2018-08-08

10 Mind-blowing facts you didn't know about the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit

Don't mind the title of this article as that is a load of bollocky clickbait, but today...

Holy Church Wordcloud. Artwork: Dolly Rocker. Concept: Felix Atagong.
Holy Church Wordcloud. Artwork: Dolly Rocker. Concept: Felix Atagong.

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit celebrates its 10th birthday!

Would you believe that the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit actually started as a joke? And that this happened 10 years ago? On the 8th of August, 2008?

A New Religion

It all started with a fun thread, titled: Possibility of new religion, on the Late Night Syd Barrett Discussion Room. On the 4th of December 2007 Stanislav, an international Syd Barrett prankster whose Dadaist Photoshop creations even fooled the official Syd Barrett website (and who still manages to confuse Barrett fans today!), uttered the possibility of a Syd Barrett based religion. Dani proposed to name it Barrett's Temple, Felix asked who would be the holy virgin and Kim Kastekniv suggested it could be none other than Iggy.

The thread meandered on, not always in good taste, until Felix Atagong, yes - him again, came up with the Congregation Of Saint Iggy, adding a picture of Iggy the Eskimo, blessed by heavenly rays. (That Felix-made picture however, already had been posted on the 29th of August 2007 on a 'Syd and women'-thread and may be much older, perhaps even dating from Astral Piper days.)

Iggy the Eskimo, blessed by heavenly rays.
Iggy the Eskimo, blessed by heavenly rays.

It was more a joke than anything else, an early attempt that lead to nothing. A couple of months later, on the 21st of March 2008 Dolly Rocker recognised Iggy the Eskimo in a 1967 Rank Organisation Look At Life documentary called IN Gear (Late Night forum link: Iggy Shopping in Shops?). It lead to another Atagong comment (with the same picture):

That's it. I'm starting the Church of Iggy! Nice find btw...

But as procrastinating is a pricey synonym for Atagong nothing happened, again... but somewhere in a dark corner of Felix's mind a minuscule seed was growing into a tiny plant.

Picture: Dark Globe, 2008.
The City Wakes posters. Picture: Dark Globe, 2008.

The City Wakes

Meanwhile some people in Cambridge wanted to celebrate Syd Barrett in a festival that was called The City Wakes. It was announced in July 2008, asking Barrett fans to step in and join their knowledge, and a semi-official subforum was opened at Late Night, that was pretty huge in those days and would even grow more popular thanks to the festival. (The City Wakes forum is still on the web, and as such, the only 'official' trace it ever happened. Much kudos to Eternal Isolation for keeping it alive!)

The City Wakes is a series of arts events that together make up the first ever official tribute to Syd Barrett.

The festival was authorised by the Barrett family and organised by Escape Artists who tried to swindle the family out of Syd's heritage as much as possible. Potty mouths also rumoured that the two top dog Syd Barrett photographers, obviously we won't cite their names for privacy reasons, filled their pockets with their 'charitable' contributions.

The City Wakes by Storm Thorgerson
The City Wakes by Storm Thorgerson.

But of course, nobody was aware of this by then and fans were more than happy to be able to attend the festival, that would be held in October – November 2008. The festival promised a Barrett art exhibition 'The Other Room', concert performances, guided tours, music workshops, a 1960s-style happening, a Storm Thorgerson exhibition, lectures and 'talks' with members of the Cambridge mafia and Pink Floyd biographers, etc..., etc...

The motives for the start of The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit on the 8th of August 2008 have been lost in the mist of time and as such the Reverend needs to reconstruct his train of thought, but it is certain that the announcement of The City Wakes festival was an important trigger.

The City Wakes
The City Wakes (header).

Another Syd blog

Since the dawn of the internet several Syd Barrett related fan-sites existed, but many simply disappeared or merely prolonged their existence in a vegetative state. (A bit like the official Syd Barrett website now, we might add. Announced with much pride, pomp and circumstance in January 2016 and doing absolutely nothing ever since, not even correcting the mistakes that crept in at launch.)

So a new Syd Barrett blog wouldn't be that bad, Felix Atagong thought.

But why Iggy?

There had always been a recurring interest for Iggy the Eskimo at Late Night and, before that, on the Astral Piper forum. For those who are too young to remember, Astral Piper was a Syd Barrett fan made website and forum, run by an enthusiast webmaster who was apparently less enthusiast when it came to money matters. The forum closed down in 2007 when the internal quibbling between 'astralpiper1' and some unfortunate members became too distracting to go on. The website, however, was salvaged from destruction and a copy lives further on at the Atagong domain: ASTRAL PIPER Redux 2013.

On those fora, Sydiots discussed Iggy's 'history' and her disappearance since ages and some new (although very scarce) information had been unearthed with the IN Gear movie. As such there was already some kind of a small fan-base present.

The only problem, so thought Felix Atagong during a sleepless night, was that the scarce Iggy evidence was shattered all over the internet. “Wouldn't it be nice to assemble all information at one place for aeons to come?”

This question became even more pertinent when Anthony Stern hit the scene.

Stern and Barrett exposition, 1964.
Stern and Barrett exposition, 1964.

Stern and Stubborn

LSD-pioneer Anthony Stern had been a part of the Cambridge set in the mid-sixties, with beat poets, aspiring musicians and artists meeting at the local coffee-bar El Patio. Ant and his pal Syd had a mutual art exhibition, in the summer of 1964, above the Lion and Lamb pub in Milton. Just like Peter Whitehead and Storm Thorgerson he was an aspiring photographer and would-be movie maker. Around 1967 he and Syd discussed co-writing and -producing a movie 'The Rose Tinted Monocle' but the project unfortunately never materialised. (A Barrett-less version was later torpedoed by Pink Floyd manager Steve O'Rourke.)

However, Anthony Stern did make a few Floyd-related movies and one of those, using the Floyd's hit-single 'See Emily Play', was the legendary 'Iggy Eskimo Girl', a relic that had been hidden for four decades. That movie and a set of unseen Iggy 'triptych' pictures would be a part of The Other Room exhibition. On the 25th of July 2008 a teaser was published on YouTube and it is even more of a miracle that this is still online a decade later: Syd Barrett - Iggy.

Iggy Eskimo Girl stills.
Iggy Eskimo Girl stills.

From Eskimo to Inuit

Surely there was enough material now (and more would certainly surface in the near future) for an Iggy the Eskimo blog. It must have been at that point that Felix Atagong's mind went into overdrive and less than two weeks later the first post at The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit was published. That first post, titled: Iggy, was literally copied from a (now untraceable) Acid Mandala forum post at The Syd Barrett Archives, and turned out well, all things considered.

But why Iggy the Inuit?

Not out of political correctness, a newspeak term that has as much impact on the Reverend than a fart in a wind tunnel, but as an ironic nod, perhaps inspired by Metal Mickey's comment on Late Night nearly a year before:

Not to get all PC on you folks but, 'eskimo' is apparently not a very nice term and not commonly used anymore...the correct tribal/nation name is Inuit or Innu...so there! (Metal Mickey Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 7:01 am.)

It was clear from the beginning that The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit would not take Syd Barrett, nor Pink Floyd idolatry too seriously. Fun fact: the decision to call it a Church was directly inspired by a humoristic Star Trek page that listened (and still listens to) the name: The First Church of Shatnerology.

It was now time to boldly go where no Eskimo (or Inuit) had gone before.

The City Wakes (logo)
The City Wakes (logo).

(End of part One. Part two: Bang A Gong (10 Years of Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit))


The Church wishes to thank all of those who started rolling the ball 10 years ago. Unfortunately, many of them have already left the scene. : Alien Brain, Astral Piper, Sean Beaver, Bell That Rings, Mark Blake, Charley, Dani, Dark Globe, Bea Day, Dolly Rocker, Ebronte, Eternal Isolation, Gnome, Juliian Indica (aka Julian Palacios), Kim Kastekniv, Little Minute Gong, Madcap Syd, Metal Mickey, Music Bailey, Mystic Shining, Psych 62, Silks (नियत), Stanislav, Stars Can Frighten, Syd Barrett's Mandolin, Anthony Stern, The Syd Barrett Sound... (Sorry to those we have forgotten to mention.)

♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥

Links:
The City Wakes forum @ Late Night.
Syd Barrett festival "The City Wakes", Cambridge Oct-November 2008 @ Brain Damage.
City Wakes - Official Tribute to Syd Barrett Info @ Neptune Pink Floyd.