We Shall All Be Healed microsite
We Shall All Be Healed and Tallahassee both featured microsites on 4AD's Mountain Goats page. As described by 4AD, "Whereas most Mountain Goats records — like last year's 'Tallahassee' — are entirely fictional, all of the songs on 'We Shall All Be Healed' are based on people that songwriter John Darnielle used to know. This, perhaps, accounts for the nervous tension that crackles through the album, as well as the curious tenderness that surfaces from time to time... John has created a microsite which will take you further into the world of the record — click here." While the site is no longer available, much of it is contained at the Internet Archive. This serves as the most complete archive of the text that I'm aware of, although it's unfortunately very incomplete.
If you have a fuller copy, please let me know — I would love to archive it in full.
The Mountain Goats. 4AD. 2004, retrieved March 24, 2014.
Table of contents
The following pages constitute the basic texts of a new religion that never quite got off the ground. It had no name, but it did manage to claim a few victims in its heyday, and it still reins in the occasional stray cur whose good heart does not quite function properly. As you explore these pages, save a thought for our friends who did not make it out the other side of the machine. Bonne chance.
Directions: scroll your mouse across each page. Click on the things that change when your cursor passes over them. Follow the signs to get back to the main page. Turn off the computer to escape from the maze if you like, only it won't work. Sorry. After some discussion we thought it best to be upfront with you about that.
CLICK HERE TO ENTER
song (in boombox): Palmcorder Yajna
camera: Lion's Mouth
video: Letter from Belgium
recherche (in keyboard): New Belgians
[ 160 kbps mp3 ] [ 160kbps AAC ]
control-click or right-click to save files to your computer
[text accompanied by photos, paginated]
tracy who lived upstairs came down and asked what i had planned for the rest of the evening
some nights you can just feel the excitement and I do mean excitement
so i'm all "i don't know tracy what are you doing" and tracy's like "oh you know i thought i'd go out you know here and there"
and it shakes out that we'll both be going to the same club and it's already getting to be about that time
clothes by givenchy, hair by sarah, body by some anonymous chemist up on the far northeast side:
ok let's go
and as time rushes past and around and through us like a chill wind, tracy remembers that he wants to see some guy in the bath house, and that's how we wound up in there somewhere between midnight and two a.m. with the full brunt of the weekend announcing its presence like a proud lion on a hilltop
"wait here" he says and he gives me something very nice and potentially lethal and shunts me into a small empty room with a strictly-decorative deadbolt on the door
it is hot as blazes
we were careening
"you can pick your friends," that's what people's mothers are always telling them when they're growing up
listen to me:
no you can't
sometime in march this space will feature an animated video for the song Letter from Belgium
between now and then it will mainly be just words
and when I say "mainly," I mean "only"
these words may change once or twice between now and then
and then again, they may not
the only way to know for sure is to check periodically
if all goes according to plan
this page will at some point feature the transcripts
of radio transmissions from beyond the grave
we shall all be healed
this is a true story
When I was eighteen years old I lived in an apartment at 253 N. Broadway in Portland
You know that Neil Young song about North Ontario where he says "all my changes were there"? that's me at 253 n. broadway only few of the changes were good
I moved to the building from a place just a few blocks away where the landlords were thieves: they'd stolen a checkbook from a drawer above my bed and had written themselves all kinds of checks
I knew it was them because when I got the cancelled checks back they were addressed to the landlords and signed with a signature that didn't even remotely resemble mine
Also, get this: the actual theft took place while I was asleep on my couch inside the apartment
Not wanting to let them know that I was onto them, I just moved out all of a sudden-like
Hired a friend to help me carry my stuff down the street and by the end of the weekend I was all set up
Glass end-tables, mohair couch, Tiffany lamp, great oak desk
The new room was in the basement
A steam pipe ran through the bathroom. If you ran a hot bath in there the temperature would get up to a hundred degrees at least
My sickness and I were like best friends in an underground treehouse, and we held on for eight months
Just last year I went back there and stood tentatively at the front door, gazing in through the glass gazing in through the glass gazing in through the glass and wondering if the ghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhosts were still there
That's when somebody who lives there now came out, bid me good morning, and proceeded down the carpeted stairs to the sidewalk, the door swinging very slowly shut behind him
I slipped in
Got into the elevator, unchanged since my tenure there in the stomach of that still-unclassified beast, and took it down ONE FLOOR
Sometimes when you go back to the scene of your great unbecoming collapse, the place seems emptied of its totemic power: somehow the blood-rich light has drained away from it and you realize that things don't make bad scenes, people do
In the present case this occasional rule did not apply, I can tell you that much
I made my way down to my former door which still bore scuff-marks I'd put there myself, and stood before it, a supplicant before an idol
Waiting for something
Waiting for it to speak
Waiting for the moment when the building and the street and the town would let go of me at last
Waiting for you
[text surrounding sequential photos in form of old film strip]
1. Attach a bell to every dead friend you have
Blow a disco whistle once for each friend who you know will eventually need his own bell
Count the bells and write the number you come up with somewhere on your body
2. Go to church
Say hello to the people who say hello to you
Think about your secret
Keep your secret secret
3. Return to the scene of the crime
Say out loud, "I got away with it"
Listen to the sound of your own voice
4-5. Get married
Move to the Isle of Man
Send postcards to all your old friends telling them they must come and visit
When the postcards all return to you marked "moved - no forwarding address"
Place them in a drawer
Tell your wife or husband how this makes you feel
6. Remove the bells from your dead friends
carry them with you in your pocket
they will jingle as you walk down the street
walk down the street
[text accompanied by drawings, paginated]
THEN OF ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD THERE WAS DAN, OH MY GOD HOW CAN I EVEN BEGIN TO TELL YOU ABOUT DAN
DAN WAS LIKE A MACHINE THAT NO-ONE HAD PUNCHED THE RIGHT CODES INTO, AND SO HE DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO WORK RIGHT
I WANT TO BE HONEST WITH YOU ABOUT THIS, BUT IT'S HARD
DAN WAS BRAD'S BOYFRIEND, BUT IF YOU SO MUCH AS SUGGESTED THAT DAN WAS GAY, HE WOULD PULL A GUN ON YOU
I KNOW BECAUSE I SAW THE GUN
IT SAT ON THE COFFEE TABLE SOMETIMES JUST TO MAKE BRAD NERVOUS
THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS I WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT DAN BUT I CAN'T
BUT I REMEMBER THE MORNING HE LEFT
HE CAME DOWNSTAIRS TO SAY GOODBYE
HE WASN'T REALLY SURE WHERE HE WAS GOING
IMPLICIT IN THE MOMENT WAS THE FACT THAT WE WOULD NEVER SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN
[text accompanied by images, paginated]
Dave said he had to stop by some guy's apartment to conduct a little business.
It was an apartment up past he Department of Justice building. I didn't know they had apartments in that neighborhood and in fact they didn't. It was a motel. I didn't know there were any motels up that way either. (image: shirt with text, "What would Jesus not do?")
It was a huge eggshell-beige building that wouldn't have looked out-of-place if you'd picked it up and then set it down right in the middle of the god-damned Eastern bloc.
Dave went in through the mesh-grated front entrance, which was not locked. I didn't know any of the people who lived there so I stayed outside.
Wide awake in the buzzing center of the dream.
About a year later I would run into a guy named Gary real random-like in almost the exact same spot. Gary would be dressed in a small black skirt and some vintage furs. Some old troll would come past looking for cheap trade, and Gary would
fall to his hands and knees
didn't say nothing.
Back in Dave country I was watching when he finally emerged from that building which I will see again in Hell.
"You wanna go back to your place for a while?"
Didn't mean what some other people would have meant. Small favors, thank heaven, et cetera.
Four months to go.