I'm quite interested in this idea of writing an entire book on the guitar solo in Pink Floyd's "Time." I know how to do it. You use the solo, the parts of the solo, the different functionalities of the solo, as the jumping off point. You'd jump back to the Rainbow Theatre tapes when Dark Side was coming together. You'd jump back to the band's development of guitar architecture before David Gilmour came on board. The things that Syd Barrett was doing. You'd jump through the history of guitar parts and solos that told a narrative. You'd have late 1950s instrumentals in there. You'd look at the filmic influences and overlap. Powell and Pressburger. You'd get quite technical--but not jargon-y--in going through the solo bar by bar. The production. Various live versions between 1972 and 1975. The solo functions as a form of storytelling, and literature. The solo would be threaded throughout the book. You could do it very easily. The Sam Cooke book taught me that. You look at everything that led up to the solo. The solo starts with one of the single most powerful chords in the history of Western music. It's a chord that opens the sky. You look at other chords that function in a similar way, or a similarly powerful way. That brings in Wagner, that brings in the Beatles. The solo is actually designed as a song itself, which you hardly ever see. You'd have English folk music. Shakespeare. Les Paul. Surf music. Nick Drake. Pepys. The Ventures. That first chord has a sustain of four seconds. The solo is about a minute and a half long. It actually duets with the choir at the end, which is insane, but remains a solo. Some of the longest notes in all of popular music are to be found in this solo. He makes the solo out of far fewer notes than one would think is possible. It's a towering piece of work.
Here's a version of "Time" from the Boston Garden in 1975, via a Dan Lampinski tape. He was a guy who recorded a bunch of shows in New England in the mid-1970s.
But that's down the road. Tomorrow I say goodbye to Brackets, Tuesday I say a partial goodbye to Scrooge, and then the focus is Longer on the Inside: Very Short Fictions of Infinitely Human Lives, Same Band You've Never Known: An Alternative Musical History of the Beatles, the Joy Division book, and completing Musings with Franklin.
But I think I will discuss this Pink Floyd idea on Downtown on Tuesday, as well as the strange pair of exhibition games the Red Sox and Mets played in 1986 and 1987--during the baseball seasons--the latter of which I was at. Also the annoying sounds that people--mostly guys--insist on making. We can also talk about The Hustler and sports stats, components, and achievements that have lost their luster. The .300 batting average. The no hitter, which I think is a trifling novelty. The 50-yard field goal. The triple double. The three pointer. The backhand and drop pass in hockey are pretty much obsolete. Ditto the hit-and-run in baseball.
That Alexander Ovechkin hasn't caught him yet--though obviously he's about to--on the career goal scoring list, speaks to what a regular season performer Marcel Dionne was. You'd think Ovechkin went by him years ago.
I see hockey comments on Twitter, and one person after another who knows nothing about hockey. People who make a living talking about it on the radio. Absolutely clueless. I have some other people in common with one of these people, and I'll text links to their segments to various people I know. And those people I know are shocked how bad such a person in on the radio. "Sounds like my cousin," one of them recently said to me. Not actually shocked, I should say; they know the drill. But anyone could be that person on the radio. People were going on about a goal that David Krejci scored today. And about how Krejci has been underrated for years. A decade. The goal was a basic hockey move. A move that any good NHL forward would have made. Krejci received a pass on the side of the slot. A defenseman went down to block the shot. He also went down too early. Now, a defenseman in that tight isn't timing the block that well. He's throwing himself towards the shooter. It's different up high at the point. This move by the defenseman dictated what Krejci would do. He had two options. Knowingly fire the puck into the d-man, or pull the puck--with a single stickhandle--around the defenseman, and then shoot. Which is what he did. Which is what most forwards would do. It's a nice play, an efficient play, and it created the clear shooting lane, and a goal. But it's not some amazing play. It's basic hockey. And these people who make lots of money talking about hockey have no idea. It's like they've never played the game. Which is one thing. But also that they don't know the game at all. As for Krejci, he's had an underachieving career. He's been inconsistent. You'd rather have him than not. He was excellent in two Cup runs--led the playoffs in scoring each of those years, in fact. Doing that twice is not easy. But underrated for a decade? That's just ignorant. What I don't get about these people either is that they're terrible on the radio. They're not funny, they're not insightful, they're not articulate. You could be talking to anyone who is a casual sports fan. Buddy up to some random dude at a bar. The appeal is that they could be absolutely anyone. They could be the person listening. And the person listening likes that. Someone else said to me it's like going to a bar and there's a singer in the corner, and he sucks. The person likes that, because they can say to their girlfriend, "I can do that, that could be me," and they can tell themselves this as well. Whereas, if they go into the bar and it's prime Dylan, dropping his new tune "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" on people, that same guy won't like that. Because he can't be Dylan. You really want to suck right now and be mediocre, because it pays.
I have a fine hockey op-ed--it's about defenseman--to pitch for the playoffs. I will argue, among other things, that the 1A defenseman is now the second most valuable commodity in sports, after the quarterback.
It's remarkable that "Buck a Drive," "Cliffs for Cliffs," and "Nickel Coffee" were written within mere days of each other. They function as a kind of trilogy. They're separate. They have no overlap of characters. But they are about the same length, and they do what they do with techniques that I didn't have a couple years ago. I had different techniques. What I am thinking I might do is put them together, back to back to back, in There Is No Doubt: Storied Humanness. I don't know. These are two quick excerpts from "Nickel Coffee":
"We talk of hard love, which makes that part of my brain where irony is king double-over with laughter, but a laughter sans sound. As if there were easy love. Or love had ever been easy. Extreme laughter is noiseless because it comes from extreme knowledge. It’s like how the strongest vodka has no taste."
"The casual, exact knowledge we have of Gutierrez’s hours causes each of us significant pain that we try to mask with the first sips of our coffee, which we now take simultaneously without forethought, accidental synchronous swimmers in the desiccated pool of post-night, pre-morning."
The story also contains one of my favorite lines: "Everything in life is process."
It's just big boy writing.
I am listening to "Time" again. That first chord of the guitar solo--holy fuck. He sticks that thing. Which is paradoxical, because it soars just by how hard he sticks it.
Show me something this week.