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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
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
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. 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. 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. David Gale and Matthew Scurfield identify the
girl on a swing as Lyndsay Corner.
Part 2: the Lost In The Woods footage
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.
Unknown. Syd and another man walking & talking in a garden
in front of a house. Identity Unknown.
Unknown. Syd and a girl blowing bubbles in a park. Identity
Lyndsay Corner. Close-up of Lyndsay Corner (in a park).
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."
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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!
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
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
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
Duggie Fields recalls a steady stream of visitors, ‘some visitors were
parasites and some were confused in their drug use, not even abusing
‘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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
(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
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
(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
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.
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
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
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
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
Once I’d developed the film, I went round to show Syd the pictures. He
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Purloined Letter (1845) from Edgar
Allan Poe dozens of intelligence officers search a room to
recuperate some blackmailing material but they fail to locate it. Enters C.
Auguste Dupin, probably the very first detective in fiction, who
simply picks the letter from a card-rack. It had never been concealed
but as the policemen had been looking for a hidden object they never
cared to check the paper, lying out in the open.
When the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit started its mission it was
generally believed that The
Madcap Laughs photo shoot had taken place in the autumn of 1969.
Mainly because every Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett related book said so and
- for over 30 years of time - nobody had ever cared to check the facts.
(Also Rob Chapman's A
Very Irregular Head biography, that has just appeared a couple of
days ago, situates the floor paint job and thus the photo shoot
somewhere between August and November 1969.)
Of course the witnesses saying that the shoot had taken place in the
last quarter of 1969 were quite privileged authorities on the life and
works of Barrett and thus their testimonies 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
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.
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
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
Just like several (tiny) details in the pictures have given away the
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. (…)
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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!
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
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 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).
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.
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.
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...
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
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.
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
Update 2011 07 08: The Church found this picture on the Laughing
Madcaps Facebook Group depicting Meic Stevens and his shortlived
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.)
The next bit is part of the description of the recording sessions for
Meic’s 1970 (mostly) English LP, Outlander. As the album was recorded in
1969 it fixes the date of this anecdote also in that year.
Y dyddie hynny, fe fydden ni’n recordio gefen nos fel arfer. Bydde rhai
o’r sesiyne’n para tan orie mân y bore – neu drwy’r nos ambell waith –
ac wedyn bydden ni’n cael brecwast mewn caffi yn Soho tua saith neu wyth
o’r gloch... Allwn i ddim ymdopi ag Olympic, oedd yn hen sgubor fawr o
le ’da pentyrre Marshall ar hyd y lle ym mhobman, gwifre spaghetti, a
blyche llwch gorlawn.
Daeth Syd Barrett lawr yno un noson pan o’n
i ar fy mhen fy hun yno ’da gitâr acwstig, ac ro’n i’n falch pan
gyrhaeddodd Syd y tresmaswr ’da’i gariad, mynd â’r gitâr, iste ar lawr,
a dechre chware iddo fe’i hun. Ro’n i wedi recordio trac y noson honno,
o’r enw ‘One Night Wonder’, ac mae e ar Ghost Town, Tenth Planet
Records. Ar lawr y bydde Syd wastad yn iste; doedd dim celfi yn ei
stafell, dim ond estyll pren moel neu rai wedi’u peintio’n oren neu’n
las, ffôn gwyn, a Fender Telecaster.
Fi oedd un o’r ychydig
oedd yn cael mynd yno; dwi’n credu ’i fod e’n hoffi bod ar ei ben ei hun
lawer o’r adeg. Ambell waith, fe fydde’n chware’i Telecaster heb ei
chwyddo. Dro arall, syllu trwy’r ffenest neu i’r gwagle fydde fe. Doedd
Syd ddim fel ’se fe moyn llawer mewn bywyd, dim ond bod ar ei ben ei hun
’da’i feddylie. Roedd e’n foi golygus iawn, wastad ’da merch hardd ar ei
fraich pan oedd e mas neu’n gyrru’i Mini Cooper, yn dene fel styllen, ac
yn gwisgo dillad ecsotig few siwtie satin croendynn, cryse sidan
ffriliog, sgarffie hirlaes, a bŵts croen neidr!
Those days, we usually recorded in the middle of the night. Some of the
sessions would continue until the wee hours of the morning – or right
through the night sometimes – and afterwards we’d have breakfast in a
café in Soho around seven or eight o’clock… I couldn’t cope with Olympic
[Studios], which was an old barn of a place with Marshall stacks
everywhere throughout the place, wires like spaghetti, and overflowing
Syd Barrett came down there one night when I was on my
own with an acoustic guitar, and I was glad when Syd trespassed his way
in with his girlfriend, took the guitar, sat on the floor, and started
playing to himself. I had been recording a track that night called One
Night Wonder, which is on Ghost Town, Tenth Planet Records.
Syd would always sit on the floor; there was no furniture in his room,
just bare wooden planks or ones painted orange or blue, a white phone,
and a Fender Telecaster.
I was one of the few who got to go
there; I believe he liked being on his own most of the time. Sometimes,
he would play his Telecaster unamplified. Other times, he would stare
through the window or into empty space. Syd didn’t seem to want much in
life, just being on his own with his thoughts. He was a very
good-looking boy, always with a beautiful girl on his arm when he was
out or driving his Mini Cooper. He was as thin as a rail, and wore
exotic clothes like skin-tight satin suits, frilly silk shirts, long
scarves, and snakeskin boots.
Probably NOT Syd
Finally, there is mention of a Syd somewhere in 1964 or 1965, although I
don’t think the man in question is Syd Barrett. Still, just in case.
Ro’n i’n iste ar y stâr yn Chalk Farm un noswaith yn trial chware fel
Big Bill Broonzy, pan ddaeth Syd, y boi oedd yn byw drws nesaf, mas a
sefyll yno’n edrych arna i. Ymhen dipyn, medde fe, “Can you play what
you’re thinking?” Wedyn, yn ôl â fe at ei deipiadur a chau’r drws. Do’n
i rioed wedi meddwl am chware beth o’n i’n feddwl; ro’n i wastad yn
trial copïo cerddoriaeth pobol eraill. Ar chwap fel ’ny, fe wnaeth e i
fi feddwl yn wahanol am gerddoriaeth, a dwi’n fwy gofalus byth ers hynny.
I was sitting on the stair in Chalk Farm one evening trying to play like
Big Bill Broonzy, when Syd, the boy who lived next door, came out and
stood there looking at me. After a while, he said, “Can you play what
you’re thinking?” Then, back he went to his typewriter and closed the
door. I’d never thought about playing what I was thinking; I was always
trying to copy other people’s music. Just like that, he made me think
differently about music, and I’ve been more careful ever since then.
Chalk Farm is an area lying in the London borough of Camden. In 1964 Syd
Barrett was living in Mike Leonard's house in Stanhope Gardens,
Highgate. The next year he moved to the West End, renting rooms at 12,
Tottenham Street. As none of these addresses are next door to
Chalk Farm it probably was another 'Syd' Meic Stevens is talking about.
Also if Meic had met Syd Barrett (who was still an amateur musician at
that point) in 1964 or 1965 he would certainly have stressed this a bit
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 .
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."
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
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.
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.
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,
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.
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 ♥.
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
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:
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
...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.
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
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
Leckie, EMI engineer and producer (but not on Wish
You Were Here) Nick
Sedgwick, friend of Roger Waters and 'official' biographer of Pink
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...
In his most recent, but probably not his last, picture book about Syd
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
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
perhaps even leading to an alternative Storm Thorgerson photo shoot (the
But in the end it was decided to use the daffodils session from
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
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
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
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 (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
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.)
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
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
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."
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."
Jenny Fabian (Days In The Life):: "He'd painted every other floor
board alternate colours red and green."
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,
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 (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
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
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.
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
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
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