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On 30 June 1990 Pink Floyd played a short – albeit not very sharp - set
at the Knebworth
Festival. It has to be said that it was not the band’s sole
responsibility that the gig was, how shall we call it, mediocre by
Floydian standards. On this disastrous occasion, and this occasion
alone, a 20 minutes promo film was shown at the beginning of the show,
with a short appearance of none other than Iggy the Eskimo, somewhere
between the 4 and 5 minutes mark.
The movie consisted of a retrospective of the Floyd’s history and
included (parts of) several early songs (together with the predecessor
of the promo clip): Arnold Layne, See Emily Play, Point Me At The Sky,
It Would Be So Nice and others… Since it started with the first single,
the movie had to end with the last one as well. Storm Thorgerson's
visual rendition of the coke-euphoric-bring-on-the-digital-sound-effects Learning
to Fly from the welcome to the drum machine album A
Momentary Lapse of Reason ended the documentary.
In between the vintage scenes, Langley Iddens, who was then caretaker of
David Gilmour’s houseboat studio, sits at a table contemplating the
Langley Iddens (see top-left picture of this post) was a prominent face
on the Momentary Lapse of Reason campaign. He is the man on the cover of
the album but also acted in several promo and concert videos. He can be
seen as a boat rower (Signs of Life), in flight gear (Learning
To Fly) and in a hospital bed (On The Run). As Storm
Thorgerson directed these backdrop movies it is logical to assume that
also the Knebworth pre-show documentary was made by him.
There are however rumours that Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason was
involved in the movie as well. Besides several promo clips of the
Sixties the movie also shows pictures, newspaper articles, posters and
flyers from the Floyd’s psychedelic past. It is a well-known fact that
Mason has always been the archivist of the band, culminating in his
personal account of the history of the band, Inside
Out. That book, however, doesn’t reveal anything about Mason’s
involvement on the Knebworth movie.
A short snippet of the Knebworth teaser, showing a happy Syd Barrett
frolicking in a park with Iggy, made a collector’s career under the name Lost
In The Woods or Syd Barrett Home Movie. This excerpt can be
found several times on YouTube. Those cuts, however, are in a different
order than on the original Knebworth feature. The Church has restored
the initial flow and presents you hereafter two different versions of
the so-called Lost In The Woods video.
It's a complete, stereo, recording from the original pay-per-view
broadcast of Pink Floyd's appearance at the Knebworth '90 festival. The
concert featured seven songs. Only five of these were broadcast. Two of
the five were included on the official LD, VHS, and DVD releases. The
other three songs haven't been seen since the original broadcast.
According to its maker, the pre-concert-documentary comes from a
collector in England who had a first of second gen copy of the tape.
White Label [VHS]
Because the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit firmly believes in abundance,
we have added a second version of the same movie, coming from a
different source. The uploaded copy has been taken from a coverless VHS
tape labelled Pink Floyd film, found at an open air market stall
in London, and donated to the Church, in order to repent for his many
sins, by Dark Globe.
Dark Globe took it upon him to further analyse the clip, it is obvious
that it consists of different movies from different people at different
places, and he even went so far as harassing, although the Church
prefers the word investigating, some of the people who act in it. But
the results of that enquiry will be highlighted in the next post in a
couple of weeks.
Enjoy and don’t do anything that Iggy wouldn’t have done.
History, as we know it, is the story of royalty and generals and does
not contain the memory of the millions who succumbed or who tried to
build a normal life.
This also applies to modern popular history. Pink Floyd & Syd
Barrett biographies and the so-called Sixties counter-culture
studies that have appeared all repeat the memories of a small, nearly
incestuous, circle of people who made it, one way or another. You always
stumble upon those who have become the royalty and generals of the
Underground. Others are less known, the lower rank officers, but still
Other people had less luck, but at least we know some of their stories.
Syd Barrett, although a millionaire in pounds, still is the prototype of
the drug-burned psychedelic rock star. But there are other members of
the Sixties Cambridge mafia, a term coined by David Gilmour, who didn’t
make it and whose stories are less known.
Ian Pip Carter, whose career started in Cambridge in the early
Sixties as pill pusher, had to fight a heroine addiction for most of his
life. After a visit to his friend (and employer) David Gilmour in Greece
Pip was imprisoned for drug possession where he was forced to go cold
turkey but he fell again for the drug once released, despite the fact
that the Pink Floyd guitarist send him to (and paid for) several rehab
sessions. “The needle had dug so far; searching relentlessly for a vein,
(that it) had decimated the nervous system in his left arm”, writes
Matthew Scurfield in his account of the Cantabrigian London mob.
Described by Nick Mason as 'one of the world's most spectacularly inept
roadies' the Floyd eventually had to let Pip go. He was the one who
accidentally destroyed a giant jelly installation at the Roundhouse on
the 15th October 1966 by parking the Pink Floyd van in the middle of it
or, different witnesses tell different stories, by removing the wooden
boards that supported the bath that kept the jelly. (You can read the story,
taken from Julian Palacios 1988 Lost In The Woods biography here.)
In 1988 Carter was killed during a pub brawl in Cambridge. Mark Blake
writes how David Gilmour used to help his old Cambridge friends whenever
they were in financial trouble and Pip had been no exception.
People familiar with the finer layers of the Syd Barrett history know
Charan Singh, the Master of the Sant
Mat sect, rejected the rock star for obvious reasons. The religion
was strictly vegetarian, absolutely forbid the use of alcohol and drugs
and didn’t allow sex outside marriage. Syd 'I've got some pork
chops in the fridge' Barrett hopelessly failed on all those points.
It is believed that John Paul Robinson, nicknamed Ponji, a very ardent
follower of the Path, tried to lure Syd into the sect after he had
visited India in 1967. And probably it had been another Cantabrigian,
Paul Charrier who converted Ponji first. (Paul Charrier was one of the
people present at Syd's trip in 1965 where he was intrigued for hours by
a matchbox, a plum and an orange. This event later inspired Storm
Thorgerson for the Syd Barrett (compilation album) record cover
and an impressive and moving Pink Floyd backdrop movie.)
John Paul Robinson had his own demons to deal with and in the Sixties he
visited a progressive therapist who administered him LSD to open his doors
of perception. Only after he had returned from India he ‘literally
seemed to be shining with abundance’, passing the message to all his
friends that he had been reborn. Ponji gave up his job, wanted to lead
the life of a beggar monk, but his internal demons would take over once
in every while.
He'd sit on the stairs with his elbows on his knees and forehead placed
carefully at the tips of his fingers, reeling out the same old mantra
proclaiming how he was just a tramp, that his body was an illusion, a
mere prison, a temporary holding place for his soul.
The story goes that he shouted ‘I refuse to be a coward for the rest of
my life’ just before he jumped in front of an oncoming train (1979?).
We only happen to know these people in function of their relationship
with Syd Barrett. Their paths crossed for a couple of months and we, the
anoraks, are only interested in that one small event as if for the rest
of these peoples lives nothing further of interest has really happened.
But the truth is that their encounter with Barrett is just one small
glittering diamond out of a kaleidoscope of encounters, adventures,
joys, grieves, moments of happiness and sadness. It is the kaleidoscope
of life: falling in love and making babies that eventually will make
babies on their own. A granddaughter's smile today is of much more
importance than the faint remembrance of a dead rock star's smile from
over 40 years ago.
The Church should be probing for the kaleidoscope world and not for that
one single shiny stone. Syd may have been a star, but our daily universe
carries millions of those.
Dedicated to those special ones whose story we will never know.
Thanks to: Paro नियत (where are you now?)
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press, London, 2007, p. 47, p. 337. Palacios,
Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree, London, 1998, p. 85. Scurfield,
Matthew: I Could Be Anyone, Monticello Malta 2009, p. 151, p.
208, p. 265-266. Photo courtesy of William Pryor, p. 192.
Update 2016: In the 2015 coming of age novel Life
Is Just..., Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon describes early sixties Cambridge
and the submersion into eastern religions.
A couple of weeks ago this blog published excerpts
from Meic Stevens' autobiography Hunangofiant
y Brawd Houdini (in Welsh, but awesomely translated by Prydwyn)
describing how the Cymry
bard encountered Syd Barrett in the late Sixties.
These meetings, as far as the Church is aware, have never been mentioned
before, not in any of the four main Syd Barrett biographies and not on
any website, blog or forum dedicated to the Pink Floyd frontman. It is a
bit weird, seen the fact that the biography already appeared in 2003.
Normally Syd related news, regardless of its triviality, is immediately
divulged through the digital spider web tying Syd anoraks together. The
Church does not want to take credit for this find, it is thanks to Prydwyn,
who contacted the Church, that we now have this information, and we hope
that it will slowly seep into the muddy waters of the web. (Strange
enough the Church post was almost immediately detected by (Welsh) folk
music blogs but completely ignored by the Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett
communities. Is the rumour true that there is a general Syd Barrett fatigue
The psychedelic London Underground was not unlike the rapid
transit system that listens to the same name. The counterculture wasn't
really an organised movement, but constituted of many, independent
stations with tubes going from one station to the other. Some
persons travelled a lot, switching from line to line using intersecting
stations as apparently Syd Barrett's Wetherby Mansions flat was one,
much to the dismal of Duggie Fields who wanted to produce his art in
Syd meets Spike Hawkins
In a YouTube
interview Rob Chapman, author of the Syd Barrett biography A
Very Irregular Head, recalls how he found out that beatnik and poet Spike
Hawkins was an acquaintance of Syd Barrett. He was interviewing Pete
Brown for his book and when the interview was over he remarked that
some Barrett lyrics had a distinct Spike Hawkins style. At that point
Pete Brown remarked: "I think Spike Hawkins knew Syd Barrett." Without
that lucky ad hoc comment we would (probably) never have known
that the two artists not only knew, but also met, each other at
different occassions, although it was probably more a Mandrax
haze that tied them rather than the urge to produce some art together.
Syd meets Dominique
The Church already mentioned the names of Meic Stevens, Jenny Spires,
Trina Barclay, Margaretta Barclay and her friend, painter and musician
Rusty Burnhill (who used to jam with Barrett), Iggy (or Evelyn, who is
rather reluctant to talk about the past) and the French Dominique A.,
who was - at a certain moment - rather close to Barrett.
Dominique is, like they say in French, un cas à part.
Unfortunately nobody seems to know what happened to her, but if the six
degrees of separation theory is accurate it might not be too
difficult to find her. The problem is that nobody remembers if she
stayed in Great Britain or returned to France. But if you read this and
have a granny, listening to the name Dominique A., who smiles
mysteriously whenever you mention the name Pink Floyd, give us a call.
Update May 2011: thanks to its many informants, the Church has
traced the whereabouts of Dominique. She currently lives in a small
village, close to Bayonne, near the Bay of Biscay (French: Golfe de
Gascogne). Unfortunately she doesn't want to talk about the past.
Syd meets Carmel
Church member Dark Globe compared the English version of Meic
Stevens' biography Solva
Blues (2004) with the excerpts of the Welsh version we published at Meic
meets Syd and found a few differences. Apart from the fact that Meic
Stevens also had an Uncle Syd who appears quite frequently in the book
there are some minor additions in the English version, absent from the
The Welsh version notes fore instance that 'Syd Barrett from Pink
Floyd came to see us in Caerforiog':
Syd Barrett o Pink Floyd fydde’n dod i’n gweld ni yng Nghaerforiog.
The English version adds a small, but in the life of a Barrett anorak,
rather important detail. It reads:
Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd who used to visit us at Caerforiog with
his girlfriend Carmel.
It is the first time the Church (and Dark Globe) hears from this lady,
and she is probably one of those two-week (or even two-day) girlfriends
Mick Rock and Duggie Fields have been talking about.
(Warning Label: The picture just above has been taken from the
Mick Rock movie Lost
In The Woods, nobody knows for sure who is the mysterious brunette.
This blog does not imply she is Dominique A. or Carmel, for that matter.)
The second reference (about Syd visiting the Outlander
sessions) also has one addition in the English version. Solva Blues adds
I wouldn't have thought he had a drug problem - no more than most
people on the scene.
If there is one returning constant about the underground days it is its
general tunnel vision. In the brave new psychedelic world every move,
the crazier the better, was considered cool and there was a
general consensus to deny any (drug related) problem that could and
would occur. Rob Chapman is right when he, in his rather tempestuous
What do you do if your lead guitarist is becoming erratic / unstable /
unhinged? Simple. You send him off round the UK on a package tour
(…) with two shows a night for sixteen nights.
Mason acknowledges this illogical (not to use another term)
If proof was needed that we were in denial about Syd's state of mind,
this was it. Why we thought a transatlantic flight immediately
followed by yet more dates would help (Syd) is beyond believe.
Syd almostmeets R.D. Laing
Of course looking for professional psychiatric help in those crazy days
wasn't that simple either. Bluntly said: you could choose between the
traditional cold shower - electroshock therapy or go for anti-psychiatry.
Although it is impossible to turn back the clock it still is the
question if experimental anti-psychiatry would have helped Barrett. In a
previous post we have given the example how an experimental therapist
administered LSD to a Cantabrigian
friend of Syd as an alternative way of therapy and R.D. 'I like
black people but I could never stand their smell' Laing was no
exception to that.
Pink Floyd's manager Peter Jenner made an appointment for Syd with R.D.
Laing, but Syd refused to go on with it, but this didn't withhold Laing
to make the following observations as noted down by Nick Mason:
Syd might be disturbed, or even mad. But maybe it was the rest of us
(Pink Floyd, note by FA) who were causing the problem, by
pursuing our desire to succeed, and forcing Syd to go along with our
This is the main theory that is overzealously, but not always
successfully, adhered by Chapman in his Syd Barrett biography. R.D.
Laing ended his Barrett diagnosis, who he never met, by saying:
Maybe Syd was actually surrounded by mad people.
Although some biographers may think, and there they are probably right,
that the other Pink Floyd members may have been an ambitious gravy
train inspired gang, there was also the small matter of a 17,000
British Pounds debt that the architectural inspired band members
still had to pay off after the split. They didn't burden Syd Barrett,
nor Peter Jenner and Andrew King with that. Now that is what the Church
We now know that giving Syd Barrett the time and space, outside the
band, to meddle at his own pace with his own affairs and music was not
entirely fruitful either. In the early to mid Seventies Syd Barrett
entered a lost weekend that would almost take a decade and that
is a blank chapter in every biography, apart from the odd Mad Syd
Mini Cooper (based upon a remark from Dark Globe)
It is also interesting that Meic Stevens mentions Syd's Mini Cooper:
He was a very good-looking boy, always with a beautiful girl on his arm
when he was out or driving his Mini Cooper.
Presumably this is the same car Syd drove all over England in, following
the band, when he was freshly thrown out of the Floyd.
Syd swapped this Mini Cooper for a Pontiac
Parisienne (and not a Buick as car fanatic Nick Mason writes,
although Buick and Pontiac were of course closely related brands) with
T-Rex percussionist Mickey Finn in the beginning of 1969, which would
date the first meetings between Stevens and Barrett prior to the Mick
Rock photo sessions.
But that photo session has been discussed here ad nauseum already
so we won't get further into that. So, my sistren and brethren, bye,
bye, till the next time, and don't do anything Iggy wouldn't have done.
Especially at this warm weather.
Many thanks go to: Dark Globe for checking the English version of Meic
Stevens' autobiography. Prydwyn for checking and translating the Welsh
version of Meic Stevens' autobiography.
Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above):
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London,
2010, p. 201, p. 227. Green, Jonathon: Days In The Life,
Pimlico, London, 1998, p. 210. (R.D. Laing quote) Mason, Nick: Inside
Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Weidenfeld & Nicolson,
London, 2004, p. 87-88, p. 95, p. 129. Stevens, Meic: Hunangofiant
y Brawd Houdini, Y Lolfa, Talybont, 2009, p. 190-191, p. 202. Stevens,
Meic, Solva Blues, Talybont, 2004 (English, slightly updated,
translation of the above).
There was a time when I would put in the latest Orb CD and murmur
blimey! Blimey because The
Orb pleasantly surprised me or blimey because Alex
'LX' Paterson and band utterly frustrated me. They had that effect
on me for years from their very first album Adventures
Beyond The Ultraworld (1991) until the quite underrated Cydonia
(2001). Often the wow! and meh! impression could be witnessed on the
same disk, most notably on Orbus
Terrarum that probably contains the freakiest ambient track ever
(the heavenly Oxbow Lakes) but also some of the worst.
The Millennium Orb
After 2001 Paterson continued to make albums under the Orb banner but
the wow! effect has largely disappeared. His most prolific output lays
on quite a few (from good to excellent) compilation and/or remix albums:
Dr. Alex Paterson's Voyage Into Paradise, Auntie Aubrey's Excursions
Beyond The Call Of Duty (containing an Orb remix
of Rick Wright's Runaway), Bless You (the best of the Badorb
label), Orbsessions I and II (outtakes), Back To Mine, The Art Of Chill
and last but not least The BBC Sessions.
Contrary to a stubborn belief the so-called ambient (and illegal) Pink
Floyd remix albums from the Nineties are not the work from The Orb, nor
from Alex Paterson. Neither will we ever know Pink Floyd's retaliation:
when the band worked on their 1994 The Divison Bell album they ended up
with so many left-over material that - in the words of Nick Mason - "we
considered releasing it as a second album, including a set we dubbed The
Big Spliff, the kind of ambient mood music that we were bemused to
find being adopted by bands like The Orb".
Update 2015 01 15: Parts of The Big Spliff may have appeared on
the latest Pink Floyd album: The Endless River. See our review: While
my guitar gently weeps...
Exactly one year ago Alex Paterson, who has always been a bit of a
I’ve just started work on an album with David Gilmore (sic)
from Pink Floyd which I think every Orb and Pink Floyd fan will want to
But that news was hurriedly demoted by David Gilmour.
Recent comments by ambient exponents The Orb's Alex Paterson that they
have been collaborating with David Gilmour are true – up to a point.
David has done some recording with The Orb and producer Youth, inspired
initially by the plight of Gary McKinnon. However, nothing is finalised,
and nothing has been confirmed with regards to any structure for the
recordings or firm details re: any release plans.
On the 17th of August of this year, however, the David Gilmour blog
had the following to reveal:
David is not working with The Orb on a new album, contrary to some
reports, but you may remember that he had been in the studio jamming
with Martin “Youth” Glover in recent months. (…) Alex Paterson was not
involved in the sole jamming session and the only plan initially was for
David to play guitar on that one track.
However, as it turns out and as you can see, the result of that jam
session has now been spread across the next Orb album, Metallic Spheres,
which will be released as ‘The Orb featuring David Gilmour’. So there
you have it. He was working on an album with The Orb. Sort of.
If I may read a bit between the lines I feel some friction here between
Sir David and this Orb thingy. But the next day, David Gilmour's
had the next comment:
David's 2009 jam session with ambient collective The Orb has grown into
an album, Metallic Spheres, to be released via Columbia/Sony Records in
October. David's contribution to the charity song Chicago, in aid of
Gary McKinnon, sparked the interest of producer Youth (Martin Glover),
who remixed the track and invited David to his studio for a recording
With additional contributions from Orb co-founder Alex
Paterson, the album took shape from 2009 into 2010, eventually becoming
Metallic Spheres, to be released by The Orb featuring David Gilmour. (underlined
Calling LX Paterson an Orb co-founder is technically not untrue, but it
feels a little weird when you have just been presenting Martin 'Youth'
Glover. It is comparable to describing Syd Barrett as a Pink Floyd
co-founder while discussing Bob
Klose. Agreed, Youth (from Killing
Joke fame) was probably around when The Orb saw the light of day but
it is generally acknowledged that the band was formed in 1988 by Alex
Paterson and Jimmy
Cauty but not by Youth who only occasionally teamed up with
Alex Paterson as a temporary aid. Cauty's primary project however, the Kopyright
Liberation Front (with Bill Drummond), pretty soon outgrew The Orb
and when - at a certain point in time - some Orb remixes were released
in Germany as KLF remixes this provoked a rupture in the co-operation
between the duo as Alex and Jimmy started fighting over… copyrights.
After the split between KLF and The Orb Martin 'Youth' Glover helped LX
out with two tracks (on two separate albums): Little Fluffy Clouds (on
'Adventures', 1991) and Majestic (on U.F.Orb, 1992), but he never was a
member of the band and certainly not a founding member. In 2007 however,
Youth replaced Thomas Fehlmann and joined The Orb for a one album
Update 2018: Youth can also be found on the 2018 'No Sounds Are
Out Of Bounds' and on a 2016 live CD and DVD release of the band.
Together with the announcement on David Gilmour's website, and then
we're back on the 18th of August of this year, a promotional video for
the Metallic Spheres album is uploaded to YouTube. Depicting only Youth
and David Gilmour several Orb fans wonder where LX Paterson, and thus
The Orb, fits in.
The first, original movie disappears after a couple of days for
so-called 'copyright' reasons and is rapidly replaced with a second
version (unfortunately taken down as well, now), containing some hastily
inserted images of LX Paterson strolling through the grasslands and
recording some outdoor musique concrète.
It feels, once again, as if the Floyd-Orb connection doesn't go down
well at the Gilmour camp. Alex Paterson's image, so it seems, has only
been included on the promo video after some pressure (from LX
himself) took place. But the above is of course all pure speculation and
not based upon any fact, so tells you Felix Atagong, who has been
closely following The Orb for over two decades.
Bit by bit we learn how the album came into place. It all started with
David Gilmour's charity project for Gary
McKinnon, an X-Files adhering half-wit who hacked into American
military and NASA computers in order to find out about extra-terrestrial
conspiracy theories (read some more about that on: Metallic
Spheres). Because of this he faces extradition from England to the
USA where apparently they take these kind of idiots very seriously, see
also the 43rd president who governed the country from 2001 to 2009.
It is not quite clear if Gilmour asked Youth (David Glover) to make a
remix of the Chicago charity tune or if Youth got hold of the
project and proposed to help (I've come across both explanations). The
two may know each other through Guy Pratt who played in Glover's band Brilliant
in 1986 (LX Paterson was their roadie for a while). In 1990 Youth
Pearl with Durga
McBroom who had toured with Pink Floyd for the previous three years.
Amongst the session musicians on their Naked album are Guy Pratt,
David Gilmour and Rick Wright.
This isn't Glover's only connection with the Floyd however. In 1995 he
teamed up with Killing Joke colleague Jaz
Coleman to arrange and produce a symphonic tribute album: Us and
Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd, but only The Old Tree With Winding
Roots Behind The Lake Of Dreams remix from Time combines a
modern beat with romantic classical music.
To spice up the Chicago remix Youth invited David Gilmour in his home
studio and out of it came a twenty minutes guitar jam. Glover soon found
out that he could expand the session into an ambient suite and asked old
chum LX Paterson for some help. LX flavoured the pieces with typical
Orbian drones and samples, rather than turning this into a sheepish Fireman-clone.
The Orb featuring David Gilmour can only be a win/win situation.
Orb fans have dreamed about this collaboration for the past two decades
and that will add to the sales figures for sure. And although artist
royalties go to the support of Gary McKinnon there will always be a
spillover effect for the artists involved. That can only be good news
for The Orb whose last album Baghdad Batteries sunk faster than
the Kursk in the Barents Sea.
Rest us to say that an Orb album is an Orb album when it has got the
name Orb on it, whether you like it or not. (In the case of their Okie
Dokie album, not a bit).
Spheres starts with Gilmour's pedal steel guitar over some keyboard
drones that makes me think of those good old days when the KLF shattered
the world with their ambient masterpiece Chill
Out (LX Paterson - as a matter of fact - contributed to that album,
although uncredited). But soon after that Gilmour's guitar wanders off
in his familiar guitar style with axiomatic nods to The Wall and The
Division Bell albums. A welcome intermezzo is Black Graham
with acoustic guitar, not from Gilmour but by ragtime busker Marcia
Mello. The 'metallic side' flows nicely throughout its 29
minutes and has fulfilled its promise of being 'the ambient event of the
year' quite accurately.
The CD is divided into two suites: a 'metallic side' and a 'spheres
side' (and each 'side' is subdivided in five - not always
discernable - parts). The second suite however, is more of the same,
clearly lacks inspiration and ends out of breath at the 20 minutes mark.
So no wow! effect here (but no meh! either)... Youth has done what was
expected from him and produced an all-in-all agreeable but quite
mainstream product leaving ardent anoraky Orb fans with their hunger,
but perhaps winning a few uninitiated souls.
As far as I am concerned this is about the best Orb CD I have heard for
the past couple of years, but it is still far from Orblivion, U.F.Orb or
Ultraworld. But as this is 2010 already you won't hear me complaining.
In true Orbian tradition this album exists in different versions. There
is the regular UK version (with a 'black' cover) and the deluxe version
(with a 'white' cover). That last one has a bonus CD in a 3D60 headphone
remix, comparable to the holophonics system on Pink Floyd's 'The
Final Cut' album from 1983.
Update 2018: Just like 'holophonics' in the eighties, 3D60 no
longer exists. The 'special' effects can only be heard through a
headphone, but don't expect anything spectacular.
A Japanese enhanced Blu-spec release has two additional bonus tracks and
two videos. One of these extra tracks (remixes, actually) could also be
downloaded from The Orb website and from iTunes. One of the videos has
been made by Stylorouge, who worked with Storm Thorgerson on
several Floydian projects.
Last but not least there is a Columbia promo version, containing a
unique identification number to trace unauthorised redistribution (see
above picture). To our, but probably not to Gilmour's, amusement this
promo-CD is titled The Orb Vs Dave Gilmour (instead of David).
According to at least one Orb fan this version has a different mix than
the official release.
(An early version of this article first appeared on Felix Atagong's
Unfinished Projects: The
What you see at the left is the only remaining copy in the world of an
unreleased 1967 Pink Floyd single: Vegetable
Man / Scream
Thy Last Scream. Approximate value: 10,000 US dollars,
even on a rainy day.
Part one: Holy Syd!
The songs are on an acetate
disc and without going to much into detail we can simply say that an
acetate is a test pressing of a vinyl record. An acetate has not been
made to last and every time a needle reads the groove the acetate is
gradually but irrecoverably damaged. Bands and producers often used
acetates to test how a record would sound on cheap home record
players before sending the master tape to the record factory.
This precious copy is in the hands of Saq, an American collector
in Los Angeles who acquired it about 15 years ago and has cherished it
ever since. It is, without doubt, what collectors call a 'holy grail': a
rare, valuable object sought after by other collectors. One of the side
effects of a 'holy grail' is that it can only acquire that status if
other collectors are aware of its existence, but not too many. If nobody
knows you have an exclusive item it might as well not exist. Syd Barrett
already acknowledged this in his Arnold
Layne song: it 'takes two to know'.
Holy grails can be frail, especially when they only consist of audio
material. One popular Pink Floyd holy grail are, sorry: were, the
so-called work in progress tapes of The
Wall (most people, websites and bootlegs refer to these as The
Wall demos, which they are clearly not, but that is an entirely
different discussion). Around 1999 they circulated amongst top-notch
collectors and were generally unknown to the public, The Anchor
included, until a track called The
Doctor (an early version of Comfortably
Numb) was leaked as an alt.music.pink-floyd
Christmas 2000 gift. It didn't take long before the complete set was
weeded to the fans, who were happy to say the least except for the one
of the few who had lost their priceless treasure.
Part two: the guns of Navarro
When Barrett fan Giuliano Navarro met Saq in 2009 he was let on
the secret and from this moment Giuliano became a man with a mission. He
of the acetate and finally, on the 15th of January 2011, he proudly
announced at Late
I tried to stay in communication with him for more than a year and
begged him to at least have the tracks recorded. He agreed to do me the
favour, and sent the acetate to a professional studio in San Francisco.
After more than a year of waiting, I finally got the tracks and now I
want to share them with all of you. We are the real Syd Barrett crazies
and we all deserve to listen to his art. There should be no discovery
made that ends up back in the vaults.
Giuliano Navarro is, without doubt, a man of honour. But it helped that
Saq didn't really ran the risk that making the content public would ruin
his holy grail (as with The Wall WIP tapes). Quite the contrary: he
still has an ultra-rare acetate from 1967; is envied by collectors
from over the world and, knowing that; the value of this unique
recording can only sky-rocket.
At least that is what he thought until about a couple of weeks ago.
Part three: cracks in the ice
An uproarious bigmouth called Felix
Atagong, who also goes by the ridiculous epithet Reverend of the Holy
Church of Iggy the Inuit, proposed Giuliano to upload the sound
files to Yeeshkul.
At first the recordings were received with great enthusiasm, but after
some days the place was stirring with comments of an entirely different
Yeeshkul is a place where Pink Floyd audio collectors meet and share
files through a torrent
network. They vary from the average je-ne-sais-quoi fan to
the specialised sound freak who has the means and the knowledge to find
out whether a certain audio file comes from an earlier or a later
generation tape. And obviously this spectacular find was going to be
analysed to the bit...
Navarro received MP3 files taken from the acetate and shared
these immediately with the fans. Not unusual as MP3
is about the most popular sound format in the world, but it does
compress the sound and reduces the quality. The Yeeshkul specialist
sound brigade argue that lossless files in 24/96
(or even 24/192) should exist as well. Nobody will be that stupid to put
an ultra-rare (and very fragile) acetate on a turntable, only to convert
the audio to MP3.
Vince666 did a spectrum analysis of the MP3 files and found that
the sound had been mysteriously cut-off at 16 Khz (see left side image).
Some members maintain that this is a typical result of MP3 compression,
but others disagree. But despite the compression and the obvious
quality-loss these mono tracks still sound a lot better than other
versions that have been circulating for decades.
Felixstrange (no relative to the Church) discovered 'something
which sounds a lot like tape damage at 0:54 during "Scream Thy Last
The noise a minute into STLS is definitely a result of creases in
magnetic tape. However, there is definitely vinyl/acetate surface noise
present. I've been doing a lot of vinyl rips lately and I immediately
recognized the all-too-familiar clicks of debris in the grooves of a
Question: How can a brand new, original EMI master show tape
damage, before it has even been used to make vinyl records out of it? Answer:
Part four: screaming vegetables
Vegetable Man and Scream Thy Last Scream (let's shorten that to VM
and STLS, shall we?) are both unreleased Syd Barrett - Pink Floyd
gems from 1967. EMI has been tempted to put these on compilations
before, but for different (copyright) reasons that never happened,
luckily two different mixes have leaked to the public.
Dark Side Of The Moon proved successful EMI compiled early Floyd as A
Nice Pair and put the two Barrett solo-albums together in a Syd
Barrett budget release. The selling figures (especially in the USA
where the solo albums had never been released) were important enough for
EMI to beg for a third Syd Barrett solo album. Producer Peter
Jenner soon found out that Syd Barrett really wasn't in the singing
mood and scraped the barrel in order to find some unreleased material.
On the 13th of August 1974 Peter Jenner (with a little help from John
Leckie and Pat Stapley) mixed a stereo tape of unreleased Syd Barrett
and Pink Floyd originals, including VM and STLS. This tape, with
reference 6604Z, almost immediately evaporated from the EMI
archives and re-materialised – so goes the legend – miraculously in one
Almost day by day thirteen years later, Malcolm
Jones compiled his personal 'Syd Barratt (sic) Rough Mixes'.
It is believed that he accidentally lost this tape just when he was
passing by the front door of an anonymous bootlegger.
Part five: check your sources
The Anchor needs to get a bit nerdy and technical here, like those Bible
scholars who combine different fourth century Greek editions in order to
reconstruct the ultimate Bible source. We are going to compare the
different versions of the tracks, so you have been warned.
Barrett fans have strong reasons to believe that the Malcolm Jones 1987
(mono) tapes are the closest to the original 1967 Pink Floyd recordings.
In 1974 Peter Jenner added extra effects, echo and reverb to the mix,
most notably on VM, and these are absent on the Malcolm Jones tape. The
Malcolm Jones mix of STLS fades out, while Jenner's version ends
abruptly with – yet – another sound effect.
That is not all. In the case of Vegetable Man there is even a third mix
- the so-called Beechwoods
tape. It has survived on tape from a 1969 radio show where Nick Mason
opened his Pandora’s box of 1967 outtakes. A fan found it back in 2001
and promptly donated it to Kiloh Smith from Madcaps
As the acetate allegedly dates from 1967; Vegetable Man must
sound like the Beechwoods version, and Scream Thy Last
Scream must sound like the Malcolm Jones rough mix.
Part six: listen to the music
Yeeshkul member MOB compared all known versions and came back
with the following report.
The acetate mix is mono, but definitely different than the Malcolm Jones
mono mix from 1987.
The 1967 acetate mix is also different from the 1967 Beechwoods tape,
believed to be the most authentic studio version of the song. On the
Beechwoods tape, there is absolutely no echo or reverb during the
sentence "Vegetable man where are you" but they are present on the
The only version with extra echo and reverb is the 1974 stereo mix by
Actually, if I take the 1974 Jenner stereo mix and convert it to mono, I
have the same mix as the "acetate" mix. So to me it seems the current
mix is not from 1967 (if it was the case it should be close to the 1967
Beechwoods mix, and it's not), but from 1974.
Maybe the 1974 Jenner versions were copied, traded, with some
"mono-ization" in the lineage, then pressed as fake acetates?
Scream Thy Last Scream:
The 1967 acetate mono mix is not the same as the Jones 1987 mono mix
(the Jones version fades out during the street noises). Instead of that,
on the acetate mix, the street noises end abruptly with an echo effect.
Is it pure coincidence that the echo is exactly the same effect as the
one used by Jenner during his 1974 mixdown?
Again, if you mono-ize the 1974 Jenner mix, you have the current acetate
mix (minus the scratches and tape flaws). Same effects at the same
Part seven: the time-paradox explanation
Of course this all makes sense, especially in a Barrett universe, and
the contradiction can easily be explained.
Somewhere in 1967 Barrett invented a time-travelling device by combining
a clock with a washing machine. When asked to compose a third single he
hopped to 1974, stole tape number 6604Z from the EMI archives and
returned to 1967.
Thus it is perfectly logical that the 1967 acetate sounds exactly like
the 1974 Jenner mix and en passant we have solved the mystery how
the tape has disappeared from the EMI vaults.
The utterly boring explanation is that the 1967 acetate is fake, counterfeit,
a forgery, made by a scrupulous thief to rob a few thousands of
dollars from a collector’s pocket. In other words: mono-ization turned
Part eight: let's get physical
The Anchor is like one of those boring Roger Waters songs: once we're in
a drive, we can't stop and we have to make extra parts of the same
monotonous melody over and over again.
Even without listening to the counterfeit acetate there still is
something dubious about it (thanks neonknight, emmapeelfan,...).
Due to their production process and their fragility acetates
are - most of the time - single sided, just like the surviving acetates
of Arnold Layne and See Emily Play. Albums were even issued on two
different single sided acetates to avoid further damage (but some double
sided acetates do exist, like the very first Pink Floyd recording with
Bob Klose in the band: Lucy Leave / King Bee [but that was definitely
not an EMI acetate]);
Engineers at EMI were invariably nerdy administrative types, who
attended recording sessions dressed in white lab coats. These cheeky
little fellows would never label an acetate without putting the name of
the band on top;
Although a pretty fair forgery the label on the record is not identical
to the 'official' EMI acetate label, there also seem to be some glue
marks that are usually not present on real acetates;
and last but not least;
Acetates are ad hoc test pressings and in the extremely rare case
of a double acetate this means that a certain relationship has to
exist between both tracks, like both sides from a single or takes from
the same session. STLS was recorded on 7 August 1967 (some overdubs were
made in December 1967 and January 1968 for a possible inclusion on A
Saucerful of Secrets). VM was recorded between 9 and 12 October
1967. They were never meant to be each other's flip side on a single, so
finding them on the same acetate simply makes no sense, unless it is a
fake, of course.
Part nine: a spoonful of charades
So basically here is what happened:
1. someone, somewhere in summertime, got hold of the Peter Jenner 1974
stereo-mixes of VM and STLS (not that weird as they have been
circulating for at least 3 decades);
2. these were copied on a tape (perhaps even a cassette for home
entertainment) but unfortunately it was damaged, trampled, eaten and
vomited out by the player (crumpled sound between 51 and 55 seconds);
3. this cassette was downgraded from stereo to mono;
4. the mono 'remaster' was cut on acetate, a fake EMI label was glued on
it, and sold to a collector (probably in the mid Nineties);
5. the acetate, believed to be genuine by its owner, was copied in a
professional studio to (hopefully) a lossless digital format (there are
vinyl record clicks to prove that);
6. the digital copy was then converted to MP3 (with a compression cut
off at 16 Khz) and torrented through Yeeshkul.
Part ten: let's add some extra confusion
It has now been established that the 1967 acetate is fake and a
mere mono copy of the 1974 stereo mix, but there is still some confusion
and a bit of hope.
Although a copy from a copy from a copy the acetate sounds better,
crispier and fuller than the Jenner mixes that are currently
circulating. To put it into technical gobbledygook: the forger has a
better sounding, earlier generation tape at his disposal than the one
that Barrett collectors have now. This is something what duly pisses
most Syd anoraks off.
Instead of sharing the tape to the fans it has been used to produce
bootleg acetates. One can assume that the criminal sold more than one
unique acetate, so there must be other collectors around who have
purchased this record, believing they had the only copy in the world.
The high-priced acetate market is not that big. Perhaps if we stick
together, we can trace the seller who must now tremble like a leaf, and
before cutting off his balls and roasting them on a fire, confiscate the
low generation tape and use it for the better.
Part eleven: last words
What you see at the left is an acetate counterfeit of a nonexistent 1967
Pink Floyd single Vegetable Man / Scream Thy Last Scream. Approximate
value: 10 US dollars, not a cent more.
Let us be fair: not all is lost for Saq, the current owner.
The Anchor has got an excellent business relationship with Fine Art
Auctioneers & Valuers Bonhams. For a small 35% commission rate the
Anchor is willing to put the acetate on sale at Bonhams as they already
have a habit of selling overcharged fake Barrett memorabilia: Bonhams
Sells Fake Barrett Poem.
The Anchor wishes to thank: Giuliano Navarro, Hallucalation, Vince666,
Felixstrange, MOB, Neonknight, Emmapeelfan and the other participants at
Late Night and Yeeshkul.
The next months will be musically dedicated to Pink
Floyd and several, if not all, of the serious music magazines are
hanging a separate wagon at EMI's gravy train.
Rock 162 (with AC/DC on the cover) comes with a separate Pink Floyd
24 pages booklet, titled at one side: The making of the Dark Side Of
The Moon, and at the other side (when you turn the booklet around) The
making of Wish You Were Here, written by Pink Floyd biographer Glenn
Povey, with pictures of Jill Furmanovsky.
215, ridiculously called the October 2011 edition while we purchased it
now in August (somebody ought to tell those Mojo editors what a calendar
is), has a 12 pages Pink Floyd cover story from Pigs
Might Fly author Mark Blake and with pictures from... Jill
Furmanovsky, but more about that later.
Rock Prog (out on August 31) will be celebrating the 40-th birthday of Meddle,
an album that – according to their blurb – changed the sound of Pink
Floyd and prog rock forever.
But we start with the most recent Uncut
(that has a Marc Bolan / T-Rex cover, but it didn't cross the Channel
yet) where Nick Mason expresses his belief that there still is room for
a combined Piper/Saucerful Immersion set. That extended CD-box-set would
have early Pink Floyd rarities as Vegetable Man and Scream Thy
last Scream but also...
...we've got some demos that were made really early on, which I think
are just charming. these come from 1965 and include 'Lucy Leave', "I'm A
King Bee", "Walk With Me Sydney", and "Double O-Bo". They're very R'n'B.
Of course we were yet another English band who wanted to be an American
style R'n'B band. We recorded the demo at Decca. I think it must have
been, in Broadhurst Gardens. A friend of Rick's was working there as an
engineer, and managed to sneak us in on a Saturday night when the studio
As all Immersion sets come with some live recordings as well all eyes
(or ears) are pointing into the direction of the Gyllene Cirkeln
gig that was recently sold by its taper to the Floyd. But Mark Jones,
known for his extensive collection of early Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett
pictures, heard something else from his contacts at Pink Floyd Ltd. He
fears that this gig will not be put on an early Floyd immersion set:
I doubt it, my answer from someone 'high up' was 'the Stockholm
recording does not feature Syd's vocals'. I take that means either his
mic was not functioning properly or he was singing off mic. (…) My
answer was from 'high up' and from what I gathered it meant they weren't
Like we have pointed out in a previous article (see: EMI
blackmails Pink Floyd fans!) the September 1967 live set does not
have audible lyrics, due to the primitive circumstances the gig has been
recorded with (or simply because Syd didn't sing into the microphone).
But that set also has some instrumentals that could be put on a rarities
disk: a 7 minutes 20 seconds unpublished jam nicknamed 'Before or
Since' (title given by the taper), Pow R Toc H (without the
jungle sounds?) and Interstellar Overdrive.
It will be a long wait as an early Immersion set can only see the light
of day in late 2012 and only after the other sets have proven to be
Back to Mojo with its Dark Side Of The Moon / Wish You Were
Here cover article. Obviously the 'Syd visits Pink Floyd' anecdote
had to be added in as well and at page 88 Mark Blake tells the different
versions of this story once again (some of them can also be found in
Big Barrett Conspiracy Theory).
In his Lost In Space article Mark Blake also retells the almost
unknown story about an unpublished Pink Floyd book that has been lying
on Roger Waters' shelves for about 35 years. After the gigantic success
of Dark Side Of The Moon the band, or at least Roger Waters,
found it a good idea to have a documentary of their life as successful
rock-stars. Waters asked his old Cambridge friend and golf buddy Nick
Sedgwick to infiltrate the band and to note down his impressions.
Another sixties Cambridge friend was called in as well: Storm
Thorgerson, who hired Jill Furmanovsky to take (some of) the
pictures of the 1974 American tour. Nick and Storm could follow the band
far more intimately than any other journalist or writer as they had been
beatnik buddies (with Syd, David and Roger) meeting in the Cambridge
coffee houses in the Sixties. In his 1989 novel Light Blue With Bulges
Nick Sedgwick clearly describes how a loud-mouthed bass player and the
novel's hero share some joints and drive around on their Vespa
Life on the rock road in 1974 was perhaps too much of a Kerouac-like
adventure. The band had its internal problems, with Roger Waters acting
as the alpha-male (according to David Gilmour in the latest Mojo
article). But there weren't only musical differences, Pink Floyd had
wives and families but they also had some difficulties to keep up the
monogamist life on the road. Then there was the incident with Roger
Waters who heard a man's voice at the other side when he called his wife
When David Gilmour read the first chapters of the book he felt aggrieved
by it and managed to get it canned, a trick he would later repeat with
Nick Mason's first (and unpublished) version of Inside Out. But
also Nick Mason agrees that the book by Nick Sedgwick was perceived, by
the three others, as being to openly friendly towards Roger Waters and
too negative towards the others. Mark Blake, in a Facebook reaction to
the Church, describes the manuscript as 'dynamite'.
Unfortunately Nick Sedgwick died a couple of days ago and Roger Waters
issued the following statement:
One of my oldest friends, Nick Sedgwick, died this week of brain cancer.
I shall miss him a lot. I share this sad news with you all for a good
He leaves behind a manuscript, "IN THE PINK" (not a hunting memoir).
His memoir traces the unfolding of events in 1974 and 1975 concerning
both me and Pink Floyd. In the summer of 1974 Nick accompanied me, and
my then wife Judy, to Greece. We spent the whole summer there and Nick
witnessed the beginnings of the end of that marriage.
That autumn he travelled with Pink Floyd all round England on The Dark
Side Of The Moon Tour. He carried a cassette recorder on which he
recorded many conversations and documented the progress of the tour. In
the spring of 1975 he came to America with the band and includes his
recollections of that time also.
When Nick finished the work in 1975 there was some resistance in the
band to its publication, not surprising really as none of us comes out
of it very well, it's a bit warts and all, so it never saw the light of
It is Nick's wish that it be made available now to all those interested
in that bit of Pink Floyd history and that all proceeds go to his wife
To that end I am preparing three versions, a simple PDF, a hardback
version, and a super de-luxe illustrated limited edition signed and
annotated by me and hopefully including excerpts from the cassettes.
For those interested in the more turbulent episodes of the band Pink
Floyd this will be a very interesting read indeed.
Update 2016 12 04: the Sedgwick Floyd biography 'In The Pink' has
not been published yet. In a 2015 interview for Prog magazine Roger
Waters, however, said that the project was still on. Update
2017 07 30: The 'In The Pink' journal can now be bought at the Pink
Floyd Their Mortal Remains exhibition in London or at a Roger Waters
gig: see In
The Pink hunt is open!
The Church wishes to thank: Mark Blake, Mark Jones & although he will
probably never read this, Roger Waters.
Business as usual at The Anchor. Felix Atagong, that old
drunk hippie, was sitting at the bar, ogling some of the mojito
girls eagerly discussing Justin Bieber's posterior. At his fifth
Guinness Felix usually starts to get all glazzy eyed and wants to start
a Pink Floyd fight. Most of the time it suffices to name-drop Rob
Chapman to make Atagong throw a tantrum, but there weren't enough
spectators today to make this trick worthwhile.
"Alex", he said, "Did I already tell you that David
Gilmour wore a Guinness
t-shirt during the 1974 French tour, just to piss off their sponsor Gini?"
I pretended not having heard this story a dozen times before.
"In 1972", he orated, "Pink
Floyd signed a lucrative publicity contract with Gini, a French übersweet
soft drink. The band went to the Moroccan desert where they had some shots
taken by photographer William Sorano, a fact not a lot of people know
of." Felix likes to brag a lot, especially when he gets a bit light in
"Of course Pink Floyd wasn't a millionaire's super group yet when they
agreed with the deal. They liked to describe themselves as an
underground art band and only the French were daft enough to believe
that. British have this national sport to fool the French and for three
full decades those have thought that 'pink floyd' was English for 'flamant
rose' or 'pink flamingo'. That rumour was started on the mainland by
journalist Jean Marie Leduc after he returned from a trip to London in
sixty-seven. Asking a freaked-out acid head what a pink floyd
really meant he turned into the proverbial sitting duck and eagerly
swallowed the bait."
"So whenever Pink Floyd wanted to get arty-farty they only had to hop
into the nearest ferry to Calais where they were hauled in as national
heroes. One of their sillier projects was to play behind a bunch of men
in tights, jumping up and down in an uncoördinated way, and calling that
a ballet. Of course there was a kind of 'intellectual snobbery' involved
in this all, but even more the Pink Floyd's fine taste for champagne and
oysters that was invariably hauled in by the bucket." Felix had
certainly reached lift-off and would be raving and drooling now for at
least the next half hour to come."
"Another project was the soundtrack for the art movie La
Vallée, a typical French vehicle for long pseudo philosophical
musings about the richness of primitive culture and the sudden urge of a
French bourgeois woman to hug some trees and to hump the local Crocodile
Dundee. Part of the movie is in the kind of English that would turn
Inspector Clouseau green with envy. What does one expects from a bunch
of hippies, making a tedious long journey to a mythical valley they call
'obscured by cloud' (not 'clouds')?"
"The hidden valley is supposed to be a paradise and the story sounds
like a cheap rehash of the ridiculous Star Trek episode, The
Way To Eden. Over the years journalists and biographers have
rumoured that the movie is saved by showing a fair amount of frolicking
in the nude, but it miserably fails in that department as well. Quite
unusual for a French movie of the early seventies, I might add, as the
cinematographic intellectual trend was to show the female form in all
its variety. The only bush that can be seen is the New Guinean forest
"Obviously the Floyd couldn't resist this challenge and helped by the
easy money soundtracks brought in they were wheeled into a château
with a stock of red wine and boeuf bourguignon. Two weeks later
they emerged with one of their finest albums ever." Atagong took another
drink and belched loudly. This had only been the introduction, I feared,
I was right.
"Rick Wright recalls in a 1974 Rock & Folk interview how
their manager Steve
O'Rourke met a bloke on a French beach, waving a fifty thousand
British pounds check in front of him. O'Rourke frantically jumped up and
down, like a dancer from a French avant-garde ballet dancing troupe,
making hysterically pink flamingo quacking sounds. Little did he know
this was going to be first time in Floydian history that the band didn't
manage to trick the French, a tradition that started in 1965 when Syd
Barrett and David Gilmour busked the French Riviera. Of course it is
easy to say in retrospect O'Rourke was duly screwed 'up the khyber'
by the Gini coöperation, but in 1972 it appeared not to be such a bad
deal after all. Part of the deal was that Gini promised to sponsor a
French tour, including radio and television promo spots that
unfortunately have not survived into the 21st century."
"The main problem was that in 1973 Pink Floyd suddenly turned into
millionaire superstars thanks to Dark Side Of The Moon and that
50,000 pounds was now something they spent on breakfast orange juice.
But Gini, waving with the two years old contract, threatened with legal
action and the Floyd reluctantly agreed to meet the conditions."
"In the summer of 1974 Floyd hit France and wherever they appeared a
publicity caravan of 15 people would follow them. It had cute girls who
gave Gini drinks, stickers and fluorescent t-shirts away, 4 'easy
riders' on 750 cc super-choppers
(painted by Jean-Paul
Montagne) and a green 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver
Wraith (numberplate: 567 AAF 75) with a loud stereo installation.
Rumours go that at a certain point the atmosphere was so heated between
the Pink Floyd management and Gini that a minimum distance between band
and publicity people had to be agreed on. But according to Nick Mason,
in his auto-biography Inside Out, it was only the band that got
infuriated, the technical crew quite enjoyed the promo girls and they
exchanged more than soft drinks alone."
"French journalists immediately accused Pink Floyd of a sell-out and the
band rapidly declared that the money was going to charity, something in
the line of a school for handicapped children. Rock & Folk squeezed out
the names of the Ronald
Laing Association and the French hôpital
de Salpêtrière, but reality may have been a bit different.
Nick Mason told Mojo's Mark
Blake this summer that they probably just shelved the money,
although David Gilmour and Roger Waters still keep up it was donated.
Rest me to say that Waters was so angry at the situation that he wrote
an unpublished song about the Gini incident, titled Bitter Love
(aka 'How Do You Feel')." Felix Atagong paused a bit, to have a drink,
so this was a moment for immediate action.
"Out!", I said, "The Anchor is closed."
"But", retaliated the Reverend, "this was just a mere introduction to
start talking about the Wish You Were Here Immersion set that has
just been issued and I would like to say something more about the 1967 Stockholm
Cirkeln show that has finally been weeded out to the public..."
"Out!", I said again, "There is no time for your drunken ramblings any
I pushed Felix Atagong out of the door and I heard him staggering back
home, murmuring incomprehensible things. He'll be back tomorrow anyway.
(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations have
been enlarged for satirical purposes.) The Anchor wishes to thank:
Nipote and PF Chopper at Y.
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 179-183, 214. Blake,
Mark: Lost In Space, Mojo 215, October 2011, p. 85. Feller,
Benoît: Complet, Rock & Folk, Paris, July 1974, p. 44. Leduc,
Jean-Marie: Pink Floyd, Editions Albin Michel, Paris, 1982, p.
125. Mason, Nick: Inside Out, Orion Books, London, 2011
reissue, p. 197-198. (unknown): La "caravane" Pink Floyd-Gini,
Hit Magazine, Paris, July 1974.
One of the promo Pink Floyd Gini choppers is still around today and has
its own Facebook page: The
Pink Floyd Chopper.
The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical
division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad
character. More info: The
Anchor. Read our legal stuff: Legal
Despite the fact that the sixties children of the revolution all wanted
to express their individualism and refused to be a part of the square 9
to 5 world they all managed to show up at the same places, dress
virtually the same and take the same chemical substances.
This also applied for their holidays. Although they had been seeing each
other the whole year in old rainy England, in summer they would pack
their bags and flee – en masse – to the same cool (but
sweaty) locations, following the so-called Hippie
The Hippie Trail extended to the Himalayas and several Cantabrigian
hipsters made it to the Indies, looking for a guru who would teach them
things a local vicar couldn't teach them. Paul Charrier, one of the
Cantabrigian mods, beats or whatever denomination they liked that week,
was one of the first to witness this. When he returned to England and
opened his bag of tricks, he managed to convert a few others to the
narrow path of Sant
Mat, but others, like Storm
Thorgerson and Matthew
Scurfield, opposed to this 'wave of saccharine mysticism hitting our
shores' (see also: We
are all made of stars).
India and Pakistan were long and hazardous journeys and for those who
only had a few weeks to spend there were always the Balearic islands
where they would meet at La Tortuga or La
Some 700 hippies arrived in Formentera in 1968 and by the summer of 1969
there were already 1,300, almost one for every 2.5 islanders. They
didn’t stay all year round but were usually university students spending
their holidays on the island. In 1970, Franco’s regime threw all 3,000
of them off Ibiza and Formentera. According to the regime, the hippies
gave the place a bad name, but the islanders didn’t agree – for them the
hippies were simply tourists. (Taken from: Thinkspain.)
Of course the islands of Formentera
(Balearic Islands) already had some reputation of their own. The place
not only gained popularity by (American) writers and artists after the
second world war for its mild climate, but also because it was a central
drug smuggling point. The heroes of Beat literature not only liked the
bohemian's life, but in their quest for nonconformity they also actively
sought contact with 'the perilous margins of society - pimps, whores,
drug dealers, petty thieves'.
Quite some Dutch artists visited the place, for one reason or another.
The proto-hippie-folk singing duo Nina
& Frederik (Dutch-Danish, in fact), who had some hits in the
fifties and early sixties, lived there. In his later life Frederik
Van Pallandt attempted a career as drug smuggler and his murder in
1994 may have been a direct result. Other artist included poet Simon
Vinkenoog, author Jan
Cremer and Black & Decker trepanist Bart
Huges. The sixties saw visits from the Beatles, the Stones and in
their wake some beautiful people from London (for a more detailed list: Ibiza
in the beatnik & hippie eras.)
David Gale, his girlfriend Maureen, Dave Henderson, Storm Thorgerson and
John Davies went to Ibiza in 1963 for their holidays where they visited
Formentera island for a day. Back at home they all decided to have
another holiday there.
Mary Wing (and her friend Marc Dessier) found Formentera so beautiful
that in 1965 they decided to stay there.
Nick Mason acknowledges that after the '14
hour technicolour dream' (29 April 1967) the band was very tired and
that Syd showed more severe symptoms than the others. Despite all that
the continuous, eight days a week, gigging went on with the mythical Games
For May concert two weeks later (12 May), the memorable Hans
Keller BBC interview (14 May) and the See
Emily Play recording session (18 May). There were nearly daily
concerts or recording sessions between May and June of that year, but
little by little cracks started to appear in their overcrowded agenda.
June, 11: two cancelled concerts in Holland June, 18: public
appearance on a bikini fashion show for Radio London, cancelled June,
24: two cancelled concerts in Corby and Bedford June, 25: two
cancelled concerts in Manchester
On Thursday, July the 27th 1967, the Pink Floyd mimed (for the third
time) on the Top Of the Pops show although Barrett was rather reluctant
to do it. The next day they had a recording session for the BBC, but
apparently Syd was seen leaving the block when it was their turn. This
time the band and its management took Syd's behaviour seriously and
decided to cancel all August gigs (with the exception of some studio
Update September 2012: one of these cancelled gigs was the 7th
National Jazz, Pop, Ballads and Blues Festival that was visited by Iggy
the Eskimo: Iggy
- a new look in festivals.
Now what would you do when the lead singer of your band has got mental
problems due to his abundant drug intake? You send him to a hippie, drug
infested, island under the supervision of a psychedelic doctor who
thinks that LSD has been been the best invention since masturbation.
In 1969 Smutty would have his medical office at Jenny
Fabian's apartment: “I did find it a bit weird though, trying to lie
around stoned listening to the sounds of vaginal inspections going on
behind the curtain up the other end of the sitting-room."
After a first attempt in the studio on Scream
Thy Last Scream, Pink Floyd finally went on holiday for the second
half of August. Syd Barrett, Lindsay Corner, Rick Wright, Juliette Gale
(Wright), Dr. Sam Hutt, his wife and baby went to Formentera while Roger
Waters and Judy Trim (Waters) headed for Ibiza. They all had a good
time, except for Barrett who – during a storm - panicked so hard he
literally tried to climb the walls of the villa, an anecdote that is so
vehemently trashed by biographer Rob
Chapman that it probably did happen.
In retrospect the decision to take a hippie doctor on holiday wasn't
that stupid. One of the underlying ideas was that he would be able to
communicate with Syd on the same level. The band, conscientiously or
not, were also aware that 'there was a fear that sending Syd to a
[traditional] doctor for observation might lead to his being sectioned
in a mental hospital'.
In those days most care centres in Great Britain were still Victorian
lunatic asylums where medical torture was mildly described as therapy.
At least these were the horrid stories told by the people who had been
so lucky to escape.
He showed me to the room that was to be mine. It was indeed a cell.
There was no door knob on the inside, the catch had been jammed so that
the door couldn't be shut properly, the window was high up in the wall
and had bars over it, and there was only a standard issue bed and locker
as furniture. (William Pryor)
Nobody wanted this to happen to Syd, but a less prosaic thought was this
would have meant the end of the band, something that had to be carefully
avoided. “The idea was to get Syd out of London, away from acid, away
from all his friends who treated him like a god.”, Rick Wright explained
but in reality Dr. Hutt, and the others, merely observed Syd Barrett,
catatonic as ever and still 'munching acid all the time'. Nick Mason, in
his usual dry style: “It was not a success.”
Whoever thought that giving Barrett a few weeks of rest was going to
evaporate the demons from his brain must have been tripping himself and
on the first of September the agenda was resumed as if nothing had
happened. The first 6 days were filled with gigs and recording sessions.
Three days later a Scandinavian tour with the legendary Gyllene
Cirkeln and Starclub gigs, followed by an Irish Tour and later, in
October, the disastrous North American Tour...
Although the previous paragraphs may seem harsh they are not meant to
criticise the people nor their actions. It is easy to pinpoint what went
wrong 45 years ago, but as it is impossible to predict an alternative
past we will never know if any other action would have had a different
or better effect. The Reverend is convinced that Syd's friends, band
members and management tried to do their best to help him, but
unfortunately they were running in the same insane treadmill as he was.
Syd wasn't the only one to be exhausted and at the same time the
atmosphere was imbibed with the 'summer of love' philosophy of
respecting someone's personal freedom, even if it lead to
In 1968 Aubrey
'Po' Powell (Floydian roadie and later Hipgnosis member) visited the
Formentera island together with some friends.
I first came here forty-one years ago [interview taken in 2009, FA] with
David Gilmour, and then the year afterwards with Syd Barrett. The first
year I came to Formentera I stayed about four months living like a
hippie, and I just fell in love with it. (…) Also it was kind of
difficult to get to. You had to get the plane to Ibiza and then the
ferry which at that time was the only ferry that went between Ibiza and
Formentera and that took about two hours to get across and it only went
twice a day. So it was an effort to get there, you know, it was a rather
remote place. But a lot of writers, painters and musicians gravitated
there. (Taken from: Aubrey
Powell: Life, light and Formentera’s influence on Hipgnosis.)
Shortly after Syd Barrett watched the first moon-landing
(that had been given a Pink Floyd soundtrack on the BBC) he panicked
when he found out that his pal Emo (Iain Moore) and a few others (Po,
John Davies) had left Albion for sunny Formentera. He literally grabbed
a bag of cash and dirty clothes and headed to Heathrow, driven there by
The story goes that Syd tried to stop an aeroplane taxiing on the
tarmac. In at least one version the plane actually stopped and took him
on board, but other say he had to wait for the next departure. Again it
is biographer Rob Chapman who categorises this anecdote as
'unsubstantiated nonsense', on the weird assumption that it failed to
make the newspapers, but other biographies have also omitted this story
for simply being too unbelievable.
Anyway, somewhere in July or early August 1969 Syd arrived in Ibiza and
met Emo who was on his way to San Fernando (Formentera). The biographies
Crazy Diamond (Mike Watkinson & Pete Anderson), Madcap (Tim Willis) and
Dark Globe (Julian Palacios) all add bits and pieces to that particular
Iain Moore: “He had a carrier bag of clothes that I could smell from
where I was standing.”
Emo says Syd's behaviour was pivoting like a see-saw. One moment he
could be seen laughing, joking and singing with the gang; the next
moment he could snap into an emotional freeze. It was useless to warn
him for the blistering sun and in the end his friends 'had to grab him,
hold him down, and cover him from head to toe in Nivea'.
At Formentera Syd stayed with Mary Wing, who had left Great Britain in
1965 to live on the island with Marc Dessier. According to them Barrett
was a gentle soul but 'like a little brother who needed looking after'.
Barrett was in good form and to an audience of European hippies he
claimed he was still the leader of Pink Floyd.
Barrett borrowed Dessier's guitar: “Then he sat there, chose a letter of
the alphabet and thought of his three favourite words starting with the
same letter. He wrote them on three bits of paper, threw them in the air
and wrote them again in the order that he picked them up.” This
technique was not uncommon for beat poets and Syd may have been inspired
by Spike Hawkins who showed Barrett his Instant Poetry Broth book the
One Formantera picture shows Syd with an unknown girl who hides her
nudity behind a red veil. The (copyrighted) picture can be found on John
Davies MySpace page (image link)
and has been published in the Crazy Diamond biography and on A
For Pink Floyd buffs the picture shares a resemblance with the red veil
picture on the Wish
You Were Here liner bag, that actually exists in a few different
versions. Storm Thorgerson has used the past from the band and its
members for his record covers, backdrop movies and videos on several
occasions, like the Barrett vinyl compilation that had a cover with a
plum, an orange and a matchbox.
Hipgnosis collaborator 'Po' Powell was with Syd in Formentera in 1969,
but what does Storm Thorgerson has to say about it all? He reveals that
the idea for the veil came from John Blake, and not from Po:
John Blake suggested using a veil – symbol of absence (departure) in
funerals ans also a way of absenting (hiding) the face. This was the
last shot (…) which was photographed in Norfolk.
And in Mind Over Matter:
The red muslin veil is an universal item, or symbol, of hiding the face,
either culturally as in Araby, or for respect as in funerals. What's
behind the veil?
According to Nick Mason a female nude can be seen on the Wish You Were
Here inside cover but of course this doesn't say anything about the
unknown woman on Formentera. Who is she?
Nobody knows. And that secret remained a secret for over 40 years.
Now let's suppose a witness would show up who remembers she has been
seen walking near Earl's Court. And that she was called Sarah Sky
although that probably was not her real name. And that she spoke with
a foreign accent and lived in London. And that Sarah Sky vanished
around the late 1970's and has never been heard of since.
Partially solving a problem only makes it bigger. A new quest has begun.
Update 2012.05.26: According to Emo (Iain Moore) Sarah Sky may
have been one of the girls who went with them to Formentera. The Syd
Barrett Archives (Facebook) have the following quote:
Actually, I spoke to Emo last night and he said she was just another
person who was staying at the house they rented. It was a nudist beach,
lol. At least Syd kept his pants on this time! (…) Anyway, Emo
said they didn't know her and he couldn't remember who she was with.
(...) The girl in this photo is name unknown. She was American and
staying in a house in Ibiza. She was visiting Formentera for the day.
Iain has, since then, reconfirmed that the Formentera Girl was an
American tourist. He has also posted a new picture of Syd and the girl.
Update August 2012: Author and movie maker Nigel
Gordon does not agree with a quote in the above text, taken from
I just want to respond briefly to your article on Formentera etc where
you wrote or quote that Santmat is ‘saccharine mysticism’. I don’t agree
with you. Santmat recommends that we meditate for two and a half hours a
day. It’s pretty ‘salty’!
Update February 2015: Some 'sources' on the web pretend the
Formentera girl is none other than German photo-model Uschi Obermaier.
Obviously this is not true and if you want to know how the Church came
to this conclusion you can read everything at Uschi
Obermaier: Proletarian Chic.
Many thanks to: Nina, Ebronte, Julian Palacios, Jenny Spires.
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 90, 131. Chapman,
Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p.
228, 341. Davis, John: Childhood's
End, My Generation Cambridge 1946-1965. De Groot, Gerard: The
Sixties Unplugged, Pan Macmillan, London, 2009, p. 27. Gordon,
Nigel: Santmat, email, 18.08.2012. Green, Jonathon: Days In
The Life, Pimlico, London, 1998, p. 286. Green, Jonathon: All
Dressed Up, Pimlico, London, 1999, p. 255. Mason, Nick, Inside
Out, Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue, p. 95-97. Palacios,
Julian: A mile or more in a foreign clime': Syd and Formentera @ Syd
Barrett Research Society, 2009 (forum no longer active). Palacios,
Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London,
2010, p. 265, 353. Pryor, William: The Survival Of The Coolest,
Clear Books, 2003, p. 106. Scurfield, Matthew: I Could Be Anyone,
Monticello Malta 2009, p. 176. Spires, Jenny: The
Syd Barrett Archives, Facebook, 2012. Thorgerson, Storm: Mind
Over Matter, Sanctuary Publishing, London, 2003, p. 80. Thorgerson,
Storm: Walk Away René, Paper Tiger, Limpsfield, 1989, p. 150. Thorgerson,
Storm & Powell, Aubrey: For The Love Of Vinyl, Picturebox,
Brooklyn, 2008, p. 104 (essay written by Nick Mason). Watkinson, Mike
& Anderson, Pete: Crazy Diamond, Omnibus Press, London, 1993,
p. 90-91. Willis, Tim, Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p.
Is there really a Barrett revival going on, or are we just seeing more
Syd fans because our global village is getting smaller and smaller? I do
remember the early seventies when the only guy you could speak to about
Barrett was a freakish weirdo who smoked pot in the school toilets and
who was generally avoided by everyone, including the school teachers.
The vibrant Birdie
Hop Facebook group is sky-rocketing with over 1200 members and a
dozen new threads a day, but the traditional forum
has come to a standstill and survives on its three posters a day, so the
feeling is a bit ambiguous.
Facebook may be here to stay (but that was once said from MySpace
as well, remember?) but basically it sucks if you want to find
information and you are not employed by the NSA.
While traditional forums have this newbie rule to go looking in the
archives before asking a question this is virtually impossible on
Facebook, because their search system simply doesn't work and links are
automatically made redundant after a certain time. The whole 'group'
concept of Facebook is a laugh, especially for administrators.
Underneath is a screenshot of an actual search on Facebook, trying to
locate the thread
(Facebook link no longer active) this article is about...
So, by design, Facebook groups are condemned to have a flow of
'continuous repetition' to paraphrase the wise words of Dr. Hans
Keller while the one interesting thread is floating down around the
icy waters underground. (Wow, this is a good cigarette.)
Waiting for the man
A couple of weeks ago Baron
of Pink Floyd toying around at the Casa
Madrona hotel in Sausalito
(CA) was posted again and as usual there was that one individual asking
if anybody knew who the bloke was standing behind the boys.
Tea on the terrace at our hotel in Sausalito on the hillside above San
Fransisco Bay (…) I have no idea who our tea-time partner was – the
hotel manager, an under assistant West Coast promotion man, or a vendor
of Wild West apparel? We eventually acquired enough cowboy hats for the
entire population of Dodge City, and Roger commissioned a six-gun
holster in which he carried his wallet.
So here was another quest for the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit,
that splendid non-profit organisation, lead by that fantabulous
mastermind Reverend Felix Atagong who has already solved several
Barrettian riddles in the past.
The obvious first step was to contact the hotel that doesn't hesitate to
put on its website
that it is a legend since 1885 and that it drew celebrities such as Dick
Van Dyke, Carol Burnett, Warren Beatty and the rock band Pink Floyd.
We got a very friendly answer from Stefan Mühle, the general manager,
that our guess was logical but that he didn't know either. Since 1967
the hotel changed hands a couple of times and the finer side of these
anecdotes, that only seem to bother the Sydiots in the world, got lost
in the mist of times.
Before we continue with our quest, let's have a small history lesson.
In the summer of 1967 Syd Barrett suffered from something that
was euphemistically referred to as over-fatigue. The band scrapped some
gigs and send Barrett over to sunny Formentera under supervision of
Hutt, the underground's leading gynaecologist. Unfortunately Smutty,
as he was invariably called by his female patients, was the kind of
doctor who rather prescribed LSD
than aspirin. After some holidays in the sun Syd (and the rest of the
boys) returned to England where the endless treadmill of gigging,
recording, gigging, recording started all over again. (You can read more
about the Floyd's holiday at Formentera
In retrospect this was the moment that someone should've grabbed Syd by
the balls, whether he wanted it or not, drag him back to Cambridge, cold
turkey him and give him some proper therapy, although that was kind of
non-existent in those days. William
Pryor, a Cambridge beat poet who descended from the underground into
a heroine maelström, describes the Cane
Hill drug rehabilitation centre as a 'redecorated ward of a huge
Victorian lunatic asylum village that had been given a coat of paint and
a fancy name' where it was almost easier to score H than in the outside
This is not America
Pink Floyd's first American tour was planned between 23 October and 12
November 1967 but because there was a rather Kafkaesque bureaucratic
system to get work permits up till 15 possible gigs had to be cancelled
(according to Julian
Palacios 8 had already been booked, Mark
Blake sticks to 6 and Syd
Barrett Pink Floyd dot com counts 10).
The trustworthy biographies all have (slightly) different stories but it
is safe to say that the Floyd left for America with at least a week
delay. Unfortunately they still couldn't enter the country and had to
wait in Canada until their permits arrived while the management
frantically tried to reschedule the gigs that had already been confirmed.
The 1967 American tour was disastrous, to say the least, and quite a few
gigs went horribly wrong. Luckily the natives were friendly, so friendly
that at least one band member had to visit a venereal disease clinic
back in the UK. Syd and Peter
Wynne-Willson learned the hard way that American grass was much
stronger than at home, leading to another ruined gig as Syd was
apparently too stoned to handle his guitar. It is an educated guess that
Syd tried some local drug varieties like DMT
that were much stronger than their British counterparts. DOM
or STP or Serenity, Tranquility and Peace allegedly gave synaesthetic
trips that could last for 18 hours and from testimonies by Pete
Townshend, Eric Clapton and Mick Farren it is known that it could take a
week for some (frightening) hallucinatory effects to disappear. Julian
Palacios, who dedicates 11 pages to the Floyd's first American tour in Dark
Associated with the downfall of Haight-Ashbury, on 11 November pink
wedge-shaped pills containing 20-micrograms of DOM hit the Haight.
Haight-Ashbury Medical Clinic treated eighteen cases of acute toxic
psychosis in five hours. When Barrett and Wynne-Willson took STP in San
Francisco, this was in all likelihood the same ‘pink wedge’.
Result: if Syd Barrett had been mad before, this tour only made
him madder. At the Cheetah club he received an electroshock from his
microphone and he reacted by looking around on stage for the next hour
and a half, not singing, not playing his guitar. He would be
incommunicado to the others for the rest of the tour, who weren't very
keen to talk to him anyway. It needs to be said that not all gigs were
catastrophic and some reviewers actually found the band interesting, but
we wouldn't go that far by calling Syd's erratic behaviour a cleverly
performed dadaist statement like Rob
On the cover of the Rolling Stone
A brand new music magazine, called Rolling
Stone, whose first issue had just appeared a couple of days before,
wanted to do a feature on the new English underground sensation. They
send over photographer Baron
Wolman to the Casa Madrona hotel in Sausalito who found the lads in
a good mood and joking around. But when the band performed at Winterland
that night, the 11th of November, Ralph
Gleason of Rolling Stone was so disappointed he decided not to
publish the cover article and just reviewed the concert saying that
'Pink Floyd for all its electronic interest is simply dull in a dance
hall'. This was also the gig where Syd detuned the strings of his guitar
until they fell off, de facto ending his contribution for the
rest of the show. The next day, on the last gig of the American tour,
the band saw Syd walking off stage and for the first time voices were
raised to kick him out.
In retrospect this was another moment that someone should've grabbed Syd
by the balls, whether he wanted it or not, and drag him back to
Cambridge, but the management insisted to immediately fly to Holland.
Thirty-seven years later, Nick Mason more or less apologises:
If proof was needed that we were in denial about Syd's state of mind,
this was it. Why we thought a transatlantic flight immediately followed
by yet more dates would help is beyond believe.
This is the house
Madrona was build in February 1885 for (isn't it ironic?) William
G. Barrett, a wealthy Vermont born lumber baron and
Secretary-Treasurer for the San
Francisco Gas and Electric Company. He and his family lived high
above the town in his beautifully designed Italian Villa country home.
Architecturally, it was a mastery of craftmanship, a tall and stately
mansion which stood upon the hill-side. Its three stories, with handsome
porticos and verandas, projecting cornice with curved brackets, and
hooded windows, received prominent recognition from the community. This
resulted in an article in the Sausalito News in 1885, which praised Mr.
Barrett's "New Mansion... its fine appearance, magnificent view", and
called the Barrett place "one of the finest improved sites in
Sausalito." (Taken from the National
Register of Historic Places.)
In 1906 the house was sold to attorney John Patrick Gallagher who
converted it into a successful hotel. For the next three decades Barrett
House (and its four outbuildings) would be a hotel, a bar 'the Gallagher
Inn' and a brothel, but that last is something you won't find at the
During World War II, the property was used as temporary lodging for
military families in transit and for the labourers of the nearby
(military) shipyard. After the war it fell into disrepair and became
known as a crash pad for the city’s burgeoning beatnik population.
In February 1959 Robert and Marie-Louise Deschamps, who
had just immigrated from France, responded to an ad to run a 'small
hotel'. Their children Marie-France and 24-year old Jean-Marie
were there when they opened a nameless bar on the 27th of April 1959:
The building was in ruins. Mattresses on the floor, broken furniture -
and very little of that. It was not ‘bohemian’ - it was a flop house!
The Deschamps family had no hotel experience and were rather
unpleasantly surprised by the beatniks who rarely paid their bills. The
bar was not an immediate success either, they would often find that the
door had been smashed in at night and the beer stolen. The logical plan
was to close the hotel, evict the hobos and start all over again.
When the renewed hotel, in exclusive French style, and an excellent
restaurant 'Le Vivoir' were opened about a year later Jean-Marie
left the parental home to sail the seven seas, working as a cook on
Norwegian and Swedish ships. He returned to the hotel around the
mid-sixties and moved into Cottage B. Several guests, from the
pre-sixties bohemian days, were still living in the 'attached' cottages,
including a Swedish baron who had served in the Waffen SS, an ex-CIA
agent who claimed to have been a spy in Vienna, a mostly drunk beatnik
writer and adventurer and, last but not least, a continuously depressed
crew member of one of the planes that dropped the atom bomb on Japan.
In 1973 Casa Madrona was damaged by a series of mudslides and scheduled
for demolition, but it was saved in 1976. Since then it changed owner
several times and went even bankrupt in 2009. With the opening of a spa
resort the hotel was, hopefully, given a new life and history.
It is believed that Jean-Marie Deschamps, the owner's son, was
living and working at the hotel when the Pink Floyd stayed there in
November 1967, 2 months before his 32nd birthday. We contacted Baron
Wolman who told us:
While I'm not entirely certain that he was Deschamps himself, for sure
he was a principal in the hotel - owner, manager, chef, etc. Given the
look, however, I would say your educated guess is probably correct...
Comparing the Floydian picture (1967) with one from 2005 it seems pretty
safe to say there is a certain resemblance. Update January
2014: The Deschamps family have confirmed it is Jean-Marie standing
behind Pink Floyd.
Jean was born on January 20, 1936 and passed away on Tuesday, December
8, 2009. In a (French) obituary it is written how Jean-Marie was an
'incorrigible globe-trotting vagabond' whose home was always 'elsewhere'
and an anarchistic supporter of lost causes, like the rights of native
Americans. Later on, despising the Bush administration, he was an ardent
critic of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan...
But once a cook, always a cook. The night before he died he asked his
(fourth) wife Monica to note down the Christmas menu for his children
and grandchildren, probably knowing that he wouldn't be there to attend.
January 2010 saw a 'sumptuous feast' at the Barrel Room of the Sebastiani
Winery in Sanoma (CA) where 150 guests honoured their friend,
husband, father, grandfather. The place was a gathering of artists,
writers, businessmen, hosts, globetrotters and vagabonds.
If only someone would have had the guts to find out earlier who was the
man standing behind the band. It would've been swell to ask him about
his meeting with the Floyd in 1967, but unfortunately now it is too late
for that. We are pretty sure that it would have led to a tsunami of
anecdotes as Jean-Marie Deschamps had always been a sailor and a
vagabond at heart.
And we will never know what Syd thought of staying in Barrett House.
An Ending In Style (or not)
We need an addendum as the Pink Floyd in Sausalito saga isn't over yet.
When Pink Floyd roadie Alan Styles, who used to be a punter on the river
Cam, saw the house
boats community in Sausalito he fell in love with the place and
decided not to return home after the 1972-1973 Dark Side of the Moon
tour. Alan, who was some kind of celebrity in Cambridge before anyone
had heard of Pink Floyd, can be seen on the rear cover of the Ummagumma
album and makes out the bulk of the 'musique
concrète' on Alan's
Psychedelic Breakfast (Atom Heart Mother).
In 2000 a short
movie was made about Style's life in Sausalito, but it was only
released after his death in 2011. It is the story of a man wanting to be
free in a world that keeps on abolishing freedom. In a nice gesture to
their old friend Pink Floyd Ltd cleared the copyrights for the movie, as
told by Viper:
Nick Mason messaged me on FB as I'd been asking on his site about
permission to release the video about my uncle. Nick gave me PF's
management details and in turn David Gilmour gave us permission to
release the video as it contains original PF music.
But when the Reverend visited Jon Felix's YouTube
channel this is all he got, apparently EMI (and a lot of other acronyms)
don't give a fuck about what Nick Mason or David Gilmour are deciding or
what friendship, compassion, remembrance and especially respect is all
In some kind of weird Floydian cosmic joke Alan Styles died on the same
day as Jean-Marie Deschamps, but two years later, on the 8th of December
Somewhere we think we should try to make a point, but we can't think of
anything right now.
Note: The memoires of Nick Mason's Inside Out are (90%)
identical between the different editions. However, the hardcover
'deluxe' edition contains hundreds of photos that aren't in the cheaper
soft-cover versions. These pictures all have funny and informative notes
that aren't present in the paperback editions. Back to top.
Many thanks to: the Deschamps family, Jon Felix, Yves Leclerc, Stefan
Mühle (Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa), Viper, Baron Wolman, USA National
Register off Historic Places. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 95-96. Chapman,
Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 198. Leclerc,
Yves: Bum Chromé, Blogspot, 9
décembre 2009, 10
janvier 2010. Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of
Pink Floyd, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2004, p. 93. Mason,
Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books,
London, 2011 reissue, p. 98-102. Mühle, Stefan: JM Deschamps
on Baron Wolman picture?, email, 21.10.2013. Palacios, Julian: Syd
Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p.
289-290, 298. Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink
Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 45-46, 69. Pryor, William: The
Survival Of The Coolest, Clear Books, 2003, p. 106. Wolman,
Baron: Casa Madrona - Pink Floyd + unknown man, email, 14.10.2013.
Interstellar Overdrive is the name of a January 2014 Shindig
guide and it's worth every penny you spend on it. In 35 articles on 170
pages, it tries to define and explore the space rock phenomenon. It has
in-dept articles on Amon Düül II, Gong, Hawkwind, Pink Fairies, Spacemen
3, Sun Ra and many others without forgetting the sci-fi movie
soundtracks of the fifties (Forbidden Planet!) and the BBC Radiophonic
Workshop (Doctor Who!).
In a six pages article 'The Reluctant Spacerockers' the on-off
relationship between Pink Floyd and space rock is examined and
what an enjoyable essay that is.
While journalists, who are nothing but a bunch of lazy buggers anyway,
have labelled the band as space rockers, its members denied this, in
particular Roger Waters who reacted in his usual diplomatic style:
“Space – what the fuck are they talking about?” Probably the bass player
is so demented nowadays that he has forgotten that his lame Amused to
Death album features some alien anthropologists trying to find out
why all these skeletons are sitting before their TV sets.
Then Austin Matthews chimes in and quite intelligible shows where and
how the Pink Floyd used space rock tricks to appease the masses.
There is an error in the article although the author is only partially
to blame. (We are just being gentle here, that spaced out sod could of
course have done a search on the Internet first.) On page 29 David
Gilmour is cited:”To say that we are thrilled at the thought of being
the first rock band to be played in space is something of an
This refers to the Soyuz
TM-7 rocket launch from the 26th of November 1988 five days after
Pink Floyd had released their Delicate
Sound Of Thunder (live) album. The French president François
Mitterrand attended the launch because of cosmonaut Jean-Loup
Chrétien, who was the first western European man in space (this
was his second flight, by the way, his first was in 1982). David Gilmour
and Nick Mason attended because a cassette of their latest album was
sent to the MIR
space station, apparently on demand by one of the cosmonauts. We'll
never know if this is true or just a staged lie but surely there was a
mighty PR machine behind the band who made it clear to the world that
this was the first rock music recording played in outer space.
Which was not true. Simple as that.
In 2003, while researching for an Orb
biography that would never see the light of day, the Reverend stumbled
upon the electronic band spAce
who had a million-selling disco hit in 1977 with Magic
Fly. The band split in the early eighties but electronic composer Didier
Marouani had a particular successful solo career in Russia (and the
East-European communist countries), often using the spAce name and logo,
depending on the lawsuit of the month that ex-members were bringing on
Marouani's solo work is slightly reminiscent of Jean-Michel Jarre, Mike
Oldfield or Tangerine Dream and was (still is) inspired by Russian and
American space programs and sci-fi themes. In 1987 he released a CD
called Space Opera (got the slight promotional nudge towards his
old band?) and that CD was taken by cosmonauts Alexander
Viktorenko, Syrian Muhammed
Faris and Aleksandr
Aleksandrov to the MIR orbital station in July 1987, more than a
year before Pink Floyd made all that brouhaha.
In 2003, long before the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit was
founded, the Reverend interviewed Didier Marouani who had the following
I was composing my album Space Opera and I had the idea to bring
Americans and Russians together on my album which at that time was very
difficult (especially from the USSR). After negotiating with the Soviet
ministry of Culture for 6 months I got the authorization to have the Red
Army Choir together with the Harvard University Glee Club choir, who
were recorded separately.
Following my concept I thought it would be very nice to have this first
Space Opera shipped to MIR and then launched into outer space. They
asked me to wait while they would study my request and in the meantime I
wrote a letter to Mr. Mikhail
Gorbachev who answered very positive.
Two months later the Ministry of Space confirmed an appointment. On
July, the 2nd, 1987 I was received by the Russian cosmonauts and I gave
them a CD, together with a CD-player and 2 small speakers. This was
extensively reported in the Russian press.
The cosmonauts left Baikonur
on the 22nd of July 1987 and in October 1987 the CD, the player and the
2 speakers were launched into outer space. So my music really floats
into space which is for me a very big and happy achievement.
So for sure Pink Floyd did not have the first music in space. During a
concert tour in the USSR, I met cosmonaut Aleksandr Pavlovich
Aleksandrov, twice Hero of the Soviet Union, again who told me that he
worked in space for 7 months, listening to my music. [Note:
actually Aleksandrov stayed 160 days in Space in 1987.]
Lie for a Lie
But of course Mr. Gilmour may not entirely have been lying when he said
Pink Floyd was the first rock band to be played in space. Didier
Marouani's oeuvre is more electronic, new age (and recently: dance)
oriented and the Floyd, as we all know, have never flirted with these
musical styles before. (Yes, this is called irony.)
The last laugh may be for Didier
Marouani though. In 2011 he released an album called From Earth
to Mars and it was officially appointed by Roskosmos
as the album that will go with the first manned Russian flight to that
planet. But we earnestly doubt that listening to it for 6 months in a
row will have a positive effect on its crew.
It was probably Monday the 28th of March 1994 when the Reverend came
home from work and had a burning hot CD in his pocket. On the train from
work to Atagong mansion he had already opened the booklet, had
thoroughly scrutinised the artwork by Storm
Thorgerson, trying to read the music in the intriguing images. Cerro
Tololo, the boxing gloves,
the paper heads
(and headlines)... The Reverend's heart literally skipped a beat when he
found out that Rick
Wright had been given a song
he could call his own. Rick's first Pink Floyd song for nearly two
decades (and literally the centrepiece of the album).
Probably the Atagong family had supper first, then LA-girl sat in the
couch, and after the Reverend had put the CD in the player he sat next
to her. It must have been a rather chilly day because there was some
wood burning in the stove and Mimi, the fat and pregnant cat, was
enjoying the heat in her basket.
The earth noises came in... and a new legend was born...
All this came back to the Reverend when, on the 19th of May 2014 a new
Pink Floyd website appeared, called Division
There was a countdown clock and a new - Storm Thorgerson inspired - video
for the excellent Marooned
instrumental, that grew out of a jam at the Astoria
recording studio between David
Gilmour & Rick Wright. There were immediately some rumours in Pink
Floyd internet land, some clearly more inspired than others, but the
general consensus was that the album would be re-released in an
anniversary or even an Immersion edition.
The obvious nod towards Thorgerson and Wright made the fans hope for the
release of The Big Spliff, a Division Bell satellite album whose
demos had been lying in the vaults since 1994. Nick
Mason in Inside Out:
After two weeks we had taped an extraordinary collection of riffs,
patterns and musical doodles, some rather similar, some nearly
identifiable as old songs of ours, some clearly subliminal reinventions
of well known songs. (…) But even having discarded these, forty ideas
were available. (…) We eventually ended up with enough left-over
material that we considered releasing it as a second album, including a
set we dubbed ‘The Big Spliff’, the kind of ambient mood music that we
were bemused to find being adopted by bands like the Orb, although –
unlike Gong’s Steve Hillage – we never received any invitations to join
this next generation on stage.
It needs to be said that the Reverend's expectations were running in
overdrive as well, he was hoping for a new Publius
Enigma clue (or perhaps a modest explanation of the riddle - stroke
- hoax), hidden in the artwork somewhere, and of course the anticipation
of some unreleased tracks, as on the other Immersion and Discovery sets
(see also: Fuck
all that, Pink Floyd Ltd).
Four Star Daydream
When the clock reached zero the website indeed revealed a pricey
Division Bell box-set (actually it crashed at first, as it was hit by
thousands of fans at the same time). Limited at 500 copies worldwide it
contained an exclusive Limited Edition Division Bell 20th Anniversary
T-shirt, a remastered double vinyl in gatefold sleeve, a Division Bell
CD and a Bluray with 3 alternative mixes and the new Marooned music
video. Some 7 and 12 inch coloured vinyl singles were thrown in as well,
together with a 24 Page 12" (30 cm) booklet, 4 art prints and... some
So basically Pink Floyd decided to ride the gravy train (again) by
repackaging the same product five times in the same box and throwing it
at the fans for the giveaway price of £157.50 (about 263 $ or 193 Euro,
the unlimited box [without t-shirt and coasters] comes somewhat cheaper
and is still available).
Each man has his price, Fred
The fact that it is Gilmour now who spits the fans in the face even made
it into the papers
and generally there is much disdain from the fanbase. What seemed to be
the hype of the year was nothing but a cheap stunt to sell some recycled
material at exorbitant prices. That the memory of Rick Wright and the
legacy of Storm Thorgerson were thrown in to make a cynical million
bucks more makes this release even more sickening. Polly
Samson once wrote: “David Gilmour should be cloned so that every
crowded house might have one”, but at this rate she can keep him inside,
lock the door and throw away the key.
Did you understand the music, Fat Dave, or was it all in vain?
And when you feel you're near the end And what once burned so bright
is growing dim? And when you see what's been achieved Is there a
feeling that you've been deceived? Near The End - David Gilmour, 1984.
Upgrade 2014: a month after the publication of this article it
was found out that a brand new 'recycled' Pink Floyd album was in the
make, loosely based upon the Big Spliff sessions. However, this resulted
in an unprecedented attack of the Floyd management towards its fans.
loathful Mr. Loasby and other stories...
(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may
have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
Sources (other than the above internet links): Mason, Nick: Inside
Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books, London, 2011
reissue, p. 315-316. Samson, Polly: Perfect Lives, Virago
Press, London, 2010, p. 225.
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
So here it is. The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's The
Endless River review of what undoubtedly is the most anticipated
record of the year.
The album has four, mostly instrumental, suites, that Pink
Floyd prefers to call sides. Each suite has several tracks, but
these are best listened to in one piece as they form one ensemble. The
'luxe' edition has a 39 minutes extra DVD or Blu-ray with 6 videos of
1993 studio rehearsals and 3 audio tracks. The Blu-ray version is the
most complete (and expensive) as it also has a stereo PCM, a 5.1 DTS and
a 5.1 PCM version of the album, whatever these acronyms mean.
The front cover concept was designed by Ahmed
Emad Eldin, in what could be called ersatzHipgnosis
style, probably chosen because it evokes the boatman who was present in The
Division Bell artwork (and, in lesser extent, on A
Momentary Lapse Of Reason). The other artwork is credited to the
usual gang of graphic designers: Aubrey
and, weirdly, Hipgnosis, although that company stopped in 1983. The
24-pages booklet has a maritime feel: compasses, maps, logbooks... The
lettering misses a piece in most letters, to accentuate the missing
keyboard player, who has been credited on 11 of the 18 tracks. Storm
Thorgerson is remembered as well in the credits.
The album was created out of rejected 1993 jams and demos, with Richard
Wright, Nick Mason and David Gilmour, that were probably revisited to be
added to a Division Bell anniversary
set of one kind or another. Rejected is too strong a word because
way back, twenty years ago, it had been the idea to turn the The
Division Bell into a double CD-set, what was abandoned for lack of time.
That second album turned into the apocryphal The Big Spliff that
still sits in Gilmour's studio in an unfinished form and that was
assembled by Andy
Manzanera was asked, in 2012, to work on it, but refused.
I don't wanna hear. I wanna hear every single piece or scrap that was
recorded, everything. Outtakes from Division Bell. Everything.
In December 2012 Manzanera puzzled dozens of unfinished pieces into a
skeleton, divided into four 12 minute suites, out of 20 hours of
material. According to Manzanera, Pink Floyd thanked him and immediately
put the work in a box where they forgot it. Martin
'Youth' Glover however says that he was invited in June 2013 and
that David Gilmour had already worked on the two different versions of
Within about 40 seconds, it sounded like Floyd. It was absolutely
magical. (…) Listening to unreleased Pink Floyd recordings with David,
the hair was going up on the back of my arms.
Youth then created a third version and in November 2013 a meeting was
held between the two remaining Pink Floyd members and the three
producers: Andy Jackson, Phil Manzanera and Youth. Gilmour and Mason
picked the best ideas from each version and started working on something
that could have been an atrocious Frankenmix but that turned out
quite coherent in the end.
Side One: ambient spaces
"Things Left Unsaid...", Gilmour, Wright "It's What We Do",
Gilmour, Wright "Ebb and Flow", Gilmour, Wright
Things Left Unsaid (4:27): a very ambient, Cluster
One atmospheric, introduction, with some voice samples of the Floyd
members. Tradition wants that it only starts morphing into something of
a melody after the two minutes mark. It gradually slides into It's
What We Do (6:17) that thrives on a Shine
On You Crazy Diamond moog synth and traces of Marooned
later on. This is a typical Floydian spacey slow blues, ideal for those
fans who want to chill out with a big spliff. It's lazy and slow and
probably a bit boring for some, a typical trademark of the Floyd sound,
and just because it is so intriguingly and deliberately slow, the first
thrill of the album. It continues into Ebb and Flow (1:55),
mainly an epilogue to the previous track.
Actually the first suite is pretty daring to start with in the hectic
days we are living in today, this is so contradictory with contemporary
music it nearly feels alienated. It's the kind of suite that will be
used in nuru massage parlours around the world.
Sum (4:48), there's that Cluster One intro again with ambient
effects switching towards an Astronomy
Domine space trip. Then it nods to an early seventies style Floydian
Of These Days, although bigger and louder, including that good old
Skins (2:37) further elaborates on the A
Saucerful Of Secrets tribal rhythms and this is the first time in
years we hear grand vizier Nick Mason take the lead on a track, finally!
We could never think we would be so happy with a fucking drum solo.
Gilmour makes his guitar scream à la Barrett in Interstellar
Overdrive in something that can be described as a beat bolero. The
track ends with some minor guitar effects, just for the sake of the
effect and glides over to Unsung (1:07), an intermezzo that is a
bridge to the ending of this suite, the magical Anisina (3:17).
Those who think this is Wright in a jazz lounge must be contradicted.
This is 100% Gilmour and it brings shivers down the spine, even if this
a known track that has been bootlegged before as a Division Bell outtake.
The second suite is the experimental one, although the experiment is
limited not to scare the casual listener away. We've heard people say
that this Pink Floyd record is more of the same. And it's true. But who
complains when The Rolling Stones or U2 bring out their umpteenth album
sounding exactly like the previous one?
Side Three: all that jazz
"The Lost Art of Conversation", Wright "On Noodle Street",
Gilmour, Wright "Night Light", Gilmour, Wright "Allons-Y
(1)", Gilmour "Autumn '68", Wright "Allons-Y (2)",
Gilmour "Talkin' Hawkin'", Gilmour, Wright
The lost art of conversation (1:43) is an introductory piano
piece by Wright, obviously with some guitar effects from Gilmour. It
segues into On Noodle Street (1:42), that is, as the title gives
away, nothing but a light jazzy noodling, featuring Guy
Pratt, Wright's son-in-law. It is easy listening for Floydheads,
just like the next track Night Light (1:42). The first three
tracks are merely the introduction for the highlight of this side, and
perhaps the album.
Allons-Y (1) (1:57), is a two-piecer and a Run
Like Hell copycat, only much better (actually, we find Run Like Hell
one of the worst tracks by the Floyd). It is irresistible and the moment
we really started tapping our feet. The mid-piece of Allons-Y is Autumn
'68 (1:35), the much discussed archival bit taken from a Wright
improvisation from the Royal Albert Hall in 1968, reminding us vaguely
of a movement of Mike
Bells, only this dates from about five years before. Allons-Y (2)
(1:32) is a reprise of the first part to close the circle.
Talkin Hawkin' (3:29) starts rather like one of those slow
evolving (and a bit tedious) pieces from On
An Island, but is – yet again – irresistible in its meandering
movements. Nobody is so immaculate in creating these lazy and slightly
boring moods than Pink Floyd. With its Stephen
Hawking samples this track is the obvious link to The Division Bell,
but the track itself is the counterpart of Keep
The third suite is the most light-hearted one, perhaps the most
commercial and catchy, and it surely is saved by, here we go, Allons-Y.
Side Four: turn off the lights
"Calling", Gilmour, Moore "Eyes to Pearls", Gilmour "Surfacing",
Gilmour "Louder than Words", Gilmour, Samson
Moore, who made the Broken
China album with Richard Wright is responsible for Calling
(3:38) and it certainly has the mood of that pretty depressed, and
unfortunately underestimated, album. The atmosphere is somewhat
reminiscent of David
it is an ambient and dark and haunting piece. It is a nice thing from
Gilmour to have added this obvious nod to Rick's solo album and one of
the more interesting pieces of the album.
Eyes To Pearls (1:51) breathes the air of Angelo
Peaks and has hidden hints of Money
and One Of These Days, but one can find traces of earlier work in about
all tracks on this album. Didn't Nick Mason quip once he was in the
recycling business? Surfacing (2:46) acts as the intro to the
final song, it seems a lesser track at first, but it has a weeping
guitar that hit us right in the heart / stomach / balls. Actually most
of the numbers may not be seen as individual pieces but as movements of
each suite and as such they perfectly serve their roles.
Louder Than Words (6:37) was gravely discussed when it came out,
it has been called Floyd by numbers and Polly
Samson's lyrics are of syrupy soap series quality but in this
context and as the coda of the album it just works great. Just listen to
that piano intro by Wright, the last we'll probably hear, that
irresistible refrain, the perfect ending solo, also the last we'll
probably hear... This is Gilmour at his best and for once he doesn't
stretches it too long, what was his problem on the previous Diet Floyd
records where he had the habit of putting six minute guitar solos in
three minute songs. Gilmour's playing on this album is to the point and
you never get the feeling he is showing off like on, for instance, On An
Island, although it is clear he bought a new set of pedals.
This is a great album, a classic in the making, although perhaps only
for the die-hard fans, and is far much better than we had ever hoped for.
(A third article, with a more critical approach to the album can be
found at: Chin
More reviews at A
Fleeting Glimpse and Brain
Damage. Illustrations (except the Rick Wright picture) taken from
The Endless River and The Division Bell.. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Bonner, Michael: Coming
back to life, Uncut, November 2014, p. 35 – 41.
The new Diet Pink
Floyd album The Endless River is conquering the world,
perhaps to the absence of any real competition. We don't think Susan
Boyle's cover version of Wish
You Were Here will pose a real threat, does it? In Holland the
album, currently at number one, sells five
times as much as the number two.
The Endless River is a slow evolving, ambient piece of work with obvious
nods to the Floyd's glorious past... one hears traces of A Saucerful Of
Secrets (Syncopated Pandemonium), Astronomy Domine, Careful With That
Axe Eugene, Cluster One, Interstellar Overdrive, Keep Talking, Marooned,
Money, One Of These Days (I'm Going To Cut You Into Little Pieces), Run
Like Hell, Shine On You Crazy Diamond and probably half a dozen more
we've already forgotten.
The familiarity of it all has created raving enthusiasm for some and
'mainly yesterday's reheated lunch' for others and this also seems to be
the opinion of the press. Mark Blake (in Mojo)
politely describes the album as 'big on atmosphere, light on songs',
Mikael Wood (in the Los
Angeles Times) states that Pink Floyd drifts towards nothingness
with aimless and excruciatingly dull fragments.
While the 1987 A Momentary Lapse Of Reason album was a David
Gilmour solo effort, recorded with 18 session musicians and with the
Pink Floyd name on the cover to sell a few million copies more, The
Endless River originally grew out of jams between Gilmour, Mason &
Actually these were rejected jams, not good enough to include on The
Division Bell, but over the years they seem to have ripened like
good old wine. Well that's the PR story but in reality Andy Jackson,
Phil Manzanera and Martin 'Youth' Glover had to copy bits and pieces
from twenty hours of tape and toy around with every single good sounding
second in Pro
Tools to obtain something relatively close to Floydian eargasm. Phil
Manzanera in Uncut:
I would take a guitar solo from another track, change the key of it,
stick it on an outtake from another track. 'Oh that bit there, it
reminds me of Live At Pompeii, but let's put a beat underneath it.' So
then I take a bit of Nick warming up in the studio at Olympia, say, take
a bit of a fill here and a bit of fill there. Join it together, make a
loop out of it.
This doesn't really sound like an organic created piece of music, does
it? The result is a genetically modified fat-free sounding record
and while this is the most ambient experiment of Pink Floyd it will
never get extreme, despite Martin Glover's presence whose only ambient
house additions seem to be the On The Run VCS3 effect that comes
whooshing in several times. Youth isn't that young and reckless any more
so don't expect anything close to the KLF's Madrugada
Eterna, Jimmy 'Space' Cauty's Mars
or the Orb's A
Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the
Update April 2017: One and a half year after the record has been
released the involvement of Nick Mason can be finally discussed as well.
Pink Floyd know-all Ron Toon at Steve
Nick had nothing to do with this project except to play a few new drum
tracks basically being brought in as a session drummer. Of course he was
/ is a member of Pink Floyd but his involvement in this project was
minimal at best. The vision was David's and the other producers and Andy
[Jackson] did most of the work. Source: Pink
Floyd - The Early Years 1965-1972 Box Set.
But the music isn't the only thing that seems to be embellished. Last
week long-time Echoes
mailing list member Christopher, also known as 10past10, went on
holidays, taking with him the new Pink Floyd CD and, as reading
material, Nick Mason's Inside Out book. Then something happened
which unleashed the power of his imagination (read Christopher's
The mid-book picture of The Endless River shows the Astoria studio with
Rick Wright, David Gilmour and Nick Mason jamming in 1993, taken by Jill
Furmanovsky. This picture has been stitched out of several shots,
the borders don't match (deliberately) and Nick Mason (or at least his
arms) can be seen twice.
But Christopher was in for another surprise when he looked at the fourth
picture gallery in Nick Mason's Inside Out soft-cover (or on page 313 if
you have the coffee-table edition). It shows another picture of the same
session, with Rick Wright, David Gilmour and Bob Ezrin.
Now look at the man in the middle, the one who doesn't like to be called
If you look closely at every piece of David's clothing, his hair, the
way he is holding his guitar, the chords, the lot. It all matches
exactly ... too much not be a match.
Not only does The Endless River centrefold superimposes Nick Mason
twice, but they have glued in David Gilmour from another shot (and
removed Bob Ezrin).
And still, that is not all.
closely to Gilmour's face in the 1993 picture (left) and to his
face on the 2014 release (right). Christopher explains:
The difference is in the original shot. David has a double chin. In
The Endless River shot it has been dealt with.
There will be no fat on The Endless River, not on the music and
certainly not on Air-Brush Dave.
(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may
have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
Many thanks to Christopher (10past10), Ron Toon. Pictures courtesy of
Jill Furmanovsky. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): 10past10
(Christopher), Alcog Dave no more, mail, 2014 11 14. Bonner,
Michael: Coming back to life, Uncut, November 2014, p. 39. Echoes
mailing list: to join just click on the appropriate link on their sexy echoes
subscription and format information webpage.
The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical
division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad
character. More info: The
Anchor. Read our legal stuff: Legal
Christopher's original posting to Echoes: (Back to article)
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2014 18:00:32 +1000 From: 10past10 Subject:
Alcog Dave no more ... To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Ho All,
I do believe there is photographic trickery afoot!
Exhibit A: The centrefold picture in The Endless River depicting
Richard, David and Nick in the studio.
Exhibit B: Inside Out; the fourth lot of pics in the paperback or p313
in hardback (1st ed), depicting Richard, David and Bob Ezrin.
Obviously it is a different pic of Richard and Bob/Nick. But I reckon
the picture of David is the same one; except for one difference.
So, I reckon, to get the wider shot for the TER CD centrefold (I don't
know how it may or may not appear in the other versions as I haven't
seen them yet), they have made a composite photo using the shot of David
rom the one Nick originally published and shots of Richard and Nick from
one or two different pictures.
If you look closely at every piece of David's clothing, his hair, the
way he is holding his guitar, the chords, the lot. It all matches
exactly ... too much not be a match.
Does this matter? Of course not. Why not do that to get what you need.
Obviously Nick himself is double exposed when you look at his arms.
Is it worth pointing out? Yes (but just because you can, not because it
will change the world). Why? Because of the one difference.
The difference is in the original shot David has a double chin. In The
Endless River shot it has been dealt with.
Some time ago I was castigated for calling David, Fat Dave. So I changed
that to Alcog Dave. He is that no more. In my more whimsical moods I
shall hence forth refer to him as "Air-Brush Dave".
At the 'Mortal
Remains' Pink Floyd exhibition that is currently running in
London a Polaroid can be found showing Syd Barrett at the Abbey
Road studio in July 1975. This is not the picture that was
magically found back when Nick Mason needed to promote his
biography in 2004 and that dates from June 1975.
Here is what Nick writes about that:
It was during these sessions at Abbey Road, on 5th June, that we had one
totally unexpected visitor. I strolled into the control room from the
studio, and noticed a large fat bloke with a shaven head, wearing a
decrepit old tan mac. He was carrying a plastic shopping bag and had a
fairly benign, but vacant, expression on his face. His appearance would
not have generally gained him admittance beyond studio reception, so I
assumed that he must have been a friend of one of the engineers.
Eventually David asked me if I knew who he was. Even then I couldn’t
place him, and had to be told. It was Syd. More than twenty years later
I can still remember that rush of confusion.
Remember a Day
Confused is what Mason is indeed, as he doesn't mention Syd's second
visit to the studio, a month later, accidentally - or not? - on David
Gilmour's wedding day. In a Mojo interview from 2006 David Gilmour
denied that Syd was at his wedding, although he seems to recall that
Barrett visited the band more than once.
From a 1982 Musician Magazine interview:
He showed up at the studio. He was very fat and he had a shaved head and
shaved eyebrows and no one recognized him at all first off. There was
just this strange person walking around the studio, sitting in the
control room with us for hours. If anyone else told me this story, I'd
find it hard to believe, that you could sit there with someone in a
small room for hours, with a close friend of yours for years and years,
and not recognize him. And I guarantee, no one in the band recognized
him. Eventually, I had guessed it. And even knowing, you couldn't
recognize him. He came two or three days and then he didn't come
anymore. (Taken from: December
1982 - Musician Magazine at Brain Damage)
So, Gilmour does seem to acknowledge that Syd Barrett visited the studio
more than once, only not on his wedding day.
Mark Blake in Pigs Might Fly:
On 7 July, during a break in the Wish You Were Here sessions, Gilmour
married girlfriend Ginger at Epping Forest Register Office, and the Syd
tale takes on another curious twist. In conversation with Mojo magazine
in 2006, Gilmour disputed any stories that Syd had attended his wedding.
Yet at least three of the guests claim they saw Syd at a post-wedding
meal at Abbey Road. Ex-manager Andrew King recalled Barrett looking
‘like the type of bloke who serves you in a hamburger bar in Kansas
City’. Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley referred to him as ‘an
overweight Hare Krishna-type chap’.
One who does remember - obviously, as it was her wedding day - is Ginger
Gilmour in her autobiography Bright
Side Of The Moon:
For one reason or another, Pink Floyd members (and other witnesses)
amalgamated the different Barrett appearances into one, quasi mythical,
event. Venetta Fields hinted already in March 2004 that there were
pictures of the event:
I think there were photos taken at that time... I remember telling
someone that was showing me a photo. I can’t remember who? I may even
have a picture. We took a lot of pictures that day. They had been at the
studio for hours before we got there. I think that while we were there,
Syd came into the studio. Everything stopped. We were all shocked to see
him and the way he looked. (Taken from: An
Interview With Venetta Fields at A Fleeting Glimpse.)
The Gold It's in the...
Another mystery is why Nick Mason, who has meticulously classified the
Pink Floyd archive, only came up with this second picture now – almost
by chance - when he needed to promote yet another Pink Floyd pension
Check extra big pictures and other assorted trivia at our 'IggyInuit'
Tumblr page: 1975.
Many thanks to: Marc-Olivier Becks, Johan Frankelius, Antonio Jesús,
Göran Nystrom. ♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (other than the above mentioned links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 231-232. Gilmour,
Ginger: Memoirs of the Bright Side of the Moon, Angelscript
International, 2015, p. 103-104. Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A
personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue,
I'm a bit late with my review of Ginger Gilmour's Memoirs
of the Bright Side of the Moon (2015), but I do have my reasons, or
– at least - so I think. The big Pink Floyd websites ignored the book as
they are only allowed to bark when Paul
Loasby, who is David
Gilmour's leprechaun, allows them to and on top of that The Holy
Church does need to maintain its contrarious reputation.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the
Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and do not necessarily reflect the policy
of Pink Floyd, nor its members, nor any of their (ex-)wives.
The luxurious hardcover book is thick and heavy, printed on glossy
paper, with over a hundred pictures and taking it with me on my daily
commute would only gradually destroy it as it would mingle with my
Nutella sandwiches and my weird obsession for Belgian pickles.
So I placed it in my special books section at home and promptly forgot
about it for a couple of years. I am more or less a dozen of Pink Floyd
related books behind and that list only gets bigger and bigger. One of
the oldest books I have never read is Barry
Miles' Pink Floyd: The Early Years (2006 already!) and I am
still collecting courage to dig into the 2017 deluxe version of his In
The Sixties autobiography that I received last year. I never made it
past 1970 in Glenn
Povey's Echoes (2007), that I mainly use as a reference work
(and I never bought its 2015 enhanced and updated successor The
Complete Pink Floyd: The Ultimate Reference). I have purchased Charles
Beterams' Pink Floyd in Nederland (2017), but I hardly opened
its predecessor Pink Floyd in de Polder (2007). Same thing for
the Their Mortal Remains (2017) catalogue, although from the few
pages I did read it appears to be a semi-pretentious bag of dubious
quality and quite error prone. Nick Sedgwick's In The Pink
(2017), scrupulously sought for but never consulted, and don’t get me
started on my Hipgnosis
Thorgerson coffee table books collection, but these all seem to
But back to Ginger Gilmour's memoirs. Besides the fact that it is thick
and heavy, its cover is in bright pink and I didn’t want people to think
I was reading a Barbie Dream Castle novel on the train. A pink
cover and a pretty positive title, surely this must be a book with a
First of all, these are Ginger's memoirs and although there is a lot of
David Gilmour inside, especially around the tumultuous The
Wall / A
Momentary Lapse Of Reason years, Pink Floyd isn't its primordial
subject, certainly not in the later chapters when – SPOILER ALERT –
their marriage has failed. Over the years Ginger has grown spiritually
and artistically and this book minutiously reveals the path she walked /
crawled / stumbled to get over there.
The main trouble is, for grumpy diabetics in a mid-life crisis such as
me, that sucrose is dripping from nearly every page and that Ginger uses
the word Beauty (with capital B) in about every other paragraph. Angels
magically appear in Space Invaders droves. There is a lot of talk about
Inspiration. And Meditation. Wonder. Goodness. Hope. Peace. LOVE. It's
almost cuteness overload.
Ginger has found inner peace by soaking in a bath of alternative,
new-age, eastern-style religious and philosophical mindsets and isn't
afraid of saying so. It's just not my cup of tea and it must have been
hard on the frail internal Floydian communication lines as well, as has
been hinted by Mark
Blake. When Animals
appeared there wasn't only a cold war between the Pink Floyd members
going on, but also between their wives...
Ginger also found herself clashing with Waters’ new girlfriend, Carolyne
Christie. Both came from wildly different backgrounds and, as one
associate from the time recalls, ‘they did not see eye to eye'.
Ginger would throw a tantrum, rightly so if you ask me, over promoters
who found it funny to add pigpens – with real pigs - at Pink Floyd
backstage parties. She wouldn't rest until the animals had been set
free. In one hilarious case the freed pig destroyed a hotel room by
shitting all over the place.
I can imagine the sneers from vitriolic Roger Waters towards
David Gilmour, on tour and in the studio, about 'hippie chick' Ginger.
The fact that David used to sneak out of the studio for steak sandwiches
and hamburgers, something his vegan wife didn't really appreciate, must
have made Gilmour an easy target for Roger Waters.
The book has 90 chapters, counts over 630 pages and Floydian content can
be found in about the first two thirds. These titbits relish a Floydian
anorak as they give an inside look on life on the road and in the
studio. Like silly crew contests, for instance:
Chris Adamson won because he ate the most amount of raw potatoes and
Little Mick won for eating the most amount of fried eggs. P43
Most of the time Ginger recounts about her own life, with its big and
little adventures and anecdotes, like getting married without the rest
of the band knowing it and meeting a memory from the past in the studio
later that day (something David Gilmour always denied it happened). But
that story of what happened on the 7th of July 1975 has already been
told here before: Shady
Sound of Silence
David Gilmour never was an extrovert person and if there were problems
in the band, he tried to hide those for his wife.
I was not always aware of the tensions growing in the band. Moreover,
just how much of that tension subtly influenced our relationship. David
held most of these matters to himself. P99
But of course not everything could be kept a secret. Ginger did see the
signs that something was wrong when Roger Waters isolated himself from
the rest of the band during the shoddy Animals tour, where at one point
Rick Wright flew back home because he couldn't stand the bass player any
This could have been the end of Pink Floyd but unfortunately the Norton
Warburg financial debacle meant that they had to produce a smash album
to recoup their financial losses. Despite the animosity in the band the
three others agreed to give Waters free reign. On holiday in Lindos,
Gilmour listened for days to The Wall tapes. His reaction was not
I don't think I can really work with this. I have no idea how this could
become something people would enjoy listening to. It is just Angst! P200
One of my Turns
As we all know The Wall did turn into a massive success, but creating it
was a burden for all those involved. Roger turned into something of a
dictator and started to harass the others. Ginger Gilmour witnessed a
few of these exchanges.
What also made it difficult was the fact that he [Rick Wright, FA] was
often the punching bag. The camaraderie of the band's relationship was
always boy tease boy, but for me this was getting to be too cruel. Rick
buckled. It was heartbreaking to watch. P217
Ginger stays vague about David Gilmour's apparent compliance with Roger
Waters. The guitarist might even have suggested to Roger to throw Nick
Mason out of the band and to continue as a duo. This was told by Roger
Waters in one of his angry post-Pink-Floyd interviews and denied by
Anyway, creating The Wall was a continuous fight between the two main
protagonists, with Mason diplomatically acting as the 'ship's cook':
I see various commanders come and go, and, when things get really bad, I
just go back down to the galley.
Ginger Gilmour describes the atmosphere during the sessions as follows:
I watched David's quiet and sometimes not so quit influences bringing
music to us that spoke of hope, outside the lyrics. I saw his struggle.
He tried so hard. I watched Rick's withdrawal give a podium for a victim
within the subconscious aspects of the story. I watched Nick's struggle
between friendship and finding his voice. P222
It can't be denied though that Nick and David pretty much agreed with
Roger, until Waters sneered once too much...
David was in a mood when I arrived [at a Japanese restaurant, FA]. I
will never forget the look of shock on everyone's face especially
Roger's, with everyone's tensions riding high. Roger wanted to remove
'Comfortably Numb' from the album. It was one of the only songs, which
David had a major credit for and he exploded. I think if he had known
karate the table would have split in two! I will never forget the look
of shock on everyone's face, especially Roger's. P232
The Wall, with Comfortably Numb included, was successful, but the
problems were far from over. In 1981 a barn filled with Floyd fireworks
went up in a fire, killing the farmer and several firemen in the
explosion. Pink Floyd's army of lawyers reacted that it wasn't their
problem and the band was later acquitted from all (financial)
The Thin Ice
The tension in the band had its negative influence on Gilmour's marriage
as well . The first cracks in the 'thin ice' started to show. David
confided to Emo that he feared that the Sant
Mat movement had too much influence on his wife, what Emo – himself
Singh follower - duly contradicted.
A great deal of the book is about the many fantastic people Ginger has
met over the years, ranging from the cook at a Greek restaurant to the
great spiritual leaders of this world (all the people she mentions must
run in the hundreds). David always liked to have his old Cambridge
friends around, Emo and Pip and the people he played with in his
pre-Floyd bands. When he hears the terrible news about Ponji he is
genuinely shocked and saddened. (Read about Pip and Ponji here: We
are all made of stars.)
Gilmour's behaviour changed radically when he became the new great
leader of Pink Floyd, some of his old friends (and family members)
Samson may have had a certain influence in this as well. Nowadays
David hardly has contact with the old mob and it is believed the
Roger-David feud is again as big as it was three decades ago. However,
the Pink Floyd wars are now fought in private, between lawyers and
managers, and only surface when new product sees the light of day. (See
skimming The Early Years.)
Run Like Hell
Final Cut there was the battle for the band, a conflict that was
more of importance for David than saving his own marriage.
I remember the moment David further closed his heart, and rage took its
To finance the new project Nick Mason mortgaged his 1962 GTO Ferrari.
David Gilmour put his houses at stake, without consulting his wife first.
We, our family security, were on the tightrope as well. (…) No wonder
David grew more withdrawn from me. Our eyes stopped meeting. I kept
looking. He was holding more than tension. He was holding a secret. P382
In order to make the new Floyd viable the family had to go on tax exile
again. David didn't have the guts to tell his wife, so he ordered Steve
O'Rourke to pass the message during an informal dinner. It made
Ginger wonder if her husband would also instruct his manager to tell her
if he wanted a divorce.
Visions of an Empty Bed
David Gilmour, who was already afraid that new age and eastern
philosophies had too much influence on his wife, unwillingly pushed her
further away as she sought guidance in the mental colour therapy of The
Maitreya School of Healing and in the teachings of the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiya
order. Ginger Gilmour (in Mark Blake's biography):
I was getting more alternative - starting to meditate - and he was doing
more cocaine and hanging out with all kinds of people.
Diet Floyd minus Waters was on a two years world tour, but dieting is
not what happened backstage. Every night an alcohol and dope infested
inferno was launched with emperor David Gilmour approvingly joining in
the caligulesque festivities. On the few free days he was back in
Britain, he didn't bother to show up at home, not even to greet the
Ginger Gilmour is very discrete about David's party life, but she
doesn't withhold the one conversation she overheard backstage at a
“Wow, I wouldn't mind getting into Gilmour's pants!” The
other woman, whose voice I recognised, said, “No problem. I will
introduce you. Get it on!” P503
This was the story of The Wall all over again, now with David 'Fred'
Gilmour and Ginger as the couple in trouble.
We, David and I, were living in separate houses, separate lives joined
only by our children and a piece of paper affirming, “until death do us
House of Broken Dreams
In summer 1998 they went to Hawaii for a last time together, trying to
act like a family but sleeping in different beds. A bitter Gilmour had
the habit of answering the phone with the sentence 'House Of Broken
Dreams'. This line was picked up by Graham
Nash who wrote a song about Ginger and David's family situation.
House Of Broken Dreams would appear on the Crosby,
Stills & Nash album Live
It Up (1990):
Separate houses separate hearts It's hard to face the feelings
tearing us apart And in this house of broken dreams love lies (Listen
to it on YouTube: House
Of Broken Dreams.)
By then Ginger Gilmour sought and found her own way of survival by
painting and sculpting. In December 1989 she co-organised a charity
Christmas Carol Fantasy. She notes, in her typical spiritual mood that
seeps through the text and that gets more frequent near the end:
I felt I was being guided by something greater than me, the Divine power
of our Creator and his team of Angels. Miracles happened each day.
I'm not sure if angels were involved or not, but David Gilmour, who was
by then living on his own on Malda Avenue, agreed to help her out for
the rock'n roll section of the show. He assembled the Christmas Carol
Fantasy Band that comprised of Paul Young, Vicki Brown, Jon Lord,
Mick Ralphs, Rick Wills, Nick Laird-Clowes, performing Imagine and Happy
Christmas (War Is Over).
Outside the Wall
The divorce did not embitter Ginger and she writes with much love about
David Gilmour and Pink Floyd. She seems to be such a nice lady and her
book is so filled with uplifting optimism that it almost is a sin to
criticise her, but it is not without flaws.
Ginger Gilmour sees divine intervention about everywhere so that I can
only deduct that over the years she created her own personal cuckoo
land. This is mostly harmless, but after a time it gets slightly
irritating. An example. Ginger invites Buddhist Lama Kalu
Rinpoche to one of The Wall shows in Los Angeles. When he leaves the
concert, just before the final, something apparently magical happens
when he walks through the crowd.
I will never forget the expressions that lit up their faces in contrast
to what they were witnessing. It was as though they saw Christ. Their
hearts opened with the thought that he had graced them by being there.
Not only did the concertgoers have the show of their life, they were
also blessed by the apparition of a godlike creature, according to
Ginger. Harmless as this may be, it may not always be the case.
Suggesting that mental colour therapy could help with diseases such as
AIDS sounds pretty much like potentially dangerous quackery to me.
But for the look behind the curtains of this band, during one of its
darkest seasons, this bleeding anorak is thankful.
All pictures previously published by Iain 'Emo' Moore (and grabbed from
his Facebook timeline). Fred was David Gilmour's nickname in Cambridge. ♥
Libby ♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (other than the above mentioned links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 252, 268, 336.