A short counterfactual novel, published exactly fifty years after the encounter it purports to describe.
A beautiful young man dressed in Cuban heels and a crushed-velvet jacket cuts a dash as he strides up Silver Street in his native Cambridge, heading for the ornate splendour of King’s College. It is 1968. He is the 22 year old Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd, and his destination is home to the great Edwardian novelist, 89 year old E M Forster.
What follows is a tender exchange of truths between two men belonging to opposite ends of the 20th century, but who find within each other’s company shadows of the same demons, loves and losses as well as the familiar weight of the creative impulse. They become unlikely comrades passing fleetingly through each other’s lives. Conjuring the mischievous spirit of Pan, Haydn Middleton has created an exquisite fiction involving two towering figures of English culture.
The Ballad of Syd & Morgan is a deeply moving but joyous portrait of the despair and redemption at the heart of artistic endeavour, as well as the essential solace of companionship - wherever it may be found.
Alex Preston, The Observer and Guardian's 'Ultimate Guide to Autumn Culture'
D J Taylor, Times Literary Supplement
"Beguiling...beautifully written...brilliant. As poignant as it is playful."
Jackie McGlone, The Scottish Herald
Rosemary Breen, Syd Barrett's sister (BBC Radio Cambridgeshire interview)