Saturday, September 06, 2008

David Gilmour & "On the Turning Away"

I can't pretend to be a Pink Floyd fan, in general their style wasn't "my cup of tea". I guess I'm basically square in musical preferences. However, there is one song of theirs which I like a lot: "On the Turning Away", co-written and sung by David Gilmour.

Finding information on David Gilmour, as a person, rather than as a rock star isn't easy. Interviews concentrate mainly on his concerts and his music, rather than highlighting what kind of man he is.

There's a question mark over his year of birth too. Wikipedia and Astrotheme have it as 1946, but several other sites quote 1944. I wonder if, at some point, David wanted to appear to his fans as a little younger than his real age? I'm sure it's been done before. Or maybe the discrepancy came about from a scribbled date where the final digit could be read as a 4 or a 6.

Born 6 March, in Cambridge, England. The dual chart below shows both versions, 1946 in the center, 1944 in the outer ring. It's interesting to see what a difference two years make. There's no time of birth available, so both are set for 12 noon, which means that ascendant and Moon positions will not be accurate. (Click on image for a clearer view)

Sun in Pisces, along with either Mercury or Venus, depending on the year. Either way, that's a nice slice of imaginative, sensitive Pisces. In both charts Mars and Saturn, two powerful and often said to be challenging planets are close together. Exactly conjoined in 1944, in Gemini. Three degrees apart, in Cancer, in 1946. In what little personal information about David I've come across, from transcripts of interviews, he has said that he is shy. He's described as "a quiet man". He has admitted that, on occasion, he has felt very nervous in front of an audience, so much so that, in one film of a concert, his fingers could be seen trembling on the guitar strings! That describes emphasis on Cancer more than Gemini, so tends to favour 1946 as year of birth. As for those conjoined planets, Mars and Saturn, rather than offering challenge, I think in this case they reflect his energy - as seen in performances on stage, and resourcefulness. David has said that he is very keen to get and give value for money - that's a Saturnian trait

"We don't like to cut corners obviously. Things are very expensive and it's very easy to misdirect you money, and put an awful lot of money into something that isn't what I would call cost effective"

In the 1946 chart Mars/Saturn in Cancer trine (120*)Sun and Venus in Pisces. This is a soft Watery harmony, helping to negate any destructive tendencies from that Mars/Saturn conjunction.

Another plus for the 1946 chart is Neptune in Libra opposite Mercury (communications planet) in Aries - creativity and imagination from Neptune, with energy from Aries to bring it to the fore. As Neptune rules his Pisces Sun, this ties in well.

The song which started me on this tack? "On the Turning Away", lyrics written by David Gilmour, Pink Floyd's guitarist/vocalist, and Anthony Moore. The music reminds me of a traditional Celtic melody.

There are lots of YouTube videos of live versions of this song, but my choice is a video which, rather than showing the musicians, concentrates on the lyrics.

"On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we wont understand
Dont accept that whats happening
Is just a case of others suffering
Or youll find that youre joining in
The turning away

Its a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting its shroud
Over all we have known
Unaware how the ranks have grown
Driven on by a heart of stone
We could find that were all alone
In the dream of the proud

On the wings of the night
As the daytime is stirring
Where the speechless unite
In a silent accord
Using words you will find are strange
And mesmerized as they light the flame
Feel the new wind of change
On the wings of the night

No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
Its not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that therell be
No more turning away?"


Tammy said...


Wisewebwoman said...

Beautiful lyrics, T.
I've always turned away from Pink Floyd, found them too harsh for my Celtic ears!

anthonynorth said...

Pink Floyd are an annoying band. During the early days with Syd they were ground breaking, but then they became musically perfect, which is the problem.
A rock band is supposed to express a touch of anarachy, of fun. Pink Floyd don't.
I remember a coule of years ago a televised concert which ended with The Who and then Pink Floyd. The place rocked with the former, then the concert seemed to fizzle out with Floyd. They should have been on the other way round.

Twilight said...

Tammy ~~~ Hi! Yes, lovely song - and as relevant now as when it was written more than 20 years ago.


WWW ~~~ Me too, though my ears aren't Celtic :-)
When you get wired for video, do have a listen to this one though. it's quite unlike Pink Floyd's usual stuff, and there's a Celtic feel to the melody.


AN ~~~ I'm a rock-music-challenged
mortal really, AN - with a few exceptions such as Queen, and Beatles, their music is pretty much of a blind spot for me.
I like my anarchy in the form of protest songs. The only memory I have of Pink Floyd, other than this song, is when they played "Comfortably Numb" at a big (charity?) concert a few years ago.

R J Adams said...

"In my rearview mirror the sun is going down,
Sinking behind bridges in the road.
And I think of all the good things that I have left undone,
And I suffer premonitions, confirmed suspicions,
Of the holocaust to come.

The wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in, gives way,
And suddenly it's day again.
The sun is in the east even though the day is done,
Two suns in the sunset -
Looks like the human race is run.

Like the moment when the brakes lock,
And you slide towards the big truck,
You stretch the frozen moments with your fear.
And you'll never hear their voices,
And you'll never see their faces,
You have no recourse to the law anymore.

And as the windshield melts and my tears evaporate,
Leaving only charcoal to defend,
Finally, I understand the feelings of the few.
Ashes and diamonds, foe and friend,
We were all equal in the end."

"Two Suns in the Sunset", from the album, "The Final Cut" by Pink Floyd. It's virtually unheard of in the US, because it was made just after the Falklands War, and is a brilliant anti-war record denouncing government's for their unnecessary aggression.

"Brezhnev took Afghanistan,
And Began took Beirut,
Galtieri took the Union Jack.
And Maggie, over lunch one day, took a cruiser with all hands,
Apparently, to make them give it back."

A bit dated by today's standards? Only if you don't change the names and places.

I'm sorry but for me, David Gilmour/Pink Floyd - the greatest rock band of all time. I had the privilege of seeing and hearing them live at Manchester City Football Ground in, I think, 1983 (could be a year or two out). It's an experience that has never left me. Those who don't understand Pink Floyd usually have never truly listened to their music.

Twilight said...

Oh, why be sorry, RJ!? Pink Floyd is possibly an acquired taste for which a gal like me needs a tutor - I had the same problem with The Beatles until I met my husband - I didn't "get" their music. Now I do.

Those lyrics you've quoted are great, RJ. I wonder if they are discernable when performed by PF?
That's a lot of my discomfort with rock musicians - I can't tell what they are singing. Nowadays, with lyrics available on-line things have changed. Back in the day though, if you couldn't hear the words you just had to hum along with the tune - of which there often was not a lot!

This may be why I stuck with Sinatra and Neil Diamond - I knew what they were singing about.

In a different genre - I had a problem with Bob Dylan until I bought a book of his lyrics - then the curtains were drawn back and I saw the light. :-)

I'll look into the husband's Pink Floyd collection and see what I can find!

R J Adams said...

I'm not surprised your husband is a fan. I could tell from your previous posts about him, he takes his music seriously.