Four legs good, two legs bad!
Ever since I found out that Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals is based on George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, I had wanted to read it. And I finally did it. The story is a satire on dictatorship and is an absolutely riveting read! The basic setting is as follows: There is a farm somewhere in England where the animals are getting restless and sick of their cruel human owner. So they decide to revolt, drive him out of the farm and run it themselves. That is when the fun starts! The tale brilliantly narrates how absolute power corrupts even the most sincere, who generally start out with the best of intentions. The characters that stand out here are the pigs who behave like know-it-all tyrants, the dogs who are sycophantic with the pigs and ruthless to everyone else, the horse that does all the hard work for the farm but shows an ill-advised loyalty to the top pig and the sheep that mindlessly believe everything that the pigs say. This is not all that far removed from Roger Waters’ songwriting on Animals. I’ll quote the best bits of the 2 main songs from the album to illustrate my point, especially ‘cos the lyrics here are fantastic and deserve to be quoted. As for the book, it is a must-read if you enjoy political drama, satire and such.
You got to be crazy, you gotta have a real need
You gotta sleep on your toes and when you’re on the street
You got to be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed
And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight
You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking
And after a while, you can work on points for style
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to
So that when they turn their backs on you
You’ll get the chance to put the knife in
Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away;
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air.
You’d better watch out!
There may be dogs about
I looked over Jordan, and I’ve seen
Things are not what they seem.
What do you get for pretending the danger’s not real?
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.