This page contains all the articles that match the Storm Thorgerson-tag, chronologically sorted, from old to new.
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My only decision was to use a 35mm camera and upgraded colour
transparency, partly because of the low level light conditions and
partly for the grainy effect. (…) Friend and photographer Mick Rock,
later famous for his Bowie photos amongst many others also came on the
photo session, but I cant remember why. (p.204 of the 2003 edition, p.
234 in the 2007 edition although the index still assumes it is on p.
Dark Globe, member of the Late
Night discussion forum, had a quick chat with Storm in July:
There was the chance to see the cover of 'The Madcap Laughs' displayed
at a larger size on excellent quality paper. This famous photo was taken
by Storm himself for the cover of the album - and not by Mick Rock as
some assume. (…) I was lucky enough to talk to Storm himself and tell
him how much I admired his work. I also took the opportunity to ask him
about the 'Madcap' photo session and enquired whether we would ever see
any of his outtakes from that session appear in some form in the future.
Unfortunately this doesn't seem likely as he informed me that his photos
from that session were now lost.
Hipgnosis was probably commissioned by the record company (Harvest, EMI)
to make the record sleeve. Syd Barrett however had another idea and
asked his friend Mick
Rock, an aspiring would-be photographer, to organise the shooting
for the forthcoming album. The result was that the two photographers
were present on the same day.
A lot has been written about these sessions, not in the least by Mick
Rock who devoted two three books to the subject:
Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs - The Mick Rock Photo-Sessions (U.F.O.
Books, 1993), a book that was bundled with the album in a limited
edition. The introduction of this (sold out and deleted) book can be
found on various places on the net.
Update 2012: the Geocities link to this page seems to be dead,
but luckily there is an archived version: Syd
Barrett - The Madcap Laughs - The Mick Rock Photo-Sessions.
Psychedelic Renegades - Photographs of Syd Barrett by Mick Rock. Genesis
Publications published the first limited edition in 2002 with 320
copies autographed by Roger Barrett & Mick Rock and 630 copies signed
by Mick Rock alone (sold out). In 2005, before Barrett passed away,
the Deluxe copies already had a collector’s value of 2400 £. In 2007
the book was finally published in a regular version, by Plexus
(London) and Gingko
and (Update January 2012)
Syd Barrett - The Photography Of Mick Rock. Tin box, including 128
pages high print quality [Mick Rock's words, not ours, FA]
booklet and exclusive 7 inch single 'Octopus' b/w 'Golden Hair'. The
rather exaggerated blurb continues: "The booklet features a full
introduction, new insights and captions by Mick and quotes from Syd."
(EMI Records Ltd & Palazzo Editions Ltd, Bath, 2010).
Mick Rock remembers the day as follows:
The actual session turned out to be a collaboration really because Storm
also took some pictures. I remember Storm asking me whether to credit
the image, ‘Hipgnosis and Mick Rock’ and I said, ‘No just credit it
Psychedelic Renegades however does not include the sleeve pictures of
The Madcap Laughs so in the end it was probably Storm who decided to use
only his own material (according to Mick Rock one photo would later
surface – uncredited - on Barrett’s second album). Because both sessions
were made on the same day the pictures are obviously very similar (some
Mick Rock pictures were also used on the Syd Barrett compilation album).
Update August 2017: In the 2017 documentary Shot! Mick Rock hints
that he was behind the cover shot anyway, indirectly implying that it
was not Storm Thorgerson's picture to begin with. For years there have
been rumours in anoraky Floydian circles that Thorgerson and Rock sued
(or threatened to sue) each other for the ownership of these pictures.
Perhaps a deal was made - a bit like the one between Roger Waters and
Pink Floyd over The Wall - that The Madcap Laughs front and back sleeve
pictures officially belong to Hipgnosis (Storm Thorgerson) but the
outtakes to Mick Rock. Syd Barrett related excerpt from Shot!: The
Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock.
It is far from a coincidence that this blog started more or less when
The City Wakes project was announced. The City Wakes is an official Syd
Barrett tribute, held in the city of Cambridge, and it has been
officially opened past week. But the history of the instalment of the
Church will be told on an other day, promised.
Supported by Syd’s family and friends, The City Wakes is the first ever
official tribute to Syd Barrett – original front-man and songwriter for
Pink Floyd. A celebration of Syd’s creativity, The City Wakes focuses on
Syd’s early life in Cambridge, providing a showcase for his remarkable
talent and painting a picture of the explosive and vibrant early 1960s
cultural scene in which he grew up.
Involving many of Syd’s former friends – not least Storm Thorgerson and
Mick Rock - The City Wakes includes concert performances, exhibitions,
guided tours, music workshops, a 1960s style ‘happening’, talks and a
new book of interviews and memorabilia.
The City Wakes has been developed by Escape Artists, a UK arts and
mental health charity and professional production house. Working with
clients in both institutional and non-institutional settings, it aims to
improve quality of life, health and social welfare, by recognising the
vital importance of creativity to an individual’s well being. Funds
generated through The City Wakes project will be used to support the
charity's work in the mental health sector. Escape Artists has been
working in the mental health sector in Cambridge since 1999. (Taken from
The City Wakes - deleted)
One of the exhibitions taking place is called The Other Room, it is held
in the Ruskin Gallery at Anglia Ruskin University, and is open from
24th October to 2nd November 2008.
At the Ruskin
Gallery visitors can see over fifty of Syd's paintings,
the majority of which have never before been seen in public. Also on
display are rare archival-quality prints from Syd's photo-biographer
Mick Rock and original pieces from Pink Floyd's legendary designer Storm
Thorgerson. The exhibition features rare Syd-related memorabilia,
including diaries and correspondence. (Taken from Anglia
Ruskin University - link no longer available)
But of course the Church is far more intrigued by the pictures from the
personal collection of Anthony Stern that are exposed as well: Pink
Floyd performing at UFO (1967-ish) and his Iggy pictures.
The Other Room: Syd Barrett's Art and Life Date: 24
October - 2 November 2008 Time: 10am - 9pm Monday to Friday, 10am -
5pm Saturday and Sunday (link has been deleted).
The Other Room: Syd Barrett's Art And Life was a Cambridge exhibition
that ended a couple of days ago. More details about it could be found in
a previous post: Pictures
at an exhibition.
A lucky wind (thanks SgB!) brought me a copy from the catalogue, an 18
pages booklet. The following can be found inside:
Page 2 & 3: introductions by Stephen Pyle and Anji Jackson-Main,
curators of the exhibition.
Pages 3 to 9 are dedicated to the paintings of Syd Barrett. This is far
the most interesting part of the catalogue as many unseen works of Syd
Barrett are represented here, albeit in a rather small thumbnail format.
I’m pretty sure those pictures will find their way to the specialised
Syd Barrett websites and blogs so I’m not going to put them here.
Pages 10 to 12: photographs by Mick Rock. This reminds me that the
Church still hasn’t dedicated some of its holy space to Mick Rock’s
excellent Psychedelic Renegades book. This will be done during the long
winter days when a lonely hungry wolf howls at the suburbs of Atagong
Page 11: some family snapshots taken by Syd's relatives. I don’t want to
sound too snotty, but I’ve seen these before.
Pages 14 & 15: artwork by Storm Thorgerson (Syd Barrett album cover,
Barrett album cover, The City Wakes green doors poster.)
page 17: colofon.
But The Church is of course most interested in pages 12 and 13 that
contain some pictures from the collection of Anthony Stern (see also: Anthony
Antony Stern’s Iggy pictures can be seen on The City Wakes website, a
link to that particular gallery can be found at the Galleries section of
their blog. And if you have a quick peek you might find something
more... (Update: The City Wakes website no longer exists.)
I want to thank all the members of the Late
Night forum, who visited The City Wakes, for their impressions,
their pictures, their testimonies and the goodies they have been
distributing amongst the other members who couldn’t attend the festival.
On 30 June 1990 Pink Floyd played a short – albeit not very sharp - set
at the Knebworth
Festival. It has to be said that it was not the band’s sole
responsibility that the gig was, how shall we call it, mediocre by
Floydian standards. On this disastrous occasion, and this occasion
alone, a 20 minutes promo film was shown at the beginning of the show,
with a short appearance of none other than Iggy the Eskimo, somewhere
between the 4 and 5 minutes mark.
The movie consisted of a retrospective of the Floyd’s history and
included (parts of) several early songs (together with the predecessor
of the promo clip): Arnold Layne, See Emily Play, Point Me At The Sky,
It Would Be So Nice and others… Since it started with the first single,
the movie had to end with the last one as well. Storm Thorgerson's
visual rendition of the coke-euphoric-bring-on-the-digital-sound-effects Learning
to Fly from the welcome to the drum machine album A
Momentary Lapse of Reason ended the documentary.
In between the vintage scenes, Langley Iddens, who was then caretaker of
David Gilmour’s houseboat studio, sits at a table contemplating the
Langley Iddens (see top-left picture of this post) was a prominent face
on the Momentary Lapse of Reason campaign. He is the man on the cover of
the album but also acted in several promo and concert videos. He can be
seen as a boat rower (Signs of Life), in flight gear (Learning
To Fly) and in a hospital bed (On The Run). As Storm
Thorgerson directed these backdrop movies it is logical to assume that
also the Knebworth pre-show documentary was made by him.
There are however rumours that Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason was
involved in the movie as well. Besides several promo clips of the
Sixties the movie also shows pictures, newspaper articles, posters and
flyers from the Floyd’s psychedelic past. It is a well-known fact that
Mason has always been the archivist of the band, culminating in his
personal account of the history of the band, Inside
Out. That book, however, doesn’t reveal anything about Mason’s
involvement on the Knebworth movie.
A short snippet of the Knebworth teaser, showing a happy Syd Barrett
frolicking in a park with Iggy, made a collector’s career under the name Lost
In The Woods or Syd Barrett Home Movie. This excerpt can be
found several times on YouTube. Those cuts, however, are in a different
order than on the original Knebworth feature. The Church has restored
the initial flow and presents you hereafter two different versions of
the so-called Lost In The Woods video.
It's a complete, stereo, recording from the original pay-per-view
broadcast of Pink Floyd's appearance at the Knebworth '90 festival. The
concert featured seven songs. Only five of these were broadcast. Two of
the five were included on the official LD, VHS, and DVD releases. The
other three songs haven't been seen since the original broadcast.
According to its maker, the pre-concert-documentary comes from a
collector in England who had a first of second gen copy of the tape.
White Label [VHS]
Because the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit firmly believes in abundance,
we have added a second version of the same movie, coming from a
different source. The uploaded copy has been taken from a coverless VHS
tape labelled Pink Floyd film, found at an open air market stall
in London, and donated to the Church, in order to repent for his many
sins, by Dark Globe.
Dark Globe took it upon him to further analyse the clip, it is obvious
that it consists of different movies from different people at different
places, and he even went so far as harassing, although the Church
prefers the word investigating, some of the people who act in it. But
the results of that enquiry will be highlighted in the next post in a
couple of weeks.
Enjoy and don’t do anything that Iggy wouldn’t have done.
The so-called Lost
in the Woods movie, that was part of the Knebworth pre show
documentary, is a mix coming from different people, at different places,
on different occasions. The Church quotes archbishop Dark Globe, who has
scrutinized the movie before:
There's footage of Syd larking around in a garden with friends in 67,
the 'lilac shirt' footage of Syd (late 67/68?) in which Lyndsay Corner
also appears, and the blue suit/yellow ruffled shirt footage of Syd in
the woods with two girls (Iggy and a mystery brunette) from 69.
The home movie footage is multilayered and you can catch glimpses of
different footage superimposed on top of the main footage.
During the bit of Syd in the woods with Iggy, there's some footage of
Syd with an acoustic guitar (at least that's what I can see). The
flashbacks movie only shows tantalising glimpses of the Syd home movie
footage. (taken from Late
The home movie snippets are used twice in the Knebworth documentary.
The documentary starts with Pink (Langley Iddens) pouring a glass of
wine. For the next 39 seconds several vintage clips, taking no longer
than a couple of frames, will be intercepted with shots from the actor.
The first home movie scenes have already ended when the documentary is
just one minute old. The main bunch seems to be filmed at a garden party.
The second home movie scenes arrive about 10 minutes later and will go
on for 42 seconds. The main footage has Syd walking in a park with Iggy
and a mysterious brunette, Syd and Iggy climbing trees, the two woman
running hand in hand, Syd acting funny with a stick in his hand… The
park footage is intercepted a few times by other home movies from other
Part 1: Garden fun – blowing bubbles
Several garden shots have been used in this compilation. There is a
scene with a girl on a swing, people blowing soap bubbles and generally
having fun, Syd eating a - very hard to spot - banana…
The Church tried to identify the people in the movie with the help of
the worldwide web, posting screenshots at several anorak fora, and Dark
Globe took it upon him to show these pictures to David Gale and Matthew
Scurfield after a reading at the City Wakes festival this year.
Hester Page. It could be that screenshots 1 and 2 depict the
same person. She remained unidentified until Dark Globe showed the
pics to David Gale who recognised picture 2 as ‘Hester’. Barrett fan
julianindica could narrow this down to Hester Page. Hester Page gets
mentioned in the Syd Barrett biography by Julian Palacios, aptly
called Lost In The Woods, as part of the 101 Cromwell Rd incrowd.
That two-storey flat in Kensington was the place for many
Cantabrigians to sleep, meet and greet. Syd Barrett and Lindsay
Corner lived there for a while and Pink Floyd used the place to
rehearse (much to the annoyance of painter Duggie Fields). It was
also somewhat of an LSD epicentre and a ‘critical nexus for
Underground activities of every shade and stripe’.
David Gale. This man is David Gale. To quote his own words at
the City Wakes – it’s the hooter that gives me
away. Gale was a schoolmate of David Gilmour and a friend of Syd. In
1965 David’s parents went to Australia for a 6-month period leaving
the house and its garden in the safe hands of their son. It didn’t
take long before the Cambridge jeunesse would meet there and there
is a chance that the first part of the Syd Barrett Home Movie has
indeed been shot in the garden of David Gale’s parents. Nigel
Lesmoir-Gordon and Storm Thorgerson had film cameras so one of them
may have shot the footage (NLG made the iniquitous Syd’s First Trip
movie where David Gale can be seen). It was also at David Gale’s
place that Syd Barrett had a cosmically encounter wit a plum, an
orange and a matchbox, as witnessed by Storm Thorgerson who would
later use this for a record sleeve and for a concert movie.
Lyndsay Corner. David Gale and Matthew Scurfield identify the
girl on a swing as Lyndsay Corner.
Part 2: the Lost In The Woods footage
Mick Rock. When Syd and Iggy are walking in the woods a face
is superimposed. It is Mick Rock who has (probably) shot the movie.
Iggy is wearing the same necklace as on the Madcap Laughs photo
sessions and (perhaps) the same clothes. Syd however has another
shirt than in the Psychedelic Renegades book. The Lost In The Woods
scenes have been edited on the Knebworth documentary and carry parts
from at least 3 other home movies.
Unknown. Syd and another man walking & talking in a garden
in front of a house. Identity Unknown.
Unknown. Syd and a girl blowing bubbles in a park. Identity
Lyndsay Corner. Close-up of Lyndsay Corner (in a park).
Mysterious brunette. 3 people can be identified on the Lost
In The Woods movie: Syd, Iggy and Mick Rock. In several shots with
Iggy and Syd we see a second woman, the mysterious brunette, whose
identity we don’t know yet.
Update: on second thought, she could be Hester Page (see
first picture above), although it is a wild guess. JenS,
however concludes that the girl is not Hester Page. Gretta Barclay
does not recognise her either: "I do not recognise the brunette –
the name Jennie Gordon came to mind, but in truth, I simply have
no idea of who she is."
Pop-art painter Duggie Fields, who still lives in the same apartment,
and Mick Rock have testified that Iggy only stayed at Syd’s place for a
couple of weeks. When Mick Rock showed Syd the pictures of the photo
sessions for the cover of The Madcap Laughs she was already long gone….
According to Duggie Fields, a homeless and drug-addicted couple, Greta
and Rusty, took the vacant place, much to the aggravation of the painter
who had to bring Greta to the hospital after an overdose.
Neither Mick Rock nor Storm Thorgerson give the exact date when The
Madcap Laughs photo shoot was made: the closest thing they can come up
with is Autumn 1969. Syd Barrett and David Gilmour met at the studio on
the 6th of October to sort out the running order of the album. Other
studio work, that didn’t need Syd’s presence, was done the same month:
banding the LP master (9 October) and cutting the LP (16 October). After
hearing the master Malcolm Jones ordered a recut early in November. The
record was officially released on the second of January 1970.
Malcolm Jones recounts:
One day in October or November I had cause to drop in at Syd's flat on
my way home to leave him a tape of the album, and what I saw gave me
quite a start. In anticipation of the photographic session for the
sleeve, Syd had painted the bare floorboards of his room orange and
purple. Up until then the floor was bare, with Syd's few possessions
mostly on the floor; hi-fi, guitar, cushions, books and paintings. In
fact the room was much as appears on the original 'Madcap' sleeve. Syd
was well pleased with his days work and I must say it made a fine
setting for the session due to take place.
Based on this information most anoraks radiocarbon the photo shoot date
in the second half of October, although November is also a possibility.
The Lost In The Woods home move with Syd, Mick, Iggy and the mysterious
brunette should thus be pinpointed to that period (this was written
in December 2008).
Update: But... as the Holy Church would find out the next year
(January 2009) the above photo shoot date appears to be wrong. It is
pretty sure that Iggy left Syd in April 1969. Further analysis of the
Madcap pictures show that several details point to spring 1969, rather
than autumn. For a complete report please consult: Anoraks
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 141. Jones,
Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain
Damage, 2003, p. 13. Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods,
Boxtree, London, 1998, p. 241. Parker, David: Random Precision,
Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 154-158.
Hello, I would like to try and clarify a couple of things about Ig. She
was a girlfriend of mine.
In January or early February 1969, a mutual friend introduced Iggy to
Syd Barrett, the rock star who had left Pink Floyd. To celebrate the
fortieth birthday of this event The Holy Church of Inuit brings you an
exclusive rendition of what happened, as told by JenS, who knew Barrett
in his Cambridge and London days.
In the first part of this article When
Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1), JenS recollected how she met Iggy and how she
introduced the girl to Syd. In the second part she reconstructs the
photo shoot from The Madcap Laughs, Barrett’s first solo album.
1. It is generally believed that The Madcap Laughs photo
sessions, by Storm Thorgerson and Mick Rock, took place in the autumn of
1969, a couple of weeks after the album was cut and a short time before
it hit the shelves of the record stores (see Stormy
2. It is generally believed that Iggy has only been living in
Syd’s apartment for two or three weeks maximum, during which the famous
photo sessions took place, before disappearing completely from the scene.
In our previous article JenS situates this in February or March 1969.
The problem is that there is at least a six months gap between both
dates. JenS however has some strong points favouring her theory.
Daffodils and Pontiacs
Storm Thorgerson probably shot the cover of The Madcap Laughs early in
the year because, according to JenS:
If you look at the vase of flowers next to Syd, they are daffodils. We
get those in March.
Although a valid argument it is not really tight-fitting, but JenS
The car shots (in Mick Rock’s book Psychedelic Renegades, FA)
show there are no leaves on the trees. If this were London, October
or November, there would be leaves on the ground.
Mick Rock’s photo book has got quite a lot of pictures with Syd (and
Iggy) leaning against a neglected Pontiac,
property of Syd.
The car was there at New Year, (Syd didn’t drive it) and it was there
when I left in March, with a borough sticker on it, the remains of which
show on the windscreen in the photo. If Storm and Mick are saying
October or November, was the car there all that time? I don’t know who
would know that.
The previous comment may be completely understandable for Syd Barrett
anoraks, but needs some extra explanation for the casual visitor of the
Church who doesn’t know the fabulous story of Syd’s car.
Tic tac Pontiac
Painter Duggie Fields recalls:
The car too has it’s own mythology. Later on I identified it as the car
used in the film of Joe
Orton’s Loot (not exact, FA), but I first saw it at
Alice Pollock and Ossie Clark’s New Year’s Eve party at the Albert Hall
a memorable event itself where both Amanda Lear and Yes (separately)
took to the stage for the first time. (Taken from: Duggie
Clark, once described as an ‘enigmatic,
bisexual gadabout’, textile designer (and wife) Celia
Birtwell and Alice Pollock had a boutique called Quorum.
It was a haute couture heaven for the Swinging Elite, dressing people
like Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Patti Boyd, Marian Faithfull, Jimi Hendrix,
the Jaggers and The Pink Floyd. His clothes were a reflection of the
past but with the advantages of the new (one of his creations had
discreet pockets ‘to put joints in’). In 1965 Clark was the pioneer of
the flower power look and two years later nearly all of the 2000
boutiques in London would be copying his style. Clark’s haute couture
empire crashed in the seventies; in 1996 he was murdered by his partner.
Mickey Finn, from T. Rex fame, won the Pontiac
Parisienne at the Royal Albert Hall raffle (New Year 1969). He took
possession of it but became paranoid at the unwanted attention it
attracted to himself and his fellow passengers. One day he met Syd and
they simply swapped cars (Syd had a mini).
But Syd never drove it, so it stayed parked outside the house for a
couple of months. A wheel soon went missing and the car accumulated
dust, parking tickets and legal notices. In Mick Rock’s photo book one
can see that a neighbour wrote a plea in the dust of the trunk to have
the car removed. Syd's solution was simple as bonjour: he gave
the car away to a stranger. It was seen being driven around South
Kensington soon after.
A couple of months after Syd (and before him, Mickey Finn) got the car
it was used in the 1970 British movie Entertaining
Mr Sloane (not Loot).
The car, with its cream red and silver interior, is featured prominently
throughout the movie. The flick is not great but the pink Pontiac gives
a shiny performance. Update
December 2009: the above paragraph has been corrected as Syd gave the
car away before the movie was made and not, as is generally
believed, the other way round. For more details: please check Anoraks
This leaves us with another enigma. The car in the movie is pink, but
was midnight blue when Mick Rock photographed Syd with it. Although Mick
Rock seems to remember: "Syd’s car was a conspicuously bright pink
Pontiac Parisienne convertible" several colour pictures, probably taken
by Storm Thorgerson on the same day, testify against this. JenS adds:
Syd's Pontiac was blue, midnight blue as you say. I have no idea if it
was pink before that. I've only heard it was Mickey's and pink from
things I've read. I cannot imagine Syd having it resprayed or painting
It remains a mystery when and why the kameleon car changed its colours
(twice), but if one looks very close at the picture above, there appears
to be a trace of 'brownish' paint under the right front light. Could
this have been its original colour?
Mick Rock has taken a picture of Syd sitting on the hood of his car. A
police label can be seen glued to the windshield. JenS:
Look at the date of the police sticker on Syd’s car. It seems to be
April 1969. It occurred to me that the little twigs on the ground would
come with the March winds, as this was the time of clear-cut seasons.
They are very distinctive.
Unfortunately not all can be read, part of the sticker disappears in the
inner fold of the book and the smaller letters dissolve with the
background. The following is easily distinguishable:
DANGER KEEP OFF (unreadable) THIS IS DANGEROUS
LITTER AND WILL BE REMOVED & DISPOSED OF SEVEN DAYS HENCE
Dated the ___ day of ___ 196_ Registration
No. (if any) ___ F.H. CLINCH, BOROUGH
(unreadable) AND SURVEYOR
F.H. Clinch was appointed in 1964 to the post of Borough Engineer and
Surveyor to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, an appointment
he took up on April the first, 1965. The date on the document is more
difficult to decipher, but after some tweaking it appears to be the 14th
of April 196(9). If the British police was as effective in
1969 as it is now it definitely pins The Madcap Laughs photo shoot date
between the 14th and 21st of April 1969 and not autumn as has
been said before. So the warning more than probably reads as follows:
Dated the 14th day of April
196 Registration No. (if any) VYP74 F.H.
CLINCH, BOROUGH ENGINEER AND SURVEYOR
The legend goes that Syd Barrett gave the car way to an admirer who
happened to like it. It is improbable to assume that the wreck stayed on
the street for six months without any police intervention.
Next week will have the final instalment of our series of JenS's memoirs.
Sources (other than internet links mentioned above) Blake,
Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 141. Green,
Jonathon: All Dressed Up, Pimlico, London, 1999, p. 79-80. Jones,
Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p.
13. Levy, Shawn: Ready Steady Go!, Broadway Books, New York,
2003, p. 112, p.193-195. London Borough Appointments, Official
Architecture and Planning, Vol. 27, No. 9 (September 1964), pp. 1074. Rock,
Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 23, p. 58.
The Church wishes to thank: Dark Globe, Sean Beaver (who watched Loot
just to make sure if the Pontiac figured in it or not), Bea Day, Rich
Hall, Julianindica and all the others who contributed to the discussion
at Late Night: The
tale of Syd's car - the movie star... JenS for her invaluable
testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969.
Ig's close encounters of the photographical kind were not limited to the
Anthony Stern triptych
series alone. She can be found as well on the cover of the Syd Barrett
Madcap Laughs, still available in any qualitative cd-shop what means
that it is a hell of a job to actually find it. But on top of her
picture you get some decent music as well what is a rather nice bargain.
Thorgerson from the arty farty collective Hipgnosis
claims he shot the cover, although Mick Rock more or less hinted the
same. Both photographers were present at the same place on the same day
for the same purpose. Rock writes that he was asked by Syd Barrett to do
the shoot and that Storm agreed to take him on in the team.
Syd asked me to take the pictures. We had talked about the shoot for a
while, and the day before it happened I told Storm from Hipgnosis, so he
came along because they were putting the package together.
Thorgerson probably was despatched by Harvest
director and Barrett producer ad interim Malcolm Jones and has
stated that another photographer was present as well but that he didn't
know what the fuck he was doing there, although in a slightly more
Friend and photographer Mick Rock, later famous for his Bowie photos
amongst many others, also came on this photo session, but I can’t
remember why. I think it was to help me, which seems ironic given his
subsequent lensmanship and success in the rock business.
It surely was one of Rock’s pics that was put - uncredited - on the back
sleeve of the Barrett
(his second solo) album. For the third release, a repackaging of the two
previous ones, aptly called Syd
Barrett, some other shots from that day in April
1969 were used, but it is not certain if these came from Rock's
second-hand Pentax 35mm camera, bought from that other Hipgnosis team
‘Po’ Powell, or from Storm Thorgerson who also claims he
used a 35mm for the job. (Although his favourite camera at that time was
a Hasselblad 500 c, as used for the Floyd’s Ummagumma cover a couple of
There will always be an enigma surrounding the cover shoot of The Madcap
Laughs. The 1978 book Walk Away René (The Work of Hipgnosis) contains a
detailed description of every picture in the book, except for… The
Madcap Laughs. Unfortunately Storm’s negatives have been lost,
so there will never be a Psychedelic Renegades from his hand.
Psychedelic Renegades, and then we finally get to the subject of
this blog entry, is the photo book Mick Rock made in 2002. The first
edition, by Genesis,
had 320 copies autographed by R.K. Barrett that are worth a small
fortune nowadays. In 2007 a regular edition was published by Plexus
Books (European edition) and Gingko
(for the USA).
There is a possibility that the Mick Rock photo shoot took more than one
day. The pictures in his apartment were taken, together with Storm
Thorgerson. The outside pictures date (perhaps) from the next day.
Nobody can be really sure and Rock isn’t the most reliable witness to
say the least. On page 18 he writes:
We shot The Madcap Laughs in the autumn of 1969 and I don’t think that
Syd and Duggie Fields had been living in the flat that long.
The above is a contradiction as Syd moved in the apartment end 1968,
furthermore the research of JenS,
who was a friend of Syd and Ig, shows that the pictures were probably
taken in April of 1969. Rock also states that:
Syd’s car was a conspicuously bright pink Pontiac Parisienne convertible.
However the few colour pictures of the car show it was (midnight) blue.
But the Church will no longer go further in this matter, if you want you
can read all about in some previous posts, for instance When
Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 2).
About 20 pictures of the book show us a glimpse of Ig, who is described
by Rock as follows…
Known only as Iggy, the half-Eskimo girl had momentarily made her way
into Syd’s life, and flat, at the time when these photos were taken.
Though not part of the original shoot plan, Iggy was an intriguing
accomplice. With no job and little to call her own, Iggy epitomised the
free natured spirit of the psychedelic underground.
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is very proud to announce you 3 new
Iggy galleries: Street
Life, black & white pictures of Iggy in front of the house and
Flat, colour pictures of Iggy, walking around in the nude and
posing on the background in Syd's apartment. Rock
Bottom, black & white nude study of Ig.
To all our sistren and brethren, hail! Might you wonder if
the Church is dead the answer is clear and simple: no! The Church is
contemplating its path and went into an early hibernation to, as the
French say, reculer pour mieux sauter.
One of the main occupations of any holy man is to study the scriptures
and that is what we have been doing so far. The next post is very
academic and thus, by definition, boring, although it starts rather
Last week a professional rock memorabilia seller put some pictures for
sale that he described as:
SYD BARRETT FOUNDING MEMBER OF PINK FLOYD
4 X ORIGINAL MICK ROCK PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AND PRINTED IN 1974 SHOWING SYD
IN HIS FLAT WITH PAINTED BOARDS, EARLY MICK ROCK PHOTOS ARE NEAR
IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND AND NOW HE PRINTS PHOTOS AT 1000 POUNDS PER PHOTO. THESE
ARE ORIGINAL 6 X 4 INCHES PRINTED BEFORE MICK ROCK BECAME FAMOUS, LONG
AFTER SYD WHO WAS ALREADY FAMOUS.
The 4 prints show Syd Barrett in his apartment and date from The Madcap
Laughs photo sessions where both Mick Rock and Storm Thorgerson showed
The Church has created some controversy concerning the date of the photo
shoot. It has been published in most biographies that the pictures were
taken in the autumn
of 1969, but JenS,
who was a Cantabrigian friend of Syd Barrett and knew Ig as well,
pointed out that the pictures were probably taken in spring. The Church
further narrowed the date of the photo shoot to the week between
the 14th and the 21st of April 1969, and certainly not
1974 as the seller wrote.
The account of the photo shoot also differs from the point of view of
who is telling the story. Storm Thorgerson claims that he shot the
sleeve of The Madcap Laughs, but - in the past - Mick Rock hinted that
he was behind it all.
An unconfirmed story goes that Mick Rock was taking pictures on behalf
of Hipgnosis and gave (some of) his film rolls to Storm Thorgerson who
developed and used some of the pictures for The Madcap Laughs record
It takes a rascal to recognise another one. Mick Rock kept some
negatives in his back pocket and forgot these until he could show
off with his own little private project called Psychedelic Renegades.
(In retrospect this wasn’t a bad thing as Storm Thorgerson has
all the negatives he had in his possession.)
When, a couple of years ago, probably at The
Other Room exhibition, a fan asked Mick Rock to autograph the sleeve
picture of The Madcap Laughs he mysteriously grinned and said something
like ‘I can’t sign pictures that weren’t taken by me, can I?’ and it
still isn’t sure if his comment was ironic or not.
The Church looks at its flock in awe and admiration, which is in shrill
contrast with those other religions that take their believers for total
nincompoops, and the Reverend will let you decide for yourself after
only a tiny amount of brainwashing.
On the Madcap Laughs shooting day several photo series were made. The
series of Mick Rock may have taken two consecutive days instead of one,
but nobody, not even Rock himself, remembers it very well.
THE MICK ROCK COLLECTION
Outside pictures (B&W)
¤ Syd on and around his car, sometimes with Iggy. ¤ Syd & Iggy
on the pavement. ¤ Syd with guitar case and guitar.
These black and white pictures show Syd and Iggy in front of the house.
Syd is sitting on, standing next, leaning against the car, claimed by
Mick Rock to be a pink Pontiac, while it was naturalmente blue.
On some pictures Syd wears a necklace, on others apparently not. Some
cut-outs of these pictures can be found in our Street
Inside pictures (colour)
¤ Syd with (naked) Iggy.
Syd wears a brown jacket, a yellow shirt, and reddish trousers. These
are about the same clothes as on the outside session (the shirt may be
different). Some cut-outs of these pictures can be found in our gallery: Bare
¤ Syd without Iggy.
Syd with blue tie-dyed t-shirt, red trousers, necklace and daffodils. No
shoes. Other pictures have him sitting on the mattress, drinking coffee.
¤ Syd kneeling shirtless on the floor. ¤ Syd and his record
Barrett is shirtless, wears his red trousers, has the necklace (at least
in one picture). Should you care to know, the record player in his room
is a Garrard
SP25 MK2 (thanks mrlimbo!) and the record on the player is from the
soul label Direction, a subsidiary of CBS (thanks infantair!).
(Information grabbed from Late
A few of these pictures appear on the inner sleeve of the double album
Syd Barrett, but none have been directly credited to Mick Rock (the
credits go to Blackhill, Lupus, SKR and Hipgnosis).
Update 27 December 2012: It took some time but Göran Nyström
On The Border) and Giulio Bonfissuto have found enough evidence to
conclude that the record on Syd's turntable is Taj Mahal's The
Natch'l Blues. They did this by comparing the tracks that are
visible on Mick Rock's pictures with the track listing of the record: "4
rather equally short tracks first and then one that is longer. This
should be the album". (Source: Göran Nyström at Laughing
Madcaps [dead link]. Other source at Late Night forum: Syds
Inside pictures (B&W)
¤ Syd with record player and trimphone. ¤ Syd sitting on
Syd is wearing a tie or a scarf, a tie-dyed t-shirt and a different pair
of trousers (dark with rows of lighter spots). A newspaper and a trimphone
are lying next to the mattress. The record player has got a different
record (the one with the Direction label is lying (unprotected)
underneath another one). There is no sign of Iggy in this series.
¤ Iggy nude study.
The (in)famous series of Ig. No sign of Syd here. This series can be
found in our gallery: Rock
in the Woods home movie, probably made by Mick Rock, has Syd walking
around in a yellow shirt and blue jacket and trousers. For completists:
the yellow shirt is not the same as the one he is wearing on some of the
pictures mentioned above.)
THE HIPGNOSIS COLLECTION
The only way to consult the Hipgnosis archives is to wade through record
sleeves and the books from Storm Thorgerson, as most of the negatives
have been misplaced through the years.
The best overview of Storm’s pictures on that day can be found on the inner
sleeve of the compilation album Syd Barrett that appeared in 1974.
Thorgerson has the following to say about its cover: "I made up the
design from photos already taken at The Madcap Laughs session and added
Outside pictures (colour)
¤ Syd leaning against car (with guitar case). ¤ Syd sitting on
Storm Thorgerson took a few colour pictures during the outside sessions. One
of these pictures was used for the cover of A Nice Pair (Pink Floyd
compilation album, that has had different editions with slightly
different covers). Another picture can be found on the following Church
Syd met Iggy... Update 2001 02 19: Iggy has confirmed to
the Church that she took the Polaroid picture of Syd Barrett sitting
next to the car: Give
birth to a smile...
¤ The yoga session.
Syd sitting shirtless and shoeless on the floor and showing his
gymnastic skills. Update October 2010: the Church is now of the
opinion that the yoga pictures may have been the 'real' autumn Madcap
Laughs cover shoot, commissioned by Harvest director Malcolm Jones, when
the album was in its final stages: The
Case of the Painted Floorboards
Until now we only knew the pictures that were used for The Madcap Laughs
and for the Crazy Diamond CD compilation.
¤ The Madcap Laughs front.
Syd, shoeless, in blue shirt and pink trousers crouching (daffodils in
front of him). A bigger version of this photograph can be found on Crazy
Diamond. (See also: Stormy
¤ The Madcap Laughs back.
Syd with yellow shirt and necklace (in red trousers) with Ig leaning
artistically on the chair. A bigger version of this photograph can be
found on Crazy
Diamond (Syd Barrett CD box, 1993).
¤ Syd in brown jacket, sitting on the floor. Ig walking towards the
chimney. ¤ Syd with a toy aeroplane (and daffodils) in front of him.
This last picture
can also be found on A Nice Pair, but not on the edition that has the
Syd Barrett car picture (several version of the Nice Pair sleeve do
exist, as you have figured out by now).
According to the above information the four pictures that were sold on
eBay belong to the Hipgnosis collection and not to Mick Rock.
1. Picture one is the famous Madcap Laughs front-sleeve but in its
entirety. 2. The second picture, with Syd and a toy aeroplane, has
also been published before, but this version is not cropped and shows
more of the surrounding room. 3 & 4. Pictures 3 and 4 have been
unknown until now and have never been published before.
The four pictures were sold for a mere 127.00 £. The Church duly hopes
that the buyer is an authentic fan who will share hi-res scans with the
The seller of the pictures has previously sold one other Syd Barrett
photo from the same session. It was un unknown picture of Syd sitting on
his Pontiac, taking away, once and for all, the rumours that his car was
bright pink. The Reverend wonders if claytonpriory still has
other pictures to sell, perhaps with Ig on the background, although it
is of course regrettable that the collection is divided and sold in
Did this post confuse you?
It confused the Reverend as well, especially when he found out that one
picture, entitled to Mick Rock, actually needs to be credited to
Hipgnosis. Or is it the other way round? That will be discussed in a
later post: A
Bay of Hope (update).
Until then, my brethren and sistren, live long and prosper
and don’t do anything what Ig wouldn’t have done.
Sources (other than the above internet links):
Thorgerson, Storm: Mind Over Matter, Sanctuary Publishing,
London, 2003, p. 204.
A new gallery, called StormWatch
has been made and contains the Madcap pictures, made by Storm Thorgerson
and discussed in this entry. Play the Storm Thorgerson or Mick
Rock Iggy picture
In a previous
post at the Church the Reverend tried to catalogue the different
pictures that were made in Syd Barrett’s flat for the so-called Madcap
It is believed that the (first) session took place in April
1969. Two photographers arrived at the same day at Barrett’s
apartment. They both took pictures while Barrett was posing, sitting on
the floor of his flat, and with Iggy, a friend, a groupie or a temporary
muse walking around in the nude. None of the boys seemed to be
distracted by that. The Sixties were strange days indeed.
That is why there is a certain similarity between the pictures from
Storm Thorgerson (Hipgnosis) and Mick Rock. It has also been hinted that
Mick Rock gave some of his film rolls to Storm Thorgerson for further
use as he apparently thought he had been hired for the job. The stuff
they were smoking was still good in those days.
Dixit Rock one of his pictures appeared (uncredited) on the Barrett
(solo) album and also the inner sleeve from the Syd Barrett
compilation shows several Mick Rock pictures. Mick Rock would later
occasionally work for Hipgnosis and if the Reverend remembers it well
the portraits of Pink Floyd that can be found on Meddle
are his work (although you won’t find that story in Thorgerson’s Mind
Over Matter compendium).
Dark Globe spoke to Storm Thorgerson about the cover of The Madcap
Laughs (probably at Borders,
I once had a chat with Storm at one of his exhibitions, where I
mentioned that many people thought that Mick Rock photographed the
Madcap cover. He expressed a mild annoyance that anyone would think so.
He then jokingly signed my copy of his book 'NOT Mick Rock, but Storm
When I asked if he would consider publishing a book of his Syd photos,
he told me the originals were all lost. It was clearly a subject he
didn't want to discuss so I didn't ask any more about it. I've since
read interviews with him where he says he doesn't like talking about
Syd. Which is fair enough. (Taken from: ‘New’
Mick Rock Syd photos?)
Beate S. had a similar experience, but with Mick Rock, when she wanted
him to sign the cover of The Madcap Laughs album at Borders,
Cambridge (also on the 1st of November 2008):
[Mick Rock] said something like "Can't very well sign something I didn't
do, can I", grinned a bit shy and flipped through the little booklet and
signed. I can't remember the words exactly… but he was not ironic at
all, just telling the truth.
Later that same evening Beate had a chance to talk again to the
He was indeed serious about the cover not being his, no doubt about
that. Later that evening at the party when we found out he was a really
nice bloke, I admit I did not of course inquire any further as that
would have been very rude in the setting. (Bea S., Mick Rock signing,
email, 2 November, 2009.)
It is also possible that some of the photo sessions by Rock or
Thorgerson were made on a later date. Mick seems to remember that he
might have come back another day to do some extra shots, and there is
also the Lost
in the Woods home video, shot by Mick Rock, with Syd, Ig and a
mysterious brunette. When the photographer came back a few weeks later
to show Syd the pictures Iggy was gone and Syd’s mind was far further
away than ever.
Storm Thorgerson was also a close friend of Syd, a friendship dating
from their Cambridge days, and he may have visited him on other
occasions as well. Storm took some photos later in the year (the
pictures) and maybe this is how the legend came into place that The
Madcap Laughs photo session was made after summer.
But this is of course all speculation and memories have become quite
blurry through the mist of time.
The Church regards the Thorgerson versus Rock controversy as settled and
until no further images miraculously appear this subject is considered
closed. The Storm
Watch gallery on this blog has been updated with some new pictures
and one Thorgerson picture that had sneaked into the Mick Rock Bare
Flat gallery has been identified as such (that same gallery also has
been updated with another hi-res scan).
Sistren, brethren, we don't need the Reverend's groove thing
And now make place for some important theological matters. In the past
the Reverend has addressed the believers on this blog with brethren,
using this term for all believers whether they were male, female or all
things in between.
At a recent congress of our arctic coven (and beyond) it was uttered
that brethren is an archaic form destined for men only and that our
female followers should be addressed accordingly. The arctic coven
unanimously voted to use the term sistren
(up against brothress) and the highest level of our church authority has
now approved their plea.
Most of the texts on this blog have now been updated and the believers
will be alternately addressed as sistren and brethren (or brethren
and sistren). These archaic plural forms will also be used to
designate one single member, as in the next example: Iggy was our first skyclad
sistren after all, wearing her uniform with pride.
The Church has got quite a few new projects in the pipeline as people
from all over the Globe are suggesting subjects and people to talk to.
The next article will probably delve deeper into the Cromwellian
days. The Church managed to trace back one of the people who worked at
the club and some memories might be published here shortly.
So until the Reverend has got something new to summon he blesses you, sistren
and brethren, and don’t do anything that Ig wouldn’t have done.
Update 18 December 2011: added Mick Rock's signature from the
collection of Beate S. A high-res scan can be found at our Storm
Last week The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit published the incredible news that
Iggy had been traced back. This was a world exclusive as no other news
medium had reported this before.
The news that Iggy had been found was, unfortunately, also all there was
to say. Although discreet investigations were done it was soon made
clear that she wanted to stay anonymous and that she didn’t want to blow
her cover. A short interview was out of the question, even for Mojo
magazine and Mark Blake who triggered these latest events.
The Reverend is by all means not a souvenir collector who wanted to ring
at her bell like all those true fans used to do at Syd Barrett’s
door and her wish to be left in peace was immediately and
In September 2008 The Croydon Guardian published an article about Iggy
after the Church had contacted the newspaper to get more information
about The Orchid dancehall in Purley: Where
did she go? This article unearthed some unpublished pictures by
Anthony Stern that were later shown at The City Wakes festival in
Cambridge and was also mentioned in the March issue of Mojo.
Kirsty Whalley, the journalist who brought us the first Iggy article in
The Croydon Guardian, has now managed to interview Iggy, an interview
that can be found in today’s issue of this newspaper.
When Mick 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.
Purloined Letter (1845) from Edgar
Allan Poe dozens of intelligence officers search a room to
recuperate some blackmailing material but they fail to locate it. Enters C.
Auguste Dupin, probably the very first detective in fiction, who
simply picks the letter from a card-rack. It had never been concealed
but as the policemen had been looking for a hidden object they never
cared to check the paper, lying out in the open.
When the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit started its mission it was
generally believed that The
Madcap Laughs photo shoot had taken place in the autumn of 1969.
Mainly because every Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett related book said so and
- for over 30 years of time - nobody had ever cared to check the facts.
(Also Rob Chapman's A
Very Irregular Head biography, that has just appeared a couple of
days ago, situates the floor paint job and thus the photo shoot
somewhere between August and November 1969.)
Of course the witnesses saying that the shoot had taken place in the
last quarter of 1969 were quite privileged authorities on the life and
works of Barrett and thus their testimonies have never been questioned
(and as we will reveal later, their comments may be - partly - true).
Malcolm Jones was the Harvest manager who partly produced Barrett's
first solo album and who wrote an acclaimed (for Syd fans anyway) book
about these sessions.
One day in October or November (1969, FA) I had cause to drop in
at Syd's flat on my way home to leave him a tape of the album, and what
I saw gave me quite a start. In anticipation of the photographic session
for the sleeve, Syd had painted the bare floorboards of his room orange
and purple. (…) Syd was well pleased with his days work and I must say
it made a fine setting for the session due to take place.
And in his Psychedelic Renegades book Mick Rock writes:
We shot The Madcap Laughs in the autumn of 1969 and I don’t think that
Syd and Duggie Fields had been living in the flat that long. (…) Soon
after Syd moved in he painted alternating floor boards orange and
The above contains a contradiction, although Mick Rock probably isn't
(wasn't) aware of that. Syd Barrett, Duggie Fields and a third tenant
called Jules moved in the apartment in January 1969 (perhaps December
1968) and certainly not later. A while later Jules was kicked out
because he didn't pay the rent.
Duggie Fields recalls in The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story
that the floorboards were painted 'quite quickly' after they had moved
in and said in the Mojo Madcap issue:
When Jules left Iggy came soon after and she wasn't there for long.
Jenny Spires (Syd's ex) brought her round. Iggy was just around, she
didn't officially live here.
has indeed confirmed to the Church: "I took her (Iggy) to Wetherby
Mansions in January 1969." (Did the Reverend ever tell that it was
thanks to biographer Julian Palacios that the Church got in contact with
It is hard to remember things after 40 years, and even harder to
pinpoint an exact date for certain events, but JenS certainly wasn't in
England anymore in April as she had left for America, and by then the
floor boards had already been painted. "When Syd and Gretta et al went
to The Isle of Wight Trina - Gretta's sister - and I were in America and
heading for the Woodstock Rock Festival."
Also Iggy (or Evelyn, in her interview with
the Croydon Guardian) and Margaretta Barclay (in her interview
with the Church) remember the painted floorboards. But opinions differ
whether the floor boards were painted with a photo session in mind or
Just like several (tiny) details in the pictures have given away the
date, the answer may lie in the pictures themselves. What most
people, including the Reverend, have neglected to do for the last 40
years was to look for the obvious. Not so for Late
Night member and Syd Barrett collector Dark Globe:
After reading Jenny Spires's claim that the floorboards were painted
when Syd moved into the flat, long before the Madcap photo session, I
had another look at some of the photos. (…)
gun' for me is the can of paint and paintbrush which appears in one of
the Madcap session photos:
this would imply that the floorboards had only been painted recently.
course, it could be that he was only 'topping them up' but it certainly
looks like he (and maybe Iggy) had done some painting close to the
The photographic evidence is there.
The Mick Rock pictures from Syd Barrett's room not only reveal that
parts of the floor had not
been painted yet but also show that a can of (blue) paint and a big
paintbrush are hiding next to Syd's mattress, together with a coffee mug
and an empty wine glass.
At least two Storm Thorgerson pictures from that spring day show the
paint can as well. The booklet
of the Crazy Diamond Syd Barrett box shows the (partly cut off) can at
the left side of the picture and the print of the so-called toy plane picture
that was sold on eBay in November last
year has it in full. It is a pity that only a very small image of
this print exists and that its owner, if (s)he is aware of its
existence, still hasn't donated some hi-res scans to the Syd Barrett
Whilst Mick Rock was at it he also took some 'nude
study' pictures from Iggy but this time the Reverend will not get
exited over her churrigueresque features but over her dirty feet. Her
feet are black (or should that be: blue?) and probably she had been
walking barefoot over the wet paint.
Stating the obvious is difficult when one is too concentrated on a
subject. Church member Banjer and Sax found a simple explanation
why painting a floor in two different colours will take several days or
Maybe it took several days to complete the job, more than two days, and
they would not necessarily have to have been consecutive days. So maybe
days passed or even months passed between different phases of floor
painting. It seems like it could have been difficult to do both colours
at the same time.
The logical thing to do is indeed wait for the first colour to dry
before starting the second colour. But the mystery of The Madcap Laughs
photo shoot only gets bigger and, as usual, archbishop Dark Globe
is to blame:
There was more than one photo shoot though. A second photo shoot (not by
Mick Rock, but by Storm Thorgerson, FA) shows Syd doing yoga and
posing in front of one of his paintings. The floorboards are painted in
these photos so they were probably taken sometime after the session with
Iggy. Syd's hair is a noticeably longer in these photos too.
These pictures were used by Hipgnosis for the cover of the vinyl
compilation Syd Barrett. It is obvious that they were taken on a
later date: the floor seems to be completely painted, but also the room
has been reorganised. While the far left corner on the daffodil session pictures
is empty it suddenly contains some canvas and paint during the yoga
Perhaps Storm took some photos later in the year and maybe this is how
the legend came into place that The Madcap Laughs photo session was made
This is not as far-fetched as it seems.
Autumn Photo Session
Mick Rock states: "This '69 session was specifically done for Syd's
first solo album, The Madcap Laughs" and Storm Thorgerson more or less
claims that Hipgnosis had been summoned by record company Harvest to do
But if the daffodil photo shoot really took place, as proposed by the
Church between the 14th and 21st of April 1969, Syd
Barrett had only been at two, maximum three, recording sessions for the
album. (If only we could find out the date of the newspaper lying next
to Barrett's bed?)
It is hard to believe that Harvest would approach Hipgnosis after three
studio sessions, especially as Syd Barrett was still regarded as a
liability. Between May and July of the previous year Barrett had wasted
eight recording sessions and basically EMI had given up. Peter Jenner:
It was chaos…. (…) There were always these tantalising glimpses and that
was what kept you going. (…) I think we just came to the conclusion that
we weren't getting anywhere.
So although the April 10 and 11 sessions of 1969 had been very promising
(and the one on the 17th as well) it is unlikely that the managing
director of Harvest was already thinking he had chart material. And
quite rightly so, because the fourth session was disastrous and has been
used in books and articles to emphasize Syd's lunatic behaviour. And it
wasn't getting better...
Different people tell different stories but the bottom line is that less
than a month after the first (April 1969) recording session Malcolm
Jones simply gave up. David Gilmour, who took over the producer seat in
June, maintains until today that he was asked to salvage the sessions
from the dustbin, although Malcolm Jones has tried to minimise this and
claimed that the Madcap project had not really been shelved.
It was already August 1969 when the Cantabrigian Pink Floyd members
started (stereo-)mixing the tapes, and as the band had a busy schedule
and wanted to have some holidays as well, it would take until October
for the master tapes to be ready. Now here is what the Reverend calls an
appropriate moment for the record company to commission a sleeve.
Summer 1969. Harvest hotshots ask Hipgnosis to design a sleeve for the
album that is in its final mix. Storm Thorgerson goes to Syd's flat to
take the so-called yoga-shots,
but decides later, for whatever reason, to use the (Mick Rock
influenced) daffodil-shots instead. (Probably when Thorgerson presented
the sleeve to Harvest, he didn't tell that the pictures came really from
a photo shoot earlier in the year. That's how we know Storm.)
A legend is born.
We leave the last word to JenS who was so friendly to contact us again:
It's truly astonishing about the floor! All I can say is the floor had
already been painted when I arrived. (January 1969, FA)
There were parts of the room unfinished in the bay window and to the
right hand corner of the room and fireplace where Syd's bed was
originally and where Iggy is poised on the stool. I guess they must have
had to paint these remaining bits before the shoot. They may also of
course given it a second, more refreshing coat for the shoot.
Interesting, bit by bit a more accurate picture is emerging.
To accompany this article a new gallery has been uploaded: Paintbox.
Sources (other than the above internet links): Chapman, Rob: A
Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 235. Drummond,
Paul: In My Room, Mojo 196, March 2010, p. 82. Direct link
to the scanned pdf
document (hosted at the Church). Fields, Duggie
interview in: The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story, DVD UK Ltd
2005. Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain
Damage, 2003, p. 13. Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry
Red Books, London, 2001, p. 136, p. 138. Rock, Mick: Psychedelic
Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 18-19, p. 58. The paint can
pictures can be found at pages 72, 76, 83 and 84. Iggy's dirty feet on
A couple of months ago a new Syd Barrett compilation was announced and
EMI (Harvest) was proud to proclaim that Syd Barrett had joined the
league of Jimi
Hendrix or Marc
Bolan, meaning that the man has got more compilation albums written
on his name than genuine albums.
Let's make a quick sum, shall we? Barrett, who was the founder of the
mythical band Pink
Floyd, was overtly present on their first album The
Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. On the second album A
Saucerful Of Secrets he had already taken a sabbatical, and although
present on 3 tracks (out of 7) he only takes the vocal lead (and writing
credits) on the testamentary coda Jugband
There are at least 7 Pink Floyd compilations that have Barrett's
(sometimes unreleased) work on it and the last one Echoes
(2001) turned Syd Barrett into an overnight millionaire. The fortieth
anniversary edition of Piper (2007) has (in the deluxe edition)
an extra CD containing some alternative versions and the Pink Floyd's
early singles as well.
Barrett's solo output in the early seventies is limited to two albums, The
Madcap Laughs and Barrett,
and that is all there is, give or take 5 or 6 compilations. The count
depends whether one catalogues the Opel
(1988) record as a compilation of alternative takes and unreleased
material or as a real 'third' solo album.
The most recent compilation 'An
Introduction To Syd Barrett' boasts that this is the first time in
history that Barrett's Pink Floyd and solo tracks have been compiled on
one disk. This is true, but… so what?
On the other hand a quick glance at the list
of unreleased material shows that there are about a dozen Pink Floyd
studio tracks from their Syd Barrett era, but alas this compilation
still doesn't contain any of them.
So what could possibly be the added value of this album, one might ask?
Not its cover, that doesn't show Syd Barrett at all but that has been
created, as usual, by Storm
Thorgerson. Thorgerson, and more particularly his Hipgnosis
studio, made some landmark record sleeves in the Seventies and Eighties,
but he seems not able nowadays to sell his creations to influential
bands, unless you call the freaky weirdoes of The Mars Volta
influential of course. Thorgerson's contemporaneous work flirts a bit
too much with cheap kitsch and luckily there is still Pink Floyd Ltd
that keeps him away from the unemployment office. I'm quite fond of
Thorgerson's work and I do like the cover although most Syd Barrett fans
I frequent compare it with visual diarrhoea so I leave it to you to make
up your own mind.
As a Barrett anorak I am not interested in the regular songs on this
compilation - as a matter of fact I didn't even listen to those - but I
jumped immediately on top of the so-called enhanced tunes. The
compilation boasts that 4 tracks have been remixed and one track has
been 'upgraded' with additional bass from David Gilmour who also
supervised the mixes. (The following review has been largely influenced
comments on the NPF
forum and MOB's
comments on the A
Fleeting Glimpse forum.)
Dominoes: the new mix has been so subtly done that there is
hardly any difference. The vocals are more emphasized and the backwards
guitar sounds a trifle clearer. Some corrections may have been done,
because on the original versions several (drum) parts were out of
'synch'. These errors have miraculously disappeared on the 2010 mix.
Octopus: this track is 7 seconds longer, due to the fact that a
'false' start has been added at the beginning. The "isn't it
good to be lost in the woods" vocals have been clarified and brought
to the fore and it could even be that its first part has been taken from
an alternative take (also a few drumbeats have been added that weren't
there on the 1970 version). Overall the muddled sound of vocals and
guitars have been cleaned.
She Took a Long Cool Look: this track has always been
called She Took A Long Cold Look in the past, but the
title has now been changed. This is one of so called 'live' bits from
Barrett's first album. These included false starts, bad guitar playing,
unstable singing and Barrett generally loosing it… David Gilmour said he
included these demos in 1970 to reveal Barrett in all his fragility, but
later regretted his choice…
The 2010 version snips some of the unnecessary background sounds
(Barrett turning some papers) and the guitar breakdown in the middle of
the song is replaced by some strumming from another take. And - as with
all of these remixes - Barrett's voice sounds more crisp than before and
with less disturbing echo.
Matilda Mother (Pink Floyd): the 40 years anniversary edition of Piper
already had this alternative take but in a much shorter version. This
one takes 50 seconds longer and has benefited from a real mix. Probably
the 2010 version is a sound-collage of several outtakes.
Here I Go: this little dance hall tune has always been my
favourite Barrett track. For over 40 years I have wondered how this song
really ended and now the ditty lasts 5 seconds longer. Gilmour has done
a fine job by adding extra bass and after my second listen I already
felt that this was the way it should always have been. (There is also a
tiny rhythm correction - compared with the original version - at 01:46.)
Personally I find it a bad judgment from Gilmour & Co to keep the fade
out but the closing chord I had been waiting for can still be heard. And
I know it's starting to sound repetitive, but Barrett's vocals have been
upgraded as well and sound crispier than ever. You don't need to buy the
album to listen to this track as a promo video has been put on the web
as well: Here
I Go (official video).
Update December 2019: Peudent, over at Late
Night, had some fun remastering the 2010 version of Syd Barrett’s Here
I Go. This version has got no fadeout and the ending can now be
heard at full volume. URL: https://voca.ro/3O3YGCsdWT7
The few remixes on this compilation are subtle, have been done with
great care and love for the original material so that my initial anoraky
opinion of 'don't touch the originals' has now been switched over to
'why didn't they simply enhance all tracks'?
But the real revelation of the album can't be found on plastic. The CD
contains a key to download the mythical Rhamadan track from the official
Syd Barrett website and this is what the next chapter is all about.
I won't get into the old story, legend or myth, of Rhamadan as it is all
old news by now. The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit wrote a bit about it
and Pontiacs and Rob Chapman in A
Very Irregular Head describes it as a 'conga-heavy jam session
lasting eighteen minutes and of little merit', although it is highly
doubtful that the biographer could get hold of the piece.
The only person, apart from some EMI alumni, who could listen to the
track in its full glory was David Parker, author of Random
Precision. In order to get EMI's permission he had to sign a 'scarily
draconian declaration', so scarily draconian that he even had to
delete a forum post wherein he had simply admitted it had been 'scarily
draconian'. The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit sometimes threatens with
the Holy Igquisition but apparently that secret service is
peanuts compared to the EMI 'unlimited supply, there is no reason why'
David was the only author who could write, in detail, how the piece
sounded and as it is so damn accurate I see no point of trying to give
my own description.
Peter Bown announces Rhamadan take 1 over some bass and organ
noises. He pronounces the title Rarmardarn like a 1950's BBC
newsreader. The piece itself begins with the conga drums (probably Steve
Took from Tyrannosaurus Rex).
The bass comes in and immediately takes the lead role (whoever the bass
player is they are extremely proficient) with some very fast Stanley
Clarke style runs and slides in places. The vibes then begin to come in,
along with some disjointed organ chording (mostly on one chord). This
then continues for a couple of minutes with the bass leading over the
conga beat, vibes and organ chords. A piano then enters playing a loose
boogie rhythm, and someone starts playing some very staccato mellotron
notes as well. Things settle into a groove, and a second drummer joins
in, mainly on cymbals. After about 5 minutes Syd's guitar starts to
appear, playing muted chords to fill out the sound. The bass falls back
slightly, and the piano takes the lead, Syd's guitar feeding back
momentarily as he begins to play solo notes. (…)
The piece eventually starts to fizzle out with some mad staccato
mellotron, the ever present organ chord and a lot of bass improvisation
with a sprinkling of piano notes. Syd plays some open chord plucking and
everything gets rather free form with Syd letting his guitar build-up
feedback and then fades it out. (…)
Syd starts another riff but it begins to fade until the bass player
picks up on it, and everyone begins following along. Another crescendo
of feedback builds up as Syd picks out what sounds like the Close
Encounters three note theme (!). (…)
Things build up yet again, with everyone in random improvisation, then
everyone stops except the organ chord. The bassist begins a strident
riff, giving the vibes a chance to solo (with staccato mellotron
accompaniment). The bass rockets off into a hyper-drive riff, then
everything finally falls to bits, ending with our old friend the organ
chord drone, the mad mellotronist and a few bass notes.
We don't really know who are the players on Rhamadan, but Steve
Peregrin Took is a name that appears in almost all biographies.
Biographer Julian Palacios, however, seems to disagree now:
Talking to my friend GH today, he wrote: 'I don't think that Steve Took
is the conga player on these sessions. I knew Steve and discussed Syd
with him on a few occasions, he said that Syd had jammed with him round
at his flat and that he had recorded it, but there was never any mention
of going into a recording studio with Syd. My understanding was that
Steve didn't get pally with Syd until after his split from Marc (Bolan).
Back in 68 Tyrannosaurus Rex where gigging like crazy and still very
much a going concern.' (Taken from Late
Night Discussion Forum.)
Rhamadan isn't half as bad as everyone, who had never heard it, claimed
it to be. Especially when one remembers that the same biographers and
journalists tend to praise AMM, The Soft Machine or The Third Ear band
for their revolutionary musical approach. Rhamadan is of course a highly freakadelic
experiment, almost free-jazz in its approach, a genre Syd Barrett was
not unfamiliar with.
If you have bought the CD, Rhamadan can be downloaded (legally) from the
official Syd Barrett website, but unfortunately only in the MP3 format
with a rather cheapish 152kbs bitrate. But its bitrate is not the only
amateurish characteristic. While millions of people all over the world
have discovered MP3 tags, EMI is of the opinion that this invention is
way over their heads. The tags are all empty and reveal that the track
is untitled (Track 1), comes from an unknown album,
is from an unknown artist and from an unknown year. Not
even the Publisher and Copyright data are filled in. My 8-years old
godchild can rip MP3 tunes better than EMI does, she at least knows how
to attach a (sleeve) picture to the file. (Although I worked this out by
myself, Jen D at madcapslaughing
beat me by a day by publishing the same findings before me. As I haven't
got an irregular head I'll give this bloke the credits.)
While EMI has been nagging us for years that copying is killing music
a closer look on the MP3 tags reveals us that the file has been
converted with FreeRIP.
Here is the biggest music company in the world and it uses a freeware
version of a (quite good, I agree) MP3 converter to spread around a
track belonging to the founder of their second most commercially
successful band, next to The Beatles.
I know of the bad financial situation of the music company but I wasn't
aware that EMI was that close to bankrupt that they can't even afford a
29,75 dollar software program anymore.
None really. The best thing is to decide for yourself if the 5 remixes
and the 1 download are sufficient to buy the album. As a Barrett anorak
myself, I simply had no choice.
Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above) Chapman,
Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 215. Parker,
David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p.
Words: Mark Blake. Pictures: Iggy Rose, Chris Lanaway. Date: 20
January 2011. Previously published on mojo.com.
While there are many reports of Barrett being withdrawn and even
aggressive at this time, Iggy remembers it differently. "People talk
about Syd's madness and his dark side, but I never saw it," she states.
"We had a wonderful giggly time. There were no sinister moments." Only
briefly did she glimpse a more troubled side to his personality. "One
day, he said to me, 'How do you feel? Are you sad?' I was naked, and he
went and got some paint and painted two great big eyes on my breasts
with two tears coming down, and on my belly button he painted an arrow
and underneath that a picture of me with a big belly, and said, 'There
could be life in there. I could give you life.' But I didn't want that
at all. So I panicked, and scrubbed it off." He was also uncomfortable
with some aspects of fame, as Iggy discovered on a night out with Syd to
The Speakeasy, a music-biz haunt in Margaret Street. "We'd persuaded Syd
to go, but it was full of posers," she admits. "There were a few of us
there. Someone asked the DJ to put on See Emily Play, which was a stupid
thing to do." A hit for Pink Floyd more than two years before, the
dance-floor cleared. "So I went on and started dancing, but Syd ran off.
He was obviously very sensitive about it all."
"We had a wonderful giggly time. There were no sinister moments."
In March '69, Barrett began recording The Madcap Laughs at Abbey Road,
but his erratic behaviour in the studio resulted in Roger Waters
and David Gilmour helping to oversee the sessions. Gilmour was now
living in Richmond Mansions, a block so close to Wetherby Mansions that
he could almost see into Syd and Duggie's kitchen window. One evening,
Syd announced that he had to go out. Iggy wanted to go with him, but
Barrett insisted she remain at the flat. "I think I thought he was
seeing another woman," she says. "I got a bit jealous, a bit pouty -
very silly. Duggie knew where Syd had gone but wouldn't tell me." With
Syd gone, Iggy decided to pay a visit to David Gilmour instead. Fields
helped Iggy back-comb her hair, plaster her face with make-up and paint
her lips black. "I looked like Medusa. Like a banshee. Duggie then took
me round to Dave's place. Dave was very beautiful and very cool, and his
flat was nicer than Syd and Duggie's - it was warmer for a start. Dave
opened the door, took one look at me, but didn't bat an eyelid."
When Iggy walked in, she saw Syd sat in Gilmour's living room. "I went
in, shouting, 'OK, where is she?' thinking there was a woman hiding in
one of the rooms. But, of course, the meeting had been with Dave about
the record they were making together." Barrett left Iggy with Gilmour,
but rather the worse for wear, she knocked the stylus on his record
player accidentally scratching his copy of Pink Floyd's brand new album.
"I have no idea what album it was, only that it was their new album,"
Iggy sighs. (The likely candidate seems to be Soundtrack From The Film
More) "So Dave threw me out... If he ever reads this I would like to say
sorry for scratching his record." Back at Wetherby Mansions, Barrett was
unfazed by her planned defection: "Syd just said, 'Come in love, and
I'll make you a cup of tea'. How sweet."
By now, Barrett had prepared his bedroom for The Madcap... cover shoot,
painting most of the floorboards orange and mauve. On the morning of the
shoot, Syd asked Iggy to help finish the job. "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." When Rock arrived with the Floyd's sleeve designer Storm
Thorgerson to take the photos, a naked Iggy went to put some clothes
on. "But Syd said, 'No, don't'. That was his wicked sense of humour. I
put the kohl around his eyes that day and tousled up his hair: come on
Syd, give us a smile, moody, moody, moody! But he knew exactly what he
was doing. He was as sharp as anything. He set the tone. He was the
"Syd just said, 'Come in love, and I'll make you a cup of tea'. How
Iggy joined Syd for further photos outside the flat. Later, Rock
recalled showing Barrett one of the pictures and Syd mysteriously
scratching around Iggy's image; an act that has acquired some
significance among Barrett's more earnest devotees. "They're making
something out of nothing," she insists. "Later on, Syd showed me one of
the pictures and said, 'You like that one, don't you? I know why,
because of your cheekbones'. I think I was sucking on a cigarette, and,
yes, I was being vain, I liked the way my cheekbones looked. So he tore
the pic in half and gave it to me. There was nothing more to it than
that." Strangely, Iggy also recalls other photographs being taken that
day, which have never appeared since. "I don't think Storm and Mick were
very impressed by them. If you've ever seen the cover of the Rod
Stewart album, Blondes Have More Fun, they were a bit like that...
Of me and Syd. There were others of me and Syd, as well, which remind me
of the picture of John and Yoko [on Two Virgins] which came out later.
I'd love to see those pictures now."
Before long, Iggy had drifted out of Wetherby Mansions and out of Syd's
life as quickly as she had drifted in. When she returned later, Duggie
told her: "Syd's not here. He's gone back to Cambridge. Don't bother
trying to find him." She never saw him again, and is adamant she only
became aware of her presence on the cover of The Madcap Laughs
after being phoned by the Croydon Guardian: "I went to a boot sale with
my husband... When I saw the cover, I thought, Oh yes, that is my
Although the stories of her marrying a rich banker and joining a
religious cult are untrue, there is a kernel of truth: after Syd, Iggy
began seeing a wealthy businessman who was also a scientologist. However
Duggie Fields' recollection of spotting Iggy climbing off a bus in a
gold lamé dress is not in dispute: "It was a beautiful dress that cost
£50." Still a fixture on the music scene, Iggy recalls accompanying Pink
Fairies' drummer Twink to the Isle Of Wight Festival and turning up
"for the very first Glastonbury... ". But in 1978 Iggy married her
husband, Andrew, and "left that life behind me".
"I heard on the radio that Syd died, and I felt sad, but it was so long
ago," she says. Since reading about those times in MOJO, the memories of
the people and the places have slowly come back to her. "Mick Rock took
some beautiful picture of me," she smiles. "But, of course, I wish I'd
been paid some money for them. Still, it is amazing that people have
been looking for me... and that someone has even set up a website. I
still don't know what to make of all this." The fascination continues.
Last week, Iggy called to tell me she had found a poem online written
about her by a professor at a university in Missouri. "And it's in
French," she said, sounding astonished. "'Iggy l'esquimo, Fille De Le
Space'...it goes. I never believed anyone would ever write a poem for
The Church of Iggy the Inuit may not have as many adherers as, let's
say: the Lady
Gaga fanclub, but we're quite happy with it. Iggy (Evelyn) has
earned a place in our hearts and that not only for that COD (Crusty Old
Dinosaur) of a Reverend. It constantly amazes us that - even today -
young people still discover Ig's beauty and joyfulness, as proven in the
Thank you for the wonderful interview and for the lovely new photos you
shared with us. It was really endearing of you to talk about your
relationship with Syd. It was nice to hear you guys had a wonderful time
together. It was really nice on your part to also share your experiences
during those days; the people you met and the places and festivals you
I would also like to say you still and always will be a beautiful model
to me. I love all your beautiful pictures, (you look like a beautiful
princess with the white dress) and the short film clips we have of you
on the web. You truly are a fun and lovely person.
Thanks again for opening your heart to us and I wish you the best in life
Griselda, California, USA
When the lady smiles
Yesterday the Reverend came across her unforgettable smile again that
has been immortalised in a Look At Life documentary from 1967
Gear. An unconfirmed story goes that Granada
Television burned about 500 Look At Life originals (and negatives) at a
certain point in history. Luckily several (restored) movies have been
issued on DVD recently, although it could be that some documentaries
have been lost forever. Nobody really knows really. But the IN Gear
movie is still available on the Swingin'
London DVD, while the stock lasts, as the company that distributed
them did the indecent thing of going bankrupt. (More to read at: Iggy
Not only the Reverend is susceptible to her laugh, also a kid named Syd
Barrett kinda liked her. One spring-day in 1969 Mick
Rock and Storm
Thorgerson knocked at Syd's door to take the pictures that would
later adorn The
Madcap Laughs. A lot has been said about this photo-shoot, also at
the Church, and it is the Reverend's impression that the truth still
hasn't fully emerged, mainly due to the fact that both photographers
have slightly different memories about it all and are, still after all
these years, arguing like young boys to make out who has the biggest
one. (It was then that the Pink Floyd composed their track: Careful with
that Pentax, Eugene). But be cognisant, brethren and sistren,
that no storm will stop the Church and that the Reverend will leave no
rock unturned. (More to read at: Storm
Enough dilly-dallying Syd Barrett thought that day, let's take those
pictures and let's get on with it. Iggy, feet still dirty from the
freshly painted floor, was there to help him:
I put the Kohl around his eyes that day and tousled his hair: Come on
Syd, give us a smile, moody, moody, moody! But he knew exactly what he
Indeed, Syd Barrett put himself into Arthur
Rimbaud mood and refused to smile on the pictures. With hindsight
one could link that to the title of his first solo-album, only that
album didn't have a title yet and most of the tracks still had to be
canned. After a while the action was moved to the outside, probably at
Mick Rock's demand. Several of these pictures, with Syd and Ig, have
appeared in Rock's Psychedelic
Renegades book and some can be consulted at our Street
Life gallery, although it needs to be said that the Church has done
its utmost best to remove that Syd Barrett character from the pictures
and to put Iggy at its focal point.
It is also believed that Storm Thorgerson joined the lot and that he
took the few colour pictures that have survived us into the third
millennium. In a previous post the Church discussed these (and all
other) pictures of The Madcap Laughs: A
Bay of Hope (2009, already!)
Gentle ladies take Polaroids
One of the outside
colour pictures (to be found on some versions of the vinyl
Nice Pair) show Syd Barrett with a broad smile as if his serious
mask had finally been shattered to pieces. Who or what had penetrated
his defence barrier?
When this picture was discussed a while ago at the Late
Night forum Dominae suggested:
I'm almost certain it is from a Polaroid.
I wonder if Iggy took it? It's so rare to see a broad smile. (Taken from Photo
Upgrade at Late Night.)
But this proposition was almost immediately abandoned as being a lot of
rubbish, until on Valentine
Day of this year, Iggy told the Church through Mark
Yes, it was me that took the picture of Syd smiling in the street.
Two days later she added some further explanations:
Well spotted Dominae. I was the one who took the picture. I think Mick
Rock handed me the Polaroid. I remember squealing with delight when the
photo appeared. It was the first time I had seen a Polaroid.
Also her encouragements towards Syd to finally break into a smile ("Come
on Syd, give us a smile, moody, moody, moody!") was probably uttered on
the street with the Polaroid in her hand and not above in the flat, as
she previously told Mark Blake. Her softly spoken magic spells had
finally laser-beamed through Syd's defence shield and Mick Rock turned
the magical moment into some portraits where the mad-cat really laughed
(see Psychedelic Renegades, page 33) .
But this still doesn't account for the fact how on earth this photo
ended up at the Hipgnosis archives (together with quite a few Mick Rock
prints). Perhaps the Polaroid belonged to Storm Thorgerson as Mick Rock
only had a second-hand 35mm camera that he had bought from Po (Aubrey
Powell). Nothing to get worried about now, but it might be a sweet
revenge to know that for decades, people thought they had been looking
at Syd Barrett: taken by Storm, while it really was: Syd Barrett, taken
Update 2011 02 21: the quite exquisite (but hyper-expensive) Barrett
coffee-table book will have some Storm Thorgerson outtakes of The Madcap
Laughs photo-shoot as well. Dark Globe already had an exclusive preview
of this work and commented:
This [solo years, note by FA] section starts with a brace
of very rare photos from the 'Madcap Laughs' session taken by Storm
Thorgerson. These were taken at the same session which is documented in
Mick Rock's 'Psychedelic Renegades' book and most of them haven't been
seen before. Perhaps the best of the lot is the one of Syd sitting on
the painted floorboards and smiling broadly (perhaps at Iggy?) (Taken
'Barrett' book - a preview.)
Stand by me
Before we end our sermon, dear sistren and brethren, just
another thing. Last year the Church suggested that Iggy could possibly
be found on a John Lennon portrait that was taken during a party at the
Cromwellian in January 1967. To know the outcome, please follow the
guide and head your browsers towards the following path: Dr
Death and other assorted figures...
And for the meantime, don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't do.
The Church wishes to thank: Mark Blake, Dark Globe, Dominae, Griselda
and the beautiful people at Late Night. ♥ Iggy ♥
Yesterday, on Friday the 11th of June 2011, the Reverend of the Holy
Church of Iggy the Inuit was waiting on a bench at the central bus
station when a man addressed him in French, but he soon switched over to
"I see you are reading a nice book about Pink Floyd. I used to be a Pink
Floyd fan myself. Syd Barrett, the madcap loves."
At least it sounded like 'the madcap loves' in my ears and not 'the
madcap laughs', but perhaps the man had just a small problem with
English pronunciation. Never have made that link myself, I can only
smilingly agree that the madcap loves is one of the better
Floydian slips ever.
The madcap loves, I love it.
But perhaps I just misheard the thing, my ears aren't any more what they
used to be, after having been mistreated by Iron Maiden on my iPod for
the last lustrum.
Mad cat's something you can't explain
A trademark rhyme in Barrett's Octopus
song is the line that named the album:
The madcaplaughed at the man on the border Heigh-ho,
Huff the Talbot.
But Rob Chapman, in an interesting YouTube interview
about his biography A
Very Irregular Head, is of the opinion that Barrett did not sing mad-cap
but mad cat. In that case the title of Barrett's first solo
album is based upon a misunderstanding from producer David
The mad cat laughed at the man on the border Heigh-ho,
Huff the Talbot.
Since Paul Belbin's excellent cyber-essay 'Untangling
the Octopus' (2005), hosted at the Church with the author's
permission, we know that the Octopus song (also titled Clowns
and Jugglers in an earlier stage) is packed with obscure literary
references, disclaiming the rumour that Barrett wrote his songs in a
drug influenced frenzy. One of the characters ripped by Syd Barrett
comes from an anonymous nursery rhyme called 'Huff
the Talbot and our cat Tib':
Huff the talbot and our cat Tib They took up sword and
shield, Tib for the red rose, Huff for the white, To fight upon
For the adherers of the mad cat theory it is perhaps of importance here
that the dog's adversary in the battle of Bosworth
just above is not a mad-cap but a cat called Tib.
Rob Chapman also mentions nonsense poet Edward
Lear as a further influence on Barrett but he didn't catch the
There was an old man on the Border, Who lived in the
utmost disorder; He danced with the cat, And made
tea in his hat, Which vexed all the folks on the Border.
You don't need to be a genius to reconstruct how the dancing cat from
Lear's man on the border and Tib, the warrior cat at Bosworth field,
amalgamated into the mad cat character in Octopus.
But, as with all things Syd, things aren't always that simple. The
madcap believers have a point as well as a madcap galloping chase does
appear in an early incarnation of Clowns and Jugglers:
Sit up, touching hips to a madcap galloping chase "Cheat"
he cried shouting “Kangaroo!”
The wind one morning sprang up from sleep, Saying, “Now for a frolic!
now for a leap! Now for a madcap, galloping chase! I’ll
make a commotion in every place!”
In that case David Gilmour mistook one line for the other and the
album's title may have been taken from a quote that didn't make it on
Salvation Came Lately
But the above has got absolutely nothing to do with today's article and
the Reverend duly apologises for the confusion.
Sitting on a bench at the bus station he was addressed by a man who had
found a common point of interest: Pink
Floyd. To prove that the traveller wasn't talking bollocks, the
sharp-dressed man suddenly sang the following lines from Jugband
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
Asked to sing a favourite line from a Floyd tune (luckily that never
happens) I would never quote an early song, so the choice of this man
was quite interesting, to say the least. Unfortunately, the strophe was
followed by the announcement that he didn't listen to the Floyd any
more, only to religious music.
To my shame I have to admit that the Reverend didn't see it coming that
another Reverend was trying to lure him into the tentacles of another
Church... Coincidentally we had to take the same bus and we talked like
close friends until it was time for the ambassador of god to leave the
ambassador of Iggy.
The 'book' I was reading wasn't a book but a special 82 pages issue from
the French rock magazine Vibrations,
entirely dedicated to Pink Floyd (7,90 €). Printed on luxurious glossy
paper it assembles articles (translated in French) from well known Q,
Mojo and NME journalists, such as Martin Aston, the Church's partner in
Blake, Pat Gilbert, Chris Salewicz and the French Aymeric Leroy, who
apparently has written an acclaimed biography on the band: 'Pink Floyd: Plongée
dans l'oeuvre d'un groupe paradoxal'.
The times are long gone when I bought everything that was from far or
nearby Pink Floyd related, I even resisted buying Pink Floyd coffee mugs
a couple of week ago, something that would have been impossible for me
in the past millennium, so here is a biography I wasn't aware of. Not
that I am planning to buy it. There isn't one single French Pink Floyd
or Syd Barrett biography that doesn't clash with my personal beliefs of
what a good biography should be.
Update 2011 06 20: Unfortunately the Internet isn't the safe
place any more where you can insult someone without being noticed.
Aymeric Leroy got hold of this post and wanted to set a few things
Thanks for mentioning my book on your blog. I'd just like to point out
that it isn't a "biography", more like a critical assessment of the
band's entire discography, which does include background info of a
biographical nature, but primarily an analysis of the music and lyrics.
The stuff I wrote for the special issue of "Vibrations" is expanded from
the more biographical passages of the book, but the book isn't an
"expanded" version of those. There are other people who did a great job
telling the band's history, and I relied on their work, but my reason
for adding yet another book to the impressive PF bibliography was to try
and do something different - write about the actual music for at least
75% of the book.
Duly noted, Aymeric, and perhaps the Church will have a go at your book
then, one of these days...
Uncut and uncombed
It promises to be a hot Pink Floyd year, this year, and the makers of Uncut
magazine have issued a 146 pages Pink Floyd special in their The
Ultimate Music Guide series. It isn't such a classy edition as the
French Vibrations, but of course the good news is that it
contains at least twice as much information. With at least one article
or interview per Pink Floyd record this obviously is the 'better buy' of
the two, although the initial set-up is more or less the same. The Uncut
special assembles old articles and a few new ones and promises to be an
That an enjoyable read isn't always the same as an accurate read proves
Allan Jones' The Madcap Laughs & Barrett article on pages 32 till 35. He
starts with mentioning that Syd Barrett entered Studio 3 on the 6th of
May 1968, for the first of six sessions that would follow. I don't know
what it is with this 6-sessions-myth but Rob Chapman claims exactly the
same in his biography. As I always seem to have recalled 9 sessions
instead of 6 it is time for yet another anoraky investigation.
So not for the first time in my career as Reverend of the Holy Church of
Iggy the Inuit I have counted the 1968 Madcap recording dates, as
noted down in David Parker's excellent sessionography Random
Precision. It all starts in the beginning of May.
1968 05 06 – In the morning EMI engineers had been transferring
two Pink Floyd tracks 'In the Beechwood' (aka 'Down in the
Beechwoods') and 'Vegetable Man' for Syd Barrett to work on, but when
Barrett finally arrived he decided to record two new songs instead:
'Silace Lang' (aka 'Silas Lang') and 'Late Night'. Session One.
According to the Allan Jones article Barrett recorded the rambling
'Rhamadan' the day after. Wrong. The next day would have been the
seventh of May, but Barrett only re-entered the studio one week later.
1968 05 13 – 'Silas Lang' (take 1) and 'Late Night' (take 6),
were worked on / transferred by Peter Jenner. It is not clear if Syd
Barrett was present in the studio or if this was merely a technical
session. Of course this could have been one of those 'chaotic' sessions
where Barrett simply didn't show up, with Peter Jenner trying to salvage
the furniture by using the spare time for some producer’s work. Session
1968 05 14 – 'Rhamadan', 'Lanky' (Pt. 1&2), 'Golden Hair'.
Obviously Barrett and three session musicians were in the studio,
although nobody seems to remember who the backing band members really
were. Session Three.
1968 05 21 – 'Late Night', 'Silace Lang'. This was the day when
Syd Barrett forgot to bring his guitar to the studio and Peter Jenner
had to rent one for £10.50. Always a kind of a joker, our Syd. Session
1968 05 28 – 'Golden Hair', 'Swan Lee' (aka 'Silace Lang'),
'Rhamadan'. This session also included (the same?) three session
musicians. Session Five.
1968 06 08 – Superimposition of titles recorded on 6th, 14th,
21st & 29th [wrong date, FA] of May, 1968, so read the red
form notes. Peter Jenner made a provisional tracklist for what could
have been Barrett's first album:
Silas Lang Late Nights (sic) Golden Hair Beechwoods (originally
recorded with Pink Floyd) Vegetable man (originally recorded with
Pink Floyd) Scream Your Last Scream (sic, originally recorded with
Pink Floyd) Lanky Pt 1 Lanky Pt 2
Looking like a Barrett's fan wet dream the above track listing debunks
the story - still popular at certain disturbed Barrett circles - that
the band Pink Floyd and its members deliberately boycotted their former
Barrett was apparently present at this session as some guitar overdubs
were recorded for 'Swan Lee' (the right title of that track still wasn't
decided). Session Six.
1968 06 14 – cancelled session
1968 06 20 – tape transfers and overdubs on 'Late Night' (noted
down as 'Light Nights'), 'Golden Hair', 'Swanlee' (again another way of
naming this track). Syd Barrett probably did some vocal overdubs. Session
1968 06 27 – 'Swanlee', 'Late Night', 'Golden Hair'. Tape
transfers and possible (vocal) overdubs. This is a bit of a mystery
session as the archives of EMI aren't clear what really happened. Session
1968 08 20 – 'Swan Lee', 'Late Nights', 'Golden Hair', 'Clowns &
Jugglers'. First appearance of the track that would later be named
Octopus. Session Nine.
Session nine is where Peter Jenner decided to pull the plug, and unless
you believe in the conspiracy theory that Jenner was a spy for the Pink
Floyd camp, there must have been a valid reason for it.
So there we have it, the nine chaotic Madcap sessions of the year 1968.
Of course it is clear where the six sessions explanation comes from, if
one omits the second session where Barrett probably never cared to show
up and some tape transfer and overdub sessions you have successfully
diminished nine sessions into six.
It all is a matter of interpretation: at one side you have those who
argue that Barrett recorded a nice collection of great dance songs in
only six sessions, at the other side you have those (including producer,
manager and personal friend Peter Jenner) who claim that nine sessions
weren't enough to produce three decent demos. As always the truth lies
somewhere in the middle.
So the six session myth, as noted down by Allan Jones in the Uncut Pink
Floyd 'Ultimate Music Guide' might not be so far off the truth.
Another misty myth hangs around the cover shoot of the album. Allan
Jones bluntly states, more out of ignorance, I presume, than of
knowledge, that Mick Rock was responsible for the cover. The official
version goes that the pictures, used for the cover, were taken by Storm
Thorgerson, who happened to be at the same place at the same time
(as the picture at the left side proves). The Holy Church of Iggy the
Inuit has already spilled lots of bits and bytes about The Madcap Laughs photo
sessions (in plural), so we won't go further into that.
Iggy 'Eskimo' Rose revealed to Mark Blake that other shots were taken as
I don't think Storm and Mick were very impressed by them. If you've ever
seen the cover of the Rod Stewart album, Blondes Have More Fun, they
were a bit like that... Of me and Syd. There were others of me and Syd,
as well, which remind me of the picture of John and Yoko [on Two
Virgins] which came out later. I'd love to see those pictures now.
(Taken from: The
Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 2)
Nowadays it is not that certain any more if these shots were taken by
Storm Thorgerson or by Mick Rock. There might even have been a third
photographer at play. It seems that the flat of Syd Barrett was crowded
with people that day and that they all brought a camera. Unfortunately
the naughty Syd & Iggy pictures seem to have disappeared...
Maybe it was because there was too much frontal. Poor Syd, I remember
getting carried away, pulling and pushing him about, getting astride
him. He was in fits of laughter....which of course is not what they [the
photographers] where after. (Iggy Rose, 30 May 2011.)
Riding the Octopus
Allan Jones is of course not a Barrett anorak like yours truly (and most
of the readers of this blog) and thus he has to confide upon other
anoraky people. So he probably doesn't see any harm in the following
Rob Chapman's close reading of the remarkable 'Octopus', for example,
revealed the craft of which Syd was still capable. The song's cleverly
accumulated lyrics drew on diverse literary sources, folklore, nursery
rhymes, and the hallucinatory vernacular of dream states to create a
wholly realised, enraptured universe, halcyon and unique. (p. 35)
This is all true and very beautifully written, but only – and this
brings us back to the starting point of this article – it was Paul
Belbin's essay (compiled with the help of a dozen of contributors) that
revealed the Octopus' hidden lyrics to begin with and that roughly five
years before Chapman's Irregular Head biography. No wonder that Julian
Palacios, a Syd Barrett biographer in his own right, calls it the
Rosetta stone for decoding the writing inspirations for one of Syd
Barrett's most beloved songs.
But all in all Uncut's 'The Ultimate Music Guide' to Pink Floyd seems to
be an essential (and rather cheap, only £5.99) overview of the band and
its records and I like all the articles that I've read so far. I think
it's a gem and a keeper.
The Church wishes to thank: Paul Belbin, Mark Blake, Julian Palacios and
the wandering anonymous Pink Floyd lover from the Embassy of God.
Top picture: variation on a theme from The
Kitten Covers. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above) Belbin,
Paul: Untangling the Octopus v2, 2006. PDF
version, hosted at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Belbin, Paul &
Palacios, Julian: Untangling the Octopus v3, 2009. PDF
version, hosted at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Update
April 2015: same article hosted at Late
Night. Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books,
London, 2001, p. 126-138.
First of all, happy New Year sistren and brethren of the
Church. These wishes do not only come from the Reverend but also from
our mutual point of adoration, our nadir and zenith, Ms. Iggy Rose. With
every contact she proves to us that she still is extremely exuberant,
hilariously silly and all together daft as a brush (all used in a
Today, the 6th of January, is a special day as well for Sydaholics
all over the world and it rejoices us that Iggy has been a part in the
life of the diamond. Our wish to you, dear Iggy, is not to change a bit,
because wherever you walk rainbows magically appear. We take the small
inconvenience for granted that our ears are ringing when we lay down the
phone. Keep on shouting to the world, Iggy, not only your anger, but
your happiness and joy as well.
So now it is about time for La Sagrada Iglesia de Iggy La Esquimal to
return the favour. Antonio Jesús Reyes from the Spanish
Syd Barrett blog has finally found the time to add his version
of the truth and nothing but the truth.
Antonio Jesús Reyes, a new career in a new town
Tell us about your Syd-Floyd connection. How did you end up living in
This is a short but complex story. I met an English girl in Seville
whose mother was moving to Cambridge and I ended up going out with her…
no, not with the mother! So, we decided at some point to move from
Seville to Cambridge although I did not know what to expect.
Things began to get surreal when we went to the first City Wakes concert
(2008). I was introduced to Rosemary Brent, and after the show we
had a drink (without Rosemary). In the pub I introduced my girlfriend’s
mother to a good friend of Syd, who had played the drums in Those
Without (I remembered his name from a picture I saw years ago).
From that moment on, and for the rest of my stay there, these two years
were sydbarretianly amazing. I nearly met every Cambridge mafia
member in town. Two years after the end of it all, I’m still realizing
that I was often ignorant of the fact that I met these people who had
been part of Syd's and the early Floyd’s life.
So coincidentally Stephen Pyle almost became my father-in law. He
told me lots of anecdotes. We talked about films, paintings, music and
his work for The Rolling Stones, Queen, U2… I miss him most of all.
I worked with him at The City Wakes. One day he introduced me to Jenny
Spires at Mick Brown’s and it was only after thirty minutes of
conversation that I realized that I had heard that name before. She was
quite kind to me and has an extraordinary good taste in music.
The Cambridge experience was incredible. My literary idol, Laurence
Sterne, ‘studied’ where David Bowie played in the 70’s and… ...well,
there are too many stories to tell them all.
My relationship finished some time after returning to Seville. Let me
quote John Milton’s Paradise Lost, I can affirm that it is "better to
reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven". My Cambridge bonds are mostly
cut off now but I still appreciate the friendship forgetting they were
connected to one of my idols.
How did you begin to listen to Syd-Floyd music?
I hope I can tell you in a chronological way:
First: in 1994 I was watching a documentary about the career of
Pink Floyd. I remember someone saying something like “If we could make
it without X, we can make it without Y”. I was reading or writing
something while watching it, so I was not paying much attention. First
there came a lot of noise from the TV speakers, which annoyed me… and
then… a piece of music that was enchanting. It was A
Saucerful of Secrets, performed live in Pompeii. It was a
life-changing experience forgotten in a minute or two. I was a teenager,
and it was summer, please, understand me.
Second: one day while listening to the radio, I heard a song that
really touched me. It was 'Wish You Were Here’. I completely
misunderstood every single thing the radio show host said and thought it
was written by Syd Barrett.
Third: in a record store I found the Crazy
Diamond Box. I quickly read the info and I remembered all I seemed
to know about him. There was a mistake in the price as well as one of
those boxes was priced 1700 pts instead of 7100 pts. You don't have to
guess which one I bought.
When I got home, and listened to it, I did not like it at all. With the
passing of time (a year or longer!!) I tried to listen to Opel
and found that it was so different to the stuff I was usually listening
to, that I got hooked.
By chance, a friend of mine lent me The Piper at the Gates of Dawn… I
began to listen to Pink Floyd, the band founded by the Opel guy.
At the time, I was studying English Language and Literature, so Syd was
a source of knowledge here (Lewis Carrol, Hilaire Belloc, Edward Lear,
Wontcha tell us about your blog?
Why not? It all began when I posted Here
I Go, sung by David Gilmour on a radio show. I noticed this post got
some visitors and as it was the only Syd blog in the Spanish language on
this side of the universe, I decided to do something about it.
After some entries I added a device to translate the entries into other
languages. I thought that other people would be interested in some of
the posts like, for example, the ones offering essential and very good
bootlegs. I even dared to share a home-made compilation of the Have
You Go It Yet? series. Things are growing rapidly and news is
becoming the core of the blog.
I also wanted to share things that haven’t got a place in the project
I’m working on, that is, a book about Syd… which is going to be a quite
hard task to do. Time & money, apart from Pink Floyd songs, are quite
annoying. I cannot say much about this yet. There’s always the
bittersweet risk of giving up, so don’t hold your breath, or you’ll
suffocate. I’m trying to do my best, I swear.
The self-interview section is my favourite. I got Duggie Fields, some
Belgian Reverend and Kiloh Smith to interview themselves for the blog
and others are in the pipeline. It is not easy as you run the risk of
being misinterpreted when choosing the subjects. Basically there are
only two rules:
1. Have fun. 2. Free subject matters.
What's next? It was a surprise when I found that www.sydbarrett.org.es
was free… so my blog points to this URL as well. One problem is that my
computer skills are limited. I need designers for the bootlegs and
layout artists for things unseen in the sydbarretian world. The
number of visits is high, the collaborators are scarce. The pipe of the
pipeline is going to explode.
Why Syd Barrett?
His music works like a hyperlink (a thing he has in common with David
Bowie). It’s because of him that I got to know some writers I didn’t
study at the university. His musical influences are quite rich. By
scratching the surface you end up knowing lots of amazing musicians and
albums like Zappa’s Freak-Out, Love’s Forever
Changes, the works of Kevin Ayers, and The Byrds to mention a few.
It made me fully appreciate other genres like psychedelic folk and
blues. Syd's friend, Stephen Pyle, showed me to appreciate blues. He
used to play Bo Diddley (whom he met once!), John Lee Hooker, Jimmy
Reed, Buddy Guy...
With Barrett, I learned to see what’s behind a song. Some of those, for
reasons we know, were under-produced (sometimes, even less than that)
and yet they have reached a kind of status that will make them last
forever. You know they are quite good songs even without a proper
production, even with a quite imperfect performance.
Today, we see the contrary. No matter the means musicians have today,
most of contemporary music seems to suffer from a dance song fate
and their perishability is faster than the yoghourts in your fridge.
There must be something extremely special in those under-produced Syd
Barrett tracks, rougher than demos, that makes them what they are.
Tell us about your favorite music.
Recently, I’ve been listening to Kevin Ayers a lot, and The The. Also
The Beach Boys are on my mp3 player. They are something special. The
sound and the songs of The Beach Boys have a special quality which makes
this music a kind of healing experience, the kind of help we need to
survive modern life. …The Manics, Travis, Maximilian Hecker, Sun Ra…
Spanish singer-songwriters like Nacho Vegas and Diego Vasallo… Good old
rock and roll, like Chuck Berry, Jerry-Lee Lewis, Elvis…
You could say I’m a kind of David Bowie connoisseur. I collaborated on
Nicholas Pegg’s The Complete David Bowie proposing some
ideas I found interesting. I strongly recommend it. Bowie’s 1967 album
is very avant-garde, and very ironic.
In general, I like artists who are innovative, like producer Joe Meek,
and those who can transform the past into something completely different
or revive it in a new and exciting way, like Suede.
What do you think about the recent Pink Floyd
Those are not my cup of tea. These boxes have so much useless gimmicks
and several music stuff is simply repeated! The unreleased material of
every album could have been compiled in the way of The Beatles Anthology
and then everyone would have been satisfied. The Pink Floyd vaults seem
not to be very deep, but the treasures are so hard to get!
I understand that EMI intends to make business, however, at the same
time and paradoxically, they don't make their customers happy. So what’s
this for? To get cash and disappoint people? It makes people eager to
download the stuff instead of buying it.
I don’t need a Piper / Saucerful Immersion set. I don’t want those
marbles, I don’t need a scarf, I don’t use placeholders (I got plenty of
them during my stay in Belgium). I haven’t got a Blue-ray player. In
summary, I don’t want to create more needs… Do ya?
Would Barrett have become a second Bowie if only?
The otherness in Barrett could have derived into something different
from Bowie or the other way round, but never would he have become a
second Bowie. They would have provoked some kind of artistic turmoil in
the best of the senses. Along with Brian Eno, both are (were) aware that
"music is where you can crash your plane and walk away”. Songs like
Arnold Layne, so childlike, or Astronomy Domine, with such an exciting
and new sound, were made with a goal. Bowie and Barrett are the kind of
artists carrying that old Monty Python sentence: “And now… for something
completely different”. That’s what Barrett did most of the times. Every
Syd tune was different.
Best memories of England?
It was all quite surreal. I remember walking on the grass of
Grantchester Meadows, having coffee in The Cambridge Corn Exchange, and
feeling like in a dream I had never dreamed, just because I was there by
chance. I visited every place I had read about in the books, like St.
Margaret Square. I also did the same in London, the three times I went
I arrived there in a sort of tele-transportation. I did not have the
time to think of the things I knew I would see there. And surprises came
in little by little; I did not know the grass of King’s College was the
one mentioned on ‘Brain Damage’, for example.
I remember working for The City Wakes, restoring old magazine adverts
for concerts and saying to myself… “What is this where I’m in??!!”. The
result was part of a collage by Stephen Pyle (again), and it ended up on
the wall of a jazz bar (and part of a postcard collection).
But life was not always easy for an immigrant. All in all it was a
beautiful and wonderful bitter-sweet experience.
Apart from the aforementioned people… who else did you meet?
I met Storm Thorgerson during one of his exhibitions. I had some kind of
problem with him. I had a City Wakes poster with me he made the artwork
for and he put his autograph on it. I was going to leave, when he said
“you have to pay 20 pounds”. I said I did not have a penny! And he let
me go in a… special way.
I had the chance to meet Mick Rock, but I did not make the effort to
avoid another disappointment. Steven Pyle and Mick met… and… during a
chat in a bar, they removed a Syd poster from a wall and Mick dedicated
it to me. Stephen said he was a very nice person, to which I thought…
“****!”, it was like winning the lottery without having a coupon. A good
summary of my stay.
What more can you say?
Not much. Visit Solo
En Las Nubes using the translation tool or read it like that in
order to improve your Spanish. There are a lot of surprises to come, not
only for the Spanish speakers. Cool compilations, some material to read
(in English too) and lots of music recommendations.
The Holy Igquisition has got a little black book with Roger
Waters' interesting quotes in. Needless to say that this is a very
thin book, with lots of white space, but here is a phrase from the Pink
Floyd's creative genius (his words, not ours) this article
would like to begin with.
There are no simple facts. We will all invent a history that suits us
and is comfortable for us, and we may absolutely believe our version to
be the truth. (…) The brain will invent stuff, move stuff around, and so
from 30 years ago (…) there's no way any of us can actually get at the
The Reverend would – however – first want to ask one fundamental
question, of which our readers may not be quite aware of the
significance of it... If Roger Waters is such a creative genius writing
poignant one-liners criticizing his fellow rock colleagues:
Lloyd-Webber's awful stuff. Runs for years and years and years. (…) Then
the piano lid comes down. And breaks his fucking fingers. (It's
A Miracle, Amused
...why then does he agree to release hyper-priced Immersion boxes
containing a scarf, some marbles, carton toasters, playing cards, other
debris and, oh yeah, incidentally some music as well? One can only
conclude it's a miracle. Let's just hope he doesn't get near a
piano for the next couple of years.
But probably we are too harsh in our criticism, Roger Waters has told
the press before that he is simply outvoted by the other Pink Floyd
members. This is a situation that used to be different in the past when
he reigned over the band as the sun
king, but like he will remember from his Ça
Ira days, these are the pros and cons of capitalist democracy.
A typical Floydian example of false memory syndrome is the visit of Syd
Barrett in the Abbey
Road studios on the 5th of June 1975. It is a mystery to us why EMI
didn't ask for entrance money that day as a complete soccer team,
including the four Pink Floyd members David
Mason, Roger Waters and Rick
Wright, claim they have seen, met and spoken to Syd Barrett.
Roadie (and guitar technician) Phil Taylor remembers he had a
drink in the mess with Syd and David. Stormtrooper Thorgerson
has had his say about it all but if one would give him the opportunity
he would argue – probably in yet another book rehashing the same old
material – that he started the band Pink Floyd at the first place. Other
'reliable' witnesses that day include (alphabetically sorted): Venetta
Fields, backing singer and member of The
Leckie, EMI engineer and producer (but not on Wish
You Were Here) Nick
Sedgwick, friend of Roger Waters and 'official' biographer of Pink
Shirley, Humble Pie drummer and friend of David Gilmour Carlena
Williams, backing singer and member of The Blackberries
Some say that Barrett visited the studio for two or three days in a row
and three people, including his former managers Peter
Jenner and Andrew
King, claim they spoke to Syd Barrett about a month later on David
Gilmour's wedding while the bridegroom himself claims that Syd Barrett
never showed up. To quote Pink Floyd biographer Mark
Blake: “...not two people in Pink Floyd's world have matching
stories...”, and neither do two biographies...
(A more detailed article about Barrett's visits during the Wish You Were
Here sessions, with pictures!, can be found at: Shady
In his most recent, but probably not his last, picture book about Syd
Rock writes the following:
He (Syd Barrett, FA) asked me to take photos for the sleeve of
his first solo album The Madcap Laughs that autumn. At the time he was
living with yet another very pretty young lady known only as Iggy the
Eskimo. She wasn't really his girlfriend although clearly they had a
sexual relationship. But of course her presence in some of the photos we
took that day added an important element that enhanced their magical
Most biographies (all but one, Julian Palacios' Dark
Globe, in fact) put the date of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot in the
autumn of 1969 and this thanks to testimonies of Storm
Thorgerson, Mick Rock and, most of all, Malcolm
Jones. The Church, however, beliefs there is a 'misinformation
effect' in play. Researchers have found out that people will
automatically fill in the blanks in their memory if a so-called reliable
witness comes with an acceptable story. This would not be the first time
this happens in Pink Floyd history. And probably there have been 'cover
picture' meetings after summer between Harvest
perhaps even leading to an alternative Storm Thorgerson photo shoot (the
But in the end it was decided to use the daffodils session from
That the Church's theory (with the help of JenS) wasn't that far-fetched
was proven in March 2010 when the rock magazine Mojo
consecrated a three pages long article to pinpoint the date of the
shooting of The Madcap Laughs, with testimonies from Duggie Fields, Mick
Rock, Jenny Spires and Storm Thorgerson. The article and the Church's
comments can be found at Goofer
Dust [(I've got my) Mojo (working)... Part 2].
We know from JenS, Duggie Fields and Gretta
Barclay that Iggy arrived early 1969, and helped painting the floor,
but the only person who didn't comment on this was Iggy Rose herself. So
one freezing winter day The Holy Church asked her if she could have been
around at Wetherby Mansion, after the summer of 1969...
Iggy Rose: "I don't think it was that late, but I have to admit
it was almost 45 years ago. I remember I was cold, and they had a
one-bar-heater to try and keep me warm. I stayed a week here and there
and I never gave that photo shoot another thought. Later I found out
when Mick Rock came back for the second shoot he was disappointed I
Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)): "I took Ig to Wetherby Mansions in January or
February 1969 where she met Syd Barrett. (…) I introduced Iggy to Syd
shortly before I left (to America, FA), and she was around when I
left. She wasn’t there for long and generally moved around a lot to
Iggy Rose: "I had absolutely no idea how mammoth he was. Syd
never came on to me as the Big I Am. In fact when he played his rough
tracks of The Madcap Laughs he was so endearingly sweet and appealing...
Even asking me whether it was good enough to take to some bloke at EMI
Margaretta Barclay (Gretta
Speaks (Pt. 2)): "Iggy moved about and stayed with all sorts of
people in all sorts of places without declaring her intention to do so.
To my knowledge there was no ‘when Iggy left Syd’ moment. We were all
free spirits then, who moved whenever and wherever a whim took us."
Iggy Rose: "I wasn't even aware of who Syd Barrett really was. Of
course I knew of Pink Floyd. I must have seen them perform at Crystal
Palace but they were to me an obscure avant-garde underground band, who
played way-out music I couldn't dance to."
Jenny Spires (public conversation at Iggy Roses' Facebook
page): "Ig, Syd painted the floor boards as soon as he moved in
Christmas 68. When I moved in with him in January there were still
patches not done, by the door, in the window under the mattress where we
slept, in top right hand corner of the room. When he painted it
initially, he didn't wash the floor first. He just painted straight onto
all the dust etc... Dave (Gilmour) also painted his floor red..."
Duggie Fields (Mojo): "It was pretty primitive, two-bar electric
fire, concreted-up fireplaces... it was an area in decline. I don't
think there was anything, no cooker, bare floorboards..."
Mate (alleged visitor at Wetherby Mansions, FA): "The
three rooms all faced the street. On entering the house, the first room
was Fields', the second and largest, I guess about 25 square meters,
Barrett's. The third and smallest room was a communal room or a bedroom
for guests. Gala (Pinion, FA) stayed there. In the corridor were
some closets stuffed with clothes.
Then the floor bended to a small bathroom, I think it was completely at
the inside without a window. At the back was the kitchen with a window
to the garden. It was not very big and looked exactly like in the
Fifties. The bathroom was also rather simple, I mean, still with a small
tub. I don't remember how the bathroom floor looked like though."
Update 2016: 'Mate' is an anonymous witness who claims to have
been an amorous friend of Syd Barrett, visiting him several times in
London and Cambridge between 1970 and 1980. However, later
investigations from the Church have found out that this person probably
never met Syd and is a case of pseudologia fantastica. This
person, however, has a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of Syd Barrett and
early Pink Floyd and probably the above description of Syd's flat is
Iggy Rose: "I think Gala had the small room, Duggie the second
and Syd the largest. She had a lot of perfumes and soaps and gave me a
nice bubbly bath once... ...and tampons." (Launches one of her legendary
roaring laughs provoking a temporarily hearing loss with the Reverend.)
Any colour you like
Ian Barrett: "The stereo in the picture ended up at my house, and
I am pretty sure I had the record player in my bedroom for a good few
years. God knows where it is now though..."
Iggy Rose: "I wonder what happened to the old heavy tape recorder
with the giant spools. I remember Syd carrying it over for me to listen
to his rough cut of The Madcap Laughs."
Malcolm Jones (The Making Of The Madcap Laughs): "In anticipation
of the photographic session for the sleeve, Syd had painted the bare
floorboards of his room orange and purple."
Mick Rock (Psychedelic Renegades): "Soon after Syd moved in he
painted alternating floor boards orange
JenS: "I was staying with Syd between the New Year and March '69.
(…) Anyway, at that time, the floor was already painted blue
and orange and I remember thinking how
good it looked on the Madcap album cover later on when the album was
Iggy Rose (The
Croydon Guardian): "When Mick (Rock, FA) turned up to
take the photos I helped paint the floor boards for the shoot, I was
covered in paint, I still remember the smell of it."
Margaretta Barclay (Gretta
Speaks): "I remember that Iggy was involved with the floor painting
project and that she had paint all over her during the floor painting
time but I was not involved with the painting of the floor."
Iggy Rose (Mojo):
"He jumped off the mattress and said, 'Quick, grab a paint brush.' He
did one stripe and I did another. If you look at Mick Rock's pictures, I
have paint on the soles of my feet."
Duggie Fields (The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story): "I think he
painted the floor boards, sort of quite quickly. He didn't prepare the
floor, I don't think he swept the floor actually. (…) And he hadn't
planned his route out of the bed that was over there. He painted around
the bed and I think there was a little problem getting out of the room.
(…) He painted himself in."
Jenny Fabian (Days In The Life):: "He'd painted every other floor
board alternate colours red and green."
Iggy Rose: "I remember the mattress being against the
wall......Soooooo either we ran out of paint, or waited till the paint
dried, so poor Syd was marooned in the middle of the floor. (…) The
floorboards were painted red and blue.
I do remember, as the paint was on my feet and bottom. Did you know that
Syd wanted to take the colours right up the wall?"
Mate: "The planks were painted in a bright fiery-red,
perhaps with a slight tendency towards orange,
and dark blue with a shadow of violet.
Iggy is absolutely right: this was no orange's
orange. The curtains were dark
green velvet." (This witness may be a mythomaniac,
Mick Rock: "They were long exposures because of the low light and
they were push-developed which means that you give the film more time in
the processing fluid. You can tell because the colour changes and
the film starts to break up which causes that grainy effect."
Libby Gausden: "I always thought it was orange
paint, not red." Iggy
Rose: "Careful Libs darling! People will start to analyse that, the
way they did with the dead daffodils." Libby Gausden:
"Well they had faded from red to orange
when I got there."
Jenny Spires (public conversation
at Iggy Roses' Facebook
page): "The floor was painted long before you arrived Ig and was blue
and orange. You and Syd might have given
it another lick of paint and covered up some of the patchiness and bare
floorboard that was under the mattress before the Rock/Thorgersen shoot.
Perhaps, he only had red paint for that,
but it was blue and orange."
Mate: "Even in 1970 there were still unpainted parts in the room,
hidden under a worn rug. I suppose the floor had been beige-white before
Syd and Iggy painted it in dark blue
with a shadow of violet and bright orangy
red . The floor boards had not been carefully painted and
were lying under a thick shiny coat. The original pitch-pine wood didn't
In my impression it was an old paint-job and I didn't realise that Syd
had done it all by himself the year before. I never spoke with him about
the floor as I couldn't predict that it would become world-famous one
day. It is also weird that nearly nobody seems to remember the third
room..." (This witness may be a mythomaniac, see above.)
Mick Rock: "I actually went back a couple of weeks later. We
still didn't know what the LP was going to be called and we thought we
might need something different for the inner sleeve or some publicity
Iggy Rose: "I did go back afterwards and maybe Syd mentioned this
to someone. I wasn't bothered and I didn't know Syd was some big pop
star. He never lived like one and certainly didn't behave like."
When Iggy disappeared it wasn't to marry a rich banker or to go to Asia.
As a matter of fact she was only a few blocks away from the already
crumbling underground scene. One day she returned to the flat and heard
that Barrett had returned to Cambridge. She would never see Syd again
and wasn't aware of the fact that her portrait was on one of the most
mythical records of all time.
Update 2016: The above text, although meant to be tongue in
cheek, created a rift between the Reverend and one of the cited
witnesses, that still hasn't been resolved 4 years later. All that over
a paint job from nearly 50 years ago.
Many thanks to: Margaretta Barclay, Duggie Fields, Libby Gausden, Mate,
Iggy Rose, JenS & all of you @ NML & TBtCiIiY...
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 231-232. Clerk,
Carol: If I'm honest, my idea was that we should go our separate ways,
Roger Waters interview in Uncut June 2004, reprinted in: The Ultimate
Music Guide Issue 6 (from the makers of Uncut): Pink Floyd, 2011, p. 111. Gladstone,
Shane: The Dark Star, Clash 63, July 2011, p. 53 (Mick Rock
picture outtakes). Green,
Jonathon: Days In The Life, Pimlico, London, 1998, p.168. Jones,
Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p.
13. Mason, Nick: Inside Out, Orion Books, London, 2011
reissue, p. 206-208. Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades,
Plexus, London, 2007, p. 18-19, Rock, Mick: Syd Barrett - The
Photography Of Mick Rock, EMI Records Ltd, London & Palazzo Editions
Ltd, Bath, 2010, p. 10-11. Spires, Jenny: Facebook
conversation with Iggy Rose, July 2011.
Despite the fact that the sixties children of the revolution all wanted
to express their individualism and refused to be a part of the square 9
to 5 world they all managed to show up at the same places, dress
virtually the same and take the same chemical substances.
This also applied for their holidays. Although they had been seeing each
other the whole year in old rainy England, in summer they would pack
their bags and flee – en masse – to the same cool (but
sweaty) locations, following the so-called Hippie
The Hippie Trail extended to the Himalayas and several Cantabrigian
hipsters made it to the Indies, looking for a guru who would teach them
things a local vicar couldn't teach them. Paul Charrier, one of the
Cantabrigian mods, beats or whatever denomination they liked that week,
was one of the first to witness this. When he returned to England and
opened his bag of tricks, he managed to convert a few others to the
narrow path of Sant
Mat, but others, like Storm
Thorgerson and Matthew
Scurfield, opposed to this 'wave of saccharine mysticism hitting our
shores' (see also: We
are all made of stars).
India and Pakistan were long and hazardous journeys and for those who
only had a few weeks to spend there were always the Balearic islands
where they would meet at La Tortuga or La
Some 700 hippies arrived in Formentera in 1968 and by the summer of 1969
there were already 1,300, almost one for every 2.5 islanders. They
didn’t stay all year round but were usually university students spending
their holidays on the island. In 1970, Franco’s regime threw all 3,000
of them off Ibiza and Formentera. According to the regime, the hippies
gave the place a bad name, but the islanders didn’t agree – for them the
hippies were simply tourists. (Taken from: Thinkspain.)
Of course the islands of Formentera
(Balearic Islands) already had some reputation of their own. The place
not only gained popularity by (American) writers and artists after the
second world war for its mild climate, but also because it was a central
drug smuggling point. The heroes of Beat literature not only liked the
bohemian's life, but in their quest for nonconformity they also actively
sought contact with 'the perilous margins of society - pimps, whores,
drug dealers, petty thieves'.
Quite some Dutch artists visited the place, for one reason or another.
The proto-hippie-folk singing duo Nina
& Frederik (Dutch-Danish, in fact), who had some hits in the
fifties and early sixties, lived there. In his later life Frederik
Van Pallandt attempted a career as drug smuggler and his murder in
1994 may have been a direct result. Other artist included poet Simon
Vinkenoog, author Jan
Cremer and Black & Decker trepanist Bart
Huges. The sixties saw visits from the Beatles, the Stones and in
their wake some beautiful people from London (for a more detailed list: Ibiza
in the beatnik & hippie eras.)
David Gale, his girlfriend Maureen, Dave Henderson, Storm Thorgerson and
John Davies went to Ibiza in 1963 for their holidays where they visited
Formentera island for a day. Back at home they all decided to have
another holiday there.
Mary Wing (and her friend Marc Dessier) found Formentera so beautiful
that in 1965 they decided to stay there.
Nick Mason acknowledges that after the '14
hour technicolour dream' (29 April 1967) the band was very tired and
that Syd showed more severe symptoms than the others. Despite all that
the continuous, eight days a week, gigging went on with the mythical Games
For May concert two weeks later (12 May), the memorable Hans
Keller BBC interview (14 May) and the See
Emily Play recording session (18 May). There were nearly daily
concerts or recording sessions between May and June of that year, but
little by little cracks started to appear in their overcrowded agenda.
June, 11: two cancelled concerts in Holland June, 18: public
appearance on a bikini fashion show for Radio London, cancelled June,
24: two cancelled concerts in Corby and Bedford June, 25: two
cancelled concerts in Manchester
On Thursday, July the 27th 1967, the Pink Floyd mimed (for the third
time) on the Top Of the Pops show although Barrett was rather reluctant
to do it. The next day they had a recording session for the BBC, but
apparently Syd was seen leaving the block when it was their turn. This
time the band and its management took Syd's behaviour seriously and
decided to cancel all August gigs (with the exception of some studio
Update September 2012: one of these cancelled gigs was the 7th
National Jazz, Pop, Ballads and Blues Festival that was visited by Iggy
the Eskimo: Iggy
- a new look in festivals.
Now what would you do when the lead singer of your band has got mental
problems due to his abundant drug intake? You send him to a hippie, drug
infested, island under the supervision of a psychedelic doctor who
thinks that LSD has been been the best invention since masturbation.
In 1969 Smutty would have his medical office at Jenny
Fabian's apartment: “I did find it a bit weird though, trying to lie
around stoned listening to the sounds of vaginal inspections going on
behind the curtain up the other end of the sitting-room."
After a first attempt in the studio on Scream
Thy Last Scream, Pink Floyd finally went on holiday for the second
half of August. Syd Barrett, Lindsay Corner, Rick Wright, Juliette Gale
(Wright), Dr. Sam Hutt, his wife and baby went to Formentera while Roger
Waters and Judy Trim (Waters) headed for Ibiza. They all had a good
time, except for Barrett who – during a storm - panicked so hard he
literally tried to climb the walls of the villa, an anecdote that is so
vehemently trashed by biographer Rob
Chapman that it probably did happen.
In retrospect the decision to take a hippie doctor on holiday wasn't
that stupid. One of the underlying ideas was that he would be able to
communicate with Syd on the same level. The band, conscientiously or
not, were also aware that 'there was a fear that sending Syd to a
[traditional] doctor for observation might lead to his being sectioned
in a mental hospital'.
In those days most care centres in Great Britain were still Victorian
lunatic asylums where medical torture was mildly described as therapy.
At least these were the horrid stories told by the people who had been
so lucky to escape.
He showed me to the room that was to be mine. It was indeed a cell.
There was no door knob on the inside, the catch had been jammed so that
the door couldn't be shut properly, the window was high up in the wall
and had bars over it, and there was only a standard issue bed and locker
as furniture. (William Pryor)
Nobody wanted this to happen to Syd, but a less prosaic thought was this
would have meant the end of the band, something that had to be carefully
avoided. “The idea was to get Syd out of London, away from acid, away
from all his friends who treated him like a god.”, Rick Wright explained
but in reality Dr. Hutt, and the others, merely observed Syd Barrett,
catatonic as ever and still 'munching acid all the time'. Nick Mason, in
his usual dry style: “It was not a success.”
Whoever thought that giving Barrett a few weeks of rest was going to
evaporate the demons from his brain must have been tripping himself and
on the first of September the agenda was resumed as if nothing had
happened. The first 6 days were filled with gigs and recording sessions.
Three days later a Scandinavian tour with the legendary Gyllene
Cirkeln and Starclub gigs, followed by an Irish Tour and later, in
October, the disastrous North American Tour...
Although the previous paragraphs may seem harsh they are not meant to
criticise the people nor their actions. It is easy to pinpoint what went
wrong 45 years ago, but as it is impossible to predict an alternative
past we will never know if any other action would have had a different
or better effect. The Reverend is convinced that Syd's friends, band
members and management tried to do their best to help him, but
unfortunately they were running in the same insane treadmill as he was.
Syd wasn't the only one to be exhausted and at the same time the
atmosphere was imbibed with the 'summer of love' philosophy of
respecting someone's personal freedom, even if it lead to
In 1968 Aubrey
'Po' Powell (Floydian roadie and later Hipgnosis member) visited the
Formentera island together with some friends.
I first came here forty-one years ago [interview taken in 2009, FA] with
David Gilmour, and then the year afterwards with Syd Barrett. The first
year I came to Formentera I stayed about four months living like a
hippie, and I just fell in love with it. (…) Also it was kind of
difficult to get to. You had to get the plane to Ibiza and then the
ferry which at that time was the only ferry that went between Ibiza and
Formentera and that took about two hours to get across and it only went
twice a day. So it was an effort to get there, you know, it was a rather
remote place. But a lot of writers, painters and musicians gravitated
there. (Taken from: Aubrey
Powell: Life, light and Formentera’s influence on Hipgnosis.)
Shortly after Syd Barrett watched the first moon-landing
(that had been given a Pink Floyd soundtrack on the BBC) he panicked
when he found out that his pal Emo (Iain Moore) and a few others (Po,
John Davies) had left Albion for sunny Formentera. He literally grabbed
a bag of cash and dirty clothes and headed to Heathrow, driven there by
The story goes that Syd tried to stop an aeroplane taxiing on the
tarmac. In at least one version the plane actually stopped and took him
on board, but other say he had to wait for the next departure. Again it
is biographer Rob Chapman who categorises this anecdote as
'unsubstantiated nonsense', on the weird assumption that it failed to
make the newspapers, but other biographies have also omitted this story
for simply being too unbelievable.
Anyway, somewhere in July or early August 1969 Syd arrived in Ibiza and
met Emo who was on his way to San Fernando (Formentera). The biographies
Crazy Diamond (Mike Watkinson & Pete Anderson), Madcap (Tim Willis) and
Dark Globe (Julian Palacios) all add bits and pieces to that particular
Iain Moore: “He had a carrier bag of clothes that I could smell from
where I was standing.”
Emo says Syd's behaviour was pivoting like a see-saw. One moment he
could be seen laughing, joking and singing with the gang; the next
moment he could snap into an emotional freeze. It was useless to warn
him for the blistering sun and in the end his friends 'had to grab him,
hold him down, and cover him from head to toe in Nivea'.
At Formentera Syd stayed with Mary Wing, who had left Great Britain in
1965 to live on the island with Marc Dessier. According to them Barrett
was a gentle soul but 'like a little brother who needed looking after'.
Barrett was in good form and to an audience of European hippies he
claimed he was still the leader of Pink Floyd.
Barrett borrowed Dessier's guitar: “Then he sat there, chose a letter of
the alphabet and thought of his three favourite words starting with the
same letter. He wrote them on three bits of paper, threw them in the air
and wrote them again in the order that he picked them up.” This
technique was not uncommon for beat poets and Syd may have been inspired
by Spike Hawkins who showed Barrett his Instant Poetry Broth book the
One Formantera picture shows Syd with an unknown girl who hides her
nudity behind a red veil. The (copyrighted) picture can be found on John
Davies MySpace page (image link)
and has been published in the Crazy Diamond biography and on A
For Pink Floyd buffs the picture shares a resemblance with the red veil
picture on the Wish
You Were Here liner bag, that actually exists in a few different
versions. Storm Thorgerson has used the past from the band and its
members for his record covers, backdrop movies and videos on several
occasions, like the Barrett vinyl compilation that had a cover with a
plum, an orange and a matchbox.
Hipgnosis collaborator 'Po' Powell was with Syd in Formentera in 1969,
but what does Storm Thorgerson has to say about it all? He reveals that
the idea for the veil came from John Blake, and not from Po:
John Blake suggested using a veil – symbol of absence (departure) in
funerals ans also a way of absenting (hiding) the face. This was the
last shot (…) which was photographed in Norfolk.
And in Mind Over Matter:
The red muslin veil is an universal item, or symbol, of hiding the face,
either culturally as in Araby, or for respect as in funerals. What's
behind the veil?
According to Nick Mason a female nude can be seen on the Wish You Were
Here inside cover but of course this doesn't say anything about the
unknown woman on Formentera. Who is she?
Nobody knows. And that secret remained a secret for over 40 years.
Now let's suppose a witness would show up who remembers she has been
seen walking near Earl's Court. And that she was called Sarah Sky
although that probably was not her real name. And that she spoke with
a foreign accent and lived in London. And that Sarah Sky vanished
around the late 1970's and has never been heard of since.
Partially solving a problem only makes it bigger. A new quest has begun.
Update 2012.05.26: According to Emo (Iain Moore) Sarah Sky may
have been one of the girls who went with them to Formentera. The Syd
Barrett Archives (Facebook) have the following quote:
Actually, I spoke to Emo last night and he said she was just another
person who was staying at the house they rented. It was a nudist beach,
lol. At least Syd kept his pants on this time! (…) Anyway, Emo
said they didn't know her and he couldn't remember who she was with.
(...) The girl in this photo is name unknown. She was American and
staying in a house in Ibiza. She was visiting Formentera for the day.
Iain has, since then, reconfirmed that the Formentera Girl was an
American tourist. He has also posted a new picture of Syd and the girl.
Update August 2012: Author and movie maker Nigel
Gordon does not agree with a quote in the above text, taken from
I just want to respond briefly to your article on Formentera etc where
you wrote or quote that Santmat is ‘saccharine mysticism’. I don’t agree
with you. Santmat recommends that we meditate for two and a half hours a
day. It’s pretty ‘salty’!
Update February 2015: Some 'sources' on the web pretend the
Formentera girl is none other than German photo-model Uschi Obermaier.
Obviously this is not true and if you want to know how the Church came
to this conclusion you can read everything at Uschi
Obermaier: Proletarian Chic.
Many thanks to: Nina, Ebronte, Julian Palacios, Jenny Spires.
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 90, 131. Chapman,
Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p.
228, 341. Davis, John: Childhood's
End, My Generation Cambridge 1946-1965. De Groot, Gerard: The
Sixties Unplugged, Pan Macmillan, London, 2009, p. 27. Gordon,
Nigel: Santmat, email, 18.08.2012. Green, Jonathon: Days In
The Life, Pimlico, London, 1998, p. 286. Green, Jonathon: All
Dressed Up, Pimlico, London, 1999, p. 255. Mason, Nick, Inside
Out, Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue, p. 95-97. Palacios,
Julian: A mile or more in a foreign clime': Syd and Formentera @ Syd
Barrett Research Society, 2009 (forum no longer active). Palacios,
Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London,
2010, p. 265, 353. Pryor, William: The Survival Of The Coolest,
Clear Books, 2003, p. 106. Scurfield, Matthew: I Could Be Anyone,
Monticello Malta 2009, p. 176. Spires, Jenny: The
Syd Barrett Archives, Facebook, 2012. Thorgerson, Storm: Mind
Over Matter, Sanctuary Publishing, London, 2003, p. 80. Thorgerson,
Storm: Walk Away René, Paper Tiger, Limpsfield, 1989, p. 150. Thorgerson,
Storm & Powell, Aubrey: For The Love Of Vinyl, Picturebox,
Brooklyn, 2008, p. 104 (essay written by Nick Mason). Watkinson, Mike
& Anderson, Pete: Crazy Diamond, Omnibus Press, London, 1993,
p. 90-91. Willis, Tim, Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p.
What is there to say about Storm, except perhaps, like someone put in Birdie
Hop, that he had a great name and a great life?
Thorgerson was a member of the so-called Cambridge mafia, who in the
early Sixties fled their home-town en masse to seek fame and
fortune in the great city. They wanted to study in London, at least that
is what they told their parents, but frankly these youngsters just
wanted to get away from parental guidance and have an uncensored bite of
adult life: sex, drugs and rock'n roll. Paradoxically, or maybe not,
once they arrived in London they immediately flocked together, sharing
apartments and houses and meeting in the same clubs and coffee houses.
The term Cambridge mafia was coined by David
Gilmour to denominate that bunch of relatives, friends and
acquaintances who stuck together, not only in the sixties, but are still
doing today. As a relative young and unknown band Pink
Floyd looked for associates, sound- and light technicians, roadies
and lorry drivers in their immediate neighbourhood, often not further
away than the next room in the same house.
Thorgerson was no exception, he had played cricket in the same team as Bob
Klose and Roger
Waters, and when the Floyd needed a record cover for A
Saucerful Of Secrets, Storm managed to squeeze himself in, staying
there till the end of his life, as the recent variations
of the Dark Side of the Moon cover show us.
But even before Saucerful Storm had been involved with the band, it was
at his kitchen table at Egerton Court that the members, minus Syd
Barrett, discussed the future of Pink Floyd and decided to ask for a
little help from yet another Cantabrigian friend: David Gilmour.
Obviously, this blog would not exist if, in the week from the 14th to
21st April 1969, Storm hadn't made an appointment with history to start
a magical photo shoot.
Julian Palacios in Dark Globe:
Storm Thorgerson supervised the photo session for the cover of The
Madcap Laughs, bringing in Mick Rock to photograph at Syd’s flat. ‘Syd
just called out of the blue and said he needed an album cover,’
confirmed Rock. When Thorgerson and Rock arrived for the shoot, ‘Syd was
still in his Y-fronts when he opened the door,’ Mick explained. ‘He had
totally forgotten about the session and fell about laughing. His lady
friend of two weeks, “Iggy the Eskimo”, was naked in the kitchen
preparing coffee. She didn’t mind either. They laughed a lot, a magical
There has been some muffled controversy who was the brain behind the
pictures of The Madcap Laughs, not really helped by some contradicting
explanations from Storm Thorgerson and Mick
Rock. They both arrived the same day, both with a camera, and
probably Rock handed over (some of) his film rolls to Storm as this was
initially a Hipgnosis
Unfortunately we will never be able to ask Storm whether there was a
third photographer present or not, but the chance is he wouldn't have
remembered anyway. The rumour goes Storm was a rather chaotic person and
that most Barrett negatives disappeared or were misplaced through the
Perhaps the best, or at least the most personal, the most touching, the
most emotional album art by Storm is the cover of the 1974 Syd Barrett
vinyl compilation. It is a simple brown cover with Syd's name in
handwriting and a small picture, taken from what probably was an autumn
or late summer photo session also destined for the cover of The Madcap
Laughs. The pictures of the so-called yoga photo-shoot however where not
used, as we all know, for Syd's first album as Storm decided to use the
daffodil and Iggy session from April instead. Hence the misdating in
nearly all biographies.
In 1974 Harvest decided to package Barrett's two solo albums as a budget
release. Storm, by then de de facto house photographer of Pink
Floyd, was asked to design a new cover. Storm rang at Syd's apartment
but the recalcitrant artist smashed the door when he heard about the
reason for the visit.
Thorgerson went back to the office and decided to make a cover out of
leftover pictures. On top of the brown background he put a plum, an
orange and a matchbox. This was probably the first time that Storm
played a game that he would later repeat with other Floydian artwork,
leaving enigmatic hints that were initially only understood by that
select group of Cantabrigian insiders who had known Syd personally.
Thorgerson's riddles culminated in the art for The
Division Bell (and its many spin-offs) that had a visual companion
for every song of the album, and rather than clarifying or portraying
the lyrics they added to the mystery. It still is his opus magnum
and unfortunately he will not be able any more to top it. We will never
know if he was in with the Publius
Enigma hoax although there have been a few leads pointing that way.
At a later stage Storm lost me somewhat. His mix of photographic
surrealism and mockery became too much a gimmick and the freshness and
inventiveness were gone. The covers of the latest Syd Barrett and Pink
Floyd compilations were not always appreciated by the fans. Perhaps he
was already sick by then.
But these few failings disappear at the magical
visual oeuvre Storm Thorgerson has left us (and not only for Pink
Floyd): A Nice Pair, Argus, Cochise, Dirty Things Done Dirt Cheap,
Flash, Houses of the Holy, Lullubelle III, Picnic, Savage Eye, Sheet
Music, The Lamb Lays Down On Broadway, Tightly Knit, Venus and Mars and
many many more...
Thorgerson was a rock artist without having recorded a single note of
music, he will be missed on Earth, but if there is that nirvana he will
surely be welcomed by Clive, Nick, Pip, Ponji, Rick, Steve, Syd and the
Many thanks to: Lori Haines. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Palacios,
Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London,
2010, p. 340.
It was probably Monday the 28th of March 1994 when the Reverend came
home from work and had a burning hot CD in his pocket. On the train from
work to Atagong mansion he had already opened the booklet, had
thoroughly scrutinised the artwork by Storm
Thorgerson, trying to read the music in the intriguing images. Cerro
Tololo, the boxing gloves,
the paper heads
(and headlines)... The Reverend's heart literally skipped a beat when he
found out that Rick
Wright had been given a song
he could call his own. Rick's first Pink Floyd song for nearly two
decades (and literally the centrepiece of the album).
Probably the Atagong family had supper first, then LA-girl sat in the
couch, and after the Reverend had put the CD in the player he sat next
to her. It must have been a rather chilly day because there was some
wood burning in the stove and Mimi, the fat and pregnant cat, was
enjoying the heat in her basket.
The earth noises came in... and a new legend was born...
All this came back to the Reverend when, on the 19th of May 2014 a new
Pink Floyd website appeared, called Division
There was a countdown clock and a new - Storm Thorgerson inspired - video
for the excellent Marooned
instrumental, that grew out of a jam at the Astoria
recording studio between David
Gilmour & Rick Wright. There were immediately some rumours in Pink
Floyd internet land, some clearly more inspired than others, but the
general consensus was that the album would be re-released in an
anniversary or even an Immersion edition.
The obvious nod towards Thorgerson and Wright made the fans hope for the
release of The Big Spliff, a Division Bell satellite album whose
demos had been lying in the vaults since 1994. Nick
Mason in Inside Out:
After two weeks we had taped an extraordinary collection of riffs,
patterns and musical doodles, some rather similar, some nearly
identifiable as old songs of ours, some clearly subliminal reinventions
of well known songs. (…) But even having discarded these, forty ideas
were available. (…) We eventually ended up with enough left-over
material that we considered releasing it as a second album, including a
set we dubbed ‘The Big Spliff’, the kind of ambient mood music that we
were bemused to find being adopted by bands like the Orb, although –
unlike Gong’s Steve Hillage – we never received any invitations to join
this next generation on stage.
It needs to be said that the Reverend's expectations were running in
overdrive as well, he was hoping for a new Publius
Enigma clue (or perhaps a modest explanation of the riddle - stroke
- hoax), hidden in the artwork somewhere, and of course the anticipation
of some unreleased tracks, as on the other Immersion and Discovery sets
(see also: Fuck
all that, Pink Floyd Ltd).
Four Star Daydream
When the clock reached zero the website indeed revealed a pricey
Division Bell box-set (actually it crashed at first, as it was hit by
thousands of fans at the same time). Limited at 500 copies worldwide it
contained an exclusive Limited Edition Division Bell 20th Anniversary
T-shirt, a remastered double vinyl in gatefold sleeve, a Division Bell
CD and a Bluray with 3 alternative mixes and the new Marooned music
video. Some 7 and 12 inch coloured vinyl singles were thrown in as well,
together with a 24 Page 12" (30 cm) booklet, 4 art prints and... some
So basically Pink Floyd decided to ride the gravy train (again) by
repackaging the same product five times in the same box and throwing it
at the fans for the giveaway price of £157.50 (about 263 $ or 193 Euro,
the unlimited box [without t-shirt and coasters] comes somewhat cheaper
and is still available).
Each man has his price, Fred
The fact that it is Gilmour now who spits the fans in the face even made
it into the papers
and generally there is much disdain from the fanbase. What seemed to be
the hype of the year was nothing but a cheap stunt to sell some recycled
material at exorbitant prices. That the memory of Rick Wright and the
legacy of Storm Thorgerson were thrown in to make a cynical million
bucks more makes this release even more nauseating. Polly
Samson once wrote: “David Gilmour should be cloned so that every
crowded house might have one”, but at this rate she can keep him inside,
lock the door and throw away the key.
Did you understand the music, Dave, or was it all in vain?
And when you feel you're near the end And what once burned so bright
is growing dim? And when you see what's been achieved Is there a
feeling that you've been deceived? Near The End - David Gilmour, 1984.
Upgrade 2014: a month after the publication of this article it
was found out that a brand new 'recycled' Pink Floyd album was in the
make, loosely based upon the Big Spliff sessions. However, this resulted
in an unprecedented attack of the Floyd management towards its fans.
loathful Mr. Loasby and other stories...
(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may
have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
Sources (other than the above internet links): Mason, Nick: Inside
Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books, London, 2011
reissue, p. 315-316. Samson, Polly: Perfect Lives, Virago
Press, London, 2010, p. 225.
The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical
division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad
character. More info: The
Anchor. Read our legal stuff: Legal
About two years after the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit came with the
news of an Anthony
Stern anthology, showing an overview of his work, including unseen
Pink Floyd footage and our own Iggy the Eskimo, it might finally get a
release to the general public. Well, sort of. (See: Magnets
Get All From That Ant will be shown at a Syd Barrett (mini)
festival that will be held in October in Cambridge when also a Syd
Barrett memorial artwork will be unveiled. Men On The Border will
interpret the mad cat’s wacko music with the Sandviken symphony
orchestra, some mystery guests and a groovy lightshow from Peter Wynne
Have You Got It Yet
Although not confirmed (yet) the Barrett movie festival may also feature
Storm Thorgerson’s legendary Have You Got It Yet. This
movie is being finalised by Roddy
Bogawa, whom you might know from the excellent documentary Taken
By Storm, that any Hipgnosis fan needs to have in his / her
collection. We had a chat earlier this year with the movie maker and
here is what he had to say.
I can answer some of the rumours! Yes, we are hoping the film will be
released this year - it is in the editing stage - and yes, Lindsay
[Corner] and Gayla [Pinion] are interviewed in it as well as Jenny
Spires and Libby Gausden... I think it is ok to make that public...
Also Roger, David and Nick appear in new interviews which I think are
quite different than most of the ones they've done before because Storm
was present and he grew up with Syd, David and Roger.
So...it's exciting and once the film gets closer to completion, we'll
talk it up more! (Source: Facebook Chat, 2016 06 03)
Surely a release to be yearning for, even when Iggy wasn't interviewed,
due to unforeseen circumstances.
Sydge and Iggnet
It is not certain if Stern’s anthology will get the DVD release as
promised a couple of years ago. Our efforts to ask Anthony stayed
unanswered. Artists, huh…
In 2014 some extremely lucky people received a Syd magnet, aka Sydge,
for a Stern project that had to culminate in a book. Unfortunately all
the relevant pages on the Anthony
Stern Films blog have been removed, so we fear it has been shelved.
In December 2014 an Iggy the Eskimo magnet was announced (see: Iggy
on your fridge!), but although the Holy Church ordered about a dozen
that project was indefinitely postponed as well. Until now…
Syd Barrett and Iggy Photo Art Collectable Fridge Magnets.
2 Magnets in total.
Taken from original photos by Anthony Stern are these fantastic,
practical and groovy fridge magnets featuring both Syd Barrret playing
live and Iggy during a creative photoshoot with Anthony.
Both images can also be found in the new and upcoming GATA? Get ALL That
Ant? .....biographical film of Anthony Stern's youth when he was friends
with the infamous couple at the start of the Pink Floyd band creation.
An original piece of Uk Rock History documentation and a great gift idea
for the Syd Barrett and Iggy fans.
The Syd and Iggy magnets are now for sale at Anthony
Stern’s Etsy page. Get them while you still can… (The
Church is not affiliated with or endorsed by Mr. Stern's company.)
Many thanks to: Roddy Bogawa, Anthony Stern. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Rock (1948-2021) we have lost another member of the Cambridge mafia,
although he wasn’t from that town, so perhaps Floydian mafia is a better
description. Rock, a Londoner, was a student in Cambridge where he took
a degree in Medieval and Modern Languages. He frequented some of the
local beatniks, Emo (Ian Moore), Pip (Pip Carter) and Fizz (Frances
Fitzgerald), and followed them to London to the legendary 101 Cromwell
Rd drugs pad. Later he moved to Egerton Court where Syd Barrett, Duggie
Fields, David Gale, Dave Henderson, Nigel and Jenny Lesmoir-Gordon,
Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell, Ponji Robinson, Matthew Scurfield, Storm Thorgerson
and Yes-collaborator Roger Dean all lived together.
In the beginning, was Syd
Rock knew Barrett since December 1966, they were hanging out together,
getting high, discussing literature, playing Go,
and developed some kind of virtual friendship that – according to Rock –
would go on for decades. Syd’s last interview, for Rolling Stone in
1971, was taken by Mick Rock. Syd’s last ‘public’ outing was when he
autographed 320 copies of Psychedelic Renegades, a 2002 Mick Rock
coffee table book. Mick was one of the very few photographers who
managed to picture Barrett in a relaxed state, laughing, as the 1971
pictures, taken in Syd’s back garden, prove.
My experience of Syd was he wanted to have fun. But somehow he was
stymied and then he got caught in this trap, this psychological trap and
he couldn’t get out of it.
The last time Mick Rock saw Syd was on an unexpected visit to Rock’s
flat in Notting Hill Gate in early 1973.
Caught in a storm
There has been some animosity for years between Storm
‘Hipgnosis’ Thorgerson and Mick Rock over The
Madcap Laughs pictures. History has been interpreted, changed and
rearranged by both and different versions of what ‘really’ happened can
be found, depending on the source one consults. Julian Palacios keeps it
diplomatic in his Syd Barrett biography:
Storm Thorgerson supervised the photo session for the cover of The
Madcap Laughs, bringing in Mick Rock to photograph, whom Syd requested.
Rock: ‘Syd just called out of the blue and said he needed an album
The Holy Church already mentioned the divergence in a 2008 article: Stormy
Pictures. Legally, the cover and back cover shots for Syd’s first
solo album belong to Hipgnosis. The official story is that these have
been taken by Storm, but Mick Rock has several times suggested that he
was behind it all.
Thorgerson gave his point of view in the 2007 edition of Mind Over
A photo session was duly arranged at Syd’s request in the flat in Earls
Court that he shared with the painter Duggie Fields. (…) My only
decision was to use a 35mm camera (to adapt to Syd’s mercurial moods)
and upgraded colour transparency, partly because of the low-level light
conditions and partly for the grainy effect.
Mick Rock’s presence, that same day, is dryly explained as follows:
Friend and photographer Mick Rock, later famous for his Bowie photos
amongst many others also came on the photo session, but I can’t remember
why. I think it was to help me, which seemed ironic given his subsequent
lensmanship and success in the rock business, especially in New York.
Mick Rock books (three different ones)
Mick Rock has devoted three books entirely to Syd Barrett. Two of them
are part of a box that also contains some music.
Syd Barrett – The Madcap Laughs – The Mick Rock Photo-Sessions
(UFO Books, 1993) is a limited deluxe box combining a book, a vinyl
album and a t-shirt. The elaborate and well-researched text of this
(sold out and deleted) book has been written by Pete Anderson, who is
the co-author of the Syd Barrett biography Crazy Diamond. Pete Anderson
wrongly dates the photoshoot in October and writes:
The task of designing the album sleeve fell to Storm Thorgerson and his
partner Aubrey 'Po' at Hipgnosis.
When it comes to the actual photoshoot there isn’t a single word about
Storm Thorgerson being there. Throughout the essay, it is mildly
suggested that Mick Rock did all by himself.
The startling colour images were taken in a single two-hour session in
the autumn of 1969 in the spartan bedroom of Syd Barrett's Earls Court
flat in London. (...) The sleeve, showing the beleaguered "star"
squatting bird-like in a room devoid of all creature comforts save a
vase of flowers and a battered electric fire, perfectly summed up the
mood of the record which many have interpreted as a scream for help.
But isn’t the above description about the Thorgerson picture? Mick Rock
(and Pete Anderson) carefully dance around the subject.
"We hadn't had any discussion about how the pictures were going to be,"
says Rock. "I suppose the idea had always been to do them in the flat
because Syd had told me about the floorboards and he was pretty excited
about that.” “But there had been no talk of getting a model in.
Iggy just happened to be there. I have no idea where she came from or
where she went to. Everyone just knew her as Iggy the Eskimo." (...) "There
were no curtains, just the bed, Syd's record player, the vase, and maybe
the stool. I can't remember if that was because the floor had just been
painted or because he didn't like furniture."
It is no secret that Mick Rock used to work as a freelancer for
Hipgnosis in his early career. His camera was a black Pentax that he had
bought from Po (Aubrey Powell), equipped with a cheap 28mm wide-angle
Soligor lens. The following paragraph however seems to imply that there
was more than one person around (without naming them):
"I think we did make a conscious decision not to have Iggy's face in the
pictures and we also decided that Syd would look good with a bit of kohl
make-up around his eyes. Iggy put that on. "Syd was pretty passive about
the whole thing and he was never that interested in the pictures
afterwards. (…) Syd could be quite uncommunicative but I can see from
the pictures that he was relaxed that day."
The photoshoot only took about two hours. Mick Rock used only two rolls
of film, simply because he couldn't afford a third.
"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."
Again, not a word about Storm Thorgerson nor Hipgnosis.
Two of a kind
In his other books, Mick Rock is a bit less authoritative.
Psychedelic Renegades – Photographs of Syd Barrett by Mick Rock.
Genesis Publications published a limited first edition in 2002. 320
copies were autographed by Roger Barrett & Mick Rock and 630 copies were
signed by Mick Rock alone. In 2007 the book was published in a regular
version, by Plexus (London) and Gingko (USA).
This is the picture book to get if you are interested in Mick Rock's Syd
pictures. It has an introduction/essay by Rock and throughout the book
there are some observations by the photographer, although these are not
always accurate. Contrary to the first book Rock acknowledges that Storm
was around that day, although he still stresses the fact that the
initiative came from him:
Syd asked me to take the pictures. We had talked about the shoot for a
while, and the day before it happened I told Storm from Hipgnosis, so he
came along because they were putting the package together. So the
actual session turned out to be a collaboration really because Storm
also took some pictures. I remember Storm asking me whether to credit
the image, ‘Hipgnosis and Mick Rock’ and I said, ‘No just credit it
This must have been a decision Rock regretted later.
Syd Barrett – The Photography Of Mick Rock is a tin box
that includes a 128 pages booklet and a 7-inch single 'Octopus' b/w
'Golden Hair' (EMI Records Ltd & Palazzo Editions Ltd, Bath, 2010).
There is an introduction and some observations by Mick Rock who repeats
that Syd asked him to do the photoshoot in autumn.
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit was the first blog in the world where
it was suggested that The Madcap Laughs photoshoot took place during
spring. This theory, originating from Jenny Spires, has now been largely
accepted by Syd fanatics and scholars. It is possible that a second
photoshoot took place later in the year, but the sleeve uses the
pictures of April 1969.
Remarkably, ‘Renegades’ and ‘Octopus’ contain a picture that was cropped
on the back cover of Syd’s second solo album, without crediting Mick
Syd Barrett (1974, double album vinyl compilation)
In 1974 Storm and Po knocked on Syd’s door asking if they could take
some pictures for a budget vinyl compilation that was going to be
released. Barrett never let them in and told his old chums to ‘fuck
off’. Thorgerson designed one of his iconic sleeves instead, the one
with a plum, an orange and a box of matches.
The inner sleeve of the Syd Barrett double album contains a bunch of
disorganised press clippings and pictures of Syd and Pink Floyd. Some of
these undoubtedly are Mick Rock’s. It means that Hipgnosis, at one
point, did have access to Mick Rock’s negatives. It is believed that
Mick Rock gave his film rolls to Storm, to have them developed.
(Pictures of the Syd Barrett inner sleeve can be found at our Storm
There are quite a few Hipgnosis related coffee table books around (the
reverend’s wife claims he’s got at least six too many). We have already
quoted from Mind Over Matter, but what do the others have got to say?
It needs to be said that the sleeve pictures of The Madcap Laughs can
not be found in any of Mick Rock’s books, these can only be found in
Hipgnosis/Storm Thorgerson related works.
Walk Away René
The 1978 book Walk Away René (The Work of Hipgnosis, Paper Tiger, 1978)
contains a detailed description of every picture in the book, except for
The Madcap Laughs. It gives conspiracy theorists a field day, although
it doesn't help anyone any further.
Taken By Storm
Taken By Storm (The Album Art of Storm Thorgerson, Omnibus Press, 2007)
leaves no ambiguity as Storm writes:
He crouched down by the fireplace and I took a 35mm pic quite quickly.
For The Love Of Vinyl
One year later For The Love of Vinyl (The Album Art of Hipgnosis,
Picturebox, 2008) was published and obviously the cover of The Madcap
Laughs is represented as well. Storm Thorgerson:
Back in 1970, the Floyd helped him make a solo album called The Madcap
Laughs. I told him I was coming over to his Earls Court flat to take a
picture. Mick Rock came too. I think Syd painted the floor specially for
us. He crouched. I took a pic. A naked girl appeared. Mick took a pic,
and we went home.
Storm Thorgerson died in 2013. Po published another Hipgnosis book one
year later: Portraits. According to Po, the Madcap sleeve was taken by
Storm Thorgerson, using a Nikon with a 500 ASA 24 x 36 mm film.
Powell writes that Syd invented the word Hipgnosis and that he wrote it
on the front door of the Egerton Court house they all lived in. About
The Madcap Laughs photoshoot Po has the following to say:
Syd's management company, Blackhill, commissioned us to do the Madcap
cover, and Storm went to the flat with our assistant, Mick Rock.
(Translated from the French edition by FA.)
Suddenly Mick Rock has become merely an assistant of Storm Thorgerson.
It gives the story about who did what a completely new insight.
But our investigations aren’t over yet.
In the 2017 documentary Shot! – the Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock –
Mick Rock hints again that he was behind the cover shot.
In the beginning, was Syd. Psychedelic Syd. (…) Syd had actually left
Pink Floyd and was living in relative obscurity. He asked me to take the
cover photo for his solo album The Madcap Laughs.
It is then that the official ‘Hipgnosis’ sleeve picture appears, for the
first time, in a Mick Rock publication, albeit without giving credit to
Storm Thorgerson. The image, with a handwritten title, clearly hints
that it is Mick Rock’s work, not Storm’s. Of course, when this
documentary came out Storm wasn't around anymore to comment on Rock's
interpretation of the past.
I didn't really have any plans. It simply was to shoot El Syd... and
Iggy opened the door in the altogether. All together now, miss Iggy. She
was holding company with Syd... but of course, the gift was the
floorboards. He had moved in not long beforehand and he was painting the
floorboards and he... he was painting all over these... I mean, there
were dog ends buried in there. He didn't clean the floor before he
Rock shows one of the better known Madcap pictures and claims:
That should really have been the cover of The Madcap Laughs. (…) That’s
what me and Syd wanted.
While he testified earlier that Syd wasn’t interested in the pictures at
all, he suggests in Shot! that they both agreed on a sleeve cover, an
opinion that wasn’t followed by Hipgnosis.
For years there have been rumours in anoraky Floydian circles that
Thorgerson and Rock sued (or threatened to sue) each other over the
ownership of The Madcap Laughs pictures. Probably a deal was made – a
bit like the one between Roger Waters and Pink Floyd over The Wall. The
Madcap Laughs front and back sleeve pictures officially belong to
Hipgnosis (Storm Thorgerson). The out-takes belong to Mick Rock. It has
been hinted before that Rock handed over his film rolls to Thorgerson to
have them developed and part of the deal must have been that the
negatives were returned to him.
This could be the reason why the Mick Rock out-takes can’t be found in
Hipgnosis / Storm Thorgerson books. This could be the reason why
‘official’ Madcap pictures can’t be found in any Mick Rock publication,
except for Shot!
Both parties seem to agree that Hipgnosis was commissioned by the record
company (Harvest, EMI) to supervise the record sleeve.
Did Syd Barrett ask his friend Mick Rock, an aspiring would-be
photographer, to organise the shooting for the forthcoming album? As
Rock was freelancing for Hipgnosis and they all were buddies anyway, he
may have warned Storm that Syd was expecting a photographer the next
day. The result was that Storm was there, not as Mick Rock’s colleague,
but as his boss.
We keep hearing from people how nice a person Mick Rock was. From Men On
The Border we have this reaction, coming from Jenny Spires:
The wonderful Mick Rock, unmatched intelligence, kind and generous,
totally lacking in malice, a dear friend. RIP. I will miss you, Mick.
That’s why it is a pity that Storm and Mick never conciliated, fought
over the legacy of the Madcap pictures and refused to give the other one
Because of their stubbornness, there will always be some doubt who took
The Madcap Laughs cover (and back cover) pictures. But it doesn't matter
really. It's the stuff legends are made of.
Many thanks to: Anonymous, Göran Nyström. ♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (other than the links above): Chapman, Rob: A Very
Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 385. Palacios,
Julian: Darker Globe: Uncut and Unedited, private publication,
2021, p. 823, 963.
Hipgnosis & Storm Thorgerson: Powell, Aubrey: Hipgnosis, Les
Pochettes Mythiques du Célèbre Studio, Gründ, Paris, 2015,
p. 40, 118 (French edition of Hipgnosis Portraits). Thorgerson, Storm
& Powell, Aubrey: For The Love Of Vinyl, Picturebox,
Brooklyn, 2008, p. 38. Thorgerson, Storm & Curzon, Peter: Mind
Over Matter 4, Omnibus Press, London, 2007, p. 234. Thorgerson,
Storm & Curzon, Peter: Taken By Storm, Omnibus Press, London,
2007, p. 100. Thorgerson, Storm: Walk Away René, Paper
Tiger, Limpsfield, 1989, p. 103.
Mick Rock: Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London,
2007, p. 20. Rock, Mick & Anderson, Pete: Syd Barrett - The
Madcap Laughs - The Mick Rock Photo-Sessions, U.F.O. Books, London,
1993. The text of this book ca be consulted at Luckymojo.com. Rock,
Mick: Syd Barrett - The Photography Of Mick Rock, EMI Records
Ltd, London & Palazzo Editions Ltd, Bath, 2010.
Videos: Syd Barrett related excerpt from Shot!: The Psycho-Spiritual
Mantra of Rock: Syd
Barrett SHOT! Mick Rock Shot! Q&A, hosted by Barney Hoskyns.
Filmed Wednesday 12th July 2017: Mick
Rock Q&A (Syd bit starts at 5:30, do not miss the hilarious
anecdote about David Gilmour being chased by Brian Epstein in his
bedroom). Mick Rock: on shooting Syd Barrett for 'Madcap Laughs'
album cover. Interviewed in his studio, September 2001: Mick
It passed by as a fait-divers. On the third of December Rod Harrod died
in his home village of Dinas Powys in South Wales. Many people,
especially those in Floydian spheres, will not recognise him.
In the early days of the Church, when we were still looking for Iggy, we
had an agreeable conversation with Rod about the heydays of The
Cromwellian and the other clubs Iggy used to frequent. Rod Harrod was
the man who - more or less – discovered Jimi Hendrix and who gave him a
first chance to play at the Scotch of St James Club in London. To read a
bit more about Rod Harrod you can go to these early Church archives: Rod
Harrod remembers The Crom and The
Our condolences to the family, relatives and friends of Rod.
Twenty twenty was a lousy weird year, with – unfortunately – also a few
deceases closer to the Floydian home. The Church also had a few good
moments, even something we could call the highlight in our thirteen
All of these have been illustrated on our Tumblr
sister blog … and here is our annual overview:
Anonymous, Ajay Dep Thanga, Antonio Jesús Reyes, APH, Asdf35, Barbara,
Basit Aijaz, Chandrima Banerjee, Din Nyy, Eleonora Siatoni, Elizabeth
Joyce, Elvee Milai, Euisoo's left sock, Göran Nyström, Gregory Taylor,
Hallucalation, Hmazil, Hnamte Thanchungnunga, Julian Palacios, Kevin
Arnold, Kima Sailo, Lalrin Liana, Lzi Dora Hmar, Mact Mizoram, Mafela
Ralte, Mark Blake, Matthew Cheney, Mick Brown, Myithili Hazarika,
Noeeeayo (Rinnungi Pachuau), Panjee Chhakchhuak, Park Yoongi, Psych62,
Racheliebe (Chha Dok Mi), Ramtea Zote123, Rich Hall, Rinapautu Pautu,
Rob Chapman, Rontoon, Rosang Zuala, Roy Alan Ethridge, Stash Klossowski
de Rola, Stephen Coates, Swanlee, Syd Wonder, Tnama Hnamte, VL Zawni,
Wolfpack, Younglight, Zodin Sanga, Zolad.
We have sometimes been harsh about David
Gilmour who reconfigured the past in favour of his colleague Rick
Wright, but the friendship between Gilmour and Wright was an honest
and genuine one.
In an emotional introduction, Aubrey
Powell tells how David Gilmour was sitting at Rick’s deathbed
(2008). At a memorial party, where Roger
Waters was absent, old surviving friends from the Underground days
were present. Jon
Lord and Jeff
Beck played some songs and David and Nick, with Guy Pratt, Jon Carin
and Tim Renwick remembered Rick with Great
Gig and Wish
You Were Here.
Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell was sitting next to Storm
Thorgerson, who was in a wheelchair after a stroke, and both men
realised that they were in the autumn of their lives. Powell knew that
if he had to write some memoirs, he had to get on with it. It still took
him more than a decade but in 2022 he published Through The Prism:
Untold Rock Stories from the Hipgnosis Archive.
Through The Prism is, for once, not a coffee-table photo extravaganza,
but a 320 pages book filled with anecdotes and stories about Hipgnosis
and their many friends, who were often also their clients.
The first chapter 'Laying Ghosts to Rest' is about Cambridge and the
boy/man who started the career of Pink Floyd and indirectly Hipgnosis as
well. An autobiography is based on memories and not always on facts and
as such we forgive that Po repeats the story that Syd
Barrett was an admirer of Pink
Anderson and Floyd
Council. In a previous post on this blog, Step
It Up And Go, we have stated that there were no easily obtainable
records of these two bluesmen, certainly not in the UK. The chance that
Syd Barrett listened to one of their songs is very, very close to zero.
And, contrarious as we are, Syd didn’t contrive the term Pink Floyd
either, one of his beatnik friends did: Stephen Pyle. Syd borrowed the
line when he had to improvise a new name for his band.
Through The Prism is not a Pink Floyd biography, but a story about a man
called Po. Syd happens to be present from time to time. One day, he
takes some LSD in Storm's garden and is fascinated for hours by an
orange, a plum, and a box of matches. This event, ‘small as a molehill’,
has grown into a mountain over the years, but of course, Hipgnosis is to
blame for that. Storm turned the anecdote into a record cover (photo).
In late autumn 1969 Powell visits Syd's flat to take some publicity
shots for Madcap, the so-called yoga pictures. Aubrey writes that Storm
had taken the album cover shots a few weeks earlier. That is not wrong
if you go by Vulcan logic, but it has been established that the cover
shoot dates from April 1969. That is about 20 to 24 weeks earlier, not
'a few'. Not a word about Iggy the Eskimo, nor about the presence of
another photographer who was still their friend, but not for long: Mick
Rock (see also: Rock
The Syd chapter ends with the invention of the name Hipgnosis.
Powell testifies how they almost catch Syd red-handed, a pen in his
hand, seconds after he wrote HIP-GNOSIS on the white front door.
I always believed this was something of an urban legend, invented by
Storm and Po to give the name extra cachet, but if this testimony is
accurate it leaves no doubt that Syd was behind it.
As a young man, Aubrey Powell is more a hoodlum and a swindler than an
Jenner even has to bail him out of jail, but slowly he finds his way
as a photographer, helped by Storm. When Pink Floyd asks them for the
cover of A
Saucerful Of Secrets their career lifts off. That cover, actually a
collage of pop culture and esoteric images, is photographed in black and
white and coloured by hand afterwards (photo).
Heart Mother the Floyd want a non-psychedelic cover, so nothing like
The solution comes from conceptual artist John Blake, whose path they
will cross several times. Why not a cow? A cow it is (picture).
Equally uncharacteristic is the cover for The
Dark Side Of The Moon. Again it is Pink Floyd who want something
else, much to the annoyance of a stubborn Storm Thorgerson who tries to
push a picture of the Silver
Surfer. They find the prism concept in a popular science book and
because Storm and Po can't draw they ask George
Hardie to finish it (photo).
Dark Side is much more than a record, it is a worldwide recognisable
symbol and Powell gives some examples of how the record (and its sleeve)
have become instruments to protest against censorship and war.
Here, there and everywhere
You Were Here Hipgnosis devises some art, built around a theme of
absence and the number 4. Four like 4 members of the band, 4 elements
(earth, air, fire, water) and the 4 panels on a gatefold sleeve. Only,
the final product is packaged in a single sleeve, but one with a twist.
One day, it must have been the 5th of June 1975, an almost
unrecognisable Syd Barrett enters the office, asking where the band is.
Richard Evans, of the Hipgnosis crew, replies that they are probably at
Abbey Road. Po accompanies Syd to the street where he walks to Soho, ‘a
confused and forlorn figure’ (see also: Shady
The concept of the burning man puzzles Aubrey. How can he take a picture
of that? For Storm, the solution is simple: set him on fire. Even
better, set him on fire in America (photo).
Let’s remember folks, these are the golden days of rock. You wanna take
a pic of a pyramid. Fly to Egypt. You want to check a few lakes out. Fly
to California. All expenses paid, including the huge bill of ‘special
medicine’ to get through those lonesome nights.
Dark Side and Houses
of the Holy (Led
Zeppelin) make Hipgnosis nearly as big as the rock stars they
graphically represent (photo).
On a trip to Vegas Po stays in Frank Sinatra’s personal suite at Caesars
Palace. Escort girls and coke (not the soft-drink variety) are
included in the service, although Po claims he declines both offers.
Po loves the wide American scenery and trips to the USA are regularly
made. Hiring a plane to fly over the desert to find a great location: no
problem. Hiring a helicopter to shoot some pictures from the air: no
problem. Hiring figurants, actors, stuntmen, and props: no problem. Rock
‘n’ Roll pays well in the seventies.
Hipgnosis not only make fantastic covers, but they have some duds as
Stewart is so angry about the Time
Passages sleeve that he will never speak to Po again. Needless to
say that Hipgnosis lose a client that day (photo).
Obviously, the memoirs aren't about Pink Floyd alone. Peter
all have their entries. Po's stories about Led Zep, who have some
gangsters refurbished as bodyguards, are so unbelievable you might think
you have ended up in The Godfather. There’s some weird occult shit as
well, Jimmy Page was called the Dark Lord by the other members of the
The sleeve for Animals
is Roger Waters’ idea to begin with. Storm Thorgerson is (again) pissed
when his idea for a sleeve is downvoted and refuses to speak to Waters.
When Storm (in the book Walk Away Renée) calls the Animals sleeve a
Hipgnosis project it is up to Roger to be offended. The next Pink Floyd
albums, with Roger Waters at the helm, no longer have a Hipgnosis sleeve.
Despite the friction between Storm and Roger, Po Powell is commissioned
to supervise the shoot. He hires 8 photographers and asks Nigel Lesmoir
Gordon to coordinate some filming from a helicopter.
On the first day, Algie (the pig) refuses to soar to the skies and they
postpone the shooting for the next day. When the pig breaks free on day
two Powell suddenly realises he has forgotten to rebook the marksman to
shoot it down. It could’ve been a disaster, but luckily it isn’t.
Although unwanted, it will go down in history as the biggest rock
publicity stunt ever (photo).
The thing with Hipgnosis is that they want to realise their surreal
ideas in the real world. For a Wings Greatest
Hits album, it is Paul McCartney’s wish to have a picture of a Demétre
Chiparus statue standing in the snow on top of a mountain. Hipgnosis
flies the statue to Switzerland where it is transported by helicopter to
Glacier. The team consists of several photographers, mountain
rescuers and a pilot.
It is a great story, but frankly, the picture could have been made in
the studio with cotton balls for snow and a picture of the Matterhorn
as a backdrop (photo).
For a 10CC cover, Po wants to put a sheep on a sofa, by the sea. He
flies to Hawaii, where there is only one sheep on the entire island. He
has a sofa custom-made by a film props company (photo).
Powell shows his expense sheet for the shoot. It is £2,280 in 1980 money
or over £10,000 ($12,800/€11,800) today. The invoice to 10CC is double
No wonder Po starts behaving like the rock stars he frequents, including
a nasty habit with cocaine. Everybody who works with Storm Thorgerson
knows that he can be incredibly stubborn. With the rise of MTV, Aubrey
and Powell start a film company, but cracks are appearing in their
relationship. The amicable banter of the past is gone and Po goes his
way, becoming a successful filmmaker and creative director.
A New Machine
Years later they reconcile and when Storm realises he has not a long
time to live he suggests that Po must be the Floyd’s art director.
Powell is responsible for the successful Their
Mortal Remains exhibition and book. Internal Floyd wars make it
impossible to release a Mortal Remains compilation (not that anybody
needed an extra Pink Floyd record). We finally get the confirmation that The
Early Years box-set was going to include a miniature car but alas
the band has always been known for its greediness (my comment, not Po’s).
Through The Prism is not a detailed autobiography but a
collection of many (funny and interesting) anecdotes about Po’s
graphical output and his wacky clients. Powell stays rather vague about
his personal life and the relationship with Storm Thorgerson that was
very troubled for a couple of decades. Attentive readers though will
have the impression there is a new girlfriend or wife in every second
chapter. Rock ‘n’ Roll!
For the Pink Floyd, Led Zep, 10CC and Macca anorak there is more than
enough material to like this book, about those days when rock still was
the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.