What is the Underground?


It’s 5:37AM but I can’t sleep.

I’m still wired from tonight’s gig. My heart and and my head are still underground.

I’m wired. By the music that I heard, and the music played, and the people I met, and the way that I danced: alone, and with friends.


Anupama and I were texting the other day. She mentioned the ‘shadow self.’ She explained it properly, but I didn’t understand her. I still don’t know what the term actually means, or who invented it.

As far as I can tell, the ‘shadow self’ is that unexplored part of the psyche — you know, the one we all have. It lives inside us, hiding in plain sight, hoping for an outlet. The shadow self is there, in all of us. It is the sum total of our unexpressed, unfulfilled desires.

At least, I think that’s what she was referring to.

Update: the shadow self is the sum total of all the things you think, but never say out loud. Thanks, Anupama.


Anyway, back to the ‘underground.’

What is the underground?

Is it that which literally happens underground, away from the light? Is that why the underground lives at Antisocial these days?

Must the underground always be dark?

The spaces, and the clothes, and the beats?


The one thing I know is that the underground isn’t bright. In the underground, light is the exception. It is electric staccato. It is bolts of surprise, revealed in glimmering, blinding flashes that illuminate and clarify.

The underground is where you go to explore yourself. Not to be seen — to hide and thus be free.

If you’re there to be seen, you’re not part of the underground.


Who are you, really?

That’s the question the underground helps you answer. That’s what it’s for. And that’s why it’s so important.


No one should spend too much time underground, in the dark. It’s not healthy. It did Gollum no good.

But ignoring the underground: that’s not healthy either. We need it. It keeps us going, and without us, it will die.

We all need to step underground, every now and then.

Into that delicious, pulsing abyss

Because darkness sets us free.




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