This post is raw.

There is no fluff, no filler, nothing extraneous.  This post is as near a piece of my own heart as I can make it.  Something plucked tender and fragile from my chest and placed, still beating, on the altar.

I offer it up to you…


I don’t do what I do for money.  I don’t do it for the dice-roll or the rattle and shake.  I don’t do it because I harbor some sideways mile-high delusion of grandeour.  I don’t do it for hyperbole, from hubris, or to mitigate an ever-vacant black hole.  These type of things have never really appealed.  In truth, they are not even in the vicinity of my prime mover.

The real reason is much, much simpler.

I do what I do because I feel that I have something to say.  I feel, in my heart, that there are people who need to hear it.  And I know that: if I do not get it together, no one else will.

My grandfather part raised me.  He taught me music, poetry, philosophy and chess.  He died when I was thirteen years old.  I saw the black-wing skull-eye claw-toothed raven with my own eyes and, as simply as that, my childhood was over.

I understood that this was a finite deal.  That: there would be an end, there would be a reckoning and, at some point, I would be lying on my own deathbed.  And, at that moment, I would either be: filled with some measure of satisfaction, or harboring a spirit screaming; being torn apart, relentless vicious and all pain by a sky-high black tidal wave of regret.  That there was a choice that I could make that would mean the difference between: enjoying a degree of peace in my passing, or spending my last moments on this earth facing down an unstoppable, inexorable, world-tide of pain-absolute, set in motion from the crack splinter and fail of the countless false dams I had been forced to construct in order to warp and twist my heart around a barbed wire path that was not my own.

Everything became very clear.  And that choice (the choice of what to do with the time and energy of my life) seemed, in the best possible way, like no choice at all.

Because, at the root, I do what I do for a kind of love.  At least, my idea of what a real love is.  Something so deep and far reaching that is almost a kind of madness.  A devotion, religious in it’s fervor, epic in it’s scope, and fathomless in it’s depth.  Something to be fetished, day after day, month after month, and year after year, purely for the act of the worship itself.  A love that forms a sacrificial altar upon which all the inconsequential distractions and minutiae of life can be blood-let and transmuted into something which shines as truly your own; unique, perfect and timeless.

And ever since the day that I truly understood that the meat of my body was ultimately destined for the worms or the flame, I have known that: as long as I extend the maximal amount of effort, as long as I try my hardest and work as truly as I can in this field, in this calling, in the relentless fray of my love, that I will come to the end my life free from the cloying stench of regret no matter how long it’s duration.

This is a knowing which is worth any price, any hardship, any sufferance.

This, is why I do what I do.

My name is James Radcliffe and I am a 100% audience supported independent artist.  If you like what I do (and can afford it) then please consider buying some of my music.  Each purchase really makes a big difference to me and 10% of every sale goes to a charity which: houses, feeds, clothes, and educates orphaned children in Nepal.

Also, every month I send out a newsletter packed with Interesting and Exclusive Things.  If you sign up today you’ll also get 3 FREE tracks of my music as a welcome gift.

Get 3 Free Tracks Now.

And lastly, if you’d like to find out what I’m up to on a more day-to-day basis then here is my brain on Twitter:

118 Replies to “Manifesto:”

  1. My day was marred by disenchantment, in fact this whole week has been strangely disenchanting, until I listened to Invocation. Thank you for enriching the world with your beautiful music and writing. Respect :)


  2. Reblogged this and commented:
    “James Radcliffe is a 100% listener supported independent musician, writer, and artist.

    He has been writing and performing publicly since the tender age of 8. He has played in a diverse collection of situations, including (but not limited to): punk bands, jazz groups, orchestra, brass bands, outreach programs for charity, solo, and many, many more.

    He has performed in: coffee houses, rock clubs, jazz venues, front rooms, concert halls, theatres, and on the street in an ever-growing list of countries.

    James: writes, records, mixes, and masters all of his own music in his home studio. His music and writing are now downloaded, listened to, and read in over 170 countries around the globe.

    In Jan 2014 he released an independent album of original music. More recently he released: ‘Invocation‘; a single created exclusively with layered acoustic cello and voice.

    He believes very strongly in ethical business, and 10% of all profits from his work are donated to a charity which: feeds, houses, clothes and educates orphaned children in Nepal.”


      1. Thanks James – yes I do like to always ask first and myself be asked. It’s courtesy and respect to the artist and then you can also check out the space where your work will be shared.


  3. What an amazing gift your grandfather gave you. I don’t hear it as an obsession with death, but as an awakening and call. I have become convinced that the most important talent in life is perseverance. How wonderful that you discovered it so young. May you live long and persevere in loving with your whole heart.


    1. Thankyou very much for this, it brightened my already bright day. ;-)
      I think that you may be very close to the truth in what you believe to be the greatest talent in life. Perserverance is both foundational and key to most things.
      Have a good one,
      – J


  4. What you’ve written here was enough to convince me that I had to listen to and purchase Invocation. The music is as deep and multi-layered as the writing in your post. Best wishes on all your endeavors, and thanks for stopping by Evolution Made Easier and giving my current post a like. :-)


  5. Loved this post – powerful and effective view on life, especially this: “I have known that: as long as I extend the maximal amount of effort, as long as I try my hardest and work as truly as I can in this field, in this calling, in the relentless fray of my love, that I will come to the end my life free from the cloying stench of regret no matter how long it’s duration.”

    When I was growing up, my mom would often get on my case about studying for school, saying – “if you work your butt off and get a C, that’s fine, but if slack off even 30 minutes of your studying and get a 99% on the test – you’re in deep trouble.” She obviously wanted me to get good grades, go to college, etc. – but the deeper lesson that I took away is the same as yours, and it’s a powerful one.

    In a world where we have one mind and one body, only – a day is a hefty price to pay for not accomplishing much.


    1. I couldn’t agree more, and you are lucky to have such a wise mother. ;-)
      I’m glad you liked this – I really appreciate you taking the time to write and share this with me.
      Hope you are well,
      – J


  6. Beautiful writing. And a kind of reassurance that vulnerability and authenticity are truly powerful and the only way to really live. I’m looking forward to reading/listening more… (Thanks for the like on Due South, btw)


  7. You summed up in words, all that I admire in passionate and devoted people. Doing something because you truly believe in it. That in itself is beautiful. Well said!


  8. Thank you,…very beautiful. You have chosen to present it here so splendidly. Your eloquence is remarkable. There is something so beautiful about how you have expressed yourself; you made me “feel” your words…. Now I imagine you reciting some great work…Keats or Yates perhaps….Lovely!!


  9. Hi, James, It’s late, I’ve not yet read all of this; must go to bed. BUT. A patient who was dying, and knew he was on the primrose path to the eternal bonfire told me “You know, it’s not the things I’ve done that I regret, but the things I haven’t done”. that is something I have remembered, and gee….. there is so much yet to do…….! Tony


  10. James, thank you so much for sharing these thoughts. The raw emotions are usually the most powerful messages. But I am so moved by your discovery of your true talent and desire to share it with others. Most of us never get to identify our real strengths let alone put them to fabulous use.


  11. Thank you, James for taking time to stop by, read and like my blog. I feel highly complemented. In reading your manifesto, I see we similar visions of a happy, satisfying life. I look forward to following your blog. Wishing you all good things, Elizabeth


  12. This is part ‘ I do what I do because I feel that I have something
    to say. I feel, in my heart, that there are people
    who need to hear it. And I know that: if I do not get
    it together, no one else will.’ is so me. Thank you for putting them in words. I couldn’t have done it better.


  13. Thanks for taking the time to expose your raw feelings. That can be tough, but I’m glad to see that you have a loving and accepting audience. Keep staying real.


  14. Regardless of what we do with our time, if we have half the heart and soul that you have for what you do, we’ll consider ourselves privelaged and fortunate.

    I can’t select text from the mobile app, but your paragraph about feeling compelled to say and do what you because you truly feel others need to hear it, I feel that way about my blog right now. I feel that it’s a beginning. And what I take away from this post is that I’m going to keep going because it’s what I feel compelled to do. Thank you for the inspiration! :)


  15. Speechless my beloved brotha! It hit right into the pits of my gut and it moved like a dove struck by a flash of water. Ahhhh….all i can articulate at this point. Grateful for your thoughts!


    1. My beautiful and talented sista! ;-)
      Thankyou so much for taking the time to stop by, I’m so glad you liked the post,
      let’s get another talk happening, soon.
      Biggest love to you Dancer,
      – J


  16. Hi there, James.
    To acknowledge the importance your grandfather had in your life is truly beautiful. In a world where to much emphasis and worship is wrapped around celebrities and the fantasy world they operate in; its refreshing and hopeful to see someone so gifted like yourself remember and cherish where the roots of your learnings originated. I know another place you are eloquently gifted: your writing; your words sing to one’s heart and one is left the better for it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to yours for being so truthful and sharing your Manifesto with us.

    As a woman who has lived with a certain amount of regret: maybe if I’d done things this way or maybe if I’d leapt and then thought about it later that way; it truly is futile to beat one’s self up like that. For me, its alway been about family and love of family and that has been the driver of most of my decisions, hard work, failures and successes. To be able to embrace what one does and love it with all your heart is a huge gift that frankly, many of us, are never able to do; for one reason or another (life gets in the way). But that doesn’t mean its too late to start. Thank you for being the inspiration to do so (no matter where you are in your life).
    Love and gratitiude to you always. Kat.


    1. Dear Kat,
      Thankyou so, so much for this. I loved reading it, and am very humbled by it. Above all, I am glad that you connected with what I was saying here, it means more to me than you know. Thankyou also for the compliment about my writing, I appreciate it. ;-)
      Family and the love of family is a beautiful thing, and a great driver of decisions. I heard Chase Jarvis (the photographer) in a podcast recently say: ‘Art is a subset of creativity’, which is something that really rings true for me. What I am trying to say with this is, I don’t think that to be an ‘artist’ is the only way, I think it is perfectly possible to express that thing thru a love of family, or anything else you care about. Does that make sense?
      And one last thing. You are totally right of course,
      it is never too late to start. ;-)
      I wish you the best, let me know how it goes for you, and if there’s anything I can do to help.
      Be well,
      – J

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much, James. You are a true inspiration. My mantra has always been: if I can learn it; I’d like to try and do it; i.e. writing my young adult thrillers, playing the guitar, learning to fly a cessna piper. Thank you again for the inspiration and kind words. Love and peace, Kat.


  17. Your eloquence simply moves me, James. There are a lot of things that you said there that resonate with me. You have a very brave soul and and a graceful heart for giving us an insight into your own motivations for doing what you do (and you do it very well, indeed). Bless.


  18. Again with the finality… death… the entropy that comes at the end of being. Do your thoughts routinely go to that extreme in order to best appreciate what life you have? Is this what it means to work with Fourth Ray Energy?* The extremes between death and life in order to best appreciate life?

    You have great points about life and living… And even being. You even show deference and respect to the man that gave you this perspective. Yet I find myself stymied by the preoccupation with death in order to achieve that BEING. After all, as I was once taught, “Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.”

    I don’t deny the inevitability as it comes for us all… We are after all mortal… transitory. It’s just as this man who lives in Second Ray Energy*, I tend to embrace life fully and don’t need to juxtapose death in order to achieve being.

    Then again having died once, perhaps I don’t need to be reminded of it — routinely — in order to achieve the appreciation of how precious life and love is in order to “…live and breathe and have my being…” on this planet: one among 7.125 BILLION walking this earth.


    1. Mr Baldelli, you are, as ever, filled with interesting thoughts.
      Thanks for both: the compliments and the critiques. I am honored that you took the time to give the piece such a deep reading.
      And, if you are lucky enough not to need to embrace the reality of death in order to live the fullest life possible, then I salute you.
      I hope the day is treating you well,
      – J


      1. There is nothing to be saluted for; least of all any spiritual accomplishments that I may or may have achieved. I tell everyone that, “…if I can do it, then anyone can…” I just find myself stupefied that in order to express your philosophical (and metaphysical) outlook — one I do share (with one exception) — you have to contrast it as you do with death, in order to best appreciate it.

        To put it as delicately as possible, I have attempted to engage you to find out the reasons so that I might be able to better understand. Yet it feels that I have been unsuccessful. My reasoning is that between the passion you have for your self-employment (as well as the creation of music) and coupled with the self-PR campaign you often run to promote it, I get the distinct impression the attempt has been held at arm’s length: an often necessary requirement of the willful drive toward success. That and I suspect that much of what makes me… We me. Often causes people to be uncomfortable enough to want to keep distance from me.

        So after a 2.5 mile (3.2 Km) walk and a meditation I was able to boil it down simply (or rather as simply as I could) in the form of one question… From the multitude of questions that were spinning in my head during the walk. It’s a binary question (one that works on yes or no and anything more will brook the need for rather intense discussion) that when asked might also explain why I find myself so confused by your use of death to portray your perspective:

        To be truly, madly, deeply, head-over-heels and unconditionally in love with someone (or something); do you need to hate them (or it as the case might be) in order to truly love them?


          1. Then you have my “secret” how I approach life, philosophy and metaphysics. Unconditionally and without the need to be preoccupied with death when I espouse it. Especially when you consider the metaphysical perspective: “Energy Follows Thought…”


  19. I believe as soon as we learn to listen to the voice calling from within us, we will not live a life full of regrets, for that voice is merely your heart and soul guiding you to peace and contentment. For, even if our journey takes us across stormy seas, our inner voice shows us understand and growth, and so we hold no bitterness or coldness for what has passed and what we have experienced.
    Thank you for sharing your heart with the world. May the people of the world show you theirs in return, my friend.

    Isn’t true love – pure love – a beautiful thing? :) Embrace it always.

    ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ – 1 Corinthians 13:13. Little Bible quote for you, there.

    Fare thee well, Singing Soul. x


    1. As ever, your words are perfect. ;-)
      I fully agree. Pure love is indeed a beautiful thing.
      Fare then well also, I will write to you sooner than soonest Dear Yeti. Keep a weather eye out for my words.
      Eluen, my friend. ;-) x

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi James,
    Your post brings to mind a quote by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

    “Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul. Listen to that inner voice, and don’t get to the end of your life and say, ‘What if my whole life has been wrong?”

    – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, best-selling author and an amazing individual.

    Thank you for sharing and inspiring others



    1. Hey there,
      First, thanks a lot for this, it is a beautiful comment and sentiment. ;-)
      It is very cool you picked this particular quote. The quote being discussed by Dyer is a quote from Tolstoy’s ‘The Death of Ivan Ilych’ is it not? I had totally thought of including it in this piece, and you are right, it is very much in the same vein.
      Thanks for stopping by, and you are more than welcome.
      – J


  21. You speak beautifully and what you say is thought provoking. That, to me, is of greatest value. Worth exploring for all of us, I believe, is the multidimensional parts of us. The joy of those discoveries is that, the various levels of “I” see and experience more dimensions of this life journey. Thank you for shining a light on one of them.


  22. In keeping with tradition… :-)

    It helps to really shine a light at our motives and drive, not only for others to gain a better understanding of who we are, but also so we can see our way forward. If not for you speaking your Truth, the universe might not benefit from whatever message we glean from you. Thank you for being here.


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