Today would have been Syd’s birthday, born in 1946 to Win and Max Barrett in Cambridge. To celebrate Syd’s birthday, Lee Harris has written a piece on one of Syd’s songs in our section Stories behind the Songs. Lee chose the song “Here I Go” written by Syd and recorded in 1969. Lee embraces in his article how this song celebrates and captures the fun of Syd. If you want to read how other songs have impacted the life of other artists, please read them in our Stories Behind the Songs section. For more insight into Syd’s life, take a look at our section on Syd’s Life charting his life before his impactful, but short, career in Pink Floyd and as a solo artist, and afterwards as an artist living in Cambridge.
Thomas Gilhooly, student at Cambridge University, took the opportunity recently of introducing Syd to a Cambridge University student audience via an article (here’s the link) in the student newspaper, the Varsity. Using the 50 years since the Madcap Laughs (1970) as his starting point, Thomas discusses Syd’s character, his work as an artist and how Syd expressed himself through his appearance, exploring the fashion path which he cut and which is still followed today.
As with the works of Pink Floyd from 1987 onwards, and David Gilmour’s solo material, all of Syd Barrett’s solo recordings are now being removed from all digital music providers in Russia and Belarus. This is to stand with the world in strongly condemning Russia’s continued attack and invasion of Ukraine.
We were very sorry to hear about the death of the psychedelic renegade Mick Rock today. He captured Syd, David Bowie, Queen, Lou Reed, Debbie Harry and many more, in photos which have been central to the image of music since the 1960s.
To read more about his life and his impact on the world, visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-59344065
On the 28th October, Cheffins, the Cambridge auctioneers, sold Syd’s 12-string Yamaha acoustic guitar for £16,000. We are very delighted to report that the proceeds of this sale will go straight to two chosen charities, MIND and the Arthur Rank Hospice. These two charities were chosen by the family honoring the memories of both Syd and his big brother, Alan, who looked after the guitar for many years.
The Cambridge Auctioners, Cheffins, have many pieces of Syd Barrett memorabilia for sale in their next auction on 28th October 2021. One of these lots is a 12-string acoustic Yamaha guitar owned by Syd and which was passed onto his brother, Alan. Alan died last year and it seems timely now to put this guitar up for sale, some 50 years since Syd took enjoyment in its ownership. The reason for the sale is in order to donate the proceeds to two charities equally in the memory of both Syd and Alan. These are the mental health charity, MIND, and the Arthur Rank Hospice.
The sale has been initiated by Alan’s son and Syd Barrett’s nephew, Mark Barrett, pictured here with the guitar (photo credit, Chris Parnham).
A Brief History of Syd Barrett’s Yamaha FG-230 12-String Acoustic Guitar (Serial No. 1090448) by Mark Barrett
The guitar was manufactured in Japan on 21st October 1969 (date stamped inside the body of the instrument). Syd is likely to have bought it either in Cambridge or London.
Syd talked about it and played it during the course of Mick Rock’s 1971 interview with him for Rolling Stone Magazine which was conducted in my grandmother’s garden in Hills Road, Cambridge (Syd was living a basement studio there at the time).
At the time that my grandmother sold the Hills Road house in late 1974, Syd was not living there and some of his belongings from the studio, including the guitar, a record collection, a turntable and some spotlights were transported to my parent’s house just round the corner in Hinton Avenue, for safe keeping. Syd never collected the guitar and my father (his brother) Alan John Barrett continued to store it over 3 subsequent house moves, eventually offering it to me after Syd died in 2006, I finally collected it from my father’s house in November of 2020 shortly before my father died.
A painting that Syd gave to his Art Teacher as a gift is up for sale at Cheffins Auction house, in Cambridge on the 27th May 2021.
For a little bit of Syd history and to see how this piece of art has lived it’s life so far, please follow this link
Here also, if you are interested, is the link to the auction house, Cheffins. The painting is expected to reach between £3,000 and £5,000.
It is with much sadness that we report the death of Duggie Fields. An iconic and exciting artist and, for a time, Syd’s flat mate. Please find here the link to Duggie’s obituary, detailing his extraordinary life.
The new Syd Barrett Lyric book gives you the opportunity to be word perfect next time you are singing along to any of Syd’s songs and acts as the written aid to understanding the poetry of Syd’s lyrics, with a foreword from former Pink Floyd manager, Peter Jenner.
“reading the lyrics on a page offers a quite different experience from hearing them as part of a song” Shindig! magazine
“Rob Chapman’s persuasive introduction places Barrett’s writing in the same experimental continuum as the poetry underground of the period and in this context helps to vivify Barrett’s conversational cadences.” Prog magazine
Culture Sonar online review:
The 6th January is Syd’s birthday and this year he would have been 75 years old. The photo used here to mark this occasion was taken when he was just 25.