Shortly after September 11, 2001, I attended a concert by the prolific and accomplished songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson. He was long ago a major component of the Englishfolk rockband Fairport Convention, along with the late Sandy Denny (“Who Knows Where The Time Goes” is their most famous song). He wrote “Crazy Man Michael” and “Farewell, Farewell”, among others, for Fairport Convention. After leaving the band, his songs included “Valerie”, “Persuasion”and “I Misunderstood” and he recently released a mini-survey of the last 1000 years of popular music on CD and DVD.
At the concert, I was still shell-shocked and wondering if, after buying a home in New Jersey the previous month, I should sell it and buy another one much farther away from New York,so that I could survive anyfutureattacks onNew York Cityby Islamic Fundamentalists (I stillam consideringthat move, but for now we are staying).
During the concert, Richard Thompson introduced a song with comments of sympathy for what we in the area have been going through, and said he had recently written the songtoshowthe Taliban’s view of the world. I found the song to accurately encapsulate the frightening-to-ponder attitude of anti-Westerndeath worshippers such as the Taliban. I wasmoved by the performance asit was the first satire I had heard and it was an emotional relief tocontemplatethe evil we facevia satiricaljabs for the first time. It shows the mystic’sfeelings-based rather than reality-and-reason-based philosophy as experienced psychologically by a Taliban. I understand that Thompsonconsiders himself aMuslim, but obviously he doesn’t take the fundamentalist view.
Here are some of the lyrics to that song, which eventually appeared as “Outside of the Inside” on his CD entitled “The Old Kit Bag” in 2003.
A fewlyrics from “Outside of the Inside” by Richard Thompson:
“…what’s the point of Albert Einstein
What do we need Physics for? …
Shakespeare, Isaac Newton
Small ideas for little boys
Adding to the senseless chatter
Adding to the background noise
Hard to hear my oratory
Hard to hear my inner voice
Van Gogh, Botticelli
Scraping paint onto a board
Colour is the fuel of madness
That’s no way to praise the Lord
Grey’s the colour of the pious
Knelt upon the misericord.
There’s a message on the wind
Calling me to glory somewhere”
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