Sunday, March 21, 2010

What Shall We Do Now?

What Shall We Do Now? 3:48
     (written by Roger Waters)

Lover: Hello?
Operator: Yes, a collect call for Mrs Floyd from Mr Floyd. Will you accept the charges from United States? Well, I wonder why he hung up? Is there supposed to be someone else there besides your wife, sir, to answer?
Lover: Hello?
Operator: This is United States calling, are we reaching? See, he keeps hanging up. And it's a man answering.

What shall we use to fill the empty spaces
Where waves of hunger roar
Shall we set out across this sea of faces
In search of more and more applause?

Shall we buy a new guitar?
Shall we drive a more powerful car?
Shall we work straight through the night?
Shall we get into fights
Leave the lights on
Drop bombs
Do tours of the east
Contract disease and
Bury bones
Break up homes
Send flowers by phone
Take to drink
Go to shrinks
Give up meat
Rarely sleep
Keep people as pets
Train dogs
Race rats
Fill the attic with cash
Bury treasure
Store up leisure
But never relax at all?
With our backs to the wall!

This is the song written and recorded for the album but cut due to time constraints (see also the The Wall album entry). This is the original version of the song, only slightly remixed to fit in with the adjacent sound bites of the film.

Roger: "Now that's the track that's not on the album. It was quite nice!"

In the original concept of the album, this song was a representation of a young adult Pink questioning what to do with his life. However, its positioning in the film and the phone call sound bite just preceding it gives it a new context for the film. Having discovered his wife's infidelity, Pink seems to be desperately casting about mentally, wondering what he should do to distract himself. However, Gerald Scarfe's superb animation for this song helps to relate it to its larger context as social commentary, and it seems relatively unimportant in Pink's story. Roger Waters, at the time of the album's release, commented on the meaning of the song and what its message was.

Roger: "It's just about the ways that one protects oneself from one's isolation by becoming obsessed with other people's ideas. Whether the idea is that it's good to drive... have a powerful car, you know, or whether you're obsessed with the idea of being a vegetarian... adopting somebody else's criteria for yourself, without considering them from a position of really being yourself. On this level the story is extremely simplistic."

The animation begins with the famous scene of the flowers making love. Alan Parker was concerned about possible misinterpretation of imagery which some critics later called 'misogynistic': "This is the problem with metaphor. I hope it is interpreted in the limited sense as Pink's warped experience of women." [BD 31]

So the apparently sexist animation here and elsewhere in the film, like the footage of Pink as a Neo-Nazi, was explicitly meant to convey Pink's attitudes and feelings, not Parker's, Roger's, or Scarfe's, as some critics have assumed.

When the Tigers Broke Free Part 1
In the Flesh?
Thin Ice, The
Another Brick in the Wall part 1
When the Tigers Broke Free Part 2
Goodbye Blue Sky
Happiest Days of Our Lives, The
Another Brick in the Wall part 2
What Shall We Do Now?
Young Lust
One of My Turns
Don't Leave Me Now
Another Brick in the Wall part 3
Goodbye Cruel World
Is There Anybody Out There?
Nobody Home
Bring the Boys Back Home
Comfortably Numb
In the Flesh
Run Like Hell
Waiting for the Worms
Trial, The
Outside the Wall

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