Shaken not stirred
Moviemaker Anthony Stern, who knew Iggy before she met Syd, has confirmed that the person at the Granny Takes A Trip boutique on the IN Gear movie is indeed her. On his turn he will present a home movie called Iggy Eskimo Girl at The City Wakes festival in Cambridge (see banner at the right side). A short teaser can be found on YouTube.
According to Mick Rock Syd was touched when she left him:
Once I’d developed the film (from The Madcap Laughs photo-session, note by FA), I went round to show Syd the pictures. He took this one opposite (page 21 in the PR-book, note by FA) and scratched some lines and his name onto it. I think there was a bit of negativity directed at Iggy. He just started scratching the print, with a big grin on his face. (Taken from Psychedelic Renegades.)
It could be that the scratches on the picture were destined at Iggy, but why did Syd Barrett scratch (more or less) around her figure? Not (and I hope my shrink will never read this) her face or body, in my garbled opinion the logical thing to do if one would try to express negative or revengeful feelings on a photograph. Syd’s body and face is far more scratched than Iggy’s and Barrett also cut the letters SYD on the picture... Perhaps he was just trying to make clear to Mick Rock that he wanted to get rid of his pop-life alter ego.
Mick Rock writes further that he heard from Duggie Fields, the painter who was Syd Barrett’s roommate and who still lives in the same apartment today, that ‘she later went off with some rich guy in Chelsea and lived a very straight life’.
On my main blog (and also on the Late Night forum) I wrote that none of the Pink Floyd biographers have been really looking for Iggy. Mark Blake, author of Pigs Might Fly, responded: “I can't speak for all the PF or SB biographers, but I certainly tried.”
The only bit of new info I found was that there was a chance 'Iggy' may have gone to school in the South London area, as she was known as one of the regular teenage girls at the dancehalls around Purley and Caterham. This would have been around 1965. 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'. (Taken from The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit on Late Night.)
Although scarce the above information is about the most relevant we have had from a biographer in about 30 years.
The most famous dancehall in Purley was the Orchid Ballroom where The Who, The Troggs and The Hollies gigged a couple of times. It started as a regular dance hall (and concert and sporting events hall) in the Fifties and had a local house band The Jackpots in 1963 and 64.
In the mid Sixties (1964 – 1966) the Orchid Ballroom was the meeting place for the Croydon mods who would assemble every Monday night. Witnesses remember Mike (?) Morton, Tony Crane, Jeff Dexter and Sammy Samwell spinning the records. Pete Sanders and Mickey Finn used to be part of the crowd.
Not all these names ring a bell. I could not trace back Mike Morton, but Lionel Morton was the singer and lead guitarist from the Four Pennies who had a hit in 1963 – 1964 with Juliet. Tony Crane was a member of The Mavericks, a band that became famous when they changed the name to The Merseybeats, later The Merseys (David Bowie would cover their Sorrow on his Pin-Ups album, a tune they had borrowed from The McCoys). Mickey Finn could be the man who was the drummer of T. Rex and who also played on the record made by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, the people who were behind the Granny Takes A Trip boutique.
Elizabeth Colclough used to work at the bar in 1968: "It was the place to go to meet friends old and new, weekday evenings and also at the weekend. We saw some great bands, some who are still going strong today.”
Another witness recalls how Cathy (Mc Gowan), the queen of the mods and presenter of the ever popular Ready Steady Go! Show, came to the Orchid Ballroom to spot for dancers to appear in her show. Seen the fact that Iggy was present at an RSG!-party, organised by the show's main choreographer, it is not improbable that she may have been present at some RSG! television-shows as well, as a dancer or as a pretty face in the public.
A book about the history of the Orchid Ballroom has been made and the Church will try to contact its author, there is the (very small) chance that Iggy is mentioned in it. (Update August 2009: Brian Roote, who studied the history of The Orchid confirmed later to the Church: 'I have no knowledge of this girl whatsoever'.)
Sources (other than the above internet links):
McAleer, Dave: Beatboom!, Hamlyn, London, 1994, p. 57-59.
Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 20.
Where did she go?
On September the 17th the Croydon Guardian, a weekly free local newspaper covering South London, devoted an article to Iggy after the Church had revealed that Iggy had probably been a regular visitor at the Purley dancehall The Orchid. The article was brought to my attention by Matthew Taylor from Escape Artists who was so kind to point me to a scan of the article, neatly hidden in a dark corner from The City Wakes website.
It all started with a remark on the Late Night forum why no one had ever tried to locate Iggy. Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake promptly denied this and added some extra titbits to the Iggy enigma. He had found out that she was probably a South Londoner who used to go dancing in dancehalls in or around Purley. More about the Church’s quest to locate Iggy’s dancing habits can be found on a previous entry on this blog: Shaken not stirred.
This ended with the promise that the Church would try to find some more information about the place and the people who visited it. A mail was send to a historian of the Bourne Society but without success. The same message however to a journalist of the Croydon Guardian was immediately replied. Some initial information was exchanged and journalist Kirsty Walley did an excellent job by getting testimonies, not only from Anthony Stern, but also from a DJ who used to spin records at the Orchid, Jeff Dexter, and who still remembers Iggy.
In the Swinging 60s she was an iconic model who broke the heart of Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett. Known only as Iggy she is thought to have lived in Thornton Heath and was a regular at the Orchid Ballroom in Purley between 1963 and 1967. Then she vanished and for the past three decades the former 60's in-crowd has wondered where she went?
Former friends, director and artist Anthony Stern and DJ Jeff Dexter, are both searching for the enigmatic model, who featured naked on the cover of Barrett's solo album Madcap Laughs. She was nicknamed "the Eskimo" because it was thought that she was part Inuit. DJ Jeff Dexter, who regularly played at the Orchid, vividly remembers the beautiful girl who used to talk to him while he played his set. He first noticed her in 1963. He said: “Iggy was part of a group of very wonderful looking south London girls. She was unusual because she did not look like anyone else at the time. Since she disappeared, she has become a bit of an enigma.”
Dexter says that he met the director and artist Anthony Stern in 1967 and that Iggy became involved with him at about the same time. Anthony took many pictures of the model and also made a film of her, which will be shown for the first time at the City Wakes festival this October in Cambridge. Stern said: “Iggy was my muse. I met her at a Hendrix gig at the Speakeasy. She was a lovely inspiration and free spirit. I never knew her real name.” “We used to hang out together, occasionally dropping acid, staying up all night, going for walks at dawn in Battersea Park.” The artist said he recently discovered photographs that he took of Iggy on a houseboat near Lots Road in Chelsea. “She entirely captures the spirit of the Sixties, living for the moment, completely carefree.”
Photographer Mick Rock remembers turning up at Barrett’s to take photographs for his solo album cover. At an interview in 199 he said: “Syd was still in his underpants when he opened the door. He’d totally forgotten about the session and fell about laughing. Iggy the Eskimo was naked in the kitchen making coffee. She didn’t mind either. They both laughed a lot and it was a magical session.” The most iconic images of her appear on the album, where she poses naked in the background.
After she broke up with Barrett she disappeared. Felix Atagong, who has set up a website in her honour, said: “According to the painter Duggie Fields, she got married to a rich guy from Chelsea and led a ‘decent’ life after that.”
Anthony and Jeff both admit they have spent time looking for her. “the truth is, if she has not come forward by now, she probably doesn’t want to be found,” said Anthony.
(picture insert: It-crowd icon: Iggy the Eskimo). An online version of the article can be found here.
An entirely new and previously unreleased picture of Iggy accompanies the newspaper article. This comes out of the personal collection of Anthony Stern. It is believed that more pictures from his collection may be unearthed on a later date.
Anthony Stern Photoshoot
A couple of posts ago it was prophesised that some of Anthony Stern’s unpublished Iggy pictures would find their way to the public. And they will… the City Wakes website now has an Iggy gallery as well.
The 15 pictures, sadly in a very small format, come from different photo-shoots, and with exception of the ironic black and white pictures, most of them are very representative for the psychedelic era they were shot in. Signed prints of the Iggy pictures will soon be exclusively available from the City Wakes website.
The gallery with Anthony Stern's pictures can be visited here (outside link).
Pictures at an exhibition
It is far from a coincidence that this blog started more or less when The City Wakes project was announced. The City Wakes is an official Syd Barrett tribute, held in the city of Cambridge, and it has been officially opened past week. But the history of the instalment of the Church will be told on an other day, promised.
Supported by Syd’s family and friends, The City Wakes is the first ever official tribute to Syd Barrett – original front-man and songwriter for Pink Floyd. A celebration of Syd’s creativity, The City Wakes focuses on Syd’s early life in Cambridge, providing a showcase for his remarkable talent and painting a picture of the explosive and vibrant early 1960s cultural scene in which he grew up.
Involving many of Syd’s former friends – not least Storm Thorgerson and Mick Rock - The City Wakes includes concert performances, exhibitions, guided tours, music workshops, a 1960s style ‘happening’, talks and a new book of interviews and memorabilia.
The City Wakes has been developed by Escape Artists, a UK arts and mental health charity and professional production house. Working with clients in both institutional and non-institutional settings, it aims to improve quality of life, health and social welfare, by recognising the vital importance of creativity to an individual’s well being. Funds generated through The City Wakes project will be used to support the charity's work in the mental health sector. Escape Artists has been working in the mental health sector in Cambridge since 1999. (Taken from The City Wakes)
One of the exhibitions taking place is called The Other Room, it is held in the Ruskin Gallery at Anglia Ruskin University, and is open from 24th October to 2nd November 2008.
At the Ruskin Gallery visitors can see over fifty of Syd's paintings, the majority of which have never before been seen in public. Also on display are rare archival-quality prints from Syd's photo-biographer Mick Rock and original pieces from Pink Floyd's legendary designer Storm Thorgerson. The exhibition features rare Syd-related memorabilia, including diaries and correspondence. (Taken from Anglia Ruskin University)
But of course the Church is far more intrigued by the pictures from the personal collection of Anthony Stern that are exposed as well: Pink Floyd performing at UFO (1967-ish) and his Iggy pictures.
Other Room: Syd Barrett's Art and Life
Date: 24 October - 2 November 2008
Time: 10am - 9pm Monday to Friday, 10am - 5pm Saturday and Sunday
(Thanks to Dark Globe for the picture, other pictures of the exhibition can be seen at Inside The Other Room)
The Other Room
The Other Room: Syd Barrett's Art And Life was a Cambridge exhibition that ended a couple of days ago. More details about it could be found in a previous post: Pictures at an exhibition.
A lucky wind (thanks SgB!) brought me a copy from the catalogue, an 18 pages booklet. The following can be found inside:
Page 2 & 3: introductions by Stephen Pyle and Anji Jackson-Main, curators of the exhibition.
Pages 3 to 9 are dedicated to the paintings of Syd Barrett. This is far the most interesting part of the catalogue as many unseen works of Syd Barrett are represented here, albeit in a rather small thumbnail format. I’m pretty sure those pictures will find their way to the specialised Syd Barrett websites and blogs so I’m not going to put them here.
Pages 10 to 12: photograps by Mick Rock. This reminds me that the Church still hasn’t dedicated some of its holy space to Mick Rock’s excellent Psychedelic Renegades book. This will be done during the long winter days when a lonely hungry wolf howls at the suburbs of Atagong Mansion.
Page 11: some family snapshots taken by Syd's relatives. I don’t want to sound too snotty, but I’ve seen these before.
Pages 14 & 15: artwork by Storm Thorgerson (Syd Barrett album cover, Barrett album cover, The City Wakes green doors poster.)
page 17: colofon.
But The Church is of course most interested in pages 12 and 13 that contain some pictures from the collection of Athony Stern (see also: Anthony Stern Photoshoot).
Antony Stern’s Iggy pictures can be seen on The City Wakes website, a link to that particular gallery can be found at the Galleries section of this blog. And if you have a quick peek you might find something more...
I want to thank the members of the Late Night forum, who visited The City Wakes, for their impressions, their pictures, their testimonies and the goodies they have been distributing amongst the other members who couldn’t attend the festival.
Iggy, Eskimo Girl
Did I already mention that the people of the Late Night forum are a bunch of fantastic people? Probably yes, but I will keep on repeating it. Eternal Isolation found a lecture by Anthony Stern, held at La Cinémathèque in Paris in June 2008. Here is how our fellow Europeans describe him:
Anthony Stern était l'un des secrets les mieux gardés de la cinématographie anglaise. La Cinémathèque française lui offre sa première rétrospective. Camarade de classe de Syd Barrett et de David Gilmour, assistant de Peter Whitehead, Anthony Stern a réalisé certains des plus beaux poèmes documentaires des années 60 et 70, à la fois sensuels, endiablés et railleurs. Taken from La Cinémathèque.
(Translation) Anthony Stern is one of England's cinematographic best-kept secrets. The French Cinémathèque offers him his first retrospective. Friend from Syd Barrett and David Gilmour, assistant of Peter Whitehead, Anthony Stern has realised several of the most poetic, sensual, boisterous and mocking documentaries of the 60’s and 70’s.
The lecture, videotaped by a member of the audience, has been issued on YouTube in three consecutive parts, but part 3 is the most interesting for Iggy fans. After the tiresome lecture, due to the fact that Anthony’s English explanation is translated into French and back, a copy is shown of his 1969 movie Wheel, followed by Iggy, Eskimo Girl. Unfortunately only snippets of the different movies have made it onto the web, but any additional material from our goddess is appreciated.
Ranting is normally destined for the main site of this domain, Unfinished Projects, thank you for visiting once and so often… but rules are to be broken, even Church rules…That horrible blasphemy of a browser, truly a work of the devil and its main representative here on earth, Mr. Bill Gates, messed up the Holy Church’s website the last couple of weeks… but only if you browsed the Holy Church with the dreadful Internet Explorer.
The Reverend found out that the objects that broke the layout were the recently added YouTube movies. It took his Holiness hours of his precious time and a couple of Guinness beers to repair the damage done but He appears to have miraculously accomplished this gargantuan chore.
The fact that not one single congregant spotted the mistake fills his Reverend’s heart with joy. Apparently none of you uses Satan’s little browser. But of course it could also be that none of you actually visits this blog or gives a damn about it. In that case the Reverend can only give you Father Jack Hackett’s advice: feck off!
But let us forget and forgive and lead you through the narrow path that leads to all things Iggy. Anthony Stern’s movies are distributed by Chimera Arts and this is what they have to say about our favourite subject:
Iggy The Eskimo Girl
Produced by Sadia (2008) and Anthony Stern (1968) • Directed by Stern • Edited by Tayler/Sadia/Stickley
Based on footage originally shot in 1968, this is a portrait of Syd Barrett’s girlfriend Iggy, referred to ubiquitously and affectionately by those who knew her in the late 1960’s as ‘Iggy The Eskimo Girl’. Taken from: Chimera Arts New Films.
A rather long post about Mark Blake's Pink Floyd biography Pigs Might Fly has been published on Felix Atagong's (that's me) Unfinished Projects. It contains some bits and pieces about Iggy as well.
Speaking about Iggy, Anthony Stern's movie was shown at The City Wakes festival during the first weekend. Unfortunately one of the technicians mistakenly gave the film back to Anthony Stern. As the absence of the film wasn't noticed until just before the next screening it was too late to retrieve the DVD.
After the presentation there was a Q&A round with Anthony Stern. One member of the audience maintained that Iggy is currently living in Chelsea. The Church will try to investigate further into this matter.
Iggy at the Gates of Dawn
It has been awfully quiet at the Iggy front. Call it spring fatigue, problems of the heart or plain laziness but the Reverend was a bit depressed. When The Holy Church started on eight eight eight (the number of the beauty) this little blog shook and stirred like a dry martini ogling in front of Mr. James Bond.
While the quest was new and aloof and thrilling enthusiasm was flowing through the Reverend’s loins it actually felt that the mission was leading somewhere, and the Head of the Church felt like Robert Langdon manoeuvring towards that mythical pyramid in front of the Louvre, safe-keeper of the holy grail.
The Church did dig something out however, one post evoked an article at the Croydon Guardian and the Reverend managed to have chats with entre-autres Anthony Stern, Barrett-biographers Julian Palacios and Mark Blake, culminating in the publication of the memoirs of a first-hand witness who happened to know both Syd and Iggy and who may well have introduced the one to the other, although she refuses to take credit for that.
There are a lot of unverified rumours around Syd Barrett, the one more ludicrous than the other; a recent (French) biography even managed to produce some the Reverend was not aware of, like the fact that Roger Keith, at one point in his eccentric career, tried to be an airline pilot. Probably the biographer mixed him up with Bruce Dickinson or Nick Mason, who used to fly the Maiden’s and Floyd’s tour planes. Anybody who saw Syd Barrett on a bicycle in and around Cambridge will testify that a plane was not going to be his most favourite transportation vehicle.
There are several unverified facts about Iggy as well, some of which have never been published before and will not be published here until witnesses willing to approve (or disapprove) are found.
Over the past months the Church contacted (this is just a sample out of
a long list):
a British amateur historian, who was going to publish the definitive history of The Orchid Ballroom at Purley and who told the Church: 'I have no knowledge of this girl whatsoever.';
a member of Dusty Springfield’s backup band;
a surviving organiser of the decadent party where Syd’s Pontiac was raffled off;
a few photographers; and even…
a 1966 flatmate of someone who may (not) have been in contact with Iggy…
Most of the time no reply was received at all and if a reply did come it was a polite thank-you-but...-note, a bit like the hasty apologies one makes when interrupted on the street by a madman who asks if you can’t lend him a 7 inch knife for a minute or so.
The Reverend felt like Moses, who guided his people for 40 years in a desert any sane person on a camel can cross in two weeks time, hence the reason why Moses is probably the patron saint of all taxi drivers in the world, but suddenly he, the Reverend - not Moses, found salvation on Walpurgisnacht by a flickering flame.
What better way to celebrate the coming of the new dawn than to introduce two new Iggy stills by Anthony Stern, presented to us by Chimera Arts on a renewed Iggy Eskimo Girl webpage?
The future smiles upon us, dear brethren and sistren, and will be
Go in peace, my flock, and don’t do anything that Iggy wouldn’t have done...
Feel free to add your own comments, theories and rumours at the Iggy forum.
Trip to a Dream Dragon
Last week the Reverend revealed two new Iggy pictures appearing at the Chimera Arts website that distributes the Iggy Eskimo Girl movie in various parts of the world (alas, not those parts of the world the Reverend is familiar with).
Anthony Stern who, should you not know, shot the movie in question recently updated several pages on his site and for those that want to dive into Stern’s work there is an interesting essay about his work as well.
Iggy the Eskimo Girl (1966/2008)
The filmography page has got the following to say about the movie:
Iggy was a model and the girlfriend of Syd Barrett, and appeared on the cover of his album The Madcap Laughs (1970). She was terrific fun to be with and to photograph. I made a short film of her dancing in Russell Square, which portrays her as the ultimate flower child of the 1960s.
That particular page also has a filmstrip dedicated to Iggy showing some screenshots that have never been shown before.
Stern did not only film Iggy, he also made some pictures of her that were premiered after 40 years on The City Wakes Syd Barrett Festival (a glimpse of those can be found in the catalogue of The Other Room). A (then also unpublished) black and white picture of Iggy also accompanied the ‘Where did she go?’ article that appeared in a (free) London newspaper and that was published after some mild excruciating techniques administered by the Church.
Iggy 'The Eskimo Girl' Triptychs
I re-discovered these photographs in my cellar in an old suitcase. All the optical effects were obtained in-camera. The colour images of Iggy were taken on a houseboat at Chelsea Reach. In the background you can see Lots Road Power Station. The distortions were achieved using a flexible mirror material called Malinex, as well as a magnifying fresnel screen. I have presented these images at the Ruskin Gallery as triptychs, because they remind me of Francis Bacon images in the same format. (Taken from iggyphotos)
Every triptych also has a page of its own and on these the following titbit can be found:
Iggy was terrific fun to be with and to photograph. I knew her before she was introduced to Syd by JenS, and I remember walking through Battersea Park in the early mornings together.
Here are the indiviual triptych pages: All pictures © Anthony Stern.
Page 1: http://www.anthonysternglass.com/iggytrip1.htm
Page 2: http://www.anthonysternglass.com/iggytrip2.htm
Page 3: http://www.anthonysternglass.com/iggytrip3.htm
Page 4: http://www.anthonysternglass.com/iggytrip4.htm
Page 5: http://www.anthonysternglass.com/iggytrip5.htm
The photographs on Stern's website are for sale, signed, framed
and numbered, either as triptychs priced at £225 each, or single images
priced £175 (not including postage). Update: These
pictures are no longer for sale (March 2010).
Feel free to add your own comments, theories and rumours at the Iggy forum.