Lydia Lunch on ‘Music Inspired By The Film Last Man Standing’

How long would it take to walk yourself to death? Would you shoot a hole in your hand to drink your own blood if you were stranded on an endless sand plain, the only sign of life – what’s left of your own?

Escape is essential. You flee to avoid capture, to temporarily outrun retribution. You strive to calculate the distance of miles between the past and the future, a futile attempt to manipulate the time you will spend stuck forever in a permanent limbo.

Elmer Bernstein’s Last Man Standing speaks to the fugitive in me. A godless gunman, isolated and alone. Hunted. The Hunter. A muted figure standing motionless, exiled to a dusty terrain. A twilight hell of its own making. A barren landscape from which all life has been leached. It weeps of desolation, the desert and death. A man, a murderer, alone, Imprisoned in thought. Hounded, as if by locusts, a numbing din, a deep subterranean rumble. A lifetime of despicable secrets forever murmuring just out of earshot.

Freedom is a solitary state of grace, an oasis glistening somewhere off in the twilight horizon. Or is it simply a mirage in which the shackles that bind have been blown to bits by the bull end of a Tommy gun? Is anyone ever truly free if he can’t shake his own shadow? Can’t kill off his own depraved thoughts?

Am I that man? Are you? Is he the mysterious apparition of a deeply rooted desire to obliterate everyone and everything? A one-man holocaust of bitter destruction who renders the landscape not blood red, but burnt umber, a patine that speaks of the absence of colour, the absence of life, the empty dusk of an eternal hollow. An insomniac’s theatre of dream states and nightmares haunted by an army of vagrant ghosts and invisible enemies who stalk and make ruin everything in their wake.

This is the battlefield where man is pitted against himself. Against his memories and recriminations. His fear and brutality. From this siege there is no fitful sleep. No relief. Only unholy rest in which one trembles, hostage to panic, uncertainty, suspicion. Waking again and again to be blistered by sun, consumed in sand, and left alone to battle your shadow – the last man standing.

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