“And did we tell you the name of the game, boy? We call it ‘riding the gravy train’”
That line is from “Have A Cigar”, the track that opens Side Two of Pink Floyd’s 1975 masterpiece “Wish You Were Here”.
Welcome to the machine. The nostalgia machine. In time for the Christmas market, Pink Floyd are releasing re-mastered versions of all their albums, including five-disc “Immersion Editions” of the two best, and best-loved, “Dark Side Of The Moon” and “Wish You Were Here”
There’s some great music here, but I’d hazard a guess that ninety percent of the people who are going to buy these overpriced reissues already have the albums.
You do not, emphatically not need the new remixed, remastered editions. You especially do not need the new Immersion edition of Wish You Were Here.
You’ve already GOT Wish You Were Here.
The new immersion edition of Wish You Were Here costs £84.99. Let’s just put that out there. Thats fifteen notes short of a hundred pounds. For this you get three versions of the album – the original stereo mix, the Quadraphonic Mix, and the 5.1 Surround Mix.
No extra tracks, jams or outtakes from the sessions…
Plus you get two versions of a 1975 concert performance of the album, plus a selection of tacky collectibles that bear listing in full.
Two photo books. A scarf. Some marbles. Postcards. A replica gig ticket and backstage pass. And some cardboard drinks coasters.
Look, I know you love Pink Floyd.
You’re fifty, male and middle class. You were at school in the mid-seventies, when it was compulsory for middle-class boys to be into Pink Floyd. And Yes. And King Crimson. And Genesis. Soul and reggae music was for the rough boys. Glam rock was for girls.
You love Pink Floyd, of course you do.
So do I. Wish You Were Here in particular. Its a lovely, warm, wistful album.
But you already have this music.
You bought Wish You Were Here on the day it came out in 1975, in that black shrink-wrapped bag.
You had of course heard the album on Alan Freeman’s Radio One show the week before, and recorded it onto a C-60 cassette, which you played a lot
Later, when you got your first CD player, the first four CDs you bought (at sixteen pounds each) purchased in 1985 were – Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish you Were Here, Dare by the Human League (the wife likes them) and Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits.
DO NOT SPEND MORE MONEY ON BUYING THE SAME STUFF AGAIN !
If you have eighty-five quid to spare and you love Pink Floyd, there is a lot of music out there, in the same genre as Pink Floyd, that you may learn to love just as much:
Download Trojan Horse’s excellent album:
Trojan Horse are an up-and-coming band who describe their sound as “Prog Nouveau”. You can download their debut album here for £6.00:
Take your pick from the many records by The Pineapple Thief.
Basically the brainchild and project of Bruce Soord, these guys have been making prog-indie albums since 1999, building up a devoted following. Their latest album is “Someone Here Is Missing” and you can listen to bits of it here. In particular, check out the Storm Thorgerson album artwork. Admit it, Floydians, you’re interested!
Buy A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding In Your Mind
Amorphous Androgynous – formerly called the Future Sound Of London – these guys do killer mixes and compilations of old psychedelic gems mixed with some current stuff. This is the latest volume
“X And Y” – Coldplay
Yeah, I know you know all about Coldplay. But plenty of tracks on this album sound more like Pink Floyd than Pink Floyd did, at least after Roger Waters left. Its currently yours for less than four quid on Amazon.
Pink Floyd’s Soundtracks
The rest of Pink Floyd’s back catalogue. If you don’t already have all of this then why not fill in the gaps – for instance, the soundtrack albums. More? Obscured By Clouds? Roger Waters’ “Music From The Body”? Tonite Lets All Make Love In London? All worth your time. Except the last one, mind.
British Sea Power
British Sea Power’s “Man Of Aran” – British Sea Power are primarily an indie band. You may not like everything they do, but they wrote this new soundtrack to a 1934 film about islanders on Aran ekeing out a pre-modern lifestyle from the unforgiving land. Some of the long pieces in particular are very Floydian.
Go see a Pink Floyd Tribute Band
With half the original band no longer with us, and two of the three survivors no longer on speaking terms, a Floyd live reunion ain’t gonna happen – and if it does, it isn’t going to be any good. I mean, I watched the Live 8 performance on the telly and it was a bit ropey.
Think Floyd were one of the earliest and best Floyd tribute bands. Fourteen quid will get you in to see them playing at St Pauls Church in West London next week:
There are others, notably The Australian Pink Floyd. My personal favourite is a band called Interstellar Overdrive who I saw in Germany many years ago. They limit their selection to the Barrett / Waters led period – nothing after “Animals” except “Comfortably Numb”, which is just fine by me! You have to respect a semi-pro band who include a massive gong in their stage rig solely for “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun”.
Just say “Yes” !
And finally, Floyd’s seventies prog contemporaries Yes are playing at Hammersmith Apollo next week, The difference is that Yes have been a working, breathing band ever since they began, barring the odd hiatus and many personnel changes, and they continue to produce new music to this day.
Tickets are £37.50 plus booking fee. Don’t even get me started on booking fees…
Now you may say that’s an outrageous price for a gig by a bunch of ageing prog-rockers. And you’d be right.
But it compares well with paying £84.99 for five versions of an album you already own several times over.
And… breathe. Breathe in the air.