So we've lost two of the giant gods of the psychedelic rock years. The newstands are awash with special commemorative issues; the obituary writers have done their work. Its time for some last comments.
Personal notes: By the time I first saw the Floyd (at Brighton Dome in 1968, a benefit for The Combination,
Strangely, none of the obituaries or accounts I've read note the exquisite timing of Syd's departure. For almost the last two decades the Floyd had existed but in the background. Their records were available but at least two generations had never had the chance to see them; their music remained influential but rather under the radar. Then came Live8 and from the first chord something magical happened. The reunion of warring band members made it emotional but their sound, one realised, had never truly been superseded or emulated. It sounded fresh and unique, poignant and stirring. As an aftermath, Floyd record sales went through the roof, followed by two solo tours by Dave Gilmore and Roger Waters. Then Syd died, as if to cap this remarkable last flourish off.
(The media construction of Syd Barret's Chatterton-like status (tragic romantic) can be largely traced back to Nick Kent's piece on Syd in the NME April 13th 1974 (Similarly his piece on Nick Drake). Both feature in his brilliant collection of rock journalism 'The Dark Stuff'. His recent piece on Syd for the The Guardian is here.
Read also the piece on Schizophrenia. com; it confirms that Syd developed a mental illness - most likely schizophrenia (triggered, it is said, by significant drug use as well as the stress and pressure of his career) - and died of complications related to diabetes.
A similar last flourish happened with Arthur Lee. We were there at the Concorde in