2009-11-14

A Bay of Hope (update)

Iggy Rose and Syd Barrett
Iggy Rose and Syd Barrett.

In a previous post at the Church the Reverend tried to catalogue the different pictures that were made in Syd Barrett’s flat for the so-called Madcap Laughs sessions.

It is believed that the (first) session took place in April 1969. Two photographers arrived at the same day at Barrett’s apartment. They both took pictures while Barrett was posing, sitting on the floor of his flat, and with Iggy, a friend, a groupie or a temporary muse walking around in the nude. None of the boys seemed to be distracted by that. The Sixties were strange days indeed.

That is why there is a certain similarity between the pictures from Storm Thorgerson (Hipgnosis) and Mick Rock. It has also been hinted that Mick Rock gave some of his film rolls to Storm Thorgerson for further use as he apparently thought he had been hired for the job. The stuff they were smoking was still good in those days.

Dixit Rock one of his pictures appeared (uncredited) on the Barrett (solo) album and also the inner sleeve from the Syd Barrett compilation shows several Mick Rock pictures. Mick Rock would later occasionally work for Hipgnosis and if the Reverend remembers it well the portraits of Pink Floyd that can be found on Meddle are his work (although you won’t find that story in Thorgerson’s Mind Over Matter compendium).

Storm signature
Storm Thorgerson autograph.

Dark Globe spoke to Storm Thorgerson about the cover of The Madcap Laughs (probably at Borders, Cambridge):

I once had a chat with Storm at one of his exhibitions, where I mentioned that many people thought that Mick Rock photographed the Madcap cover. He expressed a mild annoyance that anyone would think so.
He then jokingly signed my copy of his book 'NOT Mick Rock, but Storm Thorgerson'.
When I asked if he would consider publishing a book of his Syd photos, he told me the originals were all lost. It was clearly a subject he didn't want to discuss so I didn't ask any more about it. I've since read interviews with him where he says he doesn't like talking about Syd. Which is fair enough. (Taken from: ‘New’ Mick Rock Syd photos?)
Mick Rock signature
Mick Rock autograph.

Beate S. had a similar experience, but with Mick Rock, when she wanted him to sign the cover of The Madcap Laughs album at Borders, Cambridge (also on the 1st of November 2008):

[Mick Rock] said something like "Can't very well sign something I didn't do, can I", grinned a bit shy and flipped through the little booklet and signed. I can't remember the words exactly… but he was not ironic at all, just telling the truth.

Later that same evening Beate had a chance to talk again to the photographer:

He was indeed serious about the cover not being his, no doubt about that. Later that evening at the party when we found out he was a really nice bloke, I admit I did not of course inquire any further as that would have been very rude in the setting. (Bea S., Mick Rock signing, email, 2 November, 2009.)

It is also possible that some of the photo sessions by Rock or Thorgerson were made on a later date. Mick seems to remember that he might have come back another day to do some extra shots, and there is also the Lost in the Woods home video, shot by Mick Rock, with Syd, Ig and a mysterious brunette. When the photographer came back a few weeks later to show Syd the pictures Iggy was gone and Syd’s mind was far further away than ever.

Storm Thorgerson was also a close friend of Syd, a friendship dating from their Cambridge days, and he may have visited him on other occasions as well. Storm took some photos later in the year (the so-called yoga pictures) and maybe this is how the legend came into place that The Madcap Laughs photo session was made after summer.

But this is of course all speculation and memories have become quite blurry through the mist of time.

The Church regards the Thorgerson versus Rock controversy as settled and until no further images miraculously appear this subject is considered closed. The Storm Watch gallery on this blog has been updated with some new pictures and one Thorgerson picture that had sneaked into the Mick Rock Bare Flat gallery has been identified as such (that same gallery also has been updated with another hi-res scan).

Sistren, brethren, we don't need the Reverend's groove thing

And now make place for some important theological matters. In the past the Reverend has addressed the believers on this blog with brethren, using this term for all believers whether they were male, female or all things in between.

At a recent congress of our arctic coven (and beyond) it was uttered that brethren is an archaic form destined for men only and that our female followers should be addressed accordingly. The arctic coven unanimously voted to use the term sistren (up against brothress) and the highest level of our church authority has now approved their plea.

Most of the texts on this blog have now been updated and the believers will be alternately addressed as sistren and brethren (or brethren and sistren). These archaic plural forms will also be used to designate one single member, as in the next example: Iggy was our first skyclad sistren after all, wearing her uniform with pride.

Further projects

The Church has got quite a few new projects in the pipeline as people from all over the Globe are suggesting subjects and people to talk to. The next article will probably delve deeper into the Cromwellian days. The Church managed to trace back one of the people who worked at the club and some memories might be published here shortly.

So until the Reverend has got something new to summon he blesses you, sistren and brethren, and don’t do anything that Ig wouldn’t have done.


Update 18 December 2011: added Mick Rock's signature from the collection of Beate S. A high-res scan can be found at our Storm Watch gallery.