Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The diamond fades

Yes, alas, Syd Barrett[^] passed away this week. One of the founders of Pink Floyd (I don't buy the story running around on most of the web news sites that he was 'the' founder).

As a card carrying Floyd fan since 1969 I can honestly claim that I enjoy their first two albums every bit as much as their later work. I've already told the story of my introduction[^] to Pink Floyd.

When I discovered classical music in 1970 Pink Floyd was the only Rock band I continued listening to. Hard to explain why now; I'm not sure even I know just why Rock totally fell off my radar let alone why they were the only band who didn't, but I do know that the inspired lunacy of songs such as 'Lucifer Sam' and 'Bike' and the almost autumnal wistfulness of 'Jugband Blues' stayed with me.

I'm listening to The Piper at the Gates of Dawn[^] as I write this. Brilliant music; it has the feel of endurance.

Strangely enough, I didn't read Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows[^] until years after buying and wearing out my first copy of that album. Reading the chapter of the book from which the album took its name I knew instantly that this was no coincidence.

`It's gone!' sighed the Rat, sinking back in his seat again. `So beautiful and strange and new. Since it was to end so soon, I almost wish I had never heard it. For it has roused a longing in me that is pain, and nothing seems worth while but just to hear that sound once more and go on listening to it for ever. No! There it is again!' he cried, alert once more. Entranced, he was silent for a long space, spellbound.

'Now it passes on and I begin to lose it,' he said presently. `O Mole! the beauty of it! The merry bubble and joy, the thin, clear, happy call of the distant piping! Such music I never dreamed of, and the call in it is stronger even than the music is sweet! Row on, Mole, row! For the music and the call must be for us.'

The Mole, greatly wondering, obeyed. `I hear nothing myself,' he said, `but the wind playing in the reeds and rushes and osiers.'

The Rat never answered, if indeed he heard. Rapt, transported, trembling, he was possessed in all his senses by this new divine thing that caught up his helpless soul and swung and dandled it, a powerless but happy infant in a strong sustaining grasp.

No comments: