Saturday, April 19, 2008

Grant McLennan and Precognition

In today's edition of The Sydney Morning Herald, John Birmingham writes about Grant McLennan's final song, "Demon Days." He writes, "[w]hen experienced unknowingly, when listened to without knowledge of what befell McLennan shortly after he penned it, "Demon Days" is a starkly beautiful but spare, somewhat bleak, ballad. When you listen to the song with awareness of McLennan's passing, however, it reveals itself as something altogether different, a precognition of mortality. "The fingers of fate/ stretch out and take us to a night/ but something's not right/ something's gone wrong."

Now I think I heard Robert Forster say somewhere that Grant wrote the lyric up to "the fingers of fate" and then Robert finished the rest up, but either way, the song, its emotion and sense of weight, as well as many of Grant's last songs, certainly reflect precognition on his part.

PKD was well versed in precognition himself. Indeed, a pre-cog shows up in just about every one of his novels. A pre-cog, in the Dickian sense, is one who can see likely versions of the future before they actually occur. The story of Grant's passing, and the "precognition of mortality" you can hear in his final songs, would have made a fine story for PKD to weave. 

I like to think Grant and Philip are hanging out together in the cosmos, bouncing clever ideas off each other, and generally just knowing what's going down.

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