Friday, January 22, 2016

James Babbs writes

The Last Time I Saw Him Alive


the first thing I think of

is borrowing money from him

so I could go buy

the new Pink Floyd album

but that was in February

and he died the middle of May

but it was 31 years ago

so I’m sure my memory

has probably gotten a little fuzzy

I know he got up and left

early on Sunday morning

before I was even out of bed

and it was the middle of the night

early Monday morning

when they came to the door

and gave us the news

I probably saw him

some time Saturday evening

when he got home from work

after hanging out with his friends

but I can’t recall us

having any conversations

I don’t remember

anything in particular

he might have said

and I don’t think

I ever paid him for the album

but I still have it

and most of the records

that belonged to him

I want to listen to some of them again

and dig out some of the old pictures


I like looking at them

the way they’re able to capture

so many little moments in time

Pink Floyd - The Final Cutclose up of the breast a dark jacket, with one quarter of a remembrance poppy on the top left corner, and a selection of British military service medal ribbons along the bottom edge

1 comment:

  1. Roger Waters and drummer Nick Mason met as architecture students at the London Polytechnic at Regent Street and began playing music together in 1963. Fellow architecture student, keyboardist Richard Wright, soon joined them, and the group became a sextet named Sigma 6, with Waters on lead guitar and later bass and Wright on rhythm guitar no keyboard was usually available. The band went through a number of personnel and name changes, including the Meggadeaths, the Abdabs, the Screaming Abdabs, Leonard's Lodgers, the Spectrum Five, and the Tea Set. Guitarist Syd Barrett, a childhood friend of Waters, had moved to London in 1962 to study at the Camberwell College of Arts and became the band's frontman and lead guitarist in early 1965. Later that year, when they were included on a bill wither another band called the tea Set, Barrett renamed his group "Pink Floyd Sound" after two blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. As just Pink Floyd, they became noted for their progressive and psychedelic music, philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, extended compositions, and elaborate live shows. In December 1967, guitarist David Gilmour, who had known Barrett at Cambridge Tech, became the fifth member; Barrett was unable to perform due to his deteriorating mental health, but continued as a nonperforming songwriter until April. Then Waters became the band's primary lyricist and dominant songwriter. Wright left in 1979, and Waters in 1985; the last Pink Floyd album to include Waters was "The Final Cut" (1983), protesting the British war against Argentina over the Falklands; Waters wrote all the music and lyrics and performed all the vocals, though he was joined by Gilmour in a duet for one song. However, the band continued as a duo (Gilmour and Mason) until Wright rejoined them as a session musician and songwriter then full band member again; the three toured until 1994. Pink Floyd reunited with Waters in 2005 to perform at the Live 8 charity concert, but rejected a £136 million offer to tour. Barrett died in 2006, and nearly a year later a tribute concert was held at the Barbican Centre in London: Waters performed a solo version of his own song, "Flickering Flame," and Gilmour, Wright, and Mason dis a pair of early Barrett compositions. The following year Wright also died. Waters and Gilmour performed together at a charity event for the Hoping Foundation in 2010 to raise money for Palestinian children, and in 2011, during a performance of the Waters/Pink Floyd rock opera "The Wall," Gilmour foined Waters to sing the first and second choruses and the two guitar solos on "Comfortably Numb" and then played mandolin (with Mason on tambourine) on "Outside the Wall." By 2013, the band had sold more than 250 million records worldwide. A tribute to Wright, "The Endless River," was released in 2014, rerecorded from material done in 1993–1994.
    One of Roger Waters' finest lyrics is "Wish You Were Here," addressed to the band's regret over Barrett's departure:

    So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell, blue skies from pain.
    Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
    A smile from a veil?
    Do you think you can tell?

    Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
    Hot ashes for trees?
    Hot air for a cool breeze?
    Cold comfort for change?
    Did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?

    How I wish, how I wish you were here.
    We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
    Running over the same old ground.
    What have we found?
    The same old fears.
    Wish you were here.


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