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In January of this year Mojo
published a (way too short) Mark
about Iggy, who – in the Sixties - was metonymically but erroneously
described as an Eskimo. There is a realistic chance that this blog,
politically correct named the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, would never
have seen the light of day if Iggy had been nicknamed something else.
Titled SYD BARRETT'S ENIGMATIC COVER COMPANION CLEARS UP SOME QUERIES
the article actually added to the mystery, although Mark Blake is, of
course, not to blame: Iggy is just mysterious by nature. And the more we
find out, the more mysterious it gets.
The Church was erected for just that, to reveal the enigma behind an
enigmatic woman but now that Evelyn has stepped into Mark
Zuckerberg's limelight the Church has made a deliberate step
backwards. Let it be known that the Church will be discreet about
present Evelyn. She is not Truman
Burbank and it is none of our business what she had for breakfast
this morning anyway (bacon butties and a steaming hot cup of tea, if you
wanna know, and the Reverend had some croissants and a cup of coffee).
Mark Blake also published an extended 'director's
cut' of his interview and now the time for the Church has come to
comment, amend or append on some of his poignant paragraphs. We will be
cruel and ruthless although the reader should realise that above every
line a virtual 'Well done, Mark Blake!' Church sign is blinking. A bit
Before long, The Holy Church Of Iggy The Inuit, a fansite in her honour,
had appeared, its webmaster, Felix Atagong, sifting through ever scrap
of information gleaned from MOJO and elsewhere with a forensic
scientist's attention to detail. Among Felix's discoveries was a
November 1966 issue of NME which featured a photo of "Iggy who is half
eskimo" dancing at South Kensington's Cromwellian club. (The Strange
Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 3)
Mark gives the Reverend too many credits here. The Church mainly rips
other people's ideas (not an uncommon practice with Churches, although
they mostly prefer to rip other people's wallets) and the November 26,
1966 New Musical Express Iggy picture
was not discovered by the Church. The scan was already floating around
on the web. Neptune
Pink Floyd, for instance, published
it in November 2006, two years before the Church started.
However the Church did trace a copy of that particular NME, hoping there
would be some extra news about Evelyn, but to our regret Iggy is not
mentioned at all in the accompanying text
(several scans of NME 1037 can be found in our gallery).
The Croydon Guardian
Believing that Iggy may have gone to school in Thornton Heath, Jeff and
Anthony contacted The Croydon Guardian, who ran an article - So Where
Did She Go To, My Lovely - enquiring after the whereabouts of the girl
"who entirely captured the spirit of the '60s". (The Strange Tale Of
Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 4)
Time to pull the plug of that 'Well done, Mark Blake!' sign above we're
afraid, as The
Croydon Guardian was informed by none other than the Holy Church of
Iggy the Inuit.
The Church contacted Brian Roote, a historian from the Bourne
Society who had been researching the history of the Orchid, but
without success. Journalist Kerry McQueeney, author of the Orchid
articles, passed the Church mail to Kirsty Whalley, editor of the
Croydon Guardian Heritage pages. She replied the Church on the third
September of 2008:
We would like to feature this story in the newspaper next week and
hopefully it will prompt a few people to call in.
Kirsty Whalley also asked the Church for a decent Iggy picture and here
is what the Reverend answered:
Probably the best way to get an (unpublished) picture of Iggy is to
contact Anthony Stern (former boyfriend of Iggy in 1966) who made a
movie with her that will be shown on The City Wakes festival in
Cambridge, so more than 40 years after it was filmed. (Taken from:
Visitor at Orchid Ballroom - 1965 – 1967, mail to Kirsty Whalley, 3
September 2008 22:04.)
Kirsty Whalley took the information, given by the Holy Church of Iggy
the Inuit, to heart (probably the first time in the Reverend’s entire
career that a woman actually listened to his advice) and interviewed
Anthony Stern who also donated a previous unpublished picture
of Evelyn, just like the Church had predicted. She then did an excellent
job by contacting Jeff Dexter (or perhaps Jeff Dexter contacted her
after having spoken to Anthony Stern) and wrote a damn fine article: Where
did she go?
It took over a year for someone to 'call in', because in February 2010
Kirsty Whalley published the very first Iggy interview in 40 years that
even took the Church by surprise (see: Little
old lady from London-by-the-Sea). What the Reverend doesn't
understand though is why the Croydon Guardian journalist doesn't like to
be reminded that it was the Church who gave her the scoop. So no pretty
blinking Church sign for you, Kirsty!
From Dieppe to Delhi
Iggy's father was a British army officer, who served alongside Louis
Mountbatten, and attended the official handover ceremony from Great
Britain to India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharial Nehru in 1947. (The
Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 7)
Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten,
born in 1900 and killed by an IRA
bomb in 1979, was destined to pursue a glorious military career. Like so
many of his aristocratic peers this career was not per se based
on actual military performances but on the amount of names he had been
given at birth. After a military débâcle at Dieppe
in 1942, where 3,623 out of 6,086 soldiers, mostly Canadians, were
either killed, wounded, or captured by the Germans, Mountbatten was
given a new military playground as Supreme Allied Commander South
East Asia Command. The Dieppe raid (unauthorised by the general
staff) provoked a schism between the Canadian and British army leaders
during the second world war and the mistrust would linger on for decades
In 1947 Mountbatten was nominated Viceroy and Governor-General of
India and his principal task was to lead India (separated from
Pakistan) in a peaceful way towards independence. This lead to one of
the bloodiest massacres the subcontinent has ever seen. Muslims fled
from India to Pakistan, Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan to India and
about 500,000 people lost their lives in the process (death
toll numbers vary from 200,000 to a million).
Up the Khyber
"My father also knew all about Mountbatten's wife's affair with Nehru,"
she adds mischievously. During a spell of leave, he had travelled to a
remote village in the Himalayas "where he met the woman that would
become my mother." Iggy was born in Pakistan, and attended army schools
in India and Aden, before the family moved to England. (The Strange Tale
Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 7)
In the night of 14 to 15 August 1947 India and Pakistan officially
separated from London and because this had been supervised so well by
Mountbatten, he was entitled to another promotion. From now on he could
add the title of Governor-General of India on his business card.
In other words: Mountbatten was now the de facto monarch of the new
Lucky there was still his wife, Edwina
Cynthia Annette Mountbatten. Her part-time job was to visit the
refugee camps her husband was so kind to fill up and to hump India's
prime minister Jawaharlal
Nehru, although there are some biographers who maintain that their
relationship was purely platonic.
But enough politics. Around that time Iggy's father, posted in Pakistan,
went for an evening stroll in the Himalaya's where his spell of leave
soon developed in a spell of love. It is believed that in March
1947 the couple did exchange something more than friendly kisses. The
Church always believed that Iggy was somewhat older than Syd Barrett
Syd met Iggy), but this new evidence shows she is nearly two years
younger than him (and, should this be of any interest to anyone, both
Syd and Ig were born on a Sunday).
If Ig attended school in Pakistan, the family must have been there until
early 1950. Although the country was independent several hundred of
British officers stayed in Pakistan until the Pakistan army had enough
officers to take care of its own. There was a 1st Battalion Wiltshire
Regiment at Rawalpindi (Pakistan), with Indian bases at Amritsar,
Calcutta, Jhansi, Jullunder (Jalandhar) and Lahore (Pakistan) but the
Church's research couldn't link Ig's father to this battalion.
The Wiltshire Regiment left the Indias in October 1947, but her father
stayed in Pakistan for a couple of years longer.
Update March 2018: Iggy's mother, so was confirmed to us, wasn't
from Pakistan, but from Mizoram, situated at the North-East of India,
sharing borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar. Probably that is where Iggy
was born and went to school. The 'evening stroll' of Iggy's dad did not
take place in the Himalaya's, but at the Lushai Hills, a mountain range
in Mizoram and Tripura, India.
The garden of Aden
It is not that weird either that the family was dispatched to Aden.
Before 1937 Aden was an (overseas) part of British India and after that
it became a separate British Crown colony, much to the enjoyment of
philatelists from all over the world. It would stay under British reign
until 1963 and in 1967 it was absorbed by the People's Republic of South
Kids could go to the Khormaksar
primary and secondary school (close to the RAF airport base), but there
was the (Roman-Catholic) Good
Shepherd Convent School for girls as well, the Isthmus
School and the Selim
Girl's School that was badly damaged in the anti-Semitic pogroms from
There are quite a few blogs and forums
about Aden with hundreds of pictures of the fifties and sixties, but the
Reverend couldn't find Iggy back, yet. The Mojo article has a picture
from Ig at Worthing Beach, in the early Sixties, so around 1963 they may
have returned to England.
In January 1969 Iggy met Syd, thanks to their common friend Jenny
Spires. The outside world didn't always realise that Ig and Syd became
an item. Ig was unaware that Syd had been a pop star, but then one day:
He [Syd] then said, 'Would you listen to this?' And he bought out this
big, old-fashioned reel-to-reel tape recorder, and said, 'Tell me what
you think'." Syd then played her the songs that would end up on The
Madcap Laughs. One track, Terrapin, made an immediate impression. "I
said, 'That's quite catchy', and, of course, I don't think Syd was
really into catchy...It was a long tape, and he didn't demand any
opinion, but just asked if I thought it was OK. At the end he said
'Someone at EMI - I cannot remember the name - wants me to make a
record. How would you feel about having a rock star boyfriend?'" (The
Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 12)
This may have happened in the weekend of 12 and 13 April 1969 after
Malcolm Jones and Syd had started working on the new album:
During the tea break we discussed going back to some of the songs
started the previous year, in particular 'Golden Hair', and perhaps
'Late Night' although the original version of that had been destroyed,
it seemed. We returned to the studio and started work on another new
song, 'Terrapin'. In one take Syd laid down a guitar and vocal track
that was to be the master! At my suggestion Syd double tracked his vocal
part, and that was it!
One day Syd Barrett disappeared from the flat and Iggy, in a jealous
mood, fearing he was seeing another woman, tracked down her friend in
David Gilmour's appartment, just a few blocks away.
"I went in, shouting, 'OK, where is she?' thinking there was a woman
hiding in one of the rooms. But, of course, the meeting had been with
Dave about the record they were making together." Barrett left Iggy with
Gilmour, but rather the worse for wear, she knocked the stylus on his
record player accidentally scratching his copy of Pink Floyd's brand new
album. "I have no idea what album it was, only that it was their new
album," Iggy sighs. (The likely candidate seems to be Soundtrack From
The Film More) "So Dave threw me out..." (The Strange Tale Of Iggy The
Eskimo Pt. 2, paragraph 3)
Here is again an excellent opportunity to grab the Church's copies of
Glenn Povey's 'Echoes' and David Parker's 'Random Precision'. According
to David Parker Barrett had his last recording session with Malcolm
Jones on the 3rd and 4th of May, while the David Gilmour sessions
started a month later (see our 1969 calendar).
On the 6th of May however 'a set of rough mixes' of the album was made,
presumably to be handed over to Gilmour (and Waters), who had promised
to finalise the album (it is significant that on that tape Opel, Swan
Lee and Rhamadan are still present).
But probably Barrett, Jones, Gilmour and Waters had been discussing
about all this before. The Church has always believed that Iggy left Syd
somewhere in April and up till now Ig's visit to Gilmour's apartment
fits nicely into that scheme.
Mark Blake wisely deducts the scratched record has to be 'More'.
More was released on Friday, the 13th of June 1969, but of course
Gilmour may have had a copy some weeks before. Another, but more
unlikely, candidate is 'Ummagumma'.
Although only released in November the Floyd had already been recording
some pieces for this album in January and February, together with the
'More' sessions, so perhaps Gilmour and Barrett could've listened to an
acetate instead. And of course the live tracks of that album must have
been circulating amongst the band members as well.
But there is still another possibility. Margaretta Barclay told the
Church she has a postcard sent to her and Ig at Wetherby Mansions in
June 1969 so perhaps Ig's departure took place after More had been
officially released (see: Gretta
Notes (other than internet links mentioned above): Parker,
David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p.
139-158. Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs,
Brain Damage, 2003, p. 7. Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete
history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 104-112.
The Church wishes to thank: Adenairways.com, Mark Blake, Jenny Spires,
Natashaa' and the beautiful people at Late Night. ♥ Iggy ♥
The Anchor's editor was kindly asked, although summoned would be a more
appropriate term, to do an independent review of an interview of the
Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit that recently appeared on
the extraordinary Spanish Barrett blog Solo
en las Nubes (Alone in the Clouds).
Run by Antonio Jesús the blog is a mix of information and
fun, containing several references to La Sagrada Iglesia de Iggy La
Esquimal, that could be without doubt a title for one of the weirder Pedro
Almodóvar movies. Quite recently, in a dark corner of The
Anchor, dimly lit by a dripping candle in a bottle on the rough
wooden table, I bend over to the gorgeous black-haired girl sitting in
front of me, slowly whispering 'La Sagrada Iglesia de Iggy La Esquimal'
in her ears (actually, in one ear only as it is quite infeasible to
whisper in two ears at the same time, except for Mick Jagger perhaps).
Oh Alex Fagotin baby, she passionately sighed with heaving
breasts, say that to me one more time, but unfortunately my hair already
had caught fire by then.
One very interesting part of the Spanish Barrett blog are the so-called self-interviews
(or autoentrevista) and so far Antonio has persuaded Duggie
Fields and Laughing Madcaps front-man Kiloh Smith to reveal
their souls in these autobiographical Rorschach
Titled 'Felix Atagong: "Un hombre sincero"' the latest
self-interview has provoked roars of hysterical laughter from the Åland
Islands to Wallis
and Futuna. We reveal no real secrets if we tell you that the
Reverend has left a trail of female victims from Oslo to Tarzana
and rumour goes there will be more to follow despite many international
The Reverend's self-interview can already be described as absolute
rock-bottom and without doubt it will be voted the all-time-worst-entry
at the - otherwise excellent - Spanish Barrett blog. Time to let you
decide for yourself what a kind of pompous pathetic pumpernickel that
Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit really is. Ladies and
gentlemen, the Anchor presents, but not too proudly: Felix Atagong: an
Felix Atagong: "Un hombre sincero"
Even the roads of rock are unfathomable.
Felix Atagong, from Belgium, has created a blog dedicated to Iggy, the
model of The Madcap Laughs album. Nobody knew her whereabouts for almost
forty years. The coincidence of life, meaning that it is not
coincidental at all, has lead this case to an unexpected but
In his self-interview, Mr. Atagong, the Sherlock Holmes of the Floydian
world (he even helped to clarify the Publius Enigma) and always
committed to the truth he slowly peels the layers of the story of his
blog, and more... (introduction written by Antonio Jesús)
1. What is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit?
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is a blog for Syd Barrett fans dealing
with the – very short – period in 1969 when Syd's alleged girlfriend
Iggy lived with the singer. Apart from some unverified rumours about her
Eskimo roots nobody really knew something about her, nor what happened
to her after her sudden disappearance in 1969.
2. How did it all start?
The Church more or less started as a prank. Discussing the (theoretical)
possibility of a Barrett religion on the Late Night forum I mentioned a Saint
Iggy Congregation in 2007 and when, in March 2008, DollyRocker
recognised Iggy acting in a 1967 British documentary, I jokingly announced
the Church's birth. But the idea still ripened for five months before
any blog post appeared.
3. What were your intentions?
These were quite ambiguous by design.
Obviously the Church frame, lead by an all-knowing Reverend who
addresses his flock in a swollen and theatrical language, is satirical.
I wanted to imitate those overzealous fans, who can't stop arguing that
Barrett is the world's most underrated musical genius and graphical
artist and who painstakingly, almost in religious stupor, scrutinize
every minute of his life.
But while I was developing the blog I soon realised that I was
painstakingly, almost in religious stupor, collecting all available
puzzle pieces that lay shattered over the net, on blogs, in forums, that
were published in different articles and biographies, thus creating the
ultimate Iggy repository.
Both concepts share an an osmotic relationship and - by being what it is
and what it pretends to be – the Church has evolved into a meta-concept,
although that thin ironic line is probably completely ignored by the
people who visit it.
4. But the Church did trigger an Iggy revival, didn't it?
Not really. Every avalanche starts with a couple of snowflakes and by
sheer luck the Holy Church happened to be on the right place at the
right time. After nearly 40-years of silence several people
simultaneously remembered Iggy. Most of the time the Church was not
involved but has been monitoring and commentating these events. What
nobody expected, except perhaps for the Holy Igquisition, is that it
resulted in some sort of Iggymania.
Iggymania started when Mojo magazine put Syd Barrett on its cover in
2010. Of course that cover story was all about The Madcap Laughs 40th
birthday but the Church had clearly inspired one of the articles. Not
only did this boost the hits on the website but a few days later The
Church could reveal that Evelyn (Iggy) had been found back as well and
that thanks to Mojo.
Beginning of this year Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake could finally
interview Iggy and that is when Iggymania fully exploded.
5. Not bad for something that started as a joke.
The Church had already turned serious when JenS shared her memories with
us, revealing that she (probably) introduced Iggy to Syd and pinpointing
The Madcap Laughs photo-shoot date in spring, rather than in the autumn
of 1969. Some time later another acquaintance of Syd gave her first
interview ever to the Church. Margaretta Barclay and her boyfriend Rusty
were regular visitors at Syd's flat and they even tried to resuscitate
Barrett's interest in music by dragging him over to Meic Stevens, who is
still some kind of weird folk cult figure.
I find it rewarding that some of the Church theories have been reprinted
in magazine articles and biographies, so I guess we're not all rubbish
6. But finding Iggy also presented a major crisis for the Church,
It is the ambiguity of all organisations that have a certain goal. What
do you do if the goal has been reached? What will Greenpeace do if
no-one hunts little seals any more? The worst thing that could happen to
the Church was to find Iggy! But every time the Reverend uttered the
fear there would be lack of Iggy, something new turned up. And 2011 has
already proved to be no exception.
Thinking about the future the Church did some reorganising and will
continue developing into other areas, of course not neglecting its
primary task to inform about al things Ig. One of the new items at the
Church will be a gossip corner called 'The Anchor', named after the
Cambridge pub Syd Barrett used to visit in the early Sixties. We hope it
will stir things up as the Barrett community has become quite lethargic
lately. We're all old farts who fall asleep after our afternoon tea and
7. The question we are all waiting for: is Iggy aware of it at all
and what does she think of the Church?
Evelyn kept a low profile over the years, although she apparently never
hid the fact that she had been on the cover of The Madcap Laughs album.
But the path of Iggy and the path of the Barrett fan community simply
didn't converge for the last 40 years.
Recently Iggy has contacted the Church and she gave us valuable
information. However the question is what will happen when Iggymania
freezes over. I feel it a bit hypocrite to say that now, but it was
never the Church's intention to invade Iggy's privacy.
8. This interview should have at least one anoraky question,
reflecting the true nature of the Church. Does the 'eskimo chain' line
in Barrett's Dark Globe refer to Iggy?
Dark Globe is a very poignant, hermetic track and, as is the case in
many of Syd's songs, its lyrics can be interpreted in different ways. I
think Julian Palacios describes it as a lament to Pink Floyd or
something of that order. It also reads as a goodbye song to a past love
and here is where the 'eskimo chain' line fits in – or doesn't.
I'm only a person with Eskimo chain I tattooed my brain all the way... Won't
you miss me? Wouldn't you miss me at all?
Most people who read Barrett blogs will know that Barrett recorded under
the guidance of Malcolm Jones, but somewhere in May 1969 he passed the
torch to David Gilmour (Roger Waters would join in as well on a later
date). Jones had given up in desperation, as Peter Jenner had done the
year before, that last one declaring that the sessions had been 'chaos'.
Finally it was David Gilmour who pleaded Harvest records to allow
Barrett a third and final chance to finish his solo record. Of course
this is just one interpretation and not all biographers and witnesses
agree with that. Another story goes that Malcolm Jones simply invited
Gilmour (and Waters) for marketing reasons: three Pink Floyd members for
the price of one, so to speak (four if one adds Rick Wright who might
have done some uncredited overdubs on Golden Hair). Probably the truth
lies, as is often the case, somewhere in the middle.
The first session of the third recording round took place on the 12th of
June 1969. Barrett premiered two new songs: Dark Globe and Long Gone. On
the third (and final) session (26th of July) Roger Waters joined David
Gilmour and a couple of other attempts were made of the same songs.
(this alternative version of Dark Globe, now retitled as Wouldn't You
Miss Me, was later released on the Opel outtakes album.)
It would be logical to see Long Gone and Dark Globe as an indivisible
pair as they are both sad love songs. But there is an abundance of that
theme on The Madcap Laughs. Jenny Spires told the Church: “Syd wrote
songs and not all of them were about one person or another. It was his
job. (…) Syd was not romantically inclined this way. 'I'm only a person
with Eskimo chain' refers to the evolutionary chain, not to a specific
person. He was on a very much higher spiritual plane, not so much on the
But on the other hand Syd liked to put wordplay and little nods to
reality in his texts. Pink Floyd's second single See Emily Play refers
to psychedelic debutante Emily Young and to Libby Gausden, Jennifer
Gentle from Lucifer Sam is a mixture between Jenny Spires and an ancient
English ballad called 'There were three sisters' (Jennifer, Gentle and
Dark Globe also contains the verse: “'The poppy birds way, swing twigs
coffee brands around.” At first sight this is just a nature description
set in a romantic mood but if one knows that a former girlfriend of Syd
was Vivian 'Twig' Brans it becomes quite clear that Syd has cryptically
entered her name in that line.
So while Dark Globe may have no-one specific in mind the Eskimo chain
line may have been a slight nod toward Iggy.
9. This explanation made my appetite grow for more. How can one join
To paraphrase Groucho Marx: I don't want to belong to any Church that
will accept me as a member, so you can't. The Church does have some
loyal friends though who have helped by passing on valuable information.
Basically the Church just reaps what others have sown (a common practice
amongst churches, I might add). Many kudos go to a long list of loyal
brainstormers, informants, witnesses and friends (and I already want to
apologise for the ones I have forgotten): Anne, Anthony, Bea, Denis,
Dollyrocker, Douggie, Eternal, Gretta, Jenny, Julian, Kieran, Lisa,
Mark, Paro, Prydwyn, Rod, Sadia, Sean, Vicky, our many visitors and
fans... And of course Iggy herself.
10. What is this recurring thing about the Holy Igquisition?
Nobody expects the Holy Igquisition!
Self-interview courtesy of: Solo en las Nubes (2011) - Felix
Atagong: "Un hombre sincero", introduction written by
Antonio Jesús. Self-interview written in December 2010 and updated in
The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical
division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad
character. More info: The
Anchor. Read our legal stuff: Legal
Life, my dear sistren and brethren, is not like a box of
chocolates, except perhaps those from the exclusive and exquisite Tartufo
shop in Louvain. Life is like an Eskimo chain, tattooed all over our
brains. When the Reverend started the Church he didn't realise what a
strange caterpillar ride it would be, a beautiful quest into the
unknown. The path we trod was narrow, the drop was sheer and very high
and ravens were watching from a vantage point nearby, to paraphrase a
On the narrow paths, that Iggy had followed in the past, she had thrown
breadcrumbs to find her way back home afterwards. Only Iggy never
returned on her footsteps but went far ahead into the unknown. Most of
these crumbs had long been eaten, by the ravens cited above, but some
could be traced back by the Church. And one big trail lead to the
The Cromwellian wrestling club
Before it acquired its fame the house at 3 Cromwell Road was known as an
illegal casino, run by the London underworld. When gambling became legal
the three store building turned into Harry's International Bar (run by
the legendary Harry Heart), an elegant casino (quickly moved to the
first floor because some competitors wanted to heat the place with
Molotov cocktails) and a cellar full of boys, much to the enjoyment of
the bartender, but the management decided to repair the equilibrium by
giving 'free entrance for girls'.
Before one could say 'faites vos jeux' the place was visited by Brian
Epstein and his gang of four and that perhaps thanks to one of the
owners who was nicknamed 'the wrestling Beatle'.
Bob 'Anthony' Archer
Anthony (Bob Archer), the wrestling Beatle, was a popular
welterweight during the 1960s and may not be confounded with the
slightly ridiculous George Ringo (Bob Sabre), a Chicago wrestler who had
the same nickname. Bob turned professional in 1956 and around 1962 he
moved to Paul Lincoln Management. He was one of a group of wrestlers
chosen by Paul Lincoln to take part in a prestigious tour of the Far
East in the early sixties.
But, like we have already revealed in our article Dr
Death and other assorted figures..., he was also one of the owners
of the Crom and, what the Reverend didn't know, responsible for booking
the bands that would make the place a legend.
Recently the Church was contacted by Emily Archer and thanks to her we
can bring you the following testimony from her father:
I was part owner and manager of the Crom up to 1967 when I gave up the
management, but not my share, to create Pantiles Club and Restaurant in
Club was built in 1898 for the personal secretary of the Duke
of Connaught who lived at the Royal Bagshot Park opposite. During
the 1920s there was a Pantiles Athletic & Tennis Club, followed by a
Pantiles Swimming Pool Club. In the early 1960s a Pantiles Tea Dancing
Club was opened and in 1967 it would become the infamous Pantiles
nightclub and restaurant owned by Bob Archer.
I was also a Pro Wrestler as Bob Anthony. There were 4 of us wrestlers
involved - who were also 4 good friends, plus the originator of the
Cromwellian Tony Mitchell. Ray Hunter, Judo Al Hayes, Paul Lincoln. Al
died in the States where he wrestled as Lord Hayes, Ray died also in the
U.K. My great friend Paul Lincoln died recently. Paul and Ray also owned
The 2'Is in Old Compton Street, where the whole British Rock industry
Judo Al Hayes
Al Hayes, alias the White Angel, alias Lord Hayes once was the the
nation’s youngest ever judo black belt. He hooked up with Paul Lincoln
and had a fun run as the White Angel, culminating in a famous 1962 fight
were he was unmasked by Doctor Death (Paul Lincoln with a mask).
In the early seventies Hayes went to the United States. After a
successful career as a wrestler he became a television commentator and
manager for the American Wrestling Association.
After a car accident he suffered from several complications and died a
very sad death in 2005, aged 77.
Rebel Ray Hunter
Ray Hunter, Taswegian tag partner of Judo Al Hayes in their Lincoln
days, and a globe-trotting Heavyweight Champion of the Commonwealth.
When Hunter came to Britain in 1950 he had been the youngest
Commonwealth wrestler to do so. Success came in German heavyweight
tournaments but the sixties saw a hedonistic jet-set lifestyle in Soho
where Hunter and Lincoln owned the famous 2'Is coffee bar.
Rumour goes Hunter had a fling with Sophia Loren once.
Around 1970 he disappeared mysteriously from the wrestling scene.
The bar 2Ii’s was located at 59, Old Compton Street. Underground legend Barry
At the 2I’s we sat drinking coffee from glass cups, staring out at Old
Compton Street, thinking this was the centre of the world as Dream Lover
by Bobby Darin played on the jukebox and various sleazy Soho types
drifted in and out. It had opened early in the summer of 1956.
with the other coffee bars in Soho, the 2I’s looked pretty tame. Just
round the corner on Meard Street was Le Macabre, which used coffins as
tables, Bakelite skulls for ashtrays and the jukebox featured the
Funeral March. The 2I’s had been open three weeks when Soho held its
second annual Soho Fair, to coincide with the July 14, 1956, Bastille
Day celebrations. The Vipers skiffle group were among the bands in the
procession. When a downpour made them jump down from their flatbed truck
and take refuge in the 2I’s, the nearest coffee bar, Paul Lincoln
suggested they continue playing there. Immediately a large crowd came in
from the street.
Paul Lincoln realised that live music was
what was needed to pull in the customers and hired them to play a
regular gig from 7 to 11pm, four nights a week. At first they were paid
only in spaghetti, Coca-Cola and any tips they were able to collect, but
their leader Wally Whyton soon decided that a proper fee was required as
the place was crammed to its 80-person capacity every time they played.
Paul Lincoln made a derisory offer and Wally, bravely, said he would
wrestle him for double or nothing. Lincoln was impressed by his guts,
strapped on his Doctor Death mask and lost the fight hands down,
presumably intentionally. The Vipers got their wages. (Taken from: Going
underground: the secret life of London.)
Food and drinks
Le Macabre coffee bar was not unknown to the wrestlers either and was
owned by someone they knew. Bob Archer:
Le Macabre Coffee Bar was in fact owned by Tony Mitchell who was the
original owner of the Crom until we bought in with him. He also had a
restaurant called the New Yorker in Soho. Al Hayes, Ray Hunter
and myself would meet for lunch at his restaurant before going on to
wrestling engagements or sometimes before training at the YMCA.
Paul Lincoln and Ray Hunter also opened The "Trattoria del buon
vivitore", an Italian restaurant in Old Compton Street with the
Wrestling Promotion Office above.
In a previous article (Dr
Death and other assorted figures...) we already mentioned that Paul
Lincoln owned an Italian restaurant in Soho. What we didn't know was
that the place was just a few blocks away from 2I's (56 Old Compton
Street) and located underneath the Paul Lincoln Management offices (36
Old Compton Street). No wonder that Paul Lincoln often took his business
associates to the place and even a top ranking Milanese police officer,
who Lincoln had befriended during an Italian wrestling showtour, always
visited the restaurant whenever he was in London for police business.
Bob Archer continues:
Tony [Mitchell] is long gone so I am the only remaining ex owner. I ran
Pantiles from 67 to 2007, 40 years, till we sold the land. I was the one
who originally created the Swinging London status of the Crom and the
60's celebrity hangout of the stars.
I booked the right bands,
and encouraged the sit in sessions, with The Animals, Clapton, Hendrix,
and you name it. Elton's band Bluesology were probably my most regular
booking, plus Brian Auger. The Drifters, Patti LaBelle, Stevie Wonder,
Wilson Picket, Benny King.
They all worked in that small cellar.
Harry Heart [the bartender] was a legend. I could go on all night. True
fact is the first place Jimi [Hendrix] played in London was The Crom. He
sat in with Brian Auger. Chas [Chandler] brought him in the first night
he arrived. Kathy [Etchingham] worked a bit for me.
JHRG: Are you sure the first jam was at The Cromwellian? Brian
Auger: It was The Cromwellian, yes. JHRG: Some say it was
Blaises, and I think Vic Briggs said he was convinced that it was The
Scotch Of St. James! Brian Auger: Yeah, but it wasn't. I'm
afraid Vic kind of rewrites history a bit, (chuckles) but it wasn't The
Scotch Of St. James, it was The Cromwellian. I have a mental picture of
Jimi being introduced to me and looking out across the stage at the
staircase that goes up from upstairs to the first level of The
Cromwellian. We definitely played at Blaises but that was later. Anyway,
he came down to The Cromwellian and Chas [Chandler] introduced him to me
in the break and he seemed like a very nice guy. He asked me if he could
sit in and I said absolutely, yeah, what would you like to play? Jimi
showed me a chord sequence and said, can you play this? And I said yeah,
it's pretty straight forward, and it turned out to be the chord sequence
for "Hey Joe"!
And all that thanks to a cellarful of wrestlers.
Harry the Heart
The bartender of the 'International Bar' was, to put it in Rod Harrod's
words the “very camp 'Harry the Heart'”. Heart wasn't his real name but
came 'from his delightfully effeminate wave over the heads of a packed
bar as you walked in: 'Hello (dear) Heart, how are we? Be with you now.'"
Unfortunately, not a lot is known about him. Bob Archer:
The last time I heard, Harry was in North, but that was a long time ago,
from Danny La Rue [the famous British drag impersonator]. I fear that he
has passed away. He was amazing. His bar was always full with people
like Tom Jones with his band, Brian Epstein, Lion Bart, Terry Downes,
Lita Rosa, Robert Stigwood. I could go on and on...
A bartender can make or break a place but Harry is surely remembered as
one of those extraordinary people who turned the place into a succes.
He knew what everyone drank, and asked "Your usual Heart?" They
would say: "Yes Harry and will you have one?" Harry then
replied: "Just one for the pot Heart."
This inevitably turned into Harry's own little ceremony, serving a glass
of gin he would...
...throw another gin into the cut glass vase that he had on the bar,
with bits of lemon and cucumber floating about in it.
Bob Archer has nothing but lovely memories about Harry:
He would introduce me to all his friends as "My lovely Boss". We would
often go for a burger after closing, unless he said "I'm trolling
tonight Heart" and would then walk up past Harrods.
Rod Harrod, the club's PR man and interviewed
by the Church as well, wasn't the first journalist who had been hired to
promote the club.
I have been trying to remember who was Rod Harrod. The name rings a
bell, but the guy who I used as PR was Keith Goodwin, who had his column
in either the MM or the NME, where we were regularly mentioned. He was
also PR to quite a few music stars.
Keith Goodwin was indeed an NME journalist in the early sixties and one
of the first professional music publicists in the UK with a diverse,
even oddball, taste in music.
He started his agency with folk band The
Springfields (it is eerie how Dusty materialises every time we
investigate Church matters) and Tom
Springfield was best man on his wedding.
But it was when psychedelia fully hit the scene that Goodwin acquired
the most success for his publicity work. Amongst his clients were –
initially obscure bands like - Argent, Black Sabbath, Camel, Magma and
Yes. One day in 1966 a young singer songwriter, Cat Stevens, was in his
office, looking for an appropriate title for a tune he had just written.
Keith Goodwin looked out of the window and suggested the name of the
shop at the other side of the road: Matthew And Son.
His love for symphonic rock wouldn't falter although the genre was
declared dead in the late seventies, early eighties. He continued
promoting bands like Pallas, Twelfth Night and Pendragon but it was with
Marillion that he could finally prove that the progrock genre still
attracted massive popularity. In 1988 Keith Goodwin retired and settled
in Malta. He died on the 25th of January 2004, only 69 years old. (Taken
Goodwin: early professional music publicist.)
Many thanks to Emily and Bob Archer for sharing these memories with the
Church. Wrestling information and pictures have been taken from Wrestling
Heritage. Grazie mille Gianna!