Jimi Hendrix

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Articles

2008-09-23

Where did she go?

Iggy by Anthony Stern
Iggy by Anthony Stern.

On September the 17th the Croydon Guardian, a weekly free local newspaper covering South London, devoted an article to Iggy after the Church had revealed that Iggy had probably been a regular visitor at the Purley dancehall The Orchid. The article was brought to my attention by Matthew Taylor from Escape Artists who was so kind to point me to a scan of the article, neatly hidden in a dark corner from the (long deleted) City Wakes website.

It all started with a remark on the Late Night forum why no one had ever tried to locate Iggy. Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake promptly denied this and added some extra titbits to the Iggy enigma. He had found out that she was probably a South Londoner who used to go dancing in dancehalls in or around Purley. More about the Church’s quest to locate Iggy’s dancing habits can be found on a previous entry on this blog: Shaken not stirred.

This ended with the promise that the Church would try to find some more information about the place and the people who visited it. A mail was send to a historian of the Bourne Society but without success. The same message however to a journalist of the Croydon Guardian was immediately replied. Some initial information was exchanged and journalist Kirsty Walley did an excellent job by getting testimonies, not only from Anthony Stern, but also from a DJ who used to spin records at the Orchid, Jeff Dexter, and who still remembers Iggy.

So, where did she go to, our lovely?
By Kirsty Whalley
In the Swinging 60s she was an iconic model who broke the heart of Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett. Known only as Iggy she is thought to have lived in Thornton Heath and was a regular at the Orchid Ballroom in Purley between 1963 and 1967. Then she vanished and for the past three decades the former 60's in-crowd has wondered where she went?
Former friends, director and artist Anthony Stern and DJ Jeff Dexter, are both searching for the enigmatic model, who featured naked on the cover of Barrett's solo album Madcap Laughs. She was nicknamed "the Eskimo" because it was thought that she was part Inuit. DJ Jeff Dexter, who regularly played at the Orchid, vividly remembers the beautiful girl who used to talk to him while he played his set. He first noticed her in 1963. He said: “Iggy was part of a group of very wonderful looking south London girls. She was unusual because she did not look like anyone else at the time. Since she disappeared, she has become a bit of an enigma.”
Dexter says that he met the director and artist Anthony Stern in 1967 and that Iggy became involved with him at about the same time. Anthony took many pictures of the model and also made a film of her, which will be shown for the first time at the City Wakes festival this October in Cambridge. Stern said: “Iggy was my muse. I met her at a Hendrix gig at the Speakeasy. She was a lovely inspiration and free spirit. I never knew her real name.” “We used to hang out together, occasionally dropping acid, staying up all night, going for walks at dawn in Battersea Park.” The artist said he recently discovered photographs that he took of Iggy on a houseboat near Lots Road in Chelsea. “She entirely captures the spirit of the Sixties, living for the moment, completely carefree.”
Photographer Mick Rock remembers turning up at Barrett’s to take photographs for his solo album cover. At an interview in 199 he said: “Syd was still in his underpants when he opened the door. He’d totally forgotten about the session and fell about laughing. Iggy the Eskimo was naked in the kitchen making coffee. She didn’t mind either. They both laughed a lot and it was a magical session.” The most iconic images of her appear on the album, where she poses naked in the background.
After she broke up with Barrett she disappeared. Felix Atagong, who has set up a website in her honour, said: “According to the painter Duggie Fields, she got married to a rich guy from Chelsea and led a ‘decent’ life after that.”
Anthony and Jeff both admit they have spent time looking for her. “the truth is, if she has not come forward by now, she probably doesn’t want to be found,” said Anthony.
(picture insert: It-crowd icon: Iggy the Eskimo). An online version of the article can be found here.

An entirely new and previously unreleased picture of Iggy accompanies the newspaper article. This comes out of the personal collection of Anthony Stern. It is believed that more pictures from his collection may be unearthed on a later date.


2009-08-25

The Style Council

Cromwellian Psychedelic Fantasy
Cromwellian Psychedelic Fantasy.

Last summer the Church wrote about Iggy’s noticed visit at the Cromwellian club in November 1966, where the dance-crew of Ready Steady Go! were launching the latest dance-craze The Bend.

The club existed since 1964 or 1965 and in the autumn of that year jazz-singer, writer, critic and generally bad tempered journalist Georges Melly wrote a piece about the place, that was later re-printed in his excellent account of the pop art days in Britain Revolt Into Style. In contradiction with most flower power studies his book did not appear two decades or more after the facts happened. Melly wrote his essays when Swingin’ London was still swinging although it was slightly running out of breath. The Reverend finds it funny how many of the anecdotes that Melly has noted on the spot can now be found in other books.

The Church’s archive had a copy of this work for ages, but dark forces made it disappear into the same vortex that also swallows the Reverend’s second sock when he is in search for a clean nice pair. But this summer the book miraculously re-appeared from the vaults of Atagong mansion. As the book has been long out of print we hereby re-print Mr. George Melly’s reflections. The Church is confident he won’t mind…

The Cromwellian
I don't know the details of Roy Harrod's quarrel with the Cromwellian, but there is no doubt that it is ‘out'. I went there six months ago (early 1965, FA) and it was full of well-known faces. On my recent two visits I recognized nobody.
Bart Kimber, the general manager, says he is delighted. 'It's back to sanity and smartness' is the way he puts it. He hated the place full of paint-stained jeans and last century T-shirts. 'We get three distinct crowds,' he told me, 'downstairs the younger set. We offer them name-groups, and records introduced by disc jockeys from the pirate radio stations. In the ground floor bar, there's a higher age group, drinkers you see. While upstairs there's gambling. Would you care to look around?'
The club is in a large house in the Cromwell Road. It too is decorated in the baronial style except here there are suits of armour and old master reproductions in heavy gold frames. The basement has murals of nymphs seducing puritans, and is very noisy. The atmosphere of the whole complex is relaxed and pleasant. 'Nobody rushes' is how Mr Kimber puts it. The prices seem very reasonable. 'Here,' he says, ‘the artists are not being fleeced, but they're just too high for the kids.' Quite a lot of pop performers still come; Georgie Fame, the Zombies, the New Faces, Jonathan King were all there on one night he told me, and Dusty likes it. What about the top groups, I asked. 'We have them here occasionally,' he said, 'and we're pleased to see them, but were not desperate.' The club was full and spending so I am inclined to believe him. I asked him who his clientele was. 'A lot of continental people, film extras, hairdressers, P.R.OS, advertising people, no boxers. They cause bother, but quite a few wrestlers.' In fact the club is owned by five wrestlers so of course it's natural that they have never had any trouble.
'Look,' said Mr Kimber, 'of course we're successful. Parking's easy out here, and you can get stoned out of your eyeballs for 2£. We don't want to be in.'

Rod Harrod

George Melly’s description starts with the observation that a certain Roy Harrod has had some troubles with the Cromwellian. Rod (not Roy) Harrod had been attached to The Cromwellian but offered his services to The Scotch of St James club after a quarrel with the owners. Rod Harrod, who made some fame in the city as a music journalist, knew several bands personally and had enough influence to invite them to the club that he favoured. When he left The Crom that club was out and, in a matter of weeks, The Scotch of St. James was in. Harrod’s guests weren’t second grade. The Beatles, The Stones and The Animals eagerly accepted his invitations (consumptions were always on the house for these bands). Although the club obviously benefited from these famous visitors Roy Harrod tried to respect their privacy, George Melly tells the story how a visitor, who had the audacity to ask George Harrison for an autograph, was immediately removed from the club. His account ends with the fact that Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon would arrive in five minutes, reason enough for George Melly to go home.

Rod Harrod had a nose for bands and singers and on the 24th of September 1966 he invited a young American guitarist to have a blues jam on stage. The contract, hastily written on a napkin, was signed by an unknown artist called Jimi Hendrix. (back to George Melly's Cromwellian essay)

Update 2010: Rod Harrod has shared some of his memories with the Reverend: Rod Harrod remembers The Crom  Just another world exclusive of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

Ready Steady Go!

Regular visitors of the Church will know that the Reverend strongly beliefs in a connection between Ig and Ready Steady Go! The evidence is rather flimsy to say the least, but George Melly’s account adds another piece of the puzzle that may prove this theory.

When George Melly interviewed Bart Kimber that last one claimed that Dusty (Springfield) liked the Cromwellian (autumn of 1965). The next year Ig was spotted by NME on a Cromwellian RSG!-party and the person who (probably) introduced Ig to Syd Barrett maintains that Ig invited her ‘once to a party with Dusty Springfield and crew’ (see When Syd met Iggy).

So far for this weeks sermon from the Reverend, go in peace, sistren and brethren, and don’t do anything that Iggy wouldn’t have done.


Sources (other than the above internet links):

Melly, George: Revolt Into Style – The Pop Arts In Britain, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1972, p. 98-101.


2010-04-02

Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea

This is not Iggy.
This is not Iggy.

Tranquillity is slowly descending upon the Holy Church of Inuit like smog upon Victorian London. Several brethren and sistren of the Church, and one-time visitors who entered through the front gate to study its baroque interior, have passed some valid information to the Reverend and these will be further investigated in the future. The Reverend also wants to apologise to the people that have been contacted (and interviewed) last year, especially those associated with The Cromwellian club. The articles about The Crom have been postponed due to the unexpected result the Mojo Syd Barrett article created, but they will - one day - hopefully appear.

To all our readers: please keep on going on giving the Church information, how futile it may be, but remember that the Reverend will not break its own rules that stay unchanged even now that Iggy (Evelyn) has been found. Especially now that Iggy (Evelyn) has been found.

The Reverend is not a souvenir collector who will ring at her bell like all those so-called (and in the Reverend's eyes: messed up) true fans used to do at Syd Barrett’s door. Evelyn's wish to be left in peace is and will be unconditionally granted. The same goes for other witnesses of the Barrett era, the Church will send them a nice note from time to time, as a reminder of its presence, but will not break their privacy. Some will call this bad journalism but the Church is not dependent from sold issues and follows a strict deontological code.

Croydon Guardian

On the thirteenth of February of this year The Croydon Guardian published a short, hastily noted down, interview with (a quite reluctant) Iggy, titled: Croydon Guardian tracks down elusive rock star muse. Here it is in full (with some comments from the Reverend):

Croydon Guardian tracks down elusive rock star muse
By Kirsty Whalley
An iconic model who stole Syd Barrett’s heart in the 1960s has been found after three decades of anonymity. Known only as Iggy, the enigmatic woman was immortalised posing naked for the Pink Floyd star’s solo album, Madcap Laughs. She disappeared in the late 1970s and has been living in West Sussex, oblivious to her iconic status. In September 2008, the Croydon Guardian appealed for information about the model and, more than a year later, we managed to track her down.

The story of how the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit convinced The Croydon Guardian to assign some place in its columns for the Iggy enigma can be found at Where did she go? and (I've got my) Mojo (working...).

She inspired artist Anthony Stern, who filmed her dancing in Battersea Park and also took striking photographs of her on a houseboat in Chelsea. They were released at the City Wakes festival – a tribute to Syd Barrett – in October 2008, in Cambridge.

The above has of course been extendedly covered by the Church as well: Anthony Stern.

Mr Stern said: “Iggy was my muse. I met her at a Hendrix gig at the Speakeasy. She entirely captures the spirit of the Sixties, living for the moment, carefree.”

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

Jimi Hendrix

The club has been described in the (excellent) London Live book from Tony Bacon as follows (most information about the club has been taken from that book).

When The Speakeasy was opened by Roy Flynn around the end of 1966 in Margaret Street, just north of Soho, the rock elite soon discovered a handy new watering hole, a prime early-hours jamming post, and an altogether useful hanging-out kind of place.

By May 1967 the club was part of the London spot-the-celebrity circle next to - amongst others - the Scotch (of St. James) and of course the Crom. On a good night you could having a drink next to The Bee Gees, Jeff Beck or The Who, although, keeping up his avant-garde experimental jazz appearance, Robert Wyatt from The Soft Machine couldn't care less: "Rock groups meeting in expensive clubs that are difficult to get into? What's all that crap?"

On the 19th of January 1967 Jimi Hendrix gave the first of 3 concerts at The Speak. On top of that he would also jam a few times with other people on stage, including Jose Feliciano and Georgie Fame. That night in January he tried to get into Marianne Faithfull's pants with the seductive remark: "What are you doing with this jerk, anyway?" The jerk in question was of course Mick Jagger who wanted to check out the new kid in town.

Yes-fans will know the club for its owner Roy Flynn. When, on the 13th of December 1968, Sly And The Family Stone didn't show up for their gig an impromptu band was found to take their place. When Roy Flynn saw Yes's performance he was so thrilled that he became their manager for a while. The band eagerly agreed, not because he had some managerial skills but because the restaurant at The Speak had an excellent reputation:

Roy had never managed a band before and he kind of took us on and then the whole world of the Speakeasy opened up (laugh). It was a great club, I mean, it was a wonderful club, it used to close at 4 AM and we would not only rehearse there, we would play there some nights, and of course after a gig if we were playing within, let's say 150 miles from London, we would rush and go to the Speakeasy and eat there, and most of the meals were completely free. So for about a year I ate pretty good. Most of the evenings I ate there. Because that was the life style, we would be in the Speakeasy after 3 AM and the kitchen still would be opened and the food was not fantastic but thanks to Roy Flynn we would get free food and quite a lot of few drinks as well. (Peter Banks, who invented the band's name and left the group in 1970)

The extensive Jimi Hendrix gig database located at Rich Dickinson only mentions 3 genuine Jimi Hendrix performances in 1967: the aforementioned gig on the 19th of January 1967 and two more in March: 8th March 1967 and 21st March 1967. So Iggy (and Anthony Stern) must have attended one of these. For the completists amongst us the Church gives now the complete list of Hendrix sightings at the Speakeasy (1967):
67-01-19: Gig.
67-02-22: Press reception for the Soft Machine.
67-03-08: Gig.
67-03-16: Launching party for Track records (Jimi gives three interviews).
67-03-21: Gig.
67-04-17: Jam (on bass) with Georgie Fame (on organ) and Ben E. King (drums).
67-05-08: Brian Auger Trinity Concert.
67-06-04: Jose Feliciano concert and onstage jam.
67-12-06: Party for The Foundations.
67-12-22: Musicians from Christmas on Earth and Hendrix jam until the morning hours.
67-12-31: New Year's Eve Party where Jimi plays a thirty minute 'Auld Lang Syne'.

London Live

There is quite an intriguing picture on page 103 of the London Live book, showing co-managers Roy Flynn and Mike Carey, sitting at the Speakeasy bar, accompanied by two ladies. According to CowleyMod one of the women undoubtedly is Ig. Although most of the members of the Church do not think it is her the Church wants to give Cowleymod the benefit of the doubt and the visitors of the Church the chance to make up their own mind (click here to see the full picture).
Update (November 2010): it has been confirmed to the Church that the person on the picture is NOT Iggy / Evelyn.

Iggy said: “I cannot believe there is a film of me, that there are photos of me.”
 
Iggy spent a brief part of the 60s living in Croydon with DJ Jeff Dexter, who used to play at the Orchid Ballroom. She said: “The Orchid Ballroom was the place to be, the atmosphere was fantastic. I loved going there, I loved to dance. Jeff wanted to turn me and two other lovely girls into the English version of the Supremes, but that never happened.”
 
She does not like to talk much about Syd Barrett, but admits she lived with him in Chelsea in the late 1960s. She said: “Syd was so beautiful looking. We had a relationship, I lived with him for a while.”

Although the Reverend is aware of at least four witnesses who have confirmed in different biographies (and directly to the Church) that Iggy and Syd weren't an item this is now contradicted by Evelyn herself.

It was at that time she became known as Iggy the Eskimo. She said: “In part I made up the nickname. The rest was the photographer Mick Rock, who asked where I was from. I said ‘my mother is from the Himalayas’ and he said ‘we will call you Iggy the Eskimo’.”
NME, 25th of November 1966
NME, 25th of November 1966.

The Church will not deny that Mick Rock may have thrown around the 'Iggy the Eskimo' nickname to describe the mysterious girl on his pictures but the epithet dates from much earlier. It was first spotted in the NME magazine from the 25th of November 1966 (more than 2 years earlier) where Evelyn was described as 'Another Bender - model IGGY, who is half-Eskimo': Bend It! 

Mick Rock took the pictures for Madcap Laughs. Iggy said: “When Mick turned up to take the photos I helped paint the floor boards for the shoot, I was covered in paint, I still remember the smell of it. In the pictures my hair looks quite funny, I remember hiding my face behind it because I did not want my mum and dad to see it."

Again other witnesses tell other stories. They claim that Syd (with a little help from Iggy) painted the floor boards early in the year, certainly before April 1969. As Syd only started recording mid-April it is a bit weird that he painted the boards especially for the album cover, unless - of course - he (and with him Mick Rock) already had the cover in mind before the recording sessions started. A theory that is not implausible.

She broke up with Syd Barrett shortly after the photo shoot and moved to Brighton. She said: “I have just been living very quietly, I left London in the 70s and I got married in 1978. I met so many people in the 60s – the Beatles, the Who, the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart. I was a free spirit. I have left that life behind me now.”

The Church would gladly accept to publish her memoires though. But until that happens, my dear sistren and brethren, don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done…

A new gallery has been uploaded containing the complete Come with NME for a pic-visit to THE CROMWELLIAN article and pictures from New Musical Express 1037, 25 November 1966. Photographs by Napier Russel & Barry Peake. Words by Norrie Drummond. (Just another world exclusive from the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.)


Sources (other than the above internet links):
Bacon, Tony: London Live, Balafon Books, London, 1999, p. 101-104.


2010-07-24

Rod Harrod remembers The Crom

The Bend (The Potatoes)
The Bend by The Potatoes.

Years before she entered the Underground and met Syd Barrett, Ig’s first venture for glory and fame came when the cameras of NME magazine spotted her in November 1966. Issue 1037 had an article Come with NME for a Pic-Visit to the Cromwellian, written by Norrie Drummond (who passed away in April 2005) with photos by Napier Russell and Barry Peake.

Some relevant info can be found in two previous articles at the Church but it need to be stressed that, already then, Iggy claimed she was a model and used to throw around her alleged Eskimo roots. (The complete NME Cromwellian Pic-Visit article can be consulted on this blog. Just another world exclusive of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.)

Quorum

It is not unthinkable that Ig may have worked, at one time or another, for Quorum. Quorum was a boutique led by the eccentric fashion designer Ossie Clark, whose ‘stuff was fluid and drapey and revealing all at once, in key places it fit so exactly that you couldn’t wear a bra or panties’. To Marianne Faithfull he once told that the dress he presented to her was so designed she could have sex anywhere.

One of the people bragging he was a Quorum model was a lad called David Gilmour but in reality he just drove Quorum’s delivery truck around. "Dave Gilmour never really said very much. He just used to stand around. It was a bit unnerving.", recalls Celia Birtwell in Pigs Might Fly.

Syd Barrett used the Quorum boutique not only to pick some clothes. Quorum models Gilly Staples and Kari-Ann Moller (of Roxy Music album cover fame) have been ‘associated’ with Syd at one time or another.

JenS, one of Syd’s Cantabrigian girlfriends, who lived in Anthony Stern’s flat for a while and who suggested The Pink Floyd to Peter Whitehead when he was looking for a soundtrack of Tonight Let’s All Make Love In London, first met Ig in 1966. Iggy invited JenS to a Dusty Springfield and crew party and this may have taken place at The Cromwellian as well, one of the clubs Dusty liked to frequent if we may believe George Melly.

Revolt Into Style

Musician, critic, journalist and raconteur George Melly reviewed the place in Revolt Into Style. That ‘brilliant guidebook’ about the pop arts in Britain is a collection of essays, written between 1965 and 1972 and it has the advantage that the situations and anecdotes described were noted down when they were actually happening and are not (blurry) memories from three decades later. The Church would not like to feed the authors who have taken bits and pieces from Melly's essays to add some extra candy to rock biographies or Swinging London books.

George Melly’s Cromwellian piece dates from 1965 and tells how the club was already old news by then. When Disc and Music Echo journalist Rod Harrod, who used to be the Crom’s PR-moonlighting-agent, offered his services to The Scotch of St. James, the Crom suddenly relegated from premier to second league. In only a couple of weeks time the, still rather exclusive and expensive, Crom club would only host and entertain some of the minor gods from the rock pantheon.

In the only interview we have got from Iggy she says:

I met so many people in the 60s – the Beatles, the Who, the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart.

She may have met them in one of the many artist clubs that were around: The Scotch of St. James, The Cromwellian, The Speakeasy (where she met Anthony Stern during a Jimi Hendrix gig). The London Live music club anthology has an intriguing picture, to say the least, depicting Speakeasy managers Roy Flynn and Mike Carey with two ladies. One of them could be Iggy, although not all Church members agree with that.
Update November 2010: it has now been confirmed - by a very reliable source - that the woman on that picture is not Iggy / Evelyn.

Rod Harrod
Rod Harrod.

Rod Harrod

In 2009 the Church contacted the man whom George Melly had interviewed 45 years ago but just when the Church wanted to publish the article Iggy, now known as Evelyn, was featured in a couple of articles in Mojo. Quite some buzz happened after that, but as the spring storms have settled down a bit, the Church finds it is about time to get on with its business.

Rod Harrod describes himself as a doyen of music business and is remembered by some as the person who offered Jimi Hendrix his first gig on British soil and made him sign a record contract on a napkin from the St. James club. Harrod more or less tones this down a bit:

I did not make Jimi Hendrix sign a record contract on a napkin. The Heads of Agreement were drafted on a napkin between Jimi's co-manager Chas Chandler and the owners of soon-to-form Track Records - Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp (brother of actor Terence Stamp).

I do not want people thinking I forced Jimi to sign anything... I didn't.

Kathy Etchingham, who lived in a flat in Zoot and Ronnie Money's house in Fulham, was DJ for me at the Scotch of Saint James at the time Jimi made his first appearance.
(Rod Harrod, 30 July 2010, e-mail)

The first night Hendrix arrived in London, he began a relationship with Kathy Etchingham that lasted until February 1969. (Taken from: Wikipedia.)

After a life in music business Rod went to South Africa where he was founder of PROmpt (Professional Music Performance and Technology) trying to bring music closer to the life of the disadvantaged youth in Cape Town.

Living in Great Britain, Harrod seriously thinks of moving back to South Africa to revitalise his music-training centre and to finally start writing his memoirs. Some facts that have appeared in rock biographies over the past decades didn’t really happen as such and Harrod would like to put the record straight once and for all…

Obviously the Church's first question was if Harrod remembered the girl called Iggy whose snapshot had been taken at The Cromwellian:

...sorry to disappoint but although I have vague recollections from the photo I can not add more...
Twinkle
Twinkle (Lynn Annette Ripley).

Twinkle

One of the people pictured on the NME article is Lynn Annette Ripley aka Twinkle who had several hits in the mid Sixties.

I immediately spoke to Twinkle (Ripley) who lives quite close to me. She used to go out with Simon (Hayes)... but she does not even remember him being the PR there...

She remembers him as working in a PR Agency in Berkley Square or somewhere - not owning it. Trouble is when you run down memory lane these days you sometimes hit cul de sacs and others take you in totally the wrong direction...

But Harrod’s trip down memory lane isn’t exactly a dead end street, quite the contrary… The Church is proud to publish some of his Cromwellian memories in avant-première…

The Cromwellian

So many things changed quickly in those days...

I was around at the Cromwellian as PR around 1964 – 1965 before I moved on to the Scotch of Saint James that became even more famous as THE Club... The late George Melly's account is reasonable except he got my name wrong (it is not Roy, but Rod).

George Melly's account of the Crom can be found at the Church article: The Style Council. Rod Harrod continues:

George Melly missed mentioning the very camp 'Harry the Heart' of Harry's International Bar on the ground floor of the Cromwellian (the 'Heart' bit came from his delightfully effeminate wave over the heads of a packed bar as you walked in: 'Hello (dear) Heart, how are we? Be with you now."

According to Melly, Harrod left the Crom club after a quarrel with its owner. Rod disagrees:

I do not remember having a row with the owner - wrestler and promoter Paul Lincoln - who wrestled incognito wearing a mask, just that the Crom decided they did not want to pay my bar bill anymore. I had a better offer anyway from Louis Brown who, with Lenny Bloom, owned the Scotch of Saint James.

Ready, Steady, Kerr!

Dusty (Springfield) was closely associated with Ready Steady Go! and the show's booker Vicki Wickham. It was her idea for a RSG Motown Special that broke Motown in the UK after a flop theatre tour.

The importance of Ready, Steady, Go! as an instant pop style catalyst can not be emphasized enough. The program literally uphove the island of Britain from a dark and gloomy past. George Melly in Revolt into Style:

In the McLuhanesque sense RSG was an important breakthrough. It plugged in direct to the centre of the scene and only a week later transmitted information as to clothes, dances, gestures, even slang to the whole British teenage Isles.
When I was touring in the 50s fashions took an almost incredible time to spread. Even the large provincial centres like Liverpool and Manchester were at least six months behind, while in small Yorkshire mining communities as late as 1960 it was still possible to find Teddy Boy suits, and not only that. They were tailored in ruby red or billiard-table green cloth. As for the borders of Scotland the girls' dresses had hardly altered since the middle 30s.
RSG changed all that. It made pop work on a truly national scale. (…)
The whole chemistry of RSG was right. So was its timing. Friday night just after work. ('Your weekend begins here' was its slogan.)

Already in 1964 George Melly had described the program as an example of telly-brutalism, never seen before on British television.

New trends in dancing, clothes, even erotic habits (a tendency to tug gently at the legs of the singers has recently become common) appear on this programme at the same time - or even in advance of - what's going on in the teenage clubs.
It all happens, and the rest of the pop shows - ABC's Thank You Lucky Stars and the BBC's Top of the Pops limp painfully after it.

Patrick Kerr was a national celebrity thanks to his involvement in Ready Steady Go! Nearly every week the choreographer (and his go go girls) presented a brand new hot dance that would be copied and mimicked in dance halls all over the country.

In the early sixties Kerr turned to full-time dancing with his dance partner (and future wife) Theresa Confrey. After a contract on a cruise ship in the Americas he returned to Britain in 1963 where he was immediately spotted by RSG! to promote the most popular (American) dances. Later on he picked them up at the hip London clubs, often the Sabre where he would also recruit the weekly bunch of volunteers to appear at the show, but if no hip dance could be found he designed the new moves by himself. The RSG! dance of the week would be published in newspapers and youth magazines so that the kids were able to learn it for their week-end dance hall debauchery.

(In the mid-sixties Kathy McGowan used to present the show in Biba clothes and on Saturday morning Carnaby Street was invariably overrun by fans looking for gear they'd seen on Ready, Steady, Go! the night before. Patrick Kerr (and Theresa Confrey) cashed in on that trend as well by opening the Hem and Fringe boutique on Moreton street.)

In 1964 Patrick Kerr debuted as a pop singer. Although he was in the capable hands of Adam Faith and Sandie Shaw's manager, Eve Taylor, his career would be limited to one single only: Magic Potion / It’s no trouble to love you. After a UK package tour with Adam Faith, Sandie Shaw, The Barron Knights and the proto-Procol-Harum-gang The Paramounts he returned back to Ready, Steady, Go! as its main choreographer.

But perhaps Kerr's recording contract was not based upon his singing qualities alone. When Sandie Shaw was due on stage for Top Of the Pops the floor buzzed with the rumour that she and Kerr had been found inside a broom cupboard and that the thing they were looking for wasn't exactly a broom...

Sadly Patrick Kerr passed away on the 15th of August 2009 so the Church can’t ask for his comments anymore, regarding Iggy obviously…

Patrick Kerr
Patrick Kerr.

To bend or not to bend

To contradict the controversy of the Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich Bend It single its writers Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley attempted to start a Bend-craze all over Britain's dance halls.

Alan Blaikley:

When 'Bend It' came out, the programme controller of the pirate station Radio London, Alan Keane, was very reluctant to play it as he suspected it was obscene. So we came up with the ruse that 'The Bend' was intended as a new dance, hopefully dance craze. (Taken from davedeedozybeakymickandtich.nl)

Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley hastily wrote (and recorded) a few other Bend songs and approached Patrick Kerr from Ready, Steady, Go! fame to devise a brand new dance. Kerr accepted, the dance was promoted on RSG! as this week's brand new thing and its steps appeared in the press.
Update October 2012: The Bend-It Step by step link from Sixties City appears to be broken, here is an alternative: the Bend.

The Bend made it on the Pathé news with Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich miming the song, in front of Patrick Kerr and his dance group Tomorrow's People, at the London Playboy club near Hyde Park (Park Lane 45). More a casino than a club the Hutch On The Park, as the place was nicknamed, was an immediate success and the place where one could occasionally meet The Beatles, George Best, Warren Beatty, Michael Caine, Judy Garland, Sean Connery, Roman Polanski or Sharon Tate. (Taken from Wikipedia.)

Update January 2013: The Playboy promo-clip with DDDBMT & Patrick Kerr can be seen at Bend It (2013).

The Playboy Club had only recently opened, described by some as a 1.6 million pounds celebration of female pulchritude, it contained several restaurants, a nightclub, a casino and flats and suites that could be rented by the day, week or month. This was not the place the average Londoner would, nor could, enter. Woody Allen, who had done the opening night as a favour to Hugh Hefner, called it the London clubhouse for visiting Yanks and he was spotted joining Telly Savalas, John Casavetes, Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin during all-night poker games (this was in 1967 during the shooting of The Dirty Dozen). There was lots of money, lots of drugs and, not unsurprisingly for a Playboy subsidiary, one might add, lots of women.

The Bend by The Potatoes
The Bend by The Potatoes.

The Bend party at The Cromwellian may have been, according to this source, the finals of the British national 'Bend' competition, so actually Iggy may have been one of its contestants, if - of course - there has ever been a contest to begin with, because it had all been a publicity stunt just to sell the Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich single.

Alan Blaikley:

The ruse worked, and thankfully 'Bend It' got onto the Radio London playlist, vitally important in those days. I don't think the 'dance craze' ever quite happened!

As a follow up tune for Bend It Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley wrote a carbon copy, that even didn't pretend to have been ripped from Mikis Theodorakis' Zorbas anymore. Simply called The Bend it was recorded by a non-existent five-strong London group, The Potatoes, actually Steve Rowland, Alan Caddy and Alan Blaikley in disguise. Its flip-side was called Bend Ahead and that was about the end of this Bend dance craze that never was.

Gaylord Parrys Carnival Band
Gaylord Parrys Carnival Band.

In Germany a third Bend single was released, apparently recorded by the Gaylord Parry's Carnival Band. Actually the A-side Let's Bend was sung by composer Ken Howard, with the help from the same studio musicians that had recorded the Potatoes single, while the B-side Bending Kremlin' Gremlin' was mainly instrumental, apart from some fake Russian grunting. Its sleeve shows Patrick Kerr and Tomorrow's People in full action, although the British public never was aware that it ever existed.

Thanks for reading (an updated, rewritten and enhanced) part three of our Bending at The Crom series. Part four, that will reveal everything about Doctor Death, will come out when you see it appearing on this website! In the meantime, brethren and sistren, don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done!


Many thanks go to: Rod Harrod, Lynn Annette Ripley, the Dutch Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich fan community.

Sources (other than internet links mentioned above):
Bacon, Tony: London Live, Balafon Books, London, 1999, p. 103.
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 72, p. 108.
Levy, Shawn: Ready Steady Go!, Broadway Books, New York, 2003, p. 191, p 207-211.
Melly, George: Revolt Into Style – The Pop Arts In Britain, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1972, p. 170-171.
Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree, London, 1998, p. 209.

PROfessional Music Performance and Technology

Rod Harrod let the Church know on July 30, 2010:

Things have progressed on the PROmpt training re-opening in Cape Town front. I got back from meetings with Government Ministers and others there last week. We have been offered by the Provincial Government a huge building on three floors that needs a massive amount of renovation but could work. But first I have to raise a lot of funds for that and to run the programme.

Please visit Rod Harrod's South-African PROmpt website that says most that anyone might need to know. Any contacts or potential donors or anyone interested can contact Rod Harrod through that site: PROfessional Music Performance and Technology.


2011-01-08

Iggy The Eskimo Phones Home

Mojo 207.
Mojo 207.

The Reverend was silently contemplating the long cold winter, sitting in his rocking chair, reading in Glenn Povey's Pink Floyd bible Echoes, woollen socks tightly stuck to the wood stove, a pipe in the mouth and a glass of flaming Italian Sambuca with 3 coffee beans in his immediate reach when his laptop went ping. A minute or so later his HTC smart-phone went ping as well. Thirty seconds later his iTouch went ping. This meant serious business, probably instigated by the Holy Igquisition.

At the forum of a well-known Pink Floyd website somebody had posted a scan of the latest Iggy interview, done by Mark Blake, and published in Mojo 207 (February 2011 issue). Last week, the Church had promised that the interview would not be published here as long as the issue is for sale in the shops but extraordinary occurrences demand for extraordinary measures. So here it is. Enjoy!

IGGY THE ESKIMO PHONES HOME
SYD BARRETT'S ENIGMATIC COVER COMPANION CLEARS UP SOME QUERIES

BY MARK BLAKE
In March 2010, MOJO 196's cover story on Syd Barrett's The Madcap Laughs pondered the whereabouts of 'Iggy The Eskimo', the naked girl on the LP sleeve. It came as a shock to the object of Syd obsessives' fascination; who contacted MOJO after reading the magazine for the first time last summer. “I knew nothing about any of this,” says Iggy (real name: Evelyn) who married in 1978 and lives near the English South Coast. “I went to a boot sale with my husband to find The Madcap Laughs. When I saw the cover I thought, Oh, yes, that is my bottom.”
Iggy (she gave 'the Eskimo' name to an NME photographer as a joke) grew up in the Far East. Her father was an English army officer, while her mother came from “a remote village in the Himalayas”. 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.
But in 1969, she ended up at the Earls Court flat Barrett shared with the painter Duggie Fields. She and Syd became an item.
“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. “Duggie and I were into soul music, and Syd used to laugh at me dancing to Motown.”
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. He had this reel-to-reel tape recorder and he played me these songs he'd written. The one that stood out went, “I really love you and I mean you' [Terrapin] and I remember telling him, That's very catchy,” she laughs.
Barrett then told Iggy someone at EMI wants me to make a record, how would you feel about having a rock star boyfriend?”
Later photographer Mick Rock and designer Storm Thorgerson would call to take the album sleeve image. At Syd's suggestion Iggy was naked: “It was his wicked sense of humour,” she says. “People talk about Syd's madness and his dark side but I never saw it. We had a wonderful giggly time.”
“I put the Kohl around his eyes that day and tousled his hair: Come on Syd, give us a smile, moody, moody, moody! But he knew exactly what he was doing.”
After a few months Iggy moved on. Returning to the flat later she was told by Duggie Fields, “Syd's gone back to Cambridge, don't bother trying to find him.”
Contrary to mythology, she never joined a religious cult or married a banker. “I heard on the radio that Syd died, and I felt sad but it was so long ago,” she reflects. It wasn't until I went online for the first time and read these things that I realised anyone remembered me. I'm incredibly flattered.”
Iggy in 2010
Iggy in 2010.

A while ago Mark Blake also had the following to say to the Church:

I have a wealth of other interview material with Iggy. Mojo are interested in running this additional stuff on their website: there are also pics of her from early 60s and late 70s. The extra interview material contains some good stuff for the Syd obsessives, including stuff about the Madcap photo shoot.

And today he added at the Fleeting Glimpse forum:

Just a little more Iggy info for anyone interested: there's a chance that MOJO will run some additional interview material on their website www.mojo4music.com. Iggy also talked about a trip to the Speakeasy with Syd Barrett and had plenty more to say about the photo-shoot for the album cover. There are also some more photos of Iggy from back in the day.

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit wishes to thank Mark Blake and Mojo for their authorisation to publish this interview. In the next couple of weeks the Church will probably add some comments, reflections and musings.

And for those new believers, here is a quick overview of the Iggy events of past year:

January 2010:
The Mojo articles that started it all
(I've got my) Mojo (working...) and
Goofer Dust [(I've got my) Mojo (working)... Part 2] 

February 2010:
The Church reveals that Iggy has been found (by a Mojo reader):
World Exclusive: Ig has been found! and
All about Evelyn 
The Croydon Guardian tracks down and interviews Iggy:
Iggy’s first interview in 40 years and
Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea  

November 2010:
The Church finds out that attemps have been made to interview Evelyn: 2011

January 2011:
Mojo publishes Iggy's second interview: Iggy’s second interview in 40 years  

This is it for this week, and my dear sistren and brethren, don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done!


Still looking for a Xmas present: Mark Blake has just written a pretty decent Queen biography: Is This The Real Life? The Untold Story Of Queen, Aurum Press Ltd. ISBN: 9781845135973 (The Church is not affiliated with or endorsed by this company.)

2011-01-14

Iggy The Eskimo Phones Home (2)

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

Kurt Vonnegut once wrote: "So it goes."


Wedding Bells 1978
Wedding Bells 1978.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mod

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

RSG!

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

Hanging out

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

Syd, the pop star

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

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

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

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

Mick Rock pictures

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

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

Gigs & festivals

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

A new picture

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

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

The model

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

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

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


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

2011-01-21

EXCLUSIVE: The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for Part 2


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


2011-03-27

The Wrestling Beatle

Brian Epstein at the roulette
Brian Epstein at the roulette.

Life, my dear sistren and brethren, is not like a box of chocolates, except perhaps those from the exclusive and exquisite Tartufo shop in Louvain. Life is like an Eskimo chain, tattooed all over our brains. When the Reverend started the Church he didn't realise what a strange caterpillar ride it would be, a beautiful quest into the unknown. The path we trod was narrow, the drop was sheer and very high and ravens were watching from a vantage point nearby, to paraphrase a great poet.

On the narrow paths, that Iggy had followed in the past, she had thrown breadcrumbs to find her way back home afterwards. Only Iggy never returned on her footsteps but went far ahead into the unknown. Most of these crumbs had long been eaten, by the ravens cited above, but some could be traced back by the Church. And one big trail lead to the Cromwellian club.

The Cromwellian wrestling club

Before it acquired its fame the house at 3 Cromwell Road was known as an illegal casino, run by the London underworld. When gambling became legal the three store building turned into Harry's International Bar (run by the legendary Harry Heart), an elegant casino (quickly moved to the first floor because some competitors wanted to heat the place with Molotov cocktails) and a cellar full of boys, much to the enjoyment of the bartender, but the management decided to repair the equilibrium by giving 'free entrance for girls'.

Before one could say 'faites vos jeux' the place was visited by Brian Epstein and his gang of four and that perhaps thanks to one of the owners who was nicknamed 'the wrestling Beatle'.

Bob Anthony
Bob Anthony.

Bob 'Anthony' Archer

Bob Anthony (Bob Archer), the wrestling Beatle, was a popular welterweight during the 1960s and may not be confounded with the slightly ridiculous George Ringo (Bob Sabre), a Chicago wrestler who had the same nickname. Bob turned professional in 1956 and around 1962 he moved to Paul Lincoln Management. He was one of a group of wrestlers chosen by Paul Lincoln to take part in a prestigious tour of the Far East in the early sixties.

But, like we have already revealed in our article Dr Death and other assorted figures..., he was also one of the owners of the Crom and, what the Reverend didn't know, responsible for booking the bands that would make the place a legend.

Recently the Church was contacted by Emily Archer and thanks to her we can bring you the following testimony from her father:

I was part owner and manager of the Crom up to 1967 when I gave up the management, but not my share, to create Pantiles Club and Restaurant in Bagshot.

The Pantiles Club was built in 1898 for the personal secretary of the Duke of Connaught who lived at the Royal Bagshot Park opposite. During the 1920s there was a Pantiles Athletic & Tennis Club, followed by a Pantiles Swimming Pool Club. In the early 1960s a Pantiles Tea Dancing Club was opened and in 1967 it would become the infamous Pantiles nightclub and restaurant owned by Bob Archer.

I was also a Pro Wrestler as Bob Anthony. There were 4 of us wrestlers involved - who were also 4 good friends, plus the originator of the Cromwellian Tony Mitchell. Ray Hunter, Judo Al Hayes, Paul Lincoln. Al died in the States where he wrestled as Lord Hayes, Ray died also in the U.K. My great friend Paul Lincoln died recently. Paul and Ray also owned The 2'Is in Old Compton Street, where the whole British Rock industry emerged from.
Judo Al Hayes
Judo Al Hayes.

Judo Al Hayes

Judo Al Hayes, alias the White Angel, alias Lord Hayes once was the the nation’s youngest ever judo black belt. He hooked up with Paul Lincoln and had a fun run as the White Angel, culminating in a famous 1962 fight were he was unmasked by Doctor Death (Paul Lincoln with a mask).

In the early seventies Hayes went to the United States. After a successful career as a wrestler he became a television commentator and manager for the American Wrestling Association.

After a car accident he suffered from several complications and died a very sad death in 2005, aged 77.

Rebel Ray Hunter
Rebel Ray Hunter.

Rebel Ray Hunter

Rebel Ray Hunter, Taswegian tag partner of Judo Al Hayes in their Lincoln days, and a globe-trotting Heavyweight Champion of the Commonwealth. When Hunter came to Britain in 1950 he had been the youngest Commonwealth wrestler to do so. Success came in German heavyweight tournaments but the sixties saw a hedonistic jet-set lifestyle in Soho where Hunter and Lincoln owned the famous 2'Is coffee bar.

Rumour goes Hunter had a fling with Sophia Loren once.

Around 1970 he disappeared mysteriously from the wrestling scene.

2I's

The bar 2Ii’s was located at 59, Old Compton Street. Underground legend Barry Miles remembers:

At the 2I’s we sat drinking coffee from glass cups, staring out at Old Compton Street, thinking this was the centre of the world as Dream Lover by Bobby Darin played on the jukebox and various sleazy Soho types drifted in and out. It had opened early in the summer of 1956.
 
Compared with the other coffee bars in Soho, the 2I’s looked pretty tame. Just round the corner on Meard Street was Le Macabre, which used coffins as tables, Bakelite skulls for ashtrays and the jukebox featured the Funeral March. The 2I’s had been open three weeks when Soho held its second annual Soho Fair, to coincide with the July 14, 1956, Bastille Day celebrations. The Vipers skiffle group were among the bands in the procession. When a downpour made them jump down from their flatbed truck and take refuge in the 2I’s, the nearest coffee bar, Paul Lincoln suggested they continue playing there. Immediately a large crowd came in from the street.
 
Paul Lincoln realised that live music was what was needed to pull in the customers and hired them to play a regular gig from 7 to 11pm, four nights a week. At first they were paid only in spaghetti, Coca-Cola and any tips they were able to collect, but their leader Wally Whyton soon decided that a proper fee was required as the place was crammed to its 80-person capacity every time they played. Paul Lincoln made a derisory offer and Wally, bravely, said he would wrestle him for double or nothing. Lincoln was impressed by his guts, strapped on his Doctor Death mask and lost the fight hands down, presumably intentionally. The Vipers got their wages. (Taken from: Going underground: the secret life of London.)

Food and drinks

Le Macabre coffee bar was not unknown to the wrestlers either and was owned by someone they knew. Bob Archer:

Le Macabre Coffee Bar was in fact owned by Tony Mitchell who was the original owner of the Crom until we bought in with him. He also had a restaurant called the New Yorker in Soho. Al Hayes, Ray Hunter and myself would meet for lunch at his restaurant before going on to wrestling engagements or sometimes before training at the YMCA.

Later Paul Lincoln and Ray Hunter also opened The "Trattoria del buon vivitore", an Italian restaurant in Old Compton Street with the Wrestling Promotion Office above.

In a previous article (Dr Death and other assorted figures...) we already mentioned that Paul Lincoln owned an Italian restaurant in Soho. What we didn't know was that the place was just a few blocks away from 2I's (56 Old Compton Street) and located underneath the Paul Lincoln Management offices (36 Old Compton Street). No wonder that Paul Lincoln often took his business associates to the place and even a top ranking Milanese police officer, who Lincoln had befriended during an Italian wrestling showtour, always visited the restaurant whenever he was in London for police business.

The Crom

Bob Archer continues:

Tony [Mitchell] is long gone so I am the only remaining ex owner. I ran Pantiles from 67 to 2007, 40 years, till we sold the land. I was the one who originally created the Swinging London status of the Crom and the 60's celebrity hangout of the stars.

I booked the right bands, and encouraged the sit in sessions, with The Animals, Clapton, Hendrix, and you name it. Elton's band Bluesology were probably my most regular booking, plus Brian Auger. The Drifters, Patti LaBelle, Stevie Wonder, Wilson Picket, Benny King.

They all worked in that small cellar. Harry Heart [the bartender] was a legend. I could go on all night. True fact is the first place Jimi [Hendrix] played in London was The Crom. He sat in with Brian Auger. Chas [Chandler] brought him in the first night he arrived. Kathy [Etchingham] worked a bit for me.

Jimi Hendrix

The Jimi Hendrix Record Guide has an interview with Brian Auger about Hendrix's first London gig on the fifth of October 1966:

JHRG: Are you sure the first jam was at The Cromwellian?
Brian Auger: It was The Cromwellian, yes.
JHRG: Some say it was Blaises, and I think Vic Briggs said he was convinced that it was The Scotch Of St. James!
Brian Auger: Yeah, but it wasn't. I'm afraid Vic kind of rewrites history a bit, (chuckles) but it wasn't The Scotch Of St. James, it was The Cromwellian. I have a mental picture of Jimi being introduced to me and looking out across the stage at the staircase that goes up from upstairs to the first level of The Cromwellian. We definitely played at Blaises but that was later.
Anyway, he came down to The Cromwellian and Chas [Chandler] introduced him to me in the break and he seemed like a very nice guy. He asked me if he could sit in and I said absolutely, yeah, what would you like to play? Jimi showed me a chord sequence and said, can you play this? And I said yeah, it's pretty straight forward, and it turned out to be the chord sequence for "Hey Joe"!

And all that thanks to a cellarful of wrestlers.

Harry the Heart

The bartender of the 'International Bar' was, to put it in Rod Harrod's words the “very camp 'Harry the Heart'”. Heart wasn't his real name but came 'from his delightfully effeminate wave over the heads of a packed bar as you walked in: 'Hello (dear) Heart, how are we? Be with you now.'"

Unfortunately, not a lot is known about him. Bob Archer:

The last time I heard, Harry was in North, but that was a long time ago, from Danny La Rue [the famous British drag impersonator]. I fear that he has passed away. He was amazing. His bar was always full with people like Tom Jones with his band, Brian Epstein, Lion Bart, Terry Downes, Lita Rosa, Robert Stigwood. I could go on and on...

A bartender can make or break a place but Harry is surely remembered as one of those extraordinary people who turned the place into a succes.

He knew what everyone drank, and asked "Your usual Heart?"
They would say: "Yes Harry and will you have one?"
Harry then replied: "Just one for the pot Heart."

This inevitably turned into Harry's own little ceremony, serving a glass of gin he would...

...throw another gin into the cut glass vase that he had on the bar, with bits of lemon and cucumber floating about in it.

Bob Archer has nothing but lovely memories about Harry:

He would introduce me to all his friends as "My lovely Boss". We would often go for a burger after closing, unless he said "I'm trolling tonight Heart" and would then walk up past Harrods.

Keith Goodwin

Rod Harrod, the club's PR man and interviewed by the Church as well, wasn't the first journalist who had been hired to promote the club.

I have been trying to remember who was Rod Harrod. The name rings a bell, but the guy who I used as PR was Keith Goodwin, who had his column in either the MM or the NME, where we were regularly mentioned. He was also PR to quite a few music stars.

Keith Goodwin was indeed an NME journalist in the early sixties and one of the first professional music publicists in the UK with a diverse, even oddball, taste in music.

He started his agency with folk band The Springfields (it is eerie how Dusty materialises every time we investigate Church matters) and Tom Springfield was best man on his wedding.

But it was when psychedelia fully hit the scene that Goodwin acquired the most success for his publicity work. Amongst his clients were – initially obscure bands like - Argent, Black Sabbath, Camel, Magma and Yes. One day in 1966 a young singer songwriter, Cat Stevens, was in his office, looking for an appropriate title for a tune he had just written. Keith Goodwin looked out of the window and suggested the name of the shop at the other side of the road: Matthew And Son.

His love for symphonic rock wouldn't falter although the genre was declared dead in the late seventies, early eighties. He continued promoting bands like Pallas, Twelfth Night and Pendragon but it was with Marillion that he could finally prove that the progrock genre still attracted massive popularity. In 1988 Keith Goodwin retired and settled in Malta. He died on the 25th of January 2004, only 69 years old. (Taken from: Keith Goodwin: early professional music publicist.)

Many thanks to Emily and Bob Archer for sharing these memories with the Church. Wrestling information and pictures have been taken from Wrestling Heritage. Grazie mille Gianna!

Update August 2011: Paul Lincoln, better known as Doctor Death, sadly passed away in January 2011 (RIP Paul Lincoln). In July 2011 he was awarded The Number One Masked Man of the Heritage Years by the Wrestling Heritage website.

More to read and watch:
A 1962 movie The Wrestling Game (Part 1 & Part 2) has Rebel Ray Hunter and Judo Al Hayes.
Wrestling Furnace has articles and pictures of Dr. Death, pictures from Rebel Ray Hunter and a 1971 Judo Al Hayes article.


2013-02-15

When Hendrix met Iggy

Jimpress 100
Jimpress 100.

Somewhere mid December we were informed by Iggy that she had been asked some questions by the British Jimi Hendrix magazine: Jimpress.

Jimpress started in July 1991 and is currently at its 100th issue and obviously no other issue than this centenary one was suited to welcome Iggy Rose. Pages 9 to 17 have the article Mr Love, where author Tim Greenhall examines several events from Brook Street 23 in London.

Mr Love, The Jimi Hendrix London Experience, Tim Greenhall examines events in Brook Street

The article starts with the memories of Doug Kaye, who used to work in his brother's restaurant in Brook Street. Above the Mr Love restaurant was a flat where a certain Jimi Hendrix and Kathy Etchingham set up residence. Doug first met Jimi at the cigarettes machine and they started talking about blues music. Doug lend Jimi two blues albums that he never saw back but that are now part of the Jimi Hendrix exposition at the EMP museum in Seattle.

Doug Kaye started the secret Mr Love Facebook group (later renamed to Echoes) that unfortunately has been declared terra incognita for the Reverend but that accommodates quite a few Sixties celebrities among its members (and many of those are friends of Iggy Rose as well).

Jimi's cavalry jacket
Jimi's cavalry jacket.

One of them, mentioned in the article, is Robert Orbach who owned I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet and who sold Jimi Hendrix his trademark cavalry jacket. The Hussars tunic dated from 1850 and was the personal property of Robert who wore it in his shop. Jimi Hendrix first proposed to buy it for 20£ but Orbach told the item was not for sale. Over the next few days Hendrix and his manager would drop by with higher bids and at the end the uniform changed owner for the tenfold of the originally proposed price. To modern 2013 standards Hendrix must have paid the equivalent of about 2000£ (or 2320€ or 3100$), but as it became one of the most renown jackets in the world of rock that price was probably a fair one.

Jeff Dexter probably doesn't need to be introduced to Iggy Rose fans, he tried to make a record with her but this miserably failed when he found out at the studio that non of the girls he had chosen for his Motown-like act actually could sing. Dexter met Hendrix on different occasions.

Introducing John Altman would take us at least three Church blog posts, so we will just say he is a (film & ad) composer, music arranger, orchestrator, conductor, an occasional contributor to Monty Python and that he has more anecdotes up his sleeve than the Reverend has ever got hangovers in his entire life. John Altham talked most about jazz with Jimi and Hendrix confided him he wanted to take some guitar lessons from John McLaughlin.

Iggy Rose @ Jimpress

And then it is finally time to attribute some lines to our goddess:

One of the group's most colourful ladies is the lovely “Iggy Rose”. Iggy was Syd Barrett's girlfriend and met Jimi on a few occasions. She is probably best known for being the model on the cover of Barrett's album The Madcap Laughs, however she has been seen in many a sixties nostalgia film, most notably Granny Takes A Trip which you can find on YouTube no doubt. Iggy also worked in the store of the same name.

Note: as far as we know Iggy did not work at Granny's. The article from Tim Greenhall continues:

I asked Iggy what she remembered about Jimi in that time ?
I never really spent much time chatting but was in his presence. I met Kathy Etchingham on a couple of occasions. I knew Noel Redding quite well. I remember seeing him at The Bag o'Nails where he blew everyone away. I just feel very fortunate to have met him and will always be grateful for that.

...the article ends with a thank you note to Iggy:

I would particularly like to thank Iggy for putting me in contact with Jeff Dexter, Robert Orbach and John Altman.
Mr Love in Jimpress 100
Iggy Rose in Jimpress 100.

Hendrix at the Church

The Church has destined a few articles to the Iggy Rose - Jimi Hendrix connection before.

Anthony Stern, who immortalised her in his movies and pictures, first met Iggy at a Hendrix concert at the Speakeasy, this was told in the different press articles Kirsty Whalley wrote about Iggy Rose: Where did she go? and Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea.

In 2010 the Church interviewed Rod Harris, who has been described as the man who launched Jimi Hendrix in the UK: Rod Harrod remembers The Crom. Co-owner from The Cromwellian club Bob Archer told the Church he was the first to book Jimi Hendrix:

True fact is the first place Jimi [Hendrix] played in London was The Crom. He sat in with Brian Auger. Chas [Chandler] brought him in the first night he arrived. Kathy [Etchingham] worked a bit for me. Taken from: The Wrestling Beatle.

And in his 2011 Mojo article Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake revealed that Iggy saw Hendrix make his UK debut at the Bag O' Nails in November '66: The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo.

Mr. Love
Mr. Love.

A few years ago the Church asked Iggy what she did remember of that Hendrix gig and here is what she confided to the Church (unpublished before):

I think the first mind-blowing experience I had of watching Jimi Hendrix's explosive performance was at the Bag 'O Nails on November the 25th, 1966.
I actually sat on the edge of its tiny stage waiting for the gig to start.
The so-called super cool blasé London in-crowd didn't realise what hit them. From the very first stupendous chord this felt like a typhoon blasting away all sense and reason, reducing everyone in the public into a quivering state of amazement. This phenomenally unique sound provoked a spontaneous eruption in the crowd. Suddenly everyone leapt to their feet with a roar, clamouring to get near the stage to absorb the extraordinary.
And as if that wasn't enough, as soon as Jimi dropped to his knees and started to play the electric guitar with his tongue the roomful of trendy clubbers went ballistic and then he hadn't set his guitar on fire yet. For me it looked like he continued through the night producing spectacular feats of unparalleled works of genius.
Then of course his electrifying voice that touched and melted the most vital. This was oozing raw scalding sex, a river of molten lava erupting from a volcano. Hendrix created an uncontrollable sensation of having multiple orgasms.

Unfortunately the pictures that were in her possession from Jimi Hendrix (with her?) have been lost through the years, as well as those with Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey, George Harrison, Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg, 'Keef' Richards and 'lovely' Keith Moon... (and then there is still a hidden, but rather naughty, but rather arty, Syd & Iggy Madcap Laughs photo session that is in ultra safe hands somewhere).

But not all is lost, the Church also heard that some people want to contact Iggy for a new Rolling Stones related project. The Reverend is pretty sure that somewhere there must be pictures, probably in private hands: Iggy & the Stones.


Many thanks to Tim Greenhall from Jimpress and to all contributors from previous articles mentioned here: Bob Archer, Mark Blake, Rod Harris, Kirsty Whalley...
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Jimpress can be contacted (and bought) at http://www.jimpress.co.uk/
Jimpress is on Facebook as well.

Sources:
Rose, Iggy: Jimi Hendrix at Bag 'O Nails, chat / phone conversation(s) with Felix Atagong somewhere in 2011.


2015-02-22

Uschi Obermaier: Proletarian Chic

Uschi Obermaier? Not!
Not Uschi Obermaier.

Do a combined Syd Barrett Uschi Obermaier search on Google and you get approximate 4600 results tying both celebrities together, the first results being 'who's dating who' (now called Famousfix) related finds. On the fifth place, although this result will change from computer to computer is an entry from the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, but not the regular one.

Iggy's church can be found on various places on the interweb, most of the time just to gather some dust. One branch office though, is alive and kicking, and operates more or less independently from its headquarters. It is on the microblogging Tumblr platform, is aptly called The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and can be found at the following address: http://iggyinuit.tumblr.com.

The first image that is presented, also on the Famousfix platform, is the one of Syd Barrett on a Formentera beach, standing behind a woman who hides her nudity behind a red veil. That picture is actually copyrighted and belongs to John Davies who took the picture when he went to the island in summer 1969.

Update 2015 02 25: John Davies contacted us to get some facts right.

The photo of the naked girl behind the red scarf was taken by Imo (Ian Moore) and not by me although I used it in an article I wrote about Cambridge, and credited Imo. Secondly, I went to Formentera first in 1963, with some friends from Cambridge, including Richard Eyre. We raved about the island so much that other friends started going there in the mid-sixties, including dear Syd. I still spend a lot of time there and one or two of those Cambridge "hipsters" still live there.

The article from John Davies can be found at A Fleeting Glimpse: The John Davies Collection. In another Church post (from 2012, time flies!) we have highlighted the yearly trek from the Cambridge hipsters to the island of Formentera: Formentera Lady.

John Davies

John Davies was one of those Cambridge hipsters who, between 1963 and 1965:

...made the transformation from schoolboys to aspiring beatniks’, swapping school uniforms for black polo necks and leather jackets, listening to Miles Davis, riding Vespas and smoking dope purchased from American GIs on the neighbouring airforce bases at Lakenheath and Mildenhall.

He was, with Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon, one of the people who mastered the Gaggia espresso machine in the coffee-house El Patio and who (probably) had his hand in the till when the boss wasn't around, as noted down by Nick Sedgwick in his roman à clef Light Blue with Bulges:

Lunch times, just keep the till open, ring up only half of the orders, keep a check on the rest, then pocket the difference.

Nick Sedgwick

Nick Sedgwick, who sadly passed away in 2011, wrote a Pink Floyd 'on tour' biography in the mid-seventies, but this was never published because none of the characters came out very well, with the exception of Roger Waters, who had commissioned the book. In August 2011 Waters promised to respect his friend's dying wish and release the manuscript as 'a simple PDF, a hardback version, and a super de-luxe illustrated limited edition' (see: Immersion). Transferring a typoscript to PDF literally takes a few minutes, but nothing has moved three and a half years later and the Church fears that this is just another case of the ongoing Waters vs Gilmour feud still lurking behind their smiling faces and fat wallets.

The Church has dedicated some space to the above picture before on the post Formentera Lady throwing the hypothesis around that the woman was one of Syd Barrett's girlfriends nicknamed Sarah Sky. This explanation was given to the Church by a Barrett fan who quoted her grandmother, but communication was interrupted before we could get more into details.

According to Emo (Iain Moore) however, the girl was an American tourist who was visiting Formentera for a day and had arrived at the house they all rented, close to a nude beach.

Famous Groupies

In December 2013 The Groupie Blog claimed the woman on the picture is German photo-model Uschi Obermaier. This was followed by another post in January 2014 where the author pretends Syd Barrett used to hit Obermaier when he had hysteria attacks.

Obviously the Church wanted to get further into this as none of the biographies mention any kind of romantic (nor aggressive) involvement between the two of them. As the (anonymous) author of the groupies blog was not contactable Uschi's autobiography High Times / Mein Wildes Leben was bought and searched for any Syd Barrett entries.

Mein Wildes Leben - Uschi Obermaier
Mein Wildes Leben, Uschi Obermaier.

Wild Thing

First things first: Obermaier's autobiography is a fine read, a three to three and a half star rating out of five.

Born in 1946 Uschi escapes the German conservative square society in the mid-sixties by clubbing at the Big Apple and PN in Munich where she is rapidly adopted by the in-crowd because of:
a) her good looks,
b) her dancing abilities and
c) her free spirit attitude.

She meets with Reinhard 'Dicky' Tarrach from The Rattles, who will have an international hit with The Witch, and soon promotes to international bands like The Kinks, whose Dave Davies is such an arrogant male chauvinist pig he deserves a separate entry. She is discovered by a photographer and a career as photo-model is launched.

Around 1967 Neil Landon from the hastily assembled The Flower Pot Men has a more than casual interest and he invites her to swinging London but she leaves as soon as she finds out about his jealous streaks. Back in Germany she doesn't fit in everyday society any more. She joins the alternative Amon Düül commune, following drummer Peter Leopold, and she makes it on a few of their jam-session albums as a maracas player.

Commune Love
Rainer Langhans & Uschi Obermaier, November 1969.

Through Amon Düül she falls in love with Rainer Langhans from Kommune 1 (K1). The Berlin communards live by a strict Marxism-Leninism doctrine where everything belongs to the group and everyday family life is forbidden. Individualism is totally annihilated at a point that even the toilet has its doors removed and telephone conversations need to be done with the speaker on. Good-looking Rainer and cover-girl Uschi become a media-hyped alternative couple, the German John and Yoko avant la lettre. She is by then Germany's most wanted, and some say: best paid, photo-model and as such not accepted by the community hardliners. Drinking cola or smoking menthol cigarettes is considered counter-revolutionary.

In January 1969 Uschi hears that Jimi Hendrix is in town and they meet for some quality time (short clip on YouTube). He visits the commune which gives it another popularity boost. Despite its utopian rules the communards have their intrigues, jealousies and hidden agendas, it becomes a heroin den and when one of the more extremist inhabitants hides a bomb in the house the place is raided by the police. Later that year the commune disbands. (It was also found out that the bomb was planted by an infiltrator, spying for the police.)

The couple moves for a while into the Munich Frauenkommune (women's commune), where their bourgeois manners and star allures aren't appreciated either, but you won't read that in Obermaier's memories. Movie director Katrin Seybold:

Do you remember when Uschi Meier and Rainer Langhans stayed with us? They really moved in at our place, like residents. And while the person who happened to have money normally bought twenty yoghurts for all of us, they bought the double for themselves and hid it in their room. They were a narrow-minded philistine couple within our community. They were not a bit generous. (Katrin Seybold and Mona Winter in Frauenkommune: Angstlust der Männer. Translation by FA.)

Leaving the all-women group in 1970 the couple starts the High-Fish (a pun on German Haifisch, or shark) commune, this time not a communist but a hedonistic group where sex, drugs and rock'n roll are combined into art happenings and/or sold as porn movies. The mansion may well have been the German equivalent of London's 101 Cromwell Road, which was some kind of LSD temple and the place where Syd Barrett used to live with some 'heavy, loony, messianic acid freaks', to quote Pete Jenner. (See also: An innerview with Peter Jenner )

Picture taken at the day of the Munich Incident.
Rainer Langhans & Uschi Obermaier on the Munich Incident day.

The Munich Incident

In March 1970 the High-Fish commune was the centre of a rock'n roll tragedy if we may believe some accounts. In vintage Fleetwood Mac circles the event is better known as the Munich Incident. Ultimate Classic Rock:

“It was a hippie commune sort of thing,” said Fleetwood Mac guitarist Jeremy Spencer. “We arrived there, and [road manager] Dennis Keane comes up to me shaking and says, “It’s so weird, don’t go down there. Pete [Green] is weirding out big time and the vibes are just horrible.” Green was already set to leave the band, but this was, as [Mick] Fleetwood put it, “the final nail in the coffin.” Friends say Green was never the same after the Munich incident. (Taken from: 38 Years Ago: Fleetwood Mac Founder Peter Green Arrested for Pulling Shotgun on His Accountant.)

Jeremy Spencer, at Fleetwood Mac community The Ledge, continues:

It's true that we, or more accurately, Pete [Green] was met at Munich airport by a very beautiful girl [Uschi Obermaier] and a strange guy in a black cape [Rainer Langhans]. Their focus was definitely Pete for some reason. The rest of us didn't get it, but we discussed the weird vibes. We were invited to their mansion in the Munich forest that night. Pete was already jamming down in the basement (…) when I arrived with Mick [Fleetwood]. Dennis Keane [road manager] met us in the driveway, ashen faced and freaking out over the bad vibes and how weird Pete was going. I don't think Dennis was stoned, he just wanted to get out. (…) Anyway the house (more like a mansion) was a rich hippy crash pad. And it was spooky. There was some weird stuff going on in the different rooms. (Taken from: The Munich accident.)

Road manager Dennis Keane maintains they were spiked:

When we went inside there was a party of about 20 people sat around, we were offered a glass of wine, and the next thing I knew all hell broke loose in my head - we'd been drugged. Nobody had offered us any tablets; they just went and spiked us. (Taken from: Celmins, Martin: Peter Green: The Authorised Biography, Sanctuary, 2003)
Miss Kommune
Uschi Obermaier, "Miss Kommune".

Over the years the Munich Incident may have been exaggerated and Rainer Langhans, in his (free) autobiography, tries to bring the incident back to its true proportions:

After the performance of Fleetwood Mac in Munich, at the Deutsche Museum, the band went to the hotel. Peter Green came along with us, with the High-Fish people. (...) I quickly befriended him but he did not talk much. We were both, in a way, soul mates. A soft, vulnerable and loving man. Uschi had no special connection with him. She did not find him physically attractive. He was too hairy, she said, and also the music of Fleetwood Mac was too soft and not 'rocky' enough, while I found it very beautiful. We spent the night together with him, tripping, jamming and floating through the rooms on LSD. (...)
  
We met him twice in London in the next couple of weeks. It was him who brought us in contact with the Stones and Uschi was able to fulfill her dream of finally starting an affair with Jagger. With Fleetwood Mac everything seemed to be fine, but then Peter Green suddenly dropped out of the band. We heard he was so disgusted with the music business that he no longer wanted to be there. Much later the band put the responsibility on the night he was with us in Munich and claimed his trip with us had completely changed him. (Translated from German to English by FA.)

Peter Green's decline and retreat from the music industry is often compared to Syd Barrett's 1967 breakdown and although his descend into madness can't be linked to one single event, just as in the Barrett case, the gargantuan trip at the High-Fish community may have pushed him closer to the edge.

Conveniently Uschi Obermaier's excellent memory suddenly fails her when it comes to the Munich Incident. There is not a single word about it in her autobiography, but the Frauenkommune testimony from above already shows she can be rather discrete if she wants to.

Uschi Obermaier on the road.
Uschi Obermaier & Dieter Bockhorn.

Reeperbahn Prince

With their days of Marxist collectivism gone, she and Langhans are thinking of organising a German Woodstock festival. Peter Green does what is asked of him and a few days later the couple is standing in a London studio where Mick Jagger is working on Sticky Fingers. It is satisfaction at first sight and a treat for the paparazzi.

But German Woodstock never happens, the relation with Rainer Langhans comes to an end and Uschi, now an international photo-model, jumps back into the Munich nightlife, replacing the diet of Champagne and Quaaludes with the trendier heroin. In Hamburg she meets Dieter Bockhorn, who is officially an eccentric Reeperbahn strip-club owner and they start a turbulent relationship. When the Rolling Stones are in Germany for some recordings she gradually replaces Mick Jagger for Keith Richards, following them on a European tour and joining them in the USA. Bockhorn is not amused.

From then on she will have a bizarre love triangle: everyday life with Dieter and meeting Keith whenever his touring schedule allows him. She will always have a soft spot for Richards: “The most honourable bad boy I knew – and I knew some.”

In the mid-seventies Obermaier and Bockhorn, who has made the move to heroin as well, follow the hippie trail to Asia in a converted bus. It will be a trip through Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and India that takes 622 days, 55141 kilometres with many weird, unbelievable adventures and a few narrow escapes. German press, as always, is interested in the adventures of Germany's baddest Kultpaar (cult couple) and they are regularly interviewed and photographed 'on the road'.

Back in Hamburg Uschi obviously returns to modelling but the couple fails to adapt to the western world and their relationship suffers gravely. She remarks that the hippie days are over and that punks have taken over the street. Bockhorn's business has suffered from the 20 months they were abroad and he struggles with monetary, legal and not quite so legal problems. They make plans to leave for America as soon as they can afford to leave.

In November 1980 they arrive in the USA where they will do a Kerouac, heroine free after an obliged detox boat journey. In summer they roam the continent and for three consecutive winters they stay in an alternative hippies and bikers camp in Baja California (Mexico). It is in Cabo San Lucas that Keith Richards arrives one day, carrying a guitar under the arm and giving a one man campfire gig on the beach, much to the amazement of the stoned onlookers. In the third year money has run out and the dharma bum life, with loads of alcohol, 'grass' and promiscuity, weighs heavily on both of them. On the last day of 1983 a drunk Dieter Bockhorn crashes his motorcycle on a truck ending his wild life.

Das Wilde Leben (movie)
Das Wilde Leben (movie). Natalia Avelon as Uschi.

Biography

For a while a depressed Uschi Obermaier feels that she has achieved nothing in her life and that she only got there through her pretty face. One of her pastimes is scrimshaw and she starts designing jewellery that she sells through the exclusive Maxfield store in Los Angeles, where Madonna and Jack Nicholson buy their trinkets. While she is certainly not an airhead and may have talent as an artist it can't be denied that her career is a case of, what the Germans amusingly describe as, Hurenglück.

On top of that the Krauts simply can't have enough of her. The story of her life as a groupie, a junkie, a starlet, her relations with a communist rebel, some Rolling Stones and a Reeperbahn crook who thought he was the Hamburg equivalent of Ronnie Kray make her autobiography Mein Wildes Leben (literally: my wild life) a page-turning bestseller.

It is followed by a biopic Das Wilde Leben, a home-country hit, but not abroad where it is baptised Eight Miles High. Reviews vary, but in our opinion it is a pretty average movie, with uneven and often caricatural scenes (check the Mick vs Keith scene for a ROTFL) and frankly Natalia Avelon's gorgeous cleavage has more depth than the script.

Uschi Obermaier.
Uschi Obermaier (1974) in a see-through dress, for comparison purposes only.

Back To Barrett

But to finally get back to the initial subject of this post, because in fine Church tradition we seem to have gone astray for a while.

Did Uschi Obermaier have a love-interest in Syd Barrett?
Did they meet at Formentera?
Did he hit her when he had hysteria attacks?

No.
No.
No.

We're afraid the answer is a triple no.

Doesn't Mein Wildes Lebens mention Syd Barrett at all?

Yes, his name is dropped once. He is mentioned in a comparison between Swinging London and 'its psychedelic music scene from early Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett' and the grey, conservative atmosphere in Germany where girls in miniskirts were insulted on the street.

Could Uschi have met Syd Barrett in Germany?

No. Vintage Pink Floyd, with Barrett in the band, never played Germany. A gig for the TV show Music For Young People in Hamburg, on the first and second of August 1967 was cancelled.

How about Syd hitting her?

The Barrett - Obermaier hysteria attack rumour is probably a mix-up from Syd's alleged violence towards his girlfriends and the tumultuous relationship between Obermaier and Bockhorn, who once pointed a gun at her and pulled the trigger (luckily the weapon jammed).

So how about Uschi Obermaier hiding her precious body behind a red veil on Formentera in the summer of 1969?

She writes that she visited Ibiza (the island next to Formentera) on the day Mick Jagger married Bianca, so that places the event in May 1971, nearly two years after Syd's Formentera picture. When Barrett was strolling on the beach Uschi was either at K1 in Berlin or at the Frauenkommune in Munich.

Well, I'm still not convinced until Uschi Obermaier herself tells us it never happened.

Why didn't you ask before, because we did. We managed to pass Uschi Obermaier the question through a mutual contact and we even got an answer back. Uschi Obermaier on the first of February 2015:

They are right, this is NOT me, they researched right. I was at this time either in Berlin or back in Munich.

Case closed then. Unless Sarah Sky wants to come forward, obviously.


Many thanks to: Bianca Corrodi, John Davies, Little Queenies, Nina, Uschi Obermaier, Jenny Spires.
This is, more or less, an update of a previous article that can be found here: Formentera Lady.

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 28, 83.
Langhans, Rainer: Ich Bin's, pdf version, 2008, p 39.
Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 38.
Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 67.
Sedgwick, Nick: Light Blue With Bulges, Fourth estate, London, 1989, p. 37.

Videos:
Coffee Bar - YouTube - 8:19, a 1959 Look At Life documentary about the British 'coffee bar boom' in London.
The Munich LSD Party Incident - YouTube - 7:41 (interviews with Mick Fleetwood, Jeremy Spencer, John McVie, Dennis Keane, Peter Green, Clifford Davis).
Von wegen Liebe: Das schoenste Paar der APO - YouTube - 43:50, German documentary from Christa Ritter about Rainer Langhans, Uschi Obermaier and Kommune 1.
Jimi Hendrix with Uschi Obermaier in Berlin, January 1969 - YouTube - 0:35.


2016-10-01

Lost Weekends

Iggy, The Eskimo Girl (Anthony Stern)
Iggy, The Eskimo Girl (Anthony Stern).

When, a couple of years ago, a Brian Jones Facebook group wanted to know if any members had ever met him, Iggy Rose chimed in, in her usual diplomatic style, stating that she still remembered some of the musician’s anatomical details. As Facebook groups tend to harbour the bottom layer of human intelligence she wasn’t believed. Perhaps for the better.

After six decades, Iggy still believes in the interconnected goodness of people and things, something that was already present in her as a toddler when she wanted to stroke the cat in the garden and her parents realised, just in time, that it actually was a tiger. Obviously that was before they relocated to the UK as there are not so many loose tigers running around in Brighton. Predators in good old England were mostly of the human kind and playing rock ’n' roll.

Lost weekends 1967 - 1968

How exactly Iggy met The Rolling Stones has been shrouded in a cloak of mystery. Probably she met them through psychedelic nobleman Stash (Stash Klossowski de Rola) who was in their inner circle. It suffices to say that one day she met them and that they and some of their girlfriends liked to have her around.

She was present, Zelig-like as Mark Blake later wrote in his Iggy article The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo, during the Sympathy For The Devil recording sessions, early June 1968, although there isn't a trace of her in the Jean-Luc Godard movie with the same name. Talking about a missed opportunity...

That Iggy had an eerie timing of turning completely invisible had already been proven a year and a half before when she was invited to Keith's 15th century country house, Redlands, in West Withering. In the early evening of 12 February 1967 police officers raided the place and arrested Keith, Mick and the mysterious Miss X, who was only wearing a fur rug, but she was not Iggy.

Robert Fraser, Mick Jagger being arrested
Rober Fraser & Mick Jagger.

Other guests present in the house that day were:
Nicky Kramer, a dandy dope head, who was unfortunately repeatedly beaten up by some of Mick’s rougher associates because they suspected him to be the informant who gave the Stones away;
art dealer Robert ‘groovy Bob’ Fraser and his manservant Mohammed Jajaj;
Christopher Gibbs, a friend of Mick;
photographer Michael Cooper, and last but not least:
David Schneiderman, Sniderman aka David Jove, the ‘acid king’ whose portable drug cabinet with LSD and dope was never confiscated and who may have been the real snitch, working for British intelligence and/or The News Of The World newspaper.

Not present any more were George Harrison and Patti Boyd. They left the mansion before the bust. Brian Jones and Anita Pallenberg had an argument in London so they never arrived, much to the disappointment of the police who raided Jones' house later.

And Iggy the Eskimo was nowhere to be seen because… she got lost on her way to the doomed place.

I had a lucky escape cause I lost my way after all the directions Keef gave me.
(Birdie Hop, 02 June 2015.)
David Schneiderman and Keith Richards
David Schneidermann & Keith Richards.

Photographic Evidence

Michael Cooper has made some 70000 pictures of the Rolling Stones, yet, the first one with Iggy still has to surface. We know they are there, somewhere…

Literary hundreds of pictures have been lost. Me and Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey, George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon… I had quite a few snapshots with Keef, Brian and Anita…

A great loss happened when Iggy’s suitcase, that contained all her possessions, was tossed overboard, in the North Sea, after a row with an abusive friend musician. One picture that has survived however shows her, Zelig-like indeed, standing next to John Lennon on Carmen Jiménez’s birthday party, January 1967 at The Cromwellian.

Georgie Fame had a gorgeous girlfriend, Carmen, and she took me under her wings when he was touring. Just around the corner of The Cromwellian Brian Jones has an incredible pad and we all had a scrumptious paella there, cooked by her. After Brian I rolled into Keef who had a palatial place at the Chelsea embankment.
Myriam Gibril
Myriam Gibril.

Performance

In July 1968 Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg and their entourage could be found in a London house that was easier to find for Iggy. It was the set for a Donald Cammell movie that would get cult status: Performance. This film was one of the rare occasions where there was no real difference between what happened before and behind the camera, between fiction and reality... Iggy told us:

They used real magic mushrooms... I was at the house [Powis Square, Notting Hill, FA] when they where getting ready to shoot the bedroom scene, the lady in charge was getting shrooms for the cast and offered me some as well.

Iggy was also proposed a part in the movie for a bedroom scene, but she politely declined. It didn't stop her though to be friendly with Anita Pallenberg and with Donald Cammell's 'beautiful dusky' lady, Myriam Gibril...

(A great article on the movie can be found at: Donald Cammell’s Performance at Powis Square.)

Lost Weekend 2016

On the weekend from the 23rd to the 25th September 2016 BBC4 handed over its schedule to Keith Richards (and Julien Temple) in what was called Keith Richards' Lost Weekend. Apparently all programs were hand-picked by Keith, ranging from a Hitchcock movie, cartoons and comedy, documentaries, interviews and obviously some music.

On Sunday morning, starting at 1:25 AM, some Syd Barrett fans did not only see the object of their adoration on the screen, but Iggy the Eskimo as well, dancing in a park.

Lost and Found: The Memory Marbles of Anthony Stern
Lost and Found: The Memory Marbles of Anthony Stern.

The 45 minutes documentary was called Lost and Found: The Memory Marbles of Anthony Stern and is unfortunately the only piece of the Richards weekend that can't be found on the BBC4's iPlayer. We have already established before that Anthony Stern has seriously lost his marbles when it comes to copyrights: Iggy The Eskimo Girl (full movie).

Probably the documentary was a condensed version of Stern's autobiographical movie Get All That, Ant that will be premiered at the Cambridge Syd Barrett movie festival on October the 21st 2016, and that has The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and, of course, Iggy Rose amongst its contributors.

You can read a tad more about the movie, that will hopefully be released on DVD, on Stern's new website that looks remarkably like a vintage eighties web-creation: Anthony Stern Film Archive.

Miss Rose

Obviously we had Iggy on the phone about this documentary that she saw through half-open eyes as she was falling asleep by then. But she did catch herself in the white dress though...

The fact that Keith Richards, Keith Richards!, hand-picked Anthony Stern's movie about me is thrilling after all these years.

Must be that he still remembers you, Iggy. Those 'not fit for publication' scenes happening on the backseat of his Rolls Royce must have left an unforgettable impression on his scruffy brain, even after 48 years...


This article is an updated version of Iggy & the Stones (October 2012). Many thanks to: Lisa Newman, Anthony Stern, Yeeshkul.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥