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!
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
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
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.
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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