Gretta Barclay

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2008-12-29

Love In The Woods (Pt. 2)

A mysterious brunette...
A mysterious brunette.

The so-called Lost in the Woods movie, that was part of the Knebworth pre show documentary, is a mix coming from different people, at different places, on different occasions. The Church quotes archbishop Dark Globe, who has scrutinized the movie before:

There's footage of Syd larking around in a garden with friends in 67, the 'lilac shirt' footage of Syd (late 67/68?) in which Lyndsay Corner also appears, and the blue suit/yellow ruffled shirt footage of Syd in the woods with two girls (Iggy and a mystery brunette) from 69.
The home movie footage is multilayered and you can catch glimpses of different footage superimposed on top of the main footage.
During the bit of Syd in the woods with Iggy, there's some footage of Syd with an acoustic guitar (at least that's what I can see). The flashbacks movie only shows tantalising glimpses of the Syd home movie footage. (taken from Late Night.)

The home movie snippets are used twice in the Knebworth documentary.

The documentary starts with Pink (Langley Iddens) pouring a glass of wine. For the next 39 seconds several vintage clips, taking no longer than a couple of frames, will be intercepted with shots from the actor. The first home movie scenes have already ended when the documentary is just one minute old. The main bunch seems to be filmed at a garden party.

The second home movie scenes arrive about 10 minutes later and will go on for 42 seconds. The main footage has Syd walking in a park with Iggy and a mysterious brunette, Syd and Iggy climbing trees, the two woman running hand in hand, Syd acting funny with a stick in his hand… The park footage is intercepted a few times by other home movies from other occasions…

Part 1: Garden fun – blowing bubbles

Several garden shots have been used in this compilation. There is a scene with a girl on a swing, people blowing soap bubbles and generally having fun, Syd eating a - very hard to spot - banana…

The Church tried to identify the people in the movie with the help of the worldwide web, posting screenshots at several anorak fora, and Dark Globe took it upon him to show these pictures to David Gale and Matthew Scurfield after a reading at the City Wakes festival this year.

Hester Page Hester Page Hester Page. It could be that screenshots 1 and 2 depict the same person. She remained unidentified until Dark Globe showed the pics to David Gale who recognised picture 2 as ‘Hester’. Barrett fan julianindica could narrow this down to Hester Page. Hester Page gets mentioned in the Syd Barrett biography by Julian Palacios, aptly called Lost In The Woods, as part of the 101 Cromwell Rd incrowd. That two-storey flat in Kensington was the place for many Cantabrigians to sleep, meet and greet. Syd Barrett and Lindsay Corner lived there for a while and Pink Floyd used the place to rehearse (much to the annoyance of painter Duggie Fields). It was also somewhat of an LSD epicentre and a ‘critical nexus for Underground activities of every shade and stripe’.
David Gale David Gale. This man is David Gale. To quote his own words at the City Wakes – it’s the hooter that gives me away. Gale was a schoolmate of David Gilmour and a friend of Syd. In 1965 David’s parents went to Australia for a 6-month period leaving the house and its garden in the safe hands of their son. It didn’t take long before the Cambridge jeunesse would meet there and there is a chance that the first part of the Syd Barrett Home Movie has indeed been shot in the garden of David Gale’s parents. Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon and Storm Thorgerson had film cameras so one of them may have shot the footage (NLG made the iniquitous Syd’s First Trip movie where David Gale can be seen). It was also at David Gale’s place that Syd Barrett had a cosmically encounter wit a plum, an orange and a matchbox, as witnessed by Storm Thorgerson who would later use this for a record sleeve and for a concert movie.
Lyndsay Corner Lyndsay Corner. David Gale and Matthew Scurfield identify the girl on a swing as Lyndsay Corner.

Part 2: the Lost In The Woods footage
 

Mick Rock Mick Rock. When Syd and Iggy are walking in the woods a face is superimposed. It is Mick Rock who has (probably) shot the movie. Iggy is wearing the same necklace as on the Madcap Laughs photo sessions and (perhaps) the same clothes. Syd however has another shirt than in the Psychedelic Renegades book. The Lost In The Woods scenes have been edited on the Knebworth documentary and carry parts from at least 3 other home movies.
Lost In The Woods footage
Unknown. Syd and another man walking & talking in a garden in front of a house. Identity Unknown.
Lost In The Woods footage Unknown. Syd and a girl blowing bubbles in a park. Identity unknown.
Lindsay Corner Lyndsay Corner. Close-up of Lyndsay Corner (in a park).
Lost In The Woods footage Lost In The Woods footage
Mysterious brunette. 3 people can be identified on the Lost In The Woods movie: Syd, Iggy and Mick Rock. In several shots with Iggy and Syd we see a second woman, the mysterious brunette, whose identity we don’t know yet.
Update: on second thought, she could be Hester Page (see first picture above), although it is a wild guess.
JenS, however concludes that the girl is not Hester Page. Gretta Barclay does not recognise her either: "I do not recognise the brunette – the name Jennie Gordon came to mind, but in truth, I simply have no idea of who she is."

Radiocarbon dating

Pop-art painter Duggie Fields, who still lives in the same apartment, and Mick Rock have testified that Iggy only stayed at Syd’s place for a couple of weeks. When Mick Rock showed Syd the pictures of the photo sessions for the cover of The Madcap Laughs she was already long gone…. According to Duggie Fields, a homeless and drug-addicted couple, Greta and Rusty, took the vacant place, much to the aggravation of the painter who had to bring Greta to the hospital after an overdose.

Update 2010: in an exclusive interview to the Church Margaretta Barclay absolutely denies the above. Please consult: Gretta Speaks and Gretta Speaks (Pt. 2) 

Neither Mick Rock nor Storm Thorgerson give the exact date when The Madcap Laughs photo shoot was made: the closest thing they can come up with is Autumn 1969. Syd Barrett and David Gilmour met at the studio on the 6th of October to sort out the running order of the album. Other studio work, that didn’t need Syd’s presence, was done the same month: banding the LP master (9 October) and cutting the LP (16 October). After hearing the master Malcolm Jones ordered a recut early in November. The record was officially released on the second of January 1970.

Malcolm Jones recounts:

One day in October or November I had cause to drop in at Syd's flat on my way home to leave him a tape of the album, and what I saw gave me quite a start. In anticipation of the photographic session for the sleeve, Syd had painted the bare floorboards of his room orange and purple. Up until then the floor was bare, with Syd's few possessions mostly on the floor; hi-fi, guitar, cushions, books and paintings. In fact the room was much as appears on the original 'Madcap' sleeve. Syd was well pleased with his days work and I must say it made a fine setting for the session due to take place.

Based on this information most anoraks radiocarbon the photo shoot date in the second half of October, although November is also a possibility. The Lost In The Woods home move with Syd, Mick, Iggy and the mysterious brunette should thus be pinpointed to that period (this was written in December 2008).

Update: But... as the Holy Church would find out the next year (January 2009) the above photo shoot date appears to be wrong. It is pretty sure that Iggy left Syd in April 1969. Further analysis of the Madcap pictures show that several details point to spring 1969, rather than autumn. For a complete report please consult: Anoraks and Pontiacs.

(This is the second part of the Love In The Woods post. Part 1 can be found here: Love in the Woods (Pt. 1))

An image gallery with stills of the Lost In The Woods home movies can be found at the gallery.


Sources (other than the above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 141.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 13.
Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree, London, 1998, p. 241.
Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 154-158.

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!

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.

2010-05-08

The Case of the Painted Floorboards

Daffodils.
Daffodils.

In The Purloined Letter (1845) from Edgar Allan Poe dozens of intelligence officers search a room to recuperate some blackmailing material but they fail to locate it. Enters C. Auguste Dupin, probably the very first detective in fiction, who simply picks the letter from a card-rack. It had never been concealed but as the policemen had been looking for a hidden object they never cared to check the paper, lying out in the open.

Paintbox

When the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit started its mission it was generally believed that The Madcap Laughs photo shoot had taken place in the autumn of 1969.

Why?

Mainly because every Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett related book said so and - for over 30 years of time - nobody had ever cared to check the facts. (Also Rob Chapman's A Very Irregular Head biography, that has just appeared a couple of days ago, situates the floor paint job and thus the photo shoot somewhere between August and November 1969.)

Of course the witnesses saying that the shoot had taken place in the last quarter of 1969 were quite privileged authorities on the life and works of Barrett and thus their testimonies have never been questioned (and as we will reveal later, their comments may be - partly - true).

Malcolm Jones was the Harvest manager who partly produced Barrett's first solo album and who wrote an acclaimed (for Syd fans anyway) book about these sessions.

One day in October or November (1969, FA) I had cause to drop in at Syd's flat on my way home to leave him a tape of the album, and what I saw gave me quite a start. In anticipation of the photographic session for the sleeve, Syd had painted the bare floorboards of his room orange and purple. (…) Syd was well pleased with his days work and I must say it made a fine setting for the session due to take place.

And in his Psychedelic Renegades book Mick Rock writes:

We shot The Madcap Laughs in the autumn of 1969 and I don’t think that Syd and Duggie Fields had been living in the flat that long. (…) Soon after Syd moved in he painted alternating floor boards orange and turquoise.

The above contains a contradiction, although Mick Rock probably isn't (wasn't) aware of that. Syd Barrett, Duggie Fields and a third tenant called Jules moved in the apartment in January 1969 (perhaps December 1968) and certainly not later. A while later Jules was kicked out because he didn't pay the rent.

Duggie Fields recalls in The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story that the floorboards were painted 'quite quickly' after they had moved in and said in the Mojo Madcap issue:

When Jules left Iggy came soon after and she wasn't there for long. Jenny Spires (Syd's ex) brought her round. Iggy was just around, she didn't officially live here.

JenS has indeed confirmed to the Church: "I took her (Iggy) to Wetherby Mansions in January 1969." (Did the Reverend ever tell that it was thanks to biographer Julian Palacios that the Church got in contact with her?)

It is hard to remember things after 40 years, and even harder to pinpoint an exact date for certain events, but JenS certainly wasn't in England anymore in April as she had left for America, and by then the floor boards had already been painted. "When Syd and Gretta et al went to The Isle of Wight Trina - Gretta's sister - and I were in America and heading for the Woodstock Rock Festival."

Also Iggy (or Evelyn, in her interview with the Croydon Guardian) and Margaretta Barclay (in her interview with the Church) remember the painted floorboards. But opinions differ whether the floor boards were painted with a photo session in mind or not.

Paint can.
Paint can.

Gunsmoke

Just like several (tiny) details in the pictures have given away the possible shooting date, the answer may lie in the pictures themselves. What most people, including the Reverend, have neglected to do for the last 40 years was to look for the obvious. Not so for Late Night member and Syd Barrett collector Dark Globe:

After reading Jenny Spires's claim that the floorboards were painted when Syd moved into the flat, long before the Madcap photo session, I had another look at some of the photos. (…)

The 'smoking gun' for me is the can of paint and paintbrush which appears in one of the Madcap session photos: this would imply that the floorboards had only been painted recently.

Of course, it could be that he was only 'topping them up' but it certainly looks like he (and maybe Iggy) had done some painting close to the session.
Paint can, Storm Thorgerson
Paint can, Storm Thorgerson.

The photographic evidence is there. The Mick Rock pictures from Syd Barrett's room not only reveal that parts of the floor had not been painted yet but also show that a can of (blue) paint and a big paintbrush are hiding next to Syd's mattress, together with a coffee mug and an empty wine glass.

At least two Storm Thorgerson pictures from that spring day show the paint can as well. The booklet of the Crazy Diamond Syd Barrett box shows the (partly cut off) can at the left side of the picture and the print of the so-called toy plane picture that was sold on eBay in November last year has it in full. It is a pity that only a very small image of this print exists and that its owner, if (s)he is aware of its existence, still hasn't donated some hi-res scans to the Syd Barrett community.

Iggys Feet
Iggy's Feet, Mick Rock.

Dancing Barefoot

Whilst Mick Rock was at it he also took some 'nude study' pictures from Iggy but this time the Reverend will not get exited over her churrigueresque features but over her dirty feet. Her feet are black (or should that be: blue?) and probably she had been walking barefoot over the wet paint.

Stating the obvious is difficult when one is too concentrated on a subject. Church member Banjer and Sax found a simple explanation why painting a floor in two different colours will take several days or even weeks:

Maybe it took several days to complete the job, more than two days, and they would not necessarily have to have been consecutive days. So maybe days passed or even months passed between different phases of floor painting. It seems like it could have been difficult to do both colours at the same time.

The logical thing to do is indeed wait for the first colour to dry before starting the second colour. But the mystery of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot only gets bigger and, as usual, archbishop Dark Globe is to blame:

There was more than one photo shoot though. A second photo shoot (not by Mick Rock, but by Storm Thorgerson, FA) shows Syd doing yoga and posing in front of one of his paintings. The floorboards are painted in these photos so they were probably taken sometime after the session with Iggy. Syd's hair is a noticeably longer in these photos too.

These pictures were used by Hipgnosis for the cover of the vinyl compilation Syd Barrett. It is obvious that they were taken on a later date: the floor seems to be completely painted, but also the room has been reorganised. While the far left corner on the daffodil session pictures is empty it suddenly contains some canvas and paint during the yoga session pictures.

The Church already hinted in a previous post:

Perhaps Storm took some photos later in the year and maybe this is how the legend came into place that The Madcap Laughs photo session was made after summer.

This is not as far-fetched as it seems.

Autumn Photo Session

Mick Rock states: "This '69 session was specifically done for Syd's first solo album, The Madcap Laughs" and Storm Thorgerson more or less claims that Hipgnosis had been summoned by record company Harvest to do the cover.

Newspaper.
Newspaper, Mick Rock.

But if the daffodil photo shoot really took place, as proposed by the Church between the 14th and 21st of April 1969, Syd Barrett had only been at two, maximum three, recording sessions for the album. (If only we could find out the date of the newspaper lying next to Barrett's bed?)

It is hard to believe that Harvest would approach Hipgnosis after three studio sessions, especially as Syd Barrett was still regarded as a liability. Between May and July of the previous year Barrett had wasted eight recording sessions and basically EMI had given up. Peter Jenner:

It was chaos…. (…) There were always these tantalising glimpses and that was what kept you going. (…) I think we just came to the conclusion that we weren't getting anywhere.

So although the April 10 and 11 sessions of 1969 had been very promising (and the one on the 17th as well) it is unlikely that the managing director of Harvest was already thinking he had chart material. And quite rightly so, because the fourth session was disastrous and has been used in books and articles to emphasize Syd's lunatic behaviour. And it wasn't getting better...

Different people tell different stories but the bottom line is that less than a month after the first (April 1969) recording session Malcolm Jones simply gave up. David Gilmour, who took over the producer seat in June, maintains until today that he was asked to salvage the sessions from the dustbin, although Malcolm Jones has tried to minimise this and claimed that the Madcap project had not really been shelved.

It was already August 1969 when the Cantabrigian Pink Floyd members started (stereo-)mixing the tapes, and as the band had a busy schedule and wanted to have some holidays as well, it would take until October for the master tapes to be ready. Now here is what the Reverend calls an appropriate moment for the record company to commission a sleeve.

Summer 1969. Harvest hotshots ask Hipgnosis to design a sleeve for the album that is in its final mix. Storm Thorgerson goes to Syd's flat to take the so-called yoga-shots, but decides later, for whatever reason, to use the (Mick Rock influenced) daffodil-shots instead. (Probably when Thorgerson presented the sleeve to Harvest, he didn't tell that the pictures came really from a photo shoot earlier in the year. That's how we know Storm.)

A legend is born.

We leave the last word to JenS who was so friendly to contact us again:

It's truly astonishing about the floor! All I can say is the floor had already been painted when I arrived. (January 1969, FA) There were parts of the room unfinished in the bay window and to the right hand corner of the room and fireplace where Syd's bed was originally and where Iggy is poised on the stool. I guess they must have had to paint these remaining bits before the shoot. They may also of course given it a second, more refreshing coat for the shoot. Interesting, bit by bit a more accurate picture is emerging.

To accompany this article a new gallery has been uploaded: Paintbox.

A sequel to this article created a great rift in Syd Barrett-land: The Case of the Painted Floorboards (v 2.012)


Many thanks to: Dark Globe, Banjer and Sax, JenS.

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 235.
Drummond, Paul: In My Room, Mojo 196, March 2010, p. 82. Direct link to the scanned pdf document (hosted at the Church).
Fields, Duggie interview in: The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story, DVD UK Ltd 2005.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 13.
Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 136, p. 138.
Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 18-19, p. 58. The paint can pictures can be found at pages 72, 76, 83 and 84. Iggy's dirty feet on page 69.

2010-05-29

Updates and stuff

The Magic Christian.
The Magic Christian.

The Holy Igquisition, that part of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit that nobody likes to talk about, firmly controls the state of Iggyness on the world wide web and on printed matter.

Thus, after their monthly congregation, held in a Trappist monastery, they issue a report that is handed over to the Reverend who will take note of its accounts.

Siren's of Sound and Image

So they had, for instance, noticed late in 2009 that the Siren's of Sound and Image blog had consecrated an entry to none other than our goddess. On Wednesday, April 29, 2009 that blog published a post aptly titled: Iggy and Syd: How I wish you were here. Its text sounded remarkable familiar but luckily at the end of the article due credit was given to the Church.

Vintage Groupies

More recently (2010-05-18), another blog, Vintage Groupies dedicated a page to Iggy the Eskimo, with its text largely based upon the articles that have appeared in the Croydon Guardian. Further investigations from the Holy Igquisition have found out that this blog has already consecrated 5 articles to Evelyn, the earliest dating from 2008.

Rod Harrod

Last year the Church contacted Rod Harrod, the person who organised Jimi Hendrix's first gig on British soil and made him sign a record contract on a napkin from The Scotch of St. James club. Before joining the Scotch Harrod had been the public relation manager (although that term probably didn't exist by then) of The Cromwellian. The Church was, of course, eager to know if he remembered Iggy who had been snapped, dancing The Bend, by a photographer of NME.

The Church is a little bit ashamed that the post, although largely written, has not been published yet but sees now the chance to pay back its debt. In his later career Rod Harrod started the South-African PROmpt music school and he has asked us now to vote for his candidate in the National Anthem contest for the FIFA World Cup.

Zami from Guguettu is representing Cape Town and currently FOURTH just go to: www.singitloudandproud.blogspot.com and vote for ZAMI now!

Gretta Speaks

Last but not least, a message from our own house. When JenS, who may well have been the person who introduced Iggy aka Evelyn to Syd Barrett, read our Margaretta 'Gretta' Barclay articles, she remembered that she had been involved as well with The Magic Christian movie (see top left picture).

Margaretta Barclay, from her side, found back a picture of Rusty Burnhill in her archives and gave us the kind permission to publish it at the Church. Gretta Speaks (Pt. 2) has been updated as from today.

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

2010-06-10

Meic meets Syd

Solva Blues, Meic Stevens
Solva Blues, Meic Stevens.

In a previous post it was told how Margaretta Barclay and Rusty Burnhill took Syd Barrett to acid-folk singer Meic Stevens in Wales, trying to raise Syd's appetite to play some music again. None of the Barrett biographies, including the most recent one from Rob Chapman, have mentioned this, although it was not exactly a secret as Stevens recalls the visits in his autobiography that appeared in... 2003.

The Church is much obliged to Prydwyn who guided us towards Meic Stevens's autobiography and who was so friendly to translate the texts from Welsh to English. This article has mainly been written by him.

Meic meets Syd (© Prydwyn)

Meic Stevens is as huge and influential a name in the Welsh-language folk, rock, and pop scene as Bob Dylan is (was) in the English-speaking world. Meic has been recording since 1965 (mostly in Welsh, although for those not willing to take him on in the language of Heaven, his outstanding 1970 psychedelic masterpiece Outlander has recently been reissued on CD).

For the most part he has performed under his own name, although in the late 60s he was a member of Gary Farr’s backing group in London (playing with Farr at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1969, the festival Syd went to with Margaretta Barclay [note from FA]). Meanwhile in Wales (and in Welsh) he, Heather Jones, and Geraint Jarman performed as ‘Y Bara Menyn’ as well (late 60s).

Meic Stevens:

I got a contract in 1965 for a record I’d written myself called Did I Dream. Decca were going to try to market me as another Donovan or Bob Dylan. But it all got too much for me, I had a nervous breakdown and ended up back at Solva.

Meic returned to his home village of Solva, Pembrokeshire, to recover, a time he details in his first autobiography, Solva Blues, and he soon became a feature of the Welsh-language folk and blues scene. In 1969 he was signed by Warner Brothers but after his first album Outlander, the contract was abandoned by mutual consent. (Taken from: Wales Online, interview by Robin Turner.)

The following extracts are from Meic Stevens's first biography, Hunangofiant y Brawd Houdini (2nd edition 2009, originally from 2003), with translations following. An English version of this autobiography has also been issued, although I haven’t read it and so am not 100% sure it contains the same information. Update: There is one significant difference between the English and Welsh version, see: Syd meets... a lot of people.

Meic Stevens
Meic Stevens.

Syd Barrett and Meic Stevens in a lost BBC documentary

The first piece refers to 1969. It must have been spring or summer, as the next section in Stevens's autobiography is about the Isle of Wight Festival. Meic Stevens, his partner and children were living in a farmhouse (called Caerforiog) near Solva in rural southwest Wales.

Ro’n i’n dal i wneud peth gwaith i’r BBC yng Nghaerdydd pan gwrddes i â chyfarwyddwr ifanc, Gareth Wyn Jones, oedd am ffilmio rhaglen ddogfen amdana i a ’mywyd. Cymeradwyodd y pennaeth rhaglenni y syniad o gael y cywaith ’ma yn rhan o bump o raglenni dogfen am Gymry cyfoes. Roedd un ohonyn nhw am waith gwneuthurwr drymie o Gasnewydd.

Daeth criw ffilmio i lawr am wthnos a ffilmio yng Nghaerforiog, Solfach, a Thyddewi. Wedyn wthnos arall lan yng Nghaerdydd a Llunden. Y cwbwl wnaeth Gareth oedd ffilmio ein bywyd arferol ni o ddydd i ddydd...

Ymhlith y rhai eraill a ymddangosodd yn y ffilm roedd Heather a Geraint, Gary Farr a Mighty Baby yn Llunden, a Syd Barrett o Pink Floyd fydde’n dod i’n gweld ni yng Nghaerforiog.

Yn nes ymlaen, ffraeodd Gareth ’da’r BBC a mynd i weithio yn Singapore, gan adael y ffilm heb ei golygu. Beth amser wedyn, rhoddodd y BBC ganiatâd i gyfarwyddwr arall olygu portread pum munud ohona i mas o gesys ffilm Gareth, a chafodd beth oedd yn weddill ei daflu mas. Wyth rîl o ffilm un milimedr ar bymtheg oedd yn gyfnod o’n bywyde ni yn 1969! Bachan drwg, Rhydderch Jones!

English translation (© Prydwyn):

I was still doing a bit of work for the BBC in Cardiff when I met a young director, Gareth Wyn Jones, who wanted to film a documentary about me and my life. The chief programming approved the idea of getting this joint effort as a part of five documentary programs about contemporary Wales. One of the other ones was about a drum-maker from Casnewydd.

The film crew came down for a week and filmed in Caerforiog, Solva, and St. Davids. Then another week in Cardiff and London. All Gareth did was to film our normal day-to-day life…

Among the others who appeared in the film were Heather [Jones] and Geraint [Jarman], Gary Farr and Mighty Baby in London, and Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd, who came to see us in Caerforiog.

Later on, Gareth quarrelled with the BBC and went to work in Singapore, leaving the film unedited. Some time later, the BBC gave permission to another director to edit a five-minutes portrait of me out of the cases of Gareth’s film, and what was left over got thrown out. Eight reels of 16mm film that were a record of our lives in 1969! Shame on you, Rhydderch Jones!

Rhydderch Jones was a producer/director for the BBC’s Welsh-language service at the time. This excerpt doesn’t make it fully clear if Syd appeared in the London or Wales parts of the shooting, although it is hinted that it was made while Syd visited Meic in Wales (note from FA). Neither do we know if any of Syd's footage survived at all in the five-minute segment that was eventually broadcast. But it does confirm the year (1969) and the place (Caerforiog near Solva) where Syd visited Meic.

Meic Stevens and Syd Barrett
Meic Stevens & Syd Barrett.

Update 2011 07 08: The Church found this picture on the Laughing Madcaps Facebook Group depicting Meic Stevens and his shortlived band (Y) Bara Menyn. This folk trio also included Geraint Jarman and Heather Jones who made an album in March 1969. The Dylanesque man at the back is Meic Stevens, the man with the hat and the guitar at the front appears to be Syd Barrett. Standing behind Syd could be his friend Rusty Burnhill, sitting behind Syd could be Gretta Barclay. Unfortunately nobody (not even Barrett photo archivist Mark Jones) seems to know where this picture comes from, nor if it is authentic or not.

A message from the Church: We leave it up to other Syd scholars to contact the Welsh branch of the BBC in order to locate the missing reels of the original documentary. Some of the people mentioned above are still around and can be contacted through the BBC or are present on social network websites. And if you do find something, please let us know! (Note: written in 2010 and 6 years later not a single soul has attempted this.)

Ghost Town, Meic Stevens
Ghost Town, Meic Stevens.

Outlander sessions

The next bit is part of the description of the recording sessions for Meic’s 1970 (mostly) English LP, Outlander. As the album was recorded in 1969 it fixes the date of this anecdote also in that year.

Y dyddie hynny, fe fydden ni’n recordio gefen nos fel arfer. Bydde rhai o’r sesiyne’n para tan orie mân y bore – neu drwy’r nos ambell waith – ac wedyn bydden ni’n cael brecwast mewn caffi yn Soho tua saith neu wyth o’r gloch... Allwn i ddim ymdopi ag Olympic, oedd yn hen sgubor fawr o le ’da pentyrre Marshall ar hyd y lle ym mhobman, gwifre spaghetti, a blyche llwch gorlawn.

Daeth Syd Barrett lawr yno un noson pan o’n i ar fy mhen fy hun yno ’da gitâr acwstig, ac ro’n i’n falch pan gyrhaeddodd Syd y tresmaswr ’da’i gariad, mynd â’r gitâr, iste ar lawr, a dechre chware iddo fe’i hun. Ro’n i wedi recordio trac y noson honno, o’r enw ‘One Night Wonder’, ac mae e ar Ghost Town, Tenth Planet Records. Ar lawr y bydde Syd wastad yn iste; doedd dim celfi yn ei stafell, dim ond estyll pren moel neu rai wedi’u peintio’n oren neu’n las, ffôn gwyn, a Fender Telecaster.

Fi oedd un o’r ychydig oedd yn cael mynd yno; dwi’n credu ’i fod e’n hoffi bod ar ei ben ei hun lawer o’r adeg. Ambell waith, fe fydde’n chware’i Telecaster heb ei chwyddo. Dro arall, syllu trwy’r ffenest neu i’r gwagle fydde fe. Doedd Syd ddim fel ’se fe moyn llawer mewn bywyd, dim ond bod ar ei ben ei hun ’da’i feddylie. Roedd e’n foi golygus iawn, wastad ’da merch hardd ar ei fraich pan oedd e mas neu’n gyrru’i Mini Cooper, yn dene fel styllen, ac yn gwisgo dillad ecsotig few siwtie satin croendynn, cryse sidan ffriliog, sgarffie hirlaes, a bŵts croen neidr!

English translation (© Prydwyn):

Those days, we usually recorded in the middle of the night. Some of the sessions would continue until the wee hours of the morning – or right through the night sometimes – and afterwards we’d have breakfast in a café in Soho around seven or eight o’clock… I couldn’t cope with Olympic [Studios], which was an old barn of a place with Marshall stacks everywhere throughout the place, wires like spaghetti, and overflowing ashtrays.

Syd Barrett came down there one night when I was on my own with an acoustic guitar, and I was glad when Syd trespassed his way in with his girlfriend, took the guitar, sat on the floor, and started playing to himself. I had been recording a track that night called One Night Wonder, which is on Ghost Town, Tenth Planet Records. Syd would always sit on the floor; there was no furniture in his room, just bare wooden planks or ones painted orange or blue, a white phone, and a Fender Telecaster.

I was one of the few who got to go there; I believe he liked being on his own most of the time. Sometimes, he would play his Telecaster unamplified. Other times, he would stare through the window or into empty space. Syd didn’t seem to want much in life, just being on his own with his thoughts. He was a very good-looking boy, always with a beautiful girl on his arm when he was out or driving his Mini Cooper. He was as thin as a rail, and wore exotic clothes like skin-tight satin suits, frilly silk shirts, long scarves, and snakeskin boots.
Sackloth, Meic Stevens
Sackloth, Meic Stevens.

Probably NOT Syd

Finally, there is mention of a Syd somewhere in 1964 or 1965, although I don’t think the man in question is Syd Barrett. Still, just in case.

Ro’n i’n iste ar y stâr yn Chalk Farm un noswaith yn trial chware fel Big Bill Broonzy, pan ddaeth Syd, y boi oedd yn byw drws nesaf, mas a sefyll yno’n edrych arna i. Ymhen dipyn, medde fe, “Can you play what you’re thinking?” Wedyn, yn ôl â fe at ei deipiadur a chau’r drws. Do’n i rioed wedi meddwl am chware beth o’n i’n feddwl; ro’n i wastad yn trial copïo cerddoriaeth pobol eraill. Ar chwap fel ’ny, fe wnaeth e i fi feddwl yn wahanol am gerddoriaeth, a dwi’n fwy gofalus byth ers hynny.

English translation (© Prydwyn):

I was sitting on the stair in Chalk Farm one evening trying to play like Big Bill Broonzy, when Syd, the boy who lived next door, came out and stood there looking at me. After a while, he said, “Can you play what you’re thinking?” Then, back he went to his typewriter and closed the door. I’d never thought about playing what I was thinking; I was always trying to copy other people’s music. Just like that, he made me think differently about music, and I’ve been more careful ever since then.

Chalk Farm is an area lying in the London borough of Camden. In 1964 Syd Barrett was living in Mike Leonard's house in Stanhope Gardens, Highgate. The next year he moved to the West End, renting rooms at 12, Tottenham Street. As none of these addresses are next door to Chalk Farm it probably was another 'Syd' Meic Stevens is talking about. Also if Meic had met Syd Barrett (who was still an amateur musician at that point) in 1964 or 1965 he would certainly have stressed this a bit more...

An update on this article has been published at: Syd meets... a lot of people 


Many thanks to Prydwyn for his writing and translating skills.

Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above):
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 81.
Stevens, Meic: Hunangofiant y Brawd Houdini, Y Lolfa, Talybont, 2009, p. 138, p. 190-191, p. 202 .

An excellent article on Meic Stevens: Welsh wizard at work (2011).

2011-01-14

Iggy The Eskimo Phones Home (2)

Despite the sad news of a couple of days ago (see: RIP Paul Lincoln) the Church has to look forward. If anyone would understand this it would surely be Paul Lincoln. As a wrestling promoter he bloody well knew that each knockout was followed by another match in the ring. Unfortunately no one will leave the final round unharmed, not even Dr Death himself.

Kurt Vonnegut once wrote: "So it goes."


Wedding Bells 1978
Wedding Bells 1978.

To all Iggy pilgrims around the world our most solemn greetings. 2011 started with a bigger bang propelling shock-waves into all known dimensions of our universe. Not only our heart was shattered by all the reverberating news but also Evelyn's.

Past week she confessed to Mark Blake that "she is delighted and a bit shocked by all the interest". As was expected the recent Mojo interview raised more new questions than answers. But asking for more is of course the core business of Syd-anoraks and Iggy-fans alike.

If Ig had never done an interview before, it is not because she avoided the publicity but simply because nobody had ever asked. Mark Blake explains that there is no 'big mystery'. Evelyn went on with her life and didn't read music magazines or looked herself up on the Internet. "Simple as that." Mark Blake and Iggy did talk about a lot more than what has been printed on page 18 of the latest Mojo magazine: “More questions will be covered in the extended version of the interview due for Mojo's website.”

Once the complete interview is published the Church will of course further comment on it. So what follows is not an in-depth analysis of the Mojo interview but just a few quick points the Reverend would like to make.

After moving to England Iggy was briefly an art student, a Brighton mod and London scenester, dancing on Ready Steady Go! and hanging out with Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and the Stones.

This single sentence contains enough information to provide the Church with at least an entire trimester of articles.

Mod

Was Evelyn, as a mod, present at the seaside riots of May 1964? Wikipedia and the BBC write that over the Whitsun weekend (May 18 and 19, 1964), thousands of mods descended upon Margate, Broadstairs and Brighton to find that an inordinately large number of rockers had made the same holiday plans. The worst violence took place at Brighton, where fights lasted two days and moved along the coast to Hastings and back.

RSG!

This news made the Reverend's turned up nose turn up a bit more wanting to shout to the world: told you so! The Church has been hinting since day one that Ig had been dancing at RSG! but proof had never surfaced, until now.

Hanging out

Not only did Iggy meet Clapton, Hendrix and the Stones but according to her first interview (see: Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea) she also encountered the Beatles, the Who and Rod Stewart.

Syd, the pop star

“I didn't know Syd had been a pop star,” she insists, though she'd seen Pink Floyd at the UFO club and Alexandra Palace. One day after Iggy had been messing around on Syd's guitar he took the instrument from her and began playing. “It was the first time I'd heard or seen him to do this, and my mouth just dropped.”

This is not as contradictory as it seems. Mark Blake, who spoke to Iggy this week, further explains:

She asked me to clarify a couple of things: Iggy didn't make the connection between Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd because she saw so many groups, went to so many clubs, and knew so many musicians.
It was the '60s and these people were busy living their lives, with no idea that 40 years on a music magazine would be asking them such detailed questions about it. This is why it was a shock to her when he started playing the guitar at the flat.
Sometimes, it is tempting for people - including writers - to read too much into all this. Years later, when she watched the Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story documentary, she saw the footage of Syd "in his kaftan, chanting" (on Pow R Toc H [actually on Astronomy Domine, note by FA]) and remembered seeing him doing this at UFO. The memories came back. But she hadn't thought about all this for many many years.

Over the next few weeks the Church will of course try to reveal more about Iggy's flamboyant past and here are already some tidbits you can chew on for now.

Mick Rock pictures

Iggy doesn't have any snapshots of her and Syd, or any of his possessions. Unfortunately, she no longer has the photo she had of the two of them, which he tore in half.

We know for sure that Syd tore and/or scratched a few photos when Iggy left him, but not that she was aware of that. There is the scratched picture that Mick Rock published in his Psychedelic Renegades photo-book (see: When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 3)) and a 'half-picture' is in the possession of Margaretta Barclay, published at the Church about a year ago: “This picture of Iggy was given to me by Syd but for some unknown reason she had been torn off it.” (see: Gretta Speaks (Pt. 2)).

Gigs & festivals

Iggy was at the Technicolour Dream "all 14 hours of it!" - and tried, but couldn't spot herself in the documentary DVD. Iggy was also at the Isle Of Wight festival in 1970, where she went with Twink of the Pink Fairies. She also attended the first Glastonbury Fayre (1971).

A new picture

And for those loyal fans who have been reading this article till the end, a small surprise. Apparently Evelyn isn't too happy with the picture that could be found in the latest Mojo. So she asked if we had any objections in publishing a new one. You bet we don't. Here it is.

Iggy 2011
Picture © Iggy 2011. Photograph taken by Amy-Louise.

The model

Just another rumour to end this post with. Recently Iggy did a photo-shoot with a photography student she knows, and if all goes well one of these shots could be used for the Mojo website interview as well.

The Church wishes to thank: Mark Blake, Mojo, Amy-Louise, Kieren and of course... ♥ Iggy ♥.

Sources: all news in this post is nicked from Mojo magazine and Mark Blake, including:
Late Night forum: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit
Late Night forum: Questions for Iggy
A Fleeting Glimpse forum: Syd's Iggy Found!


Mark Blake's interview with Iggy can be found at: Iggy The Eskimo Phones Home 

2012-01-15

The Case of the Painted Floorboards (v 2.012)

Syd Barrett, Mick Rock
Syd Barrett tinbox, by Mick Rock.

The Holy Igquisition has got a little black book with Roger Waters' interesting quotes in. Needless to say that this is a very thin book, with lots of white space, but here is a phrase from the Pink Floyd's creative genius (his words, not ours) this article would like to begin with.

There are no simple facts. We will all invent a history that suits us and is comfortable for us, and we may absolutely believe our version to be the truth. (…) The brain will invent stuff, move stuff around, and so from 30 years ago (…) there's no way any of us can actually get at the truth.

The Reverend would – however – first want to ask one fundamental question, of which our readers may not be quite aware of the significance of it... If Roger Waters is such a creative genius writing poignant one-liners criticizing his fellow rock colleagues:

Did you understand the music Yoko?
Or was it all in vain?
(5.01 AM, The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking)

and,

Lloyd-Webber's awful stuff.
Runs for years and years and years. (…)
Then the piano lid comes down.
And breaks his fucking fingers.
(It's A Miracle, Amused To Death),

...why then does he agree to release hyper-priced Immersion boxes containing a scarf, some marbles, carton toasters, playing cards, other debris and, oh yeah, incidentally some music as well? One can only conclude it's a miracle. Let's just hope he doesn't get near a piano for the next couple of years.

But probably we are too harsh in our criticism, Roger Waters has told the press before that he is simply outvoted by the other Pink Floyd members. This is a situation that used to be different in the past when he reigned over the band as the sun king, but like he will remember from his Ça Ira days, these are the pros and cons of capitalist democracy.

Venetta Fields & Carlena Williams, 1975 (courtesy of A Fleeting Glimpse).
Venetta Fields & Carlena Williams, 1975 (courtesy of A Fleeting Glimpse).

Remembering Games

A typical Floydian example of false memory syndrome is the visit of Syd Barrett in the Abbey Road studios on the 5th of June 1975. It is a mystery to us why EMI didn't ask for entrance money that day as a complete soccer team, including the four Pink Floyd members David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Rick Wright, claim they have seen, met and spoken to Syd Barrett.

Roadie (and guitar technician) Phil Taylor remembers he had a drink in the mess with Syd and David. Stormtrooper Thorgerson has had his say about it all but if one would give him the opportunity he would argue – probably in yet another book rehashing the same old material – that he started the band Pink Floyd at the first place. Other 'reliable' witnesses that day include (alphabetically sorted):
Venetta Fields, backing singer and member of The Blackberries
John Leckie, EMI engineer and producer (but not on Wish You Were Here)
Nick Sedgwick, friend of Roger Waters and 'official' biographer of Pink Floyd
Jerry Shirley, Humble Pie drummer and friend of David Gilmour
Carlena Williams, backing singer and member of The Blackberries

Some say that Barrett visited the studio for two or three days in a row and three people, including his former managers Peter Jenner and Andrew King, claim they spoke to Syd Barrett about a month later on David Gilmour's wedding while the bridegroom himself claims that Syd Barrett never showed up. To quote Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake: “...not two people in Pink Floyd's world have matching stories...”, and neither do two biographies...

(For those interested there is a Syd Barrett visits the Wish You Were Here sessions bit at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit as well: Wish You Were... but where exactly?)

Iggy outtake (Mick Rock)
Iggy outtake by Mick Rock.

Amnesydelicate Matters

In his most recent, but probably not his last, picture book about Syd Barrett Mick Rock writes the following:

He (Syd Barrett, FA) asked me to take photos for the sleeve of his first solo album The Madcap Laughs that autumn. At the time he was living with yet another very pretty young lady known only as Iggy the Eskimo. She wasn't really his girlfriend although clearly they had a sexual relationship. But of course her presence in some of the photos we took that day added an important element that enhanced their magical durability.

Most biographies (all but one, Julian Palacios' Dark Globe, in fact) put the date of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot in the autumn of 1969 and this thanks to testimonies of Storm Thorgerson, Mick Rock and, most of all, Malcolm Jones. The Church, however, beliefs there is a 'misinformation effect' in play. Researchers have found out that people will automatically fill in the blanks in their memory if a so-called reliable witness comes with an acceptable story. This would not be the first time this happens in Pink Floyd history. And probably there have been 'cover picture' meetings after summer between Harvest and Hipgnosis, perhaps even leading to an alternative Storm Thorgerson photo shoot (the so-called yoga pictures). But in the end it was decided to use the daffodils session from spring.

JenS convinced the Church that the Madcap photo shoot took place in the first quarter of the year 1969. Most is dispersed on several articles throughout the years but the following posts give a digest of what probably happened: When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2), Rock - Paper - Scissors, The Case of the Painted Floorboards.

In My Room (Mojo)
In My Room (Mojo).

That the Church's theory (with the help of JenS) wasn't that far-fetched was proven in March 2010 when the rock magazine Mojo consecrated a three pages long article to pinpoint the date of the shooting of The Madcap Laughs, with testimonies from Duggie Fields, Mick Rock, Jenny Spires and Storm Thorgerson. The article and the Church's comments can be found at Goofer Dust [(I've got my) Mojo (working)... Part 2].

We know from JenS, Duggie Fields and Gretta Barclay that Iggy arrived early 1969, and helped painting the floor, but the only person who didn't comment on this was Iggy Rose herself. So one freezing winter day The Holy Church asked her if she could have been around at Wetherby Mansion, after the summer of 1969...

Iggy Rose: "I don't think it was that late, but I have to admit it was almost 45 years ago. I remember I was cold, and they had a one-bar-heater to try and keep me warm. I stayed a week here and there and I never gave that photo shoot another thought. Later I found out when Mick Rock came back for the second shoot he was disappointed I wasn't there."

JenS (When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)): "I took Ig to Wetherby Mansions in January or February 1969 where she met Syd Barrett. (…) I introduced Iggy to Syd shortly before I left (to America, FA), and she was around when I left. She wasn’t there for long and generally moved around a lot to different friends."

Iggy Rose: "I had absolutely no idea how mammoth he was. Syd never came on to me as the Big I Am. In fact when he played his rough tracks of The Madcap Laughs he was so endearingly sweet and appealing... Even asking me whether it was good enough to take to some bloke at EMI to record..."

Margaretta Barclay (Gretta Speaks (Pt. 2)): "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."

Iggy Rose: "I wasn't even aware of who Syd Barrett really was. Of course I knew of Pink Floyd. I must have seen them perform at Crystal Palace but they were to me an obscure avant-garde underground band, who played way-out music I couldn't dance to."

Jenny Spires on Facebook.
Jenny Spires on Facebook.

Jenny Spires (public conversation at Iggy Roses' Facebook page): "Ig, Syd painted the floor boards as soon as he moved in Christmas 68. When I moved in with him in January there were still patches not done, by the door, in the window under the mattress where we slept, in top right hand corner of the room. When he painted it initially, he didn't wash the floor first. He just painted straight onto all the dust etc... Dave (Gilmour) also painted his floor red..."

Duggie Fields (Mojo): "It was pretty primitive, two-bar electric fire, concreted-up fireplaces... it was an area in decline. I don't think there was anything, no cooker, bare floorboards..."

Mate (alleged visitor at Wetherby Mansions, FA): "The three rooms all faced the street. On entering the house, the first room was Fields', the second and largest, I guess about 25 square meters, Barrett's. The third and smallest room was a communal room or a bedroom for guests. Gala (Pinion, FA) stayed there. In the corridor were some closets stuffed with clothes.

Then the floor bended to a small bathroom, I think it was completely at the inside without a window. At the back was the kitchen with a window to the garden. It was not very big and looked exactly like in the Fifties. The bathroom was also rather simple, I mean, still with a small tub. I don't remember how the bathroom floor looked like though."

Update 2016: 'Mate' is an anonymous witness who claims to have been an amorous friend of Syd Barrett, visiting him several times in London and Cambridge between 1970 and 1980. However, later investigations from the Church have found out that this person probably never met Syd and is a case of pseudologia fantastica. This person, however, has a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of Syd Barrett and early Pink Floyd and probably the above description of Syd's flat is pretty accurate.

JenS (Addenda and Errata with Gala and Gretta): "Gala was not there (early 1969, FA). She moved in later hooking up with Syd in May or June."

Iggy Rose: "I think Gala had the small room, Duggie the second and Syd the largest. She had a lot of perfumes and soaps and gave me a nice bubbly bath once... ...and tampons." (Launches one of her legendary roaring laughs provoking a temporarily hearing loss with the Reverend.)

Still Life with stereo, tape recorder and pot of paint
Still Life with stereo, tape recorder and pot of paint.

Any colour you like

Ian Barrett: "The stereo in the picture ended up at my house, and I am pretty sure I had the record player in my bedroom for a good few years. God knows where it is now though..."

Iggy Rose: "I wonder what happened to the old heavy tape recorder with the giant spools. I remember Syd carrying it over for me to listen to his rough cut of The Madcap Laughs."

Malcolm Jones (The Making Of The Madcap Laughs): "In anticipation of the photographic session for the sleeve, Syd had painted the bare floorboards of his room orange and purple."

Mick Rock (Psychedelic Renegades): "Soon after Syd moved in he painted alternating floor boards orange and turquoise."

JenS: "I was staying with Syd between the New Year and March '69. (…) 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."

Iggy Rose (The Croydon Guardian): "When Mick (Rock, FA) 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."

Mick Rock (Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs - The Mick Rock Photo-Sessions): "There had been no discussion about money at all. Later on I did get a very minor payment but it couldn't have been more than 50£ and I don't know if it came from Syd or EMI."

Margaretta Barclay (Gretta Speaks): "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."

Iggy Rose (Mojo): "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."

Duggie Fields (The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story): "I think he painted the floor boards, sort of quite quickly. He didn't prepare the floor, I don't think he swept the floor actually. (…) And he hadn't planned his route out of the bed that was over there. He painted around the bed and I think there was a little problem getting out of the room. (…) He painted himself in."


MP3 link: Duggie Fields.

Jenny Fabian (Days In The Life):: "He'd painted every other floor board alternate colours red and green."

Iggy outtake (Mick Rock)
Iggy outtake by Mick Rock.

Iggy Rose: "I remember the mattress being against the wall......Soooooo either we ran out of paint, or waited till the paint dried, so poor Syd was marooned in the middle of the floor. (…) The floorboards were painted red and blue. I do remember, as the paint was on my feet and bottom. Did you know that Syd wanted to take the colours right up the wall?"

Mate: "The planks were painted in a bright fiery-red, perhaps with a slight tendency towards orange, and dark blue with a shadow of violet. Iggy is absolutely right: this was no orange's orange. The curtains were dark green velvet." (This witness may be a mythomaniac, see above.)

Mick Rock: "They were long exposures because of the low light and they were push-developed which means that you give the film more time in the processing fluid. You can tell because the colour changes and the film starts to break up which causes that grainy effect."

Libby Gausden: "I always thought it was orange paint, not red."
Iggy Rose: "Careful Libs darling! People will start to analyse that, the way they did with the dead daffodils."
Libby Gausden: "Well they had faded from red to orange when I got there."

Jenny Spires on Facebook
Jenny Spires on Facebook.

Jenny Spires (public conversation at Iggy Roses' Facebook page): "The floor was painted long before you arrived Ig and was blue and orange. You and Syd might have given it another lick of paint and covered up some of the patchiness and bare floorboard that was under the mattress before the Rock/Thorgersen shoot. Perhaps, he only had red paint for that, but it was blue and orange."

Mate: "Even in 1970 there were still unpainted parts in the room, hidden under a worn rug. I suppose the floor had been beige-white before Syd and Iggy painted it in dark blue with a shadow of violet and bright orangy red . The floor boards had not been carefully painted and were lying under a thick shiny coat. The original pitch-pine wood didn't shine through.

In my impression it was an old paint-job and I didn't realise that Syd had done it all by himself the year before. I never spoke with him about the floor as I couldn't predict that it would become world-famous one day. It is also weird that nearly nobody seems to remember the third room..." (This witness may be a mythomaniac, see above.)

Mick Rock: "I actually went back a couple of weeks later. We still didn't know what the LP was going to be called and we thought we might need something different for the inner sleeve or some publicity shots."

Iggy Rose: "I did go back afterwards and maybe Syd mentioned this to someone. I wasn't bothered and I didn't know Syd was some big pop star. He never lived like one and certainly didn't behave like."

When Iggy disappeared it wasn't to marry a rich banker or to go to Asia. As a matter of fact she was only a few blocks away from the already crumbling underground scene. One day she returned to the flat and heard that Barrett had returned to Cambridge. She would never see Syd again and wasn't aware of the fact that her portrait was on one of the most mythical records of all time.

Update 2016: The above text, although meant to be tongue in cheek, created a rift between the Reverend and one of the cited witnesses, that still hasn't been resolved 4 years later. All that over a paint job from nearly 50 years ago.


Many thanks to: Margaretta Barclay, Duggie Fields, Libby Gausden, Mate, Iggy Rose, JenS & all of you @ NML & TBtCiIiY...

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 231-232.
Clerk, Carol: If I'm honest, my idea was that we should go our separate ways, Roger Waters interview in Uncut June 2004, reprinted in: The Ultimate Music Guide Issue 6 (from the makers of Uncut): Pink Floyd, 2011, p. 111.
Gladstone, Shane: The Dark Star, Clash 63, July 2011, p. 53 (Mick Rock picture outtakes).
Green, Jonathon: Days In The Life, Pimlico, London, 1998, p.168.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 13.
Mason, Nick: Inside Out, Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue, p. 206-208.
Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 18-19,
Rock, Mick: Syd Barrett - The Photography Of Mick Rock, EMI Records Ltd, London & Palazzo Editions Ltd, Bath, 2010, p. 10-11.
Spires, Jenny: Facebook conversation with Iggy Rose, July 2011.

You have been reading a sequel of The Case of the Painted Floorboards. Two new - previously unpublished - Mick Rock pictures have been added to the Bare Flat gallery.

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

2016-11-26

RIP Rusty Burnhill

Rusty Burnhill
Rusty Burnhill. Picture: Gretta Barclay.

The Church was informed, a couple of days ago, that Rusty Burnhill died at the age of 70.

Rusty, and his girlfriend (and later wife) Gretta Barclay, were a 'hippie couple' who were in Syd Barrett's inner circle and who visited him in his apartment at Wetherby Mansions. It is there that they met Iggy and helped painting the floorboards in blue and red (or any colour variation you like).

Unfortunately the other tenant of the apartment wasn't really amused with the constant stream of visitors around the has-been pop-star and, in several interviews, many years later, he still uttered his frustration about this, naming the couple as one of the heavier nutcases.

This unfavourable account found its way in at least three renowned Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett biographies and as such the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit repeated that testimony as well. (Source: Love In The Woods (Pt. 2)).

However, another friend of Syd Barrett, who we may only address under the pseudonym JenS, for reasons too much complicated to explain here, vehemently disagreed and called the couple 'art school kids' who probably goofed out on booze and mandrax, like everyone else did in those days (Source: When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 3)).

Gretta Barclay denied the accusations in her interview with the Church:

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. (Source: Gretta Speaks.)

JenS had met Gretta and her sister Trina during the mid sixties in a London grooming school and she introduced them to Syd when he was still living at 101 Cromwell Road. JenS, Gretta, Trina and the French Dominique (who apparently had a huge crush on Syd) lived together in Chelsea for a while. Then Gretta met Rusty.

In late 1969 or early 1970 the couple, who had never been part of the underground, left hectic London for Suffolk mainly because Gretta was pregnant from her first child. Later in 1970 they moved to Devon.

Barrett still was a close friend and they did visit him, but obviously not to indulge in drugs and booze. Rusty was a pretty good guitarist and he jammed with Syd on tracks as Terrapin, Octopus and the blues standards they both loved. The couple tried to upkeep Syd's interest for (his own) music and Rusty silently hoped to do something together.

Although Gretta, in her first and only interview she ever gave, is pretty vague about Syd's condition the couple must have sensed there was something terribly wrong with the Cambridge wonderboy. They actively tried to reactivate his musical interest by introducing him to the Welsh folk-maverick Meic Stevens.

Meic Stevens with Syd Barrett
Meic Stevens & Syd Barrett.

They all visited the Welsh singer-songwriter in his house in Solva, where Syd and Rusty jammed with Meic's band Bara Menyn. A pretty bad photo exists of the encounter, perhaps with Gretta and Rusty sitting around the table with Syd, Meic, Heather Jones and Geraint Jarman. (Syd and Meic would meet several times and they were the subject of a BBC documentary that has probably been lost. See Meic meets Syd for the story.)

After a while Rusty and Margaretta went separate ways. Rusty lived for a few months with Jenny Spires and Jack Monck in Cambridge. Jack and Rusty even started a band, in 1972, right after the Stars debacle. Rocksoff (or Rocks Off) had Rusty Burnhill (gtr/voc), Jack Monck (bass/voc), George Bacon (gtr/voc), Dan Kelleher (gtr/pno/voc) and a succession of drummers, including Chris Cutler and Laurie Allan. (Source: http://calyx.perso.neuf.fr/mus/monck_jack.html.)

Rusty apparently travelled a lot before settling down on the North Frisian island Amrum (Germany) from 1978 till 1993. After a brief stay in Worpswede, a village in the North of Germany, where he participated in a few art exhibitions, he moved in 1995 to Barmstedt, a Hamburg suburb.

In March 2010, after some holistic detective agency proceedings, the Church could find Rusty's address. We knew he wasn't using mail and that he was very reluctant to speak about the past, so we wrote him a letter to ask for an interview.

It took quite a while, and actually we had forgotten all about it, but one day he called us out of the blue. Unfortunately the conversation wasn't going into the direction we had hoped for. After a tirade that took a few minutes Mr. Burnhill asked us:

Isn't it time this all ends?
This has been going on for 40 years now.
Can't you just let the music speak for itself?

Wise words. There are more important things in life than chasing shadows of dead men.

We really hope, Rusty, that you can finally form that band, you've always dreamt about.


Many thanks: Gretta Barclay, Thomas Hartlage, JenS, Gus Mark Peters, Rebecca Poole, anonymous. Picture of Rusty Burnhill: courtesy of Gretta Barclay.

The Gretta Barclay Files: Gretta Speaks 
The Meic Stevens Files: Meic 'Welsh Syd' Stevens 
The JenS Files: JenS Remembers