Thursday, March 16, 2023

Old Enough to Accept a Collect Call from Mr. Floyd

The album Dark Side of the Moon was on Billboard Top LPs & Tape chart for over fourteen years during the 1970s and 1980s, but until the last few decades I was only aware of a few of the album’s songs. When Pink Floyd was becoming a music icon, I was busy listening to what would be what later be called Folk Rock. Singers like Linda Ronstadt  and the Eagles  were my primary choices for listening. 

The Folk Rock genre was where my head was at during those years. I could find meaning in the lyrics and I liked the storytelling in the ballads. There were exceptions, of course, but mostly, that music defined my teen years. But somewhere in the background, some songs by Pink Floyd made it into my playlists. Comfortably Numb, Time, and eventually The Wall.

When I was in college, I was a disc jockey at several radio stations. Most were AOR—Album Oriented Rock. That meant aside from the top 40 songs by a particular group, we would play other things on their albums. I’m not sure what the process is now, but we used to have to track what songs we were playing and how often. My assumption was it had to do with both royalties and tracking what songs were popular in our listening area Over the course of my DJ career, the programming directors for at least two of those stations required DJs to add a set of tunes to our documentation, even if we didn’t play them. They were songs off Dark Side of the Moon album.

During my tours in Germany, Pink Floyd’s music spoke to me. I listened to not only Dark Side of the Moon but also The Wall, and a Momentary Lapse of Reason. I was more mature, and I was finding different meanings in the songs I had noticed before. Even though the band’s intent was for albums to be listened to start to finish, I found certain individual titles blended better together and created my own playlists. Aside from the lyrics, I found the music itself to be almost hypnotic. Yes, it was rock ‘n’ roll and had many wailing guitar solos, but overall the music was calming and of a medium tempo rather than something feverish. Maybe that’s why I had to wait until I was older to appreciate it.

Through the years, the band has changed the members, produced a movie of The Wall album, and allowed their music to be matched together with laser light shows. I will admit that I’ve never been to one of the laser light shows, although I’ve heard they are cosmic. I’ve also never watch the movie of The Wall, but I saw the props from the movie on display at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. I’m not sure why I bypassed those things, but I understand parts of the band might be on tour this summer and if they are performing at a venue nearby, I might just have to go see them.

Last night, I went to sleep listening to my Pandora mix of Pink Floyd songs. As the music relaxed and eventually allowed me to drift off to sleep, it momentarily occurred to me how far I had come with Pink Floyd and their music. I’m glad that I didn’t discover them earlier in life as I don’t think I would’ve appreciated each of the songs and albums as I do now.

Vincent van Gogh once said that “Perhaps I am a painter for people who have not been born yet.” Maybe Pink Floyd’s music was out there waiting on me to get to a point where I could properly listen to it. If you’ve never listened to Pink Floyd, I invite you to audition their Dark Side of the Moon album. As you look over the titles list, you may recognize a few songs, and be tempted to focus on those. Don’t. Instead, listen to the album the way the band intended. Each song in its entirety in order start to finish. Then listen to it again. The first listen will let you enjoy the songs, but the second will allow you to become immersed in the music’s complexity with the lyrics. I promise you, will find something there.

I haven’t done this yet, but supposedly Dark Side of the Moon and the The Wizard of Oz can be combined into a single visual/audio experience. I guess I'm waiting on the right frame of mind before I sit down and try it. Here are the instructions:

1. Set your MP3/CD player play the first track of Dark Side of the Moon. 

2. Set your MP3/CD player for album repeat.

3. Start The Wizard of Oz.  

4. Wait for the MGM lion to appear. Once he roars for the third time, hit play on the MP3/CD player. Press mute on your TV.

5. To confirm the music and movie are in sync, when you see the credit “Produced by Mervyn LeRoy,” the credit should fade amid the transition from Speak to Me to Breathe.


Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Words Written, but Not Shared

It might look like I haven’t written any entries for the entire month of February, but that is not correct. I wrote lots of words – I just didn’t share them here.

Right at the end of January I suffered one of the potential side effects of my ankle surgery: a pulmonary embolism. I spent a few days in the hospital and had radiological intervention surgery which fixed things. So, I wrote about that; I wrote about my time in the emergency room; and I wrote about the team of doctors, nurses, mechanics, vampires, and pit crew that took care of me. I wrote about the food in the hospital (overall, not bad). Plus, I wrote about pain and the pharmacological cures for pain which didn’t really work for me.

I wrote four entries, two of which were over a thousand words, but when it came time to publish each one of them, I demurred. It wasn’t that I really cared who knew that my ambulance driver’s name was Astrid, or that I had one vampire so good she could draw blood at 2 AM and not wake me up. I guess overall; I was revealing things that were too mundane. Sure, I guess if you were about to undergo the procedure yourself you might enjoy hearing what somebody else went through, but aside from that does anybody really need to read such things? Actually, the perfect place for such things would’ve been in a journal.

Several times during my life I attempted to keep a journal and would usually get through the first month or two before I gave it up. Those attempts have left me with brief glimpses into periods of my life during middle school, my first year of college, and my first overseas assignment in the Air Force. None of which connect anywhere else. This blog is the closest I’ve gotten to documenting of my life for long period. Even this doesn’t cover everything that is going on, just the high-points that I feel like sharing. When I read back over the entries I wrote for February, I didn’t see much difference between them and scribbles in one of several blank notebooks I picked up the Waldenbooks. Not something I would want to inflict on anyone.

The short version is that I survived the embolism with no permanent damage. The procedure being used at the hospital was pioneered during COVID and the team that performed it gained massive amounts of experience during that time. It led to the procedure being smooth for me and effective. Fortunately, I had a doctor who understood that pain need to be managed and kept trying different medications until he found one that was effective. Considering I was at an eight on the scale of ten for most of the first two days, I’m glad he kept trying. 

Now you know the reason for the blank that was February 2023, and I’ll now return to writing something of interest on a weekly basis. Well, at least interesting to me. As for all those words I wrote and didn’t publish here, I will print them out and stick them into one of those notebooks from my younger days. Who knows, maybe someday the wind up in a museum.