The most famous Iggy picture, and without this one this blog wouldn’t probably even exist, can be found on the back side of Syd Barrett’s solo album The Madcap Laughs (top left pic).
My only decision was to use a 35mm camera and upgraded colour transparency, partly because of the low level light conditions and partly for the grainy effect. (…) Friend and photographer Mick Rock, later famous for his Bowie photos amongst many others also came on the photo session, but I cant remember why. (p.204 of the 2003 edition, p. 234 in the 2007 edition although the index still assumes it is on p. 204).
Dark Globe, member of the Late Night discussion forum, had a quick chat with Storm in July:
There was the chance to see the cover of 'The Madcap Laughs' displayed at a larger size on excellent quality paper. This famous photo was taken by Storm himself for the cover of the album - and not by Mick Rock as some assume. (…) I was lucky enough to talk to Storm himself and tell him how much I admired his work. I also took the opportunity to ask him about the 'Madcap' photo session and enquired whether we would ever see any of his outtakes from that session appear in some form in the future. Unfortunately this doesn't seem likely as he informed me that his photos from that session were now lost.
Hipgnosis was probably commissioned by the record company (Harvest, EMI) to make the record sleeve. Syd Barrett however had another idea and asked his friend Mick Rock, an aspiring would-be photographer, to organise the shooting for the forthcoming album. The result was that the two photographers were present on the same day.
A lot has been written about these sessions, not in the least by Mick Rock who devoted two books to the subject:
- Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs - The Mick Rock Photo-Sessions (U.F.O. Books, 1993), a book that was bundled with the album in a limited edition. The introduction of this (sold out and deleted) book can be found on various places on the net.
- Psychedelic Renegades - Photographs of Syd Barrett by Mick Rock. Genesis Publications published the first limited edition in 2002 with 320 copies autographed by Roger Barrett & Mick Rock and 630 copies signed by Mick Rock alone (sold out). In 2005, before Barrett passed away, the Deluxe copies already had a collector’s value of 2400 £. In 2007 the book was finally published in a regular version, by Plexus (London) and Gingko (USA).
Mick Rock remembers the day as follows:
The actual session turned out to be a collaboration really because Storm also took some pictures. I remember Storm asking me whether to credit the image, ‘Hipgnosis and Mick Rock’ and I said, ‘No just credit it Hipgnosis’.
Psychedelic Renegades however does not include the sleeve pictures of The Madcap Laughs so in the end it was probably Storm who decided to use only his own material (according to Mick Rock one photo would later surface – uncredited - on Barrett’s second album). Because both sessions were made on the same day the pictures are obviously very similar (some Storm pictures were also used on the Syd Barrett compilation album).
More about the Mick Rock - Storm Thorgerson controversy:
Storm Thorgerson section
Mick Rock section
and the ultimate Iggy photoshoot fun quiz
The Iggy IQ Quiz
Love In The Woods (Pt. 2)
(This is the second part of the Love In The Woods post. Part 1 can be found here: Love in the Woods (Pt. 1) )
The so-called Lost In The Woods movie, that was part of the Knebworth pre show documentary, is a mix coming from different people, at different places, on different occasions. The Church quotes archbishop Dark Globe, who has scrutinized the movie before:
There's footage of Syd larking around in a garden with friends in 67, the 'lilac shirt' footage of Syd (late 67/68?) in which Lyndsay Korner also appears, and the blue suit/yellow ruffled shirt footage of Syd in the woods with two girls (Iggy and a mystery brunette) from 69.
The home movie footage is multilayered and you can catch glimpses of different footage superimposed on top of the main footage.
During the bit of Syd in the woods with Iggy, there's some footage of Syd with an acoustic guitar (at least that's what I can see). The flashbacks movie only shows tantalising glimpses of the Syd home movie footage. (taken from Late Night.)
The home movie snippets are used twice in the Knebworth documentary.
The documentary starts with Pink (Langley Iddens) pouring a glass of wine. For the next 39 seconds several vintage clips, taking no longer than a couple of frames, will be intercepted with shots from the actor. The first home movie scenes have already ended when the documentary is just one minute old. The main bunch seems to be filmed at a garden party.
The second home movie scenes arrive about 10 minutes later and will go on for 42 seconds. The main footage has Syd walking in a park with Iggy and a mysterious brunette, Syd and Iggy climbing trees, the two woman running hand in hand, Syd acting funny with a stick in his hand… The park footage is intercepted a few times by other home movies from other occasions…
Part 1: Garden fun – blowing bubbles
Several garden shots have been used in this compilation. There is a scene with a girl on a swing, people blowing soap bubbles and generally having fun, Syd eating a - very hard to spot - banana…
The Church tried to identify the people in the movie with the help of the worldwide web, posting screenshots at several anorak fora, and Dark Globe took it upon him to show these pictures to David Gale and Matthew Scurfield after a reading at the City Wakes festival this year.
|It could be that screenshots 1 and 2 depict the same person. She remained unidentified until Dark Globe showed the pics to David Gale who recognised picture 2 as ‘Hester’. Barrett fan julianindica could narrow this down to Hester Page. Hester Page gets mentioned in the Syd Barrett biography by Julian Palacios, aptly called Lost In The Woods, as part of the 101 Cromwell Rd incrowd. That two-storey flat in Kensington was the place for many Cantabrigians to sleep, meet and greet. Syd Barrett and Lindsay Korner lived there for a while and Pink Floyd used the place to rehearse (much to the annoyance of painter Duggie Fields). It was also somewhat of an LSD epicentre and a ‘critical nexus for Underground activities of every shade and stripe’.|
|This man is David Gale. To quote his own words at the City Wakes – it’s the hooter that gives me away. Gale was a schoolmate of David Gilmour and a friend of Syd. In 1965 David’s parents went to Australia for a 6-month period leaving the house and its garden in the safe hands of their son. It didn’t take long before the Cambridge jeunesse would meet there and there is a chance that the first part of the Syd Barrett Home Movie has indeed been shot in the garden of David Gale’s parents. Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon and Storm Thorgerson had film cameras so one of them may have shot the footage (NLG made the iniquitous Syd’s First Trip movie where David Gale can be seen). It was also at David Gale’s place that Syd Barrett had a cosmically encounter wit a plum, an orange and a matchbox, as witnessed by Storm Thorgerson who would later use this for a record sleeve and for a concert movie.|
|David Gale and Matthew Scurfield identify the girl on a swing as Lyndsay Corner.|
Part 2: the Lost In The Woods footage
When Syd and Iggy are walking in the woods a face is superimposed. It is Mick Rock who has (perhaps) shot the movie. Iggy is wearing the same necklace as on the Madcap Laughs photo sessions and (perhaps) the same clothes. Syd however has another shirt than in the Psychedelic Renegades book.
The Lost In The Woods scenes have been edited on the Knebworth documentary and carry parts from at least 3 other home movies.
Syd and another man walking & talking in a garden in front of a house. Identity Unknown.
|Syd and a girl blowing bubbles in a park. Identity unknown.|
|Close-up of Lyndsay Korner (in a park).|
3 people can be identified on the Lost In The Woods movie: Syd, Iggy and Mick Rock. In several shots with Iggy and Syd we see a second woman, the mysterious brunette, whose identity we don’t know yet.
Update: on second thought, she could be Hester Page (see first picture above), although it is a wild guess.
JenS, however concludes that the girl is not Hester Page. Gretta Barclay does not recognise her either: "I do not recognise the brunette –the name Jennie Gordon came to mind, but in truth, I simply have no idea of who she is."
Pop-art painter Duggie Fields, who still lives in the same apartment, and Mick Rock have testified that Iggy only stayed at Syd’s place for a couple of weeks. When Mick Rock showed Syd the pictures of the photo sessions for the cover of The Madcap Laughs she was already long gone…. According to Duggie Fields, a homeless and drug-addicted couple, Greta and Rusty, took the vacant place, much to the aggravation of the painter who had to bring Greta to the hospital after an overdose.
Update: in an exclusive interview to the Church Margaretta Barclay absolutely denies the above. Please consult: Gretta Speaks.
Neither Mick Rock nor Storm Thorgerson give the exact date when The Madcap Laughs photo shoot was made: the closest thing they can come up with is Autumn 1969. Syd Barrett and David Gilmour met at the studio on the 6th of October to sort out the running order of the album. Other studio work, that didn’t need Syd’s presence, was done the same month: banding the LP master (9 October) and cutting the LP (16 October). After hearing the master Malcolm Jones ordered a recut early in November. The record was officially released on the second of January 1970.
Malcolm Jones recounts:
One day in October or November I had cause to drop in at Syd's flat on my way home to leave him a tape of the album, and what I saw gave me quite a start. In anticipation of the photographic session for the sleeve, Syd had painted the bare floorboards of his room orange and purple. Up until then the floor was bare, with Syd's few possessions mostly on the floor; hi-fi, guitar, cushions, books and paintings. In fact the room was much as appears on the original 'Madcap' sleeve. Syd was well pleased with his days work and I must say it made a fine setting for the session due to take place.
Based on this information most anoraks radiocarbon the photo shoot date in the second half of October, although November is also a possibility. The Lost In The Woods home move with Syd, Mick, Iggy and the mysterious brunette can thus be pinpointed to that period.
Update: the above (photo shoot date) appears to be wrong. It is pretty sure that Iggy left Syd in April 1969. Further analysis of the Madcap pictures show that several details point to spring 1969, rather than autumn. For a complete report please consult: Anoraks and Pontiacs.
Sources (other than the above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 141.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 13.
Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree, London, 1998, p. 241.
Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 154-158.
Rock - Paper - Scissors
Ig's close encounters of the photographical kind were not limited to the Anthony Stern triptych series alone. She can be found as well on the cover of the Syd Barrett album The Madcap Laughs, still available in any qualitative cd-shop what means that it is a hell of a job to actually find it. But on top of her picture you get some decent music as well what is a rather nice bargain.
Storm Thorgerson from the arty farty collective Hipgnosis claims he shot the cover, although Mick Rock more or less hints the same. Both photographers were present at the same place on the same day for the same purpose. Rock writes that he was asked by Syd Barrett to do the shoot and that Storm agreed to take him on in the team.
Syd asked me to take the pictures. We had talked about the shoot for a while, and the day before it happened I told Storm from Hipgnosis, so he came along because they were putting the package together.
Thorgerson probably was despatched by Harvest director and Barrett producer ad interim Malcolm Jones and has stated that another photographer was present as well but that he didn't know what the fuck he was doing there, although in a slightly more diplomatic way:
Friend and photographer Mick Rock, later famous for his Bowie photos amongst many others, also came on this photo session, but I can’t remember why. I think it was to help me, which seems ironic given his subsequent lensmanship and success in the rock business.
It surely was one of Rock’s pics that was put - uncredited - on the back sleeve of the Barrett (his second solo) album. For the third release, a repackaging of the two previous ones, aptly called Syd Barrett, some other shots from that day in April 1969 were used, but it is not certain if these came from Rock's second-hand Pentax 35mm camera, bought from that other Hipgnosis team member Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell, or from Storm Thorgerson who also claims he used a 35mm for the job. (Although his favourite camera at that time was a Hasselblad 500 c, as used for the Floyd’s Ummagumma cover a couple of months later).
There will always be an enigma surrounding the cover shoot of The Madcap Laughs. The 1978 book Walk Away René (The Work of Hipgnosis) contains a detailed description of every picture in the book, except for… The Madcap Laughs. Unfortunately Storm’s negatives have been lost, so there will never be a Psychedelic Renegades from his hand.
Psychedelic Renegades, and then we finally get to the subject of this blog entry, is the photo book Mick Rock made in 2002. The first edition, by Genesis, had 320 copies autographed by R.K. Barrett that are worth a small fortune nowadays. In 2007 a regular edition was published by Plexus Books (European edition) and Gingko (for the USA).
There is a possibility that the Mick Rock photo shoot took more than one day. The pictures in his apartment were taken, together with Storm Thorgerson. The outside pictures date (perhaps) from the next day. Nobody can be really sure and Rock isn’t the most reliable witness to say the least. On page 18 he writes:
We shot The Madcap Laughs in the autumn of 1969 and I don’t think that Syd and Duggie Fields had been living in the flat that long.
The above is a contradiction as Syd moved in the apartment end 1968, furthermore the research of JenS, who was a friend of Syd and Ig, shows that the pictures were probably taken in April of 1969. Rock also states that:
Syd’s car was a conspicuously bright pink Pontiac Parisienne convertible.
However the few colour pictures of the car show it was (midnight) blue. But the Church will no longer go further in this matter, if you want you can read all about in some previous posts, for instance When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2).
About 20 pictures of the book show us a glimpse of Ig, who is described by Rock as follows…
Known only as Iggy, the half-Eskimo girl had momentarily made her way into Syd’s life, and flat, at the time when these photos were taken. Though not part of the original shoot plan, Iggy was an intriguing accomplice. With no job and little to call her own, Iggy epitomised the free natured spirit of the psychedelic underground.
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is very proud to announce you 3 new
Street Life, black & white pictures of Iggy in front of the house and car.
Bare Flat, colour pictures of Iggy, walking around in the nude and posing on the background in Syd's apartment.
Rock Bottom, black & white nude study of Ig.
Most pictures have been cropped to emphasize the Eskimo girl, in reality this means that Syd Barrett has been cut out a lot. Those interested in the non-cropped versions can try their luck at Neptune Pink Floyd, other Pink Floyd related sites or - even better - purchase Mick Rock's excellent Psychedelic Renegades book. All pictures © Mick Rock.
Notes (other than internet links mentioned above):
Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 18, p. 20, p. 23, p. 46.
Thorgerson, Storm: Mind Over Matter, Sanctuary Publishing, London, 2003, p. 204.
Feel free to add your own comments, theories and rumours at the Iggy forum.
A Bay of Hope
To all our sistren and brethren, hail! Might you wonder if the Church is dead the answer is clear and simple: no! The Church is contemplating its path and went into an early hibernation to, as the French say, reculer pour mieux sauter.
One of the main occupations of any holy man is to study the scriptures and that is what we have been doing so far. The next post is very academic and thus, by definition, boring, although it starts rather user-friendly.
Last week a professional rock memorabilia seller put some pictures for sale that he described as:
SYD BARRETT FOUNDING MEMBER OF PINK FLOYD
4 X ORIGINAL MICK ROCK PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AND PRINTED IN 1974 SHOWING SYD IN HIS FLAT WITH PAINTED BOARDS,
EARLY MICK ROCK PHOTOS ARE NEAR IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND AND NOW HE PRINTS PHOTOS AT 1000 POUNDS PER PHOTO.
THESE ARE ORIGINAL 6 X 4 ICHES PRINTED BEFORE MICK ROCK BECAME FAMOUS, LONG AFTER SYD WHO WAS ALREADY FAMOUS.
The 4 prints show Syd Barrett in his apartment and date from The Madcap Laughs photo sessions where both Mick Rock and Storm Thorgerson showed up.
The Church has created some controversy concerning the date of the photo shoot. It has been published in most biographies that the pictures were taken in the autumn of 1969, but JenS, who was a Cantabrigian friend of Syd Barrett and knew Ig as well, pointed out that the pictures were probably taken in spring. The Church further narrowed the date of the photo shoot to the week between the 14th and the 21st of April 1969, and certainly not 1974 as the seller wrote.
The account of the photo shoot also differs from the point of view of who is telling the story. Storm Thorgerson claims that he shot the sleeve of The Madcap Laughs, but – certainly, in the past - Mick Rock hinted that he was behind it all.
An unconfirmed story goes that Mick Rock was taking pictures on behalf of Hipgnosis and gave his film rolls to Storm Thorgerson who developed and used some of the pictures for The Madcap Laughs record sleeve.
It takes a rascal to recognise another one. Mick Rock kept some negatives in his back pocket and forgot these until he could show off with his own little private project called Psychedelic Renegades. (In retrospect this wasn’t a bad thing as Storm Thorgerson has apparently lost all the negatives he had in his possession.)
When, a couple of years ago, probably at The Other Room exhibition, a fan asked Mick Rock to autograph the sleeve picture of The Madcap Laughs he mysteriously grinned and said something like ‘I can’t sign pictures that weren’t taken by me, can I?’ and it still isn’t sure if his comment was ironic or not.
The Church looks at its flock in awe and admiration, which is in shrill contrast with those other religions that take their believers for total nincompoops, and the Reverend will let you decide for yourself after only a tiny amount of brainwashing.
On the Madcap Laughs shooting day several photo series were made. The series of Mick Rock may have taken two consecutive days instead of one, but nobody, not even Rock himself, remembers it very well.
THE MICK ROCK COLLECTION
Outside pictures (B&W)
¤ Syd on and around his car, sometimes with Ig.
¤ Syd & Ig on the pavement.
¤ Syd with guitar case and guitar.
These black and white pictures show Syd and Ig in front of the house. Syd is sitting on, standing next, leaning against the car, claimed by Mick Rock to be a pink Pontiac, while it was naturalmente blue. On some pictures Syd wears a necklace, on others apparently not. Some cut-outs of these pictures can be found in our Street Life gallery.
Inside pictures (colour)
¤ Syd with (naked) Iggy.
Syd wears a brown jacket, a yellow shirt, and reddish trousers. These are about the same clothes as on the outside session (the shirt may be different). Some cut-outs of these pictures can be found in our gallery: Bare Flat.
¤ Syd without Iggy.
Syd with blue tie-dyed t-shirt, red trousers, necklace and daffodils. No shoes. Other pictures have him sitting on the mattress, drinking coffee.
¤ Syd kneeling shirtless on the floor.
¤ Syd and his record player.
Barrett is shirtless, wears his red trousers, has the necklace (at least in one picture). Should you care to know, the record player in his room is a Garrard SP25 MK2 (thanks mrlimbo!) and the record on the player is from the soul label Direction, a subsidiary of CBS (thanks infantair!). (Information grabbed from Late Night.)
A few of these pictures appear on the inner sleeve of the double album Syd Barrett, but none have been directly credited to Mick Rock (the credits go to Blackhill, Lupus, SKR and Hipgnosis).
Inside pictures (B&W)
¤ Syd with record player and trimphone.
¤ Syd sitting on mattress.
Syd is wearing a tie or a scarf, a tie-dyed t-shirt and a different pair of trousers (dark with rows of lighter spots). A newspaper and a trimphone are lying next to the mattress. The record player has got a different record (the one with the Direction label is lying (unprotected) underneath another one). There is no sign of Iggy in this series.
¤ Iggy nude study.
The (in)famous series of Ig. No sign of Syd here. This series can be found in our gallery: Rock Bottom.
(The Lost in The Woods home movie, probably made by Mick Rock, has Syd walking around in a yellow shirt and blue jacket and trousers. For completists: the yellow shirt is not the same as the one he is wearing on some of pictures.)
THE HIPGNOSIS COLLECTION
The only way to consult the Hipgnosis archives is to wade through record sleeves and the books from Storm Thorgerson, as most of the negatives have been misplaced through the years.
The best overview of Storm’s pictures on that day can be found on the inner sleeve of the compilation album Syd Barrett that appeared in 1974. Thorgerson has the following to say about its cover: "I made up the design from photos already taken at The Madcap Laughs session and added special insignia."
Outside pictures (colour)
¤ Syd leaning against car (with guitar case).
¤ Syd sitting on car.
Storm Thorgerson took a few colour pictures during the outside sessions. One of these pictures was used for the cover of A Nice Pair (Pink Floyd compilation album, that has had different editions with slightly different covers). Another picture can be found on the following Church page: When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2).
¤ The yoga session.
Syd sitting shirtless and shoeless on the floor and showing his gymnastic skills.
Until now we only knew the pictures that were used for The Madcap Laughs and for the Crazy Diamond CD compilation.
¤ The Madcap Laughs front.
Syd, shoeless, in blue shirt and pink trousers crouching (daffodils in front of him). A bigger version of this photograph can be found on Crazy Diamond. (See also: Stormy Pictures.)
¤ The Madcap Laughs back.
Syd with yellow shirt and necklace (in red trousers) with Ig leaning artistically on the chair. A bigger version of this photograph can be found on Crazy Diamond.
¤ Syd in brown jacket, sitting on the floor. Ig walking towards the
¤ Syd with a toy aeroplane (and daffodils) in front of him.
This last picture can also be found on A Nice Pair, but not on the edition that has the Syd Barrett car picture (several version of the Nice Pair sleeve do exist, as you have figured out by now).
According to the above information the four pictures that were sold on eBay belong to the Hipgnosis collection and not to Mick Rock.
1. Picture one is the famous Madcap Laughs front-sleeve but in its
2. The second picture, with Syd and a toy aeroplane, has also been published before, but this version is not cropped and shows more of the surrounding room.
3 & 4. Pictures 3 and 4 have been unknown until now and have never been published before.
The four pictures were sold for a mere 127.00 £. The Church duly hopes that the buyer is an authentic fan who will share hi-res scans with the Barrett community.
The seller of the pictures has previously sold one other Syd Barrett photo from the same session. It was un unknown picture of Syd sitting on his Pontiac, taking away, once and for all, the rumours that his car was bright pink. The Reverend wonders if claytonpriory still has other pictures to sell, perhaps with Ig on the background, although it is of course regrettable that the collection is divided and sold in separate pieces.
Did this post confuse you?
It confused the Reverend as well, especially when he found out that one picture, entitled to Mick Rock, actually needs to be credited to Hipgnosis. Or is it the other way round? That will be discussed in a later post.
Until then, my brethren and sistren, live long and prosper and don’t do anything what Ig wouldn’t have done.
Sources (other than the above internet links):
Thorgerson, Storm: Mind Over Matter, Sanctuary Publishing, London, 2003, p. 204.
A new gallery, called StormWatch has been made and contains the Madcap pictures, made by Storm Thorgerson and discussed in this entry. (This gallery will be further updated in the following days.)
A Bay of Hope (update)
In the previous post at the Church the Reverend tried to catalogue the different pictures that were made in Syd Barrett’s flat for the so-called The Madcap Laughs sessions.
It is believed that the session took place in April 1969. Two photographers arrived at the same day at Barrett’s apartment. They both took pictures while Barrett was posing, sitting on the floor of his flat, while Iggy, a friend, a groupie or a temporary muse was walking around in the nude. None of the boys seemed to be distracted by that. The Sixties were strange days indeed.
That is why there is a certain similarity between the pictures from Storm Thorgerson (Hipgnosis) and Mick Rock. It has also been hinted that Mick Rock gave some of his film rolls to Storm Thorgerson for further use as he apparently thought he had been hired for the job. The stuff they were smoking was still good in those days.
Dixit Rock one of his pictures appeared (uncredited) on the Barrett (solo) album and also the inner sleeve from the Syd Barrett compilation shows several Mick Rock pictures. Mick Rock would later occasionally work for Hipgnosis and if the Reverend remembers it well the portraits of Pink Floyd that can be found on Meddle are his work (although you won’t find that story in Thorgerson’s Mind Over Matter compendium).
Dark Globe spoke to Storm Thorgerson about the cover of The Madcap Laughs (probably at Borders, Cambridge):
I once had a chat with Storm at one of his exhibitions, where I mentioned that many people thought that Mick Rock photographed the Madcap cover. He expressed a mild annoyance that anyone would think so.
He then jokingly signed my copy of his book 'NOT Mick Rock, but Storm Thorgerson'.
When I asked if he would consider publishing a book of his Syd photos, he told me the originals were all lost. It was clearly a subject he didn't want to discuss so I didn't ask any more about it. I've since read interviews with him where he says he doesn't like talking about Syd. Which is fair enough. (Taken from: ‘New’ Mick Rock Syd photos?)
Beate S. had a similar experience, but with Mick Rock, when she wanted him to sign the cover of The Madcap Laughs album at Borders, Cambridge (also on the 1st of November 2008):
[Mick Rock] said something like "Can't very well sign something I didn't do, can I", grinned a bit shy and flipped through the little booklet and signed. I can't remember the words exactly… but he was not ironic at all, just telling the truth.
Later that same evening Beate had a chance to talk again to the photographer:
He was indeed serious about the cover not being his, no doubt about that. Later that evening at the party when we found out he was a really nice bloke, I admit I did not of course inquire any further as that would have been very rude in the setting. (Bea S., Mick Rock signing, email, 2 November, 2009.)
It is also possible that some of the photo sessions by Rock and Thorgerson were made on a later date. Mick seems to remember that he might have come back another day to do some extra shots, and there is also the Lost In The Woods home video, shot by Mick Rock, with Syd, Ig and a mysterious brunette. When the photographer came back a few weeks later to show Syd the pictures Iggy was gone and Syd’s mind was far further away than ever.
Storm Thorgerson was also a close friend of Syd, a friendship dating from their Cambridge days, and he may have visited him on other occasions as well. Perhaps Storm took some photos later in the year and maybe this is how the legend came into place that The Madcap Laughs photo session was made after summer.
But this is of course all speculation and memories have become quite blurry through the mist of time.
The Church regards the Thorgerson versus Rock controversy as settled and until no further images miraculously appear this subject is considered closed. The Storm Watch gallery on this blog has been updated with some new pictures and one Thorgerson picture that had sneaked into the Mick Rock Bare Flat gallery has been identified as such (that same gallery also has been updated with another hi-res scan).
And now make place for some important theological matters. In the past the Reverend has addressed the believers on this blog with brethren, using this term for all believers whether they were male, female or all things in between.
At a recent congress of our arctic coven (and beyond) it was uttered that brethren is an archaic form destined for men only and that our female followers should be addressed accordingly. The arctic coven unanimously voted to use the term sistren (up against brothress) and the highest level of our church authority has now approved their plea.
Most of the texts on this blog have now been updated and the believers will be alternately addressed as sistren and brethren or brethren and sistren. These archaic plural forms will also be used to designate one single member, as in the next example: Ig was our first skyclad sistren after all, wearing her uniform with pride.
The Church has got quite a few new projects in the pipeline as people from all over the Globe are suggesting subjects and people to talk to. The next article will probably delve deeper into the Cromwellian days. The Church managed to trace back one of the people who worked at the club and some memories might be published here shortly.
So until the Reverend has got something new to summon he blesses you, sistren and brethren, and don’t do anything that Ig wouldn’t have done.
The Case of the Painted Floorboards
In The Purloined Letter (1845) from Edgar Allan Poe dozens of intelligence officers search a room to recuperate some blackmailing material but they fail to locate it. Enters C. Auguste Dupin, probably the very first detective in fiction, who simply picks the letter from a card-rack. It had never been concealed but as the policemen had been looking for a hidden object they never cared to check the paper, lying out in the open.
When the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit started its mission it was generally believed that The Madcap Laughs photo shoot had taken place in the autumn of 1969.
Mainly because every Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett related book said so and - for over 30 years of time - nobody had ever cared to check the facts. (Also Rob Chapman's A Very Irregular Head biography, that has just appeared a couple of days ago, situates the floor paint job and thus the photo shoot somewhere between August and November 1969.)
Of course the witnesses saying that the shoot had taken place in the last quarter of 1969 were quite privileged authorities on the life and works of Barrett and thus their testimonies had never been questioned (and as we will reveal later, their comments may be - partly - true).
Malcolm Jones was the Harvest manager who partly produced Barrett's first solo album and who wrote an acclaimed (for Syd fans anyway) book about these sessions.
One day in October or November (1969, FA) I had cause to drop in at Syd's flat on my way home to leave him a tape of the album, and what I saw gave me quite a start. In anticipation of the photographic session for the sleeve, Syd had painted the bare floorboards of his room orange and purple. (…) Syd was well pleased with his days work and I must say it made a fine setting for the session due to take place.
And in his Psychedelic Renegades book Mick Rock writes:
We shot The Madcap Laughs in the autumn of 1969 and I don’t think that Syd and Duggie Fields had been living in the flat that long. (…) Soon after Syd moved in he painted alternation floor boards orange and turquoise.
The above sentences contains a contradiction, although Mick Rock probably isn't (wasn't) aware of that. Syd Barrett, Duggie Fields and a third tenant called Jules moved in the apartment in January 1969 (perhaps December 1968) and certainly not later. A while later Jules was kicked out because he didn't pay the rent.
Duggie Fields recalls in The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story that the floorboards were painted 'quite quickly' after they had moved in and said in the Mojo Madcap issue:
When Jules left Iggy came soon after and she wasn't there for long. Jenny Spires (Syd's ex) brought her round. Iggy was just around, she didn't officially live here.
JenS has indeed confirmed to the Church: "I took her (Iggy) to Wetherby Mansions in January 1969. " (Did the Reverend ever tell that it was thanks to biographer Julian Palacios that the Church got in contact with her?)
It is hard to remember things after 40 years, and even harder to pinpoint an exact date for certain events, but JenS certainly wasn't in England anymore in April as she had left for America, and by then the floor boards had already been painted. "When Syd and Gretta et al went to The Isle of Wight Trina - Gretta's sister - and I were in America and heading for the Woodstock Rock Festival."
Also Iggy (or Evelyn, in her interview with the Croydon Guardian) and Margaretta Barclay (in her interviews with the Church) remember the painted floorboards. But opinions differ whether the floor boards were painted with a photo session in mind or not.
Just like several (tiny) details in the pictures haven given away the possible shooting date, the answer may lie in the pictures themselves. What most people, including the Reverend, have neglected to do for the last 40 years was to look for the obvious. Not so for Late Night member and Syd Barrett collector Dark Globe:
After reading Jenny Spires's claim that the floorboards were painted when Syd moved into the flat, long before the Madcap photo session, I had another look at some of the photos. (…)
The 'smoking gun' for me is the can of paint and paintbrush which appears in one of the Madcap session photos: this would imply that the floorboards had only been painted recently.
Of course, it could be that he was only 'topping them up' but it certainly looks like he (and maybe Iggy) had done some painting close to the session.
The photographic evidence is there. The Mick Rock pictures from Syd Barrett's room not only reveal that parts of the floor had not been painted yet but also show that a can of (blue) paint and a big paintbrush are hiding next to Syd's mattress, together with a coffee mug and an empty wine glass.
At least two Storm Thorgerson pictures from that spring day show the paint can as well. The booklet of the Crazy Diamond Syd Barrett box shows the (partly cut off) can at the left side of the picture and the print of the so-called toy plane picture that was sold on eBay in November last year has it in full. It is a pity that only a very small image of this print exists and that its owner, if (s)he is aware of its existence, still hasn't donated some hi-res scans to the Syd Barrett community.
Whilst Mick Rock was at it he also took some 'nude study' pictures from Iggy but this time the Reverend will not get exited over her churrigueresque features but over her dirty feet. Her feet are black (or should that be: blue?) and probably she had been walking barefoot over the wet paint.
Stating the obvious is difficult when one is too concentrated on a subject. Church member Banjer and Sax found a simple explanation why painting a floor in two different colours will take several days or even weeks:
Maybe it took several days to complete the job, more than two days, and they would not necessarily have to have been consecutive days. So maybe days passed or even months passed between different phases of floor painting. It seems like it could have been difficult to do both colours at the same time.
The logical thing to do is indeed wait for the first colour to dry before starting the second colour. But the mystery of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot only gets bigger and, as usual, Dark Globe is to blame:
There was more than one photo shoot though. A second photo shoot (not by Mick Rock, but by Storm Thorgerson, FA) shows Syd doing yoga and posing in front of one of his paintings. The floorboards are painted in these photos so they were probably taken sometime after the session with Iggy. Syd's hair is a noticeably longer in these photos too.
These pictures were used by Hipgnosis for the cover of the vinyl compilation Syd Barrett. It is obvious that they were taken on a later date: the floor seems to be completely painted, but also the room has been reorganised. While the far left corner on the daffodil session pictures is empty it suddenly contains some canvas and paint during the yoga session pictures.
The Church already hinted in a previous post:
Perhaps Storm took some photos later in the year and maybe this is how the legend came into place that The Madcap Laughs photo session was made after summer.
This is not as far-fetched as it seems.
Mick Rock states: "This '69 session was specifically done for Syd's first solo album, The Madcap Laughs" and Storm Thorgerson more or less claims that Hipgnosis had been summoned by record company Harvest to do the cover.
But if the daffodil photo shoot really took place, as proposed by the Church between the 14th and 21st of April 1969, Syd Barrett had only been at two, maximum three, recording sessions for the album. (If only we could find out the date of the newspaper lying next to Barrett's bed?)
It is hard to believe that Harvest would approach Hipgnosis after three studio sessions, especially as Syd Barrett was still regarded as a liability. Between May and July of the previous year Barrett had wasted eight recording sessions and basically EMI had given up. Peter Jenner:
It was chaos…. (…) There were always these tantalising glimpses and that was what kept you going. (…) I think we just came to the conclusion that we weren't getting anywhere.
So although the April 10 and 11 sessions of 1969 had been very promising (and the one on the 17th as well) it is unlikely that the managing director of Harvest was already thinking he had chart material. And quite rightly so, because the fourth session was disastrous and has been used in books and articles to emphasize Syd's lunatic behaviour. And it wasn't getting better...
Different people tell different stories but the bottom line is that less than a month after the first (April 1969) session Malcolm Jones simply gave up. David Gilmour, who took over the producer seat in June, maintains until today that he was asked to salvage the sessions from the dustbin, although Malcolm Jones has tried to minimise this and claimed that the Madcap project had not really been shelved.
It was already August 1969 when the Cantabrigian Pink Floyd members started (stereo) mixing the tapes, and as the band had a busy schedule and wanted to have some holidays as well, it would take until October for the master tapes to be ready. Now here is what the Reverend calls a moment for the record company to commission a sleeve.
Summer 1969. Harvest hotshots ask Hipgnosis to design a sleeve for the album that is in its final mix. Storm Thorgerson goes to Syd's flat to take the so-called yoga-shots, but decides later, for whatever reason, to use the (Mick Rock influenced) daffodil-shots instead. (Probably when Thorgerson presented the sleeve to Harvest, he didn't tell that the pictures came really from a photo shoot earlier in the year. That's how we know Storm.)
A legend is born.
We leave the last word to JenS who was so friendly to contact us again:
It's truly astonishing about the floor! All I can say is the floor had already been painted when I arrived. (January 1969, FA) There were parts of the room unfinished in the bay window and to the right hand corner of the room and fireplace where Syd's bed was originally and where Iggy is poised on the stool. I guess they must have had to paint these remaining bits before the shoot. They may also of course given it a second, more refreshing coat for the shoot. Interesting, bit by bit a more accurate picture is emerging.
To accompany this article a new gallery has been uploaded: Paintbox.
Sources (other than the above internet links):
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 235.
Drummond, Paul: In My Room, Mojo 196, March 2010, p. 82. The complete Mojo article can be downloaded quite legally and for free at the official Syd Barrett website: direct link to the scanned pdf document.
Fields, Duggie interview in: The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story, DVD UK Ltd 2005.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 13.
Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 136, p. 138.
Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 18-19, p. 58. The paint can pictures can be found at pages 72, 76, 83 and 84. Iggy's dirty feet on page 69.
Thanks to Dark Globe, Banjer and Sax and JenS.