There's a Waters interview in this month's Uncut (Take 120, May 2007). As you would expect, shedloads of self-justification and aggrandisation. Example: "When I was in the band, I did all the thinking, I wrote most of the songs and I made all of the shows..." Exactly the sort of stuff that guarantees there won't be a Floyd reunion at the same time as Waters says he would be up for a few shows.
Never mind, here's the crunch. We get a brief reflection on Syd, including...
1. Were drugs the main cause of Syd's decline ? Answer; "Oh yes, I'm sure acid exarcebated symptoms I think were going to manifest anyway. But I'm not a neurologist so I'm not really the person to ask."
Ahem. That went pretty quickly from I'm sure, to I think, to I don't really know, didn't it ? The last point being the accurate one. He's not a neurologist. Still, he was happy to say "Syd's schizophrenic and has been for several years" on the basis of this qualification.
2. On not picking up Syd on the way to Southampton, January 68. Later in the interview, Waters accuses Mason of having fictionalised much of Waters' behaviour in the Floyd Wars. At the same time he admits that human memory is often a self-serving device.
So here's his account..."To be brutally honest about it, he wasn't picked up for a gig. One day we were going to collect him and we went 'Nah.' We just went and did the gig."
According to Mason, someone (possibly the one who did all the thinking ?) said "Fuck it, let's not bother", to be brutally honest.
3. The Abbey Road 75 Incident. "He knew exactly what he was doing and he knew that we were there. Syd would occasionally turn up for gigs, expecting to play, I think. I'm not sure what he was expecting that day."
Seems to me that Waters has problems admitting when he DOESN'T KNOW something. Again, he begins, 'he knew', then goes to 'I think' and ends with 'I'm not sure'. There's more...
"It was a bizarre coincidence that we were working on 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' (SoYcD) when he turned up. I didn't recognise him. I thought he was someone's friend, this fat, bald bloke eating sweets at the back of the studio. It was maybe Dave who eventually said 'You haven't caught it yet, have you ?' I suddenly said 'It's Syd!'. It was strange."
Mason's not convinced they were working on SoYcD at the time, but it enhances the tale, so let's leave that alone. Gilmour's question "you haven't caught it yet, have you" is either a poor transcription or an odd phrase. He might have said 'you haven't caught on yet, have you?' or 'you haven't got it yet, have you ?', in reference to a joke or a mystery. But 'you haven't caught it yet' would be more likely to refer to the flu, or a ball which had been suspended in mid-air for a considerable time...
Does it matter ? Not much, except that it seems to me that Waters is a crucial player in the making of many Syd myths. And here, he appears to be deliberately playing on the 'Have you got it yet ?' (HYGIY) resonances.
And who is the main source for an account of the HYGIY incident ? Roger Waters. It becomes self-perpetuating as well as self-justifying. To the point where I wonder whether the original HYGIY incident was anything like as substantial as Waters tells it.
Although it's a good name for a series of fan-produced CDs.
Labels: Abbey Road, HYGIY, Myth, Waters