S2 Ep 14: World In My Eyes – Violator In A Van
In World In My Eyes, I take you on a trip to show you what the world looks like to me now I’ve stepped outside the prison I’d made for myself. The prison of what will other people think.
I also talk about how living life true to ourselves seems to speak to some grand plan (like a lawyer quitting his corporate job and becoming a chef or ballet dancer), but it’s really those small actions we take, or don’t take, every day that determine whether we are living free or censoring and restricting ourselves.
Think about all the times you want to say or do something, but you stop yourself. You get into an internal dialogue about it. What if the dialogue could disappear? Or what if it didn’t disappear but went quiet enough for you to move forward and stop second-guessing yourself so much? What would your life look like then?
And finally we talk about love. Because that’s all there is.
Full Interview Transcript
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QUIETLY BOHEMIAN Season 2 Episode 14
World In My Eyes – Violator In A Van
The number one regret of the dying is “I wish I’d had the courage to live life true to myself and not the life others expected of me. Don’t let that be you. I’m Laura Li. I’m an introvert and a highly sensitive person. I know it can be difficult in the noisy, hustle, bustle world to feel comfortable or to fit in. And I know it’s hard to hear our own voice over the chorus of what other people think. We’re afraid to step into our dreams swinging between the fear of not being good enough and being too much. Welcome to Quietly Bohemian where I encourage you to let go of expectations and limitations and where I support you to live life true to yourself guided by your inner wisdom not your inner critic.
Hello, Quiet Bohemians and welcome to Season Two of Quietly Bohemian. We're up to episode 14 overall, and this is going to be called Violator In A Van, and the reason for that is this March marks 30 years since Violator, the album was released. And I think pretty much every Depeche Mode fan would agree that Violator is the band's best album.
And the Violator In A Van comes from the story that my friend Giles told on our Insight episode last season about how he bought a van and it had a Violator CD stuck in it. I think if Martin Gore ever gives up songwriting, he should take up manufacturing motor vehicles with his music being the only option. I think there'd be a lot of people that would go for that.
So I am going to go through the titles on Violator in order week by week. Nine tracks, nine weeks. It is going to be a bit of a challenge for me because I've no idea what I will talk about for any of these songs or if there is anything I can even think of to say in any of these song titles that will speak to us about living life true to ourselves.
But I thought it was a challenge worth taking on. So I'll talk about Violator. You can pretend you’re in a van. Unless of course you are in a van. So if you're listening to Violator In A Van in a van, do let me know. That would tickle me.
Our first track is World In My Eyes. And as I say, I, when I came up with this idea, I thought, what is it I'm going to talk about for each of these songs? But luckily the first track World In My Eyes is quite an easy one. So again, Martin Gore anticipating that we would be doing this at some point, well, 30 years in the future, in fact, has started us off with a really sensible starting point actually. And it is going to be so difficult for me to not want to read out the entire lyric of every song. I will do my best to reign myself in.
Before we get started though, let me mention a couple of things. First of all, the title of the album Violator, so our last season was called Conversations For The Masses, which was a take on the album Music For The Masses, which was a kind of joke by the band.
And they chose Violator because they felt it was the most ridiculous, heavy metal title they could come up with. I'm not entirely sure why they wanted that. Partly I think because their music is removed from heavy metal, I'm not sure, but they used to get a lot of flack from the heavy metal community for want of a better expression, who didn't take Depeche Mode seriously. So they've come up with another kind of ironic title, if you like.
And while I was double checking that because I know that, but I still have this complete fear of getting the slightest thing wrong, as if the world will stop spinning on its axis. Something like saying that New Dress is from Music For The Masses rather than Black Celebration, for example.
But while I was checking this online, I came across a couple of reviews of Violator, which I really wish I hadn't read. I mean, obviously they were amazing reviews, but there were just some things in there some interpretations of the songs that I had not really thought about before. And I'm going to try my hardest to kind of un-see them.
But one of the things that I did come across was somebody had said a lot of the tracks on Violator are bedroom based. And I really liked that expression because I thought, not that I'm a prude or anything, but I'm very mindful that I don't know when or where people will be listening to this podcast or who will be within earshot. And a lot of Martin Gore songs are about sex. And I don't know how many on this album actually, but, I think I am going to take that euphemism bedroom based on. You're going to hear that a lot from me in the future and I suppose World In My Eyes is one of those songs, although I don't really think about it as sexual so much as sensual really.
But for our purposes today, it is not like I'm trying to bring you into my bedroom, but the song does start with “Let me take you on a trip around the world and back. And you won't have to move, you just sit still. Now let your mind do the walking and let my body do the talking. Let me show you the world in my eyes”.
See how that is just such a great start for this season? Because that is what I want to do. I want to take you on a trip. You don't have to move. You can just stay where you are, but I am inviting your mind to do the walking. I am inviting you to see things in a new way, to consider possibilities you haven't considered before.
And I'm doing that by showing you the world in my eyes, showing you the things that I've seen that I hadn't seen before. And talking to you about what a difference there is in my life. Now I have seen them.
Martin goes on to say, “I'll take you to the highest mountain, to the depths of the deepest sea. We won't need a map, believe me”. Aside from the sheer poetry of that, he's telling us it goes to the highest mountain and the depths of the deepest sea. And to me that means that everything that we're talking about is, it's a metaphor for just everything.
All that there is, there isn't anything higher than the highest mountain. There's nothing deeper than the deepest sea. And we don't need a map because it's the truth of life. It's just what is in front of us. I would say we do need to open our eyes to see it, but once we have done that, there isn't a map we need to follow. There isn't a place we need to be and a little further on in the song he says, “That's all there is. Nothing more than you can feel now. That's all there is”.
And one of those reviews that I read said that Martin there is talking about the fact that pleasure is all there is. It's a hedonistic song. It's saying that we should chase pleasure because it's all that's important. And I have never, maybe I'm just naïve, I don't know, I've never thought that that is what this song was about.
And you know, for the first, I don't know, 20 or so years I listened to it, admittedly, I didn't really think it was specifically about a spiritual understanding of life, of understanding how our reality is created from the inside, about the way we think about life and how we are all 100% creative source energy, the same as the universe.
But I think I still took some kind of spiritual meaning from this song to say that when you were in that moment with another person, that that's all there is. That's all you can feel now because the present moment is all there is and that is what is most important in that moment.
I think I took it to mean love rather than pleasure to be honest. And again, you know, the universe is love. We are love. And I think that that is all, there is nothing more than you can feel now to do with love.
So if I'm talking about the world in my eyes, what do those things actually mean? What do they translate to and what they translated into for me last year, and again, coming back to our theme of living life true to ourselves was in me being able to throw, open the doors, really of a prison that I'd constructed for myself, I suppose, and step out and do a lot of things, not necessarily things that, Oh, I wanted to do these things for a long time, but just to be me and just to not reign myself in and hold myself back all the time.
And it enabled me to do things like start a newsletter, start this podcast obviously, and you know, I know I go on and on about it, but to start this podcast and have it be about Depeche Mode, and that is a really big thing for me because it's quite scary to do this in and of itself.
And then to throw in the idea that I'm somehow going to tie this into something completely unrelated, which is my love for a band, and the idea that I can come on and interpret Martin Gore’s songs, say what I think he means. You know, that's a really, scary thing for me to do.
And the important thing there is to be able to do it, even though I'm still, I mean scared is too strong a word now, really. But even though I worry about it every week, you know, what will people think? What will people say? Will people like, will people approve? And that is exactly the definition of stepping outside of the prison to make that seem real.
Living life true to myself by saying, this is an idea I've had. This is something I want to do, and I'll go and do it and see what happens. And the freedom that comes from living like that is incredible and it's so difficult to explain.
It is like saying, you've all felt the sun on your face. It's like trying to explain to somebody who's lived 100% of their life in a dark basement that if you step outside, there's a sun out there and you'll feel that and it feels like this. How could you possibly explain that to somebody? They would have no idea and it's the same. I knew that I felt restricted and unhappy and unfulfilled a lot of the time, but I had no idea of the contentment and the freedom that I would feel from stepping into doing these things, nobody could have adequately explained to me what that felt like.
And so I can only encourage you for wherever your prison is constructed, wherever there's a wall between you and whatever it is you want to step into doing, I can only encourage you to start taking those first steps because it does feel amazing when you get out there.
And, you know, whether something is big or small, it largely is determined by where you're standing at the time. But for me, starting this podcast was a big thing, but it isn't just the big things. And in fact, probably it's the smaller things that are even more important because there are probably more smaller things that you stop yourself from doing every day rather than the bigger. grander things that you want to go out and do. And for example, just before Christmas, when I was shopping for Christmas cards, I saw this card that said Happy Christmas to the greatest boss ever, or something ridiculous like that. And I looked at and I thought, I really want to buy that for my boss. And then I stopped myself because I thought, you know, what's he gonna think?
Will he like this? And really not would he like this card? Because I don't know whether he would really like it or not. But I'm pretty sure that he would appreciate the sentiment of me having given him a card and wished him a Happy Christmas. But you know that familiar habitual thought of what will he think about me if I buy this, what I thought was a kind of ridiculous card and I stopped myself. I didn't buy it.
And that is restricting myself and afterwards I thought about that. I went back and I bought it and I left the card on his desk and I haven't seen him since, so I've no idea, and he'll probably never even tell me what he thinks about me because I gave him that card.
At best, he'll probably just say, thanks for the card, Laura. But those are the places where I really, really encourage you to step out and stop censoring and restricting yourself and stop letting the inner critic kind of talk you out of the things that you want to do. So that is me showing you the world in my eyes.
And coming back to the world in Martin Gore's eyes, he goes on in the song to say: And let me put you on a ship on a long, long trip. Your lips close to my lips, all the islands in the ocean, all the heavens in the motion. And I absolutely love those last two lines. I love the way he says all the heavens in the motion. I assume it's at least partly to make it scan, although I think you could easily take the word out and it would still work.
But it’s just sheer poetry again for me in the way he says, the heavens in the motion, I absolutely adore it. And that's all there is. Nothing more than you can touch now. That's all there is. Okay. And that wraps up this week's episode as ever. Thank you very much for listening.
If you know today’s the day you’re finally ready to come out of hiding and bring more of who you really ware into your life and work I invite you to join me for some customised support in my Spirit Run Wild coaching programme. Head over to https://quietlybohemian.com/coaching/ for more details and to book a Discovery Session to see if it’s for you.Download the transcript