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Pink Floyd founder’s house attracts big interest

With patchwork walls of many colors, it’s not the typical rock star mansion
/ Source: Reuters

The former home of Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, who died in July, has attracted huge interest from potential buyers undeterred by the reclusive singer’s patchy home improvement efforts.

Dozens of people have viewed the 1930s house, which in the delicate words of the estate agent “provides an excellent opportunity for sympathetic improvement and updating.”

The walls are painted a patchwork of pink, orange, brown, blue, turquoise and lavender, while cheap wooden shelves cling precariously to the walls of every room.

Barrett’s decorating has done little to deter people from taking a look, with 40 viewings last Saturday alone.

“He was an icon, so inevitably there’s going to be a lot more interest,” said Lisa Freeman-Bassett, of Cheffins, the estate agent and auctioneer handling the $562,000 sale. “He was very content in that house getting on with his life.”

Some of those who visited the semi-detached, three-bedroom home in the eastern English city of Cambridge were probably curious sightseers with no intention of buying, she added.

Barrett lived a solitary life at the house after dropping out of Pink Floyd in 1968 after a spell of erratic behavior linked to his use of psychedelic drugs.

He retreated from the public eye, showing no interest in his former stardom and refusing to speak to the fans and journalists who regularly paid visits. He passed his time painting, writing art history and gardening.

With its tidy lawns, garden shed, and blue front door, the two-story home is a far cry from the archetypal rock star mansion.

His sister, Rosemary Breen, said the singer “loved the peace and quiet” of the house.

“He put his stamp on the house with frequent redecoration,” she wrote in notes to accompany the sale. “He slept in all the bedrooms, deciding which one as the mood took him.

“The only intrusion to his peace was the occasional visits from fans. He could never understand why strangers wanted his time as the reason for his fame was always a mystery to him.”

The sale details say Barrett was “passionate about, although not always competent” at home improvements.

Some of the contents will go under the hammer at an auction on Nov. 29-30. The lots include paintings, two hand-painted red and blue bicycles and customized furniture.

The singer wrote the hit singles “Arnold Layne” and “See Emily Play,” along with most of the songs on the first album “Piper at the Gates of Dawn.”

He left the band before their success with the albums “Dark Side of the Moon,” “The Wall” and “Wish You Were Here.”