Film Review: Have You Got It Yet? The Story of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd
It doesn’t happen very often, but it’s quite possible to have the strange experience of watching a film at the cinema when it suddenly cuts to the exact location where you are. My mother relates how a couple of years back it was quite odd to be watching a scene in a Downton Abbey film where the characters were shown walking into the very cinema in Harwich where she was watching it.
We knew that was going to happen with Have You Got It Yet? The Story of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd, which is just getting a very limited cinema release, including a single showing here at The Light Cinema tonight. Almost all of Syd Barrett’s life was spent here in Queen Edith’s, from his childhood on Hills Road to his long retirement in St Margaret’s Square. It would have been hard to make a film about him without showing a lot of the locality, and the film-makers didn’t disappoint. We saw half a dozen local houses and buildings, even – rather curiously – The Rock pub. Looking around at the audience, I wondered how many of those present had a connection to Barrett?
Despite the last three words of the title, added for commercial reasons I’m sure, this documentary is firmly about Roger ‘Syd’ Barrett, described by one contributor as ‘The Pin-Up Boy of the Revolution’. There have been other films about this unique artist, but as the director Roddy Bogawa said in a Q&A shown beforehand, this was always likely to be the last one. It has a lot of weight on its shoulders. Alongside the closing credits, about a dozen ‘in memoriam’ photos were shown of interviewees in the documentary who have since died, including co-director Storm Thorgerson.
I won’t go through the story here, as I was lucky enough to be able to do that for Queen Edith’s magazine three years ago, telling the tale of Pink Floyd’s connections with Queen Edith’s. In that article I was grateful to get several original anecdotes from local residents, and I’ll link to it below.
Anyone thinking of watching the film will be hugely relieved to know that alongside interviews with just about everyone you’d hope to see, from bandmates to family and friends, it has all the original music throughout. There are also some surprises, such as actual photos (which I don’t believe have ever been seen before) of the legendary occasion when an almost unrecognisable Barrett turned up at the recording of the Wish You Were Here album.
The film is a fine tribute to Barrett’s genius, and I think hits the right balance between respecting his life choices and feeling sad for Syd and those who clearly loved him. Was the music industry to blame for what happened to him? There will always be differing views, but at least this film voices them all.
If you missed the film at the cinema, I hope that it becomes available on home streaming very soon.