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Six go to St Tropez
It is well documented that in the summer of 1965, Syd Barrett and David Gilmour found themselves in St Tropez with four other friends from Cambridge, namely David Altham, Nick Jarvis, Frank Hinsley, and Mick Lambourn-Brown, but what has never been revealed before is the full story of that summer holiday. Mick Lambourn-Brown has now given 'i-spysydincambridge' his version. Why now? Well, he told us that over the years he is upset that so many articles seem to depict the trip as Syd and David G being away with four drug-fuelled mates. "This was definitely not the case!", he says, "and that is why I want to put the record straight.
In early 1965 Pablo Picasso's son Claude came to study English at the Bell School of Languages. He became an ardent follower of Jokers Wild and a good friend to all of us. On leaving Cambridge he insisted that we visit and stay with him in the South of France. His mother's house was in a hillside village called Vallauris which overlooked St Tropez. We decided to go. Nick Jarvis was a dab hand with cars and purchased a 1955 SWB LandRover which he made as good as new. We left Cambridge with the canvas rolled back so that we could all fit in alongside tents, sleeping bags, backpacks and, of course guitars. David G had left a day or two earlier to hitch alone down to St Tropez and meet us later at the Camping de la Foux campsite. All six of us were definitely together in St Tropez and throughout the rest of the trip.
Claude had arranged to meet us in a certain bar on the St Tropez seafront. We waited and waited, but no Claude! We had left the UK with only about £50 each and so we decided to begin our long-term plan which was to busk. Within a few minutes we had a crowd of over 100. Syd and the two Davids played all the latest Beatles numbers while Frank, Nick, and myself sang and collected money. After only 20 minutes the crowd had risen to over 300. But then after 30 minutes the Gendarmes arrived. Frank and myself were arrested while the other four did a runner! Two hours on and Claude came to our rescue. [ David G tells us he does remember being questioned with Syd at some point in St Tropez police station, however. ]
We then went back to Claude's mother's home in Vallauris - it was wonderful - a huge farm house with a massive kitchen and a dining table which could seat about 20 or more people. The staff prepared a wonderful meal for us with excellent local wine, and all around us were pin boards with plenty of the Master's doodles and sketches. Probably worth thousands of pounds nowadays.
The Picasso name opened so many doors for us all along the south coast and so it really was party time! Syd and David G were fantastic front men with the boys playing all the latest popular songs and the French just couldn't get enough, particularly the girls who just flocked to us - it was just heaven! But a few weeks later the party was over. Claude's father had told him to get a flight to Italy for a family reunion and so we were back on the road and back living in tents.
It was time to start the homeward trip back to dear old Blighty. We busked north all along the coast in clubs and bars and then across to Paris where we found a campsite on the outskirts. We used to drive into the Left Bank most days and busk. After a week or so and the money running dry we decided to head on home back to Cambridge. What was going to be a 2-3 week affair had turned into around 8 weeks or so. And as for the myth that we were all on drugs - that's what it is - a myth! We drank wine and beer. I can't speak for the others but I did smoke a little 'grass' on the trip and it was good! Sadly there are no photographs - nobody took a camera and it would have been so uncool to walk about with a f--king Brownie 127 strung around your neck."
The Mill Pond circa 1964
The writer of the story, Mick Lambourn-Brown can be seen standing in the middle - facing.
David Gilmour, camera shy on the day, is sitting on the right covering his face.