Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Neptune, Titan, stars can frighten

You try editing the most challenging Vincent O’Sullivan short story in his new collection while making a papier-mâché scale model of the solar system with an 11-year-old. I have not worked with papier mâché since I was that age, so am a bit rusty. Plus, the VOS collection was due at VUP last week and the solar system was due at school yesterday. No pressure. As Syd Barrett would say:
Floating down, the sound resounds
Around the icy waters underground.
Jupiter and Saturn, Oberon, Miranda and Titania,
Neptune, Titan, stars can frighten.
So here are Pink Floyd live in 1967 on the BBC’s Look of the Week performing “Astronomy Domine” and being interviewed by the combative, Vienna-born musicologist Hans Keller. It’s as if a Bob Jones version of William Dart were to interview Lawrence Arabia on prime-time TV instead of Concert FM.  Syd Barrett speaks and makes perfect sense; Roger Waters is pleasant. Two surprises right there.  

Keller, who smokes magnificently throughout, says of the band, “To my mind there is continuous repetition and proportionately they are a bit boring”. He complains that they play too loud but “Perhaps I am a little bit too much of a musician to fully appreciate them.” He concludes, “My verdict is that its a little bit of a regression to childhood. But after all, why not?" So, one might think, a dinosaur – but he knew they were loud because he had attended Games for May, the Pink Floyd concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall commemorated in their single “See Emily Play”.

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