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.
Barrett the definitive visual companion, the only official book created with Syd’s family and Pink Floyd, which is packed with previously unseen photos, private correspondence, all of Syd’s artwork and classic Floyd images is now available in paperback at barrettbook.com.
Enjoy the music of Syd Barrett, in Paris, this September
The Autumn Colours music festival features new interpretations of many Syd Barrett songs over four evenings…
The electronic music festival “Couleurs d’Automne” (Autumn Colours) which takes place between September 17th and September 27th at the Aleph Theatre in Ivry-sur-Seine (which is a suburb of Paris) is organising four concerts of Syd Barrett’s music, two on the 17th and two on the 18th. The organiser, an association called CLSI, is presenting two concerts of Syd’s instrumental music and two concerts of his songs.
Pieces like Rhamadan, Lanky, Late Night, Golden Hair and Silas Lang in their instrumental versions, as recorded by Syd and friends, are being remixed and spatialized over 24 loudspeakers surrounding the public. The idea is to keep Syd’s playing of his music intact but to add a “live electronic” element to our performances that brings the sound world of the 60s into the year 2020.
17 of Syd’s songs are being performed in unusual cover versions played by a duo called “La Quantité Discrète” (The Discrete Quantity) whose members are a baritone voice singer accompanied by viola de gamba (originally a baroque music instrument), but here, in these cover versions, is transformed so thoroughly with electronics to sound more like a strange electric guitar, not unlike what Syd did to the electric guitar by his use of the Echorec for “live electronic” transformations.
In the festival Autumn Colours , there is a previously unheard of encounter between the world of avant-garde contemporary classical music with that of Syd’s avant-garde “psychedelic” rock music.
To buy tickets for the Syd concerts, please follow this link: https://www.digitick.com/tour/festival-couleurs-d-automne
It was 50 years ago this month (3rd January 1970) that a most unique rock album was released, The Madcap Laughs by Syd Barrett – an example of “art brut” in music. In a distinctly non-commercial move, the album missed the Christmas market, in spite of a final recording session as early as July 26, 1969. Some say it was held back not to compete with Ummagumma. Syd Barrett probably did not care.
The famous photo sessions with daffodils and a naked Iggy Rose took place in April. The less known but officially commissioned “yoga session” actually took place in October. Some of these so-called yoga photos by Storm Thorgerson ended up on the inside of the original gatefold cover – with the madcap theme in full bloom.
Storm shows us Syd Barrett with his head up in the clouds and beyond, and several creepy images that spawn almost like octopus tentacles from his torso. To remove any debate about the nature of the imagery there is also an image of Syd with a cracked head at the bottom of the gatefold. Top center, Syd seems to have his head stuck in a TV set and top left is an even more odd image and a bit of a mystery: A baby and some sort of tool against nasal congestion (?). Storm took weird to new levels with this inside cover! EMI probably did well in selecting among the April photos for the cover.
The cover art notwithstanding, The Madcap Laughs was actually created in a happy time window. Syd had in 1969 left behind him his annus horribilis and gained new hope, much thanks to Malcolm Jones, and new love with Gala Pinion. The spring and summer also included the build-up to the moon landing, the anticipation of the Woodstock concert and, more importantly for Syd, the return to stage by Bob Dylan after three long years away from the public eye.
When the album was released things had changed. The end of the year turned darker, much darker, and all too well showed that the 1960s were over. For the hippie generation, two serious blows were dealt when in December the link between the Manson family and their atrocities was fully uncovered and the tragic Altamont festival played out.
Therefore, The Madcap Laughs, in all its darkness, holds a special lighter place in time. Syd, in love again, had embarked in a daffodil-filled springtime on recordings that would go on to form an outstanding collection on one of rock music’s enduringly legendary albums.
Join us in wishing Happy Golden Anniversary to the magic Madcap album.
With thanks for text – Goran Nystrom. https://www.facebook.com/MenOnTheBorder/
Syd was born 74 years ago on 6th January 1946. For more of his life story, please visit the bio section of this website.
This photo is from the family archives and pictures Syd, aged 21, enjoying Christmas day at home with his family.
Brighten your January with some Syd merch, 0ur online merchandise store is offering 15% of all orders for a limited period. Please do visit the shop and take a look around.
The Pink Floyd Exhibition is moving to a new location; Their Mortal Remains is moving to Madrid, Spain, and will be running from 10 May 2019 through to 15 September 2019.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to catch this exhibition then this could be your time. It will take place at the IFEMA – the Trade Fair Institution of Spain. The Exhibition takes you through the 50 years of Pink Floyd including the early Syd years.
The Barrett book has been out for a while now but if you haven’t heard about it, it offers a definitive visual companion to Syd’s life and art. The book was created in collaboration with the Barrett family.
Full details about the book can be found here: barrettbook.com
The Ballad of Syd & Morgan by Haydn Middleton has recently been published by Propolis Books. The book explores a fictional account of a meeting between Syd Barrett and the author EM Forster:
A short counterfactual novel, published exactly fifty years after the encounter it purports to describe.
A beautiful young man dressed in Cuban heels and a crushed-velvet jacket cuts a dash as he strides up Silver Street in his native Cambridge, heading for the ornate splendour of King’s College. It is 1968. He is the 22 year old Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd, and his destination is home to the great Edwardian novelist, 89 year old E M Forster.
What follows is a tender exchange of truths between two men belonging to opposite ends of the 20th century, but who find within each other’s company shadows of the same demons, loves and losses as well as the familiar weight of the creative impulse. They become unlikely comrades passing fleetingly through each other’s lives. Conjuring the mischievous spirit of Pan, Haydn Middleton has created an exquisite fiction involving two towering figures of English culture.
The Ballad of Syd & Morgan is a deeply moving but joyous portrait of the despair and redemption at the heart of artistic endeavour, as well as the essential solace of companionship – wherever it may be found.
Interested? You can buy the book at the Propolis book website.
There are three launch parties, please consider yourself invited! If you would like to attend any of these events, please rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are the details for the launch parties:
The Book Hive, 53 London Street, Norwich, NR2 1HL
8 November 2018
Burley Fisher Books, 400 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AA
6.30pm – 9.30pm
The Coslett Café, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT
Don’t miss Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets tour, the supergroup formed by the Pink Floyd drummer to play the band’s early songs, including tracks penned by Syd. With Nick Mason on drums, the line-up includes Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp, Lee Harris of the Blockheads, Guy Pratt and Dom Beken. Click here for more details.