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.