Picture: © Chris Lanaway, 2010.
In 2018 the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit celebrated its tenth anniversary.
Picture: © Chris Lanaway, 2010.

Men on the Border

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Articles

2012-06-29

Men On The Border: full of guitars and no dust...

alien coaster from DSOTM
Alien coaster, from The Dark Side of the Moon Immersion set.

Summer time has come and this means it is time to take the plastic chairs and table into the garden and have an afternoon drink. The main problem always is: where are the coasters to put the glasses on? Surely you didn't pay 120 Euros for a Dark Side of the Moon Immersion box set to ruin its cheap (but expensive) content by putting a glass of Mojito on top of those exclusive carton collector's coasters, did you?

Thank god there is Mojo's Return to the Dark Side of The Moon - Wish You Were Here Again from a couple of months ago. I you have ever listened to it then you certainly would wish you were over there, praising that nobody can hear crap in a vacuum. My Wall Re-Built albums are still shrink-wrapped and will probably stay like that until eternity or till I finally have the nerve to make the final cut.

The Madcap Laughs Again treatment from 2010 was slightly better, probably because nobody tried to make too much of a fool out of the mad cat, but nevertheless I only gave the album a 4 out of 10 score. It does contain some interesting versions though, like Marc Almond's Late Night that has grown on me like a wart on a witches nose.

But for most of those covermount disks the only slightly ecological way to give them a purpose in life is to recycle them as beverage coasters. By the way, Mojo should realize that these CDs can be counter-productive as well. A while ago I saw the issue with Pet Sounds Revisited and because I didn't want to spoil my good mood I simply turned my back, deciding not to buy it. No way I was going to listen to the massacre of one of the finest albums in the world.

This just to say I am slightly grumpy when it comes to these tribute albums. But sometimes there are exceptions, like...

Men On The Border
Men On The Border.

Men On The Border

Swedish Men On The Border, so learns us the blurb, started as a project inspired by the music and art of Roger Keith ”Syd” Barrett. The power duo consists of Göran Nyström and Phil Etheridge and the result is Shine!, a CD of interpretations of songs by Syd Barrett.

And what interpretations they are, rather than dumbfoundedly mimicking Roger Keith they flavour their interpretations with power chords, contemporary sounds, odd humour and slightly hidden musical references.

I have a soft spot for track number 5 that starts as a Joy Division, Gary Numan or Blur inspired rendition of No Man's Land, seamlessly sliding into Golden Hair and retreating to No Man's Land again. The track is dark, a bit industrial with screaming guitars and probably a signature track for what Men On The Border really stand for. Göran Nyström:

(I'm) quite happy with it. As black as it should be. And yet with a little golden shimmer deep inside.
Shine!, art by Kajsa-Tuva Henriksson
Shine! cover by Kajsa-Tuva Henriksson.

The cool thing is that MOTB give an odd, unexpected, turn to the classics we know so well. Wined And Dined makes you think that the song will dive into Irish jig territory but the guitar that follows (not that far from Gilmour’s Raise My Rent, if you ask me) brings back happy memories from the music I liked in the seventies (those heavenly oohs and aaahs), ending with a Beatlesque streak. Göran Nyström:

I want to do this with great respect, yet not ending up imitating Syd and his weaknesses at the time. I always felt uncomfortable with cover artists trying to be the sick and poor Syd. I think his songs should shine.

Listening to Gigolo Aunt, that I have always found a bit simple as a song, it comes to me that some of the influences of MOTB lay in the pub-rock from Graham Parker & The Rumour, Rockpile (with Nick Lowe & Dave Edmunds) and the cruelly under-appreciated The Motors (their Airport still is in my all times Top-20).

Opel, here renamed as Opal which is probably more correct, has an intro reminding me of a hungry Jaws swimming towards some EMI sales representatives who immediately devour the poor animal. First its intro made me think of an Emerson, Lake and Palmer thing... but at second thought some classic Deep Purple may be a bit closer to it. Anyway it is classic stuff. The song has glimpses of an all female string quartet, playing in the nude, but probably my imagination is having a go at me now.

Long Gone starts – literally - with an interstellar joke before jumping into Mark Bolan or David Bowie cockney territory , it's a totally loony, but irresistible version (and it has a fine moog-a-like outro as well).

Gigolo Aunt by JenniFire
Gigolo Aunt by JenniFire.

What did I forget so far:
Octopus, not as erratic as the original and larded with slight psychedelic effects...
Dark Globe, loving the crack in Göran's voice at the 'wouldn't you miss me at all' bit...,
No Good Trying, a straight forward rocky rendition with lots of reverb, oohs, aahs and nananananas...
Feel, well over seven minutes it starts with a slightly Floydian ambient intro and it further meanders into a pastoral Grantchester Meadows classic but at the four minutes mark a slightly brilliant Narrow Way guitar solo takes over...

Late Night must be one of the most beautiful songs that Syd Barrett ever wrote and Men On The Border also get this one right. Love, peace and understanding are omnipresent (not only on this track, but on the whole album) and, frankly, this is a quite moving version.

You may have deducted by now that the album is excellent and then we haven't said a word about the art department yet, one of the extra reasons you should buy this album for.

The cover art has been made by Kajsa-Tuva Henriksson and the booklet illustrates every song with a painting from Jennifer D'Andrea's (aka JenniFire) I.N.Spired series. Buying the CD will also financially help the Cambridge based Squeaky Gate organisation.

Men On The Border haven't set up a web-shop for their album yet, but you would be more than obliged to mail them at info@menontheborder.com and ask for a copy.

And if the above review didn't convince you, you can listen and watch their songs on the Men On The Border Sound & Vision pages (have a go at Feel with more intriguing art work from JenniFire).

Those Swedish surely have something I can't explain.


Many thanks to: Göran Nyström, Phil Etheridge & JenniFire.

2013-08-16

Men On The Border, Syd Swedish version

Shine! Men On The Border.
Shine! Men On The Border.

Is it already over a year ago that this blog reviewed the Men On The Border's Shine! CD? Lots of things happened meanwhile to the Reverend who was recently spotted at an Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical. Since then, when he sits in the evening in his comfy chair, a glass of Amontillado in his hand, you can hear him murmuring the immortal refrain...

Memory
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then...
Thinking that we're getting older and wiser
When we're just getting old
But I have grown older and
You have grown colder and
Nothing is very much fun any more.
(Taken from: Memory [Cats] / Near the End [David Gilmour] / One of my Turns [Roger Waters])

Roger Waters:

Andrew Lloyd Webber sickens me. He's in your face all the time and what he does is nonsense. It has no value. It is shallow, derivative rubbish, all of it... (Taken from: Who The Hell Does Roger Waters Think He Is?, Q Magazine, November 1992, hosted at: A Fleeting Glimpse.)

But it is not because the Reverend deliberately ignores Roger Waters' warnings that he can't recognise decent music any more.

Shine! from Men On The Border is a splendid album that shouldn't be ignored by the redneck Sydiots out there. Luckily, neither did the Spanish Syd Barrett blog Solo En Las Nubes and that's how the following self-interview came into place, an interview with some old friends...

Solo en les Nubes

Men On The Border, who or what are they? Are they men or myth? With an album, artwork and history myth-busting/building, they have rocked the psychedelic foundations of the Syd Barrett world with a pop mentality. Yes, pop. This sounds too cool to be true. We decided to find out more.

MOTB!
Men On The Border.

Men On The Border, Syd Swedish version

So who are these mystical Men On The Border?

Phil: Well, wouldn't you like to know! We're just a couple of sticky Swedes, except for me, because I'm just a Brit with Swedish tendencies.
Göran: And I am just a Swede with British tendencies.
Phil: I've now lived longer in Sweden than I did in Britland. I moved here because of my spiritual affinity with the elks and they're thin on the ground in London. Apart from that I've been a fanatic guitarist most of my life.
Göran: They are very thin is what I've heard.
Phil: Disappearingly thin.
Göran: Disappointingly thin.

How long have you been involved in music?

Phil: All my life, actually from a very early age and my earliest memories are musical - banging on boxes, as I wanted to be a drummer.
Göran: I wanted to be an astronaut. The space age - and the music that came with it. Ahhh.
Phil: From age 10 and onwards, everything was guitars. My life is littered with musical tags which can take me back to specific events in seconds - like most people probably have.
Göran: Indeed. Some good events, some less good, some joyful, some simply embarrassing.
Phil: Music has also steered major life-choices, like my conscious decision to reject both schooling and religion in my teens.
Göran: My music universe imploded and exploded at the same time. I was a punk rocker, a prog rocker and a 60s pop fan – all at once. My first band was named Läder, the second one Yeah. Then I ditched music for education and... things.
Phil: My first band was at the age of 17. Unfortunately I was unable to also reject the other very basic family philosophy: you have to have a proper job! Getting a good education was obviously less important. If I'd put my energies into music instead of a string of shit jobs in my teens, maybe this album would have been made 20 years ago.
Göran: Maybe it WAS made 20 years ago in a time vortex kind of thingie.

Why did you make the album Shine!?

Phil: I love to make music, I love to play and I love to record in my studio. If it's my music or someone else's doesn't really matter as long as it has something to offer.
Göran: As it happened, Syd Barrett had something to offer.
Phil: I hadn't actually heard any of his solo material when we started. I was a Pink Floyd fan, but had completely missed out on Syd.
Göran: This helped to motivate me. I sent him a first primitive demo.
Phil: Making Octopus whetted my appetite for more.
Göran: And this in turn drove me further. To convince people like Phil! The joy of discovery. Squid for dinner!
Phil: Well, he was dead keen to continue, so to make a whole album was an easy decision.
Göran: We made an early promise to be ready for a festival the next summer.
Phil: Yes. The absolute deadline for mastering was June 8th 2012.

Men on the Border
Men On The Border.

Can you describe the creative process of making Shine!?

Phil: Göran made acoustic demos which he sent to me. Sometimes I made an initial draft recording, which I sent back for suggestions on how to proceed and a few times we sat together and played.
Göran: It was a case of working out some new types of arrangements that would fit Syd’s songs without losing too much of the feelings behind the songs. Some of them were “road tested” in some acoustic gigs and more.
Phil: And more?
Göran: Dreaming in a forest, Phil. Then I just recorded on my smartphone and mailed over to Phil and he sent me some new amazing twists back. Every time was such a joy!
Phil: As an example of the process my string quartet arrangement in the Golden Hair part of No Man's Land was axed by Göran.
Göran: Sorry!
Phil: He came up with another suggestion, the one that ended up on the album. I thought that was SUCH a good idea, but was actually easily persuaded by Göran to ditch the strings....
Göran: Creative conflicts. We bounced things between us to create the right blend. Those strings were brilliant, but did not work in the context of No Man’s Land. It would have worked as a stand-alone.
Phil: I also waited until all the Shine! recordings were completed before listening to the originals and was thus not influenced by them at all.
Göran: Well, there was one where you cheated.
Phil: Yes! I actually listened to Gigolo Aunt because I couldn't figure out the timing from Göran's demo -there's a half-bar in there.
Göran: The fun and beauty of Syd's songs.
Phil: All-in-all there was a LOT of bouncing back and forth.
Göran: Happy bouncing!

Which are your favourite songs on Shine!?

Phil: All of the songs have elements in them which I love. But if I had to choose one song it would be Opal, because it has everything. Poignant lyric, great vocals from Göran.
Göran: Well...
Phil: And also my best performance ever on a recording. 7 minutes of stark beauty.
Göran: Opal was always special and I knew it had to be on the album. We saved it for last really. It's tricky and I had to record my demo to Phil in several segments.
Phil: Oh yes. A bit of a puzzle really.
Göran: I am very pleased with how it turned out. Personally I like the duo of Long Gone and No Man’s Land, moving in that punk/prog territory. Feel is also such a wonderful melody and we stretched that to tell a bit of a story, but with sound only. Wonderful guitar work from Phil.

Which great Syd Barrett songs did not make it to be included on Shine!?

Phil: Terrapin, which we recorded a week after the album was released. I love that song, but because of the deadline we didn't have the spare week we needed to record it. We'd planned to include that with a string quartet, though fortunately the quartet idea wasn't included. I love the result on that. There may be others....
Göran: Terrapin works best as a bonus track really. There is a thematic structure to Shine! and I am not sure how it could have fitted in. We had some ideas to include obscure Pink Floyd stuff, like Scream Thy Last Scream. I am sure that would have been really interesting, but then again it was never a Syd solo song.

Octopus (Jennifer D Andrea)
Octopus. Artwork: Jennifer D Andrea.

What can you tell us about the artwork included with Shine!?

Göran: Back in March 1971, Syd admitted that at heart he was really a painter. We just felt we should try to reflect this in our little tribute.
Phil: But none of us can paint.
Göran: We tried sonically to bring more colour to his rather bleak songs and also to illustrate the whole album with colourful art.
Phil: The cover was specially made for us by a wonderful Swedish artist, Kajsa-Tuva Henriksson. You can read all sorts of things into that painting.
Göran: Yeah. I first met her at a festival and played some of the early demos for her and she really liked it. Then later, I described the overall ideas and parts of Syd’s life. She made that painting to reflect all of this.
Phil: The booklet has one painting for each song in a sort of an exhibition, where you move through different rooms actually. The paintings were made by a Syd Barrett fan in the USA, Jennifer D’Andrea.
Göran: I really love those. I have Octopus framed as a constant reminder in my working room.

Now honestly, what is really so great about Syd Barrett?

Göran: It's all great. You cannot easily separate the life and the art of Syd Barrett. It is all so interwoven, as indeed it is with many great artists through history. Van Gogh springs to mind, but also many more. Their art might not have reached their true audience during their life time, but would grow in importance.
Phil: For me it has been a bit of a discovery really.
Göran: So Syd made some great stuff with Pink Floyd and got that band on track for stardom, but I think he actually did his best work after Pink Floyd. In a similar way that John Lennon did his best work at a very vulnerable stage after The Beatles. Their respective music is so extremely honest, but also very unpredictable and full of layered meanings. Entering the “Syd universe” is very worthwhile. We just want to help more people find it.
Phil: Turn on, tune in, rock out!

OK, you've convinced us. Where and how can we buy Shine!?

Göran: We have a few hundred copies left still, stored in USA, UK and Sweden. Just visit our website and drop us a mail. We are quick to answer and will happily send the CD to wherever you are.
Phil: By interstellar overdrive. We have fans on our Facebook page from all over the planet, but no worries, we can mail the CD to all locations!

Last question! Where is the pussy willow that smiled on this leaf - and if it’s there will you go there too?

Phil: I've been advised by my lawyer not to answer this question, but Göran, being brave and foolhardy in equal parts, probably has an exclamation up the sleeve of his kaftan.
Göran: The pussy willow is in springtime Cambridge, and yes we will certainly go there one day to gig and make recordings. Right Phil?
Phil: You’ll have to talk to my manager……

Men on the Border
Men on the Border.

Göran Nyström and Phil Eheridge are preparing a new album called (at least for now) Jumpstart that will at least have two other Syd covers and own material. On the third of October 2013 they are billed at the Floydian Cruise gig in Sweden.

© 2013 Antonio Jesús, Solo en las Nubes. Pictures courtesy of Men on the Border & Solo en las Nubes.
Translation mistakes, typos and all possible errors are entirely the responsibility of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.
The Holy Church review of the Men on the Border album can be found here: Men On The Border: full of guitars and no dust... 

Links:

Kajsa-Tuva Henriksson

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kajsatuva/sets/

Jennifer D'Andrea

Deviant Art: http://missjennifyre.deviantart.com/
Flickr 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/missjennifire/sets/
Flickr 2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennyandbrett/sets/
Weebly: http://jennifiresart.weebly.com/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MissJenniFyre

2013-11-30

Men On The Border: Jumpstart

Men On The Border (photo: David Parkin)
Men On The Border (photo: David Parkin).

Men On The Border are a Swenglish duo (Göran Nyström & Phil Etheridge) who surprised the world around June 2012 with the release of their album Shine! (exclamation point included). The album consisted entirely of Syd Barrett covers that were, for a change, not meticulously cloned, but recreated following the weird musical rules from their Nordic universe. The album was (still is) a smasher, although that may not have resulted in a million selling mega success. Of course that is entirely their responsibility as they neglected to follow the Reverend's advice to make a video clip where bikini-clad ladies would have logistic problems with melting ice cream.

In an interview from this summer, originally published (in Spanish) on Sole En Las Nubes, and hosted at the Church as well (Men On The Border, Syd Swedish version, thanks Antonio!) they broke the news that a new album, called Jumpstart would see the light of day this year.

It made me wonder if MOTB would suffer from Second Album Syndrome, also know as Sophomore Slump in more academic circles, especially as the band would have no recourse to the effervescing work of Syd Barrett this time. How will their own work be received by the Barrett community, now that there is no more Syd to rely on... Well let's find out, shall we?

Jumpstart (art by Ian Barrett)
Jumpstart. Artwork: Ian Barrett.

Jumpstart

The album starts traditionally with the title track. An electric guitar mimics a starting motor, I remember that trick from Todd Rundgren's solo on Bad Out of Hell, yes the Reverend is that old, and the song further evolves into a pub rock tune that asks to be played very loud. As a starter it hardly sounds original, but who needs originality when it comes to having fun? The track digs into the rich history of rock'n roll, with prominent drums and riffs that nod slightly towards Run Like Hell. This is the kind of song that makes me think that I urgently need a beer. A Danish beer, close enough.

Those who feared there would be no Syd at all on the album are contradicted by track two. Baby Lemonade sounds as if the song has been put in a washing machine with punk rock fabric softener. Suddenly the song oozes sex and its pistols all over, and it makes me wonder how it could have sounded sung in a wild cockney accent by Sid. Yes, that Sid. Men On The Border keep it tidy though and even use a harpsichord that gently clashes with the loud guitars. They're such nice boys.

Pills immediately caught our attention with its keyboard line that has a certain Floydian feel.
I Don't Want To Be Your Man starts lennonesque with harrisonesque undertones until it changes after the mid-solo into signature MOTB with a couple of sweet oohs and aahs before the track turns somewhat bitter. Quite a crispy song.

Have You Got It Yet, another pub rocker that could be from a Status Quo record. Nice tune, nothing more, nothing less. A typical album track, with all the tricks from a fun rock track that could turn into one's live favourite...

The Public: one of Phil's tracks, bringing a change in tone and atmosphere and a more introspective tune.
Old Friends benefits from an El Condor Pasa treatment and is quite an earworm, actually.
Garden has a certain 60s beat feel in its 'no no no' refrain, but is one of the lesser tunes.

Destiny Today is a grower until it sticks in your mind like Velcro. It reminds me of those sweet pastoral hymns by the gentlemen Waters and Gilmour, that either are perfectly swell (Fat Old Sun) or complete duds (Smile). Its mid-piece adventure into prog-territory and backward tapes gives the track some extra panache. Of course I can't help to immediately associate the words 'endless' and ‘river’ with High Hopes, although the endless is linked to laughter here. That is the toll of 4 decades of Floydian obsession. The song's atmosphere makes me think of Where We Start (Gilmour), that I first found terribly boring (like almost everything from On An Island) but that grew on me like a wart on a witches nose.

Jumpstart CD. Artwork: Kajsa-Tuva Henriksson.

Warm From You starts a bit like a French pop tune and I more or less suspected Jane Birkin to join in. A very good song with some slight Bryan Ferry & Mick Ronson influences that gains some momentum near the end...

Terrapin, the second Barrett cover. A weird bend in my brain immediately links this to early Bowie in his Quicksand period and of course this tune immediately gets stuck in your mind like mental flypaper. Cool guitar stuff and a vintage Men On The Border quality treatment...

Something For The Waiting: what a weird and nice oddity. At the start it made me think of a toned down mashup of Mad World (Tears For Fears) and As Tears Go By (Rolling Stones), but after that the song wanders into its own folkish psychedelic territory...

Let's Party (Yeah Yeah) starts like a failed Sparks single and doesn't seem to go anywhere in the beginning (for over one and a half minute). Luckily it evolves into a cool rocker when the drums kick in. In a previous review we mentioned Graham Parker & The Rumour and the classic setup of Rockpile (with Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe) as possible influences on Men On The Border and in this case it results in a fucking good song, probably the best on the album.

The ambient end of the last track, a reprise of Jumpstart, has a surprise in the form of a friendly nod to Pink Floyd lovers...

Jumpstart @ Atagong mansion.

Conclusion

So have Men On The Border avoided the second album syndrome, I hear you ask. Well actually, it is not a bad attempt, not bad at all. I would have liked some of the tunes a bit messier, the singing a bit less polished but that is probably my education, not having grown up in a string quartet, you see...

Throughout this review I have been throwing song references and bands around, MOTB surely know their history and use it to their own benefit, turning the sounds of the sixties, seventies and eighties into something new-millennium-wise.

Don't worry about this, lads, Jumpstart is more than OK, it is quite excellent as a matter of fact, so you can start fearing the difficult third album now, and that is gonna be a real drag!


Just as with Shine! the packaging of this album is a feast for the eye.

The front cover has been designed by Ian Barrett.
Ian Barrett Art

Kajsa-Tuva Henrikkson, who was present on Shine! as well, made the CD art.
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kajsatuva/sets/

2013-12-14

Happy Birthday Iggy Rose!

One

There is a story how Iggy the Eskimo, Syd Barrett and a bunch of other musicians gatecrashed a Speakeasy gig from a band that would become rather famous in prog, rock, jazz and even techno circles. It is a hilarious anecdote, with rumours of mandrax-champagne cocktails and a lot of twist and shouts. We can imagine how Iggy's roaring laugh echoed through the club, once you have heard that laugh, it is imprinted in your memory forever.

The Church is still trying to get some information, tie some loose ends, interview some people, especially as this happened in the mid-summer of 1969, when everyone thought Iggy had disappeared from Syd's life. Perhaps she did, perhaps they just met by accident that day. But that is for later.

Little things that matter.

Two

Birdie Hopper Manzano Meza Cota posted a Mick Rock picture a couple of days ago, it is a new one of Syd and Iggy, which makes us think that this old geezer still has got some hidden gems in his archive.

Iggy and Syd, Mick Rock
Iggy & Syd. Picture: Mick Rock.

Three

In a couple of hours it will be Iggy's birthday. As usual we were too late posting our card as we only did it this afternoon...

Happy Birthday, Iggy!
Happy Birthday, Iggy!

Should you not know it by now, it is Iggy's birthday! So this is the time and place to shout:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IGGY ROSE!

Four

LET'S PARTY!!! Please enjoy this mix of visual extravaganza that comes straight out of the hidden vaults of the Church. Swedish band Men On The Border were so kind to let us use one of their songs from their latest album Jumpstart. Thanks guys, you rock!

Men On The Border
Let's Party (yeah yeah)
Jumpstart © 2013

Five

And now for the classics:

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card (2011) contains a few seconds from a super-secret mid-Seventies home movie (and we added a nice tune as well). Flash link (warning: 5 MB!): Happy Birthday Iggy Rose! or YouTube:

Crystal Blue Postcards

An electronic book of poems and art, dedicated to Syd and his muses, by Denis Combet, with a little help from his friends Constance Cartmill and Allison Star. Digital artwork by Jean Vouillon and some tinkering from Felix Atagong (more about Denis Combet and his Iggy poem(s): Catwoman).

Crystal Blue Postcards (Flash pageFlip presentation, 2011).

Guitars and Dust Dancing by Rescue Rangers

Pascal Mascheroni, from the stoner power trio Rescue Rangers donated the haunting (& slightly psychedelic) power ballad Guitars and Dust Dancing from the album with the same name (buy your copy at iTunes: Guitars and Dust Dancing). In the meanwhile enjoy this Youtube clip with the smashing artwork from Jean Vouillon.

WHY DON'T YOU WISH IGGY A HAPPY BIRTHDAY?

Instead of reading and watching all this you should be heading at Facebook where you can leave your messages, poems, songs and images at: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and of course on Iggy's personal page as well.

Let's make this a birthday to remember, brethren and sistren and don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't do!


The Church wishes to thank Men On The Border (Phil Etheridge & Goeran Nystroem), Bruce Fleming, Mick Rock, Anthony Stern, Storm Thorgerson, Iggy Rose, unknown & anonymous..., Denis Combet, Pascal Mascheroni (Rescue Rangers), Manzano Meza Cota, Christopher Farmer & the nice people at Birdie Hop, Late Night and all the others that we seem to have forgotten...

Men On The Border
http://menontheborder.com/
http://www.facebook.com/MenOnTheBorder

Birdie Hop
http://www.facebook.com/groups/birdiehop

♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥

2014-01-01

Love, Pain & Sorrow

Lindsay Corner, 1969
Lindsay Corner, 1969.

Happy New Year, sistren and brethren of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Another year has passed by, with ups and downs, with happiness and grief, with joy and pain... In our Inuit realm some people passed away unfortunately, and luckily some new ones were born... welcome Vasilisa Alla... to this world of magnets and miracles...

Browsing through our scrapbook with unfinished articles, pictures and movies for the Church we noted this report from our fashion department. It is a 1969 documentary about Ossie Clarke with Lindsay Corner as one of the models.

To quote our fashion specialist:

In the first bit Lindsey Corner is on the left, then in the yellow dress with the blonde in blue, then in the middle with a long pink thing, then again in yellow with the blonde. She's the one with darker blonde wavy hair basically.

And yes we are aware of the rumours that circle about Lindsay Corner and Gala Pinion since a year or two. And no, we don't know when this will see the light of day...

2013

2013 was a weird year for the Church and its Reverend. Again we thought we would not be able to write anything for our lustrum, but in the end we clocked down at 20 slightly stupendous articles.

We started anoraky enough with an article about Syd's hair-length in the early Seventies, this to please the female audience of our little cult: Hairy Mess. Sometimes the Reverend regressed into Brian Eno mood and then he wrote some ditty texts about sweet nothings: King's Road Chic(k).

For Easter Iggy and the Reverend were remembered in a song from Rich Hall (Songs of Praise) whose concept album Birdie Hop and The Sydiots was released around the Church’s fifth birthday: Reverends and Sydiots. Thanks Rich!

Among the monks

The Church's biggest scoop this year was made in collaboration with the Spanish Sole En Las Nubes blog. Not only did Antonio Jesús find back the article that started the infamous Oseira rumours, but he also managed to interview the author of the hoax, Jose Ángel González. The Church merely harvested Antonio's excellent work, like churches mostly do: Spanishgrass.

Facebook's thriving Syd Barrett community, Birdie Hop, organised a meeting in Cambridge with several young and less younger Barrett fans, friends and lovers. It was a most amazing meeting in remembrance of a man who wrote the most peculiar kind of tunes: Birdie Hop: wasn't it the most amazing meeting? 

Did Syd leave us a message in a letter from a decade ago? Sometimes the truth is more beautiful than the legend: Making it clear... 

2014

And that is what we will continue to do in 2014, make it a fantastic year, boys and girls! And everything seems so much brighter... Let's party! Thanks Men On The Border!


Many thanks to Alexander, Amy Funstar, Anonymous, Antonio Jesús, Babylemonade Aleph, Baron Wolman, Birdie Hop, Bob Archer, Brett Wilson, Cambridge News, Christopher Farmer, Col Turner, Dion Johnson, Elizabeth Voigt-Walter, Stanislav, Euryale, Göran Nyström, Herman van Gaal, HYGIY, Joanne 'Charley' Milne, Joe Perry, Jon Felix, Jonathan Charles, Jose Ángel González, Julia, Kiloh Smith, Kirsty Whalley, Late Night, Laughing Madcaps, Lori Haines, Mark Blake, MAY, Men On The Border, Michael Rawding, MvB, No Man's Land, Phil Etheridge, Psych62, Radharani Krishna, Rich Hall, Rod Harris, Ron Cooper, Simon Hendy, Stefan Mühle, USA National Register off Historic Places, Viper, Vita, Wolfpack, Younglight, Yves Leclerc... Love you Swoonies!

And if I go insane,
And they lock me away,
Will you still let me join in the game?

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Rich ♥ Alexander ♥ Liza ♥

2014-03-28

An innerview with Men on the Border

When Jumpstart from Men On The Border was released end of November 2013 we didn't suspect that the tracks would be haunting us for weeks to come. Slowly it dawned to us that this record was not just a simple collection of rock songs, but that there was a certain flow in the music, a well hidden concept that was the direct result of their previous album that solely existed of Syd Barrett covers.

We (FA) invited Göran Nyström (GN) and Phil Etheridge (PE) to Atagong mansion where we had the following, Guinness induced, conversation.

Why don't you listen to the Jumpstart album on Spotify while reading this interview? (A Spotify membership is probably needed, but this is free. There is no need to download and install the Spotify player, the music will (hopefully) play in your browser.)
An innerview with Men on the Border
Jumpstart (cover: Ian Barrett)
Jumpstart! Artwork: Ian Barrett.

An innerview with Men On The Border (1)

FA: Shine! was an album with Syd Barrett, so to speak, but Jumpstart is about him, right?

PE: Yes! Jumpstart takes over where Shine! left off. On that album we explored Syd's solo songs. It was fun and it gave us the appetite for more. Then we started to wonder: what happened next in Syd's life?

GN: We tried to send a message by the sequencing of our first album, telling a story of the period 1968-1972-ish and using a fair sprinkling of licentia poetica. On the new album we have stretched that poetic license much further. Jumpstart is all about Syd, but more of a fantasy, a speculation even. The premise is simple. What if Syd, at age 50, would have had an epiphany. A lightning strike, a jumpstart. A reverse perhaps of that electric shock he received in Santa Monica?

FA: Maybe all that Syd needed was a second electrical shock to get him on the rails again? Just like in the comics where the main character regains his memory by a second blow on the head.

GN: That's it. That's the Jumpstart. The kick in the behind. How we used to fix our old TV sets.

PE: Or how my school teachers used to fix me...

GN: The two Jumpstart songs on the album are the fantasy bookends. They speak of that very moment, the awakening in fantasy-land, anno 1996. In-between, 12 songs spread over four "seasons", telling the inner story of the years from 1972 till 1996. It speaks of the fantasy journey of a tormented soul and of reminiscence.

PE: We used only two of Syd's songs and the rest are not trying to be typical Syd songs either. They speak about him, or some sort of fantasy Syd. The song 'Jumpstart' is about fixing your heart, about kicking it into action again and about life over death.

Phil Etheridge by David Parkin
Phil Etheridge by David Parkin.

Autumn

FA: The first season, or song trilogy, starts with 'Baby Lemonade'...

PE: 'Baby Lemonade' is pure Syd of course. We wanted to give it a good solid punk rock drive with psychedelic sonic explorations - the elements that Syd did so well in his heyday. This is when we dive back in time to 1972, through Syd's own reflections on his life, which I found kind of shocking.

GN: And the starting point is the thematic Autumn. A new energy injected into that fading autumn. In the afterglow of a glorious summer comes a season of neglect and departure. In the inescapable poetry of Led Zeppelin: "Leaves are falling all around. It's time I was on my way. Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay. But now it's time for me to go." (2)

FA: And rain falls in gray far away... The next track 'Pills' really is a great track, instrument wise.

GN: Yeah. The guitar-work is Phil magic. Sinister. The song is about addiction and relapses. But also about love and hunger. It's all weirdly poetic and ambivalent. How to resist a temptation. A constant inner monologue, very much about pills of course and how that addiction is ended. “Your place by my bed, no more”. Or is it properly ended?

FA: In 'I Don't Want To Be Your Man' one can picture Syd who almost begs to the fans to be left alone, and who is slowly getting more and more angry about being disturbed all the time.

PE: Good point! And that theme appears in a couple of the songs. I think it's partly that but also memories of a time waiting outside a studio and really wanting to contribute. “No more waiting on your steps”. But what the fuck - reaching a conclusion that he never wanted it anyway. At the end it reverts to the question of 'Pills', those that keep wanting him back.

FA: The maniacal Floyd anorak in me also sees a certain lyrical familiarity to Gilmour's plea to the fans 'What Do You Want From Me', which was a more civilised way to show his frustration over the years than Roger Waters did who spat in the face of a fan. Or am I just over-analysing?

GN: It's about dependency and ending a dependency. Whether that is in sex or drugs or rock'n roll. All three components play into most of the songs on Jumpstart. But I guess you just took it one step further! The dependency between the artist and the fan base. Yeah, interesting.

Göran Nyström by David Parkin
Göran Nyström by David Parkin.

Winter

FA: 'Have You Got It Yet', declares the cold winter in Syd's life.

GN: This is the start of the Winter trilogy. "I've felt the coldness of my winter. I never thought, it would ever go. I cursed the gloom that set upon us." (3) The title has an obvious Syd reference. We debated that for a while. In the end we wanted to bring out an element of anger and bitterness.

PE: Riding buses and going into pubs. Never quite able to drown out memories and thoughts. And quite a lot of debate over the title. There’s some tongue in cheek in the lyrics though. As a matter of fact it’s not all dark…

FA: I hear in the frantic guitar solo near the end a glimpse of what really happened between Syd Barrett and Roger Waters on that day he wanted them not to learn 'Have You Got It Yet'.

PE: Could well be. Who knows? Still, the starting point of this song is from a far distance.

GN: Yeah. An alternative title was 'Have You Still Not Got It?'

PE: And we're back in the debate again!

FA: After the mild anarchy of 'Have You Got It Yet' 'The Public' really is a breath of fresh air.

GN: That song is sung by Phil. All other songs are from a Syd perspective, but this one is from the troubadour at the pub watching Syd. That's why it's a kind of Irish pub song, the sort you would hear at the pub. And different in style to everything else on the album.

PE: The lead character joins in for the second half of the last verse. That's the moment when it's becoming clear to him that he absolutely must leave things behind. A song partly about a pub existence, but definitely not Irish. Well, maybe London Irish. 'The Public' does of course carry a dual meaning and the middle verse should make that clear. I'm sure they don't even have public bars in London pubs anymore, but dual meaning was too good to give up.

FA: 'Old Friends' is also one of these earworms, a bit childlike with that 'El Condor Pasa' flute and the 'Effervescing Elephant' nod.

GN: Syd meets ABBA. You will note some sonic references to 'Wish You Were Here'. A song about how old friends always remain a support. Don't they?

PE: Benny Andersson was a conscious musical starting point for this, with the flute and oboe melodies in the middle and the end just a bit longer than you’d expect, typical for ABBA. Lyrically the song is miles from them though and at least for me was one of the darker moments on the album.

FA: I have always been enchanted by the ABBA song 'The Piper' that was the B-side of 'Super Trouper'. I even suspected it contained a hidden message for early Pink Floyd fans: "We're following the piper and we dance beneath the moon..."

GN: The dark side of that moon surely!

Phil Etheridge
Phil Etheridge.

Spring

FA: 'Garden' is the place where one notices spring at first. Syd had a gardener's job once, given to him by an old Cambridge friend...

GN: 'Garden' is about finding solace. Walking with buttercups. Inner monologues. Dwelling on love lost. Rather despairing and probably half crazy. Botanical garden walks. Not gardening. This is also when he starts to realize how deep the love was that he walked away from. "You are the sunlight in my growing. So little warmth, I've felt before. It isn't hard to feel me glowing. I watched the fire that grew so low." (4)

PE: The mid-section with the focus on garden and garden walk is that moment of staring point blank at the essence of existence, the core of the brain of our lead character. The garden and the garden walk. One bite of an apple and then a long walk out.

GN: Or back in again.

FA: 'Destiny Today' is about Syd's long walks along the river Cam?

GN: That is true but it’s more than that. The river symbolises life, as it does in many Floyd songs, and the walk is about finding your destiny. And accepting the fact for what it is. It's a strange warm feeling of peace when you can finally come to terms with what your life became.

PE: And what remains, which is the killer. It's a turning point. Of the album too. This was one of the first songs we recorded for Jumpstart. It set the mood for a kind of reconciliation. Of coming to terms with life and to make the best of whatever it is that remains. Of accepting your destiny, and doing that today.

FA: I hope I don't embarrass you by saying that the atmosphere of this song reminds me of Gilmour's mesmerizing hymns, like 'The Blue' and 'Where We Start'.

GN: That is indeed a great compliment. David lived in his youth close to Grantchester Meadows. I was there in June 2013 and played an early demo of the song right there. Just by the river. To a friend who had been there at the time. It's that kind of soothing chord structure to it. Plus the repetitive lyrics. And Phil plays some of his best guitar ever on it.

PE: I'm blushing. Nah, just kidding. Everything on these two albums is my best stuff ever.

FA: 'Warm From You' starts like a warm spring day... but what is it about, a lost love or the growing expectation for Syd to finally do something with his life...

GN: Love mainly. The purpose of living, I guess. Live to love. It tells a story of first failing and then picking up again. The sun and that revolution can mean many things though. In the case of Syd, we fantasize that love and love lost continued to mean a lot to him. Shining through occasionally. How it "will always be a very special thing to me". 

PE: Like most things in life there’s ambiguity throughout and that’s reflected in most of the songs actually. I unambiguously borrowed a bit from Jimi Hendrix on this and it was a real pleasure to have an opportunity to do that. The end has ‘Hey Joe’ stamped all over it. The sounds at the end are drummer Björn Hammarberg scraping a drumstick over his hi-hat - just a fun detail.

FA: So that was the tune that haunted me and that I couldn't place, shame on me. I also find that the intro has a certain French aspect, I can't stop thinking of Petula Clark's Coeur Blessé...

PE: And strangely enough that leads me to "pour encourager les autres", which is a nice reference a friend of mine used just the other day and possibly the title of a new song, unless it's already been done a whole lot.

Göran Nyström
Göran Nyström.

Summer

FA: 'Terrapin' starts a new summer of love? Physical love or is it the love for music?

PE: The summer of love was very physical, and that’s what 'Terrapin' is about for me. It also reads like an acid trip, which was the other end of the summer of love. 'Terrapin' is also the only track on the album which doesn’t have a keyboard of any sort, only guitars, bass and drums. There are lots of guitars though. There must be a hundred versions of this song on YouTube, mostly live in someone’s bedroom, which says something about its popularity.

GN: "It is the summer of my smiles. Flee from me, keepers of the gloom. Speak to me only with your eyes. It is to you I give this tune." (5) It’s an essential song in the Barrett cannon. It speaks of love very directly. We wanted it to be euphoric rather than subdued. It's the moment of calling out for what all that yearning was about.

FA: But 'Something For the Waiting' is rather introspective again... with a glimpse of misery and despair... begging to god to invent "some kind of help to carry on"....

GN: It was the last song we added. I am not 100% sure if it is a happy or sad song. Obviously it is very desperate. But it also shows a realization and stamina. That there is something worth the waiting for. Unfortunately, as the song goes, the rights to happiness “fell into the hands of Paul McCartney”.

FA: It's the Men On The Border's 'As Tears Go By', so to speak?

PE: Yeah. Olle Ljungström has never given me happy vibes, so I’d go with sad.

GN: It's not a very faithful cover though!

PE: Göran was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t like this when he sent me the acoustic demo, but I loved it right away and it fits. Working on the arrangement was a blast. I used a thumb piano (a birthday present from my sister) at the beginning of the song. I started out playing a sort of non-tune, but Göran suggested the song melody, which focused the whole thing. I also got to use the string quartet idea (Lennart Östblom doing a number of overdubs) which Göran thankfully vetoed on 'No Man’s Land'. This will be more electric live and we’ll debut that in May.

FA: And that is when 'Let's Party' kicks in... which is (for me) the highlight of the album...

PE: That’s great to hear! Jan Stumsner from P-Floyd makes a much appreciated guest appearance on this track. Göran and I each wrote our own parts for 'Let’s Party', basically two separate songs which we melded. Göran’s lyrics are mostly poetic, whereas mine are more about realism, like in 'The Public'. In this case the scenes were experienced by me in 1973 courtesy of Eich Erzmoneit, a German drummer I was playing bass with at the time, who did enjoy his acid and beer.

GN: In the context of the Jumpstart story, this is when Syd in the end is shrugging his shoulders. Saying fuck this and let's party. It's the best we can do. Something like the conclusion of the book 'Candide: or, All for the best'. Playing the cards we are given. It's also a sort of nod to the art rockers saying that there is real life to be enjoyed behind the eyeliners and pretence. Voltaire concludes with Candide saying that "we must cultivate our garden". That garden link again. The heart at the center.

Shine!
Shine!

The Next Year

FA: So that wraps up the Jumpstart journey then? Bringing it all back to the Jumpstart moment with a reprise of the first song and full speed towards the future? Can I bore you once again with a quote from someone else: "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!" (6)

GN: Indeed. Supersonic fighting cocks and all. You have an inner view now. And who knows what the future will bring. One thing is clear, Men On The Border was always about more than the music. We wanted to bring back that old fashioned album experience. That is probably something we will explore further in the future.

Jumpstart (CD graphics)
Jumpstart (CD graphics).

PE: Kajsa-Tuva Henriksson (now Werner), did the previous cover and made justice to the Syd Barrett early story in an amazing way. You can read many things into that picture. She also contributed with an original piece for Jumpstart, that takes the earlier picture – that life of Syd – into the tumbler. It is a fabulous illustration of a Jumpstart, and of a broken but vividly red heart at the center.

GN: Yes indeed. We were also thrilled to have Ian Barrett on board, Syd's nephew and by now a good friend. He contributed to the whole concept in no small way. He took the whole thing one step further by adding the symbolism of Syd’s mirrored guitar and reflections.

Jumpstart by Ian Barrett (early sketch)
Jumpstart by Ian Barrett (early sketch).

PE: That concept is so perfectly in tune with the whole idea of Jumpstart, which is really a concept album about reflections and new energy, and about Syd of course. Maybe that electric bolt in Santa Monica that we started out discussing?

GN: Yes! Maybe that's where that guitar originally got lost? Burnt out by the electric shock? And now we bring it full circle.

PE: Ian made a linoleum cut of those guitar mirrors and then painted this in the famous floorboard colours. He actually made a whole series of prints for us.

GN: We then used the idea of mirrors and reflections and energy in a little photo session we did, courtesy of David Parkin. Our combined photographer and bass player! We are forming a live band now. Band On The Border!

FA: So what is going on with that? What happens next?

PE: We will try out some live gigs and see how it goes. Rehearsals have been ongoing for a few months. It is all very fun and energizing.

GN: Ideas are developing continuously. Check out our Facebook site to be updated. If all goes well, and there is a demand, there could be something unique in the works. It feels like we can see pieces of a big puzzle, a collage if you will.

FA: A collage?

PE: Hey Felix, do you have any more of that Guinness?

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


Many thanks: Ian Barrett (Ian Barrett Art), Phil Etheridge, Göran Nyström.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Birdie Hop

Notes and quotes
(1) During the immensely difficult negotiations to have this interview ("Do you mean any colour you like, except blue M&M's or only blue M&M's and no others?") the word 'interview' was wrongly written as 'innerview' on one document, but it stuck. Back to text.
(2) Led Zeppelin - Ramble On. Back to text.
(3) Led Zeppelin - The Rain Song. Back to text.
(4) Led Zeppelin - The Rain Song. Back to text.
(5) Led Zeppelin - The Rain Song. Back to text.
(6) Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Karn Evil 9, 1st impression, part 2. Back to text.

2014-12-13

Happy Birthday Iggy Rose!

Magical Iggy

A couple of weeks ago Iggy and the Reverend browsed through a stash of mid-seventies photos and selected nearly 60. They have been (and will still be for quite a while) simultaneously published at Iggy's Facebook page and at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit Tumblr site under the Magical Iggy flag.

How, you didn't know that existed? Here it is again, you ignorant people:
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit Tumblr blog, its Magical Iggy section and the Archive.

Magnetic Iggy

Have you seen our latest post about the Syd & Iggy magnet: The perfect Xmas gift: put Iggy on your fridge! To get one, please email anthony@anthonysternglass.com. We assure you that, for once, the money will be well spent.

Iggy magnet
Iggy the eskimo magnet. Picture: Anthony Stern.

Birthday Iggy -14th of December 2014

In less than an hour it will be Iggy's birthday. The Reverend fought blizzards, storms and packs of hungry wolves to go to Louvain's postal station to find out, then, that he had forgotten Iggy's birthday card at home.

Happy Birthday Iggy Rose!

Should you not know it by now, it is Iggy's birthday! So this is the time and place to shout:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IGGY ROSE!

Partytime Iggy

LET'S PARTY!!! Please enjoy this mix of tracks that have been made the past few years to celebrate our goddess. Swedish band Men On The Border were so kind to let us use one of their songs from their latest album Jumpstart. Thanks guys, you rock!

Men On The Border
Let's Party (yeah yeah)
Jumpstart © 2013

Reverends & Eskimos

In 2013 Rich hall made a concept album that has this fine pearl... (click on the image below for the hi-res Flash version)

The Reverend by Rich Hall (hi-res, Flash)
The Reverend by Rich Hall (hi-res, Flash).

For those who haven't got a Flash-enabled webbrowser, let's try it another way. Here is a, somewhat downgraded, version on Youtube, but don't let that spoil the fun.

Rich Hall
The Reverend
Birdie Hop © 2013.

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card (2011) contains a few seconds from a super-secret mid-Seventies home movie (and we added a nice tune as well). Flash link (warning: 5 MB!): Happy Birthday Iggy Rose! or YouTube:

Crystal Blue Postcards

An electronic book of poems and art, dedicated to Syd and his muses, by Denis Combet, with a little help from his friends Constance Cartmill and Allison Star. Digital artwork by Jean Vouillon and some tinkering from Felix Atagong (more about Denis Combet and his Iggy poem(s): Catwoman).

Crystal Blue Postcards
Crystal Blue Postcards, Denis Combet (Flash pageFlip presentation, 2011).

Guitars and Dust Dancing by Rescue Rangers

In 2011, Pascal Mascheroni, from the stoner power trio Rescue Rangers donated the haunting (& slightly psychedelic) power ballad Guitars and Dust Dancing from the album with the same name (buy your copy at iTunes: Guitars and Dust Dancing). In the meanwhile enjoy this Youtube clip with the smashing artwork from Jean Vouillon.

WHY DON'T YOU WISH IGGY A HAPPY BIRTHDAY?

Instead of reading and watching all this you should be heading at Facebook where you can leave your messages, poems, songs and images at: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and of course on Iggy's personal page as well.

Let's make this a birthday to remember, brethren and sistren and don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't do!


The Church wishes to thank Constance Cartmill, Denis Combet, Phil Etheridge, Amy Funstar, Rich Hall, Pascal Mascheroni, MAY, Goeran Nystroem, Allison Star, Anthony Stern, Jean Vouillon, Brett Wilson and all the others that we seem to have forgotten...
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥

2015-06-14

Iggy Rose in Cambridge

Iggy Rose by Vic Singh
Iggy Rose by the legendary Vic Singh.

The second weekend of June has the second Cambridge biennial Birdie Hop meeting, with special guest stars: Viv Brans, Vic Singh, Peter Gilmour, Men On The Border, Jenny Spires, Warren Dosanjh, Libby Gausden, Dave 'Dean' Parker & Iggy Rose (and some more).

Unfortunately the Facebook group for this event has been closed for prying eyes, but some pictures and videos have already leaked out.

Iggy Rose and Goran Nystrom
Iggy Rose, in great shape, & Göran Nyström from Men on the Border.

Pictures and videos will be regularly uploaded to the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit Tumblr page, as soon as the Holy Igquisiton gets hold of them.

Iggy Rose admiring a record cover
Iggy Rose admiring a record cover. Picture: Mick Brown.

For the latest (public) pictures and videos of the 2015 Birdie Hop event, please check: http://iggyinuit.tumblr.com/tagged/june-2015.
Our review of the first Birdie Hop meeting in 2013: Birdie Hop: wasn't it the most amazing meeting? 


Many thanks to: Sandra Blickem, Mick Brown, Warren Dosanjh, Vanessa Flores, Tim Greenhall, Alex Hoffmann, Antonio Jesus (Solo En Las Nubes), Douglas Milne, Göran Nyström (Men On The Border), Vic Singh, Abigail Thomson-Smith, Eva Wijkniet...
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

2015-11-14

Men On The Border: Live in Brighton

Live in Brighton
Live in Brighton, Men On The Border.

June had the second (and if rumours are correct: last) Birdie Hop meeting in Cambridge with Syd Barrett fans having an informal drink with some of the early-sixties Cambridge beatniks we know and love so dearly: Jenny Spires, Libby Gausden, Mick Brown, Peter Gilmour, Sandra Blickem, Vic Singh, Warren Dosanjh and others...

Special guest star was none other than Iggy Rose who left, if we may believe the natives, an everlasting impression. You can read all about it at: Iggy Rose in Cambridge.

Men On The Border came especially over from the northern parts of Europe, leaving their igloo, so to speak, to gig at the Rathmore Club where they not only jammed with other Syd-aficionados, but also with Redcaps frontman Dave Parker. (For the history of those sixties Cambridge bands check the excellent: The Music Scene of 1960s Cambridge.)

The night before however, on Friday June 12th, Men On The Border played the legendary Prince Albert (that name always make us chuckle) music pub in Brighton. This gig was recorded and is now the third album of Men On The Border, after ShinE! (2012) that consisted of Barrett covers and Jumpstart (2013) that mainly had original songs but with a slightly concealed madcap theme.

This live release shows that Men On The Border is a tight band and that they can play their material without having to revert to digitally wizardry. In a previous review we already remarked that:

...some of the influences of MOTB lay in the pub-rock from Graham Parker & The Rumour, Rockpile (with Nick Lowe & Dave Edmunds) and the cruelly under-appreciated The Motors...
Men On The Border. Picture: Vic Singh.
Men On The Border. Picture: Vic Singh.

This live album certainly proves that. The versions are pretty close to the recorded versions and singer Göran Nystrom manages once again to give us goosebumps on Late Night and their own Warm From You that is a pretty ingenious song if you ask us (with a sly nod to Jimi Hendrix)...

So give them a warm hand of applause and make them feel welcome in this mad cat world of random precision.
 

Tracklist:

01 Terrapin (Jumpstart)
02 No Good Trying (ShinE!)

03 Scream Thy Last Scream (2015 single)
04 Long Gone (ShinE!)

05 Gigolo Aunt (ShinE!)
06 Late Night (ShinE!)

07 Octopus (ShinE!)

08 Warm From You (Jumpstart)
09 Baby Lemonade (ShinE!)

Digital release only, people don't buy plastic any more, unfortunately.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017WFLEH8/ref=dm_ws_sp_ps_dp
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/6MStF6YtxCYNY7FTIoeNzq


Many thanks: Göran Nystrom, Vic Singh.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

2015-12-13

Happy Birthday Iggy Rose!

Lost for words. That is what we are this year, with only a few hours left to celebrate Iggy’s birthday, on the fourteenth of December. Next to a legend, she is also a good personal friend and an incorrigible prankster. Today as well she managed to confuse us with one of her practical jokes that made us shake our head in disbelief. She’s a real sweetie, our Ig.

So, dear sistren and brethren, followers of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, let us raise our glasses high to the Eskimo, because without her this earth would be quite a dreary place.

Birthday Greetings, Felix Atagong
Birthday Greetings, Felix Atagong.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IGGY ROSE!

And because traditions are traditions, and meant to be kept alive, we will continue with our annual sing-along and poetry reading that turn this birthday into a real birthday bash.

Partytime Iggy

LET'S PARTY!!! Please enjoy this mix of tracks that have been made the past few years to celebrate our goddess. Swedish band Men On The Border were so kind to let us use one of their songs from their latest (studio) album Jumpstart. Thanks guys, you rock!

Men On The Border
Let's Party (yeah yeah)
Jumpstart © 2013

Reverends & Eskimos

In 2013 Rich hall made a concept album that has this fine pearl... (click on the image below for the hi-res Flash version)

The Reverend by Rich Hall.
The Reverend. Sound: Rich Hall. Vision: Felix Atagong. (hi-res, Flash)

For those who haven't got a Flash-enabled webbrowser, let's try it another way. Here is a, somewhat downgraded, version on Youtube, but don't let that spoil the fun.

Rich Hall
The Reverend
Birdie Hop © 2013.

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card (2011) contains a few seconds from a super-secret mid-Seventies home movie (and we added a nice tune as well). Flash link (warning: 5 MB!): Happy Birthday Iggy Rose! or YouTube:

Crystal Blue Postcards

An electronic book of poems and art, dedicated to Syd and his muses, by Denis Combet, with a little help from his friends Constance Cartmill and Allison Star. Digital artwork by Jean Vouillon and some tinkering from Felix Atagong (more about Denis Combet and his Iggy poem(s): Catwoman).

Crystal Blue Postcards, Denis Combet.

Link: Crystal Blue Postcards (Flash pageFlip presentation, 2011).

Guitars and Dust Dancing by Rescue Rangers

In 2011, Pascal Mascheroni, from the stoner power trio Rescue Rangers donated the haunting (& slightly psychedelic) power ballad Guitars and Dust Dancing from the album with the same name (buy your copy at iTunes: Guitars and Dust Dancing). In the meanwhile enjoy this Youtube clip with the smashing artwork from Jean Vouillon.

WHY DON'T YOU WISH IGGY A HAPPY BIRTHDAY?

Instead of reading and watching all this you should be heading at Facebook where you can leave your messages, poems, songs and images at: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and of course on Iggy's personal page as well.


The Church wishes to thank Constance Cartmill, Denis Combet, Phil Etheridge, Amy Funstar, Rich Hall, Pascal Mascheroni, MAY, Goeran Nystroem, Allison Star, Anthony Stern, Jean Vouillon, Brett Wilson and all the others that we seem to have forgotten...
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥

2016-05-27

Floyd Gestapo Strikes Again

Floyd gestapo strikes again
Syd Barrett (tripping)
Syd Barrett (tripping). Picture: Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon.

For the second time in its career Swedish based Men On The Border has a YouTube video censored by the Pink Floyd management. This time not because they are interpreting a Syd Barrett song, which is something of a condicio sine qua non if you are a Syd Barrett cover-band but because they use Barrett imagery in the video-collage of their latest song To The Promised Land.

To The Promised Land is the B-side of their latest single Dominoes, a dreamlike evocation with friendly nods to early Emerson, Lake & Palmer, the eerie minimalism of Mike Oldfield and The Beatles’ I Am The Walrus, performed in their typical cool Nordic style. The song certainly is a grower for those who can hear and watch it.

Update 2016 05 29: A reworked version of the videoclip, with Syd Barrett cut out, has been released on YouTube: Men On The Border - To The Promised Land (also deleted).

Men On The Border have been invited to Cambridge to play on the Syd Barrett celebration on the 27th of October, something Pink Floyd and its geriatric members are probably not aware of. That there is a touch of senility roaming through the Pink Floyd ranks was already suspected when they managed to censor a David Gilmour track on his own website.

Just another example, now we're on it. On the 24th of April 2016, David Gilmour added a tribute to Prince's Purple Rain in Comfortably Numb. Fan-made recordings were quickly removed from YouTube and then added to Gilmour's own channel, claiming to be 'official'...

And did we tell you the name of the game, boy?
We call it Riding the Gravy Train.

Some screenshots of the deleted video can be found on our supergastic IggyInuit Tumblr page.


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

Many thanks to Göran Nyström.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

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.

2016-08-29

Miraculous Magnets

Sydge
Sydge, by Anthony Stern.

Get All From That Ant

About two years after the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit came with the news of an Anthony Stern anthology, showing an overview of his work, including unseen Pink Floyd footage and our own Iggy the Eskimo, it might finally get a release to the general public. Well, sort of. (See: Magnets & Miracles)

Get All From That Ant will be shown at a Syd Barrett (mini) festival that will be held in October in Cambridge when also a Syd Barrett memorial artwork will be unveiled. Men On The Border will interpret the mad cat’s wacko music with the Sandviken symphony orchestra, some mystery guests and a groovy lightshow from Peter Wynne Wilson.

Have You Got It Yet

Although not confirmed (yet) the Barrett movie festival may also feature Storm Thorgerson’s legendary Have You Got It Yet. This movie is being finalised by Roddy Bogawa, whom you might know from the excellent documentary Taken By Storm, that any Hipgnosis fan needs to have in his / her collection. We had a chat earlier this year with the movie maker and here is what he had to say.

I can answer some of the rumours! Yes, we are hoping the film will be released this year - it is in the editing stage - and yes, Lindsay [Corner] and Gayla [Pinion] are interviewed in it as well as Jenny Spires and Libby Gausden... I think it is ok to make that public...
Also Roger, David and Nick appear in new interviews which I think are quite different than most of the ones they've done before because Storm was present and he grew up with Syd, David and Roger.
So...it's exciting and once the film gets closer to completion, we'll talk it up more!
(Source: Facebook Chat, 2016 06 03)

Surely a release to be yearning for, even when Iggy wasn't interviewed, due to unforeseen circumstances.

Sydge and Iggnet

It is not certain if Stern’s anthology will get the DVD release as promised a couple of years ago. Our efforts to ask Anthony stayed unanswered. Artists, huh…

In 2014 some extremely lucky people received a Syd magnet, aka Sydge, for a Stern project that had to culminate in a book. Unfortunately all the relevant pages on the Anthony Stern Films blog have been removed, so we fear it has been shelved.

In December 2014 an Iggy the Eskimo magnet was announced (see: Iggy on your fridge!), but although the Holy Church ordered about a dozen that project was indefinitely postponed as well. Until now…

Iggnet by Anthony Stern
Iggnet by Anthony Stern.

Syd Barrett and Iggy Photo Art Collectable Fridge Magnets.

2 Magnets in total.
Taken from original photos by Anthony Stern are these fantastic, practical and groovy fridge magnets featuring both Syd Barrret playing live and Iggy during a creative photoshoot with Anthony.
Both images can also be found in the new and upcoming GATA? Get ALL That Ant? .....biographical film of Anthony Stern's youth when he was friends with the infamous couple at the start of the Pink Floyd band creation.
An original piece of Uk Rock History documentation and a great gift idea for the Syd Barrett and Iggy fans.

The Syd and Iggy magnets are now for sale at Anthony Stern’s Etsy page. Get them while you still can…
(The Church is not affiliated with or endorsed by Mr. Stern's company.)


Many thanks to: Roddy Bogawa, Anthony Stern.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Tumblr pages:

Anthony Stern:
Iggnet
Sydge

Roddy Bogawa:
Taken By Storm

Felix Atagong:
Sydge (Atagong Mansion)

2016-12-14

Happy Birthday, Iggy!

Happy Birthday, Iggy!
Happy Birthday, Iggy!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IGGY ROSE!

And because traditions are traditions, and meant to be kept alive, we will continue with our annual sing-along and poetry reading that turn this birthday into a real birthday bash.

Partytime Iggy

LET'S PARTY!!! Please enjoy this mix of tracks that have been made the past few years to celebrate our goddess. Swedish band Men On The Border were so kind to let us use one of their songs from their latest (studio) album Jumpstart. Thanks guys, you rock!

Men On The Border
Let's Party (yeah yeah)
Jumpstart © 2013

Reverends & Eskimos

In 2013 Rich hall made a concept album that has this fine pearl... (click on the image below for the hi-res Flash version)

The Reverend by Rich Hall (hi-res, Flash)
The Reverend. Sound: Rich Hall. Vision: felix Atagong (hi-res, Flash).

For those who haven't got a Flash-enabled webbrowser, let's try it another way. Here is a, somewhat downgraded, version on Youtube, but don't let that spoil the fun.

Rich Hall
The Reverend
Birdie Hop © 2013.

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card (2011) contains a few seconds from a super-secret mid-Seventies home movie (and we added a nice tune as well). Flash link (warning: 5 MB!): Happy Birthday Iggy Rose! or YouTube:

Crystal Blue Postcards

An electronic book of poems and art, dedicated to Syd and his muses, by Denis Combet, with a little help from his friends Constance Cartmill and Allison Star. Digital artwork by Jean Vouillon and some tinkering from Felix Atagong (more about Denis Combet and his Iggy poem(s): Catwoman).

Crystal Blue Postcards, Denis Combet.

Crystal Blue Postcards (Flash pageFlip presentation, 2011).

Guitars and Dust Dancing by Rescue Rangers

In 2011, Pascal Mascheroni, from the stoner power trio Rescue Rangers donated the haunting (& slightly psychedelic) power ballad Guitars and Dust Dancing from the album with the same name (buy your copy at iTunes: Guitars and Dust Dancing). In the meanwhile enjoy this Youtube clip with the smashing artwork from Jean Vouillon.

WHY DON'T YOU WISH IGGY A HAPPY BIRTHDAY?

Instead of reading and watching all this you should be heading at Facebook where you can leave your messages, poems, songs and images at: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and of course on Iggy's personal page as well.


The Church wishes to thank Constance Cartmill, Denis Combet, Phil Etheridge, Amy Funstar, Rich Hall, Pascal Mascheroni, MAY, Goeran Nystroem, Allison Star, Anthony Stern, Jean Vouillon, Brett Wilson and all the others that we seem to have forgotten...
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥

2017-12-27

Funeral Band

Worthing Crematorium
Worthing Crematorium.

Dark Globe

It is the darkest period of the year, literally and figuratively. Today, the 27th of December 2017, Iggy's funeral takes place at Worthing Crematorium. We can only wish for strength for Iggy's husband, her family, her friends... A big thank you for the Birdies and Nesters who have supported Iggy all these years...

Catharsis

After most funerals, people sit together and commemorate the deceased, and slowly the tears are being replaced with laughter, when funny remembrances and anecdotes fill the atmosphere... It is a necessary part of the grieving process and we are pretty sure that people can go on for hours recalling Iggy's funnier moments.

Sydiots

A couple of years ago, 2013 already!, multi-instrumentalist and Barrett-buff Rich Hall recorded an album called Birdie Hop & the Sydiots. Its concept was to catalogue the wacky aspects of Barrett fandom, including cosmic brides, silly reverends and goofing administrators of various Syd Barrett Facebook groups.

One of the highlights of the album was a track called The Reverend, clearly a reverie about the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and its main obsession: Iggy the Eskimo. For Iggy's seventieth birthday Rich, with some help of his dog Porthos, recorded an acoustic version of the song. Unfortunately Iggy never heard it and as such the song has now become a fitting tribute. From Rich to Iggy, from Porthos to Doogle, we present you Iggy's message that is love.

Gigolo aunts & uncles

Back in better days, June 2015, Iggy was invited to Cambridge at the second Birdie Hop meeting. Men On The Border joined as well, giving an exclusive concert at the Rathmore Club. After the gig there was some time for an acoustic sing-a-long with the band, fans, Cantabrigian mafia rockers and a pretty unstoppable Iggy. Revive it here... original videos from Göran Nyström and Solo En Las Nubes blogger Antonio Jesús Reyes.

Happy belated birthday Iggy. Hundreds of fans will never forget you.


Many thanks to: Rich Hall, Men On The Border, Göran Nystrom, Antonio Jesús Reyes.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Paula ♥

Rich Hall: Birdie Hop and The Sydiots
Göran Nystrom: Men On The Border
Anotnio Jesús Reyes : Solo En Las Nubes

2018-01-01

Happy New Year 2018

Painting: Frank Cookson. Picture: Carmen Castro.
Painting: Frank Cookson. Picture: Carmen Castro.

Never has a Kurt Vonnegut quote been more appropriate than here, we think. Iggy Rose is no longer on this world, but the third rock didn't stop turning around the sun. There were no lunar eclipses, although people from the Hastings and Rother community have been calling the police out of fear of an alien invasion. If there was some magical interference, it may have been that a soft blanket of snow had fallen the night before Iggy's funeral.

So it goes.

Happy New Year, sistren and brethren of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, followers of Saint Syd and Laldawngliani, gift of the gods. In 2018 we will continue to be the thorn in the side of all that is Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett related, because although they have made some of the best rock music of the latter half of the twentieth century, their business counterparts are worse than crooked second hand car dealers when it comes to selling their 'product' and screwing the customer. (The latest Floydian fuck-all-that consists of Dark Side Of The Moon Immersion set Blu-rays, suffering from bit rot, and suddenly refusing to play, about five years after their release.)

Next to the excellent blog you are currently reading we also have a Tumblr micro-blog that we daily update, with coloured photographs!, a Facebook timeline and a Twitter account. Here is what made our Sydiot heart tremble past year, seen through the pink glasses of the Holy Igquisition.

Syd Barrett on a Pontiac Parisienne, 1969.
January 2017: what's better to start the year than Syd Barrett sitting on a midnight blue Pontiac Parisienne? Just because we can.
Men On The Border & Rachel Barrett: Long Gone
February 2017: Men On The Border & Rachel Barrett - Long Gone. Recorded at Corn Exchange in November 2016. The sleeve looks somewhat familiar, innit?
Mick Rock, still from from SHOT - The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra Of Rock
March 2017: Mick Rock, stills from SHOT - The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra Of Rock. Nobody seems to have grasped that the emperor of rock photography manoeuvred history his way.
RSD: Interstellar Overdrive
April 2017: RSD: Interstellar Overdrive. One sided vinyl only release with an alternative take on the Floyd's space-adelic masterpiece.
Syd Barrett, at the Wish You Were Here sessions, 1975.
May 2017: Their Mortal Remains: Syd Barrett, at the Wish You Were Here sessions, 1975.
Roger Waters - Is this the life we really want?
June 2017: Roger Waters - Is this the life we really want? Record of the year and undoubtedly his best since Animals.
Anglia Ruskin University: Syd Barrett Blue Plaque unveiled.
June 2017: Anglia Ruskin University: Syd Barrett Blue Plaque unveiled, for reasons we still don't understand.
cc
July 2017: in the continuing rat race to have as many Syd Barrett monuments as possible in Cambridge, see here the latest contestant: Syd Barrett cycling through Cambridge with a dildo in his hand. Draft for a Barrett memorial at Aldenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. Concept & Artwork: Stephen Pyle & Paul Herringtom.
Gilmours son is nude fetish model.
August 2017: Quality newspaper The Sun: ROCK LEGEND GILMOUR'S SON IS NUDE FETISH MODEL. And we thought David Gilmour in Pompeii was a disaster.
David Gilmour - Live At Pompeii.
September 2017: David Gilmour - (almost) Live At Pompeii. The fireworks are spectacular. Don't look for a review at the Holy Church, you won't find any.
New Iggy the Eskimo pictures found!
October 2017: New Iggy the Eskimo pictures found! Many thanks to Iain Owen Moore.
Syd Barrett, by Rock Iconz.
November 2017: Syd Barrett statue, by Rock Iconz. Guaranteed to be limited and overpriced, so we obviously bought one.
Snow on Iggy's funeral. Picture: Libby Gausden.
December 2017: Snow on Iggy's funeral. Picture: Libby Gausden.

The Church wishes to thank: An@log, Azerty, Gretta Barclay, Marc-Olivier Becks, Roddy Bogawa, Carmen Castro, Chris from Paris, Frank Cookson, Petra Eder, Vanessa Flores, Johan Frankelius, 'Gabi', Libby Gausden, Stanislav Grigorev, Rich Hall, Paula Hilton, Peter Alexander Hoffman, The Iggy Bank, Peter Jenner, JenS, Antonio Jesús, Men On The Border, Mob, Iain Owen Moore, Anna Musial, Lisa Newman, Göran Nyström, OldPangYau, Peter at the Gates of Dawn, Pink Floyd 1977, Dylan Roberts, Jenny Spires, TW113079, Venomous Centipede... and all the others...
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥ Paula ♥

2019-08-08

10 years ago - season 2 (2009-2010)

Holy Church Wordcloud. Artwork: Dolly Rocker. Concept: Felix Atagong.
Holy Church Wordcloud (2018). Artwork: Dolly Rocker. Concept: Felix Atagong.

Last year we celebrated the first decade of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit that officially started on the 8 August of 2008. You can reread that story in two parts at:
10 Mind-blowing facts you didn't know about the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and
Bang A Gong (10 Years of Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit) 

We ended the first season on a low note because it seemed that the entire Iggy story had been told in a handful of articles. It seemed that she had disappeared and that she would not be found back.

How wrong we were, but we were not the only ones. Duggie Fields (to Mark Blake):

I have no idea who Iggy was or even what her real name was. (…)
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.

(As a matter of fact, this was not that far from the truth, but of course we didn’t know that in 2009. For a while Iggy was signaled in Scientology circles, one of those incredible stories we might tell you one day.)

Here is an overview of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit’s tumultuous second season (August 2009 -July 2010).

Iggy in Space by Felix Atagong.
Iggy in Space by Felix Atagong (2009).

Fille de l’espace

We celebrated our first birthday with the publication of a brilliant poem written by Dr. Denis Combet, professor at Brandon University, Manitoba, Canada, who specialises in French literature of the 17th and 18th centuries, but he has also written lyrics for the pretty awesome stoner rock band Rescue Rangers. In 2006 – 2007 he published a Syd Barrett inspired multimedia project under the title Guitars and Dust Dancing (that is unfortunately no longer online, but archive.org has a partially saved backup: Guitars and Dust Dancing).

The Church could exclusively issue the French version of the poem ‘De Quétesh à Bastet’, dedicated to Iggy the Eskimo, and would later publish Crystal Blue Postcards, a digital booklet with (mostly) new poems, dedicated to Syd and Iggy. It can still be found here:

Guitars and Dust Dancing by Denis Combet
Crystal Blue Postcards, exclusively hosted at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

Iggy was moved to tears when she found out that someone in Canada had written a poem for her and she kept on repeating that on our weekly phone-calls. Thanks Denis!

Original article (2009): Catwoman 

Cromwellian Ad
Cromwellian Ad.

Cromwellian Shenanigans

The Iggy story, so we thought, was a dead end street or at least a slow lane. In absence of our subject of adoration we started a series about the legendary Cromwellian club, bar and casino. We also looked deeper into The Bend dance craze, a clever marketing scheme started to twist a Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich single into a genre.

You don’t have to believe us but we think these are still the best articles about this nightclub on the web, with several interviews from people who were there.
The complete Cromwellian & The Bend series (running from 2008 till 2015): The Cromwellian 

Mojo March 2010 Cover
Mojo March 2010 Cover.

The Madcap’s Mojo

2010 started with a bang. Rock magazine Mojo had a Madcap Laughs 40 years anniversary special, annex tribute CD, and it was undoubtedly clear that some writers had found inspiration at the Church, but without mentioning where they had found the information. (It needs to be said that our secret informant in those days, Mark Blake, who also wrote for the special, was not amongst those.)

We ended our review of the Mojo special with the prophetic words:

Ig’s story as published in Mojo may be the butterfly effect that will cause the storm at the other side of the world.
So perhaps, thanks to Mojo, the Church will be one day able to fulfil its quest.

Original articles (2009):
(I've got my) Mojo (working...) 
Goofer Dust [(I've got my) Mojo (working)... Part 2] 
The Mojo March 2010 special can be consulted here: The Madcap Laughs.

Iggy!

On the fifth of February 2010 Mark Blake informed us that Iggy was alive and well and living in a small village in Southern England. The Church were the first to publish this news on this entire planet. World Exclusive: Ig has been found! 

Initially Iggy wanted to anonymously live her life in her little village in South-England, but her cover was blown by The Croydon Guardian. (Here was another journalist suffering from amnesia. She didn’t find it necessary to give a nod to the Church, although it was us who had informed her about Iggy.)

Iggy's first interview (with our comments): Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea 

Margaretta Barclay
Margaretta Barclay.

Gretta & Rusty

Timing couldn’t have been better. Iggy was found just when we were going to publish an interview with Gretta Barclay, who – with her friend Rusty Burnhill – was a regular visitor at Wetherby Mansions in 1969.

A decade later this is still Margaretta’s one and only interview in the Barrett-sphere.

We also tracked down Rusty Burnhill, living in a small town in Northern Germany and sent him a polite letter where we asked if we could ask him some questions. To our amazement he called us a few months later, started swearing and shouting, threatened to call the police and smashed down the phone. Needless to say that we didn’t pursue our plans to have him interviewed.

The Gretta Barclay interview:
Gretta Speaks 
Gretta Speaks (Pt. 2) 

Syd Barrett with pot of paint
Syd Barrett with pot of paint.

Floorboards

Iggy had been located (by a few journalists) but wasn’t communicating to the outer world (yet). A decision we obviously accepted. The Church has never been into trophy hunting.

The Holy Church had already published the intriguing theory that the painted floorboards at Syd’s flat didn’t date from autumn 1969, but from spring 1969. This was contradicting all witness reports and all biographies and obviously it was clear evidence that the Holy Church was lead by a raving lunatic.

But our anonymous witness JenS had said so, Gretta Barclay and Iggy confirmed it and more ‘proof’ for this was found by Barrett enthusiast Dark Globe, a member of the Late Night Syd Barrett forum and one of the people helping the Church with valid information.

Rob Chapman didn’t update this information in his Syd Barrett biography, but Julian Palacios did, just before the printing deadline, making him one of the believers. What was a wacky theory at first, laughed at by several people, has now become the gospel.

Original article (2010): The Case of the Painted Floorboards 

A Very Irregular Head
A Very Irregular Head, Rob Chapman.

Rob Chapman

Our review of Rob Chapman’s Syd Barrett biography A Very Irregular Head was quite polemic (and made us persona non grata in top level Barrett circles). We did conclude it was one of the better biographies around but there was of course the Octopus – Clowns & Jugglers controversy.

Rather than stirring up a dying fire and prejudicing you we suggest you read the review first and we’ll talk about it afterwards.

Original article (2010): The Big Barrett Conspiracy Theory 

Meic Stevens and Syd
Meic Stevens and Syd.

Meic Stevens 2010

An intriguing anecdote was told to us by Gretta Barclay. One that also couldn’t be found in any biography. Syd Barrett and his Welsh counterpart Meic Stevens, who also suffered from a few psychological drawbacks, met each other at different occasions.

Prydwyn read Steven’s autobiograpy (in Welsh) and translated the relevant bits into English for generations to come. One pretty exiting bit is that the two musicians were filmed by a BBC camera-team, but apparently the movie has been destroyed, unless it still is hiding in a BBC archive somewhere.

Original articles (2010):
Meic meets Syd 
Syd meets... a lot of people 

Meic Stevens 2019

2019 sees Meic Stevens gigging again in Britain (although he immediately started with some controversial statements). Men On The Border singer Göran Nyström published an excellent follow-up to our Solva Blues article just a few days ago, with a few new discoveries. Or how an article from a decade ago inspires people today to further investigate in all matters Syd.

Summer of 69 (Facebook-links)

Part 1: Moon Landing
Part 2: Kevin Whitney & Formentera
Part 3: Isle of Wight
Part 4: Syd & Meic Stevens
Part 5: Geraint Jarman and his song about Barrett
Part 6 (final): Syd's studio vérité session

See ya next year!


The Church wishes to thank all of those who helped us 10 years ago. Unfortunately, many of them have already left the scene. : Anonymous, Banjer and Sax, Margaretta Barclay, Paul Belbin, Mark Blake, Rusty Burnhill, Constance Cartmill, Rob Chapman, Denis Combet, Duggie Fields, Dark Globe, Rod Harrod, JenS, Pascal Mascheroni, Kerry McQueeney, David Moore, Julian Palacios, Paro नियत, Prydwyn, Douggie Reece, Lynn Annette Ripley (Twinkle), Brian Roote, Beate S., Jenny Spires, Allison Star, Jean Vouillon, Kirsty Whalley, Vicky Wickham and the Dutch Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich fan community (not online any more)… (Sorry to those we have forgotten to mention.)
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥

2020-06-20

Blackbird: Fly Into The Light

Blackbird album at Atagong mansion
Blackbird album at Atagong mansion.

One to Three

Long time since we have written something about Men On The Border. Men On The Border are a Swedish band, formed around Göran Nyström and Phil Etheridge, who surprised us in 2012 with the album ShinE! (review: Full of guitars and no dust...).

That debut album contained only Syd Barrett covers, but their second album Jumpstart, from a year later, mainly had self-penned songs (review: Jumpstart).

Unfortunately, the CD market more or less collapsed, and plastic wasn’t profitable any more, especially when you are a young band on the verge of a breakthrough. The third album from 2015 – Live In Brighton – was a digital download only (on Amazon and Spotify) (review: Live in Brighton).

MOTB @ Corn Exchange
MOTB @ Corn Exchange.

2020

We are in 2020 but this doesn't mean that Men On The Border hasn't done anything for the last lustrum. There was a spectacular gig with the Sandviken symphony orchestra and a psychedelic light show by Peter Wynne-Wilson at the Corn Exchange (Cambridge) on the 27th of October 2016, resulting in a smashing single (on Spotify) with special guest Rachel Barrett. (Youtube audience recording: Long Gone.)

Other gigs and singles were announced at regular intervals and at the bottom of this article you can find an overview of sites where you can find videos and tracks of the band.

June 2020.

We were pleasantly surprised when we heard that Men On The Border jumped on the vinyl bandwagon and announced a new physical release, Blackbird, with a sleeve by Ian Barrett (who also did Jumpstart, BTW).

Looking at the tracklisting we saw that several of the tunes were already known to us. Göran Nystrom agrees:

They are indeed single songs from many years ago and a few new ones.
We wanted to remix and remaster and give them a proper home on an album.

So something old and something new on some good old-fashioned coloured vinyl. Let’s hear it from the boys. Here is the Reverend’s verdict.

Men On The Border
A flock of blackbirds. Men On The Border 2020.
Blackbird vinyl on a vintage turntable.
Blackbird vinyl.

Men On The Border – Blackbird – Side A

To The Promised Land

You can't deny that Men On The Border is Swedish. The opening song of their new album Blackbird starts Abba-esque enough to take away all doubt. I’m thinking of The Piper here, that was on the flip-side of the Super Trouper single and that, so I have learned, has something of a cult status among fans. I have always thought it was a hint towards Pink Floyd, but apparently, that is not the case.

But let’s get back to the Men On The Border and the opening song of their album.

To The Promised Land is more than that. Men On the Border like to garnish their songs with elements from the past and this one is no exception. The song is a dreamlike evocation with a friendly nod, I think, to Greg Lake, from early King Crimson fame and of course Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

I also hear faint shadows of the folkie minimalism of Mike Oldfield. Think of Ommadawn, or perhaps even more appropriate, Hergest Ridge. This doesn’t mean that Men On The Border are mere copycats. They take several ingredients out of the encyclopedia of rock, mix them and perform the result in their typical cool Nordic style.

At two minutes in the song, there is an obvious nod to I Am The Walrus. It only takes a few seconds but it is enough to make the hairs on your arms stand up.

Men On The Border plunder the past or... let me rephrase that...

Men On The Border lend from the past and of course, they are not the first to have done so, just have a go at early Led Zeppelin for instance. Also, Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd, as you probably know, was a master sampler, and even his band’s name was taken from the liner notes of a blues compilation (read that story at: Step It Up And Go).

But Men On The Border never turn their samples into a parody, like for instance Jennifer Gentle did – intended or not – on Take My Hand and other songs.

Göran Nyström, whom I think is the main lyricist of the band, also uses the phrase "Take My Hand" in the To The Promised Land song, although it is not certain if the Promised Land really is a land of milk and honey or just another nightmare of an LSD-induced brain.

This song invariably makes me think about the enigma that Syd Barrett was, but as you know we, Syd Barrett anoraks, have a kind of short-circuit in our brains that makes us believe that everything in the world is Syd Barrett related.

So probably I’m just erring, because the follow-up songs from this record point to another direction.

But what I can say you is this, To The Promised Land is a grower of a song and an excellent opener of Blackbird.

(Above text was read by the Reverend, in true inspector Jacques Clouseau style, for the live video show ‘Blackbird Unboxing’ on Facebook.)

MOTB, Blackbird
MOTB, Blackbird.

The Populist

The next couple of songs on the A-side are protest songs, which makes the A-side of Blackbird more or less a political record, but in a polite Swedish way. Sweden being something like the Canada of Europe, so to speak. Men On The Border are much more Coldplay than Sex Pistols as an early bird-hopper confided to me.

The Populist evidently is about those politicians who rise everywhere in Europe and the Americas and who use tweeted one-liners to propagate their political agenda.

It is one of those semi-soft Border ballads these men thrive in. Not a bad song though, but it could have been spiced a bit more. If there is one major point of criticism from me to them it is that they never yank their amplifiers to eleven or spit the venom out.

But once you feel comfortable in the Men On The Border universe it nests in your brain like an earworm. At two minutes forty-five minutes the men put their toes in a prog-like puddle that could’ve taken a bit longer.

Why We Build the Wall

Track three of the album is Why We Build the Wall. Indoctrinated as I am as a Floydian anorak I immediately linked this to The Wall album, a hint that was probably deliberately built-in by Men On The Border. The previous song, The Populist, used the phrase ‘dark side’ and these are phrases put in to trigger our musical memory (at least, so it seems to me).

Why We Build The Wall is an Anaïs Mitchell song, taken from her ‘folk opera’ Hadestown (2010) that was also turned into a theatre play. That album musically relates to the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The wall in question is the fortification around Hadestown, build to keep the so-called enemy out. But the enemy turns out to be the have-nots who want to find a better life inside the city walls.

The song Why We Build The Wall acquired a more modern interpretation in 2016 when a presidential candidate promised he was going to build a wall at the American – Mexican border. In a column for HuffPost Anaïs Mitchell reacted:

Suddenly it felt like the song was speaking directly about today's politics, rather than ancient mythology. People began to ask if it was written in response to the Trump campaign when in reality, both Trump and the song were simply tapping into the same folk archetypes. There is nothing new about the Wall. Political leaders have invoked it time and again to their advantage because it works so well on people who feel scared.

The songwriter ended her article with the following plea: “Let’s not elect him President.”

But we all know how this has ended.

The Men On The Border version is pretty close to the original (or one of the originals, as there are different versions of the song), although they venture more or less in prog-land thanks to the guitar intro and intermezzi.

In this cover, they show themselves from a slightly more aggressive way and that’s the way I like it. Great tune.

Blackbird (inside cover picture)
Blackbird (inside cover picture).

She Took A Long Cool Look

In Douglas Adams' excellent sci-fi series The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy appears a rock band called Disaster Area. They are the loudest band in the universe and have been inspired by the theatrical shows of Pink Floyd. This has got absolutely nothing to do with the Men On The Border’s cover version of She Took A Long Cool Look.

It starts slow, very slow, in a Poles Apart fairground kind of way. A cool idea, at least for the first 30 seconds. It made me wonder how the song would be evolving, later on, knowing the Men’s obsession for turning Barrett classics into something new. Reggae? Punk? Symphonic Metal?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t evolve at all and it goes on forever and ever, like a record with a stuck needle. Even the flimsy musique concrète bit in the middle can’t salvage this, although that would have been the right place for a tempo change.

I wrote in the introduction that this album assembles several songs MOTB have recorded for the past four or five years, including quite a lot of Syd Barrett covers. Why they chose this one is a mystery to me.

Disaster area indeed and a failed experiment.

Blackbird Song

A heartbeat rhythm – there’s Pink Floyd again! - starts Blackbird Song, the title track. It is followed by an early U2 guitar, before adventuring into an Owner Of A Lonely Heart riff.

It’s a happy little tune about someone whose mind drifts off when he can’t sleep at night and a great closing track of Side A.

MOTB Summer Of Love
MOTB 2020 Summer Of Love concert announcement. Link: Summer Of Love.

Men On The Border – Blackbird – Side B

Side B of Blackbird contains a few Syd Barrett classics that have been transmuted by Phil and Göran. I am a great admirer of people who destroy and rebuild a cover. I have hinted a few paragraphs before this can either turn into something exciting or into a failed experiment.

The second side of Blackbird shows us how the Border’s cut and paste technique can turn into something pretty stimulating.

Blackbird - personnel.
Blackbird - personnel.

Scream Thy Last Scream

Scream Thy Last Scream, for instance. It’s an older one as I seem to have an early version of this song dating from somewhere in 2014. It was quite spectacular then and it still is.

The song starts pastoral with Grand Vizier's Garden Party flutes, before hitting it off in a Television Personalities neo-psychedelic extravaganza.

Til Tomorrow

Not a Syd Barrett original, obviously. Call it a bit avant-garde-jazzy or art-of-noisy before it evolves in another one of those default Border semi-soft rock songs with an airy funky beat. Despite the F-bomb it never gets angry and the refrain is another one of saccharine quality. A great little song with some cool keyboard and guitar and overall an attractive arrangement.

Milky Way / I Never Lied To You

A threatening bass glides into a cute guitar solo that never crosses the border of prog but comes pretty close. With its first strophe Milky Way almost turns into a lost crooner classic. The refrain, if there is something like a refrain in this song, is a bit rougher to the ears.

Three minutes and 30 seconds in the song there seems to be a Metallic Spheres (Paterson, Youth & Gilmour) inspired ambient mid-piece that progressively slides into I Never Lied To You that gets a soft funky new romantics treatment.

Not really extraordinary but nice.

Blackbird by Ian Barrett
Blackbird art by Ian Barrett.

Dominoes

Dominoes Mark 2, the dance version, as Göran more or less describes it. A quasi-funky neo-psychedelic version of an almost perfect song, screaming for a 15-minutes full-fledged house remix.

The psychedelic orchestra makes me think vaguely of ‘The Old Tree With Winding Roots Behind The Lake Of Dreams’ Time mix by Youth and Jaz Coleman from Killing Joke fame (on the album: Us And Them – Symphonic Pink Floyd).

This Border version is a bit under-cooled and if there is one global criticism of me about Men On The Border in general, it is that they never dare colouring outside the lines. Too much Alan Parsons and not enough Prince.

Which is weird, because they tend to cover the guy who used a Zippo lighter to massacre his guitar strings. At the other hand Men On The Border are not afraid to go on tour with a symphonic orchestra, like good old Deep Purple, and as such, they have more or less become the Cambridge Mafia house band.

Dominoes is good, very good even, ending Blackbird on a high note.

Epilogue

When Men On The Border enter the gate into Barrett-land, they tend to milk from that Aquarian fifth dimension. Once you have grown accustomed to that somewhat lazy Nordic style of theirs, there is a pretty great album hidden inside that Ian Barrett sleeve. They do know how to write an earworm of a song and as we all know... the early (black)bird...

See Emily Play

Not on this album, but available as a (download) single is MOTB's brand new version of See Emily Play. Enjoy!

Link for recalcitrant browsers: See Emily Play.


Blackbird can be internationally ordered from:
Pet Sounds
Skånegatan 53
116 37 Stockholm
Tel: 08-702 97 98
https://petsounds.se/shop/blackbird

Many thanks to: Göran Nyström & Men On The Border.



2020-12-14

Happy Birthday, Iggy!

Art by Jørgen Folmer Nergaard Larsen
Art by Jørgen Folmer Nergaard Larsen.

Guess what. When I was contacted by Iggy Rose, somewhere around 2011, I didn’t think it would be a never-ending story, with many laughs and now and then a tear. She was a remarkable woman with a touch of daft eccentricity that only seems to exist in England.

Obviously we are sad of what happened on the 13th of December 2017, a few minutes before midnight. But then, invariably, the gates of dawn open and we can celebrate her birthday. So, first, my annual wishes for her:

Happy Birthday, Iggy!
Birthday Greetings 2020, Felix Atagong.

And then we have a dance and a laugh. A Church tradition that started in 2011 when Iggy roamed the Internet gangs of Clowns & Jugglers, No Man's Land and Birdie Hop (where a remembrance thread is praising this remarkable woman). And who can be better to start a dance than our and her buddies of Men On The Border?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IGGY ROSE!

Iggy and Syd, by Storm.
Iggy and Syd, by Storm.

We end with a quote of Anne M, dating from almost a decade ago:

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.

She's forever a legend. And as we know... legends live on.


The Church wishes to thank Jørgen Folmer Nergaard Larsen, Men On The Border and everybody still reading this.
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥

2021-01-01

Happy New Year 2021

Mojo 327.
Mojo 327.

Mojo 327

The most recent Mojo has, next to a John Lennon special, an eight pages article about the ongoing feud between Roger Waters and David Gilmour. It is titled Burning Bridges and has been written by Pink Floyd informant Mark Blake.

As usual, knowing the Mojo standards, it is a highly readable and informative article, but it’s all a bit of déjà vu, especially for members of the Pink Floyd obsessed dinosaur pack. We have been following that extraordinary band for about forty-five years and actually, we didn’t need to be reminded of something that happened thirty-five years ago.

The starting point of the article is the Roger Waters rant of May of last year (2020) where he was visibly annoyed that the official Pink Floyd website was actively plugging Polly Samson’s latest novel, but refused to mention the Roger Waters Us + Them live release. (For our review of that album or video, please consult: Them Secrets)

The Odd Couple

We will not get into the fruitless discussion who is right and who is wrong. There are pros and cons to both sides. Mark Blake quotes Polly Samson who once said that ‘Roger and David were like a bickering old divorced couple’. The only error in that quote is the use of the past tense, because, if the rumour mill is correct, the gap between the ‘genius’ and the ‘voice and guitar’ of Pink Floyd is still there and is – after a period of apparent reconciliation – again very wide and very deep.

Unfortunately, the Mojo article doesn’t mention the recent quarrels that have had consequences for the Pink Floyd fan and collector. But don’t worry, that’s where we – The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit: the thorn in the flesh of all things Pink – come in.

One of the juicier stories is that the advertised Early Years set (2016) was different than what finally could be found in the stores. 5.1 Mixes were promised of Meddle and Obscured By Clouds but had to be removed due to an ongoing copyrights war between the Waters and Gilmour camp. Much of the printed material had already been done and booklets were (allegedly) replaced at the last minute. (To read the full story: Supererog/Ation: skimming The Early Years.)

Bad Boys.
Bad boys.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others

The 5.1 remixing war is not a thing of the past. While a 5.1 version of The Wall is (apparently) in the pipeline, the 5.1 release of Animals is not, although it has been finished a while ago. All it is waiting for is Gilmour’s blessing. And that will not happen soon if our information is correct.

One reason could be that David Gilmour is still pissed about the fact that he only received one songwriting credit for his work on Dogs, while Roger Waters got four (not counting the copyrights for the lyrics). Waters added Pigs On The Wing (Part 1 and 2) at the last minute and got 1 extra credit for each part. David Gilmour didn't like, and may still not like, that his 17 minutes song was valued less than the 3 minutes Roger Waters throwaway.

Peace Be With You

In a 2019 interview Waters claimed that he offered a peace plan to Gilmour, but that it was rejected. Polly Samson, from her side, twittered that it was not her perfect lover boy who rejected the peace plan, but the bad guy. Us and them.

As usual Nick Mason is the coolest of them all. He once said that ”if our children behaved this way, we would have been very cross.” (Read more about the Pink Floyd wars at: Happy New Year 2020)

Probably inspired by the Mojo article Far Out magazine has published an online article covering the same ground: Why are Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Roger Waters feuding?

And now...

...for something completely different. Here is our yearly overview of what we have published on our Tumblr ‘sister’ page in 2020.

RIP Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon
January 2020: RIP Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon. Review: Life Is Just.
Iggy and Henrietta Garnett at Port Eliot.
February 2020: Iggy and Henrietta Garnett at Port Eliot. See also: A Tale of Two Henriettas.
New Iggy picture found!
March 2020: New Iggy picture found! See also: Amateur Photographer.
A Syd Barrett Facemask. Model: Eleonora Siatoni.
A Syd Barrett Facemask. Model: Eleonora Siatoni.
Two Rogers, 1965.
April 2020: Two Rogers, 1965. Taken from the Nick Sedgwick book ‘In The Pink’, annotated by Roger Waters. Review: Roger is always right.
What are you staring at, pervert!
May 2020: What are you staring at, pervert!
Blackbird, Men On The Border.
June 2020: Blackbird, Men On The Border. Review: Fly Into The Light.
A Pink Floyd Facemask. Model: Libby Gausden.
A Pink Floyd Facemask. Model: Libby Gausden.
Iggy having some fun with paparazzi.
July 2020: Iggy having some fun with paparazzi. See: Iggy at the Exhibition.
Jean-Marie Leduc, Pink Floyd 1973.
August 2020: Jean-Marie Leduc, Pink Floyd 1973. Review: Si les cochons pourraient voler.
Early Morning Henry found.
September 2020: Early Morning Henry found. See: Singing it again at night.
A Duggie Fields Facemask. Model: Felix Atagong.
A Duggie Fields Facemask. Model: Felix Atagong.
Iggy Rose snapshot.
October 2020: Iggy Rose snapshot.
Young David Gilmour biography.
November 2020: High Hopes: young David Gilmour biography. Review: Guitar Hero.
Jurassic Jewellery (Ian Barrett) Iggy remembrance jewelry.
December 2020: Iggy remembrance jewelry, made by Jurassic Jewellery (Ian Barrett).

The Church wishes to thank: Ulrich Angersbach, Edgar Ascencio, Azerty, Bafupo, Charles Beterams, Birdie Hop, Mark Blake, Brainysod, British Music Archive, Juliet Butler, CBGB, Rob Chapman, Ron de Bruijn, David De Vries, Dr Doom, Drosophila, Ebronte, Vita Filippova, Friend of Squirrels, Ginger Gilmour, Goldenband, Graded Grains, John Gregory, Hadrian, Hallucalation, Gijsbert Hanekroot, Sara Harp, Hipgnosis Covers, Alexander Peter Hoffmann, Steve Hoffman Music Forums, Elizabeth Joyce, Jumaris, Rieks Korte, Mojo, Late Night, Bob Martin, Men On The Border, Modbeat66, Modboy1, Iain ‘Emo’ Moore, Neptune Pink Floyd, Lisa Newman, Jon Charles Newman, Göran Nyström, Old Man Peace, Julian Palacios, Emma Peel Pants, David Parker, Joe Perry, Brynn Petty, Borja Narganes Priego, Catherine Provenzano, Sophie Partridge. Punk Floyd, Antonio Jesús Reyes, Ewgeni Reingold, Shakesomeaction, Solo En Las Nubes, Mark Sturdy, Ken Sutera Jnr, Swanlee, Tomhinde, Wolfpack, Syd Wonder, Randall Yeager, Yeeshkul,

♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥

2021-03-20

Love You Two Times

Like Black holes In The Sky
Like Black Holes In The Sky.

Black Holes

I may have written this before but when my stack of Pink Floyd tribute CDs threatened to become bigger than actual Pink Floyd albums I gave up buying those. Most of the time these albums are quite rubbish anyway and consist of artists who only sell records to their grandmother. I mean, who has ever heard of Stinking Lizaveta and their Matilda Mother cover on the Like Black Holes In The Sky album? Actually that track is quite good, you can have a listen by clicking on the image below.

Matilda Mother - Stinking Kizaveta
Matilda Mother - Stinking Lizaveta.
Hoshizora No Drive
Hoshizora No Drive.

Hoshizora No Drive

It was Göran Nystrom from Men On The Border who reminded me of Love You, a (mostly Italian) Syd Barrett tribute album that was going to appear on the 6th of January 2021. I immediately pre-ordered it, in the heat of the moment, so to speak.

I wanted to have a look at the artists and bands involved and the fact that I couldn’t find them anywhere made me fear for the worst. It is never a good sign if even the record company keeps the actual performers a secret.

I could only hope this wasn’t going to be another Hoshizora No Drive. That is a 2008 Syd Barrett tribute album from Japan that I once received from the head guru of Birdie Hop. Most songs on it sound like Godzilla with a toothache.

Arnord Lane - Baby Cool Vive with Shinobu Goto
Arnord Lane - Baby Cool Vive with Shinobu Goto.
The Madcap Laughs Again
The Madcap Laughs Again.

The Madcap Laughs Again

Mojo had a Madcap Laughs Again CD in 2010. It only scored 53% on the Late Night forum, based on 18 votes. I gave it a 4 myself but the passing of time has somewhat sweetened my opinion, based upon the three or four tracks that aren’t totally shite.

Stand out tracks are Mark Almond’s version of Late Night and Field Music’s Terrapin, although Eternal Isolation, the administrator of the Late Night forum, found that it sounded like a shampoo commercial. But that was 2010, we’re a decade later now.

Late Night - Mark Almond
Late Night - Mark Almond.
Love You Tribute. Art: Matteo Regattin.
Love You Tribute. Art: Matteo Regattin.

Italian Efficacy

The blurb for Love You goes as follows:

Our project is to collect, for the first time, all the songs Syd Barrett recorded after his experience with Pink Floyd. To realize it we invited many artists from various parts of the world – Italy, Mexico, France, Ireland, UK, USA, Sweden, Japan, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands – and asked them to choose one song and re-arrange it in their own way.

Well, let’s be honest, that’s just standard promotional chitchat.

The sixth of January 2021 passed by without a trace and it took until mid-March for the album to finally arrive, proving once again that the terms Italian and Efficacy will never match.

Update 2021.04.01: according to Luca Ferrari the delay was due to problems at Gonzo Multimedia, an English company, BTW.

So enough dilly-dallying let’s play the CDs and publish one of those Holy Church reviews in telegram style.

CD1.

TERRAPIN - ANDREA ACHILLI (Italy) 2'59"
I like the chill-out arrangement but the singing is below par. 5.6/10.

NO GOOD TRYING - LUNA PARK (France) 3'15"
Nice try, but again, the singing could be much better. 5.4/10.

LOVE YOU - EUGENE (Italy) 2'24"
Turning Love You into a novelty tune à la Devo. 5.9/10 for the effort.

NO MAN'S LAND - HUMUS (Mexico) 2'27"
Power version but (again, sigh) average singing. 4.8/10.

DARK GLOBE - BLUEMOSAIKO (Italy) 2'26"
Nice arrangement but… yeah, I’m repeating myself… 5.2/10.

HERE I GO - MAX ZARUCCHI (Italy) 4'52"
0/10. A track Italians invented the word vaffanculo for.

Love You CD1. Art: Matteo Regattin.
Love You CD1. Art: Matteo Regattin.

OCTOPUS - SHERPA (Italy) 4'02"
Very close to the original. With some extra effort, this could’ve been an excellent cover. 6.4/10.

GOLDEN HAIR - IN THE LABYRINTH (Sweden) 7'41"
It starts close to the original, then it glides into a surprisingly nice Indian raga prog-fantasy. Unfortunately, it loses its momentum after a few minutes. This could’ve been saved by adding some uplifting beats. 7.3/10.

LONG GONE – BARYOGENESIS (Italy) 3'27"
Close to the original, it has potential but gimmicks can’t save it. 5.3/10

SHE TOOK A LONG COLD LOOK - ALANJEMAAL (Italy) 5'55"
This starts promising with an intro that puts you on the wrong leg, which – in my opinion – is always a good way to tackle a cover. The singing is – again – awful and what is left is a good old space rocker… 6.9/10.

FEEL - HIS MAJESTY THE BABY (Italy) 3'37"
This is the Luca Ferrari who gave us the quirky Fish Out Of The Water in a previous century. Beautifully written (in Italian), but badly translated into English (not by him, I might say). Unfortunately, his track on Love You is an experiment gone bad. 3.0/10.

IF IT'S IN YOU - HENRIETTA AND THE FIVES (Italy) 3'45"
Despite the quite traditional rendition (with raga influences) I’m going to give this a 6.8/10. At least it is a track that tries to achieve something.

LATE NIGHT - DUNCAN MAITLAND (Ireland) 3'39"
A nice cover from this ex-Pugwash musician. It stays close to the original but manages to bring the message over. 7.0/10.

OPEL - GALERIE 65 (USA) 5'43"
It starts by slowing down the song to a very intimate level. There is a nice instrumental bridge before the song ends with a less convincing epilogue. 6.0/10.

DOLLY ROCKER - THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE (Italy) 3'16"
5.6/10 for the effort. The original is not really great either.

WORD SONG - QUARTO STATO DELLA MATERIA (Italy) 4'37"
I was looking forward to this. The original has got virtually no tune and we all know that the lyrics are an experimental mess. The band QSDM turns it into a REM-like tune. 7.2/10.

SWAN LEE - HIBUSHIBIRE (Japan) 4'07"
This is Hoshizora No Drive all over. The freakbeat outro can't salvage the intro, unfortunately. 3.0/10.

LET'S SPLIT - MICHELE GENTILE (Italy) 2'54"
This one took me by surprise. This could well turn into my personal summer hit. I’ll play it on my radio show one day. 6.9/10.

Love You CD2. Art: Matteo Regattin
Love You CD2. Art: Matteo Regattin.

TWO OF A KIND - DAVE HARRIS & ZEUS B HELD (UK) 2'29"
From Rick Wright’s teammate in Zee, here is Two Of A Kind that might well be a Rick Wright tune anyway. It’s a fun tune and that is how I look at it. 6.3/10.

ASTRONOMY DOMINE - BORIS SAVOLDELLI & UMBERTO PETRIN (Italy) 4'01"
Turning Astronomy into a lounge jazz fantasy. The intro is quite brilliant, but I sense that this tune could’ve been much better. It lacks some salt and pepper, so to speak. 6.0/10.

End of CD1 with an average of 5.5 points out of 10.

CD2

BABY LEMONADE - ST 37 (USA) 6'08"
The musicians try imitating the Baby Lemonade intro and fail at it. Then they try imitating Syd’s vocals. They fail. Then they try to imitate Hawkwind but Hawkwind does it better. 4.8/10.

LOVE SONG - LA FORMA DELLE NUVOLE (Italy) 3'31"
Close to the original, quite folky with a few unexpected surprises which made me add some points. 6.1/10.

DOMINOES - SULA BASSANA (Germany) 5'46"
Tries to give Dominoes an experimental – slightly Floydian – feel but the result is not immediately satisfactory. This is one of those songs that has potential and is asking for better treatment. 6.8/10.

IT IS OBVIOUS - STEREOKIMONO (Italy) 3'30"
Making pub-rock out of Barrett, although the song explores many musical territories. Nice try. 6.6/10.

RATS - PHOSPHENE (UK) 2'14"
Phosphene is John Cavanagh, whom we all revere for his Floydian knowledge. He has tried to turn Barrett into a minimalistic industrial electronic outfit à la Front 242 but doesn’t quite succeed. 4.0/10.

MAISIE – THEEUNFORESEEN (Belgium) 4'04"
Maisie is a somewhat underrated track by Barrett and with this cover version, it will certainly not grow in popularity. 4.7/10.

GIGOLO AUNT - THE AIRWAVES (Sweden) 5'10"
It's OK but could've been a bit more daring and original. With over 5 minutes it takes much too long. 5.8/10.

WAVING MY ARMS IN THE AIR / I NEVER LIED TO YOU - LUCA RAIO (Italy) 5'28"
Song #1 is a folky carbon copy of the original, not bad, but not really inventive. The surprise lies in the bridge between the two parts. Part #2 tries to bring a more emotive version of I Never Lied To You, which has always been one of the more poignant and powerful moments of Barrett, but it fails miserably. 6.1/10.

WINED AND DINED - KABLE (USA) 4'04"
Close to the original. No frills, no thrills. 6.4/10.

WOLFPACK - KEEPER OF ATLANTIS (USA) 5'37"
Yep, it’s again one of those. 3.3/10.

Turtle by Ian Barrett.
Turtle by Ian Barrett.

EFFERVESCING ELEPHANT - BOTTI & PAVONI from GREENWALL (Italy) 3'02"
At least a track where some fantasy has been used. It might even have been sillier for me. 6.5/10.

BIRDIE HOP - TRESPASSERS W (The Netherlands) 3'14"
Yep, it’s again one of those. 3.5/10.

LANKY PART 1 - ALFREDO LONGO feat. SEBA PAVIA 4'31"
A jam imitating a jam. 5.0/10 for the effort.

MILKY WAY - MEN ON THE BORDER (Sweden) 5'10"
A (shortened) track from their Blackbird album. See our review here: Blackbird: Fly Into The Light. One of the very rare occasions on this compilation where you can hear there is a tight band behind the song, rather than a hobby project. 7.2/10.

BOB DYLAN BLUES - JOSS COPE (UK) 4'17"
A man and his guitar in a great version of this tune. 8.0/10.

RHAMADAN - MORNING SCALES THE MOUNTAIN (USA) 9'43"
The story of how Syd and Jerry Garcia met, in syncopated pandemonium. 6.7/10.

VEGETABLE MAN - NICK BENSEN (USA) 3'59"
It’s OK, I guess, but it’s not spectacular. 6.0/10.

End of CD2 with an average of 5.7 points out of 10.

Conclusion: 5.6 points out of 10.

What I feared about this tribute album came true. It's a mixed bag with about the same amount of nays and yeas. A single CD, with half the songs weeded out, would’ve sufficed. (And weirdly enough the average score would then have been 6.66 points out of 10.) What is even more perplexing is the fact that a great part of the human race seems to have lost the ability to sing but that this doesn’t stop them from doing so.

But at least all of the artists can now proudly say to their grand-mum: "Look bonny, I’ve got a record out."

Love You, a tribute to Syd Barrett, compiled by Dario Antonetti and Nino Gatti, is out at Gonzo Multimedia.


♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥