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Never has a Kurt Vonnegut quote been more appropriate than here, we
think. Iggy Rose is no longer on this world, but the third rock didn't
stop turning around the sun. There were no lunar eclipses, although
people from the Hastings and Rother community have been calling the
police out of fear of an alien
invasion. If there was some magical interference, it may have been
that a soft blanket of snow had fallen the night before Iggy's funeral.
So it goes.
Happy New Year, sistren and brethren of the Holy Church of
Iggy the Inuit, followers of Saint Syd and Laldingliani, gift of
the gods. In 2018 we will continue to be the thorn in the side of all
that is Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett related, because although they have
made some of the best rock music of the latter half of the twentieth
century, their business counterparts are worse than crooked second hand
car dealers when it comes to selling their 'product' and screwing the
customer. (The latest Floydian fuck-all-that consists of Dark Side Of
The Moon Immersion set Blu-rays, suffering from bit rot, and suddenly
refusing to play, about five years after their release.)
Next to the excellent blog you are currently reading we also have a Tumblr
micro-blog that we daily update, with coloured photographs!, a Facebook
timeline and a Twitter
account. Here is what made our Sydiot heart tremble past year, seen
through the pink glasses of the Holy Igquisition.
The Church wishes to thank: An@log, Azerty, Gretta Barclay, Marc-Olivier
Becks, Roddy Bogawa, Carmen Castro, Chris from Paris, Frank Cookson,
Petra Eder, Vanessa Flores, Johan Frankelius, 'Gabi', Libby Gausden,
Stanislav Grigorev, Rich Hall, Paula Hilton, Peter Alexander Hoffman,
The Iggy Bank, Peter Jenner, JenS, Antonio Jesús, Men On The Border,
Mob, Iain Owen Moore, Anna Musial, Lisa Newman, Göran Nyström,
OldPangYau, Peter at the Gates of Dawn, Pink Floyd 1977, Dylan Roberts,
Jenny Spires, TW113079, Venomous Centipede... and all the others... ♥
Libby ♥ Iggy ♥ Paula ♥
Last year in June a French 'Pathe Marconi' edition of Syd
single was sold
for 10,500 Euro, a small fortune, if you ask us, unless you happen
to be an administrator of a Facebook Syd Barrett group. The single came
from the ORTF archives, Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française,
and as such it was 'tattooed', labelled and written on.
So why were collectors so eager to have this (less than mint) vinyl
record in their collection? The French-German television station Arte
tried to find an answer and made a 25 minutes documentary about it all,
existing in two languages.
When you read this the chance is big you can’t watch the show any more
as it was only online for a week, in January 2017. On top of that there
was a geo-block,
except for Belgium. Probably France and Germany are still still thinking
we are one of their underdeveloped colonies.
The reason why this vinyl is so expensive is due to the fact that this
particular edition has only survived in about ten copies (and one of
those was recently lost in a fire). As such it is a Ferrari for vinyl
collectors, as someone states in the documentary. They were only given
away as promotional material and the superfluous copies were melted to
recuperate the vinyl. Isn't recycling a good thing?
The ORTF library got four, numbers two and three went missing over the
years, euphemistically described by the program makers as damaged, and
the first one was auctioned to the public.
Those who are old enough to have seen The
Wall movie in the cinemas may remember the intrepid interview that
two Actuel reporters had with Syd Barrett in Cambridge. (Read it here: French
Magazine Article - ACTUEL) Although the conversation with the madcap
took only about six lines, and was mainly about a bag of laundry, it
created quite a buzz. French like that. That same Actuel magazine also
had an article about an adventurer archaeologist who knew where the
mythical El Dorado could be found. Needless to say he couldn't but
Actuel wrote a ten pages long article about it, just in case.
Arte does pretty much the same when they repeat the rumour that the
Pathe Marconi sleeve could have been drawn by monsieur Barrett
himself. They immediately embark to London to interview Duggie
Fields. Fields doesn't immediately recognise Syd's style, but he
isn't 100% sure either as there are certain Syd-esque style elements in
the drawing. But several other details imply that the sleeve hasn't been
made by Syd.
First of all: it depicts a sea animal, while the Octopus in the song is
a fairground ride. Second: the sleeve has the name of the graphical
artist printed at the right bottom side. Dessin: lilli, it reads, which
means drawing by Lilli.
So those Frenchies could've avoided going to London anyway, but I guess
they had to fill up those 25 minutes. And it is always a pleasure seeing
Duggie, one of the few British gentlemen left. (Read our Duggie Fields
self-interview here: Duggie
Fields, much more than a room-mate)
Peter Jenner has been interviewed as well. He doesn’t really tell us
anything new, but this documentary wasn’t made for Floydian anoraks. He
talks about the fast rocket that Pink Floyd was, unfortunately a rocket
that exploded in mid-flight.
I see him as a shooting star, he lifts off in 1966, he writes his songs,
has an enormous success, and then he disappears.
A third interviewee is Bill Palmieri, an American record collector who
is an esteemed member of several Floydian groups, and who also happens
to have an original French Octopus in his collection, after searching
for it for over thirty years. He thinks there are less than 5 copies of
this 'holy grail' in the hands of collectors. He talks with much love
about his records, about Pink Floyd, about Syd Barrett. It is intriguing
but quite a bit weird as well. It's pretty cool to see that he consults
Floyd On Forty-Five book were the single is listed on page 69.
Plenty of weirdos in Floydian circles, guilty as charged.
Update 19 January 2017: Charles Beterams, author of 'Pink Floyd
in Nederland' and owner of a Floydian collectors shop, estimates there
are still more copies around:
The “less than five” guess is far below what is realistic. I’ve sold two
different copies over the years and know of at least four other copies
in existence. a few dozen at least are left and around.
To further elaborate on the madcap’s enigma a French scholar is asked as
Espitallier, author of the quirky essay Le
Rock Et Autres Trucs and translator of Tim Willis' Madcap in the
language of Molière. He praises the lyrics of Octopus, in his opinion a
predecessor of the lyrics that made progressive bands like Yes and
Genesis so popular.
Syd Barrett is a person who traumatised rock . He was so powerful, so
original, so fast, as a kind of Arthur
The value of this record has skyrocketed over the years. Record
Collector 327 (September 2006) valued it at £650 and in the late
nineties collector David Parker got offered one for £500, a deal he
unfortunately refused and now regrets:
A dealer got in touch with me a few months ago, he was accepting bids
for an ok -but-not-exceptional copy... current highest bid was €6500
(+/- £5740, FA).
An Italian collector signalled us that at the record fair in Utrecht the
price was €16,000 for one and €20,000 for another one in a better
condition. Lots of dough for an Octopus ride, but the copy from the ORTF
archives seems to have beaten the record, for now...
A gallery with screenshots of this documentary on our Tumblr blog: Octopus.
The Church wishes to thank: Charles Beterams, Mary Cosco, Rich Hall,
David Parker ♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥ Paula ♥