When It All Falls Apart

Dan Gillmor is a BoingBoing guest-blogger.

Like lots of folks these days I find myself speculating about whether we're heading into something worse than a bad recession, such as the kind of calamity that tests civilization. I've suspected this before.

Back in my younger days I played music for a living. We were based in Vermont, a collection of folks who mostly saw the world as a place where music and the good life surrounding it were an end in themselves. While I subscribed to this philosophy for the most part, I was also the band member who read newspapers, and the one who had to handle details like bookings and getting paid. 

The real world intruded enough, therefore, to occasionally be as worrisome as fun; and I had a pessimistic side in any case. At one point, gloomier than usual about humanity's future, I wrote a song about how people like us would (or wouldn't) get along when the apocalypse happened, something I feared might be imminent. It wasn't, then, but I'm wondering again.

The song was called "When It All Falls Apart," and the lyrics went like this:

What will you do when it all falls apart?
Have you made your plans?
What will you be when it all falls apart?

There won't be any plumbers. 
There'll be no politicians.
Be no civil engineers.
Be no musicians.
There'll just be the farmers and the thieves.
And what do you know about the land?
What will you do when it all falls apart?

What will you be?

The song was on an album called "Road Apple," after the name of a band that lasted in one form or another for about seven years. Doug McClaran, who played piano, was the other main member of the band during that time. Besides Doug, who died way too young, this recording features Robin Batteau on violin, Tommy Steele on alto sax, Al Zanzler on baritone sax, Skeeter Camera on drums and Will Patton on bass. My brother Steve produced it, and you can listen to it here: