(Syd Barrett, original Pink Floyd frontman, retired from life,
an acid casualty, March 1968. Died 2006)

under jade sky
planets swarm through the
arches of Stoneferry bridge,
eyes nictating in a frost
of asteroids and tides
of delicious terror

freshly thefted magazines bulge
mustard-pvc jacket-pockets,
‘Nebula’, ‘Authentic SF’,
and ‘Science Fantasy’, their
hallucinations leak through
pvc-weld seams, spill into
late-September ’67 Hull,
storming over cold metal
drabness, and…

“hey !!!”,
Transit van docking manoeuvre’s
through persistent lime parallels
at the road margin, asking
“which way to
the skyline…?”

eyes nictate in tides
of delicious terror while
saucers spin, quasars throb

“through the bridge,
down past the lights,
‘Skyline Ballroom’,
first on the right”

“thanks man”
planets jerk from Transit exhaust
in rippling bursts of iridescence,
acceleration building towards
escape velocity

tie-die spirals ripple on van walls
‘PINK FLOYD’, vibrating day-glo,
head retracts, curls dripping pulsars
into the gutter where they squirm
and devour each other

I shock awake,
but too late

Transit recedes
under jade sky
strobing through
arches towards
the skyline…

and I almost met
Syd Barrett


Andrew Darlington
Pic: Claire Palmer

(This story is true. But it was written from memory, some time after the event. Subsequently I’ve managed to trace the exact date it happened to Thursday, 28th September 1967 when the Pink Floyd played ‘The Skyline Ballroom’ in Hull, and I was in town for college. I used the comprehensive Floyd chronology appendix to ‘Madcap’ by Tim Willis to do this –, my only qualification now is that it might not have been a Transit van, it might have been in the days before Transits were generally available for bands to use, possibly it was a Thames van…?)



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