French translation of Syd Barrett book out now
Written by Matt   
Monday, 28 March 2005

The life of former Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett is covered in a new French translation of Tim Willis' book, "Madcap: The Half Life Of Syd Barrett".

The translation - "Le Genie Perdu de Pink Floyd" - is published by Castol Astral. The original version was released in October 2002 to much acclaim, and here's an extract of what we said about it:

Naturally, it touches on his illness in many places, but turns some of the common tales on their head - rather than some episodes being Syd out of his head and unaware of what he was doing, Willis seems to have got enough evidence, from family and close friends and lovers, to show that some of the events were played out by Syd fully aware of what he was doing, quietly absorbing the reaction of others and getting enjoyment from this.

It is Willis's extensive use of top quality, relevant sources that give this work a lot more credence than some of the other, more excitable references out there. If anything, some people may find parts of the book quite disappointing from this very aspect - rather than raise a whole load of new myths and legends, Tim takes time to look at the existing tales that appear pretty much everywhere, and through some good investigative journalism, gets to the bottom of many.

He also puts the incredible pressure and workload the band were under in strong relief, showing where the seeds for Syd's problems (and to an extent, the problems that remained within the band for many years) lay. Few books make much of the punishing schedule they put themselves through in the early days, often playing more than one concert a night (sometimes in different countries!) allied with recording and promotional commitments.

Coupled with a very nice selection of rare pictures (many of which have not been seen before), this easy to read book is heartily recommended. For once, a balanced book about the life of Roger Barrett has been written, and will hopefully answer many of the questions people still have about the eventful life of one Syd Barrett...

Check out our full review of the book for more information.

The book can be ordered from Amazon Canada or Amazon France. Our thanks to Yazid Manou for the information!