The Eternal Syd


Do you think we’ll ever get tired of recounting and re-hearing the tale of the genesis of Pink Floyd and the saga of Syd Barrett?  I’m pretty sure I won’t ever get tired of it, and based on the flurry of Syd-related tweets and whatnot today, on what would have been his 68th birthday, I’m obviously not alone.  It’s a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions – beautiful young genius conceives an idea for music that’s entirely fresh and innovative, blows his mind out on LSD and/or breaks down from some nebulous form of mental illness, and fades away to live out his days in relative obscurity, leaving the rest of the band to figure out how to carry out his vision and continue his legacy.  The band then goes on to become arguably the greatest in the history of rock ‘n roll, while the broken genius shuns any public attention and lives humbly in a small home, whiling away the days drawing and painting and walking to the market and so forth. Just thinking about it now makes me want to shake my head sadly and lower it slowly into my sorrowful hands, if you know what I mean.

Most Floydians know the story of how Syd weirdly showed up out of the blue at Abbey Road Studios during the recording of “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”, a song that was clearly written as a tribute to him.  Here is the story of that event.  Just thinking about it blows my mind. I mean, they hadn’t seen him in years, and on the day that they are completing the final mix on this particular song, he just shows up.  His appearance and behavior was so bizarre that Roger Waters broke down in tears.  And that was the last time they ever saw him.  Life is strange, y’all, and I’m telling ya now, I don’t much believe in coincidences.

Our fellow blogger, MetalGuruMessiah, has created several outstanding Pink Floyd videos, which were subsequently disabled on YouTube, but strangely again, have become available just in time for Syd’s birthday.  Enjoy this amazing video and the beautiful “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”, the full thing, parts 1-9.  I think this is possibly Mr. Messiah’s greatest video masterpiece.  Now take a trip and never leave the farm.

As you know, I generally have a story for every song, or a song for every story, however you want to look at it, and this time’s no exception.  I can’t listen to Wish You Were Here without thinking about the time when a sweet boyfriend of mine, a shy classical guitarist, showed up at my apartment on a Friday afternoon, his old brown mustang packed with camping equipment, and asked me if I wanted to go with him, which I did.  We spent the weekend deep in the woods by a rocky creek, listening to Pink Floyd on a battery-operated boom box.  I remember that he heated some water from the clear creek on the camp stove and washed my long hair for me, very carefully, and combed it out.  And I probably shouldn’t have told that story, because now I wish he was here.

Syd 2

Happy Birthday, Syd, however near or how far you may be.
You shone like the sun.

Comments?  Questions?  Please Share!



Filed under Art and Literature, Music, Uncategorized

7 responses to “The Eternal Syd

  1. I have always been so intrigued with that him. I tend to like dark things .. Its a very sad story. I feel like that when i listen to nick drake as well .. Just succumbing to mental illness. Very well written and I love how your boyfriend washed your long hair for you

    • Thanks so much! Yeah, it’s a really sad story. You can tell in the photos of him in later years that he was living a very sad life.

      And the hair washing thing has always stood out in my mind as one of the sweetest, most genuinely romantic things that any guy ever did for me. I’m glad you liked it. 😉

  2. Ah, the Syd mythology just rolls on, doesn’t it?
    Nice tribute, Marie.
    PS. Everyone interested in 60s music really should own ‘Piper At The Gates of Dawn’. Much more important than ‘Dark Side of the Moon’.
    PPS. Do we do controversy here?

    • I’m sure you are right about that, because “Piper..” was so different and really got the whole thing rolling. I think that anyone who is interested in Pink Floyd needs to at least hear it.

      “Bike” is one of the coolest songs ever and I walk around singing it sometimes. Also cool – “The Gnome” and “Scarecrow”. But I think perhaps DSOTM is where the concept reached full, mature fruition and is the pinnacle of their work. And it’s just so beautiful and deals with such profound topics.

      Now I’m going to have “Bike” stuck in my head the rest of the day. I’ve got a bike, you can ride it if you like, it’s got a basket, a bell…

  3. I’m extremely honored that you featured my vids, Marie! A friend and I were just commenting about how powerful “Shine On….” is. It has a rare ability to wrap around your mind and transport you RIGHT BACK to the moment you were when you first heard it. Like something from a dream….vaguely and strangely familiar, yet absolutely otherworldly. It still has the ability to make me dizzy with it’s brilliance.

    • I agree 100%! What an amazing masterpiece it is! And you certainly did it justice with your video. I think you captured its essence and mood very effectively.

  4. Pingback: Biker Weekend | My Wild Surmise

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