The Burden of Freedom

Do we have free will? Yes, we are free to be bored, confused, alienated, lost, lonely, sad, guilty, angry and insane. We have the freedom of a voter or shopper — free to do exactly what we’re told, free to buy exactly what’re sold — the freedom of an abused lover, or employee, or madman. The freedom we have is that of a customer in a restaurant with a five-hundred page menu or a nutcase who believes he’s God. When the wise say they want the freedom to choose, what they mean is they want freedom to have no choice; freedom from wanting what the self wants. Uncertainty is suffering, freedom is agonising, choice is hell — and so we hand our uncertainty, freedom and choice over to systems and scripts, prisons and princes, fantasies and fears — instead of giving it up to the one thing that always makes the right choice, instead of eating in the one place that only cooks what is good to eat, instead of surrendering to the one lover we can actually trust.

Let us pray…

The paradoxical whole from which our father who art in heaven and our mother which art on earth doth, like waves and particles in the double-slit experiment, seem to manifest; ultimately irrelevant be thy name. Thy kingdom here, thy will, from the burden of freedom, be blessed relief. Give us this day our daily bread, shelter, privacy, society, security, variety of movement and expression, free attention, acceptance and mind-blasted ecstasy — unless thou considerest we’d be best off learning to live without; in which case, mercilessly deprive. Continue to press upon our insanity until it becomes an unavoidable agony, that we might, along with seeing we’re as hideously mad as everyone else, be forced to actually do something about it. Lead us constantly into temptation, that we might learn to live without craving and anxiety, and deliver us from the idea that anything like a separate personal power or ‘God’ to which we can pray to exists, as well as from all hope, belief and prayer, including this one. For thine is the living universe, the self-shattering beauty of, and the blended empathy with, a state of awareness in which time and space can hardly be said to exist. Amen.


Welcome to the shop where you never stop wanting…


(Image by Jakoid)

And after a trip to the Addiction swap-shop, why not pop next door into the Opinion Emporium?


As I said, I’ve written about two or three hundred songs. All recorded at home — so very digital and tinny. I can’t sing very well or play any instrument either. Bref; don’t get your hopes up! I’m only going to share one on this blog, Hackney Olympus, a kind of salty folk ballad I wrote about gods hanging out in a shitty Hackney pub (when Hackney was shitty this is — it’s been gentrified now). I wrote and sang it with my sandy voice and it didn’t sound right at all, so I asked a musician friend of mine if she knew anyone who sounded like an overweight Tom Waits, and lo! The enormous and terrifying Mr Martin Dempsey appeared.

We recorded it in a deserted bar — thirty of the least inhibited people I could possibly find broke into a boarded up tavern on the Stoke Newington Road — set up my little lap-top, got drunk, fought each other, went off for sordid screaming humping in the beer cellar, stumbled back, recorded another verse, threw up… Unfortunately Martin didn’t record the triumphant third verse because he was unconscious, so all I’ve got is the background ‘da da da das’ which sound a bit flat because it was three am by this time and we were all caked in vomit, blood and body fluids. Also the bass is a bit out of time because the double-bassist was on magic mushrooms and thought that dwarves were throwing pickles at him. Anyways, here it is, what I have…