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

August 2018

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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.


2018-08-12

Bang A Gong (10 Years of Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit)

This is Part Two of our 10-years anniversary post. To read the first part, head over here: 10 Mind-blowing facts you didn't know about the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

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!

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.

The Holy 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: http://iggy.atagong.com)

Here is how the first header looked like, created in Xara 3D. (The 'vintage' old-school look was done deliberately.)

First Church header (2008)
First Church header (2008).

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 Pictures).

For those who love statistics. Blogposts of the first decade.
For those who love statistics. Holy Church blogposts of the first decade.

The Orchid

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 article: So, where did she go to, our lovely? (en passant making free publicity for The City Wakes and The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit).

First Church header (2008)
So, So, So, where did she go to, our lovely? by Kirsty Whalley. Croydon Guardian, September 17, 2008.

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 Stern Photoshoot.

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.

Anthony Stern - Iggy triptych Anthony Stern - Iggy triptych
Anthony Stern - Iggy triptych, taken from The Other Room catalogue.
A mysterious brunette
A mysterious brunette.

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 (poor Rick 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 from Late 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. 2)).

A decade later she still has not been identified.

Daffodils and a paintcan
Daffodils and a paintcan.

JenS

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. 4.)

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.

Pontiac Parisienne (Blue)
Pontiac Parisienne (Blue).

Pink Pontiac

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 Mickey Finn.

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 like The Yellow Rolls-Royce.
Syd Barrett and (pink) Pontiac Parisienne by Duggie Fields
Syd Barrett and (pink) Pontiac Parisienne by Duggie Fields.

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 difficult "targets".

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 woman existed.

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.)

♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥


2018-08-25

Missing Person found

The Anglo-Celt
Portrait of a Girl (1964)
Portrait of a Girl (1964), Roger Barrett.

Lucky girl

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
Backside address
Backside address.

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.

Barrett signature.
Barrett signature.

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...”

Diana (and Brian Scott).
Diana (and Brian Scott). Picture: Elizabeth Refna Warner.

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.

Portrait of a Girl (Record Collector).
Portrait of a Girl, Syd Barrett (Record Collector, 1994).

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 Art Display.)

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.
The Anglo-Celt
The Anglo-Celt, 16 August 2018. Picture taken by Maggie Matthews. Read the full article on the Church's Tumblr.
Maggie Matthews and painting.
Maggie Matthews and painting.

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 on Birdie Hop and was immediately discussed by Sydiots and Barrett brides alike.

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.

Mark Jones:

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 same artwork.

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 in Sothebys.

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 displayed: Lion 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.