The City Wakes

is the title of a Cambridge-based festival celebrating, from October 22nd to November 1st, the pre-London years of Syd Barrett, one of the founder members of Pink Floyd. Syd died in 2006 after many years of reclusiveness that followed his withdrawal from the band as a result of a slow but irreversible breakdown that was probably precipitated by an excess of LSD.
I grew up in Cambridge with Syd from about the age of 14 and went on to share flats with him in London in the Swinging and Delirious ’60s. A number of his friends, including myself, will contribute to the city-wide programme of tributes, exhibitions and events in his home town. I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to do in a parallel universe, namely conduct guided tours of something. In this case and universe I shall be guiding enthusiasts around ‘Syd’s Cambridge’ – an excellent opportunity to revisit the Hallowed Hippy Havens that mapped out the angel-headed youth that many of us were sure we were navigating. I’m doing a talk at Borders and also presenting an Especial Cooch. The latter is an extension of what has rather rapidly become a London must-have occasion: David Gale’s Peachy Coochy Nites, details of which can be found here not to mention here. The especiality is outlined here.

syd.jpgIf I were pressed to make one useful comment about Syd it would be that before the surly craziness came he was a delightful, delighted, sunny, beautiful and amusing man. This photo from The City Wakes site finds him in typical shape at the age of 19.