Dark Side of the Rainbow




I'm away on holiday, taking in the spectacle of Glacier National Park and the clean air of big sky country. It's truly invigorating out here. I would recommend it to any one who needs to recharge their batteries and get in touch with the natural world. But being a slave to technology and having access to a magnificent 5.1 surround professional theater system in the private home I'm staying at, I couldn't resist a little pop culture to waste an evening.

I had knowingly packed a secret DVD for my iBook G4 to watch on the plane, but got distracted reading Jonathan Lethem's tremendous Bob Dylan interview in the new Rolling Stone. (Lethem's one of my favorite American writers and someone I hope to podcast interview quite soon.)

The other day my friend Tony O. gave me a DVD copy of Dark Side of the Rainbow. Some of you readers have seen it, but for those of you who haven't, let me explain. Some very bored stoner must have been cranking Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon while simultaneously watching the movie The Wizard of Oz with sound down and the universe awakened this trippy synchronization. If you start Floyd's Moon (the 1994 re-issue or 2003's 30th anniversary re-issue) just after the MGM lion roars for the third time, then mute the audio portion of the movie and turn up the Floyd disc, the magic begins.

According to fans, there are at least 100 moments in the film that sync up with Pink Floyd's masterwork. While I'd love to list them all, I think it's more dynamic to try it out for yourself. Most of the magic is watching/listening and picking out the lyric/scene interplays. A few of the more obvious moments occur early on with young Dorothy and Mrs. Gulch appearance, Professor Marvel, Glinda The Good Witch, Scarecrow, Tin Man, etc.

David Gilmour has gone on record to thwart any rumors that it was intended; he insists the phenomenon is purely coincidental. Ditto for the album's engineer, Alan Parsons, who flatly denied any correlation. This hasn't stopped the TV series Family Guy from making comical references to it. As my friend Susan stated during our private vacation screening, "Someone must have had a lot of time on their hands to figure this out." Or maybe it's just as The Police's Der Stingal once sang:

"A connecting principle / Linked to the invisible / Almost imperceptible / Something inexpressible / Science insusceptible/  Logic so inflexible / Causally connectible / Yet nothing is invincible." 

Synchronicity indeed.

I would encourage you to try it for yourself. Perhaps even this Labor Day weekend. Gather your family, friends, college dorm pals, etc., and give it a spin. And when you've finished exhausting the possibilities with Rainbow, try synching up the song "Echoes" from the Pink Floyd album Meddle (1971) with Stanley Kubrick's genius epic feature 2001: A Space Odyssey. Start the song at the beginning of the third act of the film, "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite," and strap yourself in. Laser light show is optional.