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Madcap: The half-life of Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd's lost genius [Hardcover]

Tim Willis
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Oct 2002
Beautiful, charismatic, prodigiously talented, Syd Barrett in 1966 invented the British psychedelic scene - founding Pink Floyd, writing and singing on the band's first album - before collapsing into madness two years later. Now living a reclusive existence in a suburban Cambridge terrace, Syd has not given an interview for more than 30 years. But in his half-life he has become a cult icon of rock - as Hendrix, Morrison and Cobain became after their deaths. This text traces the history of rock's lost genius, through exclusive access to those closest to Syd throughout his life, and brings his crazy, illuminating story up to the present day.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books Ltd (7 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904095240
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904095248
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 14 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,567,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Excellent' -- The Sunday Times

'Like a plangent wah-wah guitar chord, this book bends the Syd myth in new and exciting ways.' -- Will Self

'Manic' -- The London Review of Books

'Tactful, deft and engagingly written.' -- The Daily Telegraph

'The best evocation of the sixties I've ever read.' -- Tatler --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Tim Willis is a journalist. He writes features for magazines including the Saturday and Sunday Telegraph magazines, Esquire and Tatler.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Madcap laughs last 29 Nov 2002
Yet another book about Syd Barrett,but this time its more about
the man/person than the Pink Floyd genius.Like the other books
its tells the story from the 50s until the early 70s."Madcap"
goes a little deeper.More interwievs with people that actually
knew Roger"Syd"Barrett and more interesting pictures from his
childhood and up until 2001.In the book you find out more about
what happened after he left Pink Floyd and what happened after the last recording sessions in 1974.You get a whole picture of
a man with deep psychological problems.You can always argue if
the drugs did it or if it was something that whould happen anyway.If you read this book together with Parker's Random
Precision i think we can get a look into the mind of a true
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Story - Myth - Legend 23 Aug 2003
Willis is caught in his own web of the Barrett story becoming myth becoming legend. If you haven't read any of the other numerous books about Syd than this is as good a place to start but if you know something of the history you won't find the book offers much that is new. By far the most memorable part of the book to me was the excellent collection of photographs.
Syd was a great songwriter and the catalyst behind one of the greatest rock acts of all time - let's leave it at that.
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Opportunity blown 12 July 2004
What with all the new information about Syd that has surfaced over the last 5 years, Tim Willis had a golden opportunity to
write from a far more knowlegable starting point than the previous two books came from.There are some interesting unpublished photo's and one or two interesting new interviews, but sadly, it comes down to the usual old cliche of 'Nutty old Syd'.As previously mentioned, the 'Interview' with Syd is a fabrication.There isn't one, the claiming of which is frankly pathetic.
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid This Book Like The Plague! 14 April 2003
By A Customer
Tim Willis' promised the world and delievered an abortion. Tim claimed to have interviewed Syd in Cambridge, but in reality he simply slipped a note through the mail slot. What a load of utter rubish. Nothing original from Tim, infact, the book collects a lot of stories that are published on the web, etc.
Stay clear of this book, unless you like expensive firewoord with a few old pictures.
Still we wait for a REAL book on Syd.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By B
Very poorly written book how this guy makes money I do not know - nothing new about Syd emerges in this book and it took me a long time to read as many of its subjective murmurings really were quite banal the only good thing are the pictures. He also takes time to slag off all other books about Barrett which I suspect is where most of his material came from in the first place. Don't waste your money and avoid anything by Tim Willis in future.
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