What’s the deal with? (A series of reflections)

Monday, December 01, 2008
Issue 1 – Pink Isn’t Well.
By jay white

Don’t be surprised when a crack in the ice appears under your feet.
What’s the deal with my endless fascination and adoration with Pink Floyd? Is it just my inner stoner, twenty years without rocking the ganj, still yearning to be lost in Floyds soundscapes while totally fucked up on mind altering substances? Or is it something deeper?

Mother should I build a wall?
In the seventies, that long ago and far away time when I was a teenager who knew it all, Pink Floyd was the early morning, been up all night soundtrack of my life. My fellow punk rockers and metal-heads sneered at my taste for grandiose rock and roll, as if the vinyl playing on my turntable confirmed their deepest suspicions about corporate rock and all that was wrong in the world. It kind of makes you wonder what they would of thought about the fact I also played ‘Bat Out of Hell’ and had a serious music crush on Mr. William M. Joel at the time, but I digress.

When ‘The Wall’ hit the shelves in 1979, it summed up all my fears and inner demons more than anything the Sex Pistols or The Clash had done to date. In all honesty, I was a fairly fucked up kid. Add to that my many years of contact with therapists which led to me being incredibly hip to psychoanalysis and it’s really no surprise that ‘The Wall’ resonated so deeply with me. While my friends were raging against the machine, I was raging with myself, a maelstrom of hormonal rage, insecurity and insincerity.

Is there anybody out there?
By 1980, I had fallen in with a group of alienated youth just like myself. We had no particular allegiance to a musical style. Adam and The Ants got equal play with Tom Petty, as did The Ramones, The Clash, Springsteen, Rush and maybe even Pat Benatar. We called ourselves The Insiders, a sly twist on the S.E. Hinton novel, ‘The Outsiders’ and from a line in the great Petty song, ‘Hard Promises’.

‘Dark Side of The Moon’ and ‘The Wall’ in particular, had mystic qualities for us, huddled in Corbin’s Room, smoking dope and tripping on acid. Music was communal experience for us, whether we went to concerts or just hanging out. We would prowl the streets of Portland in the night, raggedly singing in shrill harmony our current favorite songs. Most of us came from dark backgrounds or were struggling with our own personal demons and somehow, in spite of all that, our music made everything okay.

Welcome To the Machine.
Not all things carried through after I moved on from my teen angst. In the mid-eighties I had given up a lot of my music for the burgeoning alternative movement and mechanical synth pop coming from across the pond. I was a newly sober father and a career man. I was deep into twelve step meetings, therapy and self indulgent introspection. Floyd fed that for me. It was the one thing I held onto from my past.

At some point I figured out that the past wasn't to blame and that I was, ultimately, responsible for what I did with it. Other people may have given me the bricks, but I chose to build my wall.

This is not to say that my wall is totally torn down, but, I at least learned to live with it and see beyond it.

The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Today, Pink Floyd crystallizes the images of my past. I no longer rage against myself, though I still find some time to work some righteous indignation at the machine. I slide my headphones on, crank up my iPod and slink off to the nearest metaphorical closet to lose myself in the depth of sound that is classic Floyd.

Am I trying to capture past glories? Am I living in the past? Am I indulging in that same old mental masturbation that kept me locked up in my own mind? Maybe, though today I see all that for what it was. It was part of what made me who I am today. I am open to self criticism, but sometimes you just need to find release in the words and sounds of music that moves you.

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