I felt the need to dedicate a page on this site to a man who was widely known as the best expert on Syd Barrett on this planet, plus he wrote a film modelled slightly around Syd. More to the point, Bernard White started the very first Syd Barrett Appreciation Society. The Society's well known fanzine Terrapin, was produced in the 1970's and gained cult status as a regular Syd Barrett bulletin. Unfortunately it folded soon after from a distinct "lack of Syd".
Bernard passed away last year, and I wanted to pay a mark of respect to a nice chap who had an extensive knowledge of all things Barrett. I would have enjoyed interviewing Berni for this website to find out just that little bit more than the rest of us.
Bernard had an extensive knowledge and archive on Syd Barrett. His collection was regarded as legendary, for you see he was able to obtain some truly rare items, including some of Syd's original paintings, rare pictures of the former Pink Floyd frontman (including pictures of Syd at the Wish You Were Here sessions at Abbey Road), and rare recordings. He worked tirelessly on the Terrapin fanzines which of course focused on Syd's career, what news there was at the time, and even hinted at future possible comebacks from Mr. Barrett. Which back then were perhaps considered not such a fantasy.
In 1999 Bernard wrote the screenplay of "Remember A Day", and was it's Executive Producer. His good friend Darryl Read helped him write the film and Darryl also stars as the lead role. Bernard came up with the original story about a fan stalking a reclusive rock star which was loosely based on Syd Barrett. The film was initially going to be a twenty minute short, however as filming progressed the production became a full feature. More than that, Pink Floyd's Richard Wright provided him with an instrumental version of the title track, which to this day is not available on any other release.
Darryl Read, and Bernard, managed to involve a number of people who knew Barrett and were key members of the sixties "scene" - Peter Jenner, Jenny Fabian, Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon (who shot the footage that became "Syd's First Trip"), and Richard Wright, among others. Wright's main contribution was to give the rights to "Remember A Day", for Darryl and Bernard to use on the soundtrack - and also provided a very rare instrumental version which appears over the end titles!
Bernard on set of the film
The DVD sleeve
Actor, Darryl Read
Darryl, has a long, diverse career, with extensive work on stage, screen and television. A member of the first punk band (Crushed Butler in 1969!), he has worked recently with Ray Manzarek from The Doors. He has an amazing resemblance to Marc Bolan - whom he has also performed as in a tribute. Read draws on his career for some of the ideas and situations portrayed in Remember a Day.
The film itself is concerned with relating the story of Roger Bannerman, reclusive rock star from the late sixties, and the obsessed fan who "stalks" Roger and eventually kidnaps him. Roger is part Syd, part Darryl and part "typical rock star".
Darryl and Bernard make it clear that this story is a fictional drama, and not Syd's story. There are certain parallels to Syd, in terms of certain situations, Bannerman's reactions to fans and groupies, and some of the events portrayed. Indeed, Read's "Bird Song Clock" is a very convincing pastiche of an early 70's Barrett track.
According to close friends and colleagues, Bernard White was very well respected as 'The Man', as he was one of the first and most knowledgeable of the industry and Syd Barrett. He was also regarded as a sensitive chap with a big heart.
Bernard White died on Wednesday the 14th of April 2004, aged 55.
The following poem was specially sent to me by actor Darryl Read. This poem was read out at Bernnard's funeral, and Darryl felt this site would be a fitting place to also submit his tribute to Bernard.
2004-04-22 © Darryl Read
His eyes sharp – blue – they could spot a diamond in the grooves of a vinyl single – the head structured of heavy bone and full of innovations favouring future time.
Deals within deals – the master of collections – and one in for free, as a sweetener – bagged and wrapped – the Cheeky Chappie's perfection.
The window gaze sad – looking for some lost paradise amongst the steeple tops and trees – that old black dog – made far too many visits.
My Rock Svengali – the Terrapin man – One day he told me that we would all wake up dead in fluffy candy clouds, and wonder what our lives had been all about.
Mr White pulled the metal shutter of the Groove Shack down – quickly, and told the last customer – "Closing now – thank you!"
It is a fast tragedy and of great loss, that my friend has paid such a high price, in search of love.