Consumer Child (B. Schell, T. Christenson) 2017
I've always had a tendency to travel light. One might say that I'm a minimalist who is uncomfortable, out of place if you will, in a maximalist, human being environment. And they'd be right. I'm truly happy all alone in the wilderness, compared to feeling slightly hollowed out and lonely in an urban centre. In the song 'lucky man' I refer to the fact that the homestead has always grounded me and allowed a rich life on the road, experiencing other cultures, knowing I would one day return to live out the final and hopefully, most creative years. Soon I celebrate my 70th birthday and what I fear most, is for 'consumer child'. And thankfully, I've survived many adventures that would suggest I don't scare easily. I fear that when what you own as an individual, real estate, what you drive, wear, etc, becomes your only identity (because that's what you focus on), there's a lot of room for greed to move in and you end up constantly compensating large. Perhaps sensing this vacuum. You have no idea who you really are. And what's worse, you don't care how what you do affects those around you. You don't take care of your body, you eat too much, or not enough, and you abuse (pick a substance). Usually anxiety is the only exercise you get. Long ago a bassist I was working with lent me a little book by June Callwood entitled 'the lively emotions'. Actually it was a series of articles she had researched, written, and later published, dedicating each chapter to an emotion. Examples are: Anxiety, the useless emotion, Guilt is a fool, Fear increases sexual desire…. and so on until the very last chapter about love, was the only emotion of a dozen or so that had to be learned. And one could argue, the only one that matters if we are to survive as a species. If you kill the host (mother earth) you perish. Paul Watson, who has given more of himself than most to try and save the oceans and the creatures in it, once said that 'our species is a violent one, history proves that'. It continues today in so called third world countries because they've been robbed and exploited. In this song I try to convey the frustration I feel with the quietest of violence, the boardroom without a conscience that sleeps soundly while children starve to death, oceans acidify and aquifers get polluted. As a grandfather I'm horrified by how much we consume and waste. And I try not to. It's hard. Our children are watching. A village is no longer a village.
p.s. special thanks to Bruce for his awesome one liners that led to this song.