Thanks to Karl Ikola for passing along the link to a beautiful, if belated eulogy for Syd Barrett (who died last July) in The Independent by famed producer Joe Boyd (Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, R.E.M.). An article like this is almost always a plug for something, in this case The Madcap’s Last Laugh, a tribute happening tonight in London and featuring a nice lineup of professional eccentrics: among them are Vashti Bunyan, Mike Heron, Kevin Ayers, Robyn Hitchcock, Captain Sensible, and Chrissie Hynde, who’s maybe not eccentric in the Barretish sense, but kind of like rock’s own Queen Elizabeth, she has to show up at any proper British historical event.
But last laugh? No one believes for a minute this is going to be the last Syd Barrett tribute event ever, right? It’s a cottage industry that started up decades before he was actually dead. Can’t imagine his actual passing would really affect it much in the long run. So how about we give a shout-out to one of the participants, someone actually present and accounted for whose brain I’ve long loved with a schoolgirl mind-crush that won’t go away: Kevin Ayers. Who is, we’re assured, aware of MySpace but “wishes people still sent telegrams.” What would it take to get him to come play here, I wonder. Would a telegram be sufficient, or does someone have to die?