Wish You Were Here

How many times have you said it? Or written it down? Or, more likely, just thought it? It’s about people, places, the past, and you.

At The Pub, from URBNE Festival May 2012, © Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive. I appreciate the written permission from Rennie Ellis Photography and recommend their terrific archive

You remember that time you went up to SinCity or Brissie with your mates, it might have been ’92, or ’82 or (gulp) some indeterminant time in the mid-sixties. You did stuff. If you were brave, you sent a postcard to your parents, with “Wish You Were Here” over a picture that shouted ciggies, booze, women (as opposed to girls), and questionable behaviour. It was all show. And about you and about independence.

Postcard from Paris, Pre-1904, Rue Breda in Batignolles District (Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City)

And that big trip OS. Dangerous, man! Out of your comfort zone. No cohort of mates, just you. So you send your mates a card, this time because you miss them. You’re independent now. It’s about you and about freedom.

Independence, freedom, and, of course, about separation. Partner, Parent, Family, Friend. We leave, and we die, a physical separation. But a psychological separation can be just as painful. A chronic psychosis, or severe dementia. We love the person, but they are not there.

I was reminded of this when listening to Syd Barrett, the original lyricist and guitarist for Pink Floyd. His soul was blighted by LSD and probably schizophrenia, but not before Piper At The Gates Of Dawn appeared. Astronomy Domine, the first track, is one of only two Barrett + The Floyd (correct me if I’m wrong) available on film:


No Description

After departure from Pink Floyd, he lived as a recluse, dying in 2006. David Gilmour, who replaced him, states that their 1975 Wish You Were Here album, dedicated to Barrett, was their best. Of the post-PATGOD albums, many would agree. The title track asks:

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?

and finishes:

How I wish, how I wish you were here.

It was about separation of the mind. Just as painful as physical absence.

So, independence, freedom and separation. But the common factor is You. Or Me. “Wish You Were Here” is actually about Us. There are a million experiences we’ve never had. We don’t miss them. We only say or think “Wish You Were Here” when that beautiful thing called Life has allowed us to feel that way. It is something to treasure. We are indeed fortunate.



Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry