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There are now more Syd Barrett biographies around (in the English
language alone) than Syd Barrett records and several Pink Floyd
biographies consecrate the same amount of pages for the first three
years of the Floyd than for the next 30. So obviously there must be
something mysterious going on with this Syd character.
The last in line to open Pandora's box is Rob Chapman. He was actually
one of the few people (around 30 to 50) who saw Syd's mythical band Stars
at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge (24 February 1972) and is still
relatively sane enough to recall it. Young chap Robert Chapman even
wrote a review
magazine, that would disappear a few years later for 'lack of Syd' but
also because no three Syd Barrett fans can come together without having
a tremendous fight. Try running an Internet joint for that lot nowadays
and you'll see what I mean.
Writing a biography is a difficult job and I once remarked in a (quite
pompous) review that biographers are situated on a scale, ranging
from those who meticulously verify, double verify and triple verify tiny
facts to those that will not hesitate to add a good, albeit probably
untrue, anecdote just because it goes down so well.
Rob Chapman is, and often quite rightly so, annoyed with the many
legends around Barrett and wants to set the record straight. I kind of
like this way of working. But he doesn't indulge us either in an ongoing
shopping list of facts and figures. The art of writing biographies is
not in adding details, that is the easy bit, but in weeding out the
superfluous so that a readable book (rather than a shopping list)
But sometimes I have the feeling that he weeded a bit too much. The trouvaille
of the name Pink Floyd (p. 53) is literally dealt with in a single line.
Of course ardent Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett fans alike already know the
story about Philips
BBL-7512 and its liner notes by heart, but the occasional reader
might as well benefit from an extra wee bit of information. And quite
frankly it is about time that David (Dave) Moore
gets the credits for the mail he sent to Bryan Sinclair on the 14th of
March 2005 entitled: “RE: [pre-war-blues] Pink Anderson / Floyd Council.”
From an LP apparently in the possession of Syd Barrett: Blind Boy
Fuller, Country Blues 1935-1940, issued on Phillips BBL-7512, c. 1962.
The sleeve notes were by Paul Oliver, and include the following: "Curley
Weaver and Fred McMullen, Georgia-born but more frequently to be found
in Kentucky or Tennessee, Pink Anderson or Floyd Council -- these were a
few amongst the many blues singers that were to be heard in the rolling
hills of the Piedmont, or meandering with the streams through the wooded
valleys." (Source: Pink
Anderson / Floyd Council @ pre-war-blues Yahoo, membership probably
Update 2015: The complete story of the Blind Boy Fuller album
that gave Pink Floyd its name can be found at: Step
It Up And Go.
Chapman, the fearless vampire killer
You might say, that piece of information is too anoraky and Rob
Chapman was right not to include it, but why then, when he can lash out
at previous Syd Barrett biographers, doesn't he apply his own rules
anymore? Every new biography should have its new findings, otherwise
there would be no necessity to write it, and I do understand that you
can point out a flagrant mistake that has been made in a previous
biography, but Chapman acts repeatedly as a vindictive (and verbally
Helsing, wooden stake in his hand, ready to stick it through the
heart of a vampire on the loose. Only, in my book, a fellow biographer
should not be treated as a vampire but rather as a colleague, perhaps an
erring colleague, but still a colleague... Writing that some biographies
should have a government health warning on their cover is not nice and
is better left to amateur blog authors like yours truly and journalists
of The Sun.
We have established by now that Rob Chapman does not like false and
superfluous information, but on top of that he also has some theories of
his own. David Gilmour recalls how he was invited at the See
Emily Play recording session (officially the 21st of May 1967, but,
according to David Parker, a first session could have taken place on the
18th) and how he found that 'the golden boy had lost the light in his
eyes'. Somewhere around that date Syd turned 'crazy' so we have been
lead to believe for the past 40 years…
Chapman is of the opinion that Barrett didn't turn mad, but rather that
he was alternatively wired and that, what other people have described as
mad behaviour, was really Syd playing cosmic jokes on the rest of the
world or setting up dadaist and misinterpreted avant-garde performances.
Just like the proverbial fish in a fisherman's story gets bigger and
bigger so have Syd legends accumulated weight over the years. Rob
Chapman doesn't like these apocryphal stories and wants to debunk these
once and for all. He does a good job at that, but - once again - weeds
to much. It is not because you can correct a couple of false rumours
that - by definition - all memories from all witnesses have to be
categorised untrue. And that is what Chapman implies. Even more, in
order to prove his theory, he deliberately skips several events that
have happened but that he can't immediately minimise or contradict.
It is good to counterbalance the Syd Barrett articles and biographies
that have thriven upon sensationalism (Le
premier Pink Floyd from Emmanuel Le Bret comes to mind, luckily that
2008 biography was written in French and completely ignored by the
Anglo-Saxon world) but that is not a reason to indulge into a fairytale
world of Barrett the mystic, but misinterpreted, genius. That is
unethical and close to historical revisionism and it turns the middle
part of the biography (covering the Piper and Madcap years) into a
somewhat misplaced hagiography.
You will probably not believe me when I tell I didn't do it on purpose,
but when Chapman quotes Nick Mason's autobiography Inside Out on
page 198, saying that Nick writes that 'Syd went mad' during the
American tour of 1967, I grabbed my copy (actually, I carefully took and
opened it, as it is quite heavy) and read pages 87 till 97 over again. I
did this three times. I can't find it. I will not conclude that
Nick may never have written (or said during an interview) that 'Syd went
mad' but it isn't there where Chapman claims it is. It makes Chapman a
sloppy researcher, to say the least.
Update October 2010: By accident I stumbled upon the Syd is
crazy quote (or one of the Syd is crazy quotes) from Nick
Mason in Barry Miles' The Early Years book: "You can't believe that
someone's deliberately trying to screw it up and yet the other half of
you is saying 'This man's crazy - he's trying to destroy me!'"
Nick however does write that on two different occasions on the American
tour Syd detuned his guitar, one time even 'until the strings fell off'.
This apparently made Roger Waters so angry that he 'gashed his hand in a
furious attack on his bass guitar', smashing the (lend) instrument to
pieces at the end of the show.
Rob Chapman doesn't see where the problem is and remarks joyfully that
Syd had been deliberately detuning his guitar in the past (during the
Floyd's early free-form jams) and that it was tolerated and even
encouraged then. He seems not to realise that there might have been a
time and place to detune a guitar and a time and place NOT to
detune a guitar. When I visit my doctor, who is looking gorgeous by the
way, and unbutton my trousers in front of her she will not be offended,
but if I catch her at the local supermarket, choosing a deep-freeze
pizza (the living proof that deep-freeze pizzas are healthy, by the way)
and dangle my ding-a-ling in front of her, I will be in hell of a
trouble. Not that I have done that, those rumours are incredibly
exaggerated and I am again allowed to enter the supermarket anyway.
The Big Barrett Conspiracy
Chapman more or less suggests that, over the years, there has been a Big
Barrett Conspiracy going on, claiming that Syd went mad while he was
just being artistically misunderstood. It is obvious that Waters, Mason
and Wright, and to a lesser extent Gilmour, were behind the conspiracy.
They quit their studies and promising architectural career to follow the
narrow path of psychedelic pop music and when money was finally starting
to come in a whimsical Barrett wanted to turn the clock back (probably
through a washing machine) and concentrate on experiment again
(proto-Floyd members Bob
Klose and Chris Dennis had left the band in the past just
because their profession stood in the way). Chapman doesn't even try to
hide his disgust for post-Syd Floyd, but more about that later.
What is less understandable is that Peter Jenner and Andrew King are
part of the conspiracy as well, because when Syd and Pink Floyd went
separate ways, they choose to manage Syd instead of following the goose
with the golden eggs. Jenner assisted Barrett during his first batch of
sessions for The Madcap Laughs (1968) but commented later that these
were 'chaos'. The sessions had been going on from May till July and
Jenner reported that they weren't getting anywhere.
Chapman disagrees, he states that during the 6 studio sessions in
1968 Barrett recorded half a dozen of rough tracks dispelling the myth
of a 'muse run dry'. I count 9 sessions, by the way, making
Barrett's tracks per sessions ratio one third less performing as Chapman
wants us to believe, but that is not the issue here. The main problem is
not that Barrett was out of songs. Six of them still doesn't make an
album, unless you would add the 18 minutes of the avant-garde
(read: tedious) Rhamadan. The main problem with Barrett was that
the songs never outgrew the rehearsal or demo stadium. Simply said:
Barrett wasted a lot of studio time. And these were still the days that
a record company expected an artist to cut an entire album in three or
four sessions, the only exception perhaps being The Beatles.
Update October 2010: after 40 years Rhamadan has been issued as a
free download with the An Introduction to Syd Barrett
compilation. The track isn't half as bad as everyone - especially those
who never heard it - claimed it to be, but it needs some serious weeding
to be presentable as a 'real' album track. More info: Gravy
Train To Cambridge.
Juggling the Octopus
I see in Rob Chapman a man with a passion and he is at his best when he
analyses Syd's songs. It takes him 7 pages to scrutinise Clowns &
Jugglers (re-titled later as Octopus),
making it clear to the outside world that Syd wasn't just a young
innocent bloke whose lyrics came to him in a psychedelic, LSD-induced,
dream. Chapman traces back references (and quotes) from: Huff
the Talbot and our Cat Tib (Mother Goose rhyme), Thomas Nashe's
Summer's Last Will and Testament (an Elizabethan masque play), Shakespeare's
King Henry VI Pt. 1, Kenneth Grahame's The Wind In The Willows and
poems from Anonymous (Mr
Nobody), John Clare (Fairy Things), Sir Henry Newbolt (Rilloby-Rill)
and William Howitt (The
Wind in a Frolic).
Unfortunately I have in my small collection of Barrett related works a
12-page essay, written in 2005 by Paul Belbin, published at the Madcapslaughing
and Vegetable Friends mailing groups, titled: Untangling the
Octopus. It describes in detail, almost verse per verse, where Syd
Barrett sampled the lines from Octopus from. Although Chapman nearly
literally copies the information for 7 pages long, he neglects to
mention the source of his findings.
Update October 2010: Paul Belbin has authorised the Holy Church
of Iggy the Inuit to host the 2006 version of his essay: Untangling
the Octopus v2 (PDF file).
In 2009 a revised and updated version of Untangling
The Octopus was published by Julian
Palacios, a Syd Barrett biographer who doesn't even appear in
Chapman's bibliography, but as Chapman spifflicates the biographies he
does mention that probably is a compliment.
Chapman can get downright cynical when he wants to take the myth out of
Barrett and this is where the biography as a biography goes astray.
Although a biographer may be unconditionally in love with his subject he
(she) must at the same time keep a certain distance, be unprejudiced and
should approach the subject with at least a glimpse of unbiased
Debunking the brylcreem and mandrax anecdote is not bad,
but it is not directly original either. Chapman isn't the first one to
have done this as shows this forum
post by Julian Palacios and also Mark Blake has put some question
marks concerning the event.
Apart from some anecdotes that happened at family parties or random
encounters on the street with old friends and (past) lovers, we don't
know a lot about Syd Barrett's life in Cambridge. So if a witness does
turns up it would perhaps be a chance to check him (or her) out. But in
that was published on the official Syd
Barrett website Chapman tells why he didn't contact the Barrett neighbour
who has not always been positive
about the rockstar next door:
My thoughts, clearly and unambiguously are that I didn’t want to give
this individual a scintilla of publicity. (…) I did check him out, quite
extensively as it happens, and my enquiries lead, among other places, to
a website where he gives his enlightened views on capital punishment and
who should receive it – most of us, by the look of it.
It is not because someone has a dubious opinion about capital punishment
that his memories about Barrett are - by definition - untrue or
unreliable. However Chapman is not that reluctant when a witness turns
up who has got some positive things to say about Barrett.
On pages 365 and following, Chapman recites the charming anecdote of a
young child who ran into Barrett's garden to ask him a pertinent
question about a make-believe horse. Not only did Barrett patiently
listen to her dilemma, he also took the time to explain her that in
fairy tales everything is possible, even flying horses.
It is in anecdotes such as this that Chapman shows his unconditional
love for Barrett, and I confess that it made my grumpy heart mellow as
well. Here is the man, who invariably smashed the door to any fan
approaching his house, earnestly discussing fairy tales figures with a
Update September 2013: some more information about this girl,
Radharani Krishna, can be found at the following article: Making
Wish You Were... but where exactly?
One of the greatest legends about Syd Barrett is how he showed up at the Wish
You Were Here recording settings on the fifth of June 1975. A Very
Irregular Head merely repeats the story as it has been told in other
biographies, articles and documentaries, including Rick Wright's
testimony that Barrett kept brushing his teeth with a brush that was
hidden in a plastic bag. Roger Waters however claims that Barrett only
took sweets out of the bag. As usual different witnesses tell different
The toothbrush myth is one Chapman doesn't know how to demystify but
Blake may have found a plausible explanation.
The 'toothbrush' and 'bag of candies' may have come out of the story I
heard from somebody else that was at Abbey Road that day. They claimed
Syd Barrett had a bag filled with packets of Amplex. For those that
don't know or remember, Amplex was a breath-freshener sweet that was
popular in the 70s. This eyewitness claims that Syd Barrett was
nervously stuffing Amplex sweets into his mouth... another story to add
to the pile... but you can see how the story of 'breath-freshener
sweets' could turn into a 'toothbrush' and/or 'a bag of candies'. (Taken
5, 2010 Roger Waters TV interview at Late
Update August 2011: according to Mark Blake in Mojo 215 the
Amplex story comes from journalist Nick Sedgwick, who was writing an
(unreleased) Pink Floyd related book at that time and author of the
novel Light Blue With Bulges, that describes his beatnik adventures in
Cambridge in the early sixties. More info: The
Case of the Painted Floorboards (v 2.012).
The Madcap Laughs
Another mystery Chapman can't solve is the exact time frame of the
shooting of The Madcap Laughs album cover. He still situates this
between August and November 1969 although there is a slightly obscure
website on this world that maintains that the pictures date from the beginning
of that year.
Chapman does a good, what do I say, a great job by describing
Syd's later years. He still can't say a lot about Syd's lost weekend
between the mid-Seventies and the early Eighties, although there must be
people around who knew or even visited him. Perhaps that insane Holy
Church of Iggy the Inuit should try to locate some of them.
In 1982, in the midst of Wall-mania,
Barrett left his Syd-character behind by walking the distance between
London and Cambridge. For the remainder of his life he would prefer to
be known as Rog or Roger.
Chapman managed to talk to Rosemary Breen, Syd's sister, and it
is through her that we know a great deal of Barrett's later life. It is
a sad story, but one with many laughs, as Rosemary remembers mainly her
brother's latter-day sense of humour. That and the story of Syd's life
as an adolescent, thanks to the many letters that Libby Gausden
has kept for all these years, are the strongholds of this, his,
Just when you thought this review was finally going to end it is time to
I started reading this biography and was genuinely intrigued by the
author's style, his wit, his knowledge, but also his unhealthy habit of
demeaning anyone who doesn't share his ideas. But I could live with it,
despite the odd tsk-tsk that would leave my mouth once in a while.
The passage that made me loose my marbles can be found halfway the book
on page 213. It describes how Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd legally split
up. Peter Jenner and Andrew King stayed with Barrett, the rest of the
band had to choose a new agency, a new manager and a new recording
contract. The rest of the band's history, so writes Rob Chapman, is accountancy.
The Early 70 Tours with the Embryo suite: accountancy? Meddle
(with Echoes): accountancy? Dark Side Of The Moon: accountancy? Wish
You Where Here: accountancy? Animals: accountancy? The
Update October 2010: When Barrett and Pink Floyd split up there
was the small matter of a 17,000 British Pounds debt that the band had.
The Abdab accountants didn't burden Syd Barrett, nor Peter Jenner
and Andrew King with that.
On page 317 Chapman infuriates me a little bit more by writing that
Waters, Mason, Wright and Gilmour sound like a firm of chartered
surveyors. I find this remark as insulting as deliberately mistaking
Rob Chapman for Mark
His opinion that, on Wish You Were here, Pink Floyd uses sixth-form
imagery to describe their former bandsman (and friend) didn't hurt me
anymore. By then Rob Chapman had already become something I usually pick
out of my nose.
In Chapman's opinion an entire generation of musicians (in the
Seventies) began to make music 'more appropriate to the rocking chair
than to the rocket ship'. The man has a way with words, that I have to
I had heard of these Pink Floyd haters before, people who really think
that the band died when Barrett left the gang. The problem is that most
of these people are aware of Syd Barrett thanks to the fame and glory of
a dinosaur called Pink Floyd.
Without Syd Barrett no Pink Floyd, I agree (although it was Roger Waters
who invited Barrett to join the band, not the other way round). But
without Pink Floyd most of us, myself included, would never have heard
of Syd Barrett either.
Thanks to the success of the classic Pink Floyd concepts EMI kept the
Barrett solo records in their catalogue. The 1974 vinyl compilation Syd
Barrett was a direct result of the interest for early Floyd, after A
Nice Pair (1973) had proven successful. Poor Barrett earned 'two and
a half million quid' in one year thanks to the Echoes compilation alone.
The backside is that due to Dark Side, Wish You Were Here and The Wall
fans from all over the globe started to look for Barrett, hoping he
would explain them the meaning of life. Probably Syd would have
preferred to be left alone even if it meant not to have all those
millions on the bank. But if there is one thing we can't do, it is to
change past history, although Chapman tries, more than once, to do so.
Until finally Julian Palacios comes up with a revised edition of Lost
in the Woods, Rob Chapman deserves my sincere felicitations for
writing one of the most readable Barrett biographies ever. But for
constantly exposing himself as an infallible Barrett-prophet,
pooh-poohing all those who don't think like him and deliberately
ignoring facts that don't fit in his gospel, he deserves nothing more
than a good kick on the nose.
Update: some of the anoraky points mentioned in the above article
(Octopus lyrics, 1968 sessions) have been further examined in Mad
Cat Love (2011).
This (quite controversial) review has been previously published at Felix
Projects. Some amendments and updates have been made.
Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above): Belbin,
Paul: Untangling the Octopus v2, 2006. PDF
version, hosted at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit with Paul Belbin's
permission. Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press, London,
2007, p. 95, p. 231. Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A personal history
of Pink Floyd, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2004, p. 94-95. Miles,
Barry: Pink Floyd The Early Years, Omnibus Press, London, 2006,
p.111. Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books,
London, 2001, p. 136, p. 138.
Mandrax & Brylcreem drawing taken from thepiperatthegatesofdawn.co.uk
(site no longer available).
A quite nice (promotional) interview with Rob Chapman can be found at Youtube.
The Anchor's editor was kindly asked, although summoned would be a more
appropriate term, to do an independent review of an interview of the
Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit that recently appeared on
the extraordinary Spanish Barrett blog Solo
en las Nubes (Alone in the Clouds).
Run by Antonio Jesús the blog is a mix of information and
fun, containing several references to La Sagrada Iglesia de Iggy La
Esquimal, that could be without doubt a title for one of the weirder Pedro
Almodóvar movies. Quite recently, in a dark corner of The
Anchor, dimly lit by a dripping candle in a bottle on the rough
wooden table, I bend over to the gorgeous black-haired girl sitting in
front of me, slowly whispering 'La Sagrada Iglesia de Iggy La Esquimal'
in her ears (actually, in one ear only as it is quite infeasible to
whisper in two ears at the same time, except for Mick Jagger perhaps).
Oh Alex Fagotin baby, she passionately sighed with heaving
breasts, say that to me one more time, but unfortunately my hair already
had caught fire by then.
One very interesting part of the Spanish Barrett blog are the so-called self-interviews
(or autoentrevista) and so far Antonio has persuaded Duggie
Fields and Laughing Madcaps front-man Kiloh Smith to reveal
their souls in these autobiographical Rorschach
Titled 'Felix Atagong: "Un hombre sincero"' the latest
self-interview has provoked roars of hysterical laughter from the Åland
Islands to Wallis
and Futuna. We reveal no real secrets if we tell you that the
Reverend has left a trail of female victims from Oslo to Tarzana
and rumour goes there will be more to follow despite many international
The Reverend's self-interview can already be described as absolute
rock-bottom and without doubt it will be voted the all-time-worst-entry
at the - otherwise excellent - Spanish Barrett blog. Time to let you
decide for yourself what a kind of pompous pathetic pumpernickel that
Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit really is. Ladies and
gentlemen, the Anchor presents, but not too proudly: Felix Atagong: an
Felix Atagong: "Un hombre sincero"
Even the roads of rock are unfathomable.
Felix Atagong, from Belgium, has created a blog dedicated to Iggy, the
model of The Madcap Laughs album. Nobody knew her whereabouts for almost
forty years. The coincidence of life, meaning that it is not
coincidental at all, has lead this case to an unexpected but
In his self-interview, Mr. Atagong, the Sherlock Holmes of the Floydian
world (he even helped to clarify the Publius Enigma) and always
committed to the truth he slowly peels the layers of the story of his
blog, and more... (introduction written by Antonio Jesús)
1. What is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit?
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is a blog for Syd Barrett fans dealing
with the – very short – period in 1969 when Syd's alleged girlfriend
Iggy lived with the singer. Apart from some unverified rumours about her
Eskimo roots nobody really knew something about her, nor what happened
to her after her sudden disappearance in 1969.
2. How did it all start?
The Church more or less started as a prank. Discussing the (theoretical)
possibility of a Barrett religion on the Late Night forum I mentioned a Saint
Iggy Congregation in 2007 and when, in March 2008, DollyRocker
recognised Iggy acting in a 1967 British documentary, I jokingly announced
the Church's birth. But the idea still ripened for five months before
any blog post appeared.
3. What were your intentions?
These were quite ambiguous by design.
Obviously the Church frame, lead by an all-knowing Reverend who
addresses his flock in a swollen and theatrical language, is satirical.
I wanted to imitate those overzealous fans, who can't stop arguing that
Barrett is the world's most underrated musical genius and graphical
artist and who painstakingly, almost in religious stupor, scrutinize
every minute of his life.
But while I was developing the blog I soon realised that I was
painstakingly, almost in religious stupor, collecting all available
puzzle pieces that lay shattered over the net, on blogs, in forums, that
were published in different articles and biographies, thus creating the
ultimate Iggy repository.
Both concepts share an an osmotic relationship and - by being what it is
and what it pretends to be – the Church has evolved into a meta-concept,
although that thin ironic line is probably completely ignored by the
people who visit it.
4. But the Church did trigger an Iggy revival, didn't it?
Not really. Every avalanche starts with a couple of snowflakes and by
sheer luck the Holy Church happened to be on the right place at the
right time. After nearly 40-years of silence several people
simultaneously remembered Iggy. Most of the time the Church was not
involved but has been monitoring and commentating these events. What
nobody expected, except perhaps for the Holy Igquisition, is that it
resulted in some sort of Iggymania.
Iggymania started when Mojo magazine put Syd Barrett on its cover in
2010. Of course that cover story was all about The Madcap Laughs 40th
birthday but the Church had clearly inspired one of the articles. Not
only did this boost the hits on the website but a few days later The
Church could reveal that Evelyn (Iggy) had been found back as well and
that thanks to Mojo.
Beginning of this year Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake could finally
interview Iggy and that is when Iggymania fully exploded.
5. Not bad for something that started as a joke.
The Church had already turned serious when JenS shared her memories with
us, revealing that she (probably) introduced Iggy to Syd and pinpointing
The Madcap Laughs photo-shoot date in spring, rather than in the autumn
of 1969. Some time later another acquaintance of Syd gave her first
interview ever to the Church. Margaretta Barclay and her boyfriend Rusty
were regular visitors at Syd's flat and they even tried to resuscitate
Barrett's interest in music by dragging him over to Meic Stevens, who is
still some kind of weird folk cult figure.
I find it rewarding that some of the Church theories have been reprinted
in magazine articles and biographies, so I guess we're not all rubbish
6. But finding Iggy also presented a major crisis for the Church,
It is the ambiguity of all organisations that have a certain goal. What
do you do if the goal has been reached? What will Greenpeace do if
no-one hunts little seals any more? The worst thing that could happen to
the Church was to find Iggy! But every time the Reverend uttered the
fear there would be lack of Iggy, something new turned up. And 2011 has
already proved to be no exception.
Thinking about the future the Church did some reorganising and will
continue developing into other areas, of course not neglecting its
primary task to inform about al things Ig. One of the new items at the
Church will be a gossip corner called 'The Anchor', named after the
Cambridge pub Syd Barrett used to visit in the early Sixties. We hope it
will stir things up as the Barrett community has become quite lethargic
lately. We're all old farts who fall asleep after our afternoon tea and
7. The question we are all waiting for: is Iggy aware of it at all
and what does she think of the Church?
Evelyn kept a low profile over the years, although she apparently never
hid the fact that she had been on the cover of The Madcap Laughs album.
But the path of Iggy and the path of the Barrett fan community simply
didn't converge for the last 40 years.
Recently Iggy has contacted the Church and she gave us valuable
information. However the question is what will happen when Iggymania
freezes over. I feel it a bit hypocrite to say that now, but it was
never the Church's intention to invade Iggy's privacy.
8. This interview should have at least one anoraky question,
reflecting the true nature of the Church. Does the 'eskimo chain' line
in Barrett's Dark Globe refer to Iggy?
Dark Globe is a very poignant, hermetic track and, as is the case in
many of Syd's songs, its lyrics can be interpreted in different ways. I
think Julian Palacios describes it as a lament to Pink Floyd or
something of that order. It also reads as a goodbye song to a past love
and here is where the 'eskimo chain' line fits in – or doesn't.
I'm only a person with Eskimo chain I tattooed my brain all the way... Won't
you miss me? Wouldn't you miss me at all?
Most people who read Barrett blogs will know that Barrett recorded under
the guidance of Malcolm Jones, but somewhere in May 1969 he passed the
torch to David Gilmour (Roger Waters would join in as well on a later
date). Jones had given up in desperation, as Peter Jenner had done the
year before, that last one declaring that the sessions had been 'chaos'.
Finally it was David Gilmour who pleaded Harvest records to allow
Barrett a third and final chance to finish his solo record. Of course
this is just one interpretation and not all biographers and witnesses
agree with that. Another story goes that Malcolm Jones simply invited
Gilmour (and Waters) for marketing reasons: three Pink Floyd members for
the price of one, so to speak (four if one adds Rick Wright who might
have done some uncredited overdubs on Golden Hair). Probably the truth
lies, as is often the case, somewhere in the middle.
The first session of the third recording round took place on the 12th of
June 1969. Barrett premiered two new songs: Dark Globe and Long Gone. On
the third (and final) session (26th of July) Roger Waters joined David
Gilmour and a couple of other attempts were made of the same songs.
(this alternative version of Dark Globe, now retitled as Wouldn't You
Miss Me, was later released on the Opel outtakes album.)
It would be logical to see Long Gone and Dark Globe as an indivisible
pair as they are both sad love songs. But there is an abundance of that
theme on The Madcap Laughs. Jenny Spires told the Church: “Syd wrote
songs and not all of them were about one person or another. It was his
job. (…) Syd was not romantically inclined this way. 'I'm only a person
with Eskimo chain' refers to the evolutionary chain, not to a specific
person. He was on a very much higher spiritual plane, not so much on the
But on the other hand Syd liked to put wordplay and little nods to
reality in his texts. Pink Floyd's second single See Emily Play refers
to psychedelic debutante Emily Young and to Libby Gausden, Jennifer
Gentle from Lucifer Sam is a mixture between Jenny Spires and an ancient
English ballad called 'There were three sisters' (Jennifer, Gentle and
Dark Globe also contains the verse: “'The poppy birds way, swing twigs
coffee brands around.” At first sight this is just a nature description
set in a romantic mood but if one knows that a former girlfriend of Syd
was Vivian 'Twig' Brans it becomes quite clear that Syd has cryptically
entered her name in that line.
So while Dark Globe may have no-one specific in mind the Eskimo chain
line may have been a slight nod toward Iggy.
9. This explanation made my appetite grow for more. How can one join
To paraphrase Groucho Marx: I don't want to belong to any Church that
will accept me as a member, so you can't. The Church does have some
loyal friends though who have helped by passing on valuable information.
Basically the Church just reaps what others have sown (a common practice
amongst churches, I might add). Many kudos go to a long list of loyal
brainstormers, informants, witnesses and friends (and I already want to
apologise for the ones I have forgotten): Anne, Anthony, Bea, Denis,
Dollyrocker, Douggie, Eternal, Gretta, Jenny, Julian, Kieran, Lisa,
Mark, Paro, Prydwyn, Rod, Sadia, Sean, Vicky, our many visitors and
fans... And of course Iggy herself.
10. What is this recurring thing about the Holy Igquisition?
Nobody expects the Holy Igquisition!
Self-interview courtesy of: Solo en las Nubes (2011) - Felix
Atagong: "Un hombre sincero", introduction written by
Antonio Jesús. Self-interview written in December 2010 and updated in
The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical
division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad
character. More info: The
Anchor. Read our legal stuff: Legal
Those that have been living on planet Magrathea for the past
couple of months may not have been aware that Thursday, 17th of March
2011 was a great day in the life for a Barrett-fan.
The long awaited book 'Barrett',
apparently nobody attempts to use a combination of Madcap or Crazy
Diamond any more, which is a good thing, was launched with a
mega-party and exhibition at Idea
The Church will review the definitive visual companion to the life of
Syd Barrett in the weeks to come so for the moment you have to content
yourself with the message that it is a splendiferous (and heavy... and
pricey) work of art... and love.
Attending the launch were Anthony Stern, Aubrey "Po" Powell, Captain
Sensible, Dark Globe, David Gale, Duggie Fields, Graham Coxon, Ian
Barrett, Irene Winsby, Jenny Spires, John 'Hoppy' Hopkins, Libby
Gausden, Mark Blake, Miles, Philip James, Rosemary Breen, Vic Singh,
Warren Dosanjh and many others... enough to make a Pink Floyd aficionado
But for the Church (and not only for the Church) the star of the evening
undoubtedly was a woman of international mystery... and here are some
pictures of her:
Libby Gausden and Iggy
John "Hoppy" Hopkins and Iggy
Iggy and Andy Rose
Ian Barrett, Iggy and Captain Sensible
Duggie Fields and Iggy
Brian Wernham and Iggy
Iggy having some fun with the paparazzi
Where is Iggy? and who else can you recognise on this picture?
Some answers: Antonio Jesús: "The tall guy in brown is Warren
Dosanjh." Mark Jones: "Duggie Fields." Jenny
Spires: "Nigel Gordon and Jimmie Mickelson, Will Shutes and Viv's
nephew, Kieren and his partner..." Libby Gausden Chisman: "Roe
Barrett and her husband Paul Breen, Buster and his partner who used to
come swimming with Dave Gilmour and me at Jesus Green swimming pool in
One of our brethren told the Reverend afterwards:
I saw Iggy at the launch yesterday. She did very well, considering it
was her first public appearance. She had a legion of female admirers so
she was happy, and people were thrilled to meet her.
The Church wishes to thank: Antonio Jesús, Mark Blake, Libby Gausden
Chisman, Dark Globe, Paul Drummond, Jimmie James, Mark Jones, Jenny
Spires, Brian Wernham and the beautiful people at Late Night and
Facebook. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
What a strange few weeks it has been. A new Barrett
book was launched with a big Syd exhibition
in London, attended by the crème de la crème of the
Cambridge mafia, freewheeling dharma buns, madcap mad cats, Sydney fans,
look-alikes and collectors, Late Night friends, the odd blurry rock
star, unfortunately no Reverend and at least one thief, but more of that
Syd Barrett | Art and Letters
The Barrett book, that the Church still has to savor in detail, but like
Romeo thought he ought to do with Julia, the Reverend is waiting till
the time is ripe, is indebted to (amongst others) eternal goddesses Libby
Gausden and Jenny Spires, whose presence radiated through the
Olympus is a place filled with many splendors. For many it was an
unsurpassed surprise when Iggy appeared, like Ayesha
out a pillar of fire, leaving a trail of buzzed excitement wherever she
went. She said: "Captain?" and he sensibly said: "Wot!" dragging Ian
Barrett over to have their picture taken. Red carpet paparazzi asked
her to do the famous Iggy pose and fans wanted her to autograph the
Barrett book although she has, strictly speaking, nothing to do with the
book at all. (Several pictures of Iggy at the IG (!) Gallery can be
found at the appropriately titled post: Iggy
at the Exhibition.)
Barrett, the book
There isn't really a trace of Iggy in the Barrett book, apart from the
well known Madcap back cover shot
that has been reproduced on page 178, but pages 114 to 121 contain a few
outtakes of The Madcap Laughs photo sessions, wrongly dated as Beecher &
Shutes maintain they were taken in autumn 1969. Probably autumn 1969 was
when a second photo session by Storm Thorgerson took place, the
so-called yoga shots that have already been discussed extensively on
this place before (see, for instance: The
Case of the Painted Floorboards).
Iggy revealed to Mark Blake that, on the same day, there was an
alternative photo session as well:
I don't think Storm and Mick were very impressed by them. If you've ever
seen the cover of the Rod Stewart album, Blondes Have More Fun, they
were a bit like that... Of me and Syd. There were others of me and Syd,
as well, which remind me of the picture of John and Yoko [on Two
Virgins] which came out later. I'd love to see those pictures now.
(Taken from: The
Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 2)
But despite some discrete investigations nothing so far nothing has been
La Gazza Ladra
That not all Syd Barrett fans are trustworthy holy men proves the
Last Saturday, 9th of April, a self-portrait of the artist as a young
man (page 187 in the Barrett book) was stolen from the Idea Generation
Gallery between 2:15 and 3 PM. It belonged to Libby Gausden since 1962,
who had received the painting as a present from her boyfriend Syd and
who had lend it to the exhibition to commemorate the Barrett book-launch.
In a short press release
Libby stated that she was devastated: “I am very upset at the theft of
the painting, it has huge personal value to me and I am appealing for
its safe return.”
For once the Barrett and Pink Floyd community reacted unisono,
fans and foes all alike condemned the theft and promised to be on the
lookout for the painting and to return it immediately to Libby if it
would show up.
And the improbable did happen. On Tuesday, the 12th, the painting was
to the gallery which provoked the following dry comment from Libby (once
she had finished jumping up and down in the air): “'I'd give it to you
if I could - but I 'borrowed' it.”
Miracles do happen from time to time.
Iggy has been a source of inspiration through the ages: Anthony Stern,
Storm Thorgerson, Mick Rock... and it will never change. The fantastic
drawing at the top of this post has been made by Dolly Rocker from
Buenos Aires, proving that we are all Eskimos in our hearts. Thanks Gaby!
Beecher, Russell & Shutes, Will: Barrett, Essential Works
Ltd, London, 2011. The Church wishes to thank: Mark Blake, Libby
Gausden Chisman, Dolly Rocker, Jenny Spires and the beautiful people at
Late Night and Facebook. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
the definitive visual companion to the life of Syd Barrett, by Russell
Beecher & Will Shutes arrived at Atagong Mansion on the
second day of its release, Friday the 18th of March, but I have to
admit, I didn't really look at it, apart from some glancing through its
The reason is simple, the book is a visual biography collecting
many (unseen) photographs of Syd Barrett and his band The Pink Floyd,
facsimiles from letters to Libby Gausden and Jenny Spires and the very
first detailed catalogue of Syd's paintings, and I am more a man of
words, too many words some people say (and perhaps there is a a yet
undiscovered trail of prudence in me, as I am a bit reluctant to read
Syd's letters written to Libby and Jenny).
I care for Syd the musician but I don't get overexcited when a new
Barrett (or vintage Pink Floyd) picture appears on the web. First: this
has been happening on a regular basis since Barrett's death when people
suddenly remember that they have got an exclusive picture lying on their
attic. Second: these pictures will arrive, in due time, on the more than
excellent Have You Got It Yet? v2.0 Vol 11 Photo/Info DVD-Rom from Mark
Jones that can be freely downloaded at several places on the web, but I
as it is the 'official' home for Floydian audio & video collectors.
Although not entirely legal this picture DVD was asked for by the Pink
Floyd management who gave Mark Jones a copy of Oh
By The Way, the Pink Floyd 14 CD compilation, in return. I am quite
convinced that the pictures of the Barrett visual companion will, one
day, mysteriously appear on a new release.
Photographs (editor: Russell Beecher)
Barrett is roughly divided into three unequal parts. Part one #1 shows
many unseen and previously unpublished pictures of vintage Pink Floyd,
#2 has pictures from the Syd Barrett solo era, about 110 pages in total.
They are printed in big format (one photo per page or double page, many
pictures have been spliced), in high quality and 'digitally' restored.
Most of the pages have a description of the picture, the date it was
taken and an appropriate quote or anecdote from the Cambridge mafia
or the photographer in question.
A so-called signature or limited edition has got a third, separate,
photo series by Irene Winsby, but to acquire these additional 72
pages you have to cough up an extra 235 £ (282 €). Unfortunately for me
the signature issue is bound in leather and as a strict vegetarian it is
against my conscience to skin a cow to watch a Barrett picture. If you
find this silly just try to imagine what the master of Sant
Mat would have said to Syd Barrett about that.
(A short description of the picture section can be consulted at: Rockadolly.)
Letters (editor: Russell Beecher)
Part two, the shortest one with 25 pages, is destined to letters from
Syd to Libby Gausden, Jenny Spires and ends with the famous little
twig poem to Viv Brans. Tim Willis already described some of these
letters in his Madcap biography, but didn't actually put these in
print (with one exception and about 4 times smaller in size).
Anoraks know that Syd decorated his letters with funny doodles and this
section is obviously more interested in the drawings than in the actual
letters. Libby and Jenny give cute explanations in what probably was a
very weird menage-à-trois (our quatre or quarante,
if we may believe the rumours about Syd's omnivorous female appetite).
Art (editor: Will Shutes)
Section three (over 90 pages) is what everybody has been waiting for,
for all these years. At least that is why I have bought the book for.
For ages fans have been drooling over Syd, the painter, but I never
really bothered. I did not put Syd Barrett in the same category as Ron
Wood and Grace
Slick who also smear paint on canvas (and that's about all that can
be said about them), but I adhered the theory that was written down by Annie
Marie Roulin in The Case of Roger Keith 'Syd' Barrett (Fish
Out Of Water, 1996).
The symmetries among the geometrical shapes painted by Barrett show an
embarrassing absence of 'concept', of hidden flaming which makes
doubtful the real artistic value of these works. As to the technique
they can compete only with works by low talented students of low
In other words, paintings of Barrett may have been slightly therapeutic
(and this can be debated: art sessions can also have the uncanny feature
of sliding a mentally unstable person further into regression) but - if
one can fully grasp Anne Marie Roulin's Italo-English - they
could certainly not be considered as art with a capital A. A daring
theory and certainly not liked by many Barrett fans, nor by his family,
and that is why journalist Luca Ferrari invented a female alter ego to
publish this controversial thesis (Luca's confession in Italian,
and an English translation on Late
In the past, biographies have tried to convince the reader that Barrett
was an art-painterpur sang, but none of these could win
me over, basically because writing about paintings without seeing the
actual work (or only two or three foggy examples) is like talking about
music without listening to it. For the first time in history a book
publishes Syd's whole oeuvre or what is left of it, about 100 of
his paintings; and Will Shutes has written an impressive 25 pages long
essay about Barrett's canvas outings throughout the years. While reading
the excellent essay one is obliged to constantly switch from text to
illustration and luckily the book has two ribbon-markers to facilitate
Shutes admits that Barrett's work lacks 'consistency', a remark
originally made by Duggie Fields and cited in Rob Chapman's A Very
Irregular Head, but he immediately turns this into a plus factor.
"The variety this implies is at the core of his originality."
, but one could use exactly the same reasoning to deduce that Barrett's
artwork isn't original at all.
Just like Julian Palacios
in Dark Globe has tracked down musical influences in Syd
Barrett's discography, Shutes cites several examples for Barrett's
graphical work. If there is one work of Barrett that stands out (in my
opinion, FA) it is the 1964-ish Untitled 15 (Cat. 20) lino print
with its evaporating crosses, but Barry Miles (also in A Very Irregular
Head) explains it has been clearly influenced by Nicolas
Staël, although Shutes reveals that there must have been some
Klee ingredient at work as well.
Rosemary Breen told Luca Ferrari that Barrett could make ten paintings a
day, and even if this was exaggerated the one hundred in the Barrett
book only represent a small percentage of his output. Although nobody
actually witnessed Barrett destroying his work, it is assumed he burned
them or threw them in the rubbish bin. Some have said that Barrett
destroyed only those paintings that weren't perfect to him, but actually
he destroyed them all although some seem to have survived for a couple
of months before disappearing. The few exceptions are those he gave away
to family or visiting friends. Beecher & Shutes could trace 49 surviving
artworks by Syd Barrett and were lucky that Rosemary found some photo
albums of Syd's art. For most of his life Roger Barrett had the weird
habit of photographing his work before destroying it, as if he wanted
the destruction to be a bit less final. Opinions differ as well why
Barrett did this, and range from a mental disorder to an artistic
concept. Will Shutes:
of a drawing by de
Kooning in 1953, Barrett's act of destruction is not a negation – it
achieves something new. Barrett is doing something when he destroys what
he has done, not merely erasing it.
Even a Barrett scholar can have it wrong sometimes, the author describes
an Arnold Layne flyer, allegedly dating from March 1967, as designed by
Syd Barrett, unaware of the fact that it is fan-art, dating from the
late seventies, early eighties, and published in a Barrett fanzine. A
quick glance on Mark Jones' HYGIY picture DVD would have settled that
once and for all (remarked by Mark Jones at Late Night: Barrett
What intrigues me is that Roger Barrett continued to make abstract and
realistic paintings, as if he was afraid to make an irrevocable choice.
Personally I find his water-coloured landscapes or florals
uninteresting, although they do show some métier, especially
compared with the abstract works of the seventies or eighties that are
visually more compelling but technically mediocre. I'm quite fond of Untitled
67 (2005) that represents a pie chart of the summer and winter
solstices, although some
will of course recognise it as a pastiche of the Wish
You Were Herecover
art. That's the main deviation of the maniacal Pink Floyd and Syd
Barrett fan, seeing links that (perhaps) aren't really there.
This book contains the best descriptions and illustrations of Syd's
artwork, it is a collector's dream, but in the end Will Shutes can not
convince me that Barrett was a graphical artist in the true sense
of the word. It's a matter of personal opinion and I'm not sure if
Barrett knew it himself or if he even cared.
I hope the authors will not hold it against me if I tell that this book
is not destined for the average Floyd or Barrett fan. It contains no
juicy stories of feeding Syd biscuits through a closed locker door. Its
sole purpose is to ease the hunger of the Barrett community that is
easily recognised by its general daftness and its deep pockets.
Despite the blurb that states the opposite Barrett is not essential for
the music loving fan, but the book is no waste of time for those that
want to acquire it either. Barrett has been made with love, caring and
respect for its subject, is a work of art and quality and has been
authorised by the Estate of Roger Keith 'Syd' Barrett. But at 90 £
(108 €) for the classic edition (including delivery) it is also pretty
expensive, perhaps not overpriced, but still a lot of money.
In his witty introduction Russell Beecher writes that over the years
there was "a need for a well-researched, intelligent, and
well-thought-through account of Syd's life and work". I completely
agree. He then continues by stating that this was fulfilled with the
publication of "Rob Chapman's excellent An Irregular Head in 2010".
Thank you, Russell Beecher, but I prefer to make up my own mind. In my
humble opinion Chapman's biography fails against at least one of the
qualities you have mentioned above. Those in need for an independent
opinion can consult Christopher Hughes's Irregular Head review at Brain
Damage, by and large the best Pink Floyd fan-site in the world.
Russell Beecher proceeds:
An Irregular Head is the definitive textual work on Syd. What you now
hold is the definitive visual work on Syd's artistic life. The two
books compliment one another.
Did I just pay 90 £ for a vaguely concealed commercial, wished for by
the Barrett Estate? The Barrett book is quite exceptional and possibly
'the definitive visual work on Syd's artistic life' indeed, but linking
its destiny to An Irregular Head, way off definitive if I am
still allowed to express my opinion, undermines its own qualities. This
feels like reserving a table at Noma
in Copenhagen to hear René
Redzepi announce that the food will reach the level of the local
McDonald's. Can I have some ketchup on my white truffles, please?
Some will find me overreacting again, but I had to get this off my
chest. Although a bit superfluous, and destined for the capitalist über-Syd-geek
alone, Barrett is far too luxurious and well-researched to have its
image tramped down.
The Church wishes to thank: Dan5482, Mark Jones, PoC (Party of Clowns)
and the beautiful people at Late Night.
Sources (other than internet links mentioned above): Beecher,
Russell & Shutes, Will: Barrett, Essential Works Ltd, London,
2011, p. 10, 11, 145, 162, 163, 170, 175. Chapman, Rob: A Very
Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 49, 232. Ferrari,
Luca & Roulin, Annie Marie: A Fish Out Of Water, Stampa
Alternativai, Rome, 1996, p. 31, 95, 97.
The Holy Igquisition has got a little black book with Roger
Waters' interesting quotes in. Needless to say that this is a very
thin book, with lots of white space, but here is a phrase from the Pink
Floyd's creative genius (his words, not ours) this article
would like to begin with.
There are no simple facts. We will all invent a history that suits us
and is comfortable for us, and we may absolutely believe our version to
be the truth. (…) The brain will invent stuff, move stuff around, and so
from 30 years ago (…) there's no way any of us can actually get at the
The Reverend would – however – first want to ask one fundamental
question, of which our readers may not be quite aware of the
significance of it... If Roger Waters is such a creative genius writing
poignant one-liners criticizing his fellow rock colleagues:
Lloyd-Webber's awful stuff. Runs for years and years and years. (…) Then
the piano lid comes down. And breaks his fucking fingers. (It's
A Miracle, Amused
...why then does he agree to release hyper-priced Immersion boxes
containing a scarf, some marbles, carton toasters, playing cards, other
debris and, oh yeah, incidentally some music as well? One can only
conclude it's a miracle. Let's just hope he doesn't get near a
piano for the next couple of years.
But probably we are too harsh in our criticism, Roger Waters has told
the press before that he is simply outvoted by the other Pink Floyd
members. This is a situation that used to be different in the past when
he reigned over the band as the sun
king, but like he will remember from his Ça
Ira days, these are the pros and cons of capitalist democracy.
A typical Floydian example of false memory syndrome is the visit of Syd
Barrett in the Abbey
Road studios on the 5th of June 1975. It is a mystery to us why EMI
didn't ask for entrance money that day as a complete soccer team,
including the four Pink Floyd members David
Mason, Roger Waters and Rick
Wright, claim they have seen, met and spoken to Syd Barrett.
Roadie (and guitar technician) Phil Taylor remembers he had a
drink in the mess with Syd and David. Stormtrooper Thorgerson
has had his say about it all but if one would give him the opportunity
he would argue – probably in yet another book rehashing the same old
material – that he started the band Pink Floyd at the first place. Other
'reliable' witnesses that day include (alphabetically sorted): Venetta
Fields, backing singer and member of The
Leckie, EMI engineer and producer (but not on Wish
You Were Here) Nick
Sedgwick, friend of Roger Waters and 'official' biographer of Pink
Shirley, Humble Pie drummer and friend of David Gilmour Carlena
Williams, backing singer and member of The Blackberries
Some say that Barrett visited the studio for two or three days in a row
and three people, including his former managers Peter
Jenner and Andrew
King, claim they spoke to Syd Barrett about a month later on David
Gilmour's wedding while the bridegroom himself claims that Syd Barrett
never showed up. To quote Pink Floyd biographer Mark
Blake: “...not two people in Pink Floyd's world have matching
stories...”, and neither do two biographies...
In his most recent, but probably not his last, picture book about Syd
Rock writes the following:
He (Syd Barrett, FA) asked me to take photos for the sleeve of
his first solo album The Madcap Laughs that autumn. At the time he was
living with yet another very pretty young lady known only as Iggy the
Eskimo. She wasn't really his girlfriend although clearly they had a
sexual relationship. But of course her presence in some of the photos we
took that day added an important element that enhanced their magical
Most biographies (all but one, Julian Palacios' Dark
Globe, in fact) put the date of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot in the
autumn of 1969 and this thanks to testimonies of Storm
Thorgerson, Mick Rock and, most of all, Malcolm
Jones. The Church, however, beliefs there is a 'misinformation
effect' in play. Researchers have found out that people will
automatically fill in the blanks in their memory if a so-called reliable
witness comes with an acceptable story. This would not be the first time
this happens in Pink Floyd history. And probably there have been 'cover
picture' meetings after summer between Harvest
perhaps even leading to an alternative Storm Thorgerson photo shoot (the
But in the end it was decided to use the daffodils session from
That the Church's theory (with the help of JenS) wasn't that far-fetched
was proven in March 2010 when the rock magazine Mojo
consecrated a three pages long article to pinpoint the date of the
shooting of The Madcap Laughs, with testimonies from Duggie Fields, Mick
Rock, Jenny Spires and Storm Thorgerson. The article and the Church's
comments can be found at Goofer
Dust [(I've got my) Mojo (working)... Part 2].
We know from JenS, Duggie Fields and Gretta
Barclay that Iggy arrived early 1969, and helped painting the floor,
but the only person who didn't comment on this was Iggy Rose herself. So
one freezing winter day The Holy Church asked her if she could have been
around at Wetherby Mansion, after the summer of 1969...
Iggy Rose: "I don't think it was that late, but I have to admit
it was almost 45 years ago. I remember I was cold, and they had a
one-bar-heater to try and keep me warm. I stayed a week here and there
and I never gave that photo shoot another thought. Later I found out
when Mick Rock came back for the second shoot he was disappointed I
Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)): "I took Ig to Wetherby Mansions in January or
February 1969 where she met Syd Barrett. (…) I introduced Iggy to Syd
shortly before I left (to America, FA), and she was around when I
left. She wasn’t there for long and generally moved around a lot to
Iggy Rose: "I had absolutely no idea how mammoth he was. Syd
never came on to me as the Big I Am. In fact when he played his rough
tracks of The Madcap Laughs he was so endearingly sweet and appealing...
Even asking me whether it was good enough to take to some bloke at EMI
Margaretta Barclay (Gretta
Speaks (Pt. 2)): "Iggy moved about and stayed with all sorts of
people in all sorts of places without declaring her intention to do so.
To my knowledge there was no ‘when Iggy left Syd’ moment. We were all
free spirits then, who moved whenever and wherever a whim took us."
Iggy Rose: "I wasn't even aware of who Syd Barrett really was. Of
course I knew of Pink Floyd. I must have seen them perform at Crystal
Palace but they were to me an obscure avant-garde underground band, who
played way-out music I couldn't dance to."
Jenny Spires (public conversation at Iggy Roses' Facebook
page): "Ig, Syd painted the floor boards as soon as he moved in
Christmas 68. When I moved in with him in January there were still
patches not done, by the door, in the window under the mattress where we
slept, in top right hand corner of the room. When he painted it
initially, he didn't wash the floor first. He just painted straight onto
all the dust etc... Dave (Gilmour) also painted his floor red..."
Duggie Fields (Mojo): "It was pretty primitive, two-bar electric
fire, concreted-up fireplaces... it was an area in decline. I don't
think there was anything, no cooker, bare floorboards..."
Mate (alleged visitor at Wetherby Mansions, FA): "The
three rooms all faced the street. On entering the house, the first room
was Fields', the second and largest, I guess about 25 square meters,
Barrett's. The third and smallest room was a communal room or a bedroom
for guests. Gala (Pinion, FA) stayed there. In the corridor were
some closets stuffed with clothes.
Then the floor bended to a small bathroom, I think it was completely at
the inside without a window. At the back was the kitchen with a window
to the garden. It was not very big and looked exactly like in the
Fifties. The bathroom was also rather simple, I mean, still with a small
tub. I don't remember how the bathroom floor looked like though."
Update 2016: 'Mate' is an anonymous witness who claims to have
been an amorous friend of Syd Barrett, visiting him several times in
London and Cambridge between 1970 and 1980. However, later
investigations from the Church have found out that this person probably
never met Syd and is a case of pseudologia fantastica. This
person, however, has a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of Syd Barrett and
early Pink Floyd and probably the above description of Syd's flat is
Iggy Rose: "I think Gala had the small room, Duggie the second
and Syd the largest. She had a lot of perfumes and soaps and gave me a
nice bubbly bath once... ...and tampons." (Launches one of her legendary
roaring laughs provoking a temporarily hearing loss with the Reverend.)
Any colour you like
Ian Barrett: "The stereo in the picture ended up at my house, and
I am pretty sure I had the record player in my bedroom for a good few
years. God knows where it is now though..."
Iggy Rose: "I wonder what happened to the old heavy tape recorder
with the giant spools. I remember Syd carrying it over for me to listen
to his rough cut of The Madcap Laughs."
Malcolm Jones (The Making Of The Madcap Laughs): "In anticipation
of the photographic session for the sleeve, Syd had painted the bare
floorboards of his room orange and purple."
Mick Rock (Psychedelic Renegades): "Soon after Syd moved in he
painted alternating floor boards orange
JenS: "I was staying with Syd between the New Year and March '69.
(…) Anyway, at that time, the floor was already painted blue
and orange and I remember thinking how
good it looked on the Madcap album cover later on when the album was
Iggy Rose (The
Croydon Guardian): "When Mick (Rock, FA) turned up to
take the photos I helped paint the floor boards for the shoot, I was
covered in paint, I still remember the smell of it."
Margaretta Barclay (Gretta
Speaks): "I remember that Iggy was involved with the floor painting
project and that she had paint all over her during the floor painting
time but I was not involved with the painting of the floor."
Iggy Rose (Mojo):
"He jumped off the mattress and said, 'Quick, grab a paint brush.' He
did one stripe and I did another. If you look at Mick Rock's pictures, I
have paint on the soles of my feet."
Duggie Fields (The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story): "I think he
painted the floor boards, sort of quite quickly. He didn't prepare the
floor, I don't think he swept the floor actually. (…) And he hadn't
planned his route out of the bed that was over there. He painted around
the bed and I think there was a little problem getting out of the room.
(…) He painted himself in."
Jenny Fabian (Days In The Life):: "He'd painted every other floor
board alternate colours red and green."
Iggy Rose: "I remember the mattress being against the
wall......Soooooo either we ran out of paint, or waited till the paint
dried, so poor Syd was marooned in the middle of the floor. (…) The
floorboards were painted red and blue.
I do remember, as the paint was on my feet and bottom. Did you know that
Syd wanted to take the colours right up the wall?"
Mate: "The planks were painted in a bright fiery-red,
perhaps with a slight tendency towards orange,
and dark blue with a shadow of violet.
Iggy is absolutely right: this was no orange's
orange. The curtains were dark
green velvet." (This witness may be a mythomaniac,
Mick Rock: "They were long exposures because of the low light and
they were push-developed which means that you give the film more time in
the processing fluid. You can tell because the colour changes and
the film starts to break up which causes that grainy effect."
Libby Gausden: "I always thought it was orange
paint, not red." Iggy
Rose: "Careful Libs darling! People will start to analyse that, the
way they did with the dead daffodils." Libby Gausden:
"Well they had faded from red to orange
when I got there."
Jenny Spires (public conversation
at Iggy Roses' Facebook
page): "The floor was painted long before you arrived Ig and was blue
and orange. You and Syd might have given
it another lick of paint and covered up some of the patchiness and bare
floorboard that was under the mattress before the Rock/Thorgersen shoot.
Perhaps, he only had red paint for that,
but it was blue and orange."
Mate: "Even in 1970 there were still unpainted parts in the room,
hidden under a worn rug. I suppose the floor had been beige-white before
Syd and Iggy painted it in dark blue
with a shadow of violet and bright orangy
red . The floor boards had not been carefully painted and
were lying under a thick shiny coat. The original pitch-pine wood didn't
In my impression it was an old paint-job and I didn't realise that Syd
had done it all by himself the year before. I never spoke with him about
the floor as I couldn't predict that it would become world-famous one
day. It is also weird that nearly nobody seems to remember the third
room..." (This witness may be a mythomaniac, see above.)
Mick Rock: "I actually went back a couple of weeks later. We
still didn't know what the LP was going to be called and we thought we
might need something different for the inner sleeve or some publicity
Iggy Rose: "I did go back afterwards and maybe Syd mentioned this
to someone. I wasn't bothered and I didn't know Syd was some big pop
star. He never lived like one and certainly didn't behave like."
When Iggy disappeared it wasn't to marry a rich banker or to go to Asia.
As a matter of fact she was only a few blocks away from the already
crumbling underground scene. One day she returned to the flat and heard
that Barrett had returned to Cambridge. She would never see Syd again
and wasn't aware of the fact that her portrait was on one of the most
mythical records of all time.
Update 2016: The above text, although meant to be tongue in
cheek, created a rift between the Reverend and one of the cited
witnesses, that still hasn't been resolved 4 years later. All that over
a paint job from nearly 50 years ago.
Many thanks to: Margaretta Barclay, Duggie Fields, Libby Gausden, Mate,
Iggy Rose, JenS & all of you @ NML & TBtCiIiY...
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 231-232. Clerk,
Carol: If I'm honest, my idea was that we should go our separate ways,
Roger Waters interview in Uncut June 2004, reprinted in: The Ultimate
Music Guide Issue 6 (from the makers of Uncut): Pink Floyd, 2011, p. 111. Gladstone,
Shane: The Dark Star, Clash 63, July 2011, p. 53 (Mick Rock
picture outtakes). Green,
Jonathon: Days In The Life, Pimlico, London, 1998, p.168. Jones,
Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p.
13. Mason, Nick: Inside Out, Orion Books, London, 2011
reissue, p. 206-208. Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades,
Plexus, London, 2007, p. 18-19, Rock, Mick: Syd Barrett - The
Photography Of Mick Rock, EMI Records Ltd, London & Palazzo Editions
Ltd, Bath, 2010, p. 10-11. Spires, Jenny: Facebook
conversation with Iggy Rose, July 2011.
On Wednesday, 9 May 2012, it was reported that Clive
Welham passed away, after having been ill for a long time.
50 years earlier, he was the one who introduced a quiet, shy boy to
Roger 'Syd' Barrett at the Cambridge College of Art and Technology. The
boys had in common that they both liked to play the guitar and
immediately became friends, that is how Syd Barrett and David Gilmour
met and how the Pink Floyd saga started.
Just like in the rest of England, Cambridge was a musical melting pot in
the early sixties with bands forming, merging, splitting and dissolving
like bubbles in a lava lamp.
Clive 'Chas' Welham attended the Perse
Preparatory School for Boys, a private school where he met fellow
student David Gilmour. As would-be musicians they crossed the
social barriers and befriended pupils from the Cambridge and County
School for Boys, meeting at street corners, the coffee bars or at home
were they would trade guitar licks. Despite their two years age
difference Clive was invited to the Sunday afternoon blues jam sessions
at Roger Barrett's home and in spring 1962 this culminated in a
'rehearsal' band called Geoff Mott & The Mottoes. Clive
Welham (to Julian Palacios):
There was Geoff Mott [vocals], Roger Barrett [rhythm guitar], and
“Nobby” Clarke [lead guitar], another Perse boy. I met them at a party
near the river. They’d got acoustic guitars and were strumming. I
started picking up sticks and making noise. We were in the kitchen, away
from the main party. They asked me if I played drums and I said, “Not
really, but I’d love to.” They said, “Pop round because we’re getting a
Clive Welham (to Mark Blake):
It was quite possible that when me and Syd first started I didn't even
have any proper drums and was playing on a biscuit tin with knives. But
I bought a kit, started taking lessons and actually got quite good. I
can't even remember who our bass player was...
Although several Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett biographies put Tony Sainty
as the Mottoes' bass player Clive Welham has always denied this: “I
played in bands with Tony later, but not with Syd.”
Another hang-around was a dangerous looking bloke who was more
interested in his motorbike than in playing music: Roger Waters.
He was the one who designed the poster for what is believed to be The
Mottoes' only public gig.
After Clive Welham had introduced David Gilmour to Syd Barrett, David
became a regular visitor as well. Surprisingly enough Syd and David
never joined a band together, starting their careers in separate bands.
Although they were close friends it has been rumoured there was some
pubertal guitar playing rivalry between them.
1962: The Ramblers
The Mottoes never grew into a gigging band and in March 1962 Clive
Welham, playing a Trixon
drum kit, stepped into The Ramblers with Albert 'Albie' Prior
(lead guitar), Johnny Gordon (rhythm guitar), Richard Baker (bass) and
Chris ‘Jim’ Marriott (vocals).
The Ramblers’ first gig was at the United Reformed Church Hall on Cherry
Hinton Road. They used their new Watkins Copycat Echo Chamber giving
them great sound on The Shadows’ Wonderful Land and Move It.
The Ramblers soon acquired a certain reputation and gigged quite a lot
in the Cambridge area. One day Syd Barrett asked 'Albie' Prior for some
rock'n roll advice in the Cambridge High School toilets: “...saying that
he wanted to get into a group and asking what it involved and in
particular what sort of haircut was best.”
Unfortunately the responsibilities of adulthood crept up on him and lead
guitarist 'Albie' had to leave the band to take a job in a London bank.
On Tuesday, the 13th of November 1962, David Gilmour premiered at a gig
at the King's Head public house at Fen Ditton, a venue were they would
return every week as the house band. Gilmour had joined two bands at the
same time and could also be seen with Chris Ian & The Newcomers,
later just The Newcomers. Notorious members were sax-player Dick
Parry, not unknown to Pink Floyd anoraks and Rick
Wills (Peter Frampton's Camel, Foreigner and Bad Company).
Memories have blurred a bit but according to Glenn Povey's Echoes
Gilmour's final gig with The Ramblers was on Sunday, 13 October 1963.
Beginning of 1964 The Ramblers disbanded but three of its 5 members
would later resurface as Jokers Wild.
1963: The Four Posters
But first, in autumn 1963, a band known as The Four Posters was
formed, although it may have been just a temporarily solution to keep on
playing. David Altham (piano, sax & vocals) and Tony Sainty (bass &
vocals) were in it and perhaps Clive Welham (drums). Unfortunately their
history has not been documented although according to Will Garfitt, who
left the band to pursue a painting career, they played some gigs at the
Cambridge Tech, the Gas Works, the Pit Club and the university. Contrary
to what has been written in some Pink Floyd biographies John Gordon was
I was never in The Four Posters. Clive and I were together in The
Ramblers, and we left together to join Dave, David and Tony to create
Jokers Wild. I don't know whether Dave and Tony came from The Newcomers
or The Four Posters...
1964: Jokers Wild
The Ramblers, The Four Posters and The Newcomers ended at about the same
time and the bands more or less joined ranks. Renamed Jokers Wild
in September 1964 it was at first conceived as an all-singing band. “We
were brave enough to do harmony singing that other groups wouldn’t
attempt, including Beach Boys and Four Seasons numbers”, confirmed Tony
Sainty. The band had good musicians, all of them could hold a tune, and
they soon had a loyal fanbase. They became the house-band at Les Jeux
Interdits, a midweek dance at Victoria Ballroom. Clive Welham: “We
came together in the first place because we all could sing.”
Some highlights of their career include a gig with Zoot
Money's Big Roll Band, The
Paramounts (an early incarnation of Procol Harum) and a London gig
as support act for The
Animals. This last gig was so hyped that a bus-load of fans followed
them from Cambridge to the big city of London.
1965: Walk Like A Man
Mid 1965 the band entered the Regent Sound Studios in Denmark Street,
London. They recorded a single that was sold (or given) to the fans
containing Don’t Ask Me What I Say (Manfred
Mann) and Big Girls Don’t Cry (The
Four Seasons). Out of the same session came a rather limited
one-sided LP with three more numbers: Why
Do Fools Fall in Love, Walk
Like a Man and Beautiful
Delilah. This is the only 'released' recording of Jokers Wild
although there might be others we are not aware of. Peter Gilmour
(David's brother) who replaced Tony Sainty on bass and vocals in autumn
1965 commented this week:
Sad news. A great bloke. I'll replay some of those old recordings doing
Four Seasons and Beach Boys numbers with his lovely clear falsetto voice.
Somewhere in October 1965 they played a private party in Great Shelford
together with an unknown singer-songwriter Paul
Simon and a band that was billed as The Tea Set because Pink
Floyd sounded too weird for the highbrow crowd. Clive Welham:
It was in a marquee at the back of this large country house [that can,
by the way, be seen on the cover of the Pink Floyd album Ummagumma,
FA]. I sat on and off the drum kit because of my wrist problems. Willie
Wilson sat in on drums and I came to the front on tambourine.
The musicians enjoyed themselves, jamming with the others and Paul Simon
- 'a pain in the arse', according to drummer Willie Wilson - joined in
on Johnny B. Good. A couple of days later Jokers Wild supported Pink
Floyd again, this time at the Byam Shaw School, Kensington, London. Each
band was paid £10 for that gig.
1965: the Decca tapes
By then Jokers Wild were seriously thinking of getting professional.
They were not only known by the locals in Cambridgeshire, but did
several society parties in London as well. Also the military forces had
discovered them: Jokers Wild was invited for the Admiral League dance at
the Dorchester Hotel in London and played several dances at the RAF and
USAF bases of Mildenhall, Lakenheath, Alconbury and Chicksands. Their
repertoire changed as well, shifting more towards soul, R&B and Tamla
Motown. Libby Gausden: “How we danced to David Gilmour, Peter Gilmour,
David Altham, John Gordon, Tony Sainty and dear Clive xxx.”
Some promoters were sought for and the band recorded a single for Decca:
You Don’t Know Like I Know (Sam
and Dave) / That’s How Strong My Love Is (Otis
Redding), but unfortunately it was never released because the
original version by Sam and Dave had already hit the UK market.
After the Decca adventure the original band slowly evaporated over the
next few months. Peter Gilmour left (probably after the summer of 1966)
to concentrate on his studies. Clive Welham had difficulties combining
his full time job with a semi-professional rock band and had some
medical problems as well. John Gordon further explains:
Clive [Welham] became unable to play any more (with a wrist complaint)
and was replaced by Willie Wilson... and that line-up continued for some
time. It was later still that Tony Sainty was replaced by Rick
[Wills]... and then, when the band was planning trips to France, I had
to 'pass' to finish my degree at college.
1966: Bullit & The Flowers
Now a quartet with David Altham, David Gilmour, John 'Willie' Wilson and newcomer
Rick Wills on bass, they continued using the known brand name, a trick
Gilmour would later repeat (but slightly more successful) with Pink
Floyd, touring around Spain, France and The Netherlands. Another failed
attempt to turn professional made them temporarily change their name to Bullit
and when David Altham also left the remaining trio continued as The
Flowers, mainly playing in France. Around camp-fires on this planet
it is told how a sick (and broke) David Gilmour returned to London, just
in time to get a telephone call from Nick Mason, asking if he had a few
minutes to spare.
2012: Nobody Knows Where You Are
Clive worked at the Cambridge University Press but always continued with
his music. According to Vernon Fitch he played in a band called Jacob's
Ladder in the Seventies and was a successful singer with local
Cambridge band Executive Suite in the Nineties. Helen Smith
remembers him as the leader of Solitaire, what must have been
(according to Colleen Hart) in the mid-Seventies:
A brilliant front man in his band 'Solitaire' - he had a wonderfully
sweet singing voice and could easily hit the high notes!
Update 2012 08 12: In 1978 Clive made a private, non commercial
recording of Peanuts, originally a 1957 hit from Little
Joe & The Thrillers:
David Altham: guitar, saxophone, keyboards, vocals David Gilmour:
guitar, vocals, harmonica John Gordon: rhythm guitar, vocals (1964 to
late 1965) Tony Sainty: bass, vocals (1964 to early 1966) Peter
Gilmour: bass, vocals (early 1966) Clive Welham: drums, vocals (1964
to late 1965) John 'Willie' Wilson: drums (from late 1965)
Jokers Wild #2 (Summer 1966 - Summer 1967 / Source: Glenn Povey) AKA
Bullit (3 summer months in 1966 at the Los Monteros hotel in Marbella?) AKA
The Flowers (end 1966)
David Altham: rhythm guitar (to December 1966) David Gilmour: guitar,
vocals Rick Wills: bass (from January 1967) John 'Willie' Wilson:
According to Julian Palacios in Dark Globe, quoting David Gale,
'perse pigs and county cunts' were friendly nicknames the pupils of
these rivaling schools gave to each other. David Gale's assumption can
be found on YouTube
although it may have been a raunchy joke towards his audience and part
of his 'performance'. (Back to text above.)
Syd Barrett in Jokers Wild?
In an interview for the Daily
Mirror in August 2008 Rosemary Breen (Syd's sister) told:
He [Syd] started his first band, Jokers Wild, at 16. Sunday
afternoons would see Cambridge chaps and girls coming over for a jamming
session. The members of Pink Floyd were just people I knew. Roger Waters
was a boy who lived around the corner and Dave Gilmour went to school
over the road.
This seems to be a slip of the tongue as Syd Barrett never joined the
band. In a message on Facebook,
Jenny Spires adds:
Syd was not in Jokers Wild... He jammed with all the various members at
different times, but he wasn't in it. When I met him in 64, he was
playing with his old Art School band Those Without. He was also in The
Tea Set at the same time. He played with several bands at the same time,
for example if someone needed a bass player for a couple of gigs they
may have asked him to stand in. Earlier, he played with Geoff Mott and
also with Blues Anonymous. There were lots of musician friends in
Cambridge that Syd played and jammed with. (Jenny Spires, 2012 06 30)
Many thanks to: Viv Brans, Michael Brown, Lord Drainlid, Libby Gausden,
John Gordon, Peter Gilmour, Colleen Hart, Chris Jones, Joe Perry,
Antonio Jesús Reyes, Helen Smith, Jenny Spires & I Spy In Cambridge. All
pictures courtesy of I
Spy In Cambridge. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 22-23, 34. Clive
Welham at Cambridge News Death
Notices, May 2012. Dosanjh, Warren: The music scene of 1960s
Cambridge, Cambridge, 2012, p. 42, 46-47. Free download
Spy In Cambridge. Fitch, Vernon: The Pink Floyd Encyclopedia,
Collector's Guide Publishing, Ontario, 2005, p. 342. Gordon, John: Corrections
re Jokers Wild, email, 2012-05-12. Palacios, Julian: Syd
Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p.
27-28, 31. Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd,
3C Publishing, 2008, p. 13, 20-24, 29.
In 2011 Eva Wijkniet, from The Netherlands, not only managed to visit
the Barrett exhibition
at (the recently closed down) Idea Generation Gallery, but she also got
a foot in the door of Libby Gausden Chisman, a couple of months later.
When the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit got hold of the rumour that she
was writing her story for publication at the Dutch Pink
Floyd Fans Nederland fanpage, we moved heaven and earth to publish
her report on the Church pages as well.
It did cost us blood, sweat, an inkjet and blue nail-polish, but here it
is, the wondrous story of Eva, friends and family, in merry Barrett
land. Many, many thanks to Libby Gausden for her support and Eva for
Eva Wijkniet: my Syd (Roger) Barrett project
You have got these years that a lot happens, more than in other years. 2011
was one like this for me.
It actually began in 2010 when I came in contact with the creators of
book". Mind you, not that I personally met them, but through the
social media like things go today.
I once had seen (already a long time ago) an episode
of the documentary series called "the
seven ages of rock" with particular focus on the origins of
psychedelic rock, and in particular the vague and relatively unknown
first front-man of Pink Floyd. I knew Pink Floyd, but was not very
interested in their well-known work. But when I saw this documentary I
was glued to the tube as bee on a honey pot. Who was this appearance?
What was that noise? What was this special story and why didn't I know
I had to go to the bottom of this... my research project "Syd (Roger)
Barrett" had begun...
First I read some books. "A Very Irregular Head" by Rob
Chapman and "Dark Globe" by Julian Palacios were the first,
and after a load of others (all in English) these came out the best in
my opinion. What was it about this man? Why did this gorgeous and
brilliant appearance of a man vanished from the scene before the world
lay at the feet of this mega band?
He was a painter... He was a guitarist... He was crazy... He
was an acid casualty... He became a hermit... Hundreds, thousands
vague stories of incidents... How was it really?
I became heavily fascinated with my object or research, so to speak. Months
of wandering on the internet and many extensions of my Facebook network
followed and after a while I stumbled upon a site of Essential Works
where authors Russell Beecher and Will Shutes were busy compiling a book
This had to be a complete visual overview of Barrett as an "Artist". A
book featuring never-before-seen photos and a compendium of his artwork
that was still traceable or that had been photographed. This book would
also have (love) letters of the very young Syd, full of expectations of
life, searching for a purpose, seeking confirmation of his loved ones,
unsure of his musical skills in the student band with his mates Roger,
Nick, Rick and Bob.
To get this book published, the authors sought support.
For months I frantically twittered and facebooked and in November
2010, the high word came out... the book was going to be published! To
thank us for our endless spamming, the first who had subscribed to the
book had their name published in the so called "Roll of Honour".
Early 2011, the book appeared!
BARRETT: The definitive visual companion to the life of Pink Floyd's
I was super-proud when I opened the book and saw my name on the "Roll"
among many others.
And... there was going to be an exhibition! Obviously I had to go! I
went to London and two super girlfriends reported themselves as travel
March 2, 2011, early in the morning, three uproarious girls (30+ but
with the mentality of 15-year old teenagers who went on a tour) got on a
plane to London. That same afternoon I stood with my face before a
painting of a turtle (a reproduction would later hang on my wall). I
stand musing in front of the letters Syd wrote to his first loves (later
I would know better one of them) and very early photos of Pink Floyd...
There was a mosaic of two warriors, abstract works in red and blue,
small landscapes in watercolour, ink sketches of a little boy...
My friends were pretty tired after 10 minutes, but they did not have the
connection with and fascination for Syd Barrett as I have... I loved it
and two days later I returned to visit the exposition on my own.
Through Facebook I had already met Libby Gausden Chisman, Syd's first
She is a terribly nice woman, in her sixties but that doesn't withhold
her to master the full potential of Facebook. She took pleasure to get
acquainted with the supporters of the "Barrett book".
When she heard that I would spend my summer holidays at the English
Coast with my family, she insisted that we would bring her a visit.
After some exchanges of mail addresses and phone-numbers we left
(husband, child, parents-in-law all stuffed in two packed cars) towards
Libby and Neil (her husband) lived on the route but I still hesitated to
bust her place with my household and parents, especially as it was
around dinner time. I called just to be sure, and she said I had not to
act stupid and that she had more than enough food and that we had to
We arrived at the place in a beautiful area at the English coast. We
drove up the driveway and the front door was already open... I didn't
want to just walk in, so I rang at the door. Libby arrived and said that
she had left the door open on purpose for us. I said it was not wise
after the incident in the IG gallery (on the second last day a painting
had been stolen, but two days later it was returned by post). Afterwards
she found the theft really witty and she corrected us, the painting had
not been stolen, but merely borrowed.
We were greeted like old friends, which I still think is particular as I
only knew her through Facebook. We got coffee in the garden (and she was
glad I am a smoker, she finds all that anti-smoking stuff a hassle) and
an arsenal of food that was yet to come.
The long corridor of the house was filled with artwork and some of those
I had already seen a few weeks earlier, of course. But at the IG gallery
I really thought this would be a one time experience... how wrong could
I could take pictures of what I wanted and the she came with a suitcase
full of letters.
All these years she had kept the letters in a black garbage bag, but the
people of the gallery didn't found that nice enough and stored the
letters for her in a folder and suitcase.
You have to know that in all these years many Syd fans and journalists
came over her floor and that quite some documents and photos have been
'lost'. And yet this doesn't withhold her from continuing to welcome
Many have been to her house, including writer Rob Chapman, who even
worked on his book about Syd in a room in her house. Libby has never
read his book.
Also I found it particular that her husband Neil was as warm and
affectionate towards us. Lib has often said that we owe it to him that
these Syd Barrett relics are still there. He always wanted her to keep
the documents even at the moments that she wanted to put hem away.
In the 70s he even agreed with the idea of taking Syd into their home
when it really wasn't going well with him. Her mother put a stop on this
because she didn't found it suitable for the very young children of the
couple. This is just one anecdote of the many she told me, but out of
respect I will not put those here. She made it clear that there was more
than the excesses of madness and excessive drug use we always read about.
I was sitting cross-legged on the floor and she gave me all those
letters to read and then came the moment when she summoned me to go
upstairs... From her bedroom's wardrobe she took an old black leather
jacket. Would I like to try it on?
It was Syd's leather jacket from 1962!
On a balcony of an old English house at the coast, with palm trees in
the garden and the rustling sea in the background, I wore the Syd
Barrett's coat... Pinch me!
I wore the jacket of my idol. The man who meant so much for me. Of
course not in the same way when I was 14 and almost fainted as Koen
Wauters from the Belgian rock band Clouseau
came on TV (yes... everyone has some youthful sins...).
This is different.
Libby has no problem distinguishing the "Sydiots" (terrible word) from
the real fans. And precisely the real fan she embraces. "For us it was
easy, we knew him and he was part of our lives. You had to take some
efforts, by listening to his music and by reading books about him.", she
There is also some small rebellion in her, because she often disagrees
with the "Syd Barrett Estate" (that manages the art pieces, letters,
etc...). The Estate owns everything, even if it is in her hands. And the
Estate doesn't like to share, but she doesn't mind.
Everything comes to an end, we could have stayed for hours, but our trip
had to be continued. I have met a new friend in a once in a lifetime
The book was published. I had attended the exhibition. I visited
Libby. I had seen everything.
Luckily I didn't fall into a black hole! I got inspiration for other
projects, things I need to do. We had an artist in the family, I want to
map his work and career. It will become a long-term project. I also have
a family and work to do, but somehow I'll manage.
So what did this all lead to? A lot. Especially a lot of things I
can't describe, but that are there. Syd Barrett is always floating
somewhere in the back of my mind.
Thanks to: Libby and Neil, AJ, Alex, Amy, Andre, Bill, Felix, Iggy,
Jenny, Julian and all of you for being my Facebook Barrett friends.
We have just all had the BEST time ever in Cambridge - with the best
people in the world - we have laughed and hugged and kissed and talked
and none of us wanted to come home! (Libby Gausden Chisman)
Undoubtedly the best, friendliest, most lively and most accurate Syd
Barrett group on Facebook is Birdie
It is the equivalent of Eternal Isolation's Late
Night forum that, let's not be fussy about that, has suffered a
lot from Facebook's ever-groping octopus tentacles. A person (m/f) with
a critical mind could add that Facebook is shallow and volatile, that
any post older than three days tends to disappear in a bottomless pit
never to be found again and that, to the Reverend's mind, there is
continuous repetition and proportionally it can get a bit boring.
But Birdie Hop has an audience. And people who have an audience ought to
be heard. There is no point in constantly hammering that Betamax
is the better recording system when VHS
has conquered the world. Now there's a comparison that seems to be
fruitless today and quite opaque for the young people among us.
Birdie Hop is a spirited place and like Late Night at its peak period it
is the village pub. People come and go, friendships are made (and
sometimes lost) and scarcely hidden love affairs happen, with snogging
outside in the garden under the cherry tree.
But all this happens in the relatively safe environment of cyberspace.
In September of last year the idea was uttered, among Birdie Hop
members, to meet and greet in Cambridge.
(The Holy Igquisiton has vainly tried to find that post back on
Facebook, while on a forum it would take about a minute, perhaps
somebody should call the NSA.)
We all have seen this happen before really, people saying 'let's meet',
but when push comes to a shove, nothing happens. But Birdie Hop has an
excellent set of administrators, not only they are friendly, beautiful
and intelligent but they can be bloody effective as well.
Alexander the Great
Alexander made it his mission to make this happen, immediately a
date was pinpointed (14 to 16 June 2013) and Mick Brown was
kindly asked to act as Birdie's local liaison officer. The bandwagon
started rolling and an I
Spy Syd in Cambridge tour (with a bus) was organised through the
capable hands of Warren
'Bear' Dosanjh. In March of this year Alexander travelled to
Cambridge to tie the loose ends (and test the quality of the local beer)
and from then on it was a restless wait for the day to come.
Here we go. (Underneath text largely taken from Alexander & Warren's
Friday 14 June 2013
An evening at the Cambridge
Blue on Gwydir Street: a totally real ale pub with the best
selection of (Belgian!) ales in Cambridge plus pub grub and a large beer
Saturday 15 June 2013
09.30 Meet at Le
Gros Franck for breakfast and to buy a take-away lunch from a
fantastic choice of international dishes, 57 Hills Road.
10.00 Botanical Gardens, where the actual tour started. Unfortunately
they had to chase a bum away who had been sleeping on Syd's bench.
10.30 Pick-up by coach at the main entrance of the Botanical Gardens in
183 Hills Road, Syd's house.
The Cambridgeshire High School for Boys (now the Hills Road Sixth Form
College), where Syd, Roger Waters, Bob 'Rado' Klose and Storm Thorgerson
Morley Primary Junior School where Mary Waters taught her son and Syd.
The Friends Meeting House on Hartington Grove, where Geoff Mott & The
Mottoes played their one and only gig.
6 St. Margaret's Square, where Syd last lived after moving back to
Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits where some Birdie Hop members did a bizarre
reenactment of the Syd's First Trip movie.
Grantchester Meadows: lunch stop with a pint (BYO) from the Blue Ball
Walk on the meadows...
And a river of green is sliding unseen beneath the trees Laughing as
it passes through the endless summer Making for the sea.
...and back on the bus at David and Peter Gilmour's house, 109
City walk (Corn Exchange, Union Cellar, King´s College, Market Square
Informal meet and goodbye greet at the Earl
of Derby, 129 Hills Road for a full English breakfast from 8.30 in
the morning or lunch from 12.00 for those who couldn't get out of bed.
Unfortunately nobody seemed fit enough to take any pictures or wanted
their pictures to be taken!
Be a part of the legend!
Why don't you join Birdie
Hop, not only you'll be able to see all the pictures of this
amazing journey, but you'll meet a bunch of friendly, sexy people!
The list of attendees of the 2013 meeting not only had the best Birdies
around but also reads like a Cambridge Mafia wet dream: Libby Gausden
Chisman, Neil Chisman, Jenny Spires, Viv Brans, Eva Wijkniet, Sven
Wijkniet, Dave "Dean" Parker, Mrs. Parker, Vic Singh, Brian Wernham,
Mick Brown, Peter Gilmour, Mary Cosco, Antonio (Tio Junior), Mario von
Barrett (González), Fernando Lanzilotto, Giulio Bonfissuto, Hazel
(Libby´s school-friend), George Marshall (school-friend of Syd and Roger
Waters who happened to be drinking in the Blue Ball when the gang
arrived), Gary Hill, Stephen Pyle (only Friday afternoon, afterwards he
had to run a street fest), Warren Dosanjh (tour guide), Alexander P.
Wijkniet: Warren was the best tourguide and took us to the best pubs
in Cambridge. Great guy to talk to and we have to thank him massively
for the effort he made for us.
Brian Wernham: What a great day in Cambridge doing lots of Syd stuff,
meeting some of Syd's old friends, Peter Gilmour and meeting some
wonderful Syd fans as well!
Dosanjh: I have guided nearly all Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett tours
in Cambridge since 2006. But this was the best and most extraordinary
Libby Gausden Chisman: too exhausted to tell you atm - I have lost my
voice due to over talking and over laughing and over kissing and hugging
- it was just the best time evah!
A 'many thanks' line to end this article would merely repeat the people
who are all cited above, but let's have an exception and thank the most
extraordinary person who wrote the most peculiar kind of tunes.
Many thanks to Roger Keith 'Syd' Barrett, for making this all happen
and for creating friends for a lifetime.
See you in 2015...
Update 03 01 2014: Mick Brown made a video of the event that we
forgot all about, so - with over a half year's delay - here it is. Update
16 06 2014: The copyright gestapo censored Mick Brown's original movie,
so a second version was uploaded with an excellent soundtrack by Rich
Hall (taken from his Birdie
Hop and the Sydiots record).
NSFW warning: this article contains pictures of naked b⊚⊚bs which
may result in temporary blindness for minors.
On the 5th of March 2009 the Syd Barrett Trust received Fart
Enjoy, a one-off book, created and illustrated by Syd Barrett,
believed to be made late 1964 or during 1965. It was donated by Syd's
school friend Andrew
Rawlinson who had kept it all these years. The day after it was put
on eBay. On Monday the 23rd March the highest bid reached £27,323 but
this was rejected and brought back to £12,100. Eventually the book sold
The Trust published all the pages of the (f)art-book and a moving essay
of Andrew Rawlinson about his friend. Unfortunately this has all
disappeared. The trust was constructed around Barrett's heritage,
estimated at about one
million seven hundred-thousand pounds. Barrett's household
articles and furniture made £119,890 for charity, the Two
Warriors mosaic went for £10,700 and three (big) Mick
Rock prints were auctioned as well, half of the proceedings going to
the Fund. (Mick Rock always needs to have a slice of the pie.)
And yet, 12 pounds a year to keep their website running was too much to
now points to a Japanese website trying to find nurses in Saitama
city. (Update 2017: it now simply points to a blank page.)
All related websites (and organisations) seem to have vanished: Syd
Barrett Trust, Syd Barrett Fund (the change of name
took place at the request of the Barrett family), Interstellar, The City
Wakes, Escape Artists,... We came across the rumour that Escape Artists
was, and we quote: 'a financially incompetent group'. The Syd Barrett
Fund was probably conned by 'useless PR men and bullshitters', but as we
can't verify this we'll leave it like that. Eventually Escape
Artists dissolved and Rosemary Breen, Syd's sister, teamed up with Squeaky
Gate that seems seemed to be a more reliable charity.
Update 8 April 2014: The metaphorical ink on this page wasn't
even dry or we were informed, on 30 March 2014, that Squeaky Gate may
need to close the books. While chief executive Simon Gunton told the Cambridge
News (on the 7th of April) that the fundings, coming from the
government, were running dry, the rumour pit in Cambridge has a slightly
more salient story of several ten thousands of pounds disappearing from
its bank account. Syd Barrett & charity: it's no good trying. Update
9 April 2014: We have had confirmation that Squeaky Gate is now history.
Well not exactly. Page 13 was missing and replaced by the following
This particular page has been left blank for legal reasons For
further details see www.pinkfloyd.com
For many fans the abundance of the 'fuck' word (9 times) and the
presence of a pin-up might have had something to do with that.
Especially in America big chains do not like to sell records that may
potentially besmirch the frail American psyche with swear words and
naked boobs. Going to the official Pink Floyd website obviously didn't
explain anything at all, so Keith Jordan of Neptune
the band's management:
Pink Floyd's manager told me earlier that the page is missing from the
album booklet because of copyright issues. EMI are not willing to face
unlimited litigation against them for including it! So it's not about
censorship at all!
Which is weird as the missing page had been published in Tim Willis's Madcap
book before and it can be still found on the NPF website
(and numerous others) as well.
Should you not know what all this hassle is about, at the left is the
picture in question. It surely gives the impression that Roger Keith
Barrett, like most pimpled adolescents, had a rather debatable sense of
humour and was overtly sexist, putting raunchy graffiti (FUK, SUK, LIK,
TIT, NIPL and a hard to find CUNT), including a stylised penis, all over
the picture. Rob Chapman describes it as:
a porn-mag photo of a topless woman encrypted with toilet-wall graffiti
And Julian Palacios adds that the page reveals Barrett's:
misogynistic adolescent fear and a fascination with naked women.
In Will Shutes' excellent Barrett essay, that like all art essays
meanders between the sublime and the slightly ridiculous, he cleverly
remarks that the BOYS FUCK GIRL word permutations - on the same page -
form 'two tip-to-toe penises'.
BOYS FUCK GIRL
BOY FS UCK GIRL
BO FYUS CK GIRL
B FOUYCS K GIRL
F BUOCYK S GIRL
FU BCOK YS GIRL
FUC BK OYS GIRL
FUCK BOYS GIRL
FUCK BOY GS IRL
FUCK BO GYIS RL
FUCK B GOIYRS L
FUCK G BIORYL L
FUCK GI BROL YS
FUCK GIR BL OYS
FUCK GIRL BOYS
As if two penises isn't serious enough he has also the following to say
about the pin-up:
The voyeuristic theme evident in Fart Enjoy relates to the omnipresence
of the sexualized image, and is humorous in its deliberate childishness.
In Barrett's most prominent foray into Pop Art, he illustrates the
anatomy of an anonymous topless model with tears and glasses, snot,
spiders, a cyclist ascending her left breast, and some sort of discharge
from her 'NIPL'.
For another observer the snot under her nose could also be a moustache,
the nipple discharge could be some sort of surrealistic fart (enjoyed or
not) and the anonymous topless model could be someone who ran for miss
Great Britain in 1955 and who played roles in the cult-horror movie Peeping
Tom (1960) and in the ultimate sixties sex comedy Alfie
In 1963 Playboy
called this actress a sex siren who was:
for years exploited as English grist for run-of-the-mill pin-up roles,
until her portrayal of Sir Laurence Olivier's mistress in The
Entertainer proved she could deliver lines as well as show them.
She must have left an everlasting impression because in the March 1966
issue this 'perky, pretty Lancashire lass' was portrayed by none other
than the British photographer of the stars, David
Bailey. One of these pictures
is the one that was massacred by Syd Barrett for his Fart Enjoy booklet.
As a movie star Shirley
Anne Field disappeared in the mid seventies but eventually she
returned in My
Beautiful Laundrette (1985), stayed for 42 episodes in the Santa
Barbara soap (1987) and was last seen on the silver screen in the
2011 comedy The
Power Of Three. IMDB
lists her impressive career, Shirley Anne Field starred in 70 different
movie and TV productions (not counting individual episodes) in nearly 6
Andrew Rawlinson writes
the Fart Enjoy booklet is probably from 1965.
I’m not sure about the exact date. I know where I was living, so that
places it between the end of 1964 and the summer of 1965. He was in
London (Tottenham Street I think, not Earlham Street) and I was in
But unless somebody unequivocally proves that Syd Barrett really was a Time
Lord (now here's a daring subject for our satiric The
Anchor division, we might say) we seem to have a problem as the
David Bailey pictures of Shirley Anne Field date from March 1966 and not
from the year before.
How on Earth did Syd Barrett happen to insert a picture from a March
1966 Playboy into a 1965 (f)artwork?
All seems to turn around the exact moment in time when Syd Barrett moved
from Tottenham Street to Earlham Street. Mark Blake and others put this
in 1965 but Rob Chapman in A Very Irregular Head writes:
During the summer of 1966 Syd moved out of Tottenham Street and with his
new girlfriend, fashion model Lindsay Corner, took up residence in the
top-floor flat at 2 Earlham Street, just off Shaftesbury Avenue.
One chirping biographer doesn't make spring, especially not this one, so
isn't there another way to date Fart Enjoy?
Actually there is.
Page 10 in the booklet has a transcript from a letter (postcard?) from
Syd's mother to her son. Some biographers call it a spoof although this,
nor the authenticity, can be proven. But made up or not, it contains
three interesting sentences.
I hope you are having a nice weekend. How did the group get on at
Essex? Shall we reckon to set off – Devon-wards – on Sat. 26th?
Let's start with the last line, the one that carries a date. Browsing
through calendars from nearly 50 years ago we can see there have only
been a few Saturdays the 26th between 1964 and 1966: two in 1964
(September and December), one in 1965
(June) and three in 1966
(February, March and November).
1964 Syd Barrett, as a member of The Hollerin' Blues, didn't
have that many gigs in 1964, and these were all around Cambridge. In the
autumn of that year he joined the proto-Floyd, who where probably still
called The Spectrum Five, but they only had about 3 concerts in London.
1965 Pink Floyd and/or The Tea Set had a slightly busier
schedule in 1965, but all in all there were only a dozen of gigs. None
of these were in Essex or happened around the only Saturday the 26th of
1966 "By early 1966 Pink Floyd's fortunes were taking a
dramatic turn for the better", writes Glenn Povey in Echoes, but frankly
their career only started to mushroom end of September. The Tea Set's
first claim for fame was when they were billed, thanks to Nick
Sedgwick, for three sets on a two-days festival on Friday the 11th
and Saturday the 12th of March 1966, next to real FAMOUS people and
bands. Nick Mason remembers:
The only gig that might have brought us to wider attention had been at
Essex University. At their rag ball, we shared the bill with the Swinging
Blue Jeans, who did appear, and Marianne
Faithfull who was billed as appearing – if she managed to return
from Holland in time. It didn’t sound hopeful. We were still called Tea
Set at the time although we must have given the impression of being in
transition to psychedelia, since in spite of having ‘Long
Tall Texan’ in our repertoire, where we all sang to the
accompaniment of acoustic guitars, somebody had arranged oil slides and
a film projection.
Roger Waters (as quoted in Palacios' Dark Globe):
‘We’d already become interested in mixed media,’ recalled Roger Waters.
‘Some bright spark there had given this paraplegic a film camera and
wheeled him round London filming his view. Now they showed it up on
screen as we played.’
The avant-garde movie lovers at the Church sometimes wonder if this
cinematographer wasn't an American who had recently moved to England.
Later he would play an important part in the London's Film-Makers'
Co-op, that grew out of film screenings at Better
Books. But looking into that would take us too far, actually.
The Essex University Rag Ball was the Floyd's first event to be
proud of and something Syd would have been bragging about to his mother
and friends. Not only was this their only Essex gig in the 1964 –
1966 period, but it also perfectly matches the 'spoof' letter in Fart
I hope you are having a nice weekend.
Refers to the week after the Essex gig when Syd hypothetically received
the letter (around 19 March 1966).
How did the group get on at Essex?
Syd's mum asks about the concert of the week before, when The Tea Set
had their first breakthrough (12 March 1966).
Shall we reckon to set off – Devon-wards – on Sat. 26th?
Points to a date in the immediate future, Saturday the 26th of March
Bob Dylan Schmooze
It's a shame EMI couldn't track down the owner of the copyright of the
woman with her boobies out which Barrett cut from a magazine. EMI chose
not to include it in the reproduced Fart Enjoy book in PATGOD.
So writes Neptune Pink Floyd on their Facebook
page, about a year ago. Well, now that the Holy Igquisition has
settled this matter, once and for all, EMI will have no excuse any more
not to include the complete Fart Enjoy booklet in - let's say - a 50
years anniversary Immersion set of Pink Floyd's first album.
We think we have gathered enough evidence to bring back the creation
date of the Fart Enjoy booklet from a two-years period to roughly one
week in 1966. The Church managed to identify the pin-up Syd Barrett drew Kilroy
on, as well as the photographer and the magazine it appeared in.
The only question that stays unanswered is: Why did Syd Barrett have
this particular Playboy?
The Playboy of March 1966 not only had topless pictures of Shirley Anne
Field. Pages 41 to 44 and 138 to 142 make room for a 'candid
conversation with the iconoclastic idol of the folk-rock set'. Syd
Barrett, like all Cantabrigian beatniks, admired Bob Dylan and discussed
his records, he had written a parodic song
about him, and took Libby Gausden to the Royal Festival Hall on 17 May
1964 to see him.
If we can be sure of one thing, it is that Syd Barrett really
bought this Playboy for the interview.
Many thanks to: Anonymous, Giulio Bonfissuto, Mick Brown, Warren
Dosanjh, Rich Hall, Alexander Hoffmann, Keith Jordan, Göran Nyström,
Neptune Pink Floyd Forum, Vintage Erotica Forum. Update July
2017: images and some text. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above links): Atagong, Felix: Fasten
Your Anoraks, The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, 8
September 2007. Beecher, Russell & Shutes, Will: Barrett,
Essential Works Ltd, London, 2011, p. 165. (This book has the complete
Fart Enjoy.) Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and
Faber, London, 2010, p. 62, 111. Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A
personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue,
p. 35. Palacios, Julian: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p.
92, 98. Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd,
3C Publishing, 2008, p. 32, 48. Rawlinson, Andrew: Syd Barrett -
His Book @ Syd Barrett Research Society, 15 March 2009 (forum no
longer active). Rawlinson, Andrew: Syd
Barrett - His Book, 20 March 2009 (mirror). Willis,
Tim, Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p. 53-55. (This book has
a few pages of Fart Enjoy.)
Hop is not the biggest Syd Barrett (Facebook) group around, it isn't
the oldest Syd Barrett (Facebook) group around, but it surely is the
friendliest Syd Barrett group around. Don't take my word for it, visit
it for yourself one day.
It is a place were you can meet and greet with at least two dozen people
who have met the man in person, as a (hometown) friend, fellow student,
colleague, musician or even lover (but just like in the Cromwellian
heydays it isn't considered cool to bother these people too much). It is
a place were you don't need to expose your poster collection or your
playlist to attract some attention. With the exception of one particular
Reverend, all the administrators are friendly and don't switch into screaming
Roger Waters mode
whenever they have something to say.
The group is lead by Alex, who we call Papa
Smurf but only when he is not there, and who has a myriad of
psychedelic stories to tell if only he wouldn't be so bashful. About a
year ago, Alex invited some international Hoppers for a trip in and
around Cambridge and it still is a meeting people talk about. You can
read more about it here: Wasn't
it the most amazing meeting?
Two weeks ago his busy agenda lead him again into the UK where he
visited Libby Gausden at the south-west coast and headed for Cambridge
where the usual bunch of shady characters were expecting him. But in
between he took a slight detour to a small village in Sussex to have a
drink. And guess who was accidentally having a drink at the same place?
So for all people doubting about Iggy's existence, she's alive and
This is part one of Alexander's adventures in the UK, for part two, go
The second weekend of June has the second Cambridge biennial Birdie Hop
meeting, with special guest stars: Viv Brans, Vic Singh, Peter Gilmour,
Men On The Border, Jenny Spires, Warren Dosanjh, Libby Gausden, Dave
'Dean' Parker & Iggy Rose (and some more).
Unfortunately the Facebook group for this event has been closed for
prying eyes, but some pictures and videos have already leaked out.
Pictures and videos will be regularly uploaded to the Holy Church of
Iggy the Inuit Tumblr
page, as soon as the Holy Igquisiton gets hold of them.
Many thanks to: Sandra Blickem, Mick Brown, Warren Dosanjh, Vanessa
Flores, Tim Greenhall, Alex Hoffmann, Antonio Jesus (Solo En Las Nubes),
Douglas Milne, Göran Nyström (Men On The Border), Vic Singh, Abigail
Thomson-Smith, Eva Wijkniet... ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
June had the second (and if rumours are correct: last) Birdie Hop
meeting in Cambridge with Syd Barrett fans having an informal drink with
some of the early-sixties Cambridge beatniks we know and love so dearly:
Jenny Spires, Libby Gausden, Mick Brown, Peter Gilmour, Sandra Blickem,
Vic Singh, Warren Dosanjh and others...
Special guest star was none other than Iggy Rose who left, if we may
believe the natives, an everlasting impression. You can read all about
it at: Iggy
Rose in Cambridge.
Men On The Border came especially over from the northern parts of
Europe, leaving their igloo, so to speak, to gig at the Rathmore
Club where they not only jammed with other Syd-aficionados, but also
with Redcaps frontman Dave Parker. (For the history of those sixties
Cambridge bands check the excellent: The
Music Scene of 1960s Cambridge.)
The night before however, on Friday June 12th, Men On The Border played
the legendary Prince
Albert (that name always make us chuckle) music pub in Brighton.
This gig was recorded and is now the third album of Men On The Border,
(2012) that consisted of Barrett covers and Jumpstart
(2013) that mainly had original songs but with a slightly concealed
This live release shows that Men On The Border is a tight band and that
they can play their material without having to revert to digitally
wizardry. In a previous review we already remarked that:
...some of the influences of MOTB lay in the pub-rock from Graham Parker
& The Rumour, Rockpile (with Nick Lowe & Dave Edmunds) and the cruelly
under-appreciated The Motors...
This live album certainly proves that. The versions are pretty close to
the recorded versions and singer Göran Nystrom manages once again to
give us goosebumps on Late Night and their own Warm From You
that is a pretty ingenious song if you ask us (with a sly nod to Jimi
So give them a warm hand of applause and make them feel welcome in this
mad cat world of random precision.
01 Terrapin (Jumpstart) 02 No Good Trying (ShinE!)
03 Scream Thy Last Scream (2015 single) 04 Long Gone (ShinE!)
05 Gigolo Aunt (ShinE!) 06 Late Night (ShinE!)
07 Octopus (ShinE!)
08 Warm From You (Jumpstart) 09 Baby Lemonade (ShinE!)
Digital release only, people don't buy plastic any more, unfortunately.
Pink Floyd, dear sistren and brethren of the Holy Church
of Iggy the Inuit, will never stop to amaze us, for better and for worse.
Riff-raff in the room
Two weeks ago saw the umpteenth incarnation of The Wall concept.
Let's try to count how many times this important work of musical art
more or less exists. We'll only take count of official and 'complete'
versions as individual songs from the Wall can be found on compilations,
live albums and concert movies from the band and its members going solo.
First there was The
Wall album by Pink Floyd (1979), followed by the 1982 movie
with the same name. In 1990 Roger Waters staged his rock opera in
Berlin, with guest performances by other artists, and this was
immortalised with an album
and a concert movie.
The twenty year anniversary of the album was celebrated at the turn of
the millennium by Is
There Anybody Out There, a live album taken from the eighties tour
by the classic Floyd, although Rick Wright technically was no longer a
member of the band.
2011 saw the Why
Pink Floyd? re-release campaign and three epic albums were issued in
an Experience and Immersion series, each with added content. The Wall Immersion
has 7 discs and four of these are the regular album and its live clone.
A third double-CD-set has the so-called Wall demos and WIP-tapes that
had already been largely around for a decade in collector's circles. A
bonus DVD contains some clips and documentaries, but not the concert
movie that is known to exist. For collectors The Wall Immersion was the
most disappointing of the series and the presence of a scarf, some
marbles and a few coasters only helped to augment that feeling.
Am I too old, is it too late?
In 2010 Roger Waters started a three years spanning tour
with a live Wall that promised to be bigger and better. It was certainly
more theatrical and if we may believe the Reverend, who watched the show
as interested as Mr.
Bean on a rollercoaster, boring as fuck. But with 4,129,863 sold
tickets it set a new record for being the highest grossing tour for a
solo musician, surpassing Madonna and Bruce Springsteen.
So it is no wonder that the show would be turned into a movie. It needs
to be said that Roger Waters should be thanked for stepping outside the
concert movie concept, adding a deep personal touch to the product.
Those people who already saw the Blu-ray praise its sound quality that
is conform to what we expect from a Floydian release, despite Waters'
obvious lip-synching on about half of the tracks.
And that is why the CD-version of The Wall live is such a disaster.
There are serious indications that some sound studio jerk took the
superior Blu-ray surround mix and simply downgraded it to stereo without
reworking the parts that make no sense when you only have got the audio
to rely on. Apparently making 459 million $ with The Wall tour didn’t
give Roger Waters enough pocket money to make a proper CD mix for this
Riding the gravy train, or as the Sex Pistols named it: doing a rock 'n'
roll swindle, is something we are already familiar with in Pink Floyd
(and former EMI) circles. The
Anchor wrote in the past about scratched and faulty discs that were
put in those expensive deluxe sets (Fuck
all that, Pink Floyd Ltd. – 2011 12 02) and how the band and its
record company pretended to sell remastered albums while the music on
the CD was just goody good bullshit taken from an old tape (What
the fuck is your problem, Pink Floyd? – 2014 11 08). It makes us a
bit sad for all those fans who have bought the super
deluxe set of The Wall at 500 dollars a piece. The show must go on,
But anyone familiar with the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit knows lengthy
introductions are our trademark and it will not come as a surprise that
this article isn't about The Wall at all.
Buzz all night long
Friday, the 27th of November 2015, sightings were published on the
social media of an unannounced Pink Floyd 7-inch-vinyl-double-set that
had hit records shops in the UK. It was named 1965:
Their First Recordings and claimed to have the following tracks.
Record 1A: Lucy Leave
Record 1B: Double O Bo Remember Me
Record 2A: Walk with me Sydney
Record 2B: Butterfly I’m a King Bee
Composers: 1, 2, 3, 5: Syd Barrett 4: Roger Waters 6: Slim
Personnel: Syd Barrett: Vocals, Guitar. Bob ‘Rado’ Klose: Guitar. Nick
Mason: Drums. Roger Waters: Bass, Vocals. Richard Wright:
Keyboards. Juliette Gale: vocals on Walk with me Sydney. (Some
pictures of the 'first' five man Floyd can be seen here: Pink
It was soon confirmed that the records were official, contrary to the
many bootlegs that already exist of the first and last track of the set,
and that it was a so-called 'copyright extension release'. According to
European law, sound recordings have a seventy years copyright, provided
that they are released within five decades. If the recording fails to be
published within 50 years it automatically becomes public domain, the
'use it or loose it'-clause, and that is something that The Floyd didn't
want to happen, especially not as there seems to be an Early Years
Immersion set on its way, predicted for the end of 2016.
That six tracks were released from the Floyd's first session(s) was
something of a surprise. Up till now, every biography only spoke of four
tracks put on tape. Let's see what Nick Mason had to say about it:
Around Christmas 1964, we went into a studio for the first time. We
wangled this through a friend of Rick’s who worked at the studio in West
Hampstead, and who let us use some down time for free. The session
included one version of an old R&B classic ‘I’m A King Bee’, and three
songs written by Syd: ‘Double O Bo’ (Bo Diddley meets the 007 theme),
‘Butterfly’ and ‘Lucy Leave’.
This was repeated in an August 2013 interview for Record Collector.
In Latin in a frame
However, in a letter to Jenny
Spires, presumably from late January, early February 1965, Syd
Barrett speaks about five tracks:
[We] recorded five numbers more or less straight off; but only the
guitars and drums. We're going to add all the singing and piano etc.
next Wednesday. The tracks sound terrific so far, especially King Bee.
At the bottom of this letter
Barrett also drew the studio setup with Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Robert
'Rado' Klose and himself ("Me. I can't draw me.").
The early sessions also appear in an (unpublished) letter to Libby
Tomorrow I get my new amp- Hooray! - and soon it's Christmas. (…) We're
going to record 'Walk With Me Sydney' and one I've just written '
Remember Me?', but don't think I'm one of those people who say they'll
be rich and famous one day, Lib.
In another letter he writes:
We just had a practice at Highgate which was OK. We're doing three of my
numbers – 'Butterfly', 'Remember Me?' and 'Let's roll another one', and
Roger's 'Walk with me Sydney', so it could be good but Emo says why
don't I give up cos it sounds horrible and he's right and I would, but I
can't get Fred [David Gilmour, note from FA] to join because he's
got his group (p'raps you knew!). So I still have to sing.
Tim Willis concludes in his Madcap biography that:
Sydologists will be astounded to learn that by '64, Barrett had already
written 'Let's Roll Another One', as well as two songs 'Butterfly' and
This is slagged by Rob Chapman in A Very Irregular Head. According to
Chapman the letters date from December 1965, and not 1964, for reasons
that are actually pretty plausible.
Bob Klose told Random Precision author David Parker that he only
remembers doing one recording session with the Floyd late Spring 1965
and that he left the band in the summer of that year.
In other words, dating these tracks is still something of a mess. At the
Steve Hoffman forum the tracks were analysed by Rnranimal and he
concluded that the 6 tracks do not origin from the same source either,
so they could originate from different recording sessions. According to
him; tracks 1, 2 and 6 sound like tape and 3, 4 & 5 like acetate.
Legally all songs need to be from 1965, and not from December 1964, as
Mason claims in his biography, because... that would make these 1964
songs public domain and free to share for all of us. Perhaps the band
started recording in December 1964 but added vocals and keyboards a
couple of weeks later, in 1965. Surely an army of lawyers must have
examined all possibilities to keep the copyrights sound and safe.
Good as gold to you
1965: Their First Recordings is exactly what the title says. Never mind
the cover with its psychedelic theme as it is obviously misleading. In
1965 The Pink Floyd were still a British
Rhythm & Blues outfit and not in the least interested in
psychedelic light shows. Barrett tries hard to impersonate Jagger and
even uses an American accent on the songs. And not all songs are that
original either. We skip Lucy Leave and I'm a King Bee for the following
short review as they have been around for the past few decades.
Double O Bo is a pastiche of Bo Diddley's signature song,
but has a weird chord change that is inimitably Syd Barrett. Baby Driver:
It's a straight forward enough tip of the hat to Bo Diddley musically,
but then he throws in those two chords: F, G# which is something Bo
Diddley NEVER would have done. Syd was a genius. what would otherwise be
throwaway songs from a band in its infancy, make for compelling
listening due to his voice and his unique lyrics.
In Remember Me, the weakest song of the set, Syd strains his
voice so hard that it nearly sounds that someone else is singing (some
people claim it is Bob Klose and not Barrett). As Marigoldilemma remarks:
To me this one sounds like Syd trying to sound like Eric Burdon of the
Walk with me Sydney, from Roger Waters and with Juliette Gale on
vocals, is a spoof of Roll
with me, Henry aka The Wallflower, written in 1955 by Johnny Otis,
Hank Ballard and Etta James. As it is not sure yet when Walk With Me
Sydney was exactly recorded this could – perhaps – even be a track
without Bob Klose. It is also the first time that we have a Roger Waters
lyrical list, a trick that he will repeat for the fifty years to come:
Flat feet, fallen arches, baggy knees and a broken frame, meningitis, peritonitis, DT's
and a washed out brain.
Medical Product Safety Information: Don't listen to this song if
you don't want it continually on repeat in your brain.
Butterfly is the surprise song of the set. This track shows the
potential Barrett had in him and could have been included, in a slightly
more mature version, on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. The lyrics are
pretty dark as well and typical Syd:
I won't squeeze you dead. Pin things through your head. I just
want your love.
Catch you soon
Not only was Parlophone
pretty vague about the recording dates, the record was also released
without any publicity and in very limited quantities, only 1050 copies
for worldwide distribution, including 350 for the UK. Not one of the
serious Pink Floyd fansites knew about the release and they were pretty
late diffusing the news, further proof these websites only publish what
Pink Floyd Ltd allows them to publish.
Pretty remarkable is that the Floydian fan-forums didn't really go into
overdrive about this set either and that the best comments and
information could be found on Steve Hoffman's Music
Corner. Yeeshkul had a pretty interesting thread as well, but this
was removed when people started discussing alternative ways of requiring
these tracks. It just makes one wonder how tight the grip is of the Pink
Floyd Gestapo Legal Council around Yeeshkuls' neck.
When it became clear that this edition was a) genuine and b) rare, prices
sky-rocketed. Hundreds of dollars were offered for a set and there have
been cases of record shop owners raising the prices for the copies they
still had in their racks. It needs to be said that a thousand copies for
a new Pink Floyd product is ridiculously low, even if it only interests
a small part of the Floydian fanbase.
Luckily for all those who didn't get a copy this is the age of the
internet and needle-drops can be found in harbours in silent waters
around us. Mind you, this is not psychedelic, nor classic dreamy Floyd,
but an R'n'B band in full progress, still looking for its own sound.
Vinyl collector Rick Barnes:
What I heard earlier was amazing ! Like the stones but sharper and more
original. They were a lot more together than I ever gave them credit.
I'm surprised they were not discovered in '65. Had they met Giorgio
Gomelsky or someone similar things might have been very different...
We end this post with an opinion from Mastaflatch at Neptune Pink Floyd:
With many bands such as Pink Floyd, who had been there for very long,
some people tend to forget the real crucial points when the band was
struck by genius and only find comfort in the familiar songs or familiar
patterns or familiar guitar solos. Between 1965 and 1967, something
major happened to PF and it's plain as day here. If not for Syd, it's
pretty likely that NOTHING of what we know and love from this band would
have reached our ears.
But, if you listen closely, the weirdness was already there in Syd's
chord changes and lyrics. (...) To get a band going though, especially
in the 60s when you had The Beatles leading the pack, you couldn't only
rely on blobs and gimmicks and Syd had what it took in spades: great
songs, fierce originality and a tendency to NOT rest on his laurels and
I think that Pink Floyd, somewhere in the 70s ended up lacking at least
one of those attributes - mostly the latter and it only got worse as
time went on. I'm not saying that their later stuff wasn't good but at
some point, Pink Floyd ceased to invent its sound and became content to
play within its previously defined boundaries. Good music but far less
In 1965 these boys were hungry, literally sometimes, and that is what
you hear. Their main preoccupation wasn't how to earn some 459 million $
turnover on a pre-recorded jukebox show from some 30 years before and it
Many thanks to: A Fleeting Glimpse Forum, Baby Driver, Rick Barnes,
Goldenband, Steve Hoffman Music Corner, Late Night Forum,
Marigoldilemma, Mastaflash, Göran Nyström, Neptune Pink Floyd Forum,
Rnranimal. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above mentioned links): Beecher, Russell &
Shutes, Will: Barrett, Essential Works Ltd, London, 2011, p.
152-153. Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber,
London, 2010, p. 56-57. Gausden Libby: Syd Barrett Letters.
Photographed by Mark Jones and published at Laughing Madcaps (Facebook). Geesin,
Joe: Acid Tates, Record Collector 417, August 2013, p 79-80. Mason,
Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books,
London, 2011 reissue, p. 29. Parker, David: Random Precision,
Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 1. Willis, Tim, Madcap,
Short Books, London, 2002, p. 43-44.
About two years after the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit came with the
news of an Anthony
Stern anthology, showing an overview of his work, including unseen
Pink Floyd footage and our own Iggy the Eskimo, it might finally get a
release to the general public. Well, sort of. (See: Magnets
Get All From That Ant will be shown at a Syd Barrett (mini)
festival that will be held in October in Cambridge when also a Syd
Barrett memorial artwork will be unveiled. Men On The Border will
interpret the mad cat’s wacko music with the Sandviken symphony
orchestra, some mystery guests and a groovy lightshow from Peter Wynne
Have You Got It Yet
Although not confirmed (yet) the Barrett movie festival may also feature
Storm Thorgerson’s legendary Have You Got It Yet. This
movie is being finalised by Roddy
Bogawa, whom you might know from the excellent documentary Taken
By Storm, that any Hipgnosis fan needs to have in his / her
collection. We had a chat earlier this year with the movie maker and
here is what he had to say.
I can answer some of the rumours! Yes, we are hoping the film will be
released this year - it is in the editing stage - and yes, Lindsay
[Corner] and Gayla [Pinion] are interviewed in it as well as Jenny
Spires and Libby Gausden... I think it is ok to make that public...
Also Roger, David and Nick appear in new interviews which I think are
quite different than most of the ones they've done before because Storm
was present and he grew up with Syd, David and Roger.
So...it's exciting and once the film gets closer to completion, we'll
talk it up more! (Source: Facebook Chat, 2016 06 03)
Surely a release to be yearning for, even when Iggy wasn't interviewed,
due to unforeseen circumstances.
Sydge and Iggnet
It is not certain if Stern’s anthology will get the DVD release as
promised a couple of years ago. Our efforts to ask Anthony stayed
unanswered. Artists, huh…
In 2014 some extremely lucky people received a Syd magnet, aka Sydge,
for a Stern project that had to culminate in a book. Unfortunately all
the relevant pages on the Anthony
Stern Films blog have been removed, so we fear it has been shelved.
In December 2014 an Iggy the Eskimo magnet was announced (see: Iggy
on your fridge!), but although the Holy Church ordered about a dozen
that project was indefinitely postponed as well. Until now…
Syd Barrett and Iggy Photo Art Collectable Fridge Magnets.
2 Magnets in total.
Taken from original photos by Anthony Stern are these fantastic,
practical and groovy fridge magnets featuring both Syd Barrret playing
live and Iggy during a creative photoshoot with Anthony.
Both images can also be found in the new and upcoming GATA? Get ALL That
Ant? .....biographical film of Anthony Stern's youth when he was friends
with the infamous couple at the start of the Pink Floyd band creation.
An original piece of Uk Rock History documentation and a great gift idea
for the Syd Barrett and Iggy fans.
The Syd and Iggy magnets are now for sale at Anthony
Stern’s Etsy page. Get them while you still can… (The
Church is not affiliated with or endorsed by Mr. Stern's company.)
Many thanks to: Roddy Bogawa, Anthony Stern. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Update December 2017: Iggy - as you probably know -
died on the 13th of December 2017, about half an hour before her
seventieth birthday. However, we are still accepting donations that will
be used for her funeral and to help her husband Andy in this difficult
A message from Libby Gausden, Birdie Hop & The Holy Church of Iggy the
Soon Iggy will celebrate her seventieth birthday. Unfortunately she is
not doing well and she needs expensive medicine.
You can help by donating
some money. Everything helps.
We guarantee that the money will get to her.
The Iggy Bank are: Libby Gausden (GB), Paula (GB), Lisa (CA), Alex (DE),
Felix (BE) and the old bunch. Thanks to Brett for starting this way back
in 2012 and all our friends for supporting us.
Over the years people from around the globe have given Iggy some
support, not bragging about it to the outer world. That is why it hurts
to see that a Syd Barrett Facebook group posted the following about The
Iggy Bank and its plea to raise some money for Iggy Rose.
Him and his blog, in fact anything he's involved in, is everything
that's wrong with being a fan of Syd Barrett. (...) I sure wouldn't give
him any money for some "cause". (...) Paying Felix is maybe just giving
him drinking money.
The Iggy bank (it's a lame name, I agree) was started in January 2012
when some friends wanted to do something for her. Unlike some
underground heroes Iggy Rose didn't leave the sixties rich and famous.
Iggy lead a simple life, unaware of the fact that her iconic presence
helped business hippies selling coffee table books about record sleeves.
This is what we had to say way back in 2012:
The Iggy Bank is and will probably never be something official, we are
just a bunch of Internet friends who believe they are real people rather
than avatars. We give our word that all proceedings will go to Iggy.
Besides, if something would go wrong Libby Gausden has already promised
she will kick our butts.
The Iggy Bank Paypal funds are visible and fully open to the people
organising it, and it was actually Libby Gausden and Alex from Birdie
Hop who asked to resuscitate the 5 years old PayPal account.
Many thanks to all our donators and to the old and new friends who are
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby Gausden (GB) ♥ Alexander (DE) ♥ Amy (US)
♥ Antonio (ES) ♥ Eva (NL) ♥ Lisa (CA).
Never has a Kurt Vonnegut quote been more appropriate than here, we
think. Iggy Rose is no longer on this world, but the third rock didn't
stop turning around the sun. There were no lunar eclipses, although
people from the Hastings and Rother community have been calling the
police out of fear of an alien
invasion. If there was some magical interference, it may have been
that a soft blanket of snow had fallen the night before Iggy's funeral.
So it goes.
Happy New Year, sistren and brethren of the Holy Church of
Iggy the Inuit, followers of Saint Syd and Laldingliani, gift of
the gods. In 2018 we will continue to be the thorn in the side of all
that is Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett related, because although they have
made some of the best rock music of the latter half of the twentieth
century, their business counterparts are worse than crooked second hand
car dealers when it comes to selling their 'product' and screwing the
customer. (The latest Floydian fuck-all-that consists of Dark Side Of
The Moon Immersion set Blu-rays, suffering from bit rot, and suddenly
refusing to play, about five years after their release.)
Next to the excellent blog you are currently reading we also have a Tumblr
micro-blog that we daily update, with coloured photographs!, a Facebook
timeline and a Twitter
account. Here is what made our Sydiot heart tremble past year, seen
through the pink glasses of the Holy Igquisition.
The Church wishes to thank: An@log, Azerty, Gretta Barclay, Marc-Olivier
Becks, Roddy Bogawa, Carmen Castro, Chris from Paris, Frank Cookson,
Petra Eder, Vanessa Flores, Johan Frankelius, 'Gabi', Libby Gausden,
Stanislav Grigorev, Rich Hall, Paula Hilton, Peter Alexander Hoffman,
The Iggy Bank, Peter Jenner, JenS, Antonio Jesús, Men On The Border,
Mob, Iain Owen Moore, Anna Musial, Lisa Newman, Göran Nyström,
OldPangYau, Peter at the Gates of Dawn, Pink Floyd 1977, Dylan Roberts,
Jenny Spires, TW113079, Venomous Centipede... and all the others... ♥
Libby ♥ Iggy ♥ Paula ♥
A remarkable story could be found on the 16th of August 2018 in The
Anglo-Celt, a weekly local newspaper published in Swellan (Cavan,
Ireland). Written by Seamus Enright and bearing the title 'Antique
shop dealer’s brush with luck' it tells how a local antique
dealer bought a €50 (approx. £45 or $58) painting that turned out to be
a Syd Barrett original from 1964, missing since 1994.
Maggie Matthews from the aptly named 'Junk'
store in Virginia (Cavan, Ireland) went to one of Dublin's weekly
'bric-a-brac' auctions and was attracted by a painting of a young girl.
It was her eyes that drew me in. She was sitting on a table, filthy and
covered in dust, as if you weren’t supposed to see her really.
Maggie bought the painting and put it in her shop, with a €100 price
tag. When a customer told her he found the portrait disturbing, she
decided to have a closer look at it. At the bottom right side it was
signed by a Roger Barrett, dated: 12-2-64, at the backside the
painter had left his name and address:
R.K. Barrett 183 HILLS ROAD CAMBRIDGE
She decided to Google
the name and almost fell from her chair when she found out there were
over 9 million results. Clearly this wasn't an ordinary bloke.
New car, caviar
It didn't take too long for Maggie Matthews to realise she was sitting
on something unique... and potentially valuable.
It’s the kind of thing you read about in newspapers or online. As an
person interested in antiques and art, it’s the sort of thing you
secretly dream of happening, but never dare believe it will.
Painted two days before Valentine, Maggie Matthews believed at first it
was a painting of Barrett's girlfriend Libby Gausden, but that doesn't
seem to be the case. At the Birdie
Hop Facebook group, where the find was obviously discussed, Libby
reacted that she has 'no idea' who could be the young woman. Another
member of the sixties beatnik Cambridge mob and a painter as well, Mick
Brown, has about the same to say: “I wouldn't know...”
Update November 2018: in a post to Birdie
Hop at the end of November 2018 Libby Gausden changed her mind a bit
and said that the girl on the picture could have been Frances Treweek,
an art student and friend of Syd.
But another Cambridge mobster, Elizabeth Refna Warner - who took the
famous picture from Syd at the Cambridge Art School - thinks the woman
in the portrait could be 'Diana', probably another art student.
As usual the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit has its own idea. The woman
on the painting could simply be a model from the academy. What we have
is not a picture of his beloved girlfriend, but a school assignment. In
late 1961 Barrett followed evening classes in life drawing at the School
of Art. He would enter that school the next year, until 1964. In
September 1964 he left for London to go to Camberwell Art College, but
instead of taking a brush in his hand, he picked a guitar. We all know
how that ended.
Lambs thrown to the Lions
But before making the great leap forward towards the capital city, he
and his pal Anthony
Stern had an exhibition entitled 'Two Young Painters' at the Lion
and Lamb pub in Milton. It was held between 29 May and 25 June and
as usual different people tell different stories, some say Barrett may
have sold at least one painting, others claim nothing came out of it.
What we can be sure of is that the exhibition was reviewed by journalist
Anthony Day in Cambridge News, titled Milton Art Display.
Barrett's work shows some of the advantages of an art school training.
His prints, monotypes and drawings are slight but necessary student
exercises but in two still-lives and two convincing portraits, he is
already showing himself a sensitive handler of oil paint who wisely
limits his palette to gain richness and density. (Holy Church Tumblr
link to the article: Milton
Portrait of a Girl could well have been one of the more 'convincing'
paintings at the show. We don't know what happened with the painting
after the exhibition, but luckily a (pretty bad) black and white picture
of it exists. It was published in a 1994 Record Collector when it was
announced the portrait was auctioned for £880. Unfortunately it
immediately disappeared for a second time, until last week.
In their Barrett
art catalogue, Russel Beecher and Will Shutes write:
His Portrait of a Girl, sold in auction in 1994 but not seen since its
reproduction in Record Collector, November 1994, p. 121, reveals to an
extent – despite the poor image available – the sensitive handling of
oils to which [Anthony] Day refers.
Maggie Matthews has some nice things to say as well:
Even at that young age you can see his talent as an artist developing.
He really caught her without over-working it too much, and I actually
love that she’s not trying to look good for the artist. I love too that
he hasn’t tried to flatter her. I find it very honest.
Sydiots and other folk
A photo of The Anglo-Celt front page was put on the Syd
Barrett Fan Page (Facebook) by Paul McCann, minutes later it landed
Hop and was immediately discussed by Sydiots and Barrett brides
Mark Jones, photo archivist at the official Syd Barrett website, had the
following to say:
So someone bought it for £880 20 years ago, knowing it was by Syd, and
then must have 'lost' sight of it and it turns up for sale for £50?
Clay Jordan replied:
I was thinking perhaps the person who bought it passed away and the
people who dealt with the belongings didn't know what it was.
Unless it was stolen?
Others thought it could be a fake, made to fool collectors. People have
been faking $10,000 Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett records before (see: Scream
Thy False Scream), but it seems a bit ridiculous to duplicate this
relatively unknown portrait and then sell it for €50. Gid Giddoni
compared both pictures and concluded:
It might be very well the exact same artwork portrayed in the 1964
photo. (…) If you look at the nose, you'll see the exact same shape.
Same for the mouth / chin. I would give it 95% possibility to be the
Maggie Matthews contacted Will Shutes who said it is nearly doubtless it
is the original, although further investigation might be necessary. The
Barrett family was contacted and although Rosemary Breen does not
recognise the painting she has said that the handwriting on the back
looks like Roger's indeed.
Birdie Hop and Late
Night members certainly will have their say as well about the
signature and handwriting on the canvas, looking more authentic than the
fake Barrett poem that was once auctioned for £2,160 (see: Bonhams
Sells Fake Barrett Poem). At least one collector has already shown
interest in acquiring the painting, so let's just hope it doesn't
disappear again, for a third time. Maggie Matthews:
Amazingly, this is one of those unique crossover finds that’s of
interest to both to art lovers and music aficionados. It’s exciting!
Update 2018 12 11 : On the eleventh of December 2018 the painting
was auctioned at Bonhams
and sold for £6,500 (€7,204 / $8,157) nett or £8,125 (€9,004 / $10,198)
including premium. Owner unknown at the time of writing. Apparently the
man handling the sale is the same man who sold it in 1994 whilst working
Our Tumblr image gallery will publish even more pictures, the
next couple of days, including a scan of the Anglo-Celt article: Portrait
of a Girl.
All Maggie Matthews quotes and pictures in this post have been taken
from The Anglo-Celt online article: Antique
shop dealer’s brush with luck. Newspaper frontpage picture
taken and send to the Church by Maggie Matthews. The 1964 Anthony
Stern & Roger Barrett exhibition where this portrait may have been
and Lamb, 1964.
Many thanks to: Birdie Hop, Seamus Enright, Libby Gausden, Gid Giddoni,
Alex Peter Hoffmann, Penny Hyrons, Mark Jones, Clay Jordan, Maggie
Matthews, Paul McCann, Göran Nyström, Mark Schofield, Elizabeth Refna
Warner. ♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Beecher, Russell &
Shutes, Will: Barrett, Essential Works Ltd, London, 2011, p. 174-175. Blake,
Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 32.