This is Syd Barrett's last contribution to the group, and the only song on the album that he wrote and sang on. Shortly before it was released, he was kicked out of the band. The song itself is Barrett's self-diagnosis of schizophrenia, explained by the lines "I'm most obliged to you for making it clear that I'm not here" and "I wonder who could be writing this song?"
Pink Floyd made a promo film for this song, which shows a seemingly depressed Barrett wandering around aimlessly, singing the song.
The middle part of the song was a contribution from a Salvation Army band that Barrett asked to guest on the song (more to the point, he told them to play whatever they wanted).
40 seconds to the end of the track is another "secret" song that Barrett plays guitar on, while asking "What exactly is a dream?" and "What exactly is a joke?"
Suggestion credit: Bill - Erie, PA, for all above
The instrumental passage towards the end features a brass section which would be later explored more in Atom Heart Mother.
Shane from Bloomington-normal, IlI've agree with Bill from Erie and Dan from Canada in regards to sort of passive aggression or indirect directness of Syd's lyric for this tune, one of my all time favorites due to its mercurial structure and sort of quantum melodic logic.
Mreenal from Darjeeling, Indiaso beautiful n so poignant.. wonderful interpretations by Stansinslov, chula vista, CA, loved it.. this song can have numerousn diverse interpretations.. also wonderful arrangement of the music as noted by Oli, Bassetlaw, United Kingdom.. Hail Syd.. Hail Floyd..
Tristan from Philadelphia, PaI can't stand how people call Syd schizophrenic. He WASN"T! Roger Waters says that, nobody in his family does. Now clearly his family might not want to admit it but in interviews with Rick Wright he is quoted as saying something along the lines of; "Roger always said that Syd was schizo but I never bought that s--t. I did believe he may have taken a huge overdose of acid so that his brain couldn't properly function." Sad as it is, it might have been that his brain couldn't function but Schizophrenia? Seriously? That is absolutely ridiculous. He became especially different after Dark Side, and Floyd's success, it was beyond a mental disorder.
Rich from Gresham, Ori don't think syd barrett really gave a s--t about pink floyd and the subsequent fame they garnered.being an artist, music was just another artform and experiment for him.when the band started getting more popular i believe that in a lot of ways it did freak him out as he saw something that didn't want to happen necessarily, happening.i don't think he was crazy as everyone makes him out to be.i think it was a very convenient excuse for getting gilmour in their so they could go into a different direction.did drugs play a part.obviously.is everyone a little f--ken crazy.indeed.i doubt syd cared very much at all as is evident in the fact that he continued to play music after the fact anyway.mental illness is very profitable for artists for a lot of reasons.it creates a mystique that can then be capitalized upon.clever marketing.true schizophrenia or whatever they called him? doubt it.
Giselle from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaA very sarcastic and sad song, a nice farewell from Syd.
Chloe from St. Louis, Moi personally think this song is about syd's complete awareness that he was completely losing it. must have been a wierd feeling, sort of watching himself slowly slip out of his mind. still, thats only my opinion. i think only he knows what each line really means....shine on, syd.
Oldpink from New Castle, InThis song is utterly heartbreaking, with some of Syd's finest lyrics ever. It was the last song on "A Saucerful of Secrets," and his last contribution to Floyd, ever. Also, he is NOT wandering around aimlessly for the promo film. He is simply miming the song with the band on stage, but he does indeed look depressed and as spaced out as the song suggests. And what exactly is a dream?/And what exactly is a joke? So jarring, and so poignant. Syd, RIP.
Oli from Bassetlaw, United KingdomDue to Syd Barret's musical writing genius, this song features many different key signatures, as the beginning starts at 5/4, then in the next bar it is 6/4, then when he sings "And I never knew the moon..." it changes to 4/4. There are many more changes in the tempo and time signature, because the song is complex, besides it peircing lyrics.
Floyd from Ottawa, OnIn the BBC documentary Seven Ages of Rock they show Syd singing this, and discuss it. It's black and white and the part they show he's just looking at the camera singing. Very eerie, very mesmerizing.
Rostisado from Cabron!, IlThis song is crazy, well writing, hilarious, trippy, weird, unpredictable and quite good. Anywho... this may be a little far out but I think Syd may had poked fun at the Beatles with the lines ("And the sea isn't green and I love the queen"). Now let me explain, The Beatles were known to love the queen and she loved them and their music. 2nd in the song Yellow Submarine there's a line that reads, "Till we found a sea of green" and another, "Sky of blue and sea of green" So you can see where Syd may had borrowed the line and twist it to make a joke...
"And what exactly is a joke?"
Tristan from Philadelphia, PaWhen you consider that 'Piper' was really Syds (first) album, and Gilmour did half of Saucerful and then Ummagumma. The band would've done better with Syd had he not gone off the edge. Anyway, a band with more gnomes and less 'money' appeals much more to me.
Colin from Guelph, Onthe bells that close this song are the same that open "high hopes". think about that real carefully. It makes a lot of sense.
Stephen from Charlottesville, Vayeah, this is a great song, and i remember in highschool, during one of my darker moments finding alot of meaning in this song, yet in all actuallity, i have no idea wtf this song is truly about
Ron from Almere, NetherlandsAt the same time Jugband Blues was written, Syd wrote two more songs, Vegetable Man and Scream Thy Last Scream, which were never released by EMI. These songs can be heard however on the bootleg CD Interstellar Overdrive; alternate masters 1966-1968. Its beng on the Odeon-label gives it an official status.
Strong Bad from London, EnglandI think that Pink Floyd was better without Syd in the band- I myself prefer Dave Gilmour's contributions to the band over Syd Barret's.
Steven from West Carrollton, OhSpeaking as a MAJOR Syd fan, this is my F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E Floyd song. Rest in peace, "O Mighty Founder of Floyd".
Bill from Erie, PaSyd was quite angry at getting forced out of the band, and often retaliated with sarcasm, both in his songs and his relations with the band. There's this song as an example. Also, one time when they were playing as a five piece, Syd showed up with a song he had written called "Have You Got It Yet", which the band attempted to learn. However, Barrett changed to chord progression every time he played it through, making it impossible for the band to learn, then would complain that they weren't doing it right. Although he was very strung out, he was acutely aware of what was going on.
Ryan from Plano, TxThis was an outtake from the first album. "Vegetable Man" was probably Syd's last contribution to Pink Floyd. It was never officially released, although it's quite easily available through bootlegs.
Dom from MontrÃ?al, CanadaVery weird, but still interesting and musically pleasant song. It is a bit depressing though.
Tomer from Yavne, IsraelWhenever I listen to this, it makes me feel a bit sad and strange. I guess it's because it's Syd's last creaton for the band, and to hear it after all other songs which he didn't participated in (although it's not the last one in the album - see saw is)... You know, it makes a strange bad feeling when you hear the small sounds of remembering Syd. Admirable man? :)
By the way - I really like the optional meanings that the two first comments brought. it really interests me.
Dan from ******, CanadaI always took the line "I'm wondering who could be writing this song" as a slight against his fellow band members as he was being squeezed out of the group. They are pointing it out to him (making it perfectly clear) that he's not up to performing with the group (that I'm not here) but he retaliates with sarcasm. Then as the band strikes up, he states that he doesn't really care. "I don't care if the sun don't shine and I don't care if nothing is mine..." etc.
Stansinslov from Chula Vista, CaThis song is about Syd Barret's awareness of the fact that he is going crazy. First, He sais "im not here," which is self explanatory. When he sais that he never knew the moon could be so big, he means he never thought the fame would be so much. When he sais he never new it could be so blue, he means he didnt know it could be so sad. He then sais "you threw away my old shoes and brought me here instead dressed in red." Tjis means his old self is gone and he is dressed in red (like a sacrifice.) When he sais he's wondering who could be writing this song means that he is writing the song, but he doesn't know who he is (therefore, he doesn't know who is writing this song.) At the end he sais, "and what exactly is a joke and what exactly is a dream." He is saying that he doesn't know whether if he is really living out his dream or simply living outa joke. This is what i think this song means. I could be wrong, but this still makes a lot of sense.
Yuya from Kyoto, JapanThis song is sooooooooo great. Probably one of Syd Barret's best.