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"Pink Floyd: Storie e Segreti" - The Lunatics Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Sunday, 24 February 2013

Pink Floyd - Storie e segreti'Pink Floyd: Storie e segreti' is a recently published (October 2012) Italian book covering a number of key moments, and areas of, the history of the band. The book has been put together as a collaborative effort by five long-time collectors of Floyd records and memorabilia: Nino Gatti, Stefano Girolami, Danilo Steffanina, Stefano "Mr Pinky" Tarquini and Riccardo Verani, known collectively as The Lunatics, and together owners of one of the largest collection of rare Floyd records and assorted memorabilia.

The book covers some lesser trod ground - a good amount of focus is placed on the earlier days of the band (in particular, coverage of Italian concerts and tours, with the help of the people behind those shows) and there is also a rare interview with Jenny Spires, girlfriend of Syd Barrett in the initial period of Pink Floyd's existence.

Now, my grasp of Italian isn't the best (and there are hopes from a number of fans of different nationalities that there will translations into their native languages) but having patiently worked my way through this book it is clear that there is plenty for the Italian speaker and non-Italian speaker alike...

Looking at our site statistics, we know that the majority of our visitors don't have Italian as their primary language, so this review will inevitably give focus to the impressive visual side of things. However, those who can follow the text will find an interesting narrative which concentrates on the early days, but with an overall different approach to this than has been seen before. This approach does tend to break through the language barrier with the careful use of some very unusual and absorbing memorabilia which fill the 256 pages.

The book starts with the collected memories of many (Nick Mason, Miles, John "Hoppy" Hopkins et al) of the UFO appearances, which were instrumental for putting the band on the map musically at a time when music and stage presentation was starting the change significantly. With the success and word of mouth that their appearances encouraged, one could argue that without UFO, Pink Floyd would not have thrived in those crucial days.

A rare interview with Jenny Spires brings her thoughts to the developing narrative, and provides an unique perspective on the band, and personalities, in those formative days.

The authors' geographical location has resulted in a fascinating look at the Floyd's early shows in Italy. The country clearly took to the band quickly, and to this day, is home to some of the band's most passionate fans. Detail on these earlier days, particularly in mainland Europe, have tended to be sketchy, but the authors have gone into some detail on the subject, albeit centred on their home country.

A full analysis of the elements which make up the cover collage of A Saucerful Of Secrets shows the detail and unusual approach to things in this book. One wonders if this level of detail is entirely necessary but we know a few people who thrive on this sort of minutiae!

The Man and The Journey were a couple of key song cycles from 1969, performed live many times and arguably honed to perfection, but never officially released in their entirety - segments were, under different titles, but these concert favourites forged the path to later thematic masterpieces. Peppered with concert tickets and Nick's own drawings from the tour programme, the authors take a close look at the pieces, explaining the structure and subject matter, cross referencing to the use of the music, or effects, elsewhere in the band's catalogue.

A look at Zabriskie Point talks in depth of the officially released tracks, but also spends some time on the large array of outtakes and alternate versions which have surfaced over the years. For a soundtrack that has been partly overlooked by a number of fans, there's quite a story behind the music and the sessions, so the coverage here is good but we'd like to see the complete story one of these days...

Background information on Ummagumma and the story behind Atom Heart Mother keeps the narrative firmly routed in the late 60s/early 70s period, with some show-by-show commentary. A detailed examination of the development of Echoes leads to the second of the localised sections - the Floyd's Italian shows of 1971 - which closes off the loosely chronological chunk of the book.

Things then feel as if they really head into Floyd curios, or trivia, with sections that will appeal to the collectors amongst you. With even more rare items illustrated, details of unusual coloured vinyls, an analysis of TDSOTM peppered with different cover and label variations, a look at the fascinating cover for A NiCe Pair (along with the Great Set parody bootleg cover), Wish You Were Here, some of the more notable bootlegs, and general marketing of the band over the years. A look at the some of the stranger, or more unusual, releases proves rather absorbing, from the vividly coloured South Korean covers, to the Turkish pressing of Obscured By Clouds which features a live shot of Queen on the front cover for some reason!

One of the (relatively) more recent topics that absorbed a number of fans worldwide was the Publius Enigma challenge, which appeared in 1994 at the time that The Division Bell was released. Officially, the band and record company denied all knowledge or involvement, although messages, words and other imagery peppered official publications and even the front-of-stage lighting on at least one occasion. The authors take a detailed look at the subject, illustrated, along with some of the more interesting imagery that Storm Thorgerson and his team came up with for that release.

Overall, the book is a fascinating look at certain aspects of the band and their history. The memorabilia printed within is fascinating and the focus on the earlier days of the band sets the book a little bit apart from most of the others on the shelves. The variety of subjects, and the rather random feel to how they have been assembled, is a little curious, and disjointed (a result of having a few authors?) but seems to work fine. We hope that translations are in the works; whilst visually it offers much, we know some will think twice before buying a book in a language they do not read. However, if translations don't appear, we feel this Italian version will still prove a worthy addition to your Floydian bookshelf...

You can buy the book in Italian bookstores, or for fans either in Italy, or indeed worldwide, you can order it direct from Amazon Italy through this direct link. They'll ship the book wherever you live.

 
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