Syd Barrett, founder of Pink Floyd, died about a week ago of complications from diabetes. He was sixty years old.
Syd was a recluse for most of 35 years, after launching Pink Floyd into the limelight. The group had two hits under Syd, "See Emily Play" and "Arnold Lane." After Syd hit the wall of mental breakdown and drug abuse and became a hermit, Roger Waters stepped up and became the band's driving force through quite a few landmark albums. When Roger Water split with the band, David Gilmore became the lead, and Pink Floyd went on to finish securing their place as rock legends, invincible.
What bugs the ever-loving shit out of me is the media storm that has surrounded Syd's death. He was a recluse, and as such his affliction, his illnesses and his lack of presence drove Roger Waters to amazing creative heights. Did anyone realise this? Yes. Did anyone ever think to try and find Syd? No. Was any effort made to mention the long-forgotten founder? No. But suddenly he's dead, and the name "Syd Barrett" is mentioned twenty times a day on radio, television, and the internet. CNN carried the story, and VH1 went so far as to dig up a dusty video of "Pulse," the tour touting the album "The Divison Bell" and have been playing it like a cart driver whipping a dead horse.
Why is it that we can't enjoy what we have when we have it? Even though Syd shunned every sort of attention, aided by his parents, he was still alive. He was overweight, drug-addled, and as mad as a ten-day bicycle racer, but he was still there. Did anyone know about him? Only hard-core Floydians. Now suddenly every mother's child knows the name and a sixty second synopsis.
I guess it's true, that anyone can be famous after their dead.
"And I am not frightened of dying, any time will do, I don't mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There's no reason for it, you've gotta go sometime."
"If you can hear this whispering you are dying."
"I never said I was frightened of dying."