Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Syd Barrett poster

Syd Barrett. Roger Barrett to his mum. Founder, front man, guitarist and songwriter for The Pink Floyd original line-up. Elfish,good looking and full of Cambridge high class entitlement breeding. Also a LSD munching casualty that when he wasn't tripping on armfuls of hallucination educing drugs was creating 60s pop singles such as "See Emily Play" and "Arnold Lane" 2 of the best singles of the summer of 1967. Syd looked cool, his telecaster covered in mirrors which when hit by the newly used light shows and strobe light effects of the UFO club in London turned him into the golden god while the crowd swayed in the dance of the idiot brains fizzing like eggs. The problem lay in the fact that when the night ended and the comedown began did the songs still stand up. Sadly I don't think they do. I have all the Syd Barrett albums, I will hold my hands up and say I fell for it too. He looks very cool, the few songs that I liked from early Floyd told me there was gold in them mountains. But its a very rocky road and you better find yourself a very good cherry picker to get the nuggets. The Madcap Laughs, newly reissued and given the standard 4 star classic status of the music rags really doesn't stand up. It sounds like a man completely destroyed by psychedelics barely making it through the song and the rest of the band and producer (David Gilmour no less) working like dogs to turn the shambles into actual tracks. This is the same motif for the majority of his work later on. Very lazy writers like to compare him to artists such as Brian Wilson and try and tag him with the Genius label but this is so,so misplaced. Even at his most warped Brian Wilson could still pull a song like "Till I Die" from his overweight unwashed behind, a 5 star gem that still sits high in the Beach Boys cannon. Also with labelling drug casualties "genius" or "mavericks" it almost diminishes those that didn't die. Was Neil Young any less of a maverick because he didn't go down the well trodden road of drugs,excess and death? The list of classic albums he made in the 70s leaves the Barrett's,Brian Jones,Janis Joplin's and Jim Morrison's in the slow lane as far as quality is concerned, but then again he lived, grew up, got old. Syd did all these things as well but behind closed doors. He later turned up at the mark 2 version of Pink Floyd's recording session for "Wish you were here" album "ready to do my bit"...he was vastly overweight, had shaved his hair and eyebrows off and kept excusing himself to go and brush his teeth, the icon of 67 had vanished as quickly as it had come, the rest of the band barely recognised him and just about finished the session without breaking down at the apparition that presented itself before them.

He left London for the last time in 1978, the money had run out and he walked back to his mums house in Cambridge, living in the basement until his death. The original band he'd started went into the heavens with "Dark Side Of The Moon" and never looked back to their shambolic exciting start with heir Syd at the helm. He got his money from Pink Floyd BEST OF's which always included the first 2 singles. After he'd gone all we were left with was the posters. Shine on you crazy Diamond.

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