Firstly, a big thank you to you all for reading what has been quite a bewildering year’s worth of subjects. When I began “Dancing with the Gatekeepers,” on 30th May 2016, my intention has always been to understand each subject that came to mind each week, and to learn something from it, confirming why the most popular articles so far range wildly from David Bowie to Donald Trump, from Quorn to the Futurist Cookbook, from big data to “legal names,” from George Orwell to word puzzles, and from the art of telling a joke to the history of the word “ain’t.”
If anyone has sought to find out more, or ask a question about something, or someone, having read my work here, then that is the best possible outcome – I only write because I am happy to admit I don’t have all the answers.
However, the first subject I featured, on how John Lennon’s flippant remark to a journalist’s question became, at the insistence of Yoko Ono, the inspired dream of a man on a flaming pie, telling Lennon to name his band, “The Beatles, with an ‘a.’” Once you know something is untrue, the persistent insistence that “ceci n’est pas une pipe” becomes a deranged fantasy. When it comes to cold facts, those that mean the world works on a base level, you should not the use joke in René Magritte’s painting “The Treachery of Images” as a way to live your life or, even worse, assert your point of view over those of others.
The two words of the last year have been “Brexit” and “Trump.” Even if I look back on this article in twenty, thirty, fifty years, I will not need any further explanation than that, and I don’t expect you may not either. I have tried not to advance a particular view about either of these – politically, I am in the centre, so if the world is substantively better for everyone after Brexit and Trump, then that is fine by me – but the one thing I should not have to be, if I did say anything about either subject, is afraid to say anything at all.
Freedom of speech is paramount in this world – all opinions should be able to be heard, then we can decide on their merit. I am not the type of person who tells people that the truth is being kept from them, or that they are blind to it, because I would need to have concrete evidence to prove that, unless I wanted to engage in conspiracy theory. When certain voices think they have been silenced, because one outlet decides they don’t want them there anymore, they should think whether that place has its own voices to protect, or whether they might have been in the wrong place to begin with. Every voice has its own place and, if requires, what it says can be tested, in a court of law.
I wrote a great number of notes for what I wanted to write about here, and quite a few of them could become their own discussion here in future weeks. It is a febrile time for thought about our own places in the world, having felt that everything has been turned upside down. However, I feel safe that things will work out better for everyone in the end, even if I don’t know why - that might just be me.
The dream that gave me the name “Dancing with the Gatekeepers” was my having recorded an album, rock and/or electronic in nature, in which one song led to my shouting “all you have are words” over and over again. Despite what others may choose to do with their words, they are all I have too.
Good luck, everyone.