A troubled, yet immensely talented, Syd Barrett left Pink Floyd in 1968, after spiralling into depression, bouts of catatonia, hallucinations, mood swings and becoming socially withdrawn. Though known for his work with the iconic band, he released two solo albums before his departure from music and public life altogether.
According to his friends, he’d written his grimly joyful Effervescing Elephant when he was 16, though he didn’t record it until his 1970 album Barrett. His childish innocence, precluding his later struggle with depression, and an affliction for dark humour, is evident from the song, which is a pastiche from Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales for Children, as well as an overt inspiration for Pink Floyd’s track Matilda Mother from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967).
Nearly half a century later, director Yoann Hervo has brought to life Barrett’s macabre song with retro, 1960s style animations (video above).
Belloc had an explicit influence on Barrett, especially with the first three rhymes from Cautionary Tales. In fact, the imagery of the hungry tiger and the big fat elephant seems directly lifted from Jim Who Ran Away from his Nurse and was Eaten by a Lion, while the theme and general flavour of the song is rooted in Matilda who told lies and was burned to death.
Steve Bobinski, too, made an animation for the video, which you can watch below.