Review: Have You Got It Yet? The Story of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd.

Have You Got It Yet The Story of Syd Barrett
Have You Got It Yet The Story of Syd Barrett

Rating: ★★★★☆

“Have You Got It Yet?” is a mesmerising and thought-provoking documentary that unravels the enigmatic life of Syd Barrett, the founding member of Pink Floyd, and his significant role in the psychedelic rock movement of the 1960s. Directed by Roddy Bogawa and co-directed by the late Storm Thorgerson, the film seamlessly weaves together interviews, rare archival footage, and captivating dramatisations to paint a vivid and multifaceted portrait of Barrett.

The documentary begins with an intimate audio interview with Barrett himself, setting the stage for an exploration of his upbringing in Cambridge, where his artistic talents began to emerge. It delves into his early days with Pink Floyd and the band’s rise to prominence, highlighted by their seminal album “Piper at the Gates of Dawn.” Barrett’s unique and whimsical songwriting, coupled with the band’s mesmerising live performances, epitomised the essence of the psychedelic era.

The Pressures of Fame

The film takes a candid approach in depicting Barrett’s descent into drug abuse, particularly LSD, and the toll it took on his mental health. Through interviews with friends, bandmates, and loved ones, “Have You Got It Yet?” offers insights into the pressures of fame and the challenges of navigating the counterculture scene. Barrett’s abrupt decline became evident during live performances when he would become distant and detached from reality.

One of the film’s standout features is the inclusion of in-depth interviews with those who knew Barrett best. Their heartfelt anecdotes and personal recollections provide a rare glimpse into the man behind the music. The interviewees include Pink Floyd band members, former girlfriends, childhood friends, and influential musicians like Pete Townshend and Graham Coxon, who were inspired by Barrett’s visionary approach to music.

“Have You Got It Yet?” effectively captures the essence of the ’60s counterculture movement, immersing viewers in a kaleidoscope of colours, sounds, and revolutionary ideas. The use of archival footage from concerts and interviews further enhances the authenticity of the narrative, allowing viewers to experience the era alongside the protagonists.

Enough Depth?

While the documentary skilfully covers Barrett’s rise to fame and subsequent struggles, some viewers might feel that it falls slightly short in fully exploring the intricate relationship between Barrett’s mental health and his creative brilliance. The film leaves certain questions unanswered, leaving room for speculation about the underlying reasons behind Barrett’s decline.

Thorgerson’s involvement in the film before his passing adds a poignant layer to the narrative. As a longtime friend and collaborator of Barrett, Thorgerson’s interviews provide a unique perspective and emotional depth to the documentary. The film stands as a tribute to both Syd Barrett and Storm Thorgerson, immortalizing their friendship and shared artistic journey.

The soundtrack of “Have You Got It Yet?” is a melodic journey through Barrett’s discography, from the whimsical and cheerful tunes to the hauntingly introspective pieces. The music complements the storytelling, creating an immersive experience that resonates with viewers on an emotional level.

Influence and Legacy

Syd Barrett Madcap Laughs (28)
Syd Barrett Madcap Laughs

Despite Barrett’s struggles and eventual departure from the spotlight, the documentary emphasises his profound impact on the music world. His innovative songwriting and avant-garde approach to music continue to inspire artists across generations, solidifying his status as an influential figure in the history of rock and roll.

“Have You Got It Yet?” stands as a cautionary tale of the pitfalls of fame, the fragility of creativity, and the consequences of self-destruction. It serves as a reminder that artistic brilliance can often come at a cost, leaving an indelible mark on those who witnessed Barrett’s meteoric rise and subsequent decline.

“Have You Got It Yet?” is a must-watch for music enthusiasts and fans of Pink Floyd alike. It offers a poignant and comprehensive exploration of Syd Barrett’s life, his impact on music, and the highs and lows of the psychedelic era. The film succeeds in humanising Barrett, painting a complex portrait of a brilliant artist grappling with the pressures of fame and his own inner demons. Through its immersive storytelling and heartfelt interviews, “Have You Got It Yet?” becomes more than a documentary; it becomes a tribute to the enduring legacy of a musical visionary.

Physical Release Details DVD BluRay

The feature length documentary film has been showing in cinemas around the world following the premier in London in April 2023. The distributor is pushing the cinema screenings as much as possible so fans can enjoy with high quality sound and vision. My inside information says it will be released physically, i.e. on DVD and BluRay, no sooner than the second quarter of 2024. So something to look forward to.

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