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

September 2012

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2012-09-01

Eva Wijkniet: my Syd (Roger) Barrett project

Eva Wijkniet
Eva Wijkniet.

In 2011 Eva Wijkniet, from The Netherlands, not only managed to visit the Barrett exhibition at (the recently closed down) Idea Generation Gallery, but she also got a foot in the door of Libby Gausden Chisman, a couple of months later. When the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit got hold of the rumour that she was writing her story for publication at the Dutch Pink Floyd Fans Nederland fanpage, we moved heaven and earth to publish her report on the Church pages as well.

It did cost us blood, sweat, an inkjet and blue nail-polish, but here it is, the wondrous story of Eva, friends and family, in merry Barrett land. Many, many thanks to Libby Gausden for her support and Eva for this story.

An Innerview with Eva Wijkniet
Syd Barrett in a leather jacket
Syd Barrett in a leather jacket.

Eva Wijkniet: my Syd (Roger) Barrett project

You have got these years that a lot happens, more than in other years.
2011 was one like this for me.

It actually began in 2010 when I came in contact with the creators of the "Barrett book". Mind you, not that I personally met them, but through the social media like things go today.

I once had seen (already a long time ago) an episode of the documentary series called "the seven ages of rock" with particular focus on the origins of psychedelic rock, and in particular the vague and relatively unknown first front-man of Pink Floyd. I knew Pink Floyd, but was not very interested in their well-known work. But when I saw this documentary I was glued to the tube as bee on a honey pot. Who was this appearance? What was that noise? What was this special story and why didn't I know it?

I had to go to the bottom of this... my research project "Syd (Roger) Barrett" had begun...

First I read some books. "A Very Irregular Head" by Rob Chapman and "Dark Globe" by Julian Palacios were the first, and after a load of others (all in English) these came out the best in my opinion. What was it about this man? Why did this gorgeous and brilliant appearance of a man vanished from the scene before the world lay at the feet of this mega band?

He was a painter...
He was a guitarist...
He was crazy...
He was an acid casualty...
He became a hermit...
Hundreds, thousands vague stories of incidents...
How was it really?

I became heavily fascinated with my object or research, so to speak.
Months of wandering on the internet and many extensions of my Facebook network followed and after a while I stumbled upon a site of Essential Works where authors Russell Beecher and Will Shutes were busy compiling a book about Syd.

This had to be a complete visual overview of Barrett as an "Artist". A book featuring never-before-seen photos and a compendium of his artwork that was still traceable or that had been photographed. This book would also have (love) letters of the very young Syd, full of expectations of life, searching for a purpose, seeking confirmation of his loved ones, unsure of his musical skills in the student band with his mates Roger, Nick, Rick and Bob.

To get this book published, the authors sought support.

For months I frantically twittered and facebooked and in November 2010, the high word came out... the book was going to be published! To thank us for our endless spamming, the first who had subscribed to the book had their name published in the so called "Roll of Honour".

Early 2011, the book appeared!

BARRETT: The definitive visual companion to the life of Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett

Untitled by Syd Barrett
Untitled by Syd Barrett.

I was super-proud when I opened the book and saw my name on the "Roll" among many others.

And... there was going to be an exhibition! Obviously I had to go! I went to London and two super girlfriends reported themselves as travel companions.

March 2, 2011, early in the morning, three uproarious girls (30+ but with the mentality of 15-year old teenagers who went on a tour) got on a plane to London. That same afternoon I stood with my face before a painting of a turtle (a reproduction would later hang on my wall). I stand musing in front of the letters Syd wrote to his first loves (later I would know better one of them) and very early photos of Pink Floyd... There was a mosaic of two warriors, abstract works in red and blue, small landscapes in watercolour, ink sketches of a little boy...

My friends were pretty tired after 10 minutes, but they did not have the connection with and fascination for Syd Barrett as I have... I loved it and two days later I returned to visit the exposition on my own.

Through Facebook I had already met Libby Gausden Chisman, Syd's first love.

She is a terribly nice woman, in her sixties but that doesn't withhold her to master the full potential of Facebook. She took pleasure to get acquainted with the supporters of the "Barrett book".

When she heard that I would spend my summer holidays at the English Coast with my family, she insisted that we would bring her a visit.

After some exchanges of mail addresses and phone-numbers we left (husband, child, parents-in-law all stuffed in two packed cars) towards the UK.

Libby and Neil (her husband) lived on the route but I still hesitated to bust her place with my household and parents, especially as it was around dinner time. I called just to be sure, and she said I had not to act stupid and that she had more than enough food and that we had to pass by.

True Story (by Syd Barrett)
True Story by Syd Barrett.

We arrived at the place in a beautiful area at the English coast. We drove up the driveway and the front door was already open... I didn't want to just walk in, so I rang at the door. Libby arrived and said that she had left the door open on purpose for us. I said it was not wise after the incident in the IG gallery (on the second last day a painting had been stolen, but two days later it was returned by post). Afterwards she found the theft really witty and she corrected us, the painting had not been stolen, but merely borrowed.

We were greeted like old friends, which I still think is particular as I only knew her through Facebook. We got coffee in the garden (and she was glad I am a smoker, she finds all that anti-smoking stuff a hassle) and an arsenal of food that was yet to come.

The long corridor of the house was filled with artwork and some of those I had already seen a few weeks earlier, of course. But at the IG gallery I really thought this would be a one time experience... how wrong could I be...

I could take pictures of what I wanted and the she came with a suitcase full of letters.

All these years she had kept the letters in a black garbage bag, but the people of the gallery didn't found that nice enough and stored the letters for her in a folder and suitcase.

You have to know that in all these years many Syd fans and journalists came over her floor and that quite some documents and photos have been 'lost'. And yet this doesn't withhold her from continuing to welcome people.

Many have been to her house, including writer Rob Chapman, who even worked on his book about Syd in a room in her house. Libby has never read his book.

Also I found it particular that her husband Neil was as warm and affectionate towards us. Lib has often said that we owe it to him that these Syd Barrett relics are still there. He always wanted her to keep the documents even at the moments that she wanted to put hem away.

In the 70s he even agreed with the idea of taking Syd into their home when it really wasn't going well with him. Her mother put a stop on this because she didn't found it suitable for the very young children of the couple. This is just one anecdote of the many she told me, but out of respect I will not put those here. She made it clear that there was more than the excesses of madness and excessive drug use we always read about.

I was sitting cross-legged on the floor and she gave me all those letters to read and then came the moment when she summoned me to go upstairs... From her bedroom's wardrobe she took an old black leather jacket. Would I like to try it on?

Libby, Eva and the jacket
Libby, Eva and the jacket.

Die Jacke

It was Syd's leather jacket from 1962!

On a balcony of an old English house at the coast, with palm trees in the garden and the rustling sea in the background, I wore the Syd Barrett's coat... Pinch me!

I wore the jacket of my idol. The man who meant so much for me. Of course not in the same way when I was 14 and almost fainted as Koen Wauters from the Belgian rock band Clouseau came on TV (yes... everyone has some youthful sins...).

This is different.

Libby has no problem distinguishing the "Sydiots" (terrible word) from the real fans. And precisely the real fan she embraces. "For us it was easy, we knew him and he was part of our lives. You had to take some efforts, by listening to his music and by reading books about him.", she always says.

There is also some small rebellion in her, because she often disagrees with the "Syd Barrett Estate" (that manages the art pieces, letters, etc...). The Estate owns everything, even if it is in her hands. And the Estate doesn't like to share, but she doesn't mind.

Everything comes to an end, we could have stayed for hours, but our trip had to be continued. I have met a new friend in a once in a lifetime experience.

And then...?

The book was published.
I had attended the exhibition.
I visited Libby.
I had seen everything.

Now what...?

Luckily I didn't fall into a black hole!
I got inspiration for other projects, things I need to do. We had an artist in the family, I want to map his work and career. It will become a long-term project. I also have a family and work to do, but somehow I'll manage.

So what did this all lead to?
A lot.
Especially a lot of things I can't describe, but that are there.
Syd Barrett is always floating somewhere in the back of my mind.

Thanks to: Libby and Neil, AJ, Alex, Amy, Andre, Bill, Felix, Iggy, Jenny, Julian and all of you for being my Facebook Barrett friends.

Kirsten and Irma along for going on the ride.

Sven and Bart for everything.


© 2012 Eva Wijkniet. Pictures courtesy of Libby Gausden & Eva Wijkniet. Notes & Introduction : the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Translation mistakes, typos and all possible errors are entirely the responsibility of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Eva ♥

This story has previously been published (in Dutch) at: Pink Floyd Fans Nederland (hosted by Floydian Theo)

Links & reviews (at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit):
The Seven Ages Of Rock, Part 2 - White Light, White Heat @ Google Video
The Idea Generation exhibition: Iggy at the Exhibition 
"A Very Irregular Head" by Rob Chapman review: The Big Barrett Conspiracy Theory 
"Dark Globe" by Julian Palacios review: Dark Blog 
BARRETT: The definitive visual companion to the life of Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett review: Barrett: come on you painter!


2012-09-28

Iggy - a new look in festivals

National Jazz and Blues Festival, 1967
National Jazz and Blues Festival, 1967.

The inhabitants of the distant planet Tralfamadore have a phrase, the laity equivalent of the earthly inshallah that goes like this: So it goes. The saying is a combination of fatalism, stoicism and acceptance, usually for when a bad thing happens, without giving a moral or religious judgement to the incident itself.

One night, drunk, we were having a race with a friend who owned a car. A famous roundabout outside Cambridge at the end of the Hauxton half-mile, ten miles out of town. We gave this guy a big start. Then Syd and I climbed on my old Norton motorcycle. I drove as fast as I could to this roundabout and back. As we drove into the front drive of his mother’s house, as he was getting off the back tire went bang! A puncture, a big split in the rear tyre. Only by a hair’s breadth did Pink Floyd ever exist at all. Syd and I could so easily have been killed. (Roger Waters, Bogotá, 2007)

So it goes.

The most ardent Syd Barrett fans will probably be very angry (again!) at Roger Waters for nearly killing Syd, not realizing that if Roger had succeeded in finishing off his friend (and probably himself as well in the process) there would have been no Syd Barrett, nor Pink Floyd, fans to begin with. On the other hand, we would never have had the Roger Waters album Amused To Death, nor any other of his solo stinkers, so here is valid proof that there is some sense of a meta-physical equilibrium in the universe.

The 1967 National Jazz, Pop, Ballads and Blues Festival

genuine NJBF invitation, but with a fake name
Genuine NJBF invitation, but with a fake name.

In August 1967 a three days music festival took place at the Royal Windsor Racecourse, also known among the locals as the Balloon Meadow. In 1961 the festival had been called National Jazz Festival, but the organisation kept on adding music genres to the title to reflect the musical changes that took place in Britain. Four years later the festival was named the National Jazz and Blues Festival and the 1967 edition listened to the slightly overinflated National Jazz, Pop, Ballads and Blues Festival. Frankly, for this reason alone, it's a good thing the festival never survived into the nineties or they would have needed 99-cm-long tickets.

In 1967 jazz had become a small part of the bill with afternoon gigs only and in the evening the festival had become a de-facto popular music jukebox with a rather impressive list of groovy bands who got between 20 to 30 minutes to present their case, the only exception the top act who got an abundant 45 minutes. Not that weird, because the director of the NJPB&B festival was none other than Harold Pendleton, owner of the legendary Marquee club and director of the National Jazz Federation. Bands that were considered hot and had shown their popularity in the club came on the short-list for the festival and one example is the Belgian power-trio Adam's Recital who only gave us one excellent single and then disappeared.

As such it was no surprise that The Pink Floyd had conquered the second best place on the line-up of Saturday 12 August, leaving the top of the bill to Paul Jones of Manfred Mann fame (who was booed off the stage), but beating Zoot Money, Arthur Brown, Amen Corner and 10 Years After in the race.

The festival was not entirely unbespoken, as usual there were the traditional jazz lovers who moaned that their jazz festival wasn't a real jazz festival any more and had sold out to those dreadful pop-bands. But the blues and rock fans also complained about the 1000 Watts experimental WEM hi-fi installation that fell out during several concerts and was inadequate to give the rock fans the volume they needed. On top of that the posh neighbours of the Balloon Meadow had issued a complaint, leading to the arrest of Charlie Watkins of WEM (Watkins Electric Music), and in order to continue with the festival the volume had to be turned down, despite the crappy PA system.

A host of guitarists like Peter Green, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and David O'List, had their sound reduced to a near pathetic level. (Melody Maker)

The Lovely Ones

For many visitors from the country this was their first encounter with hippies who could only be found in their London ghetto. One photographer commented:

The Lovely Ones
The Lovely Ones.
All those lovely, beautiful people. With their John Lennon spectacles and Scott McKenzie moustaches. And their garlands of flowers; their cowbells; and their joss sticks. So lovely... dressed in mum's tablecloth and the front room curtains. So lovely with their talk of peace... and their skip-like walk over the grass. This was not a love-in, or particularly a gathering of hippies, though they were there in their hundreds.

And amongst the flower girls one particular specimen stood out, she was (and still is) a true goddess of psychedelia and Pink Floyd fans amicably know her as Iggy the Eskimo.

Iggy the Eskimo Pocahontas

Last year Iggy Rose confided to the Holy Church that there were still some unseen pictures of her, hidden in music magazine archives, waiting to be unearthed:

You should get in touch with the archive department of Melody Maker to track down those 2 photographers. I am pretty sure they where acquainted with my wonderful guardian angel who was freelancing for all the top music papers.
He fled his native motherland when Communist Russia invaded it with the blessing of America and what was once Great Britain.
Anyway he lived in Earls Court, at the gay end. I didn’t had a clue and who cares. He was my protector and provider and took thousands of the most stunning pics. He introduced me to top agents, Ready Steady Go and took me to the first Glastonbury festival and the Isle of Wight. He would always take pictures of me as well. I wish I could remember which festival or what music paper where he had got me on the front page, but I do remember I had plaits and a band round my forehead... I looked like Pocahontas, the red Indian squaw. Later on he introduced me to top modelling agencies and trendy photographers. I even got to meet the great David Puttman for a Camay soap TV-ad where I was lying in a bath with lots of bubbles. We spent ages in his office giggling and laughing while he tried to apologise. I was the wrong type as the soap company was looking for big blue-eyed blondes like Twiggy or Jean [Shrimpton].

Unfortunately most of the Iggy Rose pictures have disappeared through the years, including those that were in her property. S, a rock star she was hanging out with at the time, 'was one of the many people who destroyed hundreds of my photos' and in an unfortunate freaky incident a suitcase with her personal belongings was tossed over the railings of a ship crossing the North Sea. One of the mythical lost photo sessions are an intimate set from her with Syd Barrett, perhaps taken by a photographer other than Mick Rock and Storm Thorgerson, around the time that also The Madcap Laughs cover-shoot took place.

So it goes.

And the chance that the picture of Iggy as Pocahontas would ever show up was close to zero.

Then a miracle happened that could only take place in our global village.

The Phi Factor

On the 25th of August the Church received a message from PhiPhi Chavana (Hong Kong) that she had found a new Iggy pic in a 1967 magazine that was auctioned on eBay. The Music Maker magazine of October 1967 belonged to retro68special from Sydney (Australia) who was selling his wide collection of sixties and seventies film, video, vinyl, books, zines, comics, memorabilia and ephemera...

Retro68special had scanned 16 out of the 52 pages magazine, including a big centrefold of a flower power girl who looked unmistakably like Iggy. Discreet investigations were undertaken to see if the girl on the picture was Ig and on the first of September we received confirmation it was her indeed: "...those beads left great big dents in my forehead ;)".

Music Maker
Music Maker, October 1967.

Musik Maker

Music Maker was a short-lived music magazine that ran from September 1966 till December 1967. As a monthly offshoot from the Melody Maker stable it was edited by Jack Hutton and Bob Houston and more interested in jazz, folk and serious popular music than in those weird psychedelic fiddlings. It clearly used a more adult style than its weekly counterparts, giving full credits to the authors of the articles, but alas, not to the people who took the pictures.

The October 1967 issue that was on sale has in-depth interview with and articles about: Burt Bacharach, Tony Bennett, Brian Epstein, Hank, Thad & Elvin Jones, Stan Kenton, Lulu, Frank Zappa and a photo-journalistic impression of the National Jazz and Blues Festival, with a text written by Chris Welch.

Update March 2020: It is possible that the photographer of Iggy's picture was freelancer Feri Lukas, who was working for the Dezo Hoffmann studios. More to read at: Amateur Photographer: New Iggy Picture Found! 

WINDSOR-A NEW LOOK IN FESTIVALS (Chris Welch)

Flower Power hit this year’s National ]azz and Blues Festival at Windsor in August like a reinforced concrete daisy.

Hippies completely replaced the familiar beatniks of yesteryear. Beads and bells ousted duffle coats and cider jugs.

Both groups and audience alike adopted colourful, inventive clothes-kaftans, scarves and brilliantly hued trousers and jackets.

As hippies seek free expression in music and general activities, so they seek freedom of dress, and only the dullards of society can feel resentment at their massive break with convention.

“But they are being conventional-they all dress the same”, one can almost hear the dullards whining.

Not true. While businessmen desperately trail the hippies to their lairs to cash in on whatever trend may be showing on the surface, your real hippy is always one jump ahead and trying to be original and creative.

Many of the groups at Windsor were still playing the old soul and Carnaby Street groove, but there were several representatives of the “new wave” in pop which have been drastically altering the scene in a matter of weeks. Pop has never moved at such a fast pace.

There was Tomorrow in action, a fantastic new group featuring “Teenage Opera” man Keith West. There was Dantalian’s Chariot, Eric Burdon and the New Animals, the Nice and many other happy happenings.

Whereas the soul bands seemed happy in the past to play “Knock On Wood” and “Sweet Soul Music” all night, and inviting the audience to “clap their hands”, the new groups use as much original material as possible or at least obscure American songs which make good vehicles for instrumental and vocal expression.

The Nice, for example, who caused a minor sensation by releasing doves of peace during their act, play numbers from the “Cosmic Sounds”, Electra album, film themes and strange originals.

Beautiful maidens abounded at the festival, collectively referred to as “Creamcheese”, which stems from the Mothers Of Invention’s famous Suzie. Most of the girls now wear Eric Clapton hairstyles or affect American Indian garb. Or is it Indian Indian? Geography has gone to pot.

Musically the finest contributions to the Festival were by Clapton, Tens Years After, Tomorrow, Pat Arnold and the Nice, John Mayall, Peter Green, Donovan and Denny Laine.

They all point to a happy, creative pop future - if only people will leave them alone. - CHRIS WELCH

And here finally is the picture we have been looking for, for all these months, and before we forget: "Just another world exclusive of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit."

Iggy at Windsor, 1967
Iggy at Windsor, 1967.

A bigger version and a (partial) scan of the magazine can be found in our latest gallery: Music Maker Magazine.

Iggy at Windsor, 1967. Rough scan.
Iggy at Windsor, 1967. Rough scan.

Incarceration of a Flower Child

After PhiPhi Chavana warned the Reverend about the new Iggy Rose picture the scan from the seller was examined by some Church alumni who all agreed that the image had a serious distorted view at chin level, a carnival mirror effect if you like, due to the bending of the pages in the middle.

So it was absolutely essential that the Church got hold of the magazine. The first thing the Church did when it arrived was to cut it into little pieces and make a flat hi-res scan of the two pages that made the Pocahontas picture.

Unfortunately, this only worsened the case, as the upper and lower piece of the scan did not stitch together and a big crack was visible between the two parts. Lucky for us that wicked tribe of Iggy Rose fans has nothing but nice people amongst it ranks and Brooke Steytler came to the rescue using his magical inpainting skills.

Page crack.
Page crack.

Serendipity & more to come

All this makes us think.

What if retro68special had not put up his collection for sale?
What if he had not scanned the page with Iggy?
What if PhiPhi Chavana had not seen it on eBay?
What if PhiPhi Chavana had not recognised Iggy and had not been aware of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit?
What if Brooke Steytler had not proposed to use his photoshopping superpowers?

That's a lot of knots and we can only conclude that the Church is protected by a special guardian angel, but we all know who she is, don't we?

So it goes.

As Music Maker was a spin-off of Melody Maker it is not impossible that the weekly magazine may have Iggy related pictures as well, the same goes for Disc and Music Echo, another weekly magazine from the same stable. And while we're at it, why not have a go at NME 1075 that had an article by Keith Altham and Norrie Drummond about the festival. The hunt continues.

P.S. The Pink Floyd didn't play the National Jazz, Pop, Ballads and Blues Festival after all, this was the summer that Syd Barrett suffered from extreme exhaustion and went to Formentera with his gynaecologist (!) to get some rest. The Nice replaced the Floyd's spot and did in fact play twice on the festival. More about Syd at Formentera: Formentera Lady.


Many thanks to: Dylan Mills, Brooke Steytler, PhiPhi Chavana, retro68special.
♥ Iggy ♥

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Arthur Brown - Windsor 1967 Interview, 7 and a half minute BBC report of the festival (mostly about Arthur Brown)
Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 30. The original transcript of the Radio Bogotá interview can be found at A Fleeting Glimpse.
Rose, Iggy: chat with Felix Atagong, 16 October 2011.
7th National Jazz & Blues Festival @ The Marquee Club
The Seventh National Jazz and Blues Festival @ UK Rock Festivals
The Lovely Ones picture (text on back), courtesy of Carl Guderian

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