Iggy was part Inuit (or Eskimo to use the vernacular of the day). According to Duggie Fields she wasn't considered a girlfriend of Syd (Barrett) although he says she probably slept with Syd on more than one occasion. He goes on to say 'We didn't want her living with us at the time but she was so beguiling that it was a difficult situation'. She was a former girlfriend of Anthony Stern (Movie Director, writer and cinematographer who was a friend of Syd in the 60's (he lived on Eden Street in Cambridge in the 60's) and he was a flatmate of and film asssistant to Peter Whitehead [Tonite Let's All Make Love In London]). Apparently she was destitute when she arrived at Wetherby Mansions had no money, no job and few possessions. According to Duggie Fields she never wore underwear (when she was wearing anything at all!) and he recalls her getting off a bus wearing a scarf as a skirt!
Iggy apparently 'vanished as quickly as she had come' and a hippie couple Rusty and Greta (two casual friends of Syd) decided to move in and lived in the hallway for a while. Later there was Gilly Staples (who Syd apparently threw across the room on one occasion) and a girl called Lesley (who sometimes Syd would see and other times would leave her outside banging on his door to come in). After that Gayla Pinion moved in around late '69 and subsequently became engaged to Syd on October 1 1970 but they never married.
According to Duggie Fields after Iggy left Syd she apparently went off with some 'rich guy from Chelsea and lived a very straight life'.
Written by acidmandala at The Syd Barrett Archives.
To all followers of the cult of Iggy: a happy new year!
The Church received a nice mail from Anthony Stern last week:
I see that you have continued to update your website and that the cult of Iggy is snowballing. Although my Iggy photos were shown on City Wakes website nobody was interested in buying the framed prints.
If you are still looking for a belated Xmas present: Anthony’s Iggy pictures are on sale, signed, numbered and framed: £225 for the Triptychs, individual pictures for £175 (plus postage). For more info please contact Anthony Stern Glass. (The Church is not affiliated with or endorsed by this company.)
Another message came from Mark Blake, author of the Pink Floyd biography Pigs Might Fly:
Good luck with the Iggy hunt. I spoke to Ant Stern and Jeff Dexter again last week. They're no nearer to finding her than they were before. I think it's funny that nobody even knew her real name.
For that matter we don’t even know if she was Eskimaux or not.
My good old encyclopaedia Brittanica divides the people that we commonly describe as Eskimo in two categories: Eurasian and Western Arctic people. The Western Arctic people are the Eskimo (including Inuit and Yupiit) and the Aleuts who originate from North America, Greenland and part of Siberia. Amongst the Eurasian arctic people are the Sami (or Lapps) from northern Fennoscandia and several other cultures dispersed over the Ural Mountains and Siberia.
According to the Narwhal Inuit Art Education Foundation there are no Inuit currently living in England (confirmed to the Church by mail). Is it more logical to believe that Iggy’s roots originate from Europe rather than America or Siberia? In that case Iggy, the Eskimo really had to be nicknamed Iggy, the Lapp by her contemporaries.
Translating these into politically correct terms The Church of Iggy the Inuit really had to be baptised The Holy Church of Iggy the Sami to begin with.
As Mark Blake stated above, we don’t know if Iggy was her real name. Iggy could be an alias or perhaps an anglisized version of a foreign name.
If she has Sami roots her name could be Ing, originally meaning progenitor, ancestor, leader – which of course she is for the Church – Ingegerd or one of the many variants such as Inge, Ingine, Yngva, Ingar, Iŋgir… The more popular Ingrid also has its roots in the Nordic countries and this could have easily been shortened to Iggy by her relatives or friends.
The problem is that not a lot of Sami people have the so-called Inuit look Iggy is famous for. There is however a part of Europe (although geographically it belongs to North America) that was originally populated by Inuit people and was later on colonised by Iceland, Norway and Denmark. The Church is of course referring to Greenland.
The Inuit are believed to have crossed from North America to northwest Greenland, the world's largest island, between 4000 B.C. and A.D. 1000. Greenland was colonized in 985–986 by Eric the Red. The Norse settlements declined in the 14th century, however, mainly as a result of a cooling in Greenland's climate, and in the 15th century they became extinct. In 1721, Greenland was recolonized by the Royal Greenland Trading Company of Denmark. (taken from Infoplease)
In November of last year 3 out of 4 Greenlandic voted yes on a referendum that could eventually lead to the complete independence of the country. About 88% of the Greenland population has Inuit(-mixed) roots. The following link shows a (slow-loading) picture of premier Hans Enoksen voting for Self-Governance in Greenland with 5 year old Pipaluk Petersen (added here to show the Inuit characteristics).
So Iggy’s ancestors could have come from Greenland.
Well perhaps... at least one other Iggy enthusiast believes she is not Inuit at all, but (partly) Japanese, probably belonging to the Ainu people of Hokkaidō (who had their own language and were maybe the first settlers on America). Iggy could then be a nickname for Igumi.
And aside from that there might be a very slim chance that Iggy hides behind the Philippine Maria Ignacia as another author from a Floydian biography has whispered in the Church's confessional box.
Feel free to add your own comments, theories and rumours at the brand new Iggy forum.
Anoraks and Pontiacs
Although Iggy is the prototype of the vanishing girl we know quite a lot of her through the bits and pieces that have survived that big black hole also knows as the Sixties.
In November 1966, when she was (about) 21 or 22 years old she appeared at The Bend party that was affiliated with the television show Ready Steady Go!
And there was of course her apparition in a 1967-ish documentary, called IN-Gear, hinting that Iggy was seeking fame and fortune as a model or an actress. Unfortunately enough it seems impossible (or at least improbable) that the production sheets will ever surface, nobody seems to know where the archives of the Look At Life-series, that ran for a decade between 1959 and 1969 and added up to more than 500 episodes, physically are, if these still exist.
The Reverend has been re-reading some older posts at this funny little place aptly called the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and some need updating.
There is a home movie floating around with Syd and Ig walking in a park, together with – what has been called – a mysterious brunette. Mick Rock probably made the movie around the same period, and with period the Reverend literally means days, The Madcap Laughs photos were made. Iggy is wearing the same clothes on both occasions (and the same necklace), but Syd Barrett not. The mysterious brunette may have been Mick Rock’s girlfriend, one of the (many, according to Duggie Fields) passing female visitors of Syd’s place or, a theory nobody has ever wondered about before, a friend of Ig.
Thanks to the testimony of JenS it is now pretty sure that the photo shoot took place in April 1969, probably in the week between the 14th and the 21st, but not on the 17th as Syd was the whole afternoon in Studio 2, recording the eerie No Man’s Land and the ditty Here I Go. Here is what Malcolm Jones had to say about it:
The following Thursday, as planned, I called a cab and went to collect Syd. We dropped in at Dave Gilmour's flat round the corner to borrow an amplifier, and set off for Abbey Road. At the studio we met up with Jerry Shirley and 'Willie' Wilson, the musicians Syd had invited along. The session was to be done 'live' i.e. everyone recording their parts at the same time, including Syd's vocal and guitar parts.
This session was the last happy and shiny one although nobody would know that beforehand of course. The next session had the motorbike overdub on the legendary Rhamadan, legendary because Barrett fans know it has been lying in the vaults of EMI for over 40 years now and have been praying and begging to release it ever since.
The making of the track Rhamadan is one of those occasions that lazy journalists use to prove that Barrett was as mad as a hatter. The track, an 18 minutes free-form-jam-session between Barrett, Steve Took and some other (unidentified) session players had been recorded the previous year, and in April 1969 Syd found that he still could do something useful with the demo.
Of course all that he wanted to do was to put some motorbike overdubs on the track, a failed experiment as found out at the end of the day, but not quite as mad as those lazy journalists want us to believe. Pink Floyd would overdub motorbike sounds on Atom Heart Mother the next year and no one put them in straitjackets because of that.
The intrinsic value of the track is less legendary tells someone who knows. Random Precision author David Parker is probably the only person in the world who has a full and legit copy of the Rhamadan track in his collection:
Of the 15-20mins that this runs for I reckon Syd plays on about 5 minutes worth. Imagine a longer and looser version of 'Lanky Pt 1' with a lot less guitar on it. (Taken from the Syd Barrett Research Society.)
In a, now deleted, post at SBRS Parker explained further that...
…I had to give my word to various people at EMI and Abbey Road, and sign a scarily draconian declaration, not to give out copies…
The April sessions of 1969 had Barrett in an excellent form and Malcolm Jones wanted to get the record done as quickly as possible. Not only he must have been aware of Syd’s mood changes but his bosses had also instructed him to get a move on. So it is absolutely plausible that the order for the cover-shoot was given right after the first session.
The Church has written quite a few things about Syd’s blue Pontiac in the past and an error sneaked in at the second When Syd met Iggy posting. It reads:
Before Syd (and Mickey Finn) got the car it was used in the 1970 British movie Entertaining Mr Sloane. The car, with its cream red and silver interior, is featured prominently throughout the movie. The movie is not great but the pink Pontiac gives a great performance.
The above is not correct as this information is still based upon the general belief that The Madcap Laughs photo shoot was held in the autumn of 1969 and not in April. The British Film Institute pinpoints the making of the movie between mid August and beginning of October 1969, four months after Syd gave the car away to someone who admired it. If the car that can be seen in the movie is indeed Syd’s, it was sold, given or lend to the movie crew by its new owner.
Because the Reverend thought this might be a good idea and because a lot
of work went into coding and debugging The Holy Church of Inuit presents
you... a calendar of the year 1969. It puts some dates right, can be
considered as eye-candy and may be generally ignored...
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Syd has a Pontiac parked in front of his house.
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Iggy moves in?
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 10 & 11: Studio 3 14 - 21: photoshoot
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 3 & 4 Studio 3 6: Control Room 2
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 12: Studio 3 13: Studio 2
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 26: Studio 2
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 5: Control Room 4 18: Production start Entertaining Mr. Sloane (movie)
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 16: Control Room 4
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 6: Production end Entertaining Mr. Sloane (movie) 6 & 9: Cont. Room 4 16: Machine Room 6
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 7: Machine Room 6 14: Octopus (single)
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Notes (other than internet links mentioned above)
Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001,
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 7.
Original calendar idea grabbed from http://www.flicklives.com.
Feel free to add your own comments, theories and rumours at the Iggy forum.
When I'm 64
Brethren Dan5482 visited the several Church locations (see underneath) that can be found on the World Wide Web and confessed the following to the Reverend:
Despite all that collective amnesia I think that Iggy can still be found. There are journalists, detectives... who have found more difficult "targets".
However, an intense and widespread interest for her is a necessary condition. Your Church is a source of hope in this sense. It lets many people know that once such a mysterious woman existed.
It occurs to me that many people simply don’t want to know who or where Iggy is. Imagine finding a 70-year old woman and to find out that her words about that period are as simple and disappointing as "I don't like to remember that period. I was out of my mind..." That could be the end of a romantic dream.
Besides the fact that Iggy herself is an extremely intriguing figure, there is also the possibility of obtaining a new narrative and facts surrounding Syd Barrett's life in that fabled year of 1969.
Wise words from a wise man.
If JenS’ assumption that Ig was born at the end of World War II is true she is 64 or 65 years old at the moment (provided she is still amongst us). True believers know the following story for sure… in April, or early May of 1970, Ig closed the door behind her at Wetherby Mansions and was never seen back…
Mick Rock has apparently stated that he heard from Duggie Fields, the painter who was Syd Barrett’s roommate, that Iggy ‘went off with some rich guy in Chelsea and lived a very straight life’ afterwards.
However Mark Blake squeezed a slightly different story out of him:
I have no idea who Iggy was or even what her real name was. She was never Syd’s girlfriend. They just got together from time to time. (…) I saw her not long after Syd left the flat and she was looking more like a Sloane Ranger. I heard she’d become involved with one of the voguish religious cults at the time.
Mark had some extra comments to give at the Late Night discussion forum:
Nobody knew her real first name, never mind her surname, or if they did, they weren't telling. Duggie Fields recalls seeing her some time after the Madcap Laughs photo session and she was looking a lot more "sloaney". Most of the people I spoke to who knew her believe Iggy married a rich businessman and doesn't now want to be 'found'.
The Cinderella story may be a case of confabulation. One witness pretends to know that Ig married rich and over the years this story infiltrates the memories of other people who, decades later, believe this is really how it happened. This is not done on purpose; our memory likes to fill in the gaps and if we need to borrow memories of other people we will subconsciously do that. Pink Floyd history contains several anecdotes like that and in the several biographies and articles Floydian insiders have told about situations that were originally witnessed by others.
In February of this year Mark Blake reported to the Church:
I spoke to Emo a couple of weeks back and asked about Iggy and he immediately said he remembered hearing she had gone back to the Far East/Asia. But, as I have learned since doing the book, everyone has conflicting memories about these things.(mail to the Reverend on 23/02/2009)
At The City Wakes festival in October and November of 1988 Anthony Stern’s Eskimo Girl movie was shown to the public and during the Q&A afterwards there was a member of the audience who told the director that Iggy was still living in Chelsea. Nobody knows who this person is but if (s)he attended the festival (s)he must have been a fan of Barrett or one of the members of the Cambridge or London Underground gang who took this opportunity to meet again after three decades. The Church would like to invite this person to come forward and to contact the Reverend.
On the 7th of October 2006 the SydBarrett.net forum got the following message from a certain YoungForEternity.
Does anyone know roughly how old Iggy would be? There's a woman who works at a supermarket in my local town who claims to be "the" Iggy and I don't know whether to believe her or not...I'd appreciate any pointers or recognisable features? Her name is definitely Iggy, and I've been studying images but it's difficult to tell... (Taken from whatever happened to iggy the eskimo?)
The forum in question is no longer active and the messenger only posted this single item. In 2006 Ig was (probably) 61 or 62 years old so theoretically she should no longer have been working, as the State Pension age for women born before 1950 is 60 (in the UK). But of course there are always exceptions. To qualify for a full basic State Pension she needed to have built up 39 years of National Insurance payments and perhaps that may not have been the case. The Church would also like the author of this post to come forward and to contact the Reverend.
Next week the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit will celebrate its first birthday and a small and delicate special treat will be offered. Till then. And remember; don’t do anything that Ig wouldn’t have done…
Notes (other than internet links mentioned above):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press, London, 2007, p.141.
Many thanks go to young 3D artist Arthur Fratzen who lend me a copy of his WIP Iggy 64.
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit can be found at: http://iggy.atagong.com.
Authorised subsidiaries can be found at:
From Dusty till Dawn
When JenS, who may well have been the person who introduced Ig to Syd Barrett, told the Church that they both went to a Dusty Springfield party the Reverend was absolutely certain that he had found a solid path to unravel more about Ig’s past (see: When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)).
Ig was a bit older than the Cantabrigian underground gang and had already been active in the London club scene for a couple of years.
DJ Jeff Dexter had already noticed Ig in 1963 in The Orchid at Purley, where she used to go clubbing until 1967. Kathy McGowan and her RSG!-team raided the place to ‘spot for dancers to appear in her show’ (see: Where did she go?).
In 1966 Ig was spotted on a party at The Cromwellian that was (partly) organised by the main choreographer of the RSG!-show. We will not go further into that as this story has already been told on this blog before (see: Bend It!).
Dusty Springfield started her solo career in 1963 and was voted the Top British Female Artist in the New Musical Express reader's poll in 1964, 1965, and 1968. She appeared a couple of times at the RSG!-show as presenter and would, in total, appear 24 times on the show. In 1965 Springfield hosted a special Motown edition of the RSG!-show and some while later she had her own Dusty show at the BBC.
The Church found it relevant to investigate if there really had been an Ig – Dusty – RSG! connection somewhere and if some witnesses still remembered her.
The first person to get in touch with the Church was Douggie Reece, bass player (and singer) of The Echoes, Dusty Springfield’s backing band (watch him singing Mockingbird with Dusty). It was Reece who contacted the Reverend after the Church had asked amongst fan-circles if anyone could remember Ig being in and around the Dusty Springfield scene.
I don't remember her at all.
Or the Dusty Springfield scene.
I spent most of the 60's with Dusty maybe I went out to get some cigarettes or something and missed the whole occasion!!!
Although it was suggested that it would be a nice name for a tribute band there has apparently never been a Dusty Springfield scene to begin with as far as Douggie Reece remembers, if Ig did ever meet Dusty it may have been purely coincidental.
Another Dusty connoisseur advised the Church to contact Vicki Wickham. Vicki and Dusty had been friends since 1962 and even shared a flat at London's Westbourne Grove. After a brief stint on the radio (as a secretary) Vicki was hired by Ready Steady Go! as talent manager and producer. When Dusty told her friend she had heard a nice Italian song at the SanRemo festival Wickham (co-)translated the tune into English and named it You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me. It would become Dusty’s first number one hit (1966) and was covered quite a few times by other artists, including Elvis Presley (1970, #1 at Billboard Country & Western and #11 at Billboard Top 100) and Guys’n Dolls (#5, UK, 1976). In total more than 80 million copies of the song have been sold worldwide.
After her RSG!-days Wickham moved to America and although she didn’t have a clue how to do it she successfully managed Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendrix, Marc Almond, Morrissey, Holly Johnson and of course, her long-life-friend Dusty Springfield.
It took the Church quite a while to trace Vicki Wickham, and after a trail of bounced faxes and mails, the Reverend wrote a letter in the good old-fashioned way. It pleases the Church a great deal that Vicki Wickham cared to reply:
I am the last person to ask about anything from the 60s 'cos mostly I don't remember!
But definitely do not remember this girl.
At least we can now say with a certain certitude that Ig did not belong to the inner circle of Ready Steady Go! but this does not mean that she never has been at the show. The crew of RSG! visited dance halls to recruit good looking youngsters for the audience and organised dance and singing contests where the participants could win ‘passports’ to the show. In the few years that the show existed thousands of people passed through the temple of the mods and Ig may well have been one of them.
(I've got my) Mojo (working...)
As if the world has suddenly been hit by a temporal rift in spacetime the March 2010 issue of Mojo music magazine has inundated the stores bearing a big (slightly photoshopped) portrait of a mister Syd Barrett.(note) The well-written and rather accurate cover article, by Pat Gilbert, ranges from page 70 to 81 and tells the story of The Madcap Laughs, Syd Barrett’s first solo album.
Two other articles are of particular interest to the Church as they describe the mythical presence of a ‘girl whose naked body graced the back cover of The Madcap Laughs’.
Who’s That Girl (page 76 insert) is written by Mark Blake, author of the Pink Floyd biography Pigs Might Fly, and an occasional visitor (and contributor) of the Church. Out of courtesy (and for copyright reasons) the Church will not publish the article as long as the magazine is for sale in the shops. Update: the complete Mojo article can now be read and downloaded as a pdf file at the Official Syd Barrett Website. Direct link to the article: Mojo March 2010.
People reading magazines with binoculars will find an odd reference to the Church as the Croydon Guardian article from the 17th September 2008 has been reproduced as well, however in such small print that one needs to xerox it in blow-up mode to distinguish individual letters. The article in full can be consulted at the Church (Where did she go?) but is also still present on the archives of the Croydon Guardian (Where did she go to our lovely?).
Mark Blake writes in Mojo:
In 2008, (Jeff) Dexter and (Anthony) Stern tried to trace the elusive Iggy, and were interviewed in the Croydon Guardian for leads to the whereabouts of the “carefree girl who captured the spirit of the ‘60s”.
Actually the motor behind this article were not Dexter and Stern but the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, after - truth has to be acknowledged – Mark Blake had revealed earlier that Iggy ‘was known as one of the regular teenage girls at the dancehalls around Purley and Caterham’ (see also: Shaken not stirred).
Researching The Orchid dancehall in Purley, the Reverend found two articles that had appeared in the Croydon Guardian: In dance hall days (9th August 2006) and We remember the Orchid (29th August 2006).
The Church tried to contact Brian Roote in September 2008, an amateur historian writing a book about the Purley dancehall, but this resulted more than a year later in the simple comment: ‘I have no knowledge of this girl whatsoever'.
The Reverend had more chance with journalist Kerry McQueeney author of the two Orchid articles, but no longer working for the Croydon Guardian. He passed the story to Kirsty Whalley who was now editor of the Heritage pages of the newspaper. On the 3rd September of 2008 she replied:
We would like to feature this story in the newspaper next week and hopefully it will prompt a few people to call in.
In the same mail she also asked if the Church could give some leads and amongst the people to contact the Reverend mentioned the names of Mick Rock and Anthony Stern. Kirsty Whalley did an excellent job and did not only interview both men, but also Jeff Dexter who had been a DJ at The Orchid.
The next sermon at the Church will cover the second Iggy-related article from Mojo 196. In My Room, written by Paul Drummond, contains interviews with Duggie Fields, Mick Rock, Storm Thorgerson and Jenny Spires.
Mojo 196 comes with a Madcap Laughs cover CD as interpreted by (amongst others): R.E.M., Captain Sensible, Hawkwind, Jennifer Gentle, Marc Almond and Robyn Hitchcock.
The Mojo website contains a Syd Barrett top 20 jukebox and three YouTube links to Syd's legendary unreleased material. One of those fan-made videos (Lucy Leave) has been created by limpidgreen aka dollyrocker, a much appreciated Late Night forum member. Way to go, dollyrocker!
Note: A short exposé about magazines that appear months in advance can be found at Felix Atagong's Unfinished Projects: The Great Belgian Firewall and Other Assorted Stories... (back to above text)
Goofer Dust [(I've got my) Mojo (working)... Part 2]
(This is part two of our Mojo magazine review, for part one, click here).
As if the world has suddenly been hit by a temporal rift in spacetime the March 2010 issue of Mojo music magazine has inundated the stores bearing a big (slightly photoshopped) portrait of a mister Syd Barrett. The well-written and rather accurate cover article, by Pat Gilbert, ranges from page 70 to 81 and tells the story of The Madcap Laughs, Syd Barrett’s first solo album.
Two other articles are of particular interest to the Church as they describe the mythical presence of a ‘girl whose naked body graced the back cover of The Madcap Laughs’.
Last week we discussed the Who’s That Girl article written by Mark Blake, and this week the Church will scrutinize Paul Drummond’s In My Room (Mojo 196, p. 82 - 84). Out of courtesy (and for copyright reasons) the Reverend has decided not to publish the articles as long as the magazine is for sale in the shops. Update: the complete Mojo article can now be read and downloaded as a pdf file at the Official Syd Barrett Website. Direct link to the article: Mojo March 2010.
The article, about The Madcap Laughs photo sessions, has interviews with Duggie Fields, Mick Rock and - so it seems - Jenny Spires. But although she was interviewed by email for the main article by Pat Gilbert, she has told the Church she wasn’t really questioned about Ig.
I guessed, when I saw it, they must have looked at your site (re Daffodils and photo shoot etc…), as I was not asked about this or about Iggy. (JenS, 10th of February 2010)
The Reverend could do no other thing than to summon the Holy Igquisition to stick in a few comments as the In The Room article clearly breathes the holy air of the Church but neglects to mention its existence in its columns.
Ig and Jenny Spires meeting each other for the first time
Mojo 196 reports:
Jenny Spires first met Iggy in January 1969 and introduced her to Syd and he let her stay. (p. 83)
The Holy Igquisition wants to set this straight:
According to the Church’s archives JenS first met Ig in summer 1966 (cfr. When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)). The year thereafter (1967) they met again and from then one they went on clubbing together. This has once again been confirmed by Jens this week:
I was surprised they had mistakenly printed that I met her in 1969. This annoys me really because of its inaccuracy.
Mojo 196 reports:
Iggy’s involvement appears to date the shoot as spring ’69 as she was long gone by autumn. (p. 83)
The Holy Igquisition wants to set straight:
JenS has situated the photo shoot in spring 1969 (March or April) (cfr. When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)).
Further investigations by the Church have pinpointed a possible date in April 1969 (cfr. When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2)).
Mojo 196 reports:
It’s more likely Syd picked them (the daffodils found on the cover of the album) while in the park with Iggy, as captured on Super-8 film. (p.83)
The Holy Igquisition wants to set straight:
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit has discussed the lost In The Woods movie at great extent (cfr. Anoraks and Pontiacs). However the theory that the Lost in The Woods video was shot before the photo shoot is new and quite intriguing. However the idea that Iggy, Mick and Syd picked the daffodils is, according to JenS, quite silly.
Mojo 196 writes:
When the photo shoot was over, Rock continued outside using Syd’s blue Pontiac Parisienne as a prop. (…) The life of this inanimate object (registration: VYP74) helps confirm that the shoot wasn’t in the autumn. (p. 84)
The Holy Igquisition wans to set straight:
The story of Syd Barrett’s car has been the object of different posts at the Church (cfr. When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2)), but the initial quest for the car was done at the Late Night forum by Dark Globe, Sean Beaver and others… they found out that the car appeared in the movie Entertaining Mr. Sloane. Unlike Mojo magazine, the Church does like to give credit to the people who deserve it.
The Holy Igquisition concludes:
It is clear that Mojo magazine has extensively browsed through the pages of the Holy Church of Inuit but has somehow forgotten to mention this in its articles. The Holy Igquisition has therefore sent the following objurgation at Mojo:
It was nice to see that the many theories of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit have been reproduced in The Madcap Laughs photo shoot article, albeit without mentioning where these originally came from.
However the Holy Igquisiton knows that any true believer will find the Church, so every Iggy publication will be beneficiary in the end. Ig’s story as published in the March issue of Mojo may be the butterfly effect that will cause the storm at the other side of the world. So perhaps, thanks to Mojo, the Church will be one day able to fulfil its quest.
Rather than to start an endless polemical discussion the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit would like to end this post with Duggie Fields’s magnificent description of our skyclad sistren (p. 82):
I remember being at a 31 bus stop and seeing her coming down the stairs very elegantly in this gold lame 1940s dress that had bell sleeves that buttoned to a train but with no underwear and completely exposed…
Not a care in the world.
Lo and behold brethren and sistren, and don't do anything that Ig wouldn't have done.
World Exclusive: Ig has been found!
Yesterday (5th of February 2010) Mark Blake (Pigs Might Fly, Mojo Magazine) messaged the Reverend with the following cryptic message:
We've received a very interesting letter about the elusive Iggy.
Wanted you to be the first to know!
More news to follow.
Of course the Church immediately contacted the journalist and this is what the Church is allowed to disclose today:
An old acquaintance of Iggy's emailed (Mojo magazine) and shared some info.
She is alive and well and living in southern England.
She has chosen to remain anonymous all these years.
More information will probably be published in the next issue(s) of Mojo and, of course, the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.
(Many thanks to Mark Blake who we are eternally thankful for breaking the news to the Church.)
Iggy’s first interview in 40 years
Last week The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit published the incredible news that Ig had been traced back. This was a world exclusive as no other news medium had reported this before.
The news that Ig had been found was, unfortunately, also all there was to say. Although discreet investigations were done it was soon made clear that Ig wanted to stay anonymous and that she didn’t want to blow her cover. A short interview was out of the question, even for Mojo magazine and Mark Blake who triggered these latest events.
The Reverend is by all means not a souvenir collector who wanted to ring at her bell like all those true fans used to do at Syd Barrett’s door and her wish to be left in peace was immediately and unconditionally granted.
In September 2008 The Croydon Guardian published an article about Iggy after the Church had contacted the newspaper to get more information about The Orchid dancehall in Purley: Where did she go? This article unearthed some unpublished pictures by Anthony Stern that were later shown at The City Wakes festival in Cambridge and was also mentioned in the March issue of Mojo.
Kirsty Whalley, the journalist who brought us the first Iggy article in The Croydon Guardian, has now managed to interview Iggy, an interview that can be found in today’s issue of this newspaper.
When Mick turned up to take the photos I helped paint the floor boards for the shoot, I was covered in paint, I still remember the smell of it.
The Church will not publish the entire interview in its columns - for at
least a week - as it can be consulted at the following websites:
Croydon Guardian Tracks Down Elusive Rock Star Muse (The Croydon Guardian)
Croydon Guardian Tracks Down Elusive Rock Star Muse (This Local London)
In the next weeks however the Church will scrutinize the interview, and comments will be added where appropriate. For the moment all we wish to say is hip hip hurray to Kirsty Whalley!
All about Evelyn
Nothing is so stupid as New Year resolutions, especially when you read them when the katzenjammer is over. On the second of January of 2010 the Reverend uttered the fear that the Church would soon disappear by lack of Ig. If this meant one single thing it is that the Reverend is by no means a reliable prophet.
The March edition of the music magazine Mojo, that mysteriously appeared in January 2010, had a 14 pages cover story about the Syd Barrett album The Madcap Laughs that was finally released in January 1970 after nearly twenty months of tinkering. Its main article I'm Not Here (Pat Gilbert) gave the portrait of the artist as a young man and his struggle to get his first solo album done. A small insert Who's That Girl (Mark Blake) tried to reveal some of the mysteries around Iggy The Eskimo, but to no avail (more questions were raised then answered, see: (I've got my) Mojo (working...). Last, but not least, In My Room (Paul Drummond) gave some background information about The Madcap Laughs photo shoot, interviewing Duggie Fields, Storm Thorgerson, inevitably Mick Rock and en passant citing Jenny Spires and the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit (but not in so many words, see Goofer Dust [(I've got my) Mojo (working)... Part 2] .
It needs to be said that the Mojo article achieved in two week time what the Church couldn't achieve in two years: finding Iggy. On the 6th of February 2010 it was revealed that she was alive and well and living in southern England and although this news was covered by the Church the scoop arrived, noblesse oblige, at the Mojo offices in a letter from an acquaintance of her: Peter Brown (not the Pete[r] Brown from Cream and Piblokto fame).
Part of this letter has been published in issue 197 (April) and goes like this:
with many faces
Re Iggy’s whereabouts, I can enlighten you a little on her post-Madcap life. I first met Iggy - her real name was Evelyn - in the early ’70s, when she arrived from the King’s Road to the house where I lived in Brighton with a miscellany of artists and eccentrics.
I spent a lot of time with Iggy including nights ‘on the town’. She was a loose cannon, absolutely stunning, and fab company I soon discovered that it was none other than Iggy gracing my copy of The Madcap Laughs, and told her that Syd had been a peer of mine in Cambridge. I also knew Jenny Spires (who introduced Iggy to Syd), and saw Pink Floyd at various venues. I spent an evening with Syd once and we walked back together to our respective homes near Cherry Hinton in stoned stupor.
In the mid ’80s I learned that Iggy was living in Sussex and working at a racing stables, where she married a farmhand. She’s since kept her whereabouts quiet, though a friend at the stables, who I spoke to recently informs me of Iggy’s low-key flamboyance in the area. There are a wealth of other stories, but brevity forbids!
Next to Brown aka Thongman, JenS decided to comment as well:
I’ve read your Syd article and there are two or three things to correct. First, I met Iggy [the Eskimo] in 1966, not 1969 as stated. Also, the floor was painted as soon as Syd moved into Wetherby Mansions, and was already done when I was there. Part of it, under the bed, wasn’t finished, but was done by the time I left in early 1969. I don’t think it was painted with a photoshoot in mind. Also, in the larger photo, the daffodils look quite fresh, but in the photo used for the cover they are dead. This seems to suggest that that photo was done a couple of weeks later?
With reference to Mandrax - there were no Mandrax in the flat at this stage. These came later, around early summer. This is not to say Syd had never had Mandrax, but they weren’t readily available to him at that time.
It seems now that there is enough material left for the Church to go on with its mission for the next lustrum. So keep watching this space and remember, don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done.
The Reverend wants to thank Mojo for donating a copy of the April issue to the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Thanks guys!
Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea
Tranquillity is slowly descending upon the Holy Church of Inuit like smog upon Victorian London. Several brethren and sistren of the Church, and one-time visitors who entered through the front gate to study its baroque interior, have passed some valid information to the Reverend and these will be further investigated in the future. The Reverend also wants to apologise to the people that have been contacted (and interviewed) last year, especially those associated with The Cromwellian club. The articles about The Crom have been postponed due to the unexpected result the Mojo Syd Barrett article created, but they will - one day - hopefully appear.
To all our readers: please keep on going on giving the Church information, how futile it may be, but remember that the Reverend will not break its own rules that stay unchanged even now that Ig (Evelyn) has been found. Especially now that Ig (Evelyn) has been found.
The Reverend is not a souvenir collector who will ring at her bell like all those so-called (and in the Reverend's eyes: messed up) true fans used to do at Syd Barrett’s door. Evelyn's wish to be left in peace is and will be unconditionally granted. The same goes for other witnesses of the Barrett era, the Church will send them a nice note from time to time, as a reminder of its presence, but will not break their privacy. Some will call this bad journalism but the Church is not dependent from sold issues and follows a strict deontological code.
On the thirteenth of February of this year The Croydon Guardian published a short, hastily noted down, interview with (a quite reluctant) Iggy, titled: Croydon Guardian tracks down elusive rock star muse. Here it is in full (with some comments from the Reverend):
Croydon Guardian tracks down elusive rock star muse
By Kirsty Whalley
An iconic model who stole Syd Barrett’s heart in the 1960s has been found after three decades of anonymity. Known only as Iggy, the enigmatic woman was immortalised posing naked for the Pink Floyd star’s solo album, Madcap Laughs. She disappeared in the late 1970s and has been living in West Sussex, oblivious to her iconic status. In September 2008, the Croydon Guardian appealed for information about the model and, more than a year later, we managed to track her down.
The story of how the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit convinced The Croydon Guardian to assign some place in its columns for the Iggy enigma can be found at Where did she go? and (I've got my) Mojo (working...).
She inspired artist Anthony Stern, who filmed her dancing in Battersea Park and also took striking photographs of her on a houseboat in Chelsea. They were released at the City Wakes festival – a tribute to Syd Barrett – in October 2008, in Cambridge.
The above has of course been extendedly covered by the Church as well: Stern-Anthony.
Mr Stern said: “Iggy was my muse. I met her at a Hendrix gig at the Speakeasy. She entirely captures the spirit of the Sixties, living for the moment, carefree.”
The club has been described in the (excellent) London Live book from Tony Bacon as follows (most information about the club has been taken from that book).
When The Speakeasy was opened by Roy Flynn around the end of 1966 in Margaret Street, just north of Soho, the rock elite soon discovered a handy new watering hole, a prime early-hours jamming post, and an altogether useful hanging-out kind of place.
By May 1967 the club was part of the London spot-the-celebrity circle next to - amongst others - the Scotch (of St. James) and of course the Crom. On a good night you could having a drink next to The Bee Gees, Jeff Beck or The Who, although, keeping up his avant-garde experimental jazz appearance, Robert Wyatt from The Soft Machine couldn't care less: "Rock groups meeting in expensive clubs that are difficult to get into? What's all that crap?"
On the 19th of January 1967 Jimi Hendrix gave the first of 3 concerts at The Speak. On top of that he would also jam a few times with other people on stage, including Jose Feliciano and Georgie Fame. That night in January he tried to get into Marianne Faithfull's pants with the seductive remark: "What are you doing with this jerk, anyway?" The jerk in question was of course Mick Jagger who wanted to check out the new kid in town.
Yes-fans will know the club for its owner Roy Flynn. When, on the 13th of December 1968, Sly And The Family Stone didn't show up for their gig an impromptu band was found to take their place. When Roy Flynn saw Yes's performance he was so thrilled that he became their manager for a while. The band eagerly agreed, not because he had some managerial skills but because the restaurant at The Speak had an excellent reputation:
Roy had never managed a band before and he kind of took us on and then the whole world of the Speakeasy opened up (laugh). It was a great club, I mean, it was a wonderful club, it used to close at 4 AM and we would not only rehearse there, we would play there some nights, and of course after a gig if we were playing within, let's say 150 miles from London, we would rush and go to the Speakeasy and eat there, and most of the meals were completely free. So for about a year I ate pretty good. Most of the evenings I ate there. Because that was the life style, we would be in the Speakeasy after 3 AM and the kitchen still would be opened and the food was not fantastic but thanks to Roy Flynn we would get free food and quite a lot of few drinks as well. (Peter Banks, who invented the band's name and left the group in 1970)
The extensive Jimi Hendrix gig database
located at Rich Dickinson only mentions 3 genuine Jimi Hendrix
performances in 1967: the aforementioned gig on the 19th of January 1967
and two more in March: 8th March 1967 and 21st March 1967. So Ig (and
Anthony Stern) must have attended one of these. For the completists
amongst us the Church gives now the complete list of Hendrix sightings
at the Speakeasy (1967):
67-02-22: Press reception for the Soft Machine.
67-03-16: Launching party for Track records (Jimi gives three interviews).
67-04-17: Jam (on bass) with Georgie Fame (on organ) and Ben E. King (drums).
67-05-08: Brian Auger Trinity Concert.
67-06-04: Jose Feliciano concert and onstage jam.
67-12-06: Party for The Foundations.
67-12-22: Musicians from Christmas on Earth and Hendrix jam until the morning hours.
67-12-31: New Year's Eve Party where Jimi plays a thirty minute 'Auld Lang Syne'.
There is quite an intriguing picture on page 103 of the London Live book, showing co-managers Roy Flynn and Mike Carey, sitting at the Speakeasy bar, accompanied by two ladies. According to CowleyMod one of the women undoubtedly is Ig. Although most of the members of the Church do not think it is her the Church wants to give Cowleymod the benefit of the doubt and the visitors of the Church the chance to make up their own mind (click here to see the full picture).
Iggy said: “I cannot believe there is a film of me, that there are photos of me.”
Iggy spent a brief part of the 60s living in Croydon with DJ Jeff Dexter, who used to play at the Orchid Ballroom. She said: “The Orchid Ballroom was the place to be, the atmosphere was fantastic. I loved going there, I loved to dance. Jeff wanted to turn me and two other lovely girls into the English version of the Supremes, but that never happened.”
She does not like to talk much about Syd Barrett, but admits she lived with him in Chelsea in the late 1960s. She said: “Syd was so beautiful looking. We had a relationship, I lived with him for a while.”
Although the Reverend is aware of at least four witnesses who have confirmed in different biographies (and directly to the Church) that Ig and Syd weren't an item this is now contradicted by Evelyn herself.
It was at that time she became known as Iggy the Eskimo. She said: “In part I made up the nickname. The rest was the photographer Mick Rock, who asked where I was from. I said ‘my mother is from the Himalayas’ and he said ‘we will call you Iggy the Eskimo’.”
The Church will not deny that Mick Rock may have thrown around the 'Iggy the Eskimo' nickname to describe the mysterious girl on his pictures but the epithet dates from much earlier. It was first spotted in the NME magazine from the 25th of November 1966 (more than 2 years earlier) where Evelyn was described as 'Another Bender - model IGGY, who is half-Eskimo': Bend It!
Mick Rock took the pictures for Madcap Laughs. Iggy said: “When Mick turned up to take the photos I helped paint the floor boards for the shoot, I was covered in paint, I still remember the smell of it. In the pictures my hair looks quite funny, I remember hiding my face behind it because I did not want my mum and dad to see it."
Again other witnesses tell other stories. They claim that Syd (with a little help from Ig) painted the floor boards early in the year, certainly before April 1969. As Syd only started recording mid-April it is a bit weird that he painted the boards especially for the album cover, unless - of course - he (and with him Mick Rock) already had the cover in mind before the recording sessions started. A theory that is not implausible.
She broke up with Syd Barrett shortly after the photo shoot and moved to Brighton. She said: “I have just been living very quietly, I left London in the 70s and I got married in 1978. I met so many people in the 60s – the Beatles, the Who, the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart. I was a free spirit. I have left that life behind me now.”
The Church would gladly accept to publish her memoires though. But until that happens, my dear sistren and brethren, don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done…
A new gallery has been uploaded containing the complete Come with NME for a pic-visit to THE CROMWELLIAN article and pictures from New Musical Express 1037, 25 November 1966. Photographs by Napier Russel & Barry Peake. Words by Norrie Drummond. (Just another world exclusive from the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.)
Sources (other than the above internet links):
Bacon, Tony: London Live, Balafon Books, London, 1999, p. 101-104.
Meic meets Syd
In a previous post it was told how Margaretta Barclay and Rusty Burnhill took Syd Barrett to acid-folk singer Meic Stevens in Wales, trying to raise Syd's appetite to play some music again. None of the Barrett biographies, including the most recent one from Rob Chapman, have mentioned this, although it was not exactly a secret as Stevens recalls the visits in his autobiography that appeared in 2003.
The Church is much obliged to Prydwyn who guided us towards Meic Stevens's autobiography and who was so friendly to translate the texts from Welsh to English. This article has mainly been written by him.
Meic meets Syd (by Prydwyn)
Meic Stevens is as huge and influential a name in the Welsh-language folk, rock, and pop scene as Bob Dylan is (was) in the English-speaking world. Meic has been recording since 1965 (mostly in Welsh, although for those not willing to take him on in the language of Heaven, his outstanding 1970 psychedelic masterpiece Outlander has recently been reissued on CD).
For the most part he has performed under his own name, although in the late 60s he was a member of Gary Farr’s backing group in London (playing with Farr at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1969, the festival Syd went to with Margaretta Barclay [note from FA]). Meanwhile in Wales (and in Welsh) he, Heather Jones, and Geraint Jarman performed as ‘Y Bara Menyn’ as well (late 60s).
Meic Stevens: “I got a contract in 1965 for a record I’d written myself called Did I Dream. Decca were going to try to market me as another Donovan or Bob Dylan. But it all got too much for me, I had a nervous breakdown and ended up back at Solva.”
Meic returned to his home village of Solva, Pembrokeshire, to recover, a time he details in his first autobiography, Solva Blues, and he soon became a feature of the Welsh-language folk and blues scene. In 1969 he was signed by Warner Brothers but after his first album Outlander, the contract was abandoned by mutual consent. (Taken from: Wales Online, interview by Robin Turner.)
The following extracts are from Meic Stevens first biography, Hunangofiant y Brawd Houdini (2nd edition 2009, originally from 2003), with translations following. An English version of this autobiography has also been issued, although I haven’t read it and so am not 100% sure it contains the same information. (The Church is currently trying to catch the English version of the book through one of its many believers, note from FA.)
Syd Barrett with Meic Stevens in a lost BBC documentary
The first piece refers to 1969. It must have been spring or summer, as the next section in Stevens's autobiography is about the Isle of Wight Festival. Meic Stevens, his partner and children were living in a farmhouse (called Caerforiog) near Solva in rural southwest Wales.
Ro’n i’n dal i wneud peth gwaith i’r BBC yng Nghaerdydd pan gwrddes i â chyfarwyddwr ifanc, Gareth Wyn Jones, oedd am ffilmio rhaglen ddogfen amdana i a ’mywyd. Cymeradwyodd y pennaeth rhaglenni y syniad o gael y cywaith ’ma yn rhan o bump o raglenni dogfen am Gymry cyfoes. Roedd un ohonyn nhw am waith gwneuthurwr drymie o Gasnewydd.
Daeth criw ffilmio i lawr am wthnos a ffilmio yng Nghaerforiog, Solfach, a Thyddewi. Wedyn wthnos arall lan yng Nghaerdydd a Llunden. Y cwbwl wnaeth Gareth oedd ffilmio ein bywyd arferol ni o ddydd i ddydd...
Ymhlith y rhai eraill a ymddangosodd yn y ffilm roedd Heather a Geraint, Gary Farr a Mighty Baby yn Llunden, a Syd Barrett o Pink Floyd fydde’n dod i’n gweld ni yng Nghaerforiog.
Yn nes ymlaen, ffraeodd Gareth ’da’r BBC a mynd i weithio yn Singapore, gan adael y ffilm heb ei golygu. Beth amser wedyn, rhoddodd y BBC ganiatâd i gyfarwyddwr arall olygu portread pum munud ohona i mas o gesys ffilm Gareth, a chafodd beth oedd yn weddill ei daflu mas. Wyth rîl o ffilm un milimedr ar bymtheg oedd yn gyfnod o’n bywyde ni yn 1969! Bachan drwg, Rhydderch Jones!
I was still doing a bit of work for the BBC in Cardiff when I met a young director, Gareth Wyn Jones, who wanted to film a documentary about me and my life. The chief programming approved the idea of getting this joint effort as a part of five documentary programs about contemporary Wales. One of the other ones was about a drum-maker from Casnewydd.
The film crew came down for a week and filmed in Caerforiog, Solva, and St. Davids. Then another week in Cardiff and London. All Gareth did was to film our normal day-to-day life…
Among the others who appeared in the film were Heather [Jones] and Geraint [Jarman], Gary Farr and Mighty Baby in London, and Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd, who came to see us in Caerforiog.
Later on, Gareth quarrelled with the BBC and went to work in Singapore, leaving the film unedited. Some time later, the BBC gave permission to another director to edit a five-minutes portrait of me out of the cases of Gareth’s film, and what was left over got thrown out. Eight reels of 16mm film that were a record of our lives in 1969! Shame on you, Rhydderch Jones!
Rhydderch Jones was a producer/director for the BBC’s Welsh-language service at the time. This excerpt doesn’t make it fully clear if Syd appeared in the London or Wales parts of the shooting, although it is hinted that it was made while Syd visited Meic in Wales (note from FA). Neither do we know if any of Syd's footage survived at all in the five-minute segment that was eventually broadcast. But it does confirm the year (1969) and the place (Caerforiog near Solva) where Syd visited Meic.
A message from the Church: We leave it up to other Syd scholars to contact the Welsh branch of the BBC in order to locate the missing reels of the original documentary. Some of the people mentioned above are still around and can be contacted through the BBC or are present on social network websites. And if you do find something, please let us know!
The next bit is part of the description of the recording sessions for Meic’s 1970 (mostly) English LP, Outlander. As the album was recorded in 1969 it fixes the date of this anecdote also in that year.
Y dyddie hynny, fe fydden ni’n recordio gefen nos fel arfer. Bydde rhai o’r sesiyne’n para tan orie mân y bore – neu drwy’r nos ambell waith – ac wedyn bydden ni’n cael brecwast mewn caffi yn Soho tua saith neu wyth o’r gloch... Allwn i ddim ymdopi ag Olympic, oedd yn hen sgubor fawr o le ’da pentyrre Marshall ar hyd y lle ym mhobman, gwifre spaghetti, a blyche llwch gorlawn.
Daeth Syd Barrett lawr yno un noson pan o’n i ar fy mhen fy hun yno ’da gitâr acwstig, ac ro’n i’n falch pan gyrhaeddodd Syd y tresmaswr ’da’i gariad, mynd â’r gitâr, iste ar lawr, a dechre chware iddo fe’i hun. Ro’n i wedi recordio trac y noson honno, o’r enw ‘One Night Wonder’, ac mae e ar Ghost Town, Tenth Planet Records. Ar lawr y bydde Syd wastad yn iste; doedd dim celfi yn ei stafell, dim ond estyll pren moel neu rai wedi’u peintio’n oren neu’n las, ffôn gwyn, a Fender Telecaster.
Fi oedd un o’r ychydig oedd yn cael mynd yno; dwi’n credu ’i fod e’n hoffi bod ar ei ben ei hun lawer o’r adeg. Ambell waith, fe fydde’n chware’i Telecaster heb ei chwyddo. Dro arall, syllu trwy’r ffenest neu i’r gwagle fydde fe. Doedd Syd ddim fel ’se fe moyn llawer mewn bywyd, dim ond bod ar ei ben ei hun ’da’i feddylie. Roedd e’n foi golygus iawn, wastad ’da merch hardd ar ei fraich pan oedd e mas neu’n gyrru’i Mini Cooper, yn dene fel styllen, ac yn gwisgo dillad ecsotig few siwtie satin croendynn, cryse sidan ffriliog, sgarffie hirlaes, a bŵts croen neidr!
Those days, we usually recorded in the middle of the night. Some of the sessions would continue until the wee hours of the morning – or right through the night sometimes – and afterwards we’d have breakfast in a café in Soho around seven or eight o’clock… I couldn’t cope with Olympic [Studios], which was an old barn of a place with Marshall stacks everywhere throughout the place, wires like spaghetti, and overflowing ashtrays.
Syd Barrett came down there one night when I was on my own with an acoustic guitar, and I was glad when Syd trespassed his way in with his girlfriend, took the guitar, sat on the floor, and started playing to himself. I had been recording a track that night called One Night Wonder, which is on Ghost Town, Tenth Planet Records. Syd would always sit on the floor; there was no furniture in his room, just bare wooden planks or ones painted orange or blue, a white phone, and a Fender Telecaster.
I was one of the few who got to go there; I believe he liked being on his own most of the time. Sometimes, he would play his Telecaster unamplified. Other times, he would stare through the window or into empty space. Syd didn’t seem to want much in life, just being on his own with his thoughts. He was a very good-looking boy, always with a beautiful girl on his arm when he was out or driving his Mini Cooper. He was as thin as a rail, and wore exotic clothes like skin-tight satin suits, frilly silk shirts, long scarves, and snakeskin boots.
Probably NOT Syd
Finally, there is mention of a Syd somewhere in 1964 or 1965, although I don’t think the man in question is Syd Barrett. Still, just in case.
Ro’n i’n iste ar y stâr yn Chalk Farm un noswaith yn trial chware fel Big Bill Broonzy, pan ddaeth Syd, y boi oedd yn byw drws nesaf, mas a sefyll yno’n edrych arna i. Ymhen dipyn, medde fe, “Can you play what you’re thinking?” Wedyn, yn ôl â fe at ei deipiadur a chau’r drws. Do’n i rioed wedi meddwl am chware beth o’n i’n feddwl; ro’n i wastad yn trial copïo cerddoriaeth pobol eraill. Ar chwap fel ’ny, fe wnaeth e i fi feddwl yn wahanol am gerddoriaeth, a dwi’n fwy gofalus byth ers hynny.
I was sitting on the stair in Chalk Farm one evening trying to play like Big Bill Broonzy, when Syd, the boy who lived next door, came out and stood there looking at me. After a while, he said, “Can you play what you’re thinking?” Then, back he went to his typewriter and closed the door. I’d never thought about playing what I was thinking; I was always trying to copy other people’s music. Just like that, he made me think differently about music, and I’ve been more careful ever since then.
Chalk Farm is an area lying in the London borough of Camden. In 1964 Syd Barrett was living in Mike Leonard's house in Stanhope Gardens, Highgate. The next year he moved to the West End, renting rooms at 12, Tottenham Street. As none of these addresses are next door to Chalk Farm it probably was another Syd Meic Stevens is talking about. Also if Meic had met Syd Barrett (who was still an amateur musician at that point) in 1964 or 1965 he would certainly have stressed this a bit more... (Note from FA.)
Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above)
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 81.
Stevens, Meic: Hunangofiant y Brawd Houdini, Y Lolfa, Talybont, 2009, p. 138, p. 190-191, p. 202 .
Many thanks to Prydwyn for his writing and translating skills.
Syd meets... a lot of people
Syd meets Meic
A couple of weeks ago this blog published excerpts from Meic Stevens' autobiography Hunangofiant y Brawd Houdini (in Welsh, but awesomely translated by Prydwyn) describing how the Cymry bard encountered Syd Barrett in the late Sixties.
These meetings, as far as the Church is aware, have never been mentioned before, not in any of the four main Syd Barrett biographies and not on any website, blog or forum dedicated to the Pink Floyd frontman. It is a bit weird, seen the fact that the biography already appeared in 2003.
Normally Syd related news, regardless of its triviality, is immediately divulged through the digital spider web tying Syd anoraks together. The Church does not want to take credit for this find, it is thanks to Prydwyn, who contacted the Church, that we now have this information, and we hope that it will slowly seep into the muddy waters of the web. (Strange enough the Church post was almost immediately detected by (Welsh) folk music blogs but ignored by the Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett communities. Is the rumour true that there is a general Syd Barrett fatigue going on?)
The psychedelic London Underground was not unlike the rapid transit system that listens to the same name. The counterculture wasn't really an organised movement, but constituted of many, independent stations with tubes going from one station to the other. Some persons travelled a lot, switching from line to line using intersecting stations as apparently Syd Barrett's Wetherby Mansions flat was one, much to the dismal of Duggie Fields who wanted to produce his art in peace.
Syd meets Spike Hawkins
In a YouTube interview Rob Chapman, author of the Syd Barrett biography A Very Irregular Head, recalls how he found out that beatnik and poet Spike Hawkins was an acquaintance of Syd Barrett. He was interviewing Pete Brown for his book and when the interview was over he remarked that some Barrett lyrics had a distinct Spike Hawkins style. At that point Pete Brown remarked: "I think Spike Hawkins knew Syd Barrett." Without that lucky ad hoc comment we would (probably) never have known that the two artists not only knew, but also met, each other at different occassions, although it was probably more a Mandrax haze that tied them rather than the urge to produce some art together.
Syd meets Dominique
The Church already mentioned the names of Meic Stevens, Jenny Spires, Trina Barclay, Margaretta Barclay and her friend, painter and musician Rusty Burnhill (who used to jam with Barrett), Iggy (or Evelyn, who is rather reluctant to talk about the past) and the French Dominique A., who was - at a certain moment - rather close to Barrett.
Dominique is, like they say in French, un cas à part. Unfortunately nobody seems to know what happened to her, but if the six degrees of separation theory is accurate it might not be too difficult to find her. The problem is that nobody remembers if she stayed in Great Britain or returned to France. But if you read this and have a granny, listening to the name Dominique A., who smiles mysteriously whenever you mention the name Pink Floyd, give us a call.
Syd meets Carmel
Church member Dark Globe compared the English version of Meic Stevens' biography Solva Blues (2004) with the excerpts of the Welsh version we published here and found a few differences. Apart from the fact that Meic also had an Uncle Syd who appears quite frequently in the book there are some minor additions in the English version, absent from the original Welsh.
The Welsh version notes fore instance that 'Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd came to see us in Caerforiog' (Original text: Syd Barrett o Pink Floyd fydde’n dod i’n gweld ni yng Nghaerforiog).
The English version adds a small, but in the life of a Barrett anorak, rather important detail. It reads:
Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd who used to visit us at Caerforiog with his girlfriend Carmel.
It is the first time the Church (and Dark Globe) hears from this lady, and she is probably one of those two-week (or even two-day) girlfriends Mick Rock and Duggie Fields have been talking about.
(Warning Label: The picture just above has been taken from the Mick Rock movie Lost In The Woods, nobody knows for sure who is the mysterious brunette. This blog does not imply she is Dominique A. or Carmel, for that matter.)
The second reference (about Syd visiting the Outlander sessions) also has one addition in the English version. Solva Blues adds the line:
I wouldn't have thought he had a drug problem - no more than most people on the scene.
If there is one returning constant about the underground days it is its general tunnel vision. In the brave new psychedelic world every move, the crazier the better, was considered cool and there was a general consensus to deny any problem that could and would occur. Rob Chapman is right when he, in his rather tempestuous style, writes:
What do you do if your lead guitarist is becoming erratic / unstable / unhinged?
You send him off round the UK on a package tour (…) with two shows a night for sixteen nights.
Nick Mason acknowledges this illogical (not to use another term) behaviour:
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 (Syd) is beyond believe.
Syd almost meets R.D. Laing
Of course looking for professional psychiatric help in those crazy days wasn't that simple either. Bluntly said: you could choose between the traditional cold shower - electroshock therapy or go for anti-psychiatry.
Although it is impossible to turn back the clock it still is the question if experimental anti-psychiatry would have helped Barrett. In a previous post we have given the example how an experimental therapist administered LSD to a Cantabrigian friend of Syd as an alternative way of therapy and R.D. 'I like black people but I could never stand their smell' Laing was no exception to that.
Pink Floyd's manager Peter Jenner made an appointment for Syd with R.D. Laing, but Syd refused to go on with it, but this didn't withhold Laing to make the following observations as noted down by Nick Mason:
Syd might be disturbed, or even mad. But maybe it was the rest of us (Pink Floyd, note by FA) who were causing the problem, by pursuing our desire to succeed, and forcing Syd to go along with our ambitions.
This is the main theory that is overzealously, but not always successfully, adhered by Chapman in his Syd Barrett biography. R.D. Laing ended his Barrett diagnosis, who he never met, by saying:
Maybe Syd was actually surrounded by mad people.
Although some biographers may think, and there they are probably right, that the other Pink Floyd members may have been an ambitious gravy train inspired gang, there was also the small matter of a 17,000 British Pounds debt that the architectural inspired band members still had to pay off after the split. They didn't burden Syd Barrett, nor Peter Jenner and Andrew King with that. Now that is what the Church calls accountancy.
We now know that giving Syd Barrett the time and space, outside the band, to meddle at his own pace with his own affairs and music was not entirely fruitful either. In the early to mid Seventies Syd Barrett entered a lost weekend that would almost take a decade and that is a blank chapter in every biography, apart from the odd Mad Syd anecdote.
Mini Cooper (based upon a remark from Dark Globe)
It is also interesting that Meic Stevens mentions Syd's Mini Cooper:
He was a very good-looking boy, always with a beautiful girl on his arm when he was out or driving his Mini Cooper.
Presumably this is the same car Syd drove all over England in, following the band, when he was freshly thrown out of the Floyd.
Syd swapped this Mini Cooper for a Pontiac Parisienne (and not a Buick as car fanatic Nick Mason writes, although Buick and Pontiac were of course closely related brands) with T-Rex percussionist Mickey Finn in the beginning of 1969, which would date the first meetings between Stevens and Barrett prior to the Mick Rock photo session.
But that photo session has been discussed here ad nauseum already so we won't get further into that. So, my sistren and brethren, bye, bye, till the next time, and don't do anything Iggy wouldn't have done. Especially at this warm weather.
Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above)
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 201, p. 227.
Green, Jonathon: Days In The Life, Pimlico, London, 1998, p. 210. (R.D. Laing quote)
Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2004, p. 87-88, p. 95.
Stevens, Meic: Hunangofiant y Brawd Houdini, Y Lolfa, Talybont, 2009, p. 190-191, p. 202.
Stevens, Meic, Solva Blues, Talybont, 2004 (English, slightly updated, translation of the above).
Many thanks go to:
Dark Globe for checking the English version of Meic Stevens' autobiography.
Prydwyn for checking and translating the Welsh version of Meic Stevens' autobiography.
Rob Chapman's An Irregular Head biography has been reviewed at: The Big Barrett Conspiracy Theory.