Part Two - And still in no particular order...
**Update 01/07** - To no real effect
whatsoever, and in a far-too-late jumping on the Google Earth
bandwagon, I've given you the latitude/longitude coordinates for each
site, so you can *sort* of do the tour without leaving your
house/flat/mansion/cafe. I wish I'd had a facility like that nine years
|Royal Horticultural Halls (lat: 51°29'38.02"N long:
So ya....thought ya....might like to....go to the show, eh? This'll be the place for you then. Here we are at Lawrence Hall, one of the pair of buildings that make up the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westiminster. Designed in a rather art-deco kind of way by architects Easton and Robertson, it was opened in 1928 by H.R.H. Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles. Doubtless you'll recognise this place instantly (if you've seen 'The Wall' film) as the location for the footage allied to the song 'In The Flesh', and a little bit of 'In The Flesh?' too. This is where Bob Geldof ranted his deluded bile from the balcony, and the Hammer Guard's little song-and-dance party went with a bang. Quite how they managed to get things organised in there when filming is beyond me; the hall's much smaller than it looks. Into this compact zone were shoehorned 380 assorted people to be the eager crowd, a 24-strong choir, a brass band numbering 21, six mothers and their babies and 24 skinheads - the infamous 'Tilbury Skins' (who have been cited as coming from an undisclosed location in south London as opposed to the Essex riverside town of Tilbury) - to play the members of the Hammer Guard, on account of their convincing argument to be given a rather more visible role to play. Director Alan Parker has said before now that it was difficult trying to maintain order and having been there - both the Lawrence Hall and Tilbury - I can well believe it. Assistant director Alan Corbett even lost his voice over it all. I've run out of inspiration as regards the Hall, so let's bore you (further) with this instead: Just around the corner in Horseferry Road is the the headquarters of the television station Channel 4, who first broadcast the Behind The Wall documentary to accompany the release of 'Is There Anybody Out There?' in 2000. Channel 4 were also responsible for The Tube, who featured David Gilmour in 1984 plus a show called Wired, which reported on Pink Floyd's Versailles concerts in 1988 - and probably a few other things too down the ages, that remain unknown to me because at the time I was far too young to know, care or dare to dream that one day in the future, I'd waste valuable time constantly losing my way (both actually and metaphorically) in pursuit of places with a connection to a group of rich old men who played old music to crowds of other men who were just as old but nowhere near as rich....
**Update - 06/11** Gerald Scarfe's book 'The Making of Pink Floyd - the Wall' features lots of unseen phtographia from the filiming sessions here, and the attendant bedlam therein......
|London Planetarium (lat: 51°31'22.23"N long:
Now then. This is both truly historic and tragically useless. It was at this copper-topped, astronomy-themed tourist attraction in 1973 that the Floyd's upcoming little effort, 'Dark Side Of The Moon', was unleashed to the world's media at a press reception. Having spent so long working on the record before finally handing it over to EMI, the band were reasonably expecting the launch to be just as involving and sonically spectacular as the album. EMI, on the other hand, were rather less circumspect and instead opted for a presentation which was so contrary to what Gilmour, Mason and Waters would have liked that they failed to attend the party at all. Various reasons were later cited for this, among them being the inferior PA system, the catering, and mostly the fact that a regular stereo mix of the record was used. The band wanted a PA system and quadrophonic mix to their own specifications, which would have been fine if they'd actually had time to produce a quad mix - but they hadn't. EMI weren't waiting around for it to appear and went ahead with their plans despite protests and thus incurred the immediate (if temporary) wrath of what was to become their biggest cash cow of the 1970's. Signifying their displeasure, the band elected to stay away and in retaliation EMI had life-sized cardboard cut-outs made and installed in the Planetarium's foyer to horrify the attendant press. Most hacks, however, used the situation to excercise some rapier wit and sarcasm in their subsequent coverage to the effect of the cut-outs being indistinguishable from the real people. I'm not sure I'd agree; after all, even back then they weren't *that* thin. Anyway, in short the whole farrago was a rather sorry affair. So sorry in fact, that thirty years on Rick Wright can't actually remember where he was on the day at all. Almost all books on Pink Floyd state that the whole band failed to attend; Wright himself casts a measure of doubt in more recent interviews by admitting that he supposes he *might* have been there, but can't really be certain anymore. Can the misery get any worse? It can actually. The London Planetarium doesn't even do the strictly-astronomy caper anymore, but shows some animated feature by plasticine-botherers Aardman dealing with how aliens might view the cult of celebrity on Earth. Or something.
|W.R. Phang - Dental Surgeon
Fancy having a drill-and-fill on your incisors? No, I didn't think so. And especially not by a dentist with a name like Phang. I mean, that's just taking the piss. Isn't it? Of course it was, and that was the whole point. In December 1973, some clever boy decided to re-issue both 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and 'A Saucerful Of Secrets' as a budget-priced double album. In the UK, it was doubtless a cash-in for the Christmas period; but in America, both 'Piper' and 'Saucerful' were actually quite hard to get hold of. Therein lay the justification, and designers Hipgnosis were to design the sleeve for what was to be dubbed 'A Nice Pair'. Having spotted the fruitful opportunity for puns and innuendo, they then came up with so many proposals that nobody could decide which one to use. So, in a devil-may-care kind of way, they decided to use them all. Unfortunately, upon the album's release in both Britain and America, Pink Floyd and Hipgnosis soon discovered that the devil *did* care. Among the various visual pun-themed images arranged scrapbook-style on the album sleeve, America didn't much care for the titular nice pair of...well, tits, which took pride of place at the top-middle position. The problem in Britain, however, lay in a different area of the anatomy. At the top right of the album's sleeve, next to the knockers, sat a picture of the window of a dentist's surgery who went by the name of W.R. Phang. Apparently Hipgnosis's Storm Thorgerson just happened to see it one day while out and about, took a picture, and thus the estimable Phang was unwittingly made famous - but not for long. Far from being flattered, Phang instead notified EMI that dentists were, under then current legislation, forbidden to advertise - and that the appearance of his surgery's window with his name, credentials and phone number writ large upon it, constituted a breach of such laws. EMI and Hipgnosis were thus obliged to change the picture for future pressings. As you'd expect, they chose one of a Japanese monk - gargling. By such means was this curious little chapter in the Floyd's history closed. Unless one happens to find an initial-pressing copy of 'A Nice Pair', or looks on page 61 of Storm Thorgerson's book 'Mind Over Matter - The Images Of Pink Floyd', you'll not be able to see this offending pane of glass. You won't even be able to see it if you go and see Phang's surgery itself. Admittedly that's only because nowadays it's been turned into a bookmakers and minicab office, but rest assured Phang has gone and left no trace whatsoever. At some time in about 1987-1988, his name disappeared from the dental surgery listings in the phone book for good. Moved? Retired? Died, even? I know not. Either way, the building you see before you is where W.R. Phang used to tinker with people's teeth and where that window used to live. 360a King Street W6 is the address, and it lies *right* on the borders of the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, and Hounslow. And if memory serves, 360a's door is the brown one on the middle right. So now you know....
**Update** - 02/08 - Apparently the 'R' in his name stood for Raymond, and he lived not too far away in any case. Still don't know what the 'W' was, let alone what happened to him in the end......
|Watford Football Club (lat:
51°38'59.28"N long: 0°24'5.70"W)
Yes, people: it's another dodgy one. Even if I admit that it's not strictly in anybody's or anyone's definition of what constitutes London, Watford certainly qualifies itself in my book on account of having a station on the London Underground network. And, of course, Watford is almost certainly the only town in the world in which Pink Floyd have played within the boundaries of a nudist colony. But the beauty (or otherwise) of full-frontal nakedness isn't why we're here, so don't get excited. The terraces of Watford Football Club were where much time and effort were expended trying to stage a riot for inclusion in the film of 'The Wall', using a recent real-life stabbing incident during a European Cup match as the model. However, as the riot (if not the actual stabbing) were seen on television screens all over Europe anyway, the attempts to recreate it were never going to pass muster compared to the real thing. So the plan was abandoned, and the film was binned. Well, most of it was. If your eyes are *particularly* sharp, you might be able to spot a second and a half's worth of the footage during 'Waiting For The Worms'. Keep a lookout for the yellow, red and black scarves. This very small sequence must surely take pride of place as the shortest length of purposely-shot footage in the entire film, and thus deserves special recognition. Or I think so, anyway. And it's *my* website, so balls to the lot of you if you don't agree.
Wells Theatre (lat: 51°31'46.04"N
long: 0° 6'21.74"W)
Well, if you thought that Watford's home ground was a dodgy inclusion, this one'll make you weep, rend your hair and shout numerous obscenities at any household pets or people nearby. Picture the scene: it's the mid-seventies. The stirrings of something new are beginning to make themselves heard in the world of popular music. It's rough, ready, rude and liable to give your parents a cardiac arrest. It's punk rock. It was the very antithesis of nearly everything that had gone before it, especially the twin towers of glam and progressive rock. This obviously put Pink Floyd at distinct odds with the new attitude pogoing up from the sewers of society, not least in the minds of the followers of punk's most enduringly iconic band, the Sex Pistols. Their front man, Johnny Rotten, was widely spotted in the band's heyday (or heyhour, in retrospect) sporting that most fetching of apparel, a Pink Floyd t-shirt. Some say he wore it at the Pistols' first-ever gig, subtly modified to be more in alignment with their image and their audience's expectations - above the legend "Pink Floyd", he'd scrawled "I HATE". Nice, but all the same it was pretty tame stuff. Still it seemed to do the trick at the time, as history has well documented. Johnny Rotten hated Pink Floyd - end of story. Or is it? Fast forward to September 1989, and the Stephen Fry-directed/hosted charity benefit concert 'Hysteria 2'. Pink Floyd had not long completed their 'Another Lapse' tour of Europe, and John Lydon (as he had since reverted back to) had long been involved in his then current band Public Image Ltd. For reasons I cannot hope to discover (and secretly don't want to in case the punchline to the tale's not true) both David Gilmour and John Lydon were on the bill for 'Hysteria 2' - Gilmour backing Jools Holland and Lenny Henry, and Lydon with Public Image Ltd.. Would these two titans of different disciplines somehow contrive to clash backstage? Onstage even, in front of a paying audience which happened to include Nick Mason? Well, what do you think? Of course they didn't. Well, not onstage anyway. However, ten years afterwards in the June 1999 edition of Q Magazine, Gilmour said this: "I've been on a show with Johnny Rotten - it was at Sadler's Wells - and he said he never really hated Pink Floyd and actually he was a bit of a fan." The admiration went both ways; Gilmour was letting people know he liked the Sex Pistols whenever he got the opportunity even before the 'Hysteria' incident. So there you have it. Having dropped this bombshell, let me allay the fears of you all lest you think Lydon had gone soft that night. He barracked the producers of the show for not letting him introduce the satirical puppetry act Spitting Image as puppets, and at the end of the evening he ruined the curtain call by sticking two fingers up at the rest of the cast (including John Cleese and Tina Turner), parading around them like a petulant child and even getting into a bit of a fight with comedian Vic Reeves. All of this may or may not be true; but what is definitely certain is that neither Public Image Ltd. nor Lydon appear on either of the two videos issued of the event. Gilmour does though, playing guitar on the old Temptations number 'My Girl' with Messrs. Holland (piano) and Henry (vocals). And they're available now, in fair to dreadful condition, at all good branches of Cash Converters. Happy hunting!
|Black Island Studios (lat:
51°31'27.32"N long: 0°16'30.37"W)
Yes, it looks like an aircraft hangar - but that's not my fault. Part of the Island Studios group, this huge shed is apparently London's largest film and television studio complex. Or so their website says, anyway. It therefore doesn't entirely make sense that Pink Floyd came here to rehearse prior to their 1994 tour of America and Europe. But come here they did, all eleven of them in the live touring band. Perhaps it genuinely was the only place both big enough to contain them and their equipment, and available at the time. Our is not to reason why, I suppose. Once they'd concluded here, they flew out to (wouldn't you know it?) an aircraft hangar in California, big enough to set their stage up in for the production rehearsals. Being Pink Floyd's last hurrah on a live tour front, their involvement with the place should have ended there. But eleven years later, nobody ever reckoned on global poverty and Sir Bob Geldof, did they? Having set up the Live8 concert with promoter Harvey Goldsmith and improbably cajoled Roger Waters to rejoin Gilmour, Mason and Rick Wright on stage at Hyde Park into the bargain, it left the reunited band with a distinct need to rehearse together. And, in the 2005 paperback edition of 'Inside Out - A Personal History Of Pink Floyd', Nick Mason did me proud by revealing that three days' worth of thrashing out how to play what they'd agreed to a few days prior at a hotel - all very amicably, he might add - happened here at Black Island Studios, which lest we forget is central London's biggest film and television studio complex. Except it's *not* in central London. It's just off the A4 , behind a branch of a B&Q DIY superstore, on an industrial estate, not far from Park Royal tube station - very definitely in the middle to far north-west of London. Not central. So there. Oddly enough, if one could turn the camera round 180 degrees, you'd see another warehouse - belonging to the BBC's Outside Broadcast department, who were responsible for enabling you to see and hear the London leg of Live8 in the first place. Roughly six months later, in early 2006, Black Island was where rehearsals of some kind or another for Gilmour's then upcoming tour took place, in support of what turned out to be the number one chartbusting smash hit mega selling 'On An Island' album. Pictures of the same are offered for our delight at davidgilmour.com - which made finding out about the rehearsals in the first place much easier than it should have been....