As A Matter Of Fact, It’s All Dark

I am not afraid to die. Any time will do, I don’t mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There’s no reason for it — you’ve got to do it sometime.

Gerry O’Driscoll was the doorman at Abbey Road Studios in late 1972. He, like quite a few other random people, was put in a dark room with a live microphone, and asked to respond to questions on flash cards to generate audio samples. This particular bit was sampled in The Great Gig In The Sky. I cannot pick between that sample, “There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me,” and “Don’t give me that do goody-good bullshit,” as my favorite lines from Dark Side Of The Moon, an album that holds up very, very well indeed nearly forty years after it was recorded (!), and which deserves to be listened to all the way through.

My wife calls Pink Floyd “That strange band that boys like and the more they listen to it the less they get laid,” but I refuse to stop listening to them despite the implied threat in her (sadly accurate) description. And no, I wasn’t smoking anything when I listened to Dark Side again recently; I confess to a enjoying few fingers of Scotch, though.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. I liked Pink Floyd from the beginning. You may assure your wife there were a certain fraction of Floyd Fans who had no trouble getting laid, often accompanied by the mournful strains of the Meddle album.

    The Floyd emerges as the zeitgeist of a generation of boys scarred by war and privation. Roger Waters’ father entered WW2 as a Conscientious Objector and drove an ambulance during the Blitz. He later became an officer and died at Anzio when Roger was a baby.

    It’s hard to be a boy. It’s especially hard to be a sensitive boy. Maybe things are easier now but I raised a sensitive boy and it was hard for him, too. He, too, loved the Floyd. And like his father, he’d fall in love and weep horribly over the ending of each little tempestuous relationship, a tendency which only seemed to endear him further to girls. Those boys who wear their hearts on their sleeves might suffer, but not for lack of female companionship.

    Nor are Floyd fans an exclusively male club. I came in late from work one night, in the middle of a thunderstorm. I walked into the living room unobserved, to find my oldest daughter swaying like a snake to Dark Side of the Moon.

    Maybe I raised a brood of strange kids but they all took up music with a will and pilfered from their father’s CD and LP collection relentlessly. Adolescence is painful: the music most dear to me (and likely it’s true for others) is the music of those times. If given the chance, I’d return to age 30 in a heartbeat. But not for love or money would I return to age 13.

  2. I still love Dark Side too. I also love the folklore about dubbing with The Wizard of Oz. And, I love the line, “The lunatic is on the grass”. You don’t often get popular art as inventive as Dark Side!

  3. It feels like I’m too busy for Pink Floyd these days. While the Beatles or the Who, you can listen to part of an album while you;re driving to work… of through their songs into a shuffle. But with Pink Floyd, you kind of have to commit to sitting down for 40 minutes (or twice that if it’s The Wall).

    I can’t even remember the last time I listened to Pink Floyd.

  4. Dark Side of the Moon was my first infatuation album. I’d get home from school, carefully remove it from the liner, clean it with my spongy record cleaner, put on the headphones…

    Record-playing was such a fun ritual back then, even down to the scratchy sound from the stylus before it grabbed a groove.

    And while I won’t dispute the greatness of the lines you mentioned, my favorite is the last one “…but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.” For some reason that one line was like a koan in my brain and perfectly summed up so much of what’s wrong and right about life on this planet.

  5. A good number of my female friends throughout life (including my wife) have been Pink Floyd fans, so I will quibble with your dear spouse. Of late, though, I find myself less and less able to listen to them. The emotions/beliefs that once animated my fondness for them have increasingly changed, and while I still appreciate the lyric writing and the musical virtuosity, I just don’t feel it like I once did.

    Then there’s the sad fact that radio stations rarely venture beyond “Money,” (one of the weakest songs on the album, imo, when playing Pink Floyd. The sound of cash registers opening now frequently triggers psychotic breaks, leaving a trail of dead cashiers behind me as I’m doing my Christmas shopping.

  6. Having just turned the big 40, the lyrics to “Time” seem to ring with a bit more importance and relevance. And I like to make myself depressed by listening to other people sing of my mortality.

Comments are closed.