Fingal's Cave Podcast

A Podcast for all dedicated Pink Floyd fans

Ep.9 - Rosemary Breen on her Brother Syd Barrett: „He never sought celebrity“

2023-11-03 69 min Ian Priston

Episode Video


Description & Show Notes

Syd Barrett: “An amazingly attractive, energetic, sparkly boy goes the wrong way in life and is lost”

Rosemary Breen knew her brother Syd Barrett better than anyone. They were inseparable as children, and in later years, Rosemary cared for Syd between the early 1980s and his untimely death in 2006. A "bright cookie" and kind, Syd had an unusual brain, and Rosemary became the single individual he could cope with.

Rosemary spoke to Ian Priston on 16 September 2023 to get things on record and encourage youngsters who look up to Syd to carefully think about why and how things happened to him. 

Rosemary eloquently sums up how Syd wanted to play with the other members of Pink Floyd and with sound. He neither sought celebrity nor understood it. When being in the band ceased to be fun, Syd left.

Syd Barrett expressed his true self through his art. After he returned to Cambridge, Syd produced some memorable artworks when he was in a good frame of mind. He had many ideas and would paint enormous canvases, and there was often one in progress when Rosemary visited.

The two used to go on days out. On one occasion, Rosemary and Syd were in central Cambridge, and Syd stopped and feared crossing a road because he felt compelled to get a painting out of his head and onto a canvas. For Syd, art was about much more than simply being creative; according to Rosemary, the process fulfilled a need and was vital.

The interview covers some serious topics, but there is also humour. For example, Rosemary explains how Syd was “Mr. DIY”. Talking about Syd Barrett’s lyrics, Rosemary says, "They make me giggle. He was a clown and was joking. Life was a joke. If anybody took him seriously, he just would giggle away."