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Home arrow Reviews arrow Books arrow "The Making of Pink Floyd: The Wall" - Gerald Scarfe
"The Making of Pink Floyd: The Wall" - Gerald Scarfe Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Wednesday, 09 February 2011

Gerald Scarfe - The Making of Pink Floyd The WallPublished in North America around September 15th 2010 to coincide with the start of Roger Waters tour, and slightly later in the UK and Europe, "The Making of Pink Floyd: The Wall" is the incredible, authorized and definitive book by Gerald Scarfe about the project and includes new commentaries from the surviving members of Pink Floyd: Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason, together with the director of the film, Sir Alan Parker. Roger Waters has written the foreword, and his conversation with Gerald runs through the book. The album imagery, stage performances and film were created in close collaboration with Gerald Scarfe, and his massive archive includes original storyboards, animation cells, concept drawings, models and other three-dimensional material together with photographs of the creation and staging of the live performances and the filming of The Wall.

In the book, Gerald also relates his own experiences of working with the band from the early days of Wish You Were Here to the Pros and Cons Of Hitchhiking with Roger Waters, after his break with the other band members, as well as his work for the new live show of The Wall.

We've taken a good look at the book (a real pleasure) and we think that the unique angle on the project that Gerald takes makes it an essential purchase, as you'll see in the review below...

What you get with "The Making of Pink Floyd: The Wall" is a very personal view of the project, from inspiration through its various incarnations. With what feels at times like a running commentary between Roger Waters and Gerald in frequent sidebars, it's a glimpse into their thoughts and view of the work that was undertaken.

With Gerald's role and perspective, there aren't the sort of technical details on instruments used, or recording processes undertaken, that some will crave. This side of things is covered comprehensively in "Comfortably Numb - A History of The Wall" by Vernon Fitch and Richard Mahon for those who want this. The point of Gerald's book though is to share a proportion of his extensive visual archives, coupled with his "insider" view from each step of the way. This leads from his early work such as "Long Drawn Out Trip", which grabs the attention of the various Floyd members when it is shown on BBC TV (Roger: "Is [Gerald] fucking mad? Let's get him involved!"). The band were clearly taken by his at times bizarre take on life in this short, and this lead to his early work on concert film for them, and a not-especially flattering caracature in the 1974 tour programme. It is his work on The Wall, ousting Storm Thorgerson from his normal Floyd artwork duties, that Gerald's collaborative work with the Floyd is most noted for.

The detail and atmosphere that Gerald conjures up, seemingly effortlessly, drives the narrative along in a natural and absorbing way. He doesn't sugar coat the times which were bad, talking of how work on The Wall drove him to drink and distraction - and it was clear that he wasn't alone in this respect. Sir Alan Parker, who rarely talks about his role in the creation of the movie as it was such a painful part of his life, returns to Gerald's studio to share his recollections too.

Adding further balance to the memories are contributions from David Gilmour and Nick Mason, along with other deeply involved parties such as animators Jill Brooks and Mike Stuart, and Phil Taylor, who reminds Gerald of a hilarious "Pink prank" that was played on Roger at the end of the final original Wall tour - an amusing anecdote that I'd not heard before!

The book is full of early visual concepts, alternate artwork, proposed film and stage directions, and more, which intrigues and delights throughout. To be able to follow each aspect as it developed is a rare treat, and one that Floyd fans will thrive on.

The book includes later Wall projects including the 1990 Berlin extravaganza, and the preparations for Roger's mammoth 2010 North American tour, no stone is left unturned with Gerald's (at times) very critical eye and wit covering each aspect with humour and candour.

With The Wall being such a major part of the Pink Floyd story (and persists to this day for Roger, of course), it's a blessing to have such a thorough, entertaining, and enthralling book documenting it. It really does represent an essential item for all Floyd fans, and will equally find favour with animation enthusiasts for its comprehensive narrative.

Secure your copy now, saving up to 37% off the retail price, by ordering from Amazon UK, Amazon US/International, Amazon Canada, Amazon France, Amazon Germany, or Amazon have secured a limited number of these books, personally signed by Gerald Scarfe, and you can order your copy of this from Amazon UK, Amazon US/International, Amazon Canada, Amazon France, or Amazon Germany. These signed editions will naturally be very limited, so if you are tempted by this, we would suggest you act quickly to make sure of your copy.

Finally, here's a trio of exclusive interviews done for Brain Damage by Gerald, talking about The Wall...

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