Pink Floyd/Nick Mason - Their Mortal Remains/Inside Out book review

Two books that celebrate Pink Floyd’s 50th Anniversary

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Despite not being active since 2014’s The Endless River, and Nick Mason quoting David Gilmour as “declaring that it was definitely, indubitably, irrefutably Pink Floyd’s last album”, there does seem to be an awful lot of Pink Floyd around these days. Admittedly a lot of that has to do with it being the 50th anniversary of the band, or at least the release of their still astonishing debut album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, given the band’s roots can be traced back to 1965 and they were performing live as The Pink Floyd in 1966.

Still, a 50th anniversary is nothing to be sniffed at, and the current Their Mortal Remains exhibition at the V&A Museum is a fitting reminder of one of the most majestic careers in British rock music.

To that end, the resplendent, heavyweight tome that accompanies the exhibition goes way beyond the definition of an exhibition guide. With access to the band’s archives, Their Mortal Remains is a treasure trove of delights for fans. But it’s not just the visual side that sets it aside as something extra and worthwhile. There are five essays from the likes of composer Howard Goodall and commentator Jon Savage, while band biographer and sometime Prog writer Mark Blake also weighs in with a reappraisal of the band’s magical back catalogue.

With its striking lenticular Dark Side Of The Moon prism cover and a more than reasonable cover price of £26, if you can’t actually get to the exhibition itself then this worthy volume almost makes up for it.

Nick Mason’s avuncular tome Inside Out, prefaced A Personal History Of Pink Floyd, has also been updated and reissued. Aside from the restyled cover, we get a new chapter which addresses recent Floydian comings and goings such as the release of The Endless River, The Early Years box set and the aforementioned Their Mortal Remains exhibition.

This writer would have liked a more in-depth recall of the recording process of The Endless River. And Mason once told this writer he felt like a ship’s cook keeping his head down in the galley, popping up when the coast was clear, so that the affable Mason has remained great friends with both warring factions of the band, touring with Waters and remaining one of two members of Pink Floyd is a credit to his role in the band. He offsets Gilmour’s curmudgeonly assertion that “this is the end” for the band with a mischievous “but you never know…” offering fans some hope that the seemingly impossible might happen once more.