Pros & cons of hitchhiking

The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking

The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking is a concept album by English musician Roger Waters. Some notables assisting Waters during the recording of the album were conductor Michael Kamen, actor Jack Palance, saxophonist David Sanborn and guitarist Eric Clapton. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in April 1995.

History

The album concept is about a man's midlife crisis and how he dreams of committing adultery, among other things. The album takes place in real time from 04:30am to 05:12am. Its cover prompted controversy for featuring a rear-view nude photograph of the model Linzi Drew. In some regions, the album has been released with this picture censored.

In 1978, Waters played demos of this album and The Wall to his band mates, who decided that they preferred The Wall, although their manager Steve O'Rourke thought that Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking was better. In the end it was decided that The Wall would be a Pink Floyd album and, following the split of the band, this became Roger Waters' first solo album.

Gerald Scarfe created all the graphics and animation for the album and its supporting tour; Fisher/Park created the stage and props. Scarfe had drawn caricatures of all the band members for the tour programme, and the caricature of Roger (that he nicknamed "Rog") had a long snout like a dog; Scarfe therefore created a character of a Dog in the image of "Rog" and named him Reg. Reg became the main character of the story and stage animation of the Pros and Cons of HitchHiking tour.

In 1984, Waters went on tour to promote the album with Eric Clapton as part of the backing band. The first half of the concert contained Pink Floyd numbers, while in the second they performed the whole album. Some of the music on the album uses melodies also found in the Pink Floyd songs "In the Flesh", "Mother" and "The Fletcher Memorial Home". Lyrics from "5:11am (The Moment of Clarity)" are used in The Wall film, along with lyrics from "Your Possible Pasts" (from The Final Cut).

Analysis

The Pros and Cons cycle begins with a British man dreaming one night of driving across the German countryside, with "two hitch hikers slumped in the back seat". The protagonist wonders whether to indulge in his sexual fantasies with his female passenger. After an attack of fear, he awakens and propositions his wife, who rejects him. He dreams of a solution to their marital difficulties in which they move out of the city and settle with their children in rural America, the wife's native land. The venture soon collapses, and the wife begins having an affair. The protagonist responds by telling her to leave and take the kids with her, so he can set out alone "on the road again". Picked up by a truck driver, he rants about his wife's dismissal of him, and receives some sympathy that is short-lived. His dream "goes from bad to worse", moving from fantasy to nightmare, until he reaches a truck stop and a waitress treats him with kindness that restores his empathy. The moment having passed, and the "moment of clarity faded", he wakes up, reaches out to his wife and is reassured by her presence.

The following story is what Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking is all about song by song, scene by scene in Roger Waters' own words.

4:30 AM SCENE I
(A suburban bedroom somewhere near London)
"Shane" plays on the TV.
An Englishman, struggling with a nightmare wakes
his American wife.
She speaks.
Wife: "Wake up, you're dreaming"
Man: "What?"
Wife: "You're dreaming"
The man mumbles disjointedly about his dream.
His wife soothes him back to sleep.

4:33 AM SCENE II
The man returns to his dream.
He and his wife are driving through continental
Europe. There is a vague feeling of threat.
The European psyche still shrinks from memories
of The Jackboot. Borders are dangerous places.
The law is a fickle friend.
They pick up two hitch-hikers, a beautiful girl
and a hooded terrorist...
Lust conquers fear, the man courts the girl. His
sensible family sedan metamorphosis into a metallic
green Lamborghini.
The girl is impressed.
They go for a drive.
He is about to seduce her when... Fear conquers lust.

4:37 AM SCENE III
Paralysed by fear, he is whisked back to suburbia
and attacked in his own home by a gang of Arab
Terrorists.
He rages in his impotence.

4:38 AM SCENE IV
(A small Hotel overlooking the Rhine)
The man and the girl eat dinner.
He takes her upstairs and orders breakfast.
He locks the door.
He reaches out for her...

4:40 AM SCENE V
Reaching out in his dream he wakes his wife again.
She is not a pleased woman.
He is horny.
She rejects him and goes back to sleep.
He lies in bed, brittle and angry.
"Bloody toast crumbs"
He silently rants.
"Hey girl, take out the dagger and let's have a
stab at the sexual revolution."
He falls asleep again and dreams of a geographical
solution to his marital problems - They will return
to his wife's native land and live off it.
She will be fulfilled.
They will be happy.

4:50 AM SCENE VI
(A cabin in Wyoming)
The experiment fails. Through the trials and
tribulations of self-reliance the couple polarise.
She falls in love with a "friend from the East".
They part.

4:56 AM SCENE VII
(The edge of a highway - somewhere in the States)
The man is now alone.
He is the hitch-hiker.
A truck pulls up.
"Hey kid, you looking for a lift?... Get on up here."
He climbs in and whines to the truck driver. The
truck driver, happy to join in the battle of the sexes,
commiserates for a while.
Then, realising that our hero is about to vomit all over
his highly polished cowboy boots, he throws him out
of the rig.

5:01 AM SCENE VIII
(The Gutter)
Things go from bad to worse.

5:06 AM SCENE IX
(A truckstop)
A waitress with a heart of gold sympathizes with our
hero reaffirming his
basic belief in life and love.
He wakes.

5:10 AM SCENE X
(Back in Suburbia)
As he awakes our hero experiences a moment of clarity.
He feels at one with the world.
He has the answer?

5:11 AM SCENE XI
(The bedroom - One minute later.)
The moment fades.
The man is afraid.
He reaches out and touches his wife's hair.
She is awake.
He loves her..."

Track listing

All songs written by Roger Waters.

  1. 4:30 AM (Apparently They Were Travelling Abroad) - 3:12
  2. 4:33 AM (Running Shoes) - 4:08
  3. 4:37 AM (Arabs with Knives and West German Skies) - 2:17
  4. 4:39 AM (For the First Time Today, Part 2) - 2:02
  5. 4:41 AM (Sexual Revolution) - 4:49
  6. 4:47 AM (The Remains of Our Love) - 3:09
  7. 4:50 AM (Go Fishing) - 6:59
  8. 4:56 AM (For the First Time Today, Part 1) - 1:38
  9. 4:58 AM (Dunroamin, Duncarin, Dunlivin) - 3:03
  10. 5:01 AM (The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Part 10) - 4:36
  11. 5:06 AM (Every Stranger's Eyes) - 4:48
  12. 5:11 AM (The Moment of Clarity) - 1:28

Chart positions

Billboard (North America)
Year Chart Position
1984 The Billboard 200 31
The record also reached number 14 in New Zealand and number 3 in Sweden.

Personnel

References

External links

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