38. Maslow

I don’t really run. I hate the idea of it. The few times I’ve done it (at school, on a “”””fun run”””” fifteen years ago), I have been existentially miserable. I acknowledge that, at some point, I may have to take it up to prevent my body falling into decrepitude. But I can already anticipate fairly accurately the hierarchy of increasingly abstract internal voices that will accompany it, and this is what it will sound like:


The baseline motivation

Put one foot in front of the other, keep pushing forward towards..?
It doesn’t matter, this is all you have to remember

It really doesn’t matter why you’re doing this awful thing, just keep doing it, one step at a time

Cold and wet, it’s dark and I’m hungry
I feel so weary, why the hell do I have to be cold and wet?
It’s dark and I’m hungry…


You don’t have to keep on going, you don’t have to keep on running

I really don’t

Do you think anyone will notice?

Probably not

I don’t think anyone will notice

No one cares

And I don’t know if some higher power
Animates my steps
But if it’s going to show it’s hand
It’s still got half the story left

This is where the song itself shows its hand a bit, as not just being about running, but about any kind of endeavour – clearly how I was feeling about writing, music, living life and so on. A slog that only demonstrates any kind of improvement with repeated and frequent effort, and may not have any appreciable outcome on any but the longest time scales.

The title and construction of the song references Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – at the bottom is stuff like food and water, higher up warmth, shelter, security and so on until social acceptance and self-realisation sits near the top. The song is more like a traversal of base drives up to intellectuallisations and reflections right at the top. As a groovy implementation of a pretty clean idea, I really like it, and I hope you do too.

Next week, I’m surprised by an awards ceremony in my honour. Why not celebrate with me, and preorder Year of The Bird Volume 4 – it’s out in just a couple of weeks!