the wall

What shall we use
To fill the empty spaces
Where we used to talk?
How shall I fill
The final places?
How should I complete The Wall…

 

In June of 1990 I heard that Roger Waters was going to perform his rock masterpiece, The Wall on the Berlin Wall. I was 20 years old, and the world was my oyster. I had spent time in the UK but never been to Germany. The Berlin Wall had just come down and we were all still young and idealistic enough to think music could change the world. I sold my car, packed my rucksack with clothes and bought a ticket. I could not speak German, only a few words of French and had no idea where I would stay or how I would get around. But there I went, full of youth, wanderlust and adventure.

I spent 5 days there in July of 1990: shared three different hotels with three different groups that I met along the way and kissed a French girl named Antonella who I have never seen or heard from since. It was the largest gathering of human beings I have ever witnessed. In the years since they estimated that there were over 400,000 people. It was massive. There were limos on stage, the entire East German Army marched, a helicopter and then the massive Teacher and Pig balloons! There were glitches in the show, but none of us seemed to mind. During the show, they built the Wall out of huge Styrofoam bricks so that at one point, the entire band is behind the Wall and we can’t see them. There were huge jumbotron TV’s and lots of Pink Floyd cartoons blazing across the Wall. Cyndi Lauper sang We don’t need no education. Bryan Adams sang Young Lust. The Scorpions were there and Thomas Dolby too. At the end, the massive wall came crashing down and spilled out into the audience. Fantastic.

The first time I ever heard Pink Floyd was with my high school best friend, Johnny Reed. Johnny and I met in the 7th grade and became quick friends. I got drunk for the first time while camping with Johnny. We mixed grain alcohol with Dr. Pepper. I know, yuck! Just the other day I had one of those “retro” Dr Peppers that have real sugar in them and it took me right back to sitting at that camp fire, gagging down that rot gut and telling Johnny how badly I wanted to go out with Sandy Montoya. She was my crush in the 7th grade, but she had no idea I existed and I was intimidated by cute girls back then. Johnny and I listened to the cassette tape of The Wall.

Johnny passed away ten years ago because of complications with his diabetes. I suppose none of us took great care of ourselves back then. I miss him still. I hear that Sandy married but lost track of her after that.

My life and career has taken me to the back tracks and side roads of the world but it seems every one loves Pink Floyd. My funniest run in was in 1997 in Western Mongolia, out where there is no infrastructure or modern conveniences like roads or signs telling you which way to go, and we cam across a group of the Nomadic Mongolians who took us in and we shared a meal together. They lived in a large collapsible tent like house called a Yurt. It is made of fabric but has a cast iron fireplace in the center. After we ate, we all began to talk about music and low and behold this Mongolian Nomad who has no car, no mail system no running water, pulls out a record player and the 33 album of Pink Floyd’s The Wall! We sat and listened to it. Surreal moment.

I just read today that Roger is going to tour The Wall this summer and fall. It will be a particularly significant moment for me personally. 20 years have passed since I banged my head against that mad buggers Wall. My goodness how I have filled the Empty Spaces since.

“Congratulations, You have just discovered the secret message.
Please send your answer to ‘Old Pink’,
Care of the funny farm, Chalfont…”
“Roger, Caroline’s on the phone…”

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5 Responses to “the wall”

  1. All I gotta say… I was 7. Sorry I had to. I liked this story.

  2. You kids get off my lawn!
    (Mumbles) Whipper snappers…

  3. Bahaha. He says from his lawn chair.

  4. White tube socks, sandals, Bermuda shorts with the waist over my navel and a dirty t shirt… Awwww Yeah baby. Super Fly.

  5. Weird-o!

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