• Sat
  • Nov 29, 2014
  • Updated: 5:11am

Six degrees

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 March, 2011, 12:00am

Syd Barrett's love letters to a childhood sweetheart will soon be put on show in London. The Pink Floyd bad boy (above), who died in 2006, had three productive years with the ground-breaking band, during which time his unique talent blossomed along with his erratic, drug-addled behaviour. Barrett became an enigma in the music world when he wilfully dropped off the radar and moved back into his mother's house, where he remained for the rest of his life. Barrett's legacy can be seen as well as heard: he is featured in the play Rock 'n' Roll, by Tom Stoppard ...

Much of the Czech-born playwright's screenwriting work has gone uncredited: for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, for example, Stoppard 'was responsible for almost every line of dialogue in the film', according to the Hollywood blockbuster's director, Steven Spielberg ...

The unadjusted gross takings of all the films Spielberg has directed stands in excess of US$8.5 billion. Despite his career trajectory heading away from largely children's entertainment and into the more challenging territory of the Holocaust, he is not without his critics, many of whom deride his work as overly sentimental. In 2009, Spielberg bought the rights to the life story of Martin Luther King ...

Details of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate's many extramarital affairs were distributed by the FBI to his family and the press, and agents carrying out surveillance work on him were the first to administer first aid after he was shot, in 1968. A lack of an all-points bulletin to find the killer led to speculation that the FBI was involved. King's assassination had a profound, immediate and lasting impact on the American psyche. Just two months after his murder, he was immortalised in song by Elvis Presley ...

'The King', who at one point was consuming 94,000 calories a day, also developed an appetite for prescription drugs. High on a Las Vegas stage in 1969, Elvis swapped the lyrics, Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there? to Do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair?, reducing himself to hysterics in the process. His legions of impersonators include disabled Elvises, Mexico's El Vez and the lesbian Elvis Herselvis. In 2001, a CD was released featuring a collection of his songs by Japanese fan and future prime minister Junichiro Koizumi ...

Koizumi has never laid eyes on his third child - his wife was six months pregnant at the time of their divorce and, due to quirks in Japanese culture, he took custody of the older boys while his ex raised the third. He is the only Japanese prime minister to have served more than five years in office since 1972 (his successors have not lasted more than a year). As a young man in Britain during the 1960s, Koizumi rented a room in a house on Hills Road in Cambridge. His landlady, Winifred, was the long-suffering mother of Syd Barrett.


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