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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Trees held us in on all four sides so thick we could not see / I could not see any wrong in you, and you saw none in me.
— Woody Guthrie, Remember the Mountain Bed
May 27, 2012

Rogers Waters: The Wall Live

I see a lot of shows, but I don’t see a lot of large shows. The last show I saw in anything approaching an arena was probably about twenty years ago when U2 toured the Achtung Baby. The truth is, arena shows leave me hollow most of the time.

Some shows are worth seeing in an arena though, and when a friend invites you to go see Roger Waters live performance of The Wall you don’t say no. You go, even if you can’t take your good cameras.

Like a lot of people my age, I first heard The Wall as a teenaged kid when the anthemic Another Brick the Wall (Part II) was a fairly major radio hit. In my case, a slightly older friend living next door introduced me to the full album along with Dark Side of the Moon. There’s nothing remotely surprising about that: it’s almost a cliche.

The Wall has always and unabashedly been a concept album and the visual aspect of it is as important as the music. As a concept album it’s aged well in both respects: while the album makes clear references to World War II, there were numerous references in the live show to wars that have come (and gone) since those days. Waters’ personal politics are on display in the form of Shell and Mercedes-Benz logos being dropped as bombs during Goodbye Blue Sky. The lyric “Mother should I trust the government” was accompanied by the message No Fucking Way scrawled along the wall in enormous letters. Images of repressed and poor people were contrasted with a pretty clear dig at the cult of Apple as the words iTeach, iLearn and iPay appeared.

There are aspects that feel dated. Background tracks that include distant, faded voices over a phone accompanied by the sound of dialtone, a sound that’s rapidly disappeared from our lives. The images on The Wall fracture at one point as the glass of a television is smashed, something that’s virtually impossible in the modern flat screen era.

For the most part, though, The Wall has—like all great works of art—aged well. Concept albums often have an earnestness to them that can make them seem forced and makes them fail. The Decemberists’ The King is Dead was marketed as one, and it just seemed pretentious; Rush’s 2112 predates The Wall but it seems like a relic of its time at this point. The Wall doesn’t. Written years ago by “that poor miserable fucked up little Roger,” as Waters describes his younger self, it’s an inspired work.

I suspect the irony of a tour that costs tens of millions of dollars to stage isn’t lost on Waters as he stands in front of an audience that’s paying as much as a few hundred dollars for a couple of hours of entertainment. Those Shell and Mercedes-Benz logos dropping from the sky are, after all, being transported around the world by 95 fuel powered trucks. I’m not sure the audience, having already paid their hard earned money, cared. For most of the 40,000 people who were there slavish devotion to the spectacle was the point, after all.

Let there be no doubt either: it was one hell of a spectacle.

Posted by skooter at 8:55 AM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: Concerts, Live Nation, Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, The Wall

May 20, 2012

Neil Gaiman: Advice on Pursuing a Career in the Arts

Honestly, I’ve never been that fond of Neil Gaiman’s work. The Sandman was brilliant, but when I’ve read his novels I’ve always been left disappointed.

That doesn’t take anything away from the fact that the man gives some very good advice in a commencement speech to arts graduates. Well done sir.

Posted by skooter at 11:06 PM This entry is filed under Books.
Tags: Advice, commencement, Neil Gaiman, Videos

Darth Vader & M.C. Hammer

This is disturbing on so many levels, not the east of which is the wildly inaccurate premise: Lord Vader is entirely capable of killing people using only the power of the force. It’s not that he can’t touch this, it’s that he doesn’t have to.

Posted by skooter at 10:44 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: Darth Vader, Star Wars, Videos

May 16, 2012

Weyland. Yutani.

Anticipation is high around Prometheus in these parts. Ridley Scott rarely disappoints.

Posted by skooter at 7:26 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: Alien, Ridley Scott, Weyland Yutani