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It has been a sad week for us, music lovers. Rick
Wright, one of the founding fathers of the band Pink
Floyd, died of cancer. Wright was a member of the 1963 R&B cover
6 that would grow, a couple of years later, into the next hip thing
when Syd Barrett joined the gang. The hip thing would soon become a
monster, a gravy train, a dinosaur, it had its up and downs, it was
praised and loathed by the so-called serious music press.
I am not good at obituaries, and who am I to write one anyway, so I’ll
pass the word to David Gilmour, not only a colleague but also close
friend of him.
In the welter of arguments about who or what was Pink Floyd, Rick's
enormous input was frequently forgotten.
He was gentle, unassuming and private but his soulful voice and playing
were vital, magical components of our most recognised Pink Floyd sound.
I have never played with anyone quite like him. The blend of his and my
voices and our musical telepathy reached their first major flowering in
1971 on 'Echoes'. In my view all the greatest PF moments are the ones
where he is in full flow. After all, without 'Us and Them' and 'The
Great Gig In The Sky', both of which he wrote, what would 'The Dark Side
Of The Moon' have been? Without his quiet touch the Album 'Wish You Were
Here' would not quite have worked.
In our middle years, for many reasons he lost his way for a while, but
in the early Nineties, with 'The Division Bell', his vitality, spark and
humour returned to him and then the audience reaction to his appearances
on my tour in 2006 was hugely uplifting and it's a mark of his modesty
that those standing ovations came as a huge surprise to him, (though not
to the rest of us).
I admit I was one of those many fans who sheered louder for Rick than
for the others on David’s last tour. Hearing him sing Echoes with David
was probably my best Floydian encounter ever, topping Dogs that Roger
Waters used (and still uses) to sing on his solo tours.
Roger Waters, normally a man of many words, has put the following
appropriate statement on his website:
Julianindica (aka Julian Palacios) wrote some great stuff about Wright
at Late Night:
Wright’s keyboard style had a unique melancholic grandeur. He had an ear
for exotic sounds, bringing in Middle Eastern Phrygian scales into his
mix. Never one to play lightning fast or pound the notes out, Wright
conjured up his unique style with patience. What was left out was as
important as what stayed in, and Wright took a calm and methodical
approach. The influence of Davis sideman Bill Evans introspective,
melancholic piano was strong. Modal jazz had minimal chords and relied
on melody and intervals of different modes. A slow harmonic rhythm
opened space in the music, in contrast to bebop’s frenzy.
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-iest birthday of Meddle,
an album that – according to their blurb – changed the sound of Pink
Floyd and prog rock forever.
But we start with the most recent Uncut
(that has a Marc Bolan / T-Rex cover, but it didn't cross the Channel
yet) where Nick Mason expresses his belief that there still is room for
a combined Piper/Saucerful Immersion set. That extended CD-box-set would
have early Pink Floyd rarities as Vegetable Man and Scream Thy
last Scream but also...
...we've got some demos that were made really early on, which I think
are just charming. these come from 1965 and include 'Lucy Leave', "I'm A
King Bee", "Walk With Me Sydney", and "Double O-Bo". They're very R'n'B.
Of course we were yet another English band who wanted to be an American
style R'n'B band. We recorded the demo at Decca. I think it must have
been, in Broadhurst Gardens. A friend of Rick's was working there as an
engineer, and managed to sneak us in on a Saturday night when the studio
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.
In the Seventies, Eigthies, Nineties and Naughties (sic) no
interview with an (ex-) Pink Floyd member could be published without the
obligatory Syd Barrett question. This enervated the interviewees
sometimes at a point that they may have said things they would later
regret but that are continuously repeated, decades later, by Sydiots all
over the world in their quest to prove that member D, R or N still holds
a grudge against that godlike creature named Syd.
I's a bit like Paul McCartney who will, forever and ever, be reminded of
a drag' comment the day John Lennon died, a comment he gave to the
press vultures while he was emotionally exhausted.
In 2005 when Roger Waters' (rather unexciting) Ca Ira opera saw
the light of day he was obliged to face the press, but his management
insisted to talk about the opera and not about Pink Floyd. Belgian
journalist Serge Simonart described this wryly as interviewing
Winston Churchill and only asking about his hobbies. The music
journalist however smuggled in a Barrett-related question and noted down
the following statement:
The press is also to blame, because they want a juicy tale. Syd was a
juicy tale, and that is why his influence seems to be so much bigger
than it was in reality: he barely was a year in the band, and we have
made our best work later without him. (Taken from WHERE ARE THEY NOW...
ROGER WATERS (PINK FLOYD), currently hosted at A
Apart from the fact that Roger Waters needs an extra semi-trailer to
transport his ego while he is on tour, he has a valid point although
some Syd anoraks will obviously not agree with the above.
In December 1968 (give or take a month) Syd Barrett, Duggie Fields and a
drop-out named Jules rented a three bedroom apartment at Wetherby
Mansions. As Jules left a short while later the witnesses who can tell
us something substantial about Syd's daily life are Duggie Fields, Gala
Pinion (who took the spare bedroom about 6 months later), Iggy Rose plus
the circle of close friends and, unfortunately enough, hanger-ons who
were only there for the free food, free booze and free drugs. Syd
Barrett was either a very generous host or simply too spaced-out to
understand that he was being ripped-off.
Our good friend Iggy Rose is rather reluctant to divulge too much to the
outside world and anything that she has told the Reverend stays well
inside the Church's sigillum confessionis. Gala seems to have
disappeared in Germany of all places, so perhaps someone ought to create
a Semi-Holy Church of Jules in order to find and question him.
Most people who knew Syd seem to have valid enough reasons to keep a low
profile, unless they want to sell overpriced Barrett photo books.
The result is that all weight falls upon the man who lived with Syd for
a couple of years and who tried (and succeeded) in making a successful
art career of his own: Duggie Fields. But it must have been, and
probably still is, a pain in the arse that whenever he wants to inform
the press about a new exposition they all friendly smile into his
direction and say: “Fine, but we only want to know about Syd Barrett
So let's set the record straight, shall we? With a little help of our
Spanish-sister-blog Solo En Las Nubes we hereafter present you an
exclusive Duggie Fields self-interview (from the 24th November of 2010)
and we will not add another word about Syd. Sort of.
Artistically, a Duggie Fields interview speaks for itself and needs no
Although there are some obvious influences on his paintings, his art –
like with all great artists - is immediately recognisable. But the
Duggie Fields label is not limited to canvas alone.
His life is filled with very curious anecdotes. One of those is how he
shared a flat with Syd Barrett (and – although only for a couple of
weeks – with Iggy Rose [note from FA]), the protagonist of
this blog. Exclusively for Todos En Las Nubes Mr. Fields has written
this self-interview. An honor.
So how do you start your day...?
Usually at the computer. In the winter in my dressing gown; in the
summer in my underwear, with a cup of green tea....
I check my emails. Facebook.
And then sometimes I sit working on a new idea, a picture or less
frequently a piece
of music. And some times hours can pass without me registering.
What are you working on then now?
On the computer I have a couple of new image ideas started. How well
they’ll develop I don’t yet know. And a new piece of music on the way,
the first for quite some time. There’s also the canvas I’ve been working
on for most of the summer now.
So what’s that all about?
That’s not so easy for me to say. If it has a narrative I’ve yet to work
out what it is about. There seems to be some kind of story. There are
two figures in the picture occupying the same, but not quite the same,
space. Both looking at something but not quite the same something. Both
figures have spiritual overtones. The male figure came from a statue in
the graveyard just around the corner from here. The female figure was a
chance vision at an Arts and Antiques Fair up the road in Olympia.
Photographed randomly, not initially intended to pair with him but
somehow ending there intuitively.
What’s “just around the corner” ?
Just around the corner is Brompton Cemetery. Just around the corner is
also the name of a series of photographs I have been taking. Almost
daily and with my mobile phone and then posted on my Facebook page. The
Cemetery is Victorian, designed to echo on a much smaller scale
St.Peter’s in Rome, and ravishing when over-grown and wild as it was
last year. I photograph in there regularly. Always managing to discover
unseen statues, so many angels, and a wealth of ever-changing imagery.
And also I take pictures just around the corner on the streets where I
And where is that?
Earls Court, an area I’ve lived in now for over 40 years. In the same
home, the one I first got with Syd Barrett shortly after he’d left the
Pink Floyd and which we shared together for a couple of years or so
before he left even further from the life he’d once lived, and that I’ve
lived in ever since.
Have you always taken photographs?
At Art School I did photography briefly as part of my course there,
enjoying time in the dark-room developing, processing and printing my
own film, but not really getting on with their prevailing concepts of
what the subjects should be. Over the years I’ve had various cameras,
though nothing got me so involved again until going digital allowed me
to print and process on screen. The camera phone I enjoy enormously, not
having to carry a separate camera with me, one less item to fill the
pockets and think about. I use it kind of as a visual diary. I upload
the images to Facebook as it is currently simpler than adding them to my
own website the way it is set-up at the moment.
Note: This year (2011) Just Around The Corner evolved into a very
That implies you might change it..?
That will change at some stage, but it’s a job that just adds to the
list of things to do. And right now that’s a growing list. The website
works well enough as it stands. But all its sections, and there are many
already, could be expanded on. Like everything it is a question of time,
and of priorities.
What’s the biggest change then that might happen to it?
Well apart from a dedicated Photography section, I have over 1,000
images to choose from to add there. Mostly landscapes and things, the
“Just around the corner” series, “Tree offerings”, and “Curiosities”.
There is more music to add. Quite a few more pieces in addition to what
is already online. And lastly to update the “Word” section with some new
writing. Have been working for the past few years on anecdotes from my
life, from childhood on. Currently have written up to my early years in
And when might this happen?
You might well ask that. Really it depends. Right now I’m finishing off
one very large acrylic canvas; thinking about what the next one I paint
might be, painting always being my priority over everything, though now
first starting with imagery made on computer whereas before it would
start on tracing and graph paper. Working on a couple of digital images
that will stay digital whatever, possibly being output as digital
printed canvasses an option. As well as continuing with the music piece
I started only recently. So I am occupied, pre-occupied, engaged, and
other-wise committed. Enough in fact to think, this is enough for this
too so I can back get on with some real work, which of course it always
is. Time demanding however rewarding it feels in the process, which it
does, there is never enough of it it seems........
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
The Holy Igquisition has got a little black book with Roger
Waters' interesting quotes in. Needless to say that this is a very
thin book, with lots of white space, but here is a phrase from the Pink
Floyd's creative genius (his words, not ours) this article
would like to begin with.
There are no simple facts. We will all invent a history that suits us
and is comfortable for us, and we may absolutely believe our version to
be the truth. (…) The brain will invent stuff, move stuff around, and so
from 30 years ago (…) there's no way any of us can actually get at the
The Reverend would – however – first want to ask one fundamental
question, of which our readers may not be quite aware of the
significance of it... If Roger Waters is such a creative genius writing
poignant one-liners criticizing his fellow rock colleagues:
Lloyd-Webber's awful stuff. Runs for years and years and years. (…) Then
the piano lid comes down. And breaks his fucking fingers. (It's
A Miracle, Amused
...why then does he agree to release hyper-priced Immersion boxes
containing a scarf, some marbles, carton toasters, playing cards, other
debris and, oh yeah, incidentally some music as well? One can only
conclude it's a miracle. Let's just hope he doesn't get near a
piano for the next couple of years.
But probably we are too harsh in our criticism, Roger Waters has told
the press before that he is simply outvoted by the other Pink Floyd
members. This is a situation that used to be different in the past when
he reigned over the band as the sun
king, but like he will remember from his Ça
Ira days, these are the pros and cons of capitalist democracy.
A typical Floydian example of false memory syndrome is the visit of Syd
Barrett in the Abbey
Road studios on the 5th of June 1975. It is a mystery to us why EMI
didn't ask for entrance money that day as a complete soccer team,
including the four Pink Floyd members David
Mason, Roger Waters and Rick
Wright, claim they have seen, met and spoken to Syd Barrett.
Roadie (and guitar technician) Phil Taylor remembers he had a
drink in the mess with Syd and David. Stormtrooper Thorgerson
has had his say about it all but if one would give him the opportunity
he would argue – probably in yet another book rehashing the same old
material – that he started the band Pink Floyd at the first place. Other
'reliable' witnesses that day include (alphabetically sorted): Venetta
Fields, backing singer and member of The
Leckie, EMI engineer and producer (but not on Wish
You Were Here) Nick
Sedgwick, friend of Roger Waters and 'official' biographer of Pink
Shirley, Humble Pie drummer and friend of David Gilmour Carlena
Williams, backing singer and member of The Blackberries
Some say that Barrett visited the studio for two or three days in a row
and three people, including his former managers Peter
Jenner and Andrew
King, claim they spoke to Syd Barrett about a month later on David
Gilmour's wedding while the bridegroom himself claims that Syd Barrett
never showed up. To quote Pink Floyd biographer Mark
Blake: “...not two people in Pink Floyd's world have matching
stories...”, and neither do two biographies...
In his most recent, but probably not his last, picture book about Syd
Rock writes the following:
He (Syd Barrett, FA) asked me to take photos for the sleeve of
his first solo album The Madcap Laughs that autumn. At the time he was
living with yet another very pretty young lady known only as Iggy the
Eskimo. She wasn't really his girlfriend although clearly they had a
sexual relationship. But of course her presence in some of the photos we
took that day added an important element that enhanced their magical
Most biographies (all but one, Julian Palacios' Dark
Globe, in fact) put the date of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot in the
autumn of 1969 and this thanks to testimonies of Storm
Thorgerson, Mick Rock and, most of all, Malcolm
Jones. The Church, however, beliefs there is a 'misinformation
effect' in play. Researchers have found out that people will
automatically fill in the blanks in their memory if a so-called reliable
witness comes with an acceptable story. This would not be the first time
this happens in Pink Floyd history. And probably there have been 'cover
picture' meetings after summer between Harvest
perhaps even leading to an alternative Storm Thorgerson photo shoot (the
But in the end it was decided to use the daffodils session from
That the Church's theory (with the help of JenS) wasn't that far-fetched
was proven in March 2010 when the rock magazine Mojo
consecrated a three pages long article to pinpoint the date of the
shooting of The Madcap Laughs, with testimonies from Duggie Fields, Mick
Rock, Jenny Spires and Storm Thorgerson. The article and the Church's
comments can be found at Goofer
Dust [(I've got my) Mojo (working)... Part 2].
We know from JenS, Duggie Fields and Gretta
Barclay that Iggy arrived early 1969, and helped painting the floor,
but the only person who didn't comment on this was Iggy Rose herself. So
one freezing winter day The Holy Church asked her if she could have been
around at Wetherby Mansion, after the summer of 1969...
Iggy Rose: "I don't think it was that late, but I have to admit
it was almost 45 years ago. I remember I was cold, and they had a
one-bar-heater to try and keep me warm. I stayed a week here and there
and I never gave that photo shoot another thought. Later I found out
when Mick Rock came back for the second shoot he was disappointed I
Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)): "I took Ig to Wetherby Mansions in January or
February 1969 where she met Syd Barrett. (…) I introduced Iggy to Syd
shortly before I left (to America, FA), and she was around when I
left. She wasn’t there for long and generally moved around a lot to
Iggy Rose: "I had absolutely no idea how mammoth he was. Syd
never came on to me as the Big I Am. In fact when he played his rough
tracks of The Madcap Laughs he was so endearingly sweet and appealing...
Even asking me whether it was good enough to take to some bloke at EMI
Margaretta Barclay (Gretta
Speaks (Pt. 2)): "Iggy moved about and stayed with all sorts of
people in all sorts of places without declaring her intention to do so.
To my knowledge there was no ‘when Iggy left Syd’ moment. We were all
free spirits then, who moved whenever and wherever a whim took us."
Iggy Rose: "I wasn't even aware of who Syd Barrett really was. Of
course I knew of Pink Floyd. I must have seen them perform at Crystal
Palace but they were to me an obscure avant-garde underground band, who
played way-out music I couldn't dance to."
Jenny Spires (public conversation at Iggy Roses' Facebook
page): "Ig, Syd painted the floor boards as soon as he moved in
Christmas 68. When I moved in with him in January there were still
patches not done, by the door, in the window under the mattress where we
slept, in top right hand corner of the room. When he painted it
initially, he didn't wash the floor first. He just painted straight onto
all the dust etc... Dave (Gilmour) also painted his floor red..."
Duggie Fields (Mojo): "It was pretty primitive, two-bar electric
fire, concreted-up fireplaces... it was an area in decline. I don't
think there was anything, no cooker, bare floorboards..."
Mate (alleged visitor at Wetherby Mansions, FA): "The
three rooms all faced the street. On entering the house, the first room
was Fields', the second and largest, I guess about 25 square meters,
Barrett's. The third and smallest room was a communal room or a bedroom
for guests. Gala (Pinion, FA) stayed there. In the corridor were
some closets stuffed with clothes.
Then the floor bended to a small bathroom, I think it was completely at
the inside without a window. At the back was the kitchen with a window
to the garden. It was not very big and looked exactly like in the
Fifties. The bathroom was also rather simple, I mean, still with a small
tub. I don't remember how the bathroom floor looked like though."
Update 2016: 'Mate' is an anonymous witness who claims to have
been an amorous friend of Syd Barrett, visiting him several times in
London and Cambridge between 1970 and 1980. However, later
investigations from the Church have found out that this person probably
never met Syd and is a case of pseudologia fantastica. This
person, however, has a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of Syd Barrett and
early Pink Floyd and probably the above description of Syd's flat is
Iggy Rose: "I think Gala had the small room, Duggie the second
and Syd the largest. She had a lot of perfumes and soaps and gave me a
nice bubbly bath once... ...and tampons." (Launches one of her legendary
roaring laughs provoking a temporarily hearing loss with the Reverend.)
Any colour you like
Ian Barrett: "The stereo in the picture ended up at my house, and
I am pretty sure I had the record player in my bedroom for a good few
years. God knows where it is now though..."
Iggy Rose: "I wonder what happened to the old heavy tape recorder
with the giant spools. I remember Syd carrying it over for me to listen
to his rough cut of The Madcap Laughs."
Malcolm Jones (The Making Of The Madcap Laughs): "In anticipation
of the photographic session for the sleeve, Syd had painted the bare
floorboards of his room orange and purple."
Mick Rock (Psychedelic Renegades): "Soon after Syd moved in he
painted alternating floor boards orange
JenS: "I was staying with Syd between the New Year and March '69.
(…) Anyway, at that time, the floor was already painted blue
and orange and I remember thinking how
good it looked on the Madcap album cover later on when the album was
Iggy Rose (The
Croydon Guardian): "When Mick (Rock, FA) turned up to
take the photos I helped paint the floor boards for the shoot, I was
covered in paint, I still remember the smell of it."
Margaretta Barclay (Gretta
Speaks): "I remember that Iggy was involved with the floor painting
project and that she had paint all over her during the floor painting
time but I was not involved with the painting of the floor."
Iggy Rose (Mojo):
"He jumped off the mattress and said, 'Quick, grab a paint brush.' He
did one stripe and I did another. If you look at Mick Rock's pictures, I
have paint on the soles of my feet."
Duggie Fields (The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story): "I think he
painted the floor boards, sort of quite quickly. He didn't prepare the
floor, I don't think he swept the floor actually. (…) And he hadn't
planned his route out of the bed that was over there. He painted around
the bed and I think there was a little problem getting out of the room.
(…) He painted himself in."
Jenny Fabian (Days In The Life):: "He'd painted every other floor
board alternate colours red and green."
Iggy Rose: "I remember the mattress being against the
wall......Soooooo either we ran out of paint, or waited till the paint
dried, so poor Syd was marooned in the middle of the floor. (…) The
floorboards were painted red and blue.
I do remember, as the paint was on my feet and bottom. Did you know that
Syd wanted to take the colours right up the wall?"
Mate: "The planks were painted in a bright fiery-red,
perhaps with a slight tendency towards orange,
and dark blue with a shadow of violet.
Iggy is absolutely right: this was no orange's
orange. The curtains were dark
green velvet." (This witness may be a mythomaniac,
Mick Rock: "They were long exposures because of the low light and
they were push-developed which means that you give the film more time in
the processing fluid. You can tell because the colour changes and
the film starts to break up which causes that grainy effect."
Libby Gausden: "I always thought it was orange
paint, not red." Iggy
Rose: "Careful Libs darling! People will start to analyse that, the
way they did with the dead daffodils." Libby Gausden:
"Well they had faded from red to orange
when I got there."
Jenny Spires (public conversation
at Iggy Roses' Facebook
page): "The floor was painted long before you arrived Ig and was blue
and orange. You and Syd might have given
it another lick of paint and covered up some of the patchiness and bare
floorboard that was under the mattress before the Rock/Thorgersen shoot.
Perhaps, he only had red paint for that,
but it was blue and orange."
Mate: "Even in 1970 there were still unpainted parts in the room,
hidden under a worn rug. I suppose the floor had been beige-white before
Syd and Iggy painted it in dark blue
with a shadow of violet and bright orangy
red . The floor boards had not been carefully painted and
were lying under a thick shiny coat. The original pitch-pine wood didn't
In my impression it was an old paint-job and I didn't realise that Syd
had done it all by himself the year before. I never spoke with him about
the floor as I couldn't predict that it would become world-famous one
day. It is also weird that nearly nobody seems to remember the third
room..." (This witness may be a mythomaniac, see above.)
Mick Rock: "I actually went back a couple of weeks later. We
still didn't know what the LP was going to be called and we thought we
might need something different for the inner sleeve or some publicity
Iggy Rose: "I did go back afterwards and maybe Syd mentioned this
to someone. I wasn't bothered and I didn't know Syd was some big pop
star. He never lived like one and certainly didn't behave like."
When Iggy disappeared it wasn't to marry a rich banker or to go to Asia.
As a matter of fact she was only a few blocks away from the already
crumbling underground scene. One day she returned to the flat and heard
that Barrett had returned to Cambridge. She would never see Syd again
and wasn't aware of the fact that her portrait was on one of the most
mythical records of all time.
Update 2016: The above text, although meant to be tongue in
cheek, created a rift between the Reverend and one of the cited
witnesses, that still hasn't been resolved 4 years later. All that over
a paint job from nearly 50 years ago.
Many thanks to: Margaretta Barclay, Duggie Fields, Libby Gausden, Mate,
Iggy Rose, JenS & all of you @ NML & TBtCiIiY...
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 231-232. Clerk,
Carol: If I'm honest, my idea was that we should go our separate ways,
Roger Waters interview in Uncut June 2004, reprinted in: The Ultimate
Music Guide Issue 6 (from the makers of Uncut): Pink Floyd, 2011, p. 111. Gladstone,
Shane: The Dark Star, Clash 63, July 2011, p. 53 (Mick Rock
picture outtakes). Green,
Jonathon: Days In The Life, Pimlico, London, 1998, p.168. Jones,
Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p.
13. Mason, Nick: Inside Out, Orion Books, London, 2011
reissue, p. 206-208. Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades,
Plexus, London, 2007, p. 18-19, Rock, Mick: Syd Barrett - The
Photography Of Mick Rock, EMI Records Ltd, London & Palazzo Editions
Ltd, Bath, 2010, p. 10-11. Spires, Jenny: Facebook
conversation with Iggy Rose, July 2011.
On Wednesday, 9 May 2012, it was reported that Clive
Welham passed away, after having been ill for a long time.
50 years earlier, he was the one who introduced a quiet, shy boy to
Roger 'Syd' Barrett at the Cambridge College of Art and Technology. The
boys had in common that they both liked to play the guitar and
immediately became friends, that is how Syd Barrett and David Gilmour
met and how the Pink Floyd saga started.
Just like in the rest of England, Cambridge was a musical melting pot in
the early sixties with bands forming, merging, splitting and dissolving
like bubbles in a lava lamp.
Clive 'Chas' Welham attended the Perse
Preparatory School for Boys, a private school where he met fellow
student David Gilmour. As would-be musicians they crossed the
social barriers and befriended pupils from the Cambridge and County
School for Boys, meeting at street corners, the coffee bars or at home
were they would trade guitar licks. Despite their two years age
difference Clive was invited to the Sunday afternoon blues jam sessions
at Roger Barrett's home and in spring 1962 this culminated in a
'rehearsal' band called Geoff Mott & The Mottoes. Clive
Welham (to Julian Palacios):
There was Geoff Mott [vocals], Roger Barrett [rhythm guitar], and
“Nobby” Clarke [lead guitar], another Perse boy. I met them at a party
near the river. They’d got acoustic guitars and were strumming. I
started picking up sticks and making noise. We were in the kitchen, away
from the main party. They asked me if I played drums and I said, “Not
really, but I’d love to.” They said, “Pop round because we’re getting a
Clive Welham (to Mark Blake):
It was quite possible that when me and Syd first started I didn't even
have any proper drums and was playing on a biscuit tin with knives. But
I bought a kit, started taking lessons and actually got quite good. I
can't even remember who our bass player was...
Although several Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett biographies put Tony Sainty
as the Mottoes' bass player Clive Welham has always denied this: “I
played in bands with Tony later, but not with Syd.”
Another hang-around was a dangerous looking bloke who was more
interested in his motorbike than in playing music: Roger Waters.
He was the one who designed the poster for what is believed to be The
Mottoes' only public gig.
After Clive Welham had introduced David Gilmour to Syd Barrett, David
became a regular visitor as well. Surprisingly enough Syd and David
never joined a band together, starting their careers in separate bands.
Although they were close friends it has been rumoured there was some
pubertal guitar playing rivalry between them.
1962: The Ramblers
The Mottoes never grew into a gigging band and in March 1962 Clive
Welham, playing a Trixon
drum kit, stepped into The Ramblers with Albert 'Albie' Prior
(lead guitar), Johnny Gordon (rhythm guitar), Richard Baker (bass) and
Chris ‘Jim’ Marriott (vocals).
The Ramblers’ first gig was at the United Reformed Church Hall on Cherry
Hinton Road. They used their new Watkins Copycat Echo Chamber giving
them great sound on The Shadows’ Wonderful Land and Move It.
The Ramblers soon acquired a certain reputation and gigged quite a lot
in the Cambridge area. One day Syd Barrett asked 'Albie' Prior for some
rock'n roll advice in the Cambridge High School toilets: “...saying that
he wanted to get into a group and asking what it involved and in
particular what sort of haircut was best.”
Unfortunately the responsibilities of adulthood crept up on him and lead
guitarist 'Albie' had to leave the band to take a job in a London bank.
On Tuesday, the 13th of November 1962, David Gilmour premiered at a gig
at the King's Head public house at Fen Ditton, a venue were they would
return every week as the house band. Gilmour had joined two bands at the
same time and could also be seen with Chris Ian & The Newcomers,
later just The Newcomers. Notorious members were sax-player Dick
Parry, not unknown to Pink Floyd anoraks and Rick
Wills (Peter Frampton's Camel, Foreigner and Bad Company).
Memories have blurred a bit but according to Glenn Povey's Echoes
Gilmour's final gig with The Ramblers was on Sunday, 13 October 1963.
Beginning of 1964 The Ramblers disbanded but three of its 5 members
would later resurface as Jokers Wild.
1963: The Four Posters
But first, in autumn 1963, a band known as The Four Posters was
formed, although it may have been just a temporarily solution to keep on
playing. David Altham (piano, sax & vocals) and Tony Sainty (bass &
vocals) were in it and perhaps Clive Welham (drums). Unfortunately their
history has not been documented although according to Will Garfitt, who
left the band to pursue a painting career, they played some gigs at the
Cambridge Tech, the Gas Works, the Pit Club and the university. Contrary
to what has been written in some Pink Floyd biographies John Gordon was
I was never in The Four Posters. Clive and I were together in The
Ramblers, and we left together to join Dave, David and Tony to create
Jokers Wild. I don't know whether Dave and Tony came from The Newcomers
or The Four Posters...
1964: Jokers Wild
The Ramblers, The Four Posters and The Newcomers ended at about the same
time and the bands more or less joined ranks. Renamed Jokers Wild
in September 1964 it was at first conceived as an all-singing band. “We
were brave enough to do harmony singing that other groups wouldn’t
attempt, including Beach Boys and Four Seasons numbers”, confirmed Tony
Sainty. The band had good musicians, all of them could hold a tune, and
they soon had a loyal fanbase. They became the house-band at Les Jeux
Interdits, a midweek dance at Victoria Ballroom. Clive Welham: “We
came together in the first place because we all could sing.”
Some highlights of their career include a gig with Zoot
Money's Big Roll Band, The
Paramounts (an early incarnation of Procol Harum) and a London gig
as support act for The
Animals. This last gig was so hyped that a bus-load of fans followed
them from Cambridge to the big city of London.
1965: Walk Like A Man
Mid 1965 the band entered the Regent Sound Studios in Denmark Street,
London. They recorded a single that was sold (or given) to the fans
containing Don’t Ask Me What I Say (Manfred
Mann) and Big Girls Don’t Cry (The
Four Seasons). Out of the same session came a rather limited
one-sided LP with three more numbers: Why
Do Fools Fall in Love, Walk
Like a Man and Beautiful
Delilah. This is the only 'released' recording of Jokers Wild
although there might be others we are not aware of. Peter Gilmour
(David's brother) who replaced Tony Sainty on bass and vocals in autumn
1965 commented this week:
Sad news. A great bloke. I'll replay some of those old recordings doing
Four Seasons and Beach Boys numbers with his lovely clear falsetto voice.
Somewhere in October 1965 they played a private party in Great Shelford
together with an unknown singer-songwriter Paul
Simon and a band that was billed as The Tea Set because Pink
Floyd sounded too weird for the highbrow crowd. Clive Welham:
It was in a marquee at the back of this large country house [that can,
by the way, be seen on the cover of the Pink Floyd album Ummagumma,
FA]. I sat on and off the drum kit because of my wrist problems. Willie
Wilson sat in on drums and I came to the front on tambourine.
The musicians enjoyed themselves, jamming with the others and Paul Simon
- 'a pain in the arse', according to drummer Willie Wilson - joined in
on Johnny B. Good. A couple of days later Jokers Wild supported Pink
Floyd again, this time at the Byam Shaw School, Kensington, London. Each
band was paid £10 for that gig.
1965: the Decca tapes
By then Jokers Wild were seriously thinking of getting professional.
They were not only known by the locals in Cambridgeshire, but did
several society parties in London as well. Also the military forces had
discovered them: Jokers Wild was invited for the Admiral League dance at
the Dorchester Hotel in London and played several dances at the RAF and
USAF bases of Mildenhall, Lakenheath, Alconbury and Chicksands. Their
repertoire changed as well, shifting more towards soul, R&B and Tamla
Motown. Libby Gausden: “How we danced to David Gilmour, Peter Gilmour,
David Altham, John Gordon, Tony Sainty and dear Clive xxx.”
Some promoters were sought for and the band recorded a single for Decca:
You Don’t Know Like I Know (Sam
and Dave) / That’s How Strong My Love Is (Otis
Redding), but unfortunately it was never released because the
original version by Sam and Dave had already hit the UK market.
After the Decca adventure the original band slowly evaporated over the
next few months. Peter Gilmour left (probably after the summer of 1966)
to concentrate on his studies. Clive Welham had difficulties combining
his full time job with a semi-professional rock band and had some
medical problems as well. John Gordon further explains:
Clive [Welham] became unable to play any more (with a wrist complaint)
and was replaced by Willie Wilson... and that line-up continued for some
time. It was later still that Tony Sainty was replaced by Rick
[Wills]... and then, when the band was planning trips to France, I had
to 'pass' to finish my degree at college.
1966: Bullit & The Flowers
Now a quartet with David Altham, David Gilmour, John 'Willie' Wilson and newcomer
Rick Wills on bass, they continued using the known brand name, a trick
Gilmour would later repeat (but slightly more successful) with Pink
Floyd, touring around Spain, France and The Netherlands. Another failed
attempt to turn professional made them temporarily change their name to Bullit
and when David Altham also left the remaining trio continued as The
Flowers, mainly playing in France. Around camp-fires on this planet
it is told how a sick (and broke) David Gilmour returned to London, just
in time to get a telephone call from Nick Mason, asking if he had a few
minutes to spare.
2012: Nobody Knows Where You Are
Clive worked at the Cambridge University Press but always continued with
his music. According to Vernon Fitch he played in a band called Jacob's
Ladder in the Seventies and was a successful singer with local
Cambridge band Executive Suite in the Nineties. Helen Smith
remembers him as the leader of Solitaire, what must have been
(according to Colleen Hart) in the mid-Seventies:
A brilliant front man in his band 'Solitaire' - he had a wonderfully
sweet singing voice and could easily hit the high notes!
Update 2012 08 12: In 1978 Clive made a private, non commercial
recording of Peanuts, originally a 1957 hit from Little
Joe & The Thrillers:
David Altham: guitar, saxophone, keyboards, vocals David Gilmour:
guitar, vocals, harmonica John Gordon: rhythm guitar, vocals (1964 to
late 1965) Tony Sainty: bass, vocals (1964 to early 1966) Peter
Gilmour: bass, vocals (early 1966) Clive Welham: drums, vocals (1964
to late 1965) John 'Willie' Wilson: drums (from late 1965)
Jokers Wild #2 (Summer 1966 - Summer 1967 / Source: Glenn Povey) AKA
Bullit (3 summer months in 1966 at the Los Monteros hotel in Marbella?) AKA
The Flowers (end 1966)
David Altham: rhythm guitar (to December 1966) David Gilmour: guitar,
vocals Rick Wills: bass (from January 1967) John 'Willie' Wilson:
According to Julian Palacios in Dark Globe, quoting David Gale,
'perse pigs and county cunts' were friendly nicknames the pupils of
these rivaling schools gave to each other. David Gale's assumption can
be found on YouTube
although it may have been a raunchy joke towards his audience and part
of his 'performance'. (Back to text above.)
Syd Barrett in Jokers Wild?
In an interview for the Daily
Mirror in August 2008 Rosemary Breen (Syd's sister) told:
He [Syd] started his first band, Jokers Wild, at 16. Sunday
afternoons would see Cambridge chaps and girls coming over for a jamming
session. The members of Pink Floyd were just people I knew. Roger Waters
was a boy who lived around the corner and Dave Gilmour went to school
over the road.
This seems to be a slip of the tongue as Syd Barrett never joined the
band. In a message on Facebook,
Jenny Spires adds:
Syd was not in Jokers Wild... He jammed with all the various members at
different times, but he wasn't in it. When I met him in 64, he was
playing with his old Art School band Those Without. He was also in The
Tea Set at the same time. He played with several bands at the same time,
for example if someone needed a bass player for a couple of gigs they
may have asked him to stand in. Earlier, he played with Geoff Mott and
also with Blues Anonymous. There were lots of musician friends in
Cambridge that Syd played and jammed with. (Jenny Spires, 2012 06 30)
Many thanks to: Viv Brans, Michael Brown, Lord Drainlid, Libby Gausden,
John Gordon, Peter Gilmour, Colleen Hart, Chris Jones, Joe Perry,
Antonio Jesús Reyes, Helen Smith, Jenny Spires & I Spy In Cambridge. All
pictures courtesy of I
Spy In Cambridge. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 22-23, 34. Clive
Welham at Cambridge News Death
Notices, May 2012. Dosanjh, Warren: The music scene of 1960s
Cambridge, Cambridge, 2012, p. 42, 46-47. Free download
Spy In Cambridge. Fitch, Vernon: The Pink Floyd Encyclopedia,
Collector's Guide Publishing, Ontario, 2005, p. 342. Gordon, John: Corrections
re Jokers Wild, email, 2012-05-12. Palacios, Julian: Syd
Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p.
27-28, 31. Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd,
3C Publishing, 2008, p. 13, 20-24, 29.
Warning: Mr. Roger Waters sometimes uses strong language in the
When I opened the Anchor this morning I thought I saw a beggar leaning
against the door post. I took a broom to wipe the scruffy looking
scum-bag away, but I discovered just in time it was none other than...
“Come in here, Roger”, I said, “long time no see”, which is practically
a blatant lie as I had never seen him in my entire life. “Thanks,
Sylvester”, he replied, which was weird as well, as Sylvester isn't my
name but the name of the dude who used to have The Anchor in the early
sixties. By the looks of it Roger Waters was on an Alzheimer-induced
trip through memory lane.
Roger sat in front of me while I tried starting a conversation:
“Hello...you wanna cup of coffee?” He just sat there with
wild staring eyes, so I repeated: “I'm sorry, would you like a cup of
coffee?” This time he nodded and for a moment I thought this
bloke was even more bonkers than Syd Barrett who used to lick the chalk
at the snooker table if you didn't stop him in time: “Ok, you take cream
Waters took a sip of his coffee and he looked as if he really didn't
want to be there, wherever that might be. It is a good rule for a
bartender to leave a client in peace, if he wants so, or to have a vivid
conversation, if he wants so too. I decided, against my intuition, to
have another go: “What a show, hey, yesterday night.”
“Yeah, thanks”, he murmured. Waters had probably misunderstood me and
thought I had asked him about one of his Wall shows that he has been
performing for the fifth consecutive year now.
“No, that is not what I mean, Mister Waters. I meant the Olympics
opening show with all that you touch and all that you see and
“It's called Eclipse!”,
he snapped, pointing a finger at me: “That whole Olympic opening show
was a rip-off of my work, you hear me. Didn't you see the James
Bond sequence where the helicopter flies over Battersea
Power Station. What did you see, boy, tell me, what did you see?”
“Did I have to see something?”, I asked. I honestly had no idea what he
was talking about. I had watched the show with one eye, finding it a
load of pretentious crap, and I switched it off when Mike
Oldfield and his band started playing Tubular
Bells, sounding as if it came out of a tin box.
“I'll show you.”, he said and pressed an iPhone under my nose, “It's on
You see this helicopter fly over Battersea that has a Pink Floyd pig
between its chimneys and then it passes next to Big
Ben with the ticking clocks from my brilliant master-work Time.”
All I could see was a black screen with a warning:
“As a matter of fact, it's all dark to me.”, I answered. Roger Waters
turned the iPhone around and screamed one of his screams that make his
solo albums such a blazing success. He pushed the screen as if it was
fabricated by Play-Doh.
“Andre!”, he shouted, “Get me the top buffoon of the Olympics, that
crazy hand-clapping Belgian who was standing next to the old bat!
...Where I am, doesn't matter where I am, just get me that wimp!”
Suddenly he remembered that I was still standing behind the bar as well.
“How dare they, a fucking copyright claim by the fucking International
Olympic Committee. It is my fucking pig, I tell you, and my
He pressed the phone again and had his personal secretary in a matter of
seconds: “Andre! Check our lawyer if that creepy Danny
Boyle person has asked permission to use my pig and my
clocks... What do you mean... an academy award winner? Isn't it already
bad enough that McDonald's
forces the visitors of the games to eat their crap at gunpoint?” I
always thought it was physically impossible to smash down an iPhone but
Roger Waters apparently succeeded in doing just that.
“Did you know,”, Roger said to me, “that the Olympic show has been
co-produced by Mark
Fisher. The same Mark Fisher who would still be selling fish and
chips if I wouldn't have hired him to supervise the inflatables during
tour? Seems that he has being borrowing from my impressive portfolio as
I opened my mouth, but before a first syllable could escape, Roger's
“Yeah Andre... mmh... mmh... mmh.” Waters listened attentively to what
was said at the other side. Suddenly his voice turn into a soft
grumbling. “The International Olympic Committee didn't ask Roger
Waters Ltd for an authorisation to use the pig. Fine, let's close
down their circus then... that will learn them...”
From where I was standing I could hear his secretary trying to get a
message through to his boss. Suddenly Roger's eyes went very dark: “They
have asked Pink Floyd (1987) Ltd for an authorisation... what...
do... they... have... to... do... with... my... pig...”
I have once read in a magazine that just before a tornado hits your
chicken shack it gets awfully quiet. Roger Waters was awfully quiet now.
A good bartender knows what he has to do to prevent a row, so I tried to
divert from the subject: “Now that you mention it, those rows of beds in
the stadium made me think of Pink Floyd as well.”
“What the fuck a bed has got to do with my work of genius?”, he snorted,
“As far as I know no bed has ever been used on a Pink Floyd album. Silly Storm
tried once, but he couldn't stand up against my pig. Nobody can stand up
against my pig.”
He smiled a big smile, so my trick did work apparently.
“But you are right, the bed thing that was supposedly about the National
Health Service stole most of its imagery from me. Suddenly the
stadium, with its pyramidalDark
Side of the Moon light towers, was surrounded by a pulsating heart-beat
like the Hipgnosis
artwork that has been done under my intelligent guidance. Some minutes
later giant inflatable marionettes, not unlike my teacher from my
Wall, descended from the sky. Poor Gerald
Scarfe, he would still be cutting onion rings in a Soho Chop Soy
dump if I hadn't employed him on the Wish
You Were Here tour.”
He sighed a heavy sigh: “It's awfully difficult to be a genius,
Sylvester, but I cope with it rather well.”
Suddenly three men, dressed in white, jumped in the pub. They
immediately froze when they saw the man sitting in front of me and
slowly walked to him. “Come in here, dear boy.”, one of them smoothly
said, “We have to fly you back for your show in Santiago de Chile
“Daddy, I wanna go home...”, Roger cried and for a nanosecond I pitied
him. “Hush now baby, don't you cry”, said nurse #1, nodding to nurse #2
who had prepared an injectant. “Just a little pinprick, Roger, to keep
you going for the show.” Two of them grabbed Roger Waters under his
shoulders and dragged him out of the pub, his feet sliding over the
Anchor's polished floor.
I could swear I heard a copter leaving off a few minutes later, but
perhaps this was my imagination. But what I do know with certainty is
that nobody bothered to pay me for the coffee.
(The above article is not entirely based upon facts and some situations
have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
Many thanks to: 2braindamage, Bloco do Pink Floyd, Matt, NPF.
The inhabitants of the distant planet Tralfamadore
have a phrase, the laity equivalent of the earthly inshallah that
goes like this: So it goes. The saying is a combination of
fatalism, stoicism and acceptance, usually for when a bad thing happens,
without giving a moral or religious judgement to the incident itself.
One night, drunk, we were having a race with a friend who owned a car. A
famous roundabout outside Cambridge at the end of the Hauxton half-mile,
ten miles out of town. We gave this guy a big start. Then Syd and I
climbed on my old Norton motorcycle. I drove as fast as I could to this
roundabout and back. As we drove into the front drive of his mother’s
house, as he was getting off the back tire went bang! A puncture, a big
split in the rear tyre. Only by a hair’s breadth did Pink Floyd ever
exist at all. Syd and I could so easily have been killed. (Roger Waters,
So it goes.
The most ardent Syd Barrett fans will probably be very angry (again!) at
Roger Waters for nearly killing Syd, not realizing that if Roger had
succeeded in finishing off his friend (and probably himself as well in
the process) there would have been no Syd Barrett, nor Pink Floyd, fans
to begin with. On the other hand, we would never have had the Roger
Waters album Amused
To Death, nor any other of his solo stinkers, so here is valid proof
that there is some sense of a meta-physical equilibrium in the universe.
The 1967 National Jazz, Pop, Ballads and Blues Festival
In August 1967 a three days music festival took place at the Royal
Windsor Racecourse, also known among the locals as the Balloon
Meadow. In 1961 the festival had been called National Jazz
Festival, but the organisation kept on adding music genres to the
title to reflect the musical changes that took place in Britain. Four
years later the festival was named the National
Jazz and Blues Festival and the 1967 edition listened to the
slightly overinflated National Jazz, Pop, Ballads and Blues Festival.
Frankly, for this reason alone, it's a good thing the festival never
survived into the nineties or they would have needed 99-cm-long tickets.
In 1967 jazz had become a small part of the bill with afternoon gigs
only and in the evening the festival had become a de-facto
popular music jukebox with a rather impressive list of groovy bands who
got between 20 to 30 minutes to present their case, the only exception
the top act who got an abundant 45 minutes. Not that weird, because the
director of the NJPB&B festival was none other than Harold
Pendleton, owner of the legendary Marquee
club and director of the National Jazz Federation. Bands that were
considered hot and had shown their popularity in the club came on the
short-list for the festival and one example is the Belgian power-trio Adam's
Recital who only gave us one excellent single and then disappeared.
The festival was not entirely unbespoken, as usual there were the
traditional jazz lovers who moaned that their jazz festival wasn't a
real jazz festival any more and had sold out to those dreadful
pop-bands. But the blues and rock fans also complained about the 1000
Watts experimental WEM hi-fi installation that fell out during several
concerts and was inadequate to give the rock fans the volume they
needed. On top of that the posh neighbours of the Balloon Meadow had
issued a complaint, leading to the arrest of Charlie Watkins of WEM
(Watkins Electric Music), and in order to continue with the festival the
volume had to be turned down, despite the crappy PA system.
A host of guitarists like Peter Green, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and David
O'List, had their sound reduced to a near pathetic level. (Melody Maker)
The Lovely Ones
For many visitors from the country this was their first encounter with
hippies who could only be found in their London ghetto. One photographer
All those lovely, beautiful people. With their John Lennon spectacles
and Scott McKenzie moustaches. And their garlands of flowers; their
cowbells; and their joss sticks. So lovely... dressed in mum's
tablecloth and the front room curtains. So lovely with their talk of
peace... and their skip-like walk over the grass. This was not a
love-in, or particularly a gathering of hippies, though they were there
in their hundreds.
And amongst the flower girls one particular specimen stood out, she was
(and still is) a true goddess of psychedelia and Pink Floyd fans
amicably know her as Iggy the Eskimo.
Iggy the Eskimo Pocahontas
Last year Iggy Rose confided to the Holy Church that there were still
some unseen pictures of her, hidden in music magazine archives, waiting
to be unearthed:
I had teamed up with a photographer who was freelancing for all the top
music papers. He fled his native motherland when Communist Russia
invaded what was once Great Britain [Note from FA: Afghanistan?].
he lived in Earls Court, at the gay end and he didn't have a clue who
cared. He was my protector and provider and took thousands of the most
stunning pics. He introduced me to top agents, Ready Steady Go and took
me to the first Glastonbury festival and the Isle of Wight.
would always take pictures of me as well. I wish I could remember which
festival or what music paper where he had got me on the front page, but
I do remember I had plaits and a band round my forehead... I looked like
Pocahontas, the red Indian squaw.
Later on he introduced me to
top modelling agencies and trendy photographers. I even got to meet the
great David Puttman for a Camay soap TV-ad where I was lying in a bath
with lots of bubbles. We spent ages in his office giggling and laughing
while he tried to apologise. I was the wrong type as the soap company
was looking for big blue-eyed blondes like Twiggy or Jean [Shrimpton].
Unfortunately most of the Iggy Rose pictures have disappeared through
the years, including those that were in her property. S, a rock star she
was hanging out with at the time, 'was one of the many people who
destroyed hundreds of my photos' and in an unfortunate freaky incident a
suitcase with her personal belongings was tossed over the railings of a
ship crossing the North Sea. One of the mythical lost photo sessions are
an intimate set from her with Syd Barrett, perhaps taken by a
photographer other than Mick Rock and Storm Thorgerson, around the time
that also The Madcap Laughs cover-shoot took place.
So it goes.
And the chance that the picture of Iggy as Pocahontas would ever show up
was close to zero.
Then a miracle happened that could only take place in our global village.
The Phi Factor
On the 25th of August the Church received a message from PhiPhi
Chavana (Hong Kong) that she had found a new Iggy pic in a 1967
magazine that was auctioned on eBay. The Music Maker magazine of October
1967 belonged to retro68special from Sydney (Australia) who was
selling his wide collection of sixties and seventies film, video, vinyl,
books, zines, comics, memorabilia and ephemera...
Retro68special had scanned 16 out of the 52 pages magazine, including a
big centrefold of a flower power girl who looked unmistakably like Iggy.
Discreet investigations were undertaken to see if the girl on the
picture was Ig and on the first of September we received confirmation it
was her indeed: "...those beads left great big dents in my forehead ;)".
Maker was a short-lived music magazine that ran from September 1966
till December 1967. As a monthly offshoot from the Melody Maker stable
it was edited by Jack
Hutton and Bob
Houston and more interested in jazz, folk and serious popular music
than in those weird psychedelic fiddlings. It clearly used a more adult
style than its weekly counterparts, giving full credits to the authors
of the articles, but alas, not to the people who took the pictures.
The October 1967 issue that was on sale has in-depth interview with and
articles about: Burt Bacharach, Tony Bennett, Brian Epstein, Hank, Thad
& Elvin Jones, Stan Kenton, Lulu, Frank Zappa and a photo-journalistic
impression of the National Jazz and Blues Festival, with a text written
by Chris Welch.
WINDSOR-A NEW LOOK IN FESTIVALS (Chris Welch)
Flower Power hit this year’s National ]azz and Blues Festival at Windsor
in August like a reinforced concrete daisy.
replaced the familiar beatniks of yesteryear. Beads and bells ousted
duffle coats and cider jugs.
Both groups and audience alike
adopted colourful, inventive clothes-kaftans, scarves and brilliantly
hued trousers and jackets.
As hippies seek free expression in
music and general activities, so they seek freedom of dress, and only
the dullards of society can feel resentment at their massive break with
“But they are being conventional-they all dress the
same”, one can almost hear the dullards whining.
While businessmen desperately trail the hippies to their lairs to cash
in on whatever trend may be showing on the surface, your real hippy is
always one jump ahead and trying to be original and creative.
of the groups at Windsor were still playing the old soul and Carnaby
Street groove, but there were several representatives of the “new wave”
in pop which have been drastically altering the scene in a matter of
weeks. Pop has never moved at such a fast pace.
Tomorrow in action, a fantastic new group featuring “Teenage Opera” man
Keith West. There was Dantalian’s Chariot, Eric Burdon and the New
Animals, the Nice and many other happy happenings.
soul bands seemed happy in the past to play “Knock On Wood” and “Sweet
Soul Music” all night, and inviting the audience to “clap their hands”,
the new groups use as much original material as possible or at least
obscure American songs which make good vehicles for instrumental and
The Nice, for example, who caused a minor
sensation by releasing doves of peace during their act, play numbers
from the “Cosmic Sounds”, Electra album, film themes and strange
Beautiful maidens abounded at the festival,
collectively referred to as “Creamcheese”, which stems from the Mothers
Of Invention’s famous Suzie. Most of the girls now wear Eric Clapton
hairstyles or affect American Indian garb. Or is it Indian Indian?
Geography has gone to pot.
Musically the finest contributions to
the Festival were by Clapton, Tens Years After, Tomorrow, Pat Arnold and
the Nice, John Mayall, Peter Green, Donovan and Denny Laine.
all point to a happy, creative pop future - if only people will leave
them alone. - CHRIS WELCH
And here finally is the picture we have been looking for, for all these
months, and before we forget: "Just another world exclusive of
the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit."
A bigger version and a (partial) scan of the magazine can be found in
our latest gallery: Music
Incarceration of a Flower Child
After PhiPhi Chavana warned the Reverend about the new Iggy Rose picture
the scan from the seller was examined by some Church alumni who all
agreed that the image had a serious distorted view at chin level, a
carnival mirror effect if you like, due to the bending of the pages in
So it was absolutely essential that the Church got hold of the magazine.
The first thing the Church did when it arrived was to cut it into little
pieces and make a flat hi-res scan of the two pages that made the
Unfortunately, this only worsened the case, as the upper and lower piece
of the scan did not stitch together and a big crack was visible between
the two parts. Lucky for us that wicked tribe of Iggy Rose fans has
nothing but nice people amongst it ranks and Brooke Steytler came to the
rescue using his magical inpainting skills.
Serendipity & more to come
All this makes us think.
What if retro68special had not put up his collection for sale? What
if he had not scanned the page with Iggy? What if PhiPhi Chavana had
not seen it on eBay? What if PhiPhi Chavana had not recognised Iggy
and had not been aware of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit? What if
Brooke Steytler had not proposed to use his photoshopping superpowers?
That's a lot of knots and we can only conclude that the Church is
protected by a special guardian angel, but we all know who she is, don't
So it goes.
As Music Maker was a spin-off of Melody Maker it is not
impossible that the weekly magazine may have Iggy related pictures as
well, the same goes for Disc and Music Echo, another weekly
magazine from the same stable. And while we're at it, why not have a go
at NME 1075 that had an article by Keith Altham and Norrie
Drummond about the festival. The hunt continues.
P.S. The Pink Floyd didn't play the National Jazz, Pop, Ballads and
Blues Festival after all, this was the summer that Syd Barrett suffered
from extreme exhaustion and went to Formentera with his gynaecologist
(!) to get some rest. The Nice replaced the Floyd's spot and did in fact
play twice on the festival. More about Syd at Formentera: Formentera
Many thanks to: Dylan Mills, Brooke Steytler, PhiPhi Chavana,
retro68special. ♥ Iggy ♥
What is there to say about Storm, except perhaps, like someone put in Birdie
Hop, that he had a great name and a great life?
Thorgerson was a member of the so-called Cambridge mafia, who in the
early Sixties fled their home-town en masse to seek fame and
fortune in the great city. They wanted to study in London, at least that
is what they told their parents, but frankly these youngsters just
wanted to get away from parental guidance and have an uncensored bite of
adult life: sex, drugs and rock'n roll. Paradoxically, or maybe not,
once they arrived in London they immediately flocked together, sharing
apartments and houses and meeting in the same clubs and coffee houses.
The term Cambridge mafia was coined by David
Gilmour to denominate that bunch of relatives, friends and
acquaintances who stuck together, not only in the sixties, but are still
doing today. As a relative young and unknown band Pink
Floyd looked for associates, sound- and light technicians, roadies
and lorry drivers in their immediate neighbourhood, often not further
away than the next room in the same house.
Thorgerson was no exception, he had played cricket in the same team as Bob
Klose and Roger
Waters, and when the Floyd needed a record cover for A
Saucerful Of Secrets, Storm managed to squeeze himself in, staying
there till the end of his life, as the recent variations
of the Dark Side of the Moon cover show us.
But even before Saucerful Storm had been involved with the band, it was
at his kitchen table at Egerton Court that the members, minus Syd
Barrett, discussed the future of Pink Floyd and decided to ask for a
little help from yet another Cantabrigian friend: David Gilmour.
Obviously, this blog would not exist if, in the week from the 14th to
21st April 1969, Storm hadn't made an appointment with history to start
a magical photo shoot.
Julian Palacios in Dark Globe:
Storm Thorgerson supervised the photo session for the cover of The
Madcap Laughs, bringing in Mick Rock to photograph at Syd’s flat. ‘Syd
just called out of the blue and said he needed an album cover,’
confirmed Rock. When Thorgerson and Rock arrived for the shoot, ‘Syd was
still in his Y-fronts when he opened the door,’ Mick explained. ‘He had
totally forgotten about the session and fell about laughing. His lady
friend of two weeks, “Iggy the Eskimo”, was naked in the kitchen
preparing coffee. She didn’t mind either. They laughed a lot, a magical
There has been some muffled controversy who was the brain behind the
pictures of The Madcap Laughs, not really helped by some contradicting
explanations from Storm Thorgerson and Mick
Rock. They both arrived the same day, both with a camera, and
probably Rock handed over (some of) his film rolls to Storm as this was
initially a Hipgnosis
Unfortunately we will never be able to ask Storm whether there was a
third photographer present or not, but the chance is he wouldn't have
remembered anyway. The rumour goes Storm was a rather chaotic person and
that most Barrett negatives disappeared or were misplaced through the
Perhaps the best, or at least the most personal, the most touching, the
most emotional album art by Storm is the cover of the 1974 Syd Barrett
vinyl compilation. It is a simple brown cover with Syd's name in
handwriting and a small picture, taken from what probably was an autumn
or late summer photo session also destined for the cover of The Madcap
Laughs. The pictures of the so-called yoga photo-shoot however where not
used, as we all know, for Syd's first album as Storm decided to use the
daffodil and Iggy session from April instead. Hence the misdating in
nearly all biographies.
In 1974 Harvest decided to package Barrett's two solo albums as a budget
release. Storm, by then de de facto house photographer of Pink
Floyd, was asked to design a new cover. Storm rang at Syd's apartment
but the recalcitrant artist smashed the door when he heard about the
reason for the visit.
Thorgerson went back to the office and decided to make a cover out of
leftover pictures. On top of the brown background he put a plum, an
orange and a matchbox. This was probably the first time that Storm
played a game that he would later repeat with other Floydian artwork,
leaving enigmatic hints that were initially only understood by that
select group of Cantabrigian insiders who had known Syd personally.
Thorgerson's riddles culminated in the art for The
Division Bell (and its many spin-offs) that had a visual companion
for every song of the album, and rather than clarifying or portraying
the lyrics they added to the mystery. It still is his opus magnum
and unfortunately he will not be able any more to top it. We will never
know if he was in with the Publius
Enigma hoax although there have been a few leads pointing that way.
At a later stage Storm lost me somewhat. His mix of photographic
surrealism and mockery became too much a gimmick and the freshness and
inventiveness were gone. The covers of the latest Syd Barrett and Pink
Floyd compilations were not always appreciated by the fans. Perhaps he
was already sick by then.
But these few failings disappear at the magical
visual oeuvre Storm Thorgerson has left us (and not only for Pink
Floyd): A Nice Pair, Argus, Cochise, Dirty Things Done Dirt Cheap,
Flash, Houses of the Holy, Lullubelle III, Picnic, Savage Eye, Sheet
Music, The Lamb Lays Down On Broadway, Tightly Knit, Venus and Mars and
many many more...
Thorgerson was a rock artist without having recorded a single note of
music, he will be missed on Earth, but if there is that nirvana he will
surely be welcomed by Clive, Nick, Pip, Ponji, Rick, Steve, Syd and the
Many thanks to: Lori Haines. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Palacios,
Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London,
2010, p. 340.
Is it already over a year ago that this blog reviewed the Men On The
CD? Lots of things happened meanwhile to the Reverend who was recently
spotted at an Andrew
Lloyd Webber's musical. Since then, when he sits in the evening in
his comfy chair, a glass of Amontillado
in his hand, you can hear him murmuring the immortal refrain...
Memory All alone in the moonlight I can smile at the old days I
was beautiful then...
Thinking that we're getting older and wiser When we're just getting
But I have grown older and You have grown colder and Nothing is
very much fun any more. (Taken from: Memory
[Cats] / Near
the End [David Gilmour] / One
of my Turns [Roger Waters])
Andrew Lloyd Webber sickens me. He's in your face all the time and what
he does is nonsense. It has no value. It is shallow, derivative rubbish,
all of it... (Taken from: Who The Hell Does Roger Waters Think He Is?, Q
Magazine, November 1992, hosted at: A
But it is not because the Reverend deliberately ignores Roger Waters'
warnings that he can't recognise decent music any more.
Shine! from Men On The Border is a splendid album that shouldn't be
ignored by the redneck Sydiots out there. Luckily, neither did the
Spanish Syd Barrett blog Solo En Las Nubes and that's how the following
self-interview came into place, an interview with some old friends...
Men On The Border, who or what are they? Are they men or myth? With an
album, artwork and history myth-busting/building, they have rocked the
psychedelic foundations of the Syd Barrett world with a pop mentality.
Yes, pop. This sounds too cool to be true. We decided to find out more.
Phil: Well, wouldn't you like to know! We're just a couple of sticky
Swedes, except for me, because I'm just a Brit with Swedish tendencies. Göran:
And I am just a Swede with British tendencies. Phil: I've now lived
longer in Sweden than I did in Britland. I moved here because of my
spiritual affinity with the elks and they're thin on the ground in
London. Apart from that I've been a fanatic guitarist most of my life. Göran:
They are very thin is what I've heard. Phil: Disappearingly thin. Göran:
How long have you been involved in music?
Phil: All my life, actually from a very early age and my earliest
memories are musical - banging on boxes, as I wanted to be a drummer. Göran:
I wanted to be an astronaut. The space age - and the music that came
with it. Ahhh. Phil: From age 10 and onwards, everything was guitars.
My life is littered with musical tags which can take me back to specific
events in seconds - like most people probably have. Göran: Indeed.
Some good events, some less good, some joyful, some simply embarrassing. Phil:
Music has also steered major life-choices, like my conscious decision to
reject both schooling and religion in my teens. Göran: My music
universe imploded and exploded at the same time. I was a punk rocker, a
prog rocker and a 60s pop fan – all at once. My first band was named
Läder, the second one Yeah. Then I ditched music for education and...
things. Phil: My first band was at the age of 17. Unfortunately I was
unable to also reject the other very basic family philosophy: you have
to have a proper job! Getting a good education was obviously less
important. If I'd put my energies into music instead of a string of shit
jobs in my teens, maybe this album would have been made 20 years ago. Göran:
Maybe it WAS made 20 years ago in a time vortex kind of thingie.
Why did you make the album Shine!?
Phil: I love to make music, I love to play and I love to record in my
studio. If it's my music or someone else's doesn't really matter as long
as it has something to offer. Göran: As it happened, Syd Barrett had
something to offer. Phil: I hadn't actually heard any of his solo
material when we started. I was a Pink Floyd fan, but had completely
missed out on Syd. Göran: This helped to motivate me. I sent him a
first primitive demo. Phil: Making Octopus
whetted my appetite for more. Göran: And this in turn drove me
further. To convince people like Phil! The joy of discovery. Squid for
dinner! Phil: Well, he was dead keen to continue, so to make a whole
album was an easy decision. Göran: We made an early promise to be
ready for a festival the next summer. Phil: Yes. The absolute
deadline for mastering was June 8th 2012.
Can you describe the creative process of making Shine!?
Phil: Göran made acoustic demos which he sent to me. Sometimes I made an
initial draft recording, which I sent back for suggestions on how to
proceed and a few times we sat together and played. Göran: It was a
case of working out some new types of arrangements that would fit Syd’s
songs without losing too much of the feelings behind the songs. Some of
them were “road tested” in some acoustic gigs and more. Phil:
And more? Göran: Dreaming in a forest, Phil. Then I just recorded on
my smartphone and mailed over to Phil and he sent me some new amazing
twists back. Every time was such a joy! Phil: As an example of the
process my string quartet arrangement in the Golden Hair part of No
Man's Land was axed by Göran. Göran: Sorry! Phil: He
came up with another suggestion, the one that ended up on the album. I
thought that was SUCH a good idea, but was actually easily persuaded by
Göran to ditch the strings.... Göran: Creative conflicts. We
bounced things between us to create the right blend. Those strings were
brilliant, but did not work in the context of No Man’s Land. It would
have worked as a stand-alone. Phil: I also waited until all the
Shine! recordings were completed before listening to the originals and
was thus not influenced by them at all. Göran: Well, there was one
where you cheated. Phil: Yes! I actually listened to Gigolo
Aunt because I couldn't figure out the timing from Göran's demo
-there's a half-bar in there. Göran: The fun and beauty of Syd's
songs. Phil: All-in-all there was a LOT of bouncing back and forth. Göran:
Which are your favourite songs on Shine!?
Phil: All of the songs have elements in them which I love. But if I had
to choose one song it would be Opal,
because it has everything. Poignant lyric, great vocals from Göran. Göran:
Well... Phil: And also my best performance ever on a recording. 7
minutes of stark beauty. Göran: Opal was always special and I knew it
had to be on the album. We saved it for last really. It's tricky and I
had to record my demo to Phil in several segments. Phil: Oh yes. A
bit of a puzzle really. Göran: I am very pleased with how it turned
out. Personally I like the duo of Long Gone and No Man’s Land, moving in
that punk/prog territory. Feel is also such a wonderful melody and we
stretched that to tell a bit of a story, but with sound only. Wonderful
guitar work from Phil.
Which great Syd Barrett songs did not make it to be included on
which we recorded a week after the album was released. I love that song,
but because of the deadline we didn't have the spare week we needed to
record it. We'd planned to include that with a string quartet, though
fortunately the quartet idea wasn't included. I love the result on that.
There may be others.... Göran: Terrapin works best as a bonus track
really. There is a thematic structure to Shine! and I am not sure how it
could have fitted in. We had some ideas to include obscure Pink Floyd
stuff, like Scream Thy Last Scream. I am sure that would have been
really interesting, but then again it was never a Syd solo song.
What can you tell us about the artwork included with Shine!?
Göran: Back in March 1971, Syd admitted that at heart he was really a
painter. We just felt we should try to reflect this in our little
tribute. Phil: But none of us can paint. Göran: We tried sonically
to bring more colour to his rather bleak songs and also to illustrate
the whole album with colourful art. Phil: The cover was specially
made for us by a wonderful Swedish artist, Kajsa-Tuva Henriksson.
You can read all sorts of things into that painting. Göran: Yeah. I
first met her at a festival and played some of the early demos for her
and she really liked it. Then later, I described the overall ideas and
parts of Syd’s life. She made that painting to reflect all of this. Phil:
The booklet has one painting for each song in a sort of an exhibition,
where you move through different rooms actually. The paintings were made
by a Syd Barrett fan in the USA, Jennifer D’Andrea. Göran:
I really love those. I have Octopus framed as a constant reminder in my
Now honestly, what is really so great about Syd Barrett?
Göran: It's all great. You cannot easily separate the life and the art
of Syd Barrett. It is all so interwoven, as indeed it is with many great
artists through history. Van Gogh springs to mind, but also many more.
Their art might not have reached their true audience during their life
time, but would grow in importance. Phil: For me it has been a bit of
a discovery really. Göran: So Syd made some great stuff with Pink
Floyd and got that band on track for stardom, but I think he actually
did his best work after Pink Floyd. In a similar way that John Lennon
did his best work at a very vulnerable stage after The Beatles. Their
respective music is so extremely honest, but also very unpredictable and
full of layered meanings. Entering the “Syd universe” is very
worthwhile. We just want to help more people find it. Phil: Turn on,
tune in, rock out!
OK, you've convinced us. Where and how can we buy Shine!?
Göran: We have a few hundred copies left still, stored in USA, UK and
Sweden. Just visit our website and drop us a mail. We are quick to
answer and will happily send the CD to wherever you are. Phil: By
interstellar overdrive. We have fans on our Facebook
page from all over the planet, but no worries, we can mail the CD to all
Last question! Where is the pussy willow that smiled on this leaf -
and if it’s there will you go there too?
Phil: I've been advised by my lawyer not to answer this question, but
Göran, being brave and foolhardy in equal parts, probably has an
exclamation up the sleeve of his kaftan. Göran: The pussy willow is
in springtime Cambridge, and yes we will certainly go there one day to
gig and make recordings. Right Phil? Phil: You’ll have to talk to my
Göran Nyström and Phil Eheridge are preparing a new album called (at
least for now) Jumpstart that will at least have two other Syd
covers and own material. On the third of October 2013 they are billed at
Cruise gig in Sweden.
NSFW warning: this article contains pictures of naked b⊚⊚bs which
may result in temporary blindness for minors.
On the 5th of March 2009 the Syd Barrett Trust received Fart
Enjoy, a one-off book, created and illustrated by Syd Barrett,
believed to be made late 1964 or during 1965. It was donated by Syd's
school friend Andrew
Rawlinson who had kept it all these years. The day after it was put
on eBay. On Monday the 23rd March the highest bid reached £27,323 but
this was rejected and brought back to £12,100. Eventually the book sold
The Trust published all the pages of the (f)art-book and a moving essay
of Andrew Rawlinson about his friend. Unfortunately this has all
disappeared. The trust was constructed around Barrett's heritage,
estimated at about one
million seven hundred-thousand pounds. Barrett's household
articles and furniture made £119,890 for charity, the Two
Warriors mosaic went for £10,700 and three (big) Mick
Rock prints were auctioned as well, half of the proceedings going to
the Fund. (Mick Rock always needs to have a slice of the pie.)
And yet, 12 pounds a year to keep their website running was too much to
now points to a Japanese website trying to find nurses in Saitama
city. (Update 2017: it now simply points to a blank page.)
All related websites (and organisations) seem to have vanished: Syd
Barrett Trust, Syd Barrett Fund (the change of name
took place at the request of the Barrett family), Interstellar, The City
Wakes, Escape Artists,... We came across the rumour that Escape Artists
was, and we quote: 'a financially incompetent group'. The Syd Barrett
Fund was probably conned by 'useless PR men and bullshitters', but as we
can't verify this we'll leave it like that. Eventually Escape
Artists dissolved and Rosemary Breen, Syd's sister, teamed up with Squeaky
Gate that seems seemed to be a more reliable charity.
Update 8 April 2014: The metaphorical ink on this page wasn't
even dry or we were informed, on 30 March 2014, that Squeaky Gate may
need to close the books. While chief executive Simon Gunton told the Cambridge
News (on the 7th of April) that the fundings, coming from the
government, were running dry, the rumour pit in Cambridge has a slightly
more salient story of several ten thousands of pounds disappearing from
its bank account. Syd Barrett & charity: it's no good trying. Update
9 April 2014: We have had confirmation that Squeaky Gate is now history.
Well not exactly. Page 13 was missing and replaced by the following
This particular page has been left blank for legal reasons For
further details see www.pinkfloyd.com
For many fans the abundance of the 'fuck' word (9 times) and the
presence of a pin-up might have had something to do with that.
Especially in America big chains do not like to sell records that may
potentially besmirch the frail American psyche with swear words and
naked boobs. Going to the official Pink Floyd website obviously didn't
explain anything at all, so Keith Jordan of Neptune
the band's management:
Pink Floyd's manager told me earlier that the page is missing from the
album booklet because of copyright issues. EMI are not willing to face
unlimited litigation against them for including it! So it's not about
censorship at all!
Which is weird as the missing page had been published in Tim Willis's Madcap
book before and it can be still found on the NPF website
(and numerous others) as well.
Should you not know what all this hassle is about, at the left is the
picture in question. It surely gives the impression that Roger Keith
Barrett, like most pimpled adolescents, had a rather debatable sense of
humour and was overtly sexist, putting raunchy graffiti (FUK, SUK, LIK,
TIT, NIPL and a hard to find CUNT), including a stylised penis, all over
the picture. Rob Chapman describes it as:
a porn-mag photo of a topless woman encrypted with toilet-wall graffiti
And Julian Palacios adds that the page reveals Barrett's:
misogynistic adolescent fear and a fascination with naked women.
In Will Shutes' excellent Barrett essay, that like all art essays
meanders between the sublime and the slightly ridiculous, he cleverly
remarks that the BOYS FUCK GIRL word permutations - on the same page -
form 'two tip-to-toe penises'.
BOYS FUCK GIRL
BOY FS UCK GIRL
BO FYUS CK GIRL
B FOUYCS K GIRL
F BUOCYK S GIRL
FU BCOK YS GIRL
FUC BK OYS GIRL
FUCK BOYS GIRL
FUCK BOY GS IRL
FUCK BO GYIS RL
FUCK B GOIYRS L
FUCK G BIORYL L
FUCK GI BROL YS
FUCK GIR BL OYS
FUCK GIRL BOYS
As if two penises isn't serious enough he has also the following to say
about the pin-up:
The voyeuristic theme evident in Fart Enjoy relates to the omnipresence
of the sexualized image, and is humorous in its deliberate childishness.
In Barrett's most prominent foray into Pop Art, he illustrates the
anatomy of an anonymous topless model with tears and glasses, snot,
spiders, a cyclist ascending her left breast, and some sort of discharge
from her 'NIPL'.
For another observer the snot under her nose could also be a moustache,
the nipple discharge could be some sort of surrealistic fart (enjoyed or
not) and the anonymous topless model could be someone who ran for miss
Great Britain in 1955 and who played roles in the cult-horror movie Peeping
Tom (1960) and in the ultimate sixties sex comedy Alfie
In 1963 Playboy
called this actress a sex siren who was:
for years exploited as English grist for run-of-the-mill pin-up roles,
until her portrayal of Sir Laurence Olivier's mistress in The
Entertainer proved she could deliver lines as well as show them.
She must have left an everlasting impression because in the March 1966
issue this 'perky, pretty Lancashire lass' was portrayed by none other
than the British photographer of the stars, David
Bailey. One of these pictures
is the one that was massacred by Syd Barrett for his Fart Enjoy booklet.
As a movie star Shirley
Anne Field disappeared in the mid seventies but eventually she
returned in My
Beautiful Laundrette (1985), stayed for 42 episodes in the Santa
Barbara soap (1987) and was last seen on the silver screen in the
2011 comedy The
Power Of Three. IMDB
lists her impressive career, Shirley Anne Field starred in 70 different
movie and TV productions (not counting individual episodes) in nearly 6
Andrew Rawlinson writes
the Fart Enjoy booklet is probably from 1965.
I’m not sure about the exact date. I know where I was living, so that
places it between the end of 1964 and the summer of 1965. He was in
London (Tottenham Street I think, not Earlham Street) and I was in
But unless somebody unequivocally proves that Syd Barrett really was a Time
Lord (now here's a daring subject for our satiric The
Anchor division, we might say) we seem to have a problem as the
David Bailey pictures of Shirley Anne Field date from March 1966 and not
from the year before.
How on Earth did Syd Barrett happen to insert a picture from a March
1966 Playboy into a 1965 (f)artwork?
All seems to turn around the exact moment in time when Syd Barrett moved
from Tottenham Street to Earlham Street. Mark Blake and others put this
in 1965 but Rob Chapman in A Very Irregular Head writes:
During the summer of 1966 Syd moved out of Tottenham Street and with his
new girlfriend, fashion model Lindsay Corner, took up residence in the
top-floor flat at 2 Earlham Street, just off Shaftesbury Avenue.
One chirping biographer doesn't make spring, especially not this one, so
isn't there another way to date Fart Enjoy?
Actually there is.
Page 10 in the booklet has a transcript from a letter (postcard?) from
Syd's mother to her son. Some biographers call it a spoof although this,
nor the authenticity, can be proven. But made up or not, it contains
three interesting sentences.
I hope you are having a nice weekend. How did the group get on at
Essex? Shall we reckon to set off – Devon-wards – on Sat. 26th?
Let's start with the last line, the one that carries a date. Browsing
through calendars from nearly 50 years ago we can see there have only
been a few Saturdays the 26th between 1964 and 1966: two in 1964
(September and December), one in 1965
(June) and three in 1966
(February, March and November).
1964 Syd Barrett, as a member of The Hollerin' Blues, didn't
have that many gigs in 1964, and these were all around Cambridge. In the
autumn of that year he joined the proto-Floyd, who where probably still
called The Spectrum Five, but they only had about 3 concerts in London.
1965 Pink Floyd and/or The Tea Set had a slightly busier
schedule in 1965, but all in all there were only a dozen of gigs. None
of these were in Essex or happened around the only Saturday the 26th of
1966 "By early 1966 Pink Floyd's fortunes were taking a
dramatic turn for the better", writes Glenn Povey in Echoes, but frankly
their career only started to mushroom end of September. The Tea Set's
first claim for fame was when they were billed, thanks to Nick
Sedgwick, for three sets on a two-days festival on Friday the 11th
and Saturday the 12th of March 1966, next to real FAMOUS people and
bands. Nick Mason remembers:
The only gig that might have brought us to wider attention had been at
Essex University. At their rag ball, we shared the bill with the Swinging
Blue Jeans, who did appear, and Marianne
Faithfull who was billed as appearing – if she managed to return
from Holland in time. It didn’t sound hopeful. We were still called Tea
Set at the time although we must have given the impression of being in
transition to psychedelia, since in spite of having ‘Long
Tall Texan’ in our repertoire, where we all sang to the
accompaniment of acoustic guitars, somebody had arranged oil slides and
a film projection.
Roger Waters (as quoted in Palacios' Dark Globe):
‘We’d already become interested in mixed media,’ recalled Roger Waters.
‘Some bright spark there had given this paraplegic a film camera and
wheeled him round London filming his view. Now they showed it up on
screen as we played.’
The avant-garde movie lovers at the Church sometimes wonder if this
cinematographer wasn't an American who had recently moved to England.
Later he would play an important part in the London's Film-Makers'
Co-op, that grew out of film screenings at Better
Books. But looking into that would take us too far, actually.
The Essex University Rag Ball was the Floyd's first event to be
proud of and something Syd would have been bragging about to his mother
and friends. Not only was this their only Essex gig in the 1964 –
1966 period, but it also perfectly matches the 'spoof' letter in Fart
I hope you are having a nice weekend.
Refers to the week after the Essex gig when Syd hypothetically received
the letter (around 19 March 1966).
How did the group get on at Essex?
Syd's mum asks about the concert of the week before, when The Tea Set
had their first breakthrough (12 March 1966).
Shall we reckon to set off – Devon-wards – on Sat. 26th?
Points to a date in the immediate future, Saturday the 26th of March
Bob Dylan Schmooze
It's a shame EMI couldn't track down the owner of the copyright of the
woman with her boobies out which Barrett cut from a magazine. EMI chose
not to include it in the reproduced Fart Enjoy book in PATGOD.
So writes Neptune Pink Floyd on their Facebook
page, about a year ago. Well, now that the Holy Igquisition has
settled this matter, once and for all, EMI will have no excuse any more
not to include the complete Fart Enjoy booklet in - let's say - a 50
years anniversary Immersion set of Pink Floyd's first album.
We think we have gathered enough evidence to bring back the creation
date of the Fart Enjoy booklet from a two-years period to roughly one
week in 1966. The Church managed to identify the pin-up Syd Barrett drew Kilroy
on, as well as the photographer and the magazine it appeared in.
The only question that stays unanswered is: Why did Syd Barrett have
this particular Playboy?
The Playboy of March 1966 not only had topless pictures of Shirley Anne
Field. Pages 41 to 44 and 138 to 142 make room for a 'candid
conversation with the iconoclastic idol of the folk-rock set'. Syd
Barrett, like all Cantabrigian beatniks, admired Bob Dylan and discussed
his records, he had written a parodic song
about him, and took Libby Gausden to the Royal Festival Hall on 17 May
1964 to see him.
If we can be sure of one thing, it is that Syd Barrett really
bought this Playboy for the interview.
Many thanks to: Anonymous, Giulio Bonfissuto, Mick Brown, Warren
Dosanjh, Rich Hall, Alexander Hoffmann, Keith Jordan, Göran Nyström,
Neptune Pink Floyd Forum, Vintage Erotica Forum. Update July
2017: images and some text. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above links): Atagong, Felix: Fasten
Your Anoraks, The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, 8
September 2007. Beecher, Russell & Shutes, Will: Barrett,
Essential Works Ltd, London, 2011, p. 165. (This book has the complete
Fart Enjoy.) Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and
Faber, London, 2010, p. 62, 111. Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A
personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue,
p. 35. Palacios, Julian: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p.
92, 98. Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd,
3C Publishing, 2008, p. 32, 48. Rawlinson, Andrew: Syd Barrett -
His Book @ Syd Barrett Research Society, 15 March 2009 (forum no
longer active). Rawlinson, Andrew: Syd
Barrett - His Book, 20 March 2009 (mirror). Willis,
Tim, Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p. 53-55. (This book has
a few pages of Fart Enjoy.)
Last weekend, we, The
Anchor, the satirical
division of the Holy
Church of Iggy the Inuit, felt the peculiar need for an apology. It
is a feeling we seldom have, being a general pain in the arse and having
carefully cultivated the pompous pernickety air our spiritual job has
brought upon us. You may remember that we were not entirely favourable
of the anniversary release of the Division Bell album. In the article Grab
that cash we described it, and we quote:
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.
We duly admit this was not nice at all and due to the recent
developments in the Pink
Floyd camp, more about that to follow later, we profoundly
apologise. This doesn't mean that we are suddenly of the opinion that
Edition is worth the bulldog's bollocks, even if it may contain a
Enigma hint. It still is utterly overpriced and utterly redundant,
but of course what the honourable reader does with his money is his own
business and not ours.
On Saturday, the 5th of July 2014 at 3:13 PM (UTC), a mysterious tweet
was send into the multiverse by Polly
Samson, a tweet that created a heavy storm in the mostly silent
waters of modern Floydiana:
The world first took its time to digests its scrambled eggs, bacon,
sausages, tomatoes, toast, coffee and marmalade (at least in the proper
time-zone) but about 45 minutes later the news had been retweeted a few
thousand times and had been copied on Facebook walls, forums and blogs
all over the planet.
McBroom, confirmed the news less than an hour later and added that a
recent picture of her with David
Gilmour hadn't been taken during a solo album session, as she had
stated before, but that she had been asked to do vocals on a new Pink
Remember this photo? It wasn't what you THOUGHT it was.
A third confirmation came from Pink Floyd engineer Andrew
Jackson, so the rumour that Polly Samson's Twitter account had been
hacked and that this was nothing but a hoax was becoming less and less
believable. There was going to be a new Pink Floyd album, after twenty
years of silence.
This was not going to be just another Pink Floyd album. The starting
point were the Division Bell ambient demos that had been nick-named The
Big Spliff in the good old Floydian tradition to give recording sessions
silly names. Work on the mixes started over a year ago and probably,
although this is nothing but an assumption, it was foreseen as a short
and sweet bonus disk for a Division Bell Immersion set. While working on
the music however, David Gilmour and Nick Mason must have felt something
of the excitement from two decades before, they must have felt the muse,
the inspiration and the spirit of their friend and colleague (and in the
case of bass player ad interim Guy
Pratt, father in law) Rick Wright and decided to enhance the jams
into a proper record, asking Phil
Manzanera and Martin
‘Youth’ Glover to sit behind the mixing console.
Called The Endless River, after a line from the Division Bell’s
magnum opus High Hopes (in itself cryptically referring to See
Emily Play), the album will be mainly ambient and instrumental,
although at least one track will be sung by David Gilmour with lyrics by
Reactions from that strange horde, also known as the Pink Floyd fandom,
ranged from scepticism to enthusiasm. Some critics found it strange that
Pink Floyd would be recycling old material, perhaps unaware of the fact
that this is something the band has been doing for ages. The whale song
section from Echoes
was borrowed from their concert staple Embryo,
and Them was originally called The Violent Sequence and a Zabriskie
Point soundtrack leftover, and the magnificent Comfortably
Numb was something David Gilmour had been messing with for his
eponymous solo album.
Half of the Animals
(1977) album consists of songs the Floyd played live in 1974 but none of
those fitted the Wish
You Were Here (1975) concept. Animals was and still is a landmark
album, something that can’t be said of The
Final Cut (1983), practically a Roger Waters solo album, featuring
Wall (1979) rejects (and unfortunately it shows).
Let’s not be cynical for once and forget that a separate release of The
Endless River will shelve a few million copies more than a Division Bell
bonus disc. Even if the record will mostly have ambient atmospheric
pieces and may fail the default description of a typical Pink Floyd
album we will consider it as Richard Wright’s musical testament and an
honest tribute from the rest of the band.
Now, and here is a confession this old bartender has to make, when we
read Polly Samson's tweet, we were literally shaking all over our body
as excited as a puppy who has just been thrown a bone. We started
browsing the well-known Floydian fan-sites for more and the first
website who added the news to its page was Col
Segmental Pig File
Col Turner is not your average Pink Floyd fan site webmaster, he has
dedicated his life to the Floyd and if you ask us, we think he is pretty
daft for doing so. Nevertheless, we appreciate his masochist streak and
if we want to know the latest news of the Dark Side universe Fleeting
Glimpse (and Brain
Damage) are the first ones we open.
When we say that Colin Turner is not an average fan, we mean he is not
an average fan. Turner eats, feels, dreams and breaths Pink Floyd
(frankly we are a bit curious what he does in the bedroom) and as such
he already knew for a while that a new album was in the make. However,
instead of putting that news on his wall, like we would have done in a
nanosecond, he promised the Pink Floyd management to shut his mouth and
wait until an official announcement of the band was made.
Now, we ask you, dear reader, can you get any closer to an official band
announcement than the wife of the band leader, who happens to be the
main lyricist as well, tweeting the news into the world?
Well, opinions seems to differ apparently.
The Bleeding Hearts and the Artists
An artist is, by definition, a creative person, a sensitive person,
someone with a frail mind. He writes these songs that appeal to people
all over the world, people who recognise themselves in these songs, who
recognise the feelings, the emotions, the love, the sadness, the anger,
We, the fans, may think these songs have been written for us and
sometimes we are so touched by the beauty and sincerity of it all that
we will ask the artist to play the latest album in our backyard, for a
beer and a whopper on the grill. That is why an agent, or some
management, comes in... While the artist may not have the guts to
disappoint the fan, his agent's preferable syllables are invariably
'no', 'fuck off' and, if this is your lucky day, 'how much'.
There has always been a huge gap between Pink Floyd, the band, and Pink
Floyd, the company, and it is pretty impossible to determine how the one
has influenced the other. Although some of its members openly preached a
socialist philosophy their business manners have always been exactly the
opposite, at least after the Peter
Jenner days. Steve
O'Rourke was not only a quasi-mythical agent who uplifted the band
from the gutter towards the moon, but he was a bully as well, bombastic
in his manners, a Floydian pit-bull and above all... über-greedy.
Rumour goes O'Rourke started his career as a dog food sales rep, so
determined to succeed that he ate the stuff in front of his prospects to
prove it was quality meat.
Giving none away
The band who criticised capitalism on Money,
Torry£30 for her input on The
Great Gig In The Sky, less than a third of what a Dark
Side of the Moon Immersion set costs. In a nineties interview for
the Dutch Penthouse
a bitter Alan
Parsons recalled how the four gentlemen in the band never told him
that he had the right to earn some ‘points’ on his engineering /
producing work for Dark Side of the Moon. That situation was settled
later when Parsons was asked to remaster the album for an anniversary
release. Clare Torry had to seriously threaten with legal action before
the band agreed to share a small slice of the pie.
Harper sung the lyrics on Have
A Cigar, another one of these sarcastic songs describing the shady
corners of music business. It was made clear to him that he wouldn't
receive any copyright so Roy asked for some football tickets instead.
Although the band were multi-millionaires by now a season's ticket was
too much to ask and he never received it. The kids, singing ‘we don’t
get no education’, were only given a copy of The Wall album after a
newspaper turned it into a scandal.
Turn, Turn, Turn
Colin Turner published the news about the new Pink Floyd album on A
Fleeting Glimpse, after it had been tweeted by Polly Samson. Then
he messaged the Pink Floyd management that the floodgates had been
opened. While hundreds of others were already retweeting and commenting
on social media a Pink Floyd goblin found it necessary to threaten Colin
with legal action and made him remove the post.
This made Colin so bitter that he deleted the entire news page, and at a
certain point he was so disillusioned he wanted to close down AFG
I was (...) asked to remove the story as it had not been cleared by
official channels. This I did and I am now awaiting approval to publish
full details about the album, despite it now being widely spread across
the Internet. I intend to honour the commitment I made and the site will
remain down until such a time as I receive official approval to publish.
Louis Matos (and with him many other AFG readers) reacted in shock:
That high service to the fans and to the Pink Floyd brand (...) was
respected by Steve (O'Rourke), is respected by Mark (Fenwick) and should
be respected by whomever now attends to David's business. I find it
insulting - as a professional of the music business - that a loyal
dedicated fan had to be "disciplined" for reproducing a Tweet by Polly
by anyone other than Polly or David (and they could have done it, mind
you). Even - and especially - anyone on the business side of it.
Remember "Welcome to the Machine"? Well, it was about that kind of
abuse. (Taken from: The
To add insult to injury, at the moment when one of Pink Floyd's little
hitlers found it necessary to threaten to close down A Fleeting Glimpse,
the official Warner Music Why
Pink Floyd website had already inserted the announcement on its news
stream. Double standards, anyone?
Now here is where this article is going to get nasty, so if you are
easily offended, please go and visit the Boohbah
David Gilmour's (and also Syd Barrett's) management happens to be in the
hands of One
Fifteen who have the following Hunter
S. Thompson quote on their site:
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic
hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.
There's also a negative side.
If our information is correct Paul Loasby probably was the toerag
(note) who intimidated the Fleeting Glimpse
webmaster. According to a Cambridge mafia insider, who we will not name,
Paul Loasby is the opposite of a villain and an amicable man:
I have met him and spoken to him many times. He seems very pleasant and
was always totally respectful of Syd... and others...
But apparently that is only when he doesn't see a pot of gold at the end
of the rainbow, which he will receive anyway, regardless of him throwing
a tantrum about a leaked tweet or not.
What had to be, for the fans, one of the most joyous days in Pink Floyd
history, a new album, a much awaited tribute to Richard Wright, an
indirect nod to Syd Barrett (mind you, not that we think One Fifteen
knows anything about Syd Barrett), the Pink Floyd agent managed to turn
it into something of a misplaced nightmare.
Mister Loasby, you are a party pooper and you should be ashamed
Game of Thrones
But in a way: hats off to Paul Loasby. In four minutes he managed to
kick Steve O'Rourke from his throne as the eternal Pink Floyd baddy,
simply by putting the knife in the back of someone who does a lot of
Pink Floyd promotion, for free. If you are somewhat familiar with the
Floydian canon – this is something dogs do for a living. Welcome to the
We want to end this article with a friendly suggestion for Col Turner,
who was at the centre of this crisette.
There is a Dutch saying,
dating from the Middle Ages: "Tis quaet met heeren criecken eten'."
"It's difficult to eat cherries with noblemen", meaning that if you want
to schmooze with the higher crowd you will be treated as their servant
whether you like it or not.
Better be independent, better be vigilant, better be critical than to
bark only when the puppet master allows it, this is The Anchor's motto
and it will always be. While A Fleeting Glimpse may generally be the
first and the best in giving Pink Floyd news, it slightly troubles us
that they have completely forgotten to mention the Last
Minute Put Together Boogie Band release, with Syd Barrett's last
Sitting to close to the throne, too busy eating cherries over a lavish
Division Bell box set, no doubt.
Epilogue / Update
On the quadrophonicquad
forum Pink Floyd engineer Andy Jackson wrote on the 14th of July (2014):
No, still can't talk about Endless River, the 'leak' was damage
limitation as a UK newspaper had got hold of the story.
So if we read this well, a newspaper - rumoured to be The Sun - heard
about the new Pink Floyd album on the fifth of July and was going to
publish the news, perhaps even in next day's Sunday paper. Polly Samson
was then asked to tweet the news to the world before the newspaper would
publish it. It all makes perfect sense.
But what we still don't understand is why Paul Loasby had to threaten A
Fleeting Glimpse then. Why Pink Floyd? Why?
Can't you see It all makes perfect sense Expressed in dollars and
cents, Pounds, shillings and pence Can't you see It all makes
perfect sense (Roger Waters, Perfect Sense, Amused to Death, 1992)
The Floydian empire strikes back (Update: 2014 09 14.)
For the past few months early Pink Floyd songs have been disappearing
from YouTube: Scream Thy Last Scream, Vegetable Man, Astronomy Domine,
Lucy Leave, King Bee. Even the Men
On The Border live cover of Scream
Thy Last Scream has been silenced and has now got the text:
This video previously contained a copyrighted audio track. Due to a
claim by a copyright holder, the audio track has been muted.
Obviously this is a blatant lie and could be considered illegal, as the
copyright holder of the audio track is Men On The Border itself and not
Pink Floyd, nor EMI, Warner Music Group or one of its little helpers.
a volunteer-driven organisation that archived, restored and weeded (for
free) Pink Floyd live audio and video recordings
has been taken down after a friendly reminder from Mr. Loasby. All its
torrents have been deleted from Yeeshkul
who suddenly went chicken shit and have forbidden the further use of the
'Harvested' word to all its members. Also the Pink Floyd Multicam
website has been closed down.
The argument (from Pink Floyd) that ruthless entrepreneurs take the
freely distributed material from Harvested (like The
Man and The Journey), press it on a CD or DVD and sell it to the
public doesn't make sense. Warner should go after the companies who sell
these bootlegs and not after the people who give it away for free and
thus spoil the 'market' for the bootleggers (although we do understand
this is something of an illegal situation). By closing down Harvested
(and in a near future, perhaps Yeeshkul?) fans will again be obliged to
buy these recordings from shady companies if they want them, instead of
downloading them for free.
As usual the big three fansites (A
Fleeting Glimpse, Brain
haven't mentioned this news at all, afraid to no longer receive the
crumbles falling off the Pink Floyd table and to be left in the cold
when 'The Endless River' will come out. Col Turner, who went apeshit
over Paul Loasby threatening him (read the article above) has removed
all trace of the incident and, as such, it never happened. (It is still
in the forum,
but you have to dig deep to find it.)
Sounds, who will press the vinyl version of 'The Endless River'
(they also did the recent 'Division Bell' release), received the
lacquers cut straight from Doug Sax and crew at The Mastering Lab (Los
Angeles) and posted some pictures on their Facebook page this week.
Guess what, these (innocent) pictures have now been deleted and we can
only guess who is behind that.
Who would have thought that ultimately Pink Floyd would turn into the
neo-fascist impersonation of their Wall album?
(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may
have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
One of the Reverend's great advantages of his Pink
Floyd adoration, somewhere in the mid-seventies, was the start of a music
Miles' excellent Visual Documentary (first edition: 1980) had
a separate discography with Floydian collaborations and once the
Reverend had a job, in the early eighties, he also had the dough to buy
Floyd - and later: Hipgnosis
- related records at the local second-hand record shops thus creating a
musical spiderweb with Pink Floyd at its centre.
After the Reverend had joined an illegal local university radio station
his weekly excursions to the record shop resulted in an even bigger
appetite for vinyl. At Saturday afternoon he would arrive home with the
catch of the day, open his Who's Who in Rock Music, look for the
records he had just bought and underline all personnel (band members and
session players) he found in the alphabetical listing. The book came in
very handy for making the playlist for a weekly rock, blues, jazz and
folk show he co-produced, trying to find connections from one record to
the other. The world-wide web, dear children, didn't exist yet in those
days and links weren't just one click away as they are now.
This last remark is one Norman
Hurricane Smith could have made (actually, does make) in his
autobiography John Lennon Called Me Normal. The book was first
issued as a limited edition at a 2007 Beatles Fan Fest but, as we found
out this year to our amazement, it can also be found at Lulu
where it is sold for a healthy 25$ a piece. If you don't know for sure
who Norman Smith is you can read this excellent obituary, written by Syd
Barrett biographer Gian Palacios, hosted at the Church: John
Lennon called him 'Normal'....
Invasion Force Venice
Smith was a pilot during world war II but he never saw any real war
action, making the chance of being killed nearly zero. He was part of a
secret missions squadron, so secret that military bureaucracy didn't
give them any. When the European side of the war was over, and most
soldiers were sent home, Smith and his colleagues were stationed in Venice
of all places to await further secret invasion plans, but apparently
they were forgotten after Japan's surrender as there were no more enemy
countries to secretly invade.
While England was on ration books, Norman sunbathed on Venice beach,
dining on espresso, grappa, Parma ham and stuffed mushrooms, longing for
the woman he had married in May 1945. In the evening he would go to the
Excelsior hotel for a Cinzano soda where he sat in with the twelve-piece
jazz band. It took British headquarters two full years to locate (and
dismiss) the secret squadron, probably by following the trail of
limoncello and sambucca bills, and back home - in 1947! - Smith decided
for a weird career change and became a refrigerator repair man.
The Beat is on
But his heart had always been with music and Norman's second lucky
strike came when he managed to bluff himself in at EMI where he became
an apprentice sound engineer in 1959. No two without three and Smith's
third chance of a lifetime came when some Liverpudlian lads auditioned
for a record deal, supervised by his boss George
And here is where Smith's autobiography, that was in fact ghost-written
by Neil Jefferies who is called 'Research' throughout the book, becomes
foggy. The audition, so remembers Smith, did not take place as George
Martin professes, repeated in every Beatles biography since. Norman
hints that something smelly was going on from the beginning and that
shady deals were taking place in the dark corners of the studio,
something to do with song-rights. Each individual Beatle earned only one
thousand of a pound per single while others had their greasy hands in
the till. He repeats this several times in the book, but he never
actually directs his accusations at someone, although George Martin,
coincidentally, always seems to blend in the background.
You can read between the lines that Norman Smith and George Martin
weren't best pals, especially since the one didn't find it necessary to
mention the other in his memoirs despite the fact that Smith had
engineered and produced about a hundred Beatles songs. When George, who
has acquired something of an infallible status, got hold of the news
that Norman was writing his side of the story, Smith was summoned to an
informal meeting in the EMI gardens that is a bit described like Galileo
Galilei having to explain heliocentrism
Paul V and the Roman
Pink: the Colour of Money
But this blog is not about the true story of The
Beatles but about (early) Pink Floyd. George Martin may have done a Don
Corleone on Norman Smith, but when it comes to his own financial
matters the Hurricane is overtly discreet as well. So you will find only
one flimsy reference in the 501 pages book that Smith once had a solid
financial share in Pink Floyd (12,5% as was leaked out by Neil Jefferies
in a Record Collector article). About his financial share in the Beatles
catalogue (and all the other bands he recorded and produced): not a word.
It was destroyed by the production. It is a fucking good song.
his reaction is likewise:
There might be no L's in Waters, but there are two in 'Bollocks'.
Smith is too much of a realist and doesn't adhere the romantic or
conspiracy viewpoints many fans have of the downfall of Barrett:
Syd wasn't anybody else's fault. Syd was Syd's bloody fault.
At one point Norman Smith, Parlophone head suit after George Martin had
left EMI with doors smashing, got a phone call from Bryan Morrison
bragging about a new fantastic band he wanted to promote. They met at
I found myself having a pint with him in the filthiest,
foulest-smelling, shittiest dive that I'd ever been to in my life so
far. (…) I thought: Maybe I should just go home?
deep in the bowels of the Tottenham Court Road, in the overpowering pong
of Patchouli oil, dope, and incense and sour ale that would have a tramp
gagging but maybe not your average music-biz exec, I suddenly found
myself listening to some great sounds and also being propositioned by
some starry-eyed chicks.
Of course Norman also met the Pink Floyd managers:
Andrew King and his friend Peter Jenner were not hippies and certainly
not mohair-suited wide-boys out on the make. (…) They were about as
middle-class as you could get. They both attended Westminster School (…)
and both their fathers were clergymen! - Yes! (…) Two vicar's sons
managed Pink Floyd!!!
Unfortunately that's about all there is to find in the 500 pages book
and while every fan was eager to read some revealing stories about
Smith's involvement with The Beatles and Pink Floyd the biography never
goes further than occasional cocktail party small talk. Some anecdotes
are literally repeated five time throughout the book and it would have
benefited to be two-thirds shorter. To add insult to injury most
anecdotes seem to be about... Elvis
Presley, a man Norman Smith never met, nor recorded, but thoroughly
Fish Report with a Beat
The DVD Pink Floyd: Meddle - A Classic Album Under Review is one
of those rather redundant, take the money and run, documentaries where
people – who have nothing to do with Pink Floyd whatsoever – claim to
make an in-depth analysis of the band or one of its albums, but it has
an interesting ten minutes Syd Barrett featurette with Peter
Banks (Syn, Yes) and Norman Smith. (Direct link: Syd
Barrett - The Early Days Of Pink Floyd.)
In the interview Norman Smith tells Syd didn't come over as the 'musical
director' of the Floyd:
He spoke through his songs.
The featurette tells more about how Jugband
Blues came into place (and we will not try to find out what this has
got to do with Meddle).
It was actually Norman Smith's idea to add 'some kind of a brass band'
at the end of the song and Barrett suggested to ask the Salvation
Army for that.
Through his many contacts Norman managed to hire several International
Staff Band musicians, 12 to 14, he recalls, but it was probably
closer to 8. Random Precision author David Parker assumes these
musicians were 'moonlighting' as the International Staff Band itself has
no trace of this session in its archives, besides that the complete
troupe had over 30 members.
Syd Barrett showed up in the studio an hour too late, that 19th of
October 1967, and Norman asked him what he had in mind. As legend goes
Barrett didn't have any ideas and suggested that they could play
anything they liked. Then he left the studio. Smith adds somewhat wryly:
He not only left the studio, he left the building.
We can imagine this was not the kind of behaviour Norman Smith liked,
for several reasons.
First he was perhaps too much of a musician and so he did fully
understand that classical trained performers need a score in front of
their noses before they blow their horns. Pink Floyd would have about
the same problem, a couple of years later, with Atom
Heart Mother, when the orchestra refused to play the score the way Ron
Geesin had written it. The composer had to be removed from the
studio seconds before he wanted to punch one of the musicians in the
Second, Norman Smith also had a financial responsibility towards EMI,
and the bookkeepers wouldn't have liked the idea to pay an eight man
brass band to sit on their chairs for tea and biscuits.
So he played the tape in front of the session players and when they
couldn't come up with an improvisation, these guys were not rock
musicians who can fabricate a lick in seconds, Norman wrote a score he
was rather embarrassed with, but it ended up on the record anyway.
You have those hardcore Sydiots, with the emphasis on the last part, who
find the idea to have a brass band play anything they like one of those
genial flashes half-god Barrett had. Hagiographer Rob
Chapman is one of them:
Once again Syd’s wilfully anarchic approach was in direct conflict with
the regimented working methods of an unsympathetic producer.
Actually Smith's testimonial shows it was exactly the contrary. Syd was
the one who acted unprofessional by first arriving too late and then by
leaving the studio when he was asked to direct the session. Smith was
obliged, back against the wall, to deal with the problem, which he did
splendidly in the short time that was left to him. One thing is for
sure, Normal really earned his 12,5% on this one...
It is generally believed that Jugband Blues is one of the songs Barrett
wrote in the second half of 1967, together with Vegetable
Man and Scream
Thy Last Scream. This trilogy is regarded by some as being highly
introspective songs where Syd, in an exceptional state of clarity,
describes his own vulnerable and frail psyche.
However, in a recent autobiography from Chris
Joe Beard, Taking The Purple, a remarkable (and until now
untold) story has been put forward.
Chris Joe Beard is lyricist / songwriter from the band The Purple Gang
who had an underground novelty hit in 1967. They started as a
band and changed their name from The Young Contemporaries to The
Purple Gang, forced by their manager, a roaring 1920’s aficionado, who
thought a clean-cut Chicago gangster style would be cool. Looking for a
scene to make some promo pictures they stumbled upon a shop in Kings
Road, where they accidentally met Paul
The shop's name Granny
Takes A Trip inspired Joe Beard to write an innocent and funny song
about a rich old lady wanting to meet movie-star Rudy
Vallée in Hollywood, adding it to a catchy melody that had been
composed by piano player Geoff Bowyer. The song was a cross-over between
traditional jug and pop and as such producer Joe
Boyd preferred it to their more traditional repertoire à la Bootleg
Whiskey (that has John
'Hoppy' Hopkins on piano, by the way).
Incidentally The Purple Gang wasn't the only band Joe Boyd was producing
that week in January 1967. On Sunday, the 29th, a band called Pink
Floyd, then still without a contract, had recorded Arnold
Layne at Sound Techniques studios. Syd Barrett had listened to
Granny Takes A Trip and had humorously remarked it would become #2 after
the Floyd's soon to be number one. But Joe Boyd had other important news
There’s a tape of some of his [Syd Barrett, note from FA]
songs and we think a good, quick follow-up to Granny is on there. Syd
thinks Boon Tune is the one for you. There are several. There’s
one called Jugband Blues but he’s still working on that.
Joseph from Transatlantic Records objected, saying that they
didn't want to pay out any royalties to someone from outside the band.
Boon Tune was shelved, although it would surface as Here
I Go on a Barrett solo album. Joe Beard took the reel-to-reel demo
home where it was promptly forgotten and it has never been found back
While the UFO
crowd accepted The Purple Gang in their midst, the BBC did
otherwise, and for exactly the same reasons.
Granny's Satanic Trip
The title of The Purple Gang's first single Granny Takes A Trip was
tongue in cheek and ambiguous enough to please the psychedelic crowd. By
then the band did not like the gangster outfits they had to wear from
their manager and opted for a more alternative look. Singer Pete Walker,
nicknamed Lucifer, was a member of a coven, an actual warlock, and used
to wear a red robe with a big upside down cross while gigging. During
the Wizard song he would do the odd pagan routine on stage, much
appreciated by the psychedelic crowd (see also: Arthur
Brown). However, for the BBC, the word 'trip' in the lyrics
and the satanic outing of the singer was enough reason to ban the song.
The BBC boycott dwindled the chances for The Purple Gang to get into the
charts, to get their (only) record sold, to find gigs and they
eventually disbanded. If this proves one thing, dear sistren and brethren,
it is that selling your soul to the devil will not automatically
guarantee you chart successes.
The first half of the biography, from the start to the psychedelic years
of the band, is interesting, funny, packed with anecdotes and deserves a
5 star rating. The fact that the BBC banned Joe Beard's only chance to
have a million-seller has left its marks though and unfortunately the
author feels the need to repeat that every few pages. The later years,
with Chris Beard as a solo-artist and struggling to get The Purple Gang
back on the road are a bit tedious. But the Kindle
edition is only 5$, cheaper than the latest Pink Floyd interview in Q,
Mojo or Uncut, so it is money well spent. For the first half, the book
is a real treat to read.
Two Of A Kind
Eventually, in 2006, Joe Beard and a reincarnated Purple Gang covered Boon
Tune in a jug band way.
At a book signing / reading in 2007, Joe Boyd talked about the lost demo
tape Syd Barrett gave him in early 1967... He said Syd described the
tape's contents as 'songs the band didn't want to do' (Source: timeline
of songs). According to Julian Palacios that tape had 6 tracks and
Boyd and Jenner even discussed the possibility of Syd Barrett doing a
solo record, next to the Pink Floyd's first, with skiffle or music-hall
style songs. (By the way, did you know we have a Peter Jenner interview
on this blog? An
innerview with Peter Jenner)
It is not sure if there have been one or two Barrett demo tapes floating
around as both men claim they took a tape home and lost it. Joe Boyd
received his from Syd Barrett and remembers it had six whimsical tunes.
Joe Beard, who got his from Boyd, only remembers two songs: Boon Tune
and Jugband Blues.
Jugband Blues turned up, heavily re-arranged, on [A] Saucerful of
Secrets – still with the kazoos.
Jugband Blues was recorded by Pink Floyd in October 1967 and as also
Vegetable Man was made during the same session it has always been
assumed these songs are somewhat related. In Nick Kent's 1974 article The
Cracked Ballad of Syd Barrett Peter Jenner is quoted:
Y'see, even at that point, Syd actually knew what was happening to him.
(...) I mean 'Jug Band Blues' is the ultimate self-diagnosis on a state
of schizophrenia. (Source: The
Cracked Ballad of Syd Barrett)
But if the song had already been written earlier than January that year,
this comment doesn't make much sense, does it? What if Jugband Blues is
just one of those songs where Barrett copies and juxtaposes 'sampled'
messages from other sources, like he did in Octopus
(See also: Mad Cat
Still got the Blues for You
Martin began her career in 1915 as a vaudeville singer and in the
twenties she became one of the popular female blues singers, next to Bessie
Smith and Ma
Rainey. In September 1924 she recorded some tracks with jug player Earl
McDonald and fiddler Clifford Hayes and one of those was
At first sight that song has nothing in common with Barrett's version.
Sara Martin's song is a variation on the popular blues theme of the
person who wakes up in the morning and sees that her daddy
(lover) is gone. In the first decade of the twentieth century a 'daddy'
in African American slang was still a pimp, but later on the term was
generalised to a male lover.
Did you ever wake up, find your daddy gone? Turn over on your side,
sing this lonesome song I woke up this morning between midnight and
day You oughta see me grab the pillow where my daddy used to lay (Source:
Band Blues Sept. 16, 1924.)
One riddle is how Barrett came up with the title 'Jugband Blues'. The
chance is small he could find it (mentioned) on a compilation album like
he did with Pink
Anderson and Floyd
Council. (The origins of the Pink Floyd name is extensively
discussed at Step
It Up And Go.) Sara Martin's Jug Band Blues was only issued as a
B-side on two different 78-RPM records from 1924, perhaps in two
different versions: Don't You Quit Me Daddy (Okeh 8166) and Blue
Devil Blues (Okeh 8188, not to be confounded with the Walter
Page track from a few years later). Her 'complete recorded works'
do not include the 'Jug Band' track and probably there weren't any
compilations around in the sixties including that track.
Jug Band Blues can (now) be found on a 1994 Clifford Hayes compilation.
He had several bands in the twenties, with Earl McDonald on jug, and
issued several songs under different names for copyright reasons. Earl
McDonalds also had several bands in the twenties, with Clifford Hayes on
fiddle, which doesn't make it simpler to find any accurate information.
The jug band / skiffle revival resulted in at least three compilations,
between 1962 and 1967, but none of these have Sara Martin's Jug Band
Blues. We checked.
had been very popular in the UK and was not unknown by the Pink Floyd
members. Rick Wright had a brief flirtation with skiffle, before
converting himself to to trad jazz and Syd Barrett's brother Alan played
sax in a skiffle group in Cambridge.
Cambridge had its own deal of skiffle bands, or groups that had started
as skiffle units but moved to R&B or rock'n roll later on. The
Scramblers, who turned into The Phantoms, The (Swinging) Hi-Fi's, The
Black Diamonds, who evolved into The Redcaps, with Tony Sainty on
bass (see: RIP
Clive Welham: a biscuit tin with knives). Tony Sainty was also in
The Chequers, as was Ricky Wills who would later appear on David
Gilmour's first solo album. Willie Wilson, who played with Quiver
and on the first Gilmour album as well, had been a (replacement) drummer
for The Zodiacs, whose roots had also been in skiffle. You can read all
about them in the excellent, awarded (and free) I
Spy In Cambridge book The
music scene of 1960s Cambridge.
Blue Devil Blues by Sara Martin and her Jug Band (with its flip side:
Jug Band Blues) has been nominated to be the very first recorded jug
band number in human history and that fact may well have been known in
Cambridge jug band and skiffle circles. Syd Barrett may have been well
aware of this as well.
A Dream within a Dream
Deconstructing Syd's Jugband Blues.
It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here and I'm most
obliged to you for making it clear that I'm not here
Rob Chapman is right when he describes the opening lines from Jugband
Blues as 'cultivated sarcasm' and refuses to see this as a declaration
of schizophrenia like Peter Jenner does or did. David Gilmour, and
others with him, see Jugband Blues as a transitional song, between his
earlier work with Pink Floyd and his later solo songs, that are more
mature and experimental in their lyrics.
Actually this opening is just an (awkward) introduction like in so many
skiffle songs, including Here I Go.
This is a story about a girl that I knew She didn't like my songs and
that made me feel blue.
Of course Here I Go is pretty conservative and lends its intro from
trademark skiffle à la Lonnie
Well, this here's the story about the Battle of New Orleans. (Battle
of New Orleans) Now here's a little story. To tell it is a must. (My
Old Man's A Dustman) Now, this here's the story about the Rock Island
line. (Rock Island Line)
Syd Barrett transforms the traditional skiffle opening line into a dark
and mysterious setting.
After the introduction the anecdote is usually explained or elaborated
on, although the enigma in Jugband Blues only gets bigger.
and I never knew the moon could be so big and I never knew the moon
could be so blue
A big moon, or super-moon
(a popular term dating from 1979), happens when the full moon and the
earth are at its closest distance, sometimes resulting in a so-called perigean
spring tide. We had one at the 9th of September 2014 and they happen
about every 412 days. So it is an event that only happens once in a
An astronomical blue
moon, or the second full moon in the same month, happens about once
every two or three years. Blue
Moon is also a standard, from 1934, that has been performed by
countless bands and singers, and that has a romantic connotation.
Blue moon You saw me standing alone Without a dream in my heart Without
a love of my own
The title of that song (and Syd's lyric) is taken from the saying 'once
in a blue moon', meaning a rather rare occasion and Wikipedia
learns us that the term 'blues' may have come from 'blue devils',
meaning melancholy and sadness.
and I'm grateful that you threw away my old shoes and brought me here
instead dressed in red
Just like the 'head / down / ground' symbolism is used several times in
Syd songs (see: Tattoo
You) so does 'shoes / blues'. Apples and Oranges has a dedicated
follower of fashion who alliteratively goes
shopping in sharp shoes
, while Vegetable Man walks the street
in yellow shoes I get the blues.
Earlier in his songwriting career, Barrett was much influenced by an
got the Bob Dylan blues, and the Bob Dylan shoes.
Of course shoes and blues has always been something of a nice pair as
was already proved by Robert Johnson in Walking
Woke up this morning I looked 'round for my shoes You know I had
those mean old walking blues
an old pair of shoes your favorite blues gonna tap out the rhythm
In the ballad 'Blue Moon' (see point 2) the protagonist who was lost /
alone has been helped / cared for by someone. In Jugband Blues we seem
to have the same situation. At this part of the song a second actor is
introduced who tries to assist the first one.
and I'm wondering who could be writing this song
Barrett almost describes an out-of-body experience in the first part of
the song. Pete Townshend claimed he had one once using STP, a drug that
also Barrett was familiar with. This is another variation on a theme of
absence as the narrator is present and absent at the same time. Make
your name like a ghost, suddenly seems more autobiographical than ever.
I don't care if the sun don't shine and I don't care if nothing is
mine and I don't care if I'm nervous with you I'll do my loving in
So I don't care if the sun don't shine I'll get my lovin' in the
evening time When I'm with my baby
Syd's 'I'll do my loving in the winter' makes the refrain fairly darker
than in the original though. It is as if Barrett is indefinitely
postponing the happiness that could be waiting for him.
During the refrain some kazoos make the point that this is a jug band
song after all, and then a psychedelic Salvation Army band (perhaps Syd
did see the contradiction before everybody else) jumps in. Then it is
the time for one of the weirdest codas ever:
And the sea isn't green and I love the queen
At first sight this is just a nonsense verse. There was a song called The
Sea Is Green, written by The
Easy Riders, an American calypso and folk-song trio and used in the
travelogue documentary, but this is a long shot. In the song a sailor
expresses his hope to find his family back when he returns home. By
implying that the sea isn't green, Barrett loses all hope to see
his loved ones back.
6.1 A possible Beatles connection (Update: 1st of November
At the Late
Night forum, Wolfpack came with another explanation, that
seems far more plausible than ours, he remembered that The Beatles' Yellow
Submarine has 'a sea of green' in its lyrics. Actually the term is
used twice in that song. It comes up at the first strophe where the
story is told about a man who travels in a yellow submarine:
So we sailed up to the sun Till we found a sea of green
The term shows up again in the third strophe where it is told that the
sailors live a life of ease:
Sky of blue and sea of green.
The song is not originally from the 1968 animated movie,
but from the 1966 Revolver
album, where it was the obligatory Ringo Starr track. Paul
McCartney wrote it with Ringo in mind, hence the simplicity of the
melody and the nonsensical subject. McCartney had a little help from his
friends John Lennon and Donovan,
who actually came up with the green sea lines.
Barrett, in a much darker mood than McCartney, who had a children's song
in mind, declares there is no such thing as a sea of green. The sailors'
unburdened life has been based on a dream.
There is a second similarity between Yellow Submarine and Jugband Blues.
Although Norman Smith was not involved in the recording it has a (short)
interruption by a brass band, just after the line 'and the band begins
to play'. Engineer Geoff
Emerick, who is on backing vocals with George Martin, Neil
Jones and Brian
Epstein, used a 1906 record of a military march, altering it a bit
to avoid copyrights. Several sound effects were used for the song,
including the cash register sound that would later be used by Pink Floyd
on Money. There is another Floydian connection, although bit stretched,
Echoes (1970) has the Roger Waters line 'and everything is green and
submarine', but that last is used as an adjective, not as a noun.
Unfortunately we will never know if Norman Smith thought of Yellow
Submarine when he proposed Syd Barrett to add a brass band in between
and what exactly is a dream and what exactly is a joke
The 'Carrollesque quality of the closing couplet', to quote Rob Chapman
again, is omnipresent. In Lewis
The Looking Glass', on a cold winter evening, Alice climbs through a
mirror where chess pieces are alive. Alice meets the White and Red Queen
and the 'joke' subject is briefly spoken about:
Even a joke should have some meaning—and a child's more important than a
joke, I hope.
Dreams are discussed more often in the book, even the surreal
possibility that Alice is nothing but a 'thing' in the Red King's - so
somebody else's - dream:
If that there King was to wake,' added Tweedledum, 'you'd go out — bang!
— just like a candle!' (…) When you're only one of the
things in his dream. You know very well you're not real.
At the end, with Alice back in her house, she still isn't sure what
really happened and in whose dream she had landed.
Let's consider who it was that dreamed it all. (…) You see,
(…), it MUST have been either me or the Red King. He was part of my
dream, of course — but then I was part of his dream, too!
As we now know that Jugband Blues might have been written before Barrett
had his apparent breakdown, all speculation about this being an intense
self-description could be wrong, unless of course Syd altered the lyrics
between January and October 1967.
We'll never know for sure.
Ever drifting down the stream— Lingering in the golden gleam— Life,
what is it but a dream?
Many thanks to: Baby Lemonade, Syd Wonder, Wolfpack and all participants
from the Jugband
Blues thread (started in 2008) at the Late Night Forum. ♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Beard, Chris
Joe: Taking The Purple. The extraordinary story of The Purple Gang –
Granny Takes a Trip . . . and all that!, Granville Sellars (Kindle
edition), 2014, location 858, 1372, 1392. Blake, Mark: Pigs Might
Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013 reissue, p. 18. Carroll,
the Looking Glass, Project Gutenberg. Chapman, Rob: A Very
Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 191. Dosanjh,
music scene of 1960s Cambridge, I
Spy In Cambridge, Cambridge, 2013, p. 32, 40, 44, 50. Jefferies,
Neil, Dartford's Finest Band, Record Collector 417, August 2013,
p. 54-55. Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd,
Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue, p. 21. Manning, Toby: The Rough
Guide To Pink Floyd, Rough Guides, London, 2006, p. 34. Palacios,
Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London,
2010, p. 25, 298, 314. Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry
Red Books, London, 2001, p. 99. Smith, Norman 'Hurricane', John
Lennon Called Me Normal, Lulu (self-published), 2008, p. 218, 373,
397. Unnumbered section: #8.
Do a combined Syd
Obermaier search on Google
and you get approximate 4600 results tying both celebrities together,
the first results being 'who's
dating who' (now called Famousfix) related finds. On the fifth
place, although this result will change from computer to computer is an
entry from the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, but not the regular
Iggy's church can be found on various places on the interweb,
most of the time just to gather some dust. One branch office though, is
alive and kicking, and operates more or less independently from its
headquarters. It is on the microblogging
Tumblr platform, is aptly called The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and
can be found at the following address: http://iggyinuit.tumblr.com.
The first image that is presented, also on the Famousfix
platform, is the one of Syd Barrett on a Formentera
beach, standing behind a woman who hides her nudity behind a red veil.
That picture is actually copyrighted and belongs to John
Davies who took the picture when he went to the island in summer 1969.
Update 2015 02 25: John Davies contacted us to get some facts
The photo of the naked girl behind the red scarf was taken by Imo (Ian
Moore) and not by me although I used it in an article I wrote about
Cambridge, and credited Imo. Secondly, I went to Formentera first in
1963, with some friends from Cambridge, including Richard Eyre. We raved
about the island so much that other friends started going there in the
mid-sixties, including dear Syd. I still spend a lot of time there and
one or two of those Cambridge "hipsters" still live there.
The article from John Davies can be found at A Fleeting Glimpse: The
John Davies Collection. In another Church post (from 2012, time
flies!) we have highlighted the yearly trek from the Cambridge hipsters
to the island of Formentera: Formentera
John Davies was one of those Cambridge hipsters who, between 1963 and
...made the transformation from schoolboys to aspiring beatniks’,
swapping school uniforms for black polo necks and leather jackets,
listening to Miles Davis, riding Vespas and smoking dope purchased from
American GIs on the neighbouring airforce bases at Lakenheath and
He was, with Nigel
Lesmoir-Gordon, one of the people who mastered the Gaggia
espresso machine in the coffee-house El Patio and who (probably)
had his hand in the till when the boss wasn't around, as noted down by
Nick Sedgwick in his roman
à clefLight Blue with Bulges:
Lunch times, just keep the till open, ring up only half of the orders,
keep a check on the rest, then pocket the difference.
Nick Sedgwick, who sadly passed away in 2011, wrote a Pink Floyd 'on
tour' biography in the mid-seventies, but this was never published
because none of the characters came out very well, with the exception of
Roger Waters, who had commissioned the book. In August 2011 Waters
promised to respect his friend's dying wish and release the manuscript
as 'a simple PDF, a hardback version, and a super de-luxe illustrated
limited edition' (see: Immersion).
Transferring a typoscript to PDF literally takes a few minutes, but
nothing has moved three and a half years later and the Church fears that
this is just another case of the ongoing Waters vs Gilmour feud still
lurking behind their smiling faces and fat wallets.
The Church has dedicated some space to the above picture before on the
Lady throwing the hypothesis around that the woman was one of Syd
Barrett's girlfriends nicknamed Sarah Sky. This explanation was
given to the Church by a Barrett fan who quoted her grandmother, but
communication was interrupted before we could get more into details.
According to Emo (Iain Moore) however, the girl was an American tourist
who was visiting Formentera for a day and had arrived at the house they
all rented, close to a nude beach.
In December 2013 The
Groupie Blog claimed the woman on the picture is German photo-model Uschi
Obermaier. This was followed by another post
in January 2014 where the author pretends Syd Barrett used to hit
Obermaier when he had hysteria attacks.
Obviously the Church wanted to get further into this as none of the
biographies mention any kind of romantic (nor aggressive) involvement
between the two of them. As the (anonymous) author of the groupies blog
was not contactable Uschi's autobiography High Times / Mein
Wildes Leben was bought and searched for any Syd Barrett entries.
First things first: Obermaier's autobiography is a fine read, a three to
three and a half star rating out of five.
Born in 1946 Uschi escapes the German conservative square society in the
mid-sixties by clubbing at the Big Apple and PN in Munich
where she is rapidly adopted by the in-crowd because of: a) her good
looks, b) her dancing abilities and c) her free spirit attitude.
She meets with Reinhard
'Dicky' Tarrach from The
Rattles, who will have an international hit with The
Witch, and soon promotes to international bands like The
Kinks, whose Dave
Davies is such an arrogant male chauvinist pig he deserves a
separate entry. She is discovered by a photographer and a career as
photo-model is launched.
Around 1967 Neil
Landon from the hastily assembled The
Flower Pot Men has a more than casual interest and he invites her to
swinging London but she leaves as soon as she finds out about his
jealous streaks. Back in Germany she doesn't fit in everyday society any
more. She joins the alternative Amon
Düül commune, following drummer Peter Leopold, and she
makes it on a few of their jam-session albums as a maracas player.
Through Amon Düül she falls in love with Rainer
Langhans from Kommune
1 (K1). The Berlin communards live by a strict Marxism-Leninism
doctrine where everything belongs to the group and everyday family life
is forbidden. Individualism
is totally annihilated at a point that even the toilet has its doors
removed and telephone conversations need to be done with the speaker on.
Good-looking Rainer and cover-girl Uschi become a media-hyped
alternative couple, the German John and Yoko avant la lettre. She
is by then Germany's most wanted, and some say: best paid, photo-model
and as such not accepted by the community hardliners. Drinking cola or
smoking menthol cigarettes is considered counter-revolutionary.
In January 1969 Uschi hears that Jimi Hendrix is in town and they
meet for some quality time (short
clip on YouTube). He visits the commune which gives it another
popularity boost. Despite its utopian rules the communards have their
intrigues, jealousies and hidden agendas, it becomes a heroin den and
when one of the more extremist inhabitants hides a bomb in the house the
place is raided by the police. Later that year the commune disbands. (It
was also found out that the bomb was planted by an infiltrator, spying
for the police.)
The couple moves for a while into the Munich Frauenkommune
(women's commune), where their bourgeois manners and star allures aren't
appreciated either, but you won't read that in Obermaier's memories.
Movie director Katrin
Do you remember when Uschi Meier and Rainer Langhans stayed with us?
They really moved in at our place, like residents. And while the person
who happened to have money normally bought twenty yoghurts for all of
us, they bought the double for themselves and hid it in their room. They
were a narrow-minded philistine couple within our community. They were
not a bit generous. (Katrin Seybold and Mona Winter in Frauenkommune:
Angstlust der Männer. Translation by FA.)
Leaving the all-women group in 1970 the couple starts the High-Fish
(a pun on German Haifisch, or shark) commune, this time not a communist
but a hedonistic group where sex, drugs and rock'n roll are combined
into art happenings and/or sold as porn movies. The mansion may well
have been the German equivalent of London's 101 Cromwell Road, which was
some kind of LSD temple and the place where Syd Barrett used to live
with some 'heavy, loony, messianic acid freaks', to quote Pete
Jenner. (See also: An
innerview with Peter Jenner )
The Munich Incident
In March 1970 the High-Fish commune was the centre of a rock'n roll
tragedy if we may believe some accounts. In vintage Fleetwood
Mac circles the event is better known as the Munich Incident.
Ultimate Classic Rock:
“It was a hippie commune sort of thing,” said Fleetwood Mac guitarist
Jeremy Spencer. “We arrived there, and [road manager] Dennis Keane comes
up to me shaking and says, “It’s so weird, don’t go down there. Pete
[Green] is weirding out big time and the vibes are just horrible.” Green
was already set to leave the band, but this was, as [Mick] Fleetwood put
it, “the final nail in the coffin.” Friends say Green was never the same
after the Munich incident. (Taken from: 38
Years Ago: Fleetwood Mac Founder Peter Green Arrested for Pulling
Shotgun on His Accountant.)
It's true that we, or more accurately, Pete [Green] was met at Munich
airport by a very beautiful girl [Uschi Obermaier] and a strange guy in
a black cape [Rainer Langhans]. Their focus was definitely Pete for some
reason. The rest of us didn't get it, but we discussed the weird vibes.
We were invited to their mansion in the Munich forest that night. Pete
was already jamming down in the basement (…) when I arrived with Mick
[Fleetwood]. Dennis Keane [road manager] met us in the driveway, ashen
faced and freaking out over the bad vibes and how weird Pete was going.
I don't think Dennis was stoned, he just wanted to get out. (…) Anyway
the house (more like a mansion) was a rich hippy crash pad. And it was
spooky. There was some weird stuff going on in the different rooms.
(Taken from: The
Road manager Dennis Keane maintains they were spiked:
When we went inside there was a party of about 20 people sat around, we
were offered a glass of wine, and the next thing I knew all hell broke
loose in my head - we'd been drugged. Nobody had offered us any tablets;
they just went and spiked us. (Taken from: Celmins, Martin: Peter
Green: The Authorised Biography, Sanctuary, 2003)
Over the years the Munich Incident may have been exaggerated and Rainer
Langhans, in his (free) autobiography, tries to bring the incident back
to its true proportions:
After the performance of Fleetwood Mac in Munich, at the Deutsche
Museum, the band went to the hotel. Peter Green came along with us, with
the High-Fish people. (...) I quickly befriended him but he did not talk
much. We were both, in a way, soul mates. A soft, vulnerable and loving
man. Uschi had no special connection with him. She did not find him
physically attractive. He was too hairy, she said, and also the music of
Fleetwood Mac was too soft and not 'rocky' enough, while I found it very
beautiful. We spent the night together with him, tripping, jamming and
floating through the rooms on LSD. (...)
We met him
twice in London in the next couple of weeks. It was him who brought us
in contact with the Stones and Uschi was able to fulfill her dream of
finally starting an affair with Jagger. With Fleetwood Mac everything
seemed to be fine, but then Peter Green suddenly dropped out of the
band. We heard he was so disgusted with the music business that he no
longer wanted to be there. Much later the band put the responsibility on
the night he was with us in Munich and claimed his trip with us had
completely changed him. (Translated from German to English by FA.)
Green's decline and retreat from the music industry is often
compared to Syd Barrett's 1967 breakdown and although his descend into
madness can't be linked to one single event, just as in the Barrett
case, the gargantuan trip at the High-Fish community may have pushed him
closer to the edge.
Conveniently Uschi Obermaier's excellent memory suddenly fails her when
it comes to the Munich Incident. There is not a single word about it in
her autobiography, but the Frauenkommune testimony from above already
shows she can be rather discrete if she wants to.
With their days of Marxist collectivism gone, she and Langhans are
thinking of organising a German Woodstock festival. Peter Green does
what is asked of him and a few days later the couple is standing in a
London studio where Mick Jagger is working on Sticky Fingers. It is
satisfaction at first sight and a treat for the paparazzi.
But German Woodstock never happens, the relation with Rainer Langhans
comes to an end and Uschi, now an international photo-model, jumps back
into the Munich nightlife, replacing the diet of Champagne and Quaaludes
with the trendier heroin. In Hamburg she meets Dieter
Bockhorn, who is officially an eccentric Reeperbahn strip-club
owner and they start a turbulent relationship. When the Rolling Stones
are in Germany for some recordings she gradually replaces Mick Jagger
for Keith Richards, following them on a European tour and joining them
in the USA. Bockhorn is not amused.
From then on she will have a bizarre love triangle: everyday life with
Dieter and meeting Keith whenever his touring schedule allows him. She
will always have a soft spot for Richards: “The most honourable bad boy
I knew – and I knew some.”
In the mid-seventies Obermaier and Bockhorn, who has made the move to
heroin as well, follow the hippie trail to Asia in a converted bus. It
will be a trip through Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and India that takes
622 days, 55141 kilometres with many weird, unbelievable adventures and
a few narrow escapes. German press, as always, is interested in the
adventures of Germany's baddest Kultpaar (cult couple) and they
are regularly interviewed and photographed 'on the road'.
Back in Hamburg Uschi obviously returns to modelling but the couple
fails to adapt to the western world and their relationship suffers
gravely. She remarks that the hippie days are over and that punks have
taken over the street. Bockhorn's business has suffered from the 20
months they were abroad and he struggles with monetary, legal and not
quite so legal problems. They make plans to leave for America as soon as
they can afford to leave.
In November 1980 they arrive in the USA where they will do a Kerouac,
heroine free after an obliged detox boat journey. In summer they roam
the continent and for three consecutive winters they stay in an
alternative hippies and bikers camp in Baja
California (Mexico). It is in Cabo
San Lucas that Keith Richards arrives one day, carrying a guitar
under the arm and giving a one man campfire gig on the beach, much to
the amazement of the stoned onlookers. In the third year money has run
out and the dharma bum life, with loads of alcohol, 'grass' and
promiscuity, weighs heavily on both of them. On the last day of 1983 a
drunk Dieter Bockhorn crashes his motorcycle on a truck ending his wild
For a while a depressed Uschi Obermaier feels that she has achieved
nothing in her life and that she only got there through her pretty face.
One of her pastimes is scrimshaw and she starts designing jewellery that
she sells through the exclusive Maxfield
store in Los Angeles, where Madonna and Jack Nicholson buy their
trinkets. While she is certainly not an airhead and may have talent as
an artist it can't be denied that her career is a case of, what the
Germans amusingly describe as, Hurenglück.
On top of that the Krauts simply can't have enough of her. The story of
her life as a groupie, a junkie, a starlet, her relations with a
communist rebel, some Rolling Stones and a Reeperbahn crook who thought
he was the Hamburg equivalent of Ronnie
Kray make her autobiography Mein Wildes Leben (literally: my
wild life) a page-turning bestseller.
It is followed by a biopic Das
Wilde Leben, a home-country hit, but not abroad where it is
Miles High. Reviews vary, but in our opinion it is a pretty average
movie, with uneven and often caricatural scenes (check the Mick vs Keith scene
for a ROTFL)
and frankly Natalia
Avelon's gorgeous cleavage has more depth than the script.
Back To Barrett
But to finally get back to the initial subject of this post, because in
fine Church tradition we seem to have gone astray for a while.
Did Uschi Obermaier have a love-interest in Syd Barrett? Did they
meet at Formentera? Did he hit her when he had hysteria attacks?
No. No. No.
We're afraid the answer is a triple no.
Doesn't Mein Wildes Lebens mention Syd Barrett at all?
Yes, his name is dropped once. He is mentioned in a comparison between
Swinging London and 'its psychedelic music scene from early Pink Floyd
with Syd Barrett' and the grey, conservative atmosphere in Germany where
girls in miniskirts were insulted on the street.
Could Uschi have met Syd Barrett in Germany?
No. Vintage Pink Floyd, with Barrett in the band, never played Germany.
A gig for the TV show Music For Young People in Hamburg, on the first
and second of August 1967 was cancelled.
How about Syd hitting her?
The Barrett - Obermaier hysteria attack rumour is probably a mix-up from
Syd's alleged violence towards his girlfriends and the tumultuous
relationship between Obermaier and Bockhorn, who once pointed a gun at
her and pulled the trigger (luckily the weapon jammed).
So how about Uschi Obermaier hiding her precious body behind a red
veil on Formentera in the summer of 1969?
She writes that she visited Ibiza (the island next to Formentera) on the
day Mick Jagger married Bianca, so that places the event in May 1971,
nearly two years after Syd's Formentera picture. When Barrett was
strolling on the beach Uschi was either at K1 in Berlin or at the
Frauenkommune in Munich.
Well, I'm still not convinced until Uschi Obermaier herself tells us
it never happened.
Why didn't you ask before, because we did. We managed to pass Uschi
Obermaier the question through a mutual contact and we even got an
answer back. Uschi Obermaier on the first of February 2015:
They are right, this is NOT me, they researched right. I was at this
time either in Berlin or back in Munich.
Case closed then. Unless Sarah Sky wants to come forward, obviously.
Many thanks to: Bianca Corrodi, John Davies, Little Queenies, Nina,
Uschi Obermaier, Jenny Spires. This is, more or less, an update of a
previous article that can be found here: Formentera
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 28, 83. Langhans,
Rainer: Ich Bin's, pdf
version, 2008, p 39. Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink
Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 38. Povey, Glenn: Echoes,
the complete history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 67. Sedgwick,
Nick: Light Blue With Bulges, Fourth estate, London, 1989, p. 37.
Pink Floyd, dear sistren and brethren of the Holy Church
of Iggy the Inuit, will never stop to amaze us, for better and for worse.
Riff-raff in the room
Two weeks ago saw the umpteenth incarnation of The Wall concept.
Let's try to count how many times this important work of musical art
more or less exists. We'll only take count of official and 'complete'
versions as individual songs from the Wall can be found on compilations,
live albums and concert movies from the band and its members going solo.
First there was The
Wall album by Pink Floyd (1979), followed by the 1982 movie
with the same name. In 1990 Roger Waters staged his rock opera in
Berlin, with guest performances by other artists, and this was
immortalised with an album
and a concert movie.
The twenty year anniversary of the album was celebrated at the turn of
the millennium by Is
There Anybody Out There, a live album taken from the eighties tour
by the classic Floyd, although Rick Wright technically was no longer a
member of the band.
2011 saw the Why
Pink Floyd? re-release campaign and three epic albums were issued in
an Experience and Immersion series, each with added content. The Wall Immersion
has 7 discs and four of these are the regular album and its live clone.
A third double-CD-set has the so-called Wall demos and WIP-tapes that
had already been largely around for a decade in collector's circles. A
bonus DVD contains some clips and documentaries, but not the concert
movie that is known to exist. For collectors The Wall Immersion was the
most disappointing of the series and the presence of a scarf, some
marbles and a few coasters only helped to augment that feeling.
Am I too old, is it too late?
In 2010 Roger Waters started a three years spanning tour
with a live Wall that promised to be bigger and better. It was certainly
more theatrical and if we may believe the Reverend, who watched the show
as interested as Mr.
Bean on a rollercoaster, boring as fuck. But with 4,129,863 sold
tickets it set a new record for being the highest grossing tour for a
solo musician, surpassing Madonna and Bruce Springsteen.
So it is no wonder that the show would be turned into a movie. It needs
to be said that Roger Waters should be thanked for stepping outside the
concert movie concept, adding a deep personal touch to the product.
Those people who already saw the Blu-ray praise its sound quality that
is conform to what we expect from a Floydian release, despite Waters'
obvious lip-synching on about half of the tracks.
And that is why the CD-version of The Wall live is such a disaster.
There are serious indications that some sound studio jerk took the
superior Blu-ray surround mix and simply downgraded it to stereo without
reworking the parts that make no sense when you only have got the audio
to rely on. Apparently making 459 million $ with The Wall tour didn’t
give Roger Waters enough pocket money to make a proper CD mix for this
Riding the gravy train, or as the Sex Pistols named it: doing a rock 'n'
roll swindle, is something we are already familiar with in Pink Floyd
(and former EMI) circles. The
Anchor wrote in the past about scratched and faulty discs that were
put in those expensive deluxe sets (Fuck
all that, Pink Floyd Ltd. – 2011 12 02) and how the band and its
record company pretended to sell remastered albums while the music on
the CD was just goody good bullshit taken from an old tape (What
the fuck is your problem, Pink Floyd? – 2014 11 08). It makes us a
bit sad for all those fans who have bought the super
deluxe set of The Wall at 500 dollars a piece. The show must go on,
But anyone familiar with the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit knows lengthy
introductions are our trademark and it will not come as a surprise that
this article isn't about The Wall at all.
Buzz all night long
Friday, the 27th of November 2015, sightings were published on the
social media of an unannounced Pink Floyd 7-inch-vinyl-double-set that
had hit records shops in the UK. It was named 1965:
Their First Recordings and claimed to have the following tracks.
Record 1A: Lucy Leave
Record 1B: Double O Bo Remember Me
Record 2A: Walk with me Sydney
Record 2B: Butterfly I’m a King Bee
Composers: 1, 2, 3, 5: Syd Barrett 4: Roger Waters 6: Slim
Personnel: Syd Barrett: Vocals, Guitar. Bob ‘Rado’ Klose: Guitar. Nick
Mason: Drums. Roger Waters: Bass, Vocals. Richard Wright:
Keyboards. Juliette Gale: vocals on Walk with me Sydney. (Some
pictures of the 'first' five man Floyd can be seen here: Pink
It was soon confirmed that the records were official, contrary to the
many bootlegs that already exist of the first and last track of the set,
and that it was a so-called 'copyright extension release'. According to
European law, sound recordings have a seventy years copyright, provided
that they are released within five decades. If the recording fails to be
published within 50 years it automatically becomes public domain, the
'use it or loose it'-clause, and that is something that The Floyd didn't
want to happen, especially not as there seems to be an Early Years
Immersion set on its way, predicted for the end of 2016.
That six tracks were released from the Floyd's first session(s) was
something of a surprise. Up till now, every biography only spoke of four
tracks put on tape. Let's see what Nick Mason had to say about it:
Around Christmas 1964, we went into a studio for the first time. We
wangled this through a friend of Rick’s who worked at the studio in West
Hampstead, and who let us use some down time for free. The session
included one version of an old R&B classic ‘I’m A King Bee’, and three
songs written by Syd: ‘Double O Bo’ (Bo Diddley meets the 007 theme),
‘Butterfly’ and ‘Lucy Leave’.
This was repeated in an August 2013 interview for Record Collector.
In Latin in a frame
However, in a letter to Jenny
Spires, presumably from late January, early February 1965, Syd
Barrett speaks about five tracks:
[We] recorded five numbers more or less straight off; but only the
guitars and drums. We're going to add all the singing and piano etc.
next Wednesday. The tracks sound terrific so far, especially King Bee.
At the bottom of this letter
Barrett also drew the studio setup with Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Robert
'Rado' Klose and himself ("Me. I can't draw me.").
The early sessions also appear in an (unpublished) letter to Libby
Tomorrow I get my new amp- Hooray! - and soon it's Christmas. (…) We're
going to record 'Walk With Me Sydney' and one I've just written '
Remember Me?', but don't think I'm one of those people who say they'll
be rich and famous one day, Lib.
In another letter he writes:
We just had a practice at Highgate which was OK. We're doing three of my
numbers – 'Butterfly', 'Remember Me?' and 'Let's roll another one', and
Roger's 'Walk with me Sydney', so it could be good but Emo says why
don't I give up cos it sounds horrible and he's right and I would, but I
can't get Fred [David Gilmour, note from FA] to join because he's
got his group (p'raps you knew!). So I still have to sing.
Tim Willis concludes in his Madcap biography that:
Sydologists will be astounded to learn that by '64, Barrett had already
written 'Let's Roll Another One', as well as two songs 'Butterfly' and
This is slagged by Rob Chapman in A Very Irregular Head. According to
Chapman the letters date from December 1965, and not 1964, for reasons
that are actually pretty plausible.
Bob Klose told Random Precision author David Parker that he only
remembers doing one recording session with the Floyd late Spring 1965
and that he left the band in the summer of that year.
In other words, dating these tracks is still something of a mess. At the
Steve Hoffman forum the tracks were analysed by Rnranimal and he
concluded that the 6 tracks do not origin from the same source either,
so they could originate from different recording sessions. According to
him; tracks 1, 2 and 6 sound like tape and 3, 4 & 5 like acetate.
Legally all songs need to be from 1965, and not from December 1964, as
Mason claims in his biography, because... that would make these 1964
songs public domain and free to share for all of us. Perhaps the band
started recording in December 1964 but added vocals and keyboards a
couple of weeks later, in 1965. Surely an army of lawyers must have
examined all possibilities to keep the copyrights sound and safe.
Good as gold to you
1965: Their First Recordings is exactly what the title says. Never mind
the cover with its psychedelic theme as it is obviously misleading. In
1965 The Pink Floyd were still a British
Rhythm & Blues outfit and not in the least interested in
psychedelic light shows. Barrett tries hard to impersonate Jagger and
even uses an American accent on the songs. And not all songs are that
original either. We skip Lucy Leave and I'm a King Bee for the following
short review as they have been around for the past few decades.
Double O Bo is a pastiche of Bo Diddley's signature song,
but has a weird chord change that is inimitably Syd Barrett. Baby Driver:
It's a straight forward enough tip of the hat to Bo Diddley musically,
but then he throws in those two chords: F, G# which is something Bo
Diddley NEVER would have done. Syd was a genius. what would otherwise be
throwaway songs from a band in its infancy, make for compelling
listening due to his voice and his unique lyrics.
In Remember Me, the weakest song of the set, Syd strains his
voice so hard that it nearly sounds that someone else is singing (some
people claim it is Bob Klose and not Barrett). As Marigoldilemma remarks:
To me this one sounds like Syd trying to sound like Eric Burdon of the
Walk with me Sydney, from Roger Waters and with Juliette Gale on
vocals, is a spoof of Roll
with me, Henry aka The Wallflower, written in 1955 by Johnny Otis,
Hank Ballard and Etta James. As it is not sure yet when Walk With Me
Sydney was exactly recorded this could – perhaps – even be a track
without Bob Klose. It is also the first time that we have a Roger Waters
lyrical list, a trick that he will repeat for the fifty years to come:
Flat feet, fallen arches, baggy knees and a broken frame, meningitis, peritonitis, DT's
and a washed out brain.
Medical Product Safety Information: Don't listen to this song if
you don't want it continually on repeat in your brain.
Butterfly is the surprise song of the set. This track shows the
potential Barrett had in him and could have been included, in a slightly
more mature version, on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. The lyrics are
pretty dark as well and typical Syd:
I won't squeeze you dead. Pin things through your head. I just
want your love.
Catch you soon
Not only was Parlophone
pretty vague about the recording dates, the record was also released
without any publicity and in very limited quantities, only 1050 copies
for worldwide distribution, including 350 for the UK. Not one of the
serious Pink Floyd fansites knew about the release and they were pretty
late diffusing the news, further proof these websites only publish what
Pink Floyd Ltd allows them to publish.
Pretty remarkable is that the Floydian fan-forums didn't really go into
overdrive about this set either and that the best comments and
information could be found on Steve Hoffman's Music
Corner. Yeeshkul had a pretty interesting thread as well, but this
was removed when people started discussing alternative ways of requiring
these tracks. It just makes one wonder how tight the grip is of the Pink
Floyd Gestapo Legal Council around Yeeshkuls' neck.
When it became clear that this edition was a) genuine and b) rare, prices
sky-rocketed. Hundreds of dollars were offered for a set and there have
been cases of record shop owners raising the prices for the copies they
still had in their racks. It needs to be said that a thousand copies for
a new Pink Floyd product is ridiculously low, even if it only interests
a small part of the Floydian fanbase.
Luckily for all those who didn't get a copy this is the age of the
internet and needle-drops can be found in harbours in silent waters
around us. Mind you, this is not psychedelic, nor classic dreamy Floyd,
but an R'n'B band in full progress, still looking for its own sound.
Vinyl collector Rick Barnes:
What I heard earlier was amazing ! Like the stones but sharper and more
original. They were a lot more together than I ever gave them credit.
I'm surprised they were not discovered in '65. Had they met Giorgio
Gomelsky or someone similar things might have been very different...
We end this post with an opinion from Mastaflatch at Neptune Pink Floyd:
With many bands such as Pink Floyd, who had been there for very long,
some people tend to forget the real crucial points when the band was
struck by genius and only find comfort in the familiar songs or familiar
patterns or familiar guitar solos. Between 1965 and 1967, something
major happened to PF and it's plain as day here. If not for Syd, it's
pretty likely that NOTHING of what we know and love from this band would
have reached our ears.
But, if you listen closely, the weirdness was already there in Syd's
chord changes and lyrics. (...) To get a band going though, especially
in the 60s when you had The Beatles leading the pack, you couldn't only
rely on blobs and gimmicks and Syd had what it took in spades: great
songs, fierce originality and a tendency to NOT rest on his laurels and
I think that Pink Floyd, somewhere in the 70s ended up lacking at least
one of those attributes - mostly the latter and it only got worse as
time went on. I'm not saying that their later stuff wasn't good but at
some point, Pink Floyd ceased to invent its sound and became content to
play within its previously defined boundaries. Good music but far less
In 1965 these boys were hungry, literally sometimes, and that is what
you hear. Their main preoccupation wasn't how to earn some 459 million $
turnover on a pre-recorded jukebox show from some 30 years before and it
Many thanks to: A Fleeting Glimpse Forum, Baby Driver, Rick Barnes,
Goldenband, Steve Hoffman Music Corner, Late Night Forum,
Marigoldilemma, Mastaflash, Göran Nyström, Neptune Pink Floyd Forum,
Rnranimal. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above mentioned links): Beecher, Russell &
Shutes, Will: Barrett, Essential Works Ltd, London, 2011, p.
152-153. Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber,
London, 2010, p. 56-57. Gausden Libby: Syd Barrett Letters.
Photographed by Mark Jones and published at Laughing Madcaps (Facebook). Geesin,
Joe: Acid Tates, Record Collector 417, August 2013, p 79-80. Mason,
Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books,
London, 2011 reissue, p. 29. Parker, David: Random Precision,
Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 1. Willis, Tim, Madcap,
Short Books, London, 2002, p. 43-44.
Nine years ago the Reverend made the remark that any new Pink Floyd
release will create some 'controversy between the fans, the (ex-)band
members and/or record company' (Fasten
Almost a decade later, with the release of Pink Floyd The Early Years
1965-1972, nothing has changed. Actually it only got worse.
Pink Floyd have always been a pretty hypocritical band when it comes to
making money. There is nothing bad about trying to make a good living,
obviously, but when you start selling inferior material for overabundant
prices it's like spitting the fans in their face. Not that anyone of
them would do that.
Of course nobody is obliged to buy The Early Years box (approx. 500 Euro
and limited to 28000 copies) but I duly admit: I am an absolute sucker
for anything with the Floyd name on it. And perhaps it's a nice pick-up
line: “Wanna see my Early Years box?”
The Early Years is a somewhat directionless, but nevertheless
interesting, 28 CD, DVD and Blu-ray box containing demos, live tapes
(some of bootleg quality), unreleased tracks, rarities, vinyl singles,
movies and a 2016 remix of Obscured By Clouds. Someone must have said at
a direction committee: 'you know what, we haven't got enough material on
our Obfusc/Ation disk, let's throw in an Obscured By Clouds-remix'.
Not that you hear me complain, Obscured By Clouds is in my personal top
three, before Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wall, but it does feel a bit
For this box, Pink Floyd didn't make the silly mistake of adding
marbles, scarves or toasters, like in the Immersion sets. There are
plenty of mini-posters, postcards, ticket replicas and other printed
items though, for those who like that. (Personally, I tend to ignore
that rubble.) An image of some of those, thanks to RobNl, can be found
Another shot can be found at the Church's Tumblr: (Un)Packing
The Early Years #12.
The box has a simplistic, black and white theme, but is... too big. The
outside box is about 41 x 22 x 31 cm, but the actual set tucked inside
only takes 19 x 20 x 14.5 cm. It doesn't take an Einstein to calculate
that 80% of the box is made of... empty spaces. (Sorry, I really
couldn't resist that pun.) I have put the outside box on top of a
wardrobe, where it will probably stay for the rest of my miserable life.
The Early Years #6.
The 'inner box' contains 7 book-boxes, with ridiculously bombastic
cut/up names. 6 of those will be sold separately over the next few
months, the seventh is a bonus set, exclusive to this release alone.
That's why I was waving so enthusiastically with my wallet. Picture: (Un)Packing
The Early Years #14.
The one gadget everyone I have spoken to really wants, me included, is
the Pink Floyd 'matchbox' miniature van. Alas, these have been made for
promotional use only and will probably fetch high prices on eBay.
Update November 2016: meanwhile a Pink Floyd miniature van has
been sold on eBay for the whopping price of 310£ (385$, 364 €), Tumblr
The quality of the book-boxes is not optimal. On the web are already
circulating pictures of pages that are falling out of the sets.
Apparently they have been glued rather flimsily to the spine. Taking out
a disk is always a matter of trial and error, and the first CD I picked
broke one of the plastic 'teeth' holding it.
The inside pages contain pictures of the band, unfortunately the
printing is rather average, although the 'later' sets in my box seem to
be slightly better. Each set also contains a booklet with 'copyrights',
thank you notes, a brief introduction by Mark Blake and seven times the
same text by film archivist Lana Topham, for whatever reason, although I
suppose sloppiness from the editor. These texts are printed in grey on
brownish paper, making it nearly impossible to read them anyway.
If it breathes something, it breathes cheap instead of zen.
When the box was announced, a couple of months ago, in the same
amateurish way The
Endless River was made public, the track-listing had some important
differences, as it listed 5.1 mixes for Meddle and Obscured By
Clouds. These can't be found on the released set (well, kind of) for
reasons that seem to be taken out of a Neighbours
It all starts with the fact that Pink Floyd has had several re-mixing
specialists over the years, notably James
Guthrie and Andy
Jackson, who, in true soap-series tradition, hate each-other's guts
as they belong to rivalling factions.
Andy Jackson, from the David Gilmour camp, was asked to create
the 5.1 mixes for Meddle and Obscured By Clouds and handed these over to Mark
Fenwick, who is Roger Waters' manager. Mark was a good dog
and passed these to Roger, for approval.
Roger Waters remembered that these remixes had originally been promised
to his protégé James Guthrie and when he found out that the 'other side'
had done these, without consulting him, he threw a tantrum like a kicked
So this is, in a nutshell, why the genius of Pink Floyd vetoed against
the inclusion of the Andy Jackson 5.1 mixes, although liner notes and
promotion material had already been printed. All that had to be redone
and the 5.1 disks that had already been pressed were for the dustbin.
Before somebody could say 'several species of small furry animals' the
rift between the David Gilmour and Roger Waters camp was back in place
and it seems that it won't be solved in the near future.
So the Obscured By Clouds and Meddle 5.1 mixes are not in the box,
right? Wrong. Well, partially wrong.
It was found out that the 1971 Blu-ray contains a hidden segment with
the complete Meddle 5.1 mix. However, you can't play it on a regular
Blu-ray player as one needs to extract the files to a computer first (or
burn them on another Blu-ray with the hidden files set to visible).
Apparently this is not an Easter egg but a simple mistake. Or an act of
Insubordin/Ation. Take your pick. Instead of deleting the Meddle 5.1 mix
from the disk the Floyd's technical leprechaun only deleted the shortcut
from the menu.
Keep on smiling, people.
The week before the box got released there was an impromptu announcement
of the record company.
Pink Floyd fans ordering 'The Early Years 1965-1972’ will get an extra
piece of the band’s history.
The box-set will now also include a supplementary disc featuring the
band’s seminal Live At Pompeii concert as a 2016 audio mix.
The 6 tracks totalling over 67 minutes include live versions of 'Careful
With That Axe, Eugene', 'Set the Controls For The Heart Of The Sun',
'One of These Days', 'A Saucerful Of Secrets', ‘Echoes' and an
alternative take of 'Careful With That Axe, Eugene’.
The truth is slightly different. When the sets were already made and put
in the boxes for shipping a bright brain decided it was about time to
check if the disks really contained what was printed on the booklets.
Only then it was found out that the Obfusc/Ation set did not have
Obscured By Clouds, but the Pompeii soundtrack. By then it was too late
to open 28000 shrink wrapped boxes and replace the disks, so the
Obscured remix was put in a carton sleeve and thrown on top of The Early
Years box set, before closing the brown shipping parcel. Picture: (Un)Packing
The Early Years #2.
At least the carton sleeve has the guts to say the truth:
REPLACEMENT CD DISC FOR OBFUSC/ATION PFREY6 – CD (STEREO
2016 MIX OF PINK FLOYD 'LIVE AT POMPEII' CD SUPPLIED IN ERROR)
Some quality control, huh? By the way, the 5.1 Obscured By Clouds mix is
not in the box, but you probably already figured that out.
Update: some boxes seem to come without the Obscured replacement
disk, as was expected...
(For those interested, the Pompeii CD contains an extra take of Careful
With That Axe, Eugene, but no Mademoiselle Nobs. The box also has the
Pompeii movie, without the interviews, without the singing dog, but in
the director's cut version, so I have read. Another Indic/Ation that the
Floyd team doesn't seem to know what lives in the fan community as that
version of the movie is mostly regarded as inferior to the original.)
Update: the new 'mix' of Obscured By Clouds is (to quote
Cenobyte) 'too top endy'. The mix generally repairs the muddiness of the
original mix and brings everything out in a brilliant way, but adds this
layer on top and that kind of ruins it. Some posters even think that
something went wrong during the mastering process. (The same applies to
the new Pompeii mix as well.)
Several Floydian movies can be found in the box, but some come without
English subtitles. This may not be a very big problem for More
but La Vallée is basically spoken in Frenglish. And of
course these boxes are shipped all over the world, to places were people
are not familiar with the English language and could use subtitles.
It only feeds the rumour that the Floyd randomly added things onto the
disks, just to fill them up, regardless of quality.
(Note: in my box, The Committee, that is on another Blu-ray than More
and La Vallée, does have subtitles, even in Dutch.)
The Committee's soundtrack does not contain music from Pink Floyd alone.
One, pretty famous scene has underground colleague Arthur
Brown singing Nightmare,
but his name is not mentioned at all in the booklet. It is weird that a
band that scrutinises YouTube looking for copyright infringements
neglects Mr. Brown's rights.
As a matter of fact Pink Floyd even censored Nightmare from Arthur
Brown's personal YouTube place, a few months ago, because they claimed his
song hurt their copyrights. Unfortunately Arthur Brown doesn't
have a legion of lawyers to fight this.
Don't ask a slice of my pie, how utterly convenient.
Some of the tracks on this Compil/Ation are from inferior or bootleg
quality. We know that and can live with that.
But what if we say that the Pink Floyd mastering team deliberately
ignored some good takes and put inferior ones in the box?
Seems unthinkable for a band that used to flirt with high-end
The 1967 BBC radio sessions, for instance, are in a bad quality,
examples are 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun', 'Reaction in
G' and 'Pow R Toc H' that is even incomplete.
It needs to be said that Pink Floyd consulted the official BBC archives
but these are in a bad state. The BBC had a habit of erasing their own
masters and only has copies of the Pink Floyd 1967 gig 'taken' from the
Top collectors, those that have the 'holy grails', informed the Floyd
that (a copy of?) the masters of the 1967 recording are in a private
collection but the Floyd didn't find it necessary to check this out.
Andy Jackson received high quality stereo copies of the BBC recordings
from at least two sources but the powers that be decided to use the
inferior mono tapes instead.
Isn't is ironic that the 'bootleg' community has better versions of
these Pink Floyd live tapes and early acetates than the band itself and
that they are giving them away for free? The Floyd has thanked them by
shutting down Harvested and threatening to shutdown Yeeshkul in the
past. (More of these vicious rumours at: The
loathful Mr. Loasby and other stories... )
Just as with the Immersion sets some Blu-rays come with errors, in this
case (as far as we know): the 1972 'Obfusc/ation' Blu-ray and bonus
package 'Continu/ation' Blu-ray 1. According to several testimonies the
menu screen loads, but halts there. You better check out your version
before it is too late.
Fans were happy to find out that Seabirds was finally going to
find a place on this collection. Seabirds
is a song written by Roger Waters for the More movie, where it can be
heard during a party scene, but it does not appear on the soundtrack
The song in the box though with the same title is not the one fans were
looking for but an alternate take of the instrumental Quicksilver.
God knows why this was erroneously labelled, but once again it seems
that the Floyd historians didn't do their homework right and just threw
songs on a CD without checking them out first.
Pink Floyd itself issued a statement, trying not to make it sound as an
apology. It appears that the master tape of the 'real' Seabirds was
given to the movie producers who used it for their final cut and who
destroyed the only copy afterwards.
While Pink Floyd is not to blame for that mishap we can at least say
they have been badly communicating to their fans about this track, but
Communic/Ation has never been the Floyd's strongest point.
(Another possible mistake can be found on the Stockholm disk where the
first instrumental number is titled Reaction In G while most
scholars think it is another 'untitled' instrumental, loosely based upon Take
Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk. This was already published by the
Church in 2011 so the Floyd had plenty of time to correct this. See
blackmails Pink Floyd fans!)
At 500 Euro a box this is a pretty hefty Christmas present, especially
when you realise that at least 85% of the box has been circulating
before, on bootlegs. Of course it is true that some visual material has
been beautifully restored and some audio tracks sound crispier than
ever. Other tracks have just been added for the sake of adding them, so
it seems. Anything in the bin we can still use?
There are still plenty of tracks not in the box that the fans were
hoping for. It has already been confirmed that one of these will be
issued as a Vinyl Record Store Day exclusive.
Somehow I have the feeling that during the Cre/Ation of this set, that
took twenty years, the energy went lost, or the interest. Perhaps there
was a lack of time when the deadline came closer. Perhaps a greedy
manager decided that they had already spend too much money on it.
Perhaps Waters and Gilmour, and their servants Guthrie and Jackson, have
been busy rolling over the floor fighting, rather than working together,
in a cooperative way.
This could have been such an exquisite rarities box, an example for
other bands to follow, if only the Floyd had put some extra effort in
it, if only the Floyd had consulted their fanbase that gathers at
specialised music forums.
Nick Mason, the gentleman drummer, probably takes better care of his
cars than he takes care of his musical legacy.
"Those ungrateful fans, it took us 20 years to make this box and Felix
Atagong, the Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, just needed
20 minutes to trash it."
Update: this post was only published for about an hour when a new
'error' was published on one of the forums.
Belgian TV footage (1968): while the image transfer is great,
Pink Floyd made a stupid mistake by overdubbing the video with the
regular stereo versions instead of the original 'mono' sound. This leads
to the following errors: 1. The stereo Paintbox is about 15 seconds
shorter than the mono version, the last seconds of the clip are almost
silent while there was still music during the original TV broadcast. 2.
An unique early version of Corporal Clegg with an alternate ending has
been replaced with the common stereo version. 3. Set The Controls For
The Heart Of The Sun has lost the early mono mix that was used instead
of the album version.
Video transfers. Frame rates differ between 'vintage' movies and
digital technologies like DVD and Blu-ray. When old movies are
transferred to digital they have to be 'stretched' which is a pretty
straightforward process. However, one may not stretch the soundtrack the
same way because it will result in a sound distortion. Guess what, at
least one movie in the box runs with half a tone difference than
So here is another case where bootlegs have it right and the official
version has it wrong. Bunch of amateurs!
There are really too many people to thank for this article, but much
kudos go to Ron Toon and the dozens of others who gave valuable
information on the Steve
Hoffman Music Forum (304 pages!), another thread on the Steve
Hoffman Forum (72 pages!), Yeeshkul
(161 pages!) and A
Fleeting Glimpse (106 pages!). Sleeve illustrations by a forum
member whose post I can't find back any more, anyway thanks!
20 pictures of the (un)packing of the box can be found at the Church's
A fantasy based on facts. Inspired by a hypothesis from Simon
In a previous post
the Church reviewed Simon Matthews' book Psychedelic
Celluloid that lists some 120 'flower power' era movies and their
ties with pop and rock stars from that period. One of the movies that
pass the revue is The Committee, a 1968 flick that mainly gets
its reputation from an 'unreleased' Pink Floyd soundtrack. As such it
was dredged up in 2005 for a DVD release and, more recently, added to
the Pink Floyd compilation The
The movie, loved by some (including the Reverend, actually) and ignored
by everybody else, tells the absurd story of a hitch-hiker (Paul
Jones, lead singer from Manfred
Mann) who decapitates the driver who offers him a ride. After a few
minutes he sews the head back on the corpse and as if nothing had
happened both men each go their own way.
A while later the hitch-hiker is invited to participate in an official
Committee, where he is briefly confronted with his victim (whose
neck-marks have been miraculously healed). This pretty Kafkaesque
situation raises the question if that reunion was staged, or not, and if
there will be any consequences for the perpetrator, or not.
Perhaps the Committee is a tribunal, or perhaps it is not. Perhaps it's
all an elaborate trap, a mind-fuck, like number
six had to undergo in the village. Contrary to The
Prisoner the hitch-hiker decides not to make a run for it and
immediately confesses his crime to the director of the Committee.
Unfortunately, the final twenty minutes of the film consists of
pseudo-philosophical babble about the previous, concluding that 'the
whole world is a madhouse, an extended madhouse', with thanks to R.D.
Laing for the inspiration.
In a meta-prognostic way the movie relates to Syd Barrett and Pink
Floyd. Pink Floyd who cut the head of the driver on their road to
success. Then sewing the head back on and making big bucks from milking
their guilty consciences. (And didn't R.D. Laing conclude that it wasn't
Syd Barrett who was mad, but the people around him?)
The story of the soundtrack is as blurry as its script. On the DVD's
obligatory interview there is the comment that the Floyd 'demanded the
most expensive soundtrack studio in London' which is weird as they
recorded the thing for practically nothing at the basement flat of the
The following abundantly lends from Julian Palacios' Dark Globe, David
Parker’s Random Precision and the webzine Spare
Bricks. Simon Matthews interviewed Max Steuer for Psychedelic
Celluloid and gave the Church some valuable background information.
The Committee was filmed in autumn and winter of 1967 by Max Steuer
(writer, producer) and Peter Sykes (writer, director). Steuer was
a lecturer at the London School of Economics and when he made the
preparations for the movie he consulted his ex-colleague Peter
Jenner for a possible soundtrack. Jenner agreed as he had exactly
the right band in his portfolio for the job: The Pink Floyd.
What both men didn’t know was that Pink Floyd was almost a goner and
that Syd Barrett was full-time preoccupied losing his marbles. The movie
was in its final stage when the band was limping between disaster gigs
and unsettling recording sessions.
“How about that soundtrack?” asked Steuer.
“Coming up.” lied Jenner.
Blame it on the New Year, because here is where the story becomes blurry
In January 1968 pretty boy Gilmour had joined the band in a desperate
move to salvage the sinking ship. At first Barrett joined them on a
couple of gigs but they soon understood that the band’s dwindling live
reputation could only be saved by leaving him, and his effervescing
marbles, at home.
The same can be said about the recording sessions that were in full
swing. Out of courtesy Barrett was invited to some, but after a while…
well, things just got faster done with Syd not in the studio.
On 20 December 1967 Syd and the Floyd had been overdubbing Scream
Thy Last Scream. Early January was used to have some rehearsals with
the new guitarist and to work in the studio on Set
The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun and Scream Thy Last Scream,
however it is not certain if Syd was present, mentally or physically.
You Got It Yet session (presumably on the 10th of January) had not
been appreciated, to say the least.
Saturday 20 January 1968 was Syd's last concert with Pink Floyd.
Theoretically the five-man Floyd had existed for three weeks, but they
only gigged at five concerts on four locations, in ten days. The next
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the band rehearsed as a four-piece, making
it de facto clear that Syd’s days were over. Nobody found it
necessary to pick up Barrett for further gigs and also the Saucerful
of Secrets studio sessions would go on without him. Rumour goes that
- at several occasions - Syd Barrett sat patiently outside the recording
room, waiting to be asked in. Nobody asked him in.
But on Wednesday, 30 January 1968, Syd was indeed expected at the Sound
Techniques studio to record The Committee soundtrack. He arrived one and
a half hour late, didn’t bring his guitar, nor a band, much to the
annoyance of Max Steuer who had been promised the full Floyd by Peter
Jenner. That last was a bit difficult as Pink Floyd #2 was recording in
the Abbey Road studios, about 3.9 miles (6.3 km) north from Old Church
While Jenner took Steuer for a therapeutic walk, Andrew King (and/or
engineer John Wood) phoned around to get some gear and some musicians,
probably Nice-drummer Brian
'Blinky' Davidson and Barrett-buddy Steve
Peregrin Took. Julian Palacios:
Steuer and Jenner returned a few hours later to find a trio of drums,
bass, and guitar.
Max [Steuer] told me that Barrett turned up with a drummer and bass
player that he didn't recognize and this was the first inkling he had
that things were not OK within the Pink Floyd.
The improvised band ploughed through a twenty-minute instrumental, which
Barrett insisted should be played backwards for the soundtrack.
In an interview for Spare
Bricks in 2005, Max Steuer remembered the story somewhat different:
Syd read the story and said he would do the film. This seemed fine by
me. He asked us to book a very expensive studio, and showed up an hour
and a half late, and without a guitar. He asked Peter Sykes and me to
get lost, which we did. We came back a few hours later to find a trio -
drums, bass, and guitar. They finished a bit and lased it up backwards.
Syd thought it was a good start. It cost too much money, and would have
sunk the film.
At midnight the session ended and they all went home. The next day John
Wood phoned Barrett to have the title of the track they had recorded.
Unfortunately Barrett couldn't be reached, so that field was never
filled out on the session sheet.
Max Steuer nearly got a heart attack when he saw the bill. It was
£61.6s. Nowadays this is hardly enough to buy a Pink Floyd Immersion
set, but in those days it was the equivalent of about £1000 now (roughly
$1240 or €1170). Add half a dozen sessions more to finish the job and
The Committee and its directors would’ve been bankrupt.
Update April 2017: Max Steuer didn’t think there was anything
particularly wrong with what the Barrett trio recorded for him. The film
was being done for free by all participants against a share of any
profits, but Syd Barrett wanting to record in a big studio almost wiped
them out financially. Steuer told Simon Matthews the track sounded
‘really great’ when played backwards.
There are some strange things going on with that contract. The session
document, that can be found in Parker’s study, was made up for Norman
Smith and Pink Floyd and is dated 12 January. The typed date is
stricken out and changed, by hand, to the thirtieth. Under the band’s
name someone wrote that it was Syd Barrett who took the session, but
unfortunately the names of the session musicians have not been noted.
Legally Syd Barrett was still in the band and it would take until May
before all legal razzmatazz was fulfilled. Peter Jenner probably booked
the studio when there was still hope for Syd’s future (as a songwriter
and/or studio musician) but it is also rather understandable that the
band didn’t want to be confronted with him after the Have You Got It
Yet-debacle. If we are sure of something it is that somewhere
mid-January Syd Barrett was declared persona non grata by the
Enterprises still believed that Barrett was the goose with the
golden eggs. If the Floyd wanted to go on without him it was their own
stubborn stupid choice. Without the pressure of touring, Syd would be
able to record those British oddities by the dozen. As a matter of fact
a solo record had already been briefly discussed – just before Arnold
Layne had been produced - when Syd gave Joe
Boyd a six track demo tape containing Boon Tune (aka Here I
Go) and a proto-version of Jugband Blues, that would resurface on
Saucerful. It is believed the tape was given to Chris Joe Beard from The
Purple Gang who promptly lost it. (For more info about that mishap,
Making a soundtrack, that was usually just seen as an quick 'n' easy
side-job, would be a great way to get Barrett in the picture and the
Syd Barrett and colleagues managed to record a 20 minutes jam. So where
is the tape? Max Steuer:
Somehow, Peter Jenner got that tape. Peter, give me back my tape!
As far as I know I am not in possession of these tapes, I might have
been given a copy, but surely not the masters. (…) Max Steuer may have
given us the tapes. But I do not remember them. But many things
disappeared with the sudden collapse of Blackhill. My recollection is
that they were less than amazing. However if I come across anything I
will let you know. (The complete Peter Jenner interview at the Holy
Church can be found at: An
innerview with Peter Jenner)
When Simon Matthews interviewed Max Steuer for Psychedelic Celluloid it
was re-confirmed that Peter Jenner collected the tape from him. All he
can remember is that the piece sounded 'jazzy, with a groove'.
Unless it is miraculously found back (what frequently happens when an
anniversary release is announced) the recording seems to be lost.
The second soundtrack
The following day Roger Waters heard about the problem, either from
Peter Jenner (still their manager) or from Rick Wright, who was living
in a flat with Syd. He proposed to do the soundtrack with the band, in
their spare time, a couple of months later. This took four days in an
improvised studio. Max Steuer at Spare Bricks:
We started at nine each morning and did twelve hours or so. Roger was
always there at 8:30, David Gilmour shortly after, then Nick Mason, and
Rick Wright just before nine. It was amazingly professional.
It wouldn't be the last time Waters, Gilmour, Wright & Mason would come
to Barrett's rescue. (A detailed review of the soundtrack, that includes
an early version of Careful With That Axe, Eugene, can be found at Brain
The Barrett tapes (by Simon Matthews)
According to Simon Matthews the aborted soundtrack session is
intertwined with the departure of Barrett, Jenner and King from Pink
Floyd. The following has almost been copied verbatim from him.
In early 68 Jenner and King thought (for about a week or so) about
rebuilding a new group around Barrett and Wright. To do this they were
in need of an extra bass player and drummer. Barrett duly turned up with
a bass player and drummer at the studio for The Committee.
In May 68 Barrett had several sessions, with a bass player and drummer
who were never named, but it is almost certain that Steve Peregrin Took
was around. Rhamadan and Lanky are some of the
instrumentals that came out of it.
By late June 68 Jenner and King had enough rough material they felt
useable to be included on a Syd Barrett solo album. This included 3 Pink
Floyd tracks: In the Beechwoods, Scream Thy Last Scream, Vegetable Man;
Barrett's work for The Committee, now called Rhamadan and a
couple of new ones: Swanlee (Silas Lang), Late Night and Golden Hair.
Lanky Pt. 1 and Clowns & Jugglers were considered as well.
The Pink Floyd veto
At this point music industry politics kicked in. Pink Floyd #2 were
releasing A Saucerful of Secrets and didn't want their 'old' material
released under the Syd Barrett flag. The band guaranteed Blackhill
Enterprises royalties for everything already released, but kept the
rights for the unreleased tracks. These would be hidden in the vault for
50 years, until The Early Years came out.
By refusing to release those 3 early Barrett songs the idea of finishing
a Barrett solo album soon was shelved. Peter Jenner and Andrew King
moved on to easier things like Marc Bolan's T Rex. They wouldn't
jeopardize, not unreasonably, the financial security that the Pink Floyd
royalties gave them. Peter Jenner made the same request in 1974 and
again Pink Floyd blocked him. Simon Matthews:
Given that Barrett got ousted from the group, dropped from The
Committee, had the first version of his solo LP aborted, got dropped by
Jenner (on rather vague grounds) and then had his re-started solo LP
taken over by Waters and Gilmour and it's release put back until after
the Pink Floyd had released Ummagumma, I'm not surprised that he was
wary of Pink Floyd and Jenner and King thereafter.
The whole world is a madhouse, an extended madhouse.
(Simon Matthews is currently working on a sequel of Psychedelic
Celluloid, covering the period 1975-1986.)
Many thanks to: Peter Jenner, Simon Matthews. ♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (other than the above mentioned links): Fitch, Vernon: The
Pink Floyd Encyclopedia, Collector's Guide Publishing, Ontario,
2005, p. 66, 133. Hughes, Christopher: A Committee of not many,
Bricks 25, 2005. (Max Steuer interview.) King, David: An
Interview with Peter Sykes, Spare
Bricks 5, 2000. Manning, Toby: The Rough Guide To Pink Floyd,
Rough Guides, London, 2006, p. 260. Matthews, Simon: Psychedelic
Celluloid, Oldcastle Books, Harpenden, 2016, p. 74. Matthews,
Simon: email conversation with Felix Atagong, February 2017. Palacios,
Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London,
2010, p. 320. Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red
Books, London, 2001, p. 119-121. Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete
history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 90.
I'll start this Roger
Waters solo history in 1983 and pretend The
Body soundtrack (1970) never happened (it's definitively worth
checking out and not only for the Waters compositions, if you don't mind
the seventies tomfoolery).
Final Cut (1983) was issued as a Pink
Floyd album but is considered a virtual Roger Waters solo work with
some guitar solos by David
Gilmour and occasional percussion by that playboy drummer.
Originally intended as a Wall spin-off it grew into a political
manifesto against the Falklands crisis. And if that wasn't already
mind-boggling enough Waters also recycled some early-Wall melodies that
never made it on the double album because they weren't considered good
enough by Bob Ezrin and co.
The Final Cut set the standard for his future solo projects that
invariably contain a few good to excellent tracks, but unfortunately
also a lot of monotonous rubble. Most of them are also packaged in
Pros And Cons of Hitchhiking (1984) is the third part in the Wall
series, it even borrows some musical themes from that one. But just like
in the original Planet
Of The Apes franchise quality gradually degrades from sequel to
sequel, from solo project to solo project.
Blowing in the Wind
Waters' contribution to the When
The Wind Blows soundtrack (1986) takes a complete vinyl side. It
contains roughly 12 minutes of experimental synth drones, sound effects
and movie samples, sandwiched between one excellent and one just OK
of Faith has Waters at his best with vitriolic and sarcastic nags at
the Pope and his former bandmates: "this band is MY band…" It’s a pity
the track was put on a rather obscure soundtrack of a rather obscure
movie, not the last time this would happen with his songs. (For the
completists who will otherwise correct me: it can also be found on the Flickering
KAOS (1987) is an even weirder one. It is built around a radio show
and features poppy songs with a typical eighties rock radio sound.
Although it sounds dated nowadays it is not half as bad as everyone
pretends. One of the good things is that it is a single album. Roger
Waters wanted to make it a double but this was vetoed against by the
powers that be. Some of these rejected demos were put on B-sides,
remember singles?, and I can only agree with those record executives.
The only thing that suffered from the weeding is the concept, Radio KAOS
is as odd and incomprehensible as one of those eerie second series Twin
When you can’t sell new records, sell old ones, Waters must have thought
Wall Live in Berlin (1990) was born. It’s The Wall all over again,
this time with guests, Bier und Bratwurst.
Not Amused at all
All this was just a general repetition for what Waters considers his
magnum opus. When a colleague at work told me, 25 years ago, that the
latest Waters record had a lot of explosions, I was not impressed at
all. A record is not judged by the amount of sound effects, especially
not when they interfere with the music. Amused
To Death sounds as if a piano player is playing in the far corner of
a crowded restaurant and all you hear is the rhubarby mumbling of the
people, the clashing of cutlery, falling plates, waiters taking
orders... Many will disagree but Amused to Death (1992) is Waters
equivalent of Battle
for the Planet of the Apes, it even has got a monkey on its
fart-smelly cover. That record has all the tricks Waters is famous for:
over the top shouting, tracks that are repeated over several parts,
lists instead of lyrics and the drowning of the melody under a layer of
sound effects… If Waters sings about a nuclear attack, you can bet your
ass there will be missiles wooshing through your surround system for the
next three minutes.
People might think I hate Waters, but this is not really the case. He
genuinely surprised me with his In
The Flesh tour and the highlights of The Final Cut, Pros And Cons
and Amused to Death he brought there proves that Waters has some good
songs in him.
This introduction has been going on too long, it fucking starts to sound
like one of his albums, so we’ll skip his opera
(everyone did) and the few excellent (Hello,
I love you) and bad singles (Leaving
Beirut) he made over the years.
Did I tell you that Waters is a man of continuous repetition…
When you can’t sell new records, sell old ones, so Waters had another go
Wall, basically a lip-synch show with a video screen the size of a
football field. For me this was the lowest point in his career despite
the fact that he sold over four million tickets to the masses. (Read
more at: Skeletons
from the Kloset.)
But now, after some 25 years, there is a new Roger Waters record, and
Is This The Life We Really Want?
When We Were Young: a garbled introduction, taken from a Waters
interview or monologue that gradually becomes clearer to understand.
Personally it makes me think remotely of the Wish You Were Here radio
introduction. Pink Floyd has of course a tradition of ambient opening
tracks. Their last album had Things
Left Unsaid that started with (equally garbled) Rick Wright and
David Gilmour quotes, but borrowing is allowed among friends.
The intro segues into Déjà Vu that has been known since
25 September 2014 under the title Lay
Down Jerusalem (If I Had Been God) when he performed it at the
Russell Tribunal at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, in
support of the Palestinian people.
Luckily it is a far better opening song than What
God Wants was (on his previous rock album), although it is pretty
snotty to compare yourself with a deity. Waters would have been a pretty
solid Roman emperor, he seems to think of himself. Rogergula.
The song itself is wonderful and reminds me of the best of The Final Cut
with its piano and violin arrangement and some scarce sound effects that
for once don't ruin the song. Probably producer Nigel
Godrich is to thank for that. An anonymous source gave us the
following snippet of a dialogue between the artist and his producer.
Roger Waters: "How many explosions can I have?" Nigel
Godrich: "One." RW: "One per song, cool." NG:
"No, one in total." RW: "Only one? Can I have some fucks
then?" NG: "You can have as many fucks as you like."
(Despite the critique at several reviews and fora that there are too
many swearwords on the album, I could only count seven fucks.)
The Last Refugee starts as an uncomplicated love song and has
incredible beautiful and yet simple lines:
Show me the shy slow smile you keep hidden by warm brown eyes.
Waters proves that he is an excellent lyricist and singer, alternating
softly sung parts with pieces where he vainly tries to suppress his
anger. The atmosphere of the song and the way Waters sings it makes me
think of Johnny
Man, that was an opus of withheld emotionalism (not only on this
song, by the way). Up till now we haven't heard a single guitar solo yet
and that can only be regarded as a good point. It seems that Waters has
finally got rid of Gilmour's shadow, whom he tried to replace in vain
Clapton or Jeff
Beck. This is a hidden gem that grows on you with every session and
if you don't get a tear in your eyes, nothing will.
Picture That has a Welcome
To The Machine rhythm just before Waters starts with a set of
'shopping list' lyrics, a trick he has used in his entire career and
that he will repeat here as well on several songs. Do not expect that
Roger pictures himself on a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and
marmalade skies, quite the contrary, in his imagination kids run around
with their hands on the trigger of a gun carefully avoiding wooden
legged Afghans. There are quite some Floydian references for the
perceptive fan, musically to Sheep
(and Welcome To The Machine) and lyrically to Wish
You Were Here that is sardonically linked to Guantánamo
Bay. Roger's voice sounds coarse and rough throughout the track but
the synthesizer sounds thin and the guitar doesn't snap to the beat. Not
a bad tune, but it has something lacking to make it really great. It may
be contradictory to what I wrote before but this track would have
benefited from the over-the-top grandeur that only a full Pink Floyd
treatment can give. Let's have some of Rick's Turkish
Delight, please. Unless it was Roger's or Nigel's wish to make it
sound as Thin Floyd. Still a fucking great skeleton of a song though,
with obvious nods to his musical past.
Broken Bones starts like one of those more intimate Final Cut
Eyes) and has the default Waters screams whenever the refrain hits.
Great little folkie tune, with a certain Bob
Dylan feel, nothing more, nothing less, with a foul-mouthed Waters
who isn't afraid to express his opinion:
We cannot turn back the clock Cannot go back in time But we can
say: Fuck you, we will not listen to Your bullshit and lies
Is This The Life We Really Want? Surely the message is of more
importance than the melody here, Waters acts almost as a beat poet. It
has Waters reciting a shopping list again, like the following strophe:
toothless hags, supermodels, actors, fags, bleeding hearts, football
stars, men in bars, washer women, tailors, tarts, grannies,
grandpas, uncles, aunts, friends, relations, homeless tramps, clerics, truckers, cleaning
But believe it or not, it really works in the context of the song. Great
poetic track, with a sudden splash of surreal humour.
Bird In A Gale. When this track lifts off after the default TV
and radio samples, it turns into a Floydian Sheep-pastiche with Waters'
shouting his lines. There is a dog in the lyrics, hopefully not one of
those Gilmourian dogs
of war, and is that a cash register at the end or just some weird
machinery clicking away the moments that make up a dull day? Up till now
the flow of the record has just been perfect, although this track is, in
my opinion, of lesser quality. It simply tries to hard to mimic Floyd,
including the repeating echoes at each line, line, line, line, line...
The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, the six minutes track takes
longer as its subject as she is already finished off in the third line
of the song 'like a pearl crushed by a bulldozer'. A typical album
track, not really one we'll remember as being the highlight of this
album, but not bad either. A bit like Gilmour did on Rattle
That Lock with the throwaway song The
Girl In The Yellow Dress, but at least she managed to survive till
This one needs some extra attention to really get into and should
probably be listened to on its own. The lyrics are also quite hermetic
and if someone can explains me what it is really about, then thanks. The
last strophe is particularly moving with the I'm coming home, bit.
Perhaps if I give it some time, it could grow into a favourite. (But who
has time, nowadays, for that?)
Smell The Roses is the least original song of the album. It takes
its melody from Have
A Cigar, has a mad dog on a chain barking, an obscured
by clouds guitar at the interlude and a Floydian girlie choir. But
just because it sounds so familiar and is full of clichés it rapidly
grows into an earworm.
Wait For Her / Oceans Apart / Part Of Me Died. The
last song is a three-parter that has been given separate titles.
The first part undoubtedly is a poetic song about love (and for
perverted minds: lovemaking), but in the last strophe there suddenly is
a 'last fusillade' whatever that means. The lyrics are inspired by a
poem (with the same title) from Palestinian poet Mahmoud
Darwish and some lines have been taken literally from the original (Wait
For Her by Mahmoud Darwish).
Oceans Apart is a short, one strophe, musical bridge between part one
and three, making it clear that the woman he sings about is the love of
Part Of Me Died has Waters listing again, this time it's a collection of
his bad characteristics (or so it seems) that the woman he loves has
made disappear. It is a very introspective Waters who ends the record
Bring me my final cigarette It would be better by far to die in her
arms Than to linger In a lifetime of regret
Roger Waters writing a dark love-song, who would ever guess that? It's
simple, it's dumb, but Roger Waters has finally proven again he still is
the pilot of the Pink Floyd airship.
I never thought I would come to this conclusion, but Is This The Life We
Really Want? is a fucking good Roger Waters record, the best since The
Final Cut if you ask me. Luckily it has a spit-ugly cover and almost
undecipherable lettering so I can still end this review on a grumpy note.
If the rumours arriving at Atagong Mansion are true - and why shouldn't
they? - the relationship between Mr. Gilmour and Mr. Waters is again at
a very low level, so low that they can't be bothered visiting the Their
Mortal Remains exhibition together, or just making a mutual
statement about it.
The Early Years
The last time they really had to cooperate, or that their lawyers and
agents had to work together, was with the making of The Early Years
box-set (and its satellite releases). For the average fan this seems a
nice compilation, with many previously unreleased gems, although the
average fan will not be immediately tempted, just try to listen to John
Latham (parts 1 to 9) in its entirety or get through ten (10!)
different versions of Atom
Heart Mother. Unfortunately the editors lost interest in the project
and the closer you get to the final tome, the less rare material there
is to find. In the end they had to throw in a few movies that every
collector already has and yet another remaster of Obscured
By Clouds to get something, uh..., mildly significant.
The Early Years compilation is meant for those über-fans, those
completists, who eat, breathe and defecate Pink Floyd on a daily basis.
And these hard-to-please crusty old dinosaurs were hugely disappointed
with the amateurish treatment. An unique mono soundtrack – never
(officially) released - was replaced with the common stereo one, by a
project manager who was on the job for two decades but who didn't give a
fuck to glue the right sound to the right video. Things went wrong with
the analogue to digital conversion and video soundtracks play at the
wrong speed. The 'exclusive' (remixed and remastered) BBC live
recordings are in a worse condition than the free footwear you can find
on Yeeshkul... Basically, for Floydian super-geeks, it is a mess. (Read
our review at: Supererog/Ation:
skimming The Early Years).
Their Mortal Remains
About the same can be said about the London-based Their Mortal Remains
exhibition. Now this is clearly a mass-event made to please the big
public. Visiting a rock-band exhibition is a bit like fucking for peace,
it's pleasant, no doubt about that, but in the end: what's the point,
other than saying: 'look at all these guitars'.
Critical fans describe the exhibition as 'lots of show, with little
substance' with posters and video clips and accessories that everyone
has seen before. One room has been created especially for Sennheiser
so they can promote their 379£ - 500$ - 425€ Pink Floyd headset. The
main goal of the exhibition is to get as many people as possible into
the shop that sells a lot of expensive goodies. Let's go to (a
At The Gates Of Dawn (A Fleeting Glimpse forum) for a precise
It gets worse and worse. What's wrong with the old gits? This V&A thing
has been appallingly organised with dodgy overpriced die cast vans you
can't buy, plush pigs with 'Pink Floyd Animals' printed on their arse in
case you're not a Floyd fan and thought it might be just a plush pig and
the Atom Heart Mother fridge magnet with Atom Heart Mother written on it
so the current 'management' knows where it belongs and don't
accidentally includes it as a Kate Bush item. (…) Now a book
die hards have been waiting 40+ years for, released in a manner which
can only be an insult to its author. Definitely an insult to the fans
but hopefully to Dave Gilmour too. Sneaked out exclusively so none of us
can read it.
In The Pink
That last paragraph is about a curiosity that suddenly showed up in the
V&A shop: Nick Sedgwick's long-promised 'In The Pink
(Not A Hunting Memoir)'. It was already rumoured in April 2016 that the
exhibition would eventually sell copies of that book, but it only showed
up there (and at the webshop) on the 20th of July 2017, some say in a
very limited quantity of 20 copies.
The story of that book is a pretty odd one, not an exception if you
realise we are currently roaming in Floyd-land.
Nick Sedgwick was a close friend of Roger Waters in their Cambridge days
and as such it was no surprise that he became part of the Cambridge
mafia, circling in and around the band. In 1974 Waters ask his golf
buddy to follow the band on tour and write a journal about it. That
diary turned into a personal testimony of life on the road and its
intrinsic problems. It (apparently) shows Roger Waters playing the alpha
male of the band, bossing the others around and trying to cope with a
When the book was finished none of the other members were keen on it and
it was shelved. Nick Sedgwick died in 2011 and Waters promised to
finally release it, but for the next 6 years nothing happened with the
manuscript (see: Immersion).
It was believed that David Gilmour was behind the boycott because Nick
Mason, after all these decades, couldn't be bothered any more.
Eventually Roger Waters promised in 2016 and once again this year that
the project was still on, but we all know how long it can take before he
fulfils his promises.
But this week it was confirmed by fans that they had purchased the book
at Their Mortal Remains. What is weird is that the book doesn't have an ISBN
number, which is needed to sell it on webshops like Amazon and in
regular bookshops. It does have the following mention though:
Design and layout copyright (c) Roger Waters Music Overseas Ltd 2017 Published
by Roger Waters Music Overseas Ltd 2017
Meanwhile it seems that the book can also be bought at Roger Waters'
concerts in the USA and V&A has allegedly received a new batch as well.
Many things can still be said about this important work, that was once
described by Pink Floyd biographer Mark
Blake as 'dynamite', but as long as the Church doesn't have a copy
we'll leave it like that. The problem is that it appears to be pretty
limited and that the only place to get it is at a Waters gig or at the
London exhibition (hint!).
Give us a sign if you have one too many! (another hint!)
Many thanks to: An@log, Azerty, Chris from Paris, Mob, Peter at the
Gates of Dawn, Pink Floyd 1977, TW113079. Pictures: Peter at the Gates
of Dawn. ♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥