Issue #129 / January 2021
How is your lockdown?
TOBIAS, LONDON, UK
In many ways lockdown has felt weirdly familiar, like I’ve experienced it before. I guess this should come as no surprise as I was a heroin addict for many years and self-isolating and social distancing were the name of the game. I am also well acquainted with the mechanics of grief — collective grief works in an eerily similar way to personal grief, with its dark confusion, deep uncertainty and loss of control. For me, lockdown feels like a state mandated version of more of the same — a formalisation of the kind of hermit-like behaviour to which I’ve always been predisposed, and so, as difficult as it has been to see the devastation and anguish caused by the pandemic — including to the lives of those close to me, and many who have written into The Red Hand Files — I have been doing okay.
I am surprised, though, at just how hard not being able to play live has felt. I have come to the conclusion that I am essentially a thing that tours. There is a terrible yearning and a feeling of a life being half-lived. I miss the thrill of stepping onto the stage, the rush of the performance, where all other concerns dissolve into a pure animal interrelation with my audience. I miss the complete surrender to the moment, the loss of self, the physicalness of it all, the feeding frenzy of communal love, the religion, the glorious exchange of bodily fluids — and The Bad Seeds themselves, of course, in all their reckless splendour, how I miss them. As much as sitting behind my desk can bring me a lot of joy, and the imagination can be a stimulating, even dangerous place, I long for the wanton abandon of the live performance.
Anyway, as promised in my last issue, I did go into the studio — with Warren — to make a record.
It’s called CARNAGE.