Art and Music      
Christopher Ward London


stars burn out but don't fade away

JAMIE HOLMAN:  We have a hard on for doomed youth, and not much time for the elderly. Perhaps it’s the legacy of those two world wars and the blinking survivors of the second in particular that sets the tone. Its understandable, and we do of course owe them everything. Those who came home from the war knew that the world had changed, and it continued to change around them; although mostly for their children and grandchildren. Those who would become the first teenagers, the newly invented youth who didn’t just go to work or war, who didn’t want what had been before. And so we had new heroes to replace the old ones. Stand up Lennon, Dylan, Jagger et al; Lead us!

Some things don’t change. When you have heroes, you also have casualties. Those who don’t come home and those who are never the same from the things they have seen.

Nick Drake, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin… heroic casualties, with anthems for a new doomed youth; crushed by the weight of their own iconic status. They lived on as poster boys and girls for unfulfilled potential.

Syd Barrett didn’t die but recoiled from the spotlight and wanted to be left alone. Whatever the reasons for his choices, there’s something revolting about the tourists/fans who looked for him in his latter years in Cambridge. It’s nothing to do with the music he made, and then chose to stop making. It’s a fascination with monuments, with heroes and with loss.

When Roger got home, I hope he found happiness and enjoyed his life. Because after he was Syd the hero, he was Roger the painter, the gardener, brother, son and after all, like all heroes and villains; just a bloke.


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Jerwood Gallery - Rachel Howard
Wellcome Trust
Royal Court Theatre
The Open College of the Arts
NMC Recordings
The Holburne Museum