Picture: © Chris Lanaway, 2010.
In 2018 the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit celebrated its tenth anniversary.
Picture: © Chris Lanaway, 2010.

August 2010

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2010-08-10

Octopus Ride

Variation on an Iggy theme (artist unknown)
Iggy (variation), Artist unknown.

So busy, the Reverend has been, that he forgot to mention the second birthday of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Luckily there was the Holy Igquisition, sending him a memorandum on parchment paper. And a whip. And a letter of instructions.

Founded on the eight of August two thousand and eight the Reverend didn't know what a strange trip it would eventually prove to be. More than a trip, it was a true octopus ride taking the Church from childhood to stardom.

For the past year the Reverend tried to re-trace Iggy's footsteps and that not always with success. Knowing that Ig had once been to a Dusty Springfield party we asked Dusty's bass player if he remembered her. The answer was he didn't. We asked Vickie Wickham, from RSG! fame and Dusty's manager. The answer was she remembered hardly anything from the sixties. We asked Rod Harrod from the Cromwellian, where Ig was spotted dancing The Bend, but he apologised for not remembering her.

What the Church couldn't achieve, Mojo did. January 2010 saw the appearance of the March issue of that particular music magazine, dedicated to the 40 years anniversary of Syd Barrett's mythical album The Madcap Laughs. On the 6th of February 2010 the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit triumphantly broke the news that Ig was alive and well and living in the south of England: World Exclusive: Ig has been found!

One week later saw Evelyn's (her real name) first, and rather reluctant, interview in 40 years, by Kirsty Whalley from The Croydon Guardian. (The transcript from that interview, with some extra comments from the Church can be found here: Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea.)

But the Church did achieve something else. Margaretta Barclay, who often visited Syd in 1969, gave an exclusive interview, revealing - en passant - that the controversial picture of Syd visiting the Isle of Wight festival in 1969 was genuine indeed. Also musician Meic Stevens used to visit Syd in those days, but alas, the Welsh proto-punk-folk-rocker had no further comments for the Church. His memoirs reveal though that the BBC filmed a visit of Syd Barrett at Stevens' house in Caerforiog, but that the rolls may have been lost: Meic meets Syd.

The Church will continue, at its own pace, to look further for people and clues that can explain the madcap's enigma. The Reverend recently revealed the (first) names of two women who knew Syd in the late sixties, early seventies: Dominique (from France) and Carmel. We would like to see these grannies talk about their trip, for sure.

But not all people are inclined to talk about their flower power days. A musician, who used to jam with Syd Barrett in his flat at Wetherby Mansions, recently told the Reverend:

Isn't it time this all ends?
This has been going on for 40 years now.
Can't you just let the music speak for itself?

Upgrade November 2016: this artist was Rusty Burnhill, who sadly passed away in November 2016.

But as any Barrett anorak will tell you, it is hard to close our eyes and just enjoy the octopus ride… now going strong for its third consecutive year... In the meantime, sistren and brethren, don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done!


Last year's birthday party can be found here: Catwoman, containing an exclusive (and unpublished) poem dedicated to Iggy, by Dr. Denis Combet (Manitoba University, Canada).

2010-08-21

Metallic Spheres

Marija Oršić
Marija Oršić, extraterrestrial.

In for some space

About - let me count - thirty-four to thirty-five years ago I was seriously investigating the so-called UFO phenomenon. Or whatever serious means for a sixteen years old adolescent who urgently wants to get laid but has found out that the chance to witness an encounter of the third kind is statistically more probable than to have an close encounter with the opposite sex.

I was a member of the Belgian Sobeps association, long before the Belgian UFO wave hit the skies, and as the Internet was still a science-fiction thing we had to rely on their magazine Inforespace and the books, case files and real UFO pictures they sold by mail-order to their members. They also had an electronic UFO detector in their catalogue what made me wonder, already then, if they just weren't a bunch of petty crooks. I must still have a Betty and Barney Hill picture somewhere that I bought through their shop and who were then (and maybe still now) regarded as the proverbial Saul-stroke-Paul of the Holy Church of Ufology.

The nazi dark side of the moon conspiration

After a while opportunity knocked, even for me, and I didn't see the purpose anymore to devote my life to the flying saucer - abducting people for out-of-orbit enemas - enigma. But I am still mildly amused by the phenomenon, especially from a historical perspective. Not that long ago (at least not on the cosmic timescale) I partially read The Coming Race (1871) from Edward Bulwer-Lytton, a (rather tedious) adventure book that apparently inspired Nazi-Germany to start building flying saucers. An internet search lead me to through several dubious websites, some that might even be legally forbidden to consult in my country as they vehemently propagate what I will mildly describe as Aryan beliefs, and only strengthening me in my opinion that for crackpots from all over the world the internet is Ultima Thule indeed.

If I have understood it well American secret services grabbed nazi occult mysteries by the truckload although it is not clear if they could ever restore the phone lines to the Aldebaran star system that became an après-guerre nudist resort for the mystical and mythical Vril Society pin-up girls (see image above and try not to drool). Thanks to these secret nazi inventions the Americans not only landed on the moon (although paradoxically enough conspiracy theory buffs deny this ever happened) but they also tested anti-gravity engines in earth-designed flying saucers and solved the so-called zero-point energy problem.

How do I know all this? Because Gary McKinnon told us so.

U.F.Off
U.F.Off, The Orb (compilation).

Beam me up Scotty

Gary McKinnon is a Glasgow hacker who thought for a while he was a Lone Gunman on a mission against the American government. Wanting to prove the things mentioned above he hacked into 97 United States military and NASA computers over a 13-month period between February 2001 and March 2002, using the name 'Solo'.

Hacking is not really the term one should use here, more trial and error. Consulting a 1985 copy of Hugo Cornwall's The Hacker's Handbook McKinnon copied a Perl script that looked for Windows computers without a password and to his amazement there were still lots of unprotected computers residing in the NASA and military networks 15 years after the book appeared. One can duly wonder what these CIA, FBI and military secret service IT security guys had been doing in the meantime. Playing Pong, probably.

Mostly Harmless

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.", wrote Douglas Adams in the twelfth chapter of Mostly Harmless (1992). That quote may not be entirely his. Nobel price winner and inventor of the H-bomb Edward Teller noted down a couple of years before: "There's no system foolproof enough to defeat a sufficiently great fool." Anyway, in 2002 Gary McKinnon was the fool who undermined the American's pigheaded assumption of safety. Military security thought they had devised this big unsinkable Titanic and all it took was a entrepreneurial nerd with a screwdriver and a sack of sugar to pour inside the gas tank.

Rather than admitting they had done an enormous security cock-up the American powers-that-be turned Gary McKinnon into a terrorist super-hacker whose sole intention it was to metamorphose American secrets to putty and hand them over to Al-Queda, who - as we all know - have been praying a long time for this UFO technology. In consequence Gary could face a 60-years prison sentence if condemned before an American judge. Unfortunately the UK voted the 2003 extradition act making it possible to extradite UK citizens for offences committed against US law, even though the alleged offence may have been committed in the UK by a person living and working in the UK. A review of the extradition act was voted down by British parliament although there is a growing consensus amongst British members of parliament that Gary McKinnon will not stand a fair trial in the US.

Saint Gilmour

Several charities have been raised to help Gary McKinnon in his struggle against the extradition and in August 2009 David Gilmour, Chrissie Hynde, Bob Geldof and Gary McKinnon recorded the Chicago (Change The World) single. The only awareness it ever raised was that extraditing Bob Geldof to Guantanamo Bay would be a benefit for mankind to say the least. Perhaps the US authorities could consider that for a while.

As a Pink Floyd collector for over thirty years now, with over a dozen legit versions of Dark Side Of The Moon, I was obviously offended. Probably I am just being jealous here but I still can't grasp the concept that a lawbreaking idiot with a UFO fixation got a chance to make a record with one of the ten best guitarists of this world while moi who has in his possession the ridiculously shaped Love On The Air (1984) picture disk and Gilmour's lamentable Smile (2006) single will never get the change to meet his idol from less than a 100 meters distance. Phew, nice I have finally got that off my chest.

Metallic Spheres (cover: Simon Ghahary)
Metallic Spheres (cover: Simon Ghahary).

Pink Florb

Last year, in the aftermath of the Chicago single, Alex Paterson of the ambient house band The Orb made a strange announcement:

I’ve just started work on an album with David Gilmour from Pink Floyd which I think every Orb and Pink Floyd fan will want to hear.

The news was almost immediately downsized by David Gilmour who acknowledged he had jammed a bit in a studio with Martin 'Youth' Glover but that nothing had been confirmed 'with regards to any structure for the recordings or firm details re: any release plans'.

But this week David Gilmour's blog had the following news:

David's 2009 jam session with ambient collective The Orb has grown into an album, Metallic Spheres, to be released via Columbia/Sony Records in October. David's contribution to the charity song Chicago, in aid of Gary McKinnon, sparked the interest of producer Youth (Martin Glover), who remixed the track and invited David to his studio for a recording session. With additional contributions from Orb co-founder Alex Paterson, the album took shape from 2009 into 2010, eventually becoming Metallic Spheres, to be released by The Orb featuring David Gilmour.

Metallica

The album will be divided into two 25 minutes parts with five movements each, a 'Metallic Side' and a 'Spheres Side'. The Orb will consist of founder Alex Paterson (sound manipulation, keyboards and turntables) and part-time member Youth adding bass, keyboards and handling the production. It is not certain if Thomas Fehlmann (full member of The Orb since 1995, absent on The Dream (2007), but back on Bagdhad Batteries (2009)) and long time Orb and/or Pink Floyd collaborator Guy Pratt will be present or not. For the moment it looks like a three men line-up with David Gilmour contributing guitar, lap steel guitar and some of his Chicago vocals.

Simon Ghahary created the artwork (see image above) and all artist royalties will go to helping Gary McKinnon fight his extradition.

Conclusion

When Gary McKinnon logged in on the military computers he allegedly found proof of extra-terrestrial involvement in the NASA space program, but unfortunately his telephone line did not allow him to download the pictures and documents. The only tangible result of his actions will be a Floydian cooperation that Orb (and some Pink Floyd) fans have been dreaming about for the last two decades.

Long live Gary McKinnon, long live the greys! U.F.FlOrb is finally on its way! And don't worry, I'm sure those pretty Aldebarans will rescue Gary if he ever gets imprisoned in the land of the free.


The Orbian 'Metallic Spheres' posts:
Pink Dreams 
Metallic Spheres 
The Relic Samples