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.
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).
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 wakeshis 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 IIThe man returns to his dream.He and his wife are driving through continentalEurope. There is a vague feeling of threat.The European psyche still shrinks from memoriesof The Jackboot. Borders are dangerous places.The law is a fickle friend.They pick up two hitch-hikers, a beautiful girland a hooded terrorist...Lust conquers fear, the man courts the girl. Hissensible family sedan metamorphosis into a metallicgreen Lamborghini.The girl is impressed.They go for a drive.He is about to seduce her when... Fear conquers lust.
4:37 AM SCENE IIIParalysed by fear, he is whisked back to suburbiaand attacked in his own home by a gang of ArabTerrorists.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 VReaching 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 astab at the sexual revolution."He falls asleep again and dreams of a geographicalsolution to his marital problems - They will returnto 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 andtribulations 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. Thetruck driver, happy to join in the battle of the sexes,commiserates for a while.Then, realising that our hero is about to vomit all overhis highly polished cowboy boots, he throws him outof 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 ourhero reaffirming hisbasic 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..."
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