Thursday, 30 April 2009

For whom the bells ching

Years ago I was sat around with a friend listening to music. "Purple Haze" came on and he cranked it up with the words, "Excellent, I want this song played at my funeral". I thought that was great but not the song for me and realised that I hadn't given the matter the serious thought it deserved. As it turns out, after not much very serious thought on the matter, I find I've pretty much settled on "Bike" by Pink Floyd. First off it's a good tune and the lyrics are as appropriate for an atheist funeral as anything. And it's short. The main part of the song is a cheerful litany of random things. But the end of the song - the horrible looped noise - draws things to a suitably bleak and mysterious end. That noise gives me the creeps. It reminds me of the bit in the Odyssey where Odysseus makes a sacrifice and the souls of the dead flit around the blood, gibbering.

My back up is the far more miserable "Dominoes". It's a proper dirge and the lyrics, I think, seem to touch on mortality. As far as I can remember I came to these choices years apart and it's just a co-incidence that they're both Syd Barrett numbers. Obviously his life was a tragedy but on the surface I don't think of him as a morbid character. Apart from the fact that he's dead of course. Pink Floyd are one of my favourite groups and I also find their band story interesting. Sometime after Syd's death, possibly the 25th anniversary of "Dark Side of the Moon", I saw a very good documentary about them. One thing in it irked me though, the idea that Syd had opted out of the music business because he thought pop was too shallow. This theory is possibly salving a few consciences but is totally blown apart by the fact that he showed up at the recording sessions for "Wish You Were Here" obviously wanting to contribute.

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