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Syd Barrett Self-Portrait Pulls a Houdini


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Pink Floyd's eccentric lead singer Syd Barrett only recorded one album with the legendary band and two solo LPs before fleeing the spotlight for a reclusive life, trading in his guitar for a paintbrush. To mark what would have been Barrett's 65th birthday, and the fifth anniversary of his death, London's Idea Generation Gallery hosted an exhibit of Barrett's letters and artwork. One painting, a self-portrait Syd made around 1961, was stolen from the gallery's walls the day before the exhibit was to close on April 10th. What happened next is as strange as any of Barrett's quirky lyrics on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. (Click here for The Amp's introduction to Syd Barrett.)

The painting's owner, Syd's ex-girlfriend Libby Gausden, lobbied to the press for the safe return of the self-portrait, adding that it had " huge personal value" to her. The plea worked as, according to the Wire, just three days after the Idea Generation Gallery offered a £2,000 reward for the safe return of the self-portrait, the painting was returned to them... by mail. Instead of handing back the painting and risk being arrested, the thief simply put the art in an envelope, sealed it and sent it back to the gallery. The U.K. postal service must be a lot more fragile with their mail, since the painting was returned to the gallery "undamaged and intact."

[Self-Portrait: Syd Barrett]

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