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The Other Room: Syd Barrett's Art And Life was a Cambridge exhibition
that ended a couple of days ago. More details about it could be found in
a previous post: Pictures
at an exhibition.
A lucky wind (thanks SgB!) brought me a copy from the catalogue, an 18
pages booklet. The following can be found inside:
Page 2 & 3: introductions by Stephen Pyle and Anji Jackson-Main,
curators of the exhibition.
Pages 3 to 9 are dedicated to the paintings of Syd Barrett. This is far
the most interesting part of the catalogue as many unseen works of Syd
Barrett are represented here, albeit in a rather small thumbnail format.
I’m pretty sure those pictures will find their way to the specialised
Syd Barrett websites and blogs so I’m not going to put them here.
Pages 10 to 12: photographs by Mick Rock. This reminds me that the
Church still hasn’t dedicated some of its holy space to Mick Rock’s
excellent Psychedelic Renegades book. This will be done during the long
winter days when a lonely hungry wolf howls at the suburbs of Atagong
Page 11: some family snapshots taken by Syd's relatives. I don’t want to
sound too snotty, but I’ve seen these before.
Pages 14 & 15: artwork by Storm Thorgerson (Syd Barrett album cover,
Barrett album cover, The City Wakes green doors poster.)
page 17: colofon.
But The Church is of course most interested in pages 12 and 13 that
contain some pictures from the collection of Anthony Stern (see also: Anthony
Antony Stern’s Iggy pictures can be seen on The City Wakes website, a
link to that particular gallery can be found at the Galleries section of
their blog. And if you have a quick peek you might find something
more... (Update: The City Wakes website no longer exists.)
I want to thank all the members of the Late
Night forum, who visited The City Wakes, for their impressions,
their pictures, their testimonies and the goodies they have been
distributing amongst the other members who couldn’t attend the festival.
Did I already mention that the people of the Late
Night forum are a bunch of fantastic people? Probably yes, but I
will keep on repeating it. Eternal Isolation found a lecture by Anthony
Stern, held at La
Cinémathèque in Paris in June 2008. Here is how our fellow
Europeans describe him:
Anthony Stern était l'un des secrets les mieux gardés de la
cinématographie anglaise. La Cinémathèque française lui offre sa
première rétrospective. Camarade de classe de Syd Barrett et de David
Gilmour, assistant de Peter Whitehead, Anthony Stern a réalisé certains
des plus beaux poèmes documentaires des années 60 et 70, à la fois
sensuels, endiablés et railleurs. Taken from La
(Translation) Anthony Stern is one of England's cinematographic
best-kept secrets. The French Cinémathèque offers him his first
retrospective. Friend from Syd Barrett and David Gilmour, assistant of
Peter Whitehead, Anthony Stern has realised several of the most poetic,
sensual, boisterous and mocking documentaries of the 60’s and 70’s.
The lecture, videotaped by a member of the audience, has been issued on
YouTube in three consecutive parts, but part
3 is the most interesting for Iggy fans. After the tiresome lecture,
due to the fact that Anthony’s English explanation is translated into
French and back, a copy is shown of his 1969 movie Wheel, followed by
Iggy, Eskimo Girl. Unfortunately only snippets of the different movies
have made it onto the web, but any additional material from our goddess
Ranting is normally destined for the main site of this domain, Unfinished
Projects, thank you for visiting once and so often… but rules are to
be broken, even Church rules…That horrible blasphemy of a browser, truly
a work of the devil and its main representative here on earth, Mr. Bill
Gates, messed up the Holy Church’s website the last couple of weeks…
but only if you browsed the Holy Church with the dreadful Internet
The Reverend found out that the objects that broke the layout were the
recently added YouTube movies. It took his holiness hours of his
precious time and a couple of Guinness beers to repair the damage done
but he appears to have miraculously accomplished this gargantuan chore.
The fact that not one single congregant spotted the mistake fills his
Reverend’s heart with joy. Apparently none of you uses Satan’s little
browser. But of course it could also be that none of you actually visits
this blog or gives a damn about it. In that case the Reverend can only
give you Father
Jack Hackett’s advice: feck off!
But let us forget and forgive and lead you through the narrow path that
leads to all things Iggy. Anthony Stern’s movies are distributed by Chimera
Arts and this is what they have to say about our favourite subject:
Iggy The Eskimo Girl UK/2008/4’/16mm/stereo Produced
by Sadia (2008) and Anthony Stern (1968) • Directed by Stern • Edited by
Tayler/Sadia/Stickley Based on footage originally shot in 1968, this
is a portrait of Syd Barrett’s girlfriend Iggy, referred to ubiquitously
and affectionately by those who knew her in the late 1960’s as ‘Iggy The
Eskimo Girl’. Taken from: Chimera Arts New
The text is accompanied by 5 stills
of the movie that have now been added to the gallery.
Have you ever seen President Sarkozy
on the telly giving a speech? He always thinks he is doing a bloody
Hamlet. His performances, because that is what he thinks they are,
remind me more of Louis
de Funès (or for the non-Francophiles among us: Benny Hill)
than Napoleon Bonaparte, another one of those short short-tempered
little men with a short fuse who think they can rule the world.
This post contains a fairly well hidden review of the Pink Floyd
biography Pigs Might Fly by Mark Blake.
Eloquence is a French way of speech but that was not what I was thinking
of when I read the following, decades ago:
Je ne sais qui doit le plus à l’autre! La France ou le Pink Floyd? Le
Pink Floyd peut-être. (translation) I don’t know who owes the
other more! France or Pink Floyd? Pink Floyd perhaps.
The above is the start of a French rock biography (1977 edition), called Pink
Floyd, written by Rock & Folk journalist Jean-Marie Leduc
and issued by Albin
& Folk was an excellent French music magazine, that started in
1966, hence its name, and that wanted to inform the French public from
the new trends in modern pop music. Jean-Marie Leduc hopped to London
and wrote several articles about the London Underground music scene and
le pouvoir des fleurs. He discovered this incredible band that would
soon be the French progressive student movement’s darling,lePink Floyd.
Although the most common language at London at that time was the
language of love it would’ve helped Jean-Marie Leduc a little bit if he
had actually understood some English. Which he didn’t. Probably the acid
didn’t help either. That didn’t stop him to write a Pink Floyd biography
that was published in October 1973, and that could still be found, a
decade later, in every bookstore and self-respecting newspaper and
magazine shop in France. Selling figures nearly must have achieved the
same height as a regular Pink Floyd album; Leduc’s Pink Floyd was an
instant classic and a steady seller.
It was also full of blunders. At page 19 Leduc wrongly mistakes the Pink Flamingo
club for the band and throughout the book he will name the lads le
Flamant Rose. This (wrong) translation was taken over by all French
rock magazines and it would take Rock & Folk until July 1994 to
officially denounce the rumour that a Pink Floyd is a Phoenicopterus
Roseus. Another botch is on page 49 where Leduc claims that...
...le 2 novembre (1967) (…) un nouveau simple du groupe
“Apologises / Jugband blues” est commercialisé en Angleterre’.
(translation) on the 2nd of November (1967) (...) a new single of the
band is released in England: “Apologises / Jugband blues” .
This one simple sentence has made French speaking Pink Floyd fans look
for this non-existent track of the band for over a decade. At the end of
the book the mistake is repeated at the discography, Jean-Marie Leduc
keeps on maintaining that the Floyd’s third single was Jugband
blues / Apologies (please note the different orthography and running
Update November 2011: it was later cleared out that once again it
had been Leduc's extended knowledge of the English language that made
him misunderstand 'Apples and Oranges' for 'Apologies' or 'Apologises'.
Jean-Marie Leduc’s biography was probably the very first biography on
the band, as Charles
Beterams wrote in the Echoes, a Dutch fan club magazine, and despite
the mistakes it also contains a stunning revelation about the bands
first recording, forgotten by most of the biographies that would come
next. Leduc interviewed Nick Mason in 1973 and asked if Astronomy
Domine was the Floyd’s first composition. Mason answered (translated
from French back into English):
Not true. Our first composition was titled Lucy Lee in blue tight
or something similar. We recorded it on acetate but it was never
Once again Jean-Marie Leduc’s average knowledge of the English language
made him note the song as Lucy Lee, and not as Lucy
Leave, although Nick Mason’s pronunciation of the song title
may not have been too comprehensible as well. It would take ages for
another journalist to re-discover the truth about the band’s first
One bloke who does remember Lucy Leave is Mark Blake. In 2007 he wrote a
Pink Floyd biography entitled Pigs Might Fly but because I am such a
stingy money spender I wanted to wait until the paperback came
sailplaning to me. The last couple of years it is raining Pink Floyd
related books and accessories as if all kind of shady people want to
have their free ride on the gravy train. It is of course a double
feeling, here we are Pink Floyd fans wanting to know everything (and we
mean everything) on the band but on the other hand we feel as if we are
inside an orange squeezer (or to use Gerald
Scarfe’s weird world of Floydian symbolism: a meat
grinder). The last thing I’ve read on Pink Floyd merchandising is
will bring out a range of shoes
based on the cover art of three of their albums. Part of me is yelling
yuck!, but another part is jumping up and down, not a pretty sight if
you would catch me on my webcam.
About a decade ago, perhaps a bit longer, small record companies
suddenly discovered the tribute album. I jumped on it as a hungry louce
on a passing German shepherd dog. But when my heap of tribute records,
all made to honestly commemorate the band and not to make a quick buck,
started to become bigger than my genuine Pink Floyd collection I simply
gave up. I think that Babies
Go Pink Floyd was the last tribute album I bought, partially because
the concept attracted me. If you also feel tempted to listen to it. Don’t. Not
only the record is tripe and you wouldn’t want to confront any baby with
it without giving him or her a lifelong phobia for Pink Floyd music but
also it doesn’t actually motivates grown-ups either to start
procreating, normally a quite amusing and satisfactory pastime.
Recently I found this add from Dwell
records that goes something like this:
The biggest names in hard rock and avant-garde metal have come together
to pay tribute to the madcap genius of Syd Barrett. Featuring some of
heavy-metals most influential players, this is a hard-rocking trip
through the music world’s most idiosyncratic minds.
Some of the bands present on the record are the following: Dreg, Giant
Squid, Jarboe, Kylesa and my favourite Stinking Lizaveta. Except in some
distant Norwegian fjordic regions where these bands are probably world
famous amongst the local satanic
black metal scene these bands don’t really merit the eptitheton
‘biggest name in hard rock’ to begin with. I would have written the add
for this album a little bit less triumphant:
Several virtually unknown hard rock and avant-garde metal bands that are
constantly struggling to have a record contract have come together to
rip off the musical heritage of Syd Barrett. Featuring some of
heavy-metals obscurest players, this is a fruitless hard-rocking trip
trying to get a fan-base that exceeds the dozen.
Now that is what I call a more realistic description of the project. You
can listen to the songs at MySpace
and I have to confess they don’t all sound like rubbish to me.
But all the above was merely a long, way too long, way to say that I
quit buying Pink Floyd tribute records a while ago as most were, are and
will be… full of crap. I had the same compulsive buying disorder when it
came to Pink Floyd related music magazines and books. Despite the fact
that I can’t play guitar I have dozens of guitar magazines that promise
you the tablature of the third guitar solo in Comfortably Numb and a
brand new exclusive Pink Floyd interview that was in fact already
published in another guitar magazine from three years before that I
already had in my scrapbook.
I define myself more than the average Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett fan,
but less than an anorak, fanorak suits me fine.. Anoraks have the
tendency to start flame wars because someone has told that Syd Barrett
was wearing green socks on the 7th of August 1967 while every aficionado
knows he was wearing brown socks that day. (To avoid death threats: I’ve
just made this whole sock-thing up, but the 7th of August 1967 was of
course an important day in Floydian history, about the importance of
green socks, just check David Gilmour’s inside sleeve of his About Face
album and shiver.)
So I quit buying Pink Floyd books as well, more or less… the last I
bought was The
Rough Guide To Pink Floyd that can now be found at local lo-price
bookshops for the third of the price I bought it for. That is a very
nice Pink Floyd biography by the way, and if you are in search for one,
well don’t hesitate and get it. It’s cheap and cheerful.
Pigs Might Fly
But this post was originally intended as a review of Pigs Might Fly, a
Pink Floyd biography by Mark
Blake and all I did until now is take the piss out of:
a) the very first Pink Floyd biography by Jean-Marie Leduc; b) the
various tribute cds that do exist; c) the growing pile of Pink Floyd
So I had given up buying Pink Floyd biographies but when I wrote on the
Late Night forum that nobody had ever tried to locate Syd’s girlfriend
we know as Iggy Mark Blake promptly replied
that he certainly had. I more or less apologised and answered that I
would read his biography.
So I did.
Who am I to post a review about a book that Record
Collector choose as book of the year, that Q
magazine described as a ‘detailed, orderly, first-rate read’, while Mojo
praised its ‘heroic research’. It’s excellent, well written, full of
anecdotes and it seems to please the casual and the more ardent fan of
the band, although it still forgets to mention the colour of socks Syd
Barrett was wearing on the 7th of August 1967. Anoraks will always find
something to grumble about. I did. I found a mistake from microscopical
importance about the Publius
affair but only people daft enough to look for the Enigma mystery will
probably realise that.
A while ago I started a side-project called the Holy
Church of Iggy the Inuit. In it I am looking for the whereabouts of
the girl who appeared on the cover of the Syd Barrett album The
Madcap Laughs. It is rather amazing how many bits and pieces can be
found after all these years, but apparently Iggy was quite a character
in those flowery powery days. The time was ripe as other people
suddenly started to reveal their Iggy memories, amongst them Anthony
Stern who made a four-minute movie about her in the Sixties that was
premiered this year.
I wrote some things about Iggy that I thought were revolutionary but
apparently Mark Blake had unravelled these before in his biography, only
he didn’t need as many space to write these things down than I did and
if this review goes on like this it might be longer than the book itself.
On page 140 Mark Blake writes about how Iggy performed The Bend (Church
It!), on the next page he reveals the existence of the Anthony Stern
movie (before it became an item on YouTube)
and how she used to go dancing at The Orchid in Purley (Church article: Shaken
not stirred). And all this a year before the Church was started and
something of an Iggy hype was created. Hats off to Mark Blake.
Mark Blake is not only an accurate but also a beautiful writer (I’m not
speaking about his physical appearance here), reading the bit about the
Live 8 reunion gave me tears in my eyes although I normally only weep
when I read sweet little things about dying puppies. That more or less
sums it up really; Pigs Might Fly moved me and I thank Mark Blake a lot
(In America the book has been published under the alternative title
Comfortably Numb, this was the working title of the book but as the
cover has a snapshot from Battersea Power Station, including flying pig
balloon, this was changed
for the European market.)
A final word about Jean-Marie Leduc
One of the funnier parts of the very first Pink Floyd biography are the
translated song texts. The Floyd’s first album is called Le
joueur de flûte aux grilles de l’aube, but my favourite
still is a song that is called Bonbons et pain aux raisins. And
what to think about the following, I let you guess what song this has
been taken from:
De tortueux signes voltigent. Lueur. Lueur. Lueur. Fla. Pom. Pom. Escaliers
d’épouvante et lois de mort…
And a final word for collectors
If you are looking for a copy of the Pink Floyd book by Jean-Marie Leduc
be sure to buy the Albin Michel / Rock & Folk versions (several editions
from 1973 till 1983). In 1987 another book by Jean-Marie Leduc, also
called Pink Floyd, and in the same mini format, was presented to the
public by Le Club Des Stars / Seghers. Although based upon the previous
versions this book has been completely rewritten and most of the errors
have been edited out.
(More scans of the Jean-Marie Leduc biographies can be found on our
If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: Fasten
Your Anoraks (The lyrics above are Leduc's French
translation of Astronomy Domine.)
Speaking about Iggy, Anthony Stern's Iggy, Eskimo Girl movie was
shown at The City Wakes festival during the first weekend. Unfortunately
one of the technicians mistakenly gave the film back to Anthony Stern.
As the absence of the film wasn't noticed until just before the next
screening it was too late to retrieve the DVD.
After the (first) presentation there was a Q&A round with Anthony. One
member of the audience maintained that Iggy is currently living in
Chelsea. The Church will try to investigate further into this matter.