Where has the time gone? Pretty soon this blog will be sneaking cigarettes and looking at girly magazines. I never expected it to survive this long.
Sometime around the 7th of July, 2008, I decided to start Flabbergasted Vibes. It didn’t really have much of a master plan or identity at the time, as I’ve recounted here on the ABOUT page of our new home – which my metrics tells me has only been visited by a handful of people, so take a moment to read it if you’re interested.
According to my records, the first post commemorated the second anniversary of the death of surrealist poet and pop-star-for-a-minute, Roger “Syd” Barrett (shown above in his London flat), who has now been deceased for ten years after walking away from the spotlight in 1974. Other posts from the first week or so of existence included records by Bridget St. John, the first ‘Black Rio’ compilation, a Joe Gibbs compilation, The Rail Band, Joyce, and Cassiano. Most or all of those are set to “invisible” now because they don’t really fit with the style of presentation that has developed here. After a while, I also started up the under-nourished ‘Flabbergasted Folk’ blog where I could post about acoustic music. I’ve had several requests to revive that idea but maintaining two music blogs isn’t really feasible for me. Maybe I’ll just start posting the occasional pastoral folk record here, as long as it has some vibes to it.
I don’t really have a proper anniversary / birthday post in terms of highlighting a particular record today, so how about I just post this video of David Bowie covering Syd Barrett, in what was probably the most interesting track on his ‘Pinups’ record:
It’s missing some of the spontaneity and fun of the original, but it’s still pretty neat. I remember reading somewhere that Bowie claimed Barrett was the first pop singer he had heard who didn’t try to sound American, or at least try to make themselves less English. Apparently this was a huge revelation to him, giving him the inspiration to sing in his natural voice. Fellow cosmic glam-rocker Marc Bolan reportedly used to hang around the office of Floyd’s management, chatting up the secretary, just for a chance to catch Barrett in the hallway and soak up some of his mojo. It’s unfortunate that the pressures of sudden fame, a Swinging London lifestyle, and the stigma of what was most certainly a congenital mental health issue (schizophrenia’s favorite victims are males in their 20s) would cut his musical career short, but I’m glad for the handful of records he left behind. A visual artist before he turned to music, he still continued to paint after his “early retirement”, and occasionally burned his canvasses in the garden.
So here’s to perseverance in the face of obscurity, and with luck there may even be a 9th and 10th birthday for this blog. Thanks to the small but loyal readership for keeping me engaged.