Pontiac Parisienne

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2009-01-30

When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2)

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

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

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

Introduction

1. It is generally believed that The Madcap Laughs photo sessions, by Storm Thorgerson and Mick Rock, took place in the autumn of 1969, a couple of weeks after the album was cut and a short time before it hit the shelves of the record stores (see Stormy Pictures).

2. It is generally believed that Iggy has only been living in Syd’s apartment for two or three weeks maximum, during which the famous photo sessions took place, before disappearing completely from the scene. In our previous article JenS situates this in February or March 1969.

The problem is that there is at least a six months gap between both dates. JenS however has some strong points favouring her theory.

Daffodils and Pontiacs

Storm Thorgerson probably shot the cover of The Madcap Laughs early in the year because, according to JenS:

If you look at the vase of flowers next to Syd, they are daffodils. We get those in March.

Although a valid argument it is not really tight-fitting, but JenS continues:

The car shots (in Mick Rock’s book Psychedelic Renegades, FA) show there are no leaves on the trees.
If this were London, October or November, there would be leaves on the ground.

Mick Rock’s photo book has got quite a lot of pictures with Syd (and Iggy) leaning against a neglected Pontiac, property of Syd.

The car was there at New Year, (Syd didn’t drive it) and it was there when I left in March, with a borough sticker on it, the remains of which show on the windscreen in the photo. If Storm and Mick are saying October or November, was the car there all that time? I don’t know who would know that.

The previous comment may be completely understandable for Syd Barrett anoraks, but needs some extra explanation for the casual visitor of the Church who doesn’t know the fabulous story of Syd’s car.

Pink Pontiac?
Pink Pontiac?

Tic tac Pontiac

Painter Duggie Fields recalls:

The car too has it’s own mythology. Later on I identified it as the car used in the film of Joe Orton’s Loot (not exact, FA), but I first saw it at Alice Pollock and Ossie Clark’s New Year’s Eve party at the Albert Hall ­ a memorable event itself where both Amanda Lear and Yes (separately) took to the stage for the first time. (Taken from: Duggie Fields)

Ossie Clark, once described as an ‘enigmatic, bisexual gadabout’, textile designer (and wife) Celia Birtwell and Alice Pollock had a boutique called Quorum. It was a haute couture heaven for the Swinging Elite, dressing people like Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Patti Boyd, Marian Faithfull, Jimi Hendrix, the Jaggers and The Pink Floyd. His clothes were a reflection of the past but with the advantages of the new (one of his creations had discreet pockets ‘to put joints in’). In 1965 Clark was the pioneer of the flower power look and two years later nearly all of the 2000 boutiques in London would be copying his style. Clark’s haute couture empire crashed in the seventies; in 1996 he was murdered by his partner.

Mickey Finn, from T. Rex fame, won the Pontiac Parisienne at the Royal Albert Hall raffle (New Year 1969). He took possession of it but became paranoid at the unwanted attention it attracted to himself and his fellow passengers. One day he met Syd and they simply swapped cars (Syd had a mini).

But Syd never drove it, so it stayed parked outside the house for a couple of months. A wheel soon went missing and the car accumulated dust, parking tickets and legal notices. In Mick Rock’s photo book one can see that a neighbour wrote a plea in the dust of the trunk to have the car removed. Syd's solution was simple as bonjour: he gave the car away to a stranger. It was seen being driven around South Kensington soon after.

A couple of months after Syd (and before him, Mickey Finn) got the car it was used in the 1970 British movie Entertaining Mr Sloane (not Loot). The car, with its cream red and silver interior, is featured prominently throughout the movie. The flick is not great but the pink Pontiac gives a shiny performance.
Update December 2009: the above paragraph has been corrected as Syd gave the car away before the movie was made and not, as is generally believed, the other way round. For more details: please check Anoraks and Pontiacs.

This leaves us with another enigma. The car in the movie is pink, but was midnight blue when Mick Rock photographed Syd with it. Although Mick Rock seems to remember: "Syd’s car was a conspicuously bright pink Pontiac Parisienne convertible" several colour pictures, probably taken by Storm Thorgerson on the same day, testify against this. JenS adds:

Syd's Pontiac was blue, midnight blue as you say. I have no idea if it was pink before that. I've only heard it was Mickey's and pink from things I've read. I cannot imagine Syd having it resprayed or painting it.

It remains a mystery when and why the kameleon car changed its colours (twice), but if one looks very close at the picture above, there appears to be a trace of 'brownish' paint under the right front light. Could this have been its original colour?

Car Sticker

Mick Rock has taken a picture of Syd sitting on the hood of his car. A police label can be seen glued to the windshield. JenS:

Look at the date of the police sticker on Syd’s car. It seems to be April 1969. It occurred to me that the little twigs on the ground would come with the March winds, as this was the time of clear-cut seasons. They are very distinctive.
Label on Syd Barrett car
Police label on Syd Barrett's car.

Unfortunately not all can be read, part of the sticker disappears in the inner fold of the book and the smaller letters dissolve with the background. The following is easily distinguishable:

DANGER KEEP OFF
(unreadable)
THIS IS
DANGEROUS LITTER
AND WILL BE REMOVED & DISPOSED OF
SEVEN DAYS HENCE
Dated the ___ day of ___ 196_
Registration No. ___
(if any) ___ F.H. CLINCH,
BOROUGH (unreadable) AND SURVEYOR

The date is more difficult to decipher, but after some tweaking it appears to be the 14th of April 1969. If the British police was as effective in 1969 as it is now it definitely pins The Madcap Laughs photo shoot date between the 14th and 21st of April 1969 and not autumn as has been said before.

The legend goes that Syd Barrett gave the car way to an admirer who happened to like it. It is improbable to assume that the wreck stayed on the street for six months without any police intervention.

Next week will have the final instalment of our series of JenS's memoirs.


Sources (other than internet links mentioned above)
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 141.
Green, Jonathon: All Dressed Up, Pimlico, London, 1999, p. 79-80.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 13.
Levy, Shawn: Ready Steady Go!, Broadway Books, New York, 2003, p. 112, p.193-195.
Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 23, p. 58.

The Church wishes to thank:
Dark Globe, Sean Beaver (who watched Loot just to make sure if the Pontiac figured in it or not), Bea Day, Julianindica and all the others who contributed to the discussion at Late Night: The tale of Syd's car - the movie star...
JenS for her invaluable testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969.


2009-05-21

Anoraks and Pontiacs

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

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

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

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

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

Lost in the Woods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Driving Mr Sloane

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

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

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

1969 Calendar

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


Notes (other than internet links mentioned above):

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

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


2009-06-12

Rock - Paper - Scissors

Street Life
Street Life, by Mick Rock.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sources (other than internet links mentioned above):

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


2009-11-01

A Bay of Hope

Syd Barrett flat pictures
Syd Barrett flat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE MICK ROCK COLLECTION

Outside pictures (B&W)

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

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

Inside pictures (colour)

¤ Syd with (naked) Iggy.

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

¤ Syd without Iggy.

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

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

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

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

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

Inside pictures (B&W)

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

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

¤ Iggy nude study.

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

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

Syd Barrett compilation
Syd Barrett compilation.

THE HIPGNOSIS COLLECTION

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

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

Outside pictures (colour)

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

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

Inside (B&W)

¤ The yoga session.

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

Inside (colour)

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

¤ The Madcap Laughs front.

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

¤ The Madcap Laughs back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syd Barrett Pontiac
Syd Barrett's Pontica.

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

Did this post confuse you?

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

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


Sources (other than the above internet links):

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

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

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


2010-02-05

Goofer Dust [(I've got my) Mojo (working)... Part 2]

Mojo March 2010
Mojo March 2010.

(This is part two of our Mojo magazine review, for part one, click here).

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

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

Last week we discussed the Who’s That Girl article written by Mark Blake, and this week the Church will scrutinize Paul Drummond’s In My Room (Mojo 196, p. 82 - 84). Out of courtesy (and for copyright reasons) the Reverend has decided not to publish the articles as long as the magazine is for sale in the shops.
Update: Direct link to the article: Mojo March 2010. (hosted at the Church as the article was removed from the official Barrett website in 2016).

The article, about The Madcap Laughs photo sessions, has interviews with Duggie Fields, Mick Rock and - so it seems - Jenny Spires. But although she was interviewed by email for the main article by Pat Gilbert, she has told the Church she wasn’t really questioned about Iggy.

I guessed, when I saw it, they must have looked at your site (re Daffodils and photo shoot etc…), as I was not asked about this or about Iggy.
(JenS, 10th of February 2010, mail to the Church)

The Reverend could do no other thing than to summon the Holy Igquisition to stick in a few comments as the In The Room article clearly breathes the holy air of the Church but neglects to mention its existence in its columns.

Ig and Jenny Spires meeting each other for the first time

Mojo 196 reports:

Jenny Spires first met Iggy in January 1969 and introduced her to Syd and he let her stay. (p. 83)

The Holy Igquisition wants to set this straight:
According to the Church’s archives JenS first met Ig in summer 1966 (cfr. When Syd met Iggy). The year thereafter (1967) they met again and from then one they went on clubbing together. This has once again been confirmed by Jens this week:

I was surprised they had mistakenly printed that I met her in 1969. This annoys me really because of its inaccuracy.

The date of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot

Mojo 196 reports:

Iggy’s involvement appears to date the shoot as spring ’69 as she was long gone by autumn. (p. 83)

The Holy Igquisition wants to set straight:
JenS has situated the photo shoot in spring 1969 (March or April) (cfr. When Syd met Iggy 1).
Further investigations by the Church have pinpointed a possible date in April 1969 (cfr. When Syd met Iggy 2).

Daffodils

Mojo 196 reports:

It’s more likely Syd picked them (the daffodils found on the cover of the album) while in the park with Iggy, as captured on Super-8 film. (p.83)

The Holy Igquisition wants to set straight:
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit has discussed the lost In The Woods movie at great extent (cfr. Anoraks and Pontiacs). However the theory that the Lost in The Woods video was shot before the photo shoot is new and quite intriguing. However the idea that Iggy, Mick and Syd picked the daffodils is, according to JenS, quite silly.

Pontiac

Mojo 196 writes:

When the photo shoot was over, Rock continued outside using Syd’s blue Pontiac Parisienne as a prop. (…) The life of this inanimate object (registration: VYP74) helps confirm that the shoot wasn’t in the autumn. (p. 84)

The Holy Igquisition wans to set straight:
The story of Syd Barrett’s car has been the object of different posts at the Church (cfr. When Syd met Iggy 2), but the initial quest for the car was done at the Late Night forum by Dark Globe, Sean Beaver and others… they found out that the car appeared in the movie Entertaining Mr. Sloane. Unlike Mojo magazine, the Church does like to give credit to the people who deserve it.

The Holy Igquisition concludes:

It is clear that Mojo magazine has extensively browsed through the pages of the Holy Church of Inuit but has somehow forgotten to mention this in its articles. The Holy Igquisition has therefore sent the following objurgation at Mojo:

Mojo comment by Felix Atagong
Mojo comment by Felix Atagong.
It was nice to see that the many theories of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit have been reproduced in The Madcap Laughs photo shoot article, albeit without mentioning where these originally came from.

However the Holy Igquisiton knows that any true believer will find the Church, so every Iggy publication will be beneficiary in the end. Ig’s story as published in the March issue of Mojo may be the butterfly effect that will cause the storm at the other side of the world. So perhaps, thanks to Mojo, the Church will be one day able to fulfil its quest.

Rather than to start an endless polemical discussion the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit would like to end this post with Duggie Fields’s magnificent description of our skyclad sistren (p. 82):

I remember being at a 31 bus stop and seeing her coming down the stairs very elegantly in this gold lame 1940s dress that had bell sleeves that buttoned to a train but with no underwear and completely exposed…
Not a care in the world.

Lo and behold brethren and sistren, and don't do anything that Ig wouldn't have done.


2010-03-12

Gretta Speaks (Pt. 2)

Margaretta Barclay.
Margaretta Barclay.

In a previous post the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit published an interview with Margaretta Barclay, her first in 40 years, remembering the Syd Barrett days of 1969.

Margaretta (Gretta), her boyfriend Rusty, JenS, Iggy and the French Dominique were regular visitors at Wetherby Mansions, the flat where Syd Barrett lived. Some stories, legends and rumours surrounding Syd can be traced back to painter Duggie Fields, who still lives in the flat he co-rented with Syd and Jules (nobody seems to remember Jules, apparently he disappeared already after a couple of days).

Gretta (as quoted in: Gretta Speaks):

Syd was a very dear friend of ours and we did a considerable amount together in the 60's.

He was a highly sensitive, almost delicate person, who was well aware of his constitution where drugs were concerned and perfectly capable of not being cajoled in to anything he did not want to do. To my knowledge, he did not take vast quantities of drugs.

Iggy

This could be correct. Early 1969 Syd Barrett was very well together, at least compared to the year before where he – if one may believe those unverifiable rumours again – even added heroin to his daily stash of hash and mandrax. Recovering his sanity was one thing, tidying up his love life another. Tim Willis (in Madcap) writes:

While keeping Gala (Pinion, who moved in at the spare room, FA) as his serious girlfriend and Gilly Staples as a girlfriend Barrett began an affair with Iggy the Eskimo.

Iggy (or Evelyn) seems to hint this as well in the reluctant interview she gave to The Croydon Guardian:

Syd was so beautiful looking.
We had a relationship,
I lived with him for a while.

But not everybody seems to be certain of this. Duggie Fields told so in various biographies. And to the Church JenS and some anonymous witnesses maintain that Ig and Syd were never an item. Perhaps Gretta Barclay can shed a light on this?

I would not say that Syd and Iggy were girlfriend and boyfriend. She was his ‘chosen’ model for the Madcap Laughs Album cover.
Whatever may have occurred between Syd and Iggy was kept to themselves.
Neither was Ig the person to stay long at on place.
Iggy moved about and stayed with all sorts of people in all sorts of places without declaring her intention to do so.
To my knowledge there was no ‘when Iggy left Syd’ moment. We were all free spirits then, who moved whenever and wherever a whim took us.

There is an intriguing paragraph in Mick Rock's Psychedelic Renegades book. When the photographer visits Syd to show him the pictures of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot Iggy is no longer there.

Once I’d developed the film, I went round to show Syd the pictures. He took this one opposite and scratched some lines and his name to it. I think there was a bit of negativity towards Iggy. He just started scratching the print, with a big grin on his face. There was that other side to Syd which could be a bit mean and malicious, especially towards women, and this was one occasion when I saw that.
Iggy by Mick Rock.
Iggy by Mick Rock.

The Church has always found this comment from Mick Rock a bit over the top (but the Church has been wrong on more occasions). A while later Margaretta Barclay received one of the original Mick Rock pictures that were lying in Syd’s room.

This picture of Iggy was given to me by Syd but for some unknown reason she had been torn off it.

This is the second documented case where we learn that Syd had taken ‘care’ of an Iggy photo after her departure.

Since a couple of weeks we know Iggy’s real name: Evelyn. Jeff Dexter, Anthony Stern nor JenS ever knew her real name. How about Margaretta?

Iggy was ‘Iggy’ for me also.

Last year the Church tried to pinpoint the date of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot. With JenS’s help and after blowing up the photo of the ‘dangerous litter’ sticker on Syd Barrett’s Pontiac the Church concluded that the pictures had probably been taken shortly after the 14th of April, but before the 21st, as the sticker only gave a 7 days notice to get rid of the car. But Gretta disagrees:

The ‘Madcap’ photo shoot dates are probably incorrect as I have a postcard from a friend addressed to me, Rusty, Syd and Iggy at the Wetherby Mansion address dated June 1969.
Raquel Welsh and Ringo Starr
Raquel Welsh and Ringo Starr.

The Magic Christian

Around about that time we did some film extra work for The Magic Christian. I have a feeling Iggy came with us? But I cannot confirm this.

The Magic Christian is a quite nice satirical (but very sixty-nine-ish) movie, starring Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers and a bunch of (uncredited) 60-ies icons: Christopher Lee (as – what else – a vampire), John Le Mesurier, Peter Graves, Raquel Welsh (as priestess of the whip), Richard Attenborough, Roman Polanski, Spike Milligan and Yul Brynner (as a transvestite cabaret singer). Fans will also notice the presence of John Cleese and Graham Chapman who independently wrote scenes for the movie (and before they teamed up as Monty Python members).

The movie’s main message is that everything can be bought for money and has scenes of Peter Sellers, an eccentric billionaire, smearing beluga caviar over his face in a posh restaurant or cutting up a Rembrandt painting because he is only interested in the nose. His final trick (minus one) is to make people dive into a big tub filled with blood, urine and excrements to fish the thousands of pounds that float in it (although by all means gross this scene is not so far from what has been shown in some Endemol TV game shows for the last couple of years).

Update: Margaretta and (perhaps) Iggy weren't the only Wetherby-visitors who got involved with the movie. JenS commented, after reading this entry:

I was also an extra in the Magic Christian, I was one of Raquel's slave girls in the Galleon scene, but fortunately taken out in the cutting room, however this tiny scene took two days to shoot. I had done my piece the previous year, in 1968! It was interesting for me to see the others had done some for it in June 69. Films do take a long time in production! (mail to FA, 29th of April 2010)

But according to the BFI work on the movie started on the 24th of February 1969 and ended on the 14th of May. This still quite fits the dates we have been proposing for the photo shoot, but the testimony from Gretta that Ig was still around in June is intriguing to say the least and will have to be further investigated..

Meic Stevens
Meic Stevens.

Meic Stevens

In the first part of this series it was told how Gretta, Rusty, Syd and Gala Pinion visited a brilliant musician who lived in Solva, Haverfordwest, Dyfed. The Church wrongly assessed it was a certain Mike Stevens and found some very scarce information on him.

It took not long before several churchgoers made it clear to the Reverend that the Welsh singer-songwriter in question is better known as Meic Mortimer Stevens.

Meic Stevens was discovered by DJ Jimmy ‘Jim‘ll Fix It’ Savile, who saw him performing in a Manchester folk club in 1965. It is believed that he was a session man on several recordings (Gary Farr springs to mind) and he may have issued a solo single for Decca, but without success.

In 1967 Stevens left ‘England’ and retreated to his home village of Solva and started to write and record songs in Welsh. From 1967 till 1969 several EPs were issued, first under the name Mike Stevens, later Meic Stevens. (These ultra rare EPs that according to Record Collector are searched for against exorbitant prices have been re-issued on CD by Sunbeam records.)

Outlander (1970), Meic Stevens.
Outlander (1970), Meic Stevens.

In 1970 Meic Stevens made an English mildly psychedelic rock & folk album – Outlander - for Warner Bros. On several of its tunes it is pretty clear why he was nicknamed the Welsh Bob Dylan (acoustic guitar and mouth organ included), although the first and by far the most powerful track of that album - Rowena - reminds the Reverend of a Roy Harper in the midst of one of his legendary fits. Obligatory to the spirit of those days there are some tabla and sitar inspired pieces as well. Amongst the people involved on that album are Ian ‘Sammy’ Samwell (a Shadow before Cliff Richard(s) came into the picture and later manager of the folk-rock band America) and all-round session guitarist Bernie Holland (but as far as we know, no Syd Barrett).

The record didn’t sell as hoped, but of course - and this isn’t meant as a pejorative comment - Meic Stevens was fishing in about the same pond as Kevin Ayers, Michael Chapman, Donovan, Roy Harper and of course Syd Barrett himself.

It has come to the Church’s ears that Meic Stevens visited Syd on several occasions at Wetherby Mansions and that he 'recalls the bare room with one Telecaster and little else'.

Update: Prydwyn was so kind to translate the Syd Barrett related parts of Meic Stevens Welsh autobiography into English: Meic meets Syd. A photograph of Meic Stevens with Syd Barrett (and perhaps Rusty and Gretta) has also surfaced.

Rusty Burnhill.
Rusty Burnhill.

Rusty

In an old post we had JenS talking about her friends Gretta and Rusty. However there is a mistake in the following quote:

You may be inferring that Rusty and Greta were from Cambridge but they were from Suffolk and went to Colchester Art School (50 miles from Cambridge and London respectively), and had only recently come to London.

Margaretta clarifies:

Rusty did not go to Colchester art School, he went to Ipswich Art School. His parents eventually moved to Cambridge and he considered it his base from that point on.

After a while Rusty and Margaretta went separate ways. Rusty apparently traveled a lot before settling down on a North Frisian island (Germany) from 1978 till 1993. After a brief stay in a village in the North of Germany, where he participated in a few art exhibitions, he moved to a Hamburg suburb and it is believed he is living there since 1995.

Update: the Church managed to contact Mr. Burnhill, but he refused to talk about the past.

Syd

We leave the final words to Margaretta Barclay:

I feel that Syd has, in the main, been portrayed wrongly as a drug orientated and mentally deranged musician.

My impression of Syd was that he was an intelligent, finely tuned artist and extremely sensitive artist who could not stand the pressure of the attention his unique talents attracted.

If he locked himself in his room for days on end, he was entitled to do so - he certainly was not mad - he did it to preserve his 'genius sanity' and maybe that is why the album is titled the Madcap Laughs.

A word of the editor

The posts at The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit are not read by a lot of people. The topics presented here only trigger a small niche market, to use the marketing vernacular of today and the blog’s harebrained title may not really invite readers to click.

The amount of people consulting each topic will lie closer to 100 than to 500 (and these are totals, not clicks per day). But quantity doesn’t matter, quality does.

It is clear that The Church is consulted, not only by hardcore Syd fans, but also by newspaper and music magazine journalists and authors of Syd Barrett related books that have appeared in the past, that will appear in the (near) future and even some that are still on the author’s laptop.

Furthermore, several people whose name and fame have been discussed here (and recently in other places) have visited the Church, so tells us The Holy Igquisition.

And perhaps, one day, some of them will agree to see their story published here as well.

So long my sistren and brethren, and don’t do anything that Iggy wouldn’t have done!


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

Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above):
Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 20.
Willis, Tim: Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p. 107.


2010-07-03

Syd meets... a lot of people

Meic Stevens
Meic Stevens.

Syd meets Meic

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 going on?)

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 peace.

Spike Hawkins
Spike Hawkins.

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.

A mysterious brunette.
A mysterious brunette.

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 original Welsh.

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.)

Drug problem

The second reference (about Syd visiting the Outlander sessions) also has one addition in the English version. Solva Blues adds the line:

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 style, writes:

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.

Nick Mason acknowledges this illogical (not to use another term) behaviour:

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.
R.D. Laing
R.D. Laing

Syd almost meets 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 ambitions.

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 calls accountancy.

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 anecdote.

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.

(This article is a (partial) update from this one: Meic meets Syd)


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).

Rob Chapman's An Irregular Head biography has been reviewed at: The Big Barrett Conspiracy Theory


2013-03-16

King's Road Chic(k)

A familiar face?
A familiar face?

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit lives by the grace of its visitors. Some of them have become friends for life, others see in the Church the coming of the anti-Syd and would like to see it and its Reverend destroyed. Such is life.

But it's always a joy when sudden, out of the blue, a message arrives from someone unknown, that contains a ray of hope, a glimpse of things to come...

From Kathmandu to London

So when the Church's Facebook page received a message from Christopher Farmer, near Kathmandu, Nepal, that there was a possibility that Iggy Rose could be seen on a picture taken in London in 1970 the Reverend's heart skipped a beat or two.

Iggy Pocahontas Rose
Iggy 'Pocahontas' Rose.

We immediately thought of a repetition of the 'Pocahontas' photo at the National Jazz, Pop, Ballads and Blues Festival in 1967 (see: Iggy - a new look in festivals). Iggy had asked us before if we had seen this picture but as long as nobody could tell us the issue, year or even name of the magazine it had been published in this was like looking for a needle in a large field of haystacks. But it was miraculously found by PhiPhi Chavana (aka Chang Yat Fei) in Hong Kong and that made the Church and Iggy Rose, who hadn't seen this picture in over 45 years, tremendously happy. We are pretty sure that there is a realistic chance to find at least one other Iggy picture if someone would have the courage to browse through all issues of Disc and Music Echo, Melody Maker, Music Maker and NME from the years 1965 to 1968. Still a couple of haystacks, but slightly smaller ones.

This new picture, so told us Christopher Farmer, was taken on King's Road in 1970 by John Hendy and depicts a barefoot Asian flower girl with an uncanny resemblance to the person we all know. Immediately the Reverend's mind went on overdrive as all the parts of the puzzle seemed to match.

Although several people claim that Iggy Rose had vanished in the middle of 1969, even going so far as saying she had returned to Asia or had married a rich banker, she was careening through life (to use a Barrett related idiom) less than 2 miles away. The rumour about the banker wasn't that far-fetched as a matter of fact, but due to the Reverend's seal of confession we have to keep this mystery intact.

In our article Syd meets... a lot of people we have compared the underground with the London rapid transit system that listens to the same name:

The counter culture wasn't really an organised movement, but constituted of many, independent stations with tubes going from one station to the other.
The Myers twins by Cecil Beaton, c.1968.
The Myers twins by Cecil Beaton, c.1968.

From London to Cadaqués

And like the commuter who takes the same station day after day and year after year, without realising that there could be something interesting going on in a station nearby Iggy disappeared from the Floydian underground ghetto and was not traced back for nearly 40 years. She was, however, spotted (or better said: not spotted until the Church poked with a few sticks) a bit later in the bohemian avant-garde art-house movie world, hanging out with people like John Myers who played one of the Von Meck twins in Ken Russell's controversial biopic The Music Lovers.

Some years later, John Myers, and his brother Dennis, were among the artists and the eccentrics who used to visit Salvador Dalí's villa in Cadaqués, Spain. When the twins arrived at Cadaqués, Dalí immediately adopted them and gave them a distinguished place in his group, baptising them as 'Castor and Pollux'. Since then, for over 35 years, they live in the same village in Spain where they have an olive tree farm.

Iggy lookalike by John Hendy
Iggy lookalike by John Hendy.

From King's Road to Earl's Court Square and back

Iggy did attempt to visit Wetherby Mansions some months later. The door was opened by Duggie Fields who said that Syd had returned to Cambridge. In a few months time the Floydian free-for-all oasis had vaporised. Those who had their things together programmed their future by marrying, raising kids, finding regular jobs and living the once despised bourgeois square life. Those who didn't have their things together and were still squatting in Syd's room were ordered by Barrett, by phone from his Cambridge parental house, through Duggie Fields, to pack their bags and leave...

But, to finally get back to topic, it was clear that a picture of Iggy Rose walking on King's Road in the early Seventies was not something that would particularly shock the Reverend. When questioned about his father's photography Simon Hendy told the Church the following:

My dad (John Hendy) was just an amateur photographer. He lived in Northampton and simply visited Kings Road once or twice a year from 1967 to 1975 to take photos. Strangely, it's pretty much the only street photography he did. You may notice a certain emphasis on photos of young ladies, and I think this was the primary reason for the photos! (Mail from Simon Handy to the Reverend, 9 February 2013.)

The pictures of John Hendy can be found on several places, but they were originally published on a blog called My Dad's Photos – John Hendy photography. On the top bar there is a King's Road menu and the third picture of the 1970 's album is the one we are looking for.

At first sight we understood why several people think this is Iggy and for the very first moments we were fooled as well, but at second glance there was something that made us doubt. Obviously the best person to judge was Iggy Rose herself and she immediately denied that it was her. So the case is closed: this is NOT Iggy.

But this doesn't take away that the series of King's Road pictures, taken between 1967 to 1975, is a superb collection and that it shows us a pattern-card of the hip birds that roamed London in the Sixties, it is pretty fun to watch the distinct change in clothes and styles over this period.

Amanda Lear in Ossie gear
Amanda Lear in Ossie gear.

Bentleys & Pontiacs

We know this sounds contradictory, but several (black & white) pictures of the 1968 series show a multicoloured 1958 Bentley S1 that belonged to Apple, the Beatles' company. There is an excellent website, dedicated to this car alone, and John Hendy's pictures are also featured there.

Speaking about cars, the John Hendy collection has also been spotted by the Proud Gallery in Chelsea who used some of the pictures in their March 2013 exhibition “Ossie Clark: The King of the King’s Road Reigns Again”.

Visitors of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit may know Ossie Clark from the Pontiac Parisienne that can be seen on the famous Madcap pictures that were taken in April 1969 by Mick Rock (for the purists among us we repeat once again that the pictures on the actual The Madcap Laughs album have been taken or are at least licensed to Storm Thorgerson). The darkblue car that was parked in front of Syd's apartment was given away in a raffle on the 19th of December 1968 in the Royal Albert Hall, one day after the famous Alchemical Wedding from John & Yoko in the same venue.

Duggie Fields has named it the Ossie Clark's New Year's Eve party on his website but the actual show could have been announced with a different title. There is hardly any information about this event, apart from the fact that Yes played a gig and that Amanda Lear was present as well, but she was probably there as a fashion model and not as a singer / performer.

Breaking free of traditional fashion shows, with their calm, measured presentation, Ossie Clark turned his shows into theatrical events. They were held at venues like the Albert Hall and Dingwalls dance hall in Camden. In attendance were rock stars and artists, the rich and the fashionable. (Taken from: V&A.)

And of course everybody knows that Amanda Lear was a muse and protégé of Salvador Dali as well, that she knew the Myers twins in London and Spain and that, perhaps, she has met Iggy Rose as well.

But that is another story we need to be discrete about...


Many thanks to Euryale, Christopher Farmer, Simon Hendy.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Links & Things
Christopher Farmer, who lead us to the Iggy lookalike picture, has a website with photos, taken by his father in 1947 in Palestina: Palestine 1947
Simon Hendy, has different websites with his dad's pictures:
My Dad's Photos – John Hendy photography
John Hendy Photography
My Dad's Photos on Facebook

Further Reading
Pontiac Parisienne: When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2) 
Myers Twin Interview: Dalí sigue vivo en la memoria (thanks to Euryale for pointing this article out to the Church and translating it to English!)
Ossie Clark, the King Of The Kings Road in Holland Park