Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air” so goes the first line of Pink Floyd’s 1971 album Echoes, taken from their album Meddle I like the tune and Albatross’ too though they are not so closely connected there is a connection here and this is just a continuation of that. I have listened to the music of Pink Floyd since I can remember and probably a little bit before that too as some of what I remember is not clear as some of the Pink Floyd that I have listened too. I have not had so much to do with Albatross’ just some dreams and a couple of paintings when they gave me inspiration and still are the dreams are interesting flying over restless heaving oceans and seeking always seeking for something lost or that which is not yet found.
It is said that the wandering Albatross mates for life that is to say that it is like finding its soul mate, their twin flame with which both souls can nurture and grow together and so on and into the next life whether that may take them.
The only connection Pink Floyd has with these magnificent sea birds is in one line of one song, from an album released in 1971 and you might say this piece of writing, all of this depends of course on whether someone else has written on the same subject matter well only time will tell.
Back when I was a child which is not really so long ago, I remember there was a short lived comic going under the title of Buddy it was never actually that good and did not last very long, but it did have a couple of free gifts and this made it worth the while of buying it, even if they were crap cheap and made of flimsy plastic.
I seem to remember there was a short piece about John McEnroe the tennis player and how he rose to fame or whatever I recall a drawing of him laying up against a wall listening to music through headphones with one of those speech bubble things saying. “Pink Floyd are a great band.” Now this was back in 1981 37 years ago. How I have remembered that is anyone’s guess. Whenever I first heard the band’s music is another matter altogether and what that music means to me is something else entirely. One could make faint guesses working on what albums were released and when though that would be pretty pointless for a start there was not much music in the family either because there was no one there us children being sent to boarding school from an early age and what the parents listened to if anything was a little different to say the least, there was certainly no guitar or drum kit involved so it must have been out of the house or some place as not having a radio until later made for a rather quiet life.
The Albatross’ is one of the longest lived of all bird species, many individuals living upward of fifty years or more. In this time the birds develop long ritualised dances which are perfected as the bird matures and finds a mate these dances becoming unique to each breeding pair.
With a wingspan of nearly twelve feet the great Albatrosses easily have the largest wingspan of any bird and it is this wingspan that enables them to enjoy prolonged flight without needing to flap its wings once indeed the only times when the bird does flap its wings is taking off and landing it being ill designed for continuous powered flight lacking the muscles and energy for such activity does make them dependent on ocean waves and currents and often they are forced to rest upon the ocean wave whilst waiting for the weather to pick up again.
How many Pink Floyd fans waited for the band to pick themselves up again and play once more as a four piece band, I was one and watched their set on 2nd July 2005 in Hyde Park London like it was going out of fashion in fact I still do, just to remind myself that it happened.
Since the bands acrimonious split in 1985 or whenever it was there has been very little mention of seabirds in their music either as solo artists or as a band though you may like to correct me here if I am mistaken to make up for that here are the lyrics in case anyone has forgotten them.
Echoes. Pink Floyd. Meddle 1971
Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air
And deep beneath the rolling waves in labyrinths of coral caves
The echo of a distant tide
Comes willowing across the sand
And everything is green and submarine
And no one showed us to the land
And no one knows the where’s or why’s
But something stirs and something tries
And starts to climb towards the light
Strangers passing in the street
By chance two separate glances meet
And I am you and what I see is me
And do I take you by the hand
And lead you through the land
And help me understand the best I can
And no one calls us to move on
And no one forces down our eyes
And no one speaks
And no one tries
And no one flies around the sun
Life is simply gaily fallen
Upon my waking eyes
Inviting and inciting me to rise
And through the window in the wall
Come streaming in on sunlight wings
A million bright ambassadors of morning
And no one sings me lullabies
And no one makes me close my eyes
So I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky.
Back in the day sailors considered it very bad luck to kill one of these sea birds the belief being that they were the souls of dead sailors drowned at sea.
Albatrosses have been described as “the most legendary of all birds”. An albatross is a central emblem in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) where a sailor kills an albatross and is punished by having an albatross hung around his neck.
Writing something about the band, though not as other books may have it the history the arguments and all the rest of it is though necessary at times boring and repetitive how many times does the history of the world need to be repeated ? Actually this is not the history of the world it is something more important than that. And as mentioned my personal history of the band goes back a long way, though it was only at sixteen that I really started listening to the band’s music properly. Since then I do not think there has been a single week, a single day even, where their music has not been played in my home, to some this may sound a little obsessive is there anything else he listens to? Sure there is, I am just not writing about it here.