The End of the World is Nigh (on Irresistible)


Hello my friends – time for a new song! I wrote this one a couple of years ago, and I’ve been playing with the arrangement in my head (mentally multi-tracking it) ever since, but it wasn’t until Catherine ordered me not to do any writing work for our entire thanksgiving long weekend, that I realized I not only had enough time to attempt a recording, but also a rather sweet (albeit small) window into which to speak my message.

Just as with my blog-title, “Hard Truth and a Big Hug” I’m always operating on the principle that we can’t ever show genuine compassion when we’re lying. For a very difficult moment, this means finding our hope (hugs) in new insights, ways of understanding, and overlooked signs of good spirit and humane potential – of which there are still quite a few.

I am a little bit of a bugger about one particular point – we can’t just scream upward about how we’re being badly treated. Honesty demands we also acknowledge the costs of our consumption on others with far less voice and power than even the least powerful and heard among us.

Solidarity means with everyone – not just our local downtrodden, but those of the whole darned world, or we’re still playing a team versus team game. To be clear, as Buckminster Fuller so brilliantly observed, technology has made humans so powerful that the choice before us now is between utopia or oblivion – there simply isn’t a muddle-through mediocrity plan in which any of our grandchildren survive.

As stark and frightening as that split is, there is a ton of hope in there as well. If we can respond to the unravelling of old patterns by engaging our intelligence and humane spirit together, we might transform our civilization into something which can richly endow and inform the ages, instead of consuming and then finally ending every last project of human culture conclusively (the suicide-pact track that we’re all on now – and still accelerating, inconveniences and truths notwithstanding).

We all know humans have both hopes and fears. I honestly believe that the potential for gathering and harnessing our hope has yet to be tapped. Sure, I’m also afraid that we’ll wake up and find that unified spirit too late, but I know it’s out there in resolute hearts across the world, and for now, that’s just enough to make asteroid conclusions as yet premature.

On a technical note – I’m sorry the video is so basic. The lyrics here are simply too specific to be easily addressed by my photo-ramblings. It would have taken me weeks, and that seemed like much too long.

For my fellow zero-budget recordists, I’m especially chuffed about my rich kick-drum noise here, produced by double-miking a heavy duty shipping box – one mic on the grip-hole (perfect ‘port’) and one on the top surface (perpendicular to that being struck). As for the striker, even a rubber-ball mallet proved much too sharp to find the box’s optimal ‘boom’ – but a cheap dollar store croc provided optimal force and surface. I did also use my favourite plastic salad-bowl drum (buy a diameter a bit bigger than the rim of a drumhead, then cut a notch in the side, to give it tension), but the brushes ended up sounding liveliest on the also double-miked bongos (which accidentally gave me fun stereo separation on the heads, too!)

And yes of course it took longer to edit and mix than it did to record – by a factor of somewhere between two and three – but as much of a head-strain as that giant jigsaw puzzle can be (nothing but computer programming comes close, in terms of interrelated moving parts held in dynamic suspension) I am happy to report that the hard work involved a great deal of giggling. For a fogey of my age, the crazy power of cheap digital recording tech feels almost indecent – like you’re getting away with something.

Or at very least (one sincerely hopes) pulling it off.

Before you go, I should mention my MP3 Bonus for Patreon peeps.

If you sign up as my Patreon backer (at any level) you will instantly get the (320k) MP3 of this new tune (a full CD quality version will soon follow). And you will also have my official permission to share it with a couple of friends – no pirate hat required! (unless you need the pirate practise for halloween, in which case, you’re welcome!) ;o)

Please note – you can point everyone you know to this post and the public video on YouTube anyhow, I’m not burying the song in any way, just adding the respect deliberation and value factors of making something a little more of a choice than just another thoughtless click.

I won’t con you and say there is a ton of exclusive content on my Patreon site so far (though these treats will build steadily, just as my website has), but you will be notified about all my new stories, podcasts, history pieces and photo essays, and you will also enjoy the (perhaps dubious) satisfaction of helping me create, research, write, enthuse, study, photograph, illustrate and explain – in short to work my soapbox, refine my message, and keep speaking truth to power and powerless alike!

There’s just one family here, folks – and all our hopes and fears together.


  1. One of your best – in spite of, or perhaps because of, its simplicity. It accommodates a lot of complexity, and poses a persuasive answer. As an uncloseted luddite, I like the reference to “our superstitious belief in magical machines” that so many expect to rescue them from a reality that becomes more uncomfortable – not seeing how it’s more uncomfortable, or at least less meaningful, because of that delusional and lazy reliance.

    And I am also struck by a certain ambiguity. (As with many ambiguities I’m struck by, I also appreciate the practical / pragmatic perspectives that dissolve them.) I actually agree, broadly, that the choice is between oblivion and utopia; but so many really bright people still think utopia is a state of inevitable technological-scientific advancement – or even less plausibly, global-capitalist advancement. They think it has already arrived, for them, and this just seems painfully, pitifully mistaken.

    Maybe because I see a lot of pain and pity in that perspective, I am not given to acrimony towards anyone having it. And it is doubtless time to reckon with it, which can only be done with a mindset of radical, almost martyr-like honesty. (But none of the patronage or sanctimony of “martyrs”.) I imagine that’s what you mean about the link between compassion and honesty – although I doubt you mean it in the Kantian sense, that it is always immoral to lie, even when you’re hiding Anne Frank in your attic and the Gestapo comes knocking.

    When it comes to the tendency in those of us with wide-angled perspectives to whine about the particular injustices we have incurred due to forces beyond our control, I concur that this can distract from the shared, systemic (and therefore largely unconscious) injustice that the “haves”, in the global sense, tend to inflict on the have-nots. We may feel exhausted and tapped-out – but that doesn’t mean we really deserve squat. Again, the realm of real compassion is the realm of rigor and equality, not dogma and exception.

    You’ve helped me better evaluate some difficult matters, so thank you!

    • WOW – Thank you thank you thank you!
      Very few humans alive know my back-catalog as well as you, and I really appreciate your appreciation on this – you’ve caught the exact place where I’ve been trying hardest to learn, too – the balance between simple and complex (and the weird backward effect of having the simple allow for more complexity, because its lack of specificity excludes so much less).
      Catchiness is a big part of it too – and this from a man who once used the song lyric “The Igneous Molybdenum Residuals, in the Carbonaceous Interstitial Boundary Layer” (in my defence, it does have great meter). ;o)

      I haven’t been practicing much, so my fingers are rusty tools – but I figured age and guile ought to compensate, if brought to bear appropriately. The old KISS (Keep it simple stupid) rule is always a smart starting place – and then I realized – what’s even better than a kiss? A great big fat kiss! Writing from the perspective of the bass is also great fun. For years I thought in terms of keyboard chords first, then I went for melody (clarinet influence) and only when I picked up the fretless did I start to get past pretty and or clever and (occasionally) achieve some genuine swing!

      Finally, I freakin’ adore that line “The realm of real compassion is the realm of rigour and equality, not dogma and exception”. Encapsulates so much of my own grail-quest so beautifully. If I ever decide to get inked… ;o)

      Grazie, man! You just put a huge smile on my face!

I am always curious about what you are thinking

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