Sunday, September 27, 2015

Billy searching for his native land.

Years ago, late one sweltering summer Sunday morning, as we lay on the floor of my mates grandmother's house crunching ice and nursing horrendous hangovers, at the height of a friendship now a fading memory, I was introduced to Roger Waters solo album. Radio KAOS.

We were broke and couldn't afford any more beer, all we had left was a bag of ice, to cradle as the mercury rose beyond what even we desperadoes could handle. Hungover and with only our legs for transport we found ourselves in the intolerable situation of being Housebound!
Then my mate John, after establishing that we were stuck said: 
"I've got a record I want you to listen to."(Yes we still listened to LP records back then) "I think you'll like it, but you've gotta listen to the whole thing. Don't talk, don't do anything just listen to this record"
I was having trouble getting myself up off the floor, on account of the severity of my self-inflicted dipsomania...
"OK" I said wondering if I was going to be left in the prone position on the floor while he played more Heavy Metal at full volume or if I was going to have to endure another round of George Thorogood...

I heard the crackle of the speakers as John placed the needle down on the album... the telltale rhythm as it's diamond tip orbited a slightly uneven vinyl disc... I had no idea what to expect.

There was a distant sound of Morse code growing louder... the voice of a talk back radio presenter announcing that we are listening to K.A.O.S. radio in Las Angeles... then the robotic, mechanized  voice of Billy introducing himself and announcing that he hears radio waves in his head... (I already felt disjointed and divorced from reality, and my body, as I remained virtually paralyzed on the wooden floorboards of an elderly lady's house, the drunken guest of her rebel grandson...) In my feeble state the album penetrated me to the core! Each song followed the central theme, it was a story line and the lead character had entered my brain as though there was no record playing. To me it was like Waters had channeled the Billy's voice directly into my head. (I was in shocking condition, still unable to gather my own thoughts after a hard night of unending alcohol consumption)

We'd played that album about three times in a row when the rest of our crew finally become so completely bored they opted to walk in the 40 degrees Celsius heat, on melting bitumen rather than endure another round... I kept listening... I read the lyrics... I played songs over and back until the ice had melted.

When I left that house my brain had been re-organized. So many of my private feelings validated at last, and all held together in a green Morse album cover. I cherished the heat and my hangover, the ice and the wonky, splintered wooden floor I'd been laying on all day.  I had heard the baffled ramblings of my own mind and spirit beamed back at me via the turntable as if I had been communicating directly with the source via radio waves myself.

Possibly a once in a lifetime experience.       

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