When I was ten or eleven my soon-to-be brother-in-law gave me his old Phillips’ cassette recorder and tapes of Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother, and Meddle. I listened to it a lot.
Pink Floyd was involved the first time I ever found a man idiotic enough to knock down. I was 15, in Athens, at a disco. This man in a white catsuit wanted to talk about “Pin Floyngd.” It was hot; we sat outside on a wall. I lit a cigarette and began to enjoy the stars. But he wouldn’t shut up. He said he was going into the army tomorrow and would like one more night with a girl. Then he put his arm around me. I rolled my eyes and pushed him backwards off the wall. While he struggled and squawked (I’m guessing a skin-tight catsuit has downsides) behind me, I finished my cigarette. Then I went inside, where they were playing “Money” from Dark Side of the Moon.
Earlier this year I made a playlist for Menewood and included several tracks of that early Pink Floyd (from Ummagumma, Meddle, and Relics). The more I listen to it, the more clear it becomes that this music—its rhythms and sensibilities—is intimately entwined with my work.
So for this this Memorial Day weekend, here’s one of my favourites, “Grantchester Meadows.” Have patience, it begins quietly. And if you’re the kind who wouldn’t hurt a fly I recommend stopping just before the 7-minute mark; I always do.