This afternoon, I placed Dark Side of the Moon on my turntable, partly because I hand’t listened to it lately, and partly because it’s my favorite rainy day album. Last week, I finished reading Nabokov’s Pale Fire and while listening to Dark Side of the Moon, I began to draw parallels between the two. Not direct parallels, but more wishy washy, completive parallels, the type everybody loves to come with and nobody wants to hear about. 1

The tangible dark side of the moon 2 is itself a mysterious place. Throughout the past century, countless of theories have been invented. These involve alien bases, secret moon stations, and the belief that it was the location where the Pink Floyd album was recorded. 3 All of these theories have been debunked, not that they had to considering their absurd nature. In fact, the dark side of the moon is covered by light half the time. 4 With it’s prism donning album cover and suggestive title, Dark Side of the Moon naturally has had it’s share of theories as well, the most famous being the Dark Side of the Rainbow. In short, advocates of this theory believe that Roger Water, David Gilmore, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright recorded the album with The Wizard of Oz in mind. “Evidence” is found in the moments where the album and the movie seem to match up, creating a music video like experience. Like the alien base theories, however, it’s ridiculous to believe this. David Gilmore called the person who came up with the idea a guy with too much time on his hand and as Alan Parsons, an engineer on Dark Side of the Moon explains: “if you play any record with the sound turned down on the TV, you will find things that work.”

To put it simply, Pale Fire is confusing book. Reality and fabrication are often blurred. Nabokov, seemingly on purpose, omits important details, which frustrates the reader. Inevitably, we begin to develop our own theories about the book. In brief, I somehow connected both Ovid’s Metamorphoses and bipolar disorder to the book, a idea that is just as ridiculous as it sounds. 5 While the list of Pale Fire theories is endless, I’ve picked out a couple of my favorite6. Firstly there’s the belief that Nabokov had the X-men in mind when he wrote Pale Fire. The evidence: there happens to be two characters with the name Charles Xavier. 7 I’ve heard multiple people give spiels about how the whole book is just about “death”, and an individual try to argue Nabokov was alluding to the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry when he wrote the book. The point is, Nabokov is dead, and he was the only person who actually knew what the book was about. Just like the Dark Side of the Moon, however, we will continue to speculate, and that’s the beauty behind these works.

Congratulations, you’ve endured my rant, which means you get to find out the parallels I came up with. Pale Fire has a fascinating story. Dark Side of the Moon is musically brilliant. They both have had enormous cultural impacts and retained an unprecedented legacy, yet these things are not what make them special. Both Pink Floyd and Nabokov created highly physiological works; each reader or listener having their own unique interpretation. We don’t know what to believe, yet convince ourselves that we do. It’s almost as if Floyd and Nabokov did this on purpose to satirize the practice of analysis. We don’t know what we’re looking for nor why we’re actually looking for it, yet we continue to do so, and the more we diagnose the album or book, the more confused and mad we get.

  1. This is my way of telling a reader they may want to stop reading if wishy washy, completive parallels bother them. 

  2. The side of the moon that isn’t lit by lunar light. 

  3. I made this one up in case you were wondering. 

  4. For more on this, I highly recommend you check out this Wired article

  5. I do give myself credit for acknowledging that my theory is absolutely ludicrous. 

  6. I use the word “favorite” in its most ironic sense. 

  7. If you really feel the urge to learn more about this nonsensical theory, you can read more about it here. Please don’t take it seriously though, it really is gibberish. 


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