Issue #116 / September 2020

Nina Simone once said: Freedom means having no fear. Sometimes on stage, she added, she would reach that kind of state. How do you free yourself from fear?


Dear Tim,

Freedom for me is the ability to relinquish control of the outcome of things and so, in this respect, I agree with Nina Simone; it is to be delivered from fear. These are fraught times but, for me, meditation, the loss of my son, and even the fact that I am just getting older, has allowed me to arrive at a place where I do not feel at the mercy of consequence in the way that I used to — it doesn’t matter to me so much these days what happens. I feel that if I stay true to myself and follow my intuitions, if I surrender control of life’s outcomes, things tend to work out okay. On an artistic level, I play what I want to play, and say what I want to say, and let the chips fall where they may. This is a kind of freedom. As I have said before in The Red Hand Files, the universe has had its best shot at me and I am still kicking around. The Red Hand Files have played a significant part in this feeling of resilience to the capricious and indifferent nature of the world, they have made me stronger. Each answer I write seems to be an act of surrender, but at the same time a kind of armouring up — vulnerability as a form of protection.

Tim, your question, that came in today, was the 30,000th one. It is also two years this week since I started The Red Hand Files and I can’t tell you how much this means to me. On top of that, this week was my lovely wife’s birthday and also the funeral of my dear, dear mother. Thank you to the many people who offered their condolences at the loss of my mother and reminded me, over and over again, of her beautiful words —

“Head high and fuck ‘em all!

She was the greatest.

Love, Nick



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