Monday, July 17, 2006

Syd Barrett RIP

52 million records sold

Syd Barrett the founder of Pink Floyd died last week. The group he left became one of the greatest selling bands of all times (along with the Beatles and the Eagles) after he left. Syd left around 1968 and his group redefined music (and longstandng chart positions of records) with Dark Side of the Moon in 1973.

Syd was a visionary who reinvented music, which, if you think about, is not true of alot of people. Early Pink Floyd was improvisational and clever and light-hearted and farout and mod, and kind of intelligent too. Of course as the group wore on they become very heavy-handed, but then of course sold more and more too up to a point. Just yesterday here in Brooklyn some burly harley-dude was blaring The Wall from his bike stopped at a light on 4th Street (how's that one Syd?).

F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Great Gatsby wrote that the rich are different from you and me. This may be true, but it may be even more true that the famous are different than you and me. Its probably the pressure of fame that did him in, the entrapments and busyness expected of the famous.

Syd made a couple of records in 1970 with mostly people from the Floyd. These were basically him and his Dylan-like folky songs - but delightfully askew- with people improvising along. He made you feel that you could play too, and his records are still great for a carefree morning, as several of my few friends can attest.

Syd is the axiomatic cult figure and his vision brought alot to alot (not least millions of pounds to his group), and a talented and soulful person, and I for one miss his presence here on Earth.

** Workers opinion on who else reinvented music: Beethoven, Mahler, Stravinksy, Chuck Berry, Miles Davis, John Cage, Ray Davies, Dee Dee Ramone.

A Scanner Darkly is a Good Movie

Darkly humorous and true

Yes Scanner is now out and available at a few places. I saw it at BAM (whay dont they give student discounts on the weekends?). The Village Voice (the barometer of "hip"?) said that "half-way through the year, it's the American film to beat". Well I dont know about that, MI:3 was pretty great and more overall awe-inspiring and just as "American" in its own right.

TBS, Scanner is very funny and is kind of an ensemble acting piece with Keanu Reeves, Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey Jr in the co-leads, with also Wynona Ryder as a co-lead, but she kind of seems to be dumbing herself down. So Scanner is definetely the most Californian movie to beat :-).

Keanu is our hero and the others are his "friends". The movie in summary is about the economic and sociological corruption of our state-capitalist system, about drug paranoia and addiction and 'treatment' of mental health 'problems', about trading the predictable and known for the reward (?) of possibility, and about goodness prevailing in the end. Its also, as the final minutes show, a paen to the friends that author Philip K. Dick lost to addiction.

The movie starts kind of slow and creepily and then the funniness kicks in with the characters and then the paranoia and state manipulation and the justice (not to spoil the film but these phases are probably pretty obvious anyway). And has also been well publicized the film is a breakthrough in cinematographic style, half-animation, half-real, and very kind of fuzzy like the Robin Williams character in that Woody Allen movie which escapes me now. The message is duality, like anything good and true.