Shine On You Crazy Diamond

Syd Barrett, the original guitarist and creative force behind Pink Floyd, has died. The inspiration for the landmark floyd album Wish You Were Here, Barrett retreated from public life and slipped away into a private battle with mental illness… one that had been exacerbated by massive, self-administered doses of LSD in the late 1960’s.

Hearing this news makes me wonder what kind of life Syd lived over the last four decades. Was he totally mad? Was he not allowed to play with scissors? Did he have a nurse? A nanny? A favorite pet? Did he leave his mind in 1965?

Obviously this was no Chappelle style exit from the stage… this was a breakdown, a de-generation of every artistic inclination the guy ever had. But how complete was it? I wonder if Syd continued to think serious artistic thoughts or if he just enjoyed “very ordinary conversations about everyday things.”

Essentially what I want to know is when Syd Barrett really died. Certainly the death certificate will say July 7th 2006, but I have a strange feeling that the artist died much earlier than that. In a very real sense Syd Barrett died sometime in the early 1970’s. He shed his persona like a second skin and once again became plain old Roger Barrett. Hopefully Roger was able to live happily inside the simplicity of everyday life.


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