He was a diplomat's son
It was '81

from Vampire Weekend – Diplomat's Son Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Joe Strummer from the Clash affected a working-class accent as a performer even though he was the son of a diplomat

Per Rostam (Producer and keyboardist of Vampire Weekend):

Ezra sent me a short story called “Diplomat’s Son” when we were in college. The last paragraph read: “I wondered, watching him bleeding on the rugby field beneath my mud-covered boot, if he was looking at me through the proscenium of a Turkish taxicab’s rumbling windshield or, perhaps, the small port window of the rickety boat which had taken him down the Ganges.”

I started to take the idea of the “Diplomat’s Son” and put it in a different context. I started to look at it as more of a love story than a story about competitive students. I had a vocal melody and lyrics for the chorus: “He was a diplomat’s son, It was ‘81’”. The story took place in 1981.

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