Voice in the void

by Paul Cudenec

My usual means of expressing myself has long been the written word, whether during my quarter of a century in newspaper journalism or in my current books and articles.

But recently I have taken great pleasure in rediscovering the use of my physical voice and, with the encouragement of my friends at Nevermore Media, have embarked on a series of online interviews and audio recordings of my writing.

I say “rediscovering” because I realised, on reflection, that vocal expression has, over the years, often been important for me.

Between the ages of 11 and 14 I used to spend hours of the school holidays recording, with my little sister, satirical radio “programmes” which our mother was later obliged to listen to with appropriate amusement.

Later, at university, a group of us recorded a few satirical videos and collaborated on writing potential scripts for TV and radio.

Although the intermediary form for the latter was obviously the written word, this was not the case for either the creative process or the (imagined!) end product.

I co-hosted a weekly English-language local radio show on the Franco-Swiss border back in 1983-84 and later applied for professional training in radio journalism, though I ended up on the NCTJ newspaper course.

As a young man I was constantly making up poems and songs which I recorded on cassettes via my trusty ghetto blaster but never played to anyone except my girlfriend.

In my early 30s I finally found some people to create music with and ended up writing and recording a few DIY punk tracks with my friend and colleague Steve. He was on guitar, I was on vocals.

In my 40s I took part in weekly informal folk-singing sessions led by another good friend, Chris, and was inspired to write and perform a few songs of my own.

And, of course, I have used my voice for giving talks, taking part in meetings, ranting through megaphones and shouting abuse at arms dealers, riot cops and politicians.

As I canter through my sixtieth year on earth, I find myself wondering what exactly it is that this voice of mine has been trying to say over the decades.

From an outside point of view, the political content of what I have expressed might appear to be so wide as to be a sprawling mess of incoherency.

In addition, because malcontents like me are always campaigning against something (something bad that is happening which we are trying to stop), we can be regarded as ridiculously negative.

We are often painted as a “rent-a-mob” of “antis” who take some kind of twisted delight in opposing everything.

I have spoken out and campaigned against wars and militarism, against road-building and property development, against fracking and fascism, against surveillance and “anti-terror” laws, against Capital and its globalisation, against privatisation, phone masts, fake democracy, land grabs and vaccine passports. Amongst other issues!

The first point in my defence is that these struggles are, of course, not separate or contradictory, but part of one struggle against different aspects of one entity, one system, which we might term The Thing.

Secondly, being against The Thing is not being negative, because The Thing is itself the source of all the negativity, destruction, brutality, misery and exploitation that force me and others to speak out and stand up.

Behind my opposition to The Thing lies a vision of what I think life and society should be like.

This archetype, embedded in my psyche, tells of a different possible way of living, a Withway, in which free human communities are rooted in organic co-operation, in cultural cohesion, in a timeless tradition of freedom, self-determination and closeness to nature.

It was this archetype, I see now, that made me feel, as an adolescent, that the modern world in which I found myself was essentially wrong.

It took me a long time to discover all the different ways in which it is wrong and how these all fit together to form one big and very ugly picture.

My self-appointed task has been to try to get to the root of the problem and not to allow myself to be held back by any ideological constraints.

As alliances were forged and then dissolved, as friends came and went, as seemingly permanent realities revealed themselves as the ephemeral phases they had always been, I felt at times like a lonely voice in the void, struggling to be either heard or understood.

This sensation was very much revived in 2020, when so many of those I considered my allies decided that I was a traitor to their cause for daring to put truth and freedom before dogma and conformity.

But the Covid times have also given me the precious gift of finding new affinities, coming into touch with souls whose ideas resonate closely with mine.

And it is this discovery which has given me the confidence to venture out from behind the protective wall of a purely written presence to reveal the human voice behind it.

Below are some links to readings from my books and articles, plus some of my poems and songs whose original creation spans several decades.

I am most probably a better pamphleteer than I am a poet and I am definitely a better writer than I am a singer!

But I hope that somebody, somewhere, can nevertheless take some pleasure or inspiration from these various recordings.

READINGS FROM BOOKS AND ARTICLES

The Withway – Preface

The Withway – Awakening

The Withway – Revolutionaries

Enemies of the Modern World – ‘Our Stolen Freedom’ by Theo Carter 1

Enemies of the Modern World – ‘Our Stolen Freedom’ by Theo Carter 2

Enemies of the Modern World – ‘Our Stolen Freedom’ by Theo Carter 3

The Green One Is Coming!

The Green One Is Here!

Forms of Freedom – The State Versus Collectivity

Forms of Freedom – The Criminal Power of the State

Forms of Freedom – Nations and the Denial of Real Freedom

Impactor Alert!

Money, lies and power

Monty Satan’s Lying Circus

Resist the Fourth Industrial Repression!

Unleashing the spirit of life

POEMS

Authority

Awakening

Becoming

Comet

Death of a Lie

Ebbtide

Energy

Free

Gil’s Corner

Grey Heat

Grey Midsummer

I Drift, I Dream

Ideas

Limits

Low Tide

Miracle

Monument

More

Mountain Air

Now

Poppies

Rain

Shadows

She Gets By

Sorrow

Soul-Pain

Spring Surges

The Anarchist

The Spell

This Is Who I Am

Time

Void

Water Of Life

Whole

William Morris

Winter Solstice

SONGS

Bomber (1990s post-punk)

No Tomorrow (1990s post-punk)

Rise In Me!

Techno-tyranny (1990s punk)

The Secret

The Thing

Truth (1990s post-punk)

Up On the Downs

3 thoughts on “Voice in the void

  1. This is such a timely article for me – and a continuation of a discussion with new found friends today – all of us “on the other side” and forming an alliance, after many years of being solo on with our views on ‘The Thing’. I have been inspired many times by your writing, I look forward to hearing your voice as well. With deep gratitude from Australia

    Liked by 1 person

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