Wednesday, April 28, 2010 First Look At New Syd Book

First Look At New Syd Book

Rob Chapman's new, 400-page biography of Syd has already been favourably reviewed (a 'sympathetic, fascinating book' – The WORD; 'the most diligent yet' – Q Magazine), and we are pleased to be able to offer you a glimpse of it, by kind permission of Rob and publishers Faber & Faber.

A Very Irregular HeadLike his brothers and his father before him, Roger was a keen Scout, and it was here that school friends remember him first taking an interest in the guitar. 'I remember Roger from when he joined our school in September 1957,' says Geoff Leyshon. 'He joined the school Scout group, of which I was a member. I think he was in Mick Taylor's patrol. Mick and I could claim to have taught Roger his first chords on the guitar,' says Leyshon. 'One Saturday morning, we were sorting out equipment prior to summer camp. Mick had brought his guitar along (a Hofner acoustic, I think) and we were having a strum. Roger expressed an interest as any thirteen-year-old would so we showed him how to shape chords. E, A and D, I recollect, good enough for most twelve-bar R&R numbers.'

According to Leyshon it was also during this period that Roger became Syd. 'The "Syd" nickname came from that era,' he maintains, 'bestowed around about 1959, when Roger turned up in a flat cap instead of his Scout beret for a field day at Abington Scout site. Some of our more senior and pretentious members thought this was very working-class and promptly nicknamed him "Syd" as this was felt to be a lower-class name, I suppose, and it stuck.' Leyshon's recollections pre-date all previous accounts about how 'Roger' became 'Syd'. The most commonly aired theory was that there was a jazz musician in Cambridge, a bass player known as Sid 'the beat' Barrett, who used to play at the Riverside Jazz Club in the early 1960s, which the young Roger used to frequent.

This latter account is of course a more attractive and eminently more hip option, but the truth is that the nickname was bestowed upon Roger by his school seniors and not by the denizens of a jazz club. There is no evidence to suggest that Roger was unhappy with the nickname, and he used both his real name and his nickname interchangeably for several years, although it is significant that he was referred to solely as Roger or 'Rog' in the Barrett household. 'He was never Syd at home,' maintains Rosemary. 'He would never have allowed it.'

Syd Barrett – A Very Irregular Head by Rob Chapman, is published in the UK by Faber & Faber on 1st May, 2010. It is available to order now from Amazon; you can also get a bundle of the book and a brand-new official Syd T-shirt from the Syd Barrett Store. Order now for a ship date of Saturday 1st May.


Posted via web from ttexed's posterous

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