David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 204: Pink Floyd (Is There Anybody Out There?)

November 29, 2022

When Pink Floyd's The Wall came out in late 1979, it meant that the album, if not certainly the hit, "Another Brick In The Wall, Part Two," was destined to be the soundtrack for all the senior classes graduating in 1980. That would be my high school senior class. I have no doubt "Another Brick In The Wall, Part Two" was played heavily at our Prom (since I didn't go, I can't say for sure), and my sketchy memory has it somehow associated with our actual graduation. (Surely, no graduation program featured the sentiment "we don't need no education"?)

Most of us 18-year old numbnuts at the time probably believed that "Another Brick In The Wall, Part Two," or "Comfortably Numb," or "Run Like Hell" would define our futures. And, yet, 40+ years later, the defining Wall song is, "Is There Anybody Out There?" Yeah, all 5 words of it.  Why waste many more words? No one will take the time to hear them or read them. Assumptions have already been made.

For creative people, this fear of nobody being out there is very real. You write something, make something, submit something, and then wait through a lot of silence. Trying to reach people is at the heart of creativity, even though for most of us, that creativity comes in isolation. (See other posts for my inferred pleasure of creative collaborations.) As a result, I often doubt if my messages (personal or professional) are even heard. I have always envied painters or sculptors. They can put something out there and usually get some kind of feedback, mostly because the experience of seeing that art is immediate, as opposed to reading a poem that might take 2 to 3 minutes just to read, let alone to interpret, or to listening to a song, where again 3 or 4 minutes of lag time exists.

Is there anybody out there?

I invoked my inner Pink (or maybe inner Roger Waters) with a trilogy of wall-themed poems in February 2017. (Walls seemed to be the du jour metaphor at that time.)  Interestingly, as I re-read those now, I can see people I am addressing being walled in or walled out or walled around. Somebody was out there and my messages were for them.

Now I am not so sure.

Is there anybody out there?

We all post to our walls and wait for affirmation, a thumbs up, a heart, a comment, each minute we wait haunting us more and more like the spooky atmospheric background to Roger Waters' ghostly wail of "Is There Anybody Out There?"  All of us in our weaker moments can feel the isolation and loneliness that this track captures especially for Pink.

None of us want to be left to the silences, broken only by the white noise/drone of the t.v., Gunsmoke, Gomer Pyle, or nowadays, Fox News or The Bachelor that fills our existence.

Is there anybody Out there?

There's nobody home. But, that's the next song on The Wall, and I'm sorry, Pink, but your time is done. You couldn't even get Gilmour to play the lovely classical style guitar for the second half of "Is There Anybody Out There?" I'm outta here.

Pink Floyd. "Is There Anybody Out There." The Wall. Columbia, 1979. Link here.

Day 203: Chumbawamba "Tubthumping"

Day 205: Barry Manilow "I Write The Songs"

See complete list here.