Cruel Odyssey

"I drive across an endless desert towards mountains that I see clearly, but they don't get any closer. They never get any closer to me."

Cruel Odyssey
The lyrics for Cruel Odyssey were a collaboration with my friend Richard Larsen. Richard has been living with multiple sclerosis for over 10 years. This e-mail I sent to him explains the set up. I hope.

On 5 Dec 2013, at 4:56, Andy Dempster wrote:


I read your blogpost a few weeks ago. And it really sunk in as I thought about it a lot.

Richard Larsen

Last week the doctor asked me if I wanted to know how I was going to die. Of course I said yes. Multiple sclerosis has granted me a kind of terrible precognition. Shortly after my diagnosis, I realised that however I feel in the morning (the worst part of the day for me), that's how I'm going to feel all the time six to eight months down the road.

I might compare my days to driving across an endless desert, towards mountains which I can see clearly, but which never get any closer. Impersonal road signs mark the way; landmarks approach and then quickly recede as I roll on. The road gets rougher, and the motor struggles with the harsh terrain. The needle on the fuel gauge has been hovering over E for as long as I can remember now, and warning lights decorate the dashboard beneath a patina of dust.

Thirty years. The doctor said I could last thirty years before finally succumbing. Three times what's behind me, and I'm already on empty. This is not a warning, or a cry for help. I've made promises I intend to keep. But there's no f--king way I can make it through three more decades. I know with a crushing certainty what I could lose in a single year, but my imagination boggles, literally boggles, when contemplating the cruel odyssey laid out before me. For once, the map is the territory; seeing it is traversing it is living it.

So attached is a song I wrote using your words. Actually some words are mine, but i did my best to use yours to keep it authentic. Also some words belong to Robert Frost, but I don't think he'll mind.

This is just my first mix, but I wanted to get your feedback on it. Let me know what you think both musically and lyrically.