Bob Schwartz

Tag: Pink Floyd

Safely Listening to the Eclipse

 

Safely Listening to the Eclipse

How does the sun sound
Obscured by the moon
Invisible imperceptible waves
That permanently
Blind your mind

Note: Despite mind blindness, don’t be afraid to listen to the eclipse. Put on your earphones and listen to the only eclipse song that matters.

All that you touch
And all that you see
All that you taste
All you feel
And all that you love
And all that you hate
All you distrust
All you save
And all that you give
And all that you deal
And all that you buy
Beg, borrow or steal
And all you create
And all you destroy
And all that you do
And all that you say
And all that you eat
And everyone you meet
And all that you slight
And everyone you fight
And all that is now
And all that is gone
And all that’s to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon

Eclipse, Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd

 

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Poem, Joke, Etc.: Confused Birds

Confused Birds

These birds are confused
Not angry
Wondering where
The cold winds are.
Exulting in
Extended summer.
What’s time to a bird
Or me?

The line “What’s time to a bird” is borrowed from a favorite joke with a surprisingly philosophical punch line. It goes something like this:

A guy is driving along a country road. He sees a farmer under an oak tree, holding up a pig so the pig can eat acorns. The guy stops. “You know,” the guy says, “it would be a lot easier and take a lot less time if you just shook the tree and let the acorns fall to the ground.” “Maybe,” says the farmer, “but what’s time to a pig?”

More about birds:

In the sky a bird was heard to cry.
Misty morning whisperings and gentle stirring sounds
Belied a deathly silence that lay all around.
Hear the lark and harken to the barking of the dog fox gone to ground.
See the splashing of the kingfisher flashing to the water.
Grantchester Meadow, Pink Floyd

“Well, then, just what does it mean that everybody has the Buddha Mind?…in the course of listening to my talk, if a dog barks outside the temple, you recognize it as the voice of a dog; if a crow caws, you know it’s a crow…you didn’t come with any preconceived idea that if, while I was talking, there were sounds of dogs and birds, children or grown-ups somewhere outside, you were deliberately going to try to hear them. Yet here in the meeting you recognize the noises of dogs and crows outside and the sounds of people talking… the fact that you recognize these things you didn’t expect to see or hear shows you’re seeing and hearing with the Unborn Buddha Mind.”
From Bankei Zen: Translations from the Record of Bankei

Respected Political Journalist John Heilemann Calls Trump a Lunatic

Eclipse

You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me

John Heilemann is one of the most respected, talented and fair-minded political journalists in America.

He and his partner Mark Halperin  have written two of the most insightful and entertaining presidential campaign books of all time: Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime  and Double Down: Game Change 2012. They are the Managing Editors of Bloomberg Politics. They have a weekly show about the campaign on Showtime called The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth. They have a daily show for Bloomberg Politics that airs on MSNBC called With All Due Respect.

It was on that show that something extraordinary happened yesterday. It was a tiny moment, one that could go unnoticed and unremarked. Talking about Donald Trump and the week he has had, Heilemann called Trump a lunatic.

One possibility is that despite the overwhelming evidence of a career marked by even-handed reporting, Heilemann has all along been a substandard journalist with a secret partisan agenda. The other possibility is that Heilemann is a great professional journalist who just finally had enough and could not avoid speaking the obvious.

In the event, hearing the word brought to mind the song I think about any time the word lunatic pops up, Pink Floyd’s Brain Damage from Dark Side of the Moon. It is the penultimate track on the album, leading into the closing Eclipse. The song is inspired in part by the tragic story of original Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett, whose genius was paired with and compromised by mental illness.

This may have absolutely nothing to do with the presidential campaign and election. Then again…

The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path

The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me ’til I’m sane
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

John Kasich Will Reunite Pink Floyd

Ohio governor and Republican candidate John Kasich has said that if elected President, he will try to reunite Pink Floyd.

“And if I’m President, I am going to once and for all try to reunite Pink Floyd to come together and play a couple of songs. And since we have so much trouble in America with our finances, I’m going to (ask the band to) start with a little song they created called Money.”

This is obviously meant to announce that Kasich is down with whatever the kids are/were listening to (he said his favorite concert of all time was seeing them on “The Wall” tour). And it is probably better than Marco Rubio’s professing his love for Wu Tang Clan.

The ability to reunite Pink Floyd may not be a qualification to be President. But if he can also resurrect the late great Syd Barrett for the concert, I think we’ve got our new Commander (Concert Promoter) in Chief.

Darkside: When Philosophy Drama Pink Floyd and Madness Collide

Darkside
Last week, the most unusual pop album ever was released. That’s an incredible overstatement, literally unbelievable, because who has listened to all those truly out-there albums and how could you possibly contrast and compare them anyway?

Okay, last week, the most philosophical unusual pop album ever was released.

Tom Stoppard, maybe the greatest of all living English-language playwrights, is a longtime Pink Floyd fan, with a special place in his heart for Syd Barrett, the disturbed creator who sparked the group, even after his untimely but unavoidable departure. You may know Stoppard most popularly for his Oscar-winning work as co-writer of Shakespeare in Love. Before and after that, his total embrace of language, philosophy, literature and the overall beautiful strangeness of people led to masterful theatre and, often, radio plays.

When the BBC wanted to mark the 40th anniversary of Dark Side of the Moon, they asked Stoppard to create one of his radio concoctions. The result is Darkside, which integrates dramatic scenes into the music of the album.

Description is futile. Stoppard has always believed that philosophy is a form of play, that you can play philosophy the way you do language and music and entertain with it. Listeners and viewers might also learn something. Here we have clever demonstrations of moral philosophy and discussion of the nature of thought itself; that is, as he keeps pointing out, what he is doing is a thought experiment—as is all creativity. He then asks us and them about the juggler on the radio: there is a juggler on the radio, but not hearing him, how do we know? Do we believe in the juggler?

What is most clear listening to Darkside is not just that Stoppard knows how to play with words and mind, but that Pink Floyd was just as agile doing the same, with the addition of some of the most memorable and popular music of all time. Dark Side of the Moon was on the Billboard 200 chart for 14 years after it was released in 1973, and still hovers near there, 40 million copies later. Thousands still buy it every week and somewhere right now someone is listening and discovering something. Stoppard has devised a valuable appreciation of the weird wonder that is Dark Side, making it just a bit more wonderful. The lunatic is still on the grass and in your head.

All that you touch
And all that you see
All that you taste
All you feel
And all that you love
And all that you hate
All you distrust
All you save
And all that you give
And all that you deal
And all that you buy
Beg, borrow or steal
And all you create
And all you destroy
And all that you do
And all that you say
And all that you eat
And everyone you meet
And all that you slight
And everyone you fight
And all that is now
And all that is gone
And all that’s to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon
Eclipse, Dark Side of the Moon

Us And Them: Presidential Pink Floyd

In response to ABC’s Robin Roberts’ questions about Mitt Romney’s tax returns, Ann Romney stood firm:

“We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life.”

The benefit of the doubt might indicate that “you people” meant “the media” rather than the huddled masses yearning for information and transparency. But it does seem to fit the storyline that the Romneys believe, appropriately, that the rich are different.

In either case, Pink Floyd’s Us and Them from Dark Side of the Moon came to mind. Us and Them is hauntingly beautiful and multivalently obscure. Hundreds of interpretations have been generated (war? money? Kent State? Syd Barrett?). Who knows? This is art and Pink Floyd, for God’s sake, and like the rest of Dark Side it both washes over you and seeps into you.

Us and them
And after all we’re only ordinary men.
Me and you.
God only knows it’s not what we would choose to do.

Black and blue
And who knows which is which and who is who.
Up and down.
But in the end it’s only round and round.

Haven’t you heard it’s a battle of words
The poster bearer cried.
Listen son, said the man with the gun
There’s room for you inside.

Down and out
It can’t be helped but there’s a lot of it about.
With, without.
And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about?

Us and Them is clearly the theme of this Presidential campaign. So much so that we should adapt the Dark Side of the Rainbow approach, in which Dark Side of the Moon is mind-blowingly synchronized as the soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz. In this case, Dark Side can be synchronized to your choice of campaign videos. This is not as crazy as it sounds, especially given that both Obama and Romney have exhibited their musical chops. It is doubtful that either one has ever tried singing anything from Pink Floyd, or in Romney’s case even heard the band, but it would be fun and enlightening. The bright promise of politics in Eclipse, maybe?:

All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel.
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save.
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy,
beg, borrow or steal.
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say.
All that you eat
And everyone you meet
All that you slight
And everyone you fight.
All that is now
All that is gone
All that’s to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.