On Friday, July 14th, I was lucky enough to go to the V&A Museum in London and explore their breathtaking new exhibition on my favourite band of all time: Pink Floyd. As we made our way around the museum, with headphones playing a soundtrack tailored to each part of the exhibit, it really did feel like we were taking a trip through the history of Pink Floyd and being immersed into the psychedelic minds which created their legacy. From the member’s original instruments and handwritten lyrics, to album artwork and memorabilia, everything was displayed in the most captivating way, making it a truly stunning and unforgettable experience.
The journey started with the beginnings of Pink Floyd’s career, heavily focussing on Syd Barrett as the original force behind the band between 1965 and 1968. Displayed on the walls were lyrics he had written to songs such as Jugband Blues, as well as letters he wrote to his lover, Jenny, and art he had created. All of which aimed to show the vision he had for the band and ultimately what was going through his mind before his unfortunate downward spiral, although no one will ever really know what that was.
After walking through what can only be described as a kaleidoscopic rabbit hole, with the exterior replicating Floyd’s first tour van, we entered a room filled with artefacts and information about their first 8 albums. From Piper At The Gates Of Dawn in 1967, to the moment Pink Floyd became a global sensation in 1973 with Dark Side Of The Moon, the telling of their story was achieved with a fascinating audio-visual sophistication.
Many articles on display were vintage instruments played by the members of Pink Floyd. For example the two Fenders used by Syd Barrett on Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, along with his Zippo lighter which he used as a slider to create sounds which had never been heard before, all pictured above.
As we moved further around the exhibition we were presented with multiple bass guitars of Roger’s, a keyboard belonging to Richard Wright which he played for over 30 years of the band’s career, and drum sticks and drum covers used by Nick Mason. Each instrument had been marked and damaged from the relentless rehearsing and touring they endured, but each one told a story as captivating as the next.
The next room, dedicated to Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon was pitch black apart from a screen projecting a holographic prism floating through space, and with Great Gig In The Sky playing through our headphones the atmosphere was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I found myself, as well as everyone else, entranced by the beauty of it and even shed a tear or two, as I was transported to another place in my head. The fact that the iconic imagery and powerful music of Pink Floyd can still have such an impact just proves how significant and timeless they are and will always be as a rock band.
Pictured is a piece of album artwork made for the 30th anniversary edition of DSOTM by Storm Thorgerson, featuring a stained glass prism similar to the original.
As we moved on, we entered a room exhibiting Pink Floyd’s subsequent album, Wish You Were Here. Each of the walls had projected on it a piece of artwork done by Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis, such as the iconic cover image pictured above. Each image portrayed a theme of absence, to match with the feeling of the album, as it was written in dedication to the former band member Syd Barrett and his descent into mental illness. This display couldn’t help but give a shiver down the spine, especially as playing through the headphones was Roger and Dave doing an acoustic performance of the pivotal Wish You Were Here.
In the same room, hand written lyrics to Have A Cigar were on display. This is just one example of many lyric notebooks you can see at the exhibit, allowing you to better understand how they were originally written and the thought that was put into each song.
The next part of our journey brought us to a room in which one half was a wall looming over us, and the other, a towering model of Battersea power station. These represented the two iconic albums, Animals (1977) and The Wall (1979), which are both in their own right powerful concept albums, filled with political criticism and harsh, but relevant, views of the world. Hanging from the cieling was Algie, the famous inflatable pig, and stage props used on The Wall world tour in 1980.
Further on in this room was a small secion dedicated to Pink Floyd’s subsequent 1983 concept album, and Roger’s final album with the band, The Final Cut. A mannequinn dressed as a soldier, with a knife in his back, surrounded by poppies, stood in a dimly lit alcove in the wall as Two Suns In The Sunset sounded through our headphones. This was all that was necessary to understand the meaning behind the album and the emotions Roger poured into it.
After spending time in the parts of the exhibition about A Momentary Lapse of Reason of 1987 and the followinf live album Delicate Sound of Thunder, we turned a corner to see the mezmorising Division Bell heads standing about as tall as a double decker bus. Interviews and song lyrics were also on display from the 1994 album, but the sight of the monumental heads was what caught everyone’s attention.
We then proceeded to a room for Pink Floyd’s final album The Endless River, which was released in 2014, 20 years after the release of The Division Bell. A touching interview with David Gilmour explained how the album was dedicated to the late Richard Wright, whose influence on Pink Floyd was incomparible, despite him happily being in the background for most of their career.
The exhibit was concluded with a short film shown on a screen which encompassed all four walls of a room, accompanied by Sennheiser surround sound. The film gave a brief, but immersive history of the band by playing 4 songs, from their first single Arnold Layne in 1967, to footage from their final performance as a band together at Live8 in 2005. As lazers and stage lights flew across the room we were once again transported somewhere else, with the evolution and growth of Pink Floyd unravelling before our eyes.
Leaving the exhibition was like a harsh snap back to reality after having spent 5 hours inside the minds of Pink Floyd. Being able to see their imagination brought to life, and exploring everything there is to know about one of the biggest and most inventive bands ever, is something I would experience over and over again without a doubt.
This Friday, Blair Witch, a reboot of the iconic horror film The Blair Witch Project, hits theaters. Helmed by Sundance alums and director/screenwriter duo Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett (V/H/S, V/H/S-2, The Guest), production on the new Blair Witch was kept a surprise under the working title The Woods until its trailer debut at San Diego Comic Con.
The original Blair Witch Project premiered at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, where it was purchased by Artisan Entertainment after an all-night bidding war following its premiere. It was produced on a budget of $60,000 and grossed over $248,000,000 at the box office, making it one of the most successful independent releases of all time. The Blair Witch Project was a trailblazer in many ways: it popularized the ‘found footage’ style of horror movies and used internet advertising in innovative and immersive ways.
Top 10 Must-Pack Items for Your Spring Getaway from MR PORTER.COM
Gents, we know you work hard. But with work comes play, and what better way to take a break from the normal day-to-day grind than to go on a spring getaway?
No matter where you go this spring to recharge your batteries, make sure you’re dressed to impress. With the help of the sartorial experts at MR PORTER.COM and their top spring trends, we get you ready for your trip with this curated collection of 10 must-pack items for your spring getaway.