This is another one of Townes’ more oblique and allusive songs (cf. “Our Mother the Mountain”), and I certainly see how one could interpret in different ways–most obviously as about alcohol and/or drugs. As I am now looking at those as sort of a way of avoiding the anxiety caused by avoiding rather than confronting mortality, I of course place the song in the visual context of grief, loss, isolation, and death. As you might guess, I’ve been reading Irvin D. Yalom’s Existential Psychotherapy, and its explorations have unquestionably had an effect on me. In some sense this is another slideshow about existential dread, and about some of the more dysfunctional ways we deal with pain. At the same time, Townes has created a beautiful, mysterious song about pain, loss, and how we flawed human beings deal with such things, and I hope that the images, timings and movements I have chosen for the slideshow do it justice. I really believe that quote from Kathleen Raine above, by the way, and it also ends the slideshow.
Here’s a video that I just ran into last night for the first time (I didn’t even think Moby was still relevant–obviously, I just hadn’t been paying attention). In some sense it explores some of the same issues–isolation, pain, grief, empathy, and how we deal we such things–but on a much more universal and apocalyptic level.