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Home arrow Reviews arrow Books arrow "Psychedelic Renegades" - Mick Rock
"Psychedelic Renegades" - Mick Rock Print E-mail

Psychedelic Renegades, by Mick Rock, presenting his Syd Barrett picture archive, published by Genesis PublicationsPublished 2002 by Genesis Publications

Syd Barrett picture archive, signed by Mick Rock and Syd Barrett

Once in a while, something extremely special appears that completely overwhelms you. Psychedelic Renegades is a good example of this.

Presenting for the first time the entire Syd Barrett archive of photographer (and friend of Syd) Mick Rock, huge care and attention has been taken over this very special, limited edition. In total, there are 950 numbered copies, all signed by Mick Rock; copies numbered 1-320 are also signed "Barrett" by a certain RK Barrett! Published by Genesis Publications this is not cheap - but if you can afford it, very much worth it!

Upon receipt (each order is undertaken on an individual basis) you receive a large outer cardboard box construction completely shrowding and protecting the contents. The book itself is also carefully wrapped with brown paper. Once out of this, you find the large format book in a heavy card slip sleeve (pictured left) featuring a colourised black and white picture of Syd with a number of scratches on one side, and the other has a shot in the back garden with a tennis racquet, and also Syd looking through one of Rock's camera lenses.

Once through the slip case, the smell of Italian leather hits you - in the standard edition (not signed by Barrett) the spine is covered with red leather. The deluxe edition is fully bound in leather. Turning the book around shows the gold leaf that edges the 159 pages, of heavy duty, quality art paper. The book is bound by hand at the Westminster Abbey Book Bindery - they have a long tradition in this kind of precise, careful work.

Signed copy of Psychedelic Renegades by Syd Barrett, image courtesy of George ManneyThe introduction by Rock talks of his reasoning for releasing this edition, and why potentially Barrett signed the deluxe edition. He then moves on to discussing how he met Syd in 1966, as part of the Cambridge "in-crowd", in an illuminating and atmospheric piece discussing the local scene in detail.

This is followed by more recollections, focusing on the London scene, interspersed by the memories of Syd's flatmate, the artist Duggie Fields, which gradually moves to background information on the Madcap photo sessions, which makes up the majority of the pictures included between the covers - shots from inside and outside Syd & Duggie's flat in Earl's Court Square in London.

The final third of the book consists of Rock's pictures of Syd in 1971, at Syd's mother's house in Cambridge, together with the complete, unedited Rolling Stone article he wrote in the same year, which was heavily edited for publication.

It is a joy to behold, this book. Each page is heavy art stock/grade paper. A few pages are of a different texture, akin to a stiff parchment. These pages are used for experimental, digitally(?) altered versions of shots present elsewhere, or for foldouts of pictures in a larger format.

So beautifully presented and printed throughout, with many unseen pictures (apparently the total archive of Mick Rock!), Psychedelic Renegades is well worth the (substantial) asking price as a piece of art in itself. Words cannot do this book justice... get your copy while you can. The deluxe editions are close to being sold out, but the normal edition is almost as good - the only difference being the cover being fully bound in leather, and that oh-so-desirable seven letter autograph... "Barrett".

 
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