Birdie Hop

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Articles

2012-10-26

Iggy & the Stones

Iggy (fantasy)
Iggy, mid Seventies.

The Holy Church's secret service, also know as the Igquisition, has sent over its latest trimester report about all things Iggy. Underneath the smooth surface of our blog and Facebook page a maelstrom of facts and rumours are reinforcing and contradicting each other, making the Church's hidden agenda to inundate the Barrett world with false and gratuitous information so much harder to achieve. So let us immediately open this can of worms and have a meditative look at what the (2013) future may bring (or not).

1. Photo shoot

Recently Iggy was the subject of a photo shoot by a Canadian journalist / photographer and we are pretty sure these pictures will eventually find their way into a magazine or to the different Iggy Rose pages on the web.

Update December 2016: nothing has ever been heard of this photo project.

2. Rolling Stones

Iggy was also contacted by a renowned journalist and biographer who wanted to know if she would be willing to share some memories about her days with the Rolling Stones, to appear in a new biographical article or even a book about the band. Iggy Rose has told the Church and Mojo a few anecdotes about her different encounters with the Stones before, but it would be nice to see these all bundled into one publication.

Iggy met Syd Barrett in the spring of 1969 but before she had been spotted in Rolling Stones circles, as has already been revealed in the Mark Blake's Mojo article from 2011.

In February '67, [Iggy] narrowly avoided the police raid at Richards' country pile, in West Wittering: "The night before, I decided not to go, thank God." A year later, still in the Stones' orbit, she found herself watching the recording sessions for what became Sympathy For The Devil. where she was present at several studio sessions.
Carmen Jimenez, a Beatle and Iggy
Carmen Jimenez, a Beatle and Iggy (picture: Bruce Fleming).

Iggy 'rolled' into the Stones through Stash (Prince Klossowski de Rola) who presented her to Brian Jones. There is a picture of Iggy, taken by Bruce Fleming, standing close to John Lennon, at the party of Georgie Fame's girlfriend Carmen Jimenez at the Crom (January 1967) and Iggy still remembers eating Carmen's delicious paella at Brian's apartment just around the corner.

After some time she befriended Keith Richards although one thing she says she will ever regret is turning down 'Hot Rod' Stewart in favour of Keith. Photos of her with the Stones should exist, but those in her property have all been stolen, lost or destroyed (see also: Iggy - a new look in festivals).

Having met Keith Richards she also befriended Anita Pallenberg and went with her to the set of Performance where most of the action did not take place in front of the camera. Iggy told the Church:

They used real magic mushrooms... I was at the house [Powis Square, Notting Hill, FA] when they where getting ready to shoot the bedroom scene, the lady in charge was getting shrooms for the cast and offered me some as well.
Pallenberg & Cammell
Anita Pallenberg & Donald Cammell.

At the set she met Donald Cammell, the co-director of the movie and his 'beautiful dusky' girlfriend (probably Myriam Gibril). Unfortunately this is not the time nor place to start writing about Iggy's adventures in movie land but we certainly hope someone will some day.

Donald Cammell would only make half a dozen of movies in 30 years, being burned after the Performance débâcle (the movie only gained notoriety decades later), and one of these, White Of The Eye (1987), is known by Pink Floyd fans for its soundtrack by Nick Mason & Rick Fenn.

More about the movie at the excellent Another Nickle In the Machine blog: Donald Cammell’s Performance at Powis Square.

Syd's Bench, Cambridge.
Syd's Bench, Cambridge.

3. Cambridge Summer Meeting 2013

On the 15th of June 2013 the first annual Birdie Hop meeting will take place in Cambridge. It will be a small, exclusive and informal encounter between about 20 fans from all over the world and those that still carry Syd Barrett deep in their heart. Although an agenda has not been set yet there will probably be a guided Cambridge Pink Floyd Walking Tour and some drinks in The Anchor (or another relevant pub) afterwards. The only official demand to make this fan meeting possible was that the Church would not be present and in his infinite goodness the Reverend has agreed.

4. The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit next Big Thing

The weirdest rumour, with echoes arriving only this week, is that the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is preparing a Big Thing for 2013. Unfortunately nobody seems to know what this big thing is going to be and when asked, the Reverend didn't have a clue what it was all about, so you might as well just forget about that. On the other hand, this blog publishes nothing but big things, so keep on checking once in a while.


Many thanks to: Alexander P. HB.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2013-06-28

Birdie Hop: wasn't it the most amazing meeting?

Picture: Eva Wijkniet
Photo: Eva Wijkniet.

We have just all had the BEST time ever in Cambridge - with the best people in the world - we have laughed and hugged and kissed and talked and none of us wanted to come home! (Libby Gausden Chisman)

Undoubtedly the best, friendliest, most lively and most accurate Syd Barrett group on Facebook is Birdie Hop.

It is the equivalent of Eternal Isolation's Late Night forum that, let's not be fussy about that, has suffered a lot from Facebook's ever-groping octopus tentacles. A person (m/f) with a critical mind could add that Facebook is shallow and volatile, that any post older than three days tends to disappear in a bottomless pit never to be found again and that, to the Reverend's mind, there is continuous repetition and proportionally it can get a bit boring.

But Birdie Hop has an audience. And people who have an audience ought to be heard. There is no point in constantly hammering that Betamax is the better recording system when VHS has conquered the world. Now there's a comparison that seems to be fruitless today and quite opaque for the young people among us.

Birdie Hop is a spirited place and like Late Night at its peak period it is the village pub. People come and go, friendships are made (and sometimes lost) and scarcely hidden love affairs happen, with snogging outside in the garden under the cherry tree.

But all this happens in the relatively safe environment of cyberspace. In September of last year the idea was uttered, among Birdie Hop members, to meet and greet in Cambridge. (The Holy Igquisiton has vainly tried to find that post back on Facebook, while on a forum it would take about a minute, perhaps somebody should call the NSA.)

We all have seen this happen before really, people saying 'let's meet', but when push comes to a shove, nothing happens. But Birdie Hop has an excellent set of administrators, not only they are friendly, beautiful and intelligent but they can be bloody effective as well.

Alexander the Great

Alexander made it his mission to make this happen, immediately a date was pinpointed (14 to 16 June 2013) and Mick Brown was kindly asked to act as Birdie's local liaison officer. The bandwagon started rolling and an I Spy Syd in Cambridge tour (with a bus) was organised through the capable hands of Warren 'Bear' Dosanjh. In March of this year Alexander travelled to Cambridge to tie the loose ends (and test the quality of the local beer) and from then on it was a restless wait for the day to come.

Here we go. (Underneath text largely taken from Alexander & Warren's tour program.)

Friday 14 June 2013

An evening at the Cambridge Blue on Gwydir Street: a totally real ale pub with the best selection of (Belgian!) ales in Cambridge plus pub grub and a large beer garden.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
Giulio Bonfissuto, Neil Chisman, Jenny Spires, Alexander.

Saturday 15 June 2013

09.30 Meet at Le Gros Franck for breakfast and to buy a take-away lunch from a fantastic choice of international dishes, 57 Hills Road.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
Fernando Lanzilotto, Libby Gausden, Viv Brans, Mick Brown.

10.00 Botanical Gardens, where the actual tour started. Unfortunately they had to chase a bum away who had been sleeping on Syd's bench.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
The incredible Mr. Mick Brown.

10.30 Pick-up by coach at the main entrance of the Botanical Gardens in Bateman Street.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
Warren Dosanjh, Alexander, Viv Brans.

Stops at:

183 Hills Road, Syd's house.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

The Cambridgeshire High School for Boys (now the Hills Road Sixth Form College), where Syd, Roger Waters, Bob 'Rado' Klose and Storm Thorgerson studied.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

Morley Primary Junior School where Mary Waters taught her son and Syd.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

The Friends Meeting House on Hartington Grove, where Geoff Mott & The Mottoes played their one and only gig.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

6 St. Margaret's Square, where Syd last lived after moving back to Cambridge.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits where some Birdie Hop members did a bizarre reenactment of the Syd's First Trip movie.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
Giulio Bonfissuto, Fernando Lanzilotto, Alexander, Brian Wernham, Viv Brans, Mario von Barrett, Libby Gausden, Neil Chisman, Tio Junior, Mary Cosco, Eva Wijkniet.

Grantchester Meadows: lunch stop with a pint (BYO) from the Blue Ball pub opposite.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
Neil Chisman, Peter Gilmour.

Walk on the meadows...

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
And a river of green is sliding unseen beneath the trees
Laughing as it passes through the endless summer
Making for the sea.

...and back on the bus at David and Peter Gilmour's house, 109 Grantchester Meadows.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

City walk (Corn Exchange, Union Cellar, King´s College, Market Square etc..)

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

18.30: meet at the Geldart for dinner and drinks.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
Mario von Barrett, Giulio Bonfissuto, Mrs & Dave "Dean" Parker, Fernando Lanzilotto.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Informal meet and goodbye greet at the Earl of Derby, 129 Hills Road for a full English breakfast from 8.30 in the morning or lunch from 12.00 for those who couldn't get out of bed. Unfortunately nobody seemed fit enough to take any pictures or wanted their pictures to be taken!

Birdie Hop

Be a part of the legend!

Why don't you join Birdie Hop, not only you'll be able to see all the pictures of this amazing journey, but you'll meet a bunch of friendly, sexy people!

The list of attendees of the 2013 meeting not only had the best Birdies around but also reads like a Cambridge Mafia wet dream: Libby Gausden Chisman, Neil Chisman, Jenny Spires, Viv Brans, Eva Wijkniet, Sven Wijkniet, Dave "Dean" Parker, Mrs. Parker, Vic Singh, Brian Wernham, Mick Brown, Peter Gilmour, Mary Cosco, Antonio (Tio Junior), Mario von Barrett (González), Fernando Lanzilotto, Giulio Bonfissuto, Hazel (Libby´s school-friend), George Marshall (school-friend of Syd and Roger Waters who happened to be drinking in the Blue Ball when the gang arrived), Gary Hill, Stephen Pyle (only Friday afternoon, afterwards he had to run a street fest), Warren Dosanjh (tour guide), Alexander P. Hoffmann (host)...

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
Two of a kind: Alexander & Warren Dosanjh.

Eva Wijkniet: Warren was the best tourguide and took us to the best pubs in Cambridge. Great guy to talk to and we have to thank him massively for the effort he made for us.

Brian Wernham: What a great day in Cambridge doing lots of Syd stuff, meeting some of Syd's old friends, Peter Gilmour and meeting some wonderful Syd fans as well!

Warren Dosanjh: I have guided nearly all Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett tours in Cambridge since 2006. But this was the best and most extraordinary ever.

Libby Gausden Chisman: too exhausted to tell you atm - I have lost my voice due to over talking and over laughing and over kissing and hugging - it was just the best time evah!

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
A nice pair: photographers extraordinaires Vic Singh & Mick Brown.

A 'many thanks' line to end this article would merely repeat the people who are all cited above, but let's have an exception and thank the most extraordinary person who wrote the most peculiar kind of tunes.

Many thanks to Roger Keith 'Syd' Barrett, for making this all happen and for creating friends for a lifetime.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

See you in 2015...

Update 03 01 2014: Mick Brown made a video of the event that we forgot all about, so - with over a half year's delay - here it is.
Update 16 06 2014: The copyright gestapo censored Mick Brown's original movie, so a second version was uploaded with an excellent soundtrack by Rich Hall (taken from his Birdie Hop and the Sydiots record).


Many thanks to: Alexander P. HB.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

A second Birdie Hop meeting took place in 2015: Iggy Rose in Cambridge.


2013-08-08

Reverends and Sydiots

5 years Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit: 5 years.

(This article contains a much concealed review of the Rich Hall album Birdie Hop and the Sydiots, to immediately access it, click here.)

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit celebrates its fifth birthday.

An official statement by the Reverend:

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is five years old. It has always taken an independent road and has maintained an ironic and satirical view on the Syd Barrett phenomenon and its fans.

We will, however, never spit on the fans. We have embraced the term Sydiot as our Geusenwort, meaning that we have reappropriated this derogatory nickname as an honorary title.

While we have the utmost respect for the casual Barrett fans, the cosmic brides (persons [m/f] who claim to have a relationship with Syd of some kind, often crossing spiritual boundaries) and the Sydiots, we intuitively question the official Barrett organisations, record companies and nincompoops who circle around Syd like vultures. We will not automatically endorse their websites, their records and their books... and this has not always been appreciated. It seems that nothing has changed much since those days in 1967 when Norman Smith was reprimanded by his boss:

EMI were ignorant, lazy and paranoid. I'd once been carpeted by Sir Joseph Lockwood, almost fired, told to stay away from courting Pink Floyd. But I took no notice.

If Norman Smith had obeyed we would never have had The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. Taking no notice was, is, and will always be the Holy Church's attitude, even if this puts us in the firing line of some of the minor half-gods and makes us wonder if this Church was just a waste of time. But:

This is my church
This is where I heal my hurt
It's a natural grace
Of watching young life shape
It's in minor keys
Solutions and remedies
Enemies becoming friends
When bitterness ends
This is my church
(Faithless, God is a DJ, 1998)

All tomfoolery aside, we are proud to have put a thing or two on the Floydian agenda in the past five years that would otherwise have stayed unnoticed. If we may lead you to one paragraph on this blog, that we are particularly fond of, it is this one and we constantly try to live by those standards. So-called social media make witnesses easy accessible nowadays but this doesn't give the Sydiot nor the Reverend a wildcard to constantly harass them with questions about how 'Syd really was'. Remember:

A granddaughter's smile today is of much more importance than the faint remembrance of a dead rock star's smile from over 40 years ago. (Taken from: We are all made of stars.)

And for those who don't agree the Church can only bring solace by citing the following words of that great Cantabrigian band:

So I open my door to my enemies
And I ask could we wipe the slate clean
But they tell me to please go fuck myself
You know you just can't win
(Pink Floyd, Lost For Words, 1994)

But this speech has been going on for too long, so...

Let's party!

It's a fucking birthday godammit! And we have exactly the right party album for that... and you can have yours too!

Rich Hall
Rich Hall.

Birdie Hop and the Sydiots

Richard Michael John Hall is a self-publishing artist in the 'alternative' or 'indie rock' genre with about a dozen releases on his name. In March 2013 he surprised the world with his songs The Reverend and Uncle Alex and it came to the Church's ears that this was going to be a part of a quintessential concept album. Written in about a month's time the album has been released a couple of weeks ago.

Birdies and Barretts

Birdie Hop and the Sydiots is named after a rather decent Facebook group and its members who range from the wacky to the insane now that an old cricketer has left the crease. Its first song, Birdie Hop, is a pastoral tune about this relatively calm oasis and how it is a reference to all who have enclosed Syd Barrett in their hearts.

I've seen your mother (and she's beautiful) is a track about our most cherished and most hated family member. Rich Hall perfectly catches that ambiguity (see also John Lennon & Roger Waters) but apparently that is not what the song is about. Let's just resume by saying that Barrett fans come in different colours and sizes. Cosmic brides are fans, who declare their unconditional love for Syd and sometimes meet him on a higher esoteric level. It is good that what happens in the spirit world cannot be seen by the naked eye although sometimes weird erotomanic anecdotes drip through. Cosmic brides are usually harmless, although they can be annoying when they start messaging people with important directives from the other side.

With Cheesecake Joe, a catchy hard rock tune built around one of Birdie Hop's most flamboyant members, the Birdie suite lifts off into the higher stratosphere. Cheesecake is the deadhead equivalent of the Floydian fan. He is the UFOnaut who still claims Pink Floyd is a stoner band and that their main message is to turn on, tune in & drop out...

The Reverend is the first highlight of the album, what a psychedelicate song, what a fine realistic description of this genius, what an adoration for Iggy the Eskimo, what a magic looking glass. But even after having heard this song for about 45 times I still don't know if the song really isn't an insult packaged as a gift. But walking the thin line between praise and mockery is what the Holy Church is all about. Great song. It should be a hit. Really.

A high-res Flash clip of this song can be found here.

The Reverend, by Rich Hall
The Reverend. Sound: Rich Hall. Vision: Felix Atagong. Hi-resolution Flash movie.

And for those who prefer a somewhat lighter YouTube version:

Just when you think that it can't get any better there is Uncle Alex, an ear-worm of a song. Not wanting to go too far into details I can only say that some of the apparently throw-away lines are far closer to the truth than you possibly can imagine. Rich Hall is a poignant observer. This should even be a bigger hit.

A videoclip for this song can be found on the Reverend's YouTube channel.

Solo en las Nubes could be the theme song for a Sergio Leone spaghetti western with Antonio Jesús as the vengeful balded bad-ass. On his own this man is responsible for most of the Barrett admiration in the Spanish-speaking world and thus he is, by definition, regarded as a potential danger by the powers that be. Speak out his name in a certain provincial university town, close by the river Cam, in East Anglia and gallows are spontaneously risen again. This is a song that should be played around camp-fires all over the world. This is an urban hymn.

Jenny and Libby makes me think of the Television Personalities for one thing or another. Throughout the song Rich Hall name-drops several Birdie Hop alumni and their doings. I wonder if the artist has amazing powers of observation and if he knew, when he wrote the song in spring 2013, that the refrain was predictive for the shape of things to come.

Jenny and Libby ends, what I call, the birdies section of the album. This is being followed by the madcap suite, a trilogy about the darker side of Barrettism where the weirdness, the madness and the obsessiveness turns into a Stephen King nightmare...

Blow Syd
Blow Syd.

Madcap Laughter & Hammerings

Fuggitaboutit, build around a fifties teenage tragedy song, is based upon the endless laments of certain self-proclaimed Barrett scholars.

Your Significant Other is a track about those weird trolls who infests groups with different aliases, spreading false information and starting discussions, sometimes among themselves, just for the sake of argument. So what's your name today, which identity will you choose?, is the question Rich Hall asks. Based upon a true story.

Yer List Monger. Call it this album's The Trial but with a haunting Twin Peakish atmosphere, a hot burning sun, a mad priest preaching on the telly about sin and redemption, a fat red-neck orating conspiracy theories at the end of the bar, suddenly spitting out the venomous question: are you real Syd Barrett fans? Dwarfs are passing by, walking backwards and speaking in tongues. Meet the Hannibal Lecter of the Syd Barrett world.

A Cry From The Outside

Birdie Hop and the Sydiots has its coda with a rather alienated version of Barrett's Feel that leaves me with a bitter-sweet taste in the mouth. It's puzzling, it's not nice. It's all dark, as a matter of fact.

At times Rich Hall's way of words makes me think of Jason Lytle and Lee Clayton, his music is a kaleidoscope of sounds that reminds my fragile memory of T-Rex, neo-psych or garage rock. But of course Rich Hall is at first Rich Hall and nobody else.

Throughout this article I have dispersed some quotes from Pink Floyd and I did catch some resemblances here and there with themes from The Wall, but that is probably because I've recently watched a Mr. Roger Waters show. Let's hope this album will never grow into a monster and that a 69 years-old Rich Hall will not be obliged to lip-synch next to a 130 metres long plastic wall with hi-tech projections and a ridiculous flying cactus balloon in the air.

You don't need to be a Birdie Hop member to enjoy this album as all songs stand by themselves, but if you grab this and listen to it why don't you let the birdies know what you think of it.

Birdie Hop and the Sydiots @ Bandcamp

Birdie Hop and the Sydiots
July 2013
Instruments & vocals by Rich Hall.
Mixed by Rich Hall and Ron Bay.
Mastered by Ron Bay.

Streaming & digital download (name your own price system, 0.00 is an option as well).


Sources (other than the above internet links):
Jefferies, Neil, Dartford's Finest Band, Record Collector 417, August 2013, p. 54-55.

Website: Richard Michael John Hall
BandCamp channel: RichMFHall
SoundCloud channel: RichMFHall
YouTube channel: RichFMHall

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Thanks: Anonymous • Freqazoidiac • Solo En Las Nubes • Psych62 • Anni • Bill • Euryale • Brooke • Jeff • Prydwyn • Chris • Helen • Sean • JenniFire • Sadia • Herman • JenS • Vince666 • Nipote • Gretta • Viv • Adenairways • Giuliano • Dolly • John • Babylemonade • Duggie • Synofsound • Mark • Xpkfloyd • Rich • Brett • Krackers • Peter • Phil • Zag • Warren • Listener • Bob • MOB • Nina • Dark Globe • Emily • Retro68special • Natashaa' • Vic • Jenny • Neonknight • Lord Drainlid • Ebronte • Simon • Ian • Will • Motoriksymphonia • NPF • Greeneyedbetsy • Anton • Hallucalation • PF Chopper • Lee • Felixstrange • Michael • PhiPhi • Eva • Cicodelico • Julian (Gian) • Denis • Dallasman • Emmapeelfan • Paro नियत • Ewgeni • Matt • Kiloh • Elizabeth • Alexander • Kirsty • Paul • Mohammed (Twink) • Nigel • Rusty • Braindamage • Pascal • Mark • Stanislav • Anthony • I Spy In Cambridge • Mick • Alain • Wrestling Heritage • Bloco do Pink Floyd • Moonwall • Rod • Charley • Amy • Joe • Griselda • Eternal • Dominae • Russell • Beate • KenB • Dan5482 • Tim • Antonio • Party of Clowns • Anne • Late Night • Lori • Colleen • Brian • Christopher • Jose • Göran • Jancy • Banjer and Sax • Ron • Vicky • ...and all those we have forgotten to mention!


2013-11-02

If you're going to Sausalito

Roger Barrett (photoshopped)
Roger & Syd (shopped by Felix Atagong).

Is there really a Barrett revival going on, or are we just seeing more Syd fans because our global village is getting smaller and smaller? I do remember the early seventies when the only guy you could speak to about Barrett was a freakish weirdo who smoked pot in the school toilets and who was generally avoided by everyone, including the school teachers.

The vibrant Birdie Hop Facebook group is sky-rocketing with over 1200 members and a dozen new threads a day, but the traditional forum has come to a standstill and survives on its three posters a day, so the feeling is a bit ambiguous.

Facebook may be here to stay (but that was once said from MySpace as well, remember?) but basically it sucks if you want to find information and you are not employed by the NSA. While traditional forums have this newbie rule to go looking in the archives before asking a question this is virtually impossible on Facebook, because their search system simply doesn't work and links are automatically made redundant after a certain time. The whole 'group' concept of Facebook is a laugh, especially for administrators. Underneath is a screenshot of an actual search on Facebook, trying to locate the thread (Facebook link no longer active) this article is about...

Sausalito Facebook Search
Sausalito Facebook Search Results.

So, by design, Facebook groups are condemned to have a flow of 'continuous repetition' to paraphrase the wise words of Dr. Hans Keller while the one interesting thread is floating down around the icy waters underground. (Wow, this is a good cigarette.)

Waiting for the man

A couple of weeks ago Baron Wolman's picture of Pink Floyd toying around at the Casa Madrona hotel in Sausalito (CA) was posted again and as usual there was that one individual asking if anybody knew who the bloke was standing behind the boys.

Picture by Baron Wolman, 11 November 1967
Picture: Baron Wolman, 11 November 1967."

As a matter of fact nobody remembers, not even Nick Mason, who writes in the coffee-table edition of Inside Out Note:

Tea on the terrace at our hotel in Sausalito on the hillside above San Fransisco Bay (…) I have no idea who our tea-time partner was – the hotel manager, an under assistant West Coast promotion man, or a vendor of Wild West apparel? We eventually acquired enough cowboy hats for the entire population of Dodge City, and Roger commissioned a six-gun holster in which he carried his wallet.

So here was another quest for the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, that splendid non-profit organisation, lead by that fantabulous mastermind Reverend Felix Atagong who has already solved several Barrettian riddles in the past.

Hotel California

The obvious first step was to contact the hotel that doesn't hesitate to put on its website that it is a legend since 1885 and that it drew celebrities such as Dick Van Dyke, Carol Burnett, Warren Beatty and the rock band Pink Floyd.

We got a very friendly answer from Stefan Mühle, the general manager, that our guess was logical but that he didn't know either. Since 1967 the hotel changed hands a couple of times and the finer side of these anecdotes, that only seem to bother the Sydiots in the world, got lost in the mist of times.

Concert Poster 1967
Concert Poster 1967.

Before we continue with our quest, let's have a small history lesson.

In the summer of 1967 Syd Barrett suffered from something that was euphemistically referred to as over-fatigue. The band scrapped some gigs and send Barrett over to sunny Formentera under supervision of doctor Sam Hutt, the underground's leading gynaecologist. Unfortunately Smutty, as he was invariably called by his female patients, was the kind of doctor who rather prescribed LSD than aspirin. After some holidays in the sun Syd (and the rest of the boys) returned to England where the endless treadmill of gigging, recording, gigging, recording started all over again. (You can read more about the Floyd's holiday at Formentera Lady.)

In retrospect this was the moment that someone should've grabbed Syd by the balls, whether he wanted it or not, drag him back to Cambridge, cold turkey him and give him some proper therapy, although that was kind of non-existent in those days. William Pryor, a Cambridge beat poet who descended from the underground into a heroine maelström, describes the Cane Hill drug rehabilitation centre as a 'redecorated ward of a huge Victorian lunatic asylum village that had been given a coat of paint and a fancy name' where it was almost easier to score H than in the outside world.

This is not America

Pink Floyd's first American tour was planned between 23 October and 12 November 1967 but because there was a rather Kafkaesque bureaucratic system to get work permits up till 15 possible gigs had to be cancelled (according to Julian Palacios 8 had already been booked, Mark Blake sticks to 6 and Syd Barrett Pink Floyd dot com counts 10).

The trustworthy biographies all have (slightly) different stories but it is safe to say that the Floyd left for America with at least a week delay. Unfortunately they still couldn't enter the country and had to wait in Canada until their permits arrived while the management frantically tried to reschedule the gigs that had already been confirmed.

Concert Poster 1967
Concert Poster 1967.

Pink Floyd had been nicknamed 'The Light Kings of England' by Tower Records, but they had only played in small clubs up till now. When the Floyd had their first gig at San Francisco’s Winterland Auditorium on the 4th of November their light show was ridiculously small and amateurish compared to Big Brother and The Holding Company. But it was not only Janis Joplin's whiskey breath that blew Syd away.

The 1967 American tour was disastrous, to say the least, and quite a few gigs went horribly wrong. Luckily the natives were friendly, so friendly that at least one band member had to visit a venereal disease clinic back in the UK. Syd and Peter Wynne-Willson learned the hard way that American grass was much stronger than at home, leading to another ruined gig as Syd was apparently too stoned to handle his guitar. It is an educated guess that Syd tried some local drug varieties like DMT and STP that were much stronger than their British counterparts. DOM or STP or Serenity, Tranquility and Peace allegedly gave synaesthetic trips that could last for 18 hours and from testimonies by Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton and Mick Farren it is known that it could take a week for some (frightening) hallucinatory effects to disappear. Julian Palacios, who dedicates 11 pages to the Floyd's first American tour in Dark Globe, writes:

Associated with the downfall of Haight-Ashbury, on 11 November pink wedge-shaped pills containing 20-micrograms of DOM hit the Haight. Haight-Ashbury Medical Clinic treated eighteen cases of acute toxic psychosis in five hours. When Barrett and Wynne-Willson took STP in San Francisco, this was in all likelihood the same ‘pink wedge’.

Result: if Syd Barrett had been mad before, this tour only made him madder. At the Cheetah club he received an electroshock from his microphone and he reacted by looking around on stage for the next hour and a half, not singing, not playing his guitar. He would be incommunicado to the others for the rest of the tour, who weren't very keen to talk to him anyway. It needs to be said that not all gigs were catastrophic and some reviewers actually found the band interesting, but we wouldn't go that far by calling Syd's erratic behaviour a cleverly performed dadaist statement like Rob Chapman suggests.

Rolling Stone 1
Rolling Stone 1.

On the cover of the Rolling Stone

A brand new music magazine, called Rolling Stone, whose first issue had just appeared a couple of days before, wanted to do a feature on the new English underground sensation. They send over photographer Baron Wolman to the Casa Madrona hotel in Sausalito who found the lads in a good mood and joking around. But when the band performed at Winterland that night, the 11th of November, Ralph Gleason of Rolling Stone was so disappointed he decided not to publish the cover article and just reviewed the concert saying that 'Pink Floyd for all its electronic interest is simply dull in a dance hall'. This was also the gig where Syd detuned the strings of his guitar until they fell off, de facto ending his contribution for the rest of the show. The next day, on the last gig of the American tour, the band saw Syd walking off stage and for the first time voices were raised to kick him out.

In retrospect this was another moment that someone should've grabbed Syd by the balls, whether he wanted it or not, and drag him back to Cambridge, but the management insisted to immediately fly to Holland. Thirty-seven years later, Nick Mason more or less apologises:

If proof was needed that we were in denial about Syd's state of mind, this was it. Why we thought a transatlantic flight immediately followed by yet more dates would help is beyond believe.

This is the house

William Barrett Plaque
William Barrett Plaque.

Casa Madrona was build in February 1885 for (isn't it ironic?) William G. Barrett, a wealthy Vermont born lumber baron and Secretary-Treasurer for the San Francisco Gas and Electric Company. He and his family lived high above the town in his beautifully designed Italian Villa country home.

Architecturally, it was a mastery of craftmanship, a tall and stately mansion which stood upon the hill-side. Its three stories, with handsome porticos and verandas, projecting cornice with curved brackets, and hooded windows, received prominent recognition from the community. This resulted in an article in the Sausalito News in 1885, which praised Mr. Barrett's "New Mansion... its fine appearance, magnificent view", and called the Barrett place "one of the finest improved sites in Sausalito." (Taken from the National Register of Historic Places.)

In 1906 the house was sold to attorney John Patrick Gallagher who converted it into a successful hotel. For the next three decades Barrett House (and its four outbuildings) would be a hotel, a bar 'the Gallagher Inn' and a brothel, but that last is something you won't find at the hotel's website.

Barrett House
Barrett House.

During World War II, the property was used as temporary lodging for military families in transit and for the labourers of the nearby (military) shipyard. After the war it fell into disrepair and became known as a crash pad for the city’s burgeoning beatnik population.

In February 1959 Robert and Marie-Louise Deschamps, who had just immigrated from France, responded to an ad to run a 'small hotel'. Their children Marie-France and 24-year old Jean-Marie were there when they opened a nameless bar on the 27th of April 1959:

The building was in ruins. Mattresses on the floor, broken furniture - and very little of that. It was not ‘bohemian’ - it was a flop house!

The Deschamps family had no hotel experience and were rather unpleasantly surprised by the beatniks who rarely paid their bills. The bar was not an immediate success either, they would often find that the door had been smashed in at night and the beer stolen. The logical plan was to close the hotel, evict the hobos and start all over again.

San Mateo Times 1963-06-28
San Mateo Times, 1963-06-28.

When the renewed hotel, in exclusive French style, and an excellent restaurant 'Le Vivoir' were opened about a year later Jean-Marie left the parental home to sail the seven seas, working as a cook on Norwegian and Swedish ships. He returned to the hotel around the mid-sixties and moved into Cottage B. Several guests, from the pre-sixties bohemian days, were still living in the 'attached' cottages, including a Swedish baron who had served in the Waffen SS, an ex-CIA agent who claimed to have been a spy in Vienna, a mostly drunk beatnik writer and adventurer and, last but not least, a continuously depressed crew member of one of the planes that dropped the atom bomb on Japan.

In 1973 Casa Madrona was damaged by a series of mudslides and scheduled for demolition, but it was saved in 1976. Since then it changed owner several times and went even bankrupt in 2009. With the opening of a spa resort the hotel was, hopefully, given a new life and history.

Jean-Marie Deschamps

It is believed that Jean-Marie Deschamps, the owner's son, was living and working at the hotel when the Pink Floyd stayed there in November 1967, 2 months before his 32nd birthday. We contacted Baron Wolman who told us:

While I'm not entirely certain that he was Deschamps himself, for sure he was a principal in the hotel - owner, manager, chef, etc. Given the look, however, I would say your educated guess is probably correct...

Comparing the Floydian picture (1967) with one from 2005 it seems pretty safe to say there is a certain resemblance.
Update January 2014: The Deschamps family have confirmed it is Jean-Marie standing behind Pink Floyd.

JM Deschamps, 1967 and 2005
J.M. Deschamps, 1967 and 2005. Pictures: Baron Wolman & Yves Leclerc.

Jean was born on January 20, 1936 and passed away on Tuesday, December 8, 2009. In a (French) obituary it is written how Jean-Marie was an 'incorrigible globe-trotting vagabond' whose home was always 'elsewhere' and an anarchistic supporter of lost causes, like the rights of native Americans. Later on, despising the Bush administration, he was an ardent critic of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan...

But once a cook, always a cook. The night before he died he asked his (fourth) wife Monica to note down the Christmas menu for his children and grandchildren, probably knowing that he wouldn't be there to attend. January 2010 saw a 'sumptuous feast' at the Barrel Room of the Sebastiani Winery in Sanoma (CA) where 150 guests honoured their friend, husband, father, grandfather. The place was a gathering of artists, writers, businessmen, hosts, globetrotters and vagabonds.

If only someone would have had the guts to find out earlier who was the man standing behind the band. It would've been swell to ask him about his meeting with the Floyd in 1967, but unfortunately now it is too late for that. We are pretty sure that it would have led to a tsunami of anecdotes as Jean-Marie Deschamps had always been a sailor and a vagabond at heart.

And we will never know what Syd thought of staying in Barrett House.

Alan Styles
Alan Styles & Iggy. Picture: Mick Rock.

An Ending In Style (or not)

We need an addendum as the Pink Floyd in Sausalito saga isn't over yet.

When Pink Floyd roadie Alan Styles, who used to be a punter on the river Cam, saw the house boats community in Sausalito he fell in love with the place and decided not to return home after the 1972-1973 Dark Side of the Moon tour. Alan, who was some kind of celebrity in Cambridge before anyone had heard of Pink Floyd, can be seen on the rear cover of the Ummagumma album and makes out the bulk of the 'musique concrète' on Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast (Atom Heart Mother).

In 2000 a short movie was made about Style's life in Sausalito, but it was only released after his death in 2011. It is the story of a man wanting to be free in a world that keeps on abolishing freedom. In a nice gesture to their old friend Pink Floyd Ltd cleared the copyrights for the movie, as told by Viper:

Nick Mason messaged me on FB as I'd been asking on his site about permission to release the video about my uncle. Nick gave me PF's management details and in turn David Gilmour gave us permission to release the video as it contains original PF music.

But when the Reverend visited Jon Felix's YouTube channel this is all he got, apparently EMI (and a lot of other acronyms) don't give a fuck about what Nick Mason or David Gilmour are deciding or what friendship, compassion, remembrance and especially respect is all about:

blocked
Blocked Youtube movie.

In some kind of weird Floydian cosmic joke Alan Styles died on the same day as Jean-Marie Deschamps, but two years later, on the 8th of December 2011.

Somewhere we think we should try to make a point, but we can't think of anything right now.


Note: The memoires of Nick Mason's Inside Out are (90%) identical between the different editions. However, the hardcover 'deluxe' edition contains hundreds of photos that aren't in the cheaper soft-cover versions. These pictures all have funny and informative notes that aren't present in the paperback editions. Back to top.

Many thanks to: the Deschamps family, Jon Felix, Yves Leclerc, Stefan Mühle (Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa), Viper, Baron Wolman, USA National Register off Historic Places.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 95-96.
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 198.
Leclerc, Yves: Bum Chromé, Blogspot, 9 décembre 2009, 10 janvier 2010.
Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2004, p. 93.
Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue, p. 98-102.
Mühle, Stefan: JM Deschamps on Baron Wolman picture?, email, 21.10.2013.
Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 289-290, 298.
Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 45-46, 69.
Pryor, William: The Survival Of The Coolest, Clear Books, 2003, p. 106.
Wolman, Baron: Casa Madrona - Pink Floyd + unknown man, email, 14.10.2013.

Baron Wolman
Baron Wolman Photography
The Rolling Stone Years by Baron Wolman

Casa Madrona & Sausalito
Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa
Casa Madrona AKA William G. Barrett House @ National Register of Historic Places in Marin County.
Casa Madrona @ United States Department of the Interior Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, National Register of Historic Places.
Casa Madrona, 1959 @ Marinscope, an interview with Jean-Marie Deschamps.
Colorful Casa Madrona Tales Keep Spilling Out @ Northbay Biz

Solo En Las Nubes
Curiosidades - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn de Tower Records, an interesting post about the Tower release of Pink Floyd's first album.


2013-12-14

Happy Birthday Iggy Rose!

One

There is a story how Iggy the Eskimo, Syd Barrett and a bunch of other musicians gatecrashed a Speakeasy gig from a band that would become rather famous in prog, rock, jazz and even techno circles. It is a hilarious anecdote, with rumours of mandrax-champagne cocktails and a lot of twist and shouts. We can imagine how Iggy's roaring laugh echoed through the club, once you have heard that laugh, it is imprinted in your memory forever.

The Church is still trying to get some information, tie some loose ends, interview some people, especially as this happened in the mid-summer of 1969, when everyone thought Iggy had disappeared from Syd's life. Perhaps she did, perhaps they just met by accident that day. But that is for later.

Little things that matter.

Two

Birdie Hopper Manzano Meza Cota posted a Mick Rock picture a couple of days ago, it is a new one of Syd and Iggy, which makes us think that this old geezer still has got some hidden gems in his archive.

Iggy and Syd, Mick Rock
Iggy & Syd. Picture: Mick Rock.

Three

In a couple of hours it will be Iggy's birthday. As usual we were too late posting our card as we only did it this afternoon...

Happy Birthday, Iggy!
Happy Birthday, Iggy!

Should you not know it by now, it is Iggy's birthday! So this is the time and place to shout:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IGGY ROSE!

Four

LET'S PARTY!!! Please enjoy this mix of visual extravaganza that comes straight out of the hidden vaults of the Church. Swedish band Men On The Border were so kind to let us use one of their songs from their latest album Jumpstart. Thanks guys, you rock!

Men On The Border
Let's Party (yeah yeah)
Jumpstart © 2013

Five

And now for the classics:

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card (2011) contains a few seconds from a super-secret mid-Seventies home movie (and we added a nice tune as well). Flash link (warning: 5 MB!): Happy Birthday Iggy Rose! or YouTube:

Crystal Blue Postcards

An electronic book of poems and art, dedicated to Syd and his muses, by Denis Combet, with a little help from his friends Constance Cartmill and Allison Star. Digital artwork by Jean Vouillon and some tinkering from Felix Atagong (more about Denis Combet and his Iggy poem(s): Catwoman).

Crystal Blue Postcards (Flash pageFlip presentation, 2011).

Guitars and Dust Dancing by Rescue Rangers

Pascal Mascheroni, from the stoner power trio Rescue Rangers donated the haunting (& slightly psychedelic) power ballad Guitars and Dust Dancing from the album with the same name (buy your copy at iTunes: Guitars and Dust Dancing). In the meanwhile enjoy this Youtube clip with the smashing artwork from Jean Vouillon.

WHY DON'T YOU WISH IGGY A HAPPY BIRTHDAY?

Instead of reading and watching all this you should be heading at Facebook where you can leave your messages, poems, songs and images at: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and of course on Iggy's personal page as well.

Let's make this a birthday to remember, brethren and sistren and don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't do!


The Church wishes to thank Men On The Border (Phil Etheridge & Goeran Nystroem), Bruce Fleming, Mick Rock, Anthony Stern, Storm Thorgerson, Iggy Rose, unknown & anonymous..., Denis Combet, Pascal Mascheroni (Rescue Rangers), Manzano Meza Cota, Christopher Farmer & the nice people at Birdie Hop, Late Night and all the others that we seem to have forgotten...

Men On The Border
http://menontheborder.com/
http://www.facebook.com/MenOnTheBorder

Birdie Hop
http://www.facebook.com/groups/birdiehop

♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥


2014-01-01

Love, Pain & Sorrow

Lindsay Corner, 1969
Lindsay Corner, 1969.

Happy New Year, sistren and brethren of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Another year has passed by, with ups and downs, with happiness and grief, with joy and pain... In our Inuit realm some people passed away unfortunately, and luckily some new ones were born... welcome Vasilisa Alla... to this world of magnets and miracles...

Browsing through our scrapbook with unfinished articles, pictures and movies for the Church we noted this report from our fashion department. It is a 1969 documentary about Ossie Clarke with Lindsay Corner as one of the models.

To quote our fashion specialist:

In the first bit Lindsey Corner is on the left, then in the yellow dress with the blonde in blue, then in the middle with a long pink thing, then again in yellow with the blonde. She's the one with darker blonde wavy hair basically.

And yes we are aware of the rumours that circle about Lindsay Corner and Gala Pinion since a year or two. And no, we don't know when this will see the light of day...

2013

2013 was a weird year for the Church and its Reverend. Again we thought we would not be able to write anything for our lustrum, but in the end we clocked down at 20 slightly stupendous articles.

We started anoraky enough with an article about Syd's hair-length in the early Seventies, this to please the female audience of our little cult: Hairy Mess. Sometimes the Reverend regressed into Brian Eno mood and then he wrote some ditty texts about sweet nothings: King's Road Chic(k).

For Easter Iggy and the Reverend were remembered in a song from Rich Hall (Songs of Praise) whose concept album Birdie Hop and The Sydiots was released around the Church’s fifth birthday: Reverends and Sydiots. Thanks Rich!

Among the monks

The Church's biggest scoop this year was made in collaboration with the Spanish Sole En Las Nubes blog. Not only did Antonio Jesús find back the article that started the infamous Oseira rumours, but he also managed to interview the author of the hoax, Jose Ángel González. The Church merely harvested Antonio's excellent work, like churches mostly do: Spanishgrass.

Facebook's thriving Syd Barrett community, Birdie Hop, organised a meeting in Cambridge with several young and less younger Barrett fans, friends and lovers. It was a most amazing meeting in remembrance of a man who wrote the most peculiar kind of tunes: Birdie Hop: wasn't it the most amazing meeting? 

Did Syd leave us a message in a letter from a decade ago? Sometimes the truth is more beautiful than the legend: Making it clear... 

2014

And that is what we will continue to do in 2014, make it a fantastic year, boys and girls! And everything seems so much brighter... Let's party! Thanks Men On The Border!


Many thanks to Alexander, Amy Funstar, Anonymous, Antonio Jesús, Babylemonade Aleph, Baron Wolman, Birdie Hop, Bob Archer, Brett Wilson, Cambridge News, Christopher Farmer, Col Turner, Dion Johnson, Elizabeth Voigt-Walter, Stanislav, Euryale, Göran Nyström, Herman van Gaal, HYGIY, Joanne 'Charley' Milne, Joe Perry, Jon Felix, Jonathan Charles, Jose Ángel González, Julia, Kiloh Smith, Kirsty Whalley, Late Night, Laughing Madcaps, Lori Haines, Mark Blake, MAY, Men On The Border, Michael Rawding, MvB, No Man's Land, Phil Etheridge, Psych62, Radharani Krishna, Rich Hall, Rod Harris, Ron Cooper, Simon Hendy, Stefan Mühle, USA National Register off Historic Places, Viper, Vita, Wolfpack, Younglight, Yves Leclerc... Love you Swoonies!

And if I go insane,
And they lock me away,
Will you still let me join in the game?

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Rich ♥ Alexander ♥ Liza ♥


2014-04-25

An innerview with Peter Jenner

In November of last year, Rich Hall (from 'Birdie Hop and Sydiots' fame) got in contact with Peter Jenner and wanted to know if Syd Barrett fans could ask him some questions. Jenner agreed, not fully realising what would hit him.

A message was put on two Facebook groups and in less than a week over one hundred different questions had been proposed by its members.

When Jenner got hold of the questions he was 'struck by the quantity' and kindly asked to slim them down a bit. Peter travels around a lot and preferred to have the interview over the phone. Diaries were put side by side to find some free space in our busy agendas and finally a date and time were agreed on.

And so, on a Friday afternoon a willing volunteer took a deep breath and dialled the number with trembling fingers. But it turned out to be a most amazing meeting, a Birdie's journey through space and time...

An innerview with Peter Jenner
Peter Jenner, 2013 (courtesy of Wikipedia)
Peter Jenner, 2013 (courtesy of Wikipedia).

An Innerview with Peter Jenner

BH: Thank you for according this interview, Mr. Jenner, we at Birdie Hop are mainly a bunch of weirdos...

PJ: Yes, a bunch of eccentrics...

BH: ...and when we heard that we could have an interview with you our members gathered about one hundred and twenty different questions to ask to you...

PJ: Oh my goodness me...

BH: But we toned it down to about 10.

PJ: Otherwise it would go on forever.

BH : Most of the detailed questions were all about the recordings that are apparently lingering somewhere in the vaults of EMI or Pink Floyd...

PJ: I don't know where they have gone. I have to say some did escape from me and got to... what was the name of the guy who did this Barrett group in the Seventies?

BH: Bernard White?

Bernard White started the Syd Barrett Appreciation Society and issued the legendary Terrapin magazine.

PJ: He could have been the one... Anyway I do know that some tapes did escape from my collection, because I just thought they were so good. So I hope that they are still around and that people can get them. But they are around, aren't they? Scream Thy Last Scream and Vegetable Man.

BH: They are still around and it is generally believed Bernard White released them.

PJ: It might be, but anyway there was someone who used to be in touch with me and somehow he managed to find those tapes. I don't know why they never got officially released. I don't know if the family objected but I think it might have been the Floyd. I think it was Roger (Waters) and Dave (Gilmour) who stopped it but I don't know what their position was or why they did it. If it had been the family that would have been fair enough. Perhaps people have been overprotective.

To me these tracks are like the Van Gogh painting with the birds over the wheat field, that's what Syd's brain was at. Try to look at the disturbance of Van Gogh through his paintings. If you want to understand Syd, if you want to know what was going on with him, you have listen to those tracks in the same way...

Van Gogh - Wheat Field with Crows (1890)
Van Gogh - Wheat Field with Crows (1890). Mashup: Felix Atagong.

Together with Jugband Blues they seem to me as a sort of an x-ray into his mind and so I do hope they will come out some day, but if not I do hope you people will keep them moving around, because I think they are important works.

BH: The thing is that Scream and Vegetable Man have been bootlegged so many times now, that there is perhaps no point any more in releasing them officially?

PJ: It is good they are around, but it would probably be better if they were officially available and at some time they will.

BH: Let's hope so, are you aware of any live shows that were taped? Apparently some of the gigs in America were...

PJ: Were they, I have never heard any?

BH: There was a rumour that all concerts in Fillmore were taped...

PJ: They were indeed. But perhaps that started later, because the Floyd were there quite early. Weren't the archives of the Fillmore called Bear Tapes or something...

Owsley 'Bear' Stanley, the Grateful Dead's soundman, allegedly had over 13000 tapes of the San Francisco scene, from 1965 and later, most of the Dead but he did record other bands as well if he happened to handle the soundboard. We checked the Grateful Dead touring dates of that period and theoretically it is possible that Bear might have taped Pink Floyd. According to David Parker in Random Precision Bill Graham routinely had all Fillmore gigs taped and a Pink Floyd soundboard recording of their April 1970 Fillmore show does exist.

BH: But nothing ever of The Pink Floyd has been released or...

PJ: I've not known of anything reliable... I think there were some tapes of the stuff Syd did with Twink in Cambridge but I've never heard them. I don't know what they're like.

BH: Well we can always ask him.

Easy Action records will (finally!) release the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band recording late May 2014. Other rehearsals and performances tapes may have been made by Victor Kraft who followed the band but these have never surfaced.

PJ: And there was some stuff around, semi-live stuff recorded by Peter Whitehead.

BH: The Tonight Let's All Make Love In London soundtrack.

PJ: There were a couple of film stuff that was done, but that is all I know about it.

BH: In our group we discussed the sessions Syd Barrett recorded for the film The Committee, and it was said that you were in possession of those tapes. Is this true?

PJ: As far as I know I am not in possession of these tapes, I might have been given a copy, but I surely not the masters. What was the name of the director.. my memory!

BH: It was in an article on the online publication Spare Bricks with Max Steuer. He claims you were given the tapes after the sessions. The director was Peter Sykes, by the way.

PJ: It was indeed Max Steuer, and he may have given us the tapes. But I do not remember them. But many things disappeared with the sudden collapse of Blackhill. My recollection is that they were less than amazing. However if I come across anything I will let you know.

Barrett & Jenner (67-ish)
Syd Barrett & Peter Jenner (67-ish).

BH: Thanks, that would be nice. There still is a lot in the vaults though.

PJ: Yeah, if they're not already out. Somewhere. If I look on your list: Double O Bo, I don't know that. I got Stoned rings a bell. She was a Millionaire that certainly was a tape which we thought might become a single. Andrew and I both liked that one. Reaction in G, I don't know about that. In the Beechwoods rings a bell. I'm a King Bee and Lucy Leave, I don't know what they were or where they came from.

Because when I was doing sessions with him they were very chaotic, you know. She Was a Millionaire was knocking around. Golden Hair was the most articulate, at the time I didn't realise those weren't his lyrics... It was from James Joyce, wasn't it?

BH: Yes indeed.

PJ: I was hoping that it would get finished, but with Syd it was really bits and pieces that would come through, bits of songs and bits of riffs and bits of lyrics. They would just come and then they would go and occasionally they would came back again... It was incredibly frustrating.

And I think that Roger and Dave did a lot to it, I don't know how much Syd really was involved in those tapes. You know we also tried to do some things with a band. “Syd, try this, try that.” There were various things we tried but none really worked.

BH: That's a pity... but that was how things were going...

PJ: Yes.

BH: There have been these rumours that Syd was influenced by Keith Rowe from AMM.

PJ: Well yes, I did take him to see Keith Rowe.

BH: Oh really?

PJ: Yes indeed, and I do think he saw Keith Rowe rolling a ballbearing up and down his guitar. It certainly did influence some of Syd's guitar playing, the zippos and things... and I think that the improvisational part of Pink Floyd was influenced by AMM and Keith Rowe. I knew these guys, I liked what they did and we were involved with the AMM record. Syd was also aware of them and perhaps even heard the tape. In a same way we also took them to the Radiophonic Workshop at the BBC to meet Delia Derbyshire. Again how far that influenced Syd or got into his head or that of the others, I have no idea.

Peter Jenner (courtesy of Moviestarnext)
Peter Jenner (courtesy of Moviestarnext).

BH: Did Keith Rowe and Syd Barrett actually meet or discussed music?

PJ: I don't know. I think they may have seen each other but in a sense I don't think you would need to discuss music. It was obvious what Keith Rowe was doing. And you don't need to sit there and discuss it. What's in the question of what chords you are using. It is all about the approach and the improvisational aspect.

I think Interstellar Overdrive was very influenced by that kind of stuff. That's an approach to improvisation. Presumably you know Interstellar Overdrive was recorded twice and mixed together, it was recorded simultaneously on top of each other.

BH: It is also very interesting to hear the different versions, because the first version was the one from the movie of Peter Whitehead.

PJ: Yes.

BH: And there is a big difference between both versions. The early one is still R&B influenced...

PJ: Yes.

BH: And the version on Piper is much more experimental...

PJ: Yes. They were experimenting, they recorded it in the studio and then they played the song again, listening to the earlier take. It was double-tracked.

BH: I think lots of people were surprised when they first heard it on the record.

PJ: I would think so.

BH: In the middle of '67 however things started to go wrong. The question that fans still ask today is: did anyone try to get into his mind or ask what was going wrong?

PJ: We certainly suggested, and I can't quite remember whether we ever got to him, but we certainly did want him to see Ronny Laing. But he clearly was unhappy and getting chaotic. The key thing that I remember was when they came back from America. Andrew (King), my partner, said that it had been a nightmare. Syd had become hard to manage and refused to do as would be expected. Things like: “Syd, it's a TV show, can you play a song?”, that all became very difficult. Andrew knows much more about that than I do because he was there. He and the rest of the band. The Hendrix tour was after that, wasn't it?

BH: Yes.

PJ: That is when it became clear that there really was a major problem with Syd. That is where Syd started not always being there for the pick-up and where we had the show with Dave O'List instead of him. By then he'd moved to Cromwell Road, hadn't he? Unfortunately by that time I saw less of him, I was close to him when he was in Earlham Street. Once he'd moved out and ended up in Cromwell Road... I never knew the people who... and I only know the legends, the rumours... that Syd was given a lot of acid, that there was acid every day. It certainly coincides with him becoming more and more weird.

And then he subsequently moved to stay with Storm and Po. So we thought that might be better and that it might help, but it didn't... So we were aware there were problems, the band became increasingly aware of the fact there were performance issues and that it was very hard for them to work with him... and that is where the breakup with Blackhill occurred because we were so keen on trying to keep Syd with the band.

Apples & Oranges Syd wrote all these great songs and there was a lot of pressure during the summer of '67 for him to write more songs. Which is Why She Is A Millionaire was knocking around. That is why we ended up with things like Apples and Oranges, because we needed a follow-up to See Emily Play. That is when pressure started to get to Syd really. Having a hit, doing TV shows, being interviewed, posing for magazine front covers... things started to be more work than he could handle.

BH: Do you think it was something that gradually happened or was there something like a lost weekend with a massive overdose...

PJ: I think gradually, that was certainly the impression one had. He just became weirder and weirder and we thought that it was maybe just a question of fame.

BH: People have said that when they came back from America, Roger Waters asked you to have Syd fired. Was the band indeed thinking of...

PJ: No, Roger didn't ask to get him fired but it became clear they were finding it very difficult to work with Syd. It was more my recollection that they were looking for means to make it work. So that is when Dave was introduced. What we were doing in a sense was the Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys solution. We were consciously thinking: “Well maybe Syd can go on if we take the pressure off him.”

We could all see that he wasn't well, so if we reduced the pressure maybe he still would be able to write songs and keep the band on the road. Because none of the band really wrote much. Roger did a little bit, but these songs weren't, you know... The one single they put together which wasn't a Syd song did not very well, It Would Be So Nice (written by Rick Wright) was not a great song. Pow R Toc H and Set The Controls To The Heart Of The Sun weren't that great either, in my opinion. We certainly felt that there was a problem with the songs on the second album which was why there was a certain pressure to get Vegetable Man and Scream Thy Last Scream on it, they got recorded because we needed them for the album.

But our ways were parting and I think the band always thought these songs were too much. By the time the Saucerful record finally got put together we weren't really working with them any more and we were slowly moving into history. The rest of the band put that record together, while I was still working with Syd. My wife and myself, we were trying to help, help him to stabilise and write...

BH: Was there any truth in the rumours that Syd and Rick tried to form a band?

PJ: I don't think so, I have never heard that. I mean, once things were starting to go weird there was no question of anyone wanting to work with Syd. But we were all close to Syd and we were certainly hoping that Syd would get back together. That said, Rick and Syd were quite close, Juliette (Gale, Rick's wife) was sort of sympathetic and we were close to Juliette... Also, Rick was the other major musician in the band, because at that stage Roger was not much of a musician.

Roger didn't write very much, but he was already conceptual, to come up with some of the things he came up with later. But he couldn't really sing and he couldn't tune his bass guitar. He was not a sort of natural musician, which makes it all the more remarkable in my book the way he got to with it all.

BH: Is it true that the Christmas On Earth show, on the 22nd of December '67, was the turning point and that it was decided then to put Syd on a 'Brian Wilson' status?

PJ: Was that in Olympia?

BH: Yes. Apparently you took the money and ran...

PJ: I think it was a financially very strange show. It was all a bit questionable what was happening. I can't really remember what exactly happened, but I do recall it was all a bit of a disaster. There wasn't a lot of people there and I think that was really the problem. Not a lot of people also meant not a lot of money and by that time we were getting short of cash so we needed whatever we could get.

June Child (67-ish)
June Child (67-ish).

BH: Legend goes that June Child cashed the money before Pink Floyd started and that she ran away with it. After two or three songs the promoter came to you to reclaim it, because the Floyd was so bad...

PJ: Well, I don't think we ever paid them back! I don't think that ever happened. It was all a bit too rough, they were wrong as well. Congratulations to June for getting the money. I'm sure we were all involved in telling her to go and get it and then... run for it... It wasn't a great gig.

BH: Apparently not.

PJ: I don't mean just the Floyd, but the whole organisation. It was a disaster, it was run by an amateur who just thought it would be a good thing. Because there weren't that many professional promoters, if you thought you could do it, you did it. After all, Hoppy (John Hopkins) had done things and Joe Boyd had done things and neither of them had ever been promoters before. And we did things and we never had been promoters. It was all very new, so you did what you thought you could do. Then things like Middle Earth came along and that was all done by people who never had done that before. So a lot of people trying things out who did not know what they were doing, including me...

The Christmas On Earth show was filmed but only a few snippets have survived. On one of these, an interview with Jimi Hendrix, you can hear Pink Floyd on the background. Rumour goes the camera crew bought old film to spare some money, but unfortunately the film negative was so degraded that most of it was for the rubbish bin. A rough cut was made, which was seen by Joe Boyd, but nobody knows if it still exists. Anyway, it is not even clear if the Pink Floyd show was actually recorded or not.

BH: Shortly after that the Floyd went their own way with A Saucerful of Secrets and Syd Barrett went his way with The Madcap Laughs.

PJ: Well, in a way he never really made The Madcap Laughs. He did a series of sessions where I tried to get some recordings from him but only bits and pieces came together. Nothing ever got to the point of: "Well that's a record." So we had to try again but everything just dribbled away. We were thinking: “We'll try some sessions and see what comes out of it.”, but after we did the sessions we realised we really hadn't got very much. So then I thought it would be better if we'd leave Syd for a bit, to wait until he got himself a little bit better and then try all over again. Eventually we did but still nothing much happened.

We tried to do some things with a band as well, I think we got a band in, and some musicians to come and play with him, but he couldn't... that really didn't work either.

I had a second lot of sessions with Syd, a few years later, when Bryan Morrison asked me to have another go.

BH: That was in 1974 then?

PJ: Yes.

BH: But apparently, nothing really much came out?

PJ: The same thing, nothing really much came out. Because Syd never had any songs, there would just be these glimpses of songs, it was really very chaotic.

BH: Some of the material of the 1974 sessions are in the open, they have been bootlegged.

PJ: Right.

BH: Some of the tunes he plays are just blues standards. He is just covering them, if you'd like.

PJ: Well I don't think he was covering them, that was just what came out (laughs).

BH: Songs he used to listen too when he was 16, 17 years old.

PJ: Probably. He would just play things... working with him on those sessions was like things coming in and out of fog. At first nothing much would happen but then the fog would come down and then there were signs of something. I would think: “Ah, it's going to happen!” and then it would disappear again. It was just the most frustrating and difficult thing I have ever been involved in my life. Because there were signs of things... “Look, it's gonna come, no, no... it's not.” It's like waiting for the rain during a drought or waiting for the sun during the winter.

BH: What's your opinion about The Madcap Laughs?

PJ: Well, I think Dave and Roger tried to fish out what they could fish out and turn it into whatever they could turn it into. And I was surprised at how good a job they did of it. A lot in there is their work rather than Syd's, it was them trying to imagine what it was he was trying to do.

BH: You personally didn't feel it weird that they redid Golden Hair and Octopus, which was first called Clowns And Jugglers. They redid it after you had already recorded it on your sessions.

PJ: Golden Hair was the only one from my sessions which almost might have been a song. There were some old tunes that he had, that I've heard him play, like Octopus. He had a book of songs and every now and then we'd go through the old ones. I can't remember what they all were but they were very childlike, a lot of them, Effervescing Elephant and things like that. And there was this sort of very childlike aspect to Syd which was very charming but also, I think, quite disturbing in a way.

BH: Opel, that was recorded by Malcolm Jones, was forgotten for the album.

PJ: Yes, and maybe a couple of other things that were half-done but that weren't dug up. You know, I never had produced anything, I didn't know what I was doing. I was just there trying, hoping to capture something. Cause that was what we had been doing with the Floyd. We didn't know what was going on, songs would just come. I don't think anyone of us knew what we were doing. Syd had some ideas about the songs, Norman (Smith) had some ideas. We tried to work them out and surely Norman helped a lot. The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn sessions were fine but later we could only see the rot set in. What it was and why it was will always be one of those mysteries, so I don't know...

Stones in Hyde Park
The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park.
Charlie Weedon (left), Rolling Stones roadie, friend of Syd Barrett
Charlie Weedon (left), Rolling Stones roadie, friend of Syd Barrett.

BH: Somebody also wanted to know about the famous Rolling Stones show, at the Hyde Park festival. Everybody says it was a Rolling Stones show but apparently it was a whole festival with a lot of groups.

PJ: After the Floyd had left we did some shows at the Festival Hall, perhaps even at the Queen Elisabeth Hall, I'm not sure about that, and then at Hyde Park.

In June 1968 the Floyd and Roy Harper played and I even think we managed to put on four different free festivals that summer. The Floyd did the first one, which was actually quite small, and they returned a couple of years later (in July 1970). The second summer we had Blind Faith (in June 1969), that one was really huge and very successful and it launched Blind Faith into stardom and that was when the Rolling Stones said they could do it as well. And that was already organised a few weeks later, wasn't it?

BH: The Stones was in July 1969.

PJ: I think so.

BH: Blackhill started as a bunch of enthusiast amateurs with an amateur band, but in two years time you had become a very big company.

PJ: We were not a big company! No, no, no, no. We were small, but we just did it. Somebody said: "Let's do that" and we did it. By the times the Stones came it had turned into a big show but it was still very amateurish. There was no security, there was hardly any police. No public litters. No admission either, it was just a free concert and it was pretty weird.

BH: It probably was still the time that one could contact the Rolling Stones to ask them things like that.

PJ: Well, it was a hippy era and they asked us, they wanted us to do it.

BH: Really?

PJ: We didn't ask them, The Rolling Stones asked us, I think Mick had worked out that was a way they could relaunch themselves as a live band.

BH: One of the rumours is that Syd Barrett was also on that concert, he was even driven by someone of your company there. I don't know if you know that.

PJ: That might have been the case but I can't remember. Personally I wouldn't think so, by the time of the Rolling Stones gig he was pretty far gone. He wasn't, as it were, under our control or care or anything, he had gone off into his own world. We were happy to have been part of his world but he didn't seem to want us to be part of his world. So he might well have been there but he certainly wasn't there for me.

BH: Thank you very much, Mr. Jenner, it was nice talking to you...

PJ: It's a mad world we live in, isn't it?

© Birdie Hop & The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, 2014.


Many thanks to Rich Hall, Peter Jansens, Peter Jenner. Inspired by questions from: Al Baker, Alexander P. Hoffmann, Allen Lancer, Andrew Charles Potts, Bruno Barbato Jacobovitz, Cathy Peek Collier, Clay Jordan, Ewgeni Reingold, Gaz Hunter, Gian Palacios-Świątkowski, Göran Nyström, Jenny Spires, Kiloh Smith, Lisa Newman, Mark Sturdy, Matthew Horsley, Memo Hernandez, Paul Newlove, Peter 'Felix' Jansens, Rich Hall, Richard Mason Né Withnell, Stanislav V. Grigorev, Steve Czapla, Steve Francombe, Tim Doyle. Thanks posted to ‎Giulio Bonfissuto and Raymond John Nebbitt for spotting errors!

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Birdie Hop

Sources
Peter Jenner top picture. Source: Wikipedia, taken by Ralf Lotys (Sicherlich).
Van Gogh, Wheat Field with Crows & Syd Barrett mashup. Source (painting): Wikipedia, public domain. Mashup: Felix Atagong.
Syd Barrett & Peter Jenner (cropped). Source: June Ellen Child, The Cosmic Lady. Originally published in Nick Mason's Inside Out biography.
Peter Jenner third picture. Source: Pasado, presente y futuro de la música según Peter Jenner @ Movistarnext.
June Child (cropped). Source: June Ellen Child, The Cosmic Lady. Originally published in Nick Mason's Inside Out biography.
The Rolling Stones, Hyde Park. Source: The Stones in the Park @ Ukrockfestivals, taken by John Leszczynski.
Charlie Weedon, watching the Stones. Source: unknown.


2014-06-06

A sunny afternoon with Iggy

Birdie Hop
Birdie Hop. Artwork: Felix Atagong.

Birdie Hop is not the biggest Syd Barrett (Facebook) group around, it isn't the oldest Syd Barrett (Facebook) group around, but it surely is the friendliest Syd Barrett group around. Don't take my word for it, visit it for yourself one day.

It is a place were you can meet and greet with at least two dozen people who have met the man in person, as a (hometown) friend, fellow student, colleague, musician or even lover (but just like in the Cromwellian heydays it isn't considered cool to bother these people too much). It is a place were you don't need to expose your poster collection or your latest Spotify playlist to attract some attention. With the exception of one particular Reverend, all the administrators are friendly and don't switch into screaming Roger Waters mode whenever they have something to say.

The group is lead by Alex, who we call Papa Smurf but only when he is not there, and who has a myriad of psychedelic stories to tell if only he wouldn't be so bashful. About a year ago, Alex invited some international Hoppers for a trip in and around Cambridge and it still is a meeting people talk about. You can read more about it here: Wasn't it the most amazing meeting? 

Two weeks ago his busy agenda lead him again into the UK where he visited Libby Gausden at the south-west coast and headed for Cambridge where the usual bunch of shady characters were expecting him. But in between he took a slight detour to a small village in Sussex to have a drink. And guess who was accidentally having a drink at the same place?

Iggy & Alex, May 2014 Iggy & Alex, May 2014 Iggy & Alex, May 2014
Iggy Rose & Alex, May 2014.

So for all people doubting about Iggy's existence, she's alive and kicking all-right.

This is part one of Alexander's adventures in the UK, for part two, go here: Boogie Wonderland 


Many thanks to: Alexander P. HB.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


Boogie Wonderland

Birdie Hop. Artwork: Felix Atagong.

The Birdie Hop Facebook group has also a side project where people with a certain arty je-ne-sais-quoi are trying to get something on the rails. For the moment it is still vague and too preliminary to predict what may come out of it, but there are some ideas floating around and these tend to trigger other ideas, and perhaps one day it will surprise the world.

Opel, 2014

In contradiction to the Reverend, Rich Hall - one of Birdie's administrators and the creator of the amazing tribute album Birdie Hop and the Sydiots - didn't sit on his lazy ass while Alex was frolicking with the girls around the British landscape (see part one of this article: A sunny afternoon with Iggy). He took Syd's Opel track and added several guitar layers to the original version to make it sound a bit more finished. Of course it still has the quirky singing, but Rich's attempt is something of a definitive version and one that could be put on any Syd Barrett compilation album to come.

Update 2016 06 17: Soundcloud deleted this version a while ago, but it can be found on Facebook as well:

Opel upgrade by Rich Hall

Link: Opel (Rich Hall upgrade)

Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band.

London Cambridge Boogie, 1972

In Cambridge Alex had the opportunity to meet some people who already had an advance copy of the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band album that will come out any day now. Another reason to join Birdie Hop is that you read and hear things first, straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. And, with Alex's blessing, we publish here what well could be the very first review of this record in the entire world!

Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band (© Alexander P. HB., 2014)

A big thanks to my friend and Punjabi brother Warren Dosanjh who sent me the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band CD (I had to look three times on the cover to write that correctly).

Of course, the sound and recording quality is not the best, but not as bad as I feared. It is much better than the 1967 live recordings we have of the early Pink Floyd. The main members Jack Monck and Twink do a great job in all songs, no doubt. The singer, Bruce Michael Paine, makes some of the songs sound like a special performance of Uriah Heep or Steamhammer (obviously). The track listing is a collection of late fifties or early sixties blues / rock 'n' roll / boogie tunes and a little bit of early seventies hard rock as well.

I can only hear two guitars.

I hear the perfection of Fred Frith in the first four songs and again in track 8 and 9, I´m not so sure of #8 though. Frith is nearly a perfect guitarist and can almost play nearly everything, nearly (lol)!

I definitively hear Syd Barrett in tracks 5 to 7. But he is not there for just a little bit, he is almost dominating the songs. He is strong and good and I´m sure he had practised a lot before, probably at home. Syd doesn't has the perfection of Frith but he is full of ideas and he is able to play parts that others can´t play or that others have not the craziness to play these parts. But at other times he plays conventionally and fits in perfectly with the song´s structures.

All in all this is much more than I had expected. I only listened to it once, but I didn't want to withhold you of my opinion.

A last word. How we look at the quality of the performed songs has got a lot to do with our viewpoints of today. Today we are spoiled by good concerts and good audio productions, but I'm sure we would all have been very happy to be there on the 27th of January 1972 in the Cambridge Corn Exchange!

Perhaps my expectations were so low that I sound a little bit too enthusiast now. But I am surprised by Syd´s guitar playing. I never thought that he was in such a good shape as a guitar player. This lets me believe that Twink is right and that the Stars concerts were far better than what was written later by people who weren't there.

© Alexander P. HB., 2014.

A detailed review with a full background story and an interview with Twink will appear later on, simultaneously at the Church and Birdie Hop.

This is part two of Alexander's adventures in the UK, for part one, go here: A sunny afternoon with Iggy 
This is also a prequel of our Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band article series: LMPTBB 


Many thanks to: Alexander P. HB.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2014-06-22

Syd's Last Stand

The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band.

It is a small miracle that you can listen to the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band Six Hours Technicolour Dream CD, issued by Easy Action.

In a previous article, The Last Minute Put Together Reel Story, you could read how the reel came into place, how a first copy was found back in 1985 and immediately seized, in about the most moronic way ever, by Pink Floyd Ltd (or EMI), who put it into one of their secret locker rooms.

The second (and last) copy was found back 20 years later and when it was put on sale, EMI nor Pink Floyd reacted, which could have been their ultimate chance to bury this release forever and ever... They were so full of themselves they thought they could delay this release even with another copy floating around.

Easy Action purchased it and after an immense struggle, behind the scenes, to get the copyrights (partially?) settled it was finally released, in June 2014. Of course this isn't an audiophile release, it is nothing more than an audience recording (but one of the slightly better ones) and the band that plays is rough and sloppy at times, but they seem to enjoy the gig. The Number Nine jam is, for Barrett fanoraks, as essential as the Rhamadan download, that – if our information is correct – has disappeared from the official sydbarrett.com servers, but can still be downloaded on iTunes.

The Syd Barrett website is run by One Fifteen that, like a good dog chained to Pink Floyd Ltd, has to lick its master's orifices for a living. Is that why you won't find a trace of LMPTBB on the official Syd Barrett news overview? And now that we are on to it, stop that irritating jukebox, will you.

But perhaps we, members of the Sydiot league, are just a bit over-sensitive and too unrealistic to acknowledge that Syd Barrett was just a very small sardine in a fishbowl of sharks? Isn't the Reverend getting too geriatric for this kind of goody good bullshit? Anyway, here is our second article in our Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band series, because nobody seems to care if we don't.

Update 2016: in January 2016 the official Syd Barrett website changed hands. It is now maintained by the Barrett family. After a good start with some out of the ordinary articles about Octopus and Bob Dylan Blues, it has - unfortunately - retreated into internet limbo.

Six Hour Technicolour Dream poster
Six Hour Technicolour Dream poster.

Boogie Nights

After Barrett's second solo album failed to impress the charts Syd retreated to Cambridge where it became clear that not all was well (see also: Hairy Mess). Trying to find his way back in music, at his own pace, he met Jenny Spires, who had returned to Cambridge as well and was now married to bass player Jack Monck whom Syd jammed with at least once. On the 26th of January 1972 Jenny took Syd to an Eddie ‘Guitar’ Burns gig that had Jack Monck and John 'Twink' Alder as backing musicians. Of course Twink was not unknown to Syd, they once had managed to gatecrash the launch party of King Crimson's first album, high on a dangerous cocktail of Champagne (from Steve Peregrin Took) and mandrax (accidentally misplaced in Iggy Rose's handbag who would otherwise never carry such a thing with her).

Somehow Jenny and Jack persuaded Syd to bring his guitar and when the Burns gig ended Syd joined the backing band for an impromptu jam. In Terrapin 3 from February 1973 this gig was reviewed by Mervyn Hughes:

Eddie (Burns) does a solo spot, then announces his “Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band” which consisted of Twink on Drums and Jack Monck on Bass. This band was given a set on their own and Syd was roped in to play too. (…) Although he stood at the back (just jamming as he obviously didn't know the numbers) play he did.

Our previous article in the LMPTBB series has a testimony of Jim Gillespie who noted that the jam with Syd Barrett took place as a supporting act, before the Eddie 'Guitar' Burns gig. He claims the LMPTBB played two short sets, one before (with Syd) and one after (with Bruce Paine). This is just another example of how memories can differ between persons, especially after a four decades interval.

In the extremely well written and definitive Stars (and LMPTBB) article: Twilight of an Idol, Mark Sturdy quotes another witness, Steve Brink:

There was a real natural musical empathy between the three of them. In any improvisational band, the musicians have to be interested in what each other are doing, and Syd was genuinely interested. It was just a free-form jam for about half an hour – more improvisatory than 12-bar blues, and I’m sure it changed key on any number of occasions. But there’s always that moment, that dynamic thing when three musicians make something that works.

Steve Brink was the man who organised the Six Hour Technicolour Dream festival the next day and perhaps he was secretly hoping for Barrett to show up again. We can't be sure of what Syd Barrett thought of it all, but Jenny Spires, Jack Monck and Twink convinced him to rehearse the next afternoon. The band tried to have Syd sing at least one of his own songs, but that plan was abandoned as Syd was still too fragile. Fred Frith, from Henry Cow fame, was quite disillusioned and would still be after the gig:

Syd played “Smokestack Lightning” or variations thereof in every song, and didn’t really sing at all.

Well let's find out if he spoke the truth, shall we?

Why don't you listen to the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band album on Spotify while reading this interview? (A Spotify membership is probably needed, but this is free. There is no need to download and install the Spotify player, the music will (hopefully) play in your browser.)

Direct link: Six Hours Technicolour Dream.

1. Foreplay

Sea Cruise

The record starts immediately with a cover of Huey "Piano" Smith's Sea Cruise (better known in Frankie Ford's version), so no band's introduction or greeting.

It is clear that this is not a soundboard, but an on stage recording and already after 41 seconds there seems to be a microphone falling out. Actually this is good news because it accentuates Fred Frith's guitar playing that surely is inventive and most of the time right to the point. Don't worry, sound quality will get better after a while, or perhaps it is just our ears getting used to the recording. The first number undoubtedly is just a warming up for better things to come.

The band introduces itself after the first track. Tape completists like to have the full recording of a concert, including guitar tunings and chatter in between numbers, and these seem to be left in. Of course every commercial release might be edited and snipped here and there, but if it is done it is pretty well done. However there are some places where we think some cuts have been made.

Bruce Paine
Bruce Paine.

L.A. To London Boogie

Singer Bruce Paine announces the second number as one he wrote himself.

Bruce Michael Paine, who sadly passed away in 2009, started as a folk singer in Greenwich Village (NYC) in the 60's. Like Dylan, his music became “electrified" by the middle of the decade, and he signed with Atlantic Records. He joined the Apple Pie Motherhood Band after their eponymous first album (1968) and sang on their second and last (Apple Pie, 1969). Both records can be found on the web and don't really impress, call it contemporary psychedelic oddities of the average kind.

After Apple Pie (without the crust, as Nick Mason would say) Bruce Paine stars in the San Francisco production of the musical Hair, then he moves to London where he meets drummer Twink and bass player John 'Honk' Lodge, from Junior's Eyes and later Quiver. They form a power blues trio, the 'Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band' (luckily they didn't pick Honk, Twink & Paine for a band's name). After some demo sessions at Polydor the band is denied a recording contract and a disillusioned Honk leaves the band. With Jack Monk as replacement the band mysteriously ends up in Cambridge, but after about ten gigs the claim for fame is over.

In May 1972 Bruce Paine briefly joins Steamhammer for their European and UK tour, but then he calls his European adventure quits and returns to the States to star in another musical, this time Jesus Christ Superstar.

Later on he will do session and acting work, with (small) roles in Married with Children and Quantum Leap. According to his self-penned bio he appeared in numerous films and television series and kept on gigging with his own band.

L.A. to London Boogie is a straightforward seventies rock song and the good thing is that about one minute into the tune Paine's micro switches back on. Remarkable is that Fred Frith keeps throwing arpeggios around as if they come thirteen in a dozen. All in all the band plays pretty tight, but the song itself is nothing more than a good average and leaves no lasting impression.

Apple Pie Motherhood Band
Apple Pie Motherhood Band.

Ice

The third song is called Ice. It is a cover from the first Apple Pie Motherhood Band album, the one Bruce Paine didn't sing on, and written by Apple Pie member Ted Demos and session singer Marilyn Lundquist. On the album Ice is a trippy psychedelic blues that seems to go nowhere in the end but how does the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band deals with it?

Direct link: Ice - Apple Pie Motherhood Band.

One thing you can say that it is longer, almost the triple longer than the original. Frith adds guitar lines that don't always seem to be coherent in the beginning but that get better later on. At the three minutes mark Twink and Frith start an experimental cacophony and this makes us wonder if this is what Spaceward Studios archivist Mark 'FraKcman' Graham described as dreadful, stoned, out-of-key noodlings (see: The Last Minute Put Together Reel Story). It sure is a weird fusion between blues, hard rock and the avant-garde prog sound of Henry Cow, the band Frith started in 1968. The prog-rock stoners in the public must have loved it. Of course this is a cheap reflection afterwards but in this track Paine really shows he is the right person to star in those hideous Andrew Lloyd Webber rock operas, that man has a throat and he knows how to use it.

Nadine

A heckler in the audience shouts for some some rock'n roll and we get the classic Nadine. Also known as "Nadine (Is It You?)" it is a song written by Chuck Berry who released it as a single in February 1964. A straightforward and simple rendition this is, nothing less, nothing more, these guys know their business.

We haven't said a lot about Twink and Jack Monck yet, but the band certainly is inspired and well-trained. In the liner notes Twink reveals that they recorded several demos for Polydor, including L.A. To London Boogie and one that isn't on this live set, called Smoke. The band did about 10 gigs in total and as this could well have been their last gig they were a well oiled machine by now and it shows.

From now on the gig can only get better and better.

2. Eargasm

Gideon Daniels
Gideon Daniels.

Drinkin' That Wine

Time to announce a special guest:

We'd like to bring Syd Barrett up to the bandstand. Will you come on and (???) how about a hand for Syd Barrett?

We hear some polite applause and a guitar that is plugged in. Bruce Paine tells the public that the last group he toured with in the States was Gideon Daniels' gospel band and that he picked the next song from their set. There isn't much about him on the net, but one comment on a YouTube video tells this:

I saw Gideon & Power numerous times, and to this day (…) they were the best live act I've ever seen -- and that includes Jimi Hendrix. I remember when Mickey [Thomas] joined. Prior to that, there was Bobby Castro, Bruce Payne [sic], and Charlie Hickox on piano and vocal.

According to Bruce on the Six Hour Technicolour Dream record the song is about a funky dude who gets drunk by stealing the mass wine but in fact this is a traditional communion song that has been described in several anthologies and studies, like The Negro And His Songs from 1925 (page 136) and Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands from 1942 (page 249-251):

The swinging rhythm of the communion song, “Drinkin' of the Wine”, made it a favorite with the chain-gang for cutting weeds along the highway.

American minstrel Bascom Lamar Lunsford learned the song around 1900 in Wilkes County, North Carolina and you can hear him singing it at the beginning of this video. The history of the Drinkin' That Wine traditional is fascinating (the Reverend lost nearly three hours reading about it) but it would bring us too far. What matters for us, Syd fans, is that Syd Barrett plays on it and that it is a mighty earworm and the catchiest song on the album. Once you've got in into your head it is difficult to get it out again.

The track turns into a power blues that pushes Syd's guitar to the background at points, but his playing can be well distinguished if you take attention. His playing is in a different style from Frith's, muddier, sloppier perhaps... He does not spit out the notes at 120 beats per minute but this is about having a good time and not about a finger speed race.

This is good, this is really good.

Number Nine

As if a gospel wasn't weird enough, in a Floydian context, the gig turns even weirder. Number Nine is a bluesy jam that starts pretty traditional and then develops further into space. This could well be the highlight of the album for vintage Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett freaks. It catapults this reviewer back to the Abdab days when the proto-Floyd struggled with psychedelic versions of Louie Louie and other R&B standards. This may well sound like early Pink Floyd may have sounded in their experimental days. In the Barrett biographies to come this track will be described as being as essential as the Whitehead Interstellar Overdrive and the recently (and reluctantly) released Rhamadan. We took the liberty of grabbing some comments on Yeeshkul:

Demamo: “The guitar playing and sound is very "Lanky" and "Gigo Aunt" ish.”
Orgone Accumulator: “For all his psychedelic leanings, Syd tapped into that earlier Bo Diddley and Buddy Holly groove, with an emphasis on percussive rhythm.”
Beechwoods: “I must admit that musically I like it and there is an interesting progression between Interstellar and his '74 guitar pieces ('Chugga Chugga Chug Chug' etc) that is worth hearing.”

Like Rhamadan this isn't easy listening, but just like Rhamadan it isn't the disaster everyone feared for either. Listen to it, concentrate, feel the groove. It will grow on you.

Just before the eight minutes mark a micro falls out again for a couple of seconds, resulting in - weird enough – a better sound quality because the sound isn't distorted any more.

Gotta Be A Reason

At ten minutes the track segues into Gotta Be A Reason, probably the second LMPTBB original on this record. This track is only mentioned as a separate number for copyright (read: financial) reasons because after the strophe and refrain it further develops into Number Nine territory. As a matter of fact, early track listings just mentioned it as Number Nine (Gotta Be A Reason) and not as two separate numbers.

The jam ends somewhat sloppy with Twink, who has been in excellent shape throughout the record, in an obvious death struggle on drums. Perhaps it is just a clumsy way to have Syd unplug his guitar and leave the stage.

What a weird trip it has been.

3. Afterplay

Feel It!
Elvin Bishop.

Let's Roll

The eighth track is named Let's Roll on the CD, and this can be open to some controversy.

Actually this fun piece is a close cover of Elvin Bishop's Party Till the Cows Come Home that is equally irresistible (watch this 2013 version and try not to tap your feet), co-written with S. Colby Miller and recorded on the Elvin Bishop Group's second album Feel It! (1970).

While the lyrics of the verses are different in both versions:

LMPTBB:

Everybody out for a have a good time
I say wiggle baby and I'll be mine
You gotta shake your legs and wiggle with your hip

Elvin Bishop:

Kick out the windows bust down the doors
We`re drinkin` half gallons and shoutin` for more
Take off your shoes and let yourself go

The refrain, melody and chord progression are almost identical:

We're gonna boogie till the rooster crows
We're gonna party till the cows come home
Let's roll. Let's roll. (Let it roll in the Elvin Bishop original).

Bruce Paine toured with Gideon Daniel's gospel band in the USA, before he went to the UK, and that musician worked, on different occasions, with Elvin Bishop, so perhaps a link can be found there. Perhaps both tracks are based on a communal forefather or traditional, who knows?

When the Reverend remarked on Birdie Hop that he found it weird that none of the Boogie Band song credits mentions copyright owners, nor lyricists and composers, although the two owners had nine years to sort this out, the answer - from a music insider - was laconic as ever:

It is gray area and not as uncommon as you think, especially in the world of music. (…) The usual reason is that it's a sorted affair, meaning multi copywriters on the same tune. The composers also have to agree with how it is going to be submitted to ASCAP or BMI. So rather than hold it up, the material gets released.

In other words, by not sorting out the copyrights beforehand, the hot potato is pushed forward until the record has been released. If the copyright holders eventually find out they can ask for a slice of the pie (or in this case: potato) and if they don't: tough luck. And just yesterday morning the Church was informed that the reason why this release still isn't widely available in the shops is there still is 'a small issue with agreements...'

Let's Roll aka Party Till the Cows Come Home gets a great round of applause, but alas it is time to say goodbye with a last tune, originally from B.B King.

Sweet Little Angel

Shivers down the spine, although the song is given a somewhat shady treatment, but that adds to its integrity.

Not only a great band was lost with the Last Minute Out Together Boogie Band, but lead singer Bruce Paine surely deserved a better musical career than he actually had. If you don't want to buy this record for Barrett's involvement, do it to remember Bruce Paine. We certainly hope he is drinkin' that wine with Syd, up there in nirvana.

Guitars (3 different ones)

The Reverend is so tone-deaf that if you play him a trumpet and tell him it is a guitar, he will believe you. So all we hear, thanks to god's unequal distribution of the aural senses, is a mud-pool of guitar noise. Luckily some people can distinct instruments, like Syd Wonder does on Late Night.

There are three guitarists on this set... Two of them play on tracks without Syd. Barrett's announced when he joins the group in mid-show, while Frith isn't. I think Frith plays the entire show, with Bruce Paine on guitar as well.
I also appreciated Alexander's review (and most of the time, I do hear two guitars).

This could be correct as Bruce Paine joined LMPTBB the day before, on the Eddie Burns gig, with his guitar to have a jam.

About the tracks with Syd he adds:

"Drinkin' That Wine" - vocals were recorded very loud; I hear three guitars. Instrumental sections are from 1:50-3:03 (Syd heavily distorted, playing rhythm, searching, finding a groove - when he starts to solo, Paine starts to sing again), and 3:41-4:49 (Syd plays some solid leads).
"Number Nine" - highlight of the set, it begins with a repeated riff from Barrett. The band doesn't react, so he stops and they all start again. Some worthy improvisations emerge, as it continues. Frith's guitar work is more trebly and rather busy, Barrett's comparatively relaxed and textural. At times I hear three guitars. I really like what Syd plays in the last couple of minutes.
"Gotta Be A Reason" - it segues out of Number Nine, in a continuous performance. Syd solos for about 30 seconds near the beginning. Paine sings a bit, ceases at 2:05. Three guitars again... Frith becomes very busy... Barrett responds with strong counter-melodies, seems to vanish sometime after the 5-minute mark.
Signed by Twink (not ours)
Signed by Twink (not our copy).

Conclusion

Sound quality: slightly above bootleg quality, with tape damage here and there and mikes that fall out (and are plugged in again). Towards the middle of the gig the sound gets rather distorted due to the higher volume levels and there is a lot of resonance. At Yeeshkul, where sound fanatics reside, questions have already been raised that the cleaning and denoising was clumsily done, but this can't be verified without a raw tape leaking out.

Performance: sloppy and muddy at times, but great fun that still can be felt 4 decades later. The band is a typical seventies power blues construction, think : Led Zep, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple. Syd is not in super form, but he isn't that bad either.

Packaging: it looks great, with a 12 page booklet and an exclusive Twink interview, but lacking song copyright information.

Accuracy: grumpy as we are, we need to get the following of our chest. The back cover correctly places three asterisks next to the three tracks that feature Syd Barrett. However, both Fred Frith (who is on all tracks) and Syd Barrett (who is only on three) get an asterisk next to their name. Blimey, Easy Action record cover people, you have had 5 fucking years to get that cover right. As mentioned above, there are 3 guitar players present, something that is overlooked as well on the sleeve.

Trivia: the poster, used for the front cover, was meticulously scanned in by Warren Dosanjh of I Spy in Cambridge fame and a honorary member of the Birdie Hop Facebook group. Eternal thanks to Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, not only for a magnificent performance but also for rolling, pushing and squeezing the ball.

(End of part two of our LMPTBB series, part one can be found here: The Last Minute Put Together Reel Story. Part three will have more of the same. You have been warned.)


Many thanks to: Mohammed Abdullah John 'Twink' Alder, Rick Barnes, Beechwoods, Birdie Hop, Cyberspace, Demamo, Chris Farmer, Late Night, Orgone Accumulator, Syd Wonder, Yeeshkul.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 171-173.
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 283-285.
Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 392-400.


2014-07-21

An innerview with Carlton Sandercock (Easy Action)

Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band.

It is now about a month ago that the 1972 Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band gig was released by Easy Action records. LMPTBB was a power rock'n blues trio with the practically unknown, but excellent, American singer Bruce Paine on vocals and guitar, Twink on drums and Jack Monck on bass, replacing Honk who left the band after a Polydor record deal was cancelled.

The Six Hour Technicolour Dream concert may well have been their last, and on top of that it had two surprise guests: Fred Frith (from Henry Cow fame) who probably plays on all tracks, and a local boy who had once been a rather influential musician, Syd Barrett.

Not only is Syd Barrett dead, he also is neglected, except for the few who have reappropriated the term Sydiot and gather at the Birdie Hop group. From the three important Pink Floyd fan-based websites only one has published the news about the LMPTBB record. The others don't know, or don't care, and are still hop-frogging around the Pink Floyd table, mouths open, hoping for some Division Bell crumbles to fall off. The official Syd Barrett website, although run by the people who allowed the LMPTBB record in the first place, still remains a place that only comes in handy if you want to buy some (we admit, pretty) t-shirts.

So the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is about the only Floydian (and Barrettian) place where you can read about this release. Either we are pioneers, or raving lunatics, so we guess it's up for you to decide. In our fourth article of the LMPTBB series we interview Carlton Sandercock of Easy Action records, who have released this fine record.

An innerview with Carlton Sandercock
Carlton Sandercock
Carlton Sandercock.

An innerview with Carlton Sandercock (Easy Action)

BH: How would you describe Easy Action? We see a few (live) releases on your catalogue that are pretty rare and that could be considered non-official.

CS: Easy Action started out 10 years ago as, predominantly, an archive rock label, specialising in rare and unreleased recordings. We had the support of Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, The Yardbirds, the estates of Marc Bolan, Steve Marriott & the surviving members of the MC5, initially to create box sets for fans that had been audio restored and lavishly packaged and annotated by good writers and journalists with as much factual information as is possible.

In that 10 years Easy Action has blossomed and grown in all directions, we have 10 labels doing material from singer-songwriter Linda Lewis to punk-metal behemoths Amebix, but all done with class and passion.

We are also working with new artists, we oversee the estate of the late Nikki Sudden and his brother Epic Soundtracks, we manage the affairs of The Damned / Lords of the New Church songwriter guitarist Brian James.

We have worked with one studio all the time in London ‘PSB Music’ who restore and re-master all our releases. Plus we have some very talented graphic designers on board. Basically a happy creative family.

BH: In 2005, the Six Hour Technicolour Dream reel was rediscovered while browsing through the tape archives at Spaceward Studios. Initially, they were going to issue the concert themselves on Gott discs, and they even got the approval of Pink Floyd and the Syd Barrett family. Do you know why they decided to sell it to Easy Action?

CS: To be honest I don't know why they decided to sell the tapes, as you know they didn't manage to succeed at the auction. My business partner Steve Pittis is a huge fan of Pink Floyd, the Fairies and Hawkwind and contacted the seller directly and offered him some cash. Although we didn't originally think there were more than a couple of songs by Hawkwind on the reel. Our initial thoughts were to release the Pink Fairies set as we know them and recoup the cost of buying the tapes. We weren't sure if we would be allowed to issue the Boogie band stuff .

Leave No Star Unturned
Leave No Star Unturned, Hawkwind.

BH: Hawkwind's Six Hour Technicolour Dream gig was already released in August 2011 as Leave No Star Unturned (first announced as: The Self Police Parade), licensed from EMI records. However, the band in its 2011 incarnation was opposed to EMI being involved, and told the fans more than once that they considered this a bootleg. Although historically of great importance, legally these old tapes seem really to be a pain in the ass, aren't they?

CS: Ha ha, yeah. I contacted Mrs. Brock initially, who informed me that the recording date of 1972 was EMI territory and they couldn't give us a licence . So I went to EMI and asked them for a licence and they gave us a contract, we paid them what we were asked for and went ahead and put it out.

The band, I appreciate, try and control all their releases and I guess didn't think we would have any luck whatsoever at EMI... They were wrong. This is the only time I think in our 10 years where we have licensed from a major label over the artist. We had absolutely no ‘legal troubles‘ whatsoever. It's not a bootleg as it has been released properly and above-board. Royalties have been paid to the contractee.

BH: Were the Hawkwind (legal) troubles the main reason why we had to wait until 2014 for the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band to appear? If we are correct, the record was announced a few times over the years and then delayed again...

CS: As I said we had no ‘legal troubles’ at all and I wanted to put the Pink Fairies set out next but life gets in the way and we had more work to deal with tons of other releases.. Also I initially wasn't sure who else was in the band besides Twink and Jack.

BH: Is it true that Twink (Mohammed Abdullah John Alder) gave the release a renewed push, somewhere in 2012 or early 2013?

CS: Yes, absolutely true. Twink has been a major driving force in getting me to put it on the schedule... However we simply didn't have any thing to use for artwork... There is absolutely nothing from that time / gig at all. Until we were introduced to Warren Dosanjh by Slim at Shindig magazine. Warren had the original poster (possibly the only one in existence) and lots of encouragement to boot, so NOW we had the basics of a foundation to try and put something together .

BH: Did you encounter initial resistance to release this material? Did you find the Floyd to be approving of more Syd material being released or did they initially try to block it?

CS: None whatsoever, we have been dealing with the company that looks after Syd's affairs ‘One Fifteen’ and have a contract for his performance and they are helping us with marketing it. To be honest Syd is guest for three songs, this is NOT Interstellar Overdrive live!! This is a boogie band so it's really not going to worry Pink Floyd. Dave Gilmour's a nice bloke and is rightly protective of Syd's legacy, but because we have handled it in the correct manner and not adorned the album with stickers saying SYD in big letters or anything crass like that it's ok... It is what it is, an extraordinary document.

BH: We understand that the Pink Fairies gig is still in the vaults. Will that gig ever be released as well?

CS: Bloody hope so, although we are hoping to add to that show and try and do a bigger, better Pink Fairies package... That reminds me, I must give Sandy (Duncan Sanderson) a call to get the ball rolling.

Bruce Michael Paine (lead singer LMPTBB)
title="Bruce Michael Paine, lead singer LMPTBB.

BH: The story of the Six Hours Technicolour Dream reel is spectacular, to say the least. One copy was found in 1985 and immediately confiscated, in Chuck Norris style, by an EMI suit. A second copy was unearthed in 2005 and ended up at Easy Action. But at one point FraKcman (aka Mark Graham from Spaceward Studios) contradicted his own story by saying that the first tape contained a Stars gig and the second a LMPTBB gig. Did Easy Action find out, during the negotiations with EMI and the bands, if both reels are identical, or not?

CS: Mmm, the men in black... sounds great doesn't it? I was told an original copy was indeed made of the boogie band years ago, but before the audio restoration that we did. It was very rough indeed and was ignored... I'm not sure it was Stars. I think it was an unrestored version of this show. Just my opinion though.

BH: How are sales figures so far? Is there any interest from the fans? Are they better or worse than the Hawkwind gig?

CS: Well, it hasn't flown out the door at all. We thought pre-orders would be huge and that it would then die down to a trickle once it's been copied and shared free of charge online... I'd say cult interest only and not as big as the Hawkwind album... As I said before it is not Syd performing any of his songs... It IS perhaps the last ever recorded performance of Syd Barrett... maybe Floyd fans don't see it as important.

BH: Did you, in your struggle to release this gig, hear about other tapes that still exist, for instance Stars, or early demos from Barrett with Cantabrigian bands?

CS: Ha ha ha. I fuckin' wish! Not a bleedin' sausage and yes, I did ask... I do think, seeing as we have released this show legally with the Barrett estate fully on board and we haven't tried to sell this as a Syd album or anything tacky like that, should anything crop up, I think we would get a call...

BH: We, Birdie Hoppers, hope it for you, Carlton, many thanks for this interview.

© Birdie Hop & The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, 2014.

End of part three of our LMPTBB series. If you don't stop us, there will probably be a part four. You have been warned.


Many thanks to Rich Hall, Peter Jansens, Carlton Sandercock.

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Birdie Hop


2014-07-26

An innerview with Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, better known as Twink

Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band.

We first had the idea of Birdie Hop members asking some questions to Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, also known as Twink, but most of those had already been asked in previous interviews that lay scattered all over the web (see our list underneath). Then the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band record came out and Twink's exclusive interview in the Six Hour Technicolour Dream booklet only triggered more questions from us.

The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band Six Hour Technicolour Dream gig, on January the 27th 1972, was not, as you probably know, Syd's last gig, nor was it his last recording. Actually, Syd never joined LMPTBB but gigged with them twice as a surprise guest. How the tape survived into the twenty-first century and was finally published by Easy Action records is a story you can read here: The Last Minute Put Together Reel Story.

Bruce Michael Paine
Bruce Michael Paine, LMPTBB lead singer.

Apparently the vibes were so good that two out of three LMPTBB members started dreaming of a post-Floyd Barrett band, not very much to the amusement of singer Bruce Paine if we may believe Joly MacFie (Twink's business partner in the Cambridge music club Juniper Blossom and Stars roadie annex sound-man):

I was sharing a house with Twink and Paine. Paine was a somewhat vain and career oriented American who went on to join Steamhammer. He wasn't compatible with Syd. When Twink showed more interest in Syd, Bruce got pissed off and moved out and that was the end of the band. (Taken from So what's with 1972 Stars reel? @ SBRS (forum no longer active.))

Stars was formed shortly later and would gig about five times, dates and venues can be found at the Pink Floyd Archives:

Date Venue City Band
1972 01 26    King's College Cellars    Cambridge    LMPTBB
1972 01 27    The Corn Exchange    Cambridge    LMPTBB
1972 02 05    The Dandelion Coffee Bar    Cambridge    Stars
1972 02 12    Petty Cury, Market Square    Cambridge    Stars
1972 02 12    The Dandelion Coffee Bar    Cambridge    Stars
1972 02 24    The Corn Exchange    Cambridge    Stars
1972 02 26    The Corn Exchange    Cambridge    Stars

Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake tried to find out more about the mythical Stars tapes, that have been rumoured to exist, and posted his finding on the Late Night and Syd Barrett Research Society forums (here edited a bit):

Rehearsal tapes - Twink has mentioned on more than one occasion that Syd recorded the early practices. It goes without saying that these tapes must be long lost.
Dandelion Cafe - lots of people (Twink, Jack and possibly Joly [MacFie]) remember Victor Kraft sitting there with his Nagra tape machine at the Dandelion, and possibly the Corn Exchange as well.
Market Square - recorded, supposedly, by a friend of someone who mentioned it on the Laughing Madcaps list. The tape, supposedly, is at the taper's parents' house in Oxford. [Note from FA: this is probably the tape mentioned at Fortean Zoology. All efforts to make the blogger move his lazy ass have been effortless: Beatles: Off topic but not really.]
Final Corn Exchange show (with Nektar) - according to Joly MacFie, his co-roadie Nigel Smith had a friend called Chris who taped this show.

Although some YouTube videos claim to contain Stars tapes these are believed to be either fakes or mislabelled Barrett solo concerts, so it is still waiting for the real deal, if they not have been buried in the vaults of Pink Floyd Ltd.

But the good news is that the Six Hour Technicolour Dream tape has been released by Easy Action, that Syd Barrett stars (sorry, we couldn't resist the joke) on three of its tracks and although the sound quality is only slightly more than average, the fun is dripping out of our stereo boxes. Mythical drummer Twink, who is currently recording a follow-up of his legendary Think Pink album (1968), lend us some of his time to tell us the following...

An innerview with Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, better known as Twink
Twink (2013)
Twink (2013).

An innerview with Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, better known as Twink

BH: Of course we all know this record is interesting for Syd Barrett's performance, but the real discovery on the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band is that amazing singer, Bruce Paine. How did you and John Lodge (Honk) meet up with him and how did the band come into place?

MAJA: I first met Bruce Paine in the autumn of 1971 at Steve Brink's boutique "What's In A Name" in Union Rd just before he rented a room in Steve's cottage which was situated next to the shop. We talked very briefly about putting a band together because at that time I was just helping Hawkwind out from time to time. Once Bruce had moved into the cottage the band came together quite quickly. I recruited John "Honk" Lodge as our bass player who was living in London but that didn't seem to get in the way of the band project. Other members included Dane Stevens (The Fairies & The Cops And Robbers) on vocals & Adam Wildi on congas but both only lasted one show. We called the band The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band.

BH: Who came up with the idea of naming it the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band? Is there any explanation for the band's name?

MAJA: Bruce came up with the name and I think it was simply that the band came together quite quickly once show offers began to come in.

BH: After a record deal with Polydor had failed, Honk left the band and was replaced by Jack Monck.

MAJA: Yes, "Honk" left immediately the Polydor deal fell through. I think he was disheartened because Polydor's A&R department made it clear that after the demos we did for them, we were in. The whole thing fell down at the contract stage because the contracts manager there was having a bad day. He refused to raise the contracts and kept playing Led Zeppelin at full volume which drove us out of his office. He apologised to me about a month later just after he had been fired from his job. But the damage was done and there would be no record deal for The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band.

BH: Did you meet Syd in Cambridge before the Eddie Guitar Burns gig? Did you know that Syd was going to jam with LMPTBB on the 26th of January 1972 or were you as surprised as the audience?

MAJA: I was surprised and happy to see Syd arrive at the Eddie "Guitar" Burns gig with Jenny and carrying his guitar case. He arrived while we were sound checking, came to the back of the stage area, took his guitar out of its case and started to tune up. We had been friends since 1967 but we had lost touch in '68. It was wonderful to see him again. The following day Syd came to The Six Hour Technicolour Dream where The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band was supporting Hawkwind & The Pink Fairies. Again I was surprised to see him there with his guitar case. Syd was keen to play so we invited him to join us on stage along with Fred Frith from the band Henry Cow who was guesting with us that night.

BH: It must not be easy trying to remember a gig from 40 years ago, but there are two different testimonies about the Kings Cellar's concert. One witness says that LMPTBB played twice on that concert. According to him, the opening support gig had Syd, Monck and you. After the Eddie Guitar Burns gig, LMPTBB returned, this time with Bruce Paine. According to Terrapin magazine Syd jammed with LMPTBB after the Eddie Guitar Burns show. Not that it really matters, this only shows how anoraky we are.

MAJA: The Terrapin report is correct however it is possible the Syd, Jack & I tuned up together but that was not part of the show.

BH: Now to the Six Hour Technicolour Dream concert of the following day. How did Fred Frith come on board? Did he know Syd Barrett was going to be there as well? What was his reaction? What was your opinion after the gig had ended?

Twink (2014) with Marco Conti, Dane Stevens, Jon Povey. Photo by Carinthia West.
title=Twink (2014) with Marco Conti, Dane Stevens, Jon Povey. Photo; Carinthia West.

MAJA: We had a lot of contact with Fred Frith & Henry Cow who frequently played at The 10p Boogie Club which was run by Joly MacFie & myself at Fisher Hall in Cambridge having taken over the venue from Jenny Spires & Jack Monck and renamed it Juniper Blossom.

The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band often played there and so did Henry Cow. Fred Frith guested with The Last Minute Boogie Band there too. Fred guesting with us at The Six Hour Technicolour was more formal and when it was decided that Syd would guest too he was welcomed by all concerned with open arms. Our performance was well received and with Syd's enthusiastic participation at both the Eddie "Guitar" Burn gig & The Six Hour Technicolour Dream our creative wheels began to turn resulting in the formation of STARS with Syd Barrett, Jack Monck & myself a few days later.

BH: Was this the LMPTBB's last gig? Did anyone say, this is it, last gig, finished?

MAJA: The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band continued after Jack & I left for STARS with replacement musicians.

BH: Did you, at one point or another, think of asking Syd to join LMPTBB?

MAJA: It was Jack & Jenny that thought about forming a band with Syd.

BH: If our information is correct you have been pulling some strings to make this release possible.

MAJA: The only things that needed sorting out were group members and song details as well as contract details to include both Bruce Paine & Roger Barrett's Estates. Then there was restoring, mastering and the cover to achieve as well. Everyone was very helpful.

BH: As you probably know, Pink Floyd (or EMI) have another copy of the LMPTBB tape, however at one point there were rumours this tape actually contains a Stars concert rather. know what they really have?

MAJA: I have no idea what EMI have. It's possible they have a STARS tape.

BH: Any chance that the LMPTBB Polydor tapes will ever see the light of day? Does anyone know where these demos are?

MAJA: It is possible The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band demos will be released as they are probably sitting in Polydor's archives. I think Honk may well have a copy tape.

BH: In retrospect, what was the band you were happiest with? If you could go back to these days what would you have changed to make it better?

MAJA: Playing with The Pretty Things made me happy and I wouldn't want to change a thing.

BH: Many thanks, Mohammed, and good luck with Think Pink 2!

End of part four of our LMPTBB series. If you don't stop us, there will probably be a part five. You have been warned.

© Birdie Hop & The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, 2014.


Many thanks to Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, Rich Hall, Peter Jansens. Inspired by questions from: Mike Baess, Rick Barnes, Andre Borgdorff, Anita Buckett, Rich Hall, Jane Harris, Alexander P.H., Peter Felix Jansens, Raymond John Nebbitt, Lisa Newman, Göran Nystrom, Anni Paisley, Cheesecake Joe Perry, Paul Piper, Michael Ramshaw, James Vandervest.

Some Twink interviews over the years (back to text):
Ivor Trueman, Opel Magazine, 1985 (mirror)
It's Psychedelic Baby, 2012
Laughing Madcaps, 2013
Sophia On Film, 2014
Punk News, 2014
Hit Channel, 2014

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Birdie Hop


2014-08-02

An innerview with Fred Frith

Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band.

While posting Facebook Barrett fan-art has become a booming niche-market with no immediate end in sight and self-proclaimed visionary Syd professionals have to devise fraudulent telemarketing schemes to cover for their rising costs it was pointed to the Church, by someone we know and admire for years, that Syd Barrett is not, like we wrote in a previous article, neglected. Ebronte:

Syd is not neglected. Syd is sinking into oblivion, precisely where it seems his family (and friends?) want him to go. This is thanks to their continued simplistic insistence that he was a brief spark, who became "ordinary", and a drug addled loser, and thanks to the dreary Chapman biography. It didn't sell well, and probably anyone who did read it was left depressed and utterly disinterested in ever reading or hearing another word about Syd. Too bad that gloomy book came out the same time as Julian's revised and wonderful book, most likely obscuring it. (Taken from: An innerview with Carlton Sandercock (Easy Action), Late Night forum.)

Of course our world has changed as well (“I'm Syd Barrett's biggest fan, I've watched all his YouTube videos.”) and it is apparently easier nowadays to sell a Barrett mug than a Barrett record.

Recently the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band's Six Hour Technicolour Dream record was released that has a Cambridge Corn Exchange gig from the 27th of January, 1972. The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band were a power blues trio with singer and lead guitarist Bruce Paine, bass player Jack Monck and drummer Twink.

Bruce Paine
Bruce Paine, lead singer LMPTBB.

Through Jenny Spires, who was married to Monck, Syd Barrett got hold of the band and on that particular night he arrived with his guitar case and agreed to jam with them for a couple of numbers. Monck and Twink were thrilled and started Stars a couple of days later, not to the amusement of Bruce Paine who saw his band going up in smoke. Unfortunately Stars would only survive for a month as Barrett was still to frail to cope with the stress of gigging, especially when things got bad on a concert where Stars was the head-liner, after the sonic bulldozer that was MC5, and with buses of fans coming over from London, eager to watch the return of the flamboyant piper. Mark Sturdy:

In reality, Stars simply wasn’t cut out to be a high-profile project: while the initial shows had not been without their virtues, the band had existed for less than a month and, as such, was understandably under-rehearsed. New material was non-existent beyond a couple of loose 12-bar jams, so in effect Stars was little more than a loose covers band. (Taken from: Twilight of an Idol.)

We read somewhere that giving Syd Barrett the top position on a much advertised gig was like throwing him before the lions and it was, understandably, the end of Stars, and, less understandable, the end of his musical career, with the exception of the disastrous 1974 sessions.

While Syd Barrett was an unexpected guest on the Six Hour Technicolour Dream gig, Fred Frith was not. He had been invited by the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band to join them for the show.

Fred Frith was in Cambridge in 1968 when he met with some fellow students and started the avant-garde band Henry Cow. Actually the Cow's first concert was supporting Pink Floyd at the Architects' Ball at Homerton College, Cambridge on 12 June 1968. Eternal student Frith would also frequent (and jam at) the Juniper Blossom club that was first run by Jack Monck and Jenny Spires, and later by Twink and Jolie MacFie.

Since his Henry Cow day's Frith has played in a myriad of bands and his musical input can be found on over 400 records. So it is a bit awkward to ask him about that one one concert he played on over 40 years ago, but we tried anyway.

An innerview with Fred Frith
Fred Frith
Fred Frith.

An innerview with Fred Frith

BH: Are you happy with the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band release and your own input on it? Your guitar is pretty much in front of the mix most of the time.

FF: I haven’t heard it. I didn’t know about it prior to release and I don’t have a copy I’m afraid.

BH: At the Six Hour Technicolour Dream, Syd Barrett more or less was a surprise guest, while your presence had already been agreed on with Paine, Twink & Monck for that night. At the time, did you find it significant that Syd Barrett had decided to make a public appearance?

FF: There was a rumour beforehand that Syd might join us. This was of course exciting for me, given that Syd was one of my heroes.

BH: You have said in an interview:

At the only concert that I did with them, Syd played “Smokestack Lightning” or variations thereof in every song, and didn’t really sing at all. To say I was hugely disappointed is maybe the wrong way of putting it. I was shocked, angry, devastated, that it had come to that.

Now that we finally have the chance to listen to the concert is your opinion still the same (I need to add that most Barrett anoraks don't think his playing is that bad at all, but that is why we are sometimes called Sydiots anyway).

FF: Like I said, I haven’t heard it, but the event I was referring to wasn’t this concert anyway. After the Corn Exchange gig we rehearsed together with a view to creating a group for Syd to play his songs. At the only rehearsal I attended, my memory has him playing variations of Smokestack Lightning (which, after all, was the prototype for Candy and the Currant Bun) throughout the session, which was mercifully not recorded. And please note, I was “shocked, angry and devastated” BECAUSE of my deep love of Syd’s playing, composing and legacy, not for any other reason. He was clearly not himself, and that was really sad.

BH: How was Syd's state of mind during the said Boogie Band session? Was he into the music, enjoying himself?

FF: He appeared to be mentally completely absent.

BH: What were rehearsals like? Were any numbers written by Syd considered?

FF: As far as I was concerned we were only there in order to try and play Syd’s songs and give him a vehicle where it might seem possible to perform again. We did it because of our love and respect for him. I don’t remember any other material.

Fred Frith
Fred Frith.

BH: Did you ever discuss musical theory with Syd Barrett? If so, what were his ideas on composition?

FF: Syd was in no state to discuss anything during the very brief period when our paths crossed. It would have been nice. But his compositional ideas tend to shine through his compositions, which is the way it should be.

BH: Did you have contact with Syd outside of the jam environment? He was not unknown in Cambridge and he did know (and visited) Jenny Spires, Monck and Twink.

FF: No. We had mutual friends, but we didn’t hang out. I was young (19) and in awe and would probably have been too shy anyway. I did talk to Nick Mason about it a few years later when we were working together. But there wasn’t anything anyone could really do.

BH: Do you know of any other recordings in existence? Rumours go that Stars rehearsals and gigs have been recorded. You don't have one of these in your archive, by accident?

FF: I don’t know of anything, no. Certainly not in my possession.

BH: Looking back on the situation, do you find the Boogie Band to be significant for your career?

FF: It was significant in providing me with some sobering food for thought. Musically I have no recollection of anything beyond the fact of having done it. Maybe if I hear the record it’ll stimulate some memories.

BH: Many thanks for the interview and we'll hope that a copy of that LMPTBB record arrives with you soon...

End of part five of our LMPTBB series. We know that there will be cries of grief from our many fans, but this is probably the last article in this series, unless the third Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band member suddenly decides to answer our calls for another Birdie Hop innerview.

© Birdie Hop & The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, 2014.


Many thanks to Ebronte, Fred Frith, Rich Hall, Peter Jansens.

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Birdie Hop


2014-09-06

Spanishgrass, or the Duran Durán mystery...

Spanishgrass Redux 2014
Spanishgrass Polaroid cover
Spanishgrass Polaroid cover.

Last week, dear fanoraks, we wrote how a mysterious package arrived at Atagong mansion: Spanishgrass, the myth continues... 

It contained, next to a CD and several goodies, a tape reel, marked 'reel four'. An undated letter from High Fidelity GCA Sound, Purveyors of Fine Audio Equipment, explains how the four reels have been transferred to CD.

GCA Sound letter
GCA Sound letter.
Mastering Report:

Project instructions: Leopoldo Duran (customer) provided four reel to reel tapes. Customer stated reels have been left unprotected in a drafty room. Customer would like archive copies made from whatever is on tapes. No alterations to the sound are to be made. Please deliver transferred files on to a compact disc.

Project Engineer Notes:

Minor water damage to tapes. Main concern is tape quality. Tape age is estimated to be mid 1970s. Due to the age of the tape, the tape is oxidizing and showing wear. In order to achieve the most optimum archival copy, the reel to reel machine heads were cleaned and aligned before each reel. Tapes were baked to achieve optimum quality from source. While a digital copy has been created from the reels provided, certain audio defects remain present. Even with adequate preventative measures, tape transfer achieved was not optimal. Listener should expect audio imperfections. This is most noticeable as minor distortions, speed inconsistencies, and subtle drop outs.
Reel 1, courtesy Rick Barnes
Reel 1, courtesy Rick Barnes.

And then there were three

Our assumption that four tapes, each containing different tracks, have been anonymously 'delivered' to people around the world seems right.

Last week boxes arrived in Spain at the Solo En Las Nubes webmaster Antonio Jesús (reel 2) and in the USA at Birdie Hop administrator and music collector (and professional) Rick Barnes (reel 1). As a matter of fact the Spanishgrass set made it onto Rick Barnes' VC Vinyl Community update on Youtube (skip to 20 minutes to watch the Spanishgrass bit.)

For the moment we still have no clue about the whereabouts of reel number 3.

Next to the music on tape and CD there are some Polaroids from the Oseira monastery that further immerse the listener into the Spanishgrass set. These will be published on a daily base at the Spanishgrass section of our Holy Church Tumblr page.

The question that troubles most anoraks though is: do the tapes (and CD) really contain lost Syd Barrett tunes that have been recorded during his alleged stay at the Oseira monastery, somewhere in the seventies? We will only publish a review of the record next week, but this is what we can already divulge.

Reel 2, courtesy Antonio Jesus
Reel 2, courtesy Antonio Jesus.

Save a prayer

Leopoldo Durán, professor of (English) literature, philosophy and theology, lived for three decades in Great Britain where he was contacted by Graham Greene after Durán's doctoral dissertation about priesthood. The two men became friends for life and the author annually visited the priest at the Oseira monastery. Greene's humorous and satirical novel Monsignor Quixote was a direct result of the long religious and political conversations both friends had, more triggered by visits to local vineyards than for the need of philosophical discours. Graham Greene died in 1991, after his final confession was taken by his Spanish friend. Durán would still correspond with Greene's widow and family until his dead in 2008 and published several biographical books about the author.

The Durán archives, 48 boxes in total, containing letters, manuscripts, pictures from Durán, Greene and others are archived at the Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center, Washington, D.C., but nowhere there is a trace of a certain Roger Keith Barrett staying at Oseira.

Leopoldo Durán died in 2008, but the alleged Spanishgrass tapes were only posted six years later to four Syd Barrett scholars, after the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and Solo En Las Nubes articles about the 1986 hoax (and its follow-up, by the original author, Jose Ángel González, in 2003). See: Spanishgrass or Syd Barrett's lost Spanish record, Spanishgrass, one year later and subsequent articles on this blog.

Where did the tapes stay between 2008 and 2014? Surely, if Leopoldo Durán would have had the Spanishgrass tapes, they would logically be in his archive, but they are not.

Leopoldo Duran signature
Leopoldo Duran signature.

Last but not least. In the letter that can be found in the four Spanishgrass Immersion boxes (with one box still missing), Leopoldo Durán misspells his own name consequently as Leopoldo Duran, without an accent on the last a. On top of that Durán was a professor of English literature, so it is weird that the letter, destined for an English speaking audience, has been written in Galician.

Sometimes a hoax can be too elaborated...

So who or what is this Spanishgrass band or artist and what is on the album? Be patient, sistren and brethren, all will be revealed in due time...

(This is part two of the Spanishgrass, the myth continues... series. For part one press: Spanishgrass, the myth continues... Hi-def scans and pictures will be revealed, on an irregular basis, at our Spanishgrass Tumblr gallery.)


Many thanks to Mr. Anonymous for sending us this package.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Babylemonade Aleph ♥

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.


2014-09-12

Spanishgrass by Spanishgrass, a review of the 2014 album

Spanisgrass reel 3, courtesy Stanislav
Spanisgrass reel 3, courtesy Stanislav.

Finally the fourth copy of Spanishgrass has been found. It is somewhere in that immense country that is Russia, in the hands of the slightly dadaist artist Stanislav, whom we happen to have met this summer in Brussels, the territory of Manneken Pis, Hergé and Magritte. If this was an episode of Crime Scene Investigation, where the actors have the uncanny habit of talking way too fast, we would say that the net closes around the Syd Barrett Facebook group Birdie Hop as all people who have received a copy are linked, one way or another, to that gang. On the other hand, as Birdie Hop undoubtedly is the best Syd Barrett group around on Facebook this is not really earth-shattering news either.

Oseira

The great grey edifice of the Osera monastery stretches out almost alone within a trough of the Galician hills. A small shop and a bar at the very entrance of the monastery grounds make up the whole village of Osera. The carved exterior which dates from the sixteenth century hides the twelfth-century interior – an imposing stairway, perhaps twenty metres wide, up which a platoon could march shoulder to shoulder, leads to long passages lined with guest rooms above the central courtyard and the cloisters. Almost the only sound during the day is the ring of hammers where half a dozen workmen are struggling to repair the ravages of seven centuries. (Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote)

Let's cut the crap, once and for all. Of course the 2014 Spanishgrass (Twenty Songs About Space And Siesta) 'immersion' set, that has only been issued in four copies, isn't Syd Barrett's lost Oseira record. Syd has never visited that monastery. The Spanish blog Sole En Las Nubes has dedicated some valuable webspace to investigate the Spanishgrass hoax and managed to trace it back to a Spanish journalist and photographer who decided to have some fun in a satirical underground magazine of the mid-eighties. (Thanks to Antonio Jesús for allowing us to publish his articles in English: Spanishgrass.) If you call yourself a decent Barrett-fan you should know that by now, so don't feel insulted.

But this doesn't mean that there isn't a 'Spanishgrass' record by a 'Spanishgrass' band. The numbered and limited deluxe sets have been sent to four extremely lucky people on 3 different continents. There also seems to be a regular CD release, but it is pretty limited as well, and probably you will have to ask for one if you want to receive it, but of course you need to puzzle out who is behind the record first. Luckily the set has been released this week on Bandcamp where you can listen to it, track per track, or download the album in its entirety on a 'name your own price' basis (0.00$ is an option as well).

Why don't you listen to the Spanishgrass album on Bandcamp while reading this review?

Direct link: Spanishgrass: Twenty Songs of Space and Siesta by Spanishgrass

Spanishgrass (CD), courtesy Antonio Jesus
Spanishgrass (CD), courtesy Antonio Jesus.

Spanishgrass (Twenty Songs About Space And Siesta)

Spanishgrass 2014 is a re-imagination of a record that never was in the first place. Its maker had to explore the unexplored, like those medieval cartographers who wrote hic sunt dracones (here are dragons) on uncharted regions of their maps and who drew mythological creatures, dragons and sea serpents on the empty spaces.

The record, 57 minutes in total, has 23 tracks (3 more than on the 'original' Spanisgrass), divided into 4 blocks and closely following the track-listing and the lyrics that have been published by the Solo En Las Nubes and Holy Church blogs (Spanishgrass, the hoax revealed). Supplemental lyrics have been taken from The White Goddess (Robert Graves, 1948) and Imaginary Lives (Marcel Schwob, 1896).

Like in Eduardo Galeano's Book of Embraces where every anecdote stands on its own but interactively forms a complete chapter, each track has its own merits but unites with the others. The record has been made to listen to in its entirety, or at least part by part, 4 in total, each separated by a 'division' Bells track (#1, 2 and 3). An interesting experiment would be to play the record on shuffle and see what new auditive interactions are created.

The music consists of evocative instrumentals and up-tempo tunes, with a spacey, early Floydian, guitar sorrowing in the background, psychedelic keyboards, fragile percussion and spoken word, whispered mostly in English and sometimes Galician (Na Outra Banda). Soundscapes and musique concrète are omnipresent: babbling brooks, chirping birds, whistling teapots (Breakwater and Tea), a lawnmower (Waste Deep) and some excited monks.

Do not expect an easy parcours, the music can be annoying, harrowing, exhausting, cathartic, transcendental, repetitive. It is impossible to fit the tracks into a single category other than that melting pot that is avant-garde or art-rock. There are traces of early and vintage Floyd (from Ummagumma to Obscured By Clouds), haunting rhythms that stay remnant in your mind like those irritating Swans drones (The Seer), seventies porn flick lounge tunes, Tarantinesque exotica, Michael Nyman's repetitiveness and even (cough, cough)... Spanish bluegrass rockabilly (Grey Trees).

Either you find this record utterly irritating or utterly brilliant and the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit seems to fall in the second category. A masterpiece for non easy listeners, but we have never been easy, haven't we?

Reel three (by Stanislav)
Reel three (by Stanislav).

Tracklisting

Part One: Manantial (Spring) / Reverential Mourners / Black Maid / Plastic Gunpowder / Bells 1 (approx. 14 minutes)

Part Two: Mouse after a fête / Breakwater and tea / Grey trees / Two bangers + mash / Whining at the moon / Bells 2 (approx. 15 minutes)

Part Three: Greenland / Eu son Dhaga (I am Dhaga) / Na outra banda (On the other hand) / Un poeta esquece os días de chuvia (A poet forgets the rainy days) / Saturnalia / Bells 3 (approx. 16 minutes)

Part Four: William Phips / Stede Bonnet / Gabriel Spenser / Gospel at Noon / Waste Deep / Frog (approx. 13 minutes).

(This is part three of the the Spanishgrass, the myth continues... series. Hi-def scans and pictures will be revealed, on an irregular basis, at our Spanishgrass Tumblr gallery.)


Many thanks to Mr. Anonymous for sending us this package. Spanishgrass can be downloaded at Bandcamp.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Babylemonade Aleph ♥


2015-06-14

Iggy Rose in Cambridge

Iggy Rose by Vic Singh
Iggy Rose by the legendary Vic Singh.

The second weekend of June has the second Cambridge biennial Birdie Hop meeting, with special guest stars: Viv Brans, Vic Singh, Peter Gilmour, Men On The Border, Jenny Spires, Warren Dosanjh, Libby Gausden, Dave 'Dean' Parker & Iggy Rose (and some more).

Unfortunately the Facebook group for this event has been closed for prying eyes, but some pictures and videos have already leaked out.

Iggy Rose and Goran Nystrom
Iggy Rose, in great shape, & Göran Nyström from Men on the Border.

Pictures and videos will be regularly uploaded to the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit Tumblr page, as soon as the Holy Igquisiton gets hold of them.

Iggy Rose admiring a record cover
Iggy Rose admiring a record cover. Picture: Mick Brown.

For the latest (public) pictures and videos of the 2015 Birdie Hop event, please check: http://iggyinuit.tumblr.com/tagged/june-2015.
Our review of the first Birdie Hop meeting in 2013: Birdie Hop: wasn't it the most amazing meeting? 


Many thanks to: Sandra Blickem, Mick Brown, Warren Dosanjh, Vanessa Flores, Tim Greenhall, Alex Hoffmann, Antonio Jesus (Solo En Las Nubes), Douglas Milne, Göran Nyström (Men On The Border), Vic Singh, Abigail Thomson-Smith, Eva Wijkniet...
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2015-11-14

Men On The Border: Live in Brighton

Live in Brighton
Live in Brighton, Men On The Border.

June had the second (and if rumours are correct: last) Birdie Hop meeting in Cambridge with Syd Barrett fans having an informal drink with some of the early-sixties Cambridge beatniks we know and love so dearly: Jenny Spires, Libby Gausden, Mick Brown, Peter Gilmour, Sandra Blickem, Vic Singh, Warren Dosanjh and others...

Special guest star was none other than Iggy Rose who left, if we may believe the natives, an everlasting impression. You can read all about it at: Iggy Rose in Cambridge.

Men On The Border came especially over from the northern parts of Europe, leaving their igloo, so to speak, to gig at the Rathmore Club where they not only jammed with other Syd-aficionados, but also with Redcaps frontman Dave Parker. (For the history of those sixties Cambridge bands check the excellent: The Music Scene of 1960s Cambridge.)

The night before however, on Friday June 12th, Men On The Border played the legendary Prince Albert (that name always make us chuckle) music pub in Brighton. This gig was recorded and is now the third album of Men On The Border, after ShinE! (2012) that consisted of Barrett covers and Jumpstart (2013) that mainly had original songs but with a slightly concealed madcap theme.

This live release shows that Men On The Border is a tight band and that they can play their material without having to revert to digitally wizardry. In a previous review we already remarked that:

...some of the influences of MOTB lay in the pub-rock from Graham Parker & The Rumour, Rockpile (with Nick Lowe & Dave Edmunds) and the cruelly under-appreciated The Motors...
Men On The Border. Picture: Vic Singh.
Men On The Border. Picture: Vic Singh.

This live album certainly proves that. The versions are pretty close to the recorded versions and singer Göran Nystrom manages once again to give us goosebumps on Late Night and their own Warm From You that is a pretty ingenious song if you ask us (with a sly nod to Jimi Hendrix)...

So give them a warm hand of applause and make them feel welcome in this mad cat world of random precision.
 

Tracklist:

01 Terrapin (Jumpstart)
02 No Good Trying (ShinE!)

03 Scream Thy Last Scream (2015 single)
04 Long Gone (ShinE!)

05 Gigolo Aunt (ShinE!)
06 Late Night (ShinE!)

07 Octopus (ShinE!)

08 Warm From You (Jumpstart)
09 Baby Lemonade (ShinE!)

Digital release only, people don't buy plastic any more, unfortunately.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017WFLEH8/ref=dm_ws_sp_ps_dp
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/6MStF6YtxCYNY7FTIoeNzq


Many thanks: Göran Nystrom, Vic Singh.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2016-04-02

Iggy The Eskimo Girl (full movie)

Iggy the Eskimo by Anthony Stern
Iggy the Eskimo by Anthony Stern.

Update 2016 04 03: After the movie was 'found' on Facebook, it took less than 24 hours before it was deleted from Dailymotion. We hope that the original uploader will not get into trouble. We are currently trying to get a reaction from Anthony Stern and Chimera Arts. (More info: afterword.)


The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, that wacky blog with an even wackier Reverend vehemently tries to catalogue all things Iggy Rose, and although several pictures and movies have been unearthed since then, one important and most reverential piece was still missing in our collection.

Shot in 1968 by Anthony Stern, 'iggy the eskimo girl' (all in lowercase) showed Iggy Rose dancing barefoot through London, annoying the square folk who had to go to work, creating kerfuffle wherever she put her lovely feet and using something that resembles a smartphone, 30 years before these were invented. The movie with its Pink Floyd soundtrack, restored in 2008 by Sadia Sadia from Chimera Arts, was shown at the legendary The City Wakes in Cambridge and would now and then resurface on avant-garde film festivals all over the world.

The movie never made it to the 'big' public though and several demands of the Church to obtain a copy were politely refused. A one minute 27 seconds audience recording, taken at a Paris movie festival, was the longest version we had (Iggy, Eskimo Girl), next to a teaser from City Wakes (Syd Barrett - Iggy).

Cut to 2014 when Anthony Stern launched a new website 'Anthony Stern Films' with the promise to publish a DVD 'Get All From That Ant' containing his complete filmography (see: Magnets & Miracles). However the project came to a standstill and some spin-offs, like an Iggy The Eskimo magnet never came off the ground either (see: The perfect Xmas gift: put Iggy on your fridge!).

Since then it was awfully quiet around the movie maker / glass artist and frankly, the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit had given up hope to ever see the 'iggy the eskimo girl' movie in full.

Iggy the Eskimo Girl, by Anthony Stern
Iggy the Eskimo Girl, by Anthony Stern.

Until today.

This morning we were informed by an enthusiastic Iggy that a full version of the movie can be found on Dailymotion, where it had already been uploaded at the end of the previous year by someone who is internationally recognised as a Pink Floyd buff. Quality isn't too bad, although it isn't really spectacular either. This is due to the fact that it is an audience recording as well, taken from a 2010 film festival in Lille. Some cropping and editing had to be done and the audio was re-sampled. But as far as we can judge, this is the most complete version and the closest to the original.

In the same breath Iggy also mentioned that she, with a couple of friends, had some more tricks up her sleeve, but alas as the Reverend of the Iggy's Church we had to take a vow of silence. But watch this space if you want to be kept informed.

So for now, sistren and brethren, here is 'iggy the eskimo girl'. Enjoy and don't do anything Iggy wouldn't do.

Video down message.
Content deleted. This video is no longer available because it has been deleted.

If you dig deeper into the reason you get the message: The above video has been deleted after a copyright claim.

Afterword

After the movie was 'found' and published on the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, it took less than 24 hours before it was deleted. Uploaded at the end of past year it led a calm life at Dailymotion until it was found by a Birdie Hop group member, if our information is correct. From there it quietly expanded to other groups and on other people's timelines, including the one of Iggy Rose. Reactions were generally ecstatic, except for one.

It didn't take long for Stephen W. Tayler to claim that this was a copyright infringement. He is a mixer, music producer, composer and sound designer who has worked on hundreds of projects, including Kate Bush, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel and Howard Jones. As a partner in Chimera Arts he helped restoring eight Anthony Stern movies in 2008, including 'iggy the eskimo girl'.

Neither Anthony Stern, Sadia Sadia, nor Anthony W. Tayler wanted to give comments. (Back to top of the article.)


Iggy the Eskimo Girl at Anthony Stern Glass.
Iggy the Eskimo Girl at Chimera Arts.

Many thanks to: Marc-Olivier Becks, Rich Hall.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2016-10-01

Lost Weekends

Iggy, The Eskimo Girl (Anthony Stern)
Iggy, The Eskimo Girl (Anthony Stern).

When, a couple of years ago, a Brian Jones Facebook group wanted to know if any members had ever met him, Iggy Rose chimed in, in her usual diplomatic style, stating that she still remembered some of the musician’s anatomical details. As Facebook groups tend to harbour the bottom layer of human intelligence she wasn’t believed. Perhaps for the better.

After six decades, Iggy still believes in the interconnected goodness of people and things, something that was already present in her as a toddler when she wanted to stroke the cat in the garden and her parents realised, just in time, that it actually was a tiger. Obviously that was before they relocated to the UK as there are not so many loose tigers running around in Brighton. Predators in good old England were mostly of the human kind and playing rock ’n' roll.

Lost weekends 1967 - 1968

How exactly Iggy met The Rolling Stones has been shrouded in a cloak of mystery. Probably she met them through psychedelic nobleman Stash (Stash Klossowski de Rola) who was in their inner circle. It suffices to say that one day she met them and that they and some of their girlfriends liked to have her around.

She was present, Zelig-like as Mark Blake later wrote in his Iggy article The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo, during the Sympathy For The Devil recording sessions, early June 1968, although there isn't a trace of her in the Jean-Luc Godard movie with the same name. Talking about a missed opportunity...

That Iggy had an eerie timing of turning completely invisible had already been proven a year and a half before when she was invited to Keith's 15th century country house, Redlands, in West Withering. In the early evening of 12 February 1967 police officers raided the place and arrested Keith, Mick and the mysterious Miss X, who was only wearing a fur rug, but she was not Iggy.

Robert Fraser, Mick Jagger being arrested
Rober Fraser & Mick Jagger.

Other guests present in the house that day were:
Nicky Kramer, a dandy dope head, who was unfortunately repeatedly beaten up by some of Mick’s rougher associates because they suspected him to be the informant who gave the Stones away;
art dealer Robert ‘groovy Bob’ Fraser and his manservant Mohammed Jajaj;
Christopher Gibbs, a friend of Mick;
photographer Michael Cooper, and last but not least:
David Schneiderman, Sniderman aka David Jove, the ‘acid king’ whose portable drug cabinet with LSD and dope was never confiscated and who may have been the real snitch, working for British intelligence and/or The News Of The World newspaper.

Not present any more were George Harrison and Patti Boyd. They left the mansion before the bust. Brian Jones and Anita Pallenberg had an argument in London so they never arrived, much to the disappointment of the police who raided Jones' house later.

And Iggy the Eskimo was nowhere to be seen because… she got lost on her way to the doomed place.

I had a lucky escape cause I lost my way after all the directions Keef gave me.
(Birdie Hop, 02 June 2015.)
David Schneiderman and Keith Richards
David Schneidermann & Keith Richards.

Photographic Evidence

Michael Cooper has made some 70000 pictures of the Rolling Stones, yet, the first one with Iggy still has to surface. We know they are there, somewhere…

Literary hundreds of pictures have been lost. Me and Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey, George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon… I had quite a few snapshots with Keef, Brian and Anita…

A great loss happened when Iggy’s suitcase, that contained all her possessions, was tossed overboard, in the North Sea, after a row with an abusive friend musician. One picture that has survived however shows her, Zelig-like indeed, standing next to John Lennon on Carmen Jiménez’s birthday party, January 1967 at The Cromwellian.

Georgie Fame had a gorgeous girlfriend, Carmen, and she took me under her wings when he was touring. Just around the corner of The Cromwellian Brian Jones has an incredible pad and we all had a scrumptious paella there, cooked by her. After Brian I rolled into Keef who had a palatial place at the Chelsea embankment.
Myriam Gibril
Myriam Gibril.

Performance

In July 1968 Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg and their entourage could be found in a London house that was easier to find for Iggy. It was the set for a Donald Cammell movie that would get cult status: Performance. This film was one of the rare occasions where there was no real difference between what happened before and behind the camera, between fiction and reality... Iggy told us:

They used real magic mushrooms... I was at the house [Powis Square, Notting Hill, FA] when they where getting ready to shoot the bedroom scene, the lady in charge was getting shrooms for the cast and offered me some as well.

Iggy was also proposed a part in the movie for a bedroom scene, but she politely declined. It didn't stop her though to be friendly with Anita Pallenberg and with Donald Cammell's 'beautiful dusky' lady, Myriam Gibril...

(A great article on the movie can be found at: Donald Cammell’s Performance at Powis Square.)

Lost Weekend 2016

On the weekend from the 23rd to the 25th September 2016 BBC4 handed over its schedule to Keith Richards (and Julien Temple) in what was called Keith Richards' Lost Weekend. Apparently all programs were hand-picked by Keith, ranging from a Hitchcock movie, cartoons and comedy, documentaries, interviews and obviously some music.

On Sunday morning, starting at 1:25 AM, some Syd Barrett fans did not only see the object of their adoration on the screen, but Iggy the Eskimo as well, dancing in a park.

Lost and Found: The Memory Marbles of Anthony Stern
Lost and Found: The Memory Marbles of Anthony Stern.

The 45 minutes documentary was called Lost and Found: The Memory Marbles of Anthony Stern and is unfortunately the only piece of the Richards weekend that can't be found on the BBC4's iPlayer. We have already established before that Anthony Stern has seriously lost his marbles when it comes to copyrights: Iggy The Eskimo Girl (full movie).

Probably the documentary was a condensed version of Stern's autobiographical movie Get All That, Ant that will be premiered at the Cambridge Syd Barrett movie festival on October the 21st 2016, and that has The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and, of course, Iggy Rose amongst its contributors.

You can read a tad more about the movie, that will hopefully be released on DVD, on Stern's new website that looks remarkably like a vintage eighties web-creation: Anthony Stern Film Archive.

Miss Rose

Obviously we had Iggy on the phone about this documentary that she saw through half-open eyes as she was falling asleep by then. But she did catch herself in the white dress though...

The fact that Keith Richards, Keith Richards!, hand-picked Anthony Stern's movie about me is thrilling after all these years.

Must be that he still remembers you, Iggy. Those 'not fit for publication' scenes happening on the backseat of his Rolls Royce must have left an unforgettable impression on his scruffy brain, even after 48 years...


This article is an updated version of Iggy & the Stones (October 2012). Many thanks to: Lisa Newman, Anthony Stern, Yeeshkul.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥