ASTRAL PIPER Redux 2013
    THE NEW SYD BARRETT APPRECIATION SOCIETY
    (mirrored at http://astral.atagong.com)


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THE PIPER'S PATH (Part 2) - London

We re-commence our tour, arriving in the happenning city of London!

I must start by showing you a photograph of Battersea Power Station. Although not directly linked to the Syd era Floyd, this iconic building serves as a powerful image known to all die-hard Pink Floyd fans. Front cover to the Animals album, Battersea Power Station is Britain's largest red brick building and can be found just south of The Houses of Parliament in Nine Elms. Follow Nine Elms Lane all the way to the end, where it will veer right into Cringle Street. You will be able to find many vantage points and angles to this huge building, Grosvenor Bridge being another. The building is currently undergoing massive re-development which will see it house appartments and shops. This is a real shame as it will probably never have the same desolate awe-inspiring mystique ever again!

And now back to the Syd Barrett Tour...

I would have loved to have shown you photographs of buildings like the Blarney Club at 31 Tottenham Court Road, home of the Legendary UFO Club, but it also has since been re-developed. There were many sites on my list slated to be photographed but sadly most have either been demolished or re-vamped. The Marquee Club, home to the Spontaneous Underground, where it all started for Syd's Pink Floyd, was re-developed and moved in 1988. Only the door can be viewed now in a Hard Rock Cafe, on the Gold Coast in Australia, nailed to the wall! The amount of famous acts who pushed that door open is incredible.

 I would have also liked to have shown you a picture of 2 Earlham Street in Covent Garden, just a few minutes walk from the Leicester Square tube. Syd composed most of his classic Floyd material there, while living a very Bohemian lifestyle with then girlfriend Lindsay Corner during 1966. From there Syd moved to 101 Cromwell Road, where he lived in 1967, but that site too is gone, making way for a new Shopping Centre.

So finally we find a site that still exists and our tour kicks off again!

It was here in 1968, that Syd moved in with Storm Thorgerson at Egerton Court in South Kensington. A distinctive block of flats directly opposite the South Kensington Underground Station exit. It was while living here that Syd was taken back into the studio by Pete Jenner to try and record some new songs. Originally these sessions were aimed at producing some new Pink Floyd work, but after some exhaustive recording only Silas Lang and Lanky were eaked out, which only surfaced on Opel in 1988. It was also whilst living here that Syd suffered a very serious breakdown and promptly returned to Cambridge for some well earned rest and relaxation. The curved facade can still be seen today, and has changed very little since Syd left here in 1968.

After a spell in Cambridge, Syd returned to London in December in 1968, fresh and ready to make a public return to the music world. He took up residence with two other flatmates here at number 29 Wetherby Mansions. One of those flatmates is the now famous artist, Duggie Fields, who still resides there today. In a recent radio interview Duggie asserts, contrary to popular belief, that Barrett very rarely took drugs, but instead became the victim of a publicity feedback loop, where it became impossible to seperate fiction and truth!

Syd's flat is high up in Wetherby Mansions long very impressive building just a few minutes walk from the Earls Court Tube Station. During Winter the tall trees outside have their normally leafy green foliage missing revealing large timber claws that seem to stretch into the sky, giving the building a spooky presence.

 

The entrance to the Flat and Duggie in front of some of his artwork, which has a distinct colourful style widely known in the Elite Art circles, and can only be a Duggie Fields painting.

 

 Also pictured here is one of Duggie's pieces titled "Out On The Town".

The number 29 Flat has had a very illustrious creative life, for it was here that Syd prepared the floorboards with Orange and Turquoise paint in anticipation of the photo shoots involving Storm Thorgerson and Mick Rock. One of these photos taken would become the front cover of Syd's first solo album, The Madcap Laughs.

 

The view from the street, looking up to where Syd resided among the Mansions. Syd painted himself in, but took some time out to re-string or re-tune his Fender Telecaster while the paint dried!

Syd's Eskimo girlfriend at the time, Iggy, poses nude over Syd's contrasty painted floorboards. A stark reminder of how brutally honest and stripped bare, yet intriguingly artistic and poetic some of the songs on the album would be!

The Madcap truly LAUGHS, maybe at the paint he has walked around the bare floorboards with his shoes?

Classy interior of one of the Wetherby Apartments today.

The place where Mick Rock posed Syd for arguably the most dynamic photograph of Syd Barrett ever taken. I believe this shot should have been used for some form of Barrett release, but unfortunately it never was. A stunning photograph in every way!

The grate which Syd stood on, in the ground, can still be seen on the footpath outside.

 

The car also shown in this session, belonged to Syd. Mick really worked wonderfully with Syd on this day, and clearly Syd was happy with Mick and trusted his photographic skill because Syd is seen in several changes of clothing, several poses and several locations in and around the flat. An amazing piece of photographic history for Syd, arguably in his photogenic prime!

When Syd left here, he simply closed his door, leaving all his possessions behind.

Once again seeking solitude and some rest at his sanctuary in Cambridge.

We then travel to the place that was known as EMI Studios in the 60's on Abbey Road in St Johns Wood, not far from Lords Cricket Ground.

Home of many legendary recording sessions with Syd Barrett and his Pink Floyd, sits Abbey Road Studios. It is located at number 3 Abbey Road, not far from the St. Johns Wood Tube Station.

It is then on to South Kensington to visit Syd's final place of abode whilst living in London.

Although in a period of total inactivity, Syd's public attention grew, and tired of callers at his Cambridge doorstep he moved back to London to seek anonymity. Offering him total seclusion, he moved into number 902, the large 2 bedroom apartment on the ninth floor, here at Chelsea Cloisters, off Kings Road in South Kensington.

A number of attempts were made to coax Syd back into the studio, but he clearly wasn't interested anymore. Watching a lot of TV, he spent most of his time alone here, or in the quaint little Marlborough Arms pub which sat just around the corner from his apartment block. It was while living here at Chelsea Cloisters that Syd gave away most of his possessions to strangers, including recordings on tape, amplifiers and guitars.

This was Syd's last address in London, and leaving the music business behind in 1978, he permanently moved back to Cambridge to try and lead a normal life.

 

 




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