Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Barrett: The Definitive Visual Guide

Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett was a founding member and singer/songwriter/lead guitarist of Pink Floyd, he even came up with the group's name, mixing together the names of two of his favourite blues artists Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

Syd's rise to fame came quickly, and after the initial success of early singles Arnold Layne and See Emily Play and the Pink Floyd's debut album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, his health began to decline. It has been argued that Syd had psychological issues prior to his brush with stardom, but the opinion of those closest to him at the time seems to point toward Syd's increasing use of psychedelic drugs as the cause of his breakdown, not helped by some of his many hangers on lacing his food and drinks with LSD.

After a period of trying to work around Syd's increasingly erratic behaviour, the others in the band decided that they had had enough, so one day en route to a performance they decided not to pick him up, and not long after, Barrett's departure from the band was officially announced.

After his time with Pink Floyd he made a couple of solo albums that offered glimpses of the musical genius he had to offer, but he found performing live increasingly stressful and decided to leave music behind and withdraw from the world of celebrity and stardom altogether.

Returning to his family home in Cambridge to live a quiet and peaceful life (apart from his occasional run ins with the tabloid press and well meaning but over zealous fans) Syd took up painting again which he had dreamed of making his career, before he became obsessed with being a pop star (he also wrote a book about the history of art for his own pleasure, which remains unpublished).

The coffee table book Barrett: The Definitive Visual Guide (published in March 2011) is the most comprehensive collection of Syd's artwork combined with a photographic history of Syd and Pink Floyd.

This large format limited edition book is available in two editions, the classic edition is presented in orange brilianta cloth binding with a green, foil embossed slip case.

The signature edition comes in an orange brilianta bound hinged box with two volumes contained within, volume 1 has over 250 images including more than 100 never seen before this collection was released, plus illustrated letters. Volume 2 is a tan leather bound collection of recently restored photographs taken during rehearsals with Pink Floyd in 1967. This set is signed by the authors and is also signed by one of Syd's siblings and is limited to only 500 copies.

Syd sadly passed away on 7th July 2006. If, like me, you ever felt a connection with Syd Barrett's work, this is a beautifully presented record of one of the 20th century's most iconic and unique artists, a wonderful celebration of a truly remarkable human being.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy the website can be found here

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