Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd
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Monday, May 28, 2007

Syd the cat - RIP

Here's a picture of Syd with me. Syd passed away yesterday from unknown causes. He was 7 years old. He was a great cat.

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Pink Floyd - 11/15/67

Pink Floyd - San Francisco Chronicle, 11/6/67

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Games For May 40th Anniversary Show

Well, the digital age moves so fast, that although it took 40 years to recreate the Floyd's Games For May show (12th May 1967 to last night), it was available on-line by the time I had travelled back from London to the Frozen North. And if it's up to Matthijs' usual standards, it will be an excellent recording:

First Set

01 - Matilda Mother
02 - Flaming
03 - The Scarecrow
04 - Jugband Blues
05 - See Emily Play
06 - Bike
07 - Arnold Layne
08 - Candy And A Currant Bun
09 - Pow R Toc H
10 - Interstellar Overdrive
The first set began as it should, with tape effects including a dawn chorus, before Robyn and the first set of Heavy Friends took to the stage

Robyn Hitchcock - Guitar, Vocals
Kimberley Rew - Guitar
Paul Noble - Bass
Terry Edwards - Keyboards, Saxophone, Trumpet
Morris Windsor - Drums

From 'Bike' onwards they were joined by Woody (drummer with Madness) and soon afterwards by Graham Coxon, ex-Blur, on guitar and occasional vocal. The band was tight, emphasising the R'n'B aspects of the early songs, and with the quality of harmonies you expect from the Soft Boys.
From where I was sitting (halfway up the hall in an aisle seat) the sound was great, really punchy - but I was bang in line with the PA speakers over the stage. Friends sitting nearer the front... so much lower than me... reported the bass being too dominant.

I was directly alongside the lighting guys and it was a pleasure / education to watch Peter Wynne-Wilson & co. at work: manipulating those oil slides, projecting bacteria spreading across jelly and other marvellous effects... on the recording, you'll hear Robyn say at one point, "No, don't turn it off, it's fantastic... " or something like that in response to a kaleidoscope that was whirring around him as he tried to concentrate on introducing one number.

The first set is what the Floyd are reported to have played in May 67 by various sources, including Wikipedia. But as delighted as I was to see Robyn & co. perform Jugband Blues, was it really on the original setlist ? I sincerely doubt it. I'm pleased to see that David Parker excludes it in the Random Precision appendix. The first recording of Jugband was on 9th October 1967, and I would be surprised if it wasn't written closer to that date than 12th May 1967. Still, it was a fine version, with Terry Edwards contributing a disintegrating trumpet line while Robyn somehow kept drawing enough breath to keep the circling 'la la la la la la la' vocal going.

During Arnold Layne, women of suitable age, dress and appearance (i.e., they looked like Rose and Licorice of the Incredible String Band back in the day) took to the stage and gyrated in ways which haven't been attempted since my mother had one too many at our 1972 New Year's Party and put on the original cast recording of 'Hair'.

During Interstellar Overdrive the same women (one of them heavily pregnant, but with her bump psychedlically decorated) and their children wandered the audience distributing yellow flowers... iris and chrysanthemums rather than daffodils, I'm told by Inge, who had spent the day running a stall at a farmer's market, so she should know. I noticed someone wearing military uniform in the rear stalls, but he didn't join in on the flower distribution.

And that's where the Floyd finished their set... so it was time for a break. Robyn returned with an acoustic guitar and Isobel Campbell on cello, plus Matthew Cullen on a second acoustic. They ran thru delightful versions of some of my favourite solo songs.

Now I have to say, I don't know a Syd cover version, official or unofficial which I enjoy as much as Syd's originals, but if anyone consistently comes close, it's Robyn Hitchcock. I winced at Chrissie Hynde's anguished version of Late Night at the Barbican. Hitchcock caught the gentle resignation of the song perfectly, and the cello and 'wee voice' accompaniment from Isobel Campbell really complemented his delivery.

Second Set
01 - Terrapin
02 - Love You
03 - Late Night
04 - Long Gone
05 - If It's In You
06 - (Wouldn't You Miss Me) Dark Globe
07 - Dominoes
08 - Wined and Dined

Graham Coxon came on for Wined and Dined. Initially he took the lead vocal, but he appeared 0f out of sorts with his voice and left it to Robyn, contributing rather unconvincing lead guitar instead.

Altogether more convincing was the finale, involving absolutely everyone, firstly in a freeform jam, using Reaction in G as the excuse for an Unlimited Freak Out. Robyn pointed out (at the same time that BBC2 was broadcasting a programme saying the same thing !) that this was where progressive rock began... but that was the risk you took when you began to experiment.
09 - Reaction in G
10 - Astronomy Domine
Neither Reaction or Astronomy featured in the original Games For May show, but Lucifer Sam was the Floyd's encore, and the finale here: a rasping version, especially since there were four guitars, two drumkits, a cello, a bass and a saxophone driving it. Better still was the encore (played in the absence of other rehearsed material and still involving the whole ensemble) of See Emily Play.
11 - Lucifer Sam
12 - See Emily Play
As the hall emptied, a second set of tape effects played and the bubble machine dispensed bubbles apparently without any ill consequences for the seating.

We were fortunate to be invited to share a drink or two by Terry Edwards (currently acting as record label supremo to a Department S comeback - or something less dramatic than that), so lingered for another hour or so. Nonetheless, as we left, those dedicated guys were still carefully individually disassembling and packing all of those strange lighting effects. Well worth the effort, and thank you, guys.

PS: My one moan ! As you'll see from the programme scans, Robyn's short piece about Syd is headed 'Syd Barret'... come on, proof readers, get your act together. Just as with Gilmour's Arnold Layne sleeve, the tribute would be more effective if the name of the person being honoured was spelt right.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Pink Floyd - LA Free Press, 11/10/67

Pink Floyd - LA Free Press, Nov., 1967

Friday, May 25, 2007

Pink Floyd- Rare UFO Poster!

This is a seminal poster from the collection of Jack Henry Moore; Lighting Technician from UFO. It is pre-UFO and was at the Roundhouse to raise money for the actual creation of the very first International Times creation. The event then moved to UFO.Uses words All Night Rave about 21 years before they became used by E generation.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pink Floyd - San Francisco Chronicle, 11/1/67

Pink Floyd - Post Crescent, 1967

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

You'll lose your mind and play...

On May 23 1967, Pink Floyd recorded their second single release, See Emily Play at the Sound Techniques Studio in Chelsea. (Originally titled Games for May it was composed by Syd especially for the May 12 concert event with the same name.)

The song is about a girl named Emily, whom Barrett once said he saw while sleeping in the woods one night after he had taken a hallucinogenic drug. An article in Mojo magazine called "See the Real Emily" supposedly shows a picture of Barrett's Emily. Barrett later reportedly claimed that the story about sleeping in the woods and seeing a girl before him was made up "...all for publicity." Some speculate that Emily is the Honourable Emily Young (b. March 13, 1951), daughter of the Baron Kennet and nicknamed "the psychedelic schoolgirl" at the UFO Club.

Barrett, reportedly, wasn't happy with the final studio cut. He protested against its release, which producer Norman Smith has speculated was based on Barrett's fear of commercialism. During the sessions for the song, David Gilmour was a visitor to the studio, after being invited by Syd. He was shocked by what he perceived as a change in Syd's personality, and Syd did not appear to even recognise his old friend, despite having invited him there in the first place. For many years Gilmour would recall this encounter with the saying, "I'll go on record as saying, that was when he changed."

The slide guitar work on the song is said to have been done by Barrett with a Zippo lighter. The train depicted on the single's sleeve was actually drawn by Barrett himself.

See Emily Play was released June 16 1967 and reached #6 in the U.K. charts.

Pink Floyd - San Francisco Chronicle, 1967

Pink Floyd - LA Free Press, Oct., 1967

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pink Floyd - Billboard: Oct. 7, 1967

Pink Floyd - Rolling Stone Nov. 1967

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Piper at the gates of Dawn - Stereo Review

Pink Floyd - Billboard: 1967 USA Tour

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Pink Floyd - Hit Parader: 1967

Pink Floyd - Billboard: Oct. 21, 1967

Barry Miles - UFO


Frank Zappa called them ‘psychedelic dungeons’ and that’s pretty much what they were; nightclubs are invariably in basements because there is less noise leakage; in London the few sixties exceptions included the Ad Lib, on a top floor, and the variously names nightclub in the garden on top of the Derry & Toms building in Kensington where pink flamingos wandered among the punters. The UFO club – pronounced You-Foe – happened every Friday night from 10.30pm – when the Berkeley cinema on the ground floor closed and could no longer be disturbed by the noise – and 6am, when transport started up again. It was in the Blarney Club, an Irish dancehall at 31 Tottenham Court Road, complete with revolving mirror ball and a polished wooden dance floor. The only week UFO missed was when it was in use on St. Patrick’s night. The UFO club was very much the community meeting place, the village pump, where gossip about drugs, busts, art, gurus, meditation, UFOs, lay-lines, and where to get yellow crushed velvet loon pants was mixed with poetry readings, performance art, bemused German television crews, and psychedelic music. The drugs were provided by Manfred, a fat German acid dealer who sometimes gave away as many as 400 trips a night - but sold many more. John Pearce from Granny Takes a Trip and Michael Rainey from Hung On You were usually there to take orders for eye-catching paisley-patterned suits and the music was provided by the three regular house bands: the Pink Floyd, the Soft Machine and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. After a few months the Pink Floyd grew too big and too expensive and only made one final return because Joe Boyd, UFO’s musical director, had had the foresight to make a long term advance booking.

The room was incredibly hot, overcrowded, and bathed in a continuous moving lightshow that reached every corner of the space and crept up the wide staircase heading to the street like some cell-dividing algae. The lightshow was primarily provided by Mark Boyle who first started at UFO with a solo lightshow as a performance but was persuaded by Hoppy, the club manager, to stick around and provide lights for the Soft Machine for a few extra pounds. Jack Bracelin who did the Floyd’s light show at the London Free School lit the back section of the room with his Five Acre Lights, named after the psychedelic nudist colony he ran in Watford - a number of caravans in a sea of mud and a club house featuring a ‘trip machine’ - where the Floyd once played a Guy Fawkes night gig. Bob Cobbing from the London film-maker’s Co-op showed films both experimental and Hollywood: Marilyn Monroe to Kenneth Anger; there were poetry readings, jugglers and each week another episode of David Zane Mairowitz’s interminable dramatic production The Flight of the Erogenous. People sat on the floor for the music or danced up front. When people sitting out on the staircase heard the introduction to ‘Fire’, Arthur’s theme tune, they scrambled inside to watch him make his entrance with his headdress on fire; you never knew when he would have to be doused in organic apple juice from Craig Sams’ macrobiotic rissoles stall, to put out his flaming hair.

The staff at UFO were the staff of the International Times (IT), which was one way of making sure they received at least some money each week even if Mickey Farren was tripping out as he tried to take the money and mistook his pocket for the cashbox. Pete Townshend would hand over £20 to get in, knowing it was going to a good cause.

The UFO audience were notoriously difficult to please; it was no good a group donning frilly shirts and green suede booties and hoping to pass; you had to be genuine or you were booed. The emerging underground scene caused some groups to experience molecular change: Tomorrow was formed early in 1967 when the In-Crowd - Keith West on vocals, Steve Howe on guitar and John Wood on bass - added Twink on drums. The sight of Twink wriggling along the top of the Marshall stacks like a snake, while at the same time reaching down and playing his drums, quickly endeared them to the UFO audience. More typical was the free-form jazz combo the Giant Sun Trolley, put together by Dave Tomlin from the UFO audience. There were records played, but again, they were not chart hits: the two key records guaranteed to get the crowd dancing were ‘My White Bicycle’ by Tomorrow and ‘Granny Takes a Trip’ by the Purple Gang. Purple Gang played UFO only once before their masked leader, Peter “Lucifer” Walker, disbanded the group in order to become initiated as a Warlock. Such were the times.


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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pink Floyd - Billboard: August, 1967


UFO was the first psychedelic night club in England. We had the new talent to die for & then scored a truly great location. For a few months in 1967 it was the main social meeting place of the 'underground' counter culture, a basement Irish dance hall with a sprung floor in London's Tottenham Court Road otherwise known as the Blarney Club. For us it performed the function of both a “gentlemens club” & a cubbers dance club. UFO was a Friday allnighter from 10pm till the first tubes ran around 6 in the morning, conveniently about the length of an acid trip.

Halfway down the wide entrance stairs we put a snow machine, a theatre light producing the effect of continuously falling snow. Stand in it for a minute or 2 and you begin to be disoriented - the same as driving a car into a snowstorm – definitely hypnotic. At the bottom of the steps was the pay desk – see below. As the steps were really wide people would sit safely on them when cooling down or chilling out.

Add to that a whiff of incense and by the time you reached the bottom the atmosphere was set, with music drifting out as the people drifted in. In those days to run a club the people had to be members, so there was a table and a card index and a couple of staff taking the money and issuing cards, and no security to speak of – certainly an absence of government licensed thugs posing as weightlifters while also running a handy & profitable substance recycling operation.

Once inside, apart from a small office and a cloak room, you were basically in one large basement space, a hall big enough to hold a few hundred people, with a low stage and a ceiling fan or two. Larger & Of course, we imported our own extra decor and dimmed the lights, the idea being to create a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Usually a couple of bands were featured, each doing 1 or 2 sets. Sometimes a band member would read a poem or other stuff depending on the vibe in the club and the politics of the street that week. Often curious musicians from other bands playing in the West End would drop by around 3am to listen & occasionally jam in UFO.

That doesn’t take up 8 hours, so in between there were records – LPs – but no DJs with massive ego's -- they were not on stage -- and no bone shaking PA system so earplugs were not required. There were 4 upright WEM speakers on stands in the 4 corners of the space, giving exaggerated separation of the stereo image. Whoever was putting on the records would often play a whole side complete with the gaps between tracks. This enabled conversations to happen without having to shout at each other.

Towards morning a peripatetic musician or two, sax player & drummer, would wander around the dance floor, stepping over the reclining bodies. This interaction helped soften the distinction between the musicians/performance and the audience. Or again, someone might distribute flyers for a gig or a demo in the coming days.

Artists had their place too. One time Yoko Ono was making her film “Bottoms” which required lots of people one by one removing their trousers, knickers, etc and walking on a revolving table while Yoko filmed their arse in closeup. This was done in a nearby hotel room while volunteers from UFO were ferried back and forth in the middle of the night. This unlikely epic was subsequently shown in the West End.

When I T got busted on obscenity charges, UFO was the starting point of a free speech demo that consisted of poet Harry Fainlight in a coffiin being carried by a motley crowd of tripping UFO goers, down Whitehall past the Cenotaph (outraged Sunday Mirror), then down Westminster tube to emerge hours later, after several circuits of the Circle line, in Notting Hill to be resurrected in Portobello Rd.

When the Stones got busted that summer, UFO was rallying point for people from different west end clubs who then demonstrated in Fleet St & held up the distribution of the News of the Screws for some hours.

Lightshows & Projections. As well as the regular lightshow providers, among whom Mark Boyle & Joan Hills (now the Boyle Family), Jack Bracelin (he ran a nudist camp out Watford way), Jo Gannon (a very bright teenager who subsequently produced the Mary Tyler Moore US TVshow) and Dermot Harvey (an errant biochemist, discoverer of many immiscible liquids) there were other projections.

One almost forgotten favorite was Chinese animation movies hired on 16mm film from Contemporary Films - shown silent & projected on the walls rather than the white curtain across the stage that we also used between sets. The audio could be something quite different. The detail was ravishing to the tripping eye. The scaffolding projection tower was strategically placed so that projectors could be occasionally swung round causing the watchers to move round to continue watching – a subtle way to keep people moving.

Density of people. This is one parameter that has always fascinated me. A promoter's natural wish is to have as many punters as possible in their club, its good business. But the more there are the more it gets crowded until you reach a point where the popularity destroys the very thing you had in the first place, a good social & dancing space. This is a constant dilemma and our only solution was to go to a bigger venue, but the change of scale had other consequences and the scene got too heavy with ripoffs that eventually closed the club down. It lasted just 9 months.

In the analogue age there were many variations on the club theme and UFO was just one of them. We tried to keep alive the spirit of the Happening which purposely injects uncertainty into the event, which seemed to fit with the experimental zeitgeist. Mixing different sensory inputs was certainly fun and it didnt always work out. But one essential was always kept in mind, to keep an overview of whatever was going on and to be sensitive to the vibe going down. That way there were never any fights and hardly any bad scenes even when someone freaked out and had to be led away and talked down.

In the digital age there has been a convergence of technology, meaning that computers + projectors are almost universally used for image delivery. Paradoxically this often reduces the variety of visual input. Lights are computer controlled by already finished programs, which can completely remove the interactivity that was possible with systems with more elements of manual control.

The opportunity to knit together different music tracks seamlessly & beat-matched can't be resisted, and this in turn produces really long sets of continuous sound, mostly at a high volume. The upside is that, at best, dance alone induces trance, and a room full of tranced out people is something only possible in the digital age - the technology drives the experience.

I look forward to finding out what today's experimenters are producing at Futuresonic, mercilessly plundering the past and the present to produce the future.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Look of the Week

On May 14, 1967 Pink Floyd performed at the BBC Television
Centre, London, England for an appearance on the BBC 1 TV
program Look of the Week.

The broadcast performance included: Pow R. Toc H.(excerpt), Hans
Keller's Comment, Astronomy Domine, and Hans Keller's interview
with Roger Waters and Syd Barrett.

For a more detailed look at the program:

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Games For May

On May 12 1967, Pink Floyd gave a 'musical and visual exploration' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, billed as 'Games For May'. Described as a 'space age relaxation for the climax of spring - electronic composition, colour and image projection, girls and the Pink Floyd', the performance featured some of the band's early singles, material from the forthcoming debut album (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn), Jugband Blues (not to be released until after Syd had left the band, on the second LP A Saucerful of Secrets), and a song written especially for the event that became the band's second single, See Emily Play. The show was introduced with a tape recording of bird songs and other natural sound effects compiled by Roger Waters (and later to be used in Cirrus Minor and Grantchester Meadows). During the concert, band members created other sound effects by chopping wood, a man dressed in an admiral's uniform gave out daffodils, and soap bubbles floated through the air (staining the furniture in the hall, and leading to a ban on PF playing there again). The sound was augmented with a primitive 'surround' mixer, which connected a joystick to an organ and other sound effects that were moved in all directions around the hall. It also featured a very sophisticated light show. Nick Mason has said, "I think Games for May was one of the most significant shows we ever performed." The complete setlist was: Dawn (tape recording), Matilda Mother, Flaming, Scarecrow, Jugband Blues, Games for May, Bike, Arnold Layne, Let's Roll Another One (Candy and a Currant Bun), Pow R. Toc H., Interstellar Overdrive, Bubbles (tape recording by Rick Wright), Ending (tape recording by Syd Barrett); Encore: Lucifer Sam.
(In memory of R.K.B. "Float on a river for ever and ever...")

Friday, May 11, 2007

Madcap’s Last Laugh - Barbican Centre - 10th May 2007

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Backdrop – large photo of Mick Rock’s Psychedic Renegade’s photo of Syd with blank eyes (not the photo above).

Concert starts with a blues song and the backdrop changing to the album cover of Blind Boy Fuller’s Country Blues circa 1935-1940.

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Roger 'Syd' Barrett derived the name "Pink Floyd" juxtapositioning the first names of Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, he had read about in a sleevenote by Paul Oliver for a 1962 Blind Boy Fuller LP.

The backdrop changes to a write up of country blues, mentioning Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, who hail from Tennessee.

"Curley Weaver and Fred McMullen, (...) Pink Anderson or Floyd Council -- these were a few amongst the many blues singers that were to be heard in the rolling hills of the Piedmont, or meandering with the streams through the wooded valleys."

As I’m reading so the “Sense of Sound” choir are assembling at the rear of the stage.

They sing “Bike” vaguely hinting at a blues style with low harmonies, it was a good effort though some voices were slightly off key (according to the perfect musical ear of my guest).
The lightshow is across the entire stage…. I wonder how much of it is either from UFO or at least influenced by it.

The house band arrive featuring Andy Bell (Oasis) and Simon Finley (Echo & The Bunnymen).

Next up is Captain Sensible (minus that old trademark red beret) with Monty Oxy Moron on “saw”. He’s in buoyant mood… they launch into a brilliant version of “Flaming”. Just one song and they’re off.

Kevin Ayers strides across the stage, to mild applause that grows as he waves as his name appears on the backdrop. He speaks of Syd, says he’s going to be singing “Here I go” an octave lower than Syd, in his low gravely voice. He is joined by Oxymoron for the second track, which he uses an acoustic guitar, this is his own song for Syd, 'Oh! Wot A Dream’. Rapturous applause as they both leave.

Nick Laird-Clowes (ex Dream Academy) is musical director tonight. It still hasn’t entered my mind that Floyd are actually here. But I am still hopeful Gilmore and Wright are here.

Nick and the house band launch into “Baby Lemonade”, Damon Albarn (ex Blur, Gorillaz) joins them on piano.

The Bees are up next, I’ve not heard them before, but they’re warmly welcomed as was Laird-Clowes and Albarn. They do a brilliant “Octopus” … It’s at this point I could kick myself for not actually recording this show. I have a vague hope that it is being recorded though, I think I heard Ian or someone nearby saying this.

Neulander – again a link to Echo & The Bunnymen, as Adam Peters (one of the house band tonight) is joined by his partner, Korinna Knoll and perform “The Gnome”.

My favourite Incredible (String Band) appears next, Mike Heron, to huge applause now… an acoustic guitar in hand, he is joined by loads of musicians for “Matilda Mother” a very psyched up set. Quite brilliant.

Next we are suddenly given a film clip, it’s rare footage of the 14th Hour Technicolour Dream night at Alexandra Palace, N. London. There is a shot of people shooting down a slide or rather the Helter Skelter. Dancing swirling lights in a vast vast space. I used to live nearby, the Palace was huge (before it burned down in the 80’s).

Now it’s 3 women coming on stage.The backdrop announces them and I’m squirming with delight to see Kate McGarrigle’s name alongside her daughter Martha Wainwright and her niece Lily Lanken, plus Adam Peters again, on electric cello. Apparently Ms Wainwright hasn’t slept at all, she was at Covent Garden last night, her mother announces and has come from there to the Barbican. I wonder if Martha has been partying with Prince (formerly known as Squiggle) who was also in Covent Garden last night, alongside his £10,000 purple drapes he had to have shipped in from Paris, but I digress….

They play a beautiful “Golden Hair”, Kate on vocals for this.
And second song, they only learned it one hour before, so the words are placed up for Martha, who is singing. It’s “See Emily Play” and it brings rapturous applause too. Wow. She might be tired, but they pulled off a great albeit short set.

Up next is a white haired Richard Gere look alike. Yep it’s Roger Waters, the Barbican suddenly on it's feet. Waters says he needs a chair for this, as he is old. He starts chatting…. That’s when someone shouts out “Have you got it yet?” in memory of Syd’s question, but I wondered if it was a madcapslaughing person or an Astral piper for that matter. Another voice further away shouts “fuck off” and yet another “shut yer mouth”. He is blathering on a bit. But it’s interesting blathering…. He’s talking about Syd, people shut up and listen and sit down, but then some of us are older too.

Roger said something to the effect of, that he feels a little vulnerable by the small size of the Barbican stage and is much better used to large stages with lots of gear, which he feels he can hide behind (yes right), but he speaks of his own stress and also his own “sense of shame” and even “doom”. He is speaking honestly from his heart, then mentions that Syd was never stressed before his illness. Says Syd lived his life like he walked, “he kind of bounced”. He had a total lack of sense of shame which certainly added to his ability to take creative leaps or risks and said that “musically certainly, we owe Syd Barrett an enormous debt” then adds, “well I do, anyway”. Goes on to ask “What would I have done without him?” he mused and answers that he’d have probably been a property developer or something.

He plays his own song, “Flickering Flame” with little introduction to it. I assume it is about Syd. It was riotously good, for an acoustic number.

During the intermission before show starts back up, Syd’s paintings are on view, on the backdrop interspersed with Mick Rock’s 'Psychedelic Renegades' photos.

The film of BBC1 interview with Hans Keller is shown, to much laughter and applause, sadly the volume is too high, it is distorting and it’s hard to work out Keller’s words, but Syd is clear as a bell.

Back on stage now, is Nick Laird-Clowes with the brilliant house band. “Chapter 24” is the song, very very psyched up, light show was a little blinding, every time “sunrise” was mentioned we were treated to a rolling intense lights in the eyes.

Vashti Bunyan with Gareth Dickson is on next… she appears slightly nervous. As the song begins the film to Scarecrow is shown up to where Syd places the Scarecrow in the water. Vashti sings a very beautiful “Scarecrow” a few octaves higher than Syd would have, again Adam Peters is hauntingly on cello. Followed by “Lovesong” a truly beautiful elegy.

Damon Albarn appears with David Coulter on harp/saw – he is smoking I notice. Before he starts he says one of Syd’s relatives is with us tonight, and asks can he come down and say a few words. He says it’s his nephew, I know it must be Ian Barrett. Very surprised to see the guy behind me get up and walk on stage.
Wow. First he smokes some of the spliff Albarn has offered to him and drinks from his bottle of lager.
Basically he thanks all for this night, says that he is sure Roger is up there watching. Says he has so much to thank him for.

Ian Barrett is sitting behind me…. And is now talking non stop, what was in that spliff?

Albarn says he loves this song, says it is a pre rap and that if we know the words we can all sing along. It is “Word song"/"Untitled Words” and I presume for the audience the words are up on the backdrop. It’s a good song for sure. Talk about juxtapositioning of words.

Out comes Captain Sensible again for the next song “Astronomy Domine” before he starts he says his son is named after Syd, “spelt the proper way of course” and says his son is a great guitarist and to look out for Syd Sensible. He describes himself as Syd’s number one fan (where’ve I heard this before). Astronome Domine is amazing, psychedelic, Captain suggests the words mean something, in particular I see waters underground or ICY WATERS underground… I don’t know what he meant, but it made me laugh to think of Water's iciness.

Robyn Hitchcock enters in his dark blue spotted shirt. Raucous applause, everyone knows who he is, “Terrapin” is next. He is a very accomplished guitarist, he has a presence on stage and is totally at one with Syd’s song. Next up joined by John Paul Jones and Ruby Wright (on saw – psyched up saw that is) for "Gigolo Aunt". Hitchcock says Syd knew the value a good A chord….

Chrissie Hynde storms onto the stage with Adam Seymour. She says she is very pleased to be here tonight, apologises for singing Syd’s songs with an American accent and says they are going to be using 2 small amps on stage now, rather than the ones in use this evening. A small dig at not needing roadies…. She’s chosen two songs off of Madcap Laughs “Dark Globe” and “Late Night”.

Joe Boyd is on stage now, explaining that the art director (?) from the Barbican approached him with the idea of a tribute for Syd, in fact persuaded him it had to be done and dragged in Nick Laird-Clowes to help with the huge task ahead of trying to organize musicians who said they’d love to but couldn’t because they were touring or gigging or had problems. In the end says Boyd, it was Chrissie Hynde that galvanized the whole event. Her amazing energy, and her persuasive talents made this evening what it is. Joe Boyd backtracks and thanks the lighting people from the original UFO club and early Pink Floyd shows.

He is sounding lugubrious talking about Syd but admits it is a difficult process for him, although he acknowledges how fortunate he is working with very rare spirits of which Syd Barrett was one. He admits to not playing Syd’s solo work until about six months ago, due to the pain of losing Syd. And remembers a haunted evening in '67 at Peter Jenners house. Syd was there with guitar in hand, he played Joe six songs, asked him did he know of anyone who could use them. Says these songs all went on the solo albums, doesn’t say which. Adds that Syd was full of life that night, it was a very memorable evening. But the next time he saw Syd, he was totally unresponsive on stage standing with his arms down on stage, off his guitar, staring deadly into space. He remembers Syd for his fearlessness, bravery and his adventurous spirit. That Syd personified the era and gave so much to it. He finally states the year from 66-67 was magick. Then thanks Pink Floyd for helping keeping Syd Barrett’s name and memory and music alive and goes on to welcome David, Nick and Rick – aka Pink Floyd onto stage.
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Wow, most of us weren’t expecting that! They do "Arnold Layne". Stunning with the backdrop of the stage and the light show… Then they’re off and the Barbican are calling for encore.
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Jugband Blues Video is up on the wall, while the choir and most of the musicians (not Roger Waters) are back on stage with Pink Floyd and the finale “Bike”. It was 10.30pm and we’ve just had 2.5 hours of Syd songs, of Sydness, we don’t want it to end but it does, the lights are up and we’re off, in a daze, wishing we’d been there back in 66-67. Many here tonight could well have been though.

To me it doesn’t matter one jot that Pink Floyd did not include Roger Waters, they weren’t here for that, they were here to remember their founding member and inspiration.

The last photo up on the backdrop is one of Syd back to the camera, walking away. I am reminded of those Hampstead shots of Nick Drake. It's like he only had a limited time and he was off. Dreaming perhaps.


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

NY Village Voice 8/17/67

Winipeg Free Press 5/6/67

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Astral Piper Forum Shut Down!

This was posted on Laughing Madcaps today by:

It all started when allegations against Dion were posted by his right hand man and moderator (allegations received from a former friend of Dions in Australia). I won't repeat them all here but basically they accused Dion of behind behind the stalker movie with the creepy music (you know the one), of marketing and selling it online and at various record fairs, of secretly video recording his 'Botanic Garden bench' door stepping of Roger/SydBarrett and various financial irregularities relating to the memorial fund.

The allegations went on at great length and at great detail. Dion dismissed them on the forum and claimed they were all rubbish. I was subsequently pm-ed in private and shown the proof confirming the allegations were not rubbish at all as Dion had claimed. I didn't say anything on the forum -I didn't think it was my place to expose him - though I thought the truth should come out, I didn't want to be the one to do it. So for a long time, I said nothing. Then Dion banned me and gave a false reason (that I had tried to cause trouble between him and his moderator). I believed I had been banned in case I would say something of what I knew on the forum.

A lot of people were shocked at my ban and questions were asked. Dion erased the questions. I found a way of getting back into the forum and confronted him - I said I seen compelling proof to back up the allegations . He banned me again and wiped any threads aluding to it. He also banned another member who's only crime was to show a modicum of sympathy for me. It was a warning shot to the other members not to question him. That shocked a lot of members and people started getting very uneasy at the injustice.

His moderator resigned and deleted his own account. Members started swapping emails and talking about moving to other forums. I once again put it to Dion to come clean, apologise to the forum for lying, and above all apologise to the Barrett family for duping them. The next morning the forum was gone. It was, all in all, a very unpleasant experience and I derived no pleasure from the forum closing. I felt bad for the members.

Fortunately one of them has started a new forum for all the members of the previous one to join. The atmosphere at the new place is a whole lot more relaxed than it had been at the old one and its great to have a good guy with integrity (and no ego issues) at the helm for a change. (Of course, this place is great too, by the way!) As I said - I haven't derived any satisfaction from the whole unpleasant experience. I'm not a confrontational person and had I not been banned (for a bogus reason), then I wouldn't have felt forced to speak out.anyway that's what happened..

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Pink Floyd- Hit Parader 1967 bit

Archive of Early Pink Floyd Documents to be Posted to Blog

A generous donor has uploaded an archive of Pink Floyd documents from 1966 - 1967. They will be posted to the blog, one-by-one, day-by-day. The first one is oncluded with this post. It is a 1967 Hit Parader piece. Enjoy!

pink floyd archive

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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Manchester Festival!
On May 10 - 12 there will be a festival in Manchester, UK

They will be attempting to recreate the experience of UFO. Hoppy Hopkins & Jack Henry Moore are involved. And get this; they were testing their lightshow the other day and burnt down the building! So you know it's gonna be good!

Now look, they would feel much better if you would buy tickets in advance rather than show up the night of the show like a bunch of slavering dogs clutching your bags of dope.

Now be good Syd fans and buy your tickets in advance so they'll feel more at ease.
Also, I have it on good authority that they will be playing audio and showing video NEVER HEARD / SEEN UNTIL TODAY of Pink Floyd at UFO.

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