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Rescue of a Rock and Roll Child Chapter Eight A Final Distant Clarion Cry
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Though Are the Wonders of this Brief Life Book One Rescue of a Rock and Roll Child Chapter Eight A Final Distant Clarion Cry
The Twilight of an Actor
A few months after appearing in Jim Cartwright's bitter-sweet two-hander
, I performed in one final play at the Rose and Crown theatre, the character-driven comedy Lovelives. Written entirely by the cast, it consisted of a series of sketches centring on the disastrous antics of a group of singletons who'd come together at a lonely hearts club in the suburbs. Perhaps then it chimed perfectly with the spirit of British post-war comedy and its characteristic celebration of banality and even failure. A great success at the R&C, it could in my view have been developed into a television play or even series, but sadly, as is all too often the case, a brilliant cast dispersed after the final show.
Later in '95, I played two small roles in a production at the Tristan Bates theatre near Leicester Square of the famous Greek tragedy
Iphigeneia in Taurois
(sic), written by Euripides somewhere between 414 and 412 BC, these being Pylades, constant companion of the main character Orestes, and the Messenger, who I played as a maniacal fool with the kind of “refined” English accent once supposedly affected by policemen and non-commissioned officers. Directed by a close friend, the houses were sparse at first, picking up towards the end of the run.
A few months later in January '96, I joined a Christian theatre company based at the Elim Pentecostal church in West Croydon, Surrey called Street Level, going on to serve variously as MC, script writer, actor, singer and musician with two other members, married company leader Serena, and 19 year old Rebecca from nearby Sanderstead.
Together, we toured a series of shows around schools in various - usually tough - multicultural areas of South East London. One of these, Choices, was almost entirely written by me, although it had been based on an idea by Serena who also heavily edited it for performance purposes. On the whole, the kids were incredibly receptive to our productions, and we were greeted by them with an almost uniform affection, and there was an incredible chemistry between Serena, Rebecca and myself...and then things started to go wrong.
Towards the end of the summer, Serena asked me to write a large scale project for the group, suggesting a contemporary version of John Bunyan’s classic Christian allegory
The Pilgrim's Progress
. This I set about doing, and after some weeks of labouring over what turned out to be an unwieldy and often violent epic punctuated by scenes of dark humour that occasionally verged on the coarse, I started to have second thoughts about carrying on with Street Level. The play,
Paul Grim's Progress
, had left me poor shape spiritually, and I didn't fancy too many more of the long and costly train journeys that were necessary to get me to Croydon and back. Consequently I began to withdraw, which wasn't a very kind thing to do because Serena had started to depend on me, especially since Rebecca's departure at the end of the Choices tour. What's more, she’d taken on the responsibility of new productions, and the training of a fresh crew of young Christian actors.
As things turned out,
Paul Grim's Progress
was never produced, which is not surprising because although artistically it was a good piece, it was overly dark for a Christian play, with some scenes like something out of a horror movie. In terms of my Christian life, I was still only a little over three years old, and it showed. In time I destroyed all but a few pages of it.
By the time I made my final exit from Street Level, I'd long defected from Cornerstone to the Thames Vineyard Christian Fellowship, part of the Association of Vineyard Churches founded by John Wimber in the 1970s. This was as a result of being told by a phone friend that the Vineyard movement contained members whose spiritual gifts were in the realm of the truly exceptional. My curiosity aroused, I went along one Sunday evening and had a powerful experience which made me want to stay; and so I did.
As with Cornerstone I joined a Home Fellowship group where I completed part of the Alpha course, which had been pioneered by Nicky Gumbel of West London's famous Holy Trinity Brompton. I'd visited HTB at some point in the mid '90s, when it was at the height of the revival movement known as the Toronto Blessing. This was so called because it'd been ignited in January 1994 at the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church by St. Louis Vineyard pastor Randy Clark, who'd himself received it from South African evangelist Rodney Howard Brown during a service at Rhema Bible Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, then pastored by Kenneth Hagin Jr., father of the Word of Faith movement. Word Faith being now one of the major strains of Charismatic Christianity, with its emphasis on Positive Confession.
The Anointing spread to the UK in the summer of 1994 where it was eventually dubbed The Toronto Blessing by The Daily Telegraph. Its main centres included HTB, Terry Virgo's New Frontiers family of churches and Gerald Coates' Pioneer People. Pioneer's centre at the time was a cinema in the Surrey suburb of Esher, which I visited a couple of times, and which was so packed that I was forced to stand all throughout the service, a situation which was duplicated when I dropped in at the London HQ of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God one afternoon around about the same time. Like many Charismatic churches, UCKG upholds the Fivefold ministry, and so believes that the five gifts referred to in Ephesians 4:11, namely Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher, are still in operation.
My last hurrah as an actor came in the spring of '98, when I started rehearsing for a production of Shakespeare’s infamous Scottish Play, to be staged at Fulham's Lost Theatre in the summer...and despite the fact that my three cameos - as Lennox, the Doctor, and an Old Man - were praised by cast and audience members alike, I've not acted since beyond a handful of ill-fated auditions. What's more, while I'm still open to the possibility of film or TV work, the likelihood of my ever appearing on stage in a play again is virtually nonexistent. Quite simply, the passion to perform in front of a live audience that raged within me like a forest fire for more than two decades has long been extinguished, or rather turned to dread.
Some months after my final performance at the Lost Theatre I wrote the prose piece that eventually turned into Such a Short Space of Time. Its creation took place in what I recall as the glorious summer of 1999 which was of course the last of the millennium, and my parents were on vacation at the time, so I was often at the house where I’d spent my adolescence and young manhood, performing a variety of tasks such as watering my mother's flowers, or just simply soaking up the atmosphere of a place I loved.
Taking cunning advantage of my parents' absence I transferred some of my old vinyl records onto cassette, something that my own ancient hi-fi was incapable of doing. It was an unsettling experience...to listen to songs that, perhaps in the cases of some of them, I’d not heard for ten or fifteen years, or more, and which evoked with a heartrending intensity a time in my life when I was filled to the brim with sheer youthful joy of life and undiluted hope for the future.
Yet as I did so, it seemed to me that it was only very recently that I'd first heard them, despite the colossal changes that'd taken place since, not just in my own life but those of my entire generation. And so I was confronted at once with the devastating transience of human life, and the effect the passage of time exerts on us all.
Such a Short Space of Time
I love…not just those…
I knew back then,
Who were young
But who've since
Come to grief, who…
Having soared so high,
Too dreadful to bear,
With my past itself,
Which was only
No…even less time…
A moment ago,
And when I play
Records from 1975,
Twenty years melt away
What is a twenty-year period?
Little more than
A blink of an eye…
Such a short space
Cause such devastation?
Dispersals and Beginnings
A few months later and the troubled, turbulent 20th Century gave way to the 21st to the sound of fireworks frantically exploding all throughout my neighbourhood.
Phoning my father that night to wish him a happy new year I discovered that my mother was desperately ill with flu. It's crossed my mind since that she may have become susceptible to the flu virus partly as a result of stress caused by the fact that I’d latterly quit yet another course; this time an MA in French and Theory of Literature, which was one of the most prestigious of its kind in the world. In time though, her incredible Scots-Irish constitution - shared by so many of the early pioneers of the American South and West - saw her through to a complete recovery.
I'd found the course magnetically compelling on an intellectual level, despite an awareness that writing extensively about Literary Theory might come increasingly to disturb me, and perhaps even challenge my faith, given its emphasis on what is known as Deconstruction, a term coined by French philosopher Jacques Derrida. I withdrew on the advice of one or two members of the church I was attending at the time, Liberty Christian Centre, a satellite of the Kensington Temple, another London church which had been receptive to the Anointing as well as the subsequent Brownsville Revival, and part of the Elim Pentecostal movement. It's a decision that's haunted me ever since.
Subsequent to making it I started playing guitar for Liberty at the urging of my friend Martina, Russian wife of Pastor Phil of New York City. She went on to become worship leader, alternating as such with Maria, another close friend, originally from Peru. It was Phil who'd got in touch with me the previous summer through KT about joining a cell group at his home in the Surrey suburbs. This eventually mutated into Liberty, with which I forged very close ties from the outset. Then, shortly after agreeing to be Liberty's lone musician, I quit my position as a telephone canvasser for an e-commerce company based in Surbiton, Surrey, thus bringing a fairly lengthy period spent as an office worker to an end.
A real change in my professional fortunes came around Christmastime when I was made lead singer for a Jazz band which had earlier been formed by an old friend of my father's, gifted musician, composer, arranger Harry Shard, going on to be complemented at various times by my dad, double bass player Stu, myself and a brace of drummers, including Harry's son James. We went on to cut several very fine demos arranged by Harry, but they didn't result in the interest they deserved, given the talent involved.
In early '01, Pastor Phil decided to dissolve Liberty, which was a sad event for all of us, so I made yet another return to Cornerstone, to be joined there by Maria and a couple of other friends from the LCC. What's more, I stayed in close touch with gifted guitarist Rowan. We cut a few demos together of some Christian songs I'd written at the inspiration of a visitor from KT, and may work together again yet. Around about the same time, while working as a door-to-door leafleter, I took a short computer course at my local adult education centre, but nothing came of it in terms of employment.
The following summer, in the wake of the 2002 Shelton Arts Festival, Harry's band disbanded, which was a real shame because in my view we'd finally found the audience we’d been searching for all along at the festival, evidenced by the passion with which our first performance there was greeted. The day after our final show, I started working from home making appointments for a travelling salesman, and was briefly very successful at it, until things started tailing off in the autumn and I was let go. By this time I'd effectively left Cornerstone for good, although I have returned a few times since. This sudden exit came in consequence of a desire born of intensive internet research to seek out churches existing beyond the Pentecostal/Charismatic fold, these being Cessationist, which is to say they don't accept that the more spectacular Gifts of the Holy Spirit such as Tongues and Prophecy are still in operation. Up until then, any church that didn't encourage thespeakinginothertonguesI'd not recognised as being truly Christian. That is not the case today.
One of my main inspirations during this period of wandering was the Cessationist Sermon Audio website, and I downloaded so many of their sermons that my computer may have crashed as a result. I was also inspired by the many online Discernment Ministries, although not all of these were - or are - Cessationist, and among the churches I visited were Bethel Baptist Church (Wimbledon), Christ Church (Teddington) and Duke Street Church (Richmond), all located in the pleasant and affluent outer suburbs of south west London.
Bethel is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church based on the US model and therefore using the King James Version of the Bible only. I went to three - possibly successive - services at Bethel, and fully intended to return for a fourth and so witness the preaching of Sermon Audio favourite David Cloud of Way of Life Ministries, but never did. What happened was that I was held up at Wimbledon British Rail station for over an hour on my final Sunday at Bethel and this may have put me off travelling by train to church, although I was also tiring of the constant new boy status of the inveterate church-hopper.
Christ Church is part of the Free Church of England which separated from the established C of E in 1844 in response to the High Church Anglicanism of the then Bishop of Exeter, Henry Phillpotts. It's Evangelical, as well as liturgical and Episcopal, and its member churches adhere to the Doctrines of Grace, also known as the five points of Calvinism, namely Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and the Perseverance of the Saints. According to Calvinism, those who form part of the Elect have been predestined to final salvation by God, and that no one can come to saving faith through their own free will due to total depravity.
Duke Street is also a Grace (Baptist) church, while Bethel is Free Will. As a result, many Calvinists would describe it as Arminian, after the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius who emphasized free will and individual responsibility when it comes to responding to the Gospel. They would not, however, be entirely accurate in doing so because true Arminians maintain that salvation can be lost, while most IFB fellowships believe in the doctrine of Once Saved Always Saved. In short, they are neither Calvinist nor Arminian, which is an oxymoronic statement to some believers.
For me, all true believers are united by a clear adherence to certain key doctrines forming the basis of the one true faith without which there can be no salvation, even when they may be divided by non-saving inessentials, or secondary truths. For example, while I’m an upholder of baptism by full immersion, I certainly don’t believe adherents of infant baptism to be heretics, at least not automatically. On the other hand, I have a real problem with those who maintain that a person must be baptised in order to be saved, because the Bible makes it clear that we are saved by faith alone. That said, every Christian should be baptised by full immersion because God commands it, and God urges us to keep his commandments. Also, while I believe that Christ's return will be followed by his establishing a literal thousand year reign on earth, which makes me a pre-millennialist, a person can insist that Christ won't return until after the millennium, or that the millennium lies inthepast,andstill be a saved Christian. What are at issue here are justifiable differences in scriptural interpretation.
Before 2003, which was my year of relentless internet research, I'd known next to nothing about the finer points of my faith, although I was fairly well versed in the subject of prophecy thanks to having been introduced to this early in my Christian life by Denver and Rose, through various magazines and books such as Prophecy Today and the works of Barry R Smith. I had no clue as to the meaning of Calvinism or Arminianism, Predestination or Foreknowledge, Cessationism or Continuationism and so on, but that didn't affect the state of my soul, in fact, no one is either saved or damned by believing one or the other of these distinctions, but by faith alone, with true saving faith producing the fruits of repentance. No Christian has a perfect knowledge of the truth, but I believe there is unity to be found between Evangelicals adhering to the fundamentals of the faith irrespective of what church they choose to worship in, but this can never be achieved at the expenseofcompromisingthepureWord of God.
Until recently when I became a member of Duke Street, I hadn't been settled within a church since 2001, which points to a deep inner turbulence that I still haven't managed to understand...although it may be at least partly attributable to the fact that I accepted Christ relatively late. After all, the Bible makes it clear that each person who rejects the sovereignty of the fleshly realm for Christ’s sake will know incessant tribulation and persecution. Perhaps this is especially true of repentant Christians who come to faith following a relatively long period of time within the decadent heart of the world as avid flunkies of the Flesh. However, as comfort these late converts have a true and infinitely worthwhile purpose in life. This was something that constantly escaped me in my youth, for all the fierce, flaming fanaticism of my beliefs and ideals.
In many ways though I've been my own worst enemy. One by one I've had to slay evil habits left over from my pre-Christian existence. In my early days as a Christian for instance I still entertained a fixation on the occult, albeit from a Christian perspective. Now I can barely stand to look at pages filled with occult information and symbols. Most recently I’ve had to address the matter of my dress, which may not seem very important to some - God looks at the heart after all - but I disagree. For close on a decade I was more or less addicted to designer sportswear, and among the objects of my love affair were shady baseball caps, sweat tops with massive logos, flashy striped trakkie Bs, and chunky branded trainers...and I wore an earring too, having had my ear pierced in 1979. Some Christians associate earrings on men with ancient pagan idolatry, and specifically the notion of being enslaved, and that makes good sense to me. I've recently come to realise thatifaChristian'souterappearance fails to reflect a changed life, he may be cheating others of the chance of coming to Christ through him. He will also be cheating himself of respect, and God of potential converts. In short, I think it’s time I started looking like the Christian I profess to be. Perhaps then I might actually start acting like a person worthy of the name.
In a general sense the year 2000 turned out to be something of a turning point for me, not just spiritually, but in terms of my entire personality, which has become more inward looking, even by the standards of the previous seven years. Significantly perhaps, the previous year had been the first since I was about 17 that I faced the world with my hair its natural medium brown after having dyed it for nearly three decades. What prompted this was not a sudden loathing for the vanity of the bottle blond, but the fact that the peroxide-based streaking kits I favoured were causing me to have breathing difficulties. At first I missed being blond, but in time I came to prefer my natural colour after years of youthful blond androgyny. The fact is that throughout my twenties and for much of my thirties I remained in a state of extended adolescence, blond being after all the natural colour of eternal youth.
I think it's fair to say I've elicited a fair deal of admiration in my time for a perceived maverick tendency, a cool avoidance of the conventional life, which certainly characterised my pre-Christian years. But the price for having done so has been high, in terms of social and financial humiliation, for which I've no one to blame but myself. If I thought they'd listen I'd tell the young...listen to your parents, not the voices of fashionable rebellion...because they're trying to protect you from social failure out of knowledge of how painful this is beyond a certain age.
Young people still worship at the altar of romantic rebellion as they've done since time immemorial, but perhaps not to the same degree as my own poor generation. We came to maturity to a frenetic Rock soundtrack in the tail-spinning nineteen sixties, and who can say what effect it had on us, this music...tailor-made to inspire a generation scornful of deferred gratification, a generation of hipsters.
However, Rock was far more than another mere music form…being a total art involving poetry, theatre, fashion, but even more than that…a way of life with a strong spiritual foundation. And it could be said that, in terms of its iconoclastic status, one of its supreme forefathers was the great 19th Century artistic and cultural movement known as Romanticism. For while the Bible makes it clear that “there is no new thing under the sun”, a strong case can be made for Romanticism as the supreme source of the notion of the artist as tormented genius at the vanguard of social revolution and eternally defiant of middle class restraint and respectability.
Which is surely a false one, for at any given time, the percentage of tortured artists is, unless I'm mistaken, relatively small, although they do exist...and as I've already made clear, have sadly proliferated within Rock, and thence the Rock and Roll rebel could be said to be a late exemplar of the dark side of Romanticism.
The March of the Modern
Tracing the history of the artist as rebel...it was the great English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley who may have been the first to give expression to the notion of an artistic avant-garde by asserting that “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world”.
Then, in the post-Napoleonic Paris of the early 1830s, a seminal avant garde emerged. They were the Jeunes-France, a band of young Romantic writers allegedly dubbed the Bousingos by the press following a night of riotous boozing on the part of some of their number. Their leading lights, among them a fiery Théophile Gautier decades before he became an establishment darling, cultivated dandified and eccentric personas intended to shock the bourgeoisie, while inclining to political radicalism. Needless to say perhaps, they owed a great debt to the earlier English and German Romantics, as well as previous generations of dandies, such as the Muscadins and Incroyables of the dying days of the Revolution. They were the Rock and Roll bad boys of their day.
The first Bohemian wave eventually produced the Decadents, and the great Symbolist movement in the arts, both of which came into being around 1880, notably in Paris, where the so-called Decadent Spirit was born, whose most infamous fruit could be said to have been the novel
Against the Grain
, an account of the sensation-seeking existence of a reclusive aristocrat, Jean des Esseintes, by Joris Karl Huysmans.
In general though the 19th Century was assailed by a succession of inspired works from the pens of Romantic rebels, each more ferociously avant-garde than the one coming before, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Lautréamont, Jarry and especially Nietzsche, among them. Falling under the latter's spell since his death in 1900 have been politicians, writers, psychologists, Rock stars, anarchists, and many of the philosophers whose works have formed the basis of the literary Theory that currently dominates Western academia. In short his influence over the development of the modern Western soul has been incalculable...not literally of course, but quite colossal.
However, the avant-garde spirit truly exploded on an international scale with the Modernist movement in the arts, which was at its level of maximum intensity from about 1890 to 1930. This extraordinary period birthed such masterpieces of innovation as Stravinsky's
The Rite of Spring
(1913), T.S Eliot's
The Waste Land
(1922), James Joyce's
(1922), as well as dozens of revolutionary art movements including Expressionism, Futurism, Dada and Surrealism, as well as Serialism in music, and the ascent of Jazz which together with the moving picture industry formed the bedrock of popular Modernism, or pop culture. Although culturally speaking, Jazz was ultimately supplanted to a significant extent by its wayward spawn, Rock and Roll; also a child of the Blues and Country.
One possible definition of Modernism in an artistic sense is the avant-garde removed from its spiritual home of Paris and then transformed into an international movement of cataclysmic power and influence. In terms of the Modern as a cultural phenomenon, on the other hand, some critics trace its roots to the so-called Enlightenment of the 18th Century, which produced great defiance of God on the part of lofty Reason, and so for them, Modernism is a precursor of the avant-garde, rather than a spirit that arose out of it. Others go even further back into the depths of Western history for its origins, to the Renaissance and its revival of Classical Antiquity. What is certain though is that the contemporary West has reached the very limits of the Modern Revolution, and one of the results of its having done so as I see it is the mass acceptance of revolutionary beliefs once seen as the preserve of the avant-garde; especially with regard to traditional Christian morality.
This process could be said to have accelerated to breakneck speed around 1955-'56, when both the Beat Movement and the new Pop music of Rock ’n’ Roll were starting to make strong inroads into the mainstream. Some ten years after this, there was a further frenetic increase in momentum as Pop began to lose its initial sheen of innocence, and so perhaps evolve into the more diverse music of Rock. This coincided with the growth of the Hippie Counterculture.
The eclectic art of Rock went on to run the gamut from the most infantile pop ditties to complex compositions influenced variously by Classical music, Jazz, Folk, and other pre-Rock music forms, and so become an international language disseminating values traditionally seen as morally unconventional as no other artistic movement before it. As a result, certain Rock artists attained through popular consumer culture a degree of influence that previous generations of innovative artists operating within the bounds of high culture could only dream of.
A Final Distant Clarion Cry
For a brief period in 2003, I felt inclined to destroy all traces of Rock music in my possession, even though I'd long lost any real taste for Hard Rock by then, whether in the shape of Metal, Punk, Goth, Grunge or whatever. However, by the summer, my attitude had mellowed to the extent that I felt able to write about an hour's worth of Rock songs in response to a request from my dad for songs for a possible collaboration with the son of a close friend, but these were as far from Hard Rock as it's possible to be, being influenced by such relatively benign and melodic genres as Folk, Pop and Soul.
The songs, some new, some upgrades of old tunes, were recorded on a Sony CFS-B21L cassette-corder, which I think has been discontinued, and were generally well-received despite having been crudely recorded. Pat even went so far as to suggest that I record them properly in a studio, which was a high compliment indeed, given I'm just a primitive with an ear for a catchy tune.
A year or so later, a project was mooted by Pat which involved the recording of a popular standards album featuring myself and harmonica genius James Hughes as well as his own London Swingtette. In spring 2008, the CD was finally released with the title
A Taste of Summer Wine
, due to the fact that Jim's playing had long been featured on the much loved situation comedy
Last of the Summer Wine
, including the theme by Ronnie Hazelhurst, and Pat had served as leader for the show for some time. A year on, and the writing project
Rescue of a Rock and Roll Child
looks set to follow suit after more than three years of labour. It's the first one I’m pretty well 100% sure won’t end up being shredded or deleted.
As I've stated elsewhere, soon after becoming a Christian I destroyed most of what I'd written up until that point, and then wrote quite happily for a time as a Christian, until it seems that God called a halt to my literary activities. It was as if I was being saturated with an almost tangible leaden darkness which took me over to the extent of altering the expression in my eyes.
Once again I started destroying any writings I managed to finish, sometimes dumping whole manuscripts in handy dustbins or one sheet after the other down murky London drains. This went on until about 1998 when I more or less gave up creative writing altogether, which is a good job given that these early Christian writings reflected a continuing preoccupation with subjects that'd held me spellbound prior to my conversion such as mysticism and the occult, which were being glorified through me despite a false warning tone. This I strongly believe. What's more, some of my writings mixed truth and fiction to produce a pointless and deceptive hybrid.
Finally, in January 2006, I believe God made it clear that I was mature enough to be able to write again, and so I started tentatively publishing pieces at the Blogster website with the first autobiographical one being written sometime around the spring of 2006. As things stand, I'm desperately trying to put the finishing touches to the memoir that evolved out of them, in fact, since 2006, I've done very little except write, so there's really not much to say by way of wrapping things up.
What I will say is that shortly before last Christmas I was accepted as a member at Duke Street Church. Around about the same time, I was informed that Dr Elizabeth Lang, my one-time mentor at Leftfield College had died aged 84 in her adopted village of Woodstock, Oxfordshire. The executor of her will - also the publisher of her final book - asked me to read one of the lessons at her funeral and deliver a eulogy in the capacity of a former student. This took place in the parish church of St Martin's in the beautiful village of Bladon, where Winston Churchill is buried, which is significant given that Dr Lang was one of the founding members of the Churchill Centre and had written on the great man's relationship with the Christian faith. His parents and children and other members of his family are also buried in St Martin's Church, Bladon.
On that day, I discovered that Elizabeth had been born in 1924 as an only child of working class parents in Lancashire, but had gone on to gain a place at Oxford University, before becoming a lecturer there and then at Leftfield. What an ascent...from humble northern roots to a lectureship at the most hallowed place of learning in history...little wonder she was so fragile, almost febrile as a person, but so kind, so single-minded in her devotion to those who shared her passionate view of art and life.
It was such a sad experience for me to be reunited with Dr Lang after nearly a quarter of a century while being unable to communicate. It made me realise how important it is to stay close to friends and family, because there comes a time when it is no longer possible to reconcile with them. It's too late; they've gone; and the world is always so much the poorer for their sudden absence and silence.
What else have I done since 2006? How have I spent my time? As I mentioned earlier, much of it has been devoted to writing, but I also sporadically seek out work, both artistic and otherwise. I recently acquired a good many friends at the enormously popular Face Book social networking site, most from my Silverhill and Leftfield days, which was a source of great joy to me. My reclusive body may have become sluggish through the melancholy brought by age and vicissitude, but I've a heart that teems with affection for the friends of my past.
In terms of my online life, every so often I find myself immersed in a labyrinthine search for information related to a subject that has me briefly in its thrall. As a result it requires mental processing through a punishing bout of research and the fervid taking of notes. The most recent topics to beset me were the nature of the giants of Genesis 6:4, and the spread of pagan religion following the destruction of the Tower of Babel when God confused the languages, and I couldn't wait to be free of them. As a general rule I'm most content when at peace with my faith, and least while lost in an endless quest for cyber-knowledge with one page linking incessantly to the other until information overload becomes a serious threat. From time to time, however, I'm tempted to venture beyond my comfort zone into the mysteries of the Bible and history. It's hard for the intellectually curious to resist doing this, and according to the Bible, “knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4) in the time before the Second Coming of Christ, and this may well be via the miraculous medium of the World Wide Web.
There's really not a whole lot left to add to this particular piece of writing. Some months ago, I started work on a second volume of memoirs, this one being woefully inadequate as a full account of my existence, although quite successful as an undercoat. That said, whether future layers will ever actually be applied to it remains to be seen. It may just be that writing will be sidelined in the same way that music has since 2006, but then that's highly unlikely. Writing is something I've wanted to do since I was about 17, and now that I'm finally able to bare my soul to the world thanks to the miraculous magnificence of the internet, the chances of my lapsing into cyber-obscurity are pretty slim.
In conclusion, for anyone still interested, I'll be resuming work on my second autobiographical volume as soon as I'm done with the
...and I do hope there is...someone who's persevered this far I mean. After all, it's not just about me; this is a testimony more than anything else. And one that's now at an end.
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