'The Thing About Syd'

Syd BarrettDavid is being interviewed by BBC Radio today for a new documentary entitled ‘The Thing About Syd’.

The programme “explores the life, music, influence and legacy of one of the lost souls of British rock music” and will feature interviews with other members of Pink Floyd, band manager Peter Jenner and various editors from the music press.

The hour-long programme is set to be broadcast on Saturday 14 July at 8PM (UK).

If you can’t tune in, then you can listen online. As well as live streaming, you also have the handy  Listen Again feature, which allows you to play the programme back as many times as you like for a period of seven days following the original broadcast.

If the programme is anything like the BBC’s recent ‘Seven Ages of Rock’ episode, which focused on what made Syd special, instead of what made him retire from public life, then it should be a good one.

I’ll remind you that it’s coming up a bit closer to the time.

The chatroom is open today, from 12PM (UK).

Apologies for any inconvenience, but the chat has been brought forward. Doors will now close at 2PM, instead of opening at 2PM, as was originally advertised.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

53 thoughts on “'The Thing About Syd'”

  1. It is good to know that Syd’s legacy is not forgotten.

    I used to work at a group home for the mentally ill, and there was a poster in the main office that listed all kinds of famous people who have achieved great things even with mental health issues. Syd Barrett was the first person on that list, far above people like Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare and Ludwig Van Beethoven.

    Every time I looked at that poster, it reminded me how influential Barrett was, a feat that is even more stunning when you consider he was only in the music business for a few short years.

  2. It will be nice to hear about Syd from the people who loved & respected him enough to give him the privacy he seems to have wanted during his life. He was special.

  3. syd sure was special.

    i’ll look forward to this. david has always been so good to syd.

  4. Great announcement! …but not italian subtitles or translation, I presume. Sob. I have huge doubts about my ability to understand David only listening to him speaking during an interview…even if I’d like a lot to listen David to talk about Syd. Maybe, some bloggers of good will (or some FEd of good will) will make a little summary for the poor stranger bloggers…I depend on your good heart!


  5. Hello everyone,

    Sorry I haven’t posted for a while but I have recently started a new job!!

    I’m really looking forward to David’s new DVD & the BBC programme about Syd.

    Best wishes to everyone.


    [Hope the new job’s going well, Ciarán. – Features Editor]

  6. Just a change of subject…

    Here’s the Top 10 of Toronto’s Q107’s 40 Greatest Classic Rock Singers…

    1. Freddie Mercury
    2. Robert Plant
    3. Roger Daltrey
    4. Bono
    5. John Lennon
    6. Paul McCartney
    7. Jim Morrison
    8. Roger Waters
    9. David Gilmour
    10. Elton John

    Pink Floyd get two out of the top ten… not bad!

    [Well, that is very… Yeah. I’d love to add more, but I must rush to hospital to have my sides stitched up before I lose anything I might need (like my pancreas). – Features Editor]

  7. God bless, Syd… and you also David for being such a devoted friend through thick and thin. It’s how we’re remembered that’s truly important after all. And we’ll always have our memories of those we love and admire.

    Take Care,

  8. Fed said “Well, that is very… Yeah. I’d love to add more, but I must rush to hospital to have my sides stitched up before I lose anything I might need (like my pancreas). – Features Editor”

    I know, I know… there are some personalities in that list that are just downright wrong! I’m not suggesting that DG should be number 1 and to be in the top 10 is an achievement but to be beaten by Bono and Roger Waters! Come on!

    I’ve said it several times before… RW lip-synched a number of songs on his recent tour and has never been able to carry a tune… and as for Bono! I just don’t like him…

    Regardless of that… congratulations to DG for getting in the top 10!

    [It just goes to show how highly-contentious these polls are. In my opinion, the only three whose positioning you can’t complain about are the Top Three, as all are fine singers and obvious front-runners for such a contest. However, since when have The Beatles ever been pigeon-holed as ‘Classic Rock’? If The Beatles are ‘Classic Rock’, where are The Beach Boys? How have The Eagles been over-looked? Where’s Ozzy?! Had people voted on singing talent alone, then clearly some of the names mentioned would be extremely lucky to have made the Top 20 or 30. – Features Editor]

  9. How I wish, how I wish you were here

    (c) Wish You Were Here

    Dmitriy from Russia, Moscow

  10. Oh Syd. I look forward to listening to this. Always nice to hear David’s voice of course. 🙂

    [8. Roger Waters 9. David Gilmour ]

    WHAT is THIS?! It’s almost damnable, it is. Shake it off, Jessica, shake it off…

    Anywho, I’m headed to Chicago this week to hunt for a pad so I won’t be on the blog or in the chatroom for a bit.

    Take care everyone and “always remember, bloggers, you was once a child.” 😉


    [Good luck with the house-hunting, Jessica. Be sure to ask any estate agents: “How can I live here, baby, Lord, and feel at ease?” You know it makes sense. – Features Editor]

  11. Thanks for the heads up FEd, will listen to the show. Promises to be interesting.

    I know this is not the meaning of today’s blog’s entry, but I cant NOT comment on Rudders post…all fights and PF blabla aside… Roger Waters better singer than David Gilmour??? Great that they are on the top 10.. but shouldn’t the names be in inverse order?? In fact, What’s Bono doing there? Shouldn’t DG be waaaay up?

    Hope all you bloggers are doing allright…

    Cheers to all from The Netherlands (now a northern European land with tropical weather)

  12. Hope we can view it here in Canada also.Thanks Fed.

    [Everyone can listen to it online, free of charge and ‘on demand’ for a full week. – Features Editor]

  13. [I’d love to add more, but I must rush to hospital to have my sides stitched up before I lose anything I might need (like my pancreas). – Features Editor]

    That sounds very alarming. What have you done, Fed? I hope you are o.k.!

    [I was fine until Rudders posted the Top Ten, Georg, but after making my way down the list, somehow my sides just split. Very odd, that. I’m all stitched up now, though. – Features Editor]

  14. Rudders, the Toronto station actually listed Roger Waters above Elton John in the “best singers” list? Incredible.

    I’m with F’Ed here. I need to go get some psychiatric help after reading that.

  15. I’ve recently read Crazy Diamond by Watkinson and Anderson, and it’s a good book made of genuine interviews, shows respect for Syd’s family and friends. It was written well before his death so I don’t think there’s speculation, even though this is a delicate matter to judge.

    Anyway I enjoyed it and I specially appreciate how David’s concern and care about him and his family has been brought up.

  16. FEd,

    Here’s a transcript from the BBC Press Office regarding:-

    “The Thing About Syd”

    A year on from Syd Barrett’s death, this documentary explores the life, music, influence and legacy of one of the lost souls of British rock music and features interviews with members of Pink Floyd.

    The Thing About Syd traces the early beginnings of Pink Floyd and Barrett’s contribution to their pioneering brand of psychedelic pop as well as the consequences of his exploration of drugs that set Barrett on a tragic path away from the band to a solo career and eventually life as a virtual recluse.

    The programme comes up to date with an exploration of Barrett’s passing and the fulsome tributes in the media with comments from editors and journalists about what made Barrett so special when his entire recorded output is just three albums.

    Alongside interviews from members of Pink Floyd the programme features contributions from manager Peter Jenner, Phil Alexander, Editor of Mojo, Allan Jones, Editor of Uncut, and others.

    The Thing About Syd
    Saturday 21 July 2007, 8.00-9.00pm

    Thought it might be of interest to others…

  17. Wish the US networks had an affinity for music related content, at least occasionally.

    Re: Greatest Rock Singers.

    Polls are always very subjective and have a, (in this case serious), margin for error. Everyone doesn’t share the same likes and dislikes as each other, therefore, take it with a grain of salt.

    I think, the top three, with DG added could be placed in any particular order and be fairly spot in.

    Remember, just my opinion.

  18. Elton John, rock singer? What about Paul Rogers?

    Each to their own.

    Oh, i just heard the Zimmers version of “My Generation”. Is there a waiting list for side splitting repairs on the NHS?

  19. [Pink Floyd get two out of the top ten… not bad! Posted by: Rudders – Toronto at June 11, 2007 03:49 PM]

    WHAT?! Tom Waits got shut out? There is no justice in this world I tell you….

  20. [8. Roger Waters, 9. David Gilmour]

    In that order and one after the other? Very strange.

  21. [8. Roger Waters, 9. David Gilmour, …RW lip-synched …]

    Where did I read that RW had hired a singer for his last tour, who was paid to try to imitate the voice of David Gilmour in the best way he could ?

    That could be an explanation for this nonsense !

    Rumours, rumours…you do love rumours, don’t you ?


  22. not wishing to stoke this up any further but…..

    elton john is not classic rock. a fine singer/songwriter he may be….. classic rock he is not.

    no mention of David Bowie –

    Roger Waters – did you people watch Live8?

    yet another poll that will cuase debate and flaming throughout the known universe as people will strive to discuss in infinite detail the quality of the singing on ‘I am the walrus’ as opposed to ‘stairway to heaven’

    polls make me sad.

  23. rob’s right. the people who put roger in 8th place must have missed live8.

    what a funny poll.

  24. So after the concert on last May 11th, now the interviews about the Crazy Diamond:

    I think these are the right tributes to whom created the name of “The Pink Floyd Sound”, later “The Pink Floyd” and finally “Pink Floyd” giving to this extraordinary (and loved) band the first start-up line and his deep influence.

    Well done.

    [8. Roger Waters, 9. David Gilmour (The Voice) In that order and one after the other? Very strange.]

    Unbelievable indeed, I have no words, or rather, no… voice…..

    Bah! I hope F.Ed. recovered….

    ciao / bye Elisabetta

  25. Hi Fed

    I was hoping to make the chat room in the last few days, but it just didn’t work out. Hopefully next time.

    I’m also hoping to listen to the Syd programme. Time will tell, I guess.

    On the Classic Rock Singers Poll- Seeing people like Morrison and Waters in the Top 10 really makes me afraid to see the other 30.

    All things being equal, Roger may not have the best tone…or pitch…or depth, but his gravely, nasally style is what makes his voice so easily recognizable. A lot of the madness stuff, particularly on The Wall and Pros and Cons, just wouldn’t be as powerful with someone else’s voice. Anyone else singing like he does would have been laughed out of the business years ago.

    That being said, I still don’t think it warrants a Top 10 spot, let alone out-ranking David. But, polls are polls. You can make them say anything you want them to.

    Have a great day, all

  26. I regret to have posted about that Singers poll, it’s just one more stupid poll, totally out of interest, ça ne vaut pas la peine qu’on réagisse et qu’on passe son temps à palabrer sur ce sujet, on se détourne du sujet du jour qui axé sur Syd …

    J’espère pouvoir écouter et surtout comprendre – ce qui est nettement moins sûr – ce programme sur Syd en podcast sur la BBC. (I’m with Lucia on that, it would be nice to have a little summary on the blog, are we too greedy ?)


    [I’m sure someone can help with a translation of David’s comments. – Features Editor]

  27. Hi FEd,

    Hope you had a good weekend.

    As far as the poll…Oh come on, what a load of horse shit…..RW’s voice, while recognizable is basically crap compared to David Gilmour’s. Yes, this is just my opinion…David Gilmour’s voice has much more range and subtle nuances….and is just more melodic and sensual. (By the way, did you know that I like David Gilmour? I didn’t know if I ever mentioned it before.)


  28. FeEd,

    I think you have allowed enough latitude with the RW vs DG voice debate ;-))).

    Cheers, Howard

  29. Sounds like an interesting show. I’ll definitely be tuning in. If this programme is anything like the BBC Omnibus programme about Syd then it should prove to be very worth-while.

    Syd was a true great, it’s great that the media is still acknowledging his genius long after he left the public eye. It just shows how much of an impact he’s had on the world of music.

    As for the Classic Rock poll, no real comment apart from the fact that none of these singers should be on there. I always thought that Classic Rock was always rock’s cheesy side and for the likes of Meat Loaf, Bon Jovi and Gun n’ Roses. Maybe that was just me…

    Take care all.
    x x x

  30. How can Jon Anderson of “YES” not be in the top 10???..IMHO it’s a tossup between David and he for the #1 and 2 spots..just pick out of a hat

  31. [Great announcement! …but not italian subtitles or translation, I presume.]

    Lucia,you are right, I think it would be great to have at least english subtitles, perhaps better for all those who are not mother tongue and like to practice english language too.

    Is it so difficult to insert them?


    [We’ll see what we can do. – Features Editor]

  32. I somewhat like the top ten poll. I would probably change David and Rogers places and catapult Elton John down 20 or so spots and added Janis but it is just a poll.

  33. Well F’ed, I just thought I’d let you know that I shall be On An Island for the next couple of weeks (in the Bahamas). Needless to say I shall be blissfully surrounded by The Blue sea, Take A Breath walking beneath the Red Sky At Night, and be thankful I am in This Heaven.

    I could go on, but I won’t …

    Technology has however advanced before me and I might even check the old blog to make sure you’re all behaving yourselves.

    [Very nice. Hope you enjoy. – Features Editor]

  34. [Well, that is very… Yeah. I’d love to add more, but I must rush to hospital to have my sides stitched up before I lose anything I might need (like my pancreas). – Features Editor]

    I fell off my chair, after my sides split just reading that. F’Ed, you come up with the best remarks.

    Lucia: I am certain that you will have lots of responses to your nicely put request.

    Looking at the list of Toronto’s Top 10 I noticed that it does not say that the singers have ‘good voices’ just that they are great. However, I suppose greatest singer should imply some standard. One wonders what that might be.

    Don’t care for the list much except for Plant, Mercury, sometimes Daltry. Waters I don’t even want to talk about. However, I have to say his style does lend itself correctly to Brain Damage.

    But David, in my mind, has the nicest voice of the group. (keeping in mind that I may be a bit prejudiced, but I don’t thing I’m in the minority.) Just stating the obvious and the facts.


  35. There is a reason June 11th was chosen.

    If you don’t know what it is, maybe you should do a search on June 11th, and Pink Floyd.

    Peace be to Roger Barrett wherever his travels have taken him. I look forward to hearing the interview.

    11:11 Life is but a dream…

  36. Roger Waters is a talented lyricist and a viable songwriter. But I wish he had allowed others to sing his songs. I find “The Final Cut” and all of his solo albums unlistenable because his voice just kills my ears. He has great ideas, but he cannot carry a tune in a wheelbarrel. How he lands above DG, who has a beautiful voice, is beyond me.

    Put your pointy sticks away. I’m just stating an opinion here. Geez Louise!

  37. That is an exciting announcement, thank you.

    It will be refreshing to tune in and hear from David Gilmour being interviewed and talked about his beloved friend, Syd Barrett.

    Bless you David and all the others for getting involved in this interview session. The day of the broadcast happens to be on my birthday – I certainly won’t forget to listen in.

    The interview will be an added insight to me about Syd Barrett; especially it is coming from “the insiders” such as David Gilmour and other members of Pink Floyd; I am sure that it will be an interesting interview.

    Like a lot of you may say “shine on”…

  38. Hey Fed any idea if this documentary will be put in book form or possibly on dvd. just thought i would ask someone who would tell the truth about it and is so knowledgeable.

    Hope everyone is having a nice week.

    [“So knowledgeable…” I like that. The documentary is for radio, so I’m afraid it’s unlikely to make it to DVD. Regardless, it would be down to the BBC to decide. – Features Editor]

  39. I’m surprised this hasn’t been brought up, since it’s the big news of the week.

    What did Mr. Gilmour think of the Sopranos finale?!

  40. Pink Floyd is the greatest sounding band of all time.

    GOD bless Syd Barrett and thanks to David Gilmour for his inspiration and dedication.

  41. Often I feel like people have romanticized this tragedy.

    I’m glad to see the focus of this show will steer away from Syd’s illness. It’s terrible for him to be remembered for the the circumstances which caused him to retire from the public eye.

    This should be a breath of fresh air as far as Syd’s life is concerned.

    There are times I feel like retiring from society when I see how derranged people have become.

    Thanks for the info Fed.

    Shine on Syd and everyone

  42. I saw RW last week on show. I was very surprised to hear Jon Carin sing Comfortably Numb from the beginning to the end……………………..

    Sylvie de montréal

  43. I voted for the Greatest Classic Rock Singers and surprisingly, my three choices all made it to the top 10 and one of my picks even made it to the top 3. I was one of those who sided my favorites and casted my vote “subjectively”.

    I did overlook the title – Greatest “Classic Rock” Singers, nonetheless, to me, they are my favorites and greatest singers.

    I wish David Gilmour made the top 5, though. He deserves that – David’s vocal may not carry the high (sharp) pitch as the top 3, yet his vocals compliment extremely well with his songs.

    Don’t we all want to see our favorite musicians to be nominated and rated on top of the list?! I certainly will not vote for any musician whom I don’t like, would you? Is it fair – definitely not; yet, that’s the name of the voting game I am afraid.

    It’s a dilemma for me to express my 2 cents and I hope I did not offend anyone.

  44. Ahhh…what I need to comment is that I can’t dispute the #1 spot on that list. Freddie had an incredible voice and range. Anyone who doubts that should take a listen to some of Queen’s live recordings like Live Killers or Live at Wembley.



  45. i hate it when people mess up these polls by casting stupid votes for people who should not even be considered. the name of the poll is ‘greatest classic rock singers’, so the top 10 should be made up of 10 great classic rock singers. is it really that difficult?

    roger has never even been a good singer. he can scream, but so can i.

    i’m not having a go. he is a great songwriter. but he is not the eighth greatest classic rock singer.

    i agree with fed about the beatles and graham and rob about elton john.

  46. By the way, I don’t understand how you can’t consider Elton John and The Beatles in the category of classic rock. What are they then??

    I’m personally not a big fan of the Beatles because I’ve always considered them to be 1960s pop music but The White Album seems to me to be classic rock.

    As for Elton John, c’mon if you can categorize David Bowie’s Space Oddity as classic rock, surely Rocket Man should fit as well. And what about the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road??

    And thank goodness that Bruce Springsteen wasn’t on the list.

    Now if Davy Jones from The Monkees was on the list, then I could understand the criticism.



  47. I have seen and read almost every piece of material on the chap and I look forward to hearing more from his friends on their unique experiences with him.

    My favorite footage is from The Syd Barrett Story on DVD that was released shortly before his passing. There is some really great testimony from David Gilmour and many others on the background works of this talented man.

    My favorite David Gilmour part is when he explains how Syd had turned a recording tape backwards to puzzle out what had seemed to be off material. Very interesting stuff that is…

  48. Sounds to me like the people at Toronto’s Q107 must be taken immediately to an exam room for a cranial ass-ectomy!

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