Watch Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett trip on mushrooms for the very first time in this historic student film from 1966
Syd Barrett wanders across Cambridge’s Gog Magog Hills while embarking on his first psychedelic experience in this student film from the 1960s
While his abuse of illicit substances would eventually contribute to the breakdown of his career, Syd Barrett’s early experiences with psychedelics provided an entrancing world of artistic opportunity and inspiration.
In early footage recorded by film student Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon, Pink Floyd‘s co-founder can be seen embarking on his very first mushroom trip.
Split into two parts, the film, simply titled Syd Barrett’s First Trip, sees the musician in the first section (captured on 8mm film in 1966) tripping at Gog Magog Hills in Cambridge, whilst in the company of friends. As transcendental backing-music plays out (which was added later by fans), the screen transitions over rocky mounds and rolling hills, as Barrett appears mesmerised by the surrounding environment. Later, he stares at the palms of his hands, seemingly bewildered by the profound – and perhaps life-changing – experience.
“David Gale is there along with Andrew Rawlinson, Russell Page, Lucy Pryor and my wife, Jenny. She’s the one in the yellow mac talking to the tree. The mushroom images are iconic and will last forever” explains Gordon.
He adds, “It is an unselfconscious film. It was not planned. It just happened”.
In the second part, it shows Barrett and his band Pink Floyd, who have just signed their major contract with EMI, inside Abbey Road Studios working on new material in 1967.
“It’s raw, unedited footage and stunning even so. It is silent but many people have subsequently put music to it” the filmmaker offers.
The video documents Barrett’s recreational use of the drug, his continued use of hallucinogenic and psychedelic substances played a part in the eventual disintegration of his mental health. As his replacement David Gilmour noted in 2006, his abuse of psychedelics “acted as a catalyst” which impacted negatively upon his mental health.
Syd Barrett passed away on July 7, 2006 in his home in Cambridge.
Watch the footage below: