3 July, 2013
I'm a lucky guy. I really am. I have an amazing wife, two gorgeous, whip-smart kids, a nice place to live, a great job working with some of the top people in my profession. Any problem or complaint I might have about my life pales into insignificance when compared to people with real problems.
I don't worry about where my next meal is coming from. I don't fret about my children being abducted, or sold into slavery.
And yet I'm pretty deeply unhappy with myself right now. I continually feel like I'm struggling to keep up; I'm continually behind, constantly late, without the energy to get back on top, my catalogue of tiny failures slowly consuming all the air in the room.
I couldn't even ship this bloody article on time.
The first time I saw The Wall was with my dad. I was probably seventeen at the time, and had finally got hold of a copy on a tape.
Dad wasn't a Floyd fan. That's not to say he didn't like the music, he was just more of an Elvis or Buddy Holly guy, with Simon and Garfunkel rolling in a close second. His existential doubt involved down-and-out fighters standing in clearings and proclaiming their intent to leave. Mine was much more direct.
During the film though, I noticed that my dad had tears rolling down his cheeks. I never mentioned it to him, and hadn't really revisited that memory since then, but since it dropped in on me unannounced, it's been preying on my mind.
The Wall is heavily autobiographical. Waters has said more than once that he had to write the album, he had to analyse what he had become, and where that had come from. A large part of the answer to that lay in the fact that his father had died when he was very young, and that much of his life since then had been a subconscious grieving process that only really started to end with The Wall.
My dad's mum died when he was fourteen. Dad was shipped around the country to various relatives, and often talked fondly of his time at schools down in England. Watching some of The Wall again, I can imagine dad seeing himself as a young Pink (he was only a year older than Waters), running around the fields and canals in his school shorts, painfully aware of the gaping void in his life, but unable to articulate how he felt.
I can see him finding a lot of himself in that film, now. And watching carefully, I can see a lot of my last six months in there as well, grieving for a lost memory, a dream that has gone, replaced by a dull, coddling ache.
I always figured I understood The Wall: it's portrayal of repression and grief are pretty clear, there's not a lot hidden away that you have to dig out.
What I hadn't appreciated was quite how terrifyingly accurate the damn thing was.
This right here?
This is every morning.