« February 2009 | Main | December 2008 »

2009-01-02

Eskimono

Set the Controls For The heart Of The Sun by Anthony Stern To all followers of the cult of Iggy: a happy new year!

The Church received a nice mail from Anthony Stern last week:

I see that you have continued to update your website and that the cult of Iggy is snowballing. Although my Iggy photos were shown on City Wakes website nobody was interested in buying the framed prints.

If you are still looking for a belated Xmas present: Anthony’s Iggy pictures are on sale, signed, numbered and framed: £225 for the Triptychs, individual pictures for £175 (plus postage). For more info please contact Anthony Stern Glass. (The Church is not affiliated with or endorsed by this company.)

Another message came from Mark Blake, author of the Pink Floyd biography Pigs Might Fly:

Good luck with the Iggy hunt. I spoke to Ant Stern and Jeff Dexter again last week. They're no nearer to finding her than they were before. I think it's funny that nobody even knew her real name.

For that matter we don’t even know if she was Eskimaux or not.

My good old encyclopaedia Brittanica divides the people that we commonly describe as Eskimo in two categories: Eurasian and Western Arctic people. The Western Arctic people are the Eskimo (including Inuit and Yupiit) and the Aleuts who originate from North America, Greenland and part of Siberia. Amongst the Eurasian arctic people are the Sami (or Lapps) from northern Fennoscandia and several other cultures dispersed over the Ural Mountains and Siberia.

According to the Narwhal Inuit Art Education Foundation there are no Inuit currently living in England (confirmed to the Church by mail). Is it more logical to believe that Iggy’s roots originate from Europe rather than America or Siberia? In that case Iggy, the Eskimo really had to be nicknamed Iggy, the Lapp by her contemporaries.

Translating these into politically correct terms The Church of Iggy the Inuit really had to be baptised The Holy Church of Iggy the Sami to begin with.

As Mark Blake stated above, we don’t know if Iggy was her real name. Iggy could be an alias or perhaps an anglisized version of a foreign name.

If she has Sami roots her name could be Ing, originally meaning progenitor, ancestor, leader – which of course she is for the Church – Ingegerd or one of the many variants such as Inge, Ingine, Yngva, Ingar, Iŋgir… The more popular Ingrid also has its roots in the Nordic countries and this could have easily been shortened to Iggy by her relatives or friends.

Greenland The problem is that not a lot of Sami people have the so-called Inuit look Iggy is famous for. There is however a part of Europe (although geographically it belongs to North America) that was originally populated by Inuit people and was later on colonised by Iceland, Norway and Denmark. The Church is of course referring to Greenland.

The Inuit are believed to have crossed from North America to northwest Greenland, the world's largest island, between 4000 B.C. and A.D. 1000. Greenland was colonized in 985–986 by Eric the Red. The Norse settlements declined in the 14th century, however, mainly as a result of a cooling in Greenland's climate, and in the 15th century they became extinct. In 1721, Greenland was recolonized by the Royal Greenland Trading Company of Denmark. (taken from Infoplease)

In November of last year 3 out of 4 Greenlandic voted yes on a referendum that could eventually lead to the complete independence of the country. About 88% of the Greenland population has Inuit(-mixed) roots. The following link shows a (slow-loading) picture of premier Hans Enoksen voting for Self-Governance in Greenland with 5 year old Pipaluk Petersen (added here to show the Inuit characteristics).

So Iggy’s ancestors could have come from Greenland.

Well perhaps... at least one other Iggy enthusiast believes she is not Inuit at all, but (partly) Japanese, probably belonging to the Ainu people of Hokkaidō (who had their own language and were maybe the first settlers on America). Iggy could then be a nickname for Igumi.

And aside from that there might be a very slim chance that Iggy hides behind the Philippine Maria Ignacia as another author from a Floydian biography has whispered in the Church's confessional box.


Feel free to add your own comments, theories and rumours at the brand new Iggy forum.
Posted by Felix Atagong at 4:50 PM CET
Edited on: 2009-12-29 11:18 PM CET
Categories: Bio-Bits

2009-01-16

Chimera Arts (2)

Sadia Sadia Thanks to a Syd Barrett acquaintance the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit has got a first hand testimony about Iggy that, although the facts date from over 40 years ago, contains some very interesting new titbits and an anecdote contradicting most Syd biographies. But that is for later as the article is still in the make… but do visit this place from time to time or check its rss feed.

The producer and editor of the Iggy Eskimo Girl movie, Sadia Sadia let the Church know that a DVD release of the movie is not foreseen for the near future:

The film is quite new and we would hope that it would continue to do the rounds of film festivals before becoming more widely available.
It will also shortly be submitted to the British Council for inclusion in their UK film archives. At that point the film may become available through the British Council but we are still in very early stage discussions with them.

"Chimera Arts wish not to release this material for the time being and prefer not to see it appear in the public domain.", thus the official statement goes.

The Church understands this position but keeps on praying that one day the Iggy movie vaults will be opened and that this relic will be revealed to its true believers.

It is now time to disclose one of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit prophesies that recently came to the Reverend in a vision; alas it is no prognostication of the future, but one of the past…

About 15 years ago the founder of this Church, Reverend Felix Atagong, and his en-route companion drove for hours through pastures and fields to attend a mini-moving-picture-festival promising to show at least 3 different movies by Anthony Stern (and Peter Whitehead). One of them movies was going to be San Francisco, featuring an unreleased track of a band called Pink Floyd. Although he led a life of alcohol, drugs and women abuse the Reverend remembers it very well because his first thought had been: "What the fuck Pink Floyd has go to do with San Francisco?"

Anyway, they drove and drove and drove... Arrived at a hippie den where, at the bar, 3 very smelly people were staring into empty beer glasses. The Reverend and his missus had a beer, then another one, and one again, and when the time was there for the first movie to start he asked the bartender when the first movie was going to start. Thus he spoke: "Bartender, when the first movie is going to start?"

"The movie festival has been cancelled.", replied the bartender, "For lack of interest."

It appeared that Reverend Felix (and his LA-girl) were the only two people in Belgium who had showed up. The 3 smelly guys guys at the bar just happened to be the 3 smelly guys guys at the bar who happened to be always there. The reverend and his spouse had another beer and drove back home.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, this story is true. The Reverend still wonders if (parts of) the Iggy Eskimo Girl movie were scheduled at the festival, if…
...if only…
...if…
...and thus the seeds of the true Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit were sown...

An image gallery with stills of the movie can be found at the gallery.

Note: Anthony Stern's San Francisco movie can be found on Youtube. Part 1. Part 2.


Feel free to add your own comments, theories and rumours at the brand new Iggy forum.
Posted by Felix Atagong at 1:57 PM CET
Edited on: 2009-12-29 11:16 PM CET
Categories: Chimera-Arts

2009-01-24

When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)

Hello, I would like to try and clarify a couple of things about Ig.
She was a girlfriend of mine.

Iggy by Mick Rock The above message reached the Reverend a couple of weeks ago. It was written by JenS, a Cambridge friend of Roger Keith Barrett. She is the one who introduced Iggy to the Pink Floyd founder exactly 40 years ago.

What follows is her rendition, as told exclusively to The Church of Iggy the Inuit, and now published for the first time. Her rememberings are only slightly edited here and there and re-arranged a bit per subject. Some explanatory notes have been added.

Meeting Iggy

I first met Ig in the summer of 1966. I saw her again in spring 1967 at Biba. She admired a dress I was wearing and invited me to a party that night. From then on we used to go clubbing. She was a lovely, sweet, funny girl and was always on the scene at gigs and events.

Biba, where Iggy first met JenS, was without doubt the single most important boutique of London. The shop features in the IN Gear documentary that also has Iggy.

The first really important customer to favour Biba was Cathy McGowan, the Ready Steady Go! presenter who (…) quickly made a new Biba dress a staple of her weekly wardrobe for the show.

This meant that every Saturday morning ‘teenage girls from all over the London area would race over to Abingdon Road and the piles of new, inexpensive clothes that awaited them’.

Ig was not known as Iggy the Eskimo.
She was simply Ig or Iggy and probably picked up the nickname along the way at school or something. I think she was a Londoner.
She was quite a lot older than us and had been around a while on the London Club scene. She invited me once to a party with Dusty Springfield and crew. Later she started hanging out at Granny’s (Granny Takes A Trip, FA) and turning up at UFO.

One important player in Dusty Springfield’s crew was Vicki Heather Wickman, who managed Dusty and co-wrote You don’t have to say you love me that became a number one hit in 1966. Vicky had been a booker-writer-editor-producer of the weekly Ready Steady Go! shows for many years. Dusty Springfield herself had been a (part-time) presenter of the RSG!-show and that is probably where she met her future manager (Update: not true - they knew each other from 1962 and even shared a flat together, see also From Dusty till Dawn).

Wickham and her team ‘scoured the trendiest clubs looking for good dancers and stylish dressers to showcase’. The Church has a hunch feeling that Iggy may have been – during a certain period at least – a regular at the RSG! Show, especially as she was spotted, in November 1966, at an RSG!-party by New Musical Express (cfr. article: Bend It!).

It will be a ginormous work but the Church is planning to scrutinise several Ready Steady Go! tapes from that period to see if Iggy can be found in the public or amongst the dancers.

Iggy’s Parents

After our hypothesis that Iggy was probably not Inuit (cfr. article: Eskimono), the Church received several mails trying to string Iggy’s features to a certain culture. One of the countries that keep on popping up is Singapore that was a British colony between 1824 and 1959. Here is what JenS has to say about Iggy's heritage:

I have no idea about who her parents were. She was a war baby and may have been Chinese. There was a large Chinese community in London at the time. Of course Ig the Eskimo is an easy assumption to make. Anyway, I don't think I can help any further as I never discussed it with her.

Meeting Syd

Iggy became a Floydian icon when she posed on Syd Barrett's first solo album The Madcap Laughs, but most witnesses only describe her as one of Syd's two-week-girlfriends. JenS acknowledges this:

I took Ig to Wetherby Mansions in January or February 1969 where she met Syd Barrett. He was 22 and she must have been about 24, 25 years old.
The point is she was never Syd's girlfriend as in a ‘relationship’ with him. She was only at Wetherby Mansons very briefly, a matter of two or three weeks max.
I've not seen her since but often wondered where she is.

Syd’s Appartement

Syd painted the floor of his flat in blue and orange before The Madcap Laughs photo shoot, but did he do that especially for the photo shoot?

I was staying with Syd between the New Year and March '69. I hadn’t seen much of him since the summer of 1968 'til then.
Anyway, at that time, the floor was already painted blue and orange and I remember thinking how good it looked on the Madcap album cover later on when the album was released. I didn’t see Syd again though until 1971, so it stands to reason the floor was already done when I left.

Mick Rock wrote: "Soon after Syd moved in he painted alternating floor boards orange and turquoise." This doesn’t imply that it was especially done for the photo session.

In an interview for the BBC Omnibus documentary Crazy Diamond (November 2001) painter Duggie Fields said that Syd painted the floor soon after he occupied the flat, not that it was done on purpose for the photo shoot.

The Madcap Laughs Photo Shoot  

It has been assumed by Mick Rock that The Madcap Laughs photo shoot was held in the autumn of 1969 (cfr. article: Love In The Woods (Pt. 2))

The floor (of Syd’s flat) was not painted prior to, or especially for, the Madcap photo shoot, which took place in March or April of 1969 and not October as has been suggested.
I left for the States in March 1969 and Iggy stayed on at the flat with Syd and Duggie (Fields) and there seemed to be other dropouts around from time to time.
Ig happened to be there still when the shoot came about, which was great because we have such a good record of her.

and:

I introduced Iggy to Syd shortly before I left, and she was around when I left. She wasn’t there for long and generally moved around a lot to different friends. It’s very doubtful she was still there in October or November 1969. She just happened to be there for Mick’s photo shoot, which is great because she was lovely girl.

This is apparently in contradiction with Malcolm Jones who wrote in The Making Of The Madcap Laughs:

One day in October or November I had cause to drop in at Syd's flat on my way home to leave him a tape of the album, and what I saw gave me quite a start. In anticipation of the photographic session for the sleeve, Syd had painted the bare floorboards of his room orange and purple.

JenS further comments:

I remember reading this once before and being puzzled. It would seem he’s talking about 1969. But which tape was he leaving? The 1968 sessions or the recuts (from 1969, FA)? It would seem he’s talking about the recut. It’s a bit confusing especially to me as the floor was painted, definitely before Christmas 1968.
The Madcap Laughs photo session had to be in the spring of 1969, probably it occurred the first week in March. Storm and Mick say they can only come up with the dates of August, or even October, November. This may have been when they came together to look at the shots for the cover, in other words when it was known the album would definitely be released and decisions on the cover had to be made.

Part 2 of JenS's chronicle will further delve into the legendary Madcap Laughs photo sessions, pinpointing the date somewhere in April 1969.

Sources (other than above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 141.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 13.
Levy, Shawn: Ready Steady Go!, Broadway Books, New York, 2003, p. 112, p.194-195.
Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 23, p. 58.

Our thanks go to Barrett alumni Stumbling... (aka BS) and Lost In The Woods (aka JP) from the Syd Barrett Research Society who made this encounter possible... and to JenS for her invaluable testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969.


Feel free to add your own comments, theories and rumours at the brand new Iggy forum.
Posted by Felix Atagong at 6:16 PM CET
Edited on: 2010-07-31 12:11 PM CEST
Categories: JenS

2009-01-30

When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2)

Hello, I would like to try and clarify a couple of things about Ig.
She was a girlfriend of mine.

Daffodils In January or early February 1969, a mutual friend introduced Iggy to Syd Barrett, the rock star who had left Pink Floyd. To celebrate the fortieth birthday of this event The Holy Church of Inuit brings you an exclusive rendition of what happened, as told by JenS, who knew Barrett in his Cambridge and London days.

In the first part of this article When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1), JenS recollected how she met Iggy and how she introduced the girl to Syd. In the second part she reconstructs the photo shoot from The Madcap Laughs, Barrett’s first solo album.

Introduction

1. It is generally believed that The Madcap Laughs photo sessions, by Storm Thorgerson and/or Mick Rock, took place in the autumn of 1969, a couple of weeks after the album was cut and a short time before it hit the shelves of the record stores (see Stormy Pictures).

2. It is generally believed that Iggy has only been living in Syd’s apartment for two or three weeks maximum, during which the famous photo sessions took place, before disappearing completely from the scene. In our previous article JenS situates this in February or March 1969.

The problem is that there is at least a six months gap between both dates. JenS however has some strong points favouring her theory.

Daffodils and Pontiacs

Storm Thorgerson probably shot the cover of The Madcap Laughs early in the year because, according to JenS:

If you look at the vase of flowers next to Syd, they are daffodils. We get those in March.

Although a valid argument it is not really tight-fitting, but JenS continues:

The car shots (in Mick Rock’s book Psychedelic Renegades, FA) show there are no leaves on the trees.
If this were London, October or November, there would be leaves on the ground.

Mick Rock’s photo book has got quite a lot of pictures with Syd (and Iggy) leaning against a neglected Pontiac, property of Syd.

The car was there at New Year, (Syd didn’t drive it) and it was there when I left in March, with a borough sticker on it, the remains of which show on the windscreen in the photo. If Storm and Mick are saying October or November, was the car there all that time? I don’t know who would know that.

The previous comment may be completely understandable for Syd Barrett anoraks, but needs some extra explanation for the casual visitor of the Church who doesn’t know the fabulous story of Syd’s car.

Tic tac Pontiac

Pink Pontiac? Perhaps if one looks close enough... Painter Duggie Fields recalls:

The car too has it’s own mythology. Later on I identified it as the car used in the film of Joe Orton’s Loot (not exact, FA), but I first saw it at Alice Pollock and Ossie Clark’s New Year’s Eve party at the Albert Hall ­ a memorable event itself where both Amanda Lear and Yes (separately) took to the stage for the first time. (Taken from: Duggie Fields)

Ossie Clark, once described as an ‘enigmatic, bisexual gadabout’, textile designer (and wife) Celia Birtwell and Alice Pollock had a boutique called Quorum. It was a haute couture heaven for the Swinging Elite, dressing people like Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Patti Boyd, Marian Faithfull, Jimi Hendrix, the Jaggers and The Pink Floyd. His clothes were a reflection of the past but with the advantages of the new (one of his creations had discreet pockets ‘to put joints in’). In 1965 Clark was the pioneer of the flower power look and two years later nearly all of the 2000 boutiques in London would be copying his style. Clark’s haute couture empire crashed in the seventies; in 1996 he was murdered by his partner.

Mickey Finn, from T. Rex fame, won the Pontiac Parisienne at the Royal Albert Hall raffle (New Year 1969). He took possession of it but became paranoid at the unwanted attention it attracted to himself and his fellow passengers. One day he met Syd and they simply swapped cars (Syd had a mini).

But Syd never drove it, so it stayed parked outside the house for a couple of months. A wheel soon went missing and the car accumulated dust, parking tickets and legal notices. In Mick Rock’s photo book one can see that a neighbour wrote a plea in the dust of the trunk to have the car removed. Syd's solution was simple as bonjour: he gave the car away to a stranger. It was seen being driven around South Kensington soon after.

A couple of months after Syd (and before him, Mickey Finn) got the car it was used in the 1970 British movie Entertaining Mr Sloane (not Loot). The car, with its cream red and silver interior, is featured prominently throughout the movie. The flick is not great but the pink Pontiac gives a shiny performance.
Update December 2009: the above paragraph has been altered as Syd gave the car away before the movie was made and not, as is generally believed, the other way round. For more details: please check Anoraks and Pontiacs.

This leaves us with another enigma. The car in the movie is pink, but was midnight blue when Mick Rock photographed Syd with it. Although Mick Rock seems to remember: "Syd’s car was a conspicuously bright pink Pontiac Parisienne convertible" several colour pictures, probably taken by Storm Thorgerson on the same day, testify against this. JenS adds:

Syd's Pontiac was blue, midnight blue as you say. I have no idea if it was pink before that. I've only heard it was Mickey's and pink from things I've read. I cannot imagine Syd having it resprayed or painting it.

It remains a mystery when and why the kameleon car changed its colours (twice), but if one looks very close at the picture above, there appears to be a trace of 'brownish' paint under the right front light. Could this have been its original colour?

Car Sticker  

Mick Rock has taken a picture of Syd sitting on the hood of his car. A police label can be seen glued to the windshield. JenS:

Look at the date of the police sticker on Syd’s car. It seems to be April 1969. It occurred to me that the little twigs on the ground would come with the March winds, as this was the time of clear-cut seasons. They are very distinctive.

Label on Syd's car: This is dangerous litter Unfortunately not all can be read, part of the sticker disappears in the inner fold of the book and the smaller letters dissolve with the background. The following is easily distinguishable:

DANGER KEEP OFF
(unreadable)
THIS IS
DANGEROUS LITTER
AND WILL BE REMOVED & DISPOSED OF
SEVEN DAYS HENCE
Dated the ___ day of ___ 196_
Registration No. ___
(if any) ___ F.H. CLINCH,
BOROUGH (unreadable) AND SURVEYOR

The date is more difficult to decipher, but after some tweaking it appears to be the 14th of April 1969. If the British police was as effective in 1969 as it is now it definitely pins The Madcap Laughs photo shoot date between the 14th and 21st of April 1969 and not autumn as has been said before.

The legend goes that Syd Barrett gave the car way to an admirer who happened to like it. It is improbable to assume that the wreck stayed on the street for six months without any police intervention.

Next week will have the final instalment of our series of JenS's memoirs.

Notes (other than internet links mentioned above)
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 141.
Green, Jonathon: All Dressed Up, Pimlico, London, 1999, p. 79-80.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 13.
Levy, Shawn: Ready Steady Go!, Broadway Books, New York, 2003, p. 112, p.193-195.
Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 23, p. 58.

The Church wishes to thank:
Dark Globe, Sean Beaver (who watched Loot just to make sure if the Pontiac figured in it or not), Bea Day, Julianindica and all the others who contributed to the discussion at Late Night: The tale of Syd's car - the movie star...
JenS for her invaluable testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969.


Feel free to add your own comments, theories and rumours at the brand new Iggy forum.
Posted by Felix Atagong at 3:00 PM CET
Edited on: 2010-03-12 11:47 PM CET
Categories: JenS