SHELF LIFE

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The Independent Culture
2 Pink Floyd's press officer had an unusually easy job: "to deal with the press and the media in every way and the answer is No. 'Can we have tick-?' No. 'Can we do an int-?' No. 'Can we take pho-?' No. 'Can-?' No." When Van Morrison tried this trick the response was "Get yourself a f-ing parrot, then," but The Floyd have always been different, mysterious, enigmatic. They'd have to be with song titles like "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict".

Not that this PR nay-saying ever daunted the inky scribes, as Bruno MacDonald's compilation of reviews and interviews makes clear. Pink Floyd Through the Eyes of ... (Sidgwick & Jackson pounds 15.99) rounds up the likes of La Burchill, Nick Kent, Pete Frame, John Peel and Gerald Scarfe. Kent's 1974 gig review notes the band's famed lack of charisma: "They wander on like four navvies who've just finished their tea-break and are about to return slowly to the task of tarring a section of main road." Tom Hibbert skewers Roger Waters, the band's evil genius. And then there's the original "Crazy Diamond", Syd Barrett (above), around whom legends cluster. Clearly he was always a couple of saucers short of a teaset. In 1967, reviewing singles for Melody Maker, he notes, a propos Bowie's "Love you till Tuesday": "Yeah, it's a joke number. Jokes are good. Everybody likes jokes. The Pink Floyd likes jokes. I think it was a good joke."

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