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2009-01-24

When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)

Iggy by Mick Rock
Iggy by Mick Rock.
Hello, I would like to try and clarify a couple of things about Ig.
She was a girlfriend of mine.

The above message reached the Reverend a couple of weeks ago. It was written by JenS, a Cambridge friend of Roger Keith Barrett. She is the one who introduced Iggy to the Pink Floyd founder exactly 40 years ago.

What follows is her rendition, as told exclusively to The Church of Iggy the Inuit, and now published for the first time. Her rememberings are only slightly edited here and there and re-arranged a bit per subject. Some explanatory notes have been added.

Meeting Iggy

I first met Ig in the summer of 1966. I saw her again in spring 1967 at Biba. She admired a dress I was wearing and invited me to a party that night. From then on we used to go clubbing. She was a lovely, sweet, funny girl and was always on the scene at gigs and events.

Biba, where Iggy first met JenS, was without doubt the single most important boutique of London. The shop features in the IN Gear documentary that also has Iggy.

The first really important customer to favour Biba was Cathy McGowan, the Ready Steady Go! presenter who (…) quickly made a new Biba dress a staple of her weekly wardrobe for the show.

This meant that every Saturday morning ‘teenage girls from all over the London area would race over to Abingdon Road and the piles of new, inexpensive clothes that awaited them’.

Ig was not known as Iggy the Eskimo.
She was simply Ig or Iggy and probably picked up the nickname along the way at school or something. I think she was a Londoner.
She was quite a lot older than us and had been around a while on the London Club scene. She invited me once to a party with Dusty Springfield and crew. Later she started hanging out at Granny’s (Granny Takes A Trip, FA) and turning up at UFO.
Update 2011: It was revealed in March 2011 that Iggy is born in December 1947, making her a bit younger than Syd Barrett. See The Mighty Queen.

One important player in Dusty Springfield’s crew was Vicki Heather Wickman, who managed Dusty and co-wrote You don’t have to say you love me that became a number one hit in 1966. Vicky had been a booker-writer-editor-producer of the weekly Ready Steady Go! shows for many years. Dusty Springfield herself had been a (part-time) presenter of the RSG!-show and that is probably where she met her future manager (Update: not quite true - they knew each other from 1962 and even shared a flat together, see also From Dusty till Dawn).

Wickham and her team ‘scoured the trendiest clubs looking for good dancers and stylish dressers to showcase’. The Church has a hunch feeling that Iggy may have been – during a certain period at least – a regular at the RSG! Show, especially as she was spotted, in November 1966, at an RSG!-party by New Musical Express (cfr. article: Bend It!).

It will be a ginormous work but the Church is planning to scrutinise several Ready Steady Go! tapes from that period to see if Iggy can be found in the public or amongst the dancers.

Iggy’s Parents

After our hypothesis that Iggy was probably not Inuit (cfr. article: Eskimono), the Church received several mails trying to string Iggy’s features to a certain culture. One of the countries that keep on popping up is Singapore that was a British colony between 1824 and 1959. Here is what JenS has to say about Iggy's heritage:

I have no idea about who her parents were. She was a war baby and may have been Chinese. There was a large Chinese community in London at the time. Of course Ig the Eskimo is an easy assumption to make. Anyway, I don't think I can help any further as I never discussed it with her.

Meeting Syd

Iggy became a Floydian icon when she posed on Syd Barrett's first solo album The Madcap Laughs, but most witnesses only describe her as one of Syd's two-week-girlfriends. JenS acknowledges this:

I took Ig to Wetherby Mansions in January or February 1969 where she met Syd Barrett. He was 22 and she must have been about 24, 25 years old.
The point is she was never Syd's girlfriend as in a ‘relationship’ with him. She was only at Wetherby Mansons very briefly, a matter of two or three weeks max.
I've not seen her since but often wondered where she is.

Syd’s Appartement

Syd painted the floor of his flat in blue and orange before The Madcap Laughs photo shoot, but did he do that especially for the photo shoot?

I was staying with Syd between the New Year and March '69. I hadn’t seen much of him since the summer of 1968 'til then.
Anyway, at that time, the floor was already painted blue and orange and I remember thinking how good it looked on the Madcap album cover later on when the album was released. I didn’t see Syd again though until 1971, so it stands to reason the floor was already done when I left.

Mick Rock wrote: "Soon after Syd moved in he painted alternating floor boards orange and turquoise." This doesn’t imply that it was especially done for the photo session.

In an interview for the BBC Omnibus documentary Crazy Diamond (November 2001) painter Duggie Fields said that Syd painted the floor soon after he occupied the flat, not that it was done on purpose for the photo shoot.


MP3 link: Duggie Fields.

The Madcap Laughs Photo Shoot

It has been assumed by Mick Rock that The Madcap Laughs photo shoot was held in the autumn of 1969 (cfr. article:Love In The Woods)

The floor (of Syd’s flat) was not painted prior to, or especially for, the Madcap photo shoot, which took place in March or April of 1969 and not October as has been suggested.
I left for the States in March 1969 and Iggy stayed on at the flat with Syd and Duggie (Fields) and there seemed to be other dropouts around from time to time.
Ig happened to be there still when the shoot came about, which was great because we have such a good record of her.

and:

I introduced Iggy to Syd shortly before I left, and she was around when I left. She wasn’t there for long and generally moved around a lot to different friends. It’s very doubtful she was still there in October or November 1969. She just happened to be there for Mick’s photo shoot, which is great because she was lovely girl.

This is apparently in contradiction with Malcolm Jones who wrote in The Making Of The Madcap Laughs:

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.

JenS further comments:

I remember reading this once before and being puzzled. It would seem he’s talking about 1969. But which tape was he leaving? The 1968 sessions or the recuts (from 1969, FA)? It would seem he’s talking about the recut. It’s a bit confusing especially to me as the floor was painted, definitely before Christmas 1968.
The Madcap Laughs photo session had to be in the spring of 1969, probably it occurred the first week in March. Storm and Mick say they can only come up with the dates of August, or even October, November. This may have been when they came together to look at the shots for the cover, in other words when it was known the album would definitely be released and decisions on the cover had to be made.

Part 2 of JenS's chronicle will further delve into the legendary Madcap Laughs photo sessions, pinpointing the date somewhere in April 1969.


Sources (other than 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.
Levy, Shawn: Ready Steady Go!, Broadway Books, New York, 2003, p. 112, p.194-195.
Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 23, p. 58.

Our thanks go to Barrett alumni Stumbling... (aka Beate S.) and Lost In The Woods (aka Julian Palacios) from the Syd Barrett Research Society who made this encounter possible... and to JenS for her invaluable testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969.

2009-01-30

When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2)

Daffodils
Daffodils.
Hello, I would like to try and clarify a couple of things about Ig.
She was a girlfriend of mine.

In January or early February 1969, a mutual friend introduced Iggy to Syd Barrett, the rock star who had left Pink Floyd. To celebrate the fortieth birthday of this event The Holy Church of Inuit brings you an exclusive rendition of what happened, as told by JenS, who knew Barrett in his Cambridge and London days.

In the first part of this article When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1), JenS recollected how she met Iggy and how she introduced the girl to Syd. In the second part she reconstructs the photo shoot from The Madcap Laughs, Barrett’s first solo album.

Introduction

1. It is generally believed that The Madcap Laughs photo sessions, by Storm Thorgerson and Mick Rock, took place in the autumn of 1969, a couple of weeks after the album was cut and a short time before it hit the shelves of the record stores (see Stormy Pictures).

2. It is generally believed that Iggy has only been living in Syd’s apartment for two or three weeks maximum, during which the famous photo sessions took place, before disappearing completely from the scene. In our previous article JenS situates this in February or March 1969.

The problem is that there is at least a six months gap between both dates. JenS however has some strong points favouring her theory.

Daffodils and Pontiacs

Storm Thorgerson probably shot the cover of The Madcap Laughs early in the year because, according to JenS:

If you look at the vase of flowers next to Syd, they are daffodils. We get those in March.

Although a valid argument it is not really tight-fitting, but JenS continues:

The car shots (in Mick Rock’s book Psychedelic Renegades, FA) show there are no leaves on the trees.
If this were London, October or November, there would be leaves on the ground.

Mick Rock’s photo book has got quite a lot of pictures with Syd (and Iggy) leaning against a neglected Pontiac, property of Syd.

The car was there at New Year, (Syd didn’t drive it) and it was there when I left in March, with a borough sticker on it, the remains of which show on the windscreen in the photo. If Storm and Mick are saying October or November, was the car there all that time? I don’t know who would know that.

The previous comment may be completely understandable for Syd Barrett anoraks, but needs some extra explanation for the casual visitor of the Church who doesn’t know the fabulous story of Syd’s car.

Pink Pontiac?
Pink Pontiac?

Tic tac Pontiac

Painter Duggie Fields recalls:

The car too has it’s own mythology. Later on I identified it as the car used in the film of Joe Orton’s Loot (not exact, FA), but I first saw it at Alice Pollock and Ossie Clark’s New Year’s Eve party at the Albert Hall ­ a memorable event itself where both Amanda Lear and Yes (separately) took to the stage for the first time. (Taken from: Duggie Fields)

Ossie Clark, once described as an ‘enigmatic, bisexual gadabout’, textile designer (and wife) Celia Birtwell and Alice Pollock had a boutique called Quorum. It was a haute couture heaven for the Swinging Elite, dressing people like Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Patti Boyd, Marian Faithfull, Jimi Hendrix, the Jaggers and The Pink Floyd. His clothes were a reflection of the past but with the advantages of the new (one of his creations had discreet pockets ‘to put joints in’). In 1965 Clark was the pioneer of the flower power look and two years later nearly all of the 2000 boutiques in London would be copying his style. Clark’s haute couture empire crashed in the seventies; in 1996 he was murdered by his partner.

Mickey Finn, from T. Rex fame, won the Pontiac Parisienne at the Royal Albert Hall raffle (New Year 1969). He took possession of it but became paranoid at the unwanted attention it attracted to himself and his fellow passengers. One day he met Syd and they simply swapped cars (Syd had a mini).

But Syd never drove it, so it stayed parked outside the house for a couple of months. A wheel soon went missing and the car accumulated dust, parking tickets and legal notices. In Mick Rock’s photo book one can see that a neighbour wrote a plea in the dust of the trunk to have the car removed. Syd's solution was simple as bonjour: he gave the car away to a stranger. It was seen being driven around South Kensington soon after.

A couple of months after Syd (and before him, Mickey Finn) got the car it was used in the 1970 British movie Entertaining Mr Sloane (not Loot). The car, with its cream red and silver interior, is featured prominently throughout the movie. The flick is not great but the pink Pontiac gives a shiny performance.
Update December 2009: the above paragraph has been corrected as Syd gave the car away before the movie was made and not, as is generally believed, the other way round. For more details: please check Anoraks and Pontiacs.

This leaves us with another enigma. The car in the movie is pink, but was midnight blue when Mick Rock photographed Syd with it. Although Mick Rock seems to remember: "Syd’s car was a conspicuously bright pink Pontiac Parisienne convertible" several colour pictures, probably taken by Storm Thorgerson on the same day, testify against this. JenS adds:

Syd's Pontiac was blue, midnight blue as you say. I have no idea if it was pink before that. I've only heard it was Mickey's and pink from things I've read. I cannot imagine Syd having it resprayed or painting it.

It remains a mystery when and why the kameleon car changed its colours (twice), but if one looks very close at the picture above, there appears to be a trace of 'brownish' paint under the right front light. Could this have been its original colour?

Police label on Syd Barretts car.
Police label on Syd Barrett's car.

Car Sticker

Mick Rock has taken a picture of Syd sitting on the hood of his car. A police label can be seen glued to the windshield. JenS:

Look at the date of the police sticker on Syd’s car. It seems to be April 1969. It occurred to me that the little twigs on the ground would come with the March winds, as this was the time of clear-cut seasons. They are very distinctive.

Unfortunately not all can be read, part of the sticker disappears in the inner fold of the book and the smaller letters dissolve with the background. The following is easily distinguishable:

DANGER KEEP OFF
(unreadable)
THIS IS
DANGEROUS LITTER
AND WILL BE REMOVED & DISPOSED OF
SEVEN DAYS HENCE
Dated the ___ day of ___ 196_
Registration No.
(if any) ___ F.H. CLINCH,
BOROUGH (unreadable) AND SURVEYOR

F.H. Clinch was appointed in 1964 to the post of Borough Engineer and Surveyor to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, an appointment he took up on April the first, 1965. The date on the document is more difficult to decipher, but after some tweaking it appears to be the 14th of April 196(9). If the British police was as effective in 1969 as it is now it definitely pins The Madcap Laughs photo shoot date between the 14th and 21st of April 1969 and not autumn as has been said before. So the warning more than probably reads as follows:

Appointment of FH Clinch
London Borough Appointments, 1964.
Dated the 14th day of April 196
Registration No.
(if any) VYP74 F.H. CLINCH,
BOROUGH ENGINEER AND SURVEYOR

The legend goes that Syd Barrett gave the car way to an admirer who happened to like it. It is improbable to assume that the wreck stayed on the street for six months without any police intervention.

Next week will have the final instalment of our series of JenS's memoirs.


Sources (other than internet links mentioned above)
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 141.
Green, Jonathon: All Dressed Up, Pimlico, London, 1999, p. 79-80.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 13.
Levy, Shawn: Ready Steady Go!, Broadway Books, New York, 2003, p. 112, p.193-195.
London Borough Appointments, Official Architecture and Planning, Vol. 27, No. 9 (September 1964), pp. 1074.
Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 23, p. 58.

The Church wishes to thank:
Dark Globe, Sean Beaver (who watched Loot just to make sure if the Pontiac figured in it or not), Bea Day, Julianindica and all the others who contributed to the discussion at Late Night: The tale of Syd's car - the movie star...
JenS for her invaluable testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969.

2009-02-08

When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 3)

Syd scratching Iggy
Syd scratching Iggy.
Hello, I would like to try and clarify a couple of things about Ig.
She was a girlfriend of mine.

In January or early February 1969, a mutual friend introduced Iggy to Syd Barrett, the successful rock star who had left his band Pink Floyd. To celebrate the fortieth birthday of this event The Holy Church of Inuit brings you an exclusive rendition of what happened, as told by JenS, who knew Barrett from his Cambridge and London days.

In the first part of this article When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1), JenS recollected how she met Iggy and how she introduced the girl to Syd.
In the second part When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2) the photo shoot from The Madcap Laughs, Barrett’s first solo album, was reconstructed.

The story so far

In December 1968 Syd moved in at Wetherby Mansions, a 3 bedroom apartment located at the Earls Court Square, with Duggie Fields and another dropout called Jules, who left the apartment as fast as he had get in, if he did get in at all.

Syd’s hectic LSD days at 101, Cromwell Rd. were over and his close friends thought that this was the ideal situation for him to calm down and to organise the rest of his life. Some money was still coming in from The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, there was no immediate hurry to get on the road or in the studio again and there were a couple of months left to sort things out and to start a brilliant solo career, based on the abandoned, and rather catastrophic, recording sessions from the past year. (David Parker lists Syd’s last recording session on 20 July 1968, the session before that dates from 27 June 1968.)

Syd was now involved with ‘silly’ Gilly Staples, a model from Quorum, the boutique that had given a Pontiac away at New Year 1969, won by Mickey Finn who, on his turn, had given it to Syd. (Side note: it is the Church’s first quintessential credo that all things Iggy are related.) Also Gala Pinion, who had taken the third (empty) bedroom, was a steady girlfriend and for a couple of weeks, so was Iggy. On top of these affairs and according to Duggie Fields there were dozens of groupies around, all the time, all over the place.

Although Syd had, in the eyes of several friends and colleagues, relaxed a bit, others described him as a typical apathetic acid casualty. And already a new (legally obtained) drug would replace his LSD intake: Mandrax.

JenS’s story, as has been depicted on the Church for the past few weeks, has re-thrown the dices somewhat. Up till now it was believed that Iggy stayed with Syd during the autumn of 1969, at the end or after he had finished most of The Madcap Laughs sessions.

But as Iggy was apparently around in April 1969, she may have witnessed the fresh start of the sessions of Syd’s first solo album. Malcolm Jones, who happened to be A&R of EMI’s brand new progressive rock label Harvest, wrote it down as follows:

One day, late in March, 1969, I received a message that Syd Barrett had phoned EMI's studio booking office to ask if he could go back into the studios and start recording again.

As nobody was apparently very hot to work with Syd Barrett, Malcolm Jones was more or less forced to produce the record himself but the songs that were presented to him by Syd at his apartment were good enough to start with the project. The first session in studio 3 at Abbey Road took place on Thursday, 10 April 1969 at 7 in the evening. But recording really started the next day when Syd recorded 3 classic tracks in two hours time. When they stopped the session at half past midnight 6 tracks had been worked on.

This was Syd at full tilt! At this session Syd was in great form, and very happy. No matter what people may say to the contrary, Syd was very together, and this was his first session with the new songs.

From the last article we know that the sleeve pictures were probably taken between the 14th and 21st of April. Shortly after that Iggy disappeared. Did this have an effect on Syd’s recording output?

Malcolm Jones recalls how Syd wrote a ditty love song ‘Here I Go’ during the 17 April sessions in a matter of minutes. That song happens to be the Reverend’s favourite for many decades now and it makes the Church wonder if it has been written with Iggy in mind.

Dark Globe

When friend and would-be photographer Mick Rock showed his pictures to Syd, Iggy was long gone. The rock star grabbed one of the pictures and started scratching it (although the Church wants to stress the fact, for Freud’s sake, that he scratched around her - cf. top left picture of this post).

Long Gone was one of the songs that were premiered on the 12th of June 1969 with David Gilmour as producer. David Gilmour and Syd Barrett were back on speaking terms (after David had taken Syd’s place in the band there had been some frictions). Syd and Malcolm, who lived at Earls Court Square as well (but not in Syd's house), had been a few times to David Gilmour’s place, just around the corner, to lend an amplifier for The Madcap Laughs sessions and David had inquired a few times how the sessions had been going.

Syd had been signalled backstage at a Pink Floyd show to chit chat with the old gang and after a while David Gilmour proposed to Malcolm Jones to produce the rest of the album with Roger Waters. Malcolm Jones did not protest, he had enough on his plate being the boss of Harvest and probably, although this is not mentioned in his memoirs, it would be a nice commercial add-on as well to have two members of Syd’s original band on the record.

Jones’s last session with Syd had been in early May and Syd had been pissed that the next session, with David Gilmour, would only take place a month later. But right now David and the rest of the band were busy mixing Ummagumma.

Next to Long Gone, a haunting track about a lost love, Barrett also premiered another song about the same theme of absence: Dark Globe. The track has some enigmatic lines that go as follows:

I'm only a person with Eskimo chain
I tattooed my brain all the way...
Won't you miss me?
Wouldn't you miss me at all?

Now that we know that this song was probably written just after Iggy's disappearance out of Syd’s life, is there a possible correlation between both facts?

Gre(t)ta and Rusty

When Iggy left the mansion Greta and Rusty, a couple of ‘speed freaks’, took the vacant spot for a bed. All biographies, up till now, spell Gretta’s name wrong, according to JenS:

It should be Gretta. Double T.

Duggie Fields remembers Gretta as follows: “I didn’t want them around. Greta did a lot of speed and was quite manic.” But JenS, who knew the couple as well, has a different story to tell:

Rusty and Gretta were not drug-addicted. They never were. They were two art school kids who drank too much and at a later date, probably goofed out on Mandrax. Duggie Fields was always very together and a real gentleman. Their chaos probably fazed him - well, waking to that every morning would.
Rusty was a pretty good guitarist and Syd enjoyed playing with him. Rusty and Gretta were both pretty talented in their way. Just goofing.

That more or less sums it up and is all we known from the couple, although Duggie Fields recalls that Gretta went to the USA soon after and was promptly put away in a Texas nuthouse. According to JenS this didn’t happen:

Gretta didn't go to the States. Her sister Trina and I were friends and she went. I'm not sure if Rusty and Gretta continued to visit Syd at Wetherby Mansions or not. The two of them probably moved on and may have visited him at a later date, during the summer… I think I read an interview with Duggie once that said they had been at the flat at some point, but I don't know when that was.
Update: in an exclusive interview to the Church Margaretta Barclay absolutely denies the drug stories surrounding Rusty and her. Please consult: Gretta Speaks and Gretta Speaks (Pt. 2).

It would be nice if someone could write the definitive account on the so-called Cambridge mafia seeking fame and fortune in London, all those people that have crossed Syd’s path at a certain time and disappeared again, often without a trace…

The Church wants to apologise for the fact that this third instalment in the JenS series is not the last as was promised last week. So there will be no excuse not to come back next week to read further on.


Sources (other than internet links mentioned above):

Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press, London, 2007, p.129.
Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree, London, 1998, p. 241.
Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 134-158.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 3, p. 6.
Willis, Tim, Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p. 105.

The Church wishes to thank JenS for her invaluable testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969.

2009-02-22

Addenda and Errata with Gala and Gretta

Gayla Pinion
Gayla Pinion.

The Reverend’s last post was rather freewheeling and not always up to par. For one mystical reason or another Iggy’s divine intervention didn’t come through, possibly hindered a bit by an abundance of pints of that black stuff that tastes so good by the gallon.

So it is time to clear things up, like the surge in that same glass, although what remains isn’t crystal clear at all but rather a dark shade of ruby.

As always, many thanks to JenS for spending her cybertime with the Reverend and passing him the stories that happened 40 years ago. It is obvious that any mistake and/or misinterpretation is entirely by the hand of the author of this blog and not by his witness.

Gret(t)a and Rusty

The last post may have hinted that Gretta and Rusty were from Cambridge, just like Syd and (many of) his friends. JenS specifies that they weren’t.

You may be inferring that Rusty and Greta were from Cambridge but they were from Suffolk and went to Colchester Art School (50 miles from Cambridge and London respectively), and had only recently come to London. They were not on the underground scene as such and later that summer they left London and went to live in Devon where they then married and settled.
Update: in an exclusive interview to the Church Margaretta Barclay pointed out a mistake in the above quote: Gretta Speaks (Pt. 2) 

The importance is not how Greta (or Gretta) is spelled but that is pronounced as with a double T.

Rusty and Greta, one T or two TT’s, it doesn’t really matter. Her name was Margaretta.

And the allegations that they were speed freaks, is once again denied.

Rusty and Gretta were not drug-addicted. Greta may have done a lot of speed, but she was not drug-addicted and as mentioned at the beginning. They were goofing.

As Duggie Fields was Syd’s roommate it is logical that he has been questioned a lot about what happened at Wetherby Mansions. But, and not only according to JenS, his memories seem to have quite a few holes. JenS already disproved the story that Gretta went to America in our last post and now adds:

I think Duggie must have got these two sister muddled and at this time. Trina was long gone. She went to America in January (1969) but didn’t know Duggie particularly.

Update: in an exclusive interview to the Church Margaretta Barclay absolutely denies the drug stories surrounding Rusty and her. Please consult: Gretta Speaks

Gayla Pinion

Wetherby Mansions was a three bedroom apartment and was originally rented by Duggie Fields, Syd Barrett and Jules, a dropout who nobody really seems to remember and who disappeared very shortly after they moved in. After a while the vacant bedroom was given to Gayla Pinion (top left picture) but this happened after Iggy had cleared the place (who might have been using the spare bedroom as well). This adds further proof to the theory, although in reality not a theory anymore, that the photo sessions for The Madcap Laughs were held in spring, and not in autumn. When JenS visited Syd Barrett…

…Gayla was not there. She moved in later hooking up with Syd in May or June.
She was the one who dropped Syd off when he flew out to meet Emo (Iain Moore) in Ibiza. They had known each other for a few years, as she was an old school friend of Lindsay’s and used to visit them when they were staying in Egerton Court.

When Gayla was around (after Iggy had left) Syd’s behaviour or mental health deteriorated (let it be clear that the former does not imply that these women actually triggered the situation) as has been stated in several biographies, perhaps due to an excessive Mandrax intake. Some events that happened then would fuel the many Crazy Syd legends that were floating around during the Seventies and Eighties.

When Syd met Iggy

In the first instalment of this series JenS reported:

I took Ig to Wetherby Mansions in January or February 1969 where she met Syd Barrett. He was 22 and she must have been about 24, 25 years old.

The Church, as churches do, turned this phrase into a slogan and the reader may have been lured into the idea that January 1969 was the very first time when Syd and Iggy met. But this might not have been the case as JenS wishes to clarify:

This is a little misleading and it is unlikely that this was the first time Syd had met Iggy. She was well known on the scene and it’s more than likely he’d have come across her before. She was around all the same venues as the rest of us, UFO, the Speakeasy, the Roundhouse, Alexandra Palace. Whether he ever chatted to her or was formally introduced in any way is unknown to me, but what I did was to take her round to Syd’s new flat. And at the time she had nowhere to live, so she stayed on.

Here I Go

Malcolm Jones once wrote how he witnessed that Syd Barrett could write a song in a few minutes of time, referring to Here I Go, probably the wittiest song ever by Syd. The Church wondered if this track, recorded on the 17th of April 1969, was perhaps written with Iggy in mind.

This was an inside joke, albeit not a very good one.

Here I Go was a song that Syd Barrett had already home-recorded, on acoustic guitar, in 1967, although it was then titled Boon Tune. When The Purple Gang were looking for a successor of their Granny Takes A Trip-single Barrett, whose band Pink Floyd had shared the same studio to record Arnold Layne, handed over the demo tape to Joe Boyd.

When the gang looked for the tape it was untraceable and Joe Boyd believed that Syd Barrett had retrieved the demo for use on the first Pink Floyd record. To make a long (and incredibly complicated) story short the Purple Gang Boon Tune single project was abandoned.

Rumours went that The Deviants stole the original tape out of the studio and at The City Wakes festival someone said that it has been miraculously found back. It would be nice if it could be issued on a new Syd Barrett record project (that was also rumoured at The City Wakes).

Update 2014: The story of Here I Go & The Purple Gang can be found on the following page: Hurricane over London.

Also the Church’s musings about the songs Dark Globe and Long Gone have to be taken with lots of grains of salt. We will probably never know if Iggy was Syd’s muse, or not…

So far for the Reverend's confessions for this week, more to come at a later stage because that pink Pontiac has given the Church the blues...

Until then, brethren and sistren, and don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done!

2009-08-08

Catwoman

Iggy in Space by Felix Atagong
Iggy in Space by Felix Atagong.

Rejoice, dear followers of the Esqimau, as The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit celebrates its first birthday. On the eight day of the eighth month of the eight year of the third Millennium the Church was born. That day two messages were posted, the first, a very modest one, was a mere introduction that was basically written by someone else, the second post however told the story of the first public appearance of Iggy, already nicknamed the Eskimo, in November 1966.

Ig, as the Church prefers to call her now, was spotted by NME on a party in the presence of Patrick Kerr, the main choreographer of the Ready Steady Go!-show, one hit wonders Twinkle and Adrienne Posta, Frank Allen from the Searchers and Mick Jagger wannabee Chris Farlowe. Already then she was about a mover and could bend it better than Wickham. (Read the article here: Bend It!)

It is possible that Ig was a dancer / guest / visitor at a couple of Ready Steady Go!-shows, but the Church’s investigations have only found circumstantial evidence of that. The Church is still trying to get hold of some courageous witnesses who want to testify this before the Holy Igquisition. Also present at the NME party was pop-PR-publicist Simon Hayes who may have made the aspiring model believe that he was her agent. Up till now The Church couldn’t trace the man although several attempts to contact him have been made.

But this is no time for grief, let us rejoice, rejoice, as today, so declares the Church, is Ig’s day. And celebrate we will…

In the summer of 2006 Denis Combet, professor at Brandon University, wrote a collection of poems as a tribute to the musician and painter Roger Keith Barrett who passed away in Cambridge on the 7th of July 2006. The poems highlight the life of the young artist as a nonconformist who preferred – or was forced – to withdraw from the music world for a more humble existence.

About a year later, part of the collection was published under the title Guitars and Dust Dancing, in the student webzine Ecclectica (site no longer active), together with art work from Lou Visentin and music from Pascal Mascheroni.

The poems describe fragments of Barrett’s life, his youth, his hometown, his friends and relatives and the collection contain poems dedicated to and inspired by David Gilmour, Gala Pinion, Lindsay Corner, Nick Mason, Rick Wright, Roger Waters, Rosemary Breen and Winifred Barrett. And one of them From Quetesh to Bastet is all about Ig.

From Quetesh to Bastet  
 
Quetesh,
Majestic.
 
Iggy the Eskimo,
Girl of space.
 
Often very alone,
But always a friend.
 
Star fallen from the black sky:
Solar, solitary, solstice, soloist.
 
Pale blue crystal dawn, pearl wine dusk.
A mauve Venus, disrobed on the silk orange milky way.
 
Magical music, medieval Median, magnetic:
Even in worlds where love is impossible.
 
Transcended, transparent, translucent, transitory:
Life together unconditionally and forever.
 
And that black cat caressing him with a glance, the night.
The malefic vision of Lucifer Sam.
 
© Denis Combet, English translation by Constance Cartmill (2007). Previously published at: Guitars and Dust Dancing (website no longer active).

Denis Combet had originally written the poetic cycle in French and when the Reverend contacted him to get permission to publish the above the Church also asked for the original to be published as well. It is with great proudness that we hereafter present the original version of the Iggy poem that, as far as we know, has never been published before… Just another world exclusive of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

De Quétesh à Bastet
 
Quétesh,
Impériale.
 
Iggy l’Esquimo,
Fille de l’espace.
 
Souvent très seule,
Mais toujours amie.
 
Étoile tombée du ciel noir:
Solaire, solitaire, solstice, soliste
 
Aube de cristal bleu pâle, crépuscule de vin de perles.
Une Vénus mauve, dénudée sur voie lactée de soie orangée.
 
Musique magique, médique médiévale, magnétique:
Même dans des univers où l’amour est impossible.
 
Transcendée, transparente, translucide, transitoire:
La vie ensemble sans détours et pour toujours.
 
Et ce chat noir qui le caresse du regard, la nuit.
La vision maléfique de Lucifer Sam.
 
© Denis Combet, 2006. Previously unpublished.

Originally it was planned to launch a separate website (poemstosydbarrett.com) in 2008 containing the complete works (poems, music and art) and to publish the cycle in book form. But due to the high costs involved to print an art book the author is still looking for a publisher who would be interested. For the time being the Reverend wants to invite you all to read the poems, have a look at the artwork and listen to the music at Ecclectica: Guitars and Dust Dancing (website no longer active).

The Reverend wants to thank Dr. Denis Combet for his permission to publish the Ig poems on this space. And with this final message comes an end to the official proceedings of the first anniversary of The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Let's have some booze and party! Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice but… to carry on… A la prochaine, my friends, et ne fait pas ce que Iggy ne ferait pas

Update 31 12 2013: The original Ecclectica and Poems To Syd Barrett links no longer work. In 2011 Denis Combet allowed the Church to upload his poems and artwork as a Flash 'pageFlip' book: Crystal Blue Postcards.

Guitars and Dust Dancing by Denis Combet
Crystal Blue Postcards, exclusively for the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

Notes:
Born in Marseille, France in 1955, Professor Denis Combet holds a doctorate from the Universit de Nancy II. Since 1975 he works in Canada at the University of Manitoba, the College Universitaire de Saint-Boniface, and the University of Victoria. He is currently an associate professor in Arts > Languages at Brandon University (Brandon, Manitoba, Canada).

Dr. Denis Combet is (co-)author of several historical works and articles:
º Gabriel Dumont, Mémoires/Memoirs was nominated by the Manitoba Writing and Publishing Awards for the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award, Winnipeg 2007.
º In Search for the Western Sea/A la recherche de la mer de l’Ouest, mémoires choisis de La Vérendrye, Selected journals of La Vérendrye was selected by The Globe and Mail (November 24, 2001, p. D 40) among the «Best of the year» 2001, in the category Gift-History. It was nominated by the Manitoba Writing and Publishing Awards, for five awards, and won two, Best Design, and the Mac Williams Awards, for best Popular History book.

Guitars and Dust Dancing. Poems to Syd Barrett, written by Denis Combet, translated by Constance Cartmill, illustrated by Jean Vouillon and music by Pascal Mascheroni. All texts © Denis Combet, 2007. Poèmes a Syd Barrett, écrits par Denis Combet, traduits par Constance Cartmill, illustrés par Jean Vouillon et musique par Pascal Mascheroni. Tous les textes © Denis Combet, 2007.

The above poems are the property of Denis Combet and are protected by international copyright laws. You may not reproduce, modify, distribute or republish materials contained on this site (either directly or by linking) without prior written permission from the author.


Authorised subsidiaries:
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2009-09-04

From Dusty till Dawn

Douggie Reece and Dusty Springfield
Douggie Reece and Dusty Springfield.

When JenS, who may well have been the person who introduced Iggy 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 Iggy’s past (see: When Syd met Iggy).

Iggy was a bit older than the Cantabrigian underground gang and had already been active in the London club scene for a couple of years.
Update: this is not true, as we would find out later.

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 Iggy 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 Iggy – 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!!!
LOL
Douggie xx

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.
Can't help.
Best.
Vicki Wickham

At least we can now say with a certain certitude that Iggy 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.


Authorised subsidiaries:

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2010-02-06

World Exclusive: Ig has been found!

Iggy pop-art
Iggy pop-artish, by Felix Atagong.

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.)

2010-02-27

Gretta Speaks

Margaretta (Gretta) Barclay
Margaretta (Gretta) Barclay.

In the interview that Iggy - or should we say Evelyn - gave after nearly 40 years of silence in The Croydon Guardian she remembers how she helped Syd to paint the floorboards that would give an extra psychedelic feel to The Madcap Laughs cover picture.

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.

But Iggy, as we will keep on calling her, isn’t the only one remembering. Also present were Rusty and Margaretta, better known as Gretta:

I remember that Iggy was involved with the floor painting project and that she had paint all over her during the floor painting time but I was not involved with the painting of the floor.

Several biographies, including Julian Palacios’s Lost In The Woods (p.241), Tim Willis’s Madcap (p.106) and Mark Blake’s Pigs Might Fly (p. 141) describe Greta (sic) and her companion Rusty as homeless ‘speed freaks’. This description almost certainly comes from painter Duggie Fields who shared the flat with Syd and who wasn’t very amused with the many people Syd invited to say the least.

Julian Palacios remembers Duggie Fields from an interview he did in 1996:

He was so cool. Reserved and wary at first, then about halfway through he became super raconteur.
(email to FA, 10 February 2010).

This lead to the following paragraph in the Lost In The Woods biography:

Duggie Fields recalls a steady stream of visitors, ‘some visitors were parasites and some were confused in their drug use, not even abusing drugs’. (...)
‘Rusty and Greta were homeless when they came to stay here,’ explains Fields. ‘Greta became good friends with Jenny Spires, and came into Syd’s life from that connection. They were in my life to a degree but I didn’t want them around. (…) They probably brought stimulants for Syd and he took them.’

Now, for the first time in over 40 years Margaretta Barclay has decided to share her memories with the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit as well. But lets starts by setting the record straight:

Your blog relating to Syd Barrett mentions that Rusty and I were drug addicted. This is most certainly not true and an old friend of ours - Jenny Spires has made that fact known to you.
My sister Catriona (Trina) and I met Jenny Spires during the mid 1960’s at a London grooming school. Jenny introduced my sister and I to Syd at 101 Cromwell Rd and at Edgerton Court. Rusty was not with us at that time.

In her interviews with the Church, early 2009, JenS vehemently denied the ‘speed freaks’ rumours: "Rusty and Gretta were not drug-addicted. They never were.” (cfr. When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 3)  and Addenda and Errata with Gala and Gretta 

Gretta further explains:

Rusty and I were not in the ‘steady stream of visitors’. In 1970 we were in Suffolk at the beginning of that year and Devon for the remainder of it. Not in London. We were not homeless either. Rusty and I left London for various reasons but primarily because I was expecting my first child.
Syd was a very dear friend of ours and we did a considerable amount together in the 60's. Contrary to what I have read, we did not provide Syd with drugs.

It was of course 40 years ago when Barrett recorded The Madcap Laughs and memories may have played tricks on people. A famous example is the Mick Rock statement that Syd Barrett's car was bright pink while the pictures taken by him on that day show that the car was actually dark blue. On the DVD The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story Duggie Fields remembers how Syd painted the floor boards of his flat.


MP3 link: Duggie Fields (mp3)

Although the story is rather funny we now know that the actual truth may have been somewhat different. Similar Syd Barrett myths or legends have been created (and repeated in books and magazines) that way throughout the years without veryfying. Margaretta continues:

Without wishing to be vindictive where Duggie Fields and his interviews are concerned, surely, in order to obtain a balanced view of Syd’s chosen circle of friends, it would be sensible to back up assumptions with fact.
Syd was a highly sensitive, almost delicate person, who was well aware of his constitution where drugs were concerned and perfectly capable of not being cajoled in to anything he did not want to do. To my knowledge, he did not take vast quantities of drugs.
He enjoyed our company and invited us to stay at Wetherby Mansions where we shared good times together. Iggy was around at that time too and I remember her helping to paint the room in question. Dominique A., a French friend of ours, was also close to Syd at this time. Jenny, Catriona and I lived with her in Chelsea for a time.

Update: the Church managed to contact Dominique A. but she refused to talk about the past.

According to Margaretta the legends surrounding Syd Barrett contain many errors and “if they relate to my sister Catriona, Rusty and me, it is my duty to ensure that they are not perpetuated”.

It is convenient to point a finger at others in order to explain Syd’s behavioural patterns. Syd behaved in his inimitable way long before he met us.
Duggie did not socialise with us as a group – and his conclusion that I indulged in such a way - and on my own, is erroneous.
From our point of view Syd was a vulnerable person, we cared for him and our aim was to encourage him to be creative, to write and play his guitar. After all, Rusty only wanted to write and play music with Syd - to give him drugs was not on our agenda; Syd - was ‘far out’ enough without them.

The Reverend was of course anxious to know what kind of music Rusty and Syd played together:

Rusty and Syd played Syd’s songs and variations on them ’Oh baby my hairs on end about you’, ‘Octopus’ etc…, as well as songs they created together and basic blues.
Syd Barrett with Gretta Barclay.
Syd Barrett with Gretta Barclay.
In 1969 we went to Isle of Wight Festival together and at one point, in an effort to encourage Syd to play his guitar, we took him to stay with a musician friend of ours in Wales. Gala may remember the journey.

There have indeed been rumours of Syd Barrett visiting the Isle of Wight festival before and a (much discussed) picture of this event does exist. Margaretta is formal that the photograph is genuine:

The Isle of Wight picture is definitely of Syd with me beside him. (She is the woman at his left side, FA.)

Back to Rusty and Gretta. Hoping that the visit would inspire and encourage Syd to return to the musical ‘land of the living’ they took him to a ‘brilliant musician’ who lived in Solva, Haverfordwest, Dyfed: Meic Stevens.

(Update: The next paragraph is totally wrong as the Welsh musician in question iwas Meic Stevens, not Mike Stevens (although Meic has also been credited as Mike, early in his career). But as this Mike Stevens's family was so kind to contact the Church and as his music is really groovy, the Reverend has decided not to delete it. See: Gretta Speaks (Pt. 2))

It is believed that this musician was Mike Stevens from the Welsh band The Shevells (aka The Welsh Conquerors). In the mid sixties the band recorded several records featuring Stevens on guitar and vocals. Around 1966, as Mike Stevens & The Shevells, they recorded a cover version of Cathy's Clown and the Go-Go Train and as The Shevelles, Come On Home. Stevens was an on/off member of the band as he was apparently also involved in The Squires, originally Tom Jones’s back up band and the composers of the hit It's Not Unusual. (Information taken from Answers.com, the Church is currently trying to contact M. Stevens.)

In a soon to be published, revised and updated, 2010 edition of Julian Palacios’s biography Lost In The Woods the roles of Gretta and Rusty in Syd Barrett’s life have already been changed for the better. Palacios writes:

Life at home edged further toward the chaotic when Rusty and Greta, casual friends of Barrett’s, moved in. (…) Only recently arrived in London, not on the ‘underground scene’, they later left for Devon, where they married and settled. Greta may have done speed, but the pair were not the terrible people they have been painted as.
When Rusty B. split with Greta, he came and stayed with Jack Monck and Jenny (Spires). In late 1972, Jack and Rusty started a new band, Rocks Off.
(Above quotes from 'Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd' by Julian Palacios - Plexus Books, May September 2010 edition.)

Gretta Barclay remarried, is a proud mother and an even prouder grandmother, and according to her family ‘she is a wonderful amazing beautiful lady who has 3 children who love her very much’.

The Reverend can only agree with that. Even for the Church there are more important things in life than chasing the shadow of a girl who lived for a while in a house were someone, apparently famous, lived as well…

The second part of the interview will be published in the weeks to come.


The Church wishes to thank: Margaretta Barclay for her invaluable testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969. Julian Palacios for additional information.

Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press, London, 2007, p.141.
Fields, Duggie interview in: The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story, DVD UK Ltd 2005.
Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree, London, 1998, p. 241.
Willis, Tim, Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p. 106.

2010-03-12

Gretta Speaks (Pt. 2)

Margaretta Barclay.
Margaretta Barclay.

In a previous post the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit published an interview with Margaretta Barclay, her first in 40 years, remembering the Syd Barrett days of 1969.

Margaretta (Gretta), her boyfriend Rusty, JenS, Iggy and the French Dominique were regular visitors at Wetherby Mansions, the flat where Syd Barrett lived. Some stories, legends and rumours surrounding Syd can be traced back to painter Duggie Fields, who still lives in the flat he co-rented with Syd and Jules (nobody seems to remember Jules, apparently he disappeared already after a couple of days).

Gretta (as quoted in: Gretta Speaks):

Syd was a very dear friend of ours and we did a considerable amount together in the 60's.

He was a highly sensitive, almost delicate person, who was well aware of his constitution where drugs were concerned and perfectly capable of not being cajoled in to anything he did not want to do. To my knowledge, he did not take vast quantities of drugs.

Iggy

This could be correct. Early 1969 Syd Barrett was very well together, at least compared to the year before where he – if one may believe those unverifiable rumours again – even added heroin to his daily stash of hash and mandrax. Recovering his sanity was one thing, tidying up his love life another. Tim Willis (in Madcap) writes:

While keeping Gala (Pinion, who moved in at the spare room, FA) as his serious girlfriend and Gilly Staples as a girlfriend Barrett began an affair with Iggy the Eskimo.

Iggy (or Evelyn) seems to hint this as well in the reluctant interview she gave to The Croydon Guardian:

Syd was so beautiful looking.
We had a relationship,
I lived with him for a while.

But not everybody seems to be certain of this. Duggie Fields told so in various biographies. And to the Church JenS and some anonymous witnesses maintain that Ig and Syd were never an item. Perhaps Gretta Barclay can shed a light on this?

I would not say that Syd and Iggy were girlfriend and boyfriend. She was his ‘chosen’ model for the Madcap Laughs Album cover.
Whatever may have occurred between Syd and Iggy was kept to themselves.
Neither was Ig the person to stay long at on place.
Iggy moved about and stayed with all sorts of people in all sorts of places without declaring her intention to do so.
To my knowledge there was no ‘when Iggy left Syd’ moment. We were all free spirits then, who moved whenever and wherever a whim took us.

There is an intriguing paragraph in Mick Rock's Psychedelic Renegades book. When the photographer visits Syd to show him the pictures of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot Iggy is no longer there.

Once I’d developed the film, I went round to show Syd the pictures. He took this one opposite and scratched some lines and his name to it. I think there was a bit of negativity towards Iggy. He just started scratching the print, with a big grin on his face. There was that other side to Syd which could be a bit mean and malicious, especially towards women, and this was one occasion when I saw that.
Iggy by Mick Rock.
Iggy by Mick Rock.

The Church has always found this comment from Mick Rock a bit over the top (but the Church has been wrong on more occasions). A while later Margaretta Barclay received one of the original Mick Rock pictures that were lying in Syd’s room.

This picture of Iggy was given to me by Syd but for some unknown reason she had been torn off it.

This is the second documented case where we learn that Syd had taken ‘care’ of an Iggy photo after her departure.

Since a couple of weeks we know Iggy’s real name: Evelyn. Jeff Dexter, Anthony Stern nor JenS ever knew her real name. How about Margaretta?

Iggy was ‘Iggy’ for me also.

Last year the Church tried to pinpoint the date of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot. With JenS’s help and after blowing up the photo of the ‘dangerous litter’ sticker on Syd Barrett’s Pontiac the Church concluded that the pictures had probably been taken shortly after the 14th of April, but before the 21st, as the sticker only gave a 7 days notice to get rid of the car. But Gretta disagrees:

The ‘Madcap’ photo shoot dates are probably incorrect as I have a postcard from a friend addressed to me, Rusty, Syd and Iggy at the Wetherby Mansion address dated June 1969.
Raquel Welsh and Ringo Starr
Raquel Welsh and Ringo Starr.

The Magic Christian

Around about that time we did some film extra work for The Magic Christian. I have a feeling Iggy came with us? But I cannot confirm this.

The Magic Christian is a quite nice satirical (but very sixty-nine-ish) movie, starring Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers and a bunch of (uncredited) 60-ies icons: Christopher Lee (as – what else – a vampire), John Le Mesurier, Peter Graves, Raquel Welsh (as priestess of the whip), Richard Attenborough, Roman Polanski, Spike Milligan and Yul Brynner (as a transvestite cabaret singer). Fans will also notice the presence of John Cleese and Graham Chapman who independently wrote scenes for the movie (and before they teamed up as Monty Python members).

The movie’s main message is that everything can be bought for money and has scenes of Peter Sellers, an eccentric billionaire, smearing beluga caviar over his face in a posh restaurant or cutting up a Rembrandt painting because he is only interested in the nose. His final trick (minus one) is to make people dive into a big tub filled with blood, urine and excrements to fish the thousands of pounds that float in it (although by all means gross this scene is not so far from what has been shown in some Endemol TV game shows for the last couple of years).

Update: Margaretta and (perhaps) Iggy weren't the only Wetherby-visitors who got involved with the movie. JenS commented, after reading this entry:

I was also an extra in the Magic Christian, I was one of Raquel's slave girls in the Galleon scene, but fortunately taken out in the cutting room, however this tiny scene took two days to shoot. I had done my piece the previous year, in 1968! It was interesting for me to see the others had done some for it in June 69. Films do take a long time in production! (mail to FA, 29th of April 2010)

But according to the BFI work on the movie started on the 24th of February 1969 and ended on the 14th of May. This still quite fits the dates we have been proposing for the photo shoot, but the testimony from Gretta that Ig was still around in June is intriguing to say the least and will have to be further investigated..

Meic Stevens
Meic Stevens.

Meic Stevens

In the first part of this series it was told how Gretta, Rusty, Syd and Gala Pinion visited a brilliant musician who lived in Solva, Haverfordwest, Dyfed. The Church wrongly assessed it was a certain Mike Stevens and found some very scarce information on him.

It took not long before several churchgoers made it clear to the Reverend that the Welsh singer-songwriter in question is better known as Meic Mortimer Stevens.

Meic Stevens was discovered by DJ Jimmy ‘Jim‘ll Fix It’ Savile, who saw him performing in a Manchester folk club in 1965. It is believed that he was a session man on several recordings (Gary Farr springs to mind) and he may have issued a solo single for Decca, but without success.

In 1967 Stevens left ‘England’ and retreated to his home village of Solva and started to write and record songs in Welsh. From 1967 till 1969 several EPs were issued, first under the name Mike Stevens, later Meic Stevens. (These ultra rare EPs that according to Record Collector are searched for against exorbitant prices have been re-issued on CD by Sunbeam records.)

Outlander (1970), Meic Stevens.
Outlander (1970), Meic Stevens.

In 1970 Meic Stevens made an English mildly psychedelic rock & folk album – Outlander - for Warner Bros. On several of its tunes it is pretty clear why he was nicknamed the Welsh Bob Dylan (acoustic guitar and mouth organ included), although the first and by far the most powerful track of that album - Rowena - reminds the Reverend of a Roy Harper in the midst of one of his legendary fits. Obligatory to the spirit of those days there are some tabla and sitar inspired pieces as well. Amongst the people involved on that album are Ian ‘Sammy’ Samwell (a Shadow before Cliff Richard(s) came into the picture and later manager of the folk-rock band America) and all-round session guitarist Bernie Holland (but as far as we know, no Syd Barrett).

The record didn’t sell as hoped, but of course - and this isn’t meant as a pejorative comment - Meic Stevens was fishing in about the same pond as Kevin Ayers, Michael Chapman, Donovan, Roy Harper and of course Syd Barrett himself.

It has come to the Church’s ears that Meic Stevens visited Syd on several occasions at Wetherby Mansions and that he 'recalls the bare room with one Telecaster and little else'.

Update: Prydwyn was so kind to translate the Syd Barrett related parts of Meic Stevens Welsh autobiography into English: Meic meets Syd. A photograph of Meic Stevens with Syd Barrett (and perhaps Rusty and Gretta) has also surfaced.

Rusty Burnhill.
Rusty Burnhill.

Rusty

In an old post we had JenS talking about her friends Gretta and Rusty. However there is a mistake in the following quote:

You may be inferring that Rusty and Greta were from Cambridge but they were from Suffolk and went to Colchester Art School (50 miles from Cambridge and London respectively), and had only recently come to London.

Margaretta clarifies:

Rusty did not go to Colchester art School, he went to Ipswich Art School. His parents eventually moved to Cambridge and he considered it his base from that point on.

After a while Rusty and Margaretta went separate ways. Rusty apparently traveled a lot before settling down on a North Frisian island (Germany) from 1978 till 1993. After a brief stay in a village in the North of Germany, where he participated in a few art exhibitions, he moved to a Hamburg suburb and it is believed he is living there since 1995.

Update: the Church managed to contact Mr. Burnhill, but he refused to talk about the past.
Update
2016 11 26: RIP Rusty Burnhill 

Syd

We leave the final words to Margaretta Barclay:

I feel that Syd has, in the main, been portrayed wrongly as a drug orientated and mentally deranged musician.

My impression of Syd was that he was an intelligent, finely tuned artist and extremely sensitive artist who could not stand the pressure of the attention his unique talents attracted.

If he locked himself in his room for days on end, he was entitled to do so - he certainly was not mad - he did it to preserve his 'genius sanity' and maybe that is why the album is titled the Madcap Laughs.

A word of the editor

The posts at The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit are not read by a lot of people. The topics presented here only trigger a small niche market, to use the marketing vernacular of today and the blog’s harebrained title may not really invite readers to click.

The amount of people consulting each topic will lie closer to 100 than to 500 (and these are totals, not clicks per day). But quantity doesn’t matter, quality does.

It is clear that The Church is consulted, not only by hardcore Syd fans, but also by newspaper and music magazine journalists and authors of Syd Barrett related books that have appeared in the past, that will appear in the (near) future and even some that are still on the author’s laptop.

Furthermore, several people whose name and fame have been discussed here (and recently in other places) have visited the Church, so tells us The Holy Igquisition.

And perhaps, one day, some of them will agree to see their story published here as well.

So long my sistren and brethren, and don’t do anything that Iggy wouldn’t have done!


The Church wishes to thank: Margaretta Barclay for her invaluable testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969. JenS. Anonymous.

Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above):
Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 20.
Willis, Tim: Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p. 107.

2010-04-02

Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea

This is not Iggy.
This is not Iggy.

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 Iggy (Evelyn) has been found. Especially now that Iggy (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.

Croydon Guardian

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: Anthony Stern.

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.”

Jimi Hendrix gigged quite a few times at The Speakeasy and was spotted there on other occasions as well, for instance on the 22nd of February when he attended a press conference for The Soft Machine.

Jimi Hendrix

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 Iggy (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):
67-01-19: Gig.
67-02-22: Press reception for the Soft Machine.
67-03-08: Gig.
67-03-16: Launching party for Track records (Jimi gives three interviews).
67-03-21: Gig.
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'.

London Live

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).
Update (November 2010): it has been confirmed to the Church that the person on the picture is NOT Iggy / Evelyn.

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 Iggy 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’.”
NME, 25th of November 1966
NME, 25th of November 1966.

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 Iggy) 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.

2011-01-21

EXCLUSIVE: The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo

Syd Barrett, The Madcap Laughs.
Syd Barrett, The Madcap Laughs.

Words: Mark Blake.
Pictures: Storm Thorgerson, Iggy Rose, Rank Organisation.
Date: 20 January 2011.
Previously published on mojo.com.

If there is one image of Syd Barrett that never ceases to fascinate it's the back cover of his debut album, The Madcap Laughs. The reason: the mysterious naked woman perched on a stool with her head thrown back and face obscured by swathes of long dark hair. Syd's companion was known only as "Iggy The Eskimo". But as Barrett fans have been wondering since 1970 - who was Iggy and where did she go?

Photographer Mick Rock believed that his cover girl had "married a rich guy and moved off the scene". Barrett's old flatmate, the artist Duggie Fields, heard that "Iggy had become involved with one of the voguish religious cults of the time", before adding to the mythology with a story of once seeing her disembarking from a Number 31 bus in Kensington, wearing a 1940s-era gold lamé dress, and very little else.

In 2002, Mick's coffee-table book Psychedelic Renegades featured more shots of Syd and Iggy posing outside the Earls Court mansion block, alongside Barrett's abandoned Pontiac. Rock's photos found their way onto most Pink Floyd fansites, where Iggy had acquired cult status. Before long, The Holy Church Of Iggy The Inuit, a fansite in her honour, had appeared, its webmaster, Felix Atagong, sifting through ever scrap of information gleaned from MOJO and elsewhere with a forensic scientist's attention to detail. Among Felix's discoveries was a November 1966 issue of NME which featured a photo of "Iggy who is half eskimo" dancing at South Kensington's Cromwellian club.

While researching my Pink Floyd biography (2007's Pigs Might Fly: The Inside Story Of Pink Floyd) I quizzed everyone about Iggy's whereabouts. Anthony Stern, formerly a schoolmate of David Gilmour's, told me he had met her at a Hendrix gig and had just discovered photos he had taken of her on a houseboat in Chelsea; Anthony had also filmed Iggy dancing in Russell Square. Meanwhile, former Middle Earth club DJ Jeff Dexter recalled meeting "the mysterious-looking" Iggy in 1963, when she was a "part of a group of very wonderful looking South London girls" that danced at The Orchid Ballroom in Purley. Jeff even hatched a plan with his friend, the late DJ and Shadows songwriter Ian "Sammy" Samwell, to turn Iggy and two of her friends into "a British version of The Supremes. We booked a studio but unfortunately none of them could sing." Believing that Iggy may have gone to school in Thornton Heath, Jeff and Anthony contacted The Croydon Guardian, who ran an article - So Where Did She Go To, My Lovely - enquiring after the whereabouts of the girl "who entirely captured the spirit of the '60s".

Then, in March 2010, MOJO received a letter from ex-Cambridge mod Pete Brown, who had "shared some wild nights on the town with Iggy in the 1970s". Pete informed us that Iggy had been last heard of in the '80s "working at a racing stables... and has since been keeping her whereabouts quiet." Pete sent a copy of the letter to The Croydon Guardian, whose reporter traced Iggy through the stables and phoned her out of the blue. Their subsequent article included a handful of quotes from its reluctant subject, including the words: "I have now left that life behind me." Which is why it came as a surprise when my mobile rang late one Saturday night. "It's Iggy!" declared the voice at the other end, as if I would have known that already. "I've been reading what you wrote about me in MOJO... about the pictures of my bottom."

Iggy on Worthing Beach.
Relaxing on Worthing Beach, early '60s.

The local newspaper's call had prompted Iggy to borrow a neighbour's computer and go online for the first time. She was amazed to discover MOJO, the fansites, the photos, and the wild speculation and misinformation about her time with Syd Barrett. Which is why, in October 2010, I found myself stepping off a train at an otherwise deserted Sussex railway station to be met by the woman that had once graced the cover of The Madcap Laughs. Three hours in a local gastro-pub and countless phone calls later, Iggy pieced together her story. Some of it was printed in MOJO 207, the rest is here...

Firstly, why Iggy? "My real name is Evelyn," she explains. "But when I was a child, my neighbour's young daughter could never pronounce Evelyn, and always called me Iggy. Now everyone calls me as Iggy. But 'The Eskimo' nickname was a joke. That was something I told the photographer from the NME when he took my picture at The Cromwellian." Iggy's father was a British army officer, who served alongside Louis Mountbatten, and attended the official handover ceremony from Great Britain to India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharial Nehru in 1947. "My father also knew all about Mountbatten's wife's affair with Nehru," she adds mischievously. During a spell of leave, he had travelled to a remote village in the Himalayas "where he met the woman that would become my mother." Iggy was born in Pakistan, and attended army schools in India and Aden, before the family moved to England. But not, as believed, Thornton Heath. "I grew up by the seaside," she reveals. "I went to art school. I became a mod in Brighton, and saw the fights with the rockers, and I met The Who when they were on Ready Steady Go! I loved soul music, loved The Righteous Brothers, and I loved dancing, so I used to go to all the clubs - The Orchid Ballroom in Purley, where I met lovely Jeff Dexter, The Cromwellian, The Flamingo, The Roaring Twenties..."

It was at The Cromwellian that Iggy encountered Eric Clapton. "I didn't know who he was at first," she insists. "He took me to meet Lionel Bart and to a party at Brian Epstein's place..." By the mid-'60s Iggy had become a Zelig-like presence on the capital's music scene, sometimes in the company of Keith Moon, Brian Jones, Keith Richards.... She saw Hendrix make his UK debut at the Bag O' Nails in November '66, and in February '67, narrowly avoided the police raid at Richards' country pile, in West Wittering: "The night before, I decided not to go, thank God." A year later, still in the Stones' orbit, she found herself watching the recording sessions for what became Sympathy For The Devil.

Iggy at granny Takes A Trip,1967.
Iggy at Granny Takes A Trip, 1967.

By then, Iggy had made her film debut. In 1967, IN Gear was a short documentary screened as a supporting film in cinemas around the country. Its theme was Swinging London, including the chic Kings Road clothes shop Granny Takes A Trip, a place, according to the breathless narrator that "conforms to the non-conformist image of the !" A mini-skirted Iggy can be seen in one silent clip, sifting through a rack of clothes and chatting with Granny's co-owner Nigel Waymouth.

By 1967, pop music had changed. The summer before, Iggy had met Syd Barrett's girlfriend Jenny Spires, and drifted into the Floyd's social clique, showing up at the UFO club nights where Pink Floyd played regularly: "When I recently watched that Syd Barrett documentary [The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett & Story] and saw Syd in the kaftan, chanting [on Pow R Toc H], the memories came rushing back," she explains. "I'd been there. I'd seen that." In April '67, Iggy joined the counter-culture throng in Alexandra Palace for The 14-Hour Technicolor Dream - "all 14 hours of it!" - where Floyd played a hypnotic set at dawn.

By early 1968, though Barrett had been replaced by David Gilmour, and, according to many, was on a drug-fuelled downward spiral. Towards the end of the year, he moved into a new place with his level-headed friend, the would-be artist Duggie Fields. The pair took over a two-bedroom flat at 29 Wetherby Mansions in Earls Court. Around January '69, at Jenny Spires' suggestion, Iggy, needing a place to stay, moved in. She hooked up with Barrett, but shared a musical bond with Fields: "Duggie and I were into soul music, and Syd used to laugh at me dancing around to Motown."

As Iggy told MOJO 207: "I didn't know Syd had been a pop star." Elaborating further, "I didn't make the connection between him and the person I had seen at UFO. I knew he was beautiful looking and he had real presence, but that was all." Once, when she picked up his acoustic guitar, fooling around, he took it off her and started playing properly. "I was overwhelmed. The way he played the guitar, the way he moved. He said, 'Do you think I look good?'," she laughs. "I said, 'You look amazing. Wow!' He then said, 'Would you listen to this?' And he bought out this big, old-fashioned reel-to-reel tape recorder, and said, 'Tell me what you think'." Syd then played her the songs that would end up on The Madcap Laughs. One track, Terrapin, made an immediate impression. "I said, 'That's quite catchy', and, of course, I don't think Syd was really into catchy...It was a long tape, and he didn't demand any opinion, but just asked if I thought it was OK. At the end he said 'Someone at EMI - I cannot remember the name - wants me to make a record. How would you feel about having a rock star boyfriend?'"

Click here for Part 2


Previously published on mojo.com. Many thanks to Mark Blake for allowing us to host this article.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 2

(This is Part 2 of Mark Blake's Iggy the Eskimo article, for part one click: EXCLUSIVE: The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo.)

Words: Mark Blake.
Pictures: Iggy Rose, Chris Lanaway.
Date: 20 January 2011.
Previously published on mojo.com.

While there are many reports of Barrett being withdrawn and even aggressive at this time, Iggy remembers it differently. "People talk about Syd's madness and his dark side, but I never saw it," she states. "We had a wonderful giggly time. There were no sinister moments." Only briefly did she glimpse a more troubled side to his personality. "One day, he said to me, 'How do you feel? Are you sad?' I was naked, and he went and got some paint and painted two great big eyes on my breasts with two tears coming down, and on my belly button he painted an arrow and underneath that a picture of me with a big belly, and said, 'There could be life in there. I could give you life.' But I didn't want that at all. So I panicked, and scrubbed it off." He was also uncomfortable with some aspects of fame, as Iggy discovered on a night out with Syd to The Speakeasy, a music-biz haunt in Margaret Street. "We'd persuaded Syd to go, but it was full of posers," she admits. "There were a few of us there. Someone asked the DJ to put on See Emily Play, which was a stupid thing to do." A hit for Pink Floyd more than two years before, the dance-floor cleared. "So I went on and started dancing, but Syd ran off. He was obviously very sensitive about it all."

"We had a wonderful giggly time. There were no sinister moments."

In March '69, Barrett began recording The Madcap Laughs at Abbey Road, but his erratic behaviour in the studio resulted in Roger Waters and David Gilmour helping to oversee the sessions. Gilmour was now living in Richmond Mansions, a block so close to Wetherby Mansions that he could almost see into Syd and Duggie's kitchen window. One evening, Syd announced that he had to go out. Iggy wanted to go with him, but Barrett insisted she remain at the flat. "I think I thought he was seeing another woman," she says. "I got a bit jealous, a bit pouty - very silly. Duggie knew where Syd had gone but wouldn't tell me." With Syd gone, Iggy decided to pay a visit to David Gilmour instead. Fields helped Iggy back-comb her hair, plaster her face with make-up and paint her lips black. "I looked like Medusa. Like a banshee. Duggie then took me round to Dave's place. Dave was very beautiful and very cool, and his flat was nicer than Syd and Duggie's - it was warmer for a start. Dave opened the door, took one look at me, but didn't bat an eyelid."

Iggy by Chris Lanaway.
Iggy in 1978.

When Iggy walked in, she saw Syd sat in Gilmour's living room. "I went in, shouting, 'OK, where is she?' thinking there was a woman hiding in one of the rooms. But, of course, the meeting had been with Dave about the record they were making together." Barrett left Iggy with Gilmour, but rather the worse for wear, she knocked the stylus on his record player accidentally scratching his copy of Pink Floyd's brand new album. "I have no idea what album it was, only that it was their new album," Iggy sighs. (The likely candidate seems to be Soundtrack From The Film More) "So Dave threw me out... If he ever reads this I would like to say sorry for scratching his record." Back at Wetherby Mansions, Barrett was unfazed by her planned defection: "Syd just said, 'Come in love, and I'll make you a cup of tea'. How sweet."

By now, Barrett had prepared his bedroom for The Madcap... cover shoot, painting most of the floorboards orange and mauve. On the morning of the shoot, Syd asked Iggy to help finish the job. "He jumped off the mattress and said, 'Quick, grab a paint brush.' He did one stripe and I did another. If you look at Mick Rock's pictures, I have paint on the soles of my feet." When Rock arrived with the Floyd's sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson to take the photos, a naked Iggy went to put some clothes on. "But Syd said, 'No, don't'. That was his wicked sense of humour. I put the kohl around his eyes that day and tousled up his hair: come on Syd, give us a smile, moody, moody, moody! But he knew exactly what he was doing. He was as sharp as anything. He set the tone. He was the manipulator."

"Syd just said, 'Come in love, and I'll make you a cup of tea'. How sweet."

Iggy joined Syd for further photos outside the flat. Later, Rock recalled showing Barrett one of the pictures and Syd mysteriously scratching around Iggy's image; an act that has acquired some significance among Barrett's more earnest devotees. "They're making something out of nothing," she insists. "Later on, Syd showed me one of the pictures and said, 'You like that one, don't you? I know why, because of your cheekbones'. I think I was sucking on a cigarette, and, yes, I was being vain, I liked the way my cheekbones looked. So he tore the pic in half and gave it to me. There was nothing more to it than that." Strangely, Iggy also recalls other photographs being taken that day, which have never appeared since. "I don't think Storm and Mick were very impressed by them. If you've ever seen the cover of the Rod Stewart album, Blondes Have More Fun, they were a bit like that... Of me and Syd. There were others of me and Syd, as well, which remind me of the picture of John and Yoko [on Two Virgins] which came out later. I'd love to see those pictures now."

Iggy today.
Iggy in 2011.
(Photo © Chris Lanaway).

Before long, Iggy had drifted out of Wetherby Mansions and out of Syd's life as quickly as she had drifted in. When she returned later, Duggie told her: "Syd's not here. He's gone back to Cambridge. Don't bother trying to find him." She never saw him again, and is adamant she only became aware of her presence on the cover of The Madcap Laughs after being phoned by the Croydon Guardian: "I went to a boot sale with my husband... When I saw the cover, I thought, Oh yes, that is my bottom."

Although the stories of her marrying a rich banker and joining a religious cult are untrue, there is a kernel of truth: after Syd, Iggy began seeing a wealthy businessman who was also a scientologist. However Duggie Fields' recollection of spotting Iggy climbing off a bus in a gold lamé dress is not in dispute: "It was a beautiful dress that cost £50." Still a fixture on the music scene, Iggy recalls accompanying Pink Fairies' drummer Twink to the Isle Of Wight Festival and turning up "for the very first Glastonbury... ". But in 1978 Iggy married her husband, Andrew, and "left that life behind me".

"I heard on the radio that Syd died, and I felt sad, but it was so long ago," she says. Since reading about those times in MOJO, the memories of the people and the places have slowly come back to her. "Mick Rock took some beautiful picture of me," she smiles. "But, of course, I wish I'd been paid some money for them. Still, it is amazing that people have been looking for me... and that someone has even set up a website. I still don't know what to make of all this." The fascination continues. Last week, Iggy called to tell me she had found a poem online written about her by a professor at a university in Missouri. "And it's in French," she said, sounding astonished. "'Iggy l'esquimo, Fille De Le Space'...it goes. I never believed anyone would ever write a poem for me."

by Mark Blake (www.markrblake.com)

Thanks to: Felix Atagong, Jeff Dexter and Anthony Stern


Previously published on mojo.com. Many thanks to Mark Blake for allowing us to host this article.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

2011-01-22

Mojo Exclusive: The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo

Iggy 1978 (courtesy: Mojo magazine)
Iggy 1978 (courtesy: Mojo magazine).

Since yesterday, Mark Blake's 'director cut edition' of his Iggy interview can be found on the Mojo website. For those that are not 'in' let's recapitulate a bit.

Update August 2013: The articles are no longer on the Mojo website. Mark Blake allowed us to host them at the Church.

Somewhere in November 2010 the Church of Iggy the Inuit prophesied that a lucubrated (second) Iggy interview was in the make and that after other attempts had not always been successful. Basically Iggy had been scared off when she had been questioned – out of the blue - by a journalist, early 2010. Imagine that you have been living a quiet life for a couple of decades and suddenly someone pokes you in the stomach and urges you to start digging in a very far past, asking what you did on a particular April night in 1969. Then you find out that there is a lunatic on the cybergrass who has written over sixty articles about you. It would scare the hell out of this Reverend, I can assure you that.

Contradictory to yours truly, Mark Blake is reliable, loyal and, above all, discreet. He managed to regain Ig's confidence and they agreed to do an interview on her terms. Mojo 207 (February 2011 issue) had indeed the promised Iggy article on page 18, but... - let's not beat around the bush - we Iggy aluminati were a bit disappointed with its scarce content.

Once again the Church (accurately) predicted that the printed piece in Mojo was but a mere teaser for an expatiated article that would soon appear in cyberspace. And what an article that is! It contains some pretty unseen pictures and enough material to keep on adding comments on this blog for many, many months to come. The interview – the Reverend guarantees you - will be research material for all Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd biographies to come, not that the Church is really asking for new biographies, but that is entirely besides the point.

Iggy 1978 (exclusive to the Church)
Iggy 1978 (exclusive to the Church).

As is the habit with the Church the interview will only be commented upon after it has been around for a while, but it already needs to be said that Ig's words smash several of the Church's axioms to pieces. Normally a Church doesn't like to see its dogmas destroyed but here is what we call divine intervention.

To end this sermon, my loyal brethren and sistren, the Reverend ordains you to immediately leave the Church and not to come back until you have thoroughly consulted Mark Blake's The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo. The Church does not want to prejudice you. Read it first and we'll talk about it afterwards.

Oh and another thing... the above picture is an unpublished photograph of Iggy in the Seventies. The Reverend wishes to thank Iggy for her trust and confidence in us.

The Mark Blake Iggy tapes can be found at:
Iggy The Eskimo Phones Home (Mojo 207 article - hosted at the Church)
The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo - part 1 (hosted at the Mojo website Church, update August 2013)
The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo - part 2 (hosted at the Mojo website Church, update August 2013)

A very recent Iggy mug shot, exclusive for the Church: Iggy 2011 

The most recent Iggy articles are being discussed at:
Late Night forum: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit
Late Night forum: Questions for Iggy
A Fleeting Glimpse forum: Syd's Iggy Found!

Many thanks go to: Mark Blake, Mojo, Kieren and all those supportive Barrett friends at Late Night (more about them later, in a new post).


Mark Blake has just written a decent Queen biography: Is This The Real Life? The Untold Story Of Queen, Aurum Press Ltd - ISBN: 9781845135973. Of course you still check out his much acclaimed Pink Floyd biography, although it lacks a bit in the Iggy department [insert sardonic smiley here]: Pigs Might Fly: The Inside Story Of Pink Floyd, Aurum Press Ltd - ISBN-10: 1845132610 / ISBN-13: 978-1845132613. (The Church is not affiliated with or endorsed by this company.)

2011-08-17

Warren Dosanjh, Syd Barrett's first manager

Solo en les Nubes
Solo en las Nubes.

It is with great pleasure that the Reverend introduces a new contributor at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Not only did Antonio Jesús live in the beautiful city of Cambridge but as editor of the slightly fantastic Spanish Syd Barrett blog Solo en las Nubes he has published several Autoentrevista or Self-Interviews with Barrett specialists, biographers and friends.

These interviews will now find their way to the English speaking part of the world at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. We start with a bang as this one is already a world exclusive, an interview with the manager of one of Syd's first Cambridge bands: Those Without.

Warren Dosanjh
Warren Dosanjh.

Warren Dosanjh, Syd Barrett's first manager

If you would like to visit Cambridge this summer, it is too late to book an I Spy Syd In Cambridge tour. In 2008, Warren Dosanjh, Syd Barrett's first manager, was invited by a non-profit organisation to guide visitors through the city. Many of these field trips had exclusive and unexpected guests and left the visitors in awe.

Warren Dosanjh is every inch a guide. I was lucky to attend the very first tour, still a try-out, and it was a blast. He told us a thousand and one stories and anecdotes like only an expert could do. On top of that he also knows the best places in the slummy parts of Cambridge.

But today we're lucky as Warren has decided to give a self-interview for Solo En Las Nubes.

Where did you meet Syd Barrett for the first time?

We were at the same school. It was called The Cambridgeshire High School for Boys aka The County. Roger, as he was called then, was a year below me. I think that Roger Waters was one or two years above.

Those Without (the early days)
Those Without (the early days).

How well did you know him then?

Quite well but not as a close friend. Many of us were excited about the emergence of rock'n roll, R&B and to a degree some folk music, particularly Bob Dylan. Some evenings were spent at Syd's home in Hills Road or that of a neighbour, Dick Whyte, listening to and playing music.

Did you play a musical instrument?

I tried very hard to learn the 5-string banjo but as I am left-handed it proved to be too difficult in the long-term.

How did the band Those Without evolve?

Alan 'Barney' Barnes and Steve Pyle came to my home one evening wanting to form a new band. They were in a band called Hollerin' Blues but wanted to disband as a means of getting rid of Brian Scott, their manager. They asked me to be the manager of the new band and I agreed.

And the name Those Without?

Very late that same night Steve spotted a book on my shelf titled Those Without Shadows by Françoise Sagan. "That's it! We just drop the word Shadows.", said Steve. All bands in those days seemed to be called 'The' someone or other and this was certainly a new concept in band names.

VW Dormobile
Volkswagen Dormobile.

So what was it like being a manager?

Getting the bookings was quite easy I remember. The difficult bits were having transport for us and the equipment particularly when we played outside of Cambridge. Luckily I had a lovely girlfriend Vernia whose father owned a VW Dormobile.

But the most difficult part for me was handling Alan Barnes. He was without doubt one of the best musicians around, playing keyboards, harmonica and singing lead. He had a great feel for R&B. But unfortunately he knew this and could be very contentious and 'up himself' after a few drinks. There were often occasions when I would have to take him outside for a quiet word.

So what sort of music did Those Without play?

Mostly R&B. Bands like Jokers Wild were mostly playing cover versions of pop records in the charts whereas a few bands like ourselves were playing classic R&B covers of artists like John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, etc...

Syd with Those Without
Syd with Those Without.

How did Syd get in the band?

Syd wanted to have a go at being in a band. He had previously played for one night at a CND fund-raising event with a band invented for just that night, called Geoff Mott & The Mottoes. Steve Pyle brought Syd along to a practise and asked if he could play bass with us and help out on the vocals. They were at that time both at The Cambridge School of Art. I remember Syd bringing along The Kinks' new record - 'You Really Got Me' - and playing it over and over again.

You mention The Kinks - were there any other bands that influenced you?

I guess you have to mention The Rolling Stones and The Animals. But at the grass-roots were people like Cyril Davies R&B All Stars (Long John Baldry, Dick Heckstall-Smith) and Graham Bond Organisation.

So what was special about Cambridge in the 60s?

It was unique. A melting pot of contrasting views, opinions and influences that often fused together to create a new exciting life for young people trying to throw off the shackles of post-war Britain. I remember Allan Ginsberg giving a poetry reading at King's, Duke Ellington playing an organ recital at Gt. St Mary's Church, student 'rag' days, continental films at The Arts Cinema, nights in Grantchester Meadows, smoking my first spliff and losing my virginity. Much much more...

Those Without Shadows
Those Without Shadows.

When did you last see Syd?

I saw him a lot in the 60s. He played with the band about 12 times before finally settling in London and forming Pink Floyd. When he returned to Cambridge and after the failure of Stars he became more reclusive. Sometimes I would pass him in the street as he lived just around the corner from me but he was always in a different world and I didn't want to invade his privacy.

We, his school mates and friends, just let him go about his business. We just remember him not for Pink Floyd but as a well-spoken likeable guy that we grew up with - a friend who just lost his way.

© 2011 Antonio Jesús, Solo en las Nubes. Pictures courtesy of I Spy Syd in Cambridge & Solo en las Nubes.
Translation mistakes, typos and all possible errors are entirely the responsibility of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

Check out the I Spy Syd in Cambridge website that holds many goodies, even now when the tours no longer exists.

The music scene of Cambridge, Walking Tour, Venues and Bands. A must read for everyone who is interested in Syd's Cambridge. This 36 pages booklet contains a Cambridge city map and has descriptions of the different venues and many unknown Cambridge bands of the Sixties. Researched and compiled by Warren Dosanjh. Edited and layout by Mick Brown. Further contributions and research: Lee Wood, Alan Willis, Jenny Spires, Brian Foskett, Viv ‘Twig’ Brans, Stephen Pyle, Albert Prior, Jess Applin, Cherrill Richardson, Mike Richardson, Hank Wingate, David Ellingham, Jonathon Church, Sudhir Agar, Dave Parker, Graham Smith, Tony Middleton, Ivan Carling, Judy Woodford, Jenny Taylor, Stuart Dingley, Dave Thaxter, Tim Renwick, Pete Rhodes. (March 2011 PDF download, about 5 MB)

History of Those Without and Hollerin' Blues, with the staggering news that Syd Barrett has never been a member of that last band. More about the different gigs of Those Without (with and without Syd).

Pink Floyd Syd Barrett Interviews with Friends (2009): Roger "Syd" Barrett - Cambridge Autumn 2009 Interviews with friends Richard Jacobs, Sue Unwin, John Watkins, Stephen Pyle, Warren Dosanjh, Diana McKenna, et.al. by Alexandros Papathanasiou. Hosted at Youtube: Pink Floyd Syd Barrett Interviews with Friends.

Reflections: Sixties Counterculture in Cambridge, a film from Alexandros Papathanasiou & Kameron Stroud (2011). Reminiscence of the sixties alternative movement in Cambridge by 7 local interviewees, including Warren Dosanjh and Stephen Pyle. The film reflects the interviewees memories during that time as well as it addresses their powerful conclusions about the impact of the 60's alternative generation on the present time. Hosted at Youtube: part 1 (10:46) and part 2 (10:11). Hosted at Vimeo: Reflections.

2013-11-02

If you're going to Sausalito

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

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

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

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

Sausalito Facebook Search
Sausalito Facebook Search Results.

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

Waiting for the man

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

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

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

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

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

Hotel California

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

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

Concert Poster 1967
Concert Poster 1967.

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

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

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

This is not America

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

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

Concert Poster 1967
Concert Poster 1967.

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

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

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

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

Rolling Stone 1
Rolling Stone 1.

On the cover of the Rolling Stone

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

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

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

This is the house

William Barrett Plaque
William Barrett Plaque.

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

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

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

Barrett House
Barrett House.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jean-Marie Deschamps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Ending In Style (or not)

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

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

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

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

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

blocked
Blocked Youtube movie.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-03-07

Smart Enjoy

Andrew Rawlinson
Andrew Rawlinson.
NSFW warning: this article contains pictures of naked b⊚⊚bs which may result in temporary blindness for minors.

On the 5th of March 2009 the Syd Barrett Trust received Fart Enjoy, a one-off book, created and illustrated by Syd Barrett, believed to be made late 1964 or during 1965. It was donated by Syd's school friend Andrew Rawlinson who had kept it all these years. The day after it was put for auction on eBay. On Monday the 23rd March the highest bid reached £27,323 but this was rejected and brought back to £12,100. Eventually the book sold for £12,600.

Black Holes

The Trust published all the pages of the (f)art-book and a moving essay of Andrew Rawlinson about his friend. Unfortunately this has all disappeared. The trust was constructed around Barrett's heritage, estimated at about one million seven hundred-thousand pounds. Barrett's household articles and furniture made £119,890 for charity, the Two Warriors mosaic went for £10,700 and three (big) Mick Rock prints were auctioned as well, half of the proceedings going to the Fund. (Mick Rock always needs to have a slice of the pie.) And yet, 12 pounds a year to keep their website running was too much to ask, http://www.syd-barrett-trust.org.uk now points to a Japanese website trying to find nurses in Saitama city. (Update 2017: it now simply points to a blank page.)

All related websites (and organisations) seem to have vanished: Syd Barrett Trust, Syd Barrett Fund (the change of name took place at the request of the Barrett family), Interstellar, The City Wakes, Escape Artists,... We came across the rumour that Escape Artists was, and we quote: 'a financially incompetent group'. The Syd Barrett Fund was probably conned by 'useless PR men and bullshitters', but as we can't verify this we'll leave it like that. Eventually Escape Artists dissolved and Rosemary Breen, Syd's sister, teamed up with Squeaky Gate that seems seemed to be a more reliable charity.

Update 8 April 2014: The metaphorical ink on this page wasn't even dry or we were informed, on 30 March 2014, that Squeaky Gate may need to close the books. While chief executive Simon Gunton told the Cambridge News (on the 7th of April) that the fundings, coming from the government, were running dry, the rumour pit in Cambridge has a slightly more salient story of several ten thousands of pounds disappearing from its bank account. Syd Barrett & charity: it's no good trying.
Update 9 April 2014: We have had confirmation that Squeaky Gate is now history.

Fart Enjoy, missing page
The Fart Enjoy missing page.

Piper Gates

Luckily Fart Enjoy was reprinted in its entirety for the 40th anniversary edition of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn CD-box (2007).

In its entirety?

Well not exactly. Page 13 was missing and replaced by the following cryptic text:

This particular page has been left blank for legal reasons
For further details see www.pinkfloyd.com

For many fans the abundance of the 'fuck' word (9 times) and the presence of a pin-up might have had something to do with that. Especially in America big chains do not like to sell records that may potentially besmirch the frail American psyche with swear words and naked boobs. Going to the official Pink Floyd website obviously didn't explain anything at all, so Keith Jordan of Neptune Pink Floyd contacted the band's management:

Pink Floyd's manager told me earlier that the page is missing from the album booklet because of copyright issues. EMI are not willing to face unlimited litigation against them for including it! So it's not about censorship at all!

Which is weird as the missing page had been published in Tim Willis's Madcap book before and it can be still found on the NPF website (and numerous others) as well.

Fart Enjoy Pin-Up
Fart Enjoy Pin-Up.

Scribbled Lines

Should you not know what all this hassle is about, at the left is the picture in question. It surely gives the impression that Roger Keith Barrett, like most pimpled adolescents, had a rather debatable sense of humour and was overtly sexist, putting raunchy graffiti (FUK, SUK, LIK, TIT, NIPL and a hard to find CUNT), including a stylised penis, all over the picture. Rob Chapman describes it as:

a porn-mag photo of a topless woman encrypted with toilet-wall graffiti daubs.

And Julian Palacios adds that the page reveals Barrett's:

misogynistic adolescent fear and a fascination with naked women.

In Will Shutes' excellent Barrett essay, that like all art essays meanders between the sublime and the slightly ridiculous, he cleverly remarks that the BOYS FUCK GIRL word permutations - on the same page - form 'two tip-to-toe penises'.

  BOYS      FUCK      GIRL
  BOY   FS   UCK      GIRL
  BO   FYUS   CK      GIRL
  B   FOUYCS   K      GIRL
  F   BUOCYK   S      GIRL
  FU   BCOK   YS      GIRL 
  FUC   BK   OYS      GIRL
  FUCK      BOYS      GIRL
  FUCK      BOY   GS   IRL
  FUCK      BO   GYIS   RL
  FUCK      B   GOIYRS   L
  FUCK      G   BIORYL   L
  FUCK      GI   BROL   YS
  FUCK      GIR   BL   OYS
  FUCK      GIRL      BOYS

As if two penises isn't serious enough he has also the following to say about the pin-up:

The voyeuristic theme evident in Fart Enjoy relates to the omnipresence of the sexualized image, and is humorous in its deliberate childishness. In Barrett's most prominent foray into Pop Art, he illustrates the anatomy of an anonymous topless model with tears and glasses, snot, spiders, a cyclist ascending her left breast, and some sort of discharge from her 'NIPL'.
Shirley Anne Field by David Bailey, Playboy March 1966.
Shirley Anne Field by David Bailey, Playboy March 1966.

Beat Girl

For another observer the snot under her nose could also be a moustache, the nipple discharge could be some sort of surrealistic fart (enjoyed or not) and the anonymous topless model could be someone who ran for miss Great Britain in 1955 and who played roles in the cult-horror movie Peeping Tom (1960) and in the ultimate sixties sex comedy Alfie (1966).

In 1963 Playboy called this actress a sex siren who was:

for years exploited as English grist for run-of-the-mill pin-up roles, until her portrayal of Sir Laurence Olivier's mistress in The Entertainer proved she could deliver lines as well as show them.

She must have left an everlasting impression because in the March 1966 issue this 'perky, pretty Lancashire lass' was portrayed by none other than the British photographer of the stars, David Bailey. One of these pictures is the one that was massacred by Syd Barrett for his Fart Enjoy booklet.

As a movie star Shirley Anne Field disappeared in the mid seventies but eventually she returned in My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), stayed for 42 episodes in the Santa Barbara soap (1987) and was last seen on the silver screen in the 2011 comedy The Power Of Three. IMDB lists her impressive career, Shirley Anne Field starred in 70 different movie and TV productions (not counting individual episodes) in nearly 6 decades.

Time Lord Syd
Time Lord Syd. Artwork: Felix Atagong.

Time Lord

Andrew Rawlinson writes the Fart Enjoy booklet is probably from 1965.

I’m not sure about the exact date. I know where I was living, so that places it between the end of 1964 and the summer of 1965. He was in London (Tottenham Street I think, not Earlham Street) and I was in Cambridge.

But unless somebody unequivocally proves that Syd Barrett really was a Time Lord (now here's a daring subject for our satiric The Anchor division, we might say) we seem to have a problem as the David Bailey pictures of Shirley Anne Field date from March 1966 and not from the year before.

How on Earth did Syd Barrett happen to insert a picture from a March 1966 Playboy into a 1965 (f)artwork?

All seems to turn around the exact moment in time when Syd Barrett moved from Tottenham Street to Earlham Street. Mark Blake and others put this in 1965 but Rob Chapman in A Very Irregular Head writes:

During the summer of 1966 Syd moved out of Tottenham Street and with his new girlfriend, fashion model Lindsay Corner, took up residence in the top-floor flat at 2 Earlham Street, just off Shaftesbury Avenue.

One chirping biographer doesn't make spring, especially not this one, so isn't there another way to date Fart Enjoy?

Actually there is.

Dear Roge, Fart Enjoy
"Dear Roge" letter, Fart Enjoy.

Rogue Roger

Page 10 in the booklet has a transcript from a letter (postcard?) from Syd's mother to her son. Some biographers call it a spoof although this, nor the authenticity, can be proven. But made up or not, it contains three interesting sentences.

I hope you are having a nice weekend.
How did the group get on at Essex?
Shall we reckon to set off – Devon-wards – on Sat. 26th?

Let's start with the last line, the one that carries a date. Browsing through calendars from nearly 50 years ago we can see there have only been a few Saturdays the 26th between 1964 and 1966: two in 1964 (September and December), one in 1965 (June) and three in 1966 (February, March and November).

1964
Syd Barrett, as a member of The Hollerin' Blues, didn't have that many gigs in 1964, and these were all around Cambridge. In the autumn of that year he joined the proto-Floyd, who where probably still called The Spectrum Five, but they only had about 3 concerts in London.

1965
Pink Floyd and/or The Tea Set had a slightly busier schedule in 1965, but all in all there were only a dozen of gigs. None of these were in Essex or happened around the only Saturday the 26th of that year.

Playboy March 1966
Playboy March 1966.

1966
"By early 1966 Pink Floyd's fortunes were taking a dramatic turn for the better", writes Glenn Povey in Echoes, but frankly their career only started to mushroom end of September. The Tea Set's first claim for fame was when they were billed, thanks to Nick Sedgwick, for three sets on a two-days festival on Friday the 11th and Saturday the 12th of March 1966, next to real FAMOUS people and bands. Nick Mason remembers:

The only gig that might have brought us to wider attention had been at Essex University. At their rag ball, we shared the bill with the Swinging Blue Jeans, who did appear, and Marianne Faithfull who was billed as appearing – if she managed to return from Holland in time. It didn’t sound hopeful. We were still called Tea Set at the time although we must have given the impression of being in transition to psychedelia, since in spite of having ‘Long Tall Texan’ in our repertoire, where we all sang to the accompaniment of acoustic guitars, somebody had arranged oil slides and a film projection.

Roger Waters (as quoted in Palacios' Dark Globe):

‘We’d already become interested in mixed media,’ recalled Roger Waters. ‘Some bright spark there had given this paraplegic a film camera and wheeled him round London filming his view. Now they showed it up on screen as we played.’

The avant-garde movie lovers at the Church sometimes wonder if this cinematographer wasn't an American who had recently moved to England. Later he would play an important part in the London's Film-Makers' Co-op, that grew out of film screenings at Better Books. But looking into that would take us too far, actually.

The Essex University Rag Ball was the Floyd's first event to be proud of and something Syd would have been bragging about to his mother and friends. Not only was this their only Essex gig in the 1964 – 1966 period, but it also perfectly matches the 'spoof' letter in Fart Enjoy.

I hope you are having a nice weekend.

Refers to the week after the Essex gig when Syd hypothetically received the letter (around 19 March 1966).

How did the group get on at Essex?

Syd's mum asks about the concert of the week before, when The Tea Set had their first breakthrough (12 March 1966).

Shall we reckon to set off – Devon-wards – on Sat. 26th?

Points to a date in the immediate future, Saturday the 26th of March 1966.

Bob Dylan in Playboy, March 1966
Bob Dylan in Playboy, March 1966.

Bob Dylan Schmooze

It's a shame EMI couldn't track down the owner of the copyright of the woman with her boobies out which Barrett cut from a magazine. EMI chose not to include it in the reproduced Fart Enjoy book in PATGOD.

So writes Neptune Pink Floyd on their Facebook page, about a year ago. Well, now that the Holy Igquisition has settled this matter, once and for all, EMI will have no excuse any more not to include the complete Fart Enjoy booklet in - let's say - a 50 years anniversary Immersion set of Pink Floyd's first album.

We think we have gathered enough evidence to bring back the creation date of the Fart Enjoy booklet from a two-years period to roughly one week in 1966. The Church managed to identify the pin-up Syd Barrett drew Kilroy on, as well as the photographer and the magazine it appeared in.

The only question that stays unanswered is: Why did Syd Barrett have this particular Playboy?

Easy.

The Playboy of March 1966 not only had topless pictures of Shirley Anne Field. Pages 41 to 44 and 138 to 142 make room for a 'candid conversation with the iconoclastic idol of the folk-rock set'. Syd Barrett, like all Cantabrigian beatniks, admired Bob Dylan and discussed his records, he had written a parodic song about him, and took Libby Gausden to the Royal Festival Hall on 17 May 1964 to see him.

If we can be sure of one thing, it is that Syd Barrett really bought this Playboy for the interview.


Many thanks to: Anonymous, Giulio Bonfissuto, Mick Brown, Warren Dosanjh, Rich Hall, Alexander Hoffmann, Keith Jordan, Göran Nyström, Neptune Pink Floyd Forum, Vintage Erotica Forum. Update July 2017: images and some text.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Sources (other than the above links):
Atagong, Felix: Fasten Your Anoraks , The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, 8 September 2007.
Beecher, Russell & Shutes, Will: Barrett, Essential Works Ltd, London, 2011, p. 165. (This book has the complete Fart Enjoy.)
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 62, 111.
Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue, p. 35.
Palacios, Julian: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 92, 98.
Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 32, 48.
Rawlinson, Andrew: Syd Barrett - His Book @ Syd Barrett Research Society, 15 March 2009 (forum no longer active). Rawlinson, Andrew: Syd Barrett - His Book, 20 March 2009 (mirror).
Willis, Tim, Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p. 53-55. (This book has a few pages of Fart Enjoy.)

Neptune Pink Floyd forum:
Piper Re-Release - The Missing Page from Fart Enjoy!, started August 31, 2007.
Syd Barrett "Fart Enjoy" work on eBay, started March 16, 2009.
Page missing from the "piper" deluxe edition, started April 13, 2010.

NSFW sources (Warning: porn banners and/or pop-ups!):
Playboy, Europe's New Sex Sirens, September 1963, p. 136.
Playboy, Trio Con Brio, Playboy, March 1966, p. 112-113.
Vintage Erotica Forum: Shirley Anne Field, May 2007 - December 2013.

2014-06-06

Boogie Wonderland

Birdie Hop. Artwork: Felix Atagong.

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

Opel, 2014

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

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

Opel upgrade by Rich Hall

Link: Opel (Rich Hall upgrade)

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

London Cambridge Boogie, 1972

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

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

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

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

I can only hear two guitars.

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

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

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

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

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

© Alexander P. HB., 2014.

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

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


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