Picture: © Chris Lanaway, 2010.
Picture: © Chris Lanaway, 2010.

February 2013

This page contains all the articles that were uploaded in February 2013, chronologically sorted, from old to new.
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2013-02-01

Hairy Mess

June 1970
1. June 1970.

On the 6th June of 1970 Syd Barrett gave his short Olympia concert together with David Gilmour and Jerry Shirley. We won't get further into the discussion about the set's brevity and about the fact that a certain faction of Barrett fans and musicians, including Mohammed Abdullah John 'Twink' Alder, think that the tape of that gig is in fact a Stars performance of February 1972, but we will use this date as a calibration point for Syd's... length of hair.

The friendly discussion about the exact colour of Syd's floor boards created an existential crisis in Barrett-land (see: The Case of the Painted Floorboards (v 2.012)), with people who refuse to talk to each other ever since, and the hair-length discussion promises to be as lively. As a matter of fact Syd's Hair Chronology is not a new topic, we could find a Late Night forum thread from 2007, but like all things Syd this discussion comes up about every 6 months or so.

Stoned Tramp

Barrett, the second solo album, was released on 14 November 1970 and his management found it advisable to have some photo shoots and interviews to promote the album.

November 1970
2. November 1970.

Barrie Wentzell had the following to say about this:

Chris Welch and I went along to do a quick interview with Syd at his managers office. We were a bit apprehensive, as stories of Syd's behavior of late seemed bizarre. When we got there, we were met by a very upset guy who said Syd had locked himself into a room and he wouldn't come out. Oh dear! It seemed the stories were true. Chris and I spoke to him through the door and tried to convince him that we were his friends and that everything was ok. He slowly opened the door and ushered us in quickly shutting and locking the door behind us. He stood there looking very frightened, muttering, Those people out there are aliens, and are after me! We tried to tell him that they were his management and friends and they cared about him, as do we. He seemed unconvinced, and I took this dark side of Syd pictures and managed to persuade him to let Chris and I out and that we'd send help. He took the key from his pocket, unlocked the door. We escaped and Syd locked himself back inside. Taken from: Snapgalleries.

The pictures of Syd Barrett, taken that day by Barrie Wentzell, have been nicknamed the 'stoned tramp' session and show an unshaven Syd Barrett with mid-long hair and a pair of eyes that not always seem to be focusing on something (see: second picture). One of them appeared in Melody Maker of the 31st of January 1971, next to the Chris Welch article that was titled: Confusion and Mr Barrett. (To add further discombobulation Barrie Wentzell dates the picture as 1971 on his own website, but it is – probably – from November 1970.)

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off (aka I like tomato)

March 1971
3. March 1971.

In Autumn 1970, Barrett was living semi-permanently in his mother's house in Cambridge, far away from the frantic London beatnik drug scene he had been a member, propagator and victim of. He had deliberately left everything and everybody behind to find some peace of mind. Perhaps he had decided to follow Gala Pinion, who had found a job at Joshua Taylor, a Cambridge department store and who had left London a few months earlier. One of Syd's many dreams was to settle down and start a family. Gala and Syd officially announced their engagement in October after they had found a ring at Antiquarius on King's Road.

To celebrate this event a joint family engagement dinner was organised but that day Syd was not in a very good shape. While Donald, Alan, Ruth, Roe and Gala's father where staring at each other in silence he threw some tomato soup over his fiancé and disappeared for the bathroom when the roast pork arrived... Julian Palacios:

He cut off his long hair to an inch from his skull and returned downstairs. As though the sixties had never happened, he severed links with his past with a pair of scissors. He rejoined the family fold, taking his place at the table in silence. Gala said, ‘No one batted an eyelid. They carried on with the meal as if nothing had happened, didn’t say a word. I thought, “Are they mad or is it me?’”

It is not sure when this dinner took place, but it might have been after the Barrett promo interview(s), so December 1970 seems like a valid candidate. The dinner fiasco was an omen for things to come, Syd would spy on Gala at her work and accused her to have an affair with a sales assistant and with his former drummer, Jerry Shirley. One day Barrett wrote a formal letter to break off the engagement and she returned the ring, but he would still harass her for weeks to come. During a final row, incidentally at Jerry Shirley's place, Barrett finally understood that he had lost. Even Syd must have grasped at one point that showing up at night and scaring the shit out of her was not the proper way to win her back.

Skinhead

May 1971
4. May 1971.

A few months later, that same Barrie Wetzell photographed Barrett to accompany the famous Michael Watts article that appeared in Melody Maker on the 27th of March 1971 (see third picture above).

Barrett has very short hair and looks rather agile:

Syd Barrett came up to London last week and talked in the office of his music publisher, his first press interview for about a year. His hair is cut very short now, almost like a skinhead. Symbolic? Of what, then? He is very aware of what is going on around him, but his conversation is often obscure; it doesn't always progress in linear fashion. Taken from: Syd Barrett interview, Melody Maker, Mar 27 1971, Michael Watts.

The above quote points out that the 'skinhead' pictures date from mid March 1971, although on Wetzell's website they are mislabelled as 1970. Steve Turner of Beat Instrumental met Syd on the 19th of April 1971:

He now has his hair cropped to Love Me Do length but compromises with a purple satin jacket and stack heeled boots. During the interview he relights each cigarette from the remnants of the previous one and pivots his eyeballs at an incredible speed as he speaks. "I've just left a train and had to pay an awful taxi ride" he says slowly tipping his ash into an empty coffee cup. "I've come to look for a guitar. I've got a neck in the other room. Quite an exciting morning for me." Something about him makes you think that this may well be right. Taken from: Syd Barrett, A Psychedelic Veteran (free subscription to read).
Februari 1972
5. Februari 1972.

And in May Barrett had a visit from Mick Rock and his wife Sheila (and not Iggy Rose as has been hinted here and there). Syds' hair already has grown a bit (see fourth picture above).

In early 1972, with the Stars gigs, he will have very long hair and a beard (see fifth picture).

We will never be sure about what Barrett's motivation was for his actions, but we can be sure about one thing, his hair grew at a staggering speed.

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 281.
Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 383, 389.
Willis, Tim, Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p. 121-123.

Pictures:
1: 1970 06: Syd at Olympia, photographer unknown, Rex Features.
2: 1970 11: 'Barrett' 'stoned tramp' promo shot by Barrie Wentzell.
3: 1971 03: 'Barrett' 'skinhead' promo shot by Barrie Wentzell.
4: 1971 05: Syd in his mother's garden, Cambridge, by Mick Rock.
5: 1972 02: Syd performing with Stars by Jenny Spires.


Many thanks to: Psych, Stanislav & the gang at Late Night & Birdie Hop.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2013-02-15

When Hendrix met Iggy

Jimpress 100
Jimpress 100.

Somewhere mid December we were informed by Iggy that she had been asked some questions by the British Jimi Hendrix magazine: Jimpress.

Jimpress started in July 1991 and is currently at its 100th issue and obviously no other issue than this centenary one was suited to welcome Iggy Rose. Pages 9 to 17 have the article Mr Love, where author Tim Greenhall examines several events from Brook Street 23 in London.

Mr Love, The Jimi Hendrix London Experience, Tim Greenhall examines events in Brook Street

The article starts with the memories of Doug Kaye, who used to work in his brother's restaurant in Brook Street. Above the Mr Love restaurant was a flat where a certain Jimi Hendrix and Kathy Etchingham set up residence. Doug first met Jimi at the cigarettes machine and they started talking about blues music. Doug lend Jimi two blues albums that he never saw back but that are now part of the Jimi Hendrix exposition at the EMP museum in Seattle.

Doug Kaye started the secret Mr Love Facebook group (later renamed to Echoes) that unfortunately has been declared terra incognita for the Reverend but that accommodates quite a few Sixties celebrities among its members (and many of those are friends of Iggy Rose as well).

Jimi's cavalry jacket
Jimi's cavalry jacket.

One of them, mentioned in the article, is Robert Orbach who owned I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet and who sold Jimi Hendrix his trademark cavalry jacket. The Hussars tunic dated from 1850 and was the personal property of Robert who wore it in his shop. Jimi Hendrix first proposed to buy it for 20£ but Orbach told the item was not for sale. Over the next few days Hendrix and his manager would drop by with higher bids and at the end the uniform changed owner for the tenfold of the originally proposed price. To modern 2013 standards Hendrix must have paid the equivalent of about 2000£ (or 2320€ or 3100$), but as it became one of the most renown jackets in the world of rock that price was probably a fair one.

Jeff Dexter probably doesn't need to be introduced to Iggy Rose fans, he tried to make a record with her but this miserably failed when he found out at the studio that non of the girls he had chosen for his Motown-like act actually could sing. Dexter met Hendrix on different occasions.

Introducing John Altman would take us at least three Church blog posts, so we will just say he is a (film & ad) composer, music arranger, orchestrator, conductor, an occasional contributor to Monty Python and that he has more anecdotes up his sleeve than the Reverend has ever got hangovers in his entire life. John Altham talked most about jazz with Jimi and Hendrix confided him he wanted to take some guitar lessons from John McLaughlin.

Iggy Rose @ Jimpress

And then it is finally time to attribute some lines to our goddess:

One of the group's most colourful ladies is the lovely “Iggy Rose”. Iggy was Syd Barrett's girlfriend and met Jimi on a few occasions. She is probably best known for being the model on the cover of Barrett's album The Madcap Laughs, however she has been seen in many a sixties nostalgia film, most notably Granny Takes A Trip which you can find on YouTube no doubt. Iggy also worked in the store of the same name.

Note: as far as we know Iggy did not work at Granny's. The article from Tim Greenhall continues:

I asked Iggy what she remembered about Jimi in that time ?
I never really spent much time chatting but was in his presence. I met Kathy Etchingham on a couple of occasions. I knew Noel Redding quite well. I remember seeing him at The Bag o'Nails where he blew everyone away. I just feel very fortunate to have met him and will always be grateful for that.

...the article ends with a thank you note to Iggy:

I would particularly like to thank Iggy for putting me in contact with Jeff Dexter, Robert Orbach and John Altman.
Mr Love in Jimpress 100
Iggy Rose in Jimpress 100.

Hendrix at the Church

The Church has destined a few articles to the Iggy Rose - Jimi Hendrix connection before.

Anthony Stern, who immortalised her in his movies and pictures, first met Iggy at a Hendrix concert at the Speakeasy, this was told in the different press articles Kirsty Whalley wrote about Iggy Rose: Where did she go? and Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea.

In 2010 the Church interviewed Rod Harris, who has been described as the man who launched Jimi Hendrix in the UK: Rod Harrod remembers The Crom. Co-owner from The Cromwellian club Bob Archer told the Church he was the first to book Jimi Hendrix:

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. Taken from: The Wrestling Beatle.

And in his 2011 Mojo article Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake revealed that Iggy saw Hendrix make his UK debut at the Bag O' Nails in November '66: The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo.

Mr. Love
Mr. Love.

A few years ago the Church asked Iggy what she did remember of that Hendrix gig and here is what she confided to the Church (unpublished before):

I think the first mind-blowing experience I had of watching Jimi Hendrix's explosive performance was at the Bag 'O Nails on November the 25th, 1966.
I actually sat on the edge of its tiny stage waiting for the gig to start.
The so-called super cool blasé London in-crowd didn't realise what hit them. From the very first stupendous chord this felt like a typhoon blasting away all sense and reason, reducing everyone in the public into a quivering state of amazement. This phenomenally unique sound provoked a spontaneous eruption in the crowd. Suddenly everyone leapt to their feet with a roar, clamouring to get near the stage to absorb the extraordinary.
And as if that wasn't enough, as soon as Jimi dropped to his knees and started to play the electric guitar with his tongue the roomful of trendy clubbers went ballistic and then he hadn't set his guitar on fire yet. For me it looked like he continued through the night producing spectacular feats of unparalleled works of genius.
Then of course his electrifying voice that touched and melted the most vital. This was oozing raw scalding sex, a river of molten lava erupting from a volcano. Hendrix created an uncontrollable sensation of having multiple orgasms.

Unfortunately the pictures that were in her possession from Jimi Hendrix (with her?) have been lost through the years, as well as those with Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey, George Harrison, Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg, 'Keef' Richards and 'lovely' Keith Moon... (and then there is still a hidden, but rather naughty, but rather arty, Syd & Iggy Madcap Laughs photo session that is in ultra safe hands somewhere).

But not all is lost, the Church also heard that some people want to contact Iggy for a new Rolling Stones related project. The Reverend is pretty sure that somewhere there must be pictures, probably in private hands: Iggy & the Stones.


Many thanks to Tim Greenhall from Jimpress and to all contributors from previous articles mentioned here: Bob Archer, Mark Blake, Rod Harris, Kirsty Whalley...
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Jimpress can be contacted (and bought) at http://www.jimpress.co.uk/
Jimpress is on Facebook as well.

Sources:
Rose, Iggy: Jimi Hendrix at Bag 'O Nails, chat / phone conversation(s) with Felix Atagong somewhere in 2011.


2013-02-22

RIP Kevin Ayers: Shooting At The Moon

Kevin Ayers
Kevin Ayers.

Kevin Ayers died this week, 68 years old, leaving the enigmatic message 'You can't shine if you don't burn' on a piece of paper next to his bed.

The press is describing him as a whimsical psychedelic pioneer, which undoubtedly he was, but they easily forget that he made a few landmark albums en route to the third millenium. Well we did all forget about Kevin Ayers, didn't we, including that silly Reverend who has never bothered to buy his last album The Unfairground. Not enough time, too much things to do, you know the story...

I have warm feelings for his albums Falling Up (1988) and Still Life With Guitars (1992) that were largely ignored by the public but that contain some hidden gems. The punchline 'Am I really Marcel' was for years a constant pun in my household, bringing back memories of hot and steamy nights in a bohemian shack that had no electricity and no heating but my LA-girl and me did have a cassette player under the bed with an Ayers tape glued inside.

Let's get experienced

Kevin Ayers was the only musician who could convince Syd Barrett to play on one of his records, but he didn't make it to the final mix when the record came out in 1970. On the remastered Joy Of A Toy CD there are two alternative takes of the Singing A Song In The Morning / Religious Experience song and on the liner notes it is claimed that Syd Barrett is on take 9 of the song (the 4 minutes 46 seconds version of the song, track 11 on the CD).

As with all things Barrett this has lead to even more confusion as several people noticed that this might be wrong and that the real version with Syd Barrett is take 103 (duration: 2'50” and track 14 on the CD).

On Wednesday 17th December 1969 Syd Barrett entered the Abbey Road studios and recorded some guitar work for Kevin Ayers' song Religious Experience. According to the tape box two different lead guitar tracks were added to take 10 of the song. Random Precision author David Parker notes that the third track of the tape 'is the guitar playing one hears on the single [issued under the title Singing A Song In The Morning, note from FA]... but on track 8 of the multi-track another completely different sounding lead guitar is playing away'. That one is Syd's guitar... (the same track has a mellotron as well, played by Ayers)

The next day the Religious Experience tapes were further worked on by Peter Jenner for stereo mixing. For an unknown reason the takes were renumbered from take 10 to take 100, and four stereo mixes do exist at the EMI library that include Barrett's guitar in one way or another:
take 100 – 3:07 (unreleased)
take 101 – 3:07 (unreleased)
take 102 – 3:05 (unreleased) and
take 103 – 2:47 (released on the remastered Joy Of A Toy CD).

Although take 9 has a sentence (from Kevin Ayers?) that (apparently) goes 'Syd do your thing', it is highly improbably that Syd Barrett is on there.

But who cares, a great musician has just died...

Vive la banane!


Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above)
Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 157-160.
Singing a song in the morning on Late Night forum, 7 December 2007.

In 2009 a 10" acetate was sold with an (unknown?) mix of Kevin Ayers / Syd Barrett Religious Experience.
Update 2016: replaced dead YouTube links with working ones.