Dave Gilmour: vocals, guitars
Nick Mason: drums
Richard Wright: Hammond organ
Roger Waters: Fender bass

Written by Roger Waters, Dave Gilmour, and Richard Wright.

In 1969, Roger Waters worked with experimental composer Ron Geesin on the soundtrack to The Body, a Tony Garnett film which used the internal workings of the human body as a metaphor for our existence. The first words heard on that soundtrack are "Breathe, breathe in the air." The ideas presented in the film inspired Waters to examine his own frustrated existence. While Pink Floyd had already achieved tremendous success prior to the release of Dark Side, Waters, ever the idealist, felt that fame and fortune had compromised his socialist principles. As much as he enjoyed the band's artistic expression and the fun of being a rock star, he couldn't help but feel that being a rock and roll hero was unimportant in the grand scheme of things. In fact, one could say he came to resent the time Pink Floyd took away from his daily life. "Breathe" serves as an outlet for these feelings.

breathe

i'm so free that i can't see the chain
and i'm so real that i can't feel the pain 

just breathe 

you gave up so long ago
don't tell me why because i already know 

just breathe 

with some time i know you'll find a way
when i'm gone i know it's wrong to stay
it's over now, there's nothing left to say 

just breathe

- written by Eryn Holbrook, 1998
- appears on the album Now or Never, Perpetual Dream Theory, 2002

I'm in the band, please don't bother me about copywrite.

As I bite into a raspberry flapjack I am struck by how limited it is, to...

Today I would like to talk to you about desire. I have a biological desire for food, as do we all. We need food. We need to eat and drink, and to reproduce, and we have biological desires for all of these things. We also have a biological desire to breathe, although it would be more accurate to say that we have a desire to not breathe, because people do not generally derive pleasure from breathing. It happens, and we would feel pain if it did not, and that is all. It is nonetheless the case that some people find sexual satisfaction in withholding their breath, indeed some people would like nothing more than be suffocated between the sturdy thighs of a large woman - thus combining the urge to consume, to reproduce, and to die in one moment of desire.

Our urge to breathe is rather like our urge to die, in that a rational man does not consciously wish to do either, but we must, and so we build a mythology around these parallel acts in order to understand the unknowable. From my study of the human animal I have come to the conclusion that breath and death are linked, something which must surely have been known to primitive man. The air is filled with poison, whether the rot and decay of nature or the metallic poison of the modern age, and oxygen itself is corrosive. It destroys the hardest metals. The trauma of inhaling and expelling the vapours which surround us is slow death, for although the human animal is made of stronger stuff than metal, it too decays and rots. If we could raise children in a vacuum, perhaps, or by encasing them in plastic, we would break through the vicious circle. Once contact with oxygen is made, however, it is too late. Once we are born, we start to die.

This is not immediately apparent. We thrive and grow for several years. Some of us remain beautiful into our twenties. But think of how we would grow, if we were born in water! We would be giants. The majority of the Earth's surface is water. It would only take a few earthquakes, centuries of strong winds, a solar event, to erase the land, or to raise the water. Nothing can live without water. There is no point worrying about our survival in the event of a waterless world, for we will not survive, nothing will. If the world was to drown, life would carry on. But not human life, not in its present form.

Although I can hold my breath for a minute or more, it hurts me to do so. This is because my body has a desire to die. It does not have a desire to breathe - for if this was the case, I would be in constant ecstacy, for I am breathing as I write this. No, instead my body has a desire to die. Did the first adult man shy from orgasm, unsure if the approaching sensation would lead to unconsciousness or worse? We shy from the totality of breathlessness. There is so much that I desire, but cannot have. There are lands I can view from afar, but never conquer, not even feel the sand beneath my feet. I knew, from the first time I saw Brooke Shields, that society would not accept my desire. And so I hide it. Only you and I know. We must never speak of these things. Society is a virus from outer space. It is against all that is pure and good. It is a vermin enemy of the human race.

And yet the other end of the spectrum is so unappealing. Or perhaps the spectrum is a rainbow, for there are many strands and several ends. A rainbow is actually a circle, but we can perceive only the top half, because the bottom half extends beneath the ground. Feed them raspberries, limes, carrots, mash them up. Spread them thin, mole paste! In cartoons, magnets are typically depicted as a rainbow-shape, with elongated legs. The mechanism is not the same, however. There is an opposite of light, and it is shadow, an active force that dominates the space between planets; but there is no opposite of magnetic force. There is the vacuum cleaner, set to blow, but it is not a natural force. Hermes was the messenger of the Gods. He invented the lyre before mid-day on the day he was born. Hermes went on to rescue Io, a lady who had been turned into a cow. He did not turn her back into a lady, or into a superior form, he merely rescued her (in cow form) from a guard, who he put to sleep.

Breathe (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p Breathed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Breathing.] [From Breath.]

1.

To respire; to inhale and exhale air; hence;, to live.

"I am in health, I breathe."

Shak.

Breathes there a man with soul so dead? Sir W. Scott.

2.

To take breath; to rest from action.

Well! breathe awhile, and then to it again! Shak.

3.

To pass like breath; noiselessly or gently; to exhale; to emanate; to blow gently.

The air breathes upon us here most sweetly. Shak.

There breathes a living fragrance from the shore. Byron.

 

© Webster 1913.


Breathe, v. t.

1.

To inhale and exhale in the process of respiration; to respire.

To view the light of heaven, and breathe the vital air. Dryden.

2.

To inject by breathing; to infuse; -- with into.

Able to breathe life into a stone. Shak.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Gen. ii. 7.

3.

To emit or utter by the breath; to utter softly; to whisper; as, to breathe a vow.

He softly breathed thy name. Dryden.

Or let the church, our mother, breathe her curse, A mother's curse, on her revolting son. Shak.

4.

To exhale; to emit, as breath; as, the flowers breathe odors or perfumes.

5.

To express; to manifest; to give forth.

Others articles breathe the same severe spirit. Milner.

6.

To act upon by the breath; to cause to sound by breathing.

"They breathe the flute."

Prior.

7.

To promote free respiration in; to exercise.

And every man should beat thee. I think thou wast created for men to breathe themselves upon thee. Shak.

8.

To suffer to take breath, or recover the natural breathing; to rest; as, to breathe a horse.

A moment breathed his panting steed. Sir W. Scott.

9.

To put out of breath; to exhaust.

Mr. Tulkinghorn arrives in his turret room, a little breathed by the journey up. Dickens.

10. Phonetics

To utter without vocality, as the nonvocal consonants.

The same sound may be pronounces either breathed, voiced, or whispered. H. Sweet.

Breathed elements, being already voiceless, remain unchanged [in whispering]. H. Sweet.

To breathe again, to take breath; to feel a sense of relief, as from danger, responsibility, or press of business. -- To breathe one's last, to die; to expire. -- To breathe a vein, to open a vein; to let blood.

Dryden.

 

© Webster 1913.

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