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Publisher's Summary

“I don’t think I’m easy to talk about. I’ve got a very irregular head. And I’m not anything that you think I am anyway” (Syd Barrett, Rolling Stone, 1971).

Roger Keith “Syd” Barrett was the definition of a golden boy. With good looks and an aptitude for music, he was a charismatic child who fast became a teenage leader in 1960s England. Along with three school chums - Roger Waters, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason - he formed what would become Pink Floyd. Starting as a British cover band, they soon pioneered a new sound: British psychedelic rock. With early, trippy, Barrett-penned hits, Pink Floyd captured the zeitgeist of swinging London in all its technicolor glory.

But there was a dark side. Barrett fell in with some hardcore hippies and began taking large quantities of LSD. His already-fragile mental state - most believe him to have been schizophrenic - further unraveled. The once bright-eyed lad was quickly replaced by a sinister, dead-eyed shadow of his former self given to eccentric, reclusive, and sometimes violent behavior. Sacked from the band, Barrett retreated to his mother’s house, where he remained until his death, rarely seen or heard.

A Very Irregular Head lifts the veil of secrecy that has surrounded Syd Barrett for nearly four decades, drawing on exclusive access to family, friends, archives, journals, letters, and artwork to create the definitive portrait of a brilliant, tragic artist. Besides capturing the promise of Barrett’s youth, Chapman challenges the notion that Barrett was a hopelessly lost recluse in his later years and creates a portrait of a true British eccentric who is rightfully placed within a rich literary lineage which stretches through Kenneth Graham, Hilaire Belloc, Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, John Lennon, David Bowie, and on up to Damon Albarn of Blur.

A tragic, affectionate, and compelling portrait of a singular artist, this will stand as the authoritative word on this very English genius for years to come.

©2010 Rob Chapman (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
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Unlocks the Mystery.

As a fan of Syd's work, I was excited to hear this book - am not disappointed!
An intimate, beautiful portrait of a struggling soul, who has often been sidetracked as a madman with very little regard.
Check it out!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very Touching

Wonderful Book. Very calm study by Rob Chapman. Giving due respect to Syd Barrett and his family. Simon Vance is a pleasure as always.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

A brilliant and detailed examination into the personality and life of Syd Barrett. You will come to realize that Barrett's career, from the beginning of Pink Floyd to his ultimate spiral into schizophrenic madness served as the foundation for Roger Waters' commercial success.

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well done<br />

Excellent book from top to bottom
the narrator did a great job and the story is a must read for any true fan of Syd Barrett

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Syd is an interesting character but a genius?

Where does A Very Irregular Head rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This was a fairly easy listen and ranks somewhere in the middle.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Chapman spends a great deal of time fleshing out Syd's background and youth growing up in Cambridge. It is interesting to learn about the formation of Pink Floyd and his career in the aftermath of his madness. Chapman is evidently a huge fan and spends a bit too much time comparing Syd to great artists like Robert Rauschenberg and authors like Charles Dodgson. Syd wrote a few cool pop tunes but nothing as iconic as "Alice in Wonderland".

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

Wonderfully read and paced. Simon Vance is a joy to listen to.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

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Heartbreaking as well as Enlightening

Syd gets his due. Finally. Wonderfully researched and well presented. Essential listening for any 60's music fan.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful