|AN INTERVIEW WITH MARK WORDEN|
Interview by Mauro Fagnani (Heyou)
Heyou: What are the books' contents? How is it structured?
Mark Worden: Barrett, Waters and Gilmour all grew up in Cambridge and this is simply a guide – with maps and photos – to the town of their youth. There are entries on the 50 or so locations: houses, schools, pubs, cafes, shops, concert venues, you name it. In geographical terms, it starts at the centre of the famous university town and works its way southwards. In terms of sources, obviously we used the books that have been written about Pink Floyd, but we also conducted a number of interviews with their contemporaries, some of whom even showed us the places in question. Indeed special thanks go to Clive Welham, who played in David Gilmour's early group Joker's Wild, and who still lives in Cambridge, and to the legendary album cover designer, Storm Thorgerson: not only did he provide plenty of information and encouragement, he also put us in touch with some of his contemporaries, who in turn put us in touch with others and so on.
Heyou: Is there any particularly curious fact that you discovered while researching the book?
Mark Worden: Well, a favourite place would probably be the impressive house where the Ummagumma cover was shot. This is not for the house or the cover, so much as the fact that it was the scene of a surreal 21st birthday party in 1965 for which the line-up included three unknown acts: namely, a bunch of architecture students living in London who called themselves the Pink Floyd Sound, the afore-mentioned local band Joker's Wild, and last, but by no means least, a young American guy who was travelling round the UK at the time called Paul Simon. He went home shortly after that and recorded a song called "The Sound of Silence" and the rest, as they say, is history. None the less eye witnesses say that the evening was not a great success but, when time travel becomes commercially viable, this will be an event worth checking out. In more generic terms, our research involved a lot of "legwork," i.e. walking around Cambridge and accosting innocent bystanders and asking them for information. Two things struck us here: the first was how many of the places from the 1950s and '60s have disappeared. The second was the gradual realisation that we ourselves were a little eccentric. When you think about it, going around a town in 2006 and asking people whether they can remember the exact location of a place from the 1960s is like going round a town in the 1980s and asking people whether they can remember a small local detail from the Second World War. That said, just about everybody we spoke to was polite and helpful, in a very English way.
Heyou: Where is the book available?
Mark Worden: Selected Cambridge bookshops, Amazon.com and eBay.
Heyou: Why Pink Floyd? How did you "get to know" them?
Mark Worden: We were both teenagers in the 1970s and Pink Floyd was a big part of that: we grew up to their music. In my case, there was an added dimension: I grew up in the Cambridge area and so a lot of these places were familiar. For example, I used to go to concerts at the Corn Exchange, but I was a bit too young to attend the disastrous Syd Barrett show there in 1972, which was probably just as well.
Heyou: Which is your favourite Pink Floyd album and song?
Mark Worden: Without wishing to appear unduly dull, the album has to be "Dark Side of the Moon," which really is part of "the soundtrack of our lives." Not only that, it still sounds great – three decades and three thousand listenings later! In terms of a song, I'm going to go for Grantchester Meadows, which is a wonderfully nostalgic piece about growing up in Cambridge.
Heyou: Can you tell us about what you're working on at the moment?
Mark Worden: We both have several projects that we'd like to pursue, including a "work in progress" that we'd let slip while we completed the book. It's a series of interviews with people who reminisce about the 1960s. We freely admit that it probably isn't the most original of ideas, but it's great fun to work on and that's the main thing.
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