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Sathington Willoughby

Syd Barrett

56 posts in this topic

Has anyone read A Very Irregular Head? It received good reviews when it was published a few years ago. One reviewer considers it the definitive Syd Barrett biography.

Edited by Disco Duck

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Has anyone read A Very Irregular Head? It received good reviews when it was published a few years ago. One reviewer considered it the definitive Syd Barrett biography.

The one I posted above is the only Syd one I've read, it has very good Amazon reviews, for what its worth.

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Ah, Syd. I can't help but feel sad every time I think of him, but he was great. One to introduce himself, be kind and talk to you in the era when it was more ''cool'' to keep yourself apart and be a little more aloof. I'm more into the music Floyd did in the 70s, but Piper at the Gates of Dawn is still a fantastic album.

For those interested in reading a bio on him, I recommend Syd Barrett: Crazy Diamond by Pete Anderson more than An Irregular Head, though that is also good.

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I don't think he was a tragic a figure as people make him out to be. I think sometimes people projected their own disappointments on Syd, as they seem to do with many celebrities/public figures. Obviously he went overboard with drugs but as one of the Floyd's said (can't remember who, or the exact quote) the drugs just exacerbated something deeper. I believe Syd was just very depressed and disillusioned with fame and all the trappings and expectations that came with it. If you listen to the songs I posted you can see he was still plenty capable of writing and performing good music, he eventually just had enough and wanted to live out a normal, quiet life near his family, which some people just couldn't accept/understand.

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I think the music he made after leaving Pink Floyd proves what sort of state his mind was in, which wasn't a good one. There's some good stuff from him in that period between leaving Floyd and going back to Cambridge, but the majority is almost unlistenable. It's certainly not the most enjoyable music out there. There's no doubt, I don't think, that there were underlying problems before he started taking drugs, but it was this that brought them closer to the surface.

Be honest, how often do you listen to his solo albums? He was still able to write (and write some really good songs) at that point, and probably for the remainder of his life if he'd wanted to, but most of the songs on those two albums were quite notably performed by someone who was having some serious problems. That's sad, isn't it? I think so.

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I listen to Madcap Laughs and Barrett all the time, they're some of my favorite albums!

The last few tracks on Madcap Laughs were incomplete and mixed in a rush, unfortunately.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Madcap_Laughs#David_Gilmour_and_Roger_Waters_sessions

However, towards the end of July, on the 26th,[38] they managed to record "She Took a Long Cold Look at Me",[nb 10][17][37][38] "Feel",[17][38] "If It's in You",[17][38] another version of "Long Gone",[nb 11][37][38] an attempt at a re-make of "Dark Globe",[nb 12][37] and even a medley of "She Took" / "Feel" / "If It's in You".[37][39] Barrett would not allow the musicians to rehearse or to re-record their overdubs, insisting that they sounded fine.

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Fair enough. Personally, I find them a little hard to listen to.

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Yes, true. Some of it is good and very enjoyable.

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Pretty interesting read here:

Pioneering research by Paul Belbin proved the Rosetta stone in decoding Syd Barrett’s song writing inspirations for one of his most beloved songs, ‘Octopus’. Belbin’s original 1996 (revised 1998) essay, ‘Untangling the Octopus’ provoked a sea change in understanding Barrett’s work. Palacios has expanded on Belbin’s essay to further delve into the myriad origins of ‘Octopus’.

Too often dismissed as a fantasist who collated drug driven word salad imagery, Barrett in time will assume his rightful place in the canon of English poetics, to which he made vital contributions. In the most literal interpretation, ‘Octopus’ recalls memories of fairground rides, collated with a sea-faring poem. Barrett’s song resounds with a long string of references to rhymes, poems, and songs culled from English lore. The works of English classics scholar, poet, translator and novelist Robert Graves, a favourite of Syd’s, also figure prominently in ‘Octopus’.

http://socialartsnetwork.ning.com/profiles/blogs/untangling-the-octopus

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I don't think he was a tragic a figure as people make him out to be. I think sometimes people projected their own disappointments on Syd, as they seem to do with many celebrities/public figures. Obviously he went overboard with drugs but as one of the Floyd's said (can't remember who, or the exact quote) the drugs just exacerbated something deeper. I believe Syd was just very depressed and disillusioned with fame and all the trappings and expectations that came with it. If you listen to the songs I posted you can see he was still plenty capable of writing and performing good music, he eventually just had enough and wanted to live out a normal, quiet life near his family, which some people just couldn't accept/understand.

I think it was David Gilmour (he and Barrett were friends during their high school days in Cambridge) who opined that the drugs just exacerbated an existing program.

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I think it was David Gilmour (he and Barrett were friends during their high school days in Cambridge) who opined that the drugs just exacerbated an existing program.

I think you're right I thought it was Gilmore too.

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