That Cat’s Some­thing I Can’t Explain

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I would describe this as essen­tially a Bond theme about a Siamese cat. I’m a big fan of Syd Barrett, but have a deep pool of loath­ing for Roger Waters. I would call it an irra­tion­al hatred, but I feel like I could come up with plenty of reas­ons for my loath­ing. My moth­er is a big Pink Floyd fan, so I’ve had plenty of expos­ure over my life­time to fuel it.

I also find a lot of the discourse about Syd’s with­draw­al from fame quite irrit­at­ing. Like he’s clearly a man who was plagued with a lot of mental and phys­ic­al health prob­lems, but a lot of the things you see writ­ten about him act like he was extra crazy for back­ing off from rock star fame and going back to his modest little house in Cambridge (I have seen it, it’s not excit­ing at all). Like “you lived the dream, you must have some­thing really wrong with you to not want to do it any more”. Maybe that wasn’t his dream at all, even in the modest stages of Pink Floyd’s fame before they became a giant busi­ness colos­sus after he left. His songs are full of joy and spon­taneity and just the pleas­ure of being creat­ive, and I imagine that level of money focus would have totally crushed that.

Also, in terms of joy-crush­ing, I spent far too long in London around people who thought Hard­core Was the One True Music and anything too far from HxC was weak, suspect and uncool. Liking Syd Barrett was some­thing I did that was appar­ently partic­u­larly uncool (also-see Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Shir­ley Collins). Imagine having that little joy in life.

On a more cheer­ful note, my MA super­visor, George Hardie, drew the cover for Dark Side of the Moon. At the time he did it for a lump sum of I think about £50 (he did a lot of other album covers too at that time). Imagine the riches if he’d got a royalty percent­age. I don’t think he really cares though, he has had a success­ful and happy life as an artist. Of course the best gift to get him is the worst bad knock­off Dark Side of the Moon merch you can find. Someone gave him some hideous boxer shorts of his own artwork and he thought they were hilari­ous. He also collects rulers, espe­cially useless ones that have some­thing wrong with them. I got him a silic­one one from a Salvador Dali exhib­i­tion that was too flex­ible to actu­ally rule a line with, but the holy grail I was look­ing for was a really bad Dark Side of the Moon ruler. I never did find one. A+ MA super­visor, even if my scruffy lines and love of scrib­bling some­times made him despair.

I also used to have a beau­ti­ful Siamese cat called Oscar. Or perhaps I should say he decided I was his person. He was actu­ally my mum’s cat and lived with her, but was very clear on the fact that he considered himself to be my cat, and was really quite annoyed that I didn’t live in the house. He tried his best to be haughty, aloof and magni­fi­cent, but was really just a big fluff who lived for belly rubs (and had a very plush velvety belly). Sadly he died last year of a tumour, which Siamese cats are prone to.

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