It’s Not the End of the World

What Hurricane Sandy taught us about the Urban Apocalypse – Part 2


(Mark Segar – Reuters)

It was unsettling how things changed. From the safety of social feeds, we watched as photoshopped spoofs and Michael Bay rip-offs paled before the quiet aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Smouldering burns scarred into whiteboard neighbourhoods. A suburban block turned to some vast waste dump. A seafront bar dragged across a bay, a boat perched on railroad tracks. More than the Boxing Day Tsunami, this felt uncomfortably close to home.

We may be incredulous of the naive expectations of the massive storm; or the religious leader who blamed Sandy on New York State’s acceptance of gay marriage. Yet, what lay in front of us was a solid lesson in where the future may lead for many cities across the globe.

In Part One of What Hurricane Sandy taught us about the urban apocalypse, we looked at Corporate Sponsorship, Disaster Parasites, and the not-so sweet smell of the apocalypse.

Past the cut, in Part Two, we’ll be looking at the comfort of petty theft, how hipsters decorate their fallout digs, and why it’s not over til it’s over…

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What Hurricane Sandy taught us about the Urban Apocalypse – Part 1


(Spencer Platt – Getty Images)

It was unsettling how things changed. From the safety of social feeds, we watched as photoshopped spoofs and Michael Bay rip-offs paled before the quiet aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Smouldering burns scarred into whiteboard neighbourhoods. A suburban block turned to some vast waste dump. A seafront bar dragged across a bay, a boat perched on railroad tracks. More than the Boxing Day Tsunami, this felt uncomfortably close to home.

We may be incredulous of the naive expectations of the massive storm; or the religious leader who blamed Sandy on New York State’s acceptance of gay marriage. Yet, what lay in front of us was a solid lesson in where the future may lead for many cities across the globe. Past the cut, here’s the first of a two part blog on what Hurricane Sandy taught us about surviving the urban apocalypse.
 
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Music for the Apocalypse #37: It’s Not the End of the World, by Lostprophets

A song called ‘It’s Not the End of the World’ might seem incongruous on an apocalypse themed blog, but this song is somewhat duplicitous. The singer calls out in the chorus:

It’s not the end of the world now, baby, 
So, c’mon, dry those tears
It’s not the end of the world now darling, 
But I can see it from here

This song has a delightfully unreliable narrator. One senses the classic metaphor of the end of a relationship being likened to the end of the world, and the undercutting of such hyperbole by the unsympathetic boyfriend. Yet what the chorus gives with one hand, it takes back with the other – ‘It’s not the end of the world’ he says, ‘But I can see it from here’. He sets himself up as the one with clearer sight, but he contradicts himself, and the verses suggest that whatever is ending, whatever is upsetting his partner so much, he’s not entirely innocent:
My soldiers march tonight in the city of your dreams
This beautiful army are tearing at your seams
Down on your knees, cure this disease
I’ll take it all, everything I see
Oh, can’t your hear this symphony?
He’s at fault for her pain; he enjoys her devastation and destruction – he finds it beautiful, symphonic. Yet he sadistically mocks her for expressing the despair he has caused. At the same time, the tone of the song is one of protest against destruction. In confessing that he can see the end of the world from here – screaming it at the climax of the song – one senses that this isn’t really what he wants, but he can’t stop himself, anyway.

There’s something delightfully maverick, here. Of course, it’s all metaphor for a relationship, but the imagery is evocatively apocalyptic, as is reflected in the rather wonderful visuals of the music video, where the buildings are seen to disintegrate around the band. At the same time, we see an interesting angle on the appeal of apocalypse in art. The common impulse to destroy things because you want to see them burn, even though you actually value the things you are destroying. The fear and exhilaration of losing control – of letting yourself go even though you know the ultimate consequences will be contrary to what you desire. Lost prophets indeed.

You can download this song in a whole host of places:

iTunes
HMV
Play
7digital
Amazon
Visible Noise

And hey, this is a relatively recent tune, released in 2009, so why not give some young artists some love? You can visit them at their website, here: http://lostprophets.com/ .

 - ApocalypseWomble out.

Visitors since 03/11/11

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