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Home arrow Reviews arrow Books arrow "Up In Smoke: The Failed Dreams of Battersea Power Station" - Peter Watts
"Up In Smoke: The Failed Dreams of Battersea Power Station" - Peter Watts Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Tuesday, 06 June 2017

Battersea Power Station seems a constant with Pink Floyd fans. First brought into the Floydian world in December 1976 as the cover shoot for the band's album, Animals, went "slightly" wrong as Algie escaped and flew off to Kent farmland, this iconic London landmark instantly grabbed fans worldwide. Its enduring power and impact are evident with the recently started Roger Waters Us + Them tour, which has a recreation of the building at a key point. The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains also includes a large representation of the building which is home for rare pictures, instruments and videos relating to the 1977 album and tour.

Toward the end of last year, Up In Smoke: The Failed Dreams of Battersea Power Station, by Peter Watts, was published by Paradise Road. The book covers the entire history of the building to date - from the very early days and disparate electricity suppliers in London (some of whom were generating their own power, and then supplying to some of their neighbours in what was a very unregulated world), a rise in power usage necessitating large scale generating facilities, through the various plans (including theme parks) for the building once the electricity side of things ceased there, through to the troubled development into housing, retail and office space.

Whilst this doesn't necessarily sound particularly interesting, the author has managed to write a compelling tale of the various problems faced (some of them as huge as the building) and of the ideas for later use, some of which were quite bizarre. Of principal interest to Pink Floyd fans is the chapter looking at the photo shoot with Algie, and this is well paced and researched, drawing interviews with some of the main protagonists in to explain what took place.

As books go, this is not a standard one for the Floydian bookshelf, but this story about the monolythic, power generating building is definitely worth checking out. It never strays into overly technical detail, and keeps the narrative lively and absorbing. You can order the book using these direct links: Amazon UK,, Amazon Canada, Amazon France, Amazon Germany, Amazon Spain and Amazon Italy. Using our Amazon links also helps us hugely with ongoing site running costs and we really appreciate it!

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