Syd Barrett

Musical Empathy

The past few days have seen a good friend post several Pink Floyd songs to his Facebook timeline, a news story on Roger Waters' unsurprisingly politicized concert tour and, just now, my iTunes essentially saying, "Okay, asshole, the universe is telling you to listen to the Floyd, so I guess I'll just put you back in cosmic line. Motherfucker..."

There are often reasons for why I choose not to listen to certain songs or bands at certain times.  One reason is because of the memories associated with them.  Another is because of the pain of musical empathy.  Pink Floyd falls into that category, so I have to be careful of my mood and mindset before I partake of the auditory manna that is Pink Floyd.  

What exactly is this thing I call musical empathy?  Basically, it's when I feel the message of the music so deeply that I become that music.  I got a double dose of musical empathy with Pink Floyd.  Even though I'd heard their music before, I didn't really get into them until I was given a 45 RPM of 'On the Turning Away' by Uncle Michael in 1986. While I was reading an article in Rolling Stone about Pink Floyd, the next 45 that dropped on my record player just happened to be that record.  I heard the song for the first time whilst reading about Syd Barrett's descent into madness for the first time.  What are the odds? I felt his story so deeply, so jarringly, I felt like I was losing my mind.

It didn't help when, just a few months later, I would meet the man who would be my closest friend for 25 years, and he was very heavily into the band, particularly 'The Wall'.  I saw the movie for the first time with him.  We ended up memorising every single vocal noise on the album and the movie soundtrack.  There were times when we'd spend almost every evening after work, watching and acting out the film, or just listening to the album and singing along.  It was a beautiful time, but also a dangerous one, for me.  I was too immersed in it all, and my first bad bout with depression occurred right around this time.  It would be a few years before I was diagnosed with depressive disorder, but I think Pink Floyd awoke some long-slumbering serpent that may not have reared its head for a long time to come, if ever.

Do I regret my relationship with Pink Floyd?  Only when my mood prevents me from listening to them.  This past week has seen me in "one of my turns", so listening just wasn't an option, until today.  So now I'm bingeing and it sounds and feels oh so very good!

  • Current Location: Janice's
  • Current Mood: recumbent recumbent
  • Current Music: Pink Floyd - On the Turning away
I don't really have much to say to this. I just wanted to use my Syd icon.