This afternoon, at the May Fair Hotel in London, Nick Mason and Roger Waters made a rare joint appearance at a media briefing and Q&A session for The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains. The exhibition is being held at London's Victoria and Albert Museum between May 13th - October 1st, 2017, and tickets are now available - and selling fast.
The official companion book for The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains can now be ordered for despatch on publication (which is timed to coincide with the opening of TMR) through these direct links: Amazon UK, Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, Amazon France, Amazon Germany, Amazon Spain and Amazon Italy. Orders placed before publication will benefit from Amazon's pre-order price guarantee - if the price drops at any point between your order, and the publication date, they automatically will charge you the lowest price.
In the briefing and Q&A, the pair discussed for the first time the immersive experiential journey through Pink Floyd's world, from high tech audio visual events, objects, surreal landscapes, and the culture explosions that evolve throughout the exhibition. Read on for some of the details of the exhibition which have been revealed today - so if you DON'T want surprises spoiled, don't read on! You have been warned...
During the Q&A, the inevitable question about the band reuniting for a one-off concert was unsurprisingly raised. It's a question that is always asked, despite the extremely slim chance of there ever being a compelling enough reason, such as the Live 8 event in 2005. The Glastonbury Festival in particular was suggested, to which Nick replied: "It would be nice to add it to the list of things. I've never played Glastonbury. It would be fun to do it [although] I don't think it would be very likely". Roger cast his mind back 15 years, to 2002: "I did Glastonbury once. I think. It was really cold. But there were a lot of people and it seemed very jolly and I liked it. Yeah, I would do it again."
With Roger announcing his new album, Is This The Life We Really Want? to be released soon, accompanied by a tour, a question concerning his previous project came up, inspired by the new President of the United States. "I get asked quite often if I'd do The Wall again because I stopped a couple of years ago. I've always said I'd do it again if they ever figure out what to do about Israel and Palestine and get rid of that appalling security barrier.
"If there was a resolution and we could realise there is no 'us and them' and that we're all human beings and we all need to figure out how to live together because at the moment... as an act of celebration, if that moved towards a humane way of organising ourselves, I would be only too happy to perform that concert in some place that was significant geographically.
"If that happened to be the border between the United States and Mexico then yeah absolutely. But there needs to be an awakening period... before something like that can happen. Trump and Theresa May and the right wing as you know is raising its ugly head all around the world so yeah [it would be] as an act of celebration."
More details of The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains were revealed today. It's anchored by a chronological trip through Pink Floyd's history, connecting with music, art and design, sound technology and live performance: from their beginnings on the underground club scene in 1960s London to the present day, via landmark albums such as The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall and The Division Bell, and their accompanying imagery, stage shows, design and technology.
Every chapter of the Pink Floyd story is represented, with more than 350 objects and artefacts on display, many of them never before seen, including hand-written lyrics, musical instruments, letters, original artwork and stage props, accompanied by objects from the V&A's collection of art, design and performance. Some of these items had been long-held in storage facilities, studios and personal collections for over 40 years, before being re-discovered.
The entry point into The Pink Floyd Exhibition is a replica of the Bedford van Pink Floyd used as their touring vehicle in the mid-1960s. From this first moment, the visitor is immersed in Pink Floyd’s world. Emerging from the vehicle, they will find themselves transported to Swinging London and the UFO club, the home of the capital’s psychedelic music scene, where Pink Floyd became the unofficial 'house band' during the early part of 1967. This exhibit includes atmospheric oil and light show projections created by Pink Floyd's 1960s-era lighting designer, Peter Wynne Willson, which, together with the accompanying soundtrack, ensures a fully immersive experience.
Art and technology are also celebrated. Included is an original painting by Syd Barrett, who studied art in London and his hometown of Cambridge before becoming a full-time musician. Also featured is the Azimuth Co-Ordinator, from the V&A's own collection, the custom-built device used by Richard Wright to pan the group's live sound, via a joystick, around any given venue. The ground-breaking device played an integral part in Pink Floyd's theatrical live performances at venues including the Royal Festival Hall and Royal Albert Hall in the late 1960s as well as being used in the recording of the clock montage for 'Time' on The Dark Side of the Moon.
Also included are Pink Floyd's soundtracks for the art-house movies, More, La Vallée and Zabriskie Point; musical projects undertaken alongside their studio albums. Having abandoned the concept of releasing singles at the end of 1968, these film soundtracks show the band exploring alternative media for their music. Together with the performance art aspects of their live shows, the exhibition illustrates Pink Floyd's experimentation with multi-media work.
Pink Floyd's journey through the 1970s saw them embracing studio technology and using all the resources at their disposal at EMI's Abbey Road Studio on albums such as Meddle, The Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here. Several instruments used on these albums are displayed here, including David Gilmour's famous Stratocaster, nicknamed 'The Black Strat', which has been used on many Pink Floyd tours since making its debut at the 1970 Bath Festival Of Blues And Progressive Music.
The work of Hipgnosis, the design partnership comprising exhibition co-curator Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell and the late Storm Thorgerson, is on display throughout the exhibition, alongside artwork and stage designs created for the band by others, including Gerald Scarfe and the late Mark Fisher.
These artefacts plot both Pink Floyd's development as a spectacular live band, but also the broader social, cultural and political threads which ran parallel to their music. Among the many iconic set pieces on display is a celebration of architect Giles Gilbert Scott’s Battersea Power Station, the building immortalised on the cover of Animals. Roger Waters' lyrics on Animals were a critique of social inequality and capitalism, but Pink Floyd were also a target for many younger, up-and-coming punk rock groups at this time, as encapsulated by Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten's famous customised 'I Hate Pink Floyd' t-shirt.
The Wall's striking artwork and its grotesque cast of characters, including a cane-wielding schoolteacher, were created by cartoonist and illustrator Gerald Scarfe.
These characters were then re-imagined by Mark Fisher as huge inflatables in the subsequent Wall stage show which Stufish has re-created for the exhibition. Revealed in The Pink Floyd Exhibition is the inspiration for the schoolteacher. Included in the exhibition is the cane used by the headmaster at the Cambridge and County High School for Boys on his pupils, Roger Waters, Syd Barrett, and future collaborator Storm Thorgerson and a punishment book detailing the dates and reasons for the beatings.
The scale and ambition of Pink Floyd's imagery and live shows continued in the 1980s and ‘90s with world tours for the A Momentary Lapse Of Reason and The Division Bell albums. The exhibition salutes this scale and ambition with a specially reconstructed suit of lightbulbs worn by a model on the cover of the 1988 live album, Delicate Sound Of Thunder, and the original giant 'talking heads' designed by Storm Thorgerson for the sleeve of 1994's The Division Bell.
The Pink Floyd Exhibition is created, with the V&A in partnership with Michael Cohl and Iconic Entertainment Studios, by Pink Floyd's creative director Aubrey 'Po' Powell (formerly of Hipgnosis) and Paula Webb Stainton, who worked closely with members of Pink Floyd. The V&A curatorial team is led by Victoria Broackes, Senior Curator, with Anna Landreth Strong, Curator, Department of Theatre and Performance. The exhibition is a collaboration with designers Stufish, the leading entertainment architects and the band's long-serving stage designers.
Audio specialist Sennheiser is the official audio partner of the exhibition, enabling captivating audio experiences through its AMBEO 3D audio technology. Sennheiser systems will be used for all audio elements and throughout The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains, including the delivery of highest-quality arrangements from Pink Floyd historic audio documents. A perfect fit, as the band has been using Sennheiser and Neumann audio equipment throughout their career, starting with the legendary Sennheiser MD 409. The exhibition will culminate in an upmix of Comfortably Numb from the Live 8 concert – the last time the band played together. This will create an immersive surround sound audio experience using its AMBEO 3D (18.3) technology.
Tickets are on sale now. Admission prices are £20 (Monday – Friday), £24 (Saturday – Sunday), and concessions are available. V&A Members go free. Advance booking is strongly advised as tickets are selling fast, particularly for the weekend's and other popular dates. Tickets are available in person at the V&A; online at vam.ac.uk/pink-floyd or by calling 0800 912 6961 (booking fee applies); or from ticketing partners Ticketmaster, Seetickets, LOVETheatre and Encore.