In late 1967, Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett journeyed to the Black Mountains in Wales to take acid. And while it's fair to say that Syd never really came back from the trip, one of those who went along for the ride – Prince Stanislas Klossowski de Rola – has recently become a sensation telling such stories on TikTok,
For Prince Stash – as he's better known – this isn't his first taste of the limelight. Born into nobility, he was a friend of The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Love and Paul Simon, dated a trio of sixties' icons (Marianne Faithful, Nico and Anita Pallenberg), and turned down the opportunity to audition for The Monkees. Of all of people in swinging London, Stash might just have been the swingiest. And now, at the age of 81, he's got 133,000 followers on TikTok.
Stash's followers tune in to marvel at his antiques (his most popular video, in which he shows off a collection of ancient knives, has been watched more than two million times), and to listen to his stories of the musicians he knew. He shows photos of the Beatles and the Stones no one has ever seen. And he tells that fateful Syd Barrett story.
"I was with him when he went to the other side,” Stash tells The Guardian, from his castle in Italy. “We were on acid together – it’s a weird story. It was really a magical thing. He fell into a psychedelic crack. Believe me, other dimensions can open up."
"It is hard to condense that entire stay in Black Mountains, including those fateful events in a few necessarily glib sentences," he told Ugly Things magazine in 2011. "Having heard that Syd has never recovered and what had ensued, I had concluded that the only possible way to turn back the clock was to go back to that dimension and liberate him."
Stash may not have been able to rescue Syd, but he's still able to tell the stories, albeit with a degree of bafflement at their popularity.
"Have you seen the latest numbers? It’s absurd!" he says. "It all came much to my absolute amazement. It’s not my generation, and it’s not what I do. This absolute obsession with the phone is a very modern disease of our time. Mercifully, most of my life it was not something one did. I’ve never felt compelled to subscribe to it."