I Wanna Disconnect Myself
All the things that they’re saying and doing,
When they pass me by it just fills me up with noise.
It overloads me.
I wanna disconnect myself,
Pull my brain stem out and unplug myself.
Whilst I’ve never met Henry Rollins (I’ve come close a few times), I know enough about him to be sure he would not admit to being one of the great song lyric writers of our time. However he is a prolific writer and has been since the mid-1980s, building up as devoted a fanbase as varied as his career. I’m thinking about the lyrics to this song Disconnect, the opening song on the Rollins Band 1994 album Weight.
I wonder how much Rollins was expecting the idea of being ‘connected’ to be taken to such an extreme and literal meaning 26+ years later. Is he predicting the rise of the internet and the smartphone, constantly being connected, the ability to never truly be away from work? He uses the word download!
Surely its far more important to ‘disconnect’ nowadays than it has ever been. There was less than 3000 websites in 1994. A ‘fact’ I recall but can’t seem to verify is that there was around 50 when Bill Clinton took office in early 1993. It might have been as much as 100. Back then I suppose it would have been entirely possible to read the entire internet. The number would grow to more than 10,000 by the end of 1994.
The first time I think I ever used the internet was at university sometime in winter 1995. I have no memory of using it before that in school. I can remember getting my computer science pal Dave to help me with accessing a massively complicated UNIX based sysa code thing with the most complicated email addresses ever, in order to message my friends in Edinburgh. Now of course I can do this in seconds with the black box of elements in my pocket. (https://lastwolf.co.uk/elements/)
The idea of disconnecting seems far more relevant in 2020 than it did in 1994. So this weekend I urge you to disconnect, even if it’s just for a short while. Pull your brain stem out and unplug yourself. Switch off Netflix and the laptop. Switch off the phone and leave it in a drawer. Use the airplane mode if you really find it difficult. Go outside and breathe the air. Walk like you did in 1994. Disconnect, and enjoy.