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WMG / The Wall

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Tommy from The Who's eponymous rock opera is an alternate version of Pink
In Tommy's version of events, the father survived the war in a POW camp and returned, only to engage his wife's new husband in a fight to the death, which traumatized Tommy and made him enter into a near-catatonic state. When cured of this state, he briefly becomes a quasi-religious figure, protected by guards that assault Sally Simpson when she tries to get up on stage with him. In Pink's version of the events, the father died, and Pink's many negative experiences led him to build a "wall" around himself to keep others out. As he descends deeper into psychosis, he imagines himself as a fascistic dictator. This sequence grew out of Roger Waters' concern at having once spit at a disruptive fan at a concert, similar to the incident with Sally Simpson depicted in The Who's rock opera.
  • I, Prime Evil, am having a vision of Pink befriending Tommy and joining forces with Ziggy Stardust, Rael (The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway), and, at a stretch, the Patient from The Black Parade and forming the next League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
    • Would this include Jimmy Cooper and the protagonist of 2112?
    • Well, they weren't the right albums, but, the title track of The Final Cut opens with the line "Through the fish eyed lens of tear stained eyes." "Tear stained eyes" is in "The Thin Ice" on The Wall. "Limelight," on Moving Pictures, includes the line "Living in a fish eye lens," and, "One must put up barriers to keep oneself intact," and is also a meditation on fame, albeit one that insists that those who want it "must put aside the alienation/Get on with the fascination/The real relation/The underlying theme."
  • It would have to be Tommy from the film, since the original Rock Opera had his father missing through World War I (thus the third song being "1921"), and the film starts off just around World War II (thus it's "1951").

Pink got a Happy Ending.
After the Wall was torn down, he quit show business, became a lawyer, reconciled with his wife, had two kids, wrote an autobiography that became a bestseller, retired at 65, moved to Florida, and passed away peacefully in his sleep at age 93, whereupon his soul went to heaven.
  • Really takes away from the Nightmare Fuel, doesn't it?
    • Well, heck, Pink Never Had the Nerve to make the Final Cut.

Pink wasn’t cheating on his wife in Young Lust.
Just like In The Flesh(?), it’s a song being played in-universe by Pink and his band.

Pink does not run into the bathroom and hide during Stop. He actually has a seizure onstage.
During the song In The Flesh, Pink yells abuse at his audience. He then falls into a seizure as a result of the drugs the doctor gave him in Comfortably Numb. What appears to be days roll by (Run Like Hell, Waiting For The Worms), when really, only a few minutes pass. Pink hears the door to the concert hall open vaguely, which is paramedics coming to help him. He then goes through The Trial, at which point the Wall collapses and Pink is set free. He returns to a psychiatrist later on, however, lamenting how he didn't kill himself (The eponymous track on The Final Cut).

Pink's real name is Floyd Pinkerton
Considering his father's name was "J.A. Pinkerton," it seems reasonable that "Pink" became a childhood nickname that he later adopted in adulthood. Hence, his full name is Pink Floyd.
  • It's *something* Pinkerton, but not necessarily "Floyd Pinkerton." The "Floyd" part comes from his wife...he'd have to take her name in marriage, but it makes sense, given how he views himself.

Pink is being tongue-in-cheek during the fascist rally sequence
Believe it or not, this is possible, given the theme of the album (poor communication results in misunderstandings). Inspired by colleague Ziggy Stardust (that universe's version of David Bowie), Pink decides to try on a new persona and play a joke on the audience. Unfortunately, the audience isn't in on the joke, and so they take him seriously. And he takes them seriously in response to their taking him seriously. And on and on it goes until the joke is no longer funny.
  • I doubt that. Considering how hopped up on drugs he was, he wouldn't be coherent enough to pull something like that.
    • You'd think so but David Bowie actually managed to pull a similar stunt while having a cocaine inspired mental breakdown.
  • Who says Pink was "hopped up on drugs?" To many interpreters, the Doctor gave Pink something that stopped the high, or at the very least knocked him out of his self-contemplation. That made him angry enough to sabotage the rock'n'roll show and make his manager do an unfathomable amount of damage control. Though all this assumes he was actually performing during the fascist rally sequence.

Mrs. Floyd wasn't actually having an affair
Remember, he's calling her from a long way away. He's also so far up his own ass that he is unable to learn the truth: the man who answered the phone could have merely been a friend of a friend, or even a distant relative (a cousin, or brother-in-law). All we learn from the unhelpful "connector" is "There's a man answering." All he says is, "Hello?" It's Pink who puts 2 and 2 together, and gets either 4 or 5, depending on your interpretation.

"Welcome to the Machine" from Wish You Were Here tells about how Pink got a record contract.
Some of the lyrics seem to pertain to Pink's character. ("You bought a guitar to punish your ma" and "You didn't like school" are definitely true to it.) Plus, the sleazy executive might have been another "bad influence" that just got pushed aside for the final cut. Sure, Waters wrote "Welcome to the Machine" before The Wall, but the two seem to be connected.
  • No, Welcome to the Machine is about Syd Barrett. The entirety of Wish You Were Here was made as a tribute to Syd.
  • Besides, if any song from "Wish You Were Here" tells about how Pink got a Record Contract, it would be "Have a Cigar" (LYRICS: "By The Way, Which one of you is Pink?") —Dingo Walley

The Wall is about the cycle of violence.
the theme of both the movie and the album are about how violence leads to more violence in a vicious cycle, starting with relatively minor examples leading up to a huge one, some of the cycles are, the teacher being abused by his wife and thus taking it out on the kids, the mother taking out her fear and grief over her dead husband on her son, Pink being abusive towards his wife and his wife cheating on him as revenge which just hurts Pink even more and finally Pink's white supremacy stemming from his resentment of Jews over his father being killed in World War II.
  • Yes and no. The odd one out is the third—Pink was never truly abusive toward his wife, merely non-communicative (it's implied that his mother's sheltering led him to never really "discover" the opposite sex in a truly personal way). The fourth also doesn't quite work because Pink's angst comes more from having never known his father at all...the war is sort-of beside the point (i.e. the father's absence is a side-effect of the war, but a big could have been anything from death to divorce. World War II's effect on the British psyche is a whole 'nother can of worms entirely.)

Hitler built a Wall too.
  • As stated on the main page, Pink becomes what his father died fighting against. Hitler was a failed artist who became a fascist leader after the events of World War I. He rose to power playing on the resentment and hatred that occured in Germany in the aftermath of World War I. Perhaps Hitler's descent into villainy (or Mussolini's, or Hirohito's, or for that matter, anyone in that position of power and influence, whether in art, politics, culture, and so on) came by building a Wall similar to Pink's? Perhaps those who followed Hitler, etc. and believed in his policies and prejudices had Walls, too. Could the cycle continue with other people, from other walks of life, building Walls because of miscommunication and alienation?
    • Short answer: yes. Longer answer: "Building a wall" is part of growing up and becoming older and wiser. The problem lies in going through life without second and third "voices" to temper some of the harder aspects of it. The death of Pink's father is the central brick because 1—he would have been able to help the boy see through the Teacher's cruelty, 2—contrast Mother's overprotectiveness with a healthy dose of acerbic humor, and 3—help Pink find the qualities in himself for a productive social and love life.

Is There Anybody Out There?
"Does anybody else in here feel the way I do?"
  • "Is there anybody out there?" Yes and no. There are others out there, but perhaps they too have Walls. Pink, being in a position of power/influence/mass communication as a rock star is able to lead the Hammers to totalitarianism, playing on their fears and alienation/miscommunication. Who are the Hammers? Those without power who have their own Walls as Pink did—for whom the Worms ate into their brains too, and for whom Pink is calling out to. They become the Hammers as Pink leads his rally. If he can't communicate with them in a loving way, he will through hate-mongering. "United we stand, divided we fall..."
    • "...some hand in hand, others gather together in bands, the bleeding hearts and artists make their stand."

Other than that, the rest of it's pretty much Word of God. Roger Waters himself is a believer in cycles of behavior, not necessarily of violence and aggression but also of paranoia and of miscommunication and outright lack of communication.

In-universe, the album The Wall was made by Pink and his band as part of his recovery process.
  • In 1980, sometime after Pink's on-stage breakdown and his inner "trial", he and his band made an album documenting the events that led up to the fiasco and explaining his mindset at the time. The storylike structure is assisted by recurring symbols, musical motifs, and even multi-part songs ("Another Brick in the Wall" and the "In the Flesh" series). The album even has older songs he made to help tell the story, such as a shortened operatic version of his old charity single "Bring the Boys Back Home." He made the album as part of his recovery following the chaos of his life. This explains how the musical-theater style fits in-universe and also why the crowd repeatedly shouts "Pink Floyd!" (Pink's band's name) in "Run Like Hell", as well as the numerous Shout Outs and allusions to earlier Floyd works.

Pink's Band wanted to do a Nazi motif
This is my reasoning. We go through the entire album, and there is no references to Nazism in it whatsoever. Yes, there are references to the war, but none to Nazism or fascism. Then all of a sudden, in basically the 3rd act, "BOOM! Nazis OMG!" But to me that came from nowhere! Pink didn't talk about dictatorships or any belief in racial superiority. Before the 3rd act, he was basically in a deep depression, even hating the idea of war. So where did Nazism come from? Why, his band, of course...

The band was tired of the same ol' shtick, the shtick that Pink loved and what made the band famous to begin with. Much like The Beatles, they decided to do something really creative, something no one had ever done before? And what had never been done before? Why, a Concept Album about the Nazis! Pink, starting to go into his depressive state, hates the idea, but he caves in to his bandmates' pressure due to his worsening state. Pink is fighting back as much as he can, even re-working one of the band's ideas ("In The Flesh") into a song more relevant to their past ("In The Flesh?"). The bandmates strike it down, insisting it stays the way it is, and that it's almost finished anyways. Then Pink learns his wife is cheating on him and he goes away...

... But while he's away, the band is able to book a very important gig, that will basically show off the album (the album would probably release the night of the concert). They expect it to be their Magnum Opus; so big, that it would rival Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. They hire people to be in the audience and play parts of their very important tour. But they realize Pink has been in seclusion for an unknown amount of time. They figure out where he is, and get a doctor to clean him up and they prepare for the show.

Pink, now in a terrible state of mind, basically does not (and I mean does not) want to do this. He simply stands on the stage as the first song begins, looking at his band mates, basically looking at them, and thinking "I don't wanna do this..." while they look back like "You have to! Now do it!" So, he reluctantly goes with it. If you listen to "In The Flesh" compared to "In The Flesh?", you would hear that Pink is singing "In The Flesh?" with some emotion, with some power behind his voice. Listening to "In The Flesh", he sounds depressed, like he's not even there, and that even when he's trying to emote and yell at the crowd, it sounds like he's not being serious. Also, "Waiting For The Worms To Come" sounds unemotional, at least to me.

As the show goes on, the crowd goes crazier, and the songs grow darker. In Pink's fragile state of mind, he starts confusing his life with his persona's life. He can't differentiate between what he has done and what his persona has. His mind starts breaking down; he starts thinking that the reason his life has gone to hell is because he has made everyone else's life a hell. It all comes to a breaking point as the crowd is chanting for Pink's Reich. Pink, going insane, yells at the top of his lungs "STOP!" "Stop" isn't his mind finally snapping, it's him finally snapping; he tells the crowd he wants to go home, take off his uniform and leave the show (another reason for this WMG), but that he needs to know if he's responsible for everything wrong in his life. He basically has a panic attack on stage and falls, being taken away to a hospital, where his conscience scolds him ("The Trial"). He wakes up in a hospital bed, reflecting on his life ("Outside the Wall").

I guess what I'm trying to say is, Pink's band was Just another Brick in the Wall...

  • That's...good. No, in all seriousness, that's good. Though I myself wouldn't say he's "depressed." Worse than that, he's in a completely different place entirely. In "Brain Damage," off The Dark Side of the Moon, there's the line: "And when the band you're in starts playing different tunes/I'll see you on the dark side of the moon." That, in turn is based on a now-legendary gig where Syd Barrett did nothing but just stand there, hopped up on drugs. "In the Flesh" comes from that Sydtastrophe and a later story in which Roger himself had contracted hepatitis and was a lifeless dummy onstage thanks to painkillers. Add to that a rather rudely-interrupted process of self-discovery and... well, whatever it is, it's not pretty. (Your idea, whoever wrote this, also has historical precedent in David Bowie's brief sort-of flirtings with fascism during his "Thin White Duke" phase.) HOWEVER, there is also the possibility that Pink himself had the idea in a moment of "Hey, let's troll our fans, the critics, and dear old Mrs. Whitehouse, who hates our guts anyway!"
    • Original Author: Firstly, I'd like to say thanks for the compliment. And yes, when I say "depressed", I mean "gone". I do indeed know of Syd Barrett and Roger Waters' own problems in the band. As for your idea that Pink was the one to suggest the Nazi motif, it didn't make much sense to me when I first heard it. But then thinking about it further, I realized there is one way that would work: If you take into consideration "The Final Cut" album, where a lot of songs deride war, which Pink would have hated thanks to it killing his dad, decided to use the Nazi motif to criticize his government ("Hey, we already live in fascist states that are trying to dominate the globe, we might as well show the world our true colors!") However, then I don't know where the insanity part would fit in unless it was a gradual process that then hit a high gear and sped up when he found out his wife was cheating on him, which based on the movie that would work, but based on the album it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense...

The Wall is Pink's version of Instrumentality
Both works have a central theme of isolation, building the wall that keeps us apart. The Wall is simply Pink's version of Instrumentality, with the Trial obviously being at the center of the Third Impact, which is all about destroying the wall that keeps us separated.

Pink just needed some time away to figure things out.
We all need this from time to time. One gets the feeling that Pink probably isn't used to this much introspection (again, he's a casualty of how our society has become), and that's why he's so frantic to get out at first. By the time he learns how to just go with the tide, the roadies interrupt him.

Pink is everything Pink Floyd isn't
He's a pop star, a lead singer who doesn't write the songs he sings. He hit the big time at a young age, and threw himself into the dream with abandon. Because his teacher ridiculed his early attempts as "absolute rubbish," Pink never gained the confidence to write socially-conscious lyrics; anyway, being a lead singer is a safer bet for the record label. Now, many years later, something is badly, badly wrong. He can't "shake off this creeping malaise" that he could be so much more than he is. Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll have zero effect on him.

The crowd wasn't actually cheering on the fascist concert.
Pink was so drugged up that he thought they were, but in reality, everyone was horrified.

Pink's Mom is dead through most of the album
After Mother, we don't get any more mention of Pink's Mom until The Trial (Which is happening mentally, I remind you, and is the second-to-last song on the album). Odds are, Pink's mom died some time shortly after Mother, which, to my guess, happens before he makes it big with his Band. It would also explain why he ended up marrying someone he wasn't truly happy with (and who cheated on him just as much as he cheated on her), and why he didn't go hide at his mother's house when he was trying to avoid people and publicity.
  • I like it! It fits in with my preferred reading of the end of "Mother." At the end, he heard about her death, and at her grave, he can only say, "Mother, did it need to be so high?" (Substitute whatever you feel for this: if you prefer, it might make more sense for him to see it on TV while he's on tour; he would then say this to himself, as if talking to Heaven.)
  • I thought that all along the first time I saw it, particularly in the scene where Pink is alone in bed and hugs the pillow.

Pink actually dies during "Comfortably Numb"

The lyrics to the chorus certainly suggest this: an interlocutor the singer knows is talking but can't hear, who is "only coming through in waves" while the singer waxes Wordsworthian about his childhood, feeling perhaps for the first time ever "no pain." And death sounds like a comfortable numbness. "A distant ship, smoke on the horizon" suggests the singer is parting with the world for a long time, perhaps for good. Musically, the rising string arpeggios underneath suggest some sort of transcendence or ascent.

And could the doctor, sung by Waters in the verse, really be a Psychopomp: "There'll be no more AAAAAAAAAAHHHH!! ... Come on, it's time to go"

In the movie, the long guitar solo is the Body Horror moment where we see Pink reborn as a fascist after ... imagining himself being devoured by worms or maggots.

Everything afterwards, Side 4, where Pink becomes (or doesn't become) a fascist, and is then put on trial, seems fantastic enough to be a Dying Dream, until he is exposed before his peers.

The Trial sequence is a real trial
And Pink is being judged for the crimes he committed during the neo-nazi period and possibly, the "exposed before your peers" means that he'll be exposed to his peers (criminals) in prison but in prison he starts breaking the Wall as the prisoners (some of them) are people that went through a hard time like him that just want to help and don't judge persons.Or, possibly, simply judged crazy.

"In The Flesh?" is from the concert right before "In The Flesh", at least in the movie.
This is relying on there being some vague level of reality in these songs. The concert Pink gets driven to after "Comfortably Numb" is actually the one briefly seen during the movie's opening. While the audience expected him to preform songs from his latest album (Animals?), he instead performs some new songs that sound…off. He ends up breaking into hate speech, only for the audience to go along with it, since his position, both in their minds and in the show, is that of a god. This is why The Hammer already seems to have a considerable base by the start of "In The Flesh", including a skinhead escort, and his fans already know the...questionable dance moves.
  • Confirmed by Roger Waters in an interview. The Thin Ice-Comfortably Numb is a flashback.

Pink's night with the groupie isn't the first time he's lashed out like that.
We never really see Pink being, y'know, a rock star, but the words "*one of* my bad days" indicate that he's done this before. It's entirely possible that Pink's own bandmates have had to bear the brunt of his rage. Possibly several times.

The fascist leader is an alternate personality of Pink's
After all, he refers to Pink like he's a different person, and his overall demeanor seems rather different from Pink's (at least to me). "Stop!" is Pink regaining control of himself.

The Schoolmaster fought in the First World War, but not the Second
Alex McAvoy, who played the character in the movie, was 54 or so at the time. Using him as a starting point, it's easy to imagine that he fought in his early twenties during World War I, and came back with a lot of survivor's guilt.

Twenty years later would put him in his forties, and the British army didn't object to older but able-bodied veterans who wanted badly enough to serve in the Second war. He, however, wasn't able-bodied enough to pass muster, and he washed out. The shame and resentment he carried in his heart poisoned his marriage and turned him into a Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk who took that out on just about everyone around him. In his mind, he believed that everyone knew he didn't make the cut and judged him a coward for it. He manifested this belief as a man forever looking for (and finding) even the slightest weaknesses in others, which is why Pink gives the twisted specter of his memories a pair of magnifying spotlight glasses.

  • This combined with the abuse he suffers from his wife makes him a terrifying teacher.

"Outside the wall" allows Pink to finally mourn.
In the film version of the song, the horns in the background sound like those used in a military funeral. This symbolises Pink finally facing the grief of losing his father at a young age.

Pink was having a seizure during “Comfortably Numb”
He’s either having a simple partial seizure, in which you feel like you’re floating in space (“My hands felt just like two balloons”), or he’s having an absence seizure, where you blank out and feel absolutely nothing. (Obviously how he’s becoming “comfortably numb”)

"The Trial" is a distorted version of an actual trial
The rally staged by Pink in "Waiting for the Worms" resulted in a full-scale riot. Pink gets arrested and tried for what happened, and his mother, (ex?)-wife and former teacher are all called in as character witnesses. The recurring "crazy... I am crazy" represents him undergoing psychiatric examinations to determine whether he's mentally ill, and to what extent.

Pink never gets as far as actually performing as the Dark Lord
When he's in the car on the way to the show, all three numbers are his Imagine Spot as he thinks about how he's going to give his fans hell. When he actually gets there... he can't do it. Temper aside, his basic humanity suddenly overrides everything else in a sudden moment of panic.

Alternative Title(s): Pink Floyd The Wall


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