If the rumours arriving at Atagong Mansion are true - and why shouldn't they? - the relationship between Mr. Gilmour and Mr. Waters is again at a very low level, so low that they can't be bothered visiting the Their Mortal Remains exhibition together, or just making a mutual statement about it.
The Early Years
The last time they really had to cooperate, or that their lawyers and agents had to work together, was with the making of The Early Years box-set (and its satellite releases). For the average fan this seems a nice compilation, with many previously unreleased gems, although the average fan will not be immediately tempted, just try to listen to John Latham (parts 1 to 9) in its entirety or get through ten (10!) different versions of Atom Heart Mother. Unfortunately the editors lost interest in the project and the closer you get to the final tome, the less rare material there is to find. In the end they had to throw in a few movies that every collector already has and yet another remaster of Obscured By Clouds to get something, uh..., mildly significant.
The Early Years compilation is meant for those über-fans, those completists, who eat, breathe and defecate Pink Floyd on a daily basis. And these hard-to-please crusty old dinosaurs were hugely disappointed with the amateurish treatment. An unique mono soundtrack – never (officially) released - was replaced with the common stereo one, by a project manager who was on the job for two decades but who didn't give a fuck to glue the right sound to the right video. Things went wrong with the analogue to digital conversion and video soundtracks play at the wrong speed. The 'exclusive' (remixed and remastered) BBC live recordings are in a worse condition than the free footwear you can find on Yeeshkul... Basically, for Floydian super-geeks, it is a mess. (Read our review at: Supererog/Ation: skimming The Early Years).
Their Mortal Remains
About the same can be said about the London-based Their Mortal Remains exhibition. Now this is clearly a mass-event made to please the big public. Visiting a rock-band exhibition is a bit like fucking for peace, it's pleasant, no doubt about that, but in the end: what's the point, other than saying: 'look at all these guitars'.
Critical fans describe the exhibition as 'lots of show, with little substance' with posters and video clips and accessories that everyone has seen before. One room has been created especially for Sennheiser so they can promote their 379£ - 500$ - 425€ Pink Floyd headset. The main goal of the exhibition is to get as many people as possible into the shop that sells a lot of expensive goodies. Let's go to (a vitriolic) Peter At The Gates Of Dawn (A Fleeting Glimpse forum) for a precise description:
It gets worse and worse. What's wrong with the old gits? This V&A thing has been appallingly organised with dodgy overpriced die cast vans you can't buy, plush pigs with 'Pink Floyd Animals' printed on their arse in case you're not a Floyd fan and thought it might be just a plush pig and the Atom Heart Mother fridge magnet with Atom Heart Mother written on it so the current 'management' knows where it belongs and don't accidentally includes it as a Kate Bush item. (…)
Now a book die hards have been waiting 40+ years for, released in a manner which can only be an insult to its author. Definitely an insult to the fans but hopefully to Dave Gilmour too. Sneaked out exclusively so none of us can read it.
In The Pink
That last paragraph is about a curiosity that suddenly showed up in the V&A shop: Nick Sedgwick's long-promised 'In The Pink (Not A Hunting Memoir)'. It was already rumoured in April 2016 that the exhibition would eventually sell copies of that book, but it only showed up there (and at the webshop) on the 20th of July 2017, some say in a very limited quantity of 20 copies.
The story of that book is a pretty odd one, not an exception if you realise we are currently roaming in Floyd-land.
Nick Sedgwick was a close friend of Roger Waters in their Cambridge days and as such it was no surprise that he became part of the Cambridge mafia, circling in and around the band. In 1974 Waters ask his golf buddy to follow the band on tour and write a journal about it. That diary turned into a personal testimony of life on the road and its intrinsic problems. It (apparently) shows Roger Waters playing the alpha male of the band, bossing the others around and trying to cope with a failing marriage.
When the book was finished none of the other members were keen on it and it was shelved. Nick Sedgwick died in 2011 and Waters promised to finally release it, but for the next 6 years nothing happened with the manuscript (see: Immersion). It was believed that David Gilmour was behind the boycott because Nick Mason, after all these decades, couldn't be bothered any more. Eventually Roger Waters promised in 2016 and once again this year that the project was still on, but we all know how long it can take before he fulfils his promises.
But this week it was confirmed by fans that they had purchased the book at Their Mortal Remains. What is weird is that the book doesn't have an ISBN number, which is needed to sell it on webshops like Amazon and in regular bookshops. It does have the following mention though:
Design and layout copyright (c) Roger Waters Music Overseas Ltd 2017
Published by Roger Waters Music Overseas Ltd 2017
Meanwhile it seems that the book can also be bought at Roger Waters' concerts in the USA and V&A has allegedly received a new batch as well.
Many things can still be said about this important work, that was once described by Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake as 'dynamite', but as long as the Church doesn't have a copy we'll leave it like that. The problem is that it appears to be pretty limited and that the only place to get it is at a Waters gig or at the London exhibition (hint!).
Give us a sign if you have one too many! (another hint!)
Update: a copy of this book landed on our desk in 2018, our review can be found here: Roger is always right.)
Many thanks to: An@log, Azerty, Chris from Paris, Mob, Peter at the
Gates of Dawn, Pink Floyd 1977, TW113079. Pictures: Peter at the Gates
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥