Syd Barrett: Lost in the Woods


'Isn't it good to be lost in the wood?/Isn't it bad! So quiet there, in the wood'

(b.1946-d.2006) Cambridge, England. 
Composer and cartographer of interstellar regions
Syd Barrett was an English composer and purveyor of some of the most intriguing music ever written. Famous before his 20th birthday, Barrett led the charge of psychedelia onstage at London's famed UFO club. With a Fender Telecaster and a primitive Binson echo unit, Barrett liberated the guitar from being, in critic Simon Reynold's words, 'a riff machine, and turned it into a texture and timbre generator.' 

 His inspired celestial flights of improvisation, and his more structured whimsical short songs indicated a mind of unusual inventiveness. Chief in Barrett's mind was a Zen-like insistence on spontaneity; each performance had to be unique. Taking his cues from experimental guitarist Keith Rowe of AMM, Barrett strived to push his music farther and farther out into the zone of complete abstraction. 

Sadly, the pressures of fame, ingestion of LSD and his bandmates intransigence all conspired to bring Syd to a nervous breakdown. After July 1967, his startling green eyes would never more waver from an all consuming inner dialogue. To his legion admirers, he remains a genius; one who captured the essence of the farthest reaches of interstellar overdrive, the claustrophobia of childhood, and turned the guitar into a dream generator.

Syd Barrett disappeared one night into the woods, but the man who created him, Roger Keith Barrett, preferred to live alone, far from the machinations of the world. As he walked down deserted Cambridge roads, Barrett might have thought of the thunder and lightning that was his music, and smile at how he passed it all by....... 

Roger Keith Barrett died on Friday, July 7th 2006. Rest in peace, Syd. 

'Lost in the Woods: Syd Barrett and the Pink Floyd' 
by Julian Palacios
A 300-plus page in-depth analysis of Barrett's life and work.   Extensive and candid interviews with those who knew and worked with Barrett.

The revised and expanded second edition is available for pre-order through  'Syd Barrett: Lost in the Woods' will be published in October 2009 in Europe, Canada and America. by Plexus Publishing.  Follow this link for more information.

Excerpts from 'Lost in the Woods'
  • ’Astronomy Domine’ 

  • The 14 Hour Technicolour Dream 
  • Syd Barrett's Influences
    An analysis of the myriad musical and literary influences Barrett utilised in composing his stellar music.

    The Musical Influences of Syd Barrett 

  • Nursery Rhymes to Dancehall 78's (1946-1954) 
  • Lonnie Donegan to the Beatles' 'Help!" (1954-1965) 
  • AMM to Slade (1966-1974) 

  • The Literary Influences of Syd Barrett 

  • Kenneth Grahame, Hilaire Belloc, Edward Lear, &tc.
  • The Syd Barrett Story
    Tracing Barrett's trajectory from childhood to the Wildwood of fame and the London psychedelic underground, and through to his exile, both psychic and physical, from the demands of the world.
  • Cambridge to London: (1946-1965) 
  • The Pink Floyd: (1966-1968) 
  • Exile: (1969-1975) 
  • Home: (1975-present)

    Syd Barrett Articles and Interviews
    A catalogue of Barrett articles and interviews culled from diverse sources, which aims to be the most complete such offering on the web, or for that matter, the universe.
    Complete Lyrics of Syd Barrett (c.1962-1970)
    From his first songwriting effort, 'Effervescing Elephant' when he was just 16, this section covers Barrett's singles, albums and unreleased songs, as well as some odds and ends.

    'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn': (1966-1967) 
    The Singles & Miscellany: (c. 1966-1970) 
    'The Madcap Laughs': (1969) 
    'Barrett': (1970) 
    'Opel': (1969-70)

    Syd Barrett Links
    There are a growing number of Syd Barrett web sites. From the very first, 'Dolly Rocker', which began in 1993, to recent offerings such as this, they are an invaluable tool to studying the works of this unforgotten hero.
    The author would like to hear from you, particularly on how you found Syd Barrett's music (or how it found you!) and your first impressions.
  • e-mail: Julian Palacios