I would have posted the above Pink Floyd song title 2 1/2 years ago and had a totally different frame of reference. Today, however, the frame is built by my middle daughter, Hannah, in reference not to her mother but her sister. My oldest daughter Abbi, you see, has moved to another state and started college.
The reference is actually quite literal. Hannah came into the living room on Friday night, after an entire evening’s activities, and said “look what I learned how to play, Dad!” She started the opening salvo of the title track of Floyd’s 1975 ode to longing, loss, memory and their friend, Syd Barrett.
“Could we do another video and send it to Abbi?”
With someone that excited by their musical inspiration, I could hardly say ‘no’. Rather than set up a webcam, though, and simply grab our guitars and play, I took her into my office and set up ProTools and put the headphones on her ears.
“We’re going to record it and then make a video.”
Hannah was really apprehensive, so I plugged in, click track running, and had my amp very quiet, the mic closer to her, and helped her play. She decided at that point this should be a project for both of us, asking me to sing the opening verse, she the second, together on the 3rd.
It’s a beautiful song, particularly in its simplicity, and I was quite caught up in her enthusiasm. I won’t post it here both for her nerves and for the fact that I don’t want to infringe on Gilmour and Waters’ copyrights.
Wish You Were Here is always gives me a little bit of a twinge. Andrea loved the song, not just due to the message, it made her think of her sister and some random teenage adventure she’d had. It’s almost hard at times to hear the line “we’re just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl year after year” without thinking of her belting out that line, off-key, sometimes on-purpose, and grinning from ear to ear.
Today, however, it brings nothing but fond memories of how my daughter had a burst of inspiration, leading to my own inspiration and then making a video. It took all day, but then we put it all together. The melancholy feeling was there, but more about missing Abbi than about sadness for their mother.
It’s interesting that a song about loss and mental illness and sadness can bring happiness to others, but in the end the message is universal. How I wish you were here.