The band tossed Barrett out when he started to spend all his time in the subconscious. Even though Syd was a space-cadet he was down-to-earth enough to feel the hurt. Once he sat outside the studio ready to join a Pink Floyd session in progress. This was months after he'd been thrown out of the band. Eventually Syd got down to business and made his own semi-memorable records. Then one day he just stopped recording and rode off into the psychedelic sunset. With all his worldly woes washed away by big cheques from Pink Floyd's back catalogues, Barrett must have felt no temptation to stay in the straight world.
People expected Syd to be out of his head and he spent a lot of time practicing to meet their expectations. Maybe it was the easiest way to survive life in the liquid lava spotlight. Maybe Barrett was trying to escape something in his own mind. The writer didn't try to answer any questions concerning Syd's madness. He is just another one of the thousands of Floyd fans that get a glimpse of the subconscious universe at Syd's expense. Maybe that was Syd's purpose in society. Like any good artist he risked himself to explore the inner universe that most of us miss because we're too busy balancing our bank account. It's an interesting career and I think my friends expected me to get into it after I attended art college. But all I had after college was scads of sound poems from a so-called creative writing class and a sizable student debt. Plus I was scared straight by all the art-school-student Syds I had encountered that couldn't even form sentences. So I shined my shoes and headed out into the working world.
I was stuck gazed at the photo of Syd with this sad look in his eyes. It was like he had a million thoughts in his head but was unable to translate a single one to the world outside. In the other photos that decorated the article Syd looked scared, stunned, overwhelmed, and overloaded. He should have put some distance between his experiences as psychedelics are only really effective when the participant has a clear mind and time to reflect on the event. His brain must have been brimming with insights and ideas that could have had an intense effect on his followers. If only the drugs of the day weren't so severe and saturated then maybe Syd could have controlled the illuminations and introduced them to the public in a voice they could understand. The brain candy kids do today is an atom bomb compared to the nuclear powered purity of the universe destroying detonators they did in Syd's day... and I thought that maybe I should revisit the other side and see what kind of inspiration it has to offer.
Inspiration was scarce around that time. I was waiting for a party, or concert, or show, or record, or book, or film, a drug, a trip, or event, or some situation that would excite me for a few days and make me feel like it was all still worth the effort. The Simpsons seemed to be the most important cultural achievement of the time and even it was starting to get cynical. Then there was Syd staring at me from somewhere in space saying, "look inside". I considered subscribing to some of the new cable stations instead, but they cost at least 15 bucks a month.
The obligations in my life were minimal, the routine was dead simple, and the rewards were pleasant. I was waiting for something to snap me out of it. I decided I needed a little of what Syd did to help me change my perspective, even if it was only for one weekend. I didn't know what I would get or where I would get it but I wasn't worried. I was in a creative business so someone I worked with had to have something. I was in the shower when I decided to do it. I made the choice somewhere between shampooing and conditioning.
I started to get excited while I was sitting in my conservative camouflage on a bus filled with people bound for business. We were all heading into the city's commercial core and I was thinking about how I was going to score.
Yorkville is like a theme park based on the wealthy. They stand stiff and stuffed in cafes, restaurants, bars, and the windows of clothing shops that sell coveted European names. They're on display for middle-class pedestrians to gape at and point to. Outsiders pay extreme premiums to be involved in the scene. Most people can only afford to bring their lunch and sit in the concrete park while watching the show. The park was made to make the place more embraceable. They tore up the pavement of an existing parking lot and replaced it with square stones, steel, and a 3 million dollar piece of rock from the Canadian Shield. They drew up a grid and placed plant life on strategically aesthetic points in the layout. They constructed themed areas and separated the greenery in distinct sections. There's the forest section which features five rows of pines, five pines in each row, and each tree is protected by its very own ring of concrete. There's a waterfall area that looks like a massive metal harp with steel strings that guide individual streams of water to a pool that the entire instrument rests in. There's a mock marsh which can be entered on a wooden bridge that criss-cross the area like an oversized X. There's the big rock which is surrounded by a few metal tables and chairs. There's a garden area containing more plant life and garnished with huge square stones. They even threw in some grass to give the place a parky feel.
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