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Nick Mason talk at Belfast Festival Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Thursday, 04 November 2004

On Monday evening (November 1st), Pink Floyd's Nick Mason made the journey over to Northern Ireland to participate in the annual Belfast Festival. The Festival takes in all sorts of arts events, from music, to dance, theatre, and visual arts.

Nick wasn't, for once, there to perform musically, but to talk at length about his life in the band, and also out of it. Principally to promote his excellent new book, "Inside Out: A Personal History Of Pink Floyd", the evening was announced a couple of months back, but curiously, despite only being 500 tickets available, at only £5 each, there were still tickets available on the door, come the evening itself!

On entering the Elmwood Hall, where apparently the band appeared in the late sixties, the audience found a huge pile of Nick's books at the rear of the venue (all of which were snapped up by the end of the night, with pretty much all of them ending up signed by Nick as well!). The stage itself was stark and empty, with two comfy chairs by an octagonal table.

As had been confirmed to us prior, there was no audio, video, or pictorial material shown at any point during the show. It was just Nick being interviewed by the BBC's Ralph McLean, in a fascinating 100 or so minutes of memories.

Whilst there were no major revelations - nothing that wasn't in the book in some form or other - and Nick's responses were very similar to some of the recent interviews elsewhere, it was still an absorbing evening. Nick seemed to revel in some of the memories and stories, giving them a real flavour that doesn't come across on the printed page.

For all of you who have yet to experience his great book, we'll not spoil it by revealing too much in this report!

McLean showed his credentials as a Floyd fan - the questions were not too simple to lose the casual fan attending, but were meaty enough to encourage Nick to share his memories of days past.

A personal highlight was Nick's recollections of the early days, and of the ill-fated inflatable pyramid which famously broke loose of its moorings and "gave birth" above an awestruck US audience.

To hear the various tales from the horses mouth, so to speak, was a great experience and a shame that (at present) there are no plans for a repeat performance anywhere. It would have been good to hear some of the tales which DIDN'T make the book, and some audio or video material (especially rarities) would've been nice, too. However, these would have distracted from the reason we were there.

It was interesting to hear Nick talk about bootlegs - or rather, how various tracks had made themselves public. Too many artists are angry about them - it seemed Nick had accepted them as an inevitable feature of their success, and ultimately something that none of them could do anything about.

This fairly relaxed attitude towards these unauthorised recordings extended itself to the signing session which concluded the evening. It did seem like everyone in the hall wanted at least one thing signed - be it a book, an album cover, a drumstick, or even a prized bootleg! Nick took it all in his stride, and spent over an hour until the queue of people had all had their time with him, and left happy having met one of their heroes!

A great night, and one that we hope is repeated soon.

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