posted on May 11, 2009 at 4:03 am

(commissioned by craigie p)
up until 1971
i and most of the western world
had never heard of karma
then john lennon
appeared on tv with his new single
instant karma
and i still didnt know what it meant
but it sure was a groovy word to chuck around
instant karmas gonna get you
gonna knock you right off your feet
those primitive drums
and what about that fucking drum roll about halfway thru
it sounds mathematically impossible
how he crams that much drumming into such a short space
and lennon
like hes talking down the phone at ya
like he really knows what hes talking about
like a semi- detached english bob dylan with his hip putdowns
karma baby
instant karma …its like instant…aint it?
instantly everyone started talking about karma
oh man it was his karma
watchout for karma
your karma ran over my dogma
and soon even kids at school (the cool ones)
were using the word
the concept of karma was kinda invented by the hindus
and pretty much adopted by buddhism
seeing how buddha was originally a hindu
it is unsurprising therefore
that he chose to keep karma as part of his trip
in the west we have long known an aspect of karma
but we have called it
the law of cause and effect
we westerners have mainly applied this to technical
or scientific events
not really acknowledging the whole spectrum of cause and effect
vis a vis personal spiritual or even national karma
that is what goes around comes around
even if you dont think it will
it will
karma is not administered by some god in judgement
it is an automatic law that functions like gravity
especially when you consider the old adage
what goes up must come down
vishnu or shiva or krishna or
(insert name of fave god here)
dont look down saying oh that..
(insert name here)
has gone and done some naughty things
or has gone and done some very nice things
(yes theres good karma too!)
its like if you fall off a ladder you hit the floor
not an act of god
now the complexities of karma are manifold
not least of which is that it can stretch over many lifetimes
skipping some and then bang
something naughty or nice you did five lifetimes ago
finally catches up with you…
and it seems that outta the blue
all these bad or good things begin to happen
but karma is a shaping inexorable force behind everything
and you sometimes see in hindu literature
the picture of a man with a bulls head
chopping off the head of a man on a cows body
obviously the man is terrified
yet the bull snorts with blood lust
you see
what you do will be dished out back to you
karma can work backwards and forwards in time
it can move anywhere and anyhow it likes
it is often instant or quick
and you often get to see the villains getting their comeuppance
it is not often possible to trace karmic events
murdering idiots seem to get off scott free
while gentle martyrs cop the slings and arrows
i dont know
its a concept
in my own life i have observed it
i have felt its hand
i have been knocked off my feet by it
its so simple : be good n sooner or later good will come back
and vice versa natch
especially vice versa
if yer a miserable sod things wont be very nice
believe me
if you try to be nice
well people MAY try to be nice to you
its a win/win situation
but not all karma is instant
so your niceness may come back in other ways
it definitely cant hurt
it has seemed to work in my life
voice in another lifetime : the few times he was nice..
it only seems logical after all, doesnt it ?
do as you would be done by
easy to say but hard to do
just like all the very best ideas
thats why you hardly ever meet a real saint
all you got
the saint who is no saint
voice in another song : thats the one thing he aint
thanks craigie p

33 Responses to “karma”

  1. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 May 2009 at 6:21 am #

    love the reviews of U23!Karma baby!:-D Befitting and brilliant.congratulations on yet another masterpiece The Church!!!

  2. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 May 2009 at 7:06 am #

    The map to an untitled world
    (All sides aside, side 1)

    Cobalt Blue was a hit in cold deserted Amsterdam at 5am. A nocturnal wind made several people leave their houses in search of relief. Out of their white sheets were the cobalt blue streets, covered by ink. After the incident many papers could only print and bring “…and there is nothing we could know” as the news. The citizens were peaceful then. Under the milky way there was finally nothing wrong. The statue of a man trying to kill his ego with a pen was built in the middle of the park where the citizens congregated to face the wind. Contorted little solos were blowing all around. They said Wim Wenders was interested in shooting a music video featuring Bono as a shadow of that statue but Bono would decline for fear of wanting to kill his own ego. So the music video for Cobalt Blue featured the nocturnal wind instead. And just that.

    Deadman’s Hand was a hit in ancient Rome. The Caesar told his followers and soldiers: “We’re on our way to crush a revolution”. People are always believing there will be love and retribution. But the revolution isn’t really important. The chess game the emperor played before coming out to make the big change actually was. He was seen at the top of a hill surrounded by oranges playing that game with his conscience. The deadman’s hand delivered a checkmate and then was caught hanging in the air while the bishop was partying. The sky was partially clouded when Deadman’s Hand played the day our troop left the city. No one would be killed at that tour, it was instead just an inspection of truth. Who was prepared for the new world soon to overcome mediocrity? The empire will get you by the balls and you’ll wish that you appeared before. But Caesar knows how to make a hit especially when salad days are over. No wonder you’ll consider yourself conquered.

    Pangaea was a hit in The World tarot card. A 14 year old girl consults for the first time and asks: “what will I win then?” The table says under a squeezed-red cloth stolen from a bar: “The World”. “Aaahhh, alright”, she whispers.

    Happenstance was a hit in rural UK. Those verdant meadows, Violet Town, the flowerish paths, the small grandeur from mouth to mouth, the longing for a perfectly good king, the mud underneath the docile gardens, the big veins in the hands of mothers, the bleached cotton from an uniform of correctness. Happenstance was heard when the sun gave breath to the lowland. Then the children of rarn had enough space to run. A man goes back to the womb when he understands the beginnings. The solace of Albion where the family is the original one again. It’s all about observing the seasons and the logic of growth.

    Space Saviour was a hit in Eden. The primordial garden echoed and oozed its crescent melody. The fruit was heavy on the vine when the spaceship from Mercury arrived to explore the desolated place. The aliens understood the song as they tried to find clear water. God allowed the aliens visitation because they don’t cover their scales. The Natural Grandeur was found and kept in a capsule by the captain but when he arrived at home the once owned substance turned into the atmosphere of his planet.

  3. avatar
    random yes, pan no | 11 May 2009 at 8:29 am #

    If you try to be nice, people will see it as weakness and will just shit on you. And nothing will come back on them. Not God, not karma, not the rule of threefold return, nothing. The idea that it will is wishful thinking. The belief that we can see just retribution or reward for past actions is simply the human mind attempting to impose order subjectively. Boring, I know, but we’re alone and the universe isn’t listening.

  4. avatar
    fantasticandy | 11 May 2009 at 8:42 am #

    ALL the ‘dudes’ agree….
    timbo is an awesome sonix wiz!
    what’s the point of nit-picking?
    tim was the missing piece all along.
    these are the churches ‘golden years’
    what joy!

  5. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 May 2009 at 11:04 am #

  6. avatar
    phil in Canbagerra | 11 May 2009 at 11:18 am #

    Karma eh? In your next lifetime you will be rewarded for blessing the inner ears of millions with stashes of gold bullion (certified Cortez karma free), a Hunderwasser mansion by a swedish lake, with divine friends and lovers at your side. You will never have to deal with another record company exec as they will no longer exist. Paradise awaits?

    Dr. Phil

  7. avatar
    Celticat | 11 May 2009 at 11:20 am #

    Good read today Killer.

    I work with people who just don’t get “cause and effect”. The concept is not rocket science but fewer and fewer people are living by this commandment as more and more of the great unwashed continue to lose respect for their fellow man.

    That’s one of the things I like about your blogge because it seems that most friendss do have respect for each other.

    Love to all

  8. avatar
    princey | 11 May 2009 at 11:31 am #

    It’s like a Karmic Hit!
    Nice blogging sk. See ya tomorrow.
    Love Amanda

  9. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 11 May 2009 at 11:44 am #

    yup……what goes around comes around, alright… sure that there are many many more people (including your good self, steve) that know more about this stuff….all’s i know is that if you do good there’s a good chance that good’ll come back to you….
    love always…..

  10. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 May 2009 at 11:57 am #

    Yes. Karma.
    Steve Kilbey the broke word whore.
    You have felt more than the hand boy,
    Karma has given you a full on dry root and its just what you needed.
    Suck it up steve

  11. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 May 2009 at 12:11 pm #

    yeah killer, couldn’t agree more! if more people behaved in a less egotistical and destructive fashion, our world would be a groovier and a more peaceful place for all. just look at all the bankers, after decades and centuries of ripping everyone off (as recently as shakespeare’s time, moneylending for profit was reviled, just read the merchant of venice!) karma hit the bankers with both barrels, just a shame that innocent, hardworking folks were sucked in to the abyss with these greedy investment puppets.
    Do good and it WILL always come back to ya!
    Cheers from germany

  12. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 11 May 2009 at 2:31 pm #

    Very, very interesting karma blog. Very few people with perfect karma. Gandhi in particular and the Jains in general seem to be the real deal with ahimsa and their reverence for all life creed.

  13. avatar
    John Garratt | 11 May 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    “believe me
    if you try to be nice
    well people MAY try to be nice to you”

    You hear that, anonymous?

  14. avatar
    Shirley Sally | 11 May 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    Och, nobody else is commenting – they must all be used to your early morning posts. Never met a Saint, probably never will, but I have met many devils in my time!

    Best wishes


  15. avatar
    Thomas Thomsen, Denmark | 11 May 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    Finally received Untitled # 23 a couple of days ago. Listening to it as I write, but way too early for me to express how I feel about it. At this point Pangea, Happenstance and Deadman’s Hand are my favourites.

  16. avatar
    JJ | 11 May 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    “Why in the world are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear…”

    When The Walrus Gumboot sang out of my stereo back then, also was the first I’d heard of Karma. Yeah, that tribal drumming nailed it down and Lennon’s grainy voice imploring above it all. Loved it.

    I’ve seen it happen in my life.


  17. avatar
    Thomas Thomsen, Denmark | 11 May 2009 at 7:13 pm #

    Add Cobalt Blue and On Angel Street to my favourites.

  18. avatar
    Thomas Thomsen, Denmark | 11 May 2009 at 7:20 pm #

    All Music Guide has just added a 4,5 stars review.

  19. avatar
    Freddie | 11 May 2009 at 7:52 pm #

    Karma bites 😐

  20. avatar
    davem | 11 May 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Lennon: “Instant Karma: It just came to me. Everybody was going on about karma, especially in the sixties. But it occured to me that karma is instant as well as it influences your past life or your future life. There really is a reaction to what you do now.That’s what people ought to be concerned about. Also, I’m fascinated by commercials and promotion as an art form. I enjoy them. So the idea of instant karma was like the idea of instant coffee: presenting something in a new form. I just liked it.”

    Apols if there are any typos…


  21. avatar
    CAPTAIN BEYOND | 11 May 2009 at 9:29 pm #

    instant karma has yet to be proven, i am living proof…

  22. avatar
    steve kilbey | 11 May 2009 at 9:41 pm #

    anon at 5 06
    i love it!
    and my little friend at 9 57
    oooh youre a precious little man…arent you?
    im so sorry i broke your heart
    i know you still must love me so much
    give us a kiss!

  23. avatar
    catchow | 11 May 2009 at 9:57 pm #

    if you try to be nice,people may try to be nice to you.:… i wish
    it could happen…
    do as you would be done by:right!
    good advice,i think we gain by doing this;
    once again,a very good blog!

  24. avatar
    eek | 11 May 2009 at 10:16 pm #

    Anon at 9:57 PM — no matter how bad you think SK is, it could always be worse. I mean he could be you.



    I know I see karma through western eyes so I’m sure I’m missing many of the finer points someone with an eastern mindset would get, but I still tend to see the purpose of karma is to make people more accepting of their shitty lives. I see it as very similar in it’s ability to sooth the masses as “the meek shall inherit the earth”. Both methods tell the poor/unfortunate (but good) person that he will get his reward later while the rich/fortunate (but bad) person will get his punishment later, so don’t rock the boat now. Both are ways of coping, and I suppose encouraging people to be and do good, even when life is treating them like shit is positive, I still find the idea that when things go awry it’s because somewhere down the line (even many lives ago) you were a little shit. Plus I think it helps maintain the status quo because after all what you get now is just a result of what you’ve done in the past. I guess I’m just not cut out for the reeeaalllllyyy long haul. 🙂

  25. avatar
    eek | 11 May 2009 at 10:33 pm #

    Crap. I didn’t finish off one of my thoughts (not unusual for me).

    “Both are ways of coping, and I suppose encouraging people to be and do good, even when life is treating them like shit is positive, I still find the idea that when things go awry it’s because somewhere down the line (even many lives ago) you were a little shit.”

    Should have had “somewhat disturbing” tacked on the end.

    Still probably doesn’t make much sense. Oh well. Maybe it will next time around.

  26. avatar
    matt davison | 11 May 2009 at 10:46 pm #

    Karma is just GOD making himself known.

  27. avatar
    Richard | 11 May 2009 at 11:19 pm #

    that instrumental break around the three miute mark in Cobalt Blue has got to earn you something!

    trashy trailer

  28. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 May 2009 at 11:49 pm #

    Wonderful, wonderful musings and pictures in words. How sad “random yes, pan no said” a special hug for you, “we’re playing these mind games together”, “chanting the mantra peace on earth” Lennon again. Sunday was a sensual feast[slao a wee bit naughty].Saturday, cool, VeganBoogers don’t be too hard on yourself,reminds me of a line from The Solid Mandala Patrick White “I forgot what I was taught. I only remember what I’ve learnt” words, words lots of lovely words.I’ve always thought and said to my kids, swearing just because you can is plain lazy. That goes for day to day speech and songs too! Thank you Steve
    Maria J

  29. avatar
    CSTCoach | 12 May 2009 at 2:13 am #

    Anon 5:06 – really really nice! very cool conception, linking each song to a place or landscape.

    love the thoughts on karma. i’m a firm believer that everything you do comes back to you sooner or later, both “good” and “bad”. we each have a responsibility to accept help and a lift up from those who came before us, and in turn to pay it forward and give a lift up to those who come after us.

  30. avatar
    Richard | 12 May 2009 at 3:27 am #

    karma? i’ll give you karma. karma is the church touring the USA again after many years and me going with my closest friends who are deeply into the church since the early 80’s like myself and seeing SK and crew for what might be the last time in this hemisphere at Irving Plaza in NYC, a great place for a show. thanks steve!

  31. avatar
    m.p.k | 12 May 2009 at 3:54 am #

    I can’t wait! Tomorrow the Untitled #23 release here in the states! I must done something good to discover this music.

  32. avatar
    m.p.k | 12 May 2009 at 4:00 am #

    My thought on Karma: not something that happens to you by some third party agency that doles it out, rather its a property built into the structure of the universe. We’re karma machines, creating it and reaping it all the time. I love Lennon’s song, but it does sound in his song as if karma is something “out to get you”.

  33. avatar
    Mary | 12 May 2009 at 6:14 am #

    9 57,
    i feel so sorry for you, you really must hate your life so bad that you just want to hate on someone, like i said before, if you hate steve so much why do you read his blogs? why do you come in here? you must be a bit jealous or something, oh wait i think i got it, mommy and daddy didnt give you the attention you needed as a child, i have great friends that are psychiatrists that you could talk to if you want there phone numbers if you want there help, just let me know if you need it ok?

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