Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head

Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head[Download] ➻ Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head ➼ Rob Chapman – Bluevapours.co.uk Syd Barrett was the lead guitarist, vocalist, and principle songwriter in the original line up of Pink Floyd During his brief time with the band , he was the driving force behind the unit After he lef Syd Barrett was the lead A Very PDF/EPUB ✓ guitarist, vocalist, and principle songwriter in the original line up of Pink Floyd During his brief time with the band , he was the driving force behind the unit After he left Syd Barrett: Epub / the band he made just two further solo albums which were both released in , before withdrawing from public view to lead a quiet, and occasionally troubled life in Cambridge, the town of his birth Rob Chapman's book Barrett: A Very ePUB ´ will be the first authoritative and exhaustively researched biography of Syd Barrett that fully celebrates his life and legacy as a musician, lyricist and artist, and which highlights the influence that he continues to have over contemporary bands and music fans alike.

Is a wellknown author, some A Very PDF/EPUB ✓ A Very PDFEPUB of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head book, this is one of the most wanted Rob Chapman author readers Syd Barrett: Epub / around the world.

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  • Paperback
  • 441 pages
  • Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head
  • Rob Chapman
  • English
  • 10 September 2019
  • 9780571238545

10 thoughts on “Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head

  1. Carole Tyrrell says:

    While I was reading this book I saw Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys on Jools Holland. I had mixed feelings about it; on one level I was glad to see him still being able to perform but on another level I felt uncomfortable as he looked ill at ease as he launched into California Girls. Would Syd Barrett, founder of Pink Floyd and a source of dodgy myths, have ended up like that if he'd been persuaded out of retirement?

    There have been several biographies of Syd Barrett over the years; some content to rehash old tales of acid casualty Syd who had it all and fried his brain or, as in Lost In the Woods, pose the question, Art or Commerce which do you choose? In this book, Rob Chapman does Barrett a real service by dispelling the weird stories and the rumours and recreating him as a flesh and blood person who became sidetracked into the music business from a career as a painter, crashed and burned spectacularly, withdrew from the world and managed to make a life for himself that suited him. Chapman puts Barrett in the context of English whimsy and surrealism by using quotes from The Wind in the Willows as chapter headings and comparisons with Edward Lear, Hillaire Belloc and Lewis Carroll. English psychedelia was based on child like notions and a return to the nursery whereas American psychedelia came out of a garage band tradition.

    Barrett entered the music business just as things were about to change in the acid haze of the mid-60's and soon found himself with the role of hitmaking lyricist and guitarist. It was a time of package tour music, money hungry promoters, interviews, publicity and when's the next hit Syd? Creativity and commerce don't always go together and if you're not going to play the game you're not going to last long. Morrissey does it on his terms and gets called miserable and unco-operative. Barrett's time in the spotlight was brief as serious problems began to emerge and no-one seemed quite sure whether it was his acid intake or underlying mental health problems which were accelerated by the drugs. The over-riding feeling I got from the interviews and comments by people in the book who knew him was that they could see he wasn't waving but drowning and they couldn't, or didn't know, how to help him. He walked away from it all after making 2 solo albums and eventually returned to his home town of Cambridge. He lived there until his death at 60 in 2006 when he made front page news which surprised me and maybe it would have surprised him.

    I first encountered Syd Barrett through Nick Kent's 1974 NME article The Cracked Ballad of Syd Barrett which established a lot of the legends and myths which this book lays to rest. Barrett fascinated me; good-looking, charming, talented, founded one of the biggest bands ever and then vanished into madness or that's what I thought. I enjoyed The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, bought the solo LPs, a bootleg and a couple of biographies. Chapman was
    lucky enough to see Syd playing live post Floyd and always remembered the impression that it made on him. But who was Roger, who became Syd, and then Roger again? I met Chapman at the City Wakes event when he mentioned the book and and I remember thinking then that this might actually do Barrett justice which it does.

    I attended a recent exhibition of Barrett's artworks from pre- and post Floyd and was really impressed. He always burnt his finished work after photographing it. It seemed that creativity on its own terms was enough for him. Chapman suggests that Barrett ultimately, with the support of his family, found a life for himself that he wanted and was happy with. Syd had vanished with the 60's and bad memories. Like Captain Beefheart, aka Don Van Vliet, he had renounced music for painting.

    When I finished the book I felt that Barrett had come alive as a flesh and blood person instead of some crazy diamond or failed acid head loser. He seemed an inspiring figure in that above all else he wanted, and managed to create, until the end of his life.
    Chapman cites Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac who suffered similar problems and returned to

  2. Tosh says:

    My heart sank when I heard the news in 2006 that Syd Barrett passed away. Yet for many he has been dead since the early 1970's. Overall he left one Pink Floyd album and two solo albums - plus various singles - and all I think are quite magnificent.

    Anyone who loves the rock mythology knows the Syd Barrett legend. Man burned out by LSD, and became a total eccentric recluse - which is basically true, but the important aspect of him is not his life really, but his music. And that, according the author (and I agree)is not caused by his mental problems or madness.

    Barrett was a man who knew what he was doing. Insane, perhaps, but there was logic behind his insanity. The author Rob Chapman pretty much poo poos over all the legendary stories about Barrett, like he tried to stop a jet from taking off as if he was causally calling for a cab, or mixing pills & hair cream for his hairdo for a tv appearance and other such tall tales.

    I think one of the appealing aspects of this book is Chapman has such a strong love for Barrett's work - that he gets upset regarding the half-truths, the no-truths, and just basic silly gossip. So, perhaps this is the first biography of the man who is not honored for his 'eccentricity' but for his skills as a songwriter and performer.

    Chapman does a good job in interviewing old chums of Syd as well as interviewing Barrett's sister. A great rock bio on a truly great genius. Even though it lasted for only a little while.

  3. Dan says:

    This is THE definitive biography of Syd Barrett. Well written and exhaustively researched, it also benefits from being written after Barrett's death in 2006 and so paints a complete picture of the legend's life. Chapman cuts through the mythology and puts to rest - though he admits it won't be permanent - all of the more hyperbolic tales of Syd's post-breakdown existence.

    In addition to complete - or as complete as available - detail of Syd's life, the book delves deeply into Syd's lyrics both with Pink Floyd and as a solo artist. It offers an inside look into their meaning and Syd's influences. This can be a bit tedious to get through, especially if you aren't already familiar with late 19th and early 20th century British art and poetry, but the picture wouldn't be complete without the inclusion of this information.

    An additional treat - many interviews with Syd's relatives, friends and former girlfriends as well as those who credit him as an influence. Interviews with the man himself - long out of print - are also available in great detail, as well as quotes and reminiscence by the journalists who conducted them.

    This is a complete portrait of the artist and an excellent read.

  4. Daniel says:

    Biography of Pink Floyd founder and frontman Syd Barrett.

    Solid biography paints a compelling portrait of his life and evokes the psychedelic era in London, based on plenty of interviews with Barrett's friends and contemporaries. Chapman's efforts to contextualize Barrett's work and analyze his influences are maybe a bit too wordy and need to be organized better. He also explores the influence his subject had on the larger world of pop and rock music via interviews with Robyn Hitchcock and Blur guitarist Graham Coxon.

    Chapman is a staunch defender of Barrett's body of work, and his contempt for Pink Floyd's non-Barrett output is obvious. He also works to rehabilitate Barrett's image as an acid casualty and to debunk many of the myths that have grown up around him, although a few are based on his own conjecture as opposed to any anecdotal evidence. (He does imply rather strongly that the other Floyd members--particularly Roger Waters and David Gilmour--and their associates exaggerated their accounts of Barrett's behavior for their own purposes.)

    Overall, a flawed but exhaustive and engaging portrait of this most enigmatic figure.

  5. Bob says:

    Very good, partly because it was written competently and literately, but largely because so much of what has been written about Mr. Barrett has been so full of urban legend and freakshow fascination that the person behind the stories is entirely eclipsed - as if on the dark side of the moon. This book provides much more verifiable detail, and debunks a goodly portion of the untruthful conventional wisdom with a measure of compassion. A bit hard to find in the States, but worth the effort for this American fan of the earliest Pink Floyd.

  6. Nick Bernstein says:

    i’d definitely recommend this book if you are interested in a) pink floyd b) schizophrenia/mental illness c) psychedelic culture. it concerns the life of syd barrett, the mercurial original frontman of pink floyd who wrote their first songs and subsequently was forced out of his own group after having a “nervous breakdown” from which he never recovered. the book definitely tries (and mostly succeeds) to subvert the conventional wisdom about barrett that mythologizes him an acid casualty whose tragic regression ironically led his band to create some of their most critically acclaimed work. the author humanizes an often-misunderstood figure by providing insights on the “real” syd’s personality, his insecurities and musical ambitions. i thought it was a great read not just as an insufferable pink floyd fan, but as someone who’s always been fascinated by the original frontman’s psychology and wanted to understand the factors besides drug use that led to his abandonment of music altogether.

    it includes some really obscure interviews/anecdotes from syd’s family and friends that give great insight into the immensely creative and precocious person he was. sometimes it feels like there’s too much extraneous info (personally i didn’t really care about the english poets he was into in grade school) but i don’t think it necessarily detracts from the reader’s understanding of the biography.

    the biggest takeaway that i gleaned is that the development of severe mental illness isn’t some inevitable, genetically-determined linear phenomenon catalyzed by drug use. it can be halted like any illness with intervention and treatment. unfortunately in syd’s time “madness” was poorly understood and people were constantly giving him psychedelics even as his behavior grew more erratic, so by the time he finally got professional help it was deemed too late. after reading about his regression you begin to understand why his departure was so traumatic for everyone else in pink floyd and how his specter inspired them to write “wish you were here” and “the wall,” just to name a few floyd albums that approach themes of mental illness and isolation.

  7. Mauro Martone says:

    A very well researched thesis on Syd's dehabilitation, thinking, and psychological condition. Interesting theory and bizarre similarities with the poet John Clare. I also liked the final constructed lifestyle cover theory expressed by others too.

    More interesting, was the Wind in the Willows connection (the Willows has its own bizarre piper/Pan scene within) which seems relevant to what happened to Syd:

    It's gone! sighed the Rat, sinking back in his seat again. So beautiful and strange and new! Since it was to end so soon, I almost wish that I had never heard it, for it has roused a longing in me that is pain, and nothing seems worthwhile but just to hear that sound once more and go on listening to it forever.

    The mole, greatly wondering, rowed on, I hear nothing?.

    The rat never answered, if indeed he heard, Rapt, transported, trembling, he was possessed in all his senses by this new divine thing that caught up his helpless soul and swung and dandled it, a powerless but happy infant in a strong sustaining grasp ....The Wind in the Willows/ Piper at the Gates of Dawn...

  8. Helen says:

    Several problems I had with this book:

    - Chapman seems to repeatedly stress an argument that there isn't much filmed evidence of Syd Barrett being unhinged. Ergo, maybe he didn't have psychological problems after all (he does concede some slightly odd behaviour in the later years, grudgingly). But he doesn't seem to acknowledge that being mentally ill doesn't actually mean you're a rampaging, drooling lunatic 24/7. He apparently doesn't know you can have long, lucid periods between bad days. That those bad days can in fact be few and far between, but when they do occur, they cause problems. The fact that Barrett may have tried to behave in front of cameras - or that there may have been controls in place during a still fairly conservative period to keep that sort of thing off the screen, to protect the public - doesn't occur. Just seems to equal no photographic evidence, therefore, no proof. Never mind the fact that the members of the band that kicked him out wrote numerous songs about the fact he went a bit off the rails. But then, see point three.

    - Long, long, incredibly tedious sections which don't even mention Syd Barrett. There is absolutely no need to discuss Rachmanism in this book, at any length, but Chapman does. Which really feels like filler, to make up for the next point.

    - There is very little input from the actual members of Pink Floyd. Where's the Floyd, yo? A couple of comments from Gilmour (who obviously came in too late to really comment on what the title implies is the main focus of the book) and a couple of bits literally pasted from Wright's autobiography, I think. Seems like no one really wanted to talk to Chapman. Not that I blame them - it would have been turned into a pretty boring essay if they had.

    - There's an overemphasis on overanalysing quite a lot of information that doesn't bear too much thought. People read these biographies for a keyhole look into a person's character - there should be much more of the funny little stories (the stuff about his love letters to his teenage sweetheart is endearing), far less joyless meditation on whether it was this edition of that volume of children's verse which inspired half of that line, or another. WHO CARES.

    - He also makes references to photographs which don't actually appear in the images. Again, I'm wondering if there's something up and nobody likes Chapman, because the photos he describes do appear in the other biography, Crazy Diamond: Syd Barrett and the Dawn of Pink Floyd, so I'm wondering whether he was denied permission to use them because there was ill feeling against him or something. Bizarrely, there are actually quite a few images of Barrett's emptied home when its contents went up for auction after his death. It just feels ghoulish.

    Edit: there's also quite a disapproving tone on Chapman's part, towards other biographers or even just other fans. He actively tries to insert himself into Barrett's life story (he went to a gig; he misremembered a story which was then printed, though he's disparaging enough against anyone else who doesn't check their facts first), and he seems to believe that by dragging in some fairly pretentious referencing (Susan Sontag name-drop, anyone?) he can justify what seems very much to be plain old snobbishness by one nerdy, tedious fan against another.

    Not very good.

  9. Allyson says:

    Very interesting to read about the intelligence and incredible talent (and genius?), of the musician/songwriter who formed Pink Floyd. There are so many mysteries and myths surrounding him, especially his in regard to his mental illness, but this author relies instead on research and 'evidence' to give an accurate and balanced portrayal of the life of Syd Barrett.

  10. Blog on Books says:

    It is common wisdom that the clarion call that ushered in the advent of psychedelic rock began with the Beatles and their “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” opus. Yet, it could be argued that the movement was quietly developed by another band on the English rock scene – Pink Floyd. After all, while the Beatles (and all other recording artists of the era) were recording like it was a job – daytime hours from 9 to 5pm, it was The Pink Floyd (yes, they had the ‘the’ in their name back then) that broke the mold as the first band to utilize EMI’s famed Abbey Road Studios from dusk until dawn. Such are among the many stories in the development of progressive rock as revealed in the book “A Very Irregular Head: The Life of Syd Barrett.” (The title is a direct quote from an interview Barrett once gave to a British journalist.)

    Long thought of as a mysterious reclusive after his dismissal from the group that he founded, Barrett returned to the interests that formed before the band began – painting, art and jazz. Close friends describe him as sometimes sitting for long periods of silence while things were working in his head. Ian Barrett describes Syd, not as a reclusive, but rather as someone who spent much time by himself but did venture out to art shows or to gather supplies for his DIY projects.

    Author Rob Chapman has compiled press reports, interviews with those who knew Syd throughout various stages of his life as well as on-the-record recounts from bandmates, family members and historians into a definitive pastiche of the oft-misunderstood, and perhaps reluctant kingpin of British underground rock (a term borrowed in 1967 from the independent filmmakers of the New York scene before it was applied to music).

    If there is a most singular factor in the evolution of Barrett (and thus, the band), it would be the introduction of psychedelic drugs – particularly LSD – into the mix with Barrett. Those in the know recant that Syd, along with fellow members of his Cambridge scene, ingested rather large quantities of the drug which occurred at the same time the band transformed from a run-of-the-mill R&B combo to the leading progenitors of the psychedelic rock movement. Ultimately, of course, Syd’s condition proved too much for the remaining members of the band, who unceremoniously booted him out in 1968, only to resurrect his memory in their themes from “Wish You Were Here” to “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.” Barrett’s last work is chronicled here including his short-lived band Stars as well as his final, four-day recording session which, to the frustration of his producers, yielded nothing of value.

    There have been perhaps more mysteries surrounding Syd Barrett than any other figure in the history of rock. Chapman’s book goes the distance in separating the fact from myth while giving a sufficiently well sourced and detailed account of the icon’s life – both musically and personally – from its beginning to its unremarkable end.

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