Friday, January 19, 2018

Dark Side and Emily - Musings at Midnight

Dark Side of the Moon was the first Pink Floyd album I heard. I was in my early teens; my girlfriend, Emily, copped the cassette from the Licorice Pizza at Topanga Plaza, and we drove in her mom's AMC Gremlin through Malibu canyon at dusk. Those gorgeous melodies and Gilmour's subtle, bluesy lead are forever etched in my mind, like smoke billowing off a spliff... 

We drive through the funnel, the big nude Malibu girl reaching out to us, then we turn off at the overlook, the sun setting on the Pacific. She says something and I, in my purple haze, reply, "I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like most of us have." I kiss her neck. She says, "There's no dark side of the moon, in fact, it's all dark." There are footsteps, the sounds of a man running, his heart racing. The clocks strike 12.

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day

The car windows down, the music in the background, Em and I sit on the stone wall, her face shining, her flawless skin, the wrinkle of her nose; life is short, we shouldn't waste it. The sky fades orange to purple. 

Why should I be frightened of dying, there's no reason for it,  you've got to go sometime. 

Claire Tory, in her accidental magnificence, answers the question; but Emily says, "It's about sex isn't it?" I was young but I knew. The answer was yes.
The cassette ejects, sits there waiting. Em reaches in through the driver's window, flips it over. The songs worry over things that in time will not matter. The sun settles into the sea.

And all that is now
 And all that is gone
And all that's to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

The last glimmer of light fades over the Malibu sea...

Syd's Muse, Emily Young
Dark Side would turn me on to Meddle next, then Ummagumma, and later I'd discover Barrett through Bowie's version of "See Emily Play." Time sometimes goes backward, until we end up, 50 years ago: I was five, too young for spacey road trips and head trips and girls and philosophy. How funny to go back in my mind's eye and find Emily, not my Emily, but an Emily just the same. "Free games for May,/ See Emily Play."
That other Emily, Emily Young, Syd's Emily, is today one of England's foremost sculptors. From a prominent British family, she spent her youth at the UFO club, nicknamed, "The Psychedelic Schoolgirl." I have three favorite Emilys: Emily Bronte, Emily Young, and Emily – I don’t know her last name – but she got me Dark Side of the Moon and brought me to that great gig in the sky.