Thursday, 18 May 2017

Their Mortal Remains

On 13th May the V&A opened Their Mortal Remains, an exhibition celebrating 50 years of Pink Floyd's career. I'd been counting down the days until it opened since I first heard of it last year, and yesterday I was lucky enough to go.

A technical drawing by Nick from when he was studying architecture; a painting by Syd from 1965 and a letter he wrote for Jenny Spires; David Gilmour's Höfner Club 60 guitar and his first fuzz pedal.
BBC apperance contracts. Notice that Syd's crossed out on one of them.
Nick's diary: "Kingston College. Really a fairly good gig, partly because the support group was so boring that everyone was glad to see us."

Letter from David to his parents: "Dear Mum & Dad, This is just to reassure you about the fact that I am playing again and will probably be playing in the States in April. I should be in New York about 20th April for a week or more. As you can see I joined the Pink Floyd, don't worry about what the cuttings say the reasons are and the spelling of Gilmur. That was a mistake by the Publisaist."
Fender Precision bass which originally belonged to Roger Waters, which he sold to David Gilmour in the 70s and he still continues to use.

Nick Mason's shirts from the late '60s and the hat he always wore.
It's got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good. Syd's bike from the 1980s

Nick and Roger, drawn by Roger Waters in Washington, June 10th '75.

I'm doing my dissertation on Gerald Scarfe's artwork for The Wall so was pleased that there were a few original pieces on display.

I took so many photos it was a challenge to narrow them down! It was a pretty big exhibition, I think I heard that there are 11 rooms in total. I expected it might take me about 2 hours to walk around, but it took me 4.5. It's advertised as an "audio and visual experience" and you're given a headset to wear which automatically knows which section you're in and will play accordingly. It's quite an elegant system as you forget you're wearing it, but it's not without it's faults; several times my headset had difficulty tuning in when I was standing right in front of something, and it would sometimes loose connectivity halfway through, so trying to listen to interviews was a little frustrating. That's my only complaint of the entire thing though, I absolutely loved it. I liked that the exhibition allowed you to move at your own pace, and the headsets made it a completely immersive, individual experience.

You enter the exhibition through a model of the Bedford van, and then are immediately immersed into the UFO Club with psychedelic liquid oil effects projected onto the ceiling. The next room is where it really begins, with a section on Syd Barrett and then a display dedicated to each album from Piper at the Gates of Dawn through to Dark Side of the Moon. The section on Syd is very small, but honestly I felt it was just enough. It didn't downplay or dismiss his part in the band, and it treated him respectfully instead of like an oddball curiosity project which I appreciated. There was no speculation or psychoanalysis, it simply explained his role and that he was unable to cope with fame and left.

After the display of Dark Side of the Moon the exhibition slowed down to tell more of their history between and during each album from Dark Side of the Moon through to The Endless River. My first thought was that I wished they had placed equal emphasis on the earlier period of the band, but then again I didn't feel the exhibition lacked anything and there's obviously only so much they can focus on so I think they got the balance right.

At the end of the exhibition you removed the headphones and went into a large room where their Live 8 performance was being projected onto the walls so you could sit on the floor and watch. After Live 8, they showed the promotional video for Arnold Layne, complete with additional oil projections. I really enjoyed this as a note to finish on as it highlighted both ends of the bands career - their first ever release with Syd, up to their final reunion performance before the death of Rick.

After the end of it, I truly felt like I wanted to go straight back in and do the entire exhibition all over again. It was such a perfect day to be so deeply immersed in my favourite band, I felt almost under a spell when I left I was so happy.

Naturally you exit out into the gift shop! It's predominantly t shirts, remastered vinyl (ugh), button badges and books. I bought quite a few pins as I enjoy sticking them everywhere (I even bought duplicates of some), some postcards, a mug, a plush of Algie the pig which is probably my favourite thing for some inexplicable reason, and the official book of the exhibition which I can't wait to sit down and read. I did see a few other books I liked the look of, but they're not specific to the V&A and I didn't feel like lugging them round all day so I'll no doubt be ordering from Amazon soon.

The exhibition is open until October 1st 2017 and entry is between £18-£22 depending on if you have a concession. It's well worth every penny in my mind, I completely recommend going if you're able to!


  1. This looks pretty cool, I've never been to something like this before, a music museum, they don't seem to have much of them in Australia, not that I'm aware of anyway. :)

    1. I don't they generally have many here, it's just a pop up thing, but I was definitely lucky to be able to attend! I've heard rumours that they might tour it around the world, I hope they do to give more people a chance to see it.

  2. Funnily enough I'd just read this blog post ( before I read yours. Good to know that two women with a generation between them both enjoyed the same exhibition.
    I love the clothes and the art work.
    I was 13 when Another Brick In The Wall was number one and I remember being repulsed by the video clip of Bob Geldof razoring his chest not long after. I don't think I really at Pink Floyd after that until my old school teacher gave me her custom-made Gohil's snakeskin boots which, after I'd googled them, led me to research them a bit more. xxx

    1. That's funny because I remember Another Brick in the Wall was the first song I ever heard by Pink Floyd when I was 11 when my dad was watching Top of the Pops 2. I hated it! It wasn't until a few years later when I heard See Emily Play that I actually began to get into them. I'm still not a fan of Another Brick in the Wall to be honest.

  3. This is an amazing looking exhibit!


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