Geoff Hoon

Dark side of the Hoon

New Labour, Old Rocker: Geoff Hoon, Leader of the House of Commons, swaps his red box for Pink Floyd as our guest pop critic

Pink Floyd — Leicester — 1972. You will always recall the first time you saw your favourite bands. Pink Floyd were not then mainstream — still less known all around the world. Dark Side of the Moon was one continuous piece of music that filled the first half of the show before they went on to perform better-known early favourites such as ‘A Saucerful of Secrets’ and ‘Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun’. Their music was still experimental, slightly dangerous and certainly difficult. On the seats were the lyrics — a ‘Hymnsheet for Assorted Lunatics’. If you liked ‘The Floyd’, you were different, you liked albums not singles, you liked prolonged, sometimes shapeless pieces of music and crashing guitar chords and special lighting and electronic effects.

Later you loved the dissected finished version of Dark Side of the Moon, although part of you couldn’t help slightly regretting that everyone else loved it too. Your band was everyone’s band. They sold albums around the world and played in football stadiums — psychedelia gave way to flying pigs and the music was mainstream. But the music was still magnificent — as an early fan you knew that ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ was about Syd Barrett, who was said to have turned up without warning at Abbey Road Studios as it was being recorded. You generously showed off your albums and your inside knowledge to those who came late.

But as you grew up, so did the band — growing apart, as should be expected of four mature men with wives and families who no longer found life on the road and life together so appealing. You were also married and the stereo had to be turned down so as not to disturb the baby.

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