It was, he said, a matter of corporate vandalism that the building had been left an empty shell, slowly rotting from its insides. Despicable that such a cultural landmark was left to rack and ruin by the winding river. His dog, loyally and eagerly, bounded after the ball that he threw into the grassy field. The park was a welcome break from the terraced housing that surrounded the area. The gently upwardly sloping centre of the park offered treeless views of the city, of the towers of glass and steel, of the hustle and bustle of capital life, and of the four chimney building that stood vacant and listless by the waters edge. A theme park they said! How he laughed a hollow spiteful laugh, and now it is to be flats! Another chuckle at the wanton piecemeal partition of business deals conducted behind closed doors.
The biggest brick building in Europe represents a suitable metaphor for the degradation of the British state, empty and morally bankrupt. Did he say this? I am not sure, but I felt he could have.
At night the water laps gently against the sandy shore, against the slowly rotting wooden wharves, and against the beating heart of the city itself. The chimneys stand silent and majestic against the dark night sky, the starlight shining through the empty and barren windows.
High Hopes is a Pink Floyd number from their last studio album, The Division Bell, which was released in 1994. The song is very beautiful and melodic, especially when heard performed live (check the youtube videos, and particularly this one). The soaring slide guitar and the evocative singing/lyrics are introduced by the ringing of the bell itself, and the chord progression is darkly seducing. I shall have to have a look at the guitar chords myself when I get time. The multi-instrumentalist David Gilmour’s guitar playing is fascinating, and infuses life into the normal minor pentatonic cliches so prevalent in mainstream rock guitar, often giving his guitar solo’s a melodious meld of bluesy flurries with a space rock, loose vibe. A fantastic interview on his guitar playing approach and choices of musical equipment can be found here.
Incidentally, the video of the live Pulse concert certainly helped me focus my mind and enabled me to write my thesis for my Masters dissertation. The 1994 Pulse concert, from Earls Court in London, lasts for a staggering 2 hours and 24 minutes. High Hopes comes on at around 19 minutes in on the video, but it is worth watching the whole concert, especially the frankly epic conclusion. Although it sounds pretty good through my laptop speakers back at home, nothing can quite evoke the many late night hours spent at the University library listening to this concert on a constant loop, with my ear phones plugged in and the volume turned up loud, helping make sense of the isotopic data for the thesis. Hope you enjoy this song as much as I have…