The Future (1992-2001)
Answering a question by Bob Mackowitz, about the relation one can find between "The Future" and Yeat's line "the centre cannot hold".

I think that's part of it. I think that Yeats' line, "the centre will not hold," could very well have been the sub-title of the song. I say, you know, "things are going to slide in all directions, nothing will be measured anymore. The blizzard of the world has crossed the threshold, overturned the order of the soul. When they said 'repent,' I wonder what they meant." We're not even able to hold, a concept now of resurrection mechanisms; we don't even know what the concept is about, now. We can't even locate one in our mental equipment. And, I do feel that the centrality has dissolved. You know, we used to talk about the broken family. We all have experienced the broken family, now, us! You know, the people we're talking about, the sociologists, the acamedicians, the poets, the mental workers ... none of these things we are talking about, from an observational point of view, have stayed as objects of our conversation. They have become the environment that we ourselves are inhabiting. So, we are living a world, in a daily life, of such ambiguity, ambiguity about ourselves, about our wives, our husbands, our loves, our families, our loyalties, our work. The ambiguities have become intolerable. We are no longer outside the problem. There no longer is a distance. There is no hill to see this from, you share one body, now, with the serpent you forbid and with the dove that you allow. We're in it. And, "The Future" comes out of that experience. There is no perspective on the future anymore. It is like, look it!, you'll settle for the Berlin Wall. You'll settle for totalitarianism. You'll settle for the FBI. You'll settle for the ozone layer with the hole in it. You'll settle for the wrecked Amazonian forest. All these things will look good, next to what's coming down.

"Future" sounds true to me. It sounds like the situation that we have now and the attitudes that are taken there which are all extremist, which are all defensive in the extreme. Seem to be the mental landscape the people are, strolling through today. There is no comfort at the center. In fact there is no center.

Many of the places that we go to, we bring them our bad news. But we don't have to bring you the bad news because you know the bad news already. And the whole history of your country is knowing the bad news. In America there was recently a document (..) your people in which it was indicated that you were (..) depressed.But I come here to cheer myself up. Yeah give me back the Berlin Wall.....

Last Stanza modified
Give me back the Berlin Wall, give me Stalin and Saint Paul, give me Christ or give me Hiroshima. Give me back the Ozone layer with that little hole we can't repair. I've seen the future, baby, it is murder.

Rendez-moi le mur de Berlin (Give me back the Berlin Wall)
Rendez moi Jesus et St Paul (Give me Jesus and St Paul)
J'ai vu l'avenir : c'est un massacre ! (It's a slaughter).....

I guess the song was begun like most of my songs . Just kinda scraping the bottom of the barrel. I never thought I stood in front of a buffet table and had a lot of things to write about, you know. It's just a kind of growing that you feel. A kind of itch that you can't scratch. Somehow you're just moving around in your mind, not in a very graceful way in a very awkward way, trying to centre yourself around something. At that time the Berlin Wall had just come down, when I wrote that, when I started to write it. And I don't know why but I had this… I had a hurt feeling about that, and a kind of gloomy feeling about that. We were rejoicing and of course one rejoiced and one saw the images of the wall coming down. And one thought that families would be reunited and country could continue on its own way. A split being healed is always some kind of attractive idea. But I don't know why I had a gloomy idea about it. People always said I have a gloomy idea about everything. I say that's true. I also have a very gloomy idea about democracy in the east, in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe and in fact one of the tracks, one of the verses I discarded, among the 50 or 60 I discarded for "Democracy" was :" It ain't comin' to us European-style - Concentration camp behind the smile - It ain't comin' from the east - With its temporary feast - As Count Dracula comes strolling the aisle". I just didn't think that these Eastern European Communist Republics were going to burst into these life affirming democracies that everybody hoped for. And for some odd reason I felt that when central authority, no matter how severe it is, breaks down, when the cat's away, the mice will play, and boys will be boys….. And usually, historically that means massacre. I'm not happy to say that my prophecies have borne out. But those were the feelings that were attended at the beginning. So I never really know where the song is going to go until I write it verse by verse. The reason it takes so long to write is that I have to write each verse perfectly, and make it perfect. 'Cause it's only in the writing that you can discard the alibis and the slogans and the easy positions. So The Future is the song that the future cries, the future drew out of me. It's not politics, it's a kind of psycho-geo-politics that the future draws these exclamations out of me, out of my heart.

Alternate Lyrics:

Give me speed and careless sex
Take the only tree that's left
And stuff it up the hole
In your culture

I started the song same time as I started "Democracy". All those songs were ocasioned by the collapse of the Berlin Wall. You had to affirm the rejoicing of people but I did have a clear sense of this was gonna produce a lot of suffering. And unfortunately, that was borne out
Interviewer : and "I've seen the Future it is murder", a bleak picture but you always… sort of, the redemptive properties of love seem to fiddle themselves in there somewhere.
I mean this is all they're giving us this murder, I mean this is what we're fed, "I've seen the future baby, it is murder". Well of course that's a colloquial expression "How hard it is ? - It is murder", "What was the traffic like ?- It was murder". But it is murder. And that is the great unspoken secret that politicians hardly even adress, it's that you can't go outside anymore.
Interviewer :That perspective I was mentioning (..)You always seemed to hold out love as the redemptive possibility in all this, do you still feel that way as strongly as you always have ?
I've always known it on a personal level it is true that…. in that song I say "When they say Repent, I wonder that they meant", the sad thing is that those redemptive possibilities, those redemptive mechanisms have become obscure and lost. All the religions have them. The whole notion of the resurrection is an idea of a return, of a renewal, unless people understanding can grasp the idea that they can renew their lives then we're in a very sorry situation. Those mechanisms exist, they're available, and everywhere from the Catholic church to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous).

I think I meant the end of privacy as it developed in the West, which was the real feature of our civilization. The notion that there was private space, which wasn't really terribly available in the world until we in the West started establishing private rooms and studies and walls. So I think I felt at a certain point that this was beginning to reverse itself with a very potent mass culture. This notion of a private space in which to develop certain ideas and cultivate certain aspects of the psyche. I felt that was disappearing, and that we were moving into a kind of mass mind.


© 1998-2009 - Production et Management : Patrice Clos et Olivier Mory.  Contact webmaster