By Jeremy Gaunt
LONDON (Reuters) - A pink inflatable pig the size of a bus floated above London's venerable Victoria and Albert museum on Wednesday but unlike an infamous outing above Battersea Power Station in 1976 it did not break free and ground planes at Heathrow.
Instead, it perhaps slowed traffic a bit, but most certainly caused passers-by to exclaim: "The pig!".
One of the many globally recognizable emblems of Pink Floyd, along with prisms and marching hammers, the pig was flying to mark the launch of "The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains", a retrospective to be hosted at the museum next May.
That date marks 50 years since the band released its first single "Arnold Layne". The group then went on to massive worldwide acclaim, including two of the most successful albums of all time, "Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall".
The exhibition is designed to celebrate that, along with Pink Floyd's achievements in graphics, design, architecture, staging, lighting, film and photography.
Nick Mason, drummer and a founding member, said the exhibition is really a paean to the band's longevity.
"It's the fact that we still sort of exist and we still seem to interest people after 50 years in an industry that was seen as entirely ephemeral by all of us when we first started," he told Reuters at the launch.
"I'm fond of reminding people that Ringo thought that he'd open a chain of hairdressers when the Beatles came to an end ... I don't think we saw any 50 years ahead of us when we kicked off."
The V&A is promising an immersive experience when the exhibition opens, with concert footage not seen before, a laser light show designed for the event, new stage designs, 350 different objects plus some items from the museum's own collection.
It will be the museum's third recent foray into the rock world. It held a critically acclaimed exhibition on David Bowie in 2013 and opens "You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970" in September.
All three shows relate to a period of unprecedented creativity in music, which some people believe will never be matched.
Mason said he did not know how people could make it in today's music business where songs are shared for free and there are so many people trying to make it big.
When asked if Pink Floyd could succeed if it were starting out today, he replied: "I don't think we'd even get on The X Factor."
(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)