Deven at 40

My friend Deven Desai turns 40 today. As he was the young’n in our little group of friends, that means we are all officially middle-aged bastards. I hope he’s proud of himself.

To celebrate his and our advancing decrepitude, I’ll play some Pink Floyd. Not “Time,” because that’s just a bit on the nose, isn’t it. Rather, enjoy “Fearless,” a lovely track from Meddle, the album before Dark Side of the Moon. I think the sentiment of the song better suits Deven and the rest of us than the Dark Side mopery in any event.

Happy birthday, Deven.

23 Comments on “Deven at 40”

  1. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang of Space Command

    D-e-v-e-n-D-e-s-a-i spells HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  2. One of my favourite Floyd tunes. Back in the 80s when I discovered this song, I had no idea what the chant at the end was and very few ways to find out.

    I love the future.

  3. Echoing (heh) DJN. Great song off an underrated album. And happy birthday to Deven, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Penguicon a couple of years ago. Nice kid.

  4. It’s been a few years now since you did it, but I still can’t listen to INXS’s “Devil Inside” without singing, “Every single one of us is Devan Desai.”

    Darn you.

  5. Oh people like to throw out meddle to prove their music nerd cred, but I think we all know the best Pink Floyd album is Animals, don’t we?

  6. Personally I don’t think Meddle is the best Pink Floyd album overall, but half of it, Echoes, is their best track ever, the epitome of Floyd. But I am guessing our host picked Meddle at least in part because it too turns 40 this year.

    Another track that could be appropriate is Remember A Day by Rick Wright: “Remember a day before today/A day when you were young/Free to play alone with time/Evening never came”

    See Dave Gilmour perform it live on Jools Holland… Rick Wright was booked to be on that show with Gilmour, promoting a new Live album he also played on, but had had to pull out due to illness and in fact died just over a week before the show, so instead Gilmour played this in tribute.

    Floyd has been in the news in the UK in the last day or two, with some of Syd Barrett’s teenage love letters being part of a forthcoming exhibition of his life and art.

  7. If I had to pick a favorite Floyd album…. Prolly DSotM. But I gotta say, all of the works before the Wall really shine (heh). In particular I really enjoy Atom Heart Mother and listen to it all the time on my commutes.

    Primus did a cover of Animals that was very true to the original and still an excellent remake.

  8. I will agree with our host that, while Dark Side is brilliant, it’s not what you want to listen to unless you’re already in a Floyd-Hole. (thanks to venture bros. for that term).

  9. The first thing that I thought when I saw the picture was “hey, that’s John on the right of the picture. It must have been a while ago, because he had a LOT of hair back then!”

    It took me a few moments to realize my mistake.

  10. traemurnane – I write things. Now I want to share them. Hope you like them. Tea's my drug of choice, dogs are my spirit animals. I collect pretty rocks, hike and garden. Books are my kryptonite.

    I love me some Pink Floyd and this is one of my favorites.

    Happy Birthday to your friend Deven.

  11. coo1b1ue – Vermont – I'm a software engineer within the aerospace industry as well as a father of four (mostly) grown children, one of which served in Iraq (OIF2) as a combat medic.

    Well this song brings back memories of a rocky mountain high sunrise circa 1973.

  12. coo1b1ue – Vermont – I'm a software engineer within the aerospace industry as well as a father of four (mostly) grown children, one of which served in Iraq (OIF2) as a combat medic.

    And I just realized your friend shares a birthday with the fender telecaster

  13. That song brings back some memories. Thanks for posting that John. I loved Pink Floyd in high school way back in the late 80’s. I have to agree with those above about Animals. That was my favorite album.
    The chanting is “You’ll never Walk Alone”. I first figured it out when I would go to sleep listening to this album every night with the headphones on, way back when.
    It’s what Liverpool fans sing at the beginning of every match. But I didn’t know that until about a year or two ago when I started paying attention to English Football (soccer, sorry).

  14. Cool! I play “Fearless” on the acoustic at least once every couple of weeks. Excellent track.
    Oh, and if we’re voting, best album goes to Wish You Were Here. It’s the best mix of their particular style AND strong songs — and it features the late great Rick Wright in his finest hour.

    “You’ve gotta get an album out, we’re so happy we can hardly count”

  15. Long time reader, first time poster.

    Had to chime in as I am a fairly large Roger Waters fanboi. Also had to chime in that I experienced the single most disappointing event in my life last December 18th in the lovely city of Tacoma, WA. I had showed up at the Tacoma Dome with my 12 year old son (his first concert!) to witness what I believed to be one of the last opportunities to ever see the Wall, or, more specifically, The Wall, performed by Roger and his band.

    The show was actually scheduled for December 11th.

    The show was actually performed on December 11th.

    Being 40ish sucks.

  16. KenS – Gulf Coast, Texas – Black powder rifle builder/competitor, SF reader, Chinese Tapestry Embroidery

    One word – Ummagumma
    Always wanted to put “One of these days I’m gonna cut you into little pieces” on a birthday cake.

  17. Meddle is one of my favourite Pink Floyd albums. Technically, Obscured By Clouds was released between Meddle and Dark Side of the Moon.

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