Obviously Felix Atagong returned the next afternoon to that safe heaven
that is The Anchor
for his alcoholic needs.
"I am still pissed off at you, Alex Fagoting", he snarled, "for throwing me out last night."
"Here's a Guinness on the house.", I lied, pretending I would not note it down on his bill. "Simply get pissed instead." He laughed and as if nothing had happened he just continued his story after his first gulp of the day.
Rule #1: a good barkeeper always listens to his customer, but in this case I was humming along while Al Stewart crooned on the background.
"There is this big ambiguity about the Floyd.", Felix started, "In the early seventies they were aspiring leftist rock stars, playing the French communist (and frankly Stalinist) party parties. But at the same time there are these legendary stories about their royalties' catfights. Waters always nagging and later getting 50 percent for his sixth grade pubertal poetry alone and even then whining about his part for the composition as well. In the theoretical (and highly improbable) case that all four members would get even shares this benefited Waters with 62 and a half percent with the others only earning 12 and a half percent each. Not bad for a rock star who bragged in the press about his social housing projects."
"In reality poor Mason only got the crumpets and even these were later regretted by the so-called socialist activist who Roger pretended he was. One could paraphrase George Orwell here: 'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.' Waters would later beg, borrow or steal Orwell's socialist allegory for the Animals album, not realising the ironic fact that by then he had become the upper-pig of the band."
"We all know the story how Clare Torry was only paid 30£ for her contribution on The Great Gig In The Sky, something that would give her headaches for years to come. And Alan Parsons was only getting his EMI salary for his tremendous work on (The) Dark Side Of The Moon, much to his dismay. Even after Pink Floyd had become a financial dinosaur, with an annual turnover that would make some African countries jealous, they were too greedy to give a free copy of the album to the kids singing on Another Brick In The Wall, until the press got hold of it."
"Excusez-moi, Felix.", I said, "But I see some pretty girls who want my attention." On Wednesday afternoon the Barrett Ladies Club meets at The Anchor. First they squabble about the pancakes they are going to order and will argue over the fact that they (the pancakes, not the women... yet) have not been sufficiently soaked in Grand Marnier. After a while the grannies start discussing about the exact type of colour Syd Barrett's floor boards were painted in, a somewhat pointless discussion if you ask me, as in 42 years of time they still haven't reached a consensus. You can only join the Barrett Ladies Club if you know what special birthmark Syd Barrett had and on what buttock it could be found, leaving out all the groovy chicks who had just been passing by for some quick plating...
After the ladies had been supplied with the food and drink (coffee and a thimbleful of eggnog) I returned to the bar where Felix had been contemplating his miserable life in silence. With a little luck he would have continued his inner monologue and not take off from where I had left him.
"Since Nick Mason admitted he was officially in the recycling business I have the utmost respect for him.", Atagong orated. "Even when he tries to sell miniature cars with his signature on. I love his no-nonsense style. While David 'the sound' and Roger 'the genius' are continually trying to convince the public that they and they alone are Pink Floyd Nick gets in 'with a wit drier than an AA clinic' (to quote novelist Kathy Lette). But although Gilmour and Waters are like fire and water... they sound unexpectedly in perfect unison when it comes to grab into the fan's pockets. I suppose that Gilmour is a bit short of cash now that his stepson has been sentenced to pick up the leftover soap in a British prison. And Waters has just married again for the fourth time and Viagra comes expensive nowadays."
I gave a wry smile but Felix couldn't be stopped.
"Even 37 years after the facts Waters and Gilmour try to be politically correct and claim they gave the 1974 Gini-money to charity, but Mason just adds: 'We shelved the cash, point.' Mason also agrees that this is probably the last time in history that they will be able to sell hardware to the fans (meaning CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray disks) rather than downloadable bits and bytes. And by selling these ridiculously expensive collector's boxes record companies and artists have found a new way of income. Pink Floyd could've taken an example to Elvis Costello who openly asks his fans not to buy his latest record at such a ridiculous price..."
"What's the problem then with these Immersion boxes", I asked, "apart from the price?"
"They are a fucking disgrace!", shouted Atagong, so loud that one of the Barrett Gang Bang girls nearly choked on a profiterole. "Let's start with Dark Side Of The Moon, shall we? How many CD-reissues of that album have we already had? Who knows? Four, five? And all of them have been remastered. Are we talking here about one of the best rock albums of all times or does EMI considers Dark Side Of The Moon a new brand of washing powder? An ameliorated version every few years to keep on washing their dirty laundry whiter than white? Does it mean that the earlier versions were all rubbish if the Floyd annex EMI feel the need to keep on going remastering them? On top of that the 6 disks in the Moon-box are highly repetitive...."
"That is quite obvious.", I retaliated, "It's all about the Dark Side,
isn't it?" Felix pointed his finger at a few millimetres from my nose.
"Don't try to be a smart-ass, lad.", he threatened. "That is not what I mean." He looked for and unfortunately found a paper inside his jacket. "I have it all written down for you.", he sycophantically whispered.
Pigs - three different ones
"The Dark Side Of The Moon Immersion set has a DVD and a Blu-ray with multi-channel audio mixes of the album. The 1973 quad mix can be found in 448 kbps, 640 kbps and a 96kHZ/24bit version. If you ask me that is three times the same goody good bullshit. Also the 5.1 surround mix is three times in the box. The Wish You Were Here Immersion set has one disk less than the Dark Side box but EMI still found it necessary to keep going on with their continuous repetition: also here the quad and 5.1 mixes have been inserted three times. But that is not all. For a set that costs the fan an arm and a leg they have been scandalously designed, packed and transported."
The Great Rock'N Roll Swindle
"Several buyers noticed that their disks contained fingerprints although the boxes arrived sealed. I don't give a fuck if EMI uses Korean child-slaves to pack these items but for 120 Euro a piece I would like them to have fat-free fingers. My Immersion boxes arrived with the disks at the bottom dislodged and with scratches that must have arrived somewhere during transport."
"The novelty extras are quite tacky. A separate envelope with a facsimile of a Pink Floyd gig entrance card is something you might pay 50 cents for, but not a lot more. And what to think of the marbles, the scarf and the carton toasters in each box... it feels cheap but alas your wallet reveals it isn't."
"I would like to know who is the EMI fuckwit who decided to package the Dark Side Of The Moon marbles separately in bubble-wrap, but agreed to have the disks attached in such a flimsy way that at the lightest shock they start to travel on their own. Did you understand the music, EMI, or was it all in vain? I know of one customer who had the guts to have 6 Immersion boxes opened in the store before he found one with undamaged disks!"
We're only in it for the money
"And it isn't finished yet. The encrypted Blu-ray disks refuse to play on most PCs. There seems to be a valid technical reason for that, driver issues and so on, but in my opinion EMI deliberately issued a disk that can only be played on stand-alone players, attached to a TV-set. If other companies can manufacture Blu-rays that play faultless on a PC, why not EMI?"
"On top of that the Wish You Were Here Blu-ray, in most European boxes,
has several audible glitches in the 5.1 Surround Mix at the end of Shine
On You Crazy Diamond and on other tracks as well. At 120 Euro a box
these sets are clearly a rip-off, but even at that price EMI fails to
provide us with unscratched and undamaged disks. The only question that
one can ask is indeed:
Why Pink Floyd?
For fuck sake, why?"
Lucky for me at that moment one of the Barrett ladies started strangling another one so I had an excuse to leave Felix behind in his misanthropic misery.
(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations have
been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
The Anchor wishes to thank all people on the Immersion threads at Yeeshkul:
Dark Side of the Moon Immersion Set problems
WYWH Immersion set problems
Floyd Wish You Were Here Immersion Box Set Unboxing 'this is
disgraceful'... (Immersion box picture taken from this video).
Yeeshkul's (very) technical guide for playing the Blu-ray Immersion disks on a non-compatible PC-Blu-ray player: How to play your new blu-ray TDSOTM disc!
Dark Side of The Moon fantasy (top picture), based upon a desktop image from an unknown fan.