The Church of Iggy the Inuit may not have as many adherers as, let's say: the Lady Gaga fanclub, but we're quite happy with it. Iggy (Evelyn) has earned a place in our hearts and that not only for that COD (Crusty Old Dinosaur) of a Reverend. It constantly amazes us that - even today - young people still discover Ig's beauty and joyfulness, as proven in the following letter:
Thank you for the wonderful interview and for the lovely new photos you shared with us. It was really endearing of you to talk about your relationship with Syd. It was nice to hear you guys had a wonderful time together. It was really nice on your part to also share your experiences during those days; the people you met and the places and festivals you attended.
I would also like to say you still and always will be a beautiful model to me. I love all your beautiful pictures, (you look like a beautiful princess with the white dress) and the short film clips we have of you on the web. You truly are a fun and lovely person.
Thanks again for opening your heart to us and I wish you the best in life
Griselda, California, USA
When the lady smiles
Yesterday the Reverend came across her unforgettable smile again that has been immortalised in a Look At Life documentary from 1967 called: IN Gear. An unconfirmed story goes that Granada Television burned about 500 Look At Life originals (and negatives) at a certain point in history. Luckily several (restored) movies have been issued on DVD recently, although it could be that some documentaries have been lost forever. Nobody really knows really. But the IN Gear movie is still available on the Swingin' London DVD, while the stock lasts, as the company that distributed them did the indecent thing of going bankrupt. (More to read at: Iggy Goes Shopping.)
Not only the Reverend is susceptible to her laugh, also a kid named Syd Barrett kinda liked her. One spring-day in 1969 Mick Rock and Storm Thorgerson knocked at Syd's door to take the pictures that would later adorn The Madcap Laughs. A lot has been said about this photo-shoot, also at the Church, and it is the Reverend's impression that the truth still hasn't fully emerged, mainly due to the fact that both photographers have slightly different memories about it all and are, still after all these years, arguing like young boys to make out who has the biggest one. (It was then that the Pink Floyd composed their track: Careful with that Pentax, Eugene). But be cognisant, brethren and sistren, that no storm will stop the Church and that the Reverend will leave no rock unturned. (More to read at: Storm Rock Pictures.)
Enough dilly-dallying Syd Barrett thought that day, let's take those pictures and let's get on with it. Iggy, feet still dirty from the freshly painted floor, was there to help him:
I put the Kohl around his eyes that day and tousled his hair: Come on Syd, give us a smile, moody, moody, moody! But he knew exactly what he was doing.
Indeed, Syd Barrett put himself into Arthur Rimbaud mood and refused to smile on the pictures. With hindsight one could link that to the title of his first solo-album, only that album didn't have a title yet and most of the tracks still had to be canned. After a while the action was moved to the outside, probably at Mick Rock's demand. Several of these pictures, with Syd and Ig, have appeared in Rock's Psychedelic Renegades book and some can be consulted at our Street Life gallery, although it needs to be said that the Church has done its utmost best to remove that Syd Barrett character from the pictures and to put Iggy at its focal point.
It is also believed that Storm Thorgerson joined the lot and that he took the few colour pictures that have survived us into the third millennium. In a previous post the Church discussed these (and all other) pictures of The Madcap Laughs: A Bay of Hope (2009, already!)
Gentle ladies take Polaroids
One of the outside colour pictures (to be found on some versions of the vinyl compilation A Nice Pair) show Syd Barrett with a broad smile as if his serious mask had finally been shattered to pieces. Who or what had penetrated his defence barrier?
When this picture was discussed a while ago at the Late Night forum Dominae suggested:
I'm almost certain it is from a Polaroid. I wonder if Iggy took it? It's so rare to see a broad smile. (Taken from Photo Upgrade at Late Night.)
Yes, it was me that took the picture of Syd smiling in the street.
Two days later she added some further explanations:
Well spotted Dominae. I was the one who took the picture. I think Mick Rock handed me the Polaroid. I remember squealing with delight when the photo appeared. It was the first time I had seen a Polaroid.
Also her encouragements towards Syd to finally break into a smile ("Come on Syd, give us a smile, moody, moody, moody!") was probably uttered on the street with the Polaroid in her hand and not above in the flat, as she previously told Mark Blake. Her softly spoken magic spells had finally laser-beamed through Syd's defence shield and Mick Rock turned the magical moment into some portraits where the mad-cat really laughed (see Psychedelic Renegades, page 33) .
But this still doesn't account for the fact how on earth this photo ended up at the Hipgnosis archives (together with quite a few Mick Rock prints). Perhaps the Polaroid belonged to Storm Thorgerson as Mick Rock only had a second-hand 35mm camera that he had bought from Po (Aubrey Powell). Nothing to get worried about now, but it might be a sweet revenge to know that for decades, people thought they had been looking at Syd Barrett: taken by Storm, while it really was: Syd Barrett, taken by Iggy.
Update 2011 02 21: the quite exquisite (but hyper-expensive) Barrett coffee-table book will have some Storm Thorgerson outtakes of The Madcap Laughs photo-shoot as well. Dark Globe already had an exclusive preview of this work and commented:
This [solo years, note by FA] section starts with a brace of very rare photos from the 'Madcap Laughs' session taken by Storm Thorgerson. These were taken at the same session which is documented in Mick Rock's 'Psychedelic Renegades' book and most of them haven't been seen before. Perhaps the best of the lot is the one of Syd sitting on the painted floorboards and smiling broadly (perhaps at Iggy?) (Taken from: The 'Barrett' book - a preview.)
Stand by me
Before we end our sermon, dear sistren and brethren, just another thing. Last year the Church suggested that Iggy could possibly be found on a John Lennon portrait that was taken during a party at the Cromwellian in January 1967. To know the outcome, please follow the guide and head your browsers towards the following path: Dr Death and other assorted figures...
And for the meantime, don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't do.
The Church wishes to thank:
Mark Blake, Dark Globe, Dominae, Griselda and the beautiful people at Late Night.
♥ Iggy ♥