Monday, September 16, 2002


Pink Floyd. You know, all in all, Hazlehead Academy wasn't such a bad place. We all have to go to school somewhere, after all. We didn't have common rooms, we had Year Areas, but they are much the same the world over - a place to hang out at break times and form cliques and gangs; a place to swap music. Swapping music was big then - battered old cassette tapes doing the rounds, with all sorts of things on them. The 'Dark Side of the Moon' tape was mine; the 'Wish you were Here' may have been Scott Murray's (although he might deny it now). It's hard to explain just what it was that spoke to us so strongly - what did we know about 'hanging on in quiet desperation'? I remember spending an entire Sunday afternoon trying to transcribe the lyrics to 'Wish...' by ear - going over and over the same snippets trying to work out just what was being said, driving the household up the wall. There were endless debates about the sound effects; what did they mean, what were they made of; what were the spoken extracts? It was claimed that some fathers swiped their sons' copies to show off their new stereo systems to the neighbours ('you should hear the stereo separation on this...'); and there were the endless rumours.

Animals had been something of a disappointment (although I retain a sneaking regard for it as a much more concise picture of the times than so much 'political' stuff of the time), and the next one had taken - believe it or not - two whole years to make. The excitement was staggeringly disproportionate to the actual event. For weeks, there had been talk of triple albums, of orchestral works, of the band having split and only Roger Waters being left (closer to the truth than we realised), and everyone agog at there actually being a single, and the British public actually buying it in vast numbers. And when it was finally delivered, via a trip into town after school, so I could buy it on the release date, it actually did live up to the hype. Well, it did if you were the right age. I have listened to 'The Wall' recently, and parts of it stand up pretty well, while some of it is overblown hysteria; but it was exactly what I wanted at the time. It also contained several parts which I managed to learn to play on my guitar; anybody want to hear the arpeggio from 'Is there anybody out there?'?

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