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The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit celebrates its fifth birthday.
An official statement by the Reverend:
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is five years old. It has always taken
an independent road and has maintained an ironic and satirical view on
Barrett phenomenon and its fans.
We will, however, never spit on the fans. We have embraced the term Sydiot
as our Geusenwort,
meaning that we have reappropriated this derogatory nickname as an
While we have the utmost respect for the casual Barrett fans, the cosmic
brides (persons [m/f] who claim to have a relationship with Syd of some
kind, often crossing spiritual boundaries) and the Sydiots, we
intuitively question the official Barrett
organisations, record companies and nincompoops who circle around Syd
like vultures. We will not automatically endorse their websites, their
records and their books... and this has not always been appreciated. It
seems that nothing has changed much since those days in 1967 when Norman
Smith was reprimanded by his boss:
were ignorant, lazy and paranoid. I'd once been carpeted by Sir
Joseph Lockwood, almost fired, told to stay away from courting Pink
Floyd. But I took no notice.
If Norman Smith had obeyed we would never have had The
Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. Taking no notice was, is, and will
always be the Holy Church's attitude, even if this puts us in the firing
line of some of the minor half-gods and makes us wonder if this Church
was just a waste of time. But:
This is my church This is where I heal my hurt It's a natural grace Of
watching young life shape It's in minor keys Solutions and remedies Enemies
becoming friends When bitterness ends This is my church (Faithless,
is a DJ, 1998)
All tomfoolery aside, we are proud to have put a thing or two on the
Floydian agenda in the past five years that would otherwise have stayed
unnoticed. If we may lead you to one paragraph on this blog, that we are
particularly fond of, it is this
one and we constantly try to live by those standards. So-called
social media make witnesses easy accessible nowadays but this doesn't
give the Sydiot nor the Reverend a wildcard to constantly harass them
with questions about how 'Syd really was'. Remember:
A granddaughter's smile today is of much more importance than the faint
remembrance of a dead rock star's smile from over 40 years ago. (Taken
are all made of stars.)
And for those who don't agree the Church can only bring solace by citing
the following words of that great Cantabrigian band:
So I open my door to my enemies And I ask could we wipe the slate
clean But they tell me to please go fuck myself You know you just
can't win (Pink Floyd, Lost For Words, 1994)
But this speech has been going on for too long, so...
It's a fucking birthday godammit! And we have exactly the right party
album for that... and you can have yours too!
Birdie Hop and the Sydiots
Michael John Hall is a self-publishing artist in the 'alternative'
or 'indie rock' genre with about a dozen releases on his name. In March
2013 he surprised the world with his songs The
Reverend and Uncle Alex and it came to the Church's ears that this
was going to be a part of a quintessential concept album. Written in
about a month's time the album has been released a couple of weeks ago.
Birdies and Barretts
Birdie Hop and the Sydiots is named after a rather decent Facebook
group and its members who range from the wacky to the insane now
that an old cricketer has left the crease. Its first song, Birdie Hop,
is a pastoral tune about this relatively calm oasis and how it is a
reference to all who have enclosed Syd Barrett in their hearts.
I've seen your mother (and she's beautiful) is a track about our
most cherished and most hated family member. Rich Hall perfectly catches
that ambiguity (see also John
Lennon & Roger
Waters) but apparently that is not what the song is about. Let's
just resume by saying that Barrett fans come in different colours and
sizes. Cosmic brides are fans, who declare their unconditional love for
Syd and sometimes meet him on a higher esoteric level. It is good that
what happens in the spirit world cannot be seen by the naked eye
although sometimes weird erotomanic
anecdotes drip through. Cosmic brides are usually harmless, although
they can be annoying when they start messaging people with important
directives from the other side.
With Cheesecake Joe, a catchy hard rock tune built around one of
Birdie Hop's most flamboyant members, the Birdie suite lifts off into
the higher stratosphere. Cheesecake is the deadhead equivalent of the
Floydian fan. He is the UFOnaut who still claims Pink Floyd is a stoner
band and that their main message is to turn on, tune in & drop out...
The Reverend is the first highlight of the album, what a psychedelicate
song, what a fine realistic description of this genius, what an
adoration for Iggy the Eskimo, what a magic looking glass. But even
after having heard this song for about 45 times I still don't know if
the song really isn't an insult packaged as a gift. But walking the thin
line between praise and mockery is what the Holy Church is all about.
Great song. It should be a hit. Really.
A high-res Flash clip of this song can be found here.
And for those who prefer a somewhat lighter YouTube version:
Just when you think that it can't get any better there is Uncle Alex,
an ear-worm of a song. Not wanting to go too far into details I can only
say that some of the apparently throw-away lines are far closer to the
truth than you possibly can imagine. Rich Hall is a poignant observer.
This should even be a bigger hit.
A videoclip for this song can be found on the Reverend's YouTube channel.
Solo en las Nubes could be the theme song for a Sergio
Leone spaghetti western with Antonio
Jesús as the vengeful balded bad-ass. On his own this man is
responsible for most of the Barrett admiration in the Spanish-speaking
world and thus he is, by definition, regarded as a potential danger by
the powers that be. Speak out his name in a certain provincial
university town, close by the river Cam, in East Anglia and gallows are
spontaneously risen again. This is a song that should be played around
camp-fires all over the world. This is an urban hymn.
Jenny and Libby makes me think of the Television Personalities
for one thing or another. Throughout the song Rich Hall name-drops
several Birdie Hop alumni and their doings. I wonder if the artist has
amazing powers of observation and if he knew, when he wrote the song in
spring 2013, that the refrain was predictive for the shape of things to
Jenny and Libby ends, what I call, the birdies section of the album.
This is being followed by the madcap suite, a trilogy about the darker
side of Barrettism where the weirdness, the madness and the
obsessiveness turns into a Stephen
Madcap Laughter & Hammerings
Fuggitaboutit, build around a fifties teenage tragedy song, is
based upon the endless laments of certain self-proclaimed Barrett
Your Significant Other is a track about those weird trolls who
infests groups with different aliases, spreading false information and
starting discussions, sometimes among themselves, just for the sake of
argument. So what's your name today, which identity will you choose?, is
the question Rich Hall asks. Based upon a true story.
Yer List Monger. Call it this album's The
Trial but with a haunting Twin
Peakish atmosphere, a hot burning sun, a mad priest preaching on the
telly about sin and redemption, a fat red-neck orating conspiracy
theories at the end of the bar, suddenly spitting out the venomous
question: are you real Syd Barrett fans? Dwarfs are passing by,
walking backwards and speaking in tongues. Meet the Hannibal
Lecter of the Syd Barrett world.
A Cry From The Outside
Birdie Hop and the Sydiots has its coda with a rather alienated version
of Barrett's Feel
that leaves me with a bitter-sweet taste in the mouth. It's puzzling,
it's not nice. It's all dark, as a matter of fact.
At times Rich Hall's way of words makes me think of Jason
Lytle and Lee
Clayton, his music is a kaleidoscope of sounds that reminds my
fragile memory of T-Rex, neo-psych or garage rock. But of course Rich
Hall is at first Rich Hall and nobody else.
Throughout this article I have dispersed some quotes from Pink Floyd and
I did catch some resemblances here and there with themes from The Wall,
but that is probably because I've recently watched a Mr. Roger Waters
show. Let's hope this album will never grow into a monster and that a 69
years-old Rich Hall will not be obliged to lip-synch next to a 130
metres long plastic wall with hi-tech projections and a ridiculous
flying cactus balloon in the air.
You don't need to be a Birdie
Hop member to enjoy this album as all songs stand by themselves, but
if you grab this and listen to it why don't you let the birdies
know what you think of it.
Birdie Hop and the Sydiots July 2013 Instruments &
vocals by Rich Hall. Mixed by Rich Hall and Ron Bay. Mastered
by Ron Bay.
Thanks: Anonymous • Freqazoidiac • Solo En Las Nubes • Psych62 • Anni •
Bill • Euryale • Brooke • Jeff • Prydwyn • Chris • Helen • Sean •
JenniFire • Sadia • Herman • JenS • Vince666 • Nipote • Gretta • Viv •
Adenairways • Giuliano • Dolly • John • Babylemonade • Duggie •
Synofsound • Mark • Xpkfloyd • Rich • Brett • Krackers • Peter • Phil •
Zag • Warren • Listener • Bob • MOB • Nina • Dark Globe • Emily •
Retro68special • Natashaa' • Vic • Jenny • Neonknight • Lord Drainlid •
Ebronte • Simon • Ian • Will • Motoriksymphonia • NPF • Greeneyedbetsy •
Anton • Hallucalation • PF Chopper • Lee • Felixstrange • Michael •
PhiPhi • Eva • Cicodelico • Julian (Gian) • Denis • Dallasman •
Emmapeelfan • Paro नियत • Ewgeni • Matt • Kiloh • Elizabeth • Alexander
• Kirsty • Paul • Mohammed (Twink) • Nigel • Rusty • Braindamage •
Pascal • Mark • Stanislav • Anthony • I Spy In Cambridge • Mick • Alain
• Wrestling Heritage • Bloco do Pink Floyd • Moonwall • Rod • Charley •
Amy • Joe • Griselda • Eternal • Dominae • Russell • Beate • KenB •
Dan5482 • Tim • Antonio • Party of Clowns • Anne • Late Night • Lori •
Colleen • Brian • Christopher • Jose • Göran • Jancy • Banjer and Sax •
Ron • Vicky • ...and all those we have forgotten to mention!
Is it already over a year ago that this blog reviewed the Men On The
CD? Lots of things happened meanwhile to the Reverend who was recently
spotted at an Andrew
Lloyd Webber's musical. Since then, when he sits in the evening in
his comfy chair, a glass of Amontillado
in his hand, you can hear him murmuring the immortal refrain...
Memory All alone in the moonlight I can smile at the old days I
was beautiful then...
Thinking that we're getting older and wiser When we're just getting
But I have grown older and You have grown colder and Nothing is
very much fun any more. (Taken from: Memory
[Cats] / Near
the End [David Gilmour] / One
of my Turns [Roger Waters])
Andrew Lloyd Webber sickens me. He's in your face all the time and what
he does is nonsense. It has no value. It is shallow, derivative rubbish,
all of it... (Taken from: Who The Hell Does Roger Waters Think He Is?, Q
Magazine, November 1992, hosted at: A
But it is not because the Reverend deliberately ignores Roger Waters'
warnings that he can't recognise decent music any more.
Shine! from Men On The Border is a splendid album that shouldn't be
ignored by the redneck Sydiots out there. Luckily, neither did the
Spanish Syd Barrett blog Solo En Las Nubes and that's how the following
self-interview came into place, an interview with some old friends...
Men On The Border, who or what are they? Are they men or myth? With an
album, artwork and history myth-busting/building, they have rocked the
psychedelic foundations of the Syd Barrett world with a pop mentality.
Yes, pop. This sounds too cool to be true. We decided to find out more.
Phil: Well, wouldn't you like to know! We're just a couple of sticky
Swedes, except for me, because I'm just a Brit with Swedish tendencies. Göran:
And I am just a Swede with British tendencies. Phil: I've now lived
longer in Sweden than I did in Britland. I moved here because of my
spiritual affinity with the elks and they're thin on the ground in
London. Apart from that I've been a fanatic guitarist most of my life. Göran:
They are very thin is what I've heard. Phil: Disappearingly thin. Göran:
How long have you been involved in music?
Phil: All my life, actually from a very early age and my earliest
memories are musical - banging on boxes, as I wanted to be a drummer. Göran:
I wanted to be an astronaut. The space age - and the music that came
with it. Ahhh. Phil: From age 10 and onwards, everything was guitars.
My life is littered with musical tags which can take me back to specific
events in seconds - like most people probably have. Göran: Indeed.
Some good events, some less good, some joyful, some simply embarrassing. Phil:
Music has also steered major life-choices, like my conscious decision to
reject both schooling and religion in my teens. Göran: My music
universe imploded and exploded at the same time. I was a punk rocker, a
prog rocker and a 60s pop fan – all at once. My first band was named
Läder, the second one Yeah. Then I ditched music for education and...
things. Phil: My first band was at the age of 17. Unfortunately I was
unable to also reject the other very basic family philosophy: you have
to have a proper job! Getting a good education was obviously less
important. If I'd put my energies into music instead of a string of shit
jobs in my teens, maybe this album would have been made 20 years ago. Göran:
Maybe it WAS made 20 years ago in a time vortex kind of thingie.
Why did you make the album Shine!?
Phil: I love to make music, I love to play and I love to record in my
studio. If it's my music or someone else's doesn't really matter as long
as it has something to offer. Göran: As it happened, Syd Barrett had
something to offer. Phil: I hadn't actually heard any of his solo
material when we started. I was a Pink Floyd fan, but had completely
missed out on Syd. Göran: This helped to motivate me. I sent him a
first primitive demo. Phil: Making Octopus
whetted my appetite for more. Göran: And this in turn drove me
further. To convince people like Phil! The joy of discovery. Squid for
dinner! Phil: Well, he was dead keen to continue, so to make a whole
album was an easy decision. Göran: We made an early promise to be
ready for a festival the next summer. Phil: Yes. The absolute
deadline for mastering was June 8th 2012.
Can you describe the creative process of making Shine!?
Phil: Göran made acoustic demos which he sent to me. Sometimes I made an
initial draft recording, which I sent back for suggestions on how to
proceed and a few times we sat together and played. Göran: It was a
case of working out some new types of arrangements that would fit Syd’s
songs without losing too much of the feelings behind the songs. Some of
them were “road tested” in some acoustic gigs and more. Phil:
And more? Göran: Dreaming in a forest, Phil. Then I just recorded on
my smartphone and mailed over to Phil and he sent me some new amazing
twists back. Every time was such a joy! Phil: As an example of the
process my string quartet arrangement in the Golden Hair part of No
Man's Land was axed by Göran. Göran: Sorry! Phil: He
came up with another suggestion, the one that ended up on the album. I
thought that was SUCH a good idea, but was actually easily persuaded by
Göran to ditch the strings.... Göran: Creative conflicts. We
bounced things between us to create the right blend. Those strings were
brilliant, but did not work in the context of No Man’s Land. It would
have worked as a stand-alone. Phil: I also waited until all the
Shine! recordings were completed before listening to the originals and
was thus not influenced by them at all. Göran: Well, there was one
where you cheated. Phil: Yes! I actually listened to Gigolo
Aunt because I couldn't figure out the timing from Göran's demo
-there's a half-bar in there. Göran: The fun and beauty of Syd's
songs. Phil: All-in-all there was a LOT of bouncing back and forth. Göran:
Which are your favourite songs on Shine!?
Phil: All of the songs have elements in them which I love. But if I had
to choose one song it would be Opal,
because it has everything. Poignant lyric, great vocals from Göran. Göran:
Well... Phil: And also my best performance ever on a recording. 7
minutes of stark beauty. Göran: Opal was always special and I knew it
had to be on the album. We saved it for last really. It's tricky and I
had to record my demo to Phil in several segments. Phil: Oh yes. A
bit of a puzzle really. Göran: I am very pleased with how it turned
out. Personally I like the duo of Long Gone and No Man’s Land, moving in
that punk/prog territory. Feel is also such a wonderful melody and we
stretched that to tell a bit of a story, but with sound only. Wonderful
guitar work from Phil.
Which great Syd Barrett songs did not make it to be included on
which we recorded a week after the album was released. I love that song,
but because of the deadline we didn't have the spare week we needed to
record it. We'd planned to include that with a string quartet, though
fortunately the quartet idea wasn't included. I love the result on that.
There may be others.... Göran: Terrapin works best as a bonus track
really. There is a thematic structure to Shine! and I am not sure how it
could have fitted in. We had some ideas to include obscure Pink Floyd
stuff, like Scream Thy Last Scream. I am sure that would have been
really interesting, but then again it was never a Syd solo song.
What can you tell us about the artwork included with Shine!?
Göran: Back in March 1971, Syd admitted that at heart he was really a
painter. We just felt we should try to reflect this in our little
tribute. Phil: But none of us can paint. Göran: We tried sonically
to bring more colour to his rather bleak songs and also to illustrate
the whole album with colourful art. Phil: The cover was specially
made for us by a wonderful Swedish artist, Kajsa-Tuva Henriksson.
You can read all sorts of things into that painting. Göran: Yeah. I
first met her at a festival and played some of the early demos for her
and she really liked it. Then later, I described the overall ideas and
parts of Syd’s life. She made that painting to reflect all of this. Phil:
The booklet has one painting for each song in a sort of an exhibition,
where you move through different rooms actually. The paintings were made
by a Syd Barrett fan in the USA, Jennifer D’Andrea. Göran:
I really love those. I have Octopus framed as a constant reminder in my
Now honestly, what is really so great about Syd Barrett?
Göran: It's all great. You cannot easily separate the life and the art
of Syd Barrett. It is all so interwoven, as indeed it is with many great
artists through history. Van Gogh springs to mind, but also many more.
Their art might not have reached their true audience during their life
time, but would grow in importance. Phil: For me it has been a bit of
a discovery really. Göran: So Syd made some great stuff with Pink
Floyd and got that band on track for stardom, but I think he actually
did his best work after Pink Floyd. In a similar way that John Lennon
did his best work at a very vulnerable stage after The Beatles. Their
respective music is so extremely honest, but also very unpredictable and
full of layered meanings. Entering the “Syd universe” is very
worthwhile. We just want to help more people find it. Phil: Turn on,
tune in, rock out!
OK, you've convinced us. Where and how can we buy Shine!?
Göran: We have a few hundred copies left still, stored in USA, UK and
Sweden. Just visit our website and drop us a mail. We are quick to
answer and will happily send the CD to wherever you are. Phil: By
interstellar overdrive. We have fans on our Facebook
page from all over the planet, but no worries, we can mail the CD to all
Last question! Where is the pussy willow that smiled on this leaf -
and if it’s there will you go there too?
Phil: I've been advised by my lawyer not to answer this question, but
Göran, being brave and foolhardy in equal parts, probably has an
exclamation up the sleeve of his kaftan. Göran: The pussy willow is
in springtime Cambridge, and yes we will certainly go there one day to
gig and make recordings. Right Phil? Phil: You’ll have to talk to my
Göran Nyström and Phil Eheridge are preparing a new album called (at
least for now) Jumpstart that will at least have two other Syd
covers and own material. On the third of October 2013 they are billed at
Cruise gig in Sweden.
Be careful what you post on the Internet they say. Everything you
publish on the Internet will stay there forever, they say. But when
the Reverend, a couple of days ago, wanted to check the (excellent) Mark
Blake article about Iggy Rose, that was published on the Mojo blog, way back in January 2011, he couldn't find it. Vanished.
Mojo's big spring cleaning
that still is the world's best music magazine, no doubt about that, has
refurbished its website and with refurbish we really mean that they
threw a few year's worth of articles in the dustbin. These are the days
when publishers are more interested in selling printed paper than in
maintaining their archives. So be it. It's a stupid joke, we know it,
but apparently the magazine seems to have lost its mojo.
Luckily the Holy Igquisition still had a copy somewhere and Mark Blake
was so cool to allow us to stick it on our memo board in our
cyberkitchen where it will stay until eternity or until we are too old
to renew our domain. So if you can all step a little closer you can,
from now on, read it here:
Similar thoughts came over the Reverend a couple of weeks ago when he
remarked that the Louvain Stella Artois brewery,
whose history goes back to 1366, keeps on weeding in its beers now that
it has become the biggest concern in the world. In its social
responsibility program that has been called Better
World there is no place for local tradition. Gone are the 56 Louvain
brewers, each with their own brands, tastes and flavours. Peeterman from
brewery De Eendracht, in the 18th century the most popular beer in
Louvain and surroundings, disappeared after Stella Artois bought its
Tumblr & Twitter
But this is called progress, we guess, so The Holy Church of Iggy the
Inuit gladly joins internationalisation. To conquer the world we have
now, next to a Facebook
and a Twitter
division, a Tumblr
blog as well. We are not really sure what the point is of having a
Tumblr blog other than having it, but surely something will come out of
it some day. Or not. The future will bring what the future will bring.
Keep on visiting the Church, sistren and brethren, and certainly don't
do anything that Iggy wouldn't do.
tempora o mores!(Oh the times! Oh the customs!) is an
exclamation from a speech by Marcus
Tullius Cicero in 63 BC. Peeterman (from brewery De
Eendracht) may not be confused with Peeterman Artois that was put on the
English market a couple of years ago (and that also has disappeared).
Brewery De Eendracht started in 1901 but Peeterman beer was already
mentioned in a dictionary from 1773.