Mark Blake

This page contains all the articles that match the Mark Blake-tag, chronologically sorted, from old to new.
Most browsers have a search function (Ctrl-F) that will highlight the entry you are looking for.
Alternatively there is the 'Holy Search' search field and the 'Taglist'.


Looking For The 3 Most Recent Articles?



Articles

2008-08-30

Shaken not stirred

Iggy by Anthony Stern
Iggy by Anthony Stern

Moviemaker Anthony Stern, who knew Iggy before she met Syd, has confirmed that the person at the Granny Takes A Trip boutique on the IN Gear movie is indeed her. On his turn he will present a home movie called Iggy, Eskimo Girl at The City Wakes festival in Cambridge. A short teaser can could be found on YouTube.

Update 2016 11 15: meanwhile the video has been deleted by the super-vigilant Pink Floyd copyright gestapo.

According to Mick Rock Syd was touched when she left him:

Once I’d developed the film (from The Madcap Laughs photo session, note by FA), I went round to show Syd the pictures. He took this one opposite (page 21 in the PR-book, note by FA) and scratched some lines and his name onto it. I think there was a bit of negativity directed at Iggy. He just started scratching the print, with a big grin on his face. (Taken from Psychedelic Renegades.)

It could be that the scratches on the picture were destined at Iggy, but why did Syd Barrett scratch (more or less) around her figure? Not (and I hope my shrink will never read this) her face or body, in my garbled opinion the logical thing to do if one would try to express negative or revengeful feelings on a photograph. Syd’s body and face is far more scratched than Iggy’s and Barrett also cut the letters SYD on the picture... Perhaps he was just trying to make clear to Mick Rock that he wanted to get rid of his pop-life alter ego.

Mick Rock writes further that he heard from Duggie Fields, the painter who was Syd Barrett’s roommate and who still lives in the same apartment today, that ‘she later went off with some rich guy in Chelsea and lived a very straight life’.

On my main old and abandoned blog (and also on the Late Night forum) I wrote that none of the Pink Floyd biographers have been really looking for Iggy. Mark Blake, author of Pigs Might Fly, responded: “I can't speak for all the PF or SB biographers, but I certainly tried.”

The only bit of new info I found was that there was a chance 'Iggy' may have gone to school in the South London area, as she was known as one of the regular teenage girls at the dancehalls around Purley and Caterham. This would have been around 1965. Duggie Fields recalls seeing her some time after the Madcap Laughs photo session and she was looking a lot more "sloaney". Most of the people I spoke to who knew her believe Iggy married a rich businessman and doesn't now want to be 'found'. (Taken from The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit on Late Night.)

Although scarce the above information is about the most relevant we have had from a biographer in about 30 years.

The most famous dancehall in Purley was the Orchid Ballroom where The Who, The Troggs and The Hollies gigged a couple of times. It started as a regular dance hall (and concert and sporting events hall) in the Fifties and had a local house band The Jackpots in 1963 and 64.

In the mid Sixties (1964 – 1966) the Orchid Ballroom was the meeting place for the Croydon mods who would assemble every Monday night. Witnesses remember Mike (?) Morton, Tony Crane, Jeff Dexter and Sammy Samwell spinning the records. Pete Sanders and Mickey Finn used to be part of the crowd.

Not all these names ring a bell. I could not trace back Mike Morton, but Lionel Morton was the singer and lead guitarist from the Four Pennies who had a hit in 1963 – 1964 with Juliet. Tony Crane was a member of The Mavericks, a band that became famous when they changed the name to The Merseybeats, later The Merseys (David Bowie would cover their Sorrow on his Pin-Ups album, a tune they had borrowed from The McCoys). Mickey Finn could be the man who was the drummer of T. Rex and who also played on the record made by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, the people who were behind the Granny Takes A Trip boutique.

Elizabeth Colclough used to work at the bar in 1968: "It was the place to go to meet friends old and new, weekday evenings and also at the weekend. We saw some great bands, some who are still going strong today.”

Another witness recalls how Cathy (Mc Gowan), the queen of the mods and presenter of the ever popular Ready Steady Go! Show, came to the Orchid Ballroom to spot for dancers to appear in her show. Seen the fact that Iggy was present at an RSG!-party, organised by the show's main choreographer, it is not improbable that she may have been present at some RSG! television-shows as well, as a dancer or as a pretty face in the public.

A book about the history of the Orchid Ballroom has been made and the Church will try to contact its author, there is the (very small) chance that Iggy is mentioned in it.

Update August 2009: Brian Roote, who studied the history of The Orchid confirmed later to the Church: 'I have no knowledge of this girl whatsoever'.

An image gallery with stills of the Iggy, Eskimo Girl movie.


Sources (other than the above internet links):
McAleer, Dave: Beatboom!, Hamlyn, London, 1994, p. 57-59.
Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 20.


2008-09-23

Where did she go?

Iggy by Anthony Stern
Iggy by Anthony Stern.

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

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

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

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

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


2008-11-16

Si les cochons pourraient voler...

Flamant Rose by Felix Atagong
Flamant Rose, by Felix Atagong

Have you ever seen President Sarkozy on the telly giving a speech? He always thinks he is doing a bloody Hamlet. His performances, because that is what he thinks they are, remind me more of Louis de Funès (or for the non-Francophiles among us: Benny Hill) than Napoleon Bonaparte, another one of those short short-tempered little men with a short fuse who think they can rule the world.

This post contains a fairly well hidden review of the Pink Floyd biography Pigs Might Fly by Mark Blake.

Contents:
1. Flamingoes might fly, about the very first Pink Floyd biography, written in French, by Jean-Marie Leduc.
2. Floydstuff, a rant about merchandising and tribute albums.
3. Pigs Might Fly, review of the Mark Blake biography.
4. A final word about Jean-Marie Leduc.

Flamingoes might fly

Eloquence is a French way of speech but that was not what I was thinking of when I read the following, decades ago:

Je ne sais qui doit le plus à l’autre! La France ou le Pink Floyd? Le Pink Floyd peut-être.
(translation) I don’t know who owes the other more! France or Pink Floyd? Pink Floyd perhaps.

The above is the start of a French rock biography (1977 edition), called Pink Floyd, written by Rock & Folk journalist Jean-Marie Leduc and issued by Albin Michel. Rock & Folk was an excellent French music magazine, that started in 1966, hence its name, and that wanted to inform the French public from the new trends in modern pop music. Jean-Marie Leduc hopped to London and wrote several articles about the London Underground music scene and le pouvoir des fleurs. He discovered this incredible band that would soon be the French progressive student movement’s darling, le Pink Floyd.

Although the most common language at London at that time was the language of love it would’ve helped Jean-Marie Leduc a little bit if he had actually understood some English. Which he didn’t. Probably the acid didn’t help either. That didn’t stop him to write a Pink Floyd biography that was published in October 1973, and that could still be found, a decade later, in every bookstore and self-respecting newspaper and magazine shop in France. Selling figures nearly must have achieved the same height as a regular Pink Floyd album; Leduc’s Pink Floyd was an instant classic and a steady seller.

It was also full of blunders. At page 19 Leduc wrongly mistakes the Pink Flamingo club for the band and throughout the book he will name the lads le Flamant Rose. This (wrong) translation was taken over by all French rock magazines and it would take Rock & Folk until July 1994 to officially denounce the rumour that a Pink Floyd is a Phoenicopterus Roseus. Another botch is on page 49 where Leduc claims that...

...le 2 novembre (1967) (…) un nouveau simple du groupe “Apologises / Jugband blues” est commercialisé en Angleterre’.
(translation) on the 2nd of November (1967) (...) a new single of the band is released in England: “Apologises / Jugband blues” .

This one simple sentence has made French speaking Pink Floyd fans look for this non-existent track of the band for over a decade. At the end of the book the mistake is repeated at the discography, Jean-Marie Leduc keeps on maintaining that the Floyd’s third single was Jugband blues / Apologies (please note the different orthography and running order).

Update November 2011: it was later cleared out that once again it had been Leduc's extended knowledge of the English language that made him misunderstand 'Apples and Oranges' for 'Apologies' or 'Apologises'.

Jean-Marie Leduc’s biography was probably the very first biography on the band, as Charles Beterams wrote in the Echoes, a Dutch fan club magazine, and despite the mistakes it also contains a stunning revelation about the bands first recording, forgotten by most of the biographies that would come next. Leduc interviewed Nick Mason in 1973 and asked if Astronomy Domine was the Floyd’s first composition. Mason answered (translated from French back into English):

Not true. Our first composition was titled Lucy Lee in blue tight or something similar. We recorded it on acetate but it was never commercialised.

Once again Jean-Marie Leduc’s average knowledge of the English language made him note the song as Lucy Lee, and not as Lucy Leave, although Nick Mason’s pronunciation of the song title may not have been too comprehensible as well. It would take ages for another journalist to re-discover the truth about the band’s first recording.

Floydstuff

One bloke who does remember Lucy Leave is Mark Blake. In 2007 he wrote a Pink Floyd biography entitled Pigs Might Fly but because I am such a stingy money spender I wanted to wait until the paperback came sailplaning to me. The last couple of years it is raining Pink Floyd related books and accessories as if all kind of shady people want to have their free ride on the gravy train. It is of course a double feeling, here we are Pink Floyd fans wanting to know everything (and we mean everything) on the band but on the other hand we feel as if we are inside an orange squeezer (or to use Gerald Scarfe’s weird world of Floydian symbolism: a meat grinder). The last thing I’ve read on Pink Floyd merchandising is that Converse will bring out a range of shoes based on the cover art of three of their albums. Part of me is yelling yuck!, but another part is jumping up and down, not a pretty sight if you would catch me on my webcam.

About a decade ago, perhaps a bit longer, small record companies suddenly discovered the tribute album. I jumped on it as a hungry louce on a passing German shepherd dog. But when my heap of tribute records, all made to honestly commemorate the band and not to make a quick buck, started to become bigger than my genuine Pink Floyd collection I simply gave up. I think that Babies Go Pink Floyd was the last tribute album I bought, partially because the concept attracted me. If you also feel tempted to listen to it.
Don’t.
Not only the record is tripe and you wouldn’t want to confront any baby with it without giving him or her a lifelong phobia for Pink Floyd music but also it doesn’t actually motivates grown-ups either to start procreating, normally a quite amusing and satisfactory pastime.

Recently I found this add from Dwell records that goes something like this:

The biggest names in hard rock and avant-garde metal have come together to pay tribute to the madcap genius of Syd Barrett. Featuring some of heavy-metals most influential players, this is a hard-rocking trip through the music world’s most idiosyncratic minds.

Some of the bands present on the record are the following: Dreg, Giant Squid, Jarboe, Kylesa and my favourite Stinking Lizaveta. Except in some distant Norwegian fjordic regions where these bands are probably world famous amongst the local satanic black metal scene these bands don’t really merit the eptitheton ‘biggest name in hard rock’ to begin with. I would have written the add for this album a little bit less triumphant:

Several virtually unknown hard rock and avant-garde metal bands that are constantly struggling to have a record contract have come together to rip off the musical heritage of Syd Barrett. Featuring some of heavy-metals obscurest players, this is a fruitless hard-rocking trip trying to get a fan-base that exceeds the dozen.

Now that is what I call a more realistic description of the project. You can listen to the songs at MySpace and I have to confess they don’t all sound like rubbish to me.

But all the above was merely a long, way too long, way to say that I quit buying Pink Floyd tribute records a while ago as most were, are and will be… full of crap. I had the same compulsive buying disorder when it came to Pink Floyd related music magazines and books. Despite the fact that I can’t play guitar I have dozens of guitar magazines that promise you the tablature of the third guitar solo in Comfortably Numb and a brand new exclusive Pink Floyd interview that was in fact already published in another guitar magazine from three years before that I already had in my scrapbook.

I define myself more than the average Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett fan, but less than an anorak, fanorak suits me fine.. Anoraks have the tendency to start flame wars because someone has told that Syd Barrett was wearing green socks on the 7th of August 1967 while every aficionado knows he was wearing brown socks that day. (To avoid death threats: I’ve just made this whole sock-thing up, but the 7th of August 1967 was of course an important day in Floydian history, about the importance of green socks, just check David Gilmour’s inside sleeve of his About Face album and shiver.)

So I quit buying Pink Floyd books as well, more or less… the last I bought was The Rough Guide To Pink Floyd that can now be found at local lo-price bookshops for the third of the price I bought it for. That is a very nice Pink Floyd biography by the way, and if you are in search for one, well don’t hesitate and get it. It’s cheap and cheerful.

Pigs Might Fly  

But this post was originally intended as a review of Pigs Might Fly, a Pink Floyd biography by Mark Blake and all I did until now is take the piss out of:

a) the very first Pink Floyd biography by Jean-Marie Leduc;
b) the various tribute cds that do exist;
c) the growing pile of Pink Floyd biographies…

So I had given up buying Pink Floyd biographies but when I wrote on the Late Night forum that nobody had ever tried to locate Syd’s girlfriend we know as Iggy Mark Blake promptly replied that he certainly had. I more or less apologised and answered that I would read his biography.

So I did.

Who am I to post a review about a book that Record Collector choose as book of the year, that Q magazine described as a ‘detailed, orderly, first-rate read’, while Mojo praised its ‘heroic research’. It’s excellent, well written, full of anecdotes and it seems to please the casual and the more ardent fan of the band, although it still forgets to mention the colour of socks Syd Barrett was wearing on the 7th of August 1967. Anoraks will always find something to grumble about. I did. I found a mistake from microscopical importance about the Publius affair but only people daft enough to look for the Enigma mystery will probably realise that.

A while ago I started a side-project called the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. In it I am looking for the whereabouts of the girl who appeared on the cover of the Syd Barrett album The Madcap Laughs. It is rather amazing how many bits and pieces can be found after all these years, but apparently Iggy was quite a character in those flowery powery days. The time was ripe as other people suddenly started to reveal their Iggy memories, amongst them Anthony Stern who made a four-minute movie about her in the Sixties that was premiered this year.

I wrote some things about Iggy that I thought were revolutionary but apparently Mark Blake had unravelled these before in his biography, only he didn’t need as many space to write these things down than I did and if this review goes on like this it might be longer than the book itself.

On page 140 Mark Blake writes about how Iggy performed The Bend (Church article: Bend It!), on the next page he reveals the existence of the Anthony Stern movie (before it became an item on YouTube) and how she used to go dancing at The Orchid in Purley (Church article: Shaken not stirred). And all this a year before the Church was started and something of an Iggy hype was created. Hats off to Mark Blake.

Mark Blake is not only an accurate but also a beautiful writer (I’m not speaking about his physical appearance here), reading the bit about the Live 8 reunion gave me tears in my eyes although I normally only weep when I read sweet little things about dying puppies. That more or less sums it up really; Pigs Might Fly moved me and I thank Mark Blake a lot for that.

(In America the book has been published under the alternative title Comfortably Numb, this was the working title of the book but as the cover has a snapshot from Battersea Power Station, including flying pig balloon, this was changed for the European market.)

A final word about Jean-Marie Leduc

One of the funnier parts of the very first Pink Floyd biography are the translated song texts. The Floyd’s first album is called Le joueur de flûte aux grilles de l’aube, but my favourite still is a song that is called Bonbons et pain aux raisins. And what to think about the following, I let you guess what song this has been taken from:

De tortueux signes voltigent.
Lueur. Lueur. Lueur.
Fla. Pom. Pom.
Escaliers d’épouvante et lois de mort…

And a final word for collectors

If you are looking for a copy of the Pink Floyd book by Jean-Marie Leduc be sure to buy the Albin Michel / Rock & Folk versions (several editions from 1973 till 1983). In 1987 another book by Jean-Marie Leduc, also called Pink Floyd, and in the same mini format, was presented to the public by Le Club Des Stars / Seghers. Although based upon the previous versions this book has been completely rewritten and most of the errors have been edited out.


If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: Fasten Your Anoraks 
This post has been previously published at Felix Atagong's Unfinished Projects.
(The lyrics above are Leduc's French translation of Astronomy Domine.)


2009-01-02

Eskimono

Iggy by Anthony Stern
Iggy by Anthony Stern.

To all followers of the cult of Iggy: a happy new year!

The Church received a nice mail from Anthony Stern last week:

I see that you have continued to update your website and that the cult of Iggy is snowballing. Although my Iggy photos were shown on City Wakes website nobody was interested in buying the framed prints.

If you are still looking for a belated Xmas present: Anthony’s Iggy pictures are on sale, signed, numbered and framed: £225 for the Triptychs, individual pictures for £175 (plus postage). For more info please contact Anthony Stern Glass. (The Church is not affiliated with or endorsed by this company.)

Another message came from Mark Blake, author of the Pink Floyd biography Pigs Might Fly:

Good luck with the Iggy hunt. I spoke to Ant Stern and Jeff Dexter again last week. They're no nearer to finding her than they were before. I think it's funny that nobody even knew her real name.

For that matter we don’t even know if she was Eskimaux or not.

My good old encyclopaedia Brittanica divides the people that we commonly describe as Eskimo in two categories: Eurasian and Western Arctic people. The Western Arctic people are the Eskimo (including Inuit and Yupiit) and the Aleuts who originate from North America, Greenland and part of Siberia. Amongst the Eurasian arctic people are the Sami (or Lapps) from northern Fennoscandia and several other cultures dispersed over the Ural Mountains and Siberia.

According to the Narwhal Inuit Art Education Foundation there are no Inuit currently living in England (confirmed to the Church by mail). Is it more logical to believe that Iggy’s roots originate from Europe rather than America or Siberia? In that case Iggy, the Eskimo really had to be nicknamed Iggy, the Lapp by her contemporaries.

Translating these into politically correct terms The Church of Iggy the Inuit really had to be baptised the Holy Church of Iggy the Sami to begin with.

As Mark Blake stated above, we don’t know if Iggy was her real name. Iggy could be an alias or perhaps an anglisized version of a foreign name.

If she has Sami roots her name could be Ing, originally meaning progenitor, ancestor, leader – which of course she is for the Church – Ingegerd or one of the many variants such as Inge, Ingine, Yngva, Ingar, Iŋgir… The more popular Ingrid also has its roots in the Nordic countries and this could have easily been shortened to Iggy by her relatives or friends.

Greenland
Greenland.

The problem is that not a lot of Sami people have the so-called Inuit look Iggy is famous for. There is however a part of Europe (although geographically it belongs to North America) that was originally populated by Inuit people and was later on colonised by Iceland, Norway and Denmark. The Church is of course referring to Greenland.

The Inuit are believed to have crossed from North America to northwest Greenland, the world's largest island, between 4000 B.C. and A.D. 1000. Greenland was colonized in 985–986 by Eric the Red. The Norse settlements declined in the 14th century, however, mainly as a result of a cooling in Greenland's climate, and in the 15th century they became extinct. In 1721, Greenland was recolonized by the Royal Greenland Trading Company of Denmark. (taken from Infoplease)

In November of last year 3 out of 4 Greenlandic voted yes on a referendum that could eventually lead to the complete independence of the country. About 88% of the Greenland population has Inuit(-mixed) roots. The following link shows a (slow-loading) picture of premier Hans Enoksen voting for Self-Governance in Greenland with 5 year old Pipaluk Petersen (added here to show the Inuit characteristics).

So Iggy’s ancestors could have come from Greenland.

Well perhaps... at least one other Iggy enthusiast believes she is not Inuit at all, but (partly) Japanese, probably belonging to the Ainu people of Hokkaidō (who had their own language and were maybe the first settlers on America). Iggy could then be a nickname for Igumi.

And aside from that there might be a very slim chance that Iggy hides behind the Philippine Maria Ignacia as another author from a Floydian biography has whispered in the Church's confessional box.

Update: the above post is somewhat redundant as Iggy Rose's mother came from the Himalayas: Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea 


2009-03-14

Cheap Tricks

St. Margarets Square, Cambridge
St. Margarets Square, Cambridge.

Syd Barrett, le rock et autres trucs...

The best Pink Floyd book I've read in years is of course Mark Blake's Pigs Might Fly. Don't tell this to his friends and relatives but I know from a reliable source that he prays at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit from time to time.

The funniest book about the Floyd are the memoirs, not of Nick gentleman drummer boy Mason, although they are good for a chuckle or two, crusty apple pie indeed, but those of Guy Pratt. About a third of My Bass and Other Animals colours pink as Guy joined the diet Floyd, although diet was not exactly the right word to describe the intake of Mr. Gilmour at that time, on their A Momentary Lapse of Reason world tour. Pratt has a very weird kind of humour and one of his pranks was an attempt to crash the Pink Floyd tour plane by frantically running up and down the corridor, in mid-flight! Normal bands have a tour bus; Pink Floyd has a tour plane and the drummer was flying it. If you don’t want to read the book, you can watch an interview where Guy tells about his Floydian encounters.

The best, best as in anoraky, Syd Barrett biography is Julian Palacios' Lost in the Woods, he is a silly bugger if you ask me as he invited the Church on the SBRS forum. Around this time a second (more condensed, I’m afraid) version of his book should finally appear. So far for this commercial break-up.

Speaking about Barretthings, the amount of Syd related books is slowly overhauling the man’s solo output and recently two new ones (in French) have made it onto my desk. Written by Jean-Michel Espitallier, Syd Barrett, le rock et autres trucs, looked the most promising. It doesn't claim to be a biography but a personal rendition, part essay, of a French Barrett connoisseur.

In my opinion France and rock go together like Germany and humour, Italy and efficiency, Belgium and world soccer finales but this one, I hoped, could be an exception as Mr. Jean-Michel Espitallier is not only is a devoted Barrett fan, but also the translator of the French edition of Tim Willis' Madcap biography, a renowned minor poet (dixit Francis Xavier Enderby) and drummer of the French rock band Prexley? (although that last is not exactly a reference, see above).

The title is a nice pun, un jeu de mots, as it can be interpreted as rock and other stuff but also as rock and other tricks. That is why I preferred to start with this tome instead of the other French Barrett book lying on my desk, called The First Pink Floyd, already deserving the price for lamest title of the year.

Stuff & tricks

It is 30 November 2004 and Jean-Michel Espitallier is nervously strolling around St. Margaret’s Square hoping to get a glimpse of the man who was once known as Syd but now prefers to be called Roger. When Syd-Roger drives by (in his sister's car) and the vehicle has to stop at the crossroads - I deliberately use this term here - where Jean-Michel is sitting on a bench, both men meet in the eye and both pretend, for a couple of minutes, not to see the other one. This anecdote sets the tone of the book, marvellously described by the drummer who can't hide his poetic roots. Strong stuff. Nice trick.

I once remarked at the, now defunct, Astral Piper forum that I couldn’t understand the romantic feelings some female Barrett fans had for Syd. I mean, this guy was a slightly disturbed diabetic elderly and if I should have asked them to have a fling with my grandfather they would’ve been insulted… Espitallier is aware of this dichotomy and compares Syd Barrett to Peter Pan. Syd was a Cambridge youngster who refused to grow up and died in the early Seventies when he, like Icarus, reached for the sky too soon. After all these years, fans were still hoping to find a glimpse of Syd, although only Roger had survived.

From old aged Roger it goes to old aged rock. Espitallier makes the point that we have forgotten about the My Lai massacre but only remember its soundtrack. Good Morning Vietnam has turned into an infomercialised cd-compilation (I have a Tour Of Duty TV-Shop-six-pack myself). Television documentaries use The Mamas and The Papas to comment napalm warfare. We look at a vintage take of an American soldier who has just placed a bullet through a women’s head but all we discuss is Suzy Q by the Creedence Clearwater Revival. Although the above is not really new, innovative or original, it is good to see it in print from time to time.

Le rock et autres trucs
Le rock et autres trucs.

Infotainment

Jean-Michel Espitallier is not always well informed. I can forgive him that he mistakes the Dutch designer duo Simon Posthuma and Marijke Koger for a couple of Germans but when it comes to Syd some facts should better have been checked before putting it into print. That Mick Rock did not shoot the cover of The Madcap Laughs is perhaps stuff for anoraks (Mick Rock himself has more or less hinted he was behind it anyway, a fact that Storm Thorgerson denies) but the story that, shortly before his death, Syd Barrett found a guitar from his brother-in-law and started strumming it can be found in the Mike Watkinson & Pete Anderson Crazy Diamond biography, that appeared 15 years before Syd Barrett passed away. And that particular anecdote probably dated already from a few years before it went into print. There are so many myths about Syd Barrett that one doesn’t need to create new ones.

It is perhaps understandable, the man is a poet and not a biographer. His book is about the Barrett phenomenon and not about the historical Barrett.

Lost in translation

Jean-Michel Espitallier writes : Il y a la musique qui nous rentre dans le cerveau musical et il y a la musique qui passe directement dans la poitrine…

Espitallier not only has been hit in the stomach by Syd’s music but received some hits on the head as well, resulting in some serious brain damage. He heard his first Syd song in 1973 and remembers it as Babe Lemonade; actually it is Baby Lemonade. And Jean-Michel’s lethargic song title memories keep on going on. Barrett’s James Joyce adaptation is baptized Golden Air (not Hair) and Syd’s final Pink Floyd statement Jugband Blues is changed to Jugband Blue. A couple of decades ago I started reading a promising French novel but quit after a dozen pages because the author kept on insisting on a Beatles’ song called Eleanor Rugby. Things like that make me grind my teeth. It makes me even wonder if Jean-Miche Espitallier is a real Barrett fan or a mere fraud trying to cash in, like a few others, on the Barrett legacy. For Ig’s sake, it just takes a 10 seconds look on a record sleeve to see if a title has been noted down without mistakes.

Arthur Rambo

The book ends with a list of creative geniuses who stopped being creative at a certain point in their lives. One of these persons is the 19th century poet Arthur Rimbaud, who stopped writing at 21 and proclaimed: Merde à la poésie! I would like to end this review with: Merde au poète! But let’s have a look at the pros and cons of his Syd-hiking first (bad pun, I know)…

Pros: instead of the umpteenth biography this book is a personal journey from the author through music, art and literature, using the Barrett legend as a guide. Interesting viewpoints about music, fandom, culture and politics are intertwined with nice wordplays such as ‘Bob Dylan had a Plan Baez’.

Cons: actually Jean-Michel Espitallier gets more Barrett song titles wrong than he gets them right. At a certain moment I even thought he did it on purpose, the man is a poet after all.

I used to have this philosophy teacher who subtracted points from our exam results if we made spelling mistakes. Although we were angry with the man in those days I can now see he had a point (our points, actually). So out of 10, Syd Barrett, le rock et autres trucs gets an 8 for its content, but I feel obliged to subtract at least 5 points for its many mistakes.

Suddenly...

...it is silent in here. Did a poet pass or did someone fart?

(This book is further trashed in another Church post: Tattoo You.)

Espitallier, Jean-Michel: Syd Barrett, le rock et autres trucs, Editions Philippe Rey, Paris, 2009, 192 pages, 17 €.


Note: This book grew out of an essai radiophonique Jean-Michel Espitallier gave on radiostation France Culture on 4 November 2007. Called Syd Barrett Quand Même it can be found on the (interesting) French Floyd fansite Seedfloyd. Webbrowser version: http://www.seedfloyd.fr/article/syd-barrett-quand-meme. Direct downloads in MP3 or WMA format can be found on the same page.


If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: Si les cochons pourraient voler…  
This post has been previously published at Felix Atagong's Unfinished Projects.


2009-08-01

When I'm 64

Iggy 64, by Fratzen
Iggy 64, by Fratzen.

Brethren Dan5482 visited the several Church locations (see underneath) that can be found on the World Wide Web and confessed the following to the Reverend:

Despite all that collective amnesia I think that Iggy can still be found. There are journalists, detectives... who have found more difficult "targets".
However, an intense and widespread interest for her is a necessary condition. Your Church is a source of hope in this sense. It lets many people know that once such a mysterious woman existed.
It occurs to me that many people simply don’t want to know who or where Iggy is. Imagine finding a 70-year old woman and to find out that her words about that period are as simple and disappointing as "I don't like to remember that period. I was out of my mind..." That could be the end of a romantic dream.
Besides the fact that Iggy herself is an extremely intriguing figure, there is also the possibility of obtaining a new narrative and facts surrounding Syd Barrett's life in that fabled year of 1969.

Wise words from a wise man.

If JenS’ assumption that Ig was born at the end of World War II is true she is 64 or 65 years old at the moment (provided she is still amongst us). True believers know the following story for sure… in April, or early May of 1970, Ig closed the door behind her at Wetherby Mansions and was never seen back…
Update: obviously this was written before Ig, or Emily, was traced back by Mojo magazine.

Mick Rock has apparently stated that he heard from Duggie Fields, the painter who was Syd Barrett’s roommate, that Iggy ‘went off with some rich guy in Chelsea and lived a very straight life’ afterwards.

However Mark Blake squeezed a slightly different story out of him:

I have no idea who Iggy was or even what her real name was. She was never Syd’s girlfriend. They just got together from time to time. (…) I saw her not long after Syd left the flat and she was looking more like a Sloane Ranger. I heard she’d become involved with one of the voguish religious cults at the time.

Mark had some extra comments to give at the Late Night discussion forum:

Nobody knew her real first name, never mind her surname, or if they did, they weren't telling. Duggie Fields recalls seeing her some time after the Madcap Laughs photo session and she was looking a lot more "sloaney". Most of the people I spoke to who knew her believe Iggy married a rich businessman and doesn't now want to be 'found'.

The Cinderella story may be a case of confabulation. One witness supposes that Ig married rich and over the years this story infiltrates the memories of other people who, decades later, believe this is really how it all happened. This is not done on purpose; our memory likes to fill in the gaps and if we need to borrow memories of other people we will subconsciously do that. Pink Floyd history contains several anecdotes like that and in the several biographies and articles Floydian insiders have told about situations that were originally witnessed by others.

Update 2016: After Syd, Iggy met a rich banker who was a witness of Jehovah, so the rumours were at least based upon some facts. The relationship didn't last though and Iggy didn't marry 'rich'.

In February of this year Mark Blake reported to the Church:

I spoke to Emo a couple of weeks back and asked about Iggy and he immediately said he remembered hearing she had gone back to the Far East/Asia. But, as I have learned since doing the book, everyone has conflicting memories about these things. (mail to the Reverend on 23/02/2009)

At The City Wakes festival in October and November of 1988 Anthony Stern’s Eskimo Girl movie was shown to the public and during the Q&A afterwards a member of the audience told the director that Iggy was living in Chelsea. Nobody knows who this person is but if (s)he attended the festival (s)he must have been a fan of Barrett or one of the members of the Cambridge or London Underground gang who took this opportunity to meet again after three decades. The Church would like to invite this person to come forward and to contact the Reverend.

On the 7th of October 2006 the SydBarrett.net forum got the following message from a certain YoungForEternity.

Does anyone know roughly how old Iggy would be? There's a woman who works at a supermarket in my local town who claims to be "the" Iggy and I don't know whether to believe her or not...I'd appreciate any pointers or recognisable features? Her name is definitely Iggy, and I've been studying images but it's difficult to tell... (Taken from whatever happened to iggy the eskimo?)

The forum in question is no longer active and the messenger only posted this single item. In 2006 Ig was (probably) 61 or 62 years old so theoretically she should no longer have been working, as the State Pension age for women born before 1950 is 60 (in the UK). But of course there are always exceptions. To qualify for a full basic State Pension she needed to have built up 39 years of National Insurance payments and perhaps that may not have been the case. The Church would also like the author of this post to come forward and to contact the Reverend.

Update 2016: YoungForEternity was probably closer to the truth than we all expected. Iggy has indeed been working at a local supermarket.

Next week, sistren and brethren, the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit will celebrate its first birthday and a small and delicate special treat will be offered. Till then. And remember; don’t do anything that Ig wouldn’t have done…


Sources (other than internet links mentioned above):

Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press, London, 2007, p.141.

Many thanks go to young 3D artist Arthur Fratzen who lend me a copy of his WIP Iggy 64.

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit can be found at: http://atagong.com/iggy. Authorised subsidiaries can be found at:

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit Youtube channel
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit Facebook Fanpage

The Reverend's MySpace page
The Reverend's Facebook page and last but not least
The Reverend's Unfinished Projects blog.


2010-01-30

(I've got my) Mojo (working...)

Mojo March 2010 Cover
Mojo March 2010 Cover.

As if the world has suddenly been hit by a temporal rift in spacetime the March 2010 issue of Mojo music magazine has inundated the stores bearing a big (slightly photoshopped) portrait of a mister Syd Barrett. The well-written and rather accurate cover article, by Pat Gilbert, ranges from page 70 to 81 and tells the story of The Madcap Laughs, Syd Barrett’s first solo album.

Two other articles are of particular interest to the Church as they describe the mythical presence of a ‘girl whose naked body graced the back cover of The Madcap Laughs’.

Who’s That Girl (page 76 insert) is written by Mark Blake, author of the Pink Floyd biography Pigs Might Fly, and an occasional visitor (and contributor) of the Church. Out of courtesy (and for copyright reasons) the Church will not publish the article as long as the magazine is for sale in the shops.
Update: Direct link to the article: Mojo March 2010 (hosted at the Church as the article was removed from the official Barrett website in 2016).

People reading magazines with binoculars will find an odd reference to the Church as the Croydon Guardian article from the 17th September 2008 has been reproduced as well, however in such small print that one needs to xerox it in blow-up mode to distinguish individual letters. The article in full can be consulted at the Church (Where did she go?) but is also still present on the archives of the Croydon Guardian (Where did she go to our lovely?).

Mark Blake writes in Mojo:

In 2008, (Jeff) Dexter and (Anthony) Stern tried to trace the elusive Iggy, and were interviewed in the Croydon Guardian for leads to the whereabouts of the “carefree girl who captured the spirit of the ‘60s”.

Actually the motor behind this article were not Dexter and Stern but the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, after - truth has to be acknowledged – Mark Blake had revealed earlier that Iggy ‘was known as one of the regular teenage girls at the dancehalls around Purley and Caterham’ (see also: Shaken not stirred ).

Researching The Orchid dancehall in Purley, the Reverend found two articles that had appeared in the Croydon Guardian: In dance hall days (9th August 2006) and We remember the Orchid (29th August 2006).

The Church tried to contact Brian Roote in September 2008, an amateur historian writing a book about the Purley dancehall, but this resulted more than a year later in the simple comment: ‘I have no knowledge of this girl whatsoever'.

The Reverend had more chance with journalist Kerry McQueeney author of the two Orchid articles, but no longer working for the Croydon Guardian. He passed the story to Kirsty Whalley who was now editor of the Heritage pages of the newspaper. On the 3rd September of 2008 she replied:

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

In the same mail she also asked if the Church could give some leads and amongst the people to contact the Reverend mentioned the names of Mick Rock and Anthony Stern. Kirsty Whalley did an excellent job and did not only interview both men, but also Jeff Dexter who had been a DJ at The Orchid.

The next sermon at the Church will cover the second Iggy-related article from Mojo 196. In My Room, written by Paul Drummond, contains interviews with Duggie Fields, Mick Rock, Storm Thorgerson and Jenny Spires.

The Madcap Laughs Again (Mojo Tribute CD)

Mojo 196 comes with a Madcap Laughs cover CD as interpreted by (amongst others): R.E.M., Captain Sensible, Hawkwind, Jennifer Gentle, Marc Almond and Robyn Hitchcock. Reviews of this CD can be found at Late Night: The Madcap Laughs Again, including the one written by the Reverend.

The Mojo website contains a Syd Barrett top 20 jukebox and three YouTube links to Syd's legendary unreleased material. One of those fan-made videos (Lucy Leave) has been created by limpidgreen aka dollyrocker, a much appreciated Late Night forum member. Way to go, dollyrocker! (All links dead, we're afraid.)


2010-02-06

World Exclusive: Ig has been found!

Iggy pop-art
Iggy pop-artish, by Felix Atagong.

Yesterday (5th of February 2010) Mark Blake (Pigs Might Fly, Mojo Magazine) messaged the Reverend with the following cryptic message:

We've received a very interesting letter about the elusive Iggy.
Wanted you to be the first to know!
More news to follow.

Of course the Church immediately contacted the journalist and this is what the Church is allowed to disclose today:

An old acquaintance of Iggy's emailed (Mojo magazine) and shared some info.
She is alive and well and living in southern England.
She has chosen to remain anonymous all these years.

More information will probably be published in the next issue(s) of Mojo and, of course, the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

(Many thanks to Mark Blake who we are eternally thankful for breaking the news to the Church.)


2010-02-13

Iggy’s first interview in 40 years

Iggy by Anthone Stern
Iggy by Anthony Stern.

Last week The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit published the incredible news that Iggy had been traced back. This was a world exclusive as no other news medium had reported this before.

The news that Iggy had been found was, unfortunately, also all there was to say. Although discreet investigations were done it was soon made clear that she wanted to stay anonymous and that she didn’t want to blow her cover. A short interview was out of the question, even for Mojo magazine and Mark Blake who triggered these latest events.

The Reverend is by all means not a souvenir collector who wanted to ring at her bell like all those true fans used to do at Syd Barrett’s door and her wish to be left in peace was immediately and unconditionally granted.

In September 2008 The Croydon Guardian published an article about Iggy after the Church had contacted the newspaper to get more information about The Orchid dancehall in Purley: Where did she go?  This article unearthed some unpublished pictures by Anthony Stern that were later shown at The City Wakes festival in Cambridge and was also mentioned in the March issue of Mojo.

Kirsty Whalley, the journalist who brought us the first Iggy article in The Croydon Guardian, has now managed to interview Iggy, an interview that can be found in today’s issue of this newspaper.

When Mick turned up to take the photos I helped paint the floor boards for the shoot, I was covered in paint, I still remember the smell of it.

The Church will not publish the entire interview in its columns - for at least a week - as it can be consulted at the following websites:
Croydon Guardian Tracks Down Elusive Rock Star Muse (The Croydon Guardian)
Croydon Guardian Tracks Down Elusive Rock Star Muse (This Local London)

In the next weeks however the Church will scrutinize the interview, and comments will be added where appropriate. For the moment all we wish to say is hip hip hurray to Kirsty Whalley!


2010-02-27

Gretta Speaks

Margaretta (Gretta) Barclay
Margaretta (Gretta) Barclay.

In the interview that Iggy - or should we say Evelyn - gave after nearly 40 years of silence in The Croydon Guardian she remembers how she helped Syd to paint the floorboards that would give an extra psychedelic feel to The Madcap Laughs cover picture.

When Mick turned up to take the photos I helped paint the floor boards for the shoot, I was covered in paint, I still remember the smell of it.

But Iggy, as we will keep on calling her, isn’t the only one remembering. Also present were Rusty and Margaretta, better known as Gretta:

I remember that Iggy was involved with the floor painting project and that she had paint all over her during the floor painting time but I was not involved with the painting of the floor.

Several biographies, including Julian Palacios’s Lost In The Woods (p.241), Tim Willis’s Madcap (p.106) and Mark Blake’s Pigs Might Fly (p. 141) describe Greta (sic) and her companion Rusty as homeless ‘speed freaks’. This description almost certainly comes from painter Duggie Fields who shared the flat with Syd and who wasn’t very amused with the many people Syd invited to say the least.

Julian Palacios remembers Duggie Fields from an interview he did in 1996:

He was so cool. Reserved and wary at first, then about halfway through he became super raconteur.
(email to FA, 10 February 2010).

This lead to the following paragraph in the Lost In The Woods biography:

Duggie Fields recalls a steady stream of visitors, ‘some visitors were parasites and some were confused in their drug use, not even abusing drugs’. (...)
‘Rusty and Greta were homeless when they came to stay here,’ explains Fields. ‘Greta became good friends with Jenny Spires, and came into Syd’s life from that connection. They were in my life to a degree but I didn’t want them around. (…) They probably brought stimulants for Syd and he took them.’

Now, for the first time in over 40 years Margaretta Barclay has decided to share her memories with the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit as well. But lets starts by setting the record straight:

Your blog relating to Syd Barrett mentions that Rusty and I were drug addicted. This is most certainly not true and an old friend of ours - Jenny Spires has made that fact known to you.
My sister Catriona (Trina) and I met Jenny Spires during the mid 1960’s at a London grooming school. Jenny introduced my sister and I to Syd at 101 Cromwell Rd and at Edgerton Court. Rusty was not with us at that time.

In her interviews with the Church, early 2009, JenS vehemently denied the ‘speed freaks’ rumours: "Rusty and Gretta were not drug-addicted. They never were.” (cfr. When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 3)  and Addenda and Errata with Gala and Gretta 

Gretta further explains:

Rusty and I were not in the ‘steady stream of visitors’. In 1970 we were in Suffolk at the beginning of that year and Devon for the remainder of it. Not in London. We were not homeless either. Rusty and I left London for various reasons but primarily because I was expecting my first child.
Syd was a very dear friend of ours and we did a considerable amount together in the 60's. Contrary to what I have read, we did not provide Syd with drugs.

It was of course 40 years ago when Barrett recorded The Madcap Laughs and memories may have played tricks on people. A famous example is the Mick Rock statement that Syd Barrett's car was bright pink while the pictures taken by him on that day show that the car was actually dark blue. On the DVD The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story Duggie Fields remembers how Syd painted the floor boards of his flat.


MP3 link: Duggie Fields (mp3)

Although the story is rather funny we now know that the actual truth may have been somewhat different. Similar Syd Barrett myths or legends have been created (and repeated in books and magazines) that way throughout the years without veryfying. Margaretta continues:

Without wishing to be vindictive where Duggie Fields and his interviews are concerned, surely, in order to obtain a balanced view of Syd’s chosen circle of friends, it would be sensible to back up assumptions with fact.
Syd was a highly sensitive, almost delicate person, who was well aware of his constitution where drugs were concerned and perfectly capable of not being cajoled in to anything he did not want to do. To my knowledge, he did not take vast quantities of drugs.
He enjoyed our company and invited us to stay at Wetherby Mansions where we shared good times together. Iggy was around at that time too and I remember her helping to paint the room in question. Dominique A., a French friend of ours, was also close to Syd at this time. Jenny, Catriona and I lived with her in Chelsea for a time.

Update: the Church managed to contact Dominique A. but she refused to talk about the past.

According to Margaretta the legends surrounding Syd Barrett contain many errors and “if they relate to my sister Catriona, Rusty and me, it is my duty to ensure that they are not perpetuated”.

It is convenient to point a finger at others in order to explain Syd’s behavioural patterns. Syd behaved in his inimitable way long before he met us.
Duggie did not socialise with us as a group – and his conclusion that I indulged in such a way - and on my own, is erroneous.
From our point of view Syd was a vulnerable person, we cared for him and our aim was to encourage him to be creative, to write and play his guitar. After all, Rusty only wanted to write and play music with Syd - to give him drugs was not on our agenda; Syd - was ‘far out’ enough without them.

The Reverend was of course anxious to know what kind of music Rusty and Syd played together:

Rusty and Syd played Syd’s songs and variations on them ’Oh baby my hairs on end about you’, ‘Octopus’ etc…, as well as songs they created together and basic blues.
Syd Barrett with Gretta Barclay.
Syd Barrett with Gretta Barclay.
In 1969 we went to Isle of Wight Festival together and at one point, in an effort to encourage Syd to play his guitar, we took him to stay with a musician friend of ours in Wales. Gala may remember the journey.

There have indeed been rumours of Syd Barrett visiting the Isle of Wight festival before and a (much discussed) picture of this event does exist. Margaretta is formal that the photograph is genuine:

The Isle of Wight picture is definitely of Syd with me beside him. (She is the woman at his left side, FA.)

Back to Rusty and Gretta. Hoping that the visit would inspire and encourage Syd to return to the musical ‘land of the living’ they took him to a ‘brilliant musician’ who lived in Solva, Haverfordwest, Dyfed: Meic Stevens.

(Update: The next paragraph is totally wrong as the Welsh musician in question iwas Meic Stevens, not Mike Stevens (although Meic has also been credited as Mike, early in his career). But as this Mike Stevens's family was so kind to contact the Church and as his music is really groovy, the Reverend has decided not to delete it. See: Gretta Speaks (Pt. 2))

It is believed that this musician was Mike Stevens from the Welsh band The Shevells (aka The Welsh Conquerors). In the mid sixties the band recorded several records featuring Stevens on guitar and vocals. Around 1966, as Mike Stevens & The Shevells, they recorded a cover version of Cathy's Clown and the Go-Go Train and as The Shevelles, Come On Home. Stevens was an on/off member of the band as he was apparently also involved in The Squires, originally Tom Jones’s back up band and the composers of the hit It's Not Unusual. (Information taken from Answers.com, the Church is currently trying to contact M. Stevens.)

In a soon to be published, revised and updated, 2010 edition of Julian Palacios’s biography Lost In The Woods the roles of Gretta and Rusty in Syd Barrett’s life have already been changed for the better. Palacios writes:

Life at home edged further toward the chaotic when Rusty and Greta, casual friends of Barrett’s, moved in. (…) Only recently arrived in London, not on the ‘underground scene’, they later left for Devon, where they married and settled. Greta may have done speed, but the pair were not the terrible people they have been painted as.
When Rusty B. split with Greta, he came and stayed with Jack Monck and Jenny (Spires). In late 1972, Jack and Rusty started a new band, Rocks Off.
(Above quotes from 'Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd' by Julian Palacios - Plexus Books, May September 2010 edition.)

Gretta Barclay remarried, is a proud mother and an even prouder grandmother, and according to her family ‘she is a wonderful amazing beautiful lady who has 3 children who love her very much’.

The Reverend can only agree with that. Even for the Church there are more important things in life than chasing the shadow of a girl who lived for a while in a house were someone, apparently famous, lived as well…

The second part of the interview will be published in the weeks to come.


The Church wishes to thank: Margaretta Barclay for her invaluable testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969. Julian Palacios for additional information.

Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press, London, 2007, p.141.
Fields, Duggie interview in: The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story, DVD UK Ltd 2005.
Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree, London, 1998, p. 241.
Willis, Tim, Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p. 106.


2010-03-25

All about Evelyn

Mojo 197 (April 2010)
Mojo 197 (April 2010).

Nothing is so stupid as New Year resolutions, especially when you read them when the katzenjammer is over. On the second of January of 2010 the Reverend uttered the fear that the Church would soon disappear by lack of Iggy. If this meant one single thing it is that the Reverend is by no means a reliable prophet.

The March edition of the music magazine Mojo, that mysteriously appeared in January 2010, had a 14 pages cover story about the Syd Barrett album The Madcap Laughs that was finally released in January 1970 after nearly twenty months of tinkering. Its main article I'm Not Here (Pat Gilbert) gave the portrait of the artist as a young man and his struggle to get his first solo album done. A small insert Who's That Girl (Mark Blake) tried to reveal some of the mysteries around Iggy The Eskimo, but to no avail (more questions were raised then answered, see: (I've got my) Mojo (working...). Last, but not least, In My Room (Paul Drummond) gave some background information about The Madcap Laughs photo shoot, interviewing Duggie Fields, Storm Thorgerson, inevitably Mick Rock and en passant citing Jenny Spires and the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit (but not in so many words, see Goofer Dust [(I've got my) Mojo (working)... Part 2] .

(For your information: the complete Mojo article can could be downloaded quite legally and for free at the official Syd Barrett website: direct link to the scanned pdf document, hosted since 2016 at the Church.)

It needs to be said that the Mojo article achieved in two week time what the Church couldn't achieve in two years: finding Iggy. On the 6th of February 2010 it was revealed that she was alive and well and living in southern England and although this news was covered by the Church the scoop arrived, noblesse oblige, at the Mojo offices in a letter from an acquaintance of her: Peter Brown (not the Pete[r] Brown from Cream and Piblokto fame).

Part of this letter has been published in issue 197 (April) and goes like this:

Peter Brown letter in Mojo 197
Peter Brown letter in Mojo 197.
One woman,
with many faces
Re Iggy’s whereabouts, I can enlighten you a little on her post-Madcap life. I first met Iggy - her real name was Evelyn - in the early ’70s, when she arrived from the King’s Road to the house where I lived in Brighton with a miscellany of artists and eccentrics.
I spent a lot of time with Iggy including nights ‘on the town’. She was a loose cannon, absolutely stunning, and fab company I soon discovered that it was none other than Iggy gracing my copy of The Madcap Laughs, and told her that Syd had been a peer of mine in Cambridge. I also knew Jenny Spires (who introduced Iggy to Syd), and saw Pink Floyd at various venues. I spent an evening with Syd once and we walked back together to our respective homes near Cherry Hinton in stoned stupor.
In the mid ’80s I learned that Iggy was living in Sussex and working at a racing stables, where she married a farmhand. She’s since kept her whereabouts quiet, though a friend at the stables, who I spoke to recently informs me of Iggy’s low-key flamboyance in the area. There are a wealth of other stories, but brevity forbids!

Next to Brown aka Thongman, Jenny Spires decided to comment as well:

Jenny Spires letter in Mojo 197
Jenny Spires letter in Mojo 197.
I struggle,
you collaborate
I’ve read your Syd article and there are two or three things to correct. First, I met Iggy [the Eskimo] in 1966, not 1969 as stated. Also, the floor was painted as soon as Syd moved into Wetherby Mansions, and was already done when I was there. Part of it, under the bed, wasn’t finished, but was done by the time I left in early 1969. I don’t think it was painted with a photoshoot in mind. Also, in the larger photo, the daffodils look quite fresh, but in the photo used for the cover they are dead. This seems to suggest that that photo was done a couple of weeks later?
With reference to Mandrax - there were no Mandrax in the flat at this stage. These came later, around early summer. This is not to say Syd had never had Mandrax, but they weren’t readily available to him at that time.

It seems now that there is enough material left for the Church to go on with its mission for the next lustrum. So keep watching this space and remember, don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done.


The Reverend wants to thank Mojo for donating a copy of the April issue to the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Thanks guys!


2010-04-24

We are all made of stars

Ponji in India (1967)
Ponji in India (1967).

History, as we know it, is the story of royalty and generals and does not contain the memory of the millions who succumbed or who tried to build a normal life.

This also applies to modern popular history. Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett biographies and the so-called Sixties counter-culture studies that have appeared all repeat the memories of a small, nearly incestuous, circle of people who made it, one way or another. You always stumble upon those who have become the royalty and generals of the Underground. Others are less known, the lower rank officers, but still officers.

Other people had less luck, but at least we know some of their stories. Syd Barrett, although a millionaire in pounds, still is the prototype of the drug-burned psychedelic rock star. But there are other members of the Sixties Cambridge mafia, a term coined by David Gilmour, who didn’t make it and whose stories are less known.

Pip

Ian Pip Carter, whose career started in Cambridge in the early Sixties as pill pusher, had to fight a heroine addiction for most of his life. After a visit to his friend (and employer) David Gilmour in Greece Pip was imprisoned for drug possession where he was forced to go cold turkey but he fell again for the drug once released, despite the fact that the Pink Floyd guitarist send him to (and paid for) several rehab sessions. “The needle had dug so far; searching relentlessly for a vein, (that it) had decimated the nervous system in his left arm”, writes Matthew Scurfield in his account of the Cantabrigian London mob.

Described by Nick Mason as 'one of the world's most spectacularly inept roadies' the Floyd eventually had to let Pip go. He was the one who accidentally destroyed a giant jelly installation at the Roundhouse on the 15th October 1966 by parking the Pink Floyd van in the middle of it or, different witnesses tell different stories, by removing the wooden boards that supported the bath that kept the jelly. (You can read the story, taken from Julian Palacios 1988 Lost In The Woods biography here.)

In 1988 Carter was killed during a pub brawl in Cambridge. Mark Blake writes how David Gilmour used to help his old Cambridge friends whenever they were in financial trouble and Pip had been no exception.

People familiar with the finer layers of the Syd Barrett history know how Maharaj Charan Singh, the Master of the Sant Mat sect, rejected the rock star for obvious reasons. The religion was strictly vegetarian, absolutely forbid the use of alcohol and drugs and didn’t allow sex outside marriage. Syd 'I've got some pork chops in the fridge' Barrett hopelessly failed on all those points.

Ponji

It is believed that John Paul Robinson, nicknamed Ponji, a very ardent follower of the Path, tried to lure Syd into the sect after he had visited India in 1967. And probably it had been another Cantabrigian, Paul Charrier who converted Ponji first. (Paul Charrier was one of the people present at Syd's trip in 1965 where he was intrigued for hours by a matchbox, a plum and an orange. This event later inspired Storm Thorgerson for the Syd Barrett (compilation album) record cover and an impressive and moving Pink Floyd backdrop movie.)

John Paul Robinson had his own demons to deal with and in the Sixties he visited a progressive therapist who administered him LSD to open his doors of perception. Only after he had returned from India he ‘literally seemed to be shining with abundance’, passing the message to all his friends that he had been reborn. Ponji gave up his job, wanted to lead the life of a beggar monk, but his internal demons would take over once in every while.

He'd sit on the stairs with his elbows on his knees and forehead placed carefully at the tips of his fingers, reeling out the same old mantra proclaiming how he was just a tramp, that his body was an illusion, a mere prison, a temporary holding place for his soul.

The story goes that he shouted ‘I refuse to be a coward for the rest of my life’ just before he jumped in front of an oncoming train (1979?).

Kaleidoscope

We only happen to know these people in function of their relationship with Syd Barrett. Their paths crossed for a couple of months and we, the anoraks, are only interested in that one small event as if for the rest of these peoples lives nothing further of interest has really happened.

But the truth is that their encounter with Barrett is just one small glittering diamond out of a kaleidoscope of encounters, adventures, joys, grieves, moments of happiness and sadness. It is the kaleidoscope of life: falling in love and making babies that eventually will make babies on their own. A granddaughter's smile today is of much more importance than the faint remembrance of a dead rock star's smile from over 40 years ago.

The Church should be probing for the kaleidoscope world and not for that one single shiny stone. Syd may have been a star, but our daily universe carries millions of those.

Dedicated to those special ones whose story we will never know.


Thanks to: Paro नियत (where are you now?)

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press, London, 2007, p. 47, p. 337.
Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree, London, 1998, p. 85.
Scurfield, Matthew: I Could Be Anyone, Monticello Malta 2009, p. 151, p. 208, p. 265-266. Photo courtesy of William Pryor, p. 192.

Update 2016: In the 2015 coming of age novel Life Is Just..., Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon describes early sixties Cambridge and the submersion into eastern religions.


2010-11-13

2011

Imaginary Mojo cover.
Imaginary Mojo cover.

On Friday, the fifth of November, an entrepreneurial rock journalist of the best music magazine in the world, who happens to have written - en passant - the most accurate Pink Floyd biography in ages, met a mysterious Asian looking lady. Although this was meant to be kept secret the news had leaked to the headquarters of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit before the meeting even took place. Thus are the hidden special forces of the Holy Igquisition.

We can now say it is official. The Mojo issue of January, the 1st, 2011 will have an Iggy / Evelyn interview by Mark Blake. It will have a recent picture of her and - perhaps - an unpublished photograph from the Seventies.

Update December 2010: the January issue of Mojo (nr. 206) doesn't have the Iggy interview (yet), although Mark Blake is omnipresent with a 13-pages in-depth article about Freddie Mercury and Queen. (If you are still looking for a Xmas present: Mark Blake has just written a pretty Queen biography: Is This The Real Life? The Untold Story Of Queen, Arum books).

For the rest the Reverend is as anxious as you to read the interview, dear followers of the Church who not only visit us from the United Kingdom and the States (the mythical place Tarzana comes to mind), but also from the northern chilly depths of Oslo, the accordion larded ruelles of Montmartre and several unspeakable places in Russia and the rest of the world.

And late last night when the Reverend was contemplating his inner musings he was interrupted by the tantalising ping of an incoming mail. It read as follows:

Hello Felix.
I am truly overwhelmed by your interest in me.

And ended with:

Yours truly and eternally.
Iggy.

The bit in between shall remain a mystery for now, but hopefully 2011 shall start with a bang. Have some patience, brethren and sistren, and remember...don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't do.

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit wishes to thank Mark Blake, Natasha M. and of course... Iggy / Evelyn.

P.S. We have from a quite reliable source that the picture taken at the Speakeasy club isn't Evelyn at all. The Church apologises for the inconvenience: Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea.


2011-01-02

Iggy’s second interview in 40 years

Mojo 207
Mojo 207.

Happy New Year, children of the revolution! What a long strange trip 2010 has been. The first half of it showed the Church's biggest parade, with plenty of clowns and jugglers and a couple of anoraky world exclusive Barrett-scattering things.

Our solar, solitary, solstice, soloist star, fallen from the black sky (to paraphrase French historian and poet Dr. Denis Combet) was discovered by the team of Mojo magazine early 2010. The Church retaliated with Gretta Barclay's first (and only) interview in 4 decades, an extensive study of Welsh folk legend Meic Stevens' meetings with Syd Barrett in the early Seventies and a couple of articles about The Cromwellian club and casino, including some anecdotes from Rod Harrod, the man who practically launched Jimi Hendrix's career.

Those exhilarating things inevitably lead to the Church's petite mort, a period of melancholy and transcendence, for the second half of 2010. But this was just a temporarily breakdown. Several findings of the Church were quoted in the most recent Syd Barrett biography by Julian Palacios, the Reverend has just been granted his first interview (to appear [hopefully] on a Spanish Barrett blog) and in November agent provocateur Mark Blake let the Church know that Evelyn (Iggy) had agreed on an interview for Mojo magazine. On top of that Ig, our Ig, send the Church a lovely note that mellowed the Reverend’s heart. 2011 promises to be great.

Iggy The Eskimo! Found!
Iggy The Eskimo! Found!

The February issue from Mojo (# 207) - OUT NOW – contains Mark Blake's much expected Iggy interview. As is our habit the Church will not publish the article as long as the magazine is for sale in the shops. So why are you still reading this blog then? Open those Xmas and New Year envelopes, jump on that bike with the basket and the bell that rings, and hurry up to the shop!

Only after you have bought, borrowed or stolen (the Reverend will forgive but not visit you in prison!) Mojo 207 and read the article you are allowed to come back at the Church where additional bits and pieces may (or may not) be revealed the following weeks. According to someone who knows there is 'a wealth of other interview material' that didn't make it into printed matter but that might see the light of day on several places of the metaverse. Some day. Perhaps.

Mojo: mysterious comment.
Mojo: mysterious comment.

PS: The Mojo website has got a strange anonymous cryptic comment, posted the 2nd of January at 04:46PM. It goes 'love you mark blake thank you for being [actually: bèing] so real hang in there felix atagong'.

The Church may happen to believe to know from whom it has arrived.


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

2011-01-08

Iggy The Eskimo Phones Home

Mojo 207.
Mojo 207.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And today he added at the Fleeting Glimpse forum:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

2011-01-14

Iggy The Eskimo Phones Home (2)

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

Kurt Vonnegut once wrote: "So it goes."


Wedding Bells 1978
Wedding Bells 1978.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mod

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

RSG!

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

Hanging out

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

Syd, the pop star

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

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

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

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

Mick Rock pictures

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

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

Gigs & festivals

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

A new picture

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

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

The model

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

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

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


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

2011-01-21

EXCLUSIVE: The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for Part 2


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


The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 2

(This is Part 2 of Mark Blake's Iggy the Eskimo article, for part one click: EXCLUSIVE: The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo.)

Words: Mark Blake.
Pictures: Iggy Rose, Chris Lanaway.
Date: 20 January 2011.
Previously published on mojo.com.

While there are many reports of Barrett being withdrawn and even aggressive at this time, Iggy remembers it differently. "People talk about Syd's madness and his dark side, but I never saw it," she states. "We had a wonderful giggly time. There were no sinister moments." Only briefly did she glimpse a more troubled side to his personality. "One day, he said to me, 'How do you feel? Are you sad?' I was naked, and he went and got some paint and painted two great big eyes on my breasts with two tears coming down, and on my belly button he painted an arrow and underneath that a picture of me with a big belly, and said, 'There could be life in there. I could give you life.' But I didn't want that at all. So I panicked, and scrubbed it off." He was also uncomfortable with some aspects of fame, as Iggy discovered on a night out with Syd to The Speakeasy, a music-biz haunt in Margaret Street. "We'd persuaded Syd to go, but it was full of posers," she admits. "There were a few of us there. Someone asked the DJ to put on See Emily Play, which was a stupid thing to do." A hit for Pink Floyd more than two years before, the dance-floor cleared. "So I went on and started dancing, but Syd ran off. He was obviously very sensitive about it all."

"We had a wonderful giggly time. There were no sinister moments."

In March '69, Barrett began recording The Madcap Laughs at Abbey Road, but his erratic behaviour in the studio resulted in Roger Waters and David Gilmour helping to oversee the sessions. Gilmour was now living in Richmond Mansions, a block so close to Wetherby Mansions that he could almost see into Syd and Duggie's kitchen window. One evening, Syd announced that he had to go out. Iggy wanted to go with him, but Barrett insisted she remain at the flat. "I think I thought he was seeing another woman," she says. "I got a bit jealous, a bit pouty - very silly. Duggie knew where Syd had gone but wouldn't tell me." With Syd gone, Iggy decided to pay a visit to David Gilmour instead. Fields helped Iggy back-comb her hair, plaster her face with make-up and paint her lips black. "I looked like Medusa. Like a banshee. Duggie then took me round to Dave's place. Dave was very beautiful and very cool, and his flat was nicer than Syd and Duggie's - it was warmer for a start. Dave opened the door, took one look at me, but didn't bat an eyelid."

Iggy by Chris Lanaway.
Iggy in 1978.

When Iggy walked in, she saw Syd sat in Gilmour's living room. "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... If he ever reads this I would like to say sorry for scratching his record." Back at Wetherby Mansions, Barrett was unfazed by her planned defection: "Syd just said, 'Come in love, and I'll make you a cup of tea'. How sweet."

By now, Barrett had prepared his bedroom for The Madcap... cover shoot, painting most of the floorboards orange and mauve. On the morning of the shoot, Syd asked Iggy to help finish the job. "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." When Rock arrived with the Floyd's sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson to take the photos, a naked Iggy went to put some clothes on. "But Syd said, 'No, don't'. That was his wicked sense of humour. I put the kohl around his eyes that day and tousled up his hair: come on Syd, give us a smile, moody, moody, moody! But he knew exactly what he was doing. He was as sharp as anything. He set the tone. He was the manipulator."

"Syd just said, 'Come in love, and I'll make you a cup of tea'. How sweet."

Iggy joined Syd for further photos outside the flat. Later, Rock recalled showing Barrett one of the pictures and Syd mysteriously scratching around Iggy's image; an act that has acquired some significance among Barrett's more earnest devotees. "They're making something out of nothing," she insists. "Later on, Syd showed me one of the pictures and said, 'You like that one, don't you? I know why, because of your cheekbones'. I think I was sucking on a cigarette, and, yes, I was being vain, I liked the way my cheekbones looked. So he tore the pic in half and gave it to me. There was nothing more to it than that." Strangely, Iggy also recalls other photographs being taken that day, which have never appeared since. "I don't think Storm and Mick were very impressed by them. If you've ever seen the cover of the Rod Stewart album, Blondes Have More Fun, they were a bit like that... Of me and Syd. There were others of me and Syd, as well, which remind me of the picture of John and Yoko [on Two Virgins] which came out later. I'd love to see those pictures now."

Iggy today.
Iggi in 2011. (Photo: Chris Lanaway).

Before long, Iggy had drifted out of Wetherby Mansions and out of Syd's life as quickly as she had drifted in. When she returned later, Duggie told her: "Syd's not here. He's gone back to Cambridge. Don't bother trying to find him." She never saw him again, and is adamant she only became aware of her presence on the cover of The Madcap Laughs after being phoned by the Croydon Guardian: "I went to a boot sale with my husband... When I saw the cover, I thought, Oh yes, that is my bottom."

Although the stories of her marrying a rich banker and joining a religious cult are untrue, there is a kernel of truth: after Syd, Iggy began seeing a wealthy businessman who was also a scientologist. However Duggie Fields' recollection of spotting Iggy climbing off a bus in a gold lamé dress is not in dispute: "It was a beautiful dress that cost £50." Still a fixture on the music scene, Iggy recalls accompanying Pink Fairies' drummer Twink to the Isle Of Wight Festival and turning up "for the very first Glastonbury... ". But in 1978 Iggy married her husband, Andrew, and "left that life behind me".

"I heard on the radio that Syd died, and I felt sad, but it was so long ago," she says. Since reading about those times in MOJO, the memories of the people and the places have slowly come back to her. "Mick Rock took some beautiful picture of me," she smiles. "But, of course, I wish I'd been paid some money for them. Still, it is amazing that people have been looking for me... and that someone has even set up a website. I still don't know what to make of all this." The fascination continues. Last week, Iggy called to tell me she had found a poem online written about her by a professor at a university in Missouri. "And it's in French," she said, sounding astonished. "'Iggy l'esquimo, Fille De Le Space'...it goes. I never believed anyone would ever write a poem for me."

by Mark Blake (www.markrblake.com)

Thanks to: Felix Atagong, Jeff Dexter and Anthony Stern


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


2011-01-22

Mojo Exclusive: The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo

Iggy 1978 (courtesy: Mojo magazine)
Iggy 1978 (courtesy: Mojo magazine).

Since yesterday, Mark Blake's 'director cut edition' of his Iggy interview can be found on the Mojo website. For those that are not 'in' let's recapitulate a bit.

Update August 2013: The articles are no longer on the Mojo website. Mark Blake allowed us to host them at the Church.

Somewhere in November 2010 the Church of Iggy the Inuit prophesied that a lucubrated (second) Iggy interview was in the make and that after other attempts had not always been successful. Basically Iggy had been scared off when she had been questioned – out of the blue - by a journalist, early 2010. Imagine that you have been living a quiet life for a couple of decades and suddenly someone pokes you in the stomach and urges you to start digging in a very far past, asking what you did on a particular April night in 1969. Then you find out that there is a lunatic on the cybergrass who has written over sixty articles about you. It would scare the hell out of this Reverend, I can assure you that.

Contradictory to yours truly, Mark Blake is reliable, loyal and, above all, discreet. He managed to regain Ig's confidence and they agreed to do an interview on her terms. Mojo 207 (February 2011 issue) had indeed the promised Iggy article on page 18, but... - let's not beat around the bush - we Iggy aluminati were a bit disappointed with its scarce content.

Once again the Church (accurately) predicted that the printed piece in Mojo was but a mere teaser for an expatiated article that would soon appear in cyberspace. And what an article that is! It contains some pretty unseen pictures and enough material to keep on adding comments on this blog for many, many months to come. The interview – the Reverend guarantees you - will be research material for all Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd biographies to come, not that the Church is really asking for new biographies, but that is entirely besides the point.

Iggy 1978 (exclusive to the Church)
Iggy 1978 (exclusive to the Church).

As is the habit with the Church the interview will only be commented upon after it has been around for a while, but it already needs to be said that Ig's words smash several of the Church's axioms to pieces. Normally a Church doesn't like to see its dogmas destroyed but here is what we call divine intervention.

To end this sermon, my loyal brethren and sistren, the Reverend ordains you to immediately leave the Church and not to come back until you have thoroughly consulted Mark Blake's The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo. The Church does not want to prejudice you. Read it first and we'll talk about it afterwards.

Oh and another thing... the above picture is an unpublished photograph of Iggy in the Seventies. The Reverend wishes to thank Iggy for her trust and confidence in us.

The Mark Blake Iggy tapes can be found at:
Iggy The Eskimo Phones Home (Mojo 207 article - hosted at the Church)
The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo - part 1 (hosted at the Mojo website Church, update August 2013)
The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo - part 2 (hosted at the Mojo website Church, update August 2013)

A very recent Iggy mug shot, exclusive for the Church: Iggy 2011 

The most recent Iggy articles are being discussed at:
Late Night forum: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit
Late Night forum: Questions for Iggy
A Fleeting Glimpse forum: Syd's Iggy Found!

Many thanks go to: Mark Blake, Mojo, Kieren and all those supportive Barrett friends at Late Night (more about them later, in a new post).


Mark Blake has just written a decent Queen biography: Is This The Real Life? The Untold Story Of Queen, Aurum Press Ltd - ISBN: 9781845135973. Of course you still check out his much acclaimed Pink Floyd biography, although it lacks a bit in the Iggy department [insert sardonic smiley here]: Pigs Might Fly: The Inside Story Of Pink Floyd, Aurum Press Ltd - ISBN-10: 1845132610 / ISBN-13: 978-1845132613. (The Church is not affiliated with or endorsed by this company.)

2011-02-05

Reaction time

Iggy, Seventies
Iggy in the Seventies.

Prologue

Let's start with what you are all waiting for. At the left you find another unpublished picture, from the mid Seventies, Iggy was so friendly to mail us. The recent interviews at Mojo, probably the best music magazine in the world, by Mark Blake, probably the best music journalist in the world, has triggered a gentle snowfall of friendly reactions all over the web.

At night, before going to sleep, you notice but a few snowflakes falling down and you think: is this all? But the next morning the garden has been transformed in a peaceful white blanket only disturbed by the parallel stepping marks of a passing Lucifer Sam.

The Church has gathered some of these heartwarming reactions. Let's start with one from the city of light:

I’ve just read Mark Blake’s article and I am extremely moved to read Iggy’s words about those months with Syd in 1969 and extremely moved to see her on a brand new photo. She looks like an attractive lady.
Some elements are quite interesting : the fact that Syd wanted Iggy to be naked on the photos and the fact he decided not to smile on the photos are a great new perspective on that shooting.
Also the fact that she confirms she and him were together (which some people seemed to doubt about these latest years) is a lovely confirmation. And when she says he wasn't a dark-minded man and used to laugh a lot with her, this is so cute...
By the way, the article ends with Iggy saying she’s very flattered to discover she hasn’t been forgotten by everyone: what a pity we have no (mail) address to write a small message to her, to tell her that not only many of us hadn’t forgotten her at all but, on the contrary, her photos and especially the album sleeve have been part of our lives. (Taken from: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit @ Late Night.)

Questions for Iggy

The past year several questions have been submitted to be asked to Iggy, for the then unlikely event an interview would take place. Some of those have been asked by Mark Blake and were (partially) answered in the Mojo extended interviews:

I would just ask her what she remembers about Syd...
Dear Iggy, do you have anything of Syd's that I can have?
Did you think there was anything wrong with Syd mentally?
Do any particular discussions stand out for you... were they deep and philosophical, did you discuss current events or just what you needed at the market...
In his song "Dark Globe" Syd Barrett says: "I'm only a person with Eskimo chain". Do you think that is/could be a reference to you?
Maybe you have some personal photos/snapshots of Syd.
Was Syd violent towards you like he was with others girlfriends?
Were you at the 14 Hour Technicolour Dream at the Alexandra Palace? If yes could you tell us your impressions about that?
What do you think happened to Syd in 1967/1968?
What happened to you after you last saw Syd?
Would you prefer to be called Iggy or Evelyn?

Mark Blake added to this:

Off the top of my head, (…) Iggy doesn't have any snapshots of her and Syd, or any of his possessions (unfortunately, she no longer has the photo she had of the two of them, which he tore in half, mentioned in some of the books). She was at the Technicolour Dream '"all 14 hours of it!" - and tried but couldn't spot herself in the documentary DVD. She was also at the Isle Of Wight festival in 1970 (went with Twink of the Pink Fairies) and the first Glastonbury Fayre. (Taken from Questions for Iggy @ Late Night.)

People and places

The recent interviews show that Iggy met a lot of people and visited lots of places in Swingin' London. The Croydon Guardian and Mojo articles mention Brian Epstein, Brian Jones, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon, Keith Richards, Rod Stewart & other assorted Beatles, Who and Rolling Stones. Oh yeah, and of course also a bloke named Syd Barrett.

The clubs she visited did not only include the Cromwellian, the Flamingo, the Orchid Ballroom, the Roaring Twenties and the Speakeasy, but in a mail to the Church Iggy also remembers other places like the Alexandra & Crystal Palace, Annabel's, Bag O'Nails, Embassy, Garrick & Hurlingham private clubs, Roundhouse (Chalk Farm), UFO, Marquee, Middle Earth, Tramps (Tramp Club?) and generally everything that was located in or around Carnaby Street. Needless to say that we try to look further into that for the next couple of months.

But after the many pages the Church and Mojo have dedicated to Evelyn, it is perhaps better to let Ig speak for herself. She send a long mail to the Church and we hope she doesn't mind that we will publish some of its heartwarming highlights here. Ig doesn't have an Internet account so the mail was written and send by a friend. The Church took the liberty of omitting some names and places.

Iggy wishes to express her thrill and excitement for putting this factual and honest portrayal of her and is enchanted by your unwavering interest. She is utterly flabbergasted of the magnitude of it all.
Many thanks to Mark Blake, for his perseverance and the genuine way he has cared for and protected Iggy.
Many thanks go to Ig's wonderful husband and to her most trusted and loyal friends [some deletions here by the Church] and Z., who was there for us right at the beginning by printing hundreds of pages on her computer.

But some old friends from the past haven't been forgotten either:

Iggy also feels the need to mention the charismatic Jeff Dexter, who has given so much of his precious time by always welcoming and receiving all her calls at all hours day and night.
Anthony Stern, Storm Thorgerson, Mick Rock, who created such amazingly beautiful images. To debonair Nigel Waymouth and the extraordinary couple Pete and Sue.
Many thanks and good love for the wonderfully exquisite description of Iggy. She is totally overwhelmed and humbled by the delightful memories of her.
Much love,
Iggy

Vintage groupies

Reading the pages that a good friend had printed for her, Iggy got hold of the Vintage Groupies website that also dedicated some space to her. She asked the Church:

Felix, would you do me a really big favour and contact vintage groupies (little queenies) to express my gratitude to all the lovely people who left all the nice comments about me.
Love from Iggy.

Immediately after it had been published several reactions arrived:

Wow, thanks so much Felix for the message, please tell to Iggy thanks so much from Little Queenies :)
This is so great, she is so kind to think about us :)
Warm regards to her and to you Felix
Elia & Violeta, Barcelona, Spain
Its wonderful, to hear from her.
Dancas
So amazing! Thank you so much for not only sharing the interviews but relaying the message to us here at Vintage groupies! So fantastic.
Lynxolita
Iggy now (photo: Chris Lanaway)
Iggy, 2011 (photo: Chris Lanaway).

Iggy the Eskimo 2011 photo shoot
by Chris Lanaway

The Mojo article had a recent Iggy picture, taken by Chris Lanaway. A second picture has recently turned up at his Tumblr account. Chris writes:

Here is a teaser from a recent series which will be viewable soon: Iggy the Eskimo.

A hi-res version of the picture in question can be found here.

This article has nearly ended, and we pass the word to Anne from Paris who passed us a letter for Evelyn:

Dear Iggy,
Because you told Mark (Blake) that you were surprised and flattered to discover that so many persons were interested in you (and I'd even say that they're your fans!), I want to tell you that many of us have got a great tenderness for you; you've been part of our lives during decades and were at the same time a magnificent mystery and a flesh and blood woman in Syd's life, two good reasons not to be able to forget you!
Of course, the fact that in these latest years, a great deal of beautiful photos of you appeared just increased the admiration and fascination about you.
I hope that the affection, admiration and fascination that many of us have been feeling towards you warm you up and that you'll stay in touch with us in any way you want ("us" means Felix, Mark, Syd's fans and even maybe, one day, the organization around Syd's memory in Cambridge).
Needless to say that not only was it a great relief and a great joy that you were found again last year, but it's also a great joy now to see new photos of you.
Friendly regards.
Anne (Paris, France)
(I've got the "Madcap laughs" since 1988, I was 17 then)

From an entirely different continent comes the following:

It was really nice to know that you are around and OK. My happiness is enormous! I’ve just loved your recent interviews and pictures. You are indeed a beautiful person! I hope you share with us some of your views and stories on those fabled years that influenced the cultural paradigms in so many ways and in so many countries. I wish you the best with all my heart.
Peace and Love,
Dan, Ottawa, Canada

And...

HI. My name is Griselda. I just wanted to say I am a big fan of Iggy. When I saw on your website that she was going to be on Mojo Magazine, I was so excited. I can't imagine how you felt!
You may find it strange that a 19 year old girl is so interested in Evelyn, but I really think she was a wonderful model. The pictures taken by Anthony Stern are really beautiful. She was such a free spirit, living in the moment. I think most models today are so polished up, their too skinny, or try to change their looks as much as possible to look like Barbies or something. That's why I love Iggy so much because she was a natural beauty, and she didn't have to try hard to look wonderful in pictures.
Take Care.
Griselda, USA

Space girl

The Mojo (extended) interview ends with an excited Iggy who phones Mark Blake out of the blue.

Last week, Iggy called to tell me she had found a poem online written about her by a professor at a university in Missouri. "And it's in French," she said, sounding astonished. "'Iggy l’Esquimo, Fille de l’espace.'...it goes. I never believed anyone would ever write a poem for me."

Although the professor actually lives in Manitoba, Canada, where the temperature descended to a blistering minus 41 degrees in January, the news arrived to him. Probably by sledge-dog express, driven by – who else? – an Eskimo.

In the summer of 2006 Denis Combet wrote a collection of poems as a tribute to the musician and painter Roger Keith Barrett who passed away in Cambridge on the 7th of July 2006. The poems highlight the life of the young artist as a nonconformist who preferred – or was forced – to withdraw from the music world for a more humble existence. They were published (in an English translation) in the online magazine Ecclectica of February 2007.

The Church got the permission to pick an Iggy dedicated poem out of the collection, not only in English, but also the original French version, that had never been published before: From Quetesh to Bastet / De Quétesh à Bastet .

Unfortunately these poems never went into print, because of the high cost involved for publishing poetry, that often sells no more than a few dozen of copies. But miracles sometimes do happen and hopefully we might read more from Denis Combet in the near future.

Epilogue

In the next post the Church will probably give a detailed analysis of the latest Iggy interviews, until then, sistren and brethren. We leave the last word to Anne from Paris:

I don’t think Iggy's mystery will be over from now on;
I do think the mystery that comes out of her photos in the 60’s just cannot die.

The Church wishes to thank: Anne, Dan, Dancas, Denis, Ela & Violetta (Little Queenies), Griselda, Jenny, Kieren, Lynxolita, Mark, Zoe, Late Night, Mojo magazine & Vintage Groupies and all others who commented and contributed.

Last but not least: ♥ Iggy ♥ and her loyal friends who pass her messages to and fro.


The Mark Blake Iggy tapes can be found at:
Iggy The Eskimo Phones Home (Mojo 207 article - hosted at the Church)
The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo - part 1 (hosted at the Mojo website Church, update August 2013)
The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo - part 2 (hosted at the Mojo website Church, update August 2013)


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.


2011-04-10

Iggy at the Exhibition

Those that have been living on planet Magrathea for the past couple of months may not have been aware that Thursday, 17th of March 2011 was a great day in the life for a Barrett-fan.

The long awaited book 'Barrett', apparently nobody attempts to use a combination of Madcap or Crazy Diamond any more, which is a good thing, was launched with a mega-party and exhibition at Idea Generation, London.

The Church will review the definitive visual companion to the life of Syd Barrett in the weeks to come so for the moment you have to content yourself with the message that it is a splendiferous (and heavy... and pricey) work of art... and love.

Attending the launch were Anthony Stern, Aubrey "Po" Powell, Captain Sensible, Dark Globe, David Gale, Duggie Fields, Graham Coxon, Ian Barrett, Irene Winsby, Jenny Spires, John 'Hoppy' Hopkins, Libby Gausden, Mark Blake, Miles, Philip James, Rosemary Breen, Vic Singh, Warren Dosanjh and many others... enough to make a Pink Floyd aficionado drool...

But for the Church (and not only for the Church) the star of the evening undoubtedly was a woman of international mystery... and here are some pictures of her:

Iggy

Iggy
(picture courtesy and © A Fleeting Glimpse)

Libby Gausden and Iggy

Libby and Iggy
(picture courtesy and © Paul Drummond), this image may not be published without the permission of its owner.)

John "Hoppy" Hopkins and Iggy

Hoppy and Iggy
(picture courtesy and © Jimmie James)

Iggy and Andy Rose

Iggy and Andy Rose
(picture courtesy and © Jimmie James.)

Ian Barrett, Iggy and Captain Sensible

Ian Barrett, Iggy and Captain Sensible
(picture picture courtesy and © Captain Sensible)

Duggie Fields and Iggy

Duggie Fields and Iggy
(picture picture courtesy and © Jenny Spires)

Brian Wernham and Iggy

Brian Wernham and Iggy
(picture courtesy Brian Wernham, photographer unknown)

Iggy having some fun with the paparazzi

Iggy Superstar
(pictures courtesy and © Red Carpet)

Where is Iggy?
and who else can you recognise on this picture?

Flower People
(picture courtesy and © sydbarrettbook)

Some answers:
Antonio Jesús: "The tall guy in brown is Warren Dosanjh."
Mark Jones: "Duggie Fields."
Jenny Spires: "Nigel Gordon and Jimmie Mickelson, Will Shutes and Viv's nephew, Kieren and his partner..."
Libby Gausden Chisman: "Roe Barrett and her husband Paul Breen, Buster and his partner who used to come swimming with Dave Gilmour and me at Jesus Green swimming pool in Cambridge."

One of our brethren told the Reverend afterwards:

I saw Iggy at the launch yesterday. She did very well, considering it was her first public appearance. She had a legion of female admirers so she was happy, and people were thrilled to meet her.

It was a night of Happy Talk indeed.


The Church wishes to thank: Antonio Jesús, Mark Blake, Libby Gausden Chisman, Dark Globe, Paul Drummond, Jimmie James, Mark Jones, Jenny Spires, Brian Wernham and the beautiful people at Late Night and Facebook.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2011-04-15

Rockadolly

What a strange few weeks it has been. A new Barrett book was launched with a big Syd exhibition in London, attended by the crème de la crème of the Cambridge mafia, freewheeling dharma buns, madcap mad cats, Sydney fans, look-alikes and collectors, Late Night friends, the odd blurry rock star, unfortunately no Reverend and at least one thief, but more of that later.

Iggy by Dolly Rocker
Iggy by Dolly Rocker.

Syd Barrett | Art and Letters

The Barrett book, that the Church still has to savor in detail, but like Romeo thought he ought to do with Julia, the Reverend is waiting till the time is ripe, is indebted to (amongst others) eternal goddesses Libby Gausden and Jenny Spires, whose presence radiated through the vernissage.

Mount Olympus is a place filled with many splendors. For many it was an unsurpassed surprise when Iggy appeared, like Ayesha out a pillar of fire, leaving a trail of buzzed excitement wherever she went. She said: "Captain?" and he sensibly said: "Wot!" dragging Ian Barrett over to have their picture taken. Red carpet paparazzi asked her to do the famous Iggy pose and fans wanted her to autograph the Barrett book although she has, strictly speaking, nothing to do with the book at all. (Several pictures of Iggy at the IG (!) Gallery can be found at the appropriately titled post: Iggy at the Exhibition.)

Barrett, the book

There isn't really a trace of Iggy in the Barrett book, apart from the well known Madcap back cover shot that has been reproduced on page 178, but pages 114 to 121 contain a few outtakes of The Madcap Laughs photo sessions, wrongly dated as Beecher & Shutes maintain they were taken in autumn 1969. Probably autumn 1969 was when a second photo session by Storm Thorgerson took place, the so-called yoga shots that have already been discussed extensively on this place before (see, for instance: The Case of the Painted Floorboards).

Iggy revealed to Mark Blake that, on the same day, there was an alternative photo session as well:

I don't think Storm and Mick were very impressed by them. If you've ever seen the cover of the Rod Stewart album, Blondes Have More Fun, they were a bit like that... Of me and Syd. There were others of me and Syd, as well, which remind me of the picture of John and Yoko [on Two Virgins] which came out later. I'd love to see those pictures now. (Taken from: The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 2)

But despite some discrete investigations nothing so far nothing has been unearthed, yet.

La Gazza Ladra

That not all Syd Barrett fans are trustworthy holy men proves the following story.

Last Saturday, 9th of April, a self-portrait of the artist as a young man (page 187 in the Barrett book) was stolen from the Idea Generation Gallery between 2:15 and 3 PM. It belonged to Libby Gausden since 1962, who had received the painting as a present from her boyfriend Syd and who had lend it to the exhibition to commemorate the Barrett book-launch.

In a short press release Libby stated that she was devastated: “I am very upset at the theft of the painting, it has huge personal value to me and I am appealing for its safe return.”

For once the Barrett and Pink Floyd community reacted unisono, fans and foes all alike condemned the theft and promised to be on the lookout for the painting and to return it immediately to Libby if it would show up.

And the improbable did happen. On Tuesday, the 12th, the painting was brought back to the gallery which provoked the following dry comment from Libby (once she had finished jumping up and down in the air): “'I'd give it to you if I could - but I 'borrowed' it.”

Miracles do happen from time to time.

Iggy Fandom

Iggy has been a source of inspiration through the ages: Anthony Stern, Storm Thorgerson, Mick Rock... and it will never change. The fantastic drawing at the top of this post has been made by Dolly Rocker from Buenos Aires, proving that we are all Eskimos in our hearts. Thanks Gaby!


Beecher, Russell & Shutes, Will: Barrett, Essential Works Ltd, London, 2011.
The Church wishes to thank: Mark Blake, Libby Gausden Chisman, Dolly Rocker, Jenny Spires and the beautiful people at Late Night and Facebook.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2011-06-11

Mad Cat Love

The Madcat Laughs (original from The Kitten Covers)
The Madcat Laughs (Felix Atagong variation from The Kitten Covers).

Yesterday, on Friday the 11th of June 2011, the Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit was waiting on a bench at the central bus station when a man addressed him in French, but he soon switched over to Dutch.

"I see you are reading a nice book about Pink Floyd. I used to be a Pink Floyd fan myself. Syd Barrett, the madcap loves."

At least it sounded like 'the madcap loves' in my ears and not 'the madcap laughs', but perhaps the man had just a small problem with English pronunciation. Never have made that link myself, I can only smilingly agree that the madcap loves is one of the better Floydian slips ever.

The madcap loves, I love it.

But perhaps I just misheard the thing, my ears aren't any more what they used to be, after having been mistreated by Iron Maiden on my iPod for the last lustrum.

Mad cat's something you can't explain

A trademark rhyme in Barrett's Octopus song is the line that named the album:

The madcap laughed at the man on the border
Heigh-ho, Huff the Talbot.

But Rob Chapman, in an interesting YouTube interview about his biography A Very Irregular Head, is of the opinion that Barrett did not sing mad-cap but mad cat. In that case the title of Barrett's first solo album is based upon a misunderstanding from producer David Gilmour.

The mad cat laughed at the man on the border
Heigh-ho, Huff the Talbot.

Since Paul Belbin's excellent cyber-essay 'Untangling the Octopus' (2005), hosted at the Church with the author's permission, we know that the Octopus song (also titled Clowns and Jugglers in an earlier stage) is packed with obscure literary references, disclaiming the rumour that Barrett wrote his songs in a drug influenced frenzy. One of the characters ripped by Syd Barrett comes from an anonymous nursery rhyme called 'Huff the Talbot and our cat Tib':

Huff the talbot and our cat Tib
They took up sword and shield,
Tib for the red rose, Huff for the white,
To fight upon Bosworth field.

For the adherers of the mad cat theory it is perhaps of importance here that the dog's adversary in the battle of Bosworth just above is not a mad-cap but a cat called Tib.

Rob Chapman also mentions nonsense poet Edward Lear as a further influence on Barrett but he didn't catch the following poem:

There was an old man on the Border,
Who lived in the utmost disorder;
He danced with the cat,
And made tea in his hat,
Which vexed all the folks on the Border.

You don't need to be a genius to reconstruct how the dancing cat from Lear's man on the border and Tib, the warrior cat at Bosworth field, amalgamated into the mad cat character in Octopus.

But, as with all things Syd, things aren't always that simple. The madcap believers have a point as well as a madcap galloping chase does appear in an early incarnation of Clowns and Jugglers:

Sit up, touching hips
to a madcap galloping chase
"Cheat" he cried shouting “Kangaroo!”

This contains a quote from The Wind In A Frolic by William Howitt:

The wind one morning sprang up from sleep,
Saying, “Now for a frolic! now for a leap!
Now for a madcap, galloping chase!
I’ll make a commotion in every place!”

In that case David Gilmour mistook one line for the other and the album's title may have been taken from a quote that didn't make it on the album.

Salvation Came Lately

But the above has got absolutely nothing to do with today's article and the Reverend duly apologises for the confusion.

Sitting on a bench at the bus station he was addressed by a man who had found a common point of interest: Pink Floyd. To prove that the traveller wasn't talking bollocks, the sharp-dressed man suddenly sang the following lines from Jugband Blues.

I don't care if the sun don't shine
and I don't care if nothing is mine
and I don't care if I'm nervous with you
I'll do my loving in the winter...

Asked to sing a favourite line from a Floyd tune (luckily that never happens) I would never quote an early song, so the choice of this man was quite interesting, to say the least. Unfortunately, the strophe was followed by the announcement that he didn't listen to the Floyd any more, only to religious music.

To my shame I have to admit that the Reverend didn't see it coming that another Reverend was trying to lure him into the tentacles of another Church... Coincidentally we had to take the same bus and we talked like close friends until it was time for the ambassador of god to leave the ambassador of Iggy.

Vibrations
Vibrations.

Good Vibrations

The 'book' I was reading wasn't a book but a special 82 pages issue from the French rock magazine Vibrations, entirely dedicated to Pink Floyd (7,90 €). Printed on luxurious glossy paper it assembles articles (translated in French) from well known Q, Mojo and NME journalists, such as Martin Aston, the Church's partner in crime Mark Blake, Pat Gilbert, Chris Salewicz and the French Aymeric Leroy, who apparently has written an acclaimed biography on the band: 'Pink Floyd: Plongée dans l'oeuvre d'un groupe paradoxal'.

The times are long gone when I bought everything that was from far or nearby Pink Floyd related, I even resisted buying Pink Floyd coffee mugs a couple of week ago, something that would have been impossible for me in the past millennium, so here is a biography I wasn't aware of. Not that I am planning to buy it. There isn't one single French Pink Floyd or Syd Barrett biography that doesn't clash with my personal beliefs of what a good biography should be.

Just try the following reviews of French Pink Floyd or Syd Barrett books on this blog and you'll know what I mean:
Si les cochons pourraient voler… 
Cheap Tricks 
Barrett: first in space! 

Update 2011 06 20: Unfortunately the Internet isn't the safe place any more where you can insult someone without being noticed. Aymeric Leroy got hold of this post and wanted to set a few things straight.

Thanks for mentioning my book on your blog. I'd just like to point out that it isn't a "biography", more like a critical assessment of the band's entire discography, which does include background info of a biographical nature, but primarily an analysis of the music and lyrics.
The stuff I wrote for the special issue of "Vibrations" is expanded from the more biographical passages of the book, but the book isn't an "expanded" version of those. There are other people who did a great job telling the band's history, and I relied on their work, but my reason for adding yet another book to the impressive PF bibliography was to try and do something different - write about the actual music for at least 75% of the book.

Duly noted, Aymeric, and perhaps the Church will have a go at your book then, one of these days...

The Ultimate Music Guide
The Ultimate Music Guide.

Uncut and uncombed

It promises to be a hot Pink Floyd year, this year, and the makers of Uncut magazine have issued a 146 pages Pink Floyd special in their The Ultimate Music Guide series. It isn't such a classy edition as the French Vibrations, but of course the good news is that it contains at least twice as much information. With at least one article or interview per Pink Floyd record this obviously is the 'better buy' of the two, although the initial set-up is more or less the same. The Uncut special assembles old articles and a few new ones and promises to be an enjoyable read.

That an enjoyable read isn't always the same as an accurate read proves Allan Jones' The Madcap Laughs & Barrett article on pages 32 till 35. He starts with mentioning that Syd Barrett entered Studio 3 on the 6th of May 1968, for the first of six sessions that would follow. I don't know what it is with this 6-sessions-myth but Rob Chapman claims exactly the same in his biography. As I always seem to have recalled 9 sessions instead of 6 (but according to the Holy Pope of Rome my brain has been irrecoverably damaged by years of masturbation) it is time for yet another anoraky investigation.

So not for the first time in my career as Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit I have counted the 1968 Madcap recording dates, as noted down in David Parker's excellent sessionagraphy Random Precision. It all starts in the beginning of May.

1968 05 06 – In the morning EMI engineers had been transferring two Pink Floyd tracks 'In the Beechwood' (aka 'Down in the Beechwoods') and 'Vegetable Man' for Syd Barrett to work on, but when Barrett finally arrived he decided to record two new songs instead: 'Silace Lang' (aka 'Silas Lang') and 'Late Night'. Session One.

According to the Allan Jones article Barrett recorded the rambling 'Rhamadan' the day after. Wrong. The next day would have been the seventh of May, but Barrett only re-entered the studio one week later.

1968 05 13 – 'Silas Lang' (take 1) and 'Late Night' (take 6), were worked on / transferred by Peter Jenner. It is not clear if Syd Barrett was present in the studio or if this was merely a technical session. Of course this could have been one of those 'chaotic' sessions where Barrett simply didn't show up, with Peter Jenner trying to salvage the furniture by using the spare time for some producer’s work. Session Two.

1968 05 14 – 'Rhamadan', 'Lanky' (Pt. 1&2), 'Golden Hair'. Obviously Barrett and three session musicians were in the studio, although nobody seems to remember who the backing band members really were. Session Three.

1968 05 21 – 'Late Night', 'Silace Lang'. This was the day when Syd Barrett forgot to bring his guitar to the studio and Peter Jenner had to rent one for £10.50. Always a kind of a joker, our Syd. Session Four.

1968 05 28 – 'Golden Hair', 'Swan Lee' (aka 'Silace Lang'), 'Rhamadan'. This session also included (the same?) three session musicians. Session Five.

1968 06 08 – Superimposition of titles recorded on 6th, 14th, 21st & 29th [wrong date, FA] of May, 1968, so read the red form notes. Peter Jenner made a provisional tracklist for what could have been Barrett's first album:

Silas Lang
Late Nights (sic)
Golden Hair
Beechwoods (originally recorded with Pink Floyd)
Vegetable man (originally recorded with Pink Floyd)
Scream Your Last Scream (sic, originally recorded with Pink Floyd)
Lanky Pt 1
Lanky Pt 2

Looking like a Barrett's fan wet dream the above track listing debunks the story - still popular at certain disturbed Barrett circles - that the band Pink Floyd and its members deliberately boycotted their former colleague.

Barrett was apparently present at this session as some guitar overdubs were recorded for 'Swan Lee' (the right title of that track still wasn't decided). Session Six.

1968 06 14 – cancelled session

1968 06 20 – tape transfers and overdubs on 'Late Night' (noted down as 'Light Nights'), 'Golden Hair', 'Swanlee' (again another way of naming this track). Syd Barrett probably did some vocal overdubs. Session Seven.

1968 06 27 – 'Swanlee', 'Late Night', 'Golden Hair'. Tape transfers and possible (vocal) overdubs. This is a bit of a mystery session as the archives of EMI aren't clear what really happened. Session Eight.

1968 08 20 – 'Swan Lee', 'Late Nights', 'Golden Hair', 'Clowns & Jugglers'. First appearance of the track that would later be named Octopus. Session Nine.

Session nine is where Peter Jenner decided to pull the plug, and unless you believe in the conspiracy theory that Jenner was a spy for the Pink Floyd camp, there must have been a valid reason for it.

So there we have it, the nine chaotic Madcap sessions of the year 1968. Of course it is clear where the six sessions explanation comes from, if one omits the second session where Barrett probably never cared to show up and some tape transfer and overdub sessions you have successfully diminished nine sessions into six.

It all is a matter of interpretation: at one side you have those who argue that Barrett recorded a nice collection of great dance songs in only six sessions, at the other side you have those (including producer, manager and personal friend Peter Jenner) who claim that nine sessions weren't enough to produce three decent demos. As always the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

So the six session myth, as noted down by Allan Jones in the Uncut Pink Floyd 'Ultimate Music Guide' might not be so far off the truth.

Storm shot by Mick during the TML photo shoot.
Storm shot by Mick during the TML photo shoot.

Camera Kids

Another misty myth hangs around the cover shoot of the album. Allan Jones bluntly states, more out of ignorance, I presume, than of knowledge, that Mick Rock was responsible for the cover. The official version goes that the pictures, used for the cover, were taken by Storm Thorgerson, who happened to be at the same place at the same time (as the picture at the left side proves). The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit has already spilled lots of bits and bytes about The Madcap Laughs photo sessions (in plural), so we won't go further into that.

Iggy 'Eskimo' Rose revealed to Mark Blake that other shots were taken as well:

I don't think Storm and Mick were very impressed by them. If you've ever seen the cover of the Rod Stewart album, Blondes Have More Fun, they were a bit like that... Of me and Syd. There were others of me and Syd, as well, which remind me of the picture of John and Yoko [on Two Virgins] which came out later. I'd love to see those pictures now. (Taken from: The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 2)

Nowadays it is not that certain any more if these shots were taken by Storm Thorgerson or by Mick Rock. There might even have been a third photographer at play. It seems that the flat of Syd Barrett was crowded with people that day and that they all brought a camera. Unfortunately the naughty Syd & Iggy pictures seem to have disappeared...

Maybe it was because there was too much frontal. Poor Syd, I remember getting carried away, pulling and pushing him about, getting astride him. He was in fits of laughter....which of course is not what they [the photographers] where after. (Iggy Rose, 30 May 2011.)

Riding the Octopus

Allan Jones is of course not a Barrett anorak like yours truly (and most of the readers of this blog) and thus he has to confide upon other anoraky people. So he probably doesn't see any harm in the following quote:

Rob Chapman's close reading of the remarkable 'Octopus', for example, revealed the craft of which Syd was still capable. The song's cleverly accumulated lyrics drew on diverse literary sources, folklore, nursery rhymes, and the hallucinatory vernacular of dream states to create a wholly realised, enraptured universe, halcyon and unique. (p. 35)

This is all true and very beautifully written, but only – and this brings us back to the starting point of this article – it was Paul Belbin's essay (compiled with the help of a dozen of contributors) that revealed the Octopus' hidden lyrics to begin with and that roughly five years before Chapman's Irregular Head biography. No wonder that Julian Palacios, a Syd Barrett biographer in his own right, calls it the Rosetta stone for decoding the writing inspirations for one of Syd Barrett's most beloved songs.

But all in all Uncut's 'The Ultimate Music Guide' to Pink Floyd seems to be an essential (and rather cheap, only £5.99) overview of the band and its records and I like all the articles that I've read so far. I think it's a gem and a keeper.

The Church wishes to thank: Paul Belbin, Mark Blake, Julian Palacios and the wandering anonymous Pink Floyd lover from the Embassy of God. Top picture: variation on a theme from The Kitten Covers.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above)
Belbin, Paul: Untangling the Octopus v2, 2006. PDF version, hosted at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.
Belbin, Paul & Palacios, Julian: Untangling the Octopus v3, 2009, hosted at the Syd Barrett Research Society (forum no longer active).
Update April 2015: same article hosted at Late Night.
Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 126-138.


2011-08-28

Immersion

Light Blue with Bulges
Light Blue with Bulges, Nick Sedgwick.

The next months will be musically dedicated to Pink Floyd and several, if not all, of the serious music magazines are hanging a separate wagon at EMI's gravy train.

Classic Rock 162 (with AC/DC on the cover) comes with a separate Pink Floyd 24 pages booklet, titled at one side: The making of the Dark Side Of The Moon, and at the other side (when you turn the booklet around) The making of Wish You Were Here, written by Pink Floyd biographer Glenn Povey, with pictures of Jill Furmanovsky.

Mojo 215, ridiculously called the October 2011 edition while we purchased it now in August (somebody ought to tell those Mojo editors what a calendar is), has a 12 pages Pink Floyd cover story from Pigs Might Fly author Mark Blake and with pictures from... Jill Furmanovsky, but more about that later.

Rock Prog (out on August 31) will be celebrating the 40-iest birthday of Meddle, an album that – according to their blurb – changed the sound of Pink Floyd and prog rock forever.

But we start with the most recent Uncut (that has a Marc Bolan / T-Rex cover, but it didn't cross the Channel yet) where Nick Mason expresses his belief that there still is room for a combined Piper/Saucerful Immersion set. That extended CD-box-set would have early Pink Floyd rarities as Vegetable Man and Scream Thy last Scream but also...

...we've got some demos that were made really early on, which I think are just charming. these come from 1965 and include 'Lucy Leave', "I'm A King Bee", "Walk With Me Sydney", and "Double O-Bo". They're very R'n'B. Of course we were yet another English band who wanted to be an American style R'n'B band. We recorded the demo at Decca. I think it must have been, in Broadhurst Gardens. A friend of Rick's was working there as an engineer, and managed to sneak us in on a Saturday night when the studio wasn't operating.

As all Immersion sets come with some live recordings as well all eyes (or ears) are pointing into the direction of the Gyllene Cirkeln gig that was recently sold by its taper to the Floyd. But Mark Jones, known for his extensive collection of early Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett pictures, heard something else from his contacts at Pink Floyd Ltd. He fears that this gig will not be put on an early Floyd immersion set:

I doubt it, my answer from someone 'high up' was 'the Stockholm recording does not feature Syd's vocals'. I take that means either his mic was not functioning properly or he was singing off mic. (…) My answer was from 'high up' and from what I gathered it meant they weren't releasing it!

Like we have pointed out in a previous article (see: EMI blackmails Pink Floyd fans!) the September 1967 live set does not have audible lyrics, due to the primitive circumstances the gig has been recorded with (or simply because Syd didn't sing into the microphone). But that set also has some instrumentals that could be put on a rarities disk: a 7 minutes 20 seconds unpublished jam nicknamed 'Before or Since' (title given by the taper), Pow R Toc H (without the jungle sounds?) and Interstellar Overdrive.

It will be a long wait as an early Immersion set can only see the light of day in late 2012 and only after the other sets have proven to be successful.

Update 2016 11 11: that Piper 'Immersion' set, with the Gyllene Cirkeln gog, has been officiually issued in the Early Years box set: Supererog/Ation: skimming The Early Years.

Nick Sedgwick
Nick Sedgwick (front) with Syd Barrett (back). Picture taken from Mick Rock's Shot! documentary (2017).

Nick Sedgwick's manuscript

Back to Mojo with its Dark Side Of The Moon / Wish You Were Here cover article. Obviously the 'Syd visits Pink Floyd' anecdote had to be added in as well and at page 88 Mark Blake tells the different versions of this story once again (some of them can also be found in here: The Big Barrett Conspiracy Theory).

In his Lost In Space article Mark Blake also retells the almost unknown story about an unpublished Pink Floyd book that has been lying on Roger Waters' shelves for about 35 years. After the gigantic success of Dark Side Of The Moon the band, or at least Roger Waters, found it a good idea to have a documentary of their life as successful rock-stars. Waters asked his old Cambridge friend and golf buddy Nick Sedgwick to infiltrate the band and to note down his impressions. Another sixties Cambridge friend was called in as well: Storm Thorgerson, who hired Jill Furmanovsky to take (some of) the pictures of the 1974 American tour. Nick and Storm could follow the band far more intimately than any other journalist or writer as they had been beatnik buddies (with Syd, David and Roger) meeting in the Cambridge coffee houses in the Sixties. In his 1989 novel Light Blue With Bulges Nick Sedgwick clearly describes how a loud-mouthed bass player and the novel's hero share some joints and drive around on their Vespa motorcycles.

Life on the rock road in 1974 was perhaps too much of a Kerouac-like adventure. The band had its internal problems, with Roger Waters acting as the alpha-male (according to David Gilmour in the latest Mojo article). But there weren't only musical differences, Pink Floyd had wives and families but they also had some difficulties to keep up the monogamist life on the road. Then there was the incident with Roger Waters who heard a man's voice at the other side when he called his wife at home.

When David Gilmour read the first chapters of the book he felt aggrieved by it and managed to get it canned, a trick he would later repeat with Nick Mason's first (and unpublished) version of Inside Out. But also Nick Mason agrees that the book by Nick Sedgwick was perceived, by the three others, as being to openly friendly towards Roger Waters and too negative towards the others. Mark Blake, in a Facebook reaction to the Church, describes the manuscript as 'dynamite'.

Unfortunately Nick Sedgwick died a couple of days ago and Roger Waters issued the following statement:

One of my oldest friends, Nick Sedgwick, died this week of brain cancer. I shall miss him a lot. I share this sad news with you all for a good reason.
He leaves behind a manuscript, "IN THE PINK" (not a hunting memoir).
His memoir traces the unfolding of events in 1974 and 1975 concerning both me and Pink Floyd. In the summer of 1974 Nick accompanied me, and my then wife Judy, to Greece. We spent the whole summer there and Nick witnessed the beginnings of the end of that marriage.
That autumn he travelled with Pink Floyd all round England on The Dark Side Of The Moon Tour. He carried a cassette recorder on which he recorded many conversations and documented the progress of the tour. In the spring of 1975 he came to America with the band and includes his recollections of that time also.
When Nick finished the work in 1975 there was some resistance in the band to its publication, not surprising really as none of us comes out of it very well, it's a bit warts and all, so it never saw the light of day.
It is Nick's wish that it be made available now to all those interested in that bit of Pink Floyd history and that all proceeds go to his wife and son.
To that end I am preparing three versions, a simple PDF, a hardback version, and a super de-luxe illustrated limited edition signed and annotated by me and hopefully including excerpts from the cassettes.

For those interested in the more turbulent episodes of the band Pink Floyd this will be a very interesting read indeed.

Update 2016 12 04: the Sedgwick Floyd biography 'In The Pink' has not been published yet. In a 2015 interview for Prog magazine Roger Waters, however, said that the project was still on.


The Church wishes to thank: Mark Blake, Mark Jones & although he will probably never read this, Roger Waters.


2011-11-12

Careful with that stash, Gini

Careful with that stash, Gini
David Gilmour
David 'a Guinness is good for you' Gilmour.

Business as usual at The Anchor. Felix Atagong, that old drunk hippie, was sitting at the bar, ogling some of the mojito girls eagerly discussing Justin Bieber's posterior. At his fifth Guinness Felix usually starts to get all glazzy eyed and wants to start a Pink Floyd fight. Most of the time it suffices to name-drop Rob Chapman to make Atagong throw a tantrum, but there weren't enough spectators today to make this trick worthwhile.

"Alex", he said, "Did I already tell you that David Gilmour wore a Guinness t-shirt during the 1974 French tour, just to piss off their sponsor Gini?" I pretended not having heard this story a dozen times before.

"In 1972", he orated, "Pink Floyd signed a lucrative publicity contract with Gini, a French übersweet soft drink. The band went to the Moroccan desert where they had some shots taken by photographer William Sorano, a fact not a lot of people know of." Felix likes to brag a lot, especially when he gets a bit light in the head.

"Of course Pink Floyd wasn't a millionaire's super group yet when they agreed with the deal. They liked to describe themselves as an underground art band and only the French were daft enough to believe that. British have this national sport to fool the French and for three full decades those have thought that 'pink floyd' was English for 'flamant rose' or 'pink flamingo'. That rumour was started on the mainland by journalist Jean Marie Leduc after he returned from a trip to London in sixty-seven. Asking a freaked-out acid head what a pink floyd really meant he turned into the proverbial sitting duck and eagerly swallowed the bait."

Pink Floyd Ballet
The Pink Floyd ballet (Roland Petit).

"So whenever Pink Floyd wanted to get arty-farty they only had to hop into the nearest ferry to Calais where they were hauled in as national heroes. One of their sillier projects was to play behind a bunch of men in tights, jumping up and down in an uncoördinated way, and calling that a ballet. Of course there was a kind of 'intellectual snobbery' involved in this all, but even more the Pink Floyd's fine taste for champagne and oysters that was invariably hauled in by the bucket." Felix had certainly reached lift-off and would be raving and drooling now for at least the next half hour to come."

"Another project was the soundtrack for the art movie La Vallée, a typical French vehicle for long pseudo philosophical musings about the richness of primitive culture and the sudden urge of a French bourgeois woman to hug some trees and to hump the local Crocodile Dundee. Part of the movie is in the kind of English that would turn Inspector Clouseau green with envy. What does one expects from a bunch of hippies, making a tedious long journey to a mythical valley they call 'obscured by cloud' (not 'clouds')?"

La Vallée, end scene.
La Vallée, end scene.

"The hidden valley is supposed to be a paradise and the story sounds like a cheap rehash of the ridiculous Star Trek episode, The Way To Eden. Over the years journalists and biographers have rumoured that the movie is saved by showing a fair amount of frolicking in the nude, but it miserably fails in that department as well. Quite unusual for a French movie of the early seventies, I might add, as the cinematographic intellectual trend was to show the female form in all its variety. The only bush that can be seen is the New Guinean forest unfortunately."

"Obviously the Floyd couldn't resist this challenge and helped by the easy money soundtracks brought in they were wheeled into a château with a stock of red wine and boeuf bourguignon. Two weeks later they emerged with one of their finest albums ever." Atagong took another drink and belched loudly. This had only been the introduction, I feared, I was right.

Gini 1974
Pink Floyd 'Gini' Tour.

"Rick Wright recalls in a 1974 Rock & Folk interview how their manager Steve O'Rourke met a bloke on a French beach, waving a fifty thousand British pounds check in front of him. O'Rourke frantically jumped up and down, like a dancer from a French avant-garde ballet dancing troupe, making hysterically pink flamingo quacking sounds. Little did he know this was going to be first time in Floydian history that the band didn't manage to trick the French, a tradition that started in 1965 when Syd Barrett and David Gilmour busked the French Riviera. Of course it is easy to say in retrospect O'Rourke was duly screwed 'up the khyber' by the Gini coöperation, but in 1972 it appeared not to be such a bad deal after all. Part of the deal was that Gini promised to sponsor a French tour, including radio and television promo spots that unfortunately have not survived into the 21st century."

"The main problem was that in 1973 Pink Floyd suddenly turned into millionaire superstars thanks to Dark Side Of The Moon and that 50,000 pounds was now something they spent on breakfast orange juice. But Gini, waving with the two years old contract, threatened with legal action and the Floyd reluctantly agreed to meet the conditions."

Gini promo girl
Gini promo girl.

"In the summer of 1974 Floyd hit France and wherever they appeared a publicity caravan of 15 people would follow them. It had cute girls who gave Gini drinks, stickers and fluorescent t-shirts away, 4 'easy riders' on 750 cc super-choppers (painted by Jean-Paul Montagne) and a green 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith (numberplate: 567 AAF 75) with a loud stereo installation. Rumours go that at a certain point the atmosphere was so heated between the Pink Floyd management and Gini that a minimum distance between band and publicity people had to be agreed on. But according to Nick Mason, in his auto-biography Inside Out, it was only the band that got infuriated, the technical crew quite enjoyed the promo girls and they exchanged more than soft drinks alone."

"French journalists immediately accused Pink Floyd of a sell-out and the band rapidly declared that the money was going to charity, something in the line of a school for handicapped children. Rock & Folk squeezed out the names of the Ronald Laing Association and the French hôpital de Salpêtrière, but reality may have been a bit different. Nick Mason told Mojo's Mark Blake this summer that they probably just shelved the money, although David Gilmour and Roger Waters still keep up it was donated. Rest me to say that Waters was so angry at the situation that he wrote an unpublished song about the Gini incident, titled Bitter Love (aka 'How Do You Feel')." Felix Atagong paused a bit, to have a drink, so this was a moment for immediate action.

"Out!", I said, "The Anchor is closed."

"But", retaliated the Reverend, "this was just a mere introduction to start talking about the Wish You Were Here Immersion set that has just been issued and I would like to say something more about the 1967 Stockholm Gyllene Cirkeln show that has finally been weeded out to the public..."

"Out!", I said again, "There is no time for your drunken ramblings any more."

I pushed Felix Atagong out of the door and I heard him staggering back home, murmuring incomprehensible things. He'll be back tomorrow anyway.


(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
The Anchor wishes to thank: Nipote and PF Chopper at Y.

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 179-183, 214.
Blake, Mark: Lost In Space, Mojo 215, October 2011, p. 85.
Feller, Benoît: Complet, Rock & Folk, Paris, July 1974, p. 44.
Leduc, Jean-Marie: Pink Floyd, Editions Albin Michel, Paris, 1982, p. 125.
Mason, Nick: Inside Out, Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue, p. 197-198.
(unknown): La "caravane" Pink Floyd-Gini, Hit Magazine, Paris, July 1974.

One of the promo Pink Floyd Gini choppers is still around today and has its own Facebook page: The Pink Floyd Chopper.

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.


2012-05-11

RIP Clive Welham: a biscuit tin with knives

Clive Welham
Clive Welham.

On Wednesday, 9 May 2012, it was reported that Clive Welham passed away, after having been ill for a long time.

50 years earlier, he was the one who introduced a quiet, shy boy to Roger 'Syd' Barrett at the Cambridge College of Art and Technology. The boys had in common that they both liked to play the guitar and immediately became friends, that is how Syd Barrett and David Gilmour met and how the Pink Floyd saga started.

Perse pigs and County cunts (note)

Just like in the rest of England, Cambridge was a musical melting pot in the early sixties with bands forming, merging, splitting and dissolving like bubbles in a lava lamp.

Clive 'Chas' Welham attended the Perse Preparatory School for Boys, a private school where he met fellow student David Gilmour. As would-be musicians they crossed the social barriers and befriended pupils from the Cambridge and County School for Boys, meeting at street corners, the coffee bars or at home were they would trade guitar licks. Despite their two years age difference Clive was invited to the Sunday afternoon blues jam sessions at Roger Barrett's home and in spring 1962 this culminated in a 'rehearsal' band called Geoff Mott & The Mottoes. Clive Welham (to Julian Palacios):

There was Geoff Mott [vocals], Roger Barrett [rhythm guitar], and “Nobby” Clarke [lead guitar], another Perse boy. I met them at a party near the river. They’d got acoustic guitars and were strumming. I started picking up sticks and making noise. We were in the kitchen, away from the main party. They asked me if I played drums and I said, “Not really, but I’d love to.” They said, “Pop round because we’re getting a band together.”

Clive Welham (to Mark Blake):

It was quite possible that when me and Syd first started I didn't even have any proper drums and was playing on a biscuit tin with knives. But I bought a kit, started taking lessons and actually got quite good. I can't even remember who our bass player was...

Although several Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett biographies put Tony Sainty as the Mottoes' bass player Clive Welham has always denied this: “I played in bands with Tony later, but not with Syd.”

Another hang-around was a dangerous looking bloke who was more interested in his motorbike than in playing music: Roger Waters. He was the one who designed the poster for what is believed to be The Mottoes' only public gig.

After Clive Welham had introduced David Gilmour to Syd Barrett, David became a regular visitor as well. Surprisingly enough Syd and David never joined a band together, starting their careers in separate bands. Although they were close friends it has been rumoured there was some pubertal guitar playing rivalry between them.

The Ramblers
The Ramblers.

1962: The Ramblers

The Mottoes never grew into a gigging band and in March 1962 Clive Welham, playing a Trixon drum kit, stepped into The Ramblers with Albert 'Albie' Prior (lead guitar), Johnny Gordon (rhythm guitar), Richard Baker (bass) and Chris ‘Jim’ Marriott (vocals).

The Ramblers’ first gig was at the United Reformed Church Hall on Cherry Hinton Road. They used their new Watkins Copycat Echo Chamber giving them great sound on The Shadows’ Wonderful Land and Move It.

The Ramblers soon acquired a certain reputation and gigged quite a lot in the Cambridge area. One day Syd Barrett asked 'Albie' Prior for some rock'n roll advice in the Cambridge High School toilets: “...saying that he wanted to get into a group and asking what it involved and in particular what sort of haircut was best.”

Unfortunately the responsibilities of adulthood crept up on him and lead guitarist 'Albie' had to leave the band to take a job in a London bank. On Tuesday, the 13th of November 1962, David Gilmour premiered at a gig at the King's Head public house at Fen Ditton, a venue were they would return every week as the house band. Gilmour had joined two bands at the same time and could also be seen with Chris Ian & The Newcomers, later just The Newcomers. Notorious members were sax-player Dick Parry, not unknown to Pink Floyd anoraks and Rick Wills (Peter Frampton's Camel, Foreigner and Bad Company).

Memories have blurred a bit but according to Glenn Povey's Echoes Gilmour's final gig with The Ramblers was on Sunday, 13 October 1963. Beginning of 1964 The Ramblers disbanded but three of its 5 members would later resurface as Jokers Wild.

1963: The Four Posters

But first, in autumn 1963, a band known as The Four Posters was formed, although it may have been just a temporarily solution to keep on playing. David Altham (piano, sax & vocals) and Tony Sainty (bass & vocals) were in it and perhaps Clive Welham (drums). Unfortunately their history has not been documented although according to Will Garfitt, who left the band to pursue a painting career, they played some gigs at the Cambridge Tech, the Gas Works, the Pit Club and the university. Contrary to what has been written in some Pink Floyd biographies John Gordon was never involved:

I was never in The Four Posters. Clive and I were together in The Ramblers, and we left together to join Dave, David and Tony to create Jokers Wild. I don't know whether Dave and Tony came from The Newcomers or The Four Posters...
The Newcomers
The Newcomers.

1964: Jokers Wild

The Ramblers, The Four Posters and The Newcomers ended at about the same time and the bands more or less joined ranks. Renamed Jokers Wild in September 1964 it was at first conceived as an all-singing band. “We were brave enough to do harmony singing that other groups wouldn’t attempt, including Beach Boys and Four Seasons numbers”, confirmed Tony Sainty. The band had good musicians, all of them could hold a tune, and they soon had a loyal fanbase. They became the house-band at Les Jeux Interdits, a midweek dance at Victoria Ballroom. Clive Welham: “We came together in the first place because we all could sing.”

Some highlights of their career include a gig with Zoot Money's Big Roll Band, The Paramounts (an early incarnation of Procol Harum) and a London gig as support act for The Animals. This last gig was so hyped that a bus-load of fans followed them from Cambridge to the big city of London.

1965: Walk Like A Man

Mid 1965 the band entered the Regent Sound Studios in Denmark Street, London. They recorded a single that was sold (or given) to the fans containing Don’t Ask Me What I Say (Manfred Mann) and Big Girls Don’t Cry (The Four Seasons). Out of the same session came a rather limited one-sided LP with three more numbers: Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Walk Like a Man and Beautiful Delilah. This is the only 'released' recording of Jokers Wild although there might be others we are not aware of. Peter Gilmour (David's brother) who replaced Tony Sainty on bass and vocals in autumn 1965 commented this week:

Sad news. A great bloke. I'll replay some of those old recordings doing Four Seasons and Beach Boys numbers with his lovely clear falsetto voice.

Somewhere in October 1965 they played a private party in Great Shelford together with an unknown singer-songwriter Paul Simon and a band that was billed as The Tea Set because Pink Floyd sounded too weird for the highbrow crowd. Clive Welham:

It was in a marquee at the back of this large country house [that can, by the way, be seen on the cover of the Pink Floyd album Ummagumma, FA]. I sat on and off the drum kit because of my wrist problems. Willie Wilson sat in on drums and I came to the front on tambourine.

The musicians enjoyed themselves, jamming with the others and Paul Simon - 'a pain in the arse', according to drummer Willie Wilson - joined in on Johnny B. Good. A couple of days later Jokers Wild supported Pink Floyd again, this time at the Byam Shaw School, Kensington, London. Each band was paid £10 for that gig.

Jokers Wild
Jokers Wild.

1965: the Decca tapes

By then Jokers Wild were seriously thinking of getting professional. They were not only known by the locals in Cambridgeshire, but did several society parties in London as well. Also the military forces had discovered them: Jokers Wild was invited for the Admiral League dance at the Dorchester Hotel in London and played several dances at the RAF and USAF bases of Mildenhall, Lakenheath, Alconbury and Chicksands. Their repertoire changed as well, shifting more towards soul, R&B and Tamla Motown. Libby Gausden: “How we danced to David Gilmour, Peter Gilmour, David Altham, John Gordon, Tony Sainty and dear Clive xxx.”

Some promoters were sought for and the band recorded a single for Decca: You Don’t Know Like I Know (Sam and Dave) / That’s How Strong My Love Is (Otis Redding), but unfortunately it was never released because the original version by Sam and Dave had already hit the UK market.

After the Decca adventure the original band slowly evaporated over the next few months. Peter Gilmour left (probably after the summer of 1966) to concentrate on his studies. Clive Welham had difficulties combining his full time job with a semi-professional rock band and had some medical problems as well. John Gordon further explains:

Clive [Welham] became unable to play any more (with a wrist complaint) and was replaced by Willie Wilson... and that line-up continued for some time. It was later still that Tony Sainty was replaced by Rick [Wills]... and then, when the band was planning trips to France, I had to 'pass' to finish my degree at college.

1966: Bullit & The Flowers

Now a quartet with David Altham, David Gilmour, John 'Willie' Wilson and newcomer Rick Wills on bass, they continued using the known brand name, a trick Gilmour would later repeat (but slightly more successful) with Pink Floyd, touring around Spain, France and The Netherlands. Another failed attempt to turn professional made them temporarily change their name to Bullit and when David Altham also left the remaining trio continued as The Flowers, mainly playing in France. Around camp-fires on this planet it is told how a sick (and broke) David Gilmour returned to London, just in time to get a telephone call from Nick Mason, asking if he had a few minutes to spare.

2012: Nobody Knows Where You Are

Clive worked at the Cambridge University Press but always continued with his music. According to Vernon Fitch he played in a band called Jacob's Ladder in the Seventies and was a successful singer with local Cambridge band Executive Suite in the Nineties. Helen Smith remembers him as the leader of Solitaire, what must have been (according to Colleen Hart) in the mid-Seventies:

A brilliant front man in his band 'Solitaire' - he had a wonderfully sweet singing voice and could easily hit the high notes!

Update 2012 08 12: In 1978 Clive made a private, non commercial recording of Peanuts, originally a 1957 hit from Little Joe & The Thrillers:

Update 2012 08 13: In 2001 Clive Welham sang Barry Manilow's I Made It Through The Rain at The Maltings, Ely. The clip is courtesy Chris Jones (formerly of the Hi-Fi's) from www.world-video.co.uk and can be watched on YouTube: I Made It Through The Rain.

His last outing was on the Cambridge Roots of Rock of 2008.

On behalf of The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit we would like to offer our sincere sympathies to the Welham family.

Jokers Wild #1 (October 1964 - May 1966 / Source: Glenn Povey)

David Altham: guitar, saxophone, keyboards, vocals
David Gilmour: guitar, vocals, harmonica
John Gordon: rhythm guitar, vocals (1964 to late 1965)
Tony Sainty: bass, vocals (1964 to early 1966)
Peter Gilmour: bass, vocals (early 1966)
Clive Welham: drums, vocals (1964 to late 1965)
John 'Willie' Wilson: drums (from late 1965)

Jokers Wild #2 (Summer 1966 - Summer 1967 / Source: Glenn Povey)
AKA Bullit (3 summer months in 1966 at the Los Monteros hotel in Marbella?)
AKA The Flowers (end 1966)

David Altham: rhythm guitar (to December 1966)
David Gilmour: guitar, vocals
Rick Wills: bass (from January 1967)
John 'Willie' Wilson: drums

Listen to Jokers Wild on YouTube:
First three tracks ("Why Do Fools Fall in Love", "Walk Like a Man", "Don't Ask Me (What I Say)")
Last two tracks ( "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Beautiful Delilah")
Jokers Wild EP (5 tracks)

Afterword (Updated: 2012 07 01)

Perse pigs etc...

According to Julian Palacios in Dark Globe, quoting David Gale, 'perse pigs and county cunts' were friendly nicknames the pupils of these rivaling schools gave to each other. David Gale's assumption can be found on YouTube although it may have been a raunchy joke towards his audience and part of his 'performance'. (Back to text above.)

Syd Barrett in Jokers Wild?

In an interview for the Daily Mirror in August 2008 Rosemary Breen (Syd's sister) told:

He [Syd] started his first band, Jokers Wild, at 16. Sunday afternoons would see Cambridge chaps and girls coming over for a jamming session. The members of Pink Floyd were just people I knew. Roger Waters was a boy who lived around the corner and Dave Gilmour went to school over the road.

This seems to be a slip of the tongue as Syd Barrett never joined the band. In a message on Facebook, Jenny Spires adds:

Syd was not in Jokers Wild... He jammed with all the various members at different times, but he wasn't in it. When I met him in 64, he was playing with his old Art School band Those Without. He was also in The Tea Set at the same time. He played with several bands at the same time, for example if someone needed a bass player for a couple of gigs they may have asked him to stand in. Earlier, he played with Geoff Mott and also with Blues Anonymous. There were lots of musician friends in Cambridge that Syd played and jammed with. (Jenny Spires, 2012 06 30)

Many thanks to: Viv Brans, Michael Brown, Lord Drainlid, Libby Gausden, John Gordon, Peter Gilmour, Colleen Hart, Chris Jones, Joe Perry, Antonio Jesús Reyes, Helen Smith, Jenny Spires & I Spy In Cambridge. All pictures courtesy of I Spy In Cambridge.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 22-23, 34.
Clive Welham at Cambridge News Death Notices, May 2012.
Dosanjh, Warren: The music scene of 1960s Cambridge, Cambridge, 2012, p. 42, 46-47. Free download at: I Spy In Cambridge.
Fitch, Vernon: The Pink Floyd Encyclopedia, Collector's Guide Publishing, Ontario, 2005, p. 342.
Gordon, John: Corrections re Jokers Wild, email, 2012-05-12.
Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 27-28, 31.
Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 13, 20-24, 29.


2012-10-26

Iggy & the Stones

Iggy (fantasy)
Iggy, mid Seventies.

The Holy Church's secret service, also know as the Igquisition, has sent over its latest trimester report about all things Iggy. Underneath the smooth surface of our blog and Facebook page a maelstrom of facts and rumours are reinforcing and contradicting each other, making the Church's hidden agenda to inundate the Barrett world with false and gratuitous information so much harder to achieve. So let us immediately open this can of worms and have a meditative look at what the (2013) future may bring (or not).

1. Photo shoot

Recently Iggy was the subject of a photo shoot by a Canadian journalist / photographer and we are pretty sure these pictures will eventually find their way into a magazine or to the different Iggy Rose pages on the web.

Update December 2016: nothing has ever been heard of this photo project.

2. Rolling Stones

Iggy was also contacted by a renowned journalist and biographer who wanted to know if she would be willing to share some memories about her days with the Rolling Stones, to appear in a new biographical article or even a book about the band. Iggy Rose has told the Church and Mojo a few anecdotes about her different encounters with the Stones before, but it would be nice to see these all bundled into one publication.

Iggy met Syd Barrett in the spring of 1969 but before she had been spotted in Rolling Stones circles, as has already been revealed in the Mark Blake's Mojo article from 2011.

In February '67, [Iggy] narrowly avoided the police raid at Richards' country pile, in West Wittering: "The night before, I decided not to go, thank God." A year later, still in the Stones' orbit, she found herself watching the recording sessions for what became Sympathy For The Devil. where she was present at several studio sessions.
Carmen Jimenez, a Beatle and Iggy
Carmen Jimenez, a Beatle and Iggy (picture: Bruce Fleming).

Iggy 'rolled' into the Stones through Stash (Prince Klossowski de Rola) who presented her to Brian Jones. There is a picture of Iggy, taken by Bruce Fleming, standing close to John Lennon, at the party of Georgie Fame's girlfriend Carmen Jimenez at the Crom (January 1967) and Iggy still remembers eating Carmen's delicious paella at Brian's apartment just around the corner.

After some time she befriended Keith Richards although one thing she says she will ever regret is turning down 'Hot Rod' Stewart in favour of Keith. Photos of her with the Stones should exist, but those in her property have all been stolen, lost or destroyed (see also: Iggy - a new look in festivals).

Having met Keith Richards she also befriended Anita Pallenberg and went with her to the set of Performance where most of the action did not take place in front of the camera. Iggy told the Church:

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

At the set she met Donald Cammell, the co-director of the movie and his 'beautiful dusky' girlfriend (probably Myriam Gibril). Unfortunately this is not the time nor place to start writing about Iggy's adventures in movie land but we certainly hope someone will some day.

Donald Cammell would only make half a dozen of movies in 30 years, being burned after the Performance débâcle (the movie only gained notoriety decades later), and one of these, White Of The Eye (1987), is known by Pink Floyd fans for its soundtrack by Nick Mason & Rick Fenn.

More about the movie at the excellent Another Nickle In the Machine blog: Donald Cammell’s Performance at Powis Square.

Syd's Bench, Cambridge.
Syd's Bench, Cambridge.

3. Cambridge Summer Meeting 2013

On the 15th of June 2013 the first annual Birdie Hop meeting will take place in Cambridge. It will be a small, exclusive and informal encounter between about 20 fans from all over the world and those that still carry Syd Barrett deep in their heart. Although an agenda has not been set yet there will probably be a guided Cambridge Pink Floyd Walking Tour and some drinks in The Anchor (or another relevant pub) afterwards. The only official demand to make this fan meeting possible was that the Church would not be present and in his infinite goodness the Reverend has agreed.

4. The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit next Big Thing

The weirdest rumour, with echoes arriving only this week, is that the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is preparing a Big Thing for 2013. Unfortunately nobody seems to know what this big thing is going to be and when asked, the Reverend didn't have a clue what it was all about, so you might as well just forget about that. On the other hand, this blog publishes nothing but big things, so keep on checking once in a while.


Many thanks to: Alexander P. HB.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2013-08-24

O tempora o mores!

Deleted: Mark Blake's Iggy Rose interview.
Deleted: Mark Blake's Iggy Rose interview.

Be careful what you post on the Internet they say.
Everything you publish on the Internet will stay there forever, they say.
But when the Reverend, a couple of days ago, wanted to check the (excellent) Mark Blake article about Iggy Rose, that was published on the Mojo blog, way back in January 2011, he couldn't find it. Vanished.

Mojo's big spring cleaning

Apparently Mojo, that still is the world's best music magazine, no doubt about that, has refurbished its website and with refurbish we really mean that they threw a few year's worth of articles in the dustbin. These are the days when publishers are more interested in selling printed paper than in maintaining their archives. So be it. It's a stupid joke, we know it, but apparently the magazine seems to have lost its mojo.

Luckily the Holy Igquisition still had a copy somewhere and Mark Blake was so cool to allow us to stick it on our memo board in our cyberkitchen where it will stay until eternity or until we are too old to renew our domain. So if you can all step a little closer you can, from now on, read it here:

1. EXCLUSIVE: The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo (hosted at the Church)
2. The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 2 (hosted at the Church)
3. The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo (hosted, since January 2016, at Mark Blake's blog)

Peeterman
Peeterman.

Stella by Artois

Similar thoughts came over the Reverend a couple of weeks ago when he remarked that the Louvain Stella Artois brewery, whose history goes back to 1366, keeps on weeding in its beers now that it has become the biggest concern in the world. In its social responsibility program that has been called Better World there is no place for local tradition. Gone are the 56 Louvain brewers, each with their own brands, tastes and flavours. Peeterman from brewery De Eendracht, in the 18th century the most popular beer in Louvain and surroundings, disappeared after Stella Artois bought its competitor.

Tumblr & Twitter

But this is called progress, we guess, so The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit gladly joins internationalisation. To conquer the world we have now, next to a Facebook and a Twitter division, a Tumblr blog as well. We are not really sure what the point is of having a Tumblr blog other than having it, but surely something will come out of it some day. Or not. The future will bring what the future will bring.

Keep on visiting the Church, sistren and brethren, and certainly don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't do.


Many thanks to Mark Blake.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit can also be found on:
Facebook
Twitter
Tumblr

Notes:
O tempora o mores! (Oh the times! Oh the customs!) is an exclamation from a speech by Marcus Tullius Cicero in 63 BC.
Peeterman (from brewery De Eendracht) may not be confused with Peeterman Artois that was put on the English market a couple of years ago (and that also has disappeared). Brewery De Eendracht started in 1901 but Peeterman beer was already mentioned in a dictionary from 1773.


2013-11-02

If you're going to Sausalito

Roger Barrett (photoshopped)
Roger & Syd (shopped by Felix Atagong).

Is there really a Barrett revival going on, or are we just seeing more Syd fans because our global village is getting smaller and smaller? I do remember the early seventies when the only guy you could speak to about Barrett was a freakish weirdo who smoked pot in the school toilets and who was generally avoided by everyone, including the school teachers.

The vibrant Birdie Hop Facebook group is sky-rocketing with over 1200 members and a dozen new threads a day, but the traditional forum has come to a standstill and survives on its three posters a day, so the feeling is a bit ambiguous.

Facebook may be here to stay (but that was once said from MySpace as well, remember?) but basically it sucks if you want to find information and you are not employed by the NSA. While traditional forums have this newbie rule to go looking in the archives before asking a question this is virtually impossible on Facebook, because their search system simply doesn't work and links are automatically made redundant after a certain time. The whole 'group' concept of Facebook is a laugh, especially for administrators. Underneath is a screenshot of an actual search on Facebook, trying to locate the thread (Facebook link no longer active) this article is about...

Sausalito Facebook Search
Sausalito Facebook Search Results.

So, by design, Facebook groups are condemned to have a flow of 'continuous repetition' to paraphrase the wise words of Dr. Hans Keller while the one interesting thread is floating down around the icy waters underground. (Wow, this is a good cigarette.)

Waiting for the man

A couple of weeks ago Baron Wolman's picture of Pink Floyd toying around at the Casa Madrona hotel in Sausalito (CA) was posted again and as usual there was that one individual asking if anybody knew who the bloke was standing behind the boys.

Picture by Baron Wolman, 11 November 1967
Picture: Baron Wolman, 11 November 1967."

As a matter of fact nobody remembers, not even Nick Mason, who writes in the coffee-table edition of Inside Out Note:

Tea on the terrace at our hotel in Sausalito on the hillside above San Fransisco Bay (…) I have no idea who our tea-time partner was – the hotel manager, an under assistant West Coast promotion man, or a vendor of Wild West apparel? We eventually acquired enough cowboy hats for the entire population of Dodge City, and Roger commissioned a six-gun holster in which he carried his wallet.

So here was another quest for the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, that splendid non-profit organisation, lead by that fantabulous mastermind Reverend Felix Atagong who has already solved several Barrettian riddles in the past.

Hotel California

The obvious first step was to contact the hotel that doesn't hesitate to put on its website that it is a legend since 1885 and that it drew celebrities such as Dick Van Dyke, Carol Burnett, Warren Beatty and the rock band Pink Floyd.

We got a very friendly answer from Stefan Mühle, the general manager, that our guess was logical but that he didn't know either. Since 1967 the hotel changed hands a couple of times and the finer side of these anecdotes, that only seem to bother the Sydiots in the world, got lost in the mist of times.

Concert Poster 1967
Concert Poster 1967.

Before we continue with our quest, let's have a small history lesson.

In the summer of 1967 Syd Barrett suffered from something that was euphemistically referred to as over-fatigue. The band scrapped some gigs and send Barrett over to sunny Formentera under supervision of doctor Sam Hutt, the underground's leading gynaecologist. Unfortunately Smutty, as he was invariably called by his female patients, was the kind of doctor who rather prescribed LSD than aspirin. After some holidays in the sun Syd (and the rest of the boys) returned to England where the endless treadmill of gigging, recording, gigging, recording started all over again. (You can read more about the Floyd's holiday at Formentera Lady.)

In retrospect this was the moment that someone should've grabbed Syd by the balls, whether he wanted it or not, drag him back to Cambridge, cold turkey him and give him some proper therapy, although that was kind of non-existent in those days. William Pryor, a Cambridge beat poet who descended from the underground into a heroine maelström, describes the Cane Hill drug rehabilitation centre as a 'redecorated ward of a huge Victorian lunatic asylum village that had been given a coat of paint and a fancy name' where it was almost easier to score H than in the outside world.

This is not America

Pink Floyd's first American tour was planned between 23 October and 12 November 1967 but because there was a rather Kafkaesque bureaucratic system to get work permits up till 15 possible gigs had to be cancelled (according to Julian Palacios 8 had already been booked, Mark Blake sticks to 6 and Syd Barrett Pink Floyd dot com counts 10).

The trustworthy biographies all have (slightly) different stories but it is safe to say that the Floyd left for America with at least a week delay. Unfortunately they still couldn't enter the country and had to wait in Canada until their permits arrived while the management frantically tried to reschedule the gigs that had already been confirmed.

Concert Poster 1967
Concert Poster 1967.

Pink Floyd had been nicknamed 'The Light Kings of England' by Tower Records, but they had only played in small clubs up till now. When the Floyd had their first gig at San Francisco’s Winterland Auditorium on the 4th of November their light show was ridiculously small and amateurish compared to Big Brother and The Holding Company. But it was not only Janis Joplin's whiskey breath that blew Syd away.

The 1967 American tour was disastrous, to say the least, and quite a few gigs went horribly wrong. Luckily the natives were friendly, so friendly that at least one band member had to visit a venereal disease clinic back in the UK. Syd and Peter Wynne-Willson learned the hard way that American grass was much stronger than at home, leading to another ruined gig as Syd was apparently too stoned to handle his guitar. It is an educated guess that Syd tried some local drug varieties like DMT and STP that were much stronger than their British counterparts. DOM or STP or Serenity, Tranquility and Peace allegedly gave synaesthetic trips that could last for 18 hours and from testimonies by Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton and Mick Farren it is known that it could take a week for some (frightening) hallucinatory effects to disappear. Julian Palacios, who dedicates 11 pages to the Floyd's first American tour in Dark Globe, writes:

Associated with the downfall of Haight-Ashbury, on 11 November pink wedge-shaped pills containing 20-micrograms of DOM hit the Haight. Haight-Ashbury Medical Clinic treated eighteen cases of acute toxic psychosis in five hours. When Barrett and Wynne-Willson took STP in San Francisco, this was in all likelihood the same ‘pink wedge’.

Result: if Syd Barrett had been mad before, this tour only made him madder. At the Cheetah club he received an electroshock from his microphone and he reacted by looking around on stage for the next hour and a half, not singing, not playing his guitar. He would be incommunicado to the others for the rest of the tour, who weren't very keen to talk to him anyway. It needs to be said that not all gigs were catastrophic and some reviewers actually found the band interesting, but we wouldn't go that far by calling Syd's erratic behaviour a cleverly performed dadaist statement like Rob Chapman suggests.

Rolling Stone 1
Rolling Stone 1.

On the cover of the Rolling Stone

A brand new music magazine, called Rolling Stone, whose first issue had just appeared a couple of days before, wanted to do a feature on the new English underground sensation. They send over photographer Baron Wolman to the Casa Madrona hotel in Sausalito who found the lads in a good mood and joking around. But when the band performed at Winterland that night, the 11th of November, Ralph Gleason of Rolling Stone was so disappointed he decided not to publish the cover article and just reviewed the concert saying that 'Pink Floyd for all its electronic interest is simply dull in a dance hall'. This was also the gig where Syd detuned the strings of his guitar until they fell off, de facto ending his contribution for the rest of the show. The next day, on the last gig of the American tour, the band saw Syd walking off stage and for the first time voices were raised to kick him out.

In retrospect this was another moment that someone should've grabbed Syd by the balls, whether he wanted it or not, and drag him back to Cambridge, but the management insisted to immediately fly to Holland. Thirty-seven years later, Nick Mason more or less apologises:

If proof was needed that we were in denial about Syd's state of mind, this was it. Why we thought a transatlantic flight immediately followed by yet more dates would help is beyond believe.

This is the house

William Barrett Plaque
William Barrett Plaque.

Casa Madrona was build in February 1885 for (isn't it ironic?) William G. Barrett, a wealthy Vermont born lumber baron and Secretary-Treasurer for the San Francisco Gas and Electric Company. He and his family lived high above the town in his beautifully designed Italian Villa country home.

Architecturally, it was a mastery of craftmanship, a tall and stately mansion which stood upon the hill-side. Its three stories, with handsome porticos and verandas, projecting cornice with curved brackets, and hooded windows, received prominent recognition from the community. This resulted in an article in the Sausalito News in 1885, which praised Mr. Barrett's "New Mansion... its fine appearance, magnificent view", and called the Barrett place "one of the finest improved sites in Sausalito." (Taken from the National Register of Historic Places.)

In 1906 the house was sold to attorney John Patrick Gallagher who converted it into a successful hotel. For the next three decades Barrett House (and its four outbuildings) would be a hotel, a bar 'the Gallagher Inn' and a brothel, but that last is something you won't find at the hotel's website.

Barrett House
Barrett House.

During World War II, the property was used as temporary lodging for military families in transit and for the labourers of the nearby (military) shipyard. After the war it fell into disrepair and became known as a crash pad for the city’s burgeoning beatnik population.

In February 1959 Robert and Marie-Louise Deschamps, who had just immigrated from France, responded to an ad to run a 'small hotel'. Their children Marie-France and 24-year old Jean-Marie were there when they opened a nameless bar on the 27th of April 1959:

The building was in ruins. Mattresses on the floor, broken furniture - and very little of that. It was not ‘bohemian’ - it was a flop house!

The Deschamps family had no hotel experience and were rather unpleasantly surprised by the beatniks who rarely paid their bills. The bar was not an immediate success either, they would often find that the door had been smashed in at night and the beer stolen. The logical plan was to close the hotel, evict the hobos and start all over again.

San Mateo Times 1963-06-28
San Mateo Times, 1963-06-28.

When the renewed hotel, in exclusive French style, and an excellent restaurant 'Le Vivoir' were opened about a year later Jean-Marie left the parental home to sail the seven seas, working as a cook on Norwegian and Swedish ships. He returned to the hotel around the mid-sixties and moved into Cottage B. Several guests, from the pre-sixties bohemian days, were still living in the 'attached' cottages, including a Swedish baron who had served in the Waffen SS, an ex-CIA agent who claimed to have been a spy in Vienna, a mostly drunk beatnik writer and adventurer and, last but not least, a continuously depressed crew member of one of the planes that dropped the atom bomb on Japan.

In 1973 Casa Madrona was damaged by a series of mudslides and scheduled for demolition, but it was saved in 1976. Since then it changed owner several times and went even bankrupt in 2009. With the opening of a spa resort the hotel was, hopefully, given a new life and history.

Jean-Marie Deschamps

It is believed that Jean-Marie Deschamps, the owner's son, was living and working at the hotel when the Pink Floyd stayed there in November 1967, 2 months before his 32nd birthday. We contacted Baron Wolman who told us:

While I'm not entirely certain that he was Deschamps himself, for sure he was a principal in the hotel - owner, manager, chef, etc. Given the look, however, I would say your educated guess is probably correct...

Comparing the Floydian picture (1967) with one from 2005 it seems pretty safe to say there is a certain resemblance.
Update January 2014: The Deschamps family have confirmed it is Jean-Marie standing behind Pink Floyd.

JM Deschamps, 1967 and 2005
J.M. Deschamps, 1967 and 2005. Pictures: Baron Wolman & Yves Leclerc.

Jean was born on January 20, 1936 and passed away on Tuesday, December 8, 2009. In a (French) obituary it is written how Jean-Marie was an 'incorrigible globe-trotting vagabond' whose home was always 'elsewhere' and an anarchistic supporter of lost causes, like the rights of native Americans. Later on, despising the Bush administration, he was an ardent critic of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan...

But once a cook, always a cook. The night before he died he asked his (fourth) wife Monica to note down the Christmas menu for his children and grandchildren, probably knowing that he wouldn't be there to attend. January 2010 saw a 'sumptuous feast' at the Barrel Room of the Sebastiani Winery in Sanoma (CA) where 150 guests honoured their friend, husband, father, grandfather. The place was a gathering of artists, writers, businessmen, hosts, globetrotters and vagabonds.

If only someone would have had the guts to find out earlier who was the man standing behind the band. It would've been swell to ask him about his meeting with the Floyd in 1967, but unfortunately now it is too late for that. We are pretty sure that it would have led to a tsunami of anecdotes as Jean-Marie Deschamps had always been a sailor and a vagabond at heart.

And we will never know what Syd thought of staying in Barrett House.

Alan Styles
Alan Styles & Iggy. Picture: Mick Rock.

An Ending In Style (or not)

We need an addendum as the Pink Floyd in Sausalito saga isn't over yet.

When Pink Floyd roadie Alan Styles, who used to be a punter on the river Cam, saw the house boats community in Sausalito he fell in love with the place and decided not to return home after the 1972-1973 Dark Side of the Moon tour. Alan, who was some kind of celebrity in Cambridge before anyone had heard of Pink Floyd, can be seen on the rear cover of the Ummagumma album and makes out the bulk of the 'musique concrète' on Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast (Atom Heart Mother).

In 2000 a short movie was made about Style's life in Sausalito, but it was only released after his death in 2011. It is the story of a man wanting to be free in a world that keeps on abolishing freedom. In a nice gesture to their old friend Pink Floyd Ltd cleared the copyrights for the movie, as told by Viper:

Nick Mason messaged me on FB as I'd been asking on his site about permission to release the video about my uncle. Nick gave me PF's management details and in turn David Gilmour gave us permission to release the video as it contains original PF music.

But when the Reverend visited Jon Felix's YouTube channel this is all he got, apparently EMI (and a lot of other acronyms) don't give a fuck about what Nick Mason or David Gilmour are deciding or what friendship, compassion, remembrance and especially respect is all about:

blocked
Blocked Youtube movie.

In some kind of weird Floydian cosmic joke Alan Styles died on the same day as Jean-Marie Deschamps, but two years later, on the 8th of December 2011.

Somewhere we think we should try to make a point, but we can't think of anything right now.


Note: The memoires of Nick Mason's Inside Out are (90%) identical between the different editions. However, the hardcover 'deluxe' edition contains hundreds of photos that aren't in the cheaper soft-cover versions. These pictures all have funny and informative notes that aren't present in the paperback editions. Back to top.

Many thanks to: the Deschamps family, Jon Felix, Yves Leclerc, Stefan Mühle (Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa), Viper, Baron Wolman, USA National Register off Historic Places.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 95-96.
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 198.
Leclerc, Yves: Bum Chromé, Blogspot, 9 décembre 2009, 10 janvier 2010.
Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2004, p. 93.
Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue, p. 98-102.
Mühle, Stefan: JM Deschamps on Baron Wolman picture?, email, 21.10.2013.
Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 289-290, 298.
Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 45-46, 69.
Pryor, William: The Survival Of The Coolest, Clear Books, 2003, p. 106.
Wolman, Baron: Casa Madrona - Pink Floyd + unknown man, email, 14.10.2013.

Baron Wolman
Baron Wolman Photography
The Rolling Stone Years by Baron Wolman

Casa Madrona & Sausalito
Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa
Casa Madrona AKA William G. Barrett House @ National Register of Historic Places in Marin County.
Casa Madrona @ United States Department of the Interior Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, National Register of Historic Places.
Casa Madrona, 1959 @ Marinscope, an interview with Jean-Marie Deschamps.
Colorful Casa Madrona Tales Keep Spilling Out @ Northbay Biz

Solo En Las Nubes
Curiosidades - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn de Tower Records, an interesting post about the Tower release of Pink Floyd's first album.


2014-07-26

An innerview with Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, better known as Twink

Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band.

We first had the idea of Birdie Hop members asking some questions to Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, also known as Twink, but most of those had already been asked in previous interviews that lay scattered all over the web (see our list underneath). Then the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band record came out and Twink's exclusive interview in the Six Hour Technicolour Dream booklet only triggered more questions from us.

The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band Six Hour Technicolour Dream gig, on January the 27th 1972, was not, as you probably know, Syd's last gig, nor was it his last recording. Actually, Syd never joined LMPTBB but gigged with them twice as a surprise guest. How the tape survived into the twenty-first century and was finally published by Easy Action records is a story you can read here: The Last Minute Put Together Reel Story.

Bruce Michael Paine
Bruce Michael Paine, LMPTBB lead singer.

Apparently the vibes were so good that two out of three LMPTBB members started dreaming of a post-Floyd Barrett band, not very much to the amusement of singer Bruce Paine if we may believe Joly MacFie (Twink's business partner in the Cambridge music club Juniper Blossom and Stars roadie annex sound-man):

I was sharing a house with Twink and Paine. Paine was a somewhat vain and career oriented American who went on to join Steamhammer. He wasn't compatible with Syd. When Twink showed more interest in Syd, Bruce got pissed off and moved out and that was the end of the band. (Taken from So what's with 1972 Stars reel? @ SBRS (forum no longer active.))

Stars was formed shortly later and would gig about five times, dates and venues can be found at the Pink Floyd Archives:

Date Venue City Band
1972 01 26    King's College Cellars    Cambridge    LMPTBB
1972 01 27    The Corn Exchange    Cambridge    LMPTBB
1972 02 05    The Dandelion Coffee Bar    Cambridge    Stars
1972 02 12    Petty Cury, Market Square    Cambridge    Stars
1972 02 12    The Dandelion Coffee Bar    Cambridge    Stars
1972 02 24    The Corn Exchange    Cambridge    Stars
1972 02 26    The Corn Exchange    Cambridge    Stars

Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake tried to find out more about the mythical Stars tapes, that have been rumoured to exist, and posted his finding on the Late Night and Syd Barrett Research Society forums (here edited a bit):

Rehearsal tapes - Twink has mentioned on more than one occasion that Syd recorded the early practices. It goes without saying that these tapes must be long lost.
Dandelion Cafe - lots of people (Twink, Jack and possibly Joly [MacFie]) remember Victor Kraft sitting there with his Nagra tape machine at the Dandelion, and possibly the Corn Exchange as well.
Market Square - recorded, supposedly, by a friend of someone who mentioned it on the Laughing Madcaps list. The tape, supposedly, is at the taper's parents' house in Oxford. [Note from FA: this is probably the tape mentioned at Fortean Zoology. All efforts to make the blogger move his lazy ass have been effortless: Beatles: Off topic but not really.]
Final Corn Exchange show (with Nektar) - according to Joly MacFie, his co-roadie Nigel Smith had a friend called Chris who taped this show.

Although some YouTube videos claim to contain Stars tapes these are believed to be either fakes or mislabelled Barrett solo concerts, so it is still waiting for the real deal, if they not have been buried in the vaults of Pink Floyd Ltd.

But the good news is that the Six Hour Technicolour Dream tape has been released by Easy Action, that Syd Barrett stars (sorry, we couldn't resist the joke) on three of its tracks and although the sound quality is only slightly more than average, the fun is dripping out of our stereo boxes. Mythical drummer Twink, who is currently recording a follow-up of his legendary Think Pink album (1968), lend us some of his time to tell us the following...

An innerview with Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, better known as Twink
Twink (2013)
Twink (2013).

An innerview with Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, better known as Twink

BH: Of course we all know this record is interesting for Syd Barrett's performance, but the real discovery on the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band is that amazing singer, Bruce Paine. How did you and John Lodge (Honk) meet up with him and how did the band come into place?

MAJA: I first met Bruce Paine in the autumn of 1971 at Steve Brink's boutique "What's In A Name" in Union Rd just before he rented a room in Steve's cottage which was situated next to the shop. We talked very briefly about putting a band together because at that time I was just helping Hawkwind out from time to time. Once Bruce had moved into the cottage the band came together quite quickly. I recruited John "Honk" Lodge as our bass player who was living in London but that didn't seem to get in the way of the band project. Other members included Dane Stevens (The Fairies & The Cops And Robbers) on vocals & Adam Wildi on congas but both only lasted one show. We called the band The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band.

BH: Who came up with the idea of naming it the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band? Is there any explanation for the band's name?

MAJA: Bruce came up with the name and I think it was simply that the band came together quite quickly once show offers began to come in.

BH: After a record deal with Polydor had failed, Honk left the band and was replaced by Jack Monck.

MAJA: Yes, "Honk" left immediately the Polydor deal fell through. I think he was disheartened because Polydor's A&R department made it clear that after the demos we did for them, we were in. The whole thing fell down at the contract stage because the contracts manager there was having a bad day. He refused to raise the contracts and kept playing Led Zeppelin at full volume which drove us out of his office. He apologised to me about a month later just after he had been fired from his job. But the damage was done and there would be no record deal for The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band.

BH: Did you meet Syd in Cambridge before the Eddie Guitar Burns gig? Did you know that Syd was going to jam with LMPTBB on the 26th of January 1972 or were you as surprised as the audience?

MAJA: I was surprised and happy to see Syd arrive at the Eddie "Guitar" Burns gig with Jenny and carrying his guitar case. He arrived while we were sound checking, came to the back of the stage area, took his guitar out of its case and started to tune up. We had been friends since 1967 but we had lost touch in '68. It was wonderful to see him again. The following day Syd came to The Six Hour Technicolour Dream where The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band was supporting Hawkwind & The Pink Fairies. Again I was surprised to see him there with his guitar case. Syd was keen to play so we invited him to join us on stage along with Fred Frith from the band Henry Cow who was guesting with us that night.

BH: It must not be easy trying to remember a gig from 40 years ago, but there are two different testimonies about the Kings Cellar's concert. One witness says that LMPTBB played twice on that concert. According to him, the opening support gig had Syd, Monck and you. After the Eddie Guitar Burns gig, LMPTBB returned, this time with Bruce Paine. According to Terrapin magazine Syd jammed with LMPTBB after the Eddie Guitar Burns show. Not that it really matters, this only shows how anoraky we are.

MAJA: The Terrapin report is correct however it is possible the Syd, Jack & I tuned up together but that was not part of the show.

BH: Now to the Six Hour Technicolour Dream concert of the following day. How did Fred Frith come on board? Did he know Syd Barrett was going to be there as well? What was his reaction? What was your opinion after the gig had ended?

Twink (2014) with Marco Conti, Dane Stevens, Jon Povey. Photo by Carinthia West.
title=Twink (2014) with Marco Conti, Dane Stevens, Jon Povey. Photo; Carinthia West.

MAJA: We had a lot of contact with Fred Frith & Henry Cow who frequently played at The 10p Boogie Club which was run by Joly MacFie & myself at Fisher Hall in Cambridge having taken over the venue from Jenny Spires & Jack Monck and renamed it Juniper Blossom.

The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band often played there and so did Henry Cow. Fred Frith guested with The Last Minute Boogie Band there too. Fred guesting with us at The Six Hour Technicolour was more formal and when it was decided that Syd would guest too he was welcomed by all concerned with open arms. Our performance was well received and with Syd's enthusiastic participation at both the Eddie "Guitar" Burn gig & The Six Hour Technicolour Dream our creative wheels began to turn resulting in the formation of STARS with Syd Barrett, Jack Monck & myself a few days later.

BH: Was this the LMPTBB's last gig? Did anyone say, this is it, last gig, finished?

MAJA: The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band continued after Jack & I left for STARS with replacement musicians.

BH: Did you, at one point or another, think of asking Syd to join LMPTBB?

MAJA: It was Jack & Jenny that thought about forming a band with Syd.

BH: If our information is correct you have been pulling some strings to make this release possible.

MAJA: The only things that needed sorting out were group members and song details as well as contract details to include both Bruce Paine & Roger Barrett's Estates. Then there was restoring, mastering and the cover to achieve as well. Everyone was very helpful.

BH: As you probably know, Pink Floyd (or EMI) have another copy of the LMPTBB tape, however at one point there were rumours this tape actually contains a Stars concert rather. know what they really have?

MAJA: I have no idea what EMI have. It's possible they have a STARS tape.

BH: Any chance that the LMPTBB Polydor tapes will ever see the light of day? Does anyone know where these demos are?

MAJA: It is possible The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band demos will be released as they are probably sitting in Polydor's archives. I think Honk may well have a copy tape.

BH: In retrospect, what was the band you were happiest with? If you could go back to these days what would you have changed to make it better?

MAJA: Playing with The Pretty Things made me happy and I wouldn't want to change a thing.

BH: Many thanks, Mohammed, and good luck with Think Pink 2!

End of part four of our LMPTBB series. If you don't stop us, there will probably be a part five. You have been warned.

© Birdie Hop & The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, 2014.


Many thanks to Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, Rich Hall, Peter Jansens. Inspired by questions from: Mike Baess, Rick Barnes, Andre Borgdorff, Anita Buckett, Rich Hall, Jane Harris, Alexander P.H., Peter Felix Jansens, Raymond John Nebbitt, Lisa Newman, Göran Nystrom, Anni Paisley, Cheesecake Joe Perry, Paul Piper, Michael Ramshaw, James Vandervest.

Some Twink interviews over the years (back to text):
Ivor Trueman, Opel Magazine, 1985 (mirror)
It's Psychedelic Baby, 2012
Laughing Madcaps, 2013
Sophia On Film, 2014
Punk News, 2014
Hit Channel, 2014

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Birdie Hop


2014-11-15

Chin Chin

Diet Floyd officially fat-free.
Gilmour, Astoria studio, 1993.
David Gilmour, Astoria studio, 1993.

The new Diet Pink Floyd album The Endless River is conquering the world, perhaps to the absence of any real competition. We don't think Susan Boyle's cover version of Wish You Were Here will pose a real threat, does it? In Holland the album, currently at number one, sells five times as much as the number two.

The Endless River is a slow evolving, ambient piece of work with obvious nods to the Floyd's glorious past... one hears traces of A Saucerful Of Secrets (Syncopated Pandemonium), Astronomy Domine, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Cluster One, Interstellar Overdrive, Keep Talking, Marooned, Money, One Of These Days (I'm Going To Cut You Into Little Pieces), Run Like Hell, Shine On You Crazy Diamond and probably half a dozen more we've already forgotten.

The familiarity of it all has created raving enthusiasm for some and 'mainly yesterday's reheated lunch' for others and this also seems to be the opinion of the press. Mark Blake (in Mojo) politely describes the album as 'big on atmosphere, light on songs', Mikael Wood (in the Los Angeles Times) states that Pink Floyd drifts towards nothingness with aimless and excruciatingly dull fragments.

While the 1987 A Momentary Lapse Of Reason album was a David Gilmour solo effort, recorded with 18 session musicians and with the Pink Floyd name on the cover to sell a few million copies more, The Endless River originally grew out of jams between Gilmour, Mason & Wright.

Actually these were rejected jams, not good enough to include on The Division Bell, but over the years they seem to have ripened like good old wine. Well that's the PR story but in reality Andy Jackson, Phil Manzanera and Martin 'Youth' Glover had to copy bits and pieces from twenty hours of tape and toy around with every single good sounding second in Pro Tools to obtain something relatively close to Floydian eargasm. Phil Manzanera in Uncut:

I would take a guitar solo from another track, change the key of it, stick it on an outtake from another track. 'Oh that bit there, it reminds me of Live At Pompeii, but let's put a beat underneath it.' So then I take a bit of Nick warming up in the studio at Olympia, say, take a bit of a fill here and a bit of fill there. Join it together, make a loop out of it.

This doesn't really sound like an organic created piece of music, does it? The result is a genetically modified fat-free sounding record and while this is the most ambient experiment of Pink Floyd it will never get extreme, despite Martin Glover's presence whose only ambient house additions seem to be the On The Run VCS3 effect that comes whooshing in several times. Youth isn't that young and reckless any more so don't expect anything close to the KLF's Madrugada Eterna, Jimmy 'Space' Cauty's Mars or the Orb's A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld, unfortunately.

Update April 2017: One and a half year after the record has been released the involvement of Nick Mason can be finally discussed as well. Pink Floyd know-all Ron Toon at Steve Hoffmann:

Nick had nothing to do with this project except to play a few new drum tracks basically being brought in as a session drummer. Of course he was / is a member of Pink Floyd but his involvement in this project was minimal at best. The vision was David's and the other producers and Andy [Jackson] did most of the work. Source: Pink Floyd - The Early Years 1965-1972 Box Set.

But the music isn't the only thing that seems to be embellished. Last week long-time Echoes mailing list member Christopher, also known as 10past10, went on holidays, taking with him the new Pink Floyd CD and, as reading material, Nick Mason's Inside Out book. Then something happened which unleashed the power of his imagination (read Christopher's original mail).

The mid-book picture of The Endless River shows the Astoria studio with Rick Wright, David Gilmour and Nick Mason jamming in 1993, taken by Jill Furmanovsky. This picture has been stitched out of several shots, the borders don't match (deliberately) and Nick Mason (or at least his arms) can be seen twice.

Astoria session, 1993, courtesy of Jill Furmanovsky
Astoria session, 1993. Picture: Jill Furmanovsky.

But Christopher was in for another surprise when he looked at the fourth picture gallery in Nick Mason's Inside Out soft-cover (or on page 313 if you have the coffee-table edition). It shows another picture of the same session, with Rick Wright, David Gilmour and Bob Ezrin.

Astoria session, 1993, courtesy of Jill Furmanovsky
Astoria session, 1993. Picture: Jill Furmanovsky.

Now look at the man in the middle, the one who doesn't like to be called Dave. Christopher:

If you look closely at every piece of David's clothing, his hair, the way he is holding his guitar, the chords, the lot. It all matches exactly ... too much not be a match.
David Gilmour with double chin.
David Gilmour with double chin.
David Gilmour with single chin.
David Gilmour with single chin.

Not only does The Endless River centrefold superimposes Nick Mason twice, but they have glued in David Gilmour from another shot (and removed Bob Ezrin).

And still, that is not all.

Look very closely to Gilmour's face in the 1993 picture (left) and to his face on the 2014 release (right). Christopher explains:

The difference is in the original shot.
David has a double chin.
In The Endless River shot it has been dealt with.

There will be no fat on The Endless River, not on the music and certainly not on Air-Brush Dave.

(This is The Anchor's satirical review of The Endless River, or part three if you like. For the Reverend's opinion, check: While my guitar gently weeps...)


(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)

Many thanks to Christopher (10past10), Ron Toon. Pictures courtesy of Jill Furmanovsky.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Sources (other than the above internet links):
10past10 (Christopher), Alcog Dave no more, mail, 2014 11 14.
Bonner, Michael: Coming back to life, Uncut, November 2014, p. 39.
Echoes mailing list: to join just click on the appropriate link on their sexy echoes subscription and format information webpage.

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.


Christopher's original posting to Echoes: (Back to article)

Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2014 18:00:32 +1000
From: 10past10
Subject: Alcog Dave no more ...
To: echoes@meddle.org

Hi Ho All,

I do believe there is photographic trickery afoot!

Exhibit A: The centrefold picture in The Endless River depicting Richard, David and Nick in the studio.

Exhibit B: Inside Out; the fourth lot of pics in the paperback or p313 in hardback (1st ed), depicting Richard, David and Bob Ezrin.

Obviously it is a different pic of Richard and Bob/Nick. But I reckon the picture of David is the same one; except for one difference.

So, I reckon, to get the wider shot for the TER CD centrefold (I don't know how it may or may not appear in the other versions as I haven't seen them yet), they have made a composite photo using the shot of David rom the one Nick originally published and shots of Richard and Nick from one or two different pictures.

If you look closely at every piece of David's clothing, his hair, the way he is holding his guitar, the chords, the lot. It all matches exactly ... too much not be a match.

Does this matter? Of course not. Why not do that to get what you need. Obviously Nick himself is double exposed when you look at his arms.

Is it worth pointing out? Yes (but just because you can, not because it will change the world). Why? Because of the one difference.

The difference is in the original shot David has a double chin. In The Endless River shot it has been dealt with.

Some time ago I was castigated for calling David, Fat Dave. So I changed that to Alcog Dave. He is that no more. In my more whimsical moods I shall hence forth refer to him as "Air-Brush Dave".

I like Pink Floyd.

Rock On
Christopher

i am remotely morty

(Back to article)


2016-10-01

Lost Weekends

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

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

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

Lost weekends 1967 - 1968

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photographic Evidence

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

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

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

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

Performance

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

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

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

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

Lost Weekend 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miss Rose

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

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

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


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


2016-11-18

Supererog/Ation: skimming The Early Years

Pink Floyd Recycling
Pink Floyd Recycling. Artwork: Felix Atagong.

Anticip/Ation

Nine years ago the Reverend made the remark that any new Pink Floyd release will create some 'controversy between the fans, the (ex-)band members and/or record company' (Fasten Your Anoraks).

Almost a decade later, with the release of Pink Floyd The Early Years 1965-1972, nothing has changed. Actually it only got worse.

Pink Floyd have always been a pretty hypocritical band when it comes to making money. There is nothing bad about trying to make a good living, obviously, but when you start selling inferior material for overabundant prices it's like spitting the fans in their face. Not that anyone of them would do that.

Of course nobody is obliged to buy The Early Years box (approx. 500 Euro and limited to 28000 copies) but I duly admit: I am an absolute sucker for anything with the Floyd name on it. And perhaps it's a nice pick-up line: “Wanna see my Early Years box?”

Summaris/Ation

The Early Years is a somewhat directionless, but nevertheless interesting, 28 CD, DVD and Blu-ray box containing demos, live tapes (some of bootleg quality), unreleased tracks, rarities, vinyl singles, movies and a 2016 remix of Obscured By Clouds. Someone must have said at a direction committee: 'you know what, we haven't got enough material on our Obfusc/Ation disk, let's throw in an Obscured By Clouds-remix'. Not that you hear me complain, Obscured By Clouds is in my personal top three, before Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wall, but it does feel a bit awkward.

1965
1965.

Conceptualis/Ation

For this box, Pink Floyd didn't make the silly mistake of adding marbles, scarves or toasters, like in the Immersion sets. There are plenty of mini-posters, postcards, ticket replicas and other printed items though, for those who like that. (Personally, I tend to ignore that rubble.) An image of some of those, thanks to RobNl, can be found on Imgur. Another shot can be found at the Church's Tumblr: (Un)Packing The Early Years #12.

The box has a simplistic, black and white theme, but is... too big. The outside box is about 41 x 22 x 31 cm, but the actual set tucked inside only takes 19 x 20 x 14.5 cm. It doesn't take an Einstein to calculate that 80% of the box is made of... empty spaces. (Sorry, I really couldn't resist that pun.) I have put the outside box on top of a wardrobe, where it will probably stay for the rest of my miserable life. Picture: (Un)Packing The Early Years #6.

The 'inner box' contains 7 book-boxes, with ridiculously bombastic cut/up names. 6 of those will be sold separately over the next few months, the seventh is a bonus set, exclusive to this release alone. That's why I was waving so enthusiastically with my wallet. Picture: (Un)Packing The Early Years #14.

The one gadget everyone I have spoken to really wants, me included, is the Pink Floyd 'matchbox' miniature van. Alas, these have been made for promotional use only and will probably fetch high prices on eBay.

Update November 2016: meanwhile a Pink Floyd miniature van has been sold on eBay for the whopping price of 310£ (385$, 364 €), Tumblr link.

Pink Floyd Van
Pink Floyd Miniature Van.
1968
1968.

Miscre/Ation

The quality of the book-boxes is not optimal. On the web are already circulating pictures of pages that are falling out of the sets. Apparently they have been glued rather flimsily to the spine. Taking out a disk is always a matter of trial and error, and the first CD I picked broke one of the plastic 'teeth' holding it.

The inside pages contain pictures of the band, unfortunately the printing is rather average, although the 'later' sets in my box seem to be slightly better. Each set also contains a booklet with 'copyrights', thank you notes, a brief introduction by Mark Blake and seven times the same text by film archivist Lana Topham, for whatever reason, although I suppose sloppiness from the editor. These texts are printed in grey on brownish paper, making it nearly impossible to read them anyway.

If it breathes something, it breathes cheap instead of zen.

Expurg/Ation

When the box was announced, a couple of months ago, in the same amateurish way The Endless River was made public, the track-listing had some important differences, as it listed 5.1 mixes for Meddle and Obscured By Clouds. These can't be found on the released set (well, kind of) for reasons that seem to be taken out of a Neighbours episode.

It all starts with the fact that Pink Floyd has had several re-mixing specialists over the years, notably James Guthrie and Andy Jackson, who, in true soap-series tradition, hate each-other's guts as they belong to rivalling factions.

Andy Jackson, from the David Gilmour camp, was asked to create the 5.1 mixes for Meddle and Obscured By Clouds and handed these over to Mark Fenwick, who is Roger Waters' manager. Mark was a good dog and passed these to Roger, for approval.

Roger Waters remembered that these remixes had originally been promised to his protégé James Guthrie and when he found out that the 'other side' had done these, without consulting him, he threw a tantrum like a kicked poodle.

So this is, in a nutshell, why the genius of Pink Floyd vetoed against the inclusion of the Andy Jackson 5.1 mixes, although liner notes and promotion material had already been printed. All that had to be redone and the 5.1 disks that had already been pressed were for the dustbin.

Before somebody could say 'several species of small furry animals' the rift between the David Gilmour and Roger Waters camp was back in place and it seems that it won't be solved in the near future.

1969
1969.

Exacerb/Ation

So the Obscured By Clouds and Meddle 5.1 mixes are not in the box, right? Wrong. Well, partially wrong.

It was found out that the 1971 Blu-ray contains a hidden segment with the complete Meddle 5.1 mix. However, you can't play it on a regular Blu-ray player as one needs to extract the files to a computer first (or burn them on another Blu-ray with the hidden files set to visible).

Apparently this is not an Easter egg but a simple mistake. Or an act of Insubordin/Ation. Take your pick. Instead of deleting the Meddle 5.1 mix from the disk the Floyd's technical leprechaun only deleted the shortcut from the menu.

Keep on smiling, people.

Tergivers/Ation

The week before the box got released there was an impromptu announcement of the record company.

Pink Floyd fans ordering 'The Early Years 1965-1972’ will get an extra piece of the band’s history.
The box-set will now also include a supplementary disc featuring the band’s seminal Live At Pompeii concert as a 2016 audio mix.
The 6 tracks totalling over 67 minutes include live versions of 'Careful With That Axe, Eugene', 'Set the Controls For The Heart Of The Sun', 'One of These Days', 'A Saucerful Of Secrets', ‘Echoes' and an alternative take of 'Careful With That Axe, Eugene’.

The truth is slightly different. When the sets were already made and put in the boxes for shipping a bright brain decided it was about time to check if the disks really contained what was printed on the booklets. Only then it was found out that the Obfusc/Ation set did not have Obscured By Clouds, but the Pompeii soundtrack. By then it was too late to open 28000 shrink wrapped boxes and replace the disks, so the Obscured remix was put in a carton sleeve and thrown on top of The Early Years box set, before closing the brown shipping parcel. Picture: (Un)Packing The Early Years #2.

At least the carton sleeve has the guts to say the truth:

REPLACEMENT CD DISC FOR OBFUSC/ATION
PFREY6 – CD
(STEREO 2016 MIX OF PINK FLOYD 'LIVE AT POMPEII' CD SUPPLIED IN ERROR)

Some quality control, huh? By the way, the 5.1 Obscured By Clouds mix is not in the box, but you probably already figured that out.

Update: some boxes seem to come without the Obscured replacement disk, as was expected...

(For those interested, the Pompeii CD contains an extra take of Careful With That Axe, Eugene, but no Mademoiselle Nobs. The box also has the Pompeii movie, without the interviews, without the singing dog, but in the director's cut version, so I have read. Another Indic/Ation that the Floyd team doesn't seem to know what lives in the fan community as that version of the movie is mostly regarded as inferior to the original.)

Update: the new 'mix' of Obscured By Clouds is (to quote Cenobyte) 'too top endy'. The mix generally repairs the muddiness of the original mix and brings everything out in a brilliant way, but adds this layer on top and that kind of ruins it. Some posters even think that something went wrong during the mastering process. (The same applies to the new Pompeii mix as well.)

1970
1970.

Overvalu/Ation

Several Floydian movies can be found in the box, but some come without English subtitles. This may not be a very big problem for More but La Vallée is basically spoken in Frenglish. And of course these boxes are shipped all over the world, to places were people are not familiar with the English language and could use subtitles.

It only feeds the rumour that the Floyd randomly added things onto the disks, just to fill them up, regardless of quality.

(Note: in my box, The Committee, that is on another Blu-ray than More and La Vallée, does have subtitles, even in Dutch.)

Extenu/Ation

The Committee's soundtrack does not contain music from Pink Floyd alone. One, pretty famous scene has underground colleague Arthur Brown singing Nightmare, but his name is not mentioned at all in the booklet. It is weird that a band that scrutinises YouTube looking for copyright infringements neglects Mr. Brown's rights.

As a matter of fact Pink Floyd even censored Nightmare from Arthur Brown's personal YouTube place, a few months ago, because they claimed his song hurt their copyrights. Unfortunately Arthur Brown doesn't have a legion of lawyers to fight this.

Don't ask a slice of my pie, how utterly convenient.

Inculp/Ation

Some of the tracks on this Compil/Ation are from inferior or bootleg quality. We know that and can live with that.

But what if we say that the Pink Floyd mastering team deliberately ignored some good takes and put inferior ones in the box?

Seems unthinkable for a band that used to flirt with high-end quadrophonic effects.

The 1967 BBC radio sessions, for instance, are in a bad quality, examples are 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun', 'Reaction in G' and 'Pow R Toc H' that is even incomplete.

It needs to be said that Pink Floyd consulted the official BBC archives but these are in a bad state. The BBC had a habit of erasing their own masters and only has copies of the Pink Floyd 1967 gig 'taken' from the air.

Top collectors, those that have the 'holy grails', informed the Floyd that (a copy of?) the masters of the 1967 recording are in a private collection but the Floyd didn't find it necessary to check this out. Andy Jackson received high quality stereo copies of the BBC recordings from at least two sources but the powers that be decided to use the inferior mono tapes instead.

Isn't is ironic that the 'bootleg' community has better versions of these Pink Floyd live tapes and early acetates than the band itself and that they are giving them away for free? The Floyd has thanked them by shutting down Harvested and threatening to shutdown Yeeshkul in the past. (More of these vicious rumours at: The loathful Mr. Loasby and other stories... )

1971
1971.

Finalis/Ation

Just as with the Immersion sets some Blu-rays come with errors, in this case (as far as we know): the 1972 'Obfusc/ation' Blu-ray and bonus package 'Continu/ation' Blu-ray 1. According to several testimonies the menu screen loads, but halts there. You better check out your version before it is too late.

Promulg/Ation

Fans were happy to find out that Seabirds was finally going to find a place on this collection. Seabirds is a song written by Roger Waters for the More movie, where it can be heard during a party scene, but it does not appear on the soundtrack album.

The song in the box though with the same title is not the one fans were looking for but an alternate take of the instrumental Quicksilver. God knows why this was erroneously labelled, but once again it seems that the Floyd historians didn't do their homework right and just threw songs on a CD without checking them out first.

Pink Floyd itself issued a statement, trying not to make it sound as an apology. It appears that the master tape of the 'real' Seabirds was given to the movie producers who used it for their final cut and who destroyed the only copy afterwards.

While Pink Floyd is not to blame for that mishap we can at least say they have been badly communicating to their fans about this track, but Communic/Ation has never been the Floyd's strongest point.

(Another possible mistake can be found on the Stockholm disk where the first instrumental number is titled Reaction In G while most scholars think it is another 'untitled' instrumental, loosely based upon Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk. This was already published by the Church in 2011 so the Floyd had plenty of time to correct this. See also: EMI blackmails Pink Floyd fans!)

1972
1972.

Evalu/Ation

At 500 Euro a box this is a pretty hefty Christmas present, especially when you realise that at least 85% of the box has been circulating before, on bootlegs. Of course it is true that some visual material has been beautifully restored and some audio tracks sound crispier than ever. Other tracks have just been added for the sake of adding them, so it seems. Anything in the bin we can still use?

There are still plenty of tracks not in the box that the fans were hoping for. It has already been confirmed that one of these will be issued as a Vinyl Record Store Day exclusive.

Somehow I have the feeling that during the Cre/Ation of this set, that took twenty years, the energy went lost, or the interest. Perhaps there was a lack of time when the deadline came closer. Perhaps a greedy manager decided that they had already spend too much money on it. Perhaps Waters and Gilmour, and their servants Guthrie and Jackson, have been busy rolling over the floor fighting, rather than working together, in a cooperative way.

This could have been such an exquisite rarities box, an example for other bands to follow, if only the Floyd had put some extra effort in it, if only the Floyd had consulted their fanbase that gathers at specialised music forums.

Nick Mason, the gentleman drummer, probably takes better care of his cars than he takes care of his musical legacy.

"Those ungrateful fans, it took us 20 years to make this box and Felix Atagong, the Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, just needed 20 minutes to trash it."

Update: this post was only published for about an hour when a new 'error' was published on one of the forums.

Belgian TV footage (1968): while the image transfer is great, Pink Floyd made a stupid mistake by overdubbing the video with the regular stereo versions instead of the original 'mono' sound. This leads to the following errors:
1. The stereo Paintbox is about 15 seconds shorter than the mono version, the last seconds of the clip are almost silent while there was still music during the original TV broadcast.
2. An unique early version of Corporal Clegg with an alternate ending has been replaced with the common stereo version.
3. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun has lost the early mono mix that was used instead of the album version.

Video transfers. Frame rates differ between 'vintage' movies and digital technologies like DVD and Blu-ray. When old movies are transferred to digital they have to be 'stretched' which is a pretty straightforward process. However, one may not stretch the soundtrack the same way because it will result in a sound distortion. Guess what, at least one movie in the box runs with half a tone difference than originally recorded.

So here is another case where bootlegs have it right and the official version has it wrong. Bunch of amateurs!


There are really too many people to thank for this article, but much kudos go to Ron Toon and the dozens of others who gave valuable information on the Steve Hoffman Music Forum (304 pages!), another thread on the Steve Hoffman Forum (72 pages!), Yeeshkul (161 pages!) and A Fleeting Glimpse (106 pages!). Sleeve illustrations by a forum member whose post I can't find back any more, anyway thanks!

20 pictures of the (un)packing of the box can be found at the Church's Tumblr: The Early Years.

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2017-05-29

Shady Diamond

Syd Barrett by Duggie Fields
Syd Barrett, by Duggie Fields.

Brain Damage

At the 'Mortal Remains' Pink Floyd exhibition that is currently running in London a Polaroid can be found showing Syd Barrett at the Abbey Road studio in July 1975. This is not the picture that was magically found back when Nick Mason needed to promote his biography in 2004 and that dates from June 1975.

Here is what Nick writes about that:

It was during these sessions at Abbey Road, on 5th June, that we had one totally unexpected visitor. I strolled into the control room from the studio, and noticed a large fat bloke with a shaven head, wearing a decrepit old tan mac. He was carrying a plastic shopping bag and had a fairly benign, but vacant, expression on his face. His appearance would not have generally gained him admittance beyond studio reception, so I assumed that he must have been a friend of one of the engineers. Eventually David asked me if I knew who he was. Even then I couldn’t place him, and had to be told. It was Syd. More than twenty years later I can still remember that rush of confusion.
Syd Barrett, 5 June 1975. Picture: Nick Mason.
Syd Barrett, 5 June 1975. Picture: Nick Mason.

Remember a Day

Confused is what Mason is indeed, as he doesn't mention Syd's second visit to the studio, a month later, accidentally - or not? - on David Gilmour's wedding day. In a Mojo interview from 2006 David Gilmour denied that Syd was at his wedding, although he seems to recall that Barrett visited the band more than once.

From a 1982 Musician Magazine interview:

He showed up at the studio. He was very fat and he had a shaved head and shaved eyebrows and no one recognized him at all first off. There was just this strange person walking around the studio, sitting in the control room with us for hours. If anyone else told me this story, I'd find it hard to believe, that you could sit there with someone in a small room for hours, with a close friend of yours for years and years, and not recognize him. And I guarantee, no one in the band recognized him. Eventually, I had guessed it. And even knowing, you couldn't recognize him. He came two or three days and then he didn't come anymore. (Taken from: December 1982 - Musician Magazine at Brain Damage)

So, Gilmour does seem to acknowledge that Syd Barrett visited the studio more than once, only not on his wedding day.

Mark Blake in Pigs Might Fly:

On 7 July, during a break in the Wish You Were Here sessions, Gilmour married girlfriend Ginger at Epping Forest Register Office, and the Syd tale takes on another curious twist. In conversation with Mojo magazine in 2006, Gilmour disputed any stories that Syd had attended his wedding. Yet at least three of the guests claim they saw Syd at a post-wedding meal at Abbey Road. Ex-manager Andrew King recalled Barrett looking ‘like the type of bloke who serves you in a hamburger bar in Kansas City’. Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley referred to him as ‘an overweight Hare Krishna-type chap’.

Young Lust

One who does remember - obviously, as it was her wedding day - is Ginger Gilmour in her autobiography Bright Side Of The Moon:

Ginger Gilmour - Bright Side of the Moon Bright Side of the Moon - Ginger Gilmour
Bright Side of the Moon, Ginger Gilmour.
Syd Barrett, 7 July 1975. Picture: Nick Mason.
Syd Barrett, 7 July 1975. Picture: Nick Mason.

Remember Me

For one reason or another, Pink Floyd members (and other witnesses) amalgamated the different Barrett appearances into one, quasi mythical, event. Venetta Fields hinted already in March 2004 that there were pictures of the event:

I think there were photos taken at that time... I remember telling someone that was showing me a photo. I can’t remember who? I may even have a picture. We took a lot of pictures that day. They had been at the studio for hours before we got there. I think that while we were there, Syd came into the studio. Everything stopped. We were all shocked to see him and the way he looked. (Taken from: An Interview With Venetta Fields at A Fleeting Glimpse.)

The Gold It's in the...

Another mystery is why Nick Mason, who has meticulously classified the Pink Floyd archive, only came up with this second picture now – almost by chance - when he needed to promote yet another Pink Floyd pension fund.


Check extra big pictures and other assorted trivia at our 'IggyInuit' Tumblr page: 1975.

Many thanks to: Marc-Olivier Becks, Johan Frankelius, Antonio Jesús, Göran Nystrom.
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥

Sources (other than the above mentioned links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 231-232.
Gilmour, Ginger: Memoirs of the Bright Side of the Moon, Angelscript International, 2015, p. 103-104.
Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue, p. 207.