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What Other Floydians Are Saying - "In The Flesh"

Greg Lewis -- "A great metaphor used in the movie sequence that I thought you missed is the one shown on the banner of your site. Pink with his fisted arms crossed. Obviously it can represent the hammer logo, but more importantly it can also represent the wall. In the final seconds of the song in the movie he puts his arms across his face, as if blocking something, or protecting his face."

Author's Addendum: Crossing your arms is also a self-defense technique used to both separate you from your aggressor as well as to minimize damage to yourself. So in a way, it's a physical representation of Pink's defense mechanisms, distancing himself from his family, his audience and the world.

Brandon Butler -- "I would suggest a copy of Karl Dallas's book Bricks in the Wall, printed in the 80s, which gives a very in-depth look at the band from the Syd era and prgresses album by album until the end of the band circa 1985, and has its own synopsis of the wall. I have misplaced my own copy, but in it Dallas touches on a few things as a journalist it would be impossible for you or me to dig up, having the oppertunity to interview Waters and Gilmour themselves. One thing Dallas mentions in musing on The Wall is that Waters and Parker deliberately staged the events in the second section of "In the Flesh" on real events on the pre-war fascist movement in England. The name escapes me who the name was of the person who gave these rallies -- I have heard of the 'Hammerhead' group you mention but I believe this was seperate from them -- but the tactics were specific to what happens in the song. At rallies speeches were given that, while not looking like Nuremburg, had an established tradition where the speaker would identify minorities in the crowd, a spotlight would focus on them, and security personnel would descend on the man, roughing him up and tossing him out into the street. These rallies were known at least on one occasion to be held in Albert Hall itself, I believe, the same location that Pink Floyd would hold its first live performance of The Wall some 40 years later. Also of note: Dallas was able to dig up larger plans for the second 'In the Flesh' sequence, which was supposed to combine live action and animation and was accomplished earlier in the film when Pink is attacked by an animated version of his wife. The sequence was originally supposed to contain much more violence and the first solid appearance of the animated hammers, with bombs being thrown from the stage and giant hammers marching through and crushing Pink's audience with the audience cheering it all on even as they died. This was Water's depiction on how bad stadium rock could get, becoming sadistic and maschoistic which he didn't understand, and compared it as seen at the beginning of the film with fighting wars like WWI and II, with the exception as he notes in his interview with Dallas that, to paraphrase, "those soldiers had clear motivation, they've been bloody well ordered to do it and it had nothing to do so much about choosing to be there or not. And I don't understand that with big audiences. It can be maschosistic where it seems the more it hurts the better they like it." That's not the exact quote, but the gist of it."

Matt -- "In the the song "Hey You" Pink says, "hey you with your ear against the wall, waiting for someone to call out, would you touch me". In light of that, I find it interesting that Fascist Pink commands his minions to "get 'em up against the wall". It's like there's a double-mindedness in Pink, since the people who are outcasts or different ignored his pleas from inside his wall, he now commands that they be forced up against the same wall. On the other side, he may also feel a bond with these people who "don't look right", and wish to connect with them in an attempt to better understand his situation. But, true to form, Pink only manages to harm the very people he wishes to connect with. I'm reminded also of the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, where the fascist thought policeman O'Brien tells Winston Smith that he likes him, that their minds are alike... if only Winston weren't insane."

Nick -- It's also possible that Pink isn't being entirely serious in "In the Flesh." The fascist persona is reminiscent of something David Bowie tried on for a time. My idea is that he's kind of taking the mickey here, screwing with people's heads. But his fans take him seriously, ovine rabble that they are (this also ties in with Animals' "Sheep"). Pink is more than a little disturbed at this possibility, because not only is his attempt at satire really badly done, he's also in the rather unique position of having power over people, being a filthy-rich rock-n-roll artist.

Then again, the [facist] songs might also follow the typical course of power. Pink, the brilliant soldier, rises to power as a civilian leader with delusions of grandeur. He delivers his manifesto in "In the Flesh," shocks the populace into submission in "Run Like Hell," and broadcasts his plans for a utopia in "Waiting for the Worms." It all comes from my reading of Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine.