Cut the Cake

Iggy Rose,April 2011 (picture by Gianna)
Iggy Rose, April 2011 (picture: © Gianna)

Sistren and brethren, behold!

On the eight day of the eight month of the eight year of the third millennium the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit saw the light of day (read our first article: Iggy).

Its initial function, goal or intention wasn't really clear from the start as has been revealed in an intriguing interview the Reverend had on the Syd Barrett blog: Solo en las Nubes. The (Spanish) interview can be read at Autoentrevista - Felix Atagong: "Un hombre sincero" but for those ignorants who aren't fluent in the language of Cervantes an English version can be found at The Anchor: Felix Atagong: an honest man.

La Iglesia empezó como una especie de diablura. Discutiendo la (teórica) posibilidad de una religión con Barrett como centro en el foro de Late Night, mencioné la existencia de una congregación de Santa Iggy.
(Translation) 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.

That was in May 2007, but it would take until August 2008 before the Church published a first article, triggered by Argentinian Dolly Rocker. In those past three wonderful years magical things happened to the Church and its Reverend. JenS and Margaretta Barclay added some missing puzzle pieces to the mystery of the singer and his Eskimo Girl (the Church was less lucky with Rusty B. and one of Syd's 1969 temporarily girlfriends Dominique H., but our first rule is to respect their wish for privacy). The support from Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake and Mojo magazine made it possible to locate the mystery woman who had posed on the rear cover of The Madcap Laughs and – en passant – to debunk several myths about those days (although it is not always that easy to revive situations that happened in 1969).

Dozens of contributors and fans of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit have helped with our quest but aren't mentioned here, let it be known that their names have been encrypted in solid gold in the Church's secret archives.

Even more: real friendships emerged out of this, not least from Iggy Rose, whose phone calls to the Reverend are a mixture of roaring laughter, psychedelic tomfoolery and do sometimes contain, but luckily not very often, an odd tear drop about long-lost persons and situations. The future looks bright for the Church although this will not always result in articles on this place. Our apologies for that. (In the meantime, you can always check the Holy Church Facebook page, that publishes unassorted bits and pieces now and then.)

It sparkles and shines

The sparkle that lit the Church's fuse was a 2007 Late Night forum post: Possibility of new religion, asking if a religion could be based upon the writings of Barrett. That thread was started by Stanislav (alias ~SVG75~) a Russian Barrett fan who has always flirted with the boundaries of reality. As a computer graphics programming teacher he has published several Syd Barrett parodies in the fine (Belgian) tradition of surrealism and dadaism and this at several places on the web.

Not unlike Marcel Duchamp, who painted a moustache on the Gioconda and gave the ready-made its bawdy title LHOOQ, Stanislav took existing pictures of Barrett and electronically modified them, thus creating alternative but non-existent realities in the life of Syd Barrett.

Stanislav's work has not always been appreciated by the Syd Barrett community. The average (read: non-anoraky) fan could easily be misguided by the near-authenticity of some of his pictures and stories and sometimes only those 'in the know' were able to distinguish the parody from the original.

Book covers that picture Syd Barrett
Book covers that picture Syd Barrett.

Syd Barrett dot CON

Stanislav's most spectacular guerilla art attack was when his subverted graphical work infiltrated the official Syd Barrett website. He fooled the Syd Barrett Estate and Pink Floyd Ltd. by making them believe his creations were genuine Barrett related artworks or publications.

The official Syd Barrett website started on the 19th of February 2010 (not taking into account the test page that had been present several months before) and in the next couple of days different Late Night punters tracked down several mistakes ranking from the silly to the stupid.

Dark Globe was the first to spot a non-existent biography that had crept into the book section:

The books section of the new site lists a book called 'Crazy Diamond' by Tony Bacon.
The cover looks like a Stanislav design.
I'm wondering - is it for real?
I can't find reference to it anywhere else.
(Taken from: Syd's Official site gets a makeover.)

Well spotted.

It was indeed a Stanislav mash-up deconstructing two existing books: Crazy Diamond by Mike Watkinson & Pete Anderson and London Live by Tony Bacon (see pictures at the left for the real covers). That last book is still on the biography list from the official Syd Barrett website although it is an inventory of bands who played London clubs from skiffle, rock'n roll and trad in the 1950s to progressive, pub-rock and punk in the 1970s, passing by at the London venues during the R&B, folk and psychedelia years (it does have Syd on the cover though, but isn't a Barrett biography as such).

Another proof that the website's authors didn't (and still don't) have a clue about what they are publishing. It is a damn disgrace that the best Syd Barrett biography that has appeared in the last decade, Julian Palacios' Dark Globe, isn't put there, but that is probably because the Barrett Estate are actively sponsoring an 'approved' biography from someone else.

Syd Barrett in Formentera by Stanislav
Syd Barrett in Formentera, Stanislav artwork.

Prior to the website launch Mark Jones, the (unofficial) Syd Barrett picture archivist, had been consulted by Pink Floyd Ltd. to render his expertise on Barrett and early Pink Floyd photo material. So he was quite surprised to find many dating errors and another Stanislav-readymade that had mysteriously placed itself in the art section of the official Syd Barrett website:

In the 'Paint' section, 1 across 3 down, Syd with the windmill, is another homemade job by Stanislav.
(Taken from: Syd's Official site gets a makeover.)

Mark Jones mailed the manager of the Syd Barrett Estate on Sunday, the 21st of February, and by Monday all the errors had disappeared. The makers of the website never did comment on their mistakes hoping that the matter would soon be forgotten.

Unfortunately the Holy Igquisition never forgets and the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit finds it among its tasks to praise Stanislav for his impromptu Banksy-like actions. The fact that his forgeries were published at the official Syd Barrett site give his works a meta-realistic certificate of authenticity. Syd Barrett, quite a jokester himself so we have heard, would probably have liked this very much and is laughing his arse off from the great gig in the sky.

Stanislav's Signature
Stanislav's signature.

When geniuses meet

It was written in the stars that on Friday, the 5th of August 2011, Stanislav and the Reverend would meet in front of the Brussels Magritte museum. On that occasion Stanislav handed over a present for the Church that was immediately digitally immortalised by hordes of visiting Japanese tourists. The Church and Stanislav will now be for ever bonded and Iggy Rose has commented on Stanislav's new artwork with the following unforgettable phrase:

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit poster by Stanislav.
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit poster by Stanislav.

Let's end this article with the words of a wise man: “In the sunny land of Belgium Stanislav was forced to eat a Brussels waffle and there was much rejoicing.”
Happy Birthday, Stanislav!
Happy Birthday, Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit!

The Church wishes to thank all the fans and contributors of the Church, especially the lovely people of the Late Night community from the past and present. Stanislav and Dolly Rocker for sparkling the fuse, JenS and Julian Palacios for rolling the ball, Margaretta Barclay and Mark Blake for adding up to the Iggy Follies. The French connection for putting my feet back on the ground.
And, last but not least: ♥ Iggy ♥.