The Music Archeologist Part 2

by nielskunze on March 24, 2019

Go to The Music Archeologist Part 1

So now there was just this one thing left to do: end the world. And I was just a spectator.

We had walked some distance away from the car… into a lovely bit of desert nothingness, just sand and small clumps of scrub grass vying for our attention. We three were momentarily pensive, seemingly lost in our private thoughts… until Jay cheerfully smashed the silence.

“I looked high, saw the empty sky.” He was singing the Elton John song again, and it seemed strangely appropriate. “If I could only… could only fly! I’d drift with them in endless space, but no man flies from this place.”

Gord was kneeling now on the ground, inside a finger-drawn circle, further drawing some kabbalistic rune in the sand, muttering quietly to himself in something that seemed to resemble the Yiddish my girlfriend’s grandmother spoke. Figures.

“What’s he doing?” I asked Jay. I wanted him to walk me through our moment of doom— Gord so serious and focused… Jay suddenly carefree, almost happy… I had no idea what to think or feel…

“Him?” Jay seemed surprised that I would ask. “He’s organizing his intent, structuring his dream of destruction.” He said it so casually, like such a thing utterly lacked meaning or consequence. No big deal.

“The circle keeps it in,” he added, and I looked on bewildered. “Oh…” he realized suddenly, “I suppose you’re rather frightened… by all this.”

“Pfft… who me?” Honestly, I was struggling to keep my sense of humour. In the pit of my stomach— the place that really counts— I had accepted that this was the end. But my paranoid brain was still scheming, scrambling, looking for the exit sign.

“It’s nothing,” said Jay with perfect seriousness. Somehow this was meant to be a comfort. “Relax. Enjoy the evening.”

The sun was just beginning to dip toward the horizon. The very first hints of sunset colour were just becoming detectable. There was a promise of beauty coming like coolness to the desert sky… How do you enjoy the death of everything?

Apparently I said it aloud. “How do you enjoy the death of everything?”

“With everything you got,” said Jay. “Until it’s all gone.”

“Will it hurt?”

Jay looked suddenly wounded by the question. “Nah, it’s not really our prerogative to inflict pain… at least, not anymore.” For that last bit he looked directly at Gord, levelling some vague accusation.

I let the insinuation go and continued on more directly. “But we’re gonna die…?” It was half question, half statement.

Jay looked directly at me with soft eyes and smiles, the visage of compassion incarnate as he answered. “Well, I imagine you’ll die… when you lose all context… and there being no sun and all. But me and him, we exist elsewhere, so we’ll just carry on… elsewhere.”

Most of what Jay was saying flew past me as I stared death’s reality in the face, really for the first time in my sixteen years on this planet… er, in this realm, I mean.

“What’s death?” I asked next.

“A very old agreement,” answered Jay quite easily.

“An agreement!” That didn’t sit well with me. “Whose agreement? Who agrees to die!”

“You all did,” answered Jay softly, soothingly. And then he added “It was a good invention. Adopting a strict death policy was the right thing to do.”

“What?!!” Apparently, we earthlings had chosen death for ourselves… and that just didn’t seem at all right to my helpless victim mentality.

“Free will is the supreme law of the universe,” explained Jay. “You’d do well to remember that. Everything proceeds and develops according to mutual agreement. Y’all agreed to die when you were born here… from the lowliest blade of scrub grass to the mightiest of kings.”

I didn’t doubt in the slightest the veracity of what Jay was explaining. I accepted that it was true, but I just couldn’t fathom the necessity of it. “Why?!” I nearly cried. “Why on earth did we choose death?”

Jay sat down in the sand, getting comfortable before answering. “Have you ever played poker?” he began. I nodded with a look of puzzlement creeping upon my face. I sat down across from him as though we were about to play. I half expected him to pull a deck of cards from the sleeve of his robe. He continued. “And do you play for money?” he asked. Again I nodded. “Why?” he finally asked. “Why not just play for fun?”

“Because… because playing poker isn’t fun if you don’t play for money.”

“Exactly.” Jay elaborated upon my simple declaration. “When there’s nothing at stake, nothing to lose, players are typically reckless. They can bluff without consequence, and they never have a compelling reason to fold. In such circumstances, it’s not much of a game, is it?”

The cutting elegance of Jay’s explanation removed a lifetime of scales from my eyes. It made such simple sense. We made Death the bank, holding the value of our chips for when we eventually cashed them in. And just like the previous one in the car with Gord, I was really warming to this conversation with Jay. However, a definite sense of irony was creeping over me as I realized that I was receiving these kick-ass existential answers right before it was all about to end… forever. Apparently, life loves irony above all else!

Now a million questions were coming to mind! And Jay seemed more than content to answer in his simple and direct way.

“What about reincarnation? What are souls? Does Satan exist? What’s the deal with the moon?” These were the first questions to come to mind, and I felt no hesitation to voice them.

Jay leaned back laughing, truly enjoying the apocalypse. “Where would you like me to start?”

I didn’t know. My thoughts were an enthused jumble. And Jay seemed to understand perfectly. He just jumped right in.

“Hmm…” he pondered and stroked his chin like some wise cliche. “Let’s start with souls.” Okay, I was bright-eyed and attentive. “Souls consist of personal agreements— binding agreements— that carry on beyond the confines of a single lifetime. So yes, reincarnation is real. You can’t just go around making contracts with your fellow earthlings, and then just simply die and have the slate wiped clean. We’d be right back to playing the game without meaningful consequences. Souls are attached to a specific will— a line of choices stretching through time held together by propensity and persistent tendencies. That which survives death is merely the sum of your proclivities in life.”

“We are survived by our habits?” That seemed dire!

“Yes,” Jay agreed, “that’s a very succinct and accurate way to put it. Those habits determine the circumstances of your subsequent incarnation— that, and the outstanding agreements you’ve made. Souls need resolution… and that drives action in life.”

“Karma,” I said to myself.

“I hate that word,” said Jay. “It has way too many stupid connotations… like it’s some kind of tit-for-tat universe based in reward and punishment, balancing good with evil. It’s way simpler than that. Karma is just something outstanding that needs to be resolved— because those involved agreed to eventually resolve it, mostly through experience gained.”

“So… there are no Lords of Karma?”

“No! God no!” spat Jay into the first hints of twilight. And then he quickly added “There are no gods at all.”

I looked at him gape-mouthed. I turned my head to stare at Gord muttering inside his circle. I turned back to Jay, wearing my incredulity conspicuously, like drool running down my chin. “What… what do you mean there are no gods?” I was pinning him with my eyes.

Jay fell over backward laughing. “There are no gods!” he cackled. “Trust me,” he gasped, “we’re all the same… you… me… him…”

“But… but… he’s the creator,” I insisted, jutting a thumb toward Gord.

“Indeed he is,” said Jay, returning himself to an upright position. “But do you really think that he created you? Really?”

The question was just so blunt it knocked me upside the head. I’d had this idea what a creator was, what a god might be. And then I’d met these two jokers… and certain ideas began to coalesce and congeal in my brain as we’d progressed in these conversations. But now as Jay asked me pointblank whether I really thought that Gord or someone like him had “created” me, it seemed pathetically absurd.

“No,” I whispered. And for a timeless moment I was utterly adrift in immeasurable confusion. And Jay, of course— my hero— came immediately to my rescue.

“The only thing he ever created here,” he said nodding toward Gord, “was the opportunity for you to create yourself… for me to create me… for everything to create itself, along with its own parameters of existence. He’s the God of Opportunity, nothing more, nothing less. You, me, him… we’re all exactly equal. I’m no higher than you. Gord’s no higher than me. We’re all made of exactly the same stuff. And in terms of potential, we’re identical.”

Now that’s what I call revelation! It cut through eons of bullshit and baggage with the simple ring of truth. But there were things still unreconciled, habits of thought and being that couldn’t be so completely and easily undone.

“But he’s about to kill us all!” I insisted. “And there’s really nothing I can do about it,” I argued. That smacked of inequality to me!

“He’s not killing anyone,” answered Jay calmly. “He’s simply removing the sun.”

“Now you’re splitting hairs!” I shouted.

“He IS the one who put it there in the first place,” answered Jay with perfect grace and ease. “And that created the opportunity for all this.” He stretched his arms wide as though embracing all eternity. “Things didn’t work out. The self-created creatures of earth forgot themselves and became lost… despite the revealing light of the sun. It’s time to pull the plug. Nothing has been lost. Everything has been gained.” Whatever Jay was telling me, he, himself, believed it. But I was still having a hard time.

“He’s dooming us all to oblivion!” I insisted, though I hardly even knew what I was saying.

In that most infuriatingly calm manner of his, Jay gently elaborated. “If you were caught in the throes of a terrible nightmare and I looked on, would you want me to wake you?”

“Well, I suppose. But…”

“And when you awaken from a dream, whether fearsome or sweet, has anything been lost? No,” he immediately answered, “on the contrary, you have gained the experience of the dream to carry with you in your newly awakened state… to dream again, as you so choose.”

“Really?” I was somewhat mollified, but not wholly convinced. “That’s all this is… the ending of one dream so another can begin?”

“Verily.” He said it. And I believed it. But there was something lurking in his eyes suggesting that things were just slightly more complicated or impactful than what he’d just described. I let it go though, choosing instead the obvious peace of mind he offered. I relaxed into the dusky quiet and mulled things over for a bit… while Gord muttered and gestured inside his magic circle and Jay hummed the refrains he remembered from the car ride here.

In my quiet rumination, I convinced myself that the end of the world really wasn’t a big deal after all. Shortly, I’d be dead… just like I’d been supposedly thousands of times before— each lifetime a new self-created dream. Dreaming… waking… dying… just consciousness at play. But why didn’t I have any memory of dying before? Thousands of times before? You’d think it might just be the sort of traumatic event one would surely remember. I was just about to ask Jay about that when I suddenly realized that no, I can work this out on my own. And so I did.

The idea of past-life memories had always been intriguing but controversial. But suddenly, now with my new insight, I had it figured pretty damn quick. We couldn’t be allowed to retain clear memories from past lives. Who wouldn’t allow it? We— ourselves— couldn’t allow it. If we permitted ourselves to remember our deaths and the past lives we’d lived, we’d be right back at square one again, playing poker for nothing. Remembering our many deaths would negate death, rendering it— and life— meaningless once again. Our constant reoccurring amnesia was necessary. It made the game possible. Remembering our past lives would be like being able to see all of the cards all of the time. The fun of the game always lies in its secrets, the things we don’t know, can’t know. How boring and pointless would poker be if all the cards were always dealt face up?

And just like that, I suddenly understood the meaning of life!

We were here to create unsolvable mysteries for ourselves… and spend eternity trying to solve them. Why? Because it was the best fucking game in town! Could there be a better reason?

I let that question hang in my mind like my best Sunday suit from when I was a kid and my mom dragged me to church every week. Just having a once-a-week suit to sit among once-a-week friends worshipping a once-a-week god begged an unending litany of unanswerable questions… and suddenly I had outgrown them all! Just like that!

God! Had there ever been an evening more beautiful than this!

The sun was beginning to get kinda low on the horizon. I knew that Gord would have to make his move soon. I was actually looking forward to it. Go figure.

To pass the remaining time, I re-engaged Jay in conversation. “So what’s with all the muttering in Yiddish?” I asked, glancing at Gord.

“It’s not exactly Yiddish,” Jay explained. “It’s the root language. There’s power and inherent meaning in sounds— their placement, repetition and patterning. It’s why we love music. A well composed tune can bring a brute to his knees or lift the darkest heart.”

I liked where his explanation was leading and I told him so. He took that as an excuse to continue.

“Sound is a correlate of light.” He paused to let that sink in a bit. “Is it mere coincidence that there are seven colours of visible light in the rainbow and seven whole notes in the western musical scale? Of course not,” he answered. “Sound is merely light stepped down to the languid pace of everyday life. Sound is a tool for creators inside the creation. Light is a tool generally wielded from the outside. Well, no, that’s not exactly right. Gord can explain it better.”

And at that very moment Gord turned to us and spoke.

“It is time,” is all he said, standing there with a strange fire in his eyes.

Jay sprang into action and helped me to my feet. Then we both flanked Gord outside his circle, and turned toward the setting sun.

“With your left hand point at the sun,” he instructed Jay. “And you with your right,” he said to me. “When I grab each of your free hands, the circle will be broken, the deed done… untied the Gordian knot, the Seal of the Sun.”

And that was it. Without any further preamble or explanation, Gord grabbed both our free hands. A jolt of ecstatic electricity shot through our trinity and flew like a deranged lightning bolt from earth to sun…

…demolishing it in an instant.

The sun winked out. It vanished from the sky. And darkness swallowed everything…

…except that I could still see the spot where the sun had been just a second before. I thought it was something akin to an after-image burned onto my retina. But what was I doing still standing here, witnessing anything, still having retinas at all? And I knew for certain that something was amiss when I heard Gord curse into the darkness.


To say that the ride home in the car was weird would be a bit of an understatement, but perfectly understandable… even if nothing else at the moment was… perfectly understandable.

It was a waxing gibbous moon that night. Gord was pensive and tight-lipped. Jay seemed typically unconcerned, calling from the back seat for “More tunes, man!” I obliged.

“And the Tyne God has arrived,” sang Ginhouse from the car speakers. Finally, Jay thought it prudent to break the ice with the obvious question. But first I gotta say that it was both nice and wholly unnerving to have someone else asking the questions for once!

“So… what was that?”

“Black Sun,” is all Gord offered. Apparently that meant something to Jay. It was gibberish to me. After a moment, Jay sighed, and did what Jay does.

“You might as well talk it through,” he said to Gord. And it was Gord’s turn to sigh. And then Gord began to babble… and that was perhaps the most disconcerting thing of all!

“The rumours were true after all… The Black Sun is real… The council tried to warn me… I thought it inconsequential, even if true… Now, I don’t know… Those fuckers! Grey traitors! This changes everything!”

I waited for an explanation, but instinctively I knew that the preceding events hadn’t been fully digested yet. Jay’s calm demeanour must have rubbed off on me. I kept quiet while Jay gently prodded.

“Who’s behind it?” he asked.

“The Grey Men.”

“I see,” said Jay, but I didn’t.

“Who are the Grey Men?” I queried the darkness and the silence once I couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Those who have lost the capacity to dream,” said Gord.

“Completely lost it,” added Jay. And then further for my benefit he elaborated upon the Grey Men. “There are beings in the earth realm who have over many lifetimes invested themselves in external power, to the eventual exclusion of their own inherent power to dream. Having forgotten how to dream, they instead manipulate others to dream the reality of their bidding, reinforcing the external, institutionalized systems of power upon which they rely as manipulators.”

“The Grey Men are stalkers,” added Gord. “They stalk dreamers for their own ends and means.”

“It’s all part of the game,” resumed Jay. “Stalking and dreaming occur in every realm. They are the two obvious means to power. Either you are able to dream the reality you wish to experience, or you influence the dreams of those who can… dreamers and stalkers. The Grey Men are exclusively stalkers.

“Usually, it’s not a big deal,” he continued. “Stalking is inherently inferior to dreaming. It’s derivative, whereas dreaming is clean and direct. A few stalkers is like fleas on a dog’s tail. It’s an annoyance, but it’s not the end of the world. Stalkers are just parasites.”

“But the Black Sun!” interjected Gord. “That’s collusion, co-ordination, organization. The parasites have an agenda of their own!”

I was understanding really very little of this. I just wanted to keep the conversation going. “But why?” I asked. “What’s the purpose of the Black Sun?”

“It’s purpose was fulfilled tonight,” replied Gord ominously. “The Black Sun was created and hidden behind the real sun precisely for the purpose of thwarting my world-ending intention on this very eve. They will not allow the dream to end. And they will do everything in their power to ensure that the dreamers never awaken again.”

Hmm, that didn’t sound very good!

I know what you’re thinking, and I was thinking it too— all of it. Gord and Jay answered all of my immediate concerns and what you need to know now, before I resume the full telling of this tale, is that yes, the real sun came up the very next day right on schedule. And yeah, for awhile there back in ’72 folks talked in whispers about the day the sun winked out for a moment. And even though millions of people around the world witnessed the sun blink, they eventually talked themselves out of believing that it had really happened… because… how could it?

But it did. You KNOW it did.

’69 Give and/or Take 3


  • Tyne God -Ginhouse
  • Giant -Gentle Giant
  • Song to Comus -Comus
  • In Ancient Days -Black Widow
  • Alucard -Gentle Giant
  • Black Sabbath -Black Sabbath
  • Dreammare -Uriah Heep
  • Obsolete Machine -Tasavallan Presidentti
  • With You There to Help Me -Jethro Tull
  • Epitaph -King Crimson
  • Dawn -Grannie
’69 Give and/or Take 4


  • In the Beginning/Lovely to See You -The Moody Blues
  • Look Into the Sun -Jethro Tull
  • Treat -Santana
  • Kings and Queens -Renaissance
  • Ice -Spirit
  • Sweet Dream -Jethro Tull
  • Sun in a Bottle -Ginhouse
  • Ina Gadda Da Vida (excerpt) -Iron Butterfly
  • To Cry You a Song -Jethro Tull
  • Innocence -Renaissance
  • Hypomode de Sol -Jean-Luc Ponty
  • Just Trying to Be -Jethro Tull

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