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Goofer Dust [(I've got my) Mojo (working)... Part 2]

Mojo March 2010 (This is part two of our Mojo magazine review, for part one, click here).

As if the world has suddenly been hit by a temporal rift in spacetime the March 2010 issue of Mojo music magazine has inundated the stores bearing a big (slightly photoshopped) portrait of a mister Syd Barrett. The well-written and rather accurate cover article, by Pat Gilbert, ranges from page 70 to 81 and tells the story of The Madcap Laughs, Syd Barrett’s first solo album.

Two other articles are of particular interest to the Church as they describe the mythical presence of a ‘girl whose naked body graced the back cover of The Madcap Laughs’.

Last week we discussed the Who’s That Girl article written by Mark Blake, and this week the Church will scrutinize Paul Drummond’s In My Room (Mojo 196, p. 82 - 84). Out of courtesy (and for copyright reasons) the Reverend has decided not to publish the articles as long as the magazine is for sale in the shops. Update: the complete Mojo article can now be read and downloaded as a pdf file at the Official Syd Barrett Website. Direct link to the article: Mojo March 2010.

The article, about The Madcap Laughs photo sessions, has interviews with Duggie Fields, Mick Rock and - so it seems - Jenny Spires. But although she was interviewed by email for the main article by Pat Gilbert, she has told the Church she wasn’t really questioned about Ig.

I guessed, when I saw it, they must have looked at your site (re Daffodils and photo shoot etc…), as I was not asked about this or about Iggy. (JenS, 10th of February 2010)

The Reverend could do no other thing than to summon the Holy Igquisition to stick in a few comments as the In The Room article clearly breathes the holy air of the Church but neglects to mention its existence in its columns.

Ig and Jenny Spires meeting each other for the first time

Mojo 196 reports:

Jenny Spires first met Iggy in January 1969 and introduced her to Syd and he let her stay. (p. 83)

The Holy Igquisition wants to set this straight:
According to the Church’s archives JenS first met Ig in summer 1966 (cfr. When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)). The year thereafter (1967) they met again and from then one they went on clubbing together. This has once again been confirmed by Jens this week:

I was surprised they had mistakenly printed that I met her in 1969. This annoys me really because of its inaccuracy.

The date of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot  

Mojo 196 reports:

Iggy’s involvement appears to date the shoot as spring ’69 as she was long gone by autumn. (p. 83)

The Holy Igquisition wants to set straight:
JenS has situated the photo shoot in spring 1969 (March or April) (cfr. When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)).
Further investigations by the Church have pinpointed a possible date in April 1969 (cfr. When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2)).


Mojo 196 reports:

It’s more likely Syd picked them (the daffodils found on the cover of the album) while in the park with Iggy, as captured on Super-8 film. (p.83)

The Holy Igquisition wants to set straight:
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit has discussed the lost In The Woods movie at great extent (cfr. Anoraks and Pontiacs). However the theory that the Lost in The Woods video was shot before the photo shoot is new and quite intriguing. However the idea that Iggy, Mick and Syd picked the daffodils is, according to JenS, quite silly.


Mojo 196 writes:

When the photo shoot was over, Rock continued outside using Syd’s blue Pontiac Parisienne as a prop. (…) The life of this inanimate object (registration: VYP74) helps confirm that the shoot wasn’t in the autumn. (p. 84)

The Holy Igquisition wans to set straight:
The story of Syd Barrett’s car has been the object of different posts at the Church (cfr. When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2)), but the initial quest for the car was done at the Late Night forum by Dark Globe, Sean Beaver and others… they found out that the car appeared in the movie Entertaining Mr. Sloane. Unlike Mojo magazine, the Church does like to give credit to the people who deserve it.

The Holy Igquisition concludes:

It is clear that Mojo magazine has extensively browsed through the pages of the Holy Church of Inuit but has somehow forgotten to mention this in its articles. The Holy Igquisition has therefore sent the following objurgation at Mojo:

It was nice to see that the many theories of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit have been reproduced in The Madcap Laughs photo shoot article, albeit without mentioning where these originally came from.

However the Holy Igquisiton knows that any true believer will find the Church, so every Iggy publication will be beneficiary in the end. Ig’s story as published in the March issue of Mojo may be the butterfly effect that will cause the storm at the other side of the world. So perhaps, thanks to Mojo, the Church will be one day able to fulfil its quest.

Rather than to start an endless polemical discussion the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit would like to end this post with Duggie Fields’s magnificent description of our skyclad sistren (p. 82):

I remember being at a 31 bus stop and seeing her coming down the stairs very elegantly in this gold lame 1940s dress that had bell sleeves that buttoned to a train but with no underwear and completely exposed…
Not a care in the world.

Lo and behold brethren and sistren, and don't do anything that Ig wouldn't have done.

Posted by Felix Atagong at 2:05 PM CET
Edited on: 2010-02-28 12:37 AM CET
Categories: Bio-Bits, JenS


World Exclusive: Ig has been found!

Iggy Pop Yesterday (5th of February 2010) Mark Blake (Pigs Might Fly, Mojo Magazine) messaged the Reverend with the following cryptic message:

We've received a very interesting letter about the elusive Iggy.
Wanted you to be the first to know!
More news to follow.

Of course the Church immediately contacted the journalist and this is what the Church is allowed to disclose today:

An old acquaintance of Iggy's emailed (Mojo magazine) and shared some info.
She is alive and well and living in southern England.
She has chosen to remain anonymous all these years.

More information will probably be published in the next issue(s) of Mojo and, of course, the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

(Many thanks to Mark Blake who we are eternally thankful for breaking the news to the Church.)

Posted by Felix Atagong at 6:58 PM CET
Edited on: 2010-02-09 9:51 PM CET
Categories: Bio-Bits


Iggy’s first interview in 40 years

Iggy by Anthony Stern Last week The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit published the incredible news that Ig had been traced back. This was a world exclusive as no other news medium had reported this before.

The news that Ig had been found was, unfortunately, also all there was to say. Although discreet investigations were done it was soon made clear that Ig wanted to stay anonymous and that she didn’t want to blow her cover. A short interview was out of the question, even for Mojo magazine and Mark Blake who triggered these latest events.

The Reverend is by all means not a souvenir collector who wanted to ring at her bell like all those true fans used to do at Syd Barrett’s door and her wish to be left in peace was immediately and unconditionally granted.

In September 2008 The Croydon Guardian published an article about Iggy after the Church had contacted the newspaper to get more information about The Orchid dancehall in Purley: Where did she go? This article unearthed some unpublished pictures by Anthony Stern that were later shown at The City Wakes festival in Cambridge and was also mentioned in the March issue of Mojo.

Kirsty Whalley, the journalist who brought us the first Iggy article in The Croydon Guardian, has now managed to interview Iggy, an interview that can be found in today’s issue of this newspaper.

When Mick turned up to take the photos I helped paint the floor boards for the shoot, I was covered in paint, I still remember the smell of it.

The Church will not publish the entire interview in its columns - for at least a week - as it can be consulted at the following websites:
Croydon Guardian Tracks Down Elusive Rock Star Muse (The Croydon Guardian)
Croydon Guardian Tracks Down Elusive Rock Star Muse (This Local London)

In the next weeks however the Church will scrutinize the interview, and comments will be added where appropriate. For the moment all we wish to say is hip hip hurray to Kirsty Whalley!

Posted by Felix Atagong at 11:34 AM CET
Edited on: 2010-02-13 12:40 PM CET
Categories: Bio-Bits, Rock-Mick


Gretta Speaks

Margaretta (Gretta) B. In the interview that Ig - or should we say Evelyn? - gave after nearly 40 years of silence in The Croydon Guardian she remembers how she helped Syd to paint the floorboards that would give an extra psychedelic feel to The Madcap Laughs cover picture.

When Mick turned up to take the photos I helped paint the floor boards for the shoot, I was covered in paint, I still remember the smell of it.

But Ig, as we will keep on calling her, isn’t the only one remembering. Also present were Rusty and Margaretta, better known as Gretta:

I remember that Iggy was involved with the floor painting project and that she had paint all over her during the floor painting time but I was not involved with the painting of the floor.

Several biographies, including Julian Palacios’s Lost In The Woods (p.241), Tim Willis’s Madcap (p.106) and Mark Blake’s Pigs Might Fly (p. 141) describe Greta (sic) and her companion Rusty as homeless ‘speed freaks’. This description almost certainly comes from painter Duggie Fields who shared the flat with Syd and who wasn’t very amused with the many people Syd invited to say the least.

Julian Palacios remembers Duggie Fields from an interview he did in 1996: "He was so cool. Reserved and wary at first, then about halfway through he became super raconteur" (email to FA, 10 February 2010). This lead to the following paragraph in the Lost In The Woods biography:

Duggie Fields recalls a steady stream of visitors, ‘some visitors were parasites and some were confused in their drug use, not even abusing drugs’. (...)
‘Rusty and Greta were homeless when they came to stay here,’ explains Fields. ‘Greta became good friends with Jenny Spires, and came into Syd’s life from that connection. They were in my life to a degree but I didn’t want them around. (…) They probably brought stimulants for Syd and he took them.’

Now, for the first time in over 40 years Margaretta Barclay has decided to share her memories with the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit as well. But lets starts by setting the record straight:

Your blog relating to Syd Barrett mentions that Rusty and I were drug addicted. This is most certainly not true and an old friend of ours - Jenny Spires has made that fact known to you.
My sister Catriona (Trina) and I met Jenny Spires during the mid 1960’s at a London grooming school. Jenny introduced my sister and I to Syd at 101 Cromwell Rd and at Edgerton Court. Rusty was not with us at that time.

In her interviews with the Church, early 2009, JenS vehemently denied the ‘speed freaks’ rumours: "Rusty and Gretta were not drug-addicted. They never were.” (cfr. When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 3) and Addenda and Errata with Gala and Gretta)

Gretta further explains:

Rusty and I were not in the ‘steady stream of visitors’. In 1970 we were in Suffolk at the beginning of that year and Devon for the remainder of it. Not in London. We were not homeless either. Rusty and I left London for various reasons but primarily because I was expecting my first child.
Syd was a very dear friend of ours and we did a considerable amount together in the 60's. Contrary to what I have read, we did not provide Syd with drugs.

It was of course 40 years ago when Barrett recorded The Madcap Laughs and memories may have played tricks on people. A famous example is the Mick Rock statement that Syd Barrett's car was bright pink while the pictures taken by him on that day show that the car was actually dark blue. On the DVD The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story Duggie Fields remembers how Syd painted the floor boards of his flat.

Direct link: Duggie Fields (mp3)

Although the story is rather funny we now know that the actual truth may have been somewhat different. Similar Syd Barrett myths or legends have been created (and repeated in books and magazines) that way throughout the years without veryfying. Margaretta continues:

Without wishing to be vindictive where Duggie Fields and his interviews are concerned, surely, in order to obtain a balanced view of Syd’s chosen circle of friends, it would be sensible to back up assumptions with fact.
Syd was a highly sensitive, almost delicate person, who was well aware of his constitution where drugs were concerned and perfectly capable of not being cajoled in to anything he did not want to do. To my knowledge, he did not take vast quantities of drugs.
He enjoyed our company and invited us to stay at Wetherby Mansions where we shared good times together. Iggy was around at that time too and I remember her helping to paint the room in question. Dominique A., a French friend of ours, was also close to Syd at this time. Jenny, Catriona and I lived with her in Chelsea for a time.

According to Margaretta the legends surrounding Syd Barrett contain many errors and “if they relate to my sister Catriona, Rusty and me, it is my duty to ensure that they are not perpetuated”.

It is convenient to point a finger at others in order to explain Syd’s behavioural patterns. Syd behaved in his inimitable way long before he met us.
Duggie did not socialise with us as a group – and his conclusion that I indulged in such a way - and on my own, is erroneous.
From our point of view Syd was a vulnerable person, we cared for him and our aim was to encourage him to be creative, to write and play his guitar. After all, Rusty only wanted to write and play music with Syd - to give him drugs was not on our agenda; Syd - was ‘far out’ enough without them.

The Reverend was of course anxious to know what kind of music Rusty and Syd played together:

Rusty and Syd played Syd’s songs and variations on them ’Oh baby my hairs on end about you’, ‘Octopus’ etc…, as well as songs they created together and basic blues.

Syd Barrett with Gretta sitting right from him.

In 1969 we went to Isle of Wight Festival together and at one point, in an effort to encourage Syd to play his guitar, we took him to stay with a musician friend of ours in Wales. Gala may remember the journey.

There have indeed been rumours of Syd Barrett visiting the Isle of Wight festival before and a (much discussed) picture of this event does exist. Margaretta is formal that the photograph is genuine:

The Isle of Wight picture is definitely of Syd with me beside him. (She is the woman at his left side, FA.)

Back to Rusty and Gretta. Hoping that the visit would inspire and encourage Syd to return to the musical ‘land of the living’ they took him to a ‘brilliant musician’ who lived in Solva, Haverfordwest, Dyfed.

(Update: The next paragraph is totally wrong as the musician in question was Meic Stevens, not Mike Stevens. But as Mike Stevens's family was so kind to contact the Church and as his music is really groovy, the Reverend has decided not to delete it.)

It is believed that this musician was Mike Stevens from the Welsh band The Shevells (aka The Welsh Conquerors). In the mid sixties the band recorded several records featuring Stevens on guitar and vocals. Around 1966, as Mike Stevens & The Shevells, they recorded a cover version of Cathy's Clown and the Go-Go Train and as The Shevelles, Come On Home. Stevens was an on/off member of the band as he was apparently also involved in The Squires, originally Tom Jones’s back up band and the composers of the hit It's Not Unusual. (Information taken from Answers.com, the Church is currently trying to contact M. Stevens.)

In a soon to be published, revised and updated, 2010 edition of Julian Palacios’s biography Lost In The Woods the roles of Gretta and Rusty in Syd Barrett’s life have already been changed for the better. Palacios writes:

Life at home edged further toward the chaotic when Rusty and Greta, casual friends of Barrett’s, moved in. (…) Only recently arrived in London, not on the ‘underground scene’, they later left for Devon, where they married and settled. Greta may have done speed, but the pair were not the terrible people they have been painted as.
When Rusty B. split with Greta, he came and stayed with Jack Monck and Jenny (Spires). In late 1972, Jack and Rusty started a new band, Rocks Off.
(Above quotes from 'Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd' by Julian Palacios - Plexus Books, May 2010 edition.)

Gretta Barclay remarried, is a proud mother and an even prouder grandmother, and according to her family ‘she is a wonderful amazing beautiful lady who has 3 children who love her very much’.

The Reverend can only agree with that. Even for the Church there are more important things in life than chasing the shadow of a girl who lived for a while in a house were someone, apparently famous, lived as well…

The second part of the interview will be published in the weeks to come.

Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above)
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press, London, 2007, p.141.
Fields, Duggie interview in: The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story, DVD UK Ltd 2005.
Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree, London, 1998, p. 241.
Willis, Tim, Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p. 106.

The Church wishes to thank:
Margaretta Barclay for her invaluable testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969.
Julian Palacios for additional information.

Posted by Felix Atagong at 11:01 AM CET
Edited on: 2010-06-11 7:36 PM CEST
Categories: Gretta