Malcolm Jones

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2008-12-29

Love In The Woods (Pt. 2)

A mysterious brunette...
A mysterious brunette.

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

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

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

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

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

Part 1: Garden fun – blowing bubbles

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

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

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

Part 2: the Lost In The Woods footage
 

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

Radiocarbon dating

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

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

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

Malcolm Jones recounts:

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

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

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

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

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


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


2009-01-24

When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)

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

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

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

Meeting Iggy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iggy’s Parents

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

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

Meeting Syd

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

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

Syd’s Appartement

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

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

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

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


MP3 link: Duggie Fields.

The Madcap Laughs Photo Shoot

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

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

and:

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

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

One day in October or November I had cause to drop in at Syd's flat on my way home to leave him a tape of the album, and what I saw gave me quite a start. In anticipation of the photographic session for the sleeve, Syd had painted the bare floorboards of his room orange and purple.

JenS further comments:

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

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


Sources (other than above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 141.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 13.
Levy, Shawn: Ready Steady Go!, Broadway Books, New York, 2003, p. 112, p.194-195.
Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 23, p. 58.

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


2009-02-08

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

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

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

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

The story so far

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dark Globe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gre(t)ta and Rusty

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

It should be Gretta. Double T.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sources (other than internet links mentioned above):

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

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


2009-02-22

Addenda and Errata with Gala and Gretta

Gayla Pinion
Gayla Pinion.

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

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

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

Gret(t)a and Rusty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gayla Pinion

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

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

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

When Syd met Iggy

In the first instalment of this series JenS reported:

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

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

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

Here I Go

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2009-05-21

Anoraks and Pontiacs

Iggy and a mysterious brunette, running...
Iggy and a mysterious brunette, running...

Although Iggy is the prototype of the vanishing girl we know quite a lot of her through the bits and pieces that have survived that big black hole also knows as the Sixties.

In November 1966, when she was (about) 21 or 22 years old she appeared at The Bend party that was affiliated with the television show Ready Steady Go!

And there was of course her apparition in a 1967-ish documentary, called IN Gear, hinting that Iggy was seeking fame and fortune as a model or an actress. Unfortunately enough it seems impossible (or at least improbable) that the production sheets will ever surface, nobody seems to know where the archives of the Look At Life-series, that ran for a decade between 1959 and 1969 and added up to more than 500 episodes, physically are, if these still exist.

The Reverend has been re-reading some older posts at this funny little place aptly called the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and some need updating.

Lost in the Woods

There is a home movie floating around with Syd and Ig walking in a park, together with – what has been called – a mysterious brunette. Mick Rock probably made the movie around the same period, and with period the Reverend literally means days, The Madcap Laughs photos were made. Iggy is wearing the same clothes on both occasions (and the same necklace), but Syd Barrett not. The mysterious brunette may have been Mick Rock’s girlfriend, one of the (many, according to Duggie Fields) passing female visitors of Syd’s place or, a theory nobody has ever wondered about before, a friend of Ig.

Thanks to the testimony of JenS it is now pretty sure that the photo shoot took place in April 1969, probably in the week between the 14th and the 21st, but not on the 17th as Syd was the whole afternoon in Studio 2, recording the eerie No Man’s Land and the ditty Here I Go. Here is what Malcolm Jones had to say about it:

The following Thursday, as planned, I called a cab and went to collect Syd. We dropped in at Dave Gilmour's flat round the corner to borrow an amplifier, and set off for Abbey Road. At the studio we met up with Jerry Shirley and 'Willie' Wilson, the musicians Syd had invited along. The session was to be done 'live' i.e. everyone recording their parts at the same time, including Syd's vocal and guitar parts.

This session was the last happy and shiny one although nobody would know that beforehand of course. The next session had the motorbike overdubs on the legendary Rhamadan, legendary because Barrett fans know it has been lying in the vaults of EMI for over 40 years now and have been praying and begging to release it ever since.

Update (October 2010): Rhamadan has finally been released as a part of the An Introduction To... Syd Barrett compilation: Gravy Train To Cambridge 

The making of the track Rhamadan is one of those occasions lazy journalists use to prove that Barrett was as mad as a hatter. The track, an 18 to 20 minutes free-form-jam-session between Barrett, Steve Took and some other (unidentified) session players had been recorded the previous year, and in April 1969 Syd found that he still could do something useful with the demo.

Of course all he wanted to do was to put some motorbike overdubs on the track, a failed experiment as found out at the end of the day, but not quite as mad as those lazy journalists want us to believe. Pink Floyd would overdub motorbike sounds on Atom Heart Mother the next year and no one has put them in straitjackets because of that.

The intrinsic value of the track is less legendary tells someone who knows. Random Precision author David Parker is probably the only person in the world who has a full and legit copy of the Rhamadan track in his collection:

Of the 15-20mins that this runs for I reckon Syd plays on about 5 minutes worth. Imagine a longer and looser version of 'Lanky Pt 1' with a lot less guitar on it. (Taken from the Syd Barrett Research Society. Forum no longer active.)

In a, now deleted, post at SBRS Parker explained further that...

…I had to give my word to various people at EMI and Abbey Road, and sign a scarily draconian declaration, not to give out copies…

The April sessions of 1969 had Barrett in an excellent form and Malcolm Jones wanted to get the record done as quickly as possible. Not only he must have been aware of Syd’s mood changes but his bosses had also instructed him to get a move on. So it is absolutely plausible that the order for the cover-shoot was given right after the first session.

Update (October 2010): The Church's opinion has somewhat changed on this subject: The Case of the Painted Floorboards 

Driving Mr Sloane

The Church has written quite a few things about Syd’s blue Pontiac in the past and an error sneaked in at the second When Syd met Iggy...  posting. Originally it read:

Before Syd (and Mickey Finn) got the car it was used in the 1970 British movie Entertaining Mr Sloane. The car, with its cream red and silver interior, is featured prominently throughout the movie. The movie is not great but the pink Pontiac gives a great performance.

The above was not correct as this information was based upon the general belief that The Madcap Laughs photo shoot was held in the autumn of 1969 and not in April. The British Film Institute pinpoints the making of the movie between mid August and beginning of October 1969, four months after Syd gave the car away to someone who admired it. If the car that can be seen in the movie is indeed Syd’s, it was sold, given or lend to the movie crew by its new owner.

1969 Calendar

Because the Reverend thought it might be a good idea and because a lot of work went into coding and debugging The Holy Church of Inuit presents you... a calendar of the year 1969. It puts some dates right, can be generally considered as eye-candy and may be completely ignored...


Notes (other than internet links mentioned above):

Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 129-158.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 7.

Calendar idea grabbed from http://www.flicklives.com.


2009-06-12

Rock - Paper - Scissors

Street Life
Street Life, by Mick Rock.

Ig's close encounters of the photographical kind were not limited to the Anthony Stern triptych series alone. She can be found as well on the cover of the Syd Barrett album The Madcap Laughs, still available in any qualitative cd-shop what means that it is a hell of a job to actually find it. But on top of her picture you get some decent music as well what is a rather nice bargain.

Storm Thorgerson from the arty farty collective Hipgnosis claims he shot the cover, although Mick Rock more or less hinted the same. Both photographers were present at the same place on the same day for the same purpose. Rock writes that he was asked by Syd Barrett to do the shoot and that Storm agreed to take him on in the team.

Syd asked me to take the pictures. We had talked about the shoot for a while, and the day before it happened I told Storm from Hipgnosis, so he came along because they were putting the package together.

Thorgerson probably was despatched by Harvest director and Barrett producer ad interim Malcolm Jones and has stated that another photographer was present as well but that he didn't know what the fuck he was doing there, although in a slightly more diplomatic way:

Friend and photographer Mick Rock, later famous for his Bowie photos amongst many others, also came on this photo session, but I can’t remember why. I think it was to help me, which seems ironic given his subsequent lensmanship and success in the rock business.

It surely was one of Rock’s pics that was put - uncredited - on the back sleeve of the Barrett (his second solo) album. For the third release, a repackaging of the two previous ones, aptly called Syd Barrett, some other shots from that day in April 1969 were used, but it is not certain if these came from Rock's second-hand Pentax 35mm camera, bought from that other Hipgnosis team member Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell, or from Storm Thorgerson who also claims he used a 35mm for the job. (Although his favourite camera at that time was a Hasselblad 500 c, as used for the Floyd’s Ummagumma cover a couple of months later).

There will always be an enigma surrounding the cover shoot of The Madcap Laughs. The 1978 book Walk Away René (The Work of Hipgnosis) contains a detailed description of every picture in the book, except for… The Madcap Laughs. Unfortunately Storm’s negatives have been lost, so there will never be a Psychedelic Renegades from his hand.

Psychedelic Renegades, and then we finally get to the subject of this blog entry, is the photo book Mick Rock made in 2002. The first edition, by Genesis, had 320 copies autographed by R.K. Barrett that are worth a small fortune nowadays. In 2007 a regular edition was published by Plexus Books (European edition) and Gingko (for the USA).

There is a possibility that the Mick Rock photo shoot took more than one day. The pictures in his apartment were taken, together with Storm Thorgerson. The outside pictures date (perhaps) from the next day. Nobody can be really sure and Rock isn’t the most reliable witness to say the least. On page 18 he writes:

We shot The Madcap Laughs in the autumn of 1969 and I don’t think that Syd and Duggie Fields had been living in the flat that long.

The above is a contradiction as Syd moved in the apartment end 1968, furthermore the research of JenS, who was a friend of Syd and Ig, shows that the pictures were probably taken in April of 1969. Rock also states that:

Syd’s car was a conspicuously bright pink Pontiac Parisienne convertible.

However the few colour pictures of the car show it was (midnight) blue. But the Church will no longer go further in this matter, if you want you can read all about in some previous posts, for instance When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2).

About 20 pictures of the book show us a glimpse of Ig, who is described by Rock as follows…

Known only as Iggy, the half-Eskimo girl had momentarily made her way into Syd’s life, and flat, at the time when these photos were taken. Though not part of the original shoot plan, Iggy was an intriguing accomplice. With no job and little to call her own, Iggy epitomised the free natured spirit of the psychedelic underground.

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is very proud to announce you 3 new Iggy galleries:
Street Life, black & white pictures of Iggy in front of the house and car.
Bare Flat, colour pictures of Iggy, walking around in the nude and posing on the background in Syd's apartment.
Rock Bottom, black & white nude study of Ig.

Most pictures have been cropped to emphasize the Eskimo girl, in reality this means that Syd Barrett has been cut out a lot. Those interested in the non-cropped versions can try their luck at Neptune Pink Floyd, other Pink Floyd related sites or - even better - purchase Mick Rock's excellent Psychedelic Renegades book. All pictures © Mick Rock.


Sources (other than internet links mentioned above):

Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 18, p. 20, p. 23, p. 46.
Thorgerson, Storm: Mind Over Matter, Sanctuary Publishing, London, 2003, p. 204.


2009-11-01

A Bay of Hope

Syd Barrett flat pictures
Syd Barrett flat.

To all our sistren and brethren, hail! Might you wonder if the Church is dead the answer is clear and simple: no! The Church is contemplating its path and went into an early hibernation to, as the French say, reculer pour mieux sauter.

One of the main occupations of any holy man is to study the scriptures and that is what we have been doing so far. The next post is very academic and thus, by definition, boring, although it starts rather user-friendly.

Last week a professional rock memorabilia seller put some pictures for sale that he described as:

SYD BARRETT FOUNDING MEMBER OF PINK FLOYD
4 X ORIGINAL MICK ROCK PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AND PRINTED IN 1974 SHOWING SYD IN HIS FLAT WITH PAINTED BOARDS,
EARLY MICK ROCK PHOTOS ARE NEAR IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND AND NOW HE PRINTS PHOTOS AT 1000 POUNDS PER PHOTO.
THESE ARE ORIGINAL 6 X 4 INCHES PRINTED BEFORE MICK ROCK BECAME FAMOUS, LONG AFTER SYD WHO WAS ALREADY FAMOUS.

The 4 prints show Syd Barrett in his apartment and date from The Madcap Laughs photo sessions where both Mick Rock and Storm Thorgerson showed up.

The Church has created some controversy concerning the date of the photo shoot. It has been published in most biographies that the pictures were taken in the autumn of 1969, but JenS, who was a Cantabrigian friend of Syd Barrett and knew Ig as well, pointed out that the pictures were probably taken in spring. The Church further narrowed the date of the photo shoot to the week between the 14th and the 21st of April 1969, and certainly not 1974 as the seller wrote.

The account of the photo shoot also differs from the point of view of who is telling the story. Storm Thorgerson claims that he shot the sleeve of The Madcap Laughs, but - in the past - Mick Rock hinted that he was behind it all.

An unconfirmed story goes that Mick Rock was taking pictures on behalf of Hipgnosis and gave (some of) his film rolls to Storm Thorgerson who developed and used some of the pictures for The Madcap Laughs record sleeve.

It takes a rascal to recognise another one. Mick Rock kept some negatives in his back pocket and forgot these until he could show off with his own little private project called Psychedelic Renegades. (In retrospect this wasn’t a bad thing as Storm Thorgerson has apparently lost all the negatives he had in his possession.)

When, a couple of years ago, probably at The Other Room exhibition, a fan asked Mick Rock to autograph the sleeve picture of The Madcap Laughs he mysteriously grinned and said something like ‘I can’t sign pictures that weren’t taken by me, can I?’ and it still isn’t sure if his comment was ironic or not.

The Church looks at its flock in awe and admiration, which is in shrill contrast with those other religions that take their believers for total nincompoops, and the Reverend will let you decide for yourself after only a tiny amount of brainwashing.

On the Madcap Laughs shooting day several photo series were made. The series of Mick Rock may have taken two consecutive days instead of one, but nobody, not even Rock himself, remembers it very well.

THE MICK ROCK COLLECTION

Outside pictures (B&W)

¤ Syd on and around his car, sometimes with Iggy.
¤ Syd & Iggy on the pavement.
¤ Syd with guitar case and guitar.

These black and white pictures show Syd and Iggy in front of the house. Syd is sitting on, standing next, leaning against the car, claimed by Mick Rock to be a pink Pontiac, while it was naturalmente blue. On some pictures Syd wears a necklace, on others apparently not. Some cut-outs of these pictures can be found in our Street Life gallery.

Inside pictures (colour)

¤ Syd with (naked) Iggy.

Syd wears a brown jacket, a yellow shirt, and reddish trousers. These are about the same clothes as on the outside session (the shirt may be different). Some cut-outs of these pictures can be found in our gallery: Bare Flat.

¤ Syd without Iggy.

Syd with blue tie-dyed t-shirt, red trousers, necklace and daffodils. No shoes. Other pictures have him sitting on the mattress, drinking coffee.

¤ Syd kneeling shirtless on the floor.
¤ Syd and his record player.

Barrett is shirtless, wears his red trousers, has the necklace (at least in one picture). Should you care to know, the record player in his room is a Garrard SP25 MK2 (thanks mrlimbo!) and the record on the player is from the soul label Direction, a subsidiary of CBS (thanks infantair!). (Information grabbed from Late Night.).

A few of these pictures appear on the inner sleeve of the double album Syd Barrett, but none have been directly credited to Mick Rock (the credits go to Blackhill, Lupus, SKR and Hipgnosis).

Update 27 December 2012: It took some time but Göran Nyström (from Men On The Border) and Giulio Bonfissuto have found enough evidence to conclude that the record on Syd's turntable is Taj Mahal's The Natch'l Blues. They did this by comparing the tracks that are visible on Mick Rock's pictures with the track listing of the record: "4 rather equally short tracks first and then one that is longer. This should be the album". (Source: Göran Nyström at Laughing Madcaps.)

Inside pictures (B&W)

¤ Syd with record player and trimphone.
¤ Syd sitting on mattress.

Syd is wearing a tie or a scarf, a tie-dyed t-shirt and a different pair of trousers (dark with rows of lighter spots). A newspaper and a trimphone are lying next to the mattress. The record player has got a different record (the one with the Direction label is lying (unprotected) underneath another one). There is no sign of Iggy in this series.

¤ Iggy nude study.

The (in)famous series of Ig. No sign of Syd here. This series can be found in our gallery: Rock Bottom.

(The Lost in the Woods home movie, probably made by Mick Rock, has Syd walking around in a yellow shirt and blue jacket and trousers. For completists: the yellow shirt is not the same as the one he is wearing on some of the pictures mentioned above.)

Syd Barrett compilation
Syd Barrett compilation.

THE HIPGNOSIS COLLECTION

The only way to consult the Hipgnosis archives is to wade through record sleeves and the books from Storm Thorgerson, as most of the negatives have been misplaced through the years.

The best overview of Storm’s pictures on that day can be found on the inner sleeve of the compilation album Syd Barrett that appeared in 1974. Thorgerson has the following to say about its cover: "I made up the design from photos already taken at The Madcap Laughs session and added special insignia."

Outside pictures (colour)

¤ Syd leaning against car (with guitar case).
¤ Syd sitting on car.

Storm Thorgerson took a few colour pictures during the outside sessions. One of these pictures was used for the cover of A Nice Pair (Pink Floyd compilation album, that has had different editions with slightly different covers). Another picture can be found on the following Church page: When Syd met Iggy...
Update 2001 02 19: Iggy has confirmed to the Church that she took the Polaroid picture of Syd Barrett sitting next to the car: Give birth to a smile... 

Inside (B&W)

¤ The yoga session.

Syd sitting shirtless and shoeless on the floor and showing his gymnastic skills. Update October 2010: the Church is now of the opinion that the yoga pictures may have been the 'real' autumn Madcap Laughs cover shoot, commissioned by Harvest director Malcolm Jones, when the album was in its final stages: The Case of the Painted Floorboards 

Inside (colour)

Until now we only knew the pictures that were used for The Madcap Laughs and for the Crazy Diamond CD compilation.

¤ The Madcap Laughs front.

Syd, shoeless, in blue shirt and pink trousers crouching (daffodils in front of him). A bigger version of this photograph can be found on Crazy Diamond. (See also: Stormy Pictures.)

¤ The Madcap Laughs back.

Syd with yellow shirt and necklace (in red trousers) with Ig leaning artistically on the chair. A bigger version of this photograph can be found on Crazy Diamond (Syd Barrett CD box, 1993).

¤ Syd in brown jacket, sitting on the floor. Ig walking towards the chimney.
¤ Syd with a toy aeroplane (and daffodils) in front of him.

This last picture can also be found on A Nice Pair, but not on the edition that has the Syd Barrett car picture (several version of the Nice Pair sleeve do exist, as you have figured out by now).

According to the above information the four pictures that were sold on eBay belong to the Hipgnosis collection and not to Mick Rock.

1. Picture one is the famous Madcap Laughs front-sleeve but in its entirety.
2. The second picture, with Syd and a toy aeroplane, has also been published before, but this version is not cropped and shows more of the surrounding room.
3 & 4. Pictures 3 and 4 have been unknown until now and have never been published before.

The four pictures were sold for a mere 127.00 £. The Church duly hopes that the buyer is an authentic fan who will share hi-res scans with the Barrett community.

Syd Barrett Pontiac
Syd Barrett's Pontica.

The seller of the pictures has previously sold one other Syd Barrett photo from the same session. It was un unknown picture of Syd sitting on his Pontiac, taking away, once and for all, the rumours that his car was bright pink. The Reverend wonders if claytonpriory still has other pictures to sell, perhaps with Ig on the background, although it is of course regrettable that the collection is divided and sold in separate pieces.

Did this post confuse you?

It confused the Reverend as well, especially when he found out that one picture, entitled to Mick Rock, actually needs to be credited to Hipgnosis. Or is it the other way round? That will be discussed in a later post: A Bay of Hope (update).

Until then, my brethren and sistren, live long and prosper and don’t do anything what Ig wouldn’t have done.


Sources (other than the above internet links):

Thorgerson, Storm: Mind Over Matter, Sanctuary Publishing, London, 2003, p. 204.

A new gallery, called StormWatch has been made and contains the Madcap pictures, made by Storm Thorgerson and discussed in this entry. Play the Storm Thorgerson or Mick Rock Iggy picture quiz!

The second part of this article can be found at: A Bay of Hope (update).


2010-05-08

The Case of the Painted Floorboards

Daffodils.
Daffodils.

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

Paintbox

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

And in his Psychedelic Renegades book Mick Rock writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paint can.
Paint can.

Gunsmoke

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iggys Feet
Iggy's Feet, Mick Rock.

Dancing Barefoot

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Church already hinted in a previous post:

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

This is not as far-fetched as it seems.

Autumn Photo Session

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

Newspaper.
Newspaper, Mick Rock.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A legend is born.

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

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

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

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


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

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


2011-02-09

Scream Thy False Scream

Fake Pink Floyd Acetate Found
Pink Foyd 1967 acetate
Pink Foyd 1967 acetate.

What you see at the left is the only remaining copy in the world of an unreleased 1967 Pink Floyd single: Vegetable Man / Scream Thy Last Scream.
Approximate value: 10,000 US dollars, even on a rainy day.

Part one: Holy Syd!

The songs are on an acetate disc and without going to much into detail we can simply say that an acetate is a test pressing of a vinyl record. An acetate has not been made to last and every time a needle reads the groove the acetate is gradually but irrecoverably damaged. Bands and producers often used acetates to test how a record would sound on cheap home record players before sending the master tape to the record factory.

This precious copy is in the hands of Saq, an American collector in Los Angeles who acquired it about 15 years ago and has cherished it ever since. It is, without doubt, what collectors call a 'holy grail': a rare, valuable object sought after by other collectors. One of the side effects of a 'holy grail' is that it can only acquire that status if other collectors are aware of its existence, but not too many. If nobody knows you have an exclusive item it might as well not exist. Syd Barrett already acknowledged this in his Arnold Layne song: it 'takes two to know'.

Holy grails can be frail, especially when they only consist of audio material. One popular Pink Floyd holy grail are, sorry: were, the so-called work in progress tapes of The Wall (most people, websites and bootlegs refer to these as The Wall demos, which they are clearly not, but that is an entirely different discussion). Around 1999 they circulated amongst top-notch collectors and were generally unknown to the public, The Anchor included, until a track called The Doctor (an early version of Comfortably Numb) was leaked as an alt.music.pink-floyd Christmas 2000 gift. It didn't take long before the complete set was weeded to the fans, who were happy to say the least except for the one of the few who had lost their priceless treasure.

Part two: the guns of Navarro

When Barrett fan Giuliano Navarro met Saq in 2009 he was let on the secret and from this moment Giuliano became a man with a mission. He received pictures of the acetate and finally, on the 15th of January 2011, he proudly announced at Late Night:

I tried to stay in communication with him for more than a year and begged him to at least have the tracks recorded. He agreed to do me the favour, and sent the acetate to a professional studio in San Francisco. (...)
After more than a year of waiting, I finally got the tracks and now I want to share them with all of you. We are the real Syd Barrett crazies and we all deserve to listen to his art. There should be no discovery made that ends up back in the vaults.

Giuliano Navarro is, without doubt, a man of honour. But it helped that Saq didn't really ran the risk that making the content public would ruin his holy grail (as with The Wall WIP tapes). Quite the contrary:
he still has an ultra-rare acetate from 1967;
is envied by collectors from over the world and, knowing that;
the value of this unique recording can only sky-rocket.

At least that is what he thought until about a couple of weeks ago.

Part three: cracks in the ice

An uproarious bigmouth called Felix Atagong, who also goes by the ridiculous epithet Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, proposed Giuliano to upload the sound files to Yeeshkul. At first the recordings were received with great enthusiasm, but after some days the place was stirring with comments of an entirely different nature.

Yeeshkul is a place where Pink Floyd audio collectors meet and share files through a torrent network. They vary from the average je-ne-sais-quoi fan to the specialised sound freak who has the means and the knowledge to find out whether a certain audio file comes from an earlier or a later generation tape. And obviously this spectacular find was going to be analysed to the bit...

Navarro received MP3 files taken from the acetate and shared these immediately with the fans. Not unusual as MP3 is about the most popular sound format in the world, but it does compress the sound and reduces the quality. The Yeeshkul specialist sound brigade argue that lossless files in 24/96 (or even 24/192) should exist as well. Nobody will be that stupid to put an ultra-rare (and very fragile) acetate on a turntable, only to convert the audio to MP3.

16 Khz cut
16 Khz cut.

Vince666 did a spectrum analysis of the MP3 files and found that the sound had been mysteriously cut-off at 16 Khz (see left side image). Some members maintain that this is a typical result of MP3 compression, but others disagree. But despite the compression and the obvious quality-loss these mono tracks still sound a lot better than other versions that have been circulating for decades.

Felixstrange (no relative to the Church) discovered 'something which sounds a lot like tape damage at 0:54 during "Scream Thy Last Scream':

The noise a minute into STLS is definitely a result of creases in magnetic tape. However, there is definitely vinyl/acetate surface noise present. I've been doing a lot of vinyl rips lately and I immediately recognized the all-too-familiar clicks of debris in the grooves of a record.

Question: How can a brand new, original EMI master show tape damage, before it has even been used to make vinyl records out of it?
Answer: It can't.

Part four: screaming vegetables

Vegetable Man and Scream Thy Last Scream (let's shorten that to VM and STLS, shall we?) are both unreleased Syd Barrett - Pink Floyd gems from 1967. EMI has been tempted to put these on compilations before, but for different (copyright) reasons that never happened, luckily two different mixes have leaked to the public.

When (The) Dark Side Of The Moon proved successful EMI compiled early Floyd as A Nice Pair and put the two Barrett solo-albums together in a Syd Barrett budget release. The selling figures (especially in the USA where the solo albums had never been released) were important enough for EMI to beg for a third Syd Barrett solo album. Producer Peter Jenner soon found out that Syd Barrett really wasn't in the singing mood and scraped the barrel in order to find some unreleased material.

On the 13th of August 1974 Peter Jenner (with a little help from John Leckie and Pat Stapley) mixed a stereo tape of unreleased Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd originals, including VM and STLS. This tape, with reference 6604Z, almost immediately evaporated from the EMI archives and re-materialised – so goes the legend – miraculously in one of Bernard White's cupboards.

Almost day by day thirteen years later, Malcolm Jones compiled his personal 'Syd Barratt (sic) Rough Mixes'. It is believed that he accidentally lost this tape just when he was passing by the front door of an anonymous bootlegger.

Part five: check your sources

The Anchor needs to get a bit nerdy and technical here, like those Bible scholars who combine different fourth century Greek editions in order to reconstruct the ultimate Bible source. We are going to compare the different versions of the tracks, so you have been warned.

Barrett fans have strong reasons to believe that the Malcolm Jones 1987 (mono) tapes are the closest to the original 1967 Pink Floyd recordings. In 1974 Peter Jenner added extra effects, echo and reverb to the mix, most notably on VM, and these are absent on the Malcolm Jones tape. The Malcolm Jones mix of STLS fades out, while Jenner's version ends abruptly with – yet – another sound effect.

That is not all. In the case of Vegetable Man there is even a third mix - the so-called Beechwoods tape. It has survived on tape from a 1969 radio show where Nick Mason opened his Pandora’s box of 1967 outtakes. A fan found it back in 2001 and promptly donated it to Kiloh Smith from Madcaps Laughing.

As the acetate allegedly dates from 1967;
Vegetable Man must sound like the Beechwoods version, and
Scream Thy Last Scream must sound like the Malcolm Jones rough mix.

Right?
Wrong.

Part six: listen to the music

Yeeshkul member MOB compared all known versions and came back with the following report.

Vegetable Man
Vegetable Man.

Vegetable Man:

The acetate mix is mono, but definitely different than the Malcolm Jones mono mix from 1987.

The 1967 acetate mix is also different from the 1967 Beechwoods tape, believed to be the most authentic studio version of the song. On the Beechwoods tape, there is absolutely no echo or reverb during the sentence "Vegetable man where are you" but they are present on the acetate.

The only version with extra echo and reverb is the 1974 stereo mix by Peter Jenner.

MOB concludes:

Actually, if I take the 1974 Jenner stereo mix and convert it to mono, I have the same mix as the "acetate" mix. So to me it seems the current mix is not from 1967 (if it was the case it should be close to the 1967 Beechwoods mix, and it's not), but from 1974.
Maybe the 1974 Jenner versions were copied, traded, with some "mono-ization" in the lineage, then pressed as fake acetates?
Scream Thy Last Scream
Scream Thy Last Scream.

Scream Thy Last Scream:

The 1967 acetate mono mix is not the same as the Jones 1987 mono mix (the Jones version fades out during the street noises). Instead of that, on the acetate mix, the street noises end abruptly with an echo effect.

MOB:

Is it pure coincidence that the echo is exactly the same effect as the one used by Jenner during his 1974 mixdown?
Again, if you mono-ize the 1974 Jenner mix, you have the current acetate mix (minus the scratches and tape flaws). Same effects at the same moments.

Part seven: the time-paradox explanation

Of course this all makes sense, especially in a Barrett universe, and the contradiction can easily be explained.

Somewhere in 1967 Barrett invented a time-travelling device by combining a clock with a washing machine. When asked to compose a third single he hopped to 1974, stole tape number 6604Z from the EMI archives and returned to 1967.

Thus it is perfectly logical that the 1967 acetate sounds exactly like the 1974 Jenner mix and en passant we have solved the mystery how the tape has disappeared from the EMI vaults.

The utterly boring explanation is that the 1967 acetate is fake, counterfeit, a forgery, made by a scrupulous thief to rob a few thousands of dollars from a collector’s pocket. In other words: mono-ization turned into monetisation.

Part eight: let's get physical

The Anchor is like one of those boring Roger Waters songs: once we're in a drive, we can't stop and we have to make extra parts of the same monotonous melody over and over again.

Even without listening to the counterfeit acetate there still is something dubious about it (thanks neonknight, emmapeelfan,...).

Due to their production process and their fragility acetates are - most of the time - single sided, just like the surviving acetates of Arnold Layne and See Emily Play. Albums were even issued on two different single sided acetates to avoid further damage (but some double sided acetates do exist, like the very first Pink Floyd recording with Bob Klose in the band: Lucy Leave / King Bee [but that was definitely not an EMI acetate]);

Engineers at EMI were invariably nerdy administrative types, who attended recording sessions dressed in white lab coats. These cheeky little fellows would never label an acetate without putting the name of the band on top;

Although a pretty fair forgery the label on the record is not identical to the 'official' EMI acetate label, there also seem to be some glue marks that are usually not present on real acetates;

and last but not least;

Acetates are ad hoc test pressings and in the extremely rare case of a double acetate this means that a certain relationship has to exist between both tracks, like both sides from a single or takes from the same session. STLS was recorded on 7 August 1967 (some overdubs were made in December 1967 and January 1968 for a possible inclusion on A Saucerful of Secrets). VM was recorded between 9 and 12 October 1967. They were never meant to be each other's flip side on a single, so finding them on the same acetate simply makes no sense, unless it is a fake, of course.

Part nine: a spoonful of charades

So basically here is what happened:

1. someone, somewhere in summertime, got hold of the Peter Jenner 1974 stereo-mixes of VM and STLS (not that weird as they have been circulating for at least 3 decades);

2. these were copied on a tape (perhaps even a cassette for home entertainment) but unfortunately it was damaged, trampled, eaten and vomited out by the player (crumpled sound between 51 and 55 seconds);

3. this cassette was downgraded from stereo to mono;

4. the mono 'remaster' was cut on acetate, a fake EMI label was glued on it, and sold to a collector (probably in the mid Nineties);

5. the acetate, believed to be genuine by its owner, was copied in a professional studio to (hopefully) a lossless digital format (there are vinyl record clicks to prove that);

6. the digital copy was then converted to MP3 (with a compression cut off at 16 Khz) and torrented through Yeeshkul.

Part ten: let's add some extra confusion

It has now been established that the 1967 acetate is fake and a mere mono copy of the 1974 stereo mix, but there is still some confusion and a bit of hope.

Although a copy from a copy from a copy the acetate sounds better, crispier and fuller than the Jenner mixes that are currently circulating. To put it into technical gobbledygook: the forger has a better sounding, earlier generation tape at his disposal than the one that Barrett collectors have now. This is something what duly pisses most Syd anoraks off.

Instead of sharing the tape to the fans it has been used to produce bootleg acetates. One can assume that the criminal sold more than one unique acetate, so there must be other collectors around who have purchased this record, believing they had the only copy in the world.

The high-priced acetate market is not that big. Perhaps if we stick together, we can trace the seller who must now tremble like a leaf, and before cutting off his balls and roasting them on a fire, confiscate the low generation tape and use it for the better.

fake Pink Foyd 1967 acetate
Fake Pink Foyd 1967 acetate.

Part eleven: last words

What you see at the left is an acetate counterfeit of a nonexistent 1967 Pink Floyd single
Vegetable Man / Scream Thy Last Scream.
Approximate value: 10 US dollars, not a cent more.

Let us be fair: not all is lost for Saq, the current owner.

The Anchor has got an excellent business relationship with Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers Bonhams. For a small 35% commission rate the Anchor is willing to put the acetate on sale at Bonhams as they already have a habit of selling overcharged fake Barrett memorabilia: Bonhams Sells Fake Barrett Poem.


The Anchor wishes to thank: Giuliano Navarro, Hallucalation, Vince666, Felixstrange, MOB, Neonknight, Emmapeelfan and the other participants at Late Night and Yeeshkul.

Late Night forum thread: Vegetable Man / Scream Thy Last Scream (Acetate Recordings)
Yeeshkul forum thread: Pink Floyd - "Vegetable Man / Scream Thy Last Scream" from rare acetate, 1967 (members only)

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 Stuff.


2011-03-13

The Mighty Queen

Eskimo Rose.
Eskimo Rose.

In January of this year Mojo published a (way too short) Mark Blake article about Iggy, who – in the Sixties - was metonymically but erroneously described as an Eskimo. There is a realistic chance that this blog, politically correct named the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, would never have seen the light of day if Iggy had been nicknamed something else.

Titled SYD BARRETT'S ENIGMATIC COVER COMPANION CLEARS UP SOME QUERIES the article actually added to the mystery, although Mark Blake is, of course, not to blame: Iggy is just mysterious by nature. And the more we find out, the more mysterious it gets.

The Church was erected for just that, to reveal the enigma behind an enigmatic woman but now that Evelyn has stepped into Mark Zuckerberg's limelight the Church has made a deliberate step backwards. Let it be known that the Church will be discreet about present Evelyn. She is not Truman Burbank and it is none of our business what she had for breakfast this morning anyway (bacon butties and a steaming hot cup of tea, if you wanna know, and the Reverend had some croissants and a cup of coffee).

Mark Blake also published an extended 'director's cut' of his interview and now the time for the Church has come to comment, amend or append on some of his poignant paragraphs. We will be cruel and ruthless although the reader should realise that above every line a virtual 'Well done, Mark Blake!' Church sign is blinking. A bit like this:

Well done, Mark Blake!

NME 1037

Before long, The Holy Church Of Iggy The Inuit, a fansite in her honour, had appeared, its webmaster, Felix Atagong, sifting through ever scrap of information gleaned from MOJO and elsewhere with a forensic scientist's attention to detail. Among Felix's discoveries was a November 1966 issue of NME which featured a photo of "Iggy who is half eskimo" dancing at South Kensington's Cromwellian club. (The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 3)
Mark Blake
Mark Blake.

Mark gives the Reverend too many credits here. The Church mainly rips other people's ideas (not an uncommon practice with Churches, although they mostly prefer to rip other people's wallets) and the November 26, 1966 New Musical Express Iggy picture was not discovered by the Church. The scan was already floating around on the web. Neptune Pink Floyd, for instance, published it in November 2006, two years before the Church started.

However the Church did trace a copy of that particular NME, hoping there would be some extra news about Evelyn, but to our regret Iggy is not mentioned at all in the accompanying text (several scans of NME 1037 can be found in our gallery).

The Croydon Guardian

Believing that Iggy may have gone to school in Thornton Heath, Jeff and Anthony contacted The Croydon Guardian, who ran an article - So Where Did She Go To, My Lovely - enquiring after the whereabouts of the girl "who entirely captured the spirit of the '60s". (The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 4)

Time to pull the plug of that 'Well done, Mark Blake!' sign above we're afraid, as The Croydon Guardian was informed by none other than the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

After the Church was informed that Iggy had been a regular visitor of The Orchid in Purley the Reverend googled and found two Croydon Guardian articles about the dance hall: In dance hall days (9th August 2006) and We remember the Orchid (29th August 2006).

The Church contacted Brian Roote, a historian from the Bourne Society who had been researching the history of the Orchid, but without success. Journalist Kerry McQueeney, author of the Orchid articles, passed the Church mail to Kirsty Whalley, editor of the Croydon Guardian Heritage pages. She replied the Church on the third September of 2008:

We would like to feature this story in the newspaper next week and hopefully it will prompt a few people to call in.
Kirsty Whalley
Kirsty Whalley.

Kirsty Whalley also asked the Church for a decent Iggy picture and here is what the Reverend answered:

Probably the best way to get an (unpublished) picture of Iggy is to contact Anthony Stern (former boyfriend of Iggy in 1966) who made a movie with her that will be shown on The City Wakes festival in Cambridge, so more than 40 years after it was filmed. (Taken from: Visitor at Orchid Ballroom - 1965 – 1967, mail to Kirsty Whalley, 3 September 2008 22:04.)

Kirsty Whalley took the information, given by the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, to heart (probably the first time in the Reverend’s entire career that a woman actually listened to his advice) and interviewed Anthony Stern who also donated a previous unpublished picture of Evelyn, just like the Church had predicted. She then did an excellent job by contacting Jeff Dexter (or perhaps Jeff Dexter contacted her after having spoken to Anthony Stern) and wrote a damn fine article: Where did she go? 

It took over a year for someone to 'call in', because in February 2010 Kirsty Whalley published the very first Iggy interview in 40 years that even took the Church by surprise (see: Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea). What the Reverend doesn't understand though is why the Croydon Guardian journalist doesn't like to be reminded that it was the Church who gave her the scoop. So no pretty blinking Church sign for you, Kirsty!

From Dieppe to Delhi

Iggy's father was a British army officer, who served alongside Louis Mountbatten, and attended the official handover ceremony from Great Britain to India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharial Nehru in 1947. (The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 7)
Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten.
Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten.

Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten, born in 1900 and killed by an IRA bomb in 1979, was destined to pursue a glorious military career. Like so many of his aristocratic peers this career was not per se based on actual military performances but on the amount of names he had been given at birth. After a military débâcle at Dieppe in 1942, where 3,623 out of 6,086 soldiers, mostly Canadians, were either killed, wounded, or captured by the Germans, Mountbatten was given a new military playground as Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia Command. The Dieppe raid (unauthorised by the general staff) provoked a schism between the Canadian and British army leaders during the second world war and the mistrust would linger on for decades to come.

In 1947 Mountbatten was nominated Viceroy and Governor-General of India and his principal task was to lead India (separated from Pakistan) in a peaceful way towards independence. This lead to one of the bloodiest massacres the subcontinent has ever seen. Muslims fled from India to Pakistan, Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan to India and about 500,000 people lost their lives in the process (death toll numbers vary from 200,000 to a million).

Up the Khyber

"My father also knew all about Mountbatten's wife's affair with Nehru," she adds mischievously. During a spell of leave, he had travelled to a remote village in the Himalayas "where he met the woman that would become my mother." Iggy was born in Pakistan, and attended army schools in India and Aden, before the family moved to England. (The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 7)

In the night of 14 to 15 August 1947 India and Pakistan officially separated from London and because this had been supervised so well by Mountbatten, he was entitled to another promotion. From now on he could add the title of Governor-General of India on his business card. In other words: Mountbatten was now the de facto monarch of the new state.

Jawaharlal Nehru and Edwina Cynthia Annette Mountbatten
Jawaharlal Nehru and Edwina Cynthia Annette Mountbatten.

Lucky there was still his wife, Edwina Cynthia Annette Mountbatten. Her part-time job was to visit the refugee camps her husband was so kind to fill up and to hump India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, although there are some biographers who maintain that their relationship was purely platonic.

But enough politics. Around that time Iggy's father, posted in Pakistan, went for an evening stroll in the Himalaya's where his spell of leave soon developed in a spell of love. It is believed that in March 1947 the couple did exchange something more than friendly kisses. The Church always believed that Iggy was somewhat older than Syd Barrett (see: When Syd met Iggy), but this new evidence shows she is nearly two years younger than him (and, should this be of any interest to anyone, both Syd and Ig were born on a Sunday).

If Ig attended school in Pakistan, the family must have been there until early 1950. Although the country was independent several hundred of British officers stayed in Pakistan until the Pakistan army had enough officers to take care of its own. There was a 1st Battalion Wiltshire Regiment at Rawalpindi (Pakistan), with Indian bases at Amritsar, Calcutta, Jhansi, Jullunder (Jalandhar) and Lahore (Pakistan) but the Church's research couldn't link Ig's father to this battalion. The Wiltshire Regiment left the Indias in October 1947, but her father stayed in Pakistan for a couple of years longer.

Map of Aden
Map of Aden.

The garden of Aden

It is not that weird either that the family was dispatched to Aden. Before 1937 Aden was an (overseas) part of British India and after that it became a separate British Crown colony, much to the enjoyment of philatelists from all over the world. It would stay under British reign until 1963 and in 1967 it was absorbed by the People's Republic of South Yemen.

Kids could go to the Khormaksar primary and secondary school (close to the RAF airport base), but there was the (Roman-Catholic) Good Shepherd Convent School for girls as well, the Isthmus School and the Selim Girl's School that was badly damaged in the anti-Semitic pogroms from 1947.

There are quite a few blogs and forums about Aden with hundreds of pictures of the fifties and sixties, but the Reverend couldn't find Iggy back, yet. The Mojo article has a picture from Ig at Worthing Beach, in the early Sixties, so around 1963 they may have returned to England.

London Underground

In January 1969 Iggy met Syd, thanks to their common friend Jenny Spires. The outside world didn't always realise that Ig and Syd became an item. Ig was unaware that Syd had been a pop star, but then one day:

He [Syd] then said, 'Would you listen to this?' And he bought out this big, old-fashioned reel-to-reel tape recorder, and said, 'Tell me what you think'." Syd then played her the songs that would end up on The Madcap Laughs. One track, Terrapin, made an immediate impression. "I said, 'That's quite catchy', and, of course, I don't think Syd was really into catchy...It was a long tape, and he didn't demand any opinion, but just asked if I thought it was OK. At the end he said 'Someone at EMI - I cannot remember the name - wants me to make a record. How would you feel about having a rock star boyfriend?'" (The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 12)

This may have happened in the weekend of 12 and 13 April 1969 after Malcolm Jones and Syd had started working on the new album:

During the tea break we discussed going back to some of the songs started the previous year, in particular 'Golden Hair', and perhaps 'Late Night' although the original version of that had been destroyed, it seemed. We returned to the studio and started work on another new song, 'Terrapin'. In one take Syd laid down a guitar and vocal track that was to be the master! At my suggestion Syd double tracked his vocal part, and that was it!

One day Syd Barrett disappeared from the flat and Iggy, in a jealous mood, fearing he was seeing another woman, tracked down her friend in David Gilmour's appartment, just a few blocks away.

"I went in, shouting, 'OK, where is she?' thinking there was a woman hiding in one of the rooms. But, of course, the meeting had been with Dave about the record they were making together." Barrett left Iggy with Gilmour, but rather the worse for wear, she knocked the stylus on his record player accidentally scratching his copy of Pink Floyd's brand new album. "I have no idea what album it was, only that it was their new album," Iggy sighs. (The likely candidate seems to be Soundtrack From The Film More) "So Dave threw me out..." (The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 2, paragraph 3)

Here is again an excellent opportunity to grab the Church's copies of Glenn Povey's 'Echoes' and David Parker's 'Random Precision'. According to David Parker Barrett had his last recording session with Malcolm Jones on the 3rd and 4th of May, while the David Gilmour sessions started a month later (see our 1969 calendar). On the 6th of May however 'a set of rough mixes' of the album was made, presumably to be handed over to Gilmour (and Waters), who had promised to finalise the album (it is significant that on that tape Opel, Swan Lee and Rhamadan are still present).

But probably Barrett, Jones, Gilmour and Waters had been discussing about all this before. The Church has always believed that Iggy left Syd somewhere in April and up till now Ig's visit to Gilmour's apartment fits nicely into that scheme.

Mark Blake wisely deducts the scratched record has to be 'More'. More was released on Friday, the 13th of June 1969, but of course Gilmour may have had a copy some weeks before. Another, but more unlikely, candidate is 'Ummagumma'. Although only released in November the Floyd had already been recording some pieces for this album in January and February, together with the 'More' sessions, so perhaps Gilmour and Barrett could've listened to an acetate instead. And of course the live tracks of that album must have been circulating amongst the band members as well.

But there is still another possibility. Margaretta Barclay told the Church she has a postcard sent to her and Ig at Wetherby Mansions in June 1969 so perhaps Ig's departure took place after More had been officially released (see: Gretta Speaks 2).


Notes (other than internet links mentioned above):
Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 139-158.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 7.
Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 104-112.

The Church wishes to thank: Adenairways.com, Mark Blake, Jenny Spires, Natashaa' and the beautiful people at Late Night.
♥ Iggy ♥


2011-03-23

Felix Atagong: an honest man

Fake Reverend unmasked at last
Felix Atagong
Felix Atagong.

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 tests.

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 warnings.

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 honest man...

Solo en les Nubes
Solo en las Nubes.

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 long-awaited path.

Publius Enigma.
Publius Enigma.

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.

Syd and Iggy - Spring 1969
Syd and Iggy - Spring 1969.

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 after all.

6. But finding Iggy also presented a major crisis for the Church, isn't it?

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 biscuits.

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?
Solo en las Nubes banner
Solo en las Nubes banner.

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 material.”

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 Rosemaree).

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 the Church?

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 January 2011.


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 Stuff.


2012-01-15

The Case of the Painted Floorboards (v 2.012)

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

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

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

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

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

and,

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

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

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

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

Remembering Games

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

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

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

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

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

Amnesydelicate Matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Margaretta Barclay (Gretta Speaks (Pt. 2)): "Iggy moved about and stayed with all sorts of people in all sorts of places without declaring her intention to do so. To my knowledge there was no ‘when Iggy left Syd’ moment. We were all free spirits then, who moved whenever and wherever a whim took us."

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

Jenny Spires on Facebook.
Jenny Spires on Facebook.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any colour you like

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

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

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

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

JenS: "I was staying with Syd between the New Year and March '69. (…) Anyway, at that time, the floor was already painted blue and orange and I remember thinking how good it looked on the Madcap album cover later on when the album was released."

Iggy Rose (The Croydon Guardian): "When Mick (Rock, FA) turned up to take the photos I helped paint the floor boards for the shoot, I was covered in paint, I still remember the smell of it."

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

Margaretta Barclay (Gretta Speaks): "I remember that Iggy was involved with the floor painting project and that she had paint all over her during the floor painting time but I was not involved with the painting of the floor."

Iggy Rose (Mojo): "He jumped off the mattress and said, 'Quick, grab a paint brush.' He did one stripe and I did another. If you look at Mick Rock's pictures, I have paint on the soles of my feet."

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


MP3 link: Duggie Fields.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jenny Spires on Facebook
Jenny Spires on Facebook.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥