Friday, February 06, 2009

Pink Floyd, flying pigs, and Battersea Power Station

I was looking at photos of London buried under the recent snow fall - the heaviest in 18 years - when I noticed a familiar back drop. Battersea Power Station, London, England. A flood of memories washed over me as I recalled the classic 1977 Pink Floyd album, Animals. I couldn't believe that there really was such a place.

For some reason (maybe it was my inability to believe pigs can fly) I never once thought that the place depicted on the album cover actually existed (at least not without the enhancement of drugs). Ahhh, but it did and still does - although the power station is no longer operating and the pig has long since drifted off to a higher place. Yep, that's right, the pig was the real deal too (albeit inflated). No Photoshop here folks, this was a real Kodak moment and not the madman's watercolor sketch I once assumed it was.

Here's the hilarious tale and the video as proof...
"The giant, helium-filled pig (referred to as the Pink Floyd Pig) seen on the cover was actually flown over Battersea Power Station for the photo shoot under the direction of Storm Thorgerson. On the first day of shooting, a marksman was on hand in case the pig broke free. However, according to Thorgerson, this was considered an "insurance problem", and he was not hired for the second day of shooting. On 3 December 1976, during the second day, a gust of wind broke the pig free of its moorings. Because there was no one to shoot the pig down, it sailed away into the morning sky."

I guess you learn something everyday... although I am in no way assuming that you blog readers out there didn't already know this Floyd tidbit.

Strangely enough the whole scene was recently reenacted with Spider Pig for the DVD release of The Simpson's Movie. Here's the video... note that they too brought in a sniper as back-up should the pig decide to really fly away.

Spider Pig, aka Plopper, story here.


Mark said...

ahhh, 1977.....way to date yourself.

Kenmore said...

dude, Floyd used that pig for years at their live shows until finally selling it to Peter Frampton at a yard sale.... or was that last bit from the Simpson's as well... hmmm.