Roger Waters

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2008-09-17

When the right one walks out of the door...

Rick Wright by Huug Schippers, 1974.
Rick Wright by Huug Schipper, 1974.

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 band Sigma 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).
Taken from: http://www.davidgilmour.com/

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:

Candles, Roger Waters
Taken from: http://www.roger-waters.com/
 

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 full text can be found at Late Night.

The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say...


Rick Wright portrait by Huug Schipper (1974) from the (unauthorisedl) The Pink Floyd Songbook, ca. 1978.
This entry has been previously published at Unfinished Projects.

2011-08-28

Immersion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nick Sedgwick's manuscript

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2011-10-07

Duggie Fields, much more than a room-mate

Duggie & Iggy (2011)
Duggie Fields & Iggy (2011).

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 his 'It's 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 Fleeting Glimpse.)

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.

Duggie Fields at Wetherby Mansions, ca. 1970.
Duggie Fields at Wetherby Mansions, ca. 1970.

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 really”.

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.

Solo en les Nubes
Solo en las nubes.

Duggie Fields, much more than a room-mate

Artistically, a Duggie Fields interview speaks for itself and needs no introduction.

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.

ARTSCAPE (juggler6) - Duggie Fields
ARTSCAPE (juggler6) - Duggie Fields.

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....

And...?

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.

Male Female - Duggie Fields
Male Female - Duggie Fields.

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 live.

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 agreeable book.

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 (www.duggiefields.com) 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.

Note: There is a Duggie Fields blog as well.

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 Wetherby Mansions.

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........

© 2010 Antonio Jesús, Solo en las Nubes. Pictures courtesy of Duggie Fields & Jenny Spires. Notes & Introduction : the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Translation mistakes, typos and all possible errors are entirely the responsibility of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

2011-11-12

Careful with that stash, Gini

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gini 1974
Pink Floyd 'Gini' Tour.

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

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

Gini promo girl
Gini promo girl.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad character.
More info: The Anchor.
Read our legal stuff: Legal Stuff.

2012-01-15

The Case of the Painted Floorboards (v 2.012)

Syd Barrett, Mick Rock
Syd Barrett tinbox, by Mick Rock.

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 truth.

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:

Did you understand the music Yoko?
Or was it all in vain?
(5.01 AM, The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking)

and,

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 To Death),

...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.

Venetta Fields & Carlena Williams, 1975 (courtesy of A Fleeting Glimpse).
Venetta Fields & Carlena Williams, 1975 (courtesy of A Fleeting Glimpse).

Remembering Games

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 Gilmour, Nick 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 Blackberries
John Leckie, EMI engineer and producer (but not on Wish You Were Here)
Nick Sedgwick, friend of Roger Waters and 'official' biographer of Pink Floyd
Jerry 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...

(For those interested there is a Syd Barrett visits the Wish You Were Here sessions bit at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit as well: Wish You Were... but where exactly?)

Iggy outtake (Mick Rock)
Iggy outtake by Mick Rock.

Amnesydelicate Matters

In his most recent, but probably not his last, picture book about Syd Barrett Mick 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 durability.

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 and Hipgnosis, perhaps even leading to an alternative Storm Thorgerson photo shoot (the so-called yoga pictures). But in the end it was decided to use the daffodils session from spring.

JenS convinced the Church that the Madcap photo shoot took place in the first quarter of the year 1969. Most is dispersed on several articles throughout the years but the following posts give a digest of what probably happened: When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2), Rock - Paper - Scissors, The Case of the Painted Floorboards.

In My Room (Mojo)
In My Room (Mojo).

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 wasn't there."

JenS (When 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 different friends."

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 to record..."

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 on Facebook.
Jenny Spires on Facebook.

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 pretty accurate.

JenS (Addenda and Errata with Gala and Gretta): "Gala was not there (early 1969, FA). She moved in later hooking up with Syd in May or June."

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.)

Still Life with stereo, tape recorder and pot of paint
Still Life with stereo, tape recorder and pot of paint.

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 and turquoise."

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 released."

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."

Mick Rock (Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs - The Mick Rock Photo-Sessions): "There had been no discussion about money at all. Later on I did get a very minor payment but it couldn't have been more than 50£ and I don't know if it came from Syd or EMI."

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."


MP3 link: Duggie Fields.

Jenny Fabian (Days In The Life):: "He'd painted every other floor board alternate colours red and green."

Iggy outtake (Mick Rock)
Iggy outtake by Mick Rock.

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, see above.)

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 on Facebook
Jenny Spires on Facebook.

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 shine through.

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 shots."

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.

You have been reading a sequel of The Case of the Painted Floorboards. Two new - previously unpublished - Mick Rock pictures have been added to the Bare Flat gallery.

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

2012-05-11

RIP Clive Welham: a biscuit tin with knives

Clive Welham
Clive Welham.

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

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

Perse pigs and County cunts (note)

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

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

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

Clive Welham (to Mark Blake):

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

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

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

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

The Ramblers
The Ramblers.

1962: The Ramblers

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

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

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

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

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

1963: The Four Posters

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

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

1964: Jokers Wild

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

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

1965: Walk Like A Man

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

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

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

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

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

Jokers Wild
Jokers Wild.

1965: the Decca tapes

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

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

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

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

1966: Bullit & The Flowers

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

2012: Nobody Knows Where You Are

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afterword (Updated: 2012 07 01)

Perse pigs etc...

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

Syd Barrett in Jokers Wild?

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

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

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

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

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

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

2012-08-01

Roger Waters sues IOC over pig!

Roger Waters sues IOC over pig
Warning: Mr. Roger Waters sometimes uses strong language in the underneath article.
Roger Waters (2012)
Roger Waters (2012).

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... Roger Waters.

“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 and sugar?”

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.”

IOC Pig
IOC flying pig.

“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 things...”

“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 YouTube. Here. 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:

This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by International Olympic Committee
This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by International Olympic Committee.
IOC pig
IOC flying pig.

“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 fucking clocks!”

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.

Olympic Pyramids
Olympic Pyramids.

“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 the Animals tour? Seems that he has being borrowing from my impressive portfolio as well.”

I opened my mouth, but before a first syllable could escape, Roger's phone rang.

“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.”

Animals cover (rejected)
Rejected Animals cover.

“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 pyramidal Dark 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 tonight.”

“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.

Articles:
Neptune Pink Floyd was the first website to publish a 23 seconds excerpt of the Olympics 2012 - James Bond - Battersea movie. In true Olympic spirit it was promptly deleted by YouTube on demand of the IOC.
Pink Floyd feature in London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony @ Brain Damage.

Videos:
Vimeo: Flying Pig above Battersea & clocks from Time at the Olympics (Bloco do Pink Floyd): Pink Floyd na abertura das Olimpíadas de Londres.
Vimeo: Eclipse (Dark Side Of The Moon) at the Olympics (Bloco do Pink Floyd): "Eclipse" (Pink Floyd) no acendimento da Pira Olímpica.
YouTube: Eclipse from within the stadium (2braindamage): pink floyd eclipse

The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad character.
More info: The Anchor.
Read our legal stuff: Legal Stuff.

2012-09-28

Iggy - a new look in festivals

National Jazz and Blues Festival, 1967
National Jazz and Blues Festival, 1967.

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, Bogotá, 2007)

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

genuine NJBF invitation, but with a fake name
Genuine NJBF invitation, but with a fake name.

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.

As such it was no surprise that The Pink Floyd had conquered the second best place on the line-up of Saturday 12 August, leaving the top of the bill to Paul Jones of Manfred Mann fame (who was booed off the stage), but beating Zoot Money, Arthur Brown, Amen Corner and 10 Years After in the race.

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 commented:

The Lovely Ones
The Lovely Ones.
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?].

Anyway 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.

He 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 ;)".

Music Maker
Music Maker, October 1967.

Musik Maker

Music 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.

Hippies completely 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 convention.

“But they are being conventional-they all dress the same”, one can almost hear the dullards whining.

Not true. 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.

Many 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.

There was 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.

Whereas the 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 vocal expression.

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 originals.

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.

They 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."

Iggy at Windsor, 1967
Iggy at Windsor, 1967.

A bigger version and a (partial) scan of the magazine can be found in our latest gallery: Music Maker Magazine.

Iggy at Windsor, 1967. Rough scan.
Iggy at Windsor, 1967. Rough scan.

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 the middle.

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 Pocahontas picture.

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.

Page crack.
Page crack.

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 we?

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 Lady.


Many thanks to: Dylan Mills, Brooke Steytler, PhiPhi Chavana, retro68special.
♥ Iggy ♥

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Arthur Brown - Windsor 1967 Interview, 7 and a half minute BBC report of the festival (mostly about Arthur Brown)
Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 30. The original transcript of the Radio Bogotá interview can be found at A Fleeting Glimpse.
Rose, Iggy: chat with Felix Atagong, 16 October 2011.
7th National Jazz & Blues Festival @ The Marquee Club
The Seventh National Jazz and Blues Festival @ UK Rock Festivals
The Lovely Ones picture (text on back), courtesy of Carl Guderian

Visit the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit Facebook page for discussions, comments and other pictures.

2013-04-19

RIP Storm Thorgerson: caught in a triangle...

Storm Thorgerson
Storm Thorgerson at the TML photo shoot. Picture: Mick Rock.

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?

Storm 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 session.’

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 project.

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 ages.

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.

Syd Barrett (vinyl compilation)
Syd Barrett (vinyl compilation).

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 others...


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.

2013-08-16

Men On The Border, Syd Swedish version

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

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

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

Roger Waters:

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

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

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

Solo en les Nubes

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

MOTB!
Men On The Border.

Men On The Border, Syd Swedish version

So who are these mystical Men On The Border?

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

How long have you been involved in music?

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

Why did you make the album Shine!?

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

Men on the Border
Men On The Border.

Can you describe the creative process of making Shine!?

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

Which are your favourite songs on Shine!?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Men on the Border
Men on the Border.

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

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

Links:

Kajsa-Tuva Henriksson

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

Jennifer D'Andrea

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

2014-03-07

Smart Enjoy

Andrew Rawlinson
Andrew Rawlinson.
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 for auction 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 for £12,600.

Black Holes

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 ask, http://www.syd-barrett-trust.org.uk 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.

Fart Enjoy, missing page
The Fart Enjoy missing page.

Piper Gates

Luckily Fart Enjoy was reprinted in its entirety for the 40th anniversary edition of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn CD-box (2007).

In its entirety?

Well not exactly. Page 13 was missing and replaced by the following cryptic text:

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 Pink Floyd contacted 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.

Fart Enjoy Pin-Up
Fart Enjoy Pin-Up.

Scribbled Lines

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 daubs.

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'.
Shirley Anne Field by David Bailey, Playboy March 1966.
Shirley Anne Field by David Bailey, Playboy March 1966.

Beat Girl

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 (1966).

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 decades.

Time Lord Syd
Time Lord Syd. Artwork: Felix Atagong.

Time Lord

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 Cambridge.

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.

Dear Roge, Fart Enjoy
"Dear Roge" letter, Fart Enjoy.

Rogue Roger

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 that year.

Playboy March 1966
Playboy March 1966.

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 Enjoy.

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 1966.

Bob Dylan in Playboy, March 1966
Bob Dylan in Playboy, March 1966.

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?

Easy.

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.)

Neptune Pink Floyd forum:
Piper Re-Release - The Missing Page from Fart Enjoy!, started August 31, 2007.
Syd Barrett "Fart Enjoy" work on eBay, started March 16, 2009.
Page missing from the "piper" deluxe edition, started April 13, 2010.

NSFW sources (Warning: porn banners and/or pop-ups!):
Playboy, Europe's New Sex Sirens, September 1963, p. 136.
Playboy, Trio Con Brio, Playboy, March 1966, p. 112-113.
Vintage Erotica Forum: Shirley Anne Field, May 2007 - December 2013.

2014-07-12

The loathful Mr. Loasby and other stories...

Pink Floyd manager threatens A Fleeting Glimpse webmaster.
The Endless River: fan-made impression
The Endless River: fan-made impression

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 the Division Bell Anniversary Edition is worth the bulldog's bollocks, even if it may contain a hidden Publius 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.

Europe Endless

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:

Btw Pink Floyd album out in October is called The Endless River. Based on 1994 sessions is Rick Wright’s swansong and very beautiful.
Btw Pink Floyd album out in October is called “The Endless River”. Based on 1994 sessions is Rick Wright’s swansong and very beautiful.

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.

Durga McBroom and David Gilmour
Durga McBroom and David Gilmour.

Singer Durga 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 Floyd album.

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 Polly Samson.

Schoolmaster Mode (The Wall)
Schoolmaster Mode (The Wall).

Recycling Facts

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, Us 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 some The 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 Turner's A Fleeting Glimpse.

Don't take a slice...
Don't take a slice... (Money).

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.

Breast Milky
Dutch Penthouse 4, 1995 (Alan Parsons Interview).

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, the Angst.

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, paid Clare 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.

Roy 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.

Where Kafka Rules (Te Wall).
Where Kafka rules (The Wall).

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 completely.

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 Endless River)

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?

The Endless River announcement on Why Pink Floyd?
The Endless River announcement on Why Pink Floyd?

Now here is where this article is going to get nasty, so if you are easily offended, please go and visit the Boohbah page instead.

David Gilmour and Paul Loasby
David Gilmour and Paul Loasby.

Slithered Nerves

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 of yourself.

David Gilmour and his dog
David Gilmour and his dog.

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 machine, indeed.

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 performance.

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)
Harvested logo
Harvested logo.

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.

Harvested, 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 Damage, NPF) 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.)

Acoustic 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.)

Note: Toe Rag is also character in Douglas Adams' novel The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. He is an untrustworthy goblin, secretary of the mighty god Thor, abusing the trust and power the Nordic god gave him. Back to article.

The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad character.
More info: The Anchor.
Read our legal stuff: Legal Stuff.

2014-10-24

Hurricane over London

Who is Who in Rock Music
Who is Who in Rock Music, William York.

Contents

Norman Smith: John Lennon Called Me Normal
Joe Beard: Taking The Purple
Pink Floyd: Jugband Blues

Introduction

One of the Reverend's great advantages of his Pink Floyd adoration, somewhere in the mid-seventies, was the start of a music collection. Barry 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 and Harvest - 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.

(The Reverend's heavily damaged record collection can be admired at the Record My Cat Destroyed Tumblr blog.)

Mr. Smith goes to London

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'....  

Norman Smith.
Norman Smith.

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 Martin.

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 before Pope Paul V and the Roman Inquisition.

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.

Most of the time Norman Smith is pretty down to Earth. When he finds out what Roger Waters says about the third single Apples And Oranges in Toby Manning's The Rough Guide To Pink Floyd:

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 UFO:

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?

But there, 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!!!
Norman Hurricane Smith
Norman 'Hurricane' Smith.

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 admires.

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.

Instant Salvation

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 face.

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...

The Purple Gang in satanic outfit
The 'satanic' Purple Gang.

Gangsters

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 traditional jug 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 McCartney.

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).

Boon Blues

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 as well:

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.

Unfortunately Nathan 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 since.

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 Love).

Jug Band Blues (1924)
Jug Band Blues, Sara Martin (1924).

Still got the Blues for You

Sara 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 called Jug Band Blues.

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: Jug 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' (1996, Document) 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.

Skiffle 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.

1

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
Through the looking glass
Detail from 'An Introduction to Syd Barrett'. Picture: Storm Thorgerson. Slightly amended by: Felix Atagong.

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 Donegan:

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.

2

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 while.

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.

3

and I'm grateful that you threw away my old shoes
and brought me here instead dressed in red
Louder Than Words
Louder Than Words. Artwork: Hipgnosis (2014).

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 American folkie:

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 Blues (1936):

Woke up this morning I looked 'round for my shoes
You know I had those mean old walking blues

Incidentally the Pink Floyd latest (and last?) song Louder Than Words, with its (horrible) lyrics written by Polly Samson, reflects the same:

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.

4

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.

5

I don't care if the sun don't shine
and I don't care if nothing is mine
and I don't care if I'm nervous with you
I'll do my loving in the winter
Patti Page single
I don't care if the sun don't shine, Patti Page (1950).

This apparently happy refrain is a pastiche on Patti Page's 1950 hit I don't care if the sun don't shine, directly paraphrasing two of its lines. Elvis Presley and Dean Martin also covered this song (and all three of them also did Blue Moon, by the way):

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.

6

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 1958 Windjammer 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 2014)

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.
Revolver-Piper mash-up?
Revolver - Piper cover mash-up. Artwork: Felix Atagong.

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 Aspinall, Pattie Boyd, Marianne Faithfull, Brian 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 the strophes.

7

and what exactly is a dream
and what exactly is a joke
Dreamcatcher, courtesy LoveThisPic
Dreamcatcher, courtesy LoveThisPic.

The 'Carrollesque quality of the closing couplet', to quote Rob Chapman again, is omnipresent. In Lewis Carroll's 'Through 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?

THE END


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 ♥ Libby ♥

The Purple Gang

Joe Beard, The Forgotten Flower Power Band From The London Underground, A Fleeting Glimpse.
The Purple Gang, The Purple Gang Strikes (1968), YouTube, including Bootleg Whisky, The Wizard & Granny Takes A Trip.
The Purple Gang, Boon Tune (2006), MySpace.

Jugband Blues

Sara Martin's Jug Band, Jug Band Blues (1924), YouTube.

I don't care if the sun don't shine

Patti Page (1950)
Elvis Presley (1954)
Dean Martin (1953)

Windjammer

The Sea is Green (1958) - movie version, YouTube
The Sea is Green (1958) - soundtrack version, Spotify

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, Lewis: Through the Looking Glass, Project Gutenberg.
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 191.
Dosanjh, Warren: The 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.

2015-02-22

Uschi Obermaier: Proletarian Chic

Uschi Obermaier? Not!
Not Uschi Obermaier.

Do a combined Syd Barrett Uschi 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 one.

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 right.

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 Lady.

John Davies

John Davies was one of those Cambridge hipsters who, between 1963 and 1965:

...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 Mildenhall.

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 clef Light 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

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 post Formentera 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.

Famous Groupies

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.

Mein Wildes Leben - Uschi Obermaier
Mein Wildes Leben, Uschi Obermaier.

Wild Thing

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.

Commune Love
Rainer Langhans & Uschi Obermaier, November 1969.

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 Seybold:

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 )

Picture taken at the day of the Munich Incident.
Rainer Langhans & Uschi Obermaier on the Munich Incident day.

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.)

Jeremy Spencer, at Fleetwood Mac community The Ledge, continues:

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 Munich accident.)

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)
Miss Kommune
Uschi Obermaier, "Miss Kommune".

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.)

Peter 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.

Uschi Obermaier on the road.
Uschi Obermaier & Dieter Bockhorn.

Reeperbahn Prince

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 life.

Das Wilde Leben (movie)
Das Wilde Leben (movie). Natalia Avelon as Uschi.

Biography

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 baptised Eight 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.

Uschi Obermaier.
Uschi Obermaier (1974) in a see-through dress, for comparison purposes only.

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 Lady.

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.

Videos:
Coffee Bar - YouTube - 8:19, a 1959 Look At Life documentary about the British 'coffee bar boom' in London.
The Munich LSD Party Incident - YouTube - 7:41 (interviews with Mick Fleetwood, Jeremy Spencer, John McVie, Dennis Keane, Peter Green, Clifford Davis).
Von wegen Liebe: Das schoenste Paar der APO - YouTube - 43:50, German documentary from Christa Ritter about Rainer Langhans, Uschi Obermaier and Kommune 1.
Jimi Hendrix with Uschi Obermaier in Berlin, January 1969 - YouTube - 0:35.

2015-12-05

Skeletons from the Kloset

Roger Waters.
Roger Waters.

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 release.

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, n'est-ce pas?

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.

1965: their first recordings
Pink Floyd 1965: their first recordings.

Buzz all night long

On Black 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 Harpo

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 Floyd 1965.)

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.

Nick Mason in Record Collector
Nick Mason in Record Collector, August 2013.

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 Gausden:

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 'Remember Me'.

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.

1965 (silly front sleeve)
Pink Floyd 1965 (silly anachronistic front sleeve).

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 Animals.

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.
Bob Klose by Syd Barrett
Bob Klose. Drawing: Syd Barrett.

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 go forward.
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 exciting.

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 shows.


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 ♥

Links and things:
Steve Hoffman Musical Corner: http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/pink-floyd-1965-double-7.481968/
A Fleeting Glimpse: http://s7.zetaboards.com/Pink_Floyd/topic/9263411/1/
Neptune Pink Floyd: http://www.neptunepinkfloyd.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=24366
Yeeshkul (second thread): http://yeeshkul.com/forum/showthread.php?36451-What-Official-1965-recordings-released

Pink Floyd 1965 at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit Tumblr page.

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.

2016-11-18

Supererog/Ation: skimming The Early Years

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

Anticip/Ation

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

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

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

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

Summaris/Ation

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

1965
1965.

Conceptualis/Ation

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

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

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

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

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

Pink Floyd Van
Pink Floyd Miniature Van.
1968
1968.

Miscre/Ation

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

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

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

Expurg/Ation

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

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

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

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

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

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

1969
1969.

Exacerb/Ation

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

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

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

Keep on smiling, people.

Tergivers/Ation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1970
1970.

Overvalu/Ation

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

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

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

Extenu/Ation

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

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

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

Inculp/Ation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1971
1971.

Finalis/Ation

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

Promulg/Ation

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

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

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

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

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

1972
1972.

Evalu/Ation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

2017-02-25

The Rhamadan – Committee Connection

A fantasy based on facts.
Inspired by a hypothesis from Simon Matthews.

Psychedelic Celluloid by Simon Matthews
Psychedelic Celluloid by Simon Matthews.

Psychedelic Celluloid

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 Early Years.

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 painter Michael Kidner.

Paul Jones and Tom Kempinski, The Committee.
Paul Jones and Tom Kempinski, The Committee.

Let's Split

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 again.

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. The Have 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.

Five man Floyd.
Five man Floyd.

The Committee

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 street.

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.

Simon Matthews:

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.

Paperwork

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.

Recording Sheet, Sound Technique Studios
Recording Sheet, Sound Technique Studios.

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 band.

Blackhill 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, see: Hurricane over London.)

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 studio again.

Mastertape

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!

Peter Jenner:

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 Committee, end credits.
The Committee, end credits.

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 Damage.)

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, Spare 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.

2017-06-04

Louder than Words

Is This The Life We Really Want?
Is This The Life We Really Want?

Perfect Sense

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).

The 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 puke-ugly covers.

The 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 song. Towers 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 Flame compilation.)

Radio KAOS
Radio KAOS.

Radio 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 Peaks episodes.

When you can’t sell new records, sell old ones, Waters must have thought and The 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.

Amused to Death.
Amused to Death.

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 at The 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 it's excellent.

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.

A certain president.
A certain president.

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 Cash's Solitary 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 with Eric 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.

Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking.
Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking.

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 tracks (Southampton Dock, Paranoid 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
The Final Cut.
The Final Cut.

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 ladies,
ants...

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...

A certain refugee.
A certain refugee.

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 the end.

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).

Songtitles.
Songtitles.

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 his life.

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 with:

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.

An essential album.


♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥

2017-07-29

In The Pink hunt is open!

In The Pink - back cover
In The Pink - back cover

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 vitriolic) Peter At The Gates Of Dawn (A Fleeting Glimpse forum) for a precise description:

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 - front cover
In The Pink - front cover

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 failing marriage.

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.

Page 14-15.
Page 14-15, with some handwritten lyrics by Roger Waters.

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 ♥

Sources:
A Fleeting Glimpse forum: In The Pink (Not A Hunting Memoir) - Nick Sedgwick RIP; In The Pink (Not A Hunting Memoir) Released
Yeeshkul forum: Nick Sedgwick "in the Pink"