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Don't mind the title of this article as that is a load of bollocky
clickbait, but today...
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
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.)
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 DollyRocker
(not to be confused with 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
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.
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.
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,
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
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
This question became even more pertinent when Anthony Stern hit the
Stern and Stubborn
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
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
Barrett - Iggy.
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
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 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, DollyRocker, 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.)
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit celebrates its 10th birthday!
Ten years ago the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit started with a (big)
bang, not coincidentally surfing on the waves that were created by the
Cambridge City Wakes festival, later continuing on its own
momentum. On the 8th day of the 8th month of the 8th year a first
article was posted.
A couple of days later it's birth was also announced on the Late
Night forum, the then leading Syd Barrett community:
OK, the old habitants of this forum must have seen it coming and the
forthcoming Iggy the Eskimo movie triggered it a bit.
Church of Iggy the Inuit
The first post is just a try-out (to
check parameters etc...). The second Bend
It! is what I would like to achieve, a picture of Iggy and a lot of
information about the who's, where's and abouts...
Let me know
what you think of it... BTW, all information is welcome... (and
errorzzz)... (I hope that the subdomain fully works: https://atagong.com/iggy)
Here is how the first header looked like, created in Xara 3D. (The
'vintage' old-school look was done deliberately.)
In the first year of its existence the Church published 37 articles (for
those who love statistics that is 17% of all Church articles in its
first decade). Those from August 2008 presented and analysed some of the
Iggy material that was already available:
Iggy's presence at the 1966 'Bend' dance contest (Bend
It!); her cameo in the recently discovered IN Gear documentary (IN
Gear) and (obviously) her picture on The Madcap Laughs sleeve (Stormy
After a hint from Mark Blake, author of the Pink Floyd biography Pigs
Might Fly, that Iggy used to go dancing around Purley and Caterham,
the Church contacted (local) newspaper The Croydon Guardian, that
had written a few articles about the dancehall The Orchid.
Journalist Kirsty Walley took the bait, she interviewed Anthony Stern
and Jeff Dexter and officially started Iggymania with her
where did she go to, our lovely? (en passant making free
publicity for The City Wakes and The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit).
It gave the Holy Church a certain authority it didn't want in the first
place, but it can't be denied that the search for Iggy was taken pretty
seriously by some people (not in the least the Reverend who also started
to believe in it).
The Other Room
In that very first trimester we obviously reported about The City Wakes
festival, especially when it was Iggy-related. The Trashcan Sinatras
commemorated Syd and Iggy in their song Oranges
And Apples and several articles commented on The
Other Room exhibition where Anthony Stern's Iggy triptychs were
exposed for the very first time: Anthony
As far as we know, The
Other Room catalogue is still the only official printed publication
where some of Anthony Stern's Iggy pictures have been published.
Storm and Rock in the Woods, featuring a mysterious brunette
When the City Wakes festival ended the Reverend thought that the rest of
the season would be more at leisure, and that we would have to fill our
blog with book reviews
and the odd obituary
died in September). But Iggymania had taken its momentum. The snowball
started to roll...
We were informed that Iggy could be found on another Floydian document,
a Syd Barrett Home Movies compilation
that had been shown once (and only once) before a 1990 Pink Floyd
charity concert at Knebworth. The Church (with - again - a lot of help
Night members) could identify most people in the so-called Lost
In The Woods movie with the exception of 'a mysterious brunette' who
was seen walking with Syd and Iggy (Love
in the Woods (Pt. 1) & (Pt.
A decade later she still has not been identified.
Thanks to Julian Palacios, author of two Syd Barrett biographies
and the administrator of a (now deleted) Syd Barrett highbrow 'research'
forum, the Church was contacted, in January 2009, by the person who
introduced Iggy to Syd Barrett four decades before.
This resulted in a few articles that brought forward some new and
interesting findings, promoting the theory that The Madcap Laughs record
sleeve picture had been taken in the spring of 1969 and not in
autumn, as other witnesses used to declare in Pink Floyd and Barrett
biographies. (See: When Syd met Iggy - Pt.
1 - Pt.
2 - Pt.
3 - Pt.
It gave the Church the reputation of being contrarious, but now, ten
years later, this theory seems to be generally accepted. That you read
it at the Church first, is thanks to JenS,
our witness who wanted to remain anonymous, despite the fact that every
level 2 Syd anorak knows who (s)he is.
It would not be the only time the Church had to confront witnesses, who
were high on the Floydian pecking order, with a 'false memory syndrome'.
One of the weirder ones is Mick Rock's theory that Syd Barrett
had a pink convertible parked before his door, while the few coloured
photographs actually show it was 'midnight' blue. A pink car would also
turn light-grey on the various Madcap Laughs BW pictures, but they
invariably show a very dark-grey, almost black, coach.
Also Duggie Fields, who must have passed the car parked in front of his
apartment for months, remembers it as pink and has even painted the car
in that colour, for the artwork that accompanied the Their Mortal
Remains exhibition (2017).
Of course the Pontiac Parisienne, with license plate VYP74, was later
turned into pink for its role in the movie Entertaining Mr. Sloane. This
movie, however, was shot after Syd Barrett seemingly gave it away to a
bystander, although some witnesses still pretend the contrary after all
these years. Others pretend it was a 'chameleon' car that originally was
pink, then painted blue, then painted pink again. You can't win them all.
Update 20181223: Iain Owen Moor (Emo), friend of the Floyd and
the London underground remembers the car, when it was still owned by
Thought it was black. I went in it a few times in 68 (?) with Sue Worth,
Mickey's then girlfriend. The car seems to have had a life of its own
Words of Hope
In May of the Church's first season, however, the Reverend already fell
into a dip, because of... a lack of Iggy. Luckily there was Dan5482 who
gave the Church a thumb's up, adding:
Despite all that collective amnesia I think that Iggy can still be
found. There are journalists, detectives... who have found more
However, an intense and widespread
interest for her is a necessary condition. Your Church is a source of
hope in this sense. It lets many people know that once such a mysterious
His words unknowingly predicted the future, but that is a story we will
keep for August next year, if at least the orange buffoon hasn't pushed
the Armageddon button by then.
The Church wishes to thank all of those who started rolling the ball 10
years ago. Unfortunately, many of them have left the scene. : Alien
Brain, Astral Piper, Sean Beaver, Bell That Rings, Mark Blake, Charley,
Dan5482, Dani, Dark Globe, Bea Day, Dolly Rocker, Ebronte, Eternal
Isolation, Gnome, Juliian Indica, Kim Kastekniv, Little Minute Gong,
Madcap Syd, Metal Mickey, Iain Owen Moor, Music Bailey, Mystic Shining,
Psych 62, Silks (नियत), Stanislav, Jenny Spires, Stars Can Frighten, Syd
Barrett's Mandolin, Anthony Stern, The Syd Barrett Sound... (Sorry to
those we have forgotten to mention.)
A remarkable story could be found on the 16th of August 2018 in The
Anglo-Celt, a weekly local newspaper published in Swellan (Cavan,
Ireland). Written by Seamus Enright and bearing the title 'Antique
shop dealer’s brush with luck' it tells how a local antique
dealer bought a €50 (approx. £45 or $58) painting that turned out to be
a Syd Barrett original from 1964, missing since 1994.
Maggie Matthews from the aptly named 'Junk'
store in Virginia (Cavan, Ireland) went to one of Dublin's weekly
'bric-a-brac' auctions and was attracted by a painting of a young girl.
It was her eyes that drew me in. She was sitting on a table, filthy and
covered in dust, as if you weren’t supposed to see her really.
Maggie bought the painting and put it in her shop, with a €100 price
tag. When a customer told her he found the portrait disturbing, she
decided to have a closer look at it. At the bottom right side it was
signed by a Roger Barrett, dated: 12-2-64, at the backside the
painter had left his name and address:
R.K. Barrett 183 HILLS ROAD CAMBRIDGE
She decided to Google
the name and almost fell from her chair when she found out there were
over 9 million results. Clearly this wasn't an ordinary bloke.
New car, caviar
It didn't take too long for Maggie Matthews to realise she was sitting
on something unique... and potentially valuable.
It’s the kind of thing you read about in newspapers or online. As an
person interested in antiques and art, it’s the sort of thing you
secretly dream of happening, but never dare believe it will.
Painted two days before Valentine, Maggie Matthews believed at first it
was a painting of Barrett's girlfriend Libby Gausden, but that doesn't
seem to be the case. At the Birdie
Hop Facebook group, where the find was obviously discussed, Libby
reacted that she has 'no idea' who could be the young woman. Another
member of the sixties beatnik Cambridge mob and a painter as well, Mick
Brown, has about the same to say: “I wouldn't know...”
Update November 2018: in a post to Birdie
Hop at the end of November 2018 Libby Gausden changed her mind a bit
and said that the girl on the picture could have been Frances Treweek,
an art student and friend of Syd.
But another Cambridge mobster, Elizabeth Refna Warner - who took the
famous picture from Syd at the Cambridge Art School - thinks the woman
in the portrait could be 'Diana', probably another art student.
As usual the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit has its own idea. The woman
on the painting could simply be a model from the academy. What we have
is not a picture of his beloved girlfriend, but a school assignment. In
late 1961 Barrett followed evening classes in life drawing at the School
of Art. He would enter that school the next year, until 1964. In
September 1964 he left for London to go to Camberwell Art College, but
instead of taking a brush in his hand, he picked a guitar. We all know
how that ended.
Lambs thrown to the Lions
But before making the great leap forward towards the capital city, he
and his pal Anthony
Stern had an exhibition entitled 'Two Young Painters' at the Lion
and Lamb pub in Milton. It was held between 29 May and 25 June and
as usual different people tell different stories, some say Barrett may
have sold at least one painting, others claim nothing came out of it.
What we can be sure of is that the exhibition was reviewed by journalist
Anthony Day in Cambridge News, titled Milton Art Display.
Barrett's work shows some of the advantages of an art school training.
His prints, monotypes and drawings are slight but necessary student
exercises but in two still-lives and two convincing portraits, he is
already showing himself a sensitive handler of oil paint who wisely
limits his palette to gain richness and density. (Holy Church Tumblr
link to the article: Milton
Portrait of a Girl could well have been one of the more 'convincing'
paintings at the show. We don't know what happened with the painting
after the exhibition, but luckily a (pretty bad) black and white picture
of it exists. It was published in a 1994 Record Collector when it was
announced the portrait was auctioned for £880. Unfortunately it
immediately disappeared for a second time, until last week.
In their Barrett
art catalogue, Russel Beecher and Will Shutes write:
His Portrait of a Girl, sold in auction in 1994 but not seen since its
reproduction in Record Collector, November 1994, p. 121, reveals to an
extent – despite the poor image available – the sensitive handling of
oils to which [Anthony] Day refers.
Maggie Matthews has some nice things to say as well:
Even at that young age you can see his talent as an artist developing.
He really caught her without over-working it too much, and I actually
love that she’s not trying to look good for the artist. I love too that
he hasn’t tried to flatter her. I find it very honest.
Sydiots and other folk
A photo of The Anglo-Celt front page was put on the Syd
Barrett Fan Page (Facebook) by Paul McCann, minutes later it landed
Hop and was immediately discussed by Sydiots and Barrett brides
Mark Jones, photo archivist at the official Syd Barrett website, had the
following to say:
So someone bought it for £880 20 years ago, knowing it was by Syd, and
then must have 'lost' sight of it and it turns up for sale for £50?
Clay Jordan replied:
I was thinking perhaps the person who bought it passed away and the
people who dealt with the belongings didn't know what it was.
Unless it was stolen?
Others thought it could be a fake, made to fool collectors. People have
been faking $10,000 Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett records before (see: Scream
Thy False Scream), but it seems a bit ridiculous to duplicate this
relatively unknown portrait and then sell it for €50. Gid Giddoni
compared both pictures and concluded:
It might be very well the exact same artwork portrayed in the 1964
photo. (…) If you look at the nose, you'll see the exact same shape.
Same for the mouth / chin. I would give it 95% possibility to be the
Maggie Matthews contacted Will Shutes who said it is nearly doubtless it
is the original, although further investigation might be necessary. The
Barrett family was contacted and although Rosemary Breen does not
recognise the painting she has said that the handwriting on the back
looks like Roger's indeed.
Birdie Hop and Late
Night members certainly will have their say as well about the
signature and handwriting on the canvas, looking more authentic than the
fake Barrett poem that was once auctioned for £2,160 (see: Bonhams
Sells Fake Barrett Poem). At least one collector has already shown
interest in acquiring the painting, so let's just hope it doesn't
disappear again, for a third time. Maggie Matthews:
Amazingly, this is one of those unique crossover finds that’s of
interest to both to art lovers and music aficionados. It’s exciting!
Update 2018 12 11 : On the eleventh of December 2018 the painting
was auctioned at Bonhams
and sold for £6,500 (€7,204 / $8,157) nett or £8,125 (€9,004 / $10,198)
including premium. Owner unknown at the time of writing. Apparently the
man handling the sale is the same man who sold it in 1994 whilst working
Our Tumblr image gallery will publish even more pictures, the
next couple of days, including a scan of the Anglo-Celt article: Portrait
of a Girl.
All Maggie Matthews quotes and pictures in this post have been taken
from The Anglo-Celt online article: Antique
shop dealer’s brush with luck. Newspaper frontpage picture
taken and send to the Church by Maggie Matthews. The 1964 Anthony
Stern & Roger Barrett exhibition where this portrait may have been
and Lamb, 1964.
Many thanks to: Birdie Hop, Seamus Enright, Libby Gausden, Gid Giddoni,
Alex Peter Hoffmann, Penny Hyrons, Mark Jones, Clay Jordan, Maggie
Matthews, Paul McCann, Göran Nyström, Mark Schofield, Elizabeth Refna
Warner. ♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Beecher, Russell &
Shutes, Will: Barrett, Essential Works Ltd, London, 2011, p. 174-175. Blake,
Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 32.