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

September 2013

This page contains all the articles that were uploaded in September 2013, chronologically sorted, from old to new.
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2013-09-15

Syd's Doorstep Video For Sale. Not!

Syds Doorstep Video For Sale. Not!
A day so dark.
'A day so dark, so warm' video.

A wise man once said: put two Barrett fans together and they start a group, put three and they start a fight.

When in May 2007 the Astral Piper forum came to a standstill it was all due to a quarrel that had started a lustrum before and that suddenly turned ugly.

Dark Days In Paradise

In 1998 an Australian fan with a movie director's dream went to London and Cambridge. He visited the traditional Floydian landmarks and of course he also headed for St. Margaret Square where he caught a glimpse of Mr. Barrett on his way for his daily newspaper. Somehow he managed to get his camera out and recorded a take of the ex-rock-star returning home.

Back at home he compiled his holiday souvenirs in a 12 minutes 58 seconds video tape, named it R. K Barrett - A Day So Dark So Warm (by Reflecting Electric Eye Films) and started selling those at record stores and fairs.

Apparently this wasn't a release Australia was waiting for and in order to conquer the world the tape was (briefly) advertised on A Fleeting Glimpse. Almost immediately the footage was baptised the 'stalker video' by the Yahoo Laughing Madcaps group where the mindless bleaters were instructed to drag the maker down by the stone. Kiloh Smith:

His video was 40+ minutes of Cambridge footage (filler) with about a minute of him following Roger down the street with Roger looking bewildered and upset. Oh yeah, the shitbag slowed the footage down to milk even more "time". We obtained a copy and put it on HYGIY? and gave it away for free thereby rendering his profit thing moot. We also did a hate email campaign to him from my 3,000+ member group. We were also the ones who coined the phrase: Stalker Video. (Kiloh Smith on Facebook, 14 September 2013.)

Unfortunately Col Turner (from the aforementioned A Fleeting Glimpse website) who had only agreed to put up an ad for a fellow countryman was targeted in the same hate campaign as well. Things got so heated that one of those loud-mouthed, self-proclaimed Barrett prophets send death threats to the website owner. Col Turner at first retaliated that he would report this at the police, but gave in at the end:

I WAS involved with selling that wretched video for all of 12 days about 4 years ago (written in 2005). I NEVER claimed that it had the approval of Syd's family. (...) I made a mistake, and as soon as I realised I had made a mistake, I corrected it, and refused to have anything more to do with it. I had NOTHING to do with the filming of it, in fact, it was about two years old when it was shown to me. (Col Turner on NPF, 9 March 2005.)

And all this for a one minute long sequence of someone who made a dozen of decent songs somewhere in the late sixties, although we may not forget that the movie maker was of course first interested in his own wallet and not in the preservation of Syd's legacy. As a matter of fact you had to be a fool to believe the somewhat redundant message at the end of his movie that went like this:

A day so dark screenshot A day so dark screenshot
'A day so dark, so warm' screenshots.
Barrett in 2002
Barrett doorstepped in 2002.

There's some Syd on your doorstep

Despite the insults and the threats that made you wonder who the bad guys really were, the movie maker in spe returned to the UK and again he took his camera with him. In Tim Willis' book Madcap it is written that he acted as a spokesman of the Echoes community who had paid for a Syd Barrett bench in the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge, but the Echoesians have always denied they appointed someone to break the news to Barrett. Anyway, carrying a few hand-drawn maps of the bench in his hand, he rang the door at number 6 of St. Margaret Square.

Barrett opened the door, a look of unnerving intensity on his face. The man explained why he was there and Barrett asked where it was. The man handed over a map with directions to the bench. As he glanced over the page Barrett’s rather severe expression melted into a smile the outside world had not seen in decades. Barrett asked for the other map. He signed it ‘R Barrett’. (Taken from: Dark Globe by Julian Palacios.)

What lots of people don't know is that the event was filmed in real candid camera style using the camera that was recording in the fan's shoulder-bag. A couple of 'doorstep' pictures were leaked to the outside world but the movie itself of Syd putting his autograph on the map was never shown to the general public, although rumours go that the door-stepper tried to sell the tape to a few hardcore collectors.

Astral Piper
Astral Piper.

We're all following a strange melody

On Sunday, the third of April 2005 Astral Piper was launched, a website and forum that described itself as the New Syd Barrett Appreciation Society. Its owner, Dion Johnson, was not someone who saw things small. On one of the introductory pages he expresses his wish to have a society 'of mammoth numbers', to personally design the sleeve for the soon to be released Vegetable Man single, to issue a Barrett tribute CD (urging Robyn Hitchcock, Graham Coxon and Michael Stipe to contact him, sito presto) and to erect some kind of 'memorial tribute' in Cambridge.

T-shirts were made (at a total cost of 1347.50 AUD, if our information is right) that could be purchased through Astral Piper. The benefits would be used to erect a 12 feet (3,65 metres) tall monument, standing on 4 curved metal legs, with the sunlight streaming through a metal cut-template of Syd's face, as if a bench on a park wasn't already enough. This wild idea apparently pleased Syd's family and made it into the local press but alas the Cambridge city council wasn't jumping for joy.

Astral Piper was a remarkable website, not only because it was a perfect example of how letter-types, colours and styles can clash (one look at the html code makes you run away, screaming), but also because it contained little gems, like the Actuel article, translated in English, and interviews with and collaborations of Darryl Read and Vic Singh, to name just a few. A mirror of this website has been archived at Astral Piper Redux 2013.

Syds signature (enhanced)
Syd's signature (enhanced).

Syd on it!

The 'A Bench for Syd' page, so was promised, was going to be one of the most exciting parts of the website.

It will contain a recent 2002 conversation with Syd Barrett featuring our astral piper and Cambridge astronaut in very good spirits. For those who don't know, back in 2001 a worldwide group named "Echoes", (with some help from friends around the world), as well as some very nice people within the city of Cambridge, a park bench was commissioned in honour of our hero, Mr Roger Keith (Syd) Barrett. Sporting a commemorative brass plaque, it was placed in a section of Cambridge parklands. (…) The full story of the bench and how its location was revealed to Syd in person (making his day, and mine), is to be loaded on this web-page soon.

This was definitively the proof that the owner of the Astral Piper website was also the person who had made the (unreleased) doorstep video. Unfortunately, this was also the beginning of the end. Dion was accused on his own forum of being the maker (and seller) of the A Day So Dark So Warm movie which he vehemently denied (needless to say proof was against him). The situation escalated and one day he pulled the plug out of the forum and the 'A Bench for Syd' webpage was never updated.

There were some fresh starts and some friendly offers to continue Astral Piper, but these all failed. The relentless persecution of a few genuine Barrett 'fans' who filled their days by sending insults to the people involved had become too much.

End of story? Not really.

Doorstep Stills
Doorstep Stills.

The Final Cut

Two days ago an interesting item could be found on eBay (page taken down), being sold by I.E. it was described as follows:

Final video chat filmed with Syd Barrett in 2002 (Roger Keith Barrett) from Pink Floyd with autograph by Syd Barrett.
Up for auction is an incredibly RARE and UNIQUE item!
This is the last known VIDEO RECORDING and conversation with Syd Barrett, the genius and founding member of great British rock band, Pink Floyd.
Up until now this doorstep recording was only spoken about in Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd forums, discussed among fans and written about in the now well known book and biography about Syd Barrett's life called Madcap, by Tim Willis.
In the book, it speaks of an Australian fan who knocked Syd’s door to tell him about a special park bench seat which had been erected in the Cambridge Botanical Gardens in honour of him. I am that fan. Since Syd’s death this bench has become even more meaningful. And I believe this recording of Syd Barrett is incredibly rare, unique and valuable.
I am the person who knocked Syd’s door, and I am the person who filmed the conversation with him. He was very happy to learn about the location of the garden bench, and he can be seen smiling quite a lot during the casual conversation and very happy to speak. Syd used to enjoy walking in the Cambridge Botanical Gardens, and this enthusiasm is evident.
This video recording is now an important part of Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett history.
Syd smiles
Syd smiles.
I think it is safe to say that this is the final known video recording of Syd (Roger Keith) Barrett. He never gave interviews in his later years and spent most of his life in the privacy of his Cambridge based home in the suburb of Cherry Hinton.
The original camera tape was badly damaged years ago but thankfully it was captured to a digital format in the beginning and so up for auction is the original recording transferred into two formats. A normal DVD which can be played in a domestic DVD player and also a USB stick which contains a digital file format of the recording which can be played on any home computer. Plus I will include a Data DVD for archiving. Also included is a hand drawn map of the bench’s location which Syd also kindly “signed” on the day. It has been framed in a high quality frame, matte-board and photos associated with the conversation with Syd, including some stills taken from the video recording are also in the frame. Filmed in January 2002 it is a brief conversation with Syd which shows Syd speaking and clearly in a good mood.
I cannot stress enough that this is a ONE OFF ITEM! It will be sold ONCE here on ebay!!
It will be sold here on ebay and the winning bidder can do whatever they like with the footage. Maybe it could be used as part of a BBC documentary one day (and sold to the BBC) or it may simply go to an avid fan or collector for their private collection. Possibly even someone famous like David Bowie (who I believe is a dedicated Syd Barrett fan) could purchase it. Or perhaps a Hard Rock Cafe or some crazy casino in the US may want to buy it?
Part of the final price will go to charity Stroke. My father died from a Stroke and it is a charity I strongly believe in.
Like many people living in the UK at the moment, I struggle to pay the rent, bills and put food on the table. I’m selling something quite valuable from my past which hopefully will make somebody happy as this is a genuine once in a lifetime opportunity to buy something incredibly rare and unique. I have no idea what this recording is worth, and so I will make it a simple start bid with a no reserve price.
It is available on ebay worldwide and will be sent via Insured/Registered/Tracked DHL courier. Or if the buyer is based in the UK, the item will be sent Registered/Signed For Courier. Alternatively, the item may be picked up in person from an address here in Cambridge, England.
CD
Data DVD.
Winning bidder will receive the following:
1) A DVD of the footage which can be played on any domestic DVD Player or computer
2) A data DVD which has a raw file of the footage.
3) USB stick containing an MP4 video file of this conversation with Syd (Roger Keith) Barrett
4) A framed print containing a map personally signed by Syd in 2002. The large framed print also contains photograph srelating to the bench and chat with Syd at his home in Cambridge. Frame dimensions are 76cm wide, 67cm high and 3cm thick.
More about this rare meeting I had with Syd in 2002 may be read here in some extracts from the book called Madcap, the half-life of Syd Barrett by Tim Willis: http://www.pink-floyd.org/barrett/madcbarr.htm
Any questions, please ask. This item ends on Sunday 22nd September at 11.06pm (British standard time).

This sale was not only picked up by Cambridge News, but unfortunately also by those Syd Barrett fans who never forget and called the seller some very bad names. Two days after the item was put for sale, it was withdrawn from eBay.

The Anchor got hold of the news that the Barrett Trust may have intervened and that they had the item removed. This is understandable, they can only agree with Syd being sold if they can have their share of the profit, they're not called the Cambridge Mafia for nothing, you know.

A gallery, containing all the known doorstep pictures, has been added to this blog: Doorstep.


(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
The Anchor wishes to thank: Anonymous, Cambridge News, HYGIY, Dion Johnson, Joanne 'Charley' Milne, Kiloh Smith, Col Turner.

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Luminous_grin & others, Stalking Syd Barrett, NPF forum, 25 June 2007.
Col Turner & others, Syd Stalker, NPF forum, 19 March 2005.
Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 434.

The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad character.
More info: The Anchor.
Read our legal stuff: Legal Stuff.


2013-09-27

Making it clear...

I am him
I am him?

Did Roger Keith Barrett send a Canadian fan a handwritten message, somewhere in 2003? It might be true, or not, depending from your point of view.

Food and drink

The story of Syd turning into an involuntarily hermit may be correct to a certain extent, but this doesn't mean the man didn't interact with the world around him.

Now and then some anecdotes sip through, almost accidentally, like MvB who told the Church that Syd Barrett had dinner at her parent's home one day, probably in 1970. These were strange psychedelic days and her parents, journalists who must have been groovy folk, allowed her to go on her own to Syd's apartment afterwards. She wasn't really impressed with what was happening there, which is slightly understandable, as she was still more or less into Barbie dolls.

It's also weird how this Earth has changed for the past 40 years, because sending a young girl into something that has been described by others as a notorious free drugs & free sex den isn't something we would approve of nowadays, unless that description was an exaggeration as well. But like we said, these were different times.

We all know that Syd Barrett liked a good beer or two. So from time to time he would jump on the tube from Earl's Court, pass Gloucester Road and get off at South Kensington, where he would walk to a pub nearby. All highly irrelevant stuff that Sydiots like to collect, like Panini trading cards.

It is because there is this Barrett's lost weekend which, in his case, took three decades. That is why we cling to every little detail we can get hold of and extrapolate it as being emblematic for his entire life.

Sometimes an anecdote gets to lead its own life like the story that Barrett was writing The History Of Art, a titbit that has been reheated by fans and books and articles for nearly two decades, that can be traced back to a quote from his sister and that was nothing more than a chronological list of painters.

Radharani Krishna (blurred)
Radharani Krishna (intentionally blurred).

Radharani Krishna

Often we are simply willing to believe an unconfirmed anecdote because it is the only thing we can relate to. Rob Chapman in his Irregular Head biography vehemently wanted to debunk the false rumours and 'unsubstantiated nonsense' about the man but quite a few readers feared he might have created one himself.

On pages 365 and following, Chapman recites the charming anecdote of a young child who ran into Barrett's garden to ask him a pertinent question about a make-believe horse. Not only did Barrett patiently listen to her dilemma, he also took the time to explain her that in fairy tales everything is possible, even flying horses. (Taken from: The Big Barrett Conspiracy Theory.)

Chapman didn't materialise this witness from his high hat though as she was originally a Laughing Madcaps group member. Kiloh Smith wittingly observes that this is another proof that Rob Chapman was 'skimming off original material' from forums and mailing groups for his biography. Nothing wrong with that, of course, as long as you give a friendly nod here and there. Radha's first message appeared on the 13th of March 2007:

My name is Radha, and I wanted to say a personal "hello" to everyone in this group as I've just joined today. (Radharani, Laughing Madcaps, 13 March 2007)

Soon Radha (short for Radharani Krishna) added some pretty innocent anecdotes:

I remember he used to walk to the shops in town and sometimes stopped to tell us little kids some silly nonsense rhyme or listen to ours and laugh with us. I never knew he was anybody other than a sweet older fellow who lived up the road and never went to work! (Radharani, Laughing Madcaps, 16 March 2007)

It's a pity really that Radharani's comments, about 40 in total, can only be consulted by accessing the Yahoo Laughing Madcaps group, that for one reason or another has been declared a no tress-passing area for the Church. In 1998 she left Cambridge for London to be 'rich and famous' and that is when she said goodbye to Roger:

He said Cambridge'd be dull without me (…) and we had a long talk that, knowing what I know now, really gives me the old throat-lump. I didn't realise it at the time, but he was really giving me a lot of himself. I think he must have done this with some of the other kids I grew up with who left home the way he had done, with big dreams and not much experience. I think it was his chance to be a dad. (Radharani, Laughing Madcaps, 20 March 2007)

It was at this point when Radha was first accused, in the group's typical cynical style, of being a fraud, she published less and less and finally disappeared in 2008.

I think the myth of RKB as a mean-spirited old curmudgeon or some sort of vacant-eyed schizo burnout is dreadfully one-dimensional and out of touch with the reality and intricacies of human nature. I cannot speak for his interaction with people who came in from the outside, but he was always polite to people in town. Some days he had more time to give than others, but he always waved or smiled as he passed our gate. (Radharani, Laughing Madcaps, 21 March 2007)

When Rob Chapman was researching for his book Radha's existence was confirmed to him by Ian Barrett, who may have met her and who confirmed she had lived two doors away from Roger.

As in all good stories this isn't all. A nice overview of the Radha controversy can be found on the Syd Barrett Pink Floyd blog and if you really want to delve into the sore details you can always check the Neptune Pink Floyd forum.

It's awfully considerate

But people who are accustomed to the Church's customs probably know that the previous was just a lengthy introduction to today’s sermon.

Did Roger Keith Barrett send a Canadian fan a handwritten message, somewhere in 2003? Here is the story that is so unbelievable it could be true.

10 years ago, at 15, Jonathan Charles was a bit Syd Barrett obsessed. He would sit at the computer after school and do tons of research on Syd & early Pink Floyd. Collecting photos, reading articles and interviews, looking for items on eBay. Like the rest of the world he also tried to find out where Syd lived, but Barrett's address was impossible to find. But from time to time he would look for it again and one day a certain Roger Barrett in Cambridge turned up.

I really can't remember exactly where I found it though it was not a typical yellow pages or similar site. I searched the address on a map online to check it out further. I'm pretty sure these were the days before Google street view so I wasn't sure if it really was his place. I decided to send a letter even though I thought I probably wouldn't get a response. I did feel I should leave him alone but my curiosity got the best of me I guess... (Taken from: I sent a letter to Syd in 2003 - was returned with a note.)

In his letter Jon asked a number of things but he mostly wanted to know details about Roger's current life and of course there was the obligatory 'I'm a big fan' stuff. One day an envelope from the UK arrived but with no return address on it. Inside was Jon's original letter with a note added at the bottom. It read:

note at bottom of letter
Note at the bottom of the letter.
DEAR JONATHAN,
NOT ME – I AM NOT THIS MAN – I AM
AN OLD AGE PENSIONER – AND NOT HIM.
SORRY TO DISSAPPOINT YOU.

The note, written in capitals and with several words underlined, stressed several times that the man who had received the letter was not Syd Barrett, all in all a strange way to react. At 15 Jon thought nothing more of it and the letter landed in a drawer until it was rediscovered a few weeks ago.

Jon decided to compare the handwriting of the note (also from the address on the envelope) with that of Syd at a later age and concluded there are some similarities, especially in the M's, N's and T's.

Jon's comparison
Jon's comparison.

As usual in these kind of matters there are opposite views. Alexander, who has some originals from Barrett in his collection, remarked that the capital 'D' is not at all the capital 'D' we know from Syd, but Younglight, at the other hand, also discovered that, in this note, Barrett uses a lowercase-type 'U', just like he had done in the sausage-thief letter from 1963.

sausage thief
Barrett's sausage thief.

A quick check by the Church confirms indeed that Barrett often wrote a lowercase 'U' in uppercase sentences. Examples can be found on a letter to Libby from 1963 or on the 'deddly dumpty' part of the Fart Enjoy booklet.

Although short, a lot can be told by analysing the message. Wolfpack did this at the Late Night forum and returned with a couple of observations.

1. For someone just getting a wrongly addressed letter, this answer is quite long.

The return note is indeed not logical. A normal response would have been: “Sorry Jon, you've send this letter to the wrong address so I am returning it.” There are several stories of how Roger Barrett told visitors that Syd wasn't there and this note surely reflects the same style.

2. The word 'NOT' is used 3 times: two times underscored, the 3rd time double underscored. The writer seems to put a lot of emotion in not being this man.

The note is almost a distress call, all in capitals and stressing several times he is not the man Jonathan thinks he is. But by denying it once too many the author unwillingly admits the opposite.

3. The old age pensioner might hint at being an old retired rock star.

Probably Jon mentioned Syd the rock star in his letter and a logical answer would have been: “Sorry mate, but I have been a bus driver all my life.” Or a teacher, a farmer, an undertaker. But none of that in the answer, an answer that seems to imply: I am an old age pensioner now and not the young music god you take me for but who I once was.

4. The spelling of 'dissappoint' matches with another unverified text, which is certainly in a fan's handwriting.

Wolfpack hints at the Rooftop In A Thunderstorm Row Missing The Point poem where 'dissapear' is written with a double 'S'. Unfortunately an original in Syd's handwriting didn't survive (or went missing) and we only have two (handwritten) copies made by Bernard White, that can be consulted in our Rooftop gallery: Rooftop 1, Rooftop 2.

It leaves us with the puzzling question: did Syd Barrett really write 'dissapear' or did the copier made an error? We will never know until the original shows up that might still be in Storm Thorgerson's psychedelic ordered archives.

Bonhams once tried to sell this copy as a genuine Syd Barrett piece and when the Church revealed this (with the help of many Late Night members) they didn't even thank us for pointing this out to them, read all about that in Bonhams Sells Fake Barrett Poem.

5. The writing style is poetic. The writing style is melodic. The visual composition (text layout) is aesthetic.

This is entirely Wolfpack's point of view and you can check his ideas and theories on the Late Night forum, if you want.

Jon, I'm only dancing...
Jonathan Charles .

I'm not here

The Holy Church asked Jon to get a closer look on the envelope, but all we have obtained so far is that it had two 2 stamps, one of 1£ and one of 5 pence. Jon further explains:

I ended up looking very closely at the post office ink stamp on the envelope and found a date. It should be correct because there is another stamp on the other side that says AU10P. The one on the front is 030810. August 10th, 2003.

So is this note the real deal, or not?

A look at the handwriting seems to point to that direction and the message itself is in accordance with the anecdotes of the mad bard as we know him.

On the other hand this could all be an intelligent and very elaborate hoax, done by someone who admits he was (and still is) somewhat of a Barrett obsessed fan. The comparison of the letters (see image above) could have been made as a 'visual aid' to imitate Syd's handwriting, rather than to prove the opposite.

Adding the deliberate spelling error 'dissapoint' (thus repeating the mistake on the Rooftop poem) could be an indication that the forger thought this spelling error was Barrett's and not Bernard White's.

And then there is still a third possibility, as proposed by Alexander:

...there were not many Roger Barretts in Cambridge which is a small city. And (it is) quite possible that Syd has asked somebody to write something and send it back.
It´s a male longhand, I´m sure. So, not Rosemary, but a brother or the postman or a shop owner etc... etc...

What exactly is a joke

But at then end, does it really matter? If enough people believe this is real, it is real, even if it isn't.

Did Roger Keith Barrett send a Canadian fan a handwritten message, somewhere in 2003? It might be true, or not, but it makes a nice story and adds to the kaleidoscopic viewpoint we have of the man who once was Syd.


Notes:
Radha went to America where she attempted a brief modelling career. She has published some well written slash fiction about the early days of Pink Floyd. Since 2008 she has completely disappeared from the Barrett spectrum.
Jonathan also send a copy of the 'Barrett' note to Mojo where it was (apparently) published in Issue 240, November 2013. Many thanks to Michael Rawding for finding this. This seems to indicate, in our opinion, that a hoax can be ruled out.

The Church wishes to thank: Alexander, Jonathan Charles, Late Night, Laughing Madcaps, MvB, Psych62, Radharani Krishna, Michael Rawding, Wolfpack, Younglight. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Barrett, Ian: personal message on 11 March 2011.
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 365-366.