The Smile From a Veil…

Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

The Smile from a Veil

Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd is one of the most famous songs written by the group. It has a deep meaning that resonates with so many people all over the world, each of whom have their own interpretation as to its meaning.

If I had to choose, I would say that this is most definitely the piece of music/song that I have played the most throughout my life so far.

Not only is the music incredible, deep, thought-provoking and “evergreen” (to me at least) but the lyrics are amazing. This song is also in a minority for me in that it actually invokes no memories from my past. I don’t relate it to any particular part of my life or people in it like so many other records I listen to do. Zero nostalgia, just a great song.

What does it mean?

I have listened to the song so many times. I've interpreted the words in my own way for so long with respect to my own life, but I have always come back to the same meaning. In particular, I love the line:

"We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year…running over the same old ground..."

It reminds me each time I hear it, to try and do something different each year. Something new and adventurous. I have applied this to my career throughout life and particularly with regards to digital imaging. Some areas in which I have applied this to my commercial work are:

It was also refreshing and so interesting on a BBC 4 documentary, to hear Roger Waters explain the lyrics and what they meant to him.

He said of the lines in particular:

"...And did you exchange a walk on part in the war, for a lead role in a cage..."

It relates to his constant battle to not stand still in life. The desire to be a part of the “war" (in the thick of it) and not settling for a life in a “cage” that so many of us do. He referenced life to the start of a board game and if you choose to do nothing, you die on the first square.

Since the late 1990’s I pretty much ditched the life in a cage that I had settled for (for 10 years in London). I took control of my life by doing what I wanted for a living. I get frustrated when I see and hear people complaining about their “bad luck”, their jobs or their lives but never do anything about it.

So, so you think you can tell...

Heaven from Hell
​Blue skies from pain
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year
Running over the same old ground
What have you found? The same old fears
Wish you were here


Wish You Were Here:



I am a professional photographer, filmmaker and drone pilot with over 35 years experience in the imaging business. Still as passionate about my work as I was aged 13. Married, two kids living in the beautiful town of Weymouth in Dorset.