Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd
The Laughing Madcaps Facebook Group       http://www.SydBarrettPinkFloyd.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pink Floyd - Backstage, 5th Dimension, Leicester, 9/27/67

Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
A high pixel scan has surfaced of Pink Floyd backstage at the 5th Dimension in Leicester on September 27th, 1967. Click the image to the left to see full size. The line-up was Pink Floyd, Amboy Dukes, Chris Farlowe and The Family. I was recently informed that this was the UK Amboy Dukes and not the garage/psych Legends from the USA. Annnnnyway, the 5th Dimension was a well known Leicester psychedelic club in the late 1960s. As one can see, many big psych-rock acts played, and although the club no longer exists, the esteemed name has occasionally been revived for psychedelic club nights held in Leicester today.


Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
We have the picture and the Osiris poster by Michael English, left and Nigel Waymouth. Enjoy!





























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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Laughing Madcaps Syd Barrett Group to Pass 3,000 Members Soon!

Syd Barrett
Syd Barrett
The original Syd Barrett Pink Floyd discussion group, the Laughing Madcaps, is about to pass 3,000 Members! This is a significant number because 3,000 is the number that the group topped out on at the original interface on Yahoogroups. Laughing Madcaps began waaaaay back in 1998 on the original "groups" social networking interface: Yahoogroups. Those eight years, up until Syd's death in 2006, were exciting and halcyon times.

Syd Barrett
The group's Founder, Kiloh Smith, states: "Before Laughing Madcaps, there really wasn't a place for Syd's fans to meet and congregate. The Laughing Madcaps Syd Barrett group was the first place where fans could go and meet each other and interact." Kiloh continues: "These were the 'Wild West' times of what became known as Social Networking. I remember Yahoogroups allowed folks to attach any file to their message. We went through the Great Virus Spreading Days before Yahoo got on the ball and corrected it. But the group did do some wonderful things. Most importantly, we came together and produced THE set of unreleased Syd Barrett music (Have You Got It Yet?) which is still the standard today. For that, I must give credit to Steve Czapala; a Syd friend from the mid-Eighties. I had seen over the first flush of material submitted by fans which was over 100 discs worth of material. I mailed this mess to Steve and he listened to it all and made the first approximation of "best" material. Then he ran with the project and brought several other people in who were key players."

Syd Barrett
Syd Barrett
To read a better account of the Making of Have You Got It Yet? go here.

And it continues
here.

Around four years ago, Yahoogroups was losing market share in the Internet "groups" area. Basically, people were abandonning it for Twitter and Facebook. The group had resisted a MySpace challenge back in the day but the allure to move to Facebook appeared too strong. This turns out to have been a good move as the group has been steadily gaining membership and is expected to top 3,000 soon.

Kiloh Smith says: "We are still the Numba One Syd Barrett group in the world and maintain a healthy and loyal membership."

Join the Laughing Madcaps on Facebook by clicking any of the the images above or this link below:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/laughingmadcaps



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Syd Barrett Spotify Playlist!

Syd Barrett
Syd Barrett
Check out this Spotify Syd Barrett Playlist! It has 73 songs and goes from Syd's days with Pink Floyd up through the 1974 Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band (With Syd Barrett & Fred Frith). It's four hours, twelve minutes, long. Enjoy!

Click the picture above, or the Syd Barrett link below, or click the Spotify module right in this blog post.

Syd Barrett
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Syd Barrett Facebook Group Coming Up on 3,000 Members!

Syd Barrett Facebook
Syd Barrett Facebook
The Laughing Madcaps, Syd Barrett Facebook, Group is coming upon 3,000 members! The original group started waaaay back in 1998 on Yahoogroups. A few years ago, the group was moved to Facebook and has taken off. Laughing Madcaps is the source for Syd Barrett information in the world. 

Laughing Madcaps has put out THE unreleased Syd Barrett music collection for the fans. They did this for free. That's the world famous Have You Got It Yet?, 19 CD, collection. They have also assembled every single Syd Barrett, early Pink Floyd, picture and burned them to DVD for free. Pink Floyd themselves have consulted LM about images. Not only that, but their own Mark Jones has taken the time to create Folders in this group and copy all of these images into the Photos section so you can enjoy them. To list all of the accomplishments of this group, all that LM have done for the fans, would take a long, long time. And it's all been done for free. You have a lot to be thankful and grateful for.

Click on the image in this post to go and join!



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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Pink Floyd's Bike: the Provo Influence

The Provo movement (1963-1972) was directed by a "playful anarchist" group which combined non-violence and absurd humor to create social change. The name Provo was coined by Dutch sociologist Buikhuizen to describe, in a condescending way, post-war disaffected Dutch teens who spent their time provoking the authorities. Provo is loosely defined as: a creature of my own making. Provo has also been co-opted to mean: hippie though it pre-dates it. The term was used for the movement as a whole and for individual members. It was preceded by the Nozem movement and followed by the hippie movement.

Provo was founded in 1963. The Provos believed and espoused that the Revolution would not come from the Proletariat (working class) but from the “Provotariat”. On 25 May 1965, the first Provo Pamphlets were handed out by Robert Jasper Grootveld, an anti-smoking activist and the anarchists Roel van Duijn and Rob Stolk. These political pamphlets were some of the first, that came to be later called, mass produced psychedelic writings and images of the Sixties. Provo was officially disbanded on 13 May 1967.

Provo fused three countercultural elements: an emerging group of angry, alienated young people; the provocative methods of the performance artist Robert Jasper Grootveld; and the revolutionary ideas of philosophy student Roel Van Duyn.

Provo used pranks to provoke the police into action - and usually overreaction. In fact Provo considered the police to be an essential element of a happening; the happening would provoke the police and the police's response would fire the crowd's resentment which would eventually erupt into revolt. The media were also central players and could fuel a provocation with outrage and panic. 

The theatrical street happenings organized by the Provos attracted huge crowds and often resulted in over-reaction by the police. The group found great sympathy among Amsterdammers and at one point obtained five seats on the City Council. Its ideas influenced urban planning, social housing, and cultural life in general. It campaigned against marijuana prohibition, air pollution from urban traffic congestion, and the tobacco industry, and it created numerous anti-royal events and literature. Despite the flippancy of some of their methods Provo's direct actions usually had a serious motivation. Their 'White Plans' are a particularly good example of provocation for public good.

The original Witte Fietsenplan (White Bike plan) was an anarchic free transport programme and the most famous manifesto of the Provos. It proposed that cars be banned from the city centre to be replaced by twenty thousand free bicycles provided by the city. These would be painted white and always left unlocked. Provo released 50 or so, free to use, specially painted white bikes which were scattered across the city of Amsterdam.

This was done as a statement against the rise of consumerism, pollution and congestion caused by the privately owned vehicle. Although the action was short-lived due to theft and vandalism, Provo members used seats on the local council to propose further large-scale white bike plans. The initiative stands as the source inspiration for the (PUB) Public Use Bicycle systems which have been updated and ‘officially’ replicated in cities worldwide.



Both: My White Bicycle, by Tomorrow, and Bike, by Pink Floyd are thought to be inspired by the White Bicycle Plan. According to Tomorrow drummer John Alder, it was inspired by an anarchist group called the Dutch Provos who “had white bicycles in Amsterdam and they used to leave them around the town. And if you were going somewhere and you needed to use a bike, you’d just take the bike and you’d go somewhere and just leave it.”





The Provos had a series of other "White" Programs:

  • The White Chimney Plan proposed that air polluters be taxed and the chimneys of serious polluters painted white.
  • The White Housing Plan proposed that the city legalize and sponsor squatting: the revolutionary solution to the housing problem.
  • The White Wives Plan proposed a network of women's sexual health and family planning centers and sex education in schools.
  • The White Kids Plan proposed shared parenting in groups of 5 couples who would take it in turns to care for the group's children on a different day of each week
  • The White Chicken Plan was a statement against increasingly violent police responses to happenings and demonstrations. It proposed that the police force (then known in Amsterdam as blue chickens) changed its image by disarming, riding white bicycles and handing out free first aid, fried chicken and contraceptives.
Left wing student groups began to unite with Provo to protest against the war in Vietnam. Demonstrations were banned and grew in size and popularity as a direct result. The police responded with increasing force. By the middle of 1966 hundreds of people were being arrested every week. The public began to condemn the police and express sympathy for the Provos and anti-war demonstrators. An official investigation into the crisis was opened in August 1966 and the police commissioner, and eventually the mayor, were fired as a result of its findings.

The Provos had a sting influence upon the Diggers, a well-known counterculture collective in San Francisco. This, in turn, had great influence upon other such organizations at the time.


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Friday, May 23, 2014

Syd's Departure from Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd's first performance as a five-piece was Aston University, on January 12th. Following that, they played: Weston Super Mare 13 Jan, Lewes Sussex 19 Jan, Hastings Sussex 20 Jan. Syd Barrett played his last ever gig with Pink Floyd on Jan. 20, 1968. Barrett was the main songwriter, lead singer, guitarist and focal point for the psychedelic pioneers from their formation through the end of 1967, at which time, various issues led to his exit from the band. For that handful of shows David played and sang while Barrett wandered around on stage, occasionally deigning to join in playing. The other band members soon tired of Barrett’s antics.

The next show, at Southampton University on January 26th, was the one Syd was not picked up for. They were supported by Tyrannosaurus Rex, featuring Marc Bolan. Following this, the band hoped to keep Syd on as a songwriter, but have Gilmour be their performing guitarist. But Syd’s songwriting efforts (notably “Have You Got It Yet?”) seemed destined for commercial failure, and the rest of the band didn’t agree with his plan to add banjo and sax players to the group. So it was decided, on March 2, to break up the management partnership of Blackhill Enterprises, and Syd was thus formally and officially out of the group.

On February 1, 1968 Pink Floyd spent the day at Abbey Road studios working on what would become their second album, A Saucerful Of Secrets. Sessions had previously taken place with Syd Barrett and continued with David Gilmour throughout the rest of the month. On February 17, 1968 the band began a five-date tour of the Netherlands and Belgium. The trip also included a TV appearance for RTB in Brussels (performing new songs, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun and Corporal Clegg, among others) and two performances for ORTV in Paris, including a mimed performance of the single B-side Paintbox.

March 1, 1968 Pink Floyd's partnership with management company Blackhill Enterprises was formally dissolved. The band acquired a new manager, Steve O'Rourke, who was initially employed by their booking agents, the Bryan Morrison Agency. On March 16 Pink Floyd played London's hippest nightspot, Middle Earth in Covent Garden. Syd Barrett was among the audience. On March 28 Pink Floyd were filmed playing Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun for the BBC TV arts programme 'Omnibus'. The documentary, about pop music and politics, was later released as a video/DVD entitled All My Loving. On April 4 Pink Floyd began recording background music for the film noir The Committee, featuring former Manfred Mann singer Paul Jones.

It wasn’t until April 6, 1968 that the Floyd officially announced that Syd had left the band. Barrett friend, poet Spike Hawkins, remembers Syd telling him about the early Floyd recordings, and how he “wanted to go much deeper, using music and lyrics as a key to opening doors.” Hawkins told Barrett he had in fact opened doors for the band, Barrett replied, “Yeah, with cheap keys.”

Barrett did not contribute any material to the band after A Saucerful of Secrets was released in 1968. Of the songs he wrote for Pink Floyd after The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, only one (“Jugband Blues”) made it to the band’s second album; one became a less-than-successful single (“Apples and Oranges”), and two others (“Scream Thy Last Scream” and “Vegetable Man”) were never officially released. Barrett supposedly spent some time outside the recording studio, waiting to be invited in (he also showed up to a few gigs and glared at Gilmour). Barrett played slide guitar on “Remember a Day” (which had been recorded during the The Piper at the Gates of Dawn sessions) and also played on “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”. His main contribution to the album, “Jugband Blues,” is often seen by Pink Floyd fans as Barrett’s admission that his days in the band were probably numbered (“It’s awfully considerate of you to think of me here/And I’m most obliged to you for making it clear/that I’m not here”, the song opens). In April of 1968 it was officially announced that he was no longer a member of Pink Floyd.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pink Floyd - Games for May 1967

GAMES FOR MAY
Space Age Relaxation for the Climax of Spring

Queen Elizabeth Hall, London 5/12/67

Games for May
Games for May
Pink Floyd performs the first-ever surround sound concert at “Games for May”, 12th of May 1967, a lavish affair at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall where the band debuts its custom-made quadraphonic speaker system. The technological breakthrough not only amazes and confuses the mass of stoned concert-goers, but it goes on to raise the standard of what audiences would come to expect from a live rock performance.

Billed as a unique show, this event was based closely on the 12th May 1967 outing at its original venue, the intimate Queen Elizabeth Hall on London’s South Bank. This Hall was only opened in March 1967 by HM Queen Elizabeth so Pink Floyd were indeed unique in not only securing this brand new classical establishment but also in presenting the first rock concert in a ‘proper’ concert hall ever!

Games for May
Games for May
The concert (setlist below) featured material from the band's debut album, "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" (which came out later that year) and was a ground-breaking multi-media event. With a primitive yet revolutionary sound mixer, quadraphonic sound was used to wow an audience whose senses were already being assaulted by a light show, taped effects, on-stage carpentry, the distribution of hundreds of daffodils (which were trodden into the carpets) and bubbles filling the air (and stained the upholstery!).

Games for May
Games for May
It was the first concert in Britain to feature both a complex light show and a quadraphonic sound system. The show was introduced with a series of tape recordings. Roger Waters created the opening dawn tape effects by using bird calls and various natural sounds (an effect he would use in both "Cirrus Minor" and "Grantchester Meadows"). The bubbles at the end of the show were created by Rick Wright while the ending piece was constructed by Barrett.[1] At this time "See Emily Play" was known as "Games for May."

Games for May
Games for May
The Floyd were in the middle of recording sessions for their debut album, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, when their management team was approached by Christopher Hunt, a music promoter with a taste for avant-garde theater. Pink Floyd had been assaulting their audiences with both sound and light, incorporating rudimentary light shows, complete with abstract films and bubbling, psychedelic oil slide projections, into their live sets, so Hunt figured they were the perfect band to break new ground by offering a true multimedia event.

Games for May
Games for May
The show was given the name “Games for May” and set for May 12. Hunt described it in press materials as “Space age relaxation for the climax of spring — electronic compositions, colour and image projections, girls and THE PINK FLOYD.” The chosen venue, the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s upscale South Bank performing-arts district, complete with suited ushers and upholstered seats, was usually only used for classical concerts, so the whole affair took on a peculiar whiff of high art. With the appropriate hype in place, Pink Floyd knew they had to produce something special to rise to the occasion.

Games for May
Games for May
Roger Waters remembers, "I remember the Games For May concert we did at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in May 1967. I was working in this dank, dingy basement off the Harrow Road, with an old Ferrograph. I remember sitting there recording edge tones off cymbals for the performance - later that became the beginning of Saucerful Of Secrets. In those days you could get away with stuff like chasing clockwork toy cars around the stage with a microphone. For Games For May I also made "bird" noises recorded on the old Ferrograph at half-speed, to be played in the theatre's foyer as the audience was coming in. I was always interested in the possibilities of rock 'n' roll, how to fill the space between the audience and the idea with more than just guitars and vocals." 

Games for May
Games for May
The group returned to an idea it had first experimented with at EMI’s Abbey Road studios a few weeks earlier. An engineer had hooked up an additional set of speakers to the usual stereo pair and set them at the back of the room, creating a surround-sound effect. The band was eager to test how this four-speaker setup would work in a live context — most concert clubs in London were only rigged for mono — so they asked one of Abbey Road’s techies, Bernard Speight, to pull together a system they could throttle up to full gig volume.

Games for May
Games for May
Speight also designed a unique device for controlling how the sound was to be distributed among all the speakers in the proto-quadraphonic rig. He built a box with four separate 90-degree potentiometers, one for each speaker, all controlled by a single joystick. This invention was given the fittingly futuristic name of the Azimuth Coordinator.

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason described how it worked once it was placed on top of keyboardist Richard Wright’s organ, “If the joystick was upright, the sound was centered, but moving it diagonally would dispatch the sound to the speaker in the equivalent corner of the hall,” Mason writes. “Rick could send his keyboard sounds swirling around the auditorium, or make footsteps — supplied from a Revox tape recorder — apparently march across from one side to the other.”

Those footsteps, among other effects, were supplied by the band, who prepped special four-track tapes to feed through the Azimuth Coordinator. The various members recorded passages filled with electronic blips and backwards cymbal crashes. Bassist Roger Waters supplied maniacal laughter and synthetic bird sounds.

The band played for a full two hours that night — an exceedingly generous amount of time for a musical act in those days. The show began with an artificial sunrise created by the Floyd’s lighting crew, who bathed the stage in red. The set was mostly made up of originals from the “Piper” album including the stretched-out jam vehicles “Interstellar Overdrive” and “POW R TOC H.” Barrett even wrote a new original for the gig titled “Games for May” — it would soon be renamed “See Emily Play” and go on to become the band’s next hit single.

The proper songs were intercut with bursts of taped sounds and organ swells, all fed through the quad system and sent bouncing around by the Azimuth Coordinator.

“The sounds traveled around the hall in a sort of circle, giving the audience an eerie effect of being absolutely surrounded by this music,” Roger Waters later remembered.

There was also a theatrical element to the show. Mason sawed through a log with a microphone attached to it, Waters threw potatoes at a large gong and arranged bouquets of flowers in various vases, and Barrett went to town with a plastic ruler, feverishly sliding it up and down the neck of his guitar with his amplifier cranked all the way up. Organist Wright operated a bubble machine that complimented the pulsating lights and projections with gigantic soap bubbles. The band’s roadies tossed daffodils into the crowd.

Games for May
Games for May
The administrators of the Queen Elizabeth Hall were less impressed. The bubble machine and the flower petals had made a mess of the seats and carpet, and the venue banned Pink Floyd from ever playing there again. Worse yet, the Azimuth Coordinator was stolen after the show.

Nevertheless, everyone involved recognized a bar had been raised.

Games for May
“In the future, bands are going to have to offer more than a pop show. They are going to have to an offer a well presented theater show,” Syd Barrett said after the fact.

“I think Games for May was one of the most significant shows we ever performed,” Nick Mason said.

Setlist:

1) Tape Dawn, Taped sound effects of birds etc. recorded by Roger Waters. Served as introduction to the show and was played in the foyer of the theatre prior to the show.
2) Matilda Mother
3) Flaming
4) Scarecrow
5) Jugband Blues
6) Games for May (Written for this occasion and later rewritten and retitled to See Emily Play)
7) Bike
8) Arnold Layne
9) Candy And a Currant Bun
10) Pow R Toc H
11) Interstellar Overdrive
12) 'Tape Bubbles' Taped sound effects by Rick Wright to accompany soap bubbles filling the theatre (Later used on "Sysyphus")
13) 'Tape Ending' Taped instrumental piece by Barrett (Later used on "Grandvizer's Garden Party" by Nick Mason)
14) Encore: Lucifer Sam



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