There Is Still Time – I Wrote A New Song

If tomorrow was your last day on earth, what would you choose to do (or not do)?

I asked this question to attendees of a recent “Rapid Response” exhibition I was part of at the LTB Showrooms in Coventry. It spoke to the urgency of imminent change, inspired by the building’s limited lifespan as it faces its final days before demolition and redevelopment.

The situation inspired a song (Still Time). Attendees helped me write it. And the building itself performed the beats.

Scarcity, Clarity, and Stillness

For better or worse, facing a closing door brings home the gravity of our choices. It can help us see more clearly and recognise what matters most. The weight of things that feel important when time seems abundant is jettisoned as we consider their proper place when we see a looming change on the horizon.

The sound collage I created for the exhibition aimed to capture the state shifts our autonomic nervous system goes through under some prominent cultural messaging about time. We might feel the pressure to dominate time’s natural flow, tether time’s value to monetary measurements, and believe we must rinse a productive outcome from every waking moment.

But I wanted to get beneath some of these narratives and explore a more organic relationship with time (and what it makes possible). Universal points of connection that we share as humans when we allow ourselves to be human. It reminded me of Bronnie Ware’s ‘​Top Five Regrets of The Dying​‘, compiled from conversations she had with people in hospice care at the end of their lives.

The Top Five Regrets of The Dying

  1. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
  2. “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
  3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
  4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
  5. “I wish I had let myself be happier.

The responses certainly resonated with Bronnie’s observations.

I purposefully infused ambiguity into the core question. I wondered if people would make assumptions and fill in the blanks.

If tomorrow was your last day on Earth, what would you choose to do (or not do)?

I wanted to subvert any emphasis on regret and explore a day infused with gratitude.

How Did People Respond?

Some refused to consider the question because it felt too depressing. Of those who did respond, some assumed that the last day on Earth meant death, while others took it to mean they were headed elsewhere on an interplanetary adventure. Some imagined they would deal with it alone, but it was seen as a collective challenge for others, with everyone in the same boat of existential demise.

I loved how different these underlying assumptions were. Seeing the common threads—the things we share- made it all the more poignant.

It turns out that some people would create things. Play music. Sing songs.

Some would hang out with loved ones in and around bodies of water. There would be picnics, drinks, and stories shared of days gone by. Challenging conversations, letters of love and regret, and putting right what’s currently dangling.

Many felt drawn home to familiar spots where they would enjoy the natural beauty in meaningful places around them.

The lack of novelty surprised me. There was a sense of peace. Bucket lists left at the door along with the drive to accomplish replaced by a desire to connect.

The Sound of One Door Closing

The beat came from creaking floors and opening/closing doors around the LTB showrooms. I spent an afternoon collecting found sounds around the building to let the building speak before it is due to fall silent.

I discovered that the sound of a door closing is sometimes hard to distinguish from the sound of a door opening. Old doors can be creaky, squeaky, heavy, and slow.

There’s a metaphor in there. Of course, there is. Maybe it’s a reminder that there is still time. There are still things to explore. People to laugh with. Creative endeavours to “waste” time on. I loved that people would spend time creating things during their final day. Not for productive purposes but simply because it’s who we are as humans.

I would love to hear your response to that question. How do you feel about the idea of answering it?

Listen to Still Time now. You can support it by pre-saving it to your favourite streaming platform. That will give it a little nudge into more people’s ears on official release day.

Join me in The Haven Courtyard on Sunday, 17th December, when I will chat more about the story behind the song and explore some of the themes that came up in answers to the question that inspired it…Register here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like