Episode 01 The Last Day
Words and Music – Richard Allen
Produced by David Barratt at The Abattoir Of Good Taste
Vocal and Guitar – William Thaumatrope
All other Instruments – David Barratt
The appeal of the all-powerful charismatic leader is as immense in our age as it was in the past. When we were all on the Savannah, there must have been great value for the fearful group to fall behind one individual in the interests of collective security. Since most of us are insecure and fearful about dying, the appeal of a savior remains strong.
I am not against a religious point of view per se. Arguments by scientists against religion are facile for religion has nothing to do with a scientific point of view. Of course, religious viewpoints that fly in the face of science, such as creationism, make the same category error. To me, the essence of a religious point of view is simply a certain stance towards life, let us call it a state of humility in the face of Nature or the Cosmos, a recognition of powerlessness, and hence gratitude and perhaps awe at the sheer fact of being alive. But the religious point of view need not entail a savior. That is a very Christian idea, though political saviors are, as we know, found in every creed.
I had just read a biography of David Bowie when I wrote this song. Alas, I missed Bowie in his prime. I could not afford the 200 pounds to ride with a space cadet in a white limo to see The Thin White Duke. There is undoubtedly a family resemblance between rock idols and charismatic religious and political leaders who tap into childlike yearnings for certitude, for the assurance that, if you follow me, everything will be O.K. For this reason, too, the allure of omnipotence lurks in all of us. We would all like to be God, but short of that we merge with him: all for one, and one for all.
A friend of mine created an organization called Fundamentalists Anonymous for recovering fundamentalists in the post Jim Jones era. I must say I find the idea that religious zealotry, for leader and follower alike, is a form of addiction a very intriguing one.
In ranks of joy believers creep
The critics dance, the warrior’s weep
The virgins swoon with him to greet
Ecstatic priests prepare the meet
Young and old with precious stones
They sanctify the temple throne
Hallelujah, the sequined man
Whatever your name, we wanna hold your hand
In blinding light with throbbing drums
The warriors part, the philosopher comes
As if as one his children rise
Paradise found, democracy dies
On the last day, I am coming home
Behold the king, you are not alone
I will sprinkle stardust in your eyes
See and feel miraculous divine