Last weekend, we, The Anchor, the satirical division of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, felt the peculiar need for an apology. It is a feeling we seldom have, being a general pain in the arse and having carefully cultivated the pompous pernickety air our spiritual job has brought upon us. You may remember that we were not entirely favourable of the anniversary release of the Division Bell album. In the article Grab that cash we described it, and we quote:
What seemed to be the hype of the year was nothing but a cheap stunt to sell some recycled material at exorbitant prices. That the memory of Rick Wright and the legacy of Storm Thorgerson were thrown in to make a cynical million bucks more makes this release even more nauseating.
We duly admit this was not nice at all and due to the recent developments in the Pink Floyd camp, more about that to follow later, we profoundly apologise. This doesn't mean that we are suddenly of the opinion that the Division Bell Anniversary Edition is worth the bulldog's bollocks, even if it may contain a hidden Publius Enigma hint. It still is utterly overpriced and utterly redundant, but of course what the honourable reader does with his money is his own business and not ours.
On Saturday, the 5th of July 2014 at 3:13 PM (UTC), a mysterious tweet was send into the multiverse by Polly Samson, a tweet that created a heavy storm in the mostly silent waters of modern Floydiana:
The world first took its time to digests its scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, toast, coffee and marmalade (at least in the proper time-zone) but about 45 minutes later the news had been retweeted a few thousand times and had been copied on Facebook walls, forums and blogs all over the planet.
Singer Durga McBroom, confirmed the news less than an hour later and added that a recent picture of her with David Gilmour hadn't been taken during a solo album session, as she had stated before, but that she had been asked to do vocals on a new Pink Floyd album.
Remember this photo? It wasn't what you THOUGHT it was.
A third confirmation came from Pink Floyd engineer Andrew Jackson, so the rumour that Polly Samson's Twitter account had been hacked and that this was nothing but a hoax was becoming less and less believable. There was going to be a new Pink Floyd album, after twenty years of silence.
This was not going to be just another Pink Floyd album. The starting point were the Division Bell ambient demos that had been nick-named The Big Spliff in the good old Floydian tradition to give recording sessions silly names. Work on the mixes started over a year ago and probably, although this is nothing but an assumption, it was foreseen as a short and sweet bonus disk for a Division Bell Immersion set. While working on the music however, David Gilmour and Nick Mason must have felt something of the excitement from two decades before, they must have felt the muse, the inspiration and the spirit of their friend and colleague (and in the case of bass player ad interim Guy Pratt, father in law) Rick Wright and decided to enhance the jams into a proper record, asking Phil Manzanera and Martin ‘Youth’ Glover to sit behind the mixing console.
Called The Endless River, after a line from the Division Bell’s magnum opus High Hopes (in itself cryptically referring to See Emily Play), the album will be mainly ambient and instrumental, although at least one track will be sung by David Gilmour with lyrics by Polly Samson.
Reactions from that strange horde, also known as the Pink Floyd fandom, ranged from scepticism to enthusiasm. Some critics found it strange that Pink Floyd would be recycling old material, perhaps unaware of the fact that this is something the band has been doing for ages. The whale song section from Echoes was borrowed from their concert staple Embryo, Us and Them was originally called The Violent Sequence and a Zabriskie Point soundtrack leftover, and the magnificent Comfortably Numb was something David Gilmour had been messing with for his eponymous solo album.
Half of the Animals (1977) album consists of songs the Floyd played live in 1974 but none of those fitted the Wish You Were Here (1975) concept. Animals was and still is a landmark album, something that can’t be said of The Final Cut (1983), practically a Roger Waters solo album, featuring some The Wall (1979) rejects (and unfortunately it shows).
Let’s not be cynical for once and forget that a separate release of The Endless River will shelve a few million copies more than a Division Bell bonus disc. Even if the record will mostly have ambient atmospheric pieces and may fail the default description of a typical Pink Floyd album we will consider it as Richard Wright’s musical testament and an honest tribute from the rest of the band.
Now, and here is a confession this old bartender has to make, when we read Polly Samson's tweet, we were literally shaking all over our body as excited as a puppy who has just been thrown a bone. We started browsing the well-known Floydian fan-sites for more and the first website who added the news to its page was Col Turner's A Fleeting Glimpse.
Segmental Pig File
Col Turner is not your average Pink Floyd fan-site webmaster, he has dedicated his life to the Floyd and if you ask us, we think he is pretty daft for doing so. Nevertheless, we appreciate his masochist streak and if we want to know the latest news of the Dark Side universe Fleeting Glimpse (and Brain Damage) are the first ones we open.
When we say that Colin Turner is not an average fan, we mean he is not an average fan. Turner eats, feels, dreams and breaths Pink Floyd (frankly we are a bit curious what he does in the bedroom) and as such he already knew for a while that a new album was in the make. However, instead of putting that news on his wall, like we would have done in a nanosecond, he promised the Pink Floyd management to shut his mouth and wait until an official announcement of the band was made.
Now, we ask you, dear reader, can you get any closer to an official band announcement than the wife of the band leader, who happens to be the main lyricist as well, tweeting the news into the world?
Well, opinions seems to differ apparently.
The Bleeding Hearts and the Artists
An artist is, by definition, a creative person, a sensitive person, someone with a frail mind. He writes these songs that appeal to people all over the world, people who recognise themselves in these songs, who recognise the feelings, the emotions, the love, the sadness, the anger, the Angst.
We, the fans, may think these songs have been written for us and sometimes we are so touched by the beauty and sincerity of it all that we will ask the artist to play the latest album in our backyard, for a beer and a whopper on the grill. That is why an agent, or some management, comes in... While the artist may not have the guts to disappoint the fan, his agent's preferable syllables are invariably 'no', 'fuck off' and, if this is your lucky day, 'how much'.
There has always been a huge gap between Pink Floyd, the band, and Pink Floyd, the company, and it is pretty impossible to determine how the one has influenced the other. Although some of its members openly preached a socialist philosophy their business manners have always been exactly the opposite, at least after the Peter Jenner days. Steve O'Rourke was not only a quasi-mythical agent who uplifted the band from the gutter towards the moon, but he was a bully as well, bombastic in his manners, a Floydian pit-bull and above all... über-greedy. Rumour goes O'Rourke started his career as a dog food sales rep, so determined to succeed that he ate the stuff in front of his prospects to prove it was quality meat.
Giving none away
The band who criticised capitalism on Money, paid Clare Torry £30 for her input on The Great Gig In The Sky, less than a third of what a Dark Side of the Moon Immersion set costs. In a nineties interview for the Dutch Penthouse a bitter Alan Parsons recalled how the four gentlemen in the band never told him that he had the right to earn some ‘points’ on his engineering / producing work for Dark Side of the Moon. That situation was settled later when Parsons was asked to remaster the album for an anniversary release. Clare Torry had to seriously threaten with legal action before the band agreed to share a small slice of the pie.
Roy Harper sung the lyrics on Have A Cigar, another one of these sarcastic songs describing the shady corners of music business. It was made clear to him that he wouldn't receive any copyright so Roy asked for some football tickets instead. Although the band were multi-millionaires by now a season's ticket was too much to ask and he never received it. The kids, singing ‘we don’t get no education’, were only given a copy of The Wall album after a newspaper turned it into a scandal.
Turn, Turn, Turn
Colin Turner published the news about the new Pink Floyd album on A Fleeting Glimpse, after it had been tweeted by Polly Samson. Then he messaged the Pink Floyd management that the floodgates had been opened. While hundreds of others were already retweeting and commenting on social media a Pink Floyd goblin found it necessary to threaten Colin with legal action and made him remove the post.
This made Colin so bitter that he deleted the entire news page, and at a certain point he was so disillusioned he wanted to close down AFG completely.
I was (...) asked to remove the story as it had not been cleared by official channels. This I did and I am now awaiting approval to publish full details about the album, despite it now being widely spread across the Internet. I intend to honour the commitment I made and the site will remain down until such a time as I receive official approval to publish.
Louis Matos (and with him many other AFG readers) reacted in shock:
That high service to the fans and to the Pink Floyd brand (...) was respected by Steve (O'Rourke), is respected by Mark (Fenwick) and should be respected by whomever now attends to David's business. I find it insulting - as a professional of the music business - that a loyal dedicated fan had to be "disciplined" for reproducing a Tweet by Polly by anyone other than Polly or David (and they could have done it, mind you). Even - and especially - anyone on the business side of it. Remember "Welcome to the Machine"? Well, it was about that kind of abuse. (Taken from: The Endless River)
To add insult to injury, at the moment when one of Pink Floyd's little hitlers found it necessary to threaten to close down A Fleeting Glimpse, the official Warner Music Why Pink Floyd website had already inserted the announcement on its news stream. Double standards, anyone?
Now here is where this article is going to get nasty, so if you are easily offended, please go and visit the Boohbah page instead.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.
If our information is correct Paul Loasby probably was the toerag (note) who intimidated the Fleeting Glimpse webmaster. According to a Cambridge mafia insider, who we will not name, Paul Loasby is the opposite of a villain and an amicable man:
I have met him and spoken to him many times. He seems very pleasant and was always totally respectful of Syd... and others...
But apparently that is only when he doesn't see a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, which he will receive anyway, regardless of him throwing a tantrum about a leaked tweet or not.
What had to be, for the fans, one of the most joyous days in Pink Floyd history, a new album, a much awaited tribute to Richard Wright, an indirect nod to Syd Barrett (mind you, not that we think One Fifteen knows anything about Syd Barrett), the Pink Floyd agent managed to turn it into something of a misplaced nightmare.
Mister Loasby, you are a party pooper and you should be ashamed of yourself.
Game of Thrones
But in a way: hats off to Paul Loasby. In four minutes he managed to kick Steve O'Rourke from his throne as the eternal Pink Floyd baddy, simply by putting the knife in the back of someone who does a lot of Pink Floyd promotion, for free. If you are somewhat familiar with the Floydian canon – this is something dogs do for a living. Welcome to the machine, indeed.
We want to end this article with a friendly suggestion for Col Turner, who was at the centre of this crisette. There is a Dutch saying, dating from the Middle Ages: "Tis quaet met heeren criecken eten'." "It's difficult to eat cherries with noblemen", meaning that if you want to schmooze with the higher crowd you will be treated as their servant whether you like it or not.
Better be independent, better be vigilant, better be critical than to bark only when the puppet master allows it, this is The Anchor's motto and it will always be. While A Fleeting Glimpse may generally be the first and the best in giving Pink Floyd news, it slightly troubles us that they have completely forgotten to mention the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band release, with Syd Barrett's last performance.
Sitting to close to the throne, too busy eating cherries over a lavish Division Bell box set, no doubt.
Epilogue / Update
On the quadrophonicquad forum Pink Floyd engineer Andy Jackson wrote on the 14th of July (2014):
No, still can't talk about Endless River, the 'leak' was damage limitation as a UK newspaper had got hold of the story.
So if we read this well, a newspaper - rumoured to be The Sun - heard about the new Pink Floyd album on the fifth of July and was going to publish the news, perhaps even in next day's Sunday paper. Polly Samson was then asked to tweet the news to the world before the newspaper would publish it. It all makes perfect sense.
But what we still don't understand is why Paul Loasby had to threaten A Fleeting Glimpse then. Why Pink Floyd? Why?
Can't you see
It all makes perfect sense
Expressed in dollars and cents,
Pounds, shillings and pence
Can't you see
It all makes perfect sense
(Roger Waters, Perfect Sense, Amused to Death, 1992)
The Floydian empire strikes back
(Update: 2014 09 14.)
For the past few months early Pink Floyd songs have been disappearing from YouTube: Scream Thy Last Scream, Vegetable Man, Astronomy Domine, Lucy Leave, King Bee. Even the Men On The Border live cover of Scream Thy Last Scream has been silenced and has now got the text:
This video previously contained a copyrighted audio track. Due to a claim by a copyright holder, the audio track has been muted.
Obviously this is a blatant lie and could be considered illegal, as the copyright holder of the audio track is Men On The Border itself and not Pink Floyd, nor EMI, Warner Music Group or one of its little helpers.
Harvested, a volunteer-driven organisation that archived, restored and weeded (for free) Pink Floyd live audio and video recordings has been taken down after a friendly reminder from Mr. Loasby. All its torrents have been deleted from Yeeshkul who suddenly went chicken shit and have forbidden the further use of the 'Harvested' word to all its members. Also the Pink Floyd Multicam website has been closed down.
The argument (from Pink Floyd) that ruthless entrepreneurs take the freely distributed material from Harvested (like The Man and The Journey), press it on a CD or DVD and sell it to the public doesn't make sense. Warner should go after the companies who sell these bootlegs and not after the people who give it away for free and thus spoil the 'market' for the bootleggers (although we do understand this is something of an illegal situation). By closing down Harvested (and in a near future, perhaps Yeeshkul?) fans will again be obliged to buy these recordings from shady companies if they want them, instead of downloading them for free.
As usual the big three fansites (A Fleeting Glimpse, Brain Damage, NPF) haven't mentioned this news at all, afraid to no longer receive the crumbles falling off the Pink Floyd table and to be left in the cold when 'The Endless River' will come out. Col Turner, who went apeshit over Paul Loasby threatening him (read the article above) has removed all trace of the incident and, as such, it never happened. (It is still in the forum, but you have to dig deep to find it.)
Acoustic Sounds, who will press the vinyl version of 'The Endless River' (they also did the recent 'Division Bell' release), received the lacquers cut straight from Doug Sax and crew at The Mastering Lab (Los Angeles) and posted some pictures on their Facebook page this week. Guess what, these (innocent) pictures have now been deleted and we can only guess who is behind that.
Who would have thought that ultimately Pink Floyd would turn into the neo-fascist impersonation of their Wall album?
(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
Note: Toe Rag is also character in Douglas Adams' novel The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. He is an untrustworthy goblin, secretary of the mighty god Thor, abusing the trust and power the Nordic god gave him. Back to article.