Five star reviews for Barrett
It’s nearly two months since the launch of Barrett, but our definitive visual companion to the life of Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett continues to turn heads. Right now, we’re celebrating fantastic reviews in two of the UK’s biggest music monthlies: Mojo and Classic Rock.
Writing in Mojo, Mark Blake hails the “extraordinary achievement” of authors Russell Beecher and Will Shutes in gathering so many rare and unseen photographs, letters, and artworks by and about Syd. Blake’s particular favourites include shots of Pink Floyd performing at a UFO club night (“taken so close you can almost feel the static off Rick Wright’s satin shirt”), the letters Syd wrote to girlfriends Jenny Spires and Libby Gausden-Chisman (“playful, funny and touching, with no hint of the troubled soul Barrett would become”) and the artworks Syd created after finishing his studies. Blake concludes: “Beautifully packaged, eruditely written and full of insight (but, inevitably, tinged with sadness), Barrett feels like the ultimate work of art”.
Over in Classic Rock, the legendary Mick Farren is equally taken by the comprehensiveness of the book’s content and the “sumptuous and immaculate” quality of its finish – indeed “the whole presentation subscribes to the concept of the book as a work of art in itself”. For Farren, this isn’t necessarily a good thing. The book, suggests the standfirst above Farren’s review, risks being “almost too perfect to be useful”. But Farren’s suggestion that Syd’s “romantic legend” could be about to “eclipse the actual value of the artist’s work” is roundly rejected by fans on the Barrett book Facebook page, for whom the book – and the Idea Generation Gallery exhibition that accompanied it – have finally given Syd the recognition he deserves.
Throughout the Barrett project, our use of Facebook has allowed us to build an extraordinarily close relationship to the book’s readers, with whom we’ve shared almost the entire production process through all manner of multimedia updates. So it’s no surprise that fans have turned to the Facebook page to tell us what they think of the finished product. “Amazing”, “fantastic”, “wonderful”, “beautiful”, “superb” and “well worth the wait” are, we’re happy to say, a pretty representative sampling of the reaction.
Last but not least, we’ve also enjoyed the odd admiring glance from friends and colleagues in the book trade. Barrett got a very warm reception at last month’s London Book Fair, and the book was also on display last week at the Winter & Company Discover exhibition – a showcase of special products using the company’s marvellous cover materials (including the cloths and leathers used for Barrett).
Meanwhile, the book continues to sell well, with the limited-run Signature Edition (containing an extra book of rare images, and signed by one of Syd’s siblings) proving particularly collectable. Grab one before they’re gone at barrettbook.com.
- 16 May 2011