Monday, July 31, 2017

The Worms

I just wrote the following. I was instructed to describe a scary antagonist from the world of fiction. I know a lot of people will bring up Dementors, Death Eaters  or the practitioners of the Dark Side of the Force. I was tempted to write about the Yellow Liberal Party but that is not fiction.  

The Worms are antagonists not in a book but originally in the classic Pink Floyd double concept album called the Wall. There was a movie made out of the album in 1982 but I am satisfied with my appreciation of this terrifying piece of work with just the images the music  and the lyrics invoke. There was a live concert in 1989 at the site that the Berlin Wall came down. 

The album Wall is about the  figurative wall the protagonist  (Pink) builds to try and insulate himself from his fears and insecurities. Even his earliest memories of love and warmth seemed to be fleeting as evidenced by the song "Thin Ice". A nice gentle piano number suddenly turns sinister with growling guitars . Initial talk about comfort then gets stained with the mention of " .... a million tear stained eyes ". 

We find out that Pink's metaphor of crashing thin ice is the huge void that was caused when his father did not return from flying a mission in the war. This void seemed to make him even more vulnerable to  anixieties that all of us have in our developing years. The realities of Pink growing up with a single parent culminate in the song "Mother" where the protagonist admits that his mother helps him "build the wall".

Songs like " Comfortably Numb" and "Nobody Home" further illustrate Pink trying to cope with  his feeling of emptiness. No matter how much he builds the wall the Worms still find a way to work their way through it. 

In many stories, the protagonist hits rock bottom before they truly face what conflicts them. This happens in the songs "Waiting For The Worms" and "Stop". Pink faces his fears directly in the song "The Trial" where the prosecution in his mind charges him of being "caught red handed showing feelings of an almost human nature ". 

The trial goes on with several more "witnesses" to Pink's "crime" which then leads to the verdict of the trial as determined by the judge. He is indeed guilty of having those feelings and the sentence is to be "exposed before your peers". The sure fire way of carrying out that sentence is to "tear down the wall". The orchestra then leads to a musical climax followed by crumbling sound effects. This leads to the epilogue of the story titled "Outside the Wall". It is much calmer but the lyrics suggest that Pink will still encounter the "Wall" of others in his life.

The Wall is a truly terrifying piece of work. A lot of fiction originates from someone's reality. The Worms in the Wall are from the reality of Roger Waters but that is what makes it real to me having first heard it as a fourteen year old. The Worms are from our reality. Anxieties we all face in our life's journey. That makes them scarier than any Sith Lord or Dementor. 

No comments: