The Floyd effect - Squeaky Gate (matéria em inglês) The Guardian

When Simon Gunton began putting together a tribute to Syd Barrett, the enigmatic musician and original member of Pink Floyd who died in 2006, he says he could "never have imagined" the effect it would have on the mental health service users he was working with. "They really seemed to identify with Syd," he says. "There was a connection, especially among the musicians. The story of Syd's music, the fact that he was so creative and experimental, that he never did the same thing twice, it really resonated."

Gunton, a professional session musician, runs music workshops with a range of vulnerable people, including ex-offenders, for the arts education charity Escape Artists. He says the evolution of The City Wakes project, a multimedia tribute to Barrett's life and music, has been an "unusually inspirational" experience. "All kinds of people who knew and worked with Syd have become involved," he explains. "We have loads of young volunteers, too. And Rosemary, Syd's sister, has been there right from the start, giving valuable time, money and energy to it."

Barrett's career with Pink Floyd was short - difficulties associated with his use of drugs such as LSD have been blamed for his premature departure from the band and subsequent retreat from the music industry - but he is still widely regarded as the defining force in the band's influence on the 1960s psychedelic movement. Gunton says that by taking Barrett's music, exploring different arrangements and working toward a performance, musicians whose talent has been badly affected by their illnesses have been reinvigorated.

"One musician hadn't played for 13 years because of his illness, and now he's working on arrangements with me," Gunton says. "Its amazing. And there's another guy who for a year, every time he picked up his guitar, felt sick. Now he's playing again. Syd's influence is enormous, especially on musicians from Cambridge, where he grew up and lived."

Nicola Legget, a mental health service user and keen singer, who has been dealing with psychosis since the age of 12, says the Escape Artists workshops have changed her life. "When you're very ill its hard not to become isolated and live on the outside of society," she says. "I've been very much involved in The City Wakes. I write a lot of the melodies for the revamped Syd Barrett songs. It's one of the best projects I've been involved in."

The tribute, which starts in Cambridge on October 22, before moving to London, mushroomed as more people came on board, Gunton says, and will now incorporate much more than musical performance. There will be an exhibition of Storm Thorgerson photographs, entitled Mind Over Matter: Images of Pink Floyd, a new book of interviews and memorabilia, special guided tours of Barrett-connected sites in Cambridge, and even a recreation of a 1960s-style "happening" directed and hosted by some of Barrett's former friends.

As well as the workshops, Gunton will direct the musical production, which will showcase video art and "Floyd-esque" lighting displays, as well as reworkings of some of Barrett's most well-known pieces of music.

For Rosemary Breen, Barrett's sister, the tribute is an opportunity to work with and help people in the local community, as well as remember her brother. "The prospect of The City Wakes really excites me," she says. "I'm looking forward to all of his old friends getting together, having a good laugh and a lot of fun while raising money for the mental health charity Escape Artists. There's so much going on and it will be great that Syd will be in the background of it all."

Gunton says Escape Artists flourishes because it emphasises the vital role artistic expression can play in the lives of vulnerable people. "I like to think of it as therapy through music," he says. "I can't tell you how inspiring it has been. I was never even a Pink Floyd fan, but working with people in the workshop and seeing how they relate to Syd's music has given me a whole new understanding of it. It's worked for everyone involved."

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In May 2012 Squeaky Gate played at the Royal Albert Hall alongside Brit Floyd, The World’s Greatest Pink Floyd Show, and in Birmingham and Cambridge.

We are absolutely thrilled to have been invited by Brit Floyd, The World’s Greatest Pink Floyd Show to join them live on stage in London, Birmingham and Cambridge to perform a selection of Syd Barrett songs, especially prepared for the shows. This was a fantastic opportunity for some of our students to perform on the big stage, alongside professionals and a wonderful way to launch our fundraising campaign: Shine On, that BritFloyd will also fundraise towards during the entirety of their UK tour!

*Brit Floyd, The World’s Greatest Pink Floyd Show, is proud to announce an association with creative mental health charity Squeaky Gate.

Brit Floyd will help promote and raise money for Squeaky Gate at all of its future shows.

To help launch the relationship a collective of Squeaky Gate musicians will join Brit Floyd live on stage in London, Birmingham and Cambridge to perform a selection of Syd Barrett songs, especially prepared for the shows.

Brit Floyd – The World’s Greatest Pink Floyd Show plus special guests Squeaky Gate live at:

The Squeaky Gate charity, was set-up in 2009 by Simon Gunton (Royal College of Music), and is supported by Rosemary Breen, the sister of Pink Floyd co-founding member Syd Barrett, is an extraordinary organisation, which uses the transformational effects of music to help people who have mental health issues.

Rosemary Breen, said, "I have been a trustee and actively involved with Squeaky Gate since its inception. It offers life changing opportunities for people with both mental health issues and those at risk of social or economic exclusion. Syd would have loved the original and sometimes experimental ways in which Squeaky Gate offers a safe haven, where it is possible to explore creativity through music and performance. The opportunity for the Squeaky Gate musicians to perform Syd's songs live, with Brit Floyd, is fantastic!"

Damian Darlington, Brit Floyd's musical director, said, "Without Syd there would have been no Pink Floyd. His impact both musically and inspirationally cannot be overstated. Our association with Squeaky Gate and its objectives are really exciting. We all want to help in whatever way we can to raise awareness and support fundraising."

For more Squeaky Gate information please contact Simon Gunton on info@squeakygate.org.uk

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