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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.
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.
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)
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.
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
Psychedelic Veteran (free subscription to read).
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
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 ♥
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
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).
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
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
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
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.
Hendrix at the Church
The Church has destined a few articles to the Iggy Rose - Jimi Hendrix
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
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
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
I actually sat on the edge of its tiny stage waiting for the gig to
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
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
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
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 ♥
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
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
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
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
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.
a song in the morning on Late Night forum, 7 December 2007.