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the real story

Steve Fellows, lead singer (and more) of the Comsat Angels, wrote a song called “The Real Story”.  I happened to know Steve at the time.  I don’t now, which is unfortunate, though I do have my sources, and gather he is well and still functioning artistically.  But… to the point.  When I heard it I asked him what it was about.  He said “I think you know.”  I never got more out of him.  But I think I do.  Some months earlier I had been round at his flat and was telling him about a new theory of mine.  Discovered, I am sorry to say, under the influence of cannabis.  The reason I am sorry is not that I have anything against cannabis, I just don’t like it much myself and I feel that it encourages the assumption that the theory may be invalid.  However, it was a significant idea in my life and over the past 20 years it has expanded.  The theory was that if you take the view of a temporal world and a spiritual world (as the Christianity that I was brought up with does) it had struck me that the “real” world was not the one we thought of as real (the temporal world) but rather the spiritual world.  It had struck me that the material existence that we experience was in fact a symbolic representation of the spiritual world.  The "material" is just a vehicle to manifest the dynamics of the spiritual world.


The Real Story

Is this some kind of stupid joke, fiction that he speaks?
He says there's another world, floating in the street.
He hears waves as the cars role by.  The city is a beach.
He thinks he's in another world when he goes to sleep.

He got the word.  He got the real story.
He got the word.  He got the picture.
He got the word.  He got the real story.
He got the word.  So we will never understand.

I heard that he lost the beat.  What a surprise.
Now he's in unreal estate, until he dies.
He hears waves as the cars role by.  The city is a beach.
He thinks he's in another world when he goes to sleep.

He got the word.  He got the real story.
He got the word.  He got the picture.
He got the word.  He got the real story.
He got the word.  So we will never understand.

He got the word.  He got the real story.
He got the word.  He got the picture.
He got the word.  He got the real story.
He got the word.  So we will never understand.

by the comsat angels

I’m in a woolly place in writing this.  Hermann Hesse and the two stories in particular: Steppenwolf and The Rainmaker (part of Magister Ludi also published as The Glass Bead Game), come to mind.  There is something of this in there.  Also a film was made in 1999 called The Matrix.  It was recommended to me and I watched it.  It is a phenomenal masterpiece.  Actually I should say it is a relativistic masterpiece.  It has a lot to say on this circular, indistinguishable notion that the ideas are real and reality is the manifestation.  I don’t say that The Matrix quite follows my ideas but it does tackle the idea that we cannot get outside of ourselves in order to see what we are.  Though in the Matrix they do.  But who’s to say that this reality is not the same illusion as that reality was.  How could we tell if we were software in a computer?

In Steve’s song there is the line “He says there’s another world - floating in the street” and a reference to drumming “I heard that he lost the beat - what a surprise - now he's in un-real estate - until he dies.” which could be both metaphorical and real because I was a drummer in a band and we had split up.  And the phrase “He’s got the real story” sounds ironic, but just not quite blatantly.  It’s as if Steve may be tempted to propose that the bloke in the song (me) has got the real story.  But one is left with the idea that this bloke is a bit like a mystic who, for him, he has got the real story, but for the rest of us he’s suffering a delusion.  The point is that the lyrics are not overtly critical.  They just suggest that it’s an illusion.  The opening line “Is this some kind of stupid joke - fiction that he speaks?”  is not catagorically denying it but it is doubting it in the extreme.  But I am left wondering if Steve knows that the theory is correct but just that most people wouldn’t, or is it more that it is a circular argument because at the end of the day if the “real” world only represents the temporal reality then that is what it is meant to do and so we deal with it because that’s what it is.  When the significance of that hit me 10 years later I was somewhat shocked.  I realised that this is it.  The profundity of the Christian religion is that this is God.  It’s not that God is everywhere, omnipresent, it is God.  The thing that really upsets me because I was brought up as a Catholic is the fairytale notion of God.  And the fairytale notion of life after death.  You see, even if they did know that “Christ is alive” means that everything he did has an endless effect, that is not what they told me.  And they are still not telling the truth.  Which seems like a big accusation since they hugely stand for truth.  Retrospectively it may be all right.  If you trust in God then I suppose retrospectively it will be all right.  But at this point in time it looks wrong to me.  There is no mystery that has been solved that has not been solved.  Odd sort of statement.  Bear with me.  The point is that everything that was a mystery that is no longer a mystery shows that things make sense.  The inference being that we can’t make sense of everything without being everything and that all things can make sense.  There is nothing that makes sense and then suddenly it doesn’t.  We respond to that by expecting that we hadn’t fully or correctly understood it.  The implication is that we only get part of the story but the whole does make sense.  This fits very well with the metaphorical story that the church gives out.

But I get the feeling that I am getting to a point of realising this is it, and that everybody else already knew that.  But of course they didn’t.  Otherwise they wouldn’t have behaved the way they did.  As some Jehovah Witness pointed out to me some reference in the Old Testament to the effect of “Don’t concern yourself with the dead.  They are dead.  Concern yourself with the living.”  It seems to me that this is the real story.  As for it making sense, that’s for another story.


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© Nik Allday 2000