The Wellerman

I use this space to hopefully educate, illuminate and entertain. I am asked… quite regularly…why I don’t confine my musings to weapons training, Second Amendment news, tactical “stuff”, and the like.


My honest answer: Because I don’t want to.


I believe that mastery of Skill-at-Arms is a holistic endeavor. Simply being able to manipulate a piece of machinery, or understanding how to achieve a superior position over an adversary is admirable, but wholly lacking in the fundamental development of the “virtuous citizen”. So I focus on a broader range of topics from culture and civics, to philosophy, to the state of modern politics. Sometimes (usually fairly irregularly)… I delve into aspects of the modern zeitgeist.


So… last week I was perusing Facebook (yeah… I’m still there), and I saw a story about a young man from Glasgow, Scotland. His name is Nathan Evans and he decided to record a short video of himself on TikTok doing a semi-acapella version of a sea shanty song from the eighteenth century called The Wellerman.


Because… why not, right?


Mr. Evans had been a post office worker until last week. He has since quit his job and signed a record contract with a major label.


If you have not seen his original version, I encourage you to watch it here:



So… that was cool, right?… It’s kinda catchy and, in an odd sense, pretty wholesome.


TikTok, for those of you who don’t remember, was called into question by the Trump Administration because of its ties to China, more specifically, the data that it was generating and reporting back to Beijing.


One of the things that is somewhat funny about TikTok is that it encourages collaboration and, essentially, a complete abandonment of copyright laws. (This does, in fact, seem to be a phenomenon that is consistent with Chinese acquisition of technology.)


So… when one person posts something, others who find it interesting or entertaining are able to “layer” on top of the original work.


Well, as his little video went viral, others started to “sing along”…



Still, others decided to add instrumental accents…



Regardless of your taste in music, there is something weirdly transformational in this whole exercise.


(If you have arrived here from our newsletter, continue reading here…)


One of the instant takeaways from watching all of these videos is the relative age of the participants. These are young people. They transcend race, gender, and even age to an extent (Andrew Lloyd Webber has also recorded an accompanying version as well).


There is no political message. There is no angst and no aggression (well… except for the subject matter of the song… whales might be offended). This is about as wholesome as it gets.


It is not the first time either.


A group of fishermen in England a few years back were “discovered” by a local music executive singing sea shanty songs. In their little village this crew of sailors would meet every Friday and essentially do a free concert for the local townsfolk. They were recorded and, ultimately, had a movie made about them (See Fisherman’s Friends).


Collaborative work (and, frankly, what makes this story so interesting is the collaborative and organic nature of the song) usually ends in some degree of failure. My commanding officer once quipped, “A camel is a horse that was designed by committee”.


Every so often it comes out right. This is one of those times. The paradoxical thing is that it is so successful not because of a strong organizational process… it is successful because it is essentially leaderless. This is the ultimate informal system of order. People have independently taken a liking to something and, without seeking permission or approval, just made it better.


Okay… I can’t control myself: Perhaps this is a lesson for those who believe in centralized planning… sometimes the most efficient way of achieving spectacular results is to let individuals do what they do best… be individuals.

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Comments (7)

  • Michael Sherman Reply

    I am sharing this and quoting the last two paragraphs. Thanks! Awesome!

    02/03/2021 at 07:47
  • Florin Reply

    Another great blog from you, thanks. Indeed, collaboration is a multiplier for each team members’ value. Add trust to its foundation, which CPC may miss.

    02/03/2021 at 07:49
  • Dr. Reder Reply

    My daughter, in Israel, made me aware of Natan Evans about two weeks ago. We love him and his work product. Thank you for bringing him to the shooting community.
    I reject the narrowness of much of society. “Just focus on the mission.” The richness of cross-pollination, bringing science and art together, can yield rich original results. Well, that is all. Need to get back to “tongueing.”

    02/03/2021 at 08:13
  • John H McComb Reply

    This is a great share Steven, thank you – I’ll be singing it all day!

    02/03/2021 at 08:24
  • Roger Fuller Reply

    Well said. Let individuals do what they do best.

    02/03/2021 at 08:28
  • Bryan Flynn Reply

    May I please get your Law Firm contact information or obtain your business card?
    I am a CCW holder , live in Dana Point and have been through the original training, you held, at Artemis a couple of times.
    Do you have a retainer or a suggestion on Insurance for a CCW holder?

    Thank you,

    02/03/2021 at 09:49
  • Jeff Bardzik Reply

    Steve, you said much here about current culture, leadership and consequences of freedom. Good to see the insightful side of your tactically minded persona .

    02/03/2021 at 11:07

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