Sunday April 22, 2001
I'm here on the spiritual trail of one of rock's most enigmatic figures, Syd Barrett, the former leader of Pink Floyd, who went into hiding in the early Seventies after several drug-related breakdowns and never came out. But like most Barrett fans, I've made the mistake of picturing Barrett still as he was in the late Sixties - slim, tousled, kaftanned, tassled. The reality couldn't be more different: paparazzi shots snatched outside his house in 1980 depict a rotund, receding figure staring vacantly at something at least 3,000 miles behind the camera lens. And that was 21 years ago - which leaves me searching for some nebulous amalgam of Benny from Crossroads , Marlon Brando and the Michael Jackson impersonator from The Simpsons .
And here he is! 'Excuse me!' I ask the spherical figure who's just ambled past me, head down, chuntering. 'I'm writing a piece about Syd Barrett.'
'Syd Barrett. He used to be in Pink Floyd.'
'Never heard of 'im. Is he one of them rappers?'
'No - he was a psychedelic genius. Are you Syd Barrett?'
'Leave me alone. I've got to get some coleslaw.'
I take this as a no.
You can read the whole article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4173568,00.html