An 8mm film of Pink Floyd founding member Syd Barrett's first mushroom trip

Originally published at: An 8mm film of Pink Floyd founding member Syd Barrett's first mushroom trip | Boing Boing


This was playing while I watch old Syd trip his ass off.


A great song, one of their best in my view. But of course written and recorded after Syd had been sacked.
The other members of Pink Floyd did their best to help Syd, including playing on and producing a solo album for him, but as the results show Syd was not well enough to live in this world.
Its a shame, he might have created amazing stuff.


Thank you so much for this, Popkin. I just wanted to say I appreciate your contributions. I had a friend who suffered a similar fate as Syd, we used to have adventures together. This brought it all back in a strange way! I had never seen or heard this before, but it is certainly welcome xoxoxoxo


Hang on a moment. I had to look up the Gog Magog Hills to find out where they are. They’re just outside Cambridge. Cambridge has hills?


Just about. We are talking about 75m high here. I grew up in one of the parts of England where we have mountains (600m high, minimum).


It somehow defines you, doesn’t it? I grew up next to a range of English hills just over 400m at their peak. I spent a little time in Norfolk, and always felt jittery because it was so flat.


I don’t know if this is what pushed him over the edge, but still it is quite traumatic for me to watch this. A good childhood friend of my became psychotic in his teens and subsequently drank himself to death. In the ~2 years leading up to his psychosis he had started to use increasing amounts of weed, and just before his first real psychosis he had discovered psychedelics. In his case there’s no telling if the drugs were a consequence of the (latent) psychosis or the psychosis was a consequence of the drugs. There certainly was a genetic component to it, but I still have the feeling that the drugs made it way way way worse.

Back on topic: I don’t think this was ‘beginning of a brief creative period’. Afaik he wrote some of his best songs as a teenager, before he discovered drugs, and he probably wrote some more brilliant songs afterwards despite the troubles in his mind.

I’m a huge Syd Barrett fan, but I’ve never liked to watch this film snippet. The first time I saw it (I think I found it included on a bootleg cd-rom sometime in the late 90s) I was sad for the rest of the day.


Personally I always found acid and mushrooms hugely beneficial. I was a very heavy user for 12 years but stopped when I had children. I found it incredibly motivating and life affirming. I went on to have a highly successful career and it was psychedelics that transformed me from an idle stoner to a creative workaholic. They give you such deep insights into other people, your inner being and nature. I think Syd had other issues and psychedelics just exacerbated his mental issues. Great shame. Now that I am a pensioner and my children are grown up, I would take acid again like a shot but wouldn’t know where to find any.


What is that unusual aircraft at around 4:40 in the video?

ETA I guess it’s probably a kite

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It’s hard to watch Syd frolicking about, high as a kite… knowing what would become of his mind.

Last time I did mushrooms I was in my armchair at home, watching Moby’s Play DVD… Was there a moment of enlightenment? Yep, I promised myself right then and there I would never ingest anything that fucks me up this bad again. Weed is my limit, I’ve no desire for anything more.

The thought that maybe a few bad trips was enough to fry Syd’s brain … just terribly sad for the guy.

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I think it is accepted that Syd had some sort of psychosis, possibly schizophrenia and I would imagine taking acid would not help that.
He also may have taken acid daily for more than a year in the late 60’s which can’t be good for even a healthy person.

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Well drat. I’m learning about this over 30 years too late. I was stationed at RAF Mildenhall near Bury St. Edmunds from 1989 - 1991. I was actually really into Pink Floyd around that time and would have loved to have a walk around those grounds on one of my trips to Cambridge, if I had known about this! (Ok, looks like a beautiful spot anyway, so would have enjoyed it even without the connection.)


For anyone else that does want to go there, it looks like it’s Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits, which is now a nature reserve. Not really on the Gogs, but walking distance from where Syd’s mum lived.

Was it really mushrooms? This was well before the widespread use of P. semilanceata in the UK. Is it not more likely to have been LSD, which was just about to become illegal at this point in time?

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