As I get older, I find my mind increasingly regresses to the past because it is somehow better, rosier and the days were sunnier. As far as music went, you could hear the words and the guitars. Hence, the Think Floyd gig in the heady atmosphere of Warrington Parr Hall (where spookily I last went to see Roy Harper over ten years ago) on May 10th is the event I have most eagerly anticipated in an age. I’ve been back to my old Floyd albums and found that it is still fundamentally good music - which is more than can be said for the later, post-split material that was the main focus when I was a student.
Sadly, it is now quite clear that Floyd might as well be regarded as an ex-band, and sadder still, this seems preferable to another album like The Division Bell or, gawdhelpus, A Momentary Lapse of Finance and another tour in which the stragglers “plaster on a fake smile and plough through the same old shit one more time”. The same could be said of Genesis and, if they were actually releasing anything, probably the Sisters of Mercy (nice to see Andrius Sytas making a formal complaint about the inactivity though). That’s three of the main bands I liked in my formative years. Sigh.
Kids need heroes. That’s why we Floyd fans tried to convince ourselves that the break-up was a good thing, leading to our heroes producing twice as much material. But sober analysis by a thirty year old man who no longer believes in heroes proves that AMLOR and Radio KAOS were weak, unsatisfactory albums. Of course, we knew that at the time too, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to accept it. The evidence was clear on every page of Floyd fanzine “The Amazing Pudding” (was I ever that much of a trainspotter??). But that meant writing the band off, and then who would we believe in?
Roger Waters was right - the post-1985 Floyd was a clever, ersatz fake that denigrated the overall legacy. The live videos illustrate that what we thought was a spectacular tour was really an extravagant CD player. Dave Gilmour was right - Roger Waters needs someone to edit the crap. If the guy really believes Amused To Death, a CD I’m scared to put next to my Floyd albums in case cross-contamination occurs, was an all time Great, overlooked Album, he’s clearly not arrived back on earth yet. And his latest release, a live retread of his past, lacks the fire and glory of proper Floyd.
Genesis completely lost their way, bleating that “it’s harder to write short songs than long ones, you know”, while neglecting to point out that the results didn’t usually justify the extra effort. Their single-minded pursuit of the popular pound, with Phil Collins at the controls like Captain Kirk with suicidal dementia, went straight up a blind alley, and the only bright spot was that Collins was as stuck as they were, even after jumping ship. Hence his half-hearted apologies for denigrating their glorious past, and endless reunion teasers (because we want to believe, we really do, that those guys could still make Foxtrot 2).
So no, I don’t need heroes anymore, but I do appreciate something to hold on to - albums I bought fifteen years ago that will remain classics despite the outrages committed since.