland and in the Gulf, as a soldier, one was very, very confident in the rest of the organization, the rest of the team with whom one served.

One knew if one was going in on an operation, what one's orders were, what one's aim for that operation was, and through such details as who was on your left flank and who was on your right flank, and, you know, what support you were going to give. And you had a lot of -- and get. And you had a lot of confidence that at the end of the day, if you got hit, then the organization, the army, would, you know, pick you up and pull you out and patch you up and send you home.

But boy, turning up in Bosnia as a wannabe freelance journalist, I was entirely on my own. I had no sense that anybody was going to help me, particularly if I got badly wounded, beyond the hospitality of the Bosnian family with whom I was first living, that is.

Of course, I underwent a lot of self-questioning in Bosnia, because in the initial stages, the responsibility for my being there was only with myself. As a soldier, you know, when he's sent to places, one -- I mean, one can volunteer as well, but one is part of an organization -- a bigger organization. And sort of day-tripping in someone else's war without a specific contract, someone else's contract to hide behind, one feels very naked in one's own reasoning for being there and does question it a lot, which can be very uncomfortable.

GROSS: You say not only weren't you carrying a weapon, but you even stopped wearing your flak jacket at some point. Why did you stop?

LLOYD: The time I was still wearing my flak jacket was in during the first and beginning of the second year that I was in Bosnia. And it was in a very specific environment, which was living with a Bosnian family in Sarajevo. I stopped wearing it in Sarajevo partially because I was beginning to feel a lot more confident about existing in the city without the necessity of a flak jacket.

And secondarily, perhaps more important, I was -- felt very awkward, guilty even, that I was living with the hospitality of people who had no recourse to walking around wearing body armor.

That's not to say that latterly in Bosnia, there were many occasions when, if it was heavy enough, that I would wear a flak jacket. But I stopped wearing it, certainly, in the company of the Bosnian family in Sarajevo who I first stayed with

GROSS: My guest is reporter Anthony Lloyd of "The Times of London." We'll talk more after a break.

This is FRESH AIR.

GROSS: My guest is reporter Anthony Lloyd, author of the new memoir "My War Gone By, I Miss It So."

After some time as a freelance photographer, you got your break as a writer and started writing for "The London Times." Tell us the story of how you got that break.

LLOYD: Sure. Yes, I'd moved out of Sarajevo to central Bosnia, where there was a second seitchure (ph) war starting between Muslims and Croats. And at that stage, Reuters and then latterly AP had picked me up as a photographer, and I was selling stuff, so then on a very much freelance, freelance basis. Then one day out in the hills at the edge of a pocket held by Croats called Vitez (ph) Pocket, there was some fighting between Croats and Muslims, and a British U.N. patrol turned up in their armored vehicles and said -- I was in a Soskin (ph) car with a couple of French journalists.

And they informed us that a British journalist had trodden on a mine and been badly wounded. And the Brits gave us -- his first name was Patrick, and they said he was a writer. I knew this guy, he was called Patrick Bishop, he was a writer for "The Daily Telegraph" at the time. So I jumped in the car with the two French, and we raced back to Vitez to find the U.N. hospital where he would have been casevaced (ph) to.

And en route we drove into a big firefight of a separate -- part of a separate battle, and we abandoned the car and hung out for a while with the Muslim troops, who were actually assaulting a Croat -- the edge of a Croat-held village. And there was some quite heavy fighting there for over a period of hours. We couldn't get back to the car.

And in the middle of it all, we were kind of accompanying these troops forward. They pulled two Croatian soldiers out of a house, and it looked for a while like they might shoot the soldiers. But they didn't. They were quite correct and professional, as sometimes units could be in Bosnia, certainly not all the time. And by and large, the Muslims more so, if there was professionalism and humanity on the other sides.

The Muslims were quite underarmed, and they took from these two prisoners their ammunition pouches and off one young guy, they took a large bone-handled knife, and then led them back to the rear. The prisoners were crying, they thought they were going to get shot. And one of them who spoke English, before he was led away, gave me his address in a nearby town, and he knew as a foreigner that I might be able to get to that town and inform his mother that he was still alive.

We couldn't get back to our car still. The firefight was ongoing. We stayed with these Muslim soldiers. And halfway through the firefight, in a rather bizarre scene, a small young calf wandered out from a barn, and the Muslim soldiers used this knife they'd taken off the Croat to cut its throat and start barbecuing it in the lee of this barn, as the fighting was going on all around.

And they offered us, you know, to eat and drink with them, which we did, and as we did so, bits of chips from the building and branches from overhead were getting scythed down by machine-gun fire. It was a pretty surreal experience.

Halfway through the meal, the Muslim soldier who'd taken the knife and ammunition pouches off this young Croat reaches into one of the ammunition pouches and pulls out a girl's ear. And he'd just been searching through the pouch to see what else it had, apart from ammunition. And this girl's ear, it was wrapped initially in a bit of cellophane, which he took off.

And he was pretty shocked himself, this soldier. I mean, a lot of Bosnian soldiers were very, you know, very civilized, well educated, humane people, in contrast to the impression that many countries in the West might have of combatants in Bosnia.

Anyway, a couple of guys were sent back to kill the prisoners. The Bosnian Muslims were not impressed by capturing Croat combatants who were carrying around severed girl's ears in their pockets.

Finally the firefight subsided. I got back through the lines, made it to Vitez, found my friend Patrick, who hadn't trodden on a mine, he'd been sprayed by a Claymore mine, which was off the road, so he kept his leg, but was pretty much addled (ph) with shrapnel.

As I say, he was a writer for "The Daily Telegraph," and he asked just then and there if I could cover for "The Daily Telegraph" as a writer until his replacement turned up. And so I agreed, and then said, "Yeah, a funny thing happened when I heard that you'd been hit. As I came to find out where you were, duh-duh-duh," told him about the girl's ear and the firefight.

And he said, "Yeah, it sounds like a story. Just write it like you told it to me." So I didn't know how to type, I just wrote it in (inaudible) on a piece of paper and dictated it over a sat-phone to the "Telegraph," and that was it, that was the start of writing.

GROSS: And writing for "The Telegraph" led to "The London Times."

LLOYD: Yes, "The Times" picked -- Patrick's replacement came out two or three weeks later, and then a journalist for "The London Times" asked me if I would cover for them. And that led to a consolidated relationship with "The London Times."

GROSS: Well, what you say in your book, that writing gave you a sense of purpose in the war, talk a little bit more about that.

LLOYD: Sure, Terry. Though I've said that I respect over and above other mediums that of photography, at the same time, personally, I found that some events were too complicated to try and convey the essence of their meaning to someone else just through an -- a single image. And writing did allow me more depth and wider parameters to explain what I was seeing and what was going on to someone else.

And it gave me a great deal of focus in the war. As I got more involved with my job professionally and working for "The Times," I felt a sense of satisfaction in being able to communicate, or trying to communicate, what I saw going on around me, and what was going on in the war to someone else back at home, readers back at home.

Now, that might be a cop-out. You might say, Well, OK, so you were just trying to feel better about the reasons for your being out there, which I still stand by. Most people go voluntarily to other people's wars for reasons that are purely self-centered or to do with themselves than for reasons of altruism. However, if a byproduct of that is professional journalism, then I don't think that's a bad thing.

GROSS: You tell a story about a Swedish major general who really wanted to use you and the other journalists you were with. Tell us what happened.

LLOYD: Terry, yes, in fact, he was just a major, but he was in command of a unit of Swedish troops in a town called Varesh (ph) in central Bosnia, which was a mixed town. It had mixed Croat-Muslim population. But then some Croatian extremists turned up and wanted to cleanse the town of its Muslim elements, or cleanse -- get rid of them, purge them, if you like.

And in the initial stages of this, they went to a village at the edge of the town, a Muslim village, and killed everybody there that they could get hold of and burned the village down. Then they went inside the town of Varesh and incarcerated all the Muslim men they could find in two buildings, and -- while robbing and raping their way through the Muslim quarter of the town.

The Swedish troops, who had only turned up to this town to be based there a few days before, had a very kind of Nordic sense of fair play and justice, and they formed up what effectively was a kind of fighting patrol, a group of guys, heavily armed to go and be there, be granted access to these two buildings where the Croats were holding the Muslim men, or, if necessary, I guess, shoot their way into those buildings.

And they were very confident. They were led by this Swedish major. And he was very confident in his plan, particularly because there was a small group of journalists there, including me, and more pertinently, a TV camera from the BBC. And he felt very sure that whatever the outcome of his plan, so long as a TV camera was there, at least people -- the world would be able to see the purity of his intent, whatever the outcome, whatever the reality, which would, I think, have been an extremely fast and bloody and failed showdown with the Croats.

When the BBC presenter there just turned to his crack camera crew and said, "Look, the situation is so dangerous, everybody's obviously about to get killed standing in the street, so we're leaving," the major was horrified and just (inaudible), he said, "Well, yes, but if you leave, you know, we'll never be able to do it," you know, and, "We must show, show the people what's going on."

And as soon as the TV cameras went and the major was pointed out the -- maybe the high risk of his venture as a U.N. soldier -- I'm sure if he'd been working for his own army, he probably would have done it anyway, but as a U.N. soldier, which carries slightly more sensitive and weighted responsibility there, he backed down. He was very conscious of the media presence, and wanted to use it to his advantage. And without it, he didn't want to carry things through in quite that high-risk gambit.

GROSS: Did you agree with the BBC reporter who said, "This is going to be too bloody, we're going to get killed, so we're leaving"? Did you leave with him and agree with that assessment? And also...

LLOYD: Hell...

GROSS: ... not want to be used by the Swedish major?

LLOYD: Hell, no, Terry, I didn't agree with him, and I would have been quite happy to see a big shoot shootout between the Swedes and Croats right there and then. And I didn't think to be used or not to be used as a journalist in war -- Christ, if I'm worried about what one does being used by one side or another, for whatever reason and whatever means, then one's not going to go to a war at all. I think one should just go to a war, not worry about how it's used, and report professionally and objectively on what one sees.

If one spends one's life looking over one's shoulder, worrying what, you know, the hell's going to be done with one's copy or with one's photographs, or by whom it's done or whatever, then, you know, you might as well just never get out of bed in the morning.

GROSS: Anthony Lloyd's new memoir is called "My War Gone By, I Miss It So." He'll be back in the second half of the show.

I'm Terry Gross, and this is FRESH AIR.


GROSS: Coming up, we continue our conversation with war correspondent Anthony Lloyd and compare his compulsion to witness war with his former addiction to heroin.

And Ken Tucker reviews new CDs by Amy Mann and Michael Penn.


GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross, back with reporter Anthony Lloyd of "The Times" of London.

He's covered conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, and Afghanistan. In his new memoir, "My War Gone By, I Miss It So," he examines his own motivations for going to other people's wars. The book focuses on the first conflict he covered, Bosnia. When he first went to Bosnia, he was an inexperienced freelance photographer.

Let me bring up something you felt you couldn't do back when you were mostly a photographer. A young woman who you knew was killed on the street, and one of the neighbors are shouting, "Take pictures, take pictures," and you couldn't do it. Why couldn't you do it?

LLOYD: Well, I think that it's a pretty human response to find great difficulty in taking pictures for professional reasons of somebody that one knows. I think that that is a normal human response. Not that the normal responses or people's responses are normal or human in war. I think sometimes they can get very contorted.

I felt -- basically, I felt shocked and unsure of what to do. But at the time, I think I tortured myself with not having taken pictures afterwards, because I thought, Well, Christ, what am I here for, you know? I'm not here for a kind of personal life or a social life. You know, I shouldn't be worried about taking pictures of dead people. It wasn't just because she was dead, it was because I knew her.

But in fact, looking upon it now with the hindsight of years, now I'm really pleased I didn't take a picture, actually. If one takes a picture, it's because one feels one can or wants to take a picture. And I think it's entirely justified. If one feels there are situations one's uncomfortable in taking a picture, then it's usually better not to take the picture than regret having done it afterwards.

GROSS: Do you respect your feelings that something is going to be violated by that picture?

LLOYD: I think something would have been violated -- there would have been some self-violation involved that (ph).

GROSS: If (inaudible) in the war in Bosnia, you were exposed to genuine evil?

LLOYD: Yes, I do. And as I said in the book, I'm very suspicious of that word, "evil," and certainly before I went to the war in Bosnia, the word symbolized to me perhaps more the rantings of, you know, some kind of pulpit preacher's histrionics, and a reality that I've had in my life.

But in Bosnia, sometimes, in some places, when men were either about to do bad things or had just done very bad things, there was an atmosphere so charged, so succinct, so unique, and characterized by the sensation of such a sucking void, that certainly I would have called it evil, yes.

GROSS: Is there something that you saw that you thought, This is just -- there's no political, social explanation for this, this is just pure evil?

LLOYD: Yes, I think there were -- on numerous occasions I saw things which surpassed even my own threshold of toleration for things like mutilation or casual killing. In particular, I think the first village massacre I saw left a real impression. It was a mountainside village outside Varesh. The Croats had gone in there and killed every man, woman, and child, Muslim, that they could find. The rest of the Muslims had fled into the forests.

And having done that, they torched, the Croats torched the whole village and then disappeared. And I got into that village with three or four friends and colleagues, at the end of a long day, to find it, of course, totally deserted, with the light fading and the mist coming in from the mountains, and the village itself still smoking, a place of the dead characterized just by the presence of the dead, but with a sensation that really crawled over one's skin.

And particularly there, as well as the bodies, which had been burned and had their heads smashed in with rifle butts, and the livestock, which had roasted in their stalls along with everything else, because the entire village had been burnt, and the foundations of the houses, which were kind of piled with burning rubble, and the way the bodies spat as they burnt within that rubble, there was one shed which, by a freak chance, had not been consumed by fire.

And it was adjoining a burnt house. And inside that shed, there was a trapdoor, which I guess would have been used as a small grain pit to store crops. And I walked into it, and I had a torch, which wasn't, of course, working very well. And inside was smoking, covered industry dust. And there were three women hiding in that little pit. The trapdoor was up, and they kind of stared back at me through the gloom. And one had had her throat cut, and the other had been shot in the face, and the other had been shot in the chest.

And they were all -- they were still holding hands. And one could see looking at their faces exactly what they had seen in the moments -- the seconds just preceding their death. And of all the atmosphere in the village, it was most concentrated in that room, just the only place which hadn't been burnt down, you know, the mist coming down, the light fading, smoke already in the room, and three women, one very old and two much younger, women in their 20s, who had been found hiding. I don't know what had given them away. The trapdoor had been pulled up, and whoever had found them had killed them, and killed them quickly.

That was -- you know, I would call that an evil atmosphere.

GROSS: Do you think that your belief system is different in war than it is in peace, your belief in God or in fate?

LLOYD: Yes, I think it's very different, Terry. I think it's very different, particularly -- I mean, my belief system has changed a bit, or quite a lot, over the nine years since I left the army anyway. But usually I'm quite cynical in regards to -- in my regard towards religion, for example. And quite existentialist, I would guess, and a badly read existentialist.

But, boy, soon as I go to a war, particularly a war with the continuity that Bosnia had, (inaudible) the continuity that my life had in Bosnia, where one is exposed so frequently to violence time and time again, I find that superstition kicks in immediately, and I start finding some sort of God or other in every firefight. Whereas back home in London, I'm quite happy to say, Oh, no, this -- no God, no spirit world out there.

I don't think it's necessarily born out of fear, either. I don't think it's necessarily something born out of mortal fear. I think one's whole sensory perception in war operates on an entirely different gear, and there are some very heavy vibes going down in war which you don't really see in peacetime in the West, or I don't, anyway.

So I -- yes, I do think that one's attitude to life, death, one's values, moralities, one's love, one's sense of hate, and certainly one's sense of the spirit and spirits is very, very different in war.

GROSS: But that sense of spirit doesn't -- and spirits doesn't -- still doesn't stick with you after the war, after you're back in London?

LLOYD: No. I always find that the kind of chilling comedown, that whatever I've seen in a war, however much I think to myself, Boy, when I get back home, I'm going to have no worries, because I'm going to be so centered by the reality of what I've seen out there, I know I will be able to hold the affirmation in my life through this exposure to death. Unfortunately, it -- I can -- it's -- I find it very difficult to hold onto when I come back.

I mean, technically, you know, why do I still get wound up when I walk outside and see the traffic warden giving my car a parking ticket? I mean, should it matter to me when...

GROSS: (laughs)

LLOYD: ... should it matter to me? But boy, it does matter to me. And yet why should it, you know? I've seen people kill for being -- having the wrong surname. I've worried plenty enough times about getting whacked myself. Why should it bother me that there's some guy fining me 20 quid for parking my car in the wrong place. But it does. I'm human, and we have short memories.

GROSS: My guest is reporter Anthony Lloyd of "The Times" of London. We'll talk more after a break.

This is FRESH AIR.


GROSS: British journalist Anthony Lloyd is my guest. His new memoir is called "My War Gone By, I Miss It So." He's covered the wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Chechnya.

I find your psychological insights into yourself and your reasons for wanting to cover war really interesting. And, you know, you write in your memoir about the trouble you've had with heroin. And I'm just so interested in the fact that you've been both addicted to heroin and, you know, almost addicted to war, in part because, you know, heroin completely numbs your senses, and war, it's just -- it's all adrenaline, it's all about living in one catastrophic moment after another.

So they seem like really different extremes that I guess are addressing some similar need in you.

LLOYD: Yes, I find there were a lot of parallels between -- there are a lot of parallels between the two experiences, Terry. I first -- I mean, I had taken heroin first before I went to the Bosnian war. But my first few years in Bosnia were characterized by spending usually about nine months of each year in Bosnia and then coming home, perhaps in any single year, for maybe three one-month interludes.

And I found it such a shocking contradiction to one minute having been in a war for months, and the next, after a two-hour plane ride, arriving in, you know, London's Heathrow Airport, terminal three, at night, alone, trying to splice what one had just come from with what one was going into, was a contrast which I found very, very difficult.

And I found it far easier just to transcend that whole sense of contradiction by doing heroin, which sort of freeze-froze (ph) me in the last moments of the war I'd just left, or freeze-dried me, if you like, in readiness just to go back again, so that I never -- it just spliced over the whole schism between the war and peace experience. And it meant that for about four years I never had to examine it at all.

Of course, the rub came when the Bosnian war finished and I returned to live in London and found that drug habits last longer than wars, or live longer than wars. But no, I found there were many similarities. And certainly the same sense of compulsion whereby -- well, it's like having a fickle lover, you know, something which -- someone one goes back to time and time again in the face of better judgment, some kind of bolt (ph) of mixtures of agony and ecstasy, or perhaps more agony, I don't know.

A difficult one, but I think that there were many parallels, and my sense of the parallels became -- well, they became very entwined.

GROSS: What about withdrawal when you'd go back to Bosnia?

LLOYD: Yes, that was no fun. I mean, withdrawal's bad enough if you're in your own flat left alone, and you've got at least some heating and a good bed. But it's not much fun if you're somewhere very, very cold where there's a war on and you're examining yourself in that light.

However, it was ironic, or perhaps not so, that I never craved heroin while I was in Bosnia or in war. The cravings would only start when I was in England, which suggested to me -- suggests to me that on another level, I felt as satiated in war internally as I did by heroin in peace. And the cravings would only actually set in when I came back to England. So on one level...

GROSS: How do you do with it (ph) now?

LLOYD: Hm. Well, now I've been in recovery for two years, Terry. It's -- my life got to such a stage once the Bosnian war was finished and I was back here, and, you know, my habit, you know, really ran away with me then, that -- I mean, I didn't have to do anything about it. A lot of people don't do anything about it. A lot of people make the decision that they want to stick with their drug addiction. And you can go through life like that, and you can leave your life like that if you wish.

With me, it was not what I wished. Then followed, after about -- I guess about a five- or six-year total kind of relationship with heroin, there followed a very painful time, which was trying to give up and failing repetitively, which was a very black period in my life. And then getting a breakthrough in achieving the first short amounts of time where I managed to stay clean, which grew into longer and longer periods of time.

And now it's still -- it's only -- it's still with me every day. It's there, it's like a shadow. But it's a shadow that I've learned to -- I've learned to live with it as not a substance in my life, perhaps there's no more than a shadow.

GROSS: If you're just joining us, my guest is Anthony Lloyd, who has covered for the London "Times" the wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Chechnya.

You were in Chechnya for the second time in September at the start of the second Russian Chechen war. You were arrested and detained for several days. Thankfully, you were released. But I'm wondering if that affected at all your sense of wanting to go back and cover another war.

LLOYD: No, that didn't affect my sense of wanting to go back at all, Terry. I found that though it was very nice to get back home finally and found that people had been concerned with me, I was not really, to be honest, remotely concerned of being detained. I was actually held by the Russians, and it was more of an interesting experience than a really threatening experience.

Sure, there were times when it was a bit menacing, when I was questioned, when I was interrogated, it was done so by people wearing black masks, which -- obviously if they're wearing black masks, it's because one's concerned that they might want to do bad things to me, and not be held accountable afterwards. And there were people taking my passport and hiding that and saying that they could make me disappear too. But the sense was that the Russian army was not going to execute or even torture a Western journalist.

And I felt quite relaxed about the whole thing, and it was -- whoo, it was quite interesting to see the way they operated. I think the Chechen war is the most important story going on in the world at the moment, deserves a lot of focus, a lot of attention, and would the Russians give me a visa, I would gladly go back.

GROSS: When you were being interrogated, you had also been given a lot of vodka to drink. I guess the Russians were hoping that would loosen your tongue. Did it?

LLOYD: (inaudible), no, I didn't have that much to hide, actually, Terry. But what I did have to hide was the name of my Chechen contact on the inside. And they never got that name. Sometimes I was given vodka just by a -- one of the soldiers who was guarding me, just because I think he wanted to drink and wanted some company to drink. But on other times, it was definitely kind of force-fed to us. And no, it didn't really -- it made me more angry than loose.

GROSS: You started off being a journalist basically to get a ticket to go to war. Now that you've covered the wars in Bosnia and Chechnya and Kosovo and others, do you have more commitment to journalism itself, and just to the value of covering a war as a good journalist?

LLOYD: Yes, sure. I think that that's a natural progression of experience in war. For a long time I was thrilled and fascinated by war as an experience for myself. Though much of that thrill remains, one sees a lot of things that repeat themselves, so war can have a very repetitive nature after awhile, even -- it's fairly universal, wherever one goes in the world, people have the same sense of victimization or aggression or same as (ph) grudges or grievances and the cries of the bereaved (inaudible) largely much the same. And I think that the excitement is not something which dims, but one's threshold does get raised. And I think it allows one to concentrate more on one's professional role in a war.

That's not to say I'm trying to escape my reasoning for being there, which is my own. But I feel more conscious of my professional role in a war now.

GROSS: Well, Anthony Lloyd, I want to thank you very much for talking with us, and I wish you good luck.

LLOYD: Terry, thank you.

GROSS: Anthony Lloyd writes for "The Times" of London. His new memoir is called "My War Gone By, I Miss It So."

Coming up, Ken Tucker reviews new CDs by Amy Mann and Michael Penn.

This is FRESH AIR.


Dateline: Terry Gross, Philadelphia
Guest: Anthony Lloyd
High: Journalist Anthony Lloyd was a special correspondent for The Times, covering wars In Chechnya, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Kosovo. In his new memoir, "My War Gone by, I Miss It So," he writes about his own desire to immerse himself In the chaos and drama of war, drawn by his own family's military history, his drug addiction, and despair. Lloyd was born in 1966. Before becoming a journalist he was a platoon commander in Northern Ireland and the Gulf. He later went to Sarajevo to witness the conflict, and began reporting from there when a British journalist was injured.
Spec: World Affairs; Media; War

Please note, this is not the final feed of record
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2000 WHYY, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by FDCH, Inc. under license from WHYY, Inc. Formatting copyright 2000 FDCH, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to WHYY, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.
End-Story: Journalist Anthony Discusses His Memoir, `My War Gone by, I Miss It So'

Date: FEBRUARY 03, 2000
Time: 12:00
Tran: 020302np.217
Head: Married Musicians Aimee Mann and Michael Penn Make Beautiful Music Separately
Sect: Entertainment
Time: 12:56

This is a rush transcript. This copy may not
be in its final form and may be updated.

TERRY GROSS, HOST: Aimee Mann and Michael Penn are married singer-songwriters were separate careers but similar cult status as articulate pop rockers. They also record infrequently. Penn's new album, "MP4," is his first in three years, while Mann didn't even have a major label contract when she was writing the songs that became the sound track for the new film "Magnolia."

Rock critic Ken Tucker listened to both CDs and has this review.


KEN TUCKER, ROCK CRITIC: There's an ache built into Aimee Mann's voice that serves her plaintive melodies and melancholy lyrics well. She's not a mope, but she knows what it's like to be left listless by love.

Many of the songs she's written for the sound track to "Magnolia" echo the ideas of the film's writer-director, Paul Thomas Anderson. The tune called "You Do," for instance, is about the way some of us try to give someone we love the benefit of the doubt even when we know in our hearts he or she is doing us wrong.


TUCKER: "Magnolia" is a film about disparate lost souls who know they're being conned or betrayed by the people around them, and who try to break free of the cynicism that engulfs them. At what might be considered the climax of "Magnolia," director Anderson has every major character in the film sing along with this song of Aimee Mann's called "Wise Up."


TUCKER: Michael Penn's new CD isn't the sound track to any movie, but a song like "Lucky One" sure could be the opening number to an awfully engaging musical.


TUCKER: Penn, like his wife, has the reedy voice of an earnest romantic, and he writes the lyrics of a romantic made tough by disappointment. The result, in his case, is an exhilarating determination and firmness that's reflected in the precision of his rhymes and meter.


TUCKER: On "MP4" -- the title, by the way, refers to the fact that this is Michael Penn's fourth album -- the author often presents himself as a hard-headed realist, ready to walk away from a love gone bad, which in turn gives his bubbly music weight, import, and density -- wisdom, even.


TUCKER: Aimee Mann and Michael Penn are touring the country together to promote their new albums. If I were you, I'd try to catch this musical marriage in action. My hunch is that it'll give the lie to the idea that men are from Mars and women are from Venus and suggest instead that men and women are earthly, earthy creatures who like each other's company.

GROSS: Ken Tucker is critic at large for "Entertainment Weekly." He reviewed new CDs by Aimee Mann and Michael Penn.

FRESH AIR's interviews and reviews are produced by Phyllis Myers, Amy Salit, Naomi Person, and Monique Nazareth, with Ann Marie Baldonado and Patty Leswing. Research assistance from Brendan Noonam. Roberta Shorrock directs the show.

I'm Terry Gross.


Dateline: Terry Gross, Philadelphia, Ken Tucker
High: Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews two new CDs: Aimee Mann's soundtrack for "Magnolia" and Michael Penn's "MP4."
Spec: Entertainment; Music Industry; Art

Please note, this is not the final feed of record
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2000 WHYY, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by FDCH, Inc. under license from WHYY, Inc. Formatting copyright 2000 FDCH, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to WHYY, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.
End-Story: Married Musicians Aimee Mann and Michael Penn Make Beautiful Music Separately
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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