Thursday, March 5, 2015

#TDB20, Viking Poetry, and Marooned on Earth as Viewed from Space

Artwork from Storm Thorgerson from Pink Floyd's The Division Bell

Pink Floyd's album The Division Bell was released over two decades ago! 

One of my favorite memories from the mid-1990s was when I spent an entire day listening to this album over-and-over while sitting in an old rocking chair and reading poems from  The Viking Book of Poetry of the English-Speaking World. The skylight windows were open in the attic room where I was reading and a soft summer breeze brought warm drafts of air to where I was sitting. I can still close my eyes and feel the warmth as I rocked back-and-forth and lost myself in a world of poetry and music.

I honestly can't recall anymore how many hundreds of pages of classic poetry I read that day, but the sounds of Floyd and the poetry seemed to flow together into a collage of various thoughts and emotions that hit me in various ways as the hours passed. Ah, youth.

The Division Bell was reissued last year, the 20th year since its original release. For #TBD20, they've also cut a new video for the song Marooned. The song is a chilling instrumental piece that was cut from a few improvised takes onboard David Gilmour's houseboat/recording-studio, the Astoria. The original setting was said to be their feeling of being marooned on an island, but this new video shows something a bit different. 

Starting with views from orbit of our planet, our island in the cosmos, the video then takes us to the now-abandoned Pripyat, Ukraine. Pripyat was abandoned due to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. On our little island in the cosmos, on our only home, we've built empires and industries, art and science, and yet we've also built disaster and destruction. Your interpretation of the video may be different from mine, especially with regard to the individual performing calculations at the end, but I see it as a story of marooned humanity; this is, to me, a vision of what it would be like if we were to lose our ambitions for a future. Our species is now at a point where we can foresee leaving our little island to explore the greater cosmos, yet, if we don't take care of our island, we could end up feeling less like inhabitants of a beautiful world and more like prisoners marooned in a prison of our own making. 

What do you think?


  1. Ah Pink Floyd! I'm appreciating them more and more as I get older. It's really interesting to hear that it was released two decades ago, their music has aged well I'd say!

  2. Have you heard The Endless River yet? It was just released last November and features songs that are mostly from the unused studio sessions from when they were making The Division Bell. Terrifically good music to sit and relax with.