It’s drizzling in Elmdon, backed up by sunbeams. Jack Monck is my guide revisiting forgotten musicians who laid the foundation for the Cambridge music scene. Not only Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd started here. Also Henry Cow, Geoff Leigh, Jack Monck, Pip Pyle and Phil Miller played their first tunes in the area. Robert Wyatt, Hugh Hopper and Mike Ratledge are playing in the background, but not in name on Barrett’s solo albums.
Why did Pink Floyd become so big? What is the role of chance in the creation of art? What is it which suddenly turns people like Barrett into cult heroes?
The way music or fame develops seems to be a sequence of chance moments.
‘We are all here as a result of many accidents,’ says Hugh Hopper. According to Spinoza chance does not exist, only a lack of knowledge. To know more is what I am after, especially about the story of Stars: Barrett, Monck and Twink. Those were the final chords of Barrett - the aesthetic brain behind Pink Floyd, a guitarist with highl y idiosyncratic songs . Why is it that the finale of his musical career is shrouded in mystery? Myth mainly creates noise. Cult heroes come into being because the information is scarce, rare and inaccessible.
Jack Monck I know; data about his person is scarce but not inaccessible. He is still producing healthy, musical noise. In this case, the myth machine does not have a chance.
Monck has a new band, The Relatives, made up of UK and Dutch musicians. In July 2007, a year after Barrett’s death, their first album is released, Trans Europ Connection. Just as with Pink Floyd, this music could develop in any direction. Even dwarfs started small, according to Werner Herzog. Chance rolls the way it goes, no more, no less. Charles Darwin was not stupid after all.