Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The last madcap laugh

'Postings From An Edge' gets a second rock obituary.

Syd Barrett, one of the founders of Pink Floyd and long considered British rock's greatest recluse, has died at the age of 60, from complications related to diabetes.

His songs, both for the group that went on to become one of the world's biggest rock bands of the 1970's and his solo releases, were whimsical, surreal and quintessentially English - nestling comfortably in the canon of English surrealism that would also include Lewis Carroll, Spike Milligan, John Lennon, Edward Lear and Monty Python, amongst others.

His reputation, however, is more of one of acid rock's casualties. Struggling with his new-found fame back in 1967 and delving too far into that year's drogue-de-rigeur, LSD, his mental condition began to deteriorate. Behaviour at Pink Floyd's performances became increasingly erratic. After departing the group in 1968, he made some attempts at a solo career in the early 70's. These efforts ultimately floundered and he eventually retreated from public life. He left London and returned to Cambridgeshire to live with his mother, which is where he died.

Undoubtedly, many obituaries will be headlined with the title of the song that the group wrote in tribute to him on their 1975 hit album, 'Wish You Were Here' - 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond'. Perhaps an appropriate tribute here would be a quotation of those very lyrics:
Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
Blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter, come on you stranger, you legend,
You martyr, and shine!

You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
Rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions, come on you painter, you piper,
You prisoner, and shine!


Abi Rhodes said...

here's my peom...

Shine on You Crazy Diamond

Syd has climbed aboard that old Bike
And peddled off down Arnold Layne
Cranked it into Interstellar Overdrive
Gone to see Emily play
Careful on that track You Genius
Set the controls and get grooving with that Pict
The Madcap will always laugh

I put it up on my Blog

please feel free to visit

like your blog - hope you're enjoting Tokyo

Globalism said...

Cheers Abi, and thanks for dropping by.

We lost a good one there with Syd, but we lost him a long, long time ago.

Liked your blog too - always good to get visitors from Brighton.

I guess you could say that I'm enjoying Tokyo, although at the moment, I've made myself rather too busy to think about whether I'm enjoying it or not!

These days, I just think of it as home for now and the backdrop to where I do my stuff...