Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Fleeting Glimpse of Syd

Fleeting Glimpse of Syd
Introduction
By Apbasos:

The following is an EXPERIMENT. Personally, I think it was a success but I guess that is up to the reader to decide.

I approached a group of individuals (CWmJ, MadCapLafs, ~**PinkBoyd**~, TheGunnersDream, and lixcaliber) that I have had the privilege of befriending over the past few months on the Roger Waters BBS. My idea was for each of us to collaborate on one extended piece of fiction. Each would contribute their own chapter to follow in sequence, one after the other.

Everyone agreed. This is a story as written by six different authors, men of different ages and from different parts of the world. We have never met in the flesh, and we may never.

The story is completely FICTIONAL. Some events and instances described within may be based on fact, which leaves it open to interpretation.

There may be projects of this kind to be attempted again in the future. Any and all interested authors are welcome and ENCOURAGED to participate. Please contact me (or any of the other five) via private messages.

We would like to dedicate this project to our friends Fennec and Harpo77, both of whom have lost loved ones recently.

Here’s the story. It’s called "Fleeting Glimpses of Syd."

...we came in?
Things cannot be destroyed for once and all

Author: CWmJ (Charles Jarvis aged 27, Montreal, Toronto, Canada)
1975

Dave nervously glanced at his watch. Was it really possible that he'd be getting married in just over three hours? Was he doing the right thing? It was no time to be thinking about all that now. There was a very good reason why he, and his band mates, where sitting in a recording studio on the day of his wedding. The latest Pink Floyd opus was ready for its first official listening. It hadn't been an easy album to make. There was an unspoken understanding between the band members, that once recording began no one would voice their concern over it 'living up' to the last album. Dave looked to Roger, who seemed preoccupied with smoking as many cigarettes as he possibly could. He then looked to Nick, who seemed very pleased with himself about something. Nick winked at Dave, it was a habit he picked up the moment Dave announced his impending wedding. It was annoying to Dave, but not the worst thing in the world. Then there was Rick, was he even paying attention? One could never tell. Finally Roger spoke up,

"Alright everyone, I assume we're all ready. Let's...?"

Roger stopped mid-sentence, distracted he turned to see what the commotion in the hallway was. A young woman, unknown to all in the studio, opened the door and ushered someone in. It was a rare occasion to catch Roger at a loss for words, but in all fairness, no one else was handling themselves any better. Nick was the first one who managed to compose himself and verbally acknowledge the visitor, "Syd?"

Rick instantly regretted not being the first to speak, a chance lost. He compensated by being the first to stand up, grab Syds' hand, and force a vigorous handshake. Dave was oblivious to the concern expressed on his own face. If it was demanded of him, he could come up with a dozen adjectives to describe his feelings of confusion and awe he felt towards Syds' presence. But what he could not describe is the instinctive, subconscious threat he felt from his predecessor.

Roger was entirely bewildered. He bit his tongue and repressed the question that was burning in his mind. If he hadn't been so diluted with feelings of shock and guilt, he would demand that Syd explain himself.

"Sit here Syd."

"No Syd, why don't you sit over here?"

"Tea, Syd?"

"How have you been doing, Syd?"

Through it all, the common factor: four minds all shamed and trying to suppress the same thoughts - 'What is he doing here?' and 'Christ, he's gained weight'.

Roger, incognizant of the one he already had burning in the ashtray, lit a cigarette. An awkward silence fell over the studio and seemed to last for several minutes. Rick had the foresight to seize an opportunity and relieve the tension, he suggested that they listen to the album. Roger was at once stricken with a look of horror. He hadn't given the album a single thought since Syd made his entrance. Roger never imagined that he would ever actually have to sit in the same room with Syd and listen to those lyrics.

'Pull yourself together,’ Roger repeated in his mind over and over.

Finally, without a word of conformation from anyone, the music began.

For the next forty-four minutes, Roger could not look directly at Syd, conversely Nick and Rick never took their eyes off of him. The second the tapes had finished, Roger, hoping to dissuade any kind of conversation, spoke out -"Let's hear it again."

"Why?" Asked Syd.

It wasn't a question of spite or disrespect. Only Syd knew his true reason for such a question. It was a question that no one could answer. Roger was secretly hurt. Although he prayed that Syd wouldn't start asking him questions about the personal, tributary lyrics, he at least wanted a smile of recognition or appreciation for his homage.

Did Syd not understand the meaning? Did Syd understand it all too well, and was too uncomfortable to sit through it a second time? Those were two questions that Roger would never get an answer to.

With Syd's question of "Why?" going unanswered, the studio was once again plagued with silence. It was all anyone could do not to flee the tension by just getting up and inexcusably bolting from the room. Again, Nick came through for the others,

"Dave's getting married today, Syd."

'I am?' thought Dave, 'I am' he reminded himself. Dave looked to Syd,

"You will come, won't you?"

"Yeah, ok."

When Roger saw that everyone else was now smiling, he forced one on himself.

The wedding reception was bustling with old and new acquaintances, many tried to approach Syd but where invariably rejected by his expression and manner of indifference. Syd mainly hung around the buffet table, and whenever he saw someone approaching him, he placed studious concentration on his replenishing plate of food.

The evening wore on, Syd barely spoke more than a dozen words since they left the studio. It was clear to him, for the first time, that his band was trying to make it without him. Or at least some times it was clear. One minute it would seem to him that he was somehow intruding on their lives, the next minute he wondered when they would ask him what new songs he had written. What he couldn't admit to anyone was that, as he was sitting in the studio, he couldn't remember if and when he wrote those lyrics. And that music, he couldn't picture himself writing music like that. The whole time the album was playing, Syd feared that someone would ask him for his opinion. If he was to be honest, he'd have to admit that most of it was repetitive and boring.

If anyone was standing next to Syd at that moment, they might have heard him mumble, "I've got to get out here, I don't belong."

Syd neglectfully placed his plate of food on the edge of the table, unfortunately, too much of it was over the edge. As Syd stepped away, the plate - and it's contents - fell over the side, and landed up side down on the ground.

Syd meant to slip away into the night. He knew he couldn't be a part of this world anymore. It was a world where everyone seemingly knew what to think and say, everyone except him. He wondered when it was that everyone changed so much. He turned back to take one last look at what he was leaving behind and he inadvertently locked eyes with Roger. The distance between them did not allow Syd to see the single tear resting in Rogers eye. The distance, however, was not so great as to prevent both men seeing themselves in each other's eyes, and it could never be determined which man was more frightened by what he saw.

Two men, completely oblivious to the fact that they simultaneously shared the exact same thought,

'Why did you leave me behind?'


1968

Syd nervously glanced at his watch, the others were late. It was unique for Syd to be thinking clearly these days.

'Christ this place is a mess' , 'I thought I had a bird in here last night', 'I wonder if the others will warm up to my idea about female back up singers'.

A mind that worked like all others, if only for small sporadic increments.

Syd began to pace around his flat, he was playing around with a couple of phrases that wouldn't leave his mind. He didn't want to perform tonight, but he knew he had to. He knew the others were getting impatient with him, but they didn't understand. How could they? He himself barely understood what was happening. One thing was for sure, the next album would be better then the last, Syd promised himself that.

'The key to a successful rock band is to constantly redefine,' thought Syd, 'Redefine. Redefine. Really fine to redefine.'

Syd smiled, glanced at his watch a second time. Maybe they weren't late. Maybe he misunderstood the time, or the day. Maybe it wasn't even the right day.

'What day is it, anyway?', ' Never mind, young Syd, you're doing just fine.' 'Redefine.'

Syd spotted one of his cats soundly asleep on the edge of a chair. Syd looked at the peaceful creature with envy. Why should this cat have such contentment, something so unobtainable to Syd? He walked over to the cat, and using his index finger he gently poked the cat's shoulder, forcing it to look up to him.

"You know what I need?" Syd asked the cat. The cat yawned. Syd nodded in agreement, "That's right, my furry little friend, I need to get high. How could I possibly perform otherwise?"

The cat, unable to voice his annoyance at being woken, placed his head back on his folded forelegs and was instantly asleep.

'If only we could all be so indifferent to life.'

"Right, then," said Syd to no one in particular, as he observed the inattentive cat, "there you are, I've lost my audience."

And with that Syd went over to his book shelf, and with a swift and calculated swipe of his arm, an array of papers containing all kinds of lyrics and notes were flowing through the air, scattering here and there. The clearance of papers revealed the object of Syd's current desire. He picked up his treasured matchbox, slid it open and peeked inside. He did so in a manner as if he might find an unsuspecting naked woman in there.

"Soon, all will be right with the world, once again."

And Fairie Stories Held Me High

Author: MadCapLafs (Joseph Gunlock aged 39, Austin, Texas, USA )

Inside the matchbox, he spies a single sugar cube. 'Ah, just one left!' he thinks with no small bit of panic. He is about to pull it out when he hears giggles and a sudden flurry of knocking on his door.

"Syd, baby, whatcha doing?" Syd instantly leaps over a small bit of clutter to get to the door in time to lock it.

"Oh come on, Syd honey! Don't be like 'at! You KNOW we got what you need! Now be a good sport and open the door for us, huh Syd?"

He attempts to control his breathing again whilst the banging and the begging continues. 'Where was I?' he thinks to himself. The memory comes slowly and with a nod of acknowledgement to nobody, he takes a step.

If the girls are still at the door he doesn't know anymore because all he can hear (or wants to hear) is Sam purring softly as Syd passes "his" chair. With purpose he moves towards his refrigerator, the single appliance in his flat. He opens the door, and after shuffling past the myriad piles of pork chops, he finds what he was looking for. He pulls out a fresh plum and a ripe orange. Even though he is alone in the flat, he still looks around furtively. He has kept his "secret" to himself ever since Storm had made fun of him for his "obsession".

He walks over to his pillows on the floor (unconsciously treading on his writings in the process), and lays the fruit down on a small table with care. He then sits down, piles up a few pillows for a headrest, and lies down on his back. He suddenly realises that all he had been thinking about were those two items, so he forces himself to work through something that has been tugging at his heart. He lays the matchbox carefully by the fruit, and rubs his temples.

'Focus my friend, focus! hocus-pocus! What is bothering us? Hmmm... music something.... Twink? No. Pink!’

‘Pink Floyd.'

The clock on the wall reads 1:53am. Though the others wouldn’t think that he even cared, he had been sensing that this moment was coming. Part of him dreaded the coming of this night and another part wanted to rejoice. The two sides had been in a fitful battle ever since the first ‘hit’ single. He had been trying to get his band-mates to wake UP to the spectre of THE MACHINE - but to no avail.

The band had gone on without him… ‘How could…?’

Syd sits up and looks for something to throw with fury. He spots Sam staring at nothing and softens instead. 'Nobody is coming over. Nobody is coming. It's all over. All my poems... all my songs... for nobody for nothing. For no thing. Nothing. All I wanted ever was to share where I’d been!’ The last thought forced his eyes closed tightly, as grief overcame him.

‘Nothingness! Pink bloody VOID! Void... They are going to go on without me! Do I want that? Roger! Roger....'

He opens his eyes and stares into nowhere.

Syd is bedecked in the latest Granny-Takes-A-Trip "rock star" garb. He finishes the line "Neptune, Titan, Stars can frighten!" After launching into an extended guitar jam, he squints out through the spotlight at the adoring crowd. He turns his gaze toward Roger - who is tromping around on the stage and looks to Syd. Roger smiles THAT smile back at him that says, "I TOLD you we would be famous! Remember when we were riding in the country on the motorbike? I TOLD you!" Syd winks back at Rog. Good ‘ole Rog.

"I TOLD you… you...you...you....you...."

With new resolve he takes out the sugar cube, closes the matchbox and places it, the orange, and the plum in careful order on the floor in front of him. He assumes the lotus position and extends his tongue. He blinks as he drops the sugar cube lightly. He closes his eyes and concentrates on the liquefying mass of acid-laced sugar that is now caressing his tongue and running into his throat.

‘Ahhhhhh…..’ Minutes or hours pass, and he swallows. All thoughts of pain are dissolving away… and a peace settles over his body. His mind has shoved all mundane daily thoughts into a tiny box in his head, which closes softly. He is receding…

With the elixir ingested, he opens his eyes and lights a smoke. The familiar first stages of the buzz are setting in. Everything is sooooo in focus. The alternating coloured tiles of his floor weave in and out as if breathing on their own. His heartbeat has sped up, but he doesn’t notice. He lays back on the pillow and stares at the ceiling. The clusters of sprayed clumps are like mountain ranges, with valleys of white milk pouring in a LOGICAL pattern from one end of the room to the other. He exhales another puff and watches the smoke run through the valleys and creep over the mountains.

‘THIS is what it’s all about!’ he smiles widely.

Sam suddenly jerks his head up. His eyes widen to large black circles and his fur stands on end. Syd notices and tries to look in the direction that Sam is staring but cannot see for his own bent knees. He sits up and looks down.

The matchbook is sliding open by itself. ‘Well, looks like THIS one is going to be a good one, eh old Sam?’ Then his eyes also widen as he notices small figures climbing out of the matchbook. Syd leans in closer to study them. ‘Why, they are FAIRIES!’ Sam gives off a low threatening moan, but Syd says softly, "Shhh… Sam! It’s alright, it’s not real’

Then Syd remembers that he didn’t give any acid to Sam… this time.

The fairies walk in a line over to the orange. The "head" fairy makes a gesture, and another swings a tiny rope up to latch at the top of the orange. They climb in single file to the top. The last one is struggling to get over the top, so another one runs over and pulls him up by the seat of his pants. The head fairy appears to shout something, and the others pull teeny pick axes out of their sacks and start chopping away.

Syd is blinking in disbelief now, but is transfixed by the sight.

The little people put their axes down, and start peeling back the skin. One by one they disappear into the orange until only the head fairy is left. He looks up at Syd and waves him to come after them.

Syd looks at Sam. Sam looks at Syd. Syd shrugs and looks back down at the orange.

And looks… and looks… and looks…

The orange begins to get larger and larger, finally filling his vision. Then all is black.

A blast of air blows past his head. Above him a bright moon beams upon the dew on the grass beneath his feet. He looks around and realises that he is in a forest. Although the moon is full, the darkness enveloping him is almost… Stygian.

A whisper passes through the ominous trees, "Isn’t it good to be lost in the wood? Isn’t it bad, so quiet there, in the wood?" He then hears children’s giggles echoing in the distance.

Syd looks around but sees nobody. ‘This isn’t right’ he thinks.

He looks down and realises he is looking into a pool of water. The moon shines behind his reflection. The image he sees simultaneously startles and fascinates him. He is clad in light brown knickers, with white stockings running down to soft leather sandals. He is wearing a green vest covering a billowy white shirt, with buttons open down to his navel - revealing a pleasantly hairy chest. His curly hair is braided into a ponytail in the back and is topped by a feathered hat. There is a strap running around back of his left shoulder. He feels behind himself and pulls forward a long flute. It’s reflection shimmers brilliantly in the pure lime and limpid green pool. He seems to himself… YOUNGER perhaps, and can see the luminescence of his violet eyes shining back at him.

‘Well, ok… this may not be right, but I AM a rather good looking chap, now aren’t I?’

He looks up to see that he is no longer in the wood, but on the edge of a barley field. The dark shape of a human looms ahead of him. He walks cautiously towards it. It doesn’t move. He gets ever closer… closer… closer…

"Life’s not unkind, I don’t mind." Syd leaps back in amazement. The figure still hasn’t moved. Syd moves around to where the moon catches the figure just right. Straw was everywhere about him, and a bird stood on his hat. "I don’t care", the Scarecrow says. Syd notices a mouse running around on the ground. "Oh, excuse me, that’s my friend, Gerald."

Syd raises his eyebrows and audibly replies, "Right!" and moves away quickly.

He walks with a fast stride in no general direction repeating to himself over and over ‘Time to come DOWN now, Syd old boy! Time to come DOWN! You are talking to a scarecrow, Syd… time to come down!’ He says out loud while looking around quizzically, "What IS this? The bloody Wizard of Oz?"

"What’s your problem? Look at the sky, look at the river, isn’t it good?" Syd stops. The voice came from directly in front of him but he’s sees no one. He feels a tug on his leg and looks down. There at his feet is a gnome, wearing a scarlet tunic and a blue-green hood. Syd thinks ‘He looks quite good, actually’.

"Hullo! My name is Grimble. Won’t you come to my home for eating, sleeping and drinking of the wine?" Syd bows very low and says "Thank you, good sir, but I cannot stay. I am only a visitor and should be getting home REALLY SOON NOW!" he almost shouts the last few words - to who he is not sure.

"Whatever…" and with that the gnome scurries off.

Syd puts one arm on his hip and decides to take stock of his situation. ‘Ok, I am no longer in my flat, I am breathing fresh air ("at last!" someone pipes in, but he ignores it), and I am most certainly tripping my fine ass off! Ok… now that we have THAT established, then it certainly makes sense to just ride this out the best I can, and not try to fight it.’

He starts walking again, and with a turn of his head towards the sky he shouts, "And when I come down, I will never do this shit AGAIN!!! I thank you" he bows to the moon.

He sees a tree up ahead and decides to stop at its trunk and sit down for a spell. He feels around in his pockets, and pulls out a small bag of tobacco. ‘Of course’ he thinks. ‘And THIS’ he reaches into the other vest pocket, ‘would be the papers! Good thing I have experience at this…’

He expertly rolls a cigarette, plops the tightened end between his lips, and realises he has no fire. A lady stands next to him, with flowing fire-red hair and billowing skirts. "May I?"

Syd sighs. "Please do". She cups her hands together and fire rolls up in slow waves much like a lava lamp. Syd leans over and gets his smoke started. He says, "Thanks Jennifer, you’re a WITCH, baby!" She smiles at him as she floats away on clouds of moonlight floating by.

Syd feels something rub against his leg. He looks down to see his good buddy Sam, who looks rather TOO contented. ‘Poor Gerald’, Syd laments. He says to Sam "Always by my side, aren’t you a HIP cat you!?!"

Sam looks up and says, "Always".

Syd just smiles and replies, "Rrrrrright!"

Syd stands up and feels his guts fall down around his knees. He is standing on a precipice overlooking an enormous canyon falling down into a bluish river below. He is standing on the very edge.

"This is it, Syd. The moment of truth." Syd turns slightly and looks behind him. He is against a cliff that goes ever up. At the top is the tree he was just sitting by. Vines run down from the very top to where he is. He looks to his right.

There is a boy, suspended in mid-air and about a foot from Syd. He has an impish smile, and is leaning on his side with one hand supporting his head. His legs are crossed and his violet eyes dance with life.

Syd’s eyes begin to swell up with tears. He knows full well who it is, and why he is hanging in this infant air.

"Just HOW curious ARE you? Look over there" the boy points with his eyes.

Syd blinks through the tears to see, across the chasm, a pair of shining Gates.

"You can go back now, or…. You can leap. Your choice entirely." Syd looks back at the boy and he is no longer there. But instead there is a man, standing on the very edge looking into the chasm with terror. He is older, balding and as the man turns toward Syd briefly, he notices that his eyes are just almost dead, except for the glimmer of terminal shock, like black holes in the sky.

Roger uses his key to open the door to Syd’s flat. Yes, they had left Syd behind for the first time, but all during the gig Roger had this nagging feeling that he should stop back by after the gig to check on his mate.

Syd hears a distant rumble, as if a huge dungeon door is creaking open.

Roger sees Syd sitting there, staring deeply into the orange, drool running down his cheek. A burnt-out cigarette dangles a long ash, running all the way down between Syd’s fingers. Roger gasps.

Syd laughs at the old man and leaps.

He feels no fall. He is just simply THERE, in the water. He sees a shore and swims for it, but the crystal blue water fights his progress. Syd thinks to himself, ‘Of course’..

He finally makes it to shore and looks up. Towering above him is what appears to be an ancient pumping station of sorts. He stands up, not tired or exhausted at all, and sees a plaque on the side of a door. It reads, ‘These fens have oft times been by Water drowned, Science a remedy in Water found, The power of steam she says shall be employ’d, And the destroyer by itself destroyed.’

Syd stands there thinking hard. He has read that Somewhere before, but WHERE? He notices suddenly that the pair of shining Gates are at each side of him, and he stands at the entrance.

Then the combination of the words and the vision of the power station itself brings the memory to the fore like the warm loving arms of a mother.

‘My God, I’m HOME!’

"Yes, Piper. You are home!" Syd turns to look into the silver eyes of what can only be described as a king. "I am the Acid Master, and we have been waiting a long time for you, my young friend!"

Syd loses his legs and plops down on a giant mushroom that wasn’t there a second before.

"But Acid guy, or whatever, how can this BE?" Syd asks. "THIS isn’t real! I’m on an acid trip… this CAN’T be real!"

"Syd", the Acid Master puts a hand softly on Syd’s shoulder, "have you not noticed that in the "real" world nobody can understand what you say? And yet here, not only do they understand, but YOU understand even what you are thinking?"

With sudden realisation, Syd nods.

"Look over there," says the Acid Master.

Syd looks to see the very first rays of the sun tickling the horizon. A beautiful pink kisses the land all around.

"It is your time, Piper"

Syd stands up and looks all around. It IS beautiful, and if he really thought it out, he would realise that he had been here many times.

The Acid Master seemed to know what he was thinking, "Yes, many times. But this time was the first time that you jumped. You have crossed the border."

Syd suddenly hears all of the words from his songs echoing through his mind. Though he has no conscious memories at the moment, he just knows that he knows that he had been to the border before.

His mind is suddenly filled with images of his mother, his beloved sisters and brothers, and of his mates….

"No Syd… you will never go back…"

Desperate Memories Fly

Author: ~**PinkBoyd**~ (Mike Boyd aged 17, Chicago, Illinois, USA )

Syd softly floated across the threshold of what he had always known as reality, and the reality he had always wanted. He noticed that all around people his age sat and talked, when they looked up and saw him, nobody went wild. Nobody stood up and screamed;

"Hey Syd! I'm Emily!!"

"Syd! Syd! Play Arnold again!!!!"

No, nothing like that happened. They just sat and talked. Syd walked over and sat down. All went black.


"He's playing MY song. THEY'RE playing MY song."

Syd stood in front of the stage, watching his former band mates play
Astronomy Domine. But his concentration lay mainly on David Gilmour.

"What's this???" He thought to himself. "It's a joke. A bloody joke."

Syd started screaming -

"LIME AND LIMPED GREEN, A SECOND SCENE. A FIGHT BETWEEN THE PINK I ONCE KNEW!!!"

They kept on playing. It was all they could do. Roger turned his back to the audience; it was all he could do to stop everyone from seeing the tears in his eyes.

Syd kept on staring at Dave.

"What can I do?" Dave said leaning over to Rick.

Rick didn't answer for a moment. "I don't know Dave. I don't know."

The band finished the set and left the stage. Syd remained where he was. The band came out for the encore and he turned and walked. But when he heard the opening chords of Jugband Blues, he spun around. He stood there, his face not moving in the slightest. Roger stepped up to the mic.

"I'm sorry ladies and gentlemen, we'll have to call it a night."

Syd opened his eyes, he was back in his flat, Sam nuzzled in his lap.

"Sam, I'm home."

He heard a cough. He looked up. In the only chair in the flat was that same big-nosed Waters kid from his childhood. But he was and older man. A man with a new responsibility he didn't really want.

"What's happened Syd?"

Syd stared blankly at him. That same stare that hadn't left his eyes for
some years now.

"I've been mad for fucking years, you know."

Roger didn't answer.

"Absolutely years. I've been over the edge for eons."

"Come on Syd, let's go get a beer. We'll talk."

"It's gettin heavy, in' it?"

"Yeah Syd, it's getting heavy."

Roger got up and walked towards the door.

"Rog?"

"Yeah Syd?"

"Can I come back?"

"We'll see Syd, we'll see."

Roger quietly closed the door behind him.

Syd lay down and closed his eyes. When he opened them again, the Acid Master was standing in front of him.

"He's lying you know. They won't take you back."

"Roger said we'd talk about it." He let out with the innocence of a child.

"They don't need you, Syd."

"They can't go on. I wrote all those songs."

"They can Syd. I told you that you can't go back. Your lost Syd, more lost then you'll ever know."

Syd suddenly found himself standing in the middle of a field.

"Where am I?"

"Your home Syd."

The Acid Master disappeared. Syd looked around, scared and alone.

"This is no trip Syd." He heard an ominous from above.

Syd stood, not moving. He heard a strange rumbling. Then, tens, hundreds, thousands, millions of trees sprung up around him. He looked towards the sky. The sun shone brightly, then brighter, then blindingly bright. Then it shattered. All was dark. Coming from all the trees were every song he had ever written. The noise was paralysing. Syd fell to the ground and started to cry.

"You're lost in the woods Syd." That same voice from above.

When he opened his eyes, he was back with Sam.

"Sam, you're my last friend. You're the only one I can trust.

Sam purred.

Syd stood and looked around. He walked over to his bookshelf and took all of his books on the I-Ching. He tossed them in a garbage an and lit them on fire. Then he walked over to his poster of John Lennon and stood for a while.

"You didn't have to do Top of the Pops. Why did I? I didn't. They were
wrong."

Syd walked over to his black telecaster and picked it up. He violently tore off the silver discs and snapped them in half. Then he ripped off the strings and threw the guitar to the floor and let out a mad cackle.

Syd grabbed a sweat and left the flat.

He sat outside of the UFO club for a while and thought.

"They love us Syd!! We're a hit!" Roger shouted with great excitement in his voice. Syd smiled. Rick and Nick were a couple of steps behind. A while later they arrived back at the flat Syd and Rick had been sharing.


They sat down on the couch and a few loose cushions on the floor.

"So what's next?" Roger asked.

"Something theatrical. It'll have two sets; the first one will be about a
man, and the next about what he goes through in a day. We'll call it
something like "The Man and The Journey". But something with a bit more jazz.

Nick immediately responded. "I love it." Rick and Roger both liked it too.


Syd got up off the sidewalk and headed down the road. About an hour later he arrived at Rick front door. Rick answered a few seconds later.

"Hi Syd, come in."

Syd walked in without saying a word. They talked for a while.

"Will you come with me Rick?"

"I'll help you, Syd. Don't worry."

"But you won't come with me?"

"I can't Syd, they need me."

"No, they don't, Rogers said so. I need you. Roger left me."

"We'll see Syd. Why don't I make you some tea?"

"OK."

When Rick came back in a few minutes later, Syd had left. There was a note on the coffee table.

"I'M LOST AND I CAN'T FIND MY WAY OUT."

Rick sat down and started to cry.

The Mind Travellers Lament

Author: TheGunnersDream (Thane Zander aged 41, Auckland, New Zealand)

Meeeoiuw, slurp, slurp.

Syd comes to again, and Sam is now snuggled into his face, licking the drool emanating from his master's mouth. There is something strange about the way the cat is behaving, and it takes Syd a moment to realise what is wrong. He looks round for Rogers friendly face, then remembers he took off some time ago. Or was it just now? Fuck knows, but Sam was certainly in need of attention, right now!

The cat's normally placid yellow eyes were now a stark red and hazel flame, and the way Sam moved was disturbing. Then he saw it, the matchbox, on the floor, fully opened.

"Oh no Sam, not my last cube!" Syd realised his feline companion was off into cat nirvana, and then thought of his own situation. The last two buzzes were so bloody real. He walked over to his Queen Anne bureau, extracted a pad and pen just in case the songs came again, and sat back down on the sofa. The demented cat was now well on his way, paws scratching at an imaginary Persian concubine, chasing pixies through the psychaedalia of moggy land, flirting with the citizens of Animal Farm.

Leastwise, that's how he imagined Sam would be tripping. Then his own situation reached out to him , and the kick started again. He saw, then, the remnants of the last cube at the end of the sofa, with a small chunk bitten out of it. (He wondered at the ability of the matchbox to reproduce Acid cubes at will. Certainly an apt gift from the Acidmaster.)

"Ah what the hell," he cried, grabbing the ice and shoving it in the gaping receptacle of his eager mouth. "May as well make this a good one and see if I can find my pussy, eh, might have some material for a song or two............."

He blacked out to the sound of distant drums, reflections, and premonitions to come.



1970-something....

The flowers blooming in the field stretched for as far as the eye could see. A mixture of bright yellows, pale blues, and pink and violet explosions. Syd lay on the small mound, slowly rolling the vista over in his mind. The beauty of the moment was astounding.

The pen and paper lay silently by his side, both eager to be utilised, but the lyricist remained transfixed on his field of dreams. Each twist of the warm summer breeze would contort the picturesque scene into another different shape, each as obscure as the rest. Occasional glances towards the clouds wafting by would bring another vision of change, though these ones were stark gray and fluffy white against the azure backdrop.

"Arrgghhhhh, for simpler days" he spoke out to nobody in particular.

"I know mate." came the answer. Why did he have to pop in when these moments soothed his psyche?

"Hello Roger, what are you doing here?" asked the disturbed Syd.

"I thought you might want some company, such a nice day and all."

"Not really, thank you, but thanks for asking." Syd continued looking out over the field, marvelling at how his otherness, Roger Keith Barrett, slipped in and out of his after-acid sessions. Marvel soon turned to paranoia as the field colours shifted from gay effervescing brightness, to the dark burgundy , deep reds and harsh hard greens of despair.

To try and stop the onset of the real bad downer, Syd tried to focus on the fat ol' sun, and only succeeded in sending shards of painful light screeching into his fogged brain. The insect within, the desperate nothingness of his soul, was loosed and sought escape through the moment of the drugs. Syd leaned back against the now cold ground, a sudden shiver escaping his shaking body.

The sudden urge to fly was inescapable, grabbing his limbs and forcing him to his unsteady feet. Through the eyes of the madman, he managed to discern, in a moment of supreme clarity, the faces of his mates form in the flowers of the fields, Waters flowing gracefully towards the mike, Dave's hand streaking down to rip out another soul searching solo, Nicks head bobbing slowly to and fro in time to the pounding bass, Rick as steady as a rock as his eyes swivelled between the two front men, and Roger Keith standing transfixed by the side of the stage with his pen and paper, his guitar silently strapped to his back, drinking in the hysteria. As quick as it came, the vision disappeared.

He ripped off his Black Sabbath tee shirt, unbuttoned and slipped out of his paint specked Levis, and for the first time in weeks, removed his sagging Fred Flintstone Y- fronts. Naked to the core, and skin exposed to the warm breeze, the crazed Syd began his run down the knoll, eyeing the point of take off forty feet in front of him. His moment of glory reached out for him, calling him to exhort his all to gain what he desperately sought. To be floating above the fields, back baked by the hot summer sun, and flying high in the clear blue skies. More importantly, to be closer to heaven, and supreme over all his fellow men. And to float amongst the memories of his mates.

"Aaarrrggggghhhhhhh," the scream echoed out across the paddock, the sudden impact of the low stone wall with his knees sending him sprawling, bloodied, over the other side. He lay there, the vision now black and deep red, the bruises and bleeding of his broken nose and cracked forehead registering as a painful intrusion on his mind. Just! The carrion eaters gathered, and pretty soon Marianne Faithless appeared in his blurred vision, offering him a hand to clean himself up.

"Hey there, Roger, watchya doin' on the fence naked? Huh!"

Syd cried out to himself. Why had that bitch suddenly come to hassle him?

"Fuck off you hippie bitch!" he cried.

"Oh, Roger, how could you, we had fun once, remember?" Marianne's image disappeared.

"I'm not Roger, you slut. Never have, been never will be. I'm Syd!!"

The pain lanced through his head again, demanding attention. He pulled himself up, looked at the field for the last time, turned and climbed over the low obstruction, noticing the degree of damage his knees and shins had suffered. He wandered achingly back to his clothes by the silent writing tools. The song had started to merge but was whisked away by the reality of the LSD. Sam floated past his vision. Syd wondered why he was pink and suddenly looking like an inflated porcine dirigible! He supposed then cats had a better trip than humans and he made a mental note to ask God to come back as a tabby.

"You know why they won't let you play again, don't you?" asked Roger. Syd hated the alter ego. Hated the ease with which it would take over HIS mind, and bring reason to bear. Hated more than anything, the intrusion of questions he couldn't face, nor answer.

Syd reached down to pick up his clothes from their resting place from his impromptu strip, pulled the jeans round to the back pocket, and reached in, pulling out a small white vial. The Amyl-Nitrate might just get rid of that fuckwit who shared his mate's name. Might!! He knew it wouldn't be for long, but long enough for him to be Syd on the straight and narrow, heading home to his easels. If the gates would open that is, though many years too soon. Then his youth opened behind him, a moment of instant recollection.
"Cool," he thought, "a trip inside a trip."

1950.

"Mum, why are there airplanes up in the sky?"

"Well Roger Keith Barrett, if they were on the ground, they would be buses, so they are up in the sky because they are planes, silly!" replied his mother.

"Mum, would the people be dead if the airplanes crashed?"

"Well, son, maybe some, but not all of them. They're pretty safe these days."

"Mum, if I was to be in an aeroplane, and it was pink, and it had to crash, and the pilot's name was Floyd, I think I would change my name to Syd so that I wouldn't die. But then you would be sad, because then I'd be no more, eh, Mummy?"

"That will never happen, Roger. There are no pink airplanes with pilots called Floyd. Sometimes I wonder if you'll go crazy the way you think, son." His Mum turned her back on him then, and continued to hang up the Red and Black overalls from the factory. 'Why did my son seem to be so fragile?' she asked herself. Sam the family pet rubbed up against her leg, purring.

The boy looked down the lane, in time to see his friend, Big Nose Waters come running up, almost tripping over, as he too looked up to the plane. He ran fast for a weird kid, but no fast enough to avoid the neighbours pig and dogs racing across the road into the factory grounds. He cart wheeled over the pink pig and landed full on his face in a pile of horse dung left on the road from the morning's milk round. Syd couldn't help it. The mad laugh reached out from his soul and ripped across the street, startling his mother behind him.

"CUT THAT OUT THIS MINUTE YOU CRAZY LITTLE BOY!!" screamed his mother.

Rog looked up from the road at him then, severe consternation etched on his brow as he realised that he, Roger, was laughing at him. But there didn't seem to be any malice at his manic gesture, and soon Rog was sharing the moment with him.

They walked together inside, and the two buddies talked of songs and Glenn Miller and what they would do when they grew up, as all little boys do. They floated on the compendium of everlasting matehood.


Syd suddenly opened his eyes, the feelings biting into his consciousness, realising he had tripped a real memory. Shit! What a freak out.

But before he could do anything about it, Sam crawled out of the matchbox, growing bigger with each breath, until he filled the room. His eyes were still flaming and then Syd realised he couldn't bloody move. The swelling cat had wedged him into the sofa, and as his breathing became shorter and slower, he spiralled off back into the familiar territory of his mind.

His last subconscious thought being that of an IBM called Hal being used by someone with a familiar look about him.


13 May 2000.

Electron7_ sits at his computer, running his hands through his dishevelled beard, the 30 years of growth rough under his keypad flattened fingers. He thinks back to those simple yet complex days. Only two personalities then, oh it was so much easier. One of his other selves reached through, and Saphak_ commenced typing a new reply to himself, he he. I'll get the loser. Finishing the caustic diatribe Syd marvelled at how well he had disguised his presence. Much easier than being on the stage, but shit, harder to write great lyrics now. Too many people fighting for his mind and leaving his empty spaces half finished.

Sydgian Sea

Author: lixcaliber (Stephen Goulet aged 33, Vancouver, B.C. Canada)

May 13.5 2000

....one last post. They'll never know what hit them. I'll start it off with an axe to grind, that'll be ebully, something really complex to shake off the weaklings then whamo! hurtle another spear into the side of RogerBoar. Then five replies from my various cohort identities and watch the fur fly ..hahahaha...one last post...

The laughter rings against the walls of Syd's cubicle sending a dilbert mobile spinning madly. He slaps his thigh and begins ferociously pounding on the keyboard. Fingers fly with random precision as he revels in the anticipation of Their reactions. Can you believe, he mutters, none of those geniuses figured we out?

An icon starts blinking in the corner of the screen. He glances at it with dismay.

-(*POST WARNING*)-
It flashes a deep Rogerian blue.

Damn!
Syd is anxious; this is the most optimum time for him to submit. The charts were
clear, only on the hourly cusps could he Post and then only if there's a favourable Moon. He thinks about ignoring the blinking icon but temptation is just too great; it might be someone answering one of his previous Gems. Syd flips to the Board and watches the screen go black for one second. He almost hates to admit it but he rather likes that one second of blackness before the Page appears. It's like starting over.

The list comes up and his eyes go immediately top right to see who it is.

Lucifer?
Who the hell is Lucifer?

He jumps to the personal profile. No ICQ number for Lucifer and all it says is number of posts 0. How can that be? You have to post to get on the board? Syd is slightly confused and would have said so had any of his alter egos been there but for some reason they were all strangely quiet at the moment. He clicks back to WDYT and moves to hit on the Subject. At that point he notices the subject line is Blank! It doesn't completely register at first, the blankness is very odd; it seems to be fluid. He hits on the spot more out of habit than anything and gets a small jolt back which unleashes a vivid memory of casting a fly on the Test with Roger many years ago.

The screen goes jet black and stays that way.

Syds senses something is not right. He stares at the screen wondering what to do next. The very Center seems to be moving as though someone is pushing with their index finger from behind a black curtain. Syd feels the hairs on the back of his neck start to flex as the Center of the screen bulges out towards him. He hears a strange familiar sound like metal on metal and an overpowering odour assails him. It brings tears to his eyes but he can't tear himself away as a black blob slowly grows out of the screen until it nearly touches his nose. The stench is horrific. His instincts tell him to run like hell but it is too late as a hideous tearing sound fills his cubicle and the blob reaches out and sucks him into blackness.

Syd falls for a long time. Terror is the only thing to breathe and he gulps it in and blasts it out in great long shrieks that tear at the darkness while he drops like a cold wet stone. Minutes pass and he begins to realise through his screams that the falling is taking a long, long time. He opens one eye a millimetre but all is black.

Years of yearning to fly and a double-decker bus full of acid have not prepared him nearly well enough for this but it seems he isn't going to hit Squishville just yet so he opens both eyes, spreads his arms out and raises his head to look towards his ultimate destination. There is a white circle the size of a poker chip right in front of his eyes and he freaks again, screaming until his toes curl. The now spinning circle begins growing rapidly. Syd hears the tearing sounds again only this time it is the sweet smell of honeysuckle that wafts around him. He is thrust out of the darkness and drops with a thump on a patch of hillside surrounded by wildflowers and the buzz of insects.

Syd thinks, I have died, then realises this is one of those catch 22 situations where if you think you are you can't be because if you were you wouldn't be able to think. It's his last thought before he realises he's not alone. Standing to his left is a figure in a long light brown robe. It looks like hemp but Syd doesn't want to ask just yet.
The person who has been looking out across the valley turns and stares directly at him. A jolt shoots through Syd as he realises the man appears to look like him only is lighter and younger and more at peace than he'd ever remembered himself being.

Who are you? he asks, thinking he probably isn't going to like the answer.

Don't you know me anymore my brother? I'm what might have been, I'm your lost potential realised, I'm SydArthur, your muse.

Well that's nice, replies Syd, I guess this is some kind of Nirvana type place then. Is this where I get to inspect all my shoulda coulda woulda's before I get fitted for a brand new karma? Syd is feeling a little ticked, mostly because he knows his second last post is turning out to be his last post and he can't remember what he'd said on it or who he'd posted it as.

His new-found companion on the hillside gives a loud sigh and begins chastising him about his lack of attention and his never taking life seriously enough. Syd shifts his weight. His hand brushes against the matchbox in his pocket. He thinks about offering SydArthur some of the cube inside the box but realises it might not have any effect on one so pure. That would be a waste.

SydArthur seems so peaceful standing there, he has a way of being so bright the average person would likely just assume the Sun had come out and not realise it had been out all along.

Syd wonders why when a light bulb goes out you throw it out but when the Sun comes out you go out to it.

Remember when you were young Syd? Remember how you yearned to fly across the universe with all your mates and live forever in the vastness of space? SydArthur's voice has an aching yearning in it like one of Water's songs.

That had always bugged Syd, he felt Roger was manipulating peoples emotions using tricks they'd learned in Graphic Arts classes back in school, emphasising certain phrases with particular notes, it was all so obvious if you knew where to look. It never affected him but some people were even driven to tears. Go figure.

The muse was speaking again ....All those drugs, all those girls, all that free time. Where did it get you? Lost and confused, angry at everything, cynical as old cheese, jeez Syd, don't you know you took a left at Strawberry Fields and never checked the map again. You forgot your heart bro.

Heart shmart , answers Syd, you don't know what it's like being without the inspiration to write the most simple tune or watching yourself being replaced or seeing your vision shatter into a billion shards of nothingness. You have no idea what it's like to lose the muse. How could you? You are the fucking muse! Why did you bring me here anyway?

We need a job done and you were the only one who's not on tour or in the studio or completely beyond our influence like that Robbie what's his name. You're going to write a masterpiece my brother, a veritable anthem of modern male angst as only you can do, with a little help from the two of us of course.

I haven't written in fifteen years unless you count those hot little rhymes I sent to the Queen Mum on her Centennial. Her cheeks were rosy for a week afterwards. Hey wait a minute, what do you mean the two of us?

SydArthur looks past him and the gesture makes Syd realise he's been looking to his left at the hemp robe all this time and hadn't checked his other surroundings. As he turns to his right a red fox jumps out of the wildflowers behind him, licks SydArthur's nose and bounds away in a flash. Syd looks up and there beside him is the most awful vision of horror in a sentient form he has ever observed. Like a cross between a white gorilla and a gecko the creature shifts his gaze from the valley below and looks directly into Syd's right eye. It's Lucifer and "he" appears to be grinning with eyes unlike any other creature on God's green; violet eyes that shine and swirl and draw you in with their magnificent indifference.

Syd draws his knees up as he feels his sphincter tighten. Hallucinations were one thing but being in the presence of the Lord of Darkness is something else again. At least he hopes it will be.

The Horror speaks.

Syd, you have been creatively challenged for the past twenty or is it thirty years. That's a long time to stew even for a human. Your Muse and I have been sharing thoughts. We think it's time you took all those decades of paranoia and delusion and turn them into something profoundly provocative and abundantly appropriate for these times of ours. You have full reign over the form this Magnum Opus will take but it must dig deep into the male psyche and expose the source of the anguish within. There are so many angst-ridden males in this world who need a voice for their pain and Syd, you're it.

I'm it? stammers Syd.

You're it, answer Lucifer and SydArthur in concert.


A Crazy Diamond in the Rough

Author: Apbasos (Dan Newton, Aged 20, Connecticut, USA )

Lost.

Lost in the wood.

Syd surveyed his surroundings. An enchantingly spectacular forest wrapped around him, large trunks of tree shooting up into the sky. Moss grew anywhere without regard for direction. Everything was coated with a gloss that seemed highly unnatural. The forest shone with a faint glow that gave it the luminous impression of a brave new world, a world as coloured in by crayons, colours not necessarily staying within their designated lines. He inspected the forest suspiciously. As far as he was concerned it was all one grand illusion, a computer-generated landscape that revealed its limitations upon the close examination of a trained eye. Everything was comprised of tiny pixels, tiny solitary splotches of colour. Nothing more. . . Maybe.

Now attired in a custom-made red and black suit, the wily devil approached Syd. A thin line of small flames outlined the seams in his clothing. The muse floated cautiously behind.

"What have you got for us, Syd?"

Syd’s violet eyes flare. The devil laughs….


A six-year old Roger Keith sits on his bed, begging his mum for one last story to be read before he retires. "Oh mother, tell me more!" His mum smiles and opens to a fresh page in her anthology of children’s stories. "You only have to read the lines of scribbly black and everything shines!"

He is still young, in his teens. Playing with his pal, Dave the model. They played their guitars by lakeside, sat under the canopy of shade provided by an overhanging willow. The wind whistles through its branches and rattles its limbs as they jump into the lake from Dave’s rope swing.

He’s in a band. They have a hit single. They have to go on TV and dance around like puppets. He doesn’t want to be a puppet; he refuses to play along. His lips don’t move, but everyone can hear what he’s saying. It’s all a joke to him, but no one else seems to think it’s funny. He’s on the inside of a joke the rest of the world will never be apart of.

Pat Boone is staring him down, the fidgety host’s face a patchwork of false emotions and forced gesticulations. "I think you are very good boys and I am sure you wish to explain to our public you have nothing to do with drugs, do you?" Syd only stares, watching the expression on Boone’s face change. TV hosts are not trained to deal with the unexpected; it frightened them.

Syd’s in his flat, only a few years later. Girls are banging down his door. Strangers mill about wearing strange faces. They put acid in his tea. They put acid in his cat’s water bowl. They drop liquid on his skin when he isn’t looking, or with a handshake. Physical contact of any kind is avoided.

Syd has locked himself inside a closet. He has swapped his Gohill’s boots for a pair of women’s shoes. He’s screaming and kicking, scratching his way through a net of fallen jackets and garments. Thin lines of black drip from his eyes where tears had melted his eyeliner. There is a party outside and there are people trying to enjoy themselves. But he cannot hear them. They are not a part of his world.

He’s strumming his guitar discordantly in front of a bewildered audience. He can’t strike a chord. He can barely move. He plays one string, over and over, staring blankly into the middle distance. But someone is playing HIS guitar parts, he can hear them. And Dave is on-stage now. What is Dave doing here?

He’s flipping out in his flat, completely tweaked out of his mind. The place is in complete shambles, garbage thrown all over the floor, pieces of broken guitars and furniture littered about. He holds a mandolin over Lyndsay's head, his beloved girlfriend cowering beneath him.

ENOUGH!!!!!

The devil laughs and looks Syd up and down. "Did you enjoy your trip down memory lane, Syd?"

Syd tucks his hair neatly behind his ears. He locks eyes with Lucifer. "What am I supposed to do??"

"You’re the writer, Syd. I’m just a character."

Syd is sweating. Nervous. Afraid.

"You have plenty of material to work with, Syd, now all fresh in your mind…"

The devil’s voice trailed off as he delivered the sentence. The figures of Lucifer and Sydarthur slowly disappeared with the fading utterance.

Syd begins to wander the wood, searching for some portal or "EXIT" sign that will take him away to another world, a safe one. He decided to follow a road of yellow bricks, pausing before he stepped into a large puddle.

He stared at the puddle. Just some ordinary puddle. But then he found himself shrunk down to size, standing at the shore of this puddle, now a vast and beautiful ocean. He looked out over the water, watched the ripples disrupt the calm, watched as stray rays of light scattered across the surface. He watched as the waves broke onto the shore, receded and rolled back out . . . It was quite a rhythmic scene, everything in perfect harmony. But it was only in his imagination.

He wandered off the path. He stood in a field where the barley grows. He heard a shuffling from above and he scanned the treetops for its source.

A toothy grin spread before his eyes, followed by the materialisation of a striped cat around it.

"Cheshire Cat, what are you smiling at?"

"There’s not much time left, Syd."

"What?"

"Have you got it yet…?" The phrase repeated itself over and over, growing fainter yet more familiar with each succession. As the echoing words drifted into space, becoming inaudible, Syd finally recognised that the voice belonged to him and not the invisible feline.

1968. Syd’s Flat.
Home. Home again.

Syd is lying on his stomach, spread out across the floor, staring directly into the confused eyes of his cat, Sam. The white walls are shaking behind his cat and the stripes are dancing off the wallpaper. Patterns from the small Persian rug climb up towards the ceiling, creeping along the walls.

Slowly everything comes to focus. His mind clears, the racing thoughts slow and then cease. The room stops spinning. His mouth is dry, his teeth feel dirty. Otherwise, he is fine.

But where is the band? Don’t they have a show to catch? What time is it? Was the show cancelled? Did they forget to pick him up?

How long have I been gone?

Syd picks himself up from the floor and dusts himself off. He looks out of the window but sees no Rolls waiting in his driveway. He saunters into the bathroom and gazes at his reflection in the mirror. No fresh cuts, no bruises, no scars. He is right again, or so he thinks. His back is aching; sore from the awkward position he was in from the floor. He cracks it hard to readjust.

Then….BAM! He’s lost again.

He’s a teen-ager, full of promise and potential and vitality. There are no tattoos on his brain. The world has yet to get a hold of him. He’s at the town carnival, enjoying quite a romp through the fun house. Fun houses were always such an attraction. All the noises bellowing from within, the sounds of a functioning fun house at work and the accompanying screams and laughter daring him to enter. One could never tell what was going on inside from the outside, but that could only fuel the flames of curiosity.

He wanders into the hall of mirrors and stands mesmerised at the alternating images laid out all around him like a giant stack of cards, each reflecting a possible projection of self. In one, he is balding, overweight and meandering the corridors of a recording studio. In another, a young Syd sits in his flat holding a matchbox in his hand, waiting for his friends to pick him up. In another, Syd sits impatiently in the kitchen of his friend Rick’s flat, waiting for his mate to return to confront him. Another mirror finds Syd lying in a meadow of tall grass, blowing dandelions at Marianne Faithless. He sits in front of a computer in yet another mirror, staring into a blank screen. One mirror shows an ageing Syd painting in his mum’s garden. Satan and Sydarthur peer over his shoulder in another. One last mirror displays an older Syd sitting uncomfortably amongst a crowd of unknown people outdoors, waiting for something or someone but not sure exactly what or whom he’s waiting for.

Syd closes his eyes and spins around in circles for a few moments, then stops. His eyes wide shut, he walks forward, advancing into whatever mirror first crosses his path, prepared to accept whatever fate it might hold….

1975. Dave’s Wedding

Syd sits nervously amongst a crowd of unknowns. They buzz around him. Looks of suspicion, confusion, surprise, uncertainty, contempt.

Faces. Faceless. How many faces do you see every day? How many which belong to people that you know? Floating around in a sea of people, a sea of faces, an abyss of strangers. You’re one person in this world. One. There are others, so many others. So many that it makes you feel insignificant, like just another face in the crowd. Lost in a network of passing faces, crowded places.

And do you ever take notice? Do you ever stop and wonder who these people are? That they live lives too? Do you even think about asking, "who are you?"

No, of course not. That would be insane. Of course, the same can be said for yourself, Syd, asking yourself,

"Who are you?"

Syd had about all of the public’s eye that he could possibly stand. He shuffled awkwardly out of his seat, trying to put as much space as he could between himself and the crowd. He cranes his neck, scanning everything within a visible radius, looking for a familiar face, any.

Syd spots Roger by the buffet table and ambles toward him. His right arm reaches behind his back to pull out a thick manila folder from beneath his waist band.

Roger doesn’t even notice Syd until he is within a few yards, and by that point he is too embarrassed and startled to know what to do. He hops from foot to foot unconsciously in an effort to offset his uneasiness. He’s only faintly successful in the attempt.

Syd stands in front of Roger, his glance directed downward at the ground beneath his feet. He would not look directly at his former mate, avoiding any potential eye contact. Without another unnecessary movement, he places the manila folder in his old chum’s hands.

"Take this," he said. With that, he quickly turns and leaves without allowing Roger any time to react.

Roger watched Syd walk off, waiting for the crazy diamond to turn around and offer one last glance. It never came.

Roger opened the manila folder…and gasped.

Pages and pages of sheet music, some old and stained yellow with age, others soiled by footprints from long ago. Included were detailed notes and matching lyric sheets. Suggestions for specific instrumentation, thematic direction, production values. Sketches and designs for cover and layout art. Drawings and diagrams. Decades worth of unseen compositions, thoughts, and ideas - years of pain, frustration, and anguish documented in their secret code of notes and time signatures. Roger thumbed through the wealth of material at his fingertips in wonderment and disbelief.

As he flipped through the pages, a small piece of paper fell from the stack to the earthen floor. Roger stooped down to pick it up.

It was a hand-written note, the only one of its kind amongst this massive folder of documents. It was a poem. It read:

A LIGHT SO BRIGHT

In painted glass
Or on a golden beach
Between your fingers
Or underneath your feet
It hides in a place you'd expect least
But once in a while
Your eye will catch a sparkling glimpse
A light so bright and so beautiful
And so rare
And if you listen carefully
I'll take you there

If you find a few grains of amber sand
Hold them tight in your fist
And try not to let go
They be may here tomorrow
But they might not glow
You can't hold a ship in a bottle
You can't keep a bird in a cage
It's easy to hold freedom
In the palm of your hand
But it's so hard to hold on to
A few grains of amber sand

Tear-stained eyes peered from up over the small piece of paper. Roger looked out in the distance for Syd, but he knew that he was long since gone. His eyes lost in the aura of the narrowing horizon, Roger was so concentrated in locating Syd that he nearly missed out on the most singularly amazing sight of his entire life.

There were two suns in sunset.

                                                Isn’t this where . . .








A Summary


I know some of you are wondering why we decided to write a story about Syd Barrett. Well we didn't really. That just came out of the project. This was an experiment, as Apbasos alluded to, based on an idea.

The idea, as such, was to get a group of amateur authors together to write a story, any story, with each author responsible for one chapter. The order was decided by general consensus and it was up to each author to write their chapter, with CWmJ starting the ball rolling. Then each subsequent author would write his chapter using some of the information from the previous authors work to continue the general thread, and so forth and so on.

The project became a reality once a consensus was reached on a topic and the ball was rolling. From the time Apbasos mooted the idea until the final posting of all the chapters was completed, it took approximately 3 weeks, with some very extensive behind the scenes swapping of emails being conducted to keep the thing going. What must be remembered is that whilst this project was ongoing, we the authors, still had our normal daily work/family/leisure/internet functions to carry out and that it placed a considerable stress on the writers to keep the thing going in spite of the distractions of every day events.

The coup de gras was (decided about a week out) to post the whole story at 7.30 p.m. on the 2 June EST, to tie in to the exact moment Roger Waters started the first song of the first set of his first tour of the new millennium. Unfortunately, events transpired to railroad this attempt, and it was then decided that the only time all the authors (in 4 different time zones) could be certain of posting without major server errors popping up and when all were available, was at 11.30pm EST. This also didn't go without hitch, as Apbasos, responsible for posting the intro, the response post, and Chapter Six, had trouble getting online, but made it with seconds to spare.

A very nervous bunch of authors were busy chatting on PalTalk and ICQ, trying to keep the thing co-ordinated (and private messaging in the BBS and we all know how awkward that is) and as Apbasos posts hit the BBS, we all started posting in reverse order so as to lay the chapters out in order when viewed in threaded mode. The reply post was necessary to ensure the chapters remained in that order for ease of reading by new viewers. Needless to say, as can be seen by the gaps in some of the posting times, the server errors manifested themselves, affecting three of the authors and making life even more less comfortable. But we did it, and once again, the posting times testify to the extremely good organisation we all shared to achieve the task.

So reiterating the idea behind the Fleeting Glimpses Of Syd story: it was not about a story on Syd Barrett (though if I must say, it is a very good story of someone's trips through the haze) but a story about six authors and an editor, remotely located, with no face to face contact, and a desire to achieve something that none of us has ever seen before on the internet, nor in any other medium. To say it was a success for the Internet and it's capabilities in the modern world is an understatement. It is a huge development in the progress of mans desire to communicate, to share experiences and expressions, and to produce a new way of producing an interesting and quality piece of literature.

I hope you enjoyed the story anyway, if not go back and read it now that you may understand what the REAL story was about and how it was achieved.

And I encourage all of you to try and have a go yourselves. We are all more than happy to be a part of whatever you wish to achieve, and would be willing to pass on our experience and ideas for something you may want to try.

I don't speak for any of the authors here, but I am sure they are all in agreement with my synopsis.

The Internet ROCKS! and so does Roger, for getting us here.


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