A Floating Recording Studio and Houseboat
The Astoria is nothing like most of the contemporary luxurious yachts owned by celebrities around the world. But, this does not mean that it’s is not an exceptional boat. The 27-meter Astoria has its own retro charm and a very interesting story attached to it. Permanently anchored at Hampton, London on the River Thames, the Astoria is owned by the famous musician David Gilmour. Here’s her story.
Love at First Sight
David Gilmour first noticed the Astoria when he was being driven down a road (because he was banned from driving for a year due to drunken driving, he could take in the scenery.) Gilmour saw the top of the boat and asked the driver to stop so he could take a good look. Even though he loved the look of the Astoria, Gilmour had no idea he would eventually own it. He continued with his journey.
Soon after, the musician noticed the boat yet again, this time in a Country Life magazine he was perusing while he was waiting to be seen by his dentist. Gilmour called the seller and arranged to view the Astoria. Although he didn’t think about converting it into a recording studio at the time, Gilmour loved the boat and thought of it as a “very, very beautiful, magical place.” Of course, he had to have it.
A Floating Music Studio
After he bought the Astoria in 1986, David Gilmour realized that he had spent too much time in window-less recording studios and thought it would be a great idea to use the light and airy boat to work from. Gilmour and his band, Pink Floyd, began recording their music from the Astoria, even though it wasn’t soundproof. The background sounds of the river, like ducks and other boats rowing, became part of some of the recordings Gilmour and his band made from this alternative studio. In fact, several of the Pink Floyd records were made on the Astoria in a tiny little room, including A Momentary Lapse of Reason, The Endless River, and The Division Bell. Parts of other records like Pulse and also the Pulse movie were mixed in the floating studio. Over the next decade, Gilmour continued making recordings there, including his solo albums like On an Island.
Early History of the Astoria
The Astoria was built in 1911 for Fred Karno, an impresario who paid a whopping £20,000 for it, a small fortune at the time. The idea was to have a houseboat permanently moored on the river outside his hotel, the Karsino.
Even back then the boat was designed with music in mind, and could comfortably accommodate a complete 90-piece orchestra on deck. Besides enough space for grand performances such as this, the Astoria has three cabins, the main saloon, and a kitchen and bathroom. It has a robust and beautiful mahogany frame and is decorated with ornamental metalwork canopies and eye-catching balustrades. The boat lets a lot of light in through many steel-framed Crittal windows making it a bright and airy space.
Taking Music to the Water
Like many people in the music industry, David Gilmour has an affinity for the water. His namesake, Asylum Records, and Geffen Records founder David Geffen own a 115-meter yacht, the Pelorus, and an even larger yacht, the Rising Sun, which is rumored to have been built for over $200 million. Eric Clapton bought a luxury yacht called Va Bene, after chartering it around the Mediterranean, and turned it into a floating art gallery. Rapper Sean Combs (aka P. Diddy) also owns a luxurious yacht, the Maraya. This floating entertainment hub has an entire floor dedicated to parties complete with a bar, projector screen, and a stage where P. Diddy or other musicians can perform.
Who is David Gilmour?
Known as the guitarist for Pink Floyd, David Gilmour is a world-famous British guitarist, songwriter, and singer. He first joined the psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd in 1968 as guitarist and co-vocalist. After years of raging success, the lead singer at the time, Roger Waters, departed in 1985 and Gilmour took over and lead the band to release three more studio albums.
Besides his work with Pink Floyd, Gilmour also released a series of solo albums and produced other artists, like the Dream Academy.
Gilmour has been married twice and has eight children. He is also known as a strong animal rights, human rights, and environmental activist and has taken part in numerous charitable projects over the years.