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2009-05-07

Iggy at the Gates of Dawn

Syd's Dark Lady It has been awfully quiet at the Iggy front. Call it spring fatigue, problems of the heart or plain laziness but the Reverend was a bit depressed. When The Holy Church started on eight eight eight (the number of the beauty) this little blog shook and stirred like a dry martini ogling in front of Mr. James Bond.

While the quest was new and aloof and thrilling enthusiasm was flowing through the Reverend’s loins it actually felt that the mission was leading somewhere, and the Head of the Church felt like Robert Langdon manoeuvring towards that mythical pyramid in front of the Louvre, safe-keeper of the holy grail.

The Church did dig something out however, one post evoked an article at the Croydon Guardian and the Reverend managed to have chats with entre-autres Anthony Stern, Barrett-biographers Julian Palacios and Mark Blake, culminating in the publication of the memoirs of a first-hand witness who happened to know both Syd and Iggy and who may well have introduced the one to the other, although she refuses to take credit for that.

There are a lot of unverified rumours around Syd Barrett, the one more ludicrous than the other; a recent (French) biography even managed to produce some the Reverend was not aware of, like the fact that Roger Keith, at one point in his eccentric career, tried to be an airline pilot. Probably the biographer mixed him up with Bruce Dickinson or Nick Mason, who used to fly the Maiden’s and Floyd’s tour planes. Anybody who saw Syd Barrett on a bicycle in and around Cambridge will testify that a plane was not going to be his most favourite transportation vehicle.

There are several unverified facts about Iggy as well, some of which have never been published before and will not be published here until witnesses willing to approve (or disapprove) are found.

Over the past months the Church contacted (this is just a sample out of a long list):
a British amateur historian, who was going to publish the definitive history of The Orchid Ballroom at Purley and who told the Church: 'I have no knowledge of this girl whatsoever.';
a member of Dusty Springfield’s backup band;
a surviving organiser of the decadent party where Syd’s Pontiac was raffled off;
a few photographers; and even…
a 1966 flatmate of someone who may (not) have been in contact with Iggy…

Most of the time no reply was received at all and if a reply did come it was a polite thank-you-but...-note, a bit like the hasty apologies one makes when interrupted on the street by a madman who asks if you can’t lend him a 7 inch knife for a minute or so.

The Reverend felt like Moses, who guided his people for 40 years in a desert any sane person on a camel can cross in two weeks time, hence the reason why Moses is probably the patron saint of all taxi drivers in the world, but suddenly he, the Reverend - not Moses, found salvation on Walpurgisnacht by a flickering flame.

What better way to celebrate the coming of the new dawn than to introduce two new Iggy stills by Anthony Stern, presented to us by Chimera Arts on a renewed Iggy Eskimo Girl webpage?

Picture 1: http://www.chimera-arts.com/Film Page Images/Iggy1.jpg 
Picture 2: http://www.chimera-arts.com/Film Page Images/Iggy3.jpg 

The future smiles upon us, dear brethren and sistren, and will be coloured Iggy…
Go in peace, my flock, and don’t do anything that Iggy wouldn’t have done...

An (updated) image gallery with stills of the movie Iggy, Eskimo Girl can be found at the gallery.


Feel free to add your own comments, theories and rumours at the Iggy forum.
Posted by Felix Atagong at 11:18 PM CEST
Edited on: 2009-12-29 11:24 PM CET
Categories: Chimera-Arts, Orchid-The, Stern-Anthony

2009-05-15

Trip to a Dream Dragon

Iggy, Eskimo Girl stills Last week the Reverend revealed two new Iggy pictures appearing at the Chimera Arts website that distributes the Iggy Eskimo Girl movie in various parts of the world (alas, not those parts of the world the Reverend is familiar with).

Anthony Stern who, should you not know, shot the movie in question recently updated several pages on his site and for those that want to dive into Stern’s work there is an interesting essay about his work as well.

Iggy the Eskimo Girl (1966/2008)

The filmography page has got the following to say about the movie:

Iggy was a model and the girlfriend of Syd Barrett, and appeared on the cover of his album The Madcap Laughs (1970). She was terrific fun to be with and to photograph. I made a short film of her dancing in Russell Square, which portrays her as the ultimate flower child of the 1960s.

That particular page also has a filmstrip dedicated to Iggy showing some screenshots that have never been shown before.

Stern did not only film Iggy, he also made some pictures of her that were premiered after 40 years on The City Wakes Syd Barrett Festival (a glimpse of those can be found in the catalogue of The Other Room). A (then also unpublished) black and white picture of Iggy also accompanied the ‘Where did she go?’ article that appeared in a (free) London newspaper and that was published after some mild excruciating techniques administered by the Church.

An (updated) image gallery with stills of the movie Iggy, Eskimo Girl can be found at the gallery section of the Church

Iggy 'The Eskimo Girl' Triptychs

Stern’s pictures form the so-called Iggy Triptychs, 5 in total. His website has to say the following about these:

I re-discovered these photographs in my cellar in an old suitcase. All the optical effects were obtained in-camera. The colour images of Iggy were taken on a houseboat at Chelsea Reach. In the background you can see Lots Road Power Station. The distortions were achieved using a flexible mirror material called Malinex, as well as a magnifying fresnel screen. I have presented these images at the Ruskin Gallery as triptychs, because they remind me of Francis Bacon images in the same format. (Taken from iggyphotos)

Every triptych also has a page of its own and on these the following titbit can be found:

Iggy was terrific fun to be with and to photograph. I knew her before she was introduced to Syd by JenS, and I remember walking through Battersea Park in the early mornings together.

Here are the indiviual triptych pages: All pictures © Anthony Stern.

Page 1: http://www.anthonysternglass.com/iggytrip1.htm
Page 2: http://www.anthonysternglass.com/iggytrip2.htm
Page 3: http://www.anthonysternglass.com/iggytrip3.htm
Page 4: http://www.anthonysternglass.com/iggytrip4.htm
Page 5: http://www.anthonysternglass.com/iggytrip5.htm

The photographs on Stern's website are for sale, signed, framed and numbered, either as triptychs priced at £225 each, or single images priced £175 (not including postage). Update: These pictures are no longer for sale (March 2010).

No Church without some triptychs from our blessed saint and these can be admired in a new image gallery


Feel free to add your own comments, theories and rumours at the Iggy forum.
Posted by Felix Atagong at 3:50 PM CEST
Edited on: 2010-03-12 2:16 PM CET
Categories: Stern-Anthony

2009-05-21

Anoraks and Pontiacs

run rabbit run... Although Iggy is the prototype of the vanishing girl we know quite a lot of her through the bits and pieces that have survived that big black hole also knows as the Sixties.

In November 1966, when she was (about) 21 or 22 years old she appeared at The Bend party that was affiliated with the television show Ready Steady Go!

And there was of course her apparition in a 1967-ish documentary, called IN-Gear, hinting that Iggy was seeking fame and fortune as a model or an actress. Unfortunately enough it seems impossible (or at least improbable) that the production sheets will ever surface, nobody seems to know where the archives of the Look At Life-series, that ran for a decade between 1959 and 1969 and added up to more than 500 episodes, physically are, if these still exist.

The Reverend has been re-reading some older posts at this funny little place aptly called the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and some need updating.

Lost in the Woods

There is a home movie floating around with Syd and Ig walking in a park, together with – what has been called – a mysterious brunette. Mick Rock probably made the movie around the same period, and with period the Reverend literally means days, The Madcap Laughs photos were made. Iggy is wearing the same clothes on both occasions (and the same necklace), but Syd Barrett not. The mysterious brunette may have been Mick Rock’s girlfriend, one of the (many, according to Duggie Fields) passing female visitors of Syd’s place or, a theory nobody has ever wondered about before, a friend of Ig.

Thanks to the testimony of JenS it is now pretty sure that the photo shoot took place in April 1969, probably in the week between the 14th and the 21st, but not on the 17th as Syd was the whole afternoon in Studio 2, recording the eerie No Man’s Land and the ditty Here I Go. Here is what Malcolm Jones had to say about it:

The following Thursday, as planned, I called a cab and went to collect Syd. We dropped in at Dave Gilmour's flat round the corner to borrow an amplifier, and set off for Abbey Road. At the studio we met up with Jerry Shirley and 'Willie' Wilson, the musicians Syd had invited along. The session was to be done 'live' i.e. everyone recording their parts at the same time, including Syd's vocal and guitar parts.

This session was the last happy and shiny one although nobody would know that beforehand of course. The next session had the motorbike overdub on the legendary Rhamadan, legendary because Barrett fans know it has been lying in the vaults of EMI for over 40 years now and have been praying and begging to release it ever since.

The making of the track Rhamadan is one of those occasions that lazy journalists use to prove that Barrett was as mad as a hatter. The track, an 18 minutes free-form-jam-session between Barrett, Steve Took and some other (unidentified) session players had been recorded the previous year, and in April 1969 Syd found that he still could do something useful with the demo.

Of course all that he wanted to do was to put some motorbike overdubs on the track, a failed experiment as found out at the end of the day, but not quite as mad as those lazy journalists want us to believe. Pink Floyd would overdub motorbike sounds on Atom Heart Mother the next year and no one put them in straitjackets because of that.

The intrinsic value of the track is less legendary tells someone who knows. Random Precision author David Parker is probably the only person in the world who has a full and legit copy of the Rhamadan track in his collection:

Of the 15-20mins that this runs for I reckon Syd plays on about 5 minutes worth. Imagine a longer and looser version of 'Lanky Pt 1' with a lot less guitar on it. (Taken from the Syd Barrett Research Society.)

In a, now deleted, post at SBRS Parker explained further that...

…I had to give my word to various people at EMI and Abbey Road, and sign a scarily draconian declaration, not to give out copies…

The April sessions of 1969 had Barrett in an excellent form and Malcolm Jones wanted to get the record done as quickly as possible. Not only he must have been aware of Syd’s mood changes but his bosses had also instructed him to get a move on. So it is absolutely plausible that the order for the cover-shoot was given right after the first session.

Driving Mr Sloane

The Church has written quite a few things about Syd’s blue Pontiac in the past and an error sneaked in at the second When Syd met Iggy posting. It reads:

Before Syd (and Mickey Finn) got the car it was used in the 1970 British movie Entertaining Mr Sloane. The car, with its cream red and silver interior, is featured prominently throughout the movie. The movie is not great but the pink Pontiac gives a great performance.

The above is not correct as this information is still based upon the general belief that The Madcap Laughs photo shoot was held in the autumn of 1969 and not in April. The British Film Institute pinpoints the making of the movie between mid August and beginning of October 1969, four months after Syd gave the car away to someone who admired it. If the car that can be seen in the movie is indeed Syd’s, it was sold, given or lend to the movie crew by its new owner.

1969 Calendar

Because the Reverend thought this might be a good idea and because a lot of work went into coding and debugging The Holy Church of Inuit presents you... a calendar of the year 1969. It puts some dates right, can be considered as eye-candy and may be generally ignored...

January

February

March

Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 
          1  2  3  4
 5  6  7  8  9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31 

Syd has a Pontiac
parked in front of
his house.
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 
                   1
 2  3  4  5  6  7  8
 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 
                   1
 2  3  4  5  6  7  8
 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31
Iggy moves in? 

April

May

June

Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
       1  2  3  4  5
 6  7  8  9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30
10 & 11: Studio 3
14 - 21: photoshoot
and home movie.
17: Studio 2 Iggy leaves Syd. Pontiac given away. 23: Control Room 4 25: Studio 2
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
             1  2  3
 4  5  6  7  8  9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
3 & 4 Studio 3
6: Control Room 2
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7
 8  9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 
12: Studio 3
13: Studio 2

July

August

September

Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
       1  2  3  4  5
 6  7  8  9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 

26: Studio 2
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
                1  2
 3  4  5  6  7  8  9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 
5: Control Room 4
18: Production
start Entertaining
Mr. Sloane (movie)
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
    1  2  3  4  5  6
 7  8  9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 

16: Control Room 4

October

November

December

Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
          1  2  3  4
 5  6  7  8  9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31 

6: Production
end Entertaining
Mr. Sloane (movie)
6 & 9: Cont. Room 4
16: Machine Room 6
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
                   1
 2  3  4  5  6  7  8
 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 
7: Machine Room 6
14: Octopus (single)
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
    1  2  3  4  5  6
 7  8  9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31 

Notes (other than internet links mentioned above)

Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 129-158.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 7.
Original calendar idea grabbed from http://www.flicklives.com.


Feel free to add your own comments, theories and rumours at the Iggy forum.
Posted by Felix Atagong at 3:56 PM CEST
Edited on: 2010-06-18 12:25 AM CEST
Categories: Bio-Bits