March 26, 2006

Service With A Smile

[I received this amusing e-mail last night from honorary sistah, Lawruh. I just GOTTA pass it along. Apparantly Microsoft is outsourcing their customer service desk to Nigeria or something...]

So I'm thinkin I'm soooooo smart. I found this beta program offered by Microsoft. They are giving away free websites with your own fully registered domain...all FREE!! Whoopeee, right?

You have to sign up and wait to be accepted and finally after a few weeks I got the accpetance email and a code to unlock my treasure chest of goodies. I'm so excited, I've had the design for my website all ready to go and now I'll be official with my own website and no setup charge, not a cent to register my domain and no monthly fees. Awsome.

I follow the link in the email and put in my code...tada, I'm off and running, on my way. I answer all the questions, yadda yadda yadda, offical form, yes yes yes, I accept and voila, my very own domain,, is registered. Fantastic. This is great, right? Come on...would I be writing if it was great?
Okay so it takes me to the official Microsoft Office Live Basics website and all I have to do is sign in and I can start uploading my files.

Alrightly...hummm...can't sign in....cant do anything. It says I have to download the latest version of Internet Explorer which I have but rarely use on my Mac. Well, okay, no problem, I'll get the latest version. Humm...says here that it's only for PCs. I can't get the version I need to use the program on my Mac. All my files are on my Mac. I do everything on my Mac. I wanna use my Mac.

I skip over to my PC. I sign in, no problem. Tooling around their website seeing what I can do. Well, I don't have my files on that computer so I can't do anything. Shoot. I'm getting a little pissed now too. I mean, my files aren't in HTML yet so I'll have to convert them all to be able to open them on the PC and then, since the fonts arent compatible, I won't be able to edit the files. Geez, this is really getting complicated. The files really arent PC compatible and the website isn't Mac compatible.

I thought I read everything, looking for the loop holes, but I didn't see anything about the necessity to be on a PC. I know, I'll ask for help.
Great, there's a link to the support area and attached is my questions and replies from Microsoft Office Live Support. Ya gotta love it!

--- Original Message --- From: laura-jillxxxxxx Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 3:49:07 PM UTC To: OFFLV.BASC.NA.US.EN.WIP.BOM.TS.T01.SPT.00.EM Subject: Microsoft Office Live Basics

Full Name:

What e-mail address would you like a response sent to?

This is not a technical question. I have questions about the website beta program I just started. I have files on my MAC I would like to upload. The latest version of IE says it's just got Windows. Can I use my mac to upload the files. Can I use my own index page created on my computer? Is there an FTP option? How do I access the 5 email accounts if not in an email client? Will this website be registered without the "temp" "officelive" in the domain name? *In other words, is it* If I decide I want to move my website, can I switch to a new host and keep the domain name? Thank you for your speedy reply. Laura-Jill


Hello Laura,

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Office Live Support. My name is Piyush and I will be assisting you.

I appreciate your interest in our service. I understand that you need the assistance for the following queries related to Microsoft Office Live Basics subscription.

1. To upload the files through MAC
2. Using of index page.
3. File Transfer Protocol (FTP) option.
4. Accessing 5 e-mail accounts without using an e-mail client.
5. Switching to new host without changing the domain name.

Laura, please find the answers below to all your queries:

1. I would like to inform you that you can not upload the files through MAC. You need Internet Explorer 5.5 with Service Pack 4 (SP4) running on Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003.

2. You can use Index page which is created using HTML codes only with Microsoft FrontPage 2003 and this feature is available with Microsoft Office Live Essentials subscription.

3. Laura, I am sorry to inform you that in the beta version, the feature for using FTP to design the web site is not part of the Microsoft Office Live service. This is because Microsoft Office Live works on a more robust Share Point technology which allows online web designing but does not support any offline uploading of pages such as using FTP. Since Microsoft Office Live is in the beta phase the features that are available may appear minimal compared to the needs of a number of experienced web developers.

4. You can directly access your 5 e-mail through Microsoft Office Live. For accessing e-mail you have to perform the following steps.

a. Go to
b. Sign in with your Microsoft Office Live account
c. On Left side of navigation bar click on “E-mail”
d. On right side Click on “Inbox”
e. Type your e-mail address which you have created using Microsoft Office Live and type the password.

Note: You can also access your e-mail from

5. You can switch to other host or registrar with keeping the same domain name. In this case you have to first contact your current domain registrar and ask them to release your domain at their end. Once the domain is released from their end, your domain transfer would take several days.

I hope the above given information would be helpful to you. If you have any other queries or suggestions, please write back to us and we will be glad to assist you further. You can also send your findings and feedback to the link given below.

Laura, we appreciate your association with Microsoft Office Live and look forward to providing you with consistent and effective service.

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Office Live Support. Have a great day!


Microsoft Office Live Support


--- Original Message ---
From: laura-jillxxxxxx
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2006 2:36:52 AM UTC
Subject: Microsoft Office Live Basics

Full Name:

What e-mail address would you like a response sent to?

To ensure a quick resolution, provide as many details as possible, including the date and time the problem occurred, a description of what you were trying to do, the detailed steps you took that led up to the problem, and details on any error messages that you received.
RE: SRX1011174238ID - Microsoft Office Live Basics

Thank you for your quick response.
Unfortunately the answers are more than disappointing, they are not acceptable for my needs.
I will not be able to participate in the beta program and would like to be able to transfer my domain to another server. How do I go about gettng it released?

Laura-Jill & Co.,LLC


Hello Laura,

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Office Live Support. My name is Jayesh and I will be glad to assist you.

I understand that you wish to release your domain associated with Microsoft Office Live and transfer it to another server.

I regret the inconvenience caused to you.

Laura, releasing your domain and transferring it to another server will require you to cancel the Microsoft Office Live account. Your domain will be unlocked after sixty days from the date of registration of the subscription.

Please reply and verify your subscription with the following information if you wish to cancel the subscription:

1. The primary e-mail address with which you have signed up for Microsoft Office
2. The last four digits of the credit card number which you used while signing up.
3. The name of your domain associated with Microsoft Office Live.

Please mention that you would like to cancel the account “immediately” so that the next representative can do the needful. The domain registration key will be given to you with which you will be able to access the DNS information of your domain at the following website:

However, the DNS information cannot be edited unless the domain is unlocked.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused on our part.

If you have any other queries, please write back to us and we will be glad to assist you further.

We value your association with Microsoft Office Live and look forward to providing you with consistent and effective service.

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Office Live Support. Have a great day!


Microsoft Office Live Support


--- Original Message ---
From: "Laura-Jil"
Sent: Saturday, March 25, 2006 6:45:18 PM UTC
Subject: Re: SRX1011270692ID - Microsoft Office Live Basics

I do not want MY domain locked out of use for 60 days.
This offer was targeted at small businesses of which I am one and use of an online presence is of utmost importance to me. A 2 month delay of the ability to have a website is simply not acceptable.
I would love to participate in your program however I was told that I can not upload my previously designed files from my computer to your server. The lockout period is not a mechanical issue. It's "paperwork" and arbitrary and certainly able to be worked through with the touch of a button.

I don't know who "melbourneit" are but there is no doubt that with the proper authority they could simply release the domain which was in existence less than 24 hours before I emailed and found out that I could not participate in your program because I am a graphic designer and only work from a MAC. I didn't know that your program was exclusively PC and that I would not be able to upload the website that I designed for my business onto my domain. Logically speaking, that would be self defeating.
Also please note that I immediately acted upon my discovery. I am not looking to get something for nothing, I simply want to leave without indecent, detriment or loss.

Please respond as soon as possible as my business depends on a web presence and there will be a measurable loss of business due to your delay.

Thank you.


Laura-Jill&Co,, LLC
laura-jillxxxxxx tel fax


Hello Laura,

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Office Live Support. My name is Anoop and I will be glad to assist you.

I understand that you want to release the domain associated with your Microsoft Office Live account without having to wait for another sixty days.

I apologize for any inconvenience caused on our part.

Laura, Melbourne IT is the official domain registrar for Microsoft Office Live.

You would not be able to transfer your domain to another registrar before sixty days because as per ICANN Policies, you need to stay with a Registrar for a minimum period of sixty days before transferring your domain to another Registrar. For information on policies related to domain transfer, please visit the following link

If you have any other queries, please write back to us and we will be glad to assist you further.

We value your association with Microsoft Office Live and look forward to providing you with consistent and effective service.

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Office Live Support. Have a great day!


Microsoft Office Live Support


--- Original Message ---
From: "Laura-Jil"
Sent: Saturday, March 25, 2006 10:20:46 PM UTC
Subject: Re: SRX1011270692ID - Microsoft Office Live Basics

My first issue is that I didn't see anywhere that I will not be able to use the free web hosting beta program offered by Microsoft Office Live Basics with my Mac computer. Now that I agreed in good faith and I'm locked into closing down my business from all e-commerce including my local clients who expect me to have a website and have none to view for another 60+ days, what can Microsoft Office Live Basics offer to do for me OUTSIDE the box. Not a cut/paste answer from your catalogue of answers for every occasion.

Why not let me use another FTP my files up and manage it through your Beta program? It's just an issue of getting the files in place and then I can leave it for the 60 days until the transfer is complete.

Honestly, I have more to do with my time then argue things that aren't going to change the world either way. Can't we all just get along? It's like I just put my toe in a room and ended up with a mortgage for the entire house. Just help me out here, will ya?



Hello Laura,

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Office Live Support. My name is Anoop and I will be glad to assist you.

I understand that you want to use FTP to upload your files.

Laura, as of now this feature is unavailable with the Beta Version of Microsoft Office Live and I regret the inconvenience this has caused. However, your suggestions are valuable to us and will be forwarded to our Microsoft Product Development Team. They will use these suggestions to improve the flexibility and quality of the product and this feature may be available in the near future.

If you have any other queries, please write back to us and we will be glad to assist you further.

We value your association with Microsoft Office Live and look forward to providing you with consistent and effective service.

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Office Live Support. Have a great day!


Microsoft Office Live Support


--- Original Message ---
From: "Laura-Jill"
Sent: Sunday, March 26, 2006 12:00:21 AM UTC
Subject: Re: SRX1011270692ID - Microsoft Office Live Basics

Please offer me a suggestion not just an apology. I appreciate the consistant level of pleasentness and although easier to work with than being obstinant and rude I would rather get some answers by someone crass than just shuffled along with a smile.
Anoop, what are we going to DO about the situation?



In a message dated 3/25/06 6:43:48 PM, writes:

Hello Laura,

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Office Live Support. My name is Anoop and I will be glad to assist you.

I understand that you want to use FTP to upload your files.

Laura, as of now this feature is unavailable with the Beta Version of Microsoft Office Live and I regret the inconvenience this has caused. However, your suggestions are valuable to us and will be forwarded to our Microsoft Product Development Team. They will use these suggestions to improve the flexibility and quality of the product and this feature may be available in the near future.

If you have any other queries, please write back to us and we will be glad to assist you further.

We value your association with Microsoft Office Live and look forward to providing you with consistent and effective service.

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Office Live Support. Have a great day!


Microsoft Office Live Support


Hello Laura,

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Office Live Support. My name is Anoop and I will be happy to assist you.

I understand that you want to get your domain released before sixty days and be given the ability to use FTP to upload your files.

Laura, I greatly appreciate your patience involved in trying to resolve this issue.

Since Macintosh Operating System is not compatible with Microsoft Office Live, I suggest you to work on a computer which has Windows Operating System installed.

If you have any other queries, please write back to us and we will be glad to assist you further.

We value your association with Microsoft Office Live and look forward to providing you with consistent and effective service.

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Office Live Support. Have a great day!


Microsoft Office Live Support


--- Original Message ---
From: "Laura-Jill"
Sent: Sunday, March 26, 2006 11:01:21 PM UTC
Subject: Re: SRX1011270692ID - Microsoft Office Live Basics

I'm communicating with a stone wall, arent I?
Is ANOOP some sort of acranym for one of the network computers?
Android Negotiating Overtly Offensive Politeness
Or perhaps more like Marie Antoinette in robot form!
"The peasants all have MACs and can't upload their files to the server."
"Ahhhh...then let them use PCs!"
I mean really? I should go out and buy a new computer with a different operating system in order to make up for the fact that I wasn't informed about the compatibility issue until AFTER my domain was registered? All this to take advantage of a FREE web host? I think not.
Do you not think these thing through before replying?
I can see that besieging you with clever banter will go unappreciated but I'm sure my blogger friend will have a ball putting this up on his blog and at least a few thousand Windows users, a mere drop in the world wide bucket, will know that in the event that Microsoft offers a Trojan horse, RUN!

I'll start the process to release my domain...bloody and broken but not defeated.



In a message dated 3/26/06 12:33:37 AM, writes:

Hello Laura,

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Office Live Support. My name is Anoop and I will be happy to assist you.

I understand that you want to get your domain released before sixty days and be given the ability to use FTP to upload your files.

Laura, I regret for the inconvenience caused to you due to the fact that you cannot use Microsoft Office Live with a Macintosh computer.

However, the fact that Microsoft Office Live is not compatible with Macintosh Operating System has been mentioned on the Microsoft Office Live website itself. For more information regarding the same, you can visit the following link: .

As mentioned earlier, your suggestions are valuable to us and have been forwarded to the Microsoft Product Development Team.

If you have any other queries, please write back to us and we will be glad to assist you further.

We value your association with Microsoft Office Live and look forward to providing you with consistent and effective service.

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Office Live Support. Have a great day!


Microsoft Office Live Support


Yea, Anoop,
It took three customer service reps and 7 emails to find that well hidden piece of information. Not exactly an easily found fact some three quarters of the way down your list of FAQs which are displayed in a light blue that made my eyes ache trying to read through. So in response:

Hello Anoop,

Thank you for contacting Laura-Jill & Co., LLC. My name is Laura-Jill and I will be happy to assist you.

I understand you need some assistance creating an attractive yet functional website.
Anoop, I am pleased to inform you that I am a graphic deisgner and will be happy to assist you.

Regretfully though, since you are not compatible with Mac OS, the graphic industry standard, you can see proofs of the beautiful improvements to the website but they can not actually be uploaded and therefore will remain unused.

Your suggestions are valuable to us and have been forwarded to the Laura-Jill & Co., LLC Product Development Team.

If you have any other queries, please write back to us and we will be glad to assist you further.

We value your association with Laura-Jill & Co., LLC and look forward to providing you with consistent and effective service.

Thank you for contacting Laura-Jill & Co., LLC. Have a great day!


Laura-Jill & Co., LLC

By the way it WASNT on the page you sent me:
it is on this page:
and it took several minutes to find the specific link you were refering to but thats a lot faster than the three days it took Microsoft Office Live Support to find the link to show me.

Anoop, no reply is necessary. Go home, get some sleep. You earned it.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 02:53 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 02, 2004

The Wall, pt 8 (The Trial - Heroes)

Part 1 (The Gunner's Dream)
Part 2 (Side One)
Part 3 (Mother)
Part 4 (Side Two)
Part 5 (Side Three)
Part 6 (Comfortably Numb)
Part 7 (Side Four)

Between getting home later than usual and being distracted by the Convention coverage, I haven't finished this fershlugginer treatment of The Wall. I will now attempt to FINALLY get this thing overwith! Woo Hoo!
So, here we go with the big finish:

One thing about "The Trial" is that the action pretty much writes itself. But, there still are so interesting ways to present the obvious.

One thing I didn't mention earlier is that, as "In The Flesh" gets underway, the chair at center-stage will be pulled back toward the platform. This is to clear the floor for "Run Like Hell" and "Waiting For The Worms".

As the music marches in, Pink is seated behind the desk with the super-sized gavel resting on top. He is leaning forward, eager to hear the case against him. The Worms will move the chair back to center-stage, then return to the front of the platform standing guard with their fists on their hips.
But, now, sitting in it is a rag doll. If you're gamiliar with the old lp's artwork then you know what I have in mind. It's the image at the very bottom of the label for side 3.
It's a very crude rag doll, off-white, the head is a sphere with two circles for eyes. It looks lonely and, at the same time, sad and detached.
The trial is directed at the rag doll in the chair, not Pink/Judge, as the rest of the Village People sit or kneels on the floor to watch the proceeding. They are the Jury. Wife, Mother and Schoolmaster are standing in the corners in the background. Wife at stage left; Mother and Schoolmaster at right.

The attorney(former member of the VP)'s pompous movements and gestures should be easy to envision as he stuts about the chair addressing the Court.

Good morning, Worm, Your Honor
The Crown will plainly show (that) the prisoner who now sits before you
was caught red-handed showing feelings
Showing feelings of an almost human nature
(wagging finger in the air:)
This will not do.

I call.... the Schoolmaster!

The Schoolmaster gallops in wildly waving his giant yardstick crying:
I always said he'd come to no-good in the end, Your Honor!
If they'd let me have my way
I could have flayed him into shape!
(pleading to the audience:)
But my hands were tied,
the bleeding hearts and artists let him get away with murder
(running to the bench/desk, grabbing the gavel and heading toward the chair while waving it in the air:)
Let me hammer him today!

But, as he approaches the chair, a Worm runs up behind him, takes back the gavel and sets it on the desk.
Pink/Judge leans back in his chair and spins gently as he pensively muses:
Over the rainbow, I am cra-a-a-zy
Bars in the windows...
They must have taken my marbles away!

The Village People stand and point at the rag doll:
(twirling their pointing finger in circles around their ears:)Over the rainbow,
(pointing back the rag doll:) He is cra-a-a-zy...

They return to the floor as the Attorney belows "Call... the defendent's Wife!"
Wife stomps slowly, on beat, twoard the chair, pointing and angry, she never takes her eyes off the doll:
You little shit, you're in it now
I hope they throw away the key
You should've talked to me more often than you did
(screaming in a tantrum:) BUT NO!!!!
You had to go yer own way
(at the back of the chair, now leaning in close:) Have you broken any homes up lately?

From behind the chair her left hand emerges with the Freddy Krueger claw, staring intently at the rag doll:
Just five minutes, Worm Your Honor
Him, and me, alone...

Two worms come forward, take Wife by the arms, and lead her back to down-stage left just as Mother comes running in. The other two Worms run forward to obstruct her path, and she stretches her arms over their shoulders, reaching for the chair as she wails:
Come to Mother, baby,
let me hold you in my arms!
Judge, I never wanted him to get in any trouble

Mother breaks through the Worms, but they follow...
Why'd he ever have to leave me?!
Worm, Your Honor, let me take him home!

As she sings "let me take him home", her sleeves will turn from black to the brick wall that we saw during the song "Mother". This time it'll be the two Worms that help to reveal it; crossing their hands so as to push it the sleeves open. Mother will then retract her arms and the wall-sleeves will return to black as the Worms lead her back to down-stage right.

Pink/Judge against mulls it over:

Toys in the attic, I am cra-a-a-zy
Surely gone fishin'

Standing up and, with his back to the audience, putting his hands up and out as if to feel the wall for weak spots:
There must have been a door here in the wall
when I came in...!

Again the Village People stand and point and twirl:
Toys in the attic, he is cra-a-a-zy

They return to the floor as Pink/Judge, still with his back turned, thinks silently, gesturing that he's weighing the evidence.
After a moment or two or three the music thunders back in as Pink spins around and kames his way toward the rag doll in the chair -- alternatley addressing the audience, the Jury and the rag doll.
The evidence before the Court
is incontravertible
There's no need for the Jury to retire!
In all my years of judging
I have never heard before
of anyone more deserving the full penalty of Law
The way you've made them suffer,
your exquisite wife and mother,
fi-i-i-lls me with an urge to defecate!!!

The cast cheer him on and Wife pumps her fist in the air shouting "Go, Judge!". Pink/Judge addresses the rag doll then returns quickly to behind the desk, singing:
Since, my friend.
you have revealed your deepest fear:
I sentence you to be exposed before your peers!
Tear Down The Wall!!!

He slams the gavel down, on beat. The cast pump their fists in the air shouting
Tear! Down! The Wall!
Tear! Down! The Wall...!

The four Worms dutifully run to four spots along the wall and grab ropes that are hanging down from about 3/4 of the way up and begin pull. The crowd chants, as the Worms tug, for about 20 seconds, or so.

Finally, as the music quiets, ka-BOOM, the wall comes down all over the stage. (There'll be stage-hands behind the wall to help it cave in, just to be sure that it's ALL torn down.)

Pink, having removed the Judge's robe and the wall-vest, makes his way toward center-stage seeming a bit dazed, yet relieved.
Appearing on the platform is the Gunner/Father. He recites the lyric to "Outside The Wall" as the cast welcomes Pink back to them. They also congradulate each other. As Gunner/Father speaks: the cast will begin solemnly to clear the stage of the bricks.

All alone, or in twos,
the one's who really love you
walk up and down outside the wall.

Some hand in hand,
some gathered together in bands,
the bleeding hearts and artists make their stand.
And when they've given you their all
some dtagger and fall
after all, it's not easy
banging your heart against some mad bugger's wall.

Continuing to clear the stage, the cast gently sing the same verse. This is where many in the audience will expect the show to end. But I've known from the beginning that I wouldn't here, and for two reasons.
1) It's needs a more upbeat ending; and,
2) There are some thematic loose ends to tie up.

I haven't found a Pink Floyd / Roger Waters song that can do it. But I think I have found the perfect choice for a finale: David Bowie's "'Heroes'".

As the cast sings the final line -- "banging your heart against some mad bugger's wall" -- the stage will be cleared of brick and they'll be in position to begin the finale.
"Heroes" abruptly comes in like a gust of wind, and the cast begin their choreographed dance routine. Their movements will be very bouncy, celebratory, and they'll be smiling throughout. It'll put a smile on every face in the hall!

At times they'll seem to be dancing a choatic free-for-all, only to suddenly do things that are astonishly intricate. The mood is celebration, and there'll be busloads of interaction between the dancers. It wont very often be "synchronized" -- no one will be dancing alone.

The lead singer will be on the platform, and probably be someone who hasn't had a solo yet. (If I direct this, it'll be me! :) )
Joyfully addressing the audience, he'll seem to be both the voice of Pink specifically, and the voice of anti-alienation generally.
Here's the lyric:

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
we can beat them, just for one day

You, you can me mean
and I, I'll drink all the time
But we're lovers, and that is a fact
yes we're lovers, and that is that
Though nothing may keep us together
we can steal time... just for one day
and we can be Heroes
forever and ever.
What d'ya say?

That great swooping keyboard swims through the instrumental portion as the dancers "swim" their bodies in and out of intricate interweaving movements.
I, I wish I could swim
like dolphins, like dolphins can swim
Though nothing may keep us together
We can beat them forever and ever
We can be Heroes, just for one day!

Another instrumental portion and, hopefully, the smiling dancers and the bouncy beat have the audience clapping along and smiling themselves.
Then the singers climbs an octave and continues the celebration:
I, I will be king!
And you, you will be queen!
Though nothing will drive them away
We can be safer, just for one day
We can be Heroes, forever and ever!

The personal meets the public in this next verse. Perfect. :)
I, I can remember
(I remember!)
standing, by the wall
(by the wall!)
and the guns (guards) shot above our heads
(over our heads!)
and we kissed - as though nothing could fall
(nothing could fall!)
And the shame... was on the other side
See, we can beat them forever and ever!
We can be Heroes, just for one day...

A more soaring instrumental interlude raises the feeling as the cast sing the refrain:
We can be Heroes!
We can be Heroes!
We can be Heroes!

The singer warns:
Or we're nothing,
and nothing will help us
Maybe we're lying...
well, then we'd better not stay
No, We can be US..!...just for one day!

The music pulsates, the dancers are beautiful, and a film collage begins to play on a screen downstage (the wall having been torn down...)

In this film we'll see brief images -- both stills and movies -- of various Heroes. In no particular order, they'll include Todd Beamer, Jeremy Glick, that guy (Leon Something) that saved the stewaress in the Potomac River in '81, that guy standing in front of the tank in Tienenmen Square, Winston Churchill, a fireman on a ladder carrying a baby, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Jessica Lynch being carried down the stairway on a gurney, New York Guardian Angels, Boris Yeltsin atop that tank during the coup of '91, Lech Welesa, sufferagettes, Special Olympians, Jonas Salk, and many various scenes of paramedics, firemen and other non-professional rescuers.

Still singing "We can be Heroes!" as the pictures end, the music will not simply end and the cast stand for a bow. Yecch!
The music will continue and the cast will move OUT -- into the audience. Still singing, still smiling, and taking the hands of the -- hopefully -- celebrating onlookers, nay, participants in this celebration of Heroes, heroism, and optimistic engagement over alienation.

I know that this was long read. And it's been a long write, believe you me!
But, there, it's done! Any thoughts? Suggestions? Comments? Criticism? Beuller?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:19 PM | Comments (2)

August 29, 2004

The Wall, pt 7 (Side Four)

So, the Worms are all hunkered down at stage right while Doctor, Wife and Mother are guiding Pink up the ramp at down-left onto the platform. Pink is resisting more and more violently, scared to death of getting on the platform and doing "the show".

At this point 7 to 10 new characters begin to walk on the stage. They are a diverse group; black, white, male, female, and dressed in various outfits (a policeman, fireman, librarian, whatever). Kind of like the Village People, only different. The point is that they represent everyone - a wide slice of society.

As the intro to "In The Flesh" pounds away, Pink is resisting, but gradually realizes that there's no getting out of this. He, still wearing the wall-vest, btw, reaches behind the desk and pulls out an army helmet. Steeling himself, he methodically puts the helmet on his head. His expression changes; he now looks menacing, wild-eyed and grinning.
The Worms see this, get up, run onto the platform and stand firmly, proudly beside him -- two on each side -- with their feet apart and their fists on their waists.

As for the Village People (I'll just call them that..), they may be standing or sitting or squatting, depending on how it works -- ie, how high the platform is.
Or maybe they could be hunched over with their hands on their knees like outfielders waiting for a batter to hit the ball.

Pink, looking over the heads of the Village People and out into the audience, begins to sing:

So ya, thought ya, might like to...
go to the show!
To feel the warm thrill of confusion
that space cadet glow

Beginning to pace just a little bit, the Worms will join in the singing:
Pink:I've got some bad news for you, sunshine
Pink isn't well, he stayed back at the hotel,
and he
Pink & Worms: Sent us! Along!
as a Surro-Gate! Band!
We're gonna find out where you fans really stand!!

Pink: Are there any queers in the theater tonight?
Get 'em up against the wall

The Worms hop from the platform and approach the Village People shouting "'GAINST! THE! WALL!" as they push some of them away from center-stage, outward toward the sides of the wall.
They do more of the same, and the Village People resist somewhat, but are mainly just confused and surprised.
...and there's one in the spotlight,
he don't look right to me,
get him up against the wall.
And that one looks Jewish, that one's a coon!
Who let all this riff-raff into the room?!
There's one smoking a joint!
And another with spots?!
If I had my way I'd have all o'ya shot!

On the album, the music of "In The Flesh" continues for a while longer. But, I'd like to change it so that, with the word "SHOT!", the near-staccato guitar and thundering drumbeat of "Run Like Hell" would immediately begin.
The 15-18 people on stage will start moving vigorously as Pink steps down from the platform and moves toward centerstage; the Village People, Doctor, Wife and Mother will try to get near Pink, but the Worms will stop them using "wall-paddles".

The wall-paddles are like hand-held "Stop" signs that you might see crossing guards carrying -- they're bricks-on-a-stick.
The Worms will stand between the would-be intruders and stand like military traffic guards; holding the wall-paddles at arms length while planting themselves with military bearing with their other arm folded behind their backs. When a Worm has successfully stopped one intruder, another will approach and she'll run to block his path in the same way.

The "Run, run, run, run.." background voices will be sung by both the Worms and the Village People alternately.
Meanwhile Pink makes his way up-stage and sings to the audience as well as the folks on stage. He's pacing back and forth, they're trying to "reach" him.

You better make your face up in your favorite disquise!
with your button-down lips and your roller-blind eyes!
with your empty smile and your hungry heart!
feel the bile rising from your guilty past!
with your nerves in tatters when the cockleshell shatters
and the hammers batter down the door!
you better run like hell!

Pink throws his hands up and thrusts them at the audience as if saying "BAH!", and heads downstage toward the platform while the cast is singing "Run, run, run, run..." and the Village People are trying to get near him. They're mouthing shouting words, throwing their arms out in frustration, pounding their fingers into their chests as if asking "It's me! Don't you remember me?!"

Pink turns around, realizing he has more to say, and frustrangrily (TM) makes his way up-stage again to address the audience.

You better run all day, you better all night!
and keep your dirty feelings deep inside!
and if you take your girlfriend out tonight
you better park the car well out of sight
'cause if they catch you in the back seat trying to pick her locks
they're gonna send you back to mother in a cardboard box!
You better run!!

I think the intensity of the mood can carry the scene. I was thinking of splashing some images of something-or-other on the wall, but I've decided that the lyric and stage action should do it.
One big reason (and the reason I quoted the entire lyric) is that not many people know the lyric to "Run Like Hell".
If you ask a Pink Floyd fan if they know all the words to "Mother", or "Good-bye Blue Sky", or "One Of My Turns" they'll say yes. But if you ask 'em to recite the words to "Run Like Hell" they'll turn their head, stare into space, acessing...accessing, and look at you dumbfoundedly shaking their head.

Anyway, the song goes into it's final fits as the Worms finally successfully reduce the Village People to resigning themselves to stand back as the glorious strains of "Waiting For The Worms" takes over.
Pink is squatting at center-stage wringing his hands with wide-eyed satisfaction.
The Worms stand firmly around him in a semi-circle. One to his right, one to his left, one each at forward left and right. Victoriously with wall-paddles in one hand, high the air, the other hand on their waists, feet planted and looking out proudly, the Worms announce:

Worms: You'll never reach me now!
V.P. Ooo-oooo!
Worms: No matter how you try!
Good-bye cruel world, it's over,
walk on by....!

Pink: Sitting in a bunker
Pink & Worms: here behind my wall!
Wife (stepping forward and pointing, warningly and accusingly at Pink as he grins maniacally): Waiting for the Worms to come!
Worms: Worms. To. Come(?)!

Did you see that coming? heheh.
At this moment there's a drum beat; puh-puh-puh-PUM! puh-puh-puh-PUM! puhpuh p'puhpuh-puh-PUM!
That'll be the beat of the Village People's stomping feet as they close in on the protective Worms, testing their strength. The Worms will lean backward, fighting the intrusion as Pink, squatting, bows his head and pushes his hands outward, fighting the incoming, pressing world. Just before the final PUM!, Pink pushes his hands up and out; the Worms jump forward in victory, holding their wall-paddles high; and the rest of the cast fall backward and land on their asses.
Pink has just successfully, for now, preserved his space and gleefully continues calmly.
Pink:Perfect isolation
Pink & Worms:here behind my wall!
Pink:waiting for the worms t'come
Worms Worms. To. Come!

This time the drumbeat is of the Worms inching outward, and the Village People retreating, as Pink stands up and makes his way forward.

Here's where I want to make a major change in the lyrics. Here is the rest of Roger Waters' lyric to this song:

Waiting, for the final solution to strengthen the strain
Waiting to follow the Worms
Waiting to turn on the showers and fire the ovens
Waiting for queens and the coons and the reds and the Jews
Waiting to follow the worms

would you like to see Britannia rule again,
my friend?
All you have to do is follow the Worms!
would you like send our colored cousins home again,
my friend?
All you have to do is follow the worms!

I want to keep some of it, maybe even all of it. But I definately want to extend it. Waters focuses on a lot of racial and "lifestyle" issues. But, to my mind, Pink is rejecting anyone and everyone and so this passage deserves to be embellished to show that he's shutting out everyone. Not just those with superficial differences, but those with any differences - no matter how trivial. In fact: the more trivial the better because it'll showcase just how pathological his defensiveness is.
The lyric might go:
Waiting - for the beaurocrats and autocrats to turn on their whores
Waiting - for the soccer moms and football widows!
waiting to follow the Worms
Waiting - for under-ripe bananas and left-handed cable guys from Muncie, Indiana!
waiting to follow the Worms
Waiting - for the Nerds and the Brains and the Freaks and the Jocks!
Waiting - for the fat kids.. and even the tough kids with chicken pox...!

Now that everyone's included, the music presses on while Pink retreats to deep center-stage. The Worms and Village People stalk the stage with concern, but more and more neither seems to have an upper-hand

As the music drones on we'll notice voice-overs. "How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?!", "Hey, are you feelin' okay?", and many others. We'll hear GWB saying "Freedom will be defended", some quotes from Churchill..... But the final voice-over will be the Preacher's words that were heard in the very beginning:

"...that the only way to avoid the pain of loss is reject the joy of love. And, hopefully, none of us would ever choose that.

With the music pulsating around him, Pink looks around as if he'd heard something that reminded him of something he'd forgotten.
He stands up and looks around. Village People will extend their arms and he'll take them only to be seperated by the Worms as Pink looks less and less convinced that they should've been seperated.

Pink's internal trauma comes to a head as the thundering music builds to a loud HALT.
He waves his head for a brief second and then angrily shouts:


He looks around. Approaches various members of the Village People, struggling to recognize them and what he's done to them.
He counts his fingers as if trying to reconstruct the timeline that's led to this moment, and finally slinks to down-stage-right to walk up the ramp that leads to the desk.

After a solemn moment, taking careful stock of the cast, he slowly removes his helmet and reaches below the desk and pulls on a Judge's robe and presents a giant gavel. The curiously subdued strains of "The Trial" begin as Pink takes a seat behind the desk.

See ya in a little while for the finale!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

The Wall, pt 6 (Comfortably Numb)

One problem with staging "Comfortably Numb" is that the song is "everybody's favorite". As soon as it begins, many in the audience will be thinking "at least THIS oughta be good", so it'd better be good.
Here's what I got so far:

After the Worms twirl away from Pink, the music to "Comfortably Numb" begins, and we see Wife coming in from the left and Mother coming from the right - both are in a wedding march (left foot forward, feet together, right foor forward, feet together...). The Doctor comes in out the darkness from downstage, striding easily and with his hands behind his back. He's dressed in a blue surgical outfit with a stethoscope around his neck and an "ear inspector" (that little thingamagig with a light that he uses to look into your ear) in his hand.

He squats down beside the seated Pink and puts the thingy up his ear and peers in for the line:

Hello, hello, is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear

Pink does not respond. Doctor gets up and walks behind Pink asking "Is there anyone home", glances at Wife and Mother and squats on the other side of Pink.
Come on, now,
I hear you're feeling down
Well, I can ease your pain,
get you on your feet again

In response to the word "pain", Pink will turn his head slowing away from Doctor with just a hint of a smile. Looking more intently, the kindly Doctor holds Pink's hand and searches his eyes for any sign of lucidity.
Relax, I'll need some information first,
just the basic facts.
Can you show me where it hurts?

The lights get brighter and colorful lights float across the set, kinda phychedelic and mirror-ball-like, and lava lamp-style swirling shapes could play on the backdrop. Pink will sit silently, staring at nothing in particular, as the Worms (they speak for him now) sing the chorus as they gracefully dance a choreographed ballet. (Doctor will remain at Pink's side while Wife and Mother stand motionless about 4 or 5 feet on either side.)

There is no pain, you are receding...

...When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons

I'm wondering how difficult it would be to have Pink wearing rubber gloves, tightly fitted at the wrists, with tubing from the gloves running up his sleeves to a little pump that the actor playing Doctor can squeeze to inflate them, or make them "throb". It might seem silly and obvious, but it might be eerie and fit the mood.

Anyway, the Worms finish the chorus ("I-I-I-I-I have become comfortably numb") and the lights return to the previous low levels and Doctor becomes "alive" again.

Okay, okay, just a little pin prick

He taps Pinks shoulder with a phantom needle - like a tuberculosis tester - and the gloves deflate.
Doctor: There'll be no more
Worms (spinning to the floor): AAAA-AAA-AAH!!
Doctor though you may feel a little sick.
Can you stand up...?
Worms (running past Pink and whispering in Pink's ear, in turn as they pass): stand up, stand up, stand up
Doctor (as he and Pink rise): I do believe it's working, good
That'll keep you going through the show
Come on, it's time to go

After the Doctor says "going through the show" Pink will look into his face, now slowly but surely coming around, and Pink will begin singing the second chorus, with the Worms assisting him in various places -- as if their identities are fading in and out of each other.
The colorful lights return, but there are no images on the wall this time.

During the first part of the chorus ("There is no pain... ...can't hear what you say"), Doctor, Wife and Mother will lead Pink by the arms toward the back left to the ramp leading up to the platform. But Pink will stop short and turn to face the audience for the lines:

When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse
out of the corner of my eye

There will be an image on the wall flickering in and out, giving the audience just enough time to notice it, look up, and see a picture of Mother, Father and Boy Pink sitting for a family portrait just before it disappears for good.
Pink: I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
the child is grown, the dream is gone
Pink & Worms: I-I-I-I-I have become comfortably numb

Pink turns toward the back again and walks with Doctor, Wife and Mother as the music heads for the second guitar solo. But instead of the solo it goes straight into "The Show Must Go On".

The Worms are circling as they try to get to the platform, Pink keeps stopping short and turning as D, W & M try to coax him along. The Worms sing "Ooo, Ma, ooo, Pa.." and Pink turns his back to D, W & M and heads for centerstage frightened, singing "Must the show go on?".
Wife and Mother approach him slowly as the Worms circle in, waving their hands and fingers in the air around their heads and, almost mockingly, sing:

Oooo, Pa, take home, take me home, take me home
Oooo, Ma, let me go, let me go, let me go...

As Wife and Mother each grab an arm, Pink continues:
There must be some mistake
I didn't mean to let them take away my soul
am I too old? Is it too late?

They begin to turn him back around, but he turns sharply again and sings the verse that isn't on the album, but the lyric is written on the inner sleeve (to the same tune):
Pink: Do I have to stand up
wild-eyed in the spotlight
what a nightmare, Why
don't I turn and run?
Worms: Ooo, Ma, ooo, Pa
Pink (looking at his hands confusedly): Where has the feeling gone?
Worms: Ooo, Ma, ooo, Pa
Pink (asking Mother): Will I remember the song?
Worms: Ooooo, aaah...
Wife, Mother, Doctor: The show must go on.

Pink, Wife and Mother walk more quickly, join the Doctor and begin up the ramp to the platform.
The Worms head over to a spot at stage right and squat down and stare wide-eyed at Pink, cat-like, or sprite-like, watching closely to see how he handles this.

The powerful sound of "In The Flesh" begins. But that's for the next post. Fear not, we're almost done!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2004

The Wall, pt 5 (Side Three)

Part 1
Part 2 (Side One)
Part 3 (Mother)
Part 4 (Side Two)

Out of the dying strains of "Wish You Were Here" comes "Hey You". As, I think, in the audiences mind, this should be a turning point of sorts (we're entering the second half of the show), Pink will now, almost soberly and out of character, address the audience itself.

This is a hard song to come up with visuals for. And since there'll be plenty of visuals for Side Four, maybe this is a good time to treat this part of the play as nothing more than a song being sung, if y'know what I mean.

Stalking the front of the stage, Pink will look directly into members of the audiences eyes -- as many as possible. They should begin to feel that they're no longer just passively watching a play, but are being asked, personally, to enter into it.

Pink begins:

Hey you, out there in the cold
getting lonely, getting old, can you feel me?
Hey you, standing in the aisle with itchy feet and fading smile, can you feel me?

Wife, unsettled and still holding onto hope, singing to Pink and addressing the audience while pointing at the Worms:
Hey you! Don't help them to bury the light!
Don't give in
without a fight!

Pink turns in the vague direction of Wife's voice:
Hey you, out there on your own,
sitting naked by the phone, will you touch me?
Hey you, with you're ear against the wall
waiting for someone to call out, will you touch me?
Hey you! Would you help me to carry the stone?!!

Wife, shaking her head, pleading, and near tears:
Open your heart,
I want to come home!

The Schoolmaster enters, with trusty 4-foot long giant ruler in his hand, and explains to the audience:
But, it was all a fantasy
His wall was too high, as you can see
No matter how she tried, he would not break free!
And the Worms ate into his brain!

Of course, he wont sing it as calmly as it's sung on the album. It will definately be a controlled-shreiking Schoolmaster moment! If there was any doubt left that Pink might not be the "hero" of this play, it should be gone by now.

And, as for the worms, they've been conspicuously absent. This is a moment for Pink to be himself, so the Worms (the gals in pink) will be resting quietly in the background for now. (I mean, c'mon, you can't expect four actress-singers to put out for 1&1/2-2 hours straight!)

Wife, now turning to the audience, wails:

Hey you!
Out there on the road, only doing what you're told,
can you help me?!

Pink turns sharply and runs to the wall at stage left:
Hey you! Out there beyond the wall,
breaking bottles in the hall, can you help ME?!

Pink and Wife sing the rest together, each more angry and more desperate than the other:
Hey you, don't tell me there's no hope at all!!
Together we stand
divided we fall!....

Both Pink and Wife slink to the floor on their respective sides of the wall.

Pink, very deliberately, takes off the wall-vest. This, he obviously feels (my kingdom for an actor!), might be his last chance to save himself. He sheds the vest and leaves it lying at the base of the wall.

At this pont the album goes into "Is There Anybody Out There?" followed by a haunting acoustic instrumental. I'm going to reverse them and play the instumental first (for reasons that'll be obvious in a minute).

During the instrumental Pink will simply retreat to stage right (the bed) and use super-sized (for the audience's sake) crayons to draw pictures of Nothing. He'll seem to have an idea, but it all comes out nebulous, and he sets aside page after page still trying to draw a coherent image.
That's all.

The music seems to want more -- maybe the audience is expecting some more film images -- but this is going to be pure emptiness. And if anyone in the audience thinks this is boring then they're not paying attention, dag nab it!

I'm toying with the idea of having Pink sloppily color with crayons while the disembodied voice of the Schoolmaster shout "Stay inside the lines!". It might work, but I wonder if it would enhance the message or confuse it. Any thoughts?

Anywho, Pink looks up from his coloring book and begins to wander toward the wall at more extreme stage right just as the minor chord driven music of "Is Anybody Out There?" begins to take over.

He feels the wall asking "Is there anybody out there?"
Getting no answer he moves downstage along the wall and asks again. By the the fourth, and final that "Is there anybody out there...?" is asked, he's at stage left, near Wife.

The Worms come out of the dark and seem to want to comfort him as the opening piano riff of The Final Cut's "Paranoid Eyes" begins.

I'm not sure how to describe the facial expressions of the Worms at this point. They're not desperate or forceful or malicious. They're just concerned, worried and eager to help; in a word: motherly. But, maybe those facial expressions look exactly alike?

Assuming that y'don't know the song "Paranoid Eyes" I'll describe it thusly: It's a quiet song, for the most part, with a 6/4 beat. Maybe even a 12/4 beat. Either way it a 3/4 beat, super-sized, and almost sounds like a lullaby.

What's special now is the way that it's sung. The Worms will approach Pink at stage left and pull him toward center stage singing the lyric. But, they'll sing it as four voices. I mean, they'll overlap their voices throughout the lines.

For an example here are the first lines:

Worm 1: "Button your lip and"
Worm 2: "lip and don't let the shield"
Worm 3: "the shield slip"
Worm 4: "Get a fresh grip"
Worm 1: "grip on your bullet"
Worm 2: "bullet-proof mask"

And so it reads like:

"Button your (lip and don't let the shield) slip
Get a fresh (grip on your bullet)-proof mask"

The idea is that they're not a character, but merely a voice - or several voices - within Pink. If this is done well then I think it could be the highlight of the show. We're hearing a single lyric sung by four different voices for no other reason than that they each - as characters - barely exist.

Up 'til now the Worms have been a curiosity, a device, no more significant than the vintage radio, the desk, or the playing of Churchill's speaches. But now they are singing, but it's a strange kind of singing. They don't sing with one voice, and I think that that'll help the scene because it's definately a transitional scene; Pink is surrendering to the Worms' whispers.

They run up to him after the final "Is there anybody out there...?".
As the quiet and soothing piano tinkling of "Paranoid Eyes" begins, the four Worms take him by the arms and lead toward center stage singing:

Button your (lip and don't) let (the shield) slip.
Get (fresh grip) on your (bullet-proof) mask.
And if (they try to) break down your (disguise with their) questions,
you can hide (hide) hide
behind (paranoid) eyes.

The Worms lead Pink to stage right where he'll mime holding a glass and leaning on a bar. The Worms:
Put on (yer brave face
and) slip over (the road) for a jar
Fixing yer grin (as you casually lean) on the bar
Laughing too (loud for the rest of) the world
with (the boys in) the crowd
you can hide (hide) hide
behind (petrified) eyes.

There's a more comforting musical interlude here because it breaks out of the controlled quietness of the rest of the song. A gently pulsing tambourine makes it sound sound free'er, and also gives time for the Worms to cross the stage and retrieve the wall-vest that Pink left laying at stage left. They gracefully -- as if in a ballet -- return it to him and again help him into it.
As they dress him and lead him to the chair at stage center they continue:
You believed (in their stories of) fame, (fortune and) glory

Pink, tucking himself into the vest, sadly nods in agreement.
Now you're lost (in a haze of alcohol-soft) middle-age

And Pink, settling into the chair, sounds out:
The pie in the sky
turned out to be mi-i-i-les too high

The Worms take turns hushing his lips with their forefingers; "sshhh.." they sing:
You can hide (hide) hide
behind (mild blue) eyes,
Hide (hide) hide
Hide (away the) blue skies

The gentle piano calms even more as we hear the ever loudening beat of the snare drum that ushers in "Bring The Boys Back Home".

While many off-stage voices will be heard here, Mother's is the foremost; singing apart and more emotionally than the rest.
Films will play, on the wall, showing columns of soldiers marching backward, and tanks rolling in reverse.
At the final "BRING..." we'll see the Saddam statue falling UP; running in reverse. And as Mother wails her final back ho-o-o-o-me..!", we'll see the famous film of the stone swistika being exploded above the stadium. It'll, be in slow motion reverse as it reconstitutes its sorry self back into existence.

Pink sits in the chair at center stage, glassy-eyed, not even caring about what might be going on around him. The worms stare into Pink's face and ask "Is there anybody out there...?" Their voices reverberate through the silenced theater for a moment. Satisfied that Pink has no answer, they twirl away in all directions as "Comfortably Numb" begins.

The lights get brighter and Wife enters from the left, Mother from the right, and a Doctor enters from the rear, probably dressed in a blue surgical outfit.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:15 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2004

The Wall, pt 4 (Side Two)

Fair warning: My ideas for most of side two are very underdeveloped as I've given these songs the least amount of thought. But, I'll chime in with little I've got so far anyway...

So, having dispensed with "Mother"'s final line "Mother, did it need to be so high?", the music continues as Pink and Wife dance as if at their wedding.
Then the room darkens a bit as the omenous strains of "Good-bye Blue Sky" begin to take over, which then give way to the gentler "Ooo-oo, ooo, ooo, ooooo" part.

My idea for the song is to have Pink and Wife dance together throughout, but to gradually become more and more distant. Wife will want to continue to dance close, but Pink will become less and less interested, eventually spending more and more time near Mother. The trick is NOT to give the impression that he'd actually prefer to BE with Mother, but that Mother's psychological hold on him -- her fear and protectiveness -- is a large part of him now, and is overruling his Wife's influence.

As the omenous music returns for the lyric, we'll see images of war beginning with WW2, and running through the Vietnam era; probably including some Kent State footage, the famous photos of the Vietnamese General shooting a Viet Cong in the head, the naked napalm victim girl, etc. Pink and Wife, and Pink and Mother, may embrace and search the sky for danger at various appropriate moments as the lyric goes:

Did did did did you see the frightened ones?
Did did did did you hear the falling bombs?
Did did did did you ever wonder why we had to run for shelter when the promise of a brave new world unfurled beneath the clear blue sky?

...the flames are all long gone
but the pain lingers on...

When the song ends with the "Good-bye blue sky, good-bye...." refrain, Pink and Wife will be on opposite sides of the stage, and Mother will be standing at extreme stage right -- outside the wall.
She will have an air of accomplishment about her, maybe even gratefully patting the bricks as if to say "Nice wall; Please serve my son well..."

At this point the album goes into "Empty Spaces"; the intro to "Young Lust". But the inner sleeve of the LP has lyrics to a much longer song that isn't actually on the album called "What Shall We Do Now?". Without that song we have no segue from Pink and WIfe's marriage to their estrangement.

In lieu of the song that was intended for the album, I'll add here a song from Pink Floyd's 1971 album Atom Heart Mother called "If".
It's a slow and sparse song, sung with only an acoustic guitar (but I'll want my buddy Pete to add a viola part to it). The only word to describe it might be "wistful", and it'll be a duet between Pink (withdrawing from Wife out of force of habit), and Wife (withdrawing from Pink out of near self-pity).

Here's the lyric:

Wife: If I were a swan, I'd be gone.
If I were a train, I'd be late.
Pink: And if I were a good man,
I'd talk with you
More often than I do.

Pink: If I were to sleep, I could dream.
If I were afraid, I could hide.
Wife: If you go insane, please don't put
Your ideas in my brain.

Wife:: If I were the moon, I'd be cool.
If I were a rule, I would bend.
Pink: If I were a good man, I'd understand
The spaces between friends.

Wife: If I were alone, I would cry.
And if I were with you, I'd be home and dry.
Pink: And if I go insane,
Will you still let me join in the game?

Wife: If I were a swan, I'd be gone.
If I were a train, I'd be late again.
Pink: If I were a good man,
I'd talk with you
More often than I do.

The only spark of an idea that I have so far for what might actually happen during the song is for the Worms (the gals in pink) to dance slowly and gracefully while flying light streamers around while trying - and failing - to tie them together. Needs more thought...

Initially I was going to dispense with "Empty Spaces" and "Young Lust" because A) I've never cared for either one of 'em, and B) they don't really do much for moving the story forward.
But I think I've decided to keep them in because A) a lot of people I know seem to like "Young Lust", B) it's an uptempo rocker, which would be refreshing at this juncture, and C) it could be fodder for some comic relief -- also refreshing at this juncture.

At the end of "If", Wife will also end up outside the wall, though at stage left -- the opposite side from Mother. Pink is at stage left just on the inside of wall from Wife (who probably has her hands and ear against it, listening for him), and he very slowly and methodically places one (1) brick into place as he moans very slowly and barely in control:

What shall I use to fill the empty places
where we used to talk?
How shall I fill the final spaces?
How shall I complete the wall...?

The set becomes brighter as "Young Lust" thunders in. We'll see colors we haven't seen yet showing that Pink is "a new boy... a stranger in this town". He's willfully becoming someone he's never let himself be before: someone looking for "a dirty woman".

If you don't know the lyric, yer not missing much. It was written mainly by David Gilmour, not Roger Waters, and has no real point or insight to it. The title's words "young lust" could describe the state of mind of the author more than the specific topic (there is none). It's just "Ooo, babe, set me free... I need a dirty woman... ".

But there's some oportunity for light comedy here. Pink could maybe pull a Bowser and try to impress Dirty Woman by flexing a non-existent muscle. And he could then rip open his shirt to reveal a t-shirt with his zodiac symbol on it -- visually asking What's yer sign? -- as she turns away unimpressed.

But, of course, they do end up together. Pink sits in the chair at center stage almost ignoring Dirty Woman as she makes her way around the "fabulous room!". Pink is fidgetting a bit. He's not ignoring her because he wants to be alone. No, he's just frustrated. It's not her physical presence that bothers him. It's her identity -- her needfulness for attention and conversation that's too demanding on his now natural state of isolation. In short; she's talking too much.

She wanders the stage commenting on various aspects of his room:

Are all these YOUR guitars?!

Is that a Monet?!

Look at this TUB!! Wanna take a ba-a-a-th...?

Hey... Are you feelin' okay?

The piano comes in as "One Of My Turns" begins. The lights reduce to two spots; one on Pink and (barely at the edge) Dirty Woman, the other on Wife and (barely at the edges) the wall.
Pink sorta shrugs as he mutters
Day after day
a love'll turn grey
like the skin of a dying man

Wife sings:
Night after night
we pretend it's all right
But I have grown older
and you have grown colder
and nothing is very much fun.. anymore

The spot on wife dims as Pink leans forward -- like's "coming to".
I. Can. Feeeeel...
one of turns coming on

Dirty Woman is sitting him, staring into his eyes. Imagine the Zapruder film; how Jackie was staring into Kennedy's face after he'd been pierced through the throat. Her look is just plain blank concern. At that moment she knew absolutely nothing other than that something was terribly wrong and she cared. It's obvious that Dirty Woman cares in a way that Pink, right now, can only hope to try to understand.
I... feel...
cold as a razorblade,
tight as a tourniquet,
dry as a funeral drum...

Pink explodes on Dirty Woman, demanding that she go get his "favorite axe" (guitar).
Once again I'll assume that you're familiar with the album and that I don't need to describe the confrontation between Pink and Dirty Woman anymore than the visuals that the lyric implies will do it. Which means, yes, I haven't quite worked 'em out yet.

"Don't Leave Me Now" comes and goes. The only interesting part is that it'a a duet between Pink and Mother. Pink agonizingly wails Don't leave me now..." just as Mother does in the second half.
The ending with it's sad and sultry "Oooooo, ba-a-a-be..." refrain gives way to the angry "Another Brick, pt 3":

I don't need no arms around me...!

Pink is willing to surrender, and the Worms (the gals in pink babydoll dresses) are ready to help him. Pink turns his back and heads for the chair at center stage while the Worms softly sing with and/or for him.

The Worms gracefully help the withering Pink into a white vest with lines signifying a brick structure. Finally the audience sees that they represent his worst and most basal instincts. They've looked and sounded pretty 'til now. But from here on out they'll seem sinister; even more so for having fooled us by quietly doing their beautiful thang. Dang, we should've seen it coming.
Yep, the audience will never see these four sweet-singing angels-of-something the same way again.

Anywho, the lyric to "Good-bye Cruel World" is simply (and sung by both the Worms and Pink in a way that yer not sure who's leading):

Good-bye cruel world
I'm leaving you today
Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye.

Good-bye all you people.
There's nothing you can say
to make me change my mind.

Only, it doesn't sound like that. It'll, instead, be sung to the beat, key and tempo of "Wish You Were Here" because that's exactly what will follow.

The images through the quiet song will be of the Madrid bombing of 3/11, and headlines proclaiming Spain's withdrawal from the war on terror.

Again, Side Two is the hardest to visualize. But I think that there'll be hell to pay for cowardice if a video montage can't be made and put to work here. :)
The images will, of course, be in tune with the tone of the live action/music.

As Pink has withdrawn, we hear from Wife, still patiently seated at stage left:

so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain?
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

[Update: I'm thinking now that maybe the Gunner/Father should sing that verse and the next one. He appeared at the very beginning of the show, and will appear again at the end. As this is the half-way point, it might be timely to give him an appearance here. Not only is it apropriate for Pink's soldier Father to speak during the Madrid bombing images, but it'd be a surprise for the audience to see him again, and anything that'd make the audience go "ooo..." is okay in my book. mheh.]

This is where the lights get pretty bright and the entire cast -- led by the Schoolmaster -- walks on to support Wife. The images of Madrid are playing and newspaper headlines scrawl across the wall: "Spain Withdraws Troops From Iraq"... and the like.

Wife continues:

Did they get you to trade
your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for Change?
Did you exchange a walk-on part in a War
for a lead role in a Cage?

Wife, Pink and Mother will sing the final verse together, line by line, like this:

Pink:How I wish, how I wish you were here
Mother: We're just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl
Wife: year after year
Pink: Running over the same old ground, what have we found...
Wife: the same old fear
Mother: Wish you were here

If Gunner/Father sings the first two verses, then Pink's first line could be thought of as being adressed to him; which would make even more sense than if it were adressed to Wife.
Mother then admits that there's a problem, though seems unable to find a way around it, while Wife seems to have more regret about it than Mother.
Pink is beginning to agree and asks "what have we found" and Wife give him the answer.

But my favorite part is Mother's last line. The first instinct is to assume that she's addressing Pink. But, since Pink began the verse possibly addressing Gunner/Father, it might be heard that Mother is also thinking all the way back to the beginning of the "troubles".
But, also, since Mother's line immediately follows Wife's, it could be heard that she's saying one of two things to her: pleadingly, "I wish you in my shoes and could better understand me"; or, enviously, "I wish I were more like you". The beauty is that, I think, any of those interpretations could work.

Like I said, I have a lot of thought yet to put into side two. But side three is coming up, and (at least once we get past "Hey You") should get mighty interesting.


Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:57 PM | Comments (3)

August 25, 2004

The Wall, pt 3 (Mother)

Part 1
Part 2

So, Boy Pink is sitting on the edge of the bed, while Mother is behind him miming doing the dishes, and non-chalantly (with voice-over from adult actor) blurts out:

Mother, do think they'll drop the Bomb?

Mother snaps to -- eyeing Boy Pink with concern and then looking out and up searching for dangers in the sky as she climbs onto the bed from the rear. And as Boy Pink happily passes a piece of paper over his shoulder he asks:
Mother, do you think they'll like this song?

Mother scans it, looks at the back of Boy Pink's head with wonderment and concern and crushes the paper in her fist and lets it fall. Boy Pink then, suddenly looking like he's paying attention to his own questions, looks up from his coloring book quizzically:
Mother, do you think they'll try to break my balls?

Mother recoils from the bed and puts her hand over her mouth. Not realizing that Boy Pink is merely asking a question, and is probably expecting an encouraging word for an answer, she's obviously worried now that he needs to be as fearful of risk as she is lest he be as harmed by loss as she was. And he, almost unfeelingly, just asking for asking's sake, asks:
Oooo, Mother, should I build a wall?

and Mother shows with her body language that's torn about about how to deal with this; as if this was a "I knew this was coming but I still held out hope that it never would" moment.

Boy Pink then hops off the bed and moves toward center stage.

Mother, should I run for President?

Immediately Mother clutches her hands to her chest and grins widely at the thought of her son being President. But, there's a brief image on the wall backdrop of an Abraham Lincoln photo followed by a brief snippet of the Zapruder film, and Mother runs to Boy Pink and throws her arms around him while looking out and up for danger. Boy Pink throws her off:
Mother, should I trust the government?

Again, Mother initially is encouraged but the images on the wall (I'm not sure what exactly to use yet) make her run to hold and protect him. Again he breaks free, but this time he turns directly to her as if asking why she's being so protective:
Mother, will they put me in the firing line?!

and Mother stands away this time, giving him his space because she's not sure if she's mistaken about how to handle this. Boy Pink then turns away and exasperates:
Oooo, is it just waste of time?

Mother approaches the now brooding Boy Pink slowly, puts her right arm around him and her left hand on his head, combing his hair with her fingers, and her cheek on top of that. Having made a decision she comforts him:
Hush now, baby, baby, don't you cry
Mother's gonna make all of your nightmares come true
Mother's gonna put all of her fears into you
Mother's gonna keep you right here, under her wing
She wont let you fly but she might let you sing
Mother's gonna keep Baby cozy and warm...

At this point the lights show the set and we see four (4) figures entering the stage (two from each side). They are young ladies dressed in airy pink dresses. The base of their costume is body-hugging, but they also have an outer "baby-doll" layer, knee-length, that's very sheer and flowing. I'll call these gals the "Worms" just 'cause I don't know what else to call them.

They enter and make their way to the edges of the malcontructed edges of the wall, at stages left and right, to put scattered bricks into place while at the same time they're harmonizing with Mother as she sings:

Oooooo, Babe
Oooooo, Babe
Ooo, Babe, of course Mother's gonna help build the wall.

And here's the first cool visual trick of the play. Mother will hug Boy Pink from behind, tucking her hands into the sleeves of her black dress, and her arms will morph into a red brick wall just as the music flourishes!

It's pretty easy to do, too. The sleeves of Mothers dress will be folds. When she tucks her hands into the sleeves, connecting them, all the Boy Pink kid needs to do is cross his arms while pulling the folded sleeve portions apart thus turning Mother's black sleeves into a wall. Even if done clumsily it'd be worth it. But, hear that music in your head, just following the line "of course mother's gonna help build the wall", and the audial flourish is accompanied by sleeves turning into a frickin' wall. If it's done right it could even draw an audible gasp from the audience. Wee hee! :D

But now comes the tricky part: Pink has to grow in a hurry. So we'll have him dance around with the Worms a bit, then disappear behind the downstage platform and emerge a bit older, then dance again and emerge as the adult that will play Pink for the rest of the show, all within the 45 seconds of the guitar solo, while at the same time the Wife waltzes in from down stage left in a white dress that looks kinda like a wedding dress but is calf-length and she's carrying a large bouquet of white flowers. Pink sings (live now):

Mother, do you think she's good enough
....for me....?

and here's where I add a little special something.
The Worms (the girls in pink) will sing in the background throughout the "quiet times" when Pink isn't singing. They'll sing softly, almost sounding like a whisper:
Mother loves her little baby and Daddy loves you, too
Mother loves her little baby blue and Daddy loves you, too... they continue to build the wall.
I know that I can't make you hear how it sounds by typing a description of it. But, trust me, if the sounds in my head could ever be aloud then you'd know why I feel like it's possible to hear surrender.
It might even be a struggle for the audience to hear what exactly the Worms are singing. But the most important thing is that it sounds ghostly. Unexplainably spooky... like a siren's song. The sweetest sounding invitation to alienation you've ever heard.

The Wife then adds another visual device. From within her bouquet she presents her right hand in a Freddy Kreuger-type razor claw as Pink sings the line

Mother, do you think she's me..?

The Wife presents the claw (maybe even grinning with fangs) and Mother turns sharply as Wife quickly hides her hand (and/or teeth).
They stare each other down: Mother is judgemental, and concerned for her baby, while Wife is feigning a "What, me worry?" look. Wife is simultaneously dismissive of Mother yet is still expecting to win her approval.
Pink runs to Mother, dropping to his knees and huging her hips:
Mother, will she tear yer little boy apart?!

Wife turns away as if in disgust. Pink asks Mother if Wife will break his heart, and Mother again comforts him.
She goes through the "Mother will check out all your girlfriends for you..." verse, while checking Wife out, and decides to at least tacitly approve of Pink's choice for the Wife, but still warning:
You'll always be a baby to me.

The music will continue, subdued, but will NOT include the line "Mother, did it need to be so high?". That line has always pissed me off. Nevermind why....

Anyway, the music will continue into the haunting strains of "Good-bye Blue Sky". But that's side 2 -- which could get interesting -- but we're not there yet...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:26 PM | Comments (2)

The Wall, pt 2 (side 1)

Part 1

A few seconds after "The Gunner's Dream" concludes, the opening chords of "In The Flesh" thunder through the darkened theater. There are narrow, colored spotlights roaming the set as if searching for something. Tiny glimpses of the set are revealed as the spotlights make their way around.

Then a spot hits a lone figure just as he begins to sing:

So ya, thought ya, might like to
go to the show.

He's dressed in black pants, a pink shirt, an army helmet with the chin strap hanging loose, and a white vest (almost like a life preserver) with dark lines on it to form the white bricks of the "wall vest".
He has a wide smile and a look in his eyes that's a bit menacing. He is essentially daring us to see this show. Or, perhaps, just warning us that this might not be a "fun" evening.

After he finishes his brief intro his spot is turned off and a film begins to play against the wall backdrop. Its World War II air combat footage, and as the music culminates we hear the roar of engines and the crash of a plane
Imediately there is complete silence but for the tolling of iron bells as the spotlight is on a woman, facing the audience, dressed in black and holding the hand of her son -- perhaps aged 10. And there's also a preacher just off to their right. The preacher says some appropriate words, and ends with:
"...that the only way to avoid the pain of loss is to reject the joy of love, and hopefully none of us would ever choose that."

The preacher disappears into the darkness as the spot follows Mother and Boy Pink to stage left where they reach a bed with ornate brass posts. Mother sits on the bed with Boy Pink in front and in her arms with a framed photo of Daddy (The Gunner). She sings sadly:

Mother loves her baby,
and Daddy loves you, too.
And the sea make look warm to you, baby
and the sky make look blue

She then hugs him a little tighter as she looks out and above as if searching the sky for danger.
but, oo oo ooo oo, babe
oo oo ooo, baby blue
oo oo ooo oo, oo ooo, babe!

Mother then relaxes a bit and smiles at Boy Pink, even hitting the tip of his nose with her finger, drawing a smile from him, as she delivers her warning about "the thin ice of modern life".
As she finishes with the line " you claw the thin ice," the music intensifies, and brightly colored spotlights scan the set, as images play on the wall of various scenes of destruction, and some pictures of WW2 era London - with those blimp things in the sky.

As the tense music of "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 1" begins, very small spotlights show pieces of the wall background while we see Boy Pink and Mother (probably no longer on the bed). The feeling is starting to get a bit claustrophobic as Boy Pink "sings" (it will be the disembodied voice of the actor playing Adult Pink who'll be doing Boy Pink's singing), with the photo of Daddy in his hands:

Daddy's flown across the ocean
leaving just a memory
a snapshot in the family album
Daddy, what else did you leave for me?
Daddy, what'd you leave behind for me?!
All in all it was just a brick in the wall
All in all it was all just bricks in the wall

The thing about this scene is that I don't want it to get too "busy", but I don't want it be too uneventful, either. It might work as is, but I think it needs something else. I'll keep thinking about it...

Anyway, the music stays at the same tense, thumping pace, but changes key to begin "The Happiest Days Of Our Lives", and for the first time the entire set is presented.

The wall is built of white bricks that about the size of a carton of copier paper; say, 12"x12"x18". It's a crescent going from near stage right to extreme down stage to near stage left. There's room on the sides for actors to stand outside the wall at various moments in the play while still being visible to the entire audience.
The wall is highest down stage, and tapers at the sides. There are piles of "loose" bricks that have yet to be built into the wall.

Toward the back of the wall is a platform with ramps on each side, and on which sits a desk. At stage right is the bed and probably a few other pieces of furniture -- but not much. At center stage is a chair or stool, and stage left is left pretty much open.

The Schoolmaster is seated at the desk as the next song begins, but soon ventures out into the stage left area to deal directly with the students.

Since it's probably not practical to have a bunch of kids practice for one small scene of a play, I think the kids will have to be imaginary. A good actor can make this a memorable scene. F'rinstance he could pull the collar of a kid's school uniform and show, with his body movements, the resistence caused by the weight of the invisible kid.

This could also be a good point to bring some comic relief. As the song moves into "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2" I'll have the Schoolmaster shouting at the kids all sorts of sarcastic and hostile things. Like:

We don't need no education
You wanna ask me if I want fries with that?!
We don't need no thought control
Double negatives are DOUBLY negative!
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Oh, yes, that's a BRILLIANT book report!

Well, I'll come up with some good ones later.

At the end of the kids' chorus, y'know, where it goes into that long guitar solo? That's gone. After the kids sing their final "all in all it's just another brick in the wall", the drums pound the beat for a few measures and BAM! we are thrust into The Final Cut's song "The Hero's Return".

If you're not familiar with The Final Cut then you're missing out on one of Roger Waters' three best efforts (The Wall and Amused To Death being the other two).
"The Hero's Return" is the Schoolmaster's answer to the kids. I can't describe the music or vocal delivery and do it justice. It's an intense piece musically, and sung with real anger and frustration.
The Schoolmaster will sing to the audience with images (probably still slides, not moving pictures) of WW2 London shown on the wall. You'll have to hear the song to find out why I want to put this in the Schoolmaster's mouth, but the lyric goes like this:

Jesus, Jesus, what's it all about?!
Try and clock these little ingrates into shape!
When I was their age all the lights were out!
There was no time to whine and mope about!

Even now part of me flies
over Dresden at angels one five
Though they'll never fathom it,
behind my sarcasm desperate memories lie

Then the music suddenly becomes quieter as we shift to Mother holding Boy Pink in her arms and looking quite frightened:
Sweetheart, Sweetheart,
are you fast asleep? Good.
That's the only time I can really speak to you.
There is something that I've locked away:
a memory that is too painful
to withstand the light of day.

Back to the Schoolmaster:
And when we came back from the war
the banners and flags hung on everyone's door
We danced and we sang in the streets

Schoolmaster and Mother together:
and the church bells rang!

and we hear the tolling bells again, and nothing else. They ring solemnly as Mother holds onto Boy Pink for dear life and the Schoolmaster scolds his students ("How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?!") as "they" exit toward the back of the stage and disappear behind the platform.

The stage becomes quieter and dimmer as the Schoolmaster exits, eventually leaving Mother and Boy Pink in a wide spotlight. Pink is sitting on the bed and drawing with crayons while Mother is miming washing the dishes or something. The song "Mother" begins. But I think I want to write about in it's own post just 'cause I think this'll be the first real highlight of the play.

Be back in an hour or so!!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)

The Wall, pt 1

As any regular or casual visitor has noticed, my usual prolific, and doggone sparkling, posting has been reduced to a trickle in the past week.
It's not that I haven't wanted to post -- or actively looked for subjects to write about. It's that, for the past two weeks straight, I've had Pink Floyd's The Wall running through my head... all day every day.

Why? I've been working up a stageplay, and I think I may be into something good.
My cousin has theater connections (just as I did back in college, 20 years ago...), and this might be something that we can do!

Mind you, this is pretty much all that's occupied my waking hours for the past week or so, but I'd still like to know if my ideas are any good.

It involves actors and musicians, of course, but also some films throughout -- played against the white structure of a wall made of large-laundry-bin-sized bricks.
It omits a few of the songs from the album, but includes a few tracks from the follow-up album The Final Cut, and one earlier song, "If", from the early Pink Floyd album Atom Heart Mother (interesting title, that).

So, without further ado, I present my musings for a stageplay of The Wall:


The house lights go down and the room is black. A piano pounds the first chords of "The Gunner's Dream" (from The Final Cut) in the darkness and we hear a disembodied voice:

The burning in my heart
smolders on and on
with the Gunner's dying words
on the intercom

A film plays of black-and-white footage of vintage aircraft dogfights culminating in a plane's-eye-view of a crash into a green field as the lyric sings:

Floating down, through the clouds, memories come rushing up to meet me now. Between the spaces of the heavens, and the corner of some foreign field, I had a dream.

A uniformed man (perhaps representing Pink's father) stands in a spotllight while the images look like memories. The continuing darkness of the set is meant to show that the play has started yet it hasn't yet started. This is what we're REALLY gonna talk about even though you don't know it yet....

The song continues:

Good-bye Max, goodbye Ma,
After the service when you're walking slowly o the car
and the silver in her hair shines in the cold November air
you'll hear the tolling bell,
shine the silk of your lapel,

and as the teardrops rise to meet the comfort of the band
take her frail hand

Images of everyone whose everyone who spoke out for freedom will flash before the audience's eyes, from JFK and MLK and Jefferson and Reagan and Washington and Lincoln and FDR and everyone else across the board.
We're still in minimalist mode, and we then relax into the final verse (the dream):

A place to stay, enough to eat, somewhere old heroes shuffles safely down the street where you can speak out loud about your doubts and fears and what's more, no one ever disappears, you never hear their standard issue kicking in your door

You can relax on both sides of the tracks
and maniacs don't blow holes in bandsmen by remote control.
And everyone has recourse to the Law
and no one kills the children anymore.

The image I have in mind for this moment is one that Misha has displayed a few times, of an injured two-year-old, or so, surrounded by willfull but helpless protectors. (Sorry, no link to the photo.)

The song continues intensely:

Night after night, swimmin' 'round and 'round my brain
this dream is driving me insane......

The disembodied voice returns:
In the corner of some foreign field the Gunner sleeps tonight.
What's done is done.
We cannot just write off his final scene...
Believe in the dream.

After that quiet moment the play begins with the strong chords of the album's welcome. There's a lot to work with here, and maybe, just maybe, this might make for some interesting posting.

Lord knows nothing else, recently, has made for interesting posting lately.

Side note: My only "problem" with The Wall was that it always seemed kinda self-consciously cryptic. Almost as if the frickin' point of it all was less important than hiding the frickin' point of it all. I want to make the album show it's true glory, even if it's author didn't fully understand his moment of glory. Or how he reached it. Or how he tried to hide it. Or something.

Part 2 of the virtual stage-show will happen tomorrow. Grab some popcorn; this might be good!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)
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