The Anchor

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2011-01-01

The Anchor

The Anchor
The Anchor: insults, gossip & rumours
The Anchor: insults, gossip & rumours.

Last year, when the Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit was undertaking his annual pilgrimage to Cambridge he halted one afternoon at the shrine lying across the mighty Cam, in other words: The Anchor.

As usual the bouncer / waiter threatened to throw him out if he stayed longer than fifteen minutes without drinking but anyone who knows the Reverend will realise that this would pose no problem.

Even more, after a while the waiter started a friendly chat. “I hate them.” he sneered. “Those bloody tourists, following that fucking Syd Barrett trail. Looking for the bench at the Garden, asking me what was his favorite seat in this place. How should I know? I wasn't even born when The Wall came out and anyway this place has probably changed furniture six times since then.”

“Look, there's another batch arriving. One of them even has brought a guitar with him. I assure you, if they start singing Here I Go again I'll kick them out in a jiffy. 'nother Guinness then?”

Back at Atagong mansion the Reverend mused about the continuing Church's malaise. “Iggy will never be found.” he sighed. “I can't keep going on repeating that she danced the Bend at the Cromwellian, can I? We need to broaden our business plan and we need to do it fast, now that we still have something of an attention span.”

“What about t-shirts?” a Spanish visiting monk wanted to know. This infuriated the Reverend tremendously. “T-shirts!” he cried. “T-shirts. Who do you think we are, www sydbarrett dot com? Mick Rock, laughing all the way to the bank with his 85 percent commission, is that what you want?”

Everybody silently agreed it was going to be one of these days at the Church. Finally a young novice dared to speak.

“Reverend.” he asked. “Permission to speak freely.”
“Permission granted.” said the Reverend.

The boy with a light in his eyes cleared his throat.

“The problem is, Reverend,” he said loud and clear, “that you have become a boring old fart.”

A booing and howling noise, not unlike those dissonances made at the British parliament, rose from the audience.

“Shut up!” commanded the Reverend. “Let the boy speak!”

“I had a look at your agenda recently and the most titillating event was a breakfast meeting with a French member of the Church in Hotel Metropole in Brussels. You invariably fall asleep after your afternoon tea with biscuits, listening to Poor Man's Moody Blues from Barclay James Harvest. I mean, where is the fervor, the schwung, the drive in what we do, in what we feel for. We all need to be kicked in the ass and start propagating Barrettism again.”

It was silent again when the boy sat down. Finally the Reverend spoke.

“Son, I like your style. I recognise the fire of a young myself in your words. What is your name?”

“Alex Fagoting, my Reverend.”

“Alex... short for Alexander. Ἀλέξανδρος, a strong name, meaning protector or defender of mankind. This is a powerful omen, as my warrior droog I'll give you carte blanche. So what do you want to do?”

“I want to kick our community a conscience, dear Reverend, starting with the merchants at our temple. For this I will only need one of the Church's crypts that I will baptise The Anchor, named after the Cambridge pub where I was hit a black eye by the bouncer because I wanted to sing Here I Go.”

“Then do as you have told, let it be embroidered into the Church's annals that you have my blessing.”

The Anchor

The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical division, intended for people with a good heart, but a bad character.

Satire: Artistic form in which (human) abuse, folly, shortcomings, stupidity or vices are attacked and/or exposed by means of burlesque, caustic wit, derision, irony, ridicule, sarcasm or other methods.

All characters, incidents portrayed and the names used at The Anchor are fictitious. Any similarity without satiric purpose to names, characters, or history of any person living, dead or dying is entirely accidental, unintentional, coincidental and plain improbable.

Let's have a Guinness!

2011-01-30

Bonhams Sells Fake Barrett Poem

Bonhams Sells Fake Barrett Poem

Perhaps that is not entirely true, but at least we've got your attention.

Terrapin 9
Terrapin 9.

Terrapin

Terrapin was a Syd Barrett fanzine appearing from the early till the mid-Seventies. The alternatively wired Bernard White was one of the few who used to run the legendary magazine although it has mainly acquired this status through the amnesic mist of time. The magazine was badly written, badly styled, badly distributed and, to add insult to injury - somewhere in between - the different editors used the scarce pages of their own magazine to fight out some internal editorial wars. Call it a Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit avant la lettre, quoi.

But of course Terrapin occasionally had its peak moments. A young Robert Chapman, whom we all know from his excellent work of fiction A Very Irregular Head, debuted in Terrapin number 2 with his review of the February 1972 Stars gig at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge. He had it mainly wrong, so he was already creating a habit there.

A smart trip

The most intriguing piece in Terrapin did not come from Rob Chapman, nor Bernard White, but from the mad bard himself. Issue 9 (July 1974) had a previously unpublished poem, written by Syd Barrett, titled: A Rooftop Song In A Thunderstorm Row Missing The Point. Several weird theories have surfaced about it and one of them goes that the starting letters of its title form the witty anagram 'a smart trip'. Not all Barrett fans believe the poem was written by Syd, but - and otherwise this article would have no reason at all - let's assume he did. The poem, as it appeared in 1974, can be found in our Rooftop gallery. It is in Bernard White's handwriting, as are most pages of Terrapin, because there was no typewriter around when he created the fanzine.

Bonhams

Fast forward to 2010. On the 4th of December Barrett scholars found that the Bonhams auction house was going to sell the following: Sale 17974 - Entertainment Memorabilia, 15 Dec 2010 - Lot No: 148:

A Syd Barrett poem, circa late 60s/early 70s, signed, in black ballpoint on a small piece of paper, entitled 'A Rooftop Song In A Thunderstorm Row Missing The Point', thirteen lines, beginning, 'With yellow red and foomy food, and quivered / crouching on a golden cushion / Undressed himself to dissapear (sic) through an infinity of pleasure...', the reverse with part of a question/answer piece, one side covered in tape, 12.5 x 13cm (5 x 5in) approx. Estimate: £2,000 - 3,000, EUR 2,300 – 3,500.
(Note: a facsimile can be found at our Rooftop gallery.)

But what was most interesting, intriguing and salivating was the footnote at the bottom of the Bonhams page:

This will feature in a book about Syd to be launched in March 2011, with an exhibition at Idea Generation, and the Barrett family have confirmed this is in Syd's hand.
See Emily Play lyrics (Syd Barrett)
See Emily Play lyrics (Syd Barrett).

Almost immediately the allusion that the piece was in Syd's handwriting was questioned by some fans. At the left side there is a snippet of Pink Floyd's See Emily Play and that is how Syd Barrett's handwriting looked like. Late Night member Dark Globe did a fine job by comparing Barrett's and White's handwriting and concluded:

To me, the handwriting on the Bonhams poem itself looks closer to BW's handwriting than to Syd's. (Syd's handwriting tended to slope to the left all throughout his life). I'd guess that the Bonhams item is actually a draft written in a looser hand by Bernard White for the final version which appears in the fanzine. (Taken from: Rooftop for Sale.)

Brettjad at Madcaps Laughing remarked: “I don't get it. If it's Syd's, then why did he write that interview on the reverse?”

A pertinent question indeed. The Anchor took the liberty of taking a closer look at the backside of the document (see gallery). One of the first assumptions the Anchor can make is that the sold snippet was cut out of a larger piece of paper as the top of the backside horizontally slits a sentence in half. But that is not all there is to see.

Giovanni Dadomo

The backside text contains a Syd Barrett interview, taken by Giovanni Dadomo, probably in 1971, but only published three years later in Terrapin. And still that is not all.

The backside transcript is (partly) page 5 of Terrapin 10. In other words: here is the original page, in Bernard White's handwriting, before it was printed and distributed to its subscribers in August 1974. The underneath illustration hopefully proofs that both are identical (first line: Terrapin 10; second line: Bonhams poem - back side).

Terrapin vs. Bonhams
Comparing Terrapin with Bonhams.

Missing the point

Let's digest this for a while, while we have a go at the poem itself. According to Bonhams, Barrett's family has confirmed it is in Syd's hand although they fail to produce a certificate of authenticity or to simply name the family member who has testified this. If they can't it is hearsay, to say the least.

For the sake of argument, let's believe the poem is in Syd's handwriting. Why then did super-fan & collector Bernard White prefer to publish a copy of the poem in his handwriting rather than to publish Syd's original? Surely someone must have been missing a point?

In Terrapin 9 White thanks 'Hypgnosis for the poem and photos'. Still following Bonhams train of thought this means that Po (Aubrey Powell) or Storm (Thorgerson) gave Bernard White an original Syd Barrett document without asking for a receipt. That's not how we know them, especially not in 1974.

Anoraks have of course spotted the mistake in the previous paragraph. Bernard White thanks Hypgnosis, not Hipgnosis. As legendary as his fanzine are his spelling errors (in one issue he jokingly described himself as 'Bernard M White: spelling mistakes and all other errors'). The Rooftop paper has got two: 'your writting' and 'to dissapear'. White's spelling errors are as unique as his handwriting and the 'dissapear' error is repeated in both versions of the poem. Oops!

Bonhams' Barrett vs Terrapin's White

To end the discussion, once and for all, let's have a look at the two known Rooftop copies: blue is Bonhams (Syd Barrett), red is Terrapin (Bernard White). Hmmm...

Terrapin vs. Bonhams
Comparing Terrapin with Bonhams.

It is in a book, ergo it must be true

Not only does Bonhams claim that the poem is in Barrett's handwriting, they also maintain that their version is going to be published 'in a book about Syd to be launched in March 2011, with an exhibition at Idea Generation'.

Who could be better situated to acknowledge this than Russell Beecher, the editor of Barrett, The definitive visual companion to the life of Syd Barrett. Unfortunately he told the Anchor:

We also thought that the poem wasn't written in Syd's hand so we haven't included it in the book. I am not sure about the family authentication but I think, as you and we have worked out, that point is irrelevant as we know it's not Syd's writing. (…) A shame though - would have been a great find!

Indeed, there must still be a third version of the Rooftop poem somewhere, the one - (perhaps) in Syd's handwriting - that Bernard White copied in the Hipgnosis headquarters. But that is not the one that was recently auctioned.

It's a gas!

On the 15th of December of 2010 a collector paid 2,160 £ for this original piece of Bernard White's handwriting, probably believing that it was Syd's. (Some information has now been removed from the Bonhams website but the Anchor has a screenshot.)

It was then when the Anchor decided to contact Bonhams to ask them if, perhaps, an eeny weeny teeny meeny mistake had been made.

An automated reply from Leonora O. learned us that she was out until the 5th of January and that for all queries we should try another mail address, that happened to be exactly the same address than the one we had send our questions to. So we waited, until the year was finally over...

In January we contacted Bonhams a second time. We got a reply from Katherine B. who was so friendly to inform us that Stephanie C. was going to answer us immediately.

Just before this article went into print (or should we say: upload) we informed again if Stephanie C. finally had any comments. Alas, she was too busy waiting for the ink to dry on a recently found Apple iPod that has John Lennon's signature on it and couldn't come to the phone.

Bernard White and Syd Barrett, sharing a Guinness at the great gig in the sky, are probably laughing their arses off.


The Anchor wishes to thank:
Russell Beecher,
Dark Globe who made an excellent comparison of Barrett's and White's handwriting at Late Night. Further analysis shows that the letter d in 'seasoned' (from the Bonhams poem) and the letter d in 'Bernard' (as in White's signature) are coming from the same person (post #9).

The documents, discussed above, can be consulted in our Rooftop gallery.

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

2011-02-09

Scream Thy False Scream

Fake Pink Floyd Acetate Found
Pink Foyd 1967 acetate
Pink Foyd 1967 acetate.

What you see at the left is the only remaining copy in the world of an unreleased 1967 Pink Floyd single: Vegetable Man / Scream Thy Last Scream.
Approximate value: 10,000 US dollars, even on a rainy day.

Part one: Holy Syd!

The songs are on an acetate disc and without going to much into detail we can simply say that an acetate is a test pressing of a vinyl record. An acetate has not been made to last and every time a needle reads the groove the acetate is gradually but irrecoverably damaged. Bands and producers often used acetates to test how a record would sound on cheap home record players before sending the master tape to the record factory.

This precious copy is in the hands of Saq, an American collector in Los Angeles who acquired it about 15 years ago and has cherished it ever since. It is, without doubt, what collectors call a 'holy grail': a rare, valuable object sought after by other collectors. One of the side effects of a 'holy grail' is that it can only acquire that status if other collectors are aware of its existence, but not too many. If nobody knows you have an exclusive item it might as well not exist. Syd Barrett already acknowledged this in his Arnold Layne song: it 'takes two to know'.

Holy grails can be frail, especially when they only consist of audio material. One popular Pink Floyd holy grail are, sorry: were, the so-called work in progress tapes of The Wall (most people, websites and bootlegs refer to these as The Wall demos, which they are clearly not, but that is an entirely different discussion). Around 1999 they circulated amongst top-notch collectors and were generally unknown to the public, The Anchor included, until a track called The Doctor (an early version of Comfortably Numb) was leaked as an alt.music.pink-floyd Christmas 2000 gift. It didn't take long before the complete set was weeded to the fans, who were happy to say the least except for the one of the few who had lost their priceless treasure.

Part two: the guns of Navarro

When Barrett fan Giuliano Navarro met Saq in 2009 he was let on the secret and from this moment Giuliano became a man with a mission. He received pictures of the acetate and finally, on the 15th of January 2011, he proudly announced at Late Night:

I tried to stay in communication with him for more than a year and begged him to at least have the tracks recorded. He agreed to do me the favour, and sent the acetate to a professional studio in San Francisco. (...)
After more than a year of waiting, I finally got the tracks and now I want to share them with all of you. We are the real Syd Barrett crazies and we all deserve to listen to his art. There should be no discovery made that ends up back in the vaults.

Giuliano Navarro is, without doubt, a man of honour. But it helped that Saq didn't really ran the risk that making the content public would ruin his holy grail (as with The Wall WIP tapes). Quite the contrary:
he still has an ultra-rare acetate from 1967;
is envied by collectors from over the world and, knowing that;
the value of this unique recording can only sky-rocket.

At least that is what he thought until about a couple of weeks ago.

Part three: cracks in the ice

An uproarious bigmouth called Felix Atagong, who also goes by the ridiculous epithet Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, proposed Giuliano to upload the sound files to Yeeshkul. At first the recordings were received with great enthusiasm, but after some days the place was stirring with comments of an entirely different nature.

Yeeshkul is a place where Pink Floyd audio collectors meet and share files through a torrent network. They vary from the average je-ne-sais-quoi fan to the specialised sound freak who has the means and the knowledge to find out whether a certain audio file comes from an earlier or a later generation tape. And obviously this spectacular find was going to be analysed to the bit...

Navarro received MP3 files taken from the acetate and shared these immediately with the fans. Not unusual as MP3 is about the most popular sound format in the world, but it does compress the sound and reduces the quality. The Yeeshkul specialist sound brigade argue that lossless files in 24/96 (or even 24/192) should exist as well. Nobody will be that stupid to put an ultra-rare (and very fragile) acetate on a turntable, only to convert the audio to MP3.

16 Khz cut
16 Khz cut.

Vince666 did a spectrum analysis of the MP3 files and found that the sound had been mysteriously cut-off at 16 Khz (see left side image). Some members maintain that this is a typical result of MP3 compression, but others disagree. But despite the compression and the obvious quality-loss these mono tracks still sound a lot better than other versions that have been circulating for decades.

Felixstrange (no relative to the Church) discovered 'something which sounds a lot like tape damage at 0:54 during "Scream Thy Last Scream':

The noise a minute into STLS is definitely a result of creases in magnetic tape. However, there is definitely vinyl/acetate surface noise present. I've been doing a lot of vinyl rips lately and I immediately recognized the all-too-familiar clicks of debris in the grooves of a record.

Question: How can a brand new, original EMI master show tape damage, before it has even been used to make vinyl records out of it?
Answer: It can't.

Part four: screaming vegetables

Vegetable Man and Scream Thy Last Scream (let's shorten that to VM and STLS, shall we?) are both unreleased Syd Barrett - Pink Floyd gems from 1967. EMI has been tempted to put these on compilations before, but for different (copyright) reasons that never happened, luckily two different mixes have leaked to the public.

When (The) Dark Side Of The Moon proved successful EMI compiled early Floyd as A Nice Pair and put the two Barrett solo-albums together in a Syd Barrett budget release. The selling figures (especially in the USA where the solo albums had never been released) were important enough for EMI to beg for a third Syd Barrett solo album. Producer Peter Jenner soon found out that Syd Barrett really wasn't in the singing mood and scraped the barrel in order to find some unreleased material.

On the 13th of August 1974 Peter Jenner (with a little help from John Leckie and Pat Stapley) mixed a stereo tape of unreleased Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd originals, including VM and STLS. This tape, with reference 6604Z, almost immediately evaporated from the EMI archives and re-materialised – so goes the legend – miraculously in one of Bernard White's cupboards.

Almost day by day thirteen years later, Malcolm Jones compiled his personal 'Syd Barratt (sic) Rough Mixes'. It is believed that he accidentally lost this tape just when he was passing by the front door of an anonymous bootlegger.

Part five: check your sources

The Anchor needs to get a bit nerdy and technical here, like those Bible scholars who combine different fourth century Greek editions in order to reconstruct the ultimate Bible source. We are going to compare the different versions of the tracks, so you have been warned.

Barrett fans have strong reasons to believe that the Malcolm Jones 1987 (mono) tapes are the closest to the original 1967 Pink Floyd recordings. In 1974 Peter Jenner added extra effects, echo and reverb to the mix, most notably on VM, and these are absent on the Malcolm Jones tape. The Malcolm Jones mix of STLS fades out, while Jenner's version ends abruptly with – yet – another sound effect.

That is not all. In the case of Vegetable Man there is even a third mix - the so-called Beechwoods tape. It has survived on tape from a 1969 radio show where Nick Mason opened his Pandora’s box of 1967 outtakes. A fan found it back in 2001 and promptly donated it to Kiloh Smith from Madcaps Laughing.

As the acetate allegedly dates from 1967;
Vegetable Man must sound like the Beechwoods version, and
Scream Thy Last Scream must sound like the Malcolm Jones rough mix.

Right?
Wrong.

Part six: listen to the music

Yeeshkul member MOB compared all known versions and came back with the following report.

Vegetable Man
Vegetable Man.

Vegetable Man:

The acetate mix is mono, but definitely different than the Malcolm Jones mono mix from 1987.

The 1967 acetate mix is also different from the 1967 Beechwoods tape, believed to be the most authentic studio version of the song. On the Beechwoods tape, there is absolutely no echo or reverb during the sentence "Vegetable man where are you" but they are present on the acetate.

The only version with extra echo and reverb is the 1974 stereo mix by Peter Jenner.

MOB concludes:

Actually, if I take the 1974 Jenner stereo mix and convert it to mono, I have the same mix as the "acetate" mix. So to me it seems the current mix is not from 1967 (if it was the case it should be close to the 1967 Beechwoods mix, and it's not), but from 1974.
Maybe the 1974 Jenner versions were copied, traded, with some "mono-ization" in the lineage, then pressed as fake acetates?
Scream Thy Last Scream
Scream Thy Last Scream.

Scream Thy Last Scream:

The 1967 acetate mono mix is not the same as the Jones 1987 mono mix (the Jones version fades out during the street noises). Instead of that, on the acetate mix, the street noises end abruptly with an echo effect.

MOB:

Is it pure coincidence that the echo is exactly the same effect as the one used by Jenner during his 1974 mixdown?
Again, if you mono-ize the 1974 Jenner mix, you have the current acetate mix (minus the scratches and tape flaws). Same effects at the same moments.

Part seven: the time-paradox explanation

Of course this all makes sense, especially in a Barrett universe, and the contradiction can easily be explained.

Somewhere in 1967 Barrett invented a time-travelling device by combining a clock with a washing machine. When asked to compose a third single he hopped to 1974, stole tape number 6604Z from the EMI archives and returned to 1967.

Thus it is perfectly logical that the 1967 acetate sounds exactly like the 1974 Jenner mix and en passant we have solved the mystery how the tape has disappeared from the EMI vaults.

The utterly boring explanation is that the 1967 acetate is fake, counterfeit, a forgery, made by a scrupulous thief to rob a few thousands of dollars from a collector’s pocket. In other words: mono-ization turned into monetisation.

Part eight: let's get physical

The Anchor is like one of those boring Roger Waters songs: once we're in a drive, we can't stop and we have to make extra parts of the same monotonous melody over and over again.

Even without listening to the counterfeit acetate there still is something dubious about it (thanks neonknight, emmapeelfan,...).

Due to their production process and their fragility acetates are - most of the time - single sided, just like the surviving acetates of Arnold Layne and See Emily Play. Albums were even issued on two different single sided acetates to avoid further damage (but some double sided acetates do exist, like the very first Pink Floyd recording with Bob Klose in the band: Lucy Leave / King Bee [but that was definitely not an EMI acetate]);

Engineers at EMI were invariably nerdy administrative types, who attended recording sessions dressed in white lab coats. These cheeky little fellows would never label an acetate without putting the name of the band on top;

Although a pretty fair forgery the label on the record is not identical to the 'official' EMI acetate label, there also seem to be some glue marks that are usually not present on real acetates;

and last but not least;

Acetates are ad hoc test pressings and in the extremely rare case of a double acetate this means that a certain relationship has to exist between both tracks, like both sides from a single or takes from the same session. STLS was recorded on 7 August 1967 (some overdubs were made in December 1967 and January 1968 for a possible inclusion on A Saucerful of Secrets). VM was recorded between 9 and 12 October 1967. They were never meant to be each other's flip side on a single, so finding them on the same acetate simply makes no sense, unless it is a fake, of course.

Part nine: a spoonful of charades

So basically here is what happened:

1. someone, somewhere in summertime, got hold of the Peter Jenner 1974 stereo-mixes of VM and STLS (not that weird as they have been circulating for at least 3 decades);

2. these were copied on a tape (perhaps even a cassette for home entertainment) but unfortunately it was damaged, trampled, eaten and vomited out by the player (crumpled sound between 51 and 55 seconds);

3. this cassette was downgraded from stereo to mono;

4. the mono 'remaster' was cut on acetate, a fake EMI label was glued on it, and sold to a collector (probably in the mid Nineties);

5. the acetate, believed to be genuine by its owner, was copied in a professional studio to (hopefully) a lossless digital format (there are vinyl record clicks to prove that);

6. the digital copy was then converted to MP3 (with a compression cut off at 16 Khz) and torrented through Yeeshkul.

Part ten: let's add some extra confusion

It has now been established that the 1967 acetate is fake and a mere mono copy of the 1974 stereo mix, but there is still some confusion and a bit of hope.

Although a copy from a copy from a copy the acetate sounds better, crispier and fuller than the Jenner mixes that are currently circulating. To put it into technical gobbledygook: the forger has a better sounding, earlier generation tape at his disposal than the one that Barrett collectors have now. This is something what duly pisses most Syd anoraks off.

Instead of sharing the tape to the fans it has been used to produce bootleg acetates. One can assume that the criminal sold more than one unique acetate, so there must be other collectors around who have purchased this record, believing they had the only copy in the world.

The high-priced acetate market is not that big. Perhaps if we stick together, we can trace the seller who must now tremble like a leaf, and before cutting off his balls and roasting them on a fire, confiscate the low generation tape and use it for the better.

fake Pink Foyd 1967 acetate
Fake Pink Foyd 1967 acetate.

Part eleven: last words

What you see at the left is an acetate counterfeit of a nonexistent 1967 Pink Floyd single
Vegetable Man / Scream Thy Last Scream.
Approximate value: 10 US dollars, not a cent more.

Let us be fair: not all is lost for Saq, the current owner.

The Anchor has got an excellent business relationship with Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers Bonhams. For a small 35% commission rate the Anchor is willing to put the acetate on sale at Bonhams as they already have a habit of selling overcharged fake Barrett memorabilia: Bonhams Sells Fake Barrett Poem.


The Anchor wishes to thank: Giuliano Navarro, Hallucalation, Vince666, Felixstrange, MOB, Neonknight, Emmapeelfan and the other participants at Late Night and Yeeshkul.

Late Night forum thread: Vegetable Man / Scream Thy Last Scream (Acetate Recordings)
Yeeshkul forum thread: Pink Floyd - "Vegetable Man / Scream Thy Last Scream" from rare acetate, 1967 (members only)

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

2011-03-23

Felix Atagong: an honest man

Fake Reverend unmasked at last
Felix Atagong
Felix Atagong.

The Anchor's editor was kindly asked, although summoned would be a more appropriate term, to do an independent review of an interview of the Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit that recently appeared on the extraordinary Spanish Barrett blog Solo en las Nubes (Alone in the Clouds).

Run by Antonio Jesús the blog is a mix of information and fun, containing several references to La Sagrada Iglesia de Iggy La Esquimal, that could be without doubt a title for one of the weirder Pedro Almodóvar movies. Quite recently, in a dark corner of The Anchor, dimly lit by a dripping candle in a bottle on the rough wooden table, I bend over to the gorgeous black-haired girl sitting in front of me, slowly whispering 'La Sagrada Iglesia de Iggy La Esquimal' in her ears (actually, in one ear only as it is quite infeasible to whisper in two ears at the same time, except for Mick Jagger perhaps). Oh Alex Fagotin baby, she passionately sighed with heaving breasts, say that to me one more time, but unfortunately my hair already had caught fire by then.

One very interesting part of the Spanish Barrett blog are the so-called self-interviews (or autoentrevista) and so far Antonio has persuaded Duggie Fields and Laughing Madcaps front-man Kiloh Smith to reveal their souls in these autobiographical Rorschach tests.

Titled 'Felix Atagong: "Un hombre sincero"' the latest self-interview has provoked roars of hysterical laughter from the Åland Islands to Wallis and Futuna. We reveal no real secrets if we tell you that the Reverend has left a trail of female victims from Oslo to Tarzana and rumour goes there will be more to follow despite many international warnings.

The Reverend's self-interview can already be described as absolute rock-bottom and without doubt it will be voted the all-time-worst-entry at the - otherwise excellent - Spanish Barrett blog. Time to let you decide for yourself what a kind of pompous pathetic pumpernickel that Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit really is. Ladies and gentlemen, the Anchor presents, but not too proudly: Felix Atagong: an honest man...

Solo en les Nubes
Solo en las Nubes.

Felix Atagong: "Un hombre sincero"

Even the roads of rock are unfathomable.

Felix Atagong, from Belgium, has created a blog dedicated to Iggy, the model of The Madcap Laughs album. Nobody knew her whereabouts for almost forty years. The coincidence of life, meaning that it is not coincidental at all, has lead this case to an unexpected but long-awaited path.

Publius Enigma.
Publius Enigma.

In his self-interview, Mr. Atagong, the Sherlock Holmes of the Floydian world (he even helped to clarify the Publius Enigma) and always committed to the truth he slowly peels the layers of the story of his blog, and more... (introduction written by Antonio Jesús)

1. What is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit?

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is a blog for Syd Barrett fans dealing with the – very short – period in 1969 when Syd's alleged girlfriend Iggy lived with the singer. Apart from some unverified rumours about her Eskimo roots nobody really knew something about her, nor what happened to her after her sudden disappearance in 1969.

2. How did it all start?

The Church more or less started as a prank. Discussing the (theoretical) possibility of a Barrett religion on the Late Night forum I mentioned a Saint Iggy Congregation in 2007 and when, in March 2008, DollyRocker recognised Iggy acting in a 1967 British documentary, I jokingly announced the Church's birth. But the idea still ripened for five months before any blog post appeared.

3. What were your intentions?

These were quite ambiguous by design.

Obviously the Church frame, lead by an all-knowing Reverend who addresses his flock in a swollen and theatrical language, is satirical. I wanted to imitate those overzealous fans, who can't stop arguing that Barrett is the world's most underrated musical genius and graphical artist and who painstakingly, almost in religious stupor, scrutinize every minute of his life.

But while I was developing the blog I soon realised that I was painstakingly, almost in religious stupor, collecting all available puzzle pieces that lay shattered over the net, on blogs, in forums, that were published in different articles and biographies, thus creating the ultimate Iggy repository.

Both concepts share an an osmotic relationship and - by being what it is and what it pretends to be – the Church has evolved into a meta-concept, although that thin ironic line is probably completely ignored by the people who visit it.

4. But the Church did trigger an Iggy revival, didn't it?

Not really. Every avalanche starts with a couple of snowflakes and by sheer luck the Holy Church happened to be on the right place at the right time. After nearly 40-years of silence several people simultaneously remembered Iggy. Most of the time the Church was not involved but has been monitoring and commentating these events. What nobody expected, except perhaps for the Holy Igquisition, is that it resulted in some sort of Iggymania.

Iggymania started when Mojo magazine put Syd Barrett on its cover in 2010. Of course that cover story was all about The Madcap Laughs 40th birthday but the Church had clearly inspired one of the articles. Not only did this boost the hits on the website but a few days later The Church could reveal that Evelyn (Iggy) had been found back as well and that thanks to Mojo.

Beginning of this year Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake could finally interview Iggy and that is when Iggymania fully exploded.

5. Not bad for something that started as a joke.

Syd and Iggy - Spring 1969
Syd and Iggy - Spring 1969.

The Church had already turned serious when JenS shared her memories with us, revealing that she (probably) introduced Iggy to Syd and pinpointing The Madcap Laughs photo-shoot date in spring, rather than in the autumn of 1969. Some time later another acquaintance of Syd gave her first interview ever to the Church. Margaretta Barclay and her boyfriend Rusty were regular visitors at Syd's flat and they even tried to resuscitate Barrett's interest in music by dragging him over to Meic Stevens, who is still some kind of weird folk cult figure.

I find it rewarding that some of the Church theories have been reprinted in magazine articles and biographies, so I guess we're not all rubbish after all.

6. But finding Iggy also presented a major crisis for the Church, isn't it?

It is the ambiguity of all organisations that have a certain goal. What do you do if the goal has been reached? What will Greenpeace do if no-one hunts little seals any more? The worst thing that could happen to the Church was to find Iggy! But every time the Reverend uttered the fear there would be lack of Iggy, something new turned up. And 2011 has already proved to be no exception.

Thinking about the future the Church did some reorganising and will continue developing into other areas, of course not neglecting its primary task to inform about al things Ig. One of the new items at the Church will be a gossip corner called 'The Anchor', named after the Cambridge pub Syd Barrett used to visit in the early Sixties. We hope it will stir things up as the Barrett community has become quite lethargic lately. We're all old farts who fall asleep after our afternoon tea and biscuits.

7. The question we are all waiting for: is Iggy aware of it at all and what does she think of the Church?

Evelyn kept a low profile over the years, although she apparently never hid the fact that she had been on the cover of The Madcap Laughs album. But the path of Iggy and the path of the Barrett fan community simply didn't converge for the last 40 years.

Recently Iggy has contacted the Church and she gave us valuable information. However the question is what will happen when Iggymania freezes over. I feel it a bit hypocrite to say that now, but it was never the Church's intention to invade Iggy's privacy.

8. This interview should have at least one anoraky question, reflecting the true nature of the Church. Does the 'eskimo chain' line in Barrett's Dark Globe refer to Iggy?

Dark Globe is a very poignant, hermetic track and, as is the case in many of Syd's songs, its lyrics can be interpreted in different ways. I think Julian Palacios describes it as a lament to Pink Floyd or something of that order. It also reads as a goodbye song to a past love and here is where the 'eskimo chain' line fits in – or doesn't.

I'm only a person with Eskimo chain
I tattooed my brain all the way...
Won't you miss me?
Wouldn't you miss me at all?
Solo en las Nubes banner
Solo en las Nubes banner.

Most people who read Barrett blogs will know that Barrett recorded under the guidance of Malcolm Jones, but somewhere in May 1969 he passed the torch to David Gilmour (Roger Waters would join in as well on a later date). Jones had given up in desperation, as Peter Jenner had done the year before, that last one declaring that the sessions had been 'chaos'. Finally it was David Gilmour who pleaded Harvest records to allow Barrett a third and final chance to finish his solo record. Of course this is just one interpretation and not all biographers and witnesses agree with that. Another story goes that Malcolm Jones simply invited Gilmour (and Waters) for marketing reasons: three Pink Floyd members for the price of one, so to speak (four if one adds Rick Wright who might have done some uncredited overdubs on Golden Hair). Probably the truth lies, as is often the case, somewhere in the middle.

The first session of the third recording round took place on the 12th of June 1969. Barrett premiered two new songs: Dark Globe and Long Gone. On the third (and final) session (26th of July) Roger Waters joined David Gilmour and a couple of other attempts were made of the same songs. (this alternative version of Dark Globe, now retitled as Wouldn't You Miss Me, was later released on the Opel outtakes album.)

It would be logical to see Long Gone and Dark Globe as an indivisible pair as they are both sad love songs. But there is an abundance of that theme on The Madcap Laughs. Jenny Spires told the Church: “Syd wrote songs and not all of them were about one person or another. It was his job. (…) Syd was not romantically inclined this way. 'I'm only a person with Eskimo chain' refers to the evolutionary chain, not to a specific person. He was on a very much higher spiritual plane, not so much on the material.”

But on the other hand Syd liked to put wordplay and little nods to reality in his texts. Pink Floyd's second single See Emily Play refers to psychedelic debutante Emily Young and to Libby Gausden, Jennifer Gentle from Lucifer Sam is a mixture between Jenny Spires and an ancient English ballad called 'There were three sisters' (Jennifer, Gentle and Rosemaree).

Dark Globe also contains the verse: “'The poppy birds way, swing twigs coffee brands around.” At first sight this is just a nature description set in a romantic mood but if one knows that a former girlfriend of Syd was Vivian 'Twig' Brans it becomes quite clear that Syd has cryptically entered her name in that line.

So while Dark Globe may have no-one specific in mind the Eskimo chain line may have been a slight nod toward Iggy.

9. This explanation made my appetite grow for more. How can one join the Church?

To paraphrase Groucho Marx: I don't want to belong to any Church that will accept me as a member, so you can't. The Church does have some loyal friends though who have helped by passing on valuable information. Basically the Church just reaps what others have sown (a common practice amongst churches, I might add). Many kudos go to a long list of loyal brainstormers, informants, witnesses and friends (and I already want to apologise for the ones I have forgotten): Anne, Anthony, Bea, Denis, Dollyrocker, Douggie, Eternal, Gretta, Jenny, Julian, Kieran, Lisa, Mark, Paro, Prydwyn, Rod, Sadia, Sean, Vicky, our many visitors and fans... And of course Iggy herself.

10. What is this recurring thing about the Holy Igquisition?

Nobody expects the Holy Igquisition!

Self-interview courtesy of: Solo en las Nubes (2011) - Felix Atagong: "Un hombre sincero", introduction written by Antonio Jesús. Self-interview written in December 2010 and updated in January 2011.


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

2011-05-08

EMI blackmails Pink Floyd fans!

EMI BLACKMAILS PINK FLOYD FANS
Pink Floyd at Gyllene Cirkeln, 1967.
Pink Floyd at Gyllene Cirkeln, 1967.

Nick Mason, who has always been the gentleman drummer of the band we call Pink Floyd, once jokingly said that he was mainly in the recycling business nowadays. It might have been on Top Gear, but before all the nitpickers jump on our back instead of ordering a fresh pint of Guinness, we admit we didn't check that.

Always a bit of an existentialist joker, our Nick, but of course there is much truth in what he said. Let's have a look of what the Barrett-driven band has produced for the last couple of decades.

The Gravy Train

1993: Crazy Diamond (Syd Barrett, 3 cd-set digital remaster and outtakes).
1994: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, stereo digital remaster 1994.
1997: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, mono digital remaster 1997, came with a separate Early Singles EP (other 'regular' stereo Piper releases date from 1999 and 2001).
2001: Echoes, the best of Pink Floyd.
2001: The Best of Syd Barrett: Wouldn't You Miss Me?
2007: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, mono and stereo digital remasters 2007. 40th anniversary edition (2 and 3 disk versions).
2007: Oh By The Way (Pink Floyd anthology).
2010: An Introduction to Syd Barrett (remixed and remastered Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett compilation, see: Gravy Train To Cambridge).

So when something really new comes up, and with really new, we mean really really new the surviving vintage Floyd community suddenly veers up, throws its rollators in the air and shouts with one voice: yes we can! After that the nurses come back and warn us that so much excitement should be avoided and that it is changing nappies time again.

Golden Circle

On the 10th of September 1967 Pink Floyd played a gig at the Gyllene Cirkeln (Golden Circle) jazzclub in Stockholm. Jazzclub is a slight overstatement, the place was a restaurant in disguise and Pink Floyd were having a dinner concert as most people were enjoying their Swedish köttbullar slightly wondering where all this estranged noise was coming from.

Swedish chefs are never to be trusted, just dine at Ikea for a change, probably the only restaurant in the world were you can actually take the tables and the chairs back home, and the chef at Gyllene Cirkeln was no exception. While Barrett and Co were swinging their rocks off Anders Lind was taping the gig hoping that in 2011 somebody would be interested. Only someone from Volvo-land can come up with a devilish scheme like that... but to add insult to injury he was probably right as the first public hearing of the Pink Floyd live tape in 3 and a half decades, last Tuesday at the same venue, was an immediate success.

Starclub Phyco (bootleg CD)
Starclub Phyco (bootleg CD.

Until now the earliest recorded Floyd gig had been at the Danish Star Club. It dates from the 13th of September 1967 and was recorded in Copenhagen, 3 days after the Golden Circle concert. Although only a very lo-fi recording has survived into this millennium it is much appreciated by Barrett collectors because it contains 3 officially unreleased early Pink Floyd songs. Here is the setlist:
Stoned Again (unreleased)
Arnold Layne (single)
Rush In A Million (unreleased)
Matilda Mother (The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn)
Scream Thy Last Scream (unreleased, see also: Scream Thy False Scream)
Astronomy Domine (The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn).

The track listing of the Swedish Golden Circle gig, 3 days earlier, is rather different. Starting with an unknown seven minutes 20 seconds jam, it goes like this:
Before or Since ('untitled' and unreleased jam, 7'20")
Matilda Mother (The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, 5 minutes, Syd Barrett vocals inaudible)
Pow R Toc H (The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, 11 minutes)
Scream Thy Last Scream (unreleased, 3 minutes)
Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (A Saucerful Of Secrets, 7 minutes, Roger Waters vocals scarcely audible)
See Emily Play (single, 3 minutes - the only live recording of this track!)
Interstellar Overdrive (The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, 10 minutes)

Pink Floyd fan Göran Nyström who was there told Brain Damage that it was a "great recording except for the singing” although it proves that Syd was, that day, very far from a spent force. Apparently the band had some PA problems, making the vocals inaudible, but otherwise the recording is superb and has an excellent stereo separation. The recording was done by a Revox machine using two microphones on the stage and its quality is nearly soundboard.

The untitled jam session at the beginning of the show was described by Roger Waters as follows: “nobody is ever gonna hear that one again, before or since”, but only a small excerpt of it was played at the event. EMI and/or Pink Floyd are aware of the track and they apparently confirmed to Anders Lind that the track is not Reaction In G, another unreleased Pink Floyd instrumental. Which brings us to the following point.

Payday at EMI

At several strategical places in the Golden Circle club last week the following message could be read:

PLEASE ALL OF YOU, AS A HOMMAGE TO PINK FLOYD DO NOT RECORD THIS EVENING. THIS UNIQUE CONCERT WILL BE ISSUED AS BONUS TRACKS FOR THE UPCOMING REISSUE OF THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN.
Copyright notice at Gyllene Cirkeln, 2011.

Pink Floyd Ltd. and/or EMI listened to snippets of the tape before the event and promised the organiser of the event to release the concert as a bonus disk on a future Pink Floyd re-release. According to Brain Damage “the organiser specifically asked that no-one record the audio and post it anywhere online, as that would jeopardise any chance of this”.

The Anchor is well aware of the fact that EMI is close to bankruptcy and that its managers can't afford to snort high quality cocaine any more but we would like to define the above attempt to blackmail the owner of the tape (and with him: the fans) as utter bollocks. First of all the Pink Floyd EMI vaults have quite a few unreleased Pink Floyd tracks and claiming that bootlegs have jeopardised their release is turning the truth upside down a bit. On top of that Anders Lind has confirmed to people attending the show that EMI pushed him to stop the event. Anders Lind who had been to the UK to play the tape for EMI refused to let them have it and finally a compromise was made by deleting the opening jam from last week's show.

The tactic is clear, even if an audience tape is weeded through the appropriate Pink Floyd fan channels, the opening jam will be firmly in the possession of the bloodhounds of EMI and - let us not forget, as they are no angels either - Pink Floyd Ltd, although it is not clear yet that the sale has already been made.

Trousers Down

It is pretty sure that audience recordings of the event have been made, but the Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett fan community is reluctant to release those and wants to give EMI the benefit of the doubt.

Against the tide of common sense The Anchor still hopes that an audience recording of last week's event will find its way on the web soon. It will be no match against the semi-professional tape that EMI (or the Pink Floyd management) will have in its hands soon, ready to be digitally remastered. Perhaps an audience recording could convince EMI to get on with it - fast! - as it would only make the appetite for an official release (with the seven missing minutes) bigger.

Update 6th of November 2011: Yeeshkul has now weeded the audience recording of the audience recording...

Pink Floyd at Gyllene Cirkeln, 1967.
Pink Floyd at Gyllene Cirkeln, 1967.

The Piper Reissue At The Gates Of Dawn

The comment that the gig would be put on yet another release of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is a bit of a bummer. A 50 years Piper anniversary release has to wait until 2017 although the good thing is of course that a 45 years release could already see the light of day next year. But why take Piper again? Piper seems to be the new milk cow of EMI and if this goes on like this there will be more Pipers around than Dark Side Of The Moons (see also: Fasten Your Anoraks).

The Anchor's wet dream is of course that this tape would be the ultimate trigger to release a vintage Pink Floyd rarities and demos box set, containing the Stockholm gig, the proto-Floyd sessions with Bob Klose, the pieces that were left of Piper and Saucerful, the aborted singles Scream Thy Last Scream and Vegetable Man and several BBC sessions including the lost Top of The Pops show that was miraculously found back in 2009 and has since then disappeared in an EMI / Pink Floyd Ltd. sealed and secured vicinity.

Come on EMI don't you see that my wallet is burning. But if I were you I would stop threatening and blackmailing the Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd community. It is thanks to us that you will be able to start sniffing that high quality cocaine soon again.

Update 2011 05 09: a 42 seconds snippet of Interstellar Overdrive surfaced and disappeared today, but Barrett-biographer Julian Palacios saved it for posterity: Interstellar Overdrive. As far as some insiders know: EMI still hasn't bought the tape and a second round of negotiations is underway. The owner, Anders Lind, insists on a 'use it or loose it' clause in the contract, meaning that EMI will be legally obliged to release the concert in order to keep the rights. To be continued...
Update 2011 11 06: Yeeshkul has now weeded the audience recording of the audience recording... (after 'insiders' had heard from the Pink Floyd camp that an official release of this tape seems improbable, due to the lack of vocals)
Update 2016 11 11: the Gyllene Cirkeln tape has found a legal release on the Pink Floyd compilation Early Years: Supererog/Ation: skimming The Early Years.


The Anchor wishes to thank: Göran Nyström, dallasman, krackers, moonwall, motoriksymphonia, xpkfloyd, zag and the other lovely people at Y.

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

2011-11-12

Careful with that stash, Gini

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gini 1974
Pink Floyd 'Gini' Tour.

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

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

Gini promo girl
Gini promo girl.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

2011-12-02

Fuck all that, Pink Floyd Ltd.

Fuck all that, Pink Floyd Ltd
Money, it's a gas!
Money, it's a gas!

Obviously Felix Atagong returned the next afternoon to that safe heaven that is The Anchor for his alcoholic needs.
"I am still pissed off at you, Alex Fagoting", he snarled, "for throwing me out last night."
"Here's a Guinness on the house.", I lied, pretending I would not note it down on his bill. "Simply get pissed instead." He laughed and as if nothing had happened he just continued his story after his first gulp of the day.

Rule #1: a good barkeeper always listens to his customer, but in this case I was humming along while Al Stewart crooned on the background.

"There is this big ambiguity about the Floyd.", Felix started, "In the early seventies they were aspiring leftist rock stars, playing the French communist (and frankly Stalinist) party parties. But at the same time there are these legendary stories about their royalties' catfights. Waters always nagging and later getting 50 percent for his sixth grade pubertal poetry alone and even then whining about his part for the composition as well. In the theoretical (and highly improbable) case that all four members would get even shares this benefited Waters with 62 and a half percent with the others only earning 12 and a half percent each. Not bad for a rock star who bragged in the press about his social housing projects."

"In reality poor Mason only got the crumpets and even these were later regretted by the so-called socialist activist who Roger pretended he was. One could paraphrase George Orwell here: 'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.' Waters would later beg, borrow or steal Orwell's socialist allegory for the Animals album, not realising the ironic fact that by then he had become the upper-pig of the band."

"We all know the story how Clare Torry was only paid 30£ for her contribution on The Great Gig In The Sky, something that would give her headaches for years to come. And Alan Parsons was only getting his EMI salary for his tremendous work on (The) Dark Side Of The Moon, much to his dismay. Even after Pink Floyd had become a financial dinosaur, with an annual turnover that would make some African countries jealous, they were too greedy to give a free copy of the album to the kids singing on Another Brick In The Wall, until the press got hold of it."

Brothers in cash
Brothers in cash.

"Excusez-moi, Felix.", I said, "But I see some pretty girls who want my attention." On Wednesday afternoon the Barrett Ladies Club meets at The Anchor. First they squabble about the pancakes they are going to order and will argue over the fact that they (the pancakes, not the women... yet) have not been sufficiently soaked in Grand Marnier. After a while the grannies start discussing about the exact type of colour Syd Barrett's floor boards were painted in, a somewhat pointless discussion if you ask me, as in 42 years of time they still haven't reached a consensus. You can only join the Barrett Ladies Club if you know what special birthmark Syd Barrett had and on what buttock it could be found, leaving out all the groovy chicks who had just been passing by for some quick plating...

After the ladies had been supplied with the food and drink (coffee and a thimbleful of eggnog) I returned to the bar where Felix had been contemplating his miserable life in silence. With a little luck he would have continued his inner monologue and not take off from where I had left him.

Nick Mason miniature car
Nick Mason miniature car.

"Since Nick Mason admitted he was officially in the recycling business I have the utmost respect for him.", Atagong orated. "Even when he tries to sell miniature cars with his signature on. I love his no-nonsense style. While David 'the sound' and Roger 'the genius' are continually trying to convince the public that they and they alone are Pink Floyd Nick gets in 'with a wit drier than an AA clinic' (to quote novelist Kathy Lette). But although Gilmour and Waters are like fire and water... they sound unexpectedly in perfect unison when it comes to grab into the fan's pockets. I suppose that Gilmour is a bit short of cash now that his stepson has been sentenced to pick up the leftover soap in a British prison. And Waters has just married again for the fourth time and Viagra comes expensive nowadays."

I gave a wry smile but Felix couldn't be stopped.

"Even 37 years after the facts Waters and Gilmour try to be politically correct and claim they gave the 1974 Gini-money to charity, but Mason just adds: 'We shelved the cash, point.' Mason also agrees that this is probably the last time in history that they will be able to sell hardware to the fans (meaning CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray disks) rather than downloadable bits and bytes. And by selling these ridiculously expensive collector's boxes record companies and artists have found a new way of income. Pink Floyd could've taken an example to Elvis Costello who openly asks his fans not to buy his latest record at such a ridiculous price..."

"What's the problem then with these Immersion boxes", I asked, "apart from the price?"

"They are a fucking disgrace!", shouted Atagong, so loud that one of the Barrett Gang Bang girls nearly choked on a profiterole. "Let's start with Dark Side Of The Moon, shall we? How many CD-reissues of that album have we already had? Who knows? Four, five? And all of them have been remastered. Are we talking here about one of the best rock albums of all times or does EMI considers Dark Side Of The Moon a new brand of washing powder? An ameliorated version every few years to keep on washing their dirty laundry whiter than white? Does it mean that the earlier versions were all rubbish if the Floyd annex EMI feel the need to keep on going remastering them? On top of that the 6 disks in the Moon-box are highly repetitive...."

"That is quite obvious.", I retaliated, "It's all about the Dark Side, isn't it?" Felix pointed his finger at a few millimetres from my nose.
"Don't try to be a smart-ass, lad.", he threatened. "That is not what I mean." He looked for and unfortunately found a paper inside his jacket. "I have it all written down for you.", he sycophantically whispered.

Pigs - three different ones

"The Dark Side Of The Moon Immersion set has a DVD and a Blu-ray with multi-channel audio mixes of the album. The 1973 quad mix can be found in 448 kbps, 640 kbps and a 96kHZ/24bit version. If you ask me that is three times the same goody good bullshit. Also the 5.1 surround mix is three times in the box. The Wish You Were Here Immersion set has one disk less than the Dark Side box but EMI still found it necessary to keep going on with their continuous repetition: also here the quad and 5.1 mixes have been inserted three times. But that is not all. For a set that costs the fan an arm and a leg they have been scandalously designed, packed and transported."

Dislocated Immersion CDs.
Dislocated Immersion CDs.

The Great Rock'N Roll Swindle

"Several buyers noticed that their disks contained fingerprints although the boxes arrived sealed. I don't give a fuck if EMI uses Korean child-slaves to pack these items but for 120 Euro a piece I would like them to have fat-free fingers. My Immersion boxes arrived with the disks at the bottom dislodged and with scratches that must have arrived somewhere during transport."

"The novelty extras are quite tacky. A separate envelope with a facsimile of a Pink Floyd gig entrance card is something you might pay 50 cents for, but not a lot more. And what to think of the marbles, the scarf and the carton toasters in each box... it feels cheap but alas your wallet reveals it isn't."

"I would like to know who is the EMI fuckwit who decided to package the Dark Side Of The Moon marbles separately in bubble-wrap, but agreed to have the disks attached in such a flimsy way that at the lightest shock they start to travel on their own. Did you understand the music, EMI, or was it all in vain? I know of one customer who had the guts to have 6 Immersion boxes opened in the store before he found one with undamaged disks!"

We're only in it for the money

"And it isn't finished yet. The encrypted Blu-ray disks refuse to play on most PCs. There seems to be a valid technical reason for that, driver issues and so on, but in my opinion EMI deliberately issued a disk that can only be played on stand-alone players, attached to a TV-set. If other companies can manufacture Blu-rays that play faultless on a PC, why not EMI?"

"On top of that the Wish You Were Here Blu-ray, in most European boxes, has several audible glitches in the 5.1 Surround Mix at the end of Shine On You Crazy Diamond and on other tracks as well. At 120 Euro a box these sets are clearly a rip-off, but even at that price EMI fails to provide us with unscratched and undamaged disks. The only question that one can ask is indeed:
Why Pink Floyd?
Why EMI?
For fuck sake, why?"

Lucky for me at that moment one of the Barrett ladies started strangling another one so I had an excuse to leave Felix behind in his misanthropic misery.


(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
The Anchor wishes to thank all people on the Immersion threads at Yeeshkul:
Dark Side of the Moon Immersion Set problems
WYWH Immersion set problems

Vrooomuk's Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here Immersion Box Set Unboxing 'this is disgraceful'... (Immersion box picture taken from this video).
Yeeshkul's (very) technical guide for playing the Blu-ray Immersion disks on a non-compatible PC-Blu-ray player: How to play your new blu-ray TDSOTM disc!

Dark Side of The Moon fantasy (top picture), based upon a desktop image from an unknown fan.

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

2012-05-25

Spanishgrass or Syd Barrett's lost Spanish record

Spanishgrass
Pink Flamingo
Pink Flamingo.

I can personally testify that Pink Floyd was a mythical band in the mid-Seventies, even in dreary Belgium. During the breaks in the school yard, where we would try to hide the cigarette smoke from the teachers, we invariably discussed serious rock music business, and you couldn't get more serious than Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes, Genesis, Van Der Graaff Generator and occasionally Kraftwerk. But the top band on the mythological scale was without doubt: the Pink Floyd.

Not only was their band name medieval English for 'pink flute' (in medieval Dutch a flute was written and pronounced 'floite' or 'fluyte') and as such a mild euphemism for a certain male body part we were slightly getting aware of, but it was also rumoured that Pink Floyd was largely a psychedelic drugs-band. They had a mansion on a Greek island where anybody could go on a holiday and get all the sex, drugs and rock'n roll you wanted for free. Which was pretty close to heaven for the 14-years old hormone driving things we were.

France

I guess that every country must have their own local Floydian legends. This blog has already written a couple of times about the French who thought until the mid-Nineties (!) that Pink Floyd was the English for pink flamingo. All this can be traced back to a uni-lingual journalist, Jean-Marie Leduc, who mistook the Pink Flamingo club for the Pink Floyd band, probably in 1967. Another one of this man's silly mistakes was to note down in the Floyd's first biography ever that they had recorded a single called 'Apologies', a Frenglish misunderstanding of 'Apples and Oranges'. A decade later people were still looking for this non-existing track, including yours truly. (More info here: Si les cochons pourraient voler...)

Obviously Syd participates a great deal in these Floydian myths. A very ardent one was the strong belief that there was a third Syd Barrett solo album lying in the vaults of EMI. I still have a vinyl bootleg that promised to be just that although it was quite disappointing when I put it on my turntable.

Spain

But this week, thanks to Babylemonade Flowers, I came across an Iberian Floydian legend about a third Barrett album recorded in a Spanish monastery. It is an urban rock-legend over there (and also in South America) and as far as I know it has never crossed the language barrier. I was totally unaware of it but a few Spanish, Galician (and even Italian) blogs and forums have dedicated some space to it. The following text is an adaptation / translation of what could be found so far and they are presented here as such. Not one single letter has been verified for its authenticity. The copyrights of these texts belong to the original authors (see source listing at the bottom). Translation mistakes, typos and all possible errors are entirely the responsibility of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and/or the Anchor.

Oseira
Oseira.

Lunatic on Spanish grass

In 1978 a bootlegger from A Coruña pressed 20 vinyl copies of a tape that was handed over to her by a monk of the Monastery of Santa María la Real of Oseira. The (original) tape in question contained some unreleased Syd Barrett songs, given to the monk by the madcap himself when he stayed there in 1976 or 1977.

The album was titled 'Spanishgrass - veinte canciones sobre el espacio y la siesta'. Apparently that was the explanation Syd Barrett gave when the monk asked him what the songs were about: twenty songs about the place itself and the daily siesta.

Unfortunately Spanishgrass is nowhere to be found. The only edition of the album, limited to 20 copies on the Nonsense Music record label, was a present from Gem Noya to her closest friends. Before they received the record they had to sign a letter promising they would not distribute or duplicate the material. Noya gave the record as a leaving present, before retiring to a Buddhist community in Pokhara (Nepal), where she possibly still resides.

According to sources close to her family, she burned the original (and only) tape and threw the ashes on the beach of Carnota, near the Monte Pindo mountain. In 1983, three of the songs from the Spanishgrass album were exceptionally played on 'El Lado Salvaje' (The Wild Side), a radio show produced by a local FM radio station in A Coruña. (Note: nobody seems to remember the name of that radio station apparently.)

The album's songs are musically innocent, with simple guitar arrangements. Barrett is almost always strumming a single chord, but the lyrics are interesting: ranging from surreal humour on 'Mouse After A Fête' and 'Two bangers + mash' to pentecostal mysticism, with quotations from ancient Welsh bards songs and extracts from Robert Graves' The White Goddess, a work the English musician consulted in the Oseira library.

Another book that influenced Barrett for his song-cycle was Imaginary Lives by Marcel Schwob. Three songs are about characters that can be found in the book: William Phips, Stede Bonnet and Gabriel Spenser. On top of that, Barrett was captivated by the poems of Alvaro Cunqueiro in his book Herba aquí­ ou acolá and recorded some tracks in Galician: 'Eu son Dagha', 'Na outra banda' and 'Un poeta esquece os dí­as de chuvia'. (Note: it is not explained how Barrett learned to read and speak Galician.)

Although it has not been confirmed and the monks of Oseira keep quiet out of respect for their guests, Barrett met and befriended the British writer Graham Greene, a regular visitor of the monastery from the early seventies until his death in 1991.

Oseira monastery
Oseira monastery.

The madcap trails

It is believed Barrett went to Spain for two consecutive years (1976 and 1977). He travelled anonymously, often hitch-hiking or using public transport through Andalusia, Extremadura and Galicia. He was on his own and his luggage was as scarce as revealing: a backpack, an acoustic guitar and the complete works of William Blake. In one of his travels he discovered what would become his private retreat in the north-west of the Iberian peninsula, the Monastery of Oseira.

Nestled in a solitary canyon at the municipality of San Cristovo de Cea (Ourense), the twelfth century Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Oseira was the first Spanish monastery of the Cistercian monastic order, founded in 1098 as a radical alternative to the aristocratic order of Cluny. The Cistercians practised Christian friendship, poverty and mythic culture, and retreated from the world, in locations far from roads and towns.

Syd Barrett was immediately fascinated by the charm of the secluded place, the silent evolution of the monastic life and the monks' hospitality. He stayed in one of the monastic guest-cells during four months of 1976 (September-December) and three months in the following year (April to June). He only left the monastery to wander the hills nearby where he liked two places, Chaira, a wide panoramic grassy terrace situated on nearly 1,200 feet high, and Penedo, a ridge shaded by chestnut trees.

In Oseira, Barrett wrote and recorded numerous songs on a cheap cassette player. He sat in the courtyard of the monastery, often at siesta time, and sang softly, accompanied by his guitar, afraid to disturb the monks. The sound of the recording is technically weak, but is appealing from a poetic perspective: his voice is filtered through the wind and the bubbling of the water in the nearby well.

Graham Greene in Oseira
Graham Greene with Leopold Durán in Oseira.

Simone Saibene: an investigation in 2011

In 2011 Simone Saibene decided to investigate this myth and he has published his findings on the Duellanti blog. The underneath text is a (shortened) rendition, the parts were the author just repeats the above story have been omitted:

Some time ago a Carballiño friend told me that this story was not an urban legend as it would seem at first. I was perplexed and intrigued, and after a couple of months I decided to try to find out the truth.

Syd Barrett seems to have spent two holidays in the Cistercian monastery of Oseira (Ourense), the first between September and December of 1976 and the second between April and June, the following year. Influenced by the archaic beauty of the place, Barrett wrote "twenty songs about its location and the siesta". The tracks are yet unreleased and have been recorded in a very rudimentary way.

3 songs from Spanishgrass have been aired in the early eighties by a radio station and those listening that day have declared that the one-chord songs had no arrangements and were not particularly bright.

In contrast, the texts were more interesting, ranging from surrealist humour to mysticism. What you can find on the net is the transcript of the story that circulated in pubs at Carballiño and Ourense in the eighties. It seems an urban myth, but over the last twenty years a couple of journalists of La Voz de Galicia have dealt with the case without finding confirmations but no denials either. I decided to go hunting for information and I headed for Oseira.

The monastery is in a secluded valley, about a three-quarters drive from Ourense. The nearest town in the vicinity is San Cristovo de Cea, famous for its local bread, with just over 2000 inhabitants and about 10 km of the monastery. In an atmosphere that invites contemplation and meditation, I meet a Cistercian monk who is sprinkling the bushes with a hose. I introduce myself and using the excuse of taking a picture, I ask him some questions.

Oseira monastery.
Oseira monastery.

I ask him about celebrities who have visited Oseira in the past. He speaks of the writer Graham Greene and father Leopoldo Durán, author of a doctoral thesis on power and glory, who spend some time together. Another guest of the monks was Eduardo Pérez Maseda, a Spanish composer and essayist. When I ask a direct question about Syd Barrett the monk smiles:

"I remember him. He was a young Englishman, not Catholic, who always had a guitar with him." I ask for other details. "When I met Barrett," he says, "I had only recently entered the community of the Oseira monks. I saw him for the first time when I passed the cell where he was staying. He had left the door open. As I walked through the hallway, I peeked inside.

Syd Barrett sat in front of his desk, he was writing, there were papers scattered everywhere... He did not turn around after my greeting. I guess that he was composing at the time. A few days later, he showed up and told me he was English and a musician.”

I ask the monk if Barrett recorded songs in those days. He replies that he has never witnessed that, but notes that he had no idea who Barrett really was at that time: "A few years later some youngsters arrived at the monastery, asking around... that's when I realized that he was a famous person..." He continues: "None of these fans were Catholic, they took drugs and were convinced that the monastery was a fun place to be, like a nightclub to smoke marijuana. That's not how you act... are you Catholic?"

Before the conversation takes another turn, I ask for permission to use his name for my article. "Absolutely not! I should not even be here talking to you about these things! This is up to the abbot, my superior..."

We greet each other cordially. I continue my visit with the guide who takes tourists (there aren't that many, to be honest) into the monastery. He is a monk of more or less my age. At the end of the visit I ask him for news about Barrett. He replies: “Yes, there is documentation that proves he stayed here.", but adds that "The monks have stored everything away." They have been forced to deny the reports circulating on the former Pink Floyd member because of the numerous fans who had begun to siege the monastery in the eighties and nineties. Moreover, according to the archives, Barrett may not have been visiting Oseira in the seventies, but in the early eighties. Then he confirms that "...in the monastery there are unreleased recordings of Barrett." I thank the young monk for the information and head back to Ourense.

The day after I still doubt whether this is a legend or not, even if the witnesses that I found seemed to be convincing. Truthful or not, the story is almost unbelievable but still worth of being reported.

Oseira monks
Oseira art.

Too much monk's business

Here is a list of alleged tracks (some in Galician) on the Syd Barrett Spanishgrass album. (Note: it has not been revealed where this information comes from).

1 Manantial. (Translation: Spring)
2 Reverential mourners.
3 Black maid.
4 Plastic gunpowder.
5 Mouse after a fête.
6 Breakwater and tea.
7 Grey tress.
8 Two bangers + mash.
9 Whining at the moon.
10 Greenland.
11 Eu son Dhaga. (Translation: I am Dhaga)
12 Na outra banda. (Translation: On the other hand)
13 Un poeta esquece os días de chuvia. (Translation: A poet forgets the rainy days)
14 Saturnalia.
15 William Phips.
16 Stede Bonnet.
17 Gabriel Spenser.
18 Gospel at noon.
19 Waste deep.
20 Frog.

Oseira Well
Oseira well.

Ramjur: a visit in 2006

On the Infomusic forum Ramjur wrote about his visit to the monastery. Some parts that are merely repeating the above facts have been omitted.

One day in a relaxed talk with Zappamacías (?!) we started about Syd Barrett, who is believed to have had an extraordinary adventure in Spain. This is a personal experience rather than precise information or a review from a a non-existent disk.

In summer 2006 we went on holiday with a couple of families from Malaga to the north of the peninsula: Salamanca, Leon, and Cantabria, Orense, Oseira. We spend three days in a fantastic and huge Cistercian monastery in a wonderful mountainous enclave.

There were about 20 visitors and we got together for lunch and – for those willing to join - religious services. This was the only time we could meet with the monks. Among the visitors were also some people who were there for religious or meditating reasons. During the meal I got into conversation with a priest on the most diverse issues, including music. I can't remember all details any more but suddenly he asked: “Do you like Pink Floyd?”

I was amused and I said 'naturally' as I have their records and stuff but his next question was: “Do you know Syd Barrett then?” I stopped eating and looked at him closely. That he knew Pink Floyd was not so strange in itself, he was a man of the world and Pink Floyd are well known after all, but Syd Barrett?

I began to inquire what he knew and talked about Barrett's solo albums, but then he surprised me: “Do you know his record Spanishgrass?” I asked if it was a live bootleg, and he said 'no', these were new songs and some were sung in Galician! (I had to laugh - the monastery wine was really good.)

I told him I was totally unaware of that record. Then he dropped the big one: “Do you know that Syd Barrett was here twice?” From my facial expression he realized that I no longer believed him. I had read somewhere before that there had been rumours of Barrett staying in a Spanish monastery, but all that seemed far-fetched. But he said: “If we meet at the next meal I'll show you an article.”

The next day he showed me an article from a newspaper that told the history of Barrett and his album Spanishgrass, he gave it to me and I have it at home, but I cannot find it! (Note: it has been confirmed to the Anchor that articles have indeed appeared in the Spanish (music) press about this.)

Needless to say that after this nice story (which still doesn't mean it is real) I was very impressed. I noted with some certainty that the monks were quite reserved on the matter of Syd Barrett and the pilgrim who gave me the newspaper article did not know much more (or would not tell me). But one guide showing visitors around that day said that Syd Barrett had been one of the 'distinguished visitors' of the monastery together with Graham Greene.

A Genius At Oseira

We end this post with a 2006 article from the Galician newspaper La Voz de Galicia:

There is a legend that says that Syd Barrett visited the monastery of Oseira after retiring from the music business. The story circulated quietly in Carballiño in the eighties and, to add some extra confirmation, everyone noted that in the bar next to the monastery there was a Pink Floyd album that had been given by Syd Barrett himself to the innkeeper.

So far for the story... that may well be continued in later articles...


The above article is entirely based upon unverified 'facts' or rumours that have been published in Spanish, Galician and Italian articles. Many thanks to: Babylemonade Flowers, Antonio Jesús and the correspondents at the underneath forums and blogs.

Sources (other than the above internet links):
The mother of all Oseira articles seems to be one that was posted in 2003 by a certain Eric Burdon, but that has disappeared from the web:
Discos perdidos - Spanish Grass- Syd Barrett (2003, Eric Burdon, deleted page)
Syd Barret en Galicia (monasterio de Oseira) @ Ipunkrock (2006, Charlas Bronson quoting Eric Burdon)
SYD BARRETT SPANISHGRASS (1979, NONSENSE) @ Plunderphonics (2007, Little Turtle quoting Eric Burdon)
Spanishgrass: Syd Barrett in Galizia @ Duellanti (2011, Simone Saibene, Galizia dentro)
Spanishgrass el disco "fantasma" de Syd Barrett @ Sinfomusic (2009, Ramjur)
Oseira e o xenio @ La Voz de Galicia (2006, Camilo Franco)

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

2012-08-01

Roger Waters sues IOC over pig!

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

When I opened the Anchor this morning I thought I saw a beggar leaning against the door post. I took a broom to wipe the scruffy looking scum-bag away, but I discovered just in time it was none other than... Roger Waters.

“Come in here, Roger”, I said, “long time no see”, which is practically a blatant lie as I had never seen him in my entire life. “Thanks, Sylvester”, he replied, which was weird as well, as Sylvester isn't my name but the name of the dude who used to have The Anchor in the early sixties. By the looks of it Roger Waters was on an Alzheimer-induced trip through memory lane.

Roger sat in front of me while I tried starting a conversation: “Hello...you wanna cup of coffee?”
He just sat there with wild staring eyes, so I repeated: “I'm sorry, would you like a cup of coffee?”
This time he nodded and for a moment I thought this bloke was even more bonkers than Syd Barrett who used to lick the chalk at the snooker table if you didn't stop him in time: “Ok, you take cream and sugar?”

Waters took a sip of his coffee and he looked as if he really didn't want to be there, wherever that might be. It is a good rule for a bartender to leave a client in peace, if he wants so, or to have a vivid conversation, if he wants so too. I decided, against my intuition, to have another go: “What a show, hey, yesterday night.”

IOC Pig
IOC flying pig.

“Yeah, thanks”, he murmured. Waters had probably misunderstood me and thought I had asked him about one of his Wall shows that he has been performing for the fifth consecutive year now.

“No, that is not what I mean, Mister Waters. I meant the Olympics opening show with all that you touch and all that you see and things...”

“It's called Eclipse!”, he snapped, pointing a finger at me: “That whole Olympic opening show was a rip-off of my work, you hear me. Didn't you see the James Bond sequence where the helicopter flies over Battersea Power Station. What did you see, boy, tell me, what did you see?”

“Did I have to see something?”, I asked. I honestly had no idea what he was talking about. I had watched the show with one eye, finding it a load of pretentious crap, and I switched it off when Mike Oldfield and his band started playing Tubular Bells, sounding as if it came out of a tin box.

“I'll show you.”, he said and pressed an iPhone under my nose, “It's on YouTube. Here. You see this helicopter fly over Battersea that has a Pink Floyd pig between its chimneys and then it passes next to Big Ben with the ticking clocks from my brilliant master-work Time.” All I could see was a black screen with a warning:

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

“As a matter of fact, it's all dark to me.”, I answered. Roger Waters turned the iPhone around and screamed one of his screams that make his solo albums such a blazing success. He pushed the screen as if it was fabricated by Play-Doh.

“Andre!”, he shouted, “Get me the top buffoon of the Olympics, that crazy hand-clapping Belgian who was standing next to the old bat! ...Where I am, doesn't matter where I am, just get me that wimp!”

Suddenly he remembered that I was still standing behind the bar as well. “How dare they, a fucking copyright claim by the fucking International Olympic Committee. It is my fucking pig, I tell you, and my fucking clocks!”

He pressed the phone again and had his personal secretary in a matter of seconds: “Andre! Check our lawyer if that creepy Danny Boyle person has asked permission to use my pig and my clocks... What do you mean... an academy award winner? Isn't it already bad enough that McDonald's forces the visitors of the games to eat their crap at gunpoint?” I always thought it was physically impossible to smash down an iPhone but Roger Waters apparently succeeded in doing just that.

Olympic Pyramids
Olympic Pyramids.

“Did you know,”, Roger said to me, “that the Olympic show has been co-produced by Mark Fisher. The same Mark Fisher who would still be selling fish and chips if I wouldn't have hired him to supervise the inflatables during the Animals tour? Seems that he has being borrowing from my impressive portfolio as well.”

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

“Yeah Andre... mmh... mmh... mmh.” Waters listened attentively to what was said at the other side. Suddenly his voice turn into a soft grumbling. “The International Olympic Committee didn't ask Roger Waters Ltd for an authorisation to use the pig. Fine, let's close down their circus then... that will learn them...”

From where I was standing I could hear his secretary trying to get a message through to his boss. Suddenly Roger's eyes went very dark: “They have asked Pink Floyd (1987) Ltd for an authorisation... what... do... they... have... to... do... with... my... pig...”

I have once read in a magazine that just before a tornado hits your chicken shack it gets awfully quiet. Roger Waters was awfully quiet now. A good bartender knows what he has to do to prevent a row, so I tried to divert from the subject: “Now that you mention it, those rows of beds in the stadium made me think of Pink Floyd as well.”

Animals cover (rejected)
Rejected Animals cover.

“What the fuck a bed has got to do with my work of genius?”, he snorted, “As far as I know no bed has ever been used on a Pink Floyd album. Silly Storm tried once, but he couldn't stand up against my pig. Nobody can stand up against my pig.”

He smiled a big smile, so my trick did work apparently.

“But you are right, the bed thing that was supposedly about the National Health Service stole most of its imagery from me. Suddenly the stadium, with its pyramidal Dark Side of the Moon light towers, was surrounded by a pulsating heart-beat like the Hipgnosis artwork that has been done under my intelligent guidance. Some minutes later giant inflatable marionettes, not unlike my teacher from my Wall, descended from the sky. Poor Gerald Scarfe, he would still be cutting onion rings in a Soho Chop Soy dump if I hadn't employed him on the Wish You Were Here tour.”

He sighed a heavy sigh: “It's awfully difficult to be a genius, Sylvester, but I cope with it rather well.”

Suddenly three men, dressed in white, jumped in the pub. They immediately froze when they saw the man sitting in front of me and slowly walked to him. “Come in here, dear boy.”, one of them smoothly said, “We have to fly you back for your show in Santiago de Chile tonight.”

“Daddy, I wanna go home...”, Roger cried and for a nanosecond I pitied him. “Hush now baby, don't you cry”, said nurse #1, nodding to nurse #2 who had prepared an injectant. “Just a little pinprick, Roger, to keep you going for the show.” Two of them grabbed Roger Waters under his shoulders and dragged him out of the pub, his feet sliding over the Anchor's polished floor.

I could swear I heard a copter leaving off a few minutes later, but perhaps this was my imagination. But what I do know with certainty is that nobody bothered to pay me for the coffee.


(The above article is not entirely based upon facts and some situations have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)

Many thanks to: 2braindamage, Bloco do Pink Floyd, Matt, NPF.

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

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

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

2013-05-25

Spanishgrass, one year later

Acid in Oseira
Oseira Monastery
Oseira Monastery.

When the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit got hold of an Iberian Floydian legend, thanks to a Mexican Syd Barrett fan, the Reverend's alter ego, Alex Fagotin, spend a couple of days searching the Internet for clues and started to translate half a dozen of Spanish, Galician and Italian webpages about the subject. According to these articles Syd Barrett had stayed in a Spanish monastery where he had recorded a third solo album called Spanishgrass. If you missed it, you can still consult the original article here: Spanishgrass or Syd Barrett's lost Spanish record.

In May 2012 the Holy Church published excerpts from these articles 'as such' under the satirical 'The Anchor' banner. Authenticity warnings were put at the beginning and end of the article and it was made clear throughout the text that the story was an urban legend that had thrived in Spain around the Eighties and was still discussed on Internet fora today.

Only a fool would believe this was a true story, but unfortunately the Internet is a fool's oasis.

La Naval
La Naval.

Investigative Journalism

Some airheads immediately accused the Church of deliberately spreading around false information, even going as far as claiming it had a hidden agenda. As if blogging about 'Paul is Dead' would automatically mean that you believe in it. Several Spanish speaking friends, however, were glad about the article and informed the Reverend that the Spanish press had indeed written about Syd Barrett overwintering in a monastery in Oseira.

Once again we repeat for those pigheaded readers that The Anchor, the Church's satirical division, didn't start this hoax. The Anchor merely reported about it, with a twenty five years delay. Unfortunately nobody could lead us to the origin of the hoax and our research lead to nothing.

This is when Barrett investigator Antonio Jesus, of Solo En Las Nubes, came into the picture. He decided to get to the bottom of this using his (Spanish) network of Barrett and Pink Floyd fans. After some exhaustive research he not only found the article that may have started the Spanishgrass legend but even contacted the journalist who wrote it. This first follow-up article is largely based upon his findings.

A warning for our fast food readers, what follows is rather long, even for people who are used to The Anchor's long-windedness.

Solo en les Nubes
Solo en las Nubes.
La Naval
La Naval.

Un canto a Galicia

In 1978 (ratified in 1981) Spanish region Galicia acquired a partial self-governance with its own president, parliament and court. This created a change in cultural and political awareness, fed by local television, press and organisations who wanted to cut the umbilical cord with Madrid. This was later baptised the Atlantic movement.

Journalist and musician of the influential Galician post-punk band Radio Océano, Xosé Manuel Pereiro, better known as Johnny Rotring, witnessed the birth of it: “Everyday new things were happening and you had the feeling that everything could pass.” A crucial turning point seems to have been a concert of The Ramones in November 1981 that showed that there was a growing contemporaneous underground scene outside traditional Spanish folklore. Leading Spanish newspaper El País wrote that it was a cultural awakening that buried 40 years of ostracism and dictatorship.

Franco's Legacy

In 2013 it seem weird that a concert of The Ramones would mark a turning point in the cultural history of a European country. To better understand this we have to start with a brief history lesson.

After the second world war fascism was abolished in Europe with one exception, Spain, where dictator Francisco Franco would rule until his death in 1975. Although Richard Nixon called General Franco 'a loyal friend and ally of the United States' it can't be denied that the dictator ruled harshly over his country, helped by the influential Catholic Church, the army and the police. European and American politicians however opportunistically regarded Franco as an enlightened leader and closed their eyes for the less friendly aspects of the regime.

This included the systematic suppression of dissident views through censorship and coercion, the imprisonment of ideological enemies in concentration camps, the implementation of forced labour in prisons, and the use of the death penalty and heavy prison sentences as deterrents for the opponents of the regime. (Taken from Wikipedia.)

After Franco's death democracy slowly settled in, including freedom of speech, freedom of press and the freedom to listen to subversive music. Before that, having long hair had been reason enough to be arrested by the Guardia Civil and be beaten in their cells (with wet towels, to leave no marks) just for the fun of it, like it was told to the Reverend by a young dissident who had fled Spain for Belgium in the seventies.

Atlanticism

From rock'n roll awareness, with alternative radio stations and Galician new wave and post punk bands, the Atlantic movement shifted towards more critical and political viewpoints, often with an ironic wink. This resulted into several alternative publications but the one that became the Atlantic manifesto was La Naval that appeared twice a year in a circulation of 5000 copies.

La Naval
La Naval.

La Naval

La Naval managed to unite most participants of 'Atlanticism', from Miguelanxo Prado over Enrique Ordovás to José Manuel Costa. It only existed for two years, between 1984 and 1986, but each number announced 'una visión crítica e irónica de la cultura y la actualidad ' to quote poet Louis Pereiro, one of its creators.

Its pages offered not only avant-garde Galician samples in art, literature, music or journalism, but it published self-confident, humoristic and hilarious articles about non-existent rock bands asking for parliamentary support, the 'National Cocho Front' forbidding all derogatory meanings of the word 'pig' and... the diary entries of a certain Syd Barret (with one T) who allegedly stayed at a monastery in Oseira.

La Naval, Revista Atlántica, appeared at least four times between 1984 and 1986 (and may not be confused with a few other Spanish magazines that carry the same title). Not only its countenance was alternative, but also its dates of apparition and the numbering. Number 0 came out in November 1984, followed by number 1 in March 1985, a third issue was numbered 00 in September 1985. The final issue had number 500 and was released somewhere in Autumn 1986.

That last issue had an article by José Ángel González, titled: Syd Barret busca en Oseira la armonía celeste and Antonio Jesús from the Spanish Barrett blog Solo En Las Nubes was so friendly to scan it in.

So here is, ladies & gentlemen, for the first time translated into English, the text that probably started the Spanishgrass hoax... (the scans of the original (Spanish) article can be consulted at our Spanishgrass library)


Syd Barret busca en Oseira la armonía celeste
Syd Barret busca en Oseira la armonía celeste.

SYD BARRET LOOKING FOR CELESTIAL HARMONY IN OSEIRA

In Oseira they are getting used to them, both are British, with blue eyes, and they annually visit the monastery. The novelist Graham Greene, who prefers the summer and the dry smell of the ground, scattered with crevices, perhaps mimicking his far-away tropical experiences when he was working for the Foreign Office. His annual visits to Oseira, where he is awaited by the monk Leopoldo Durán, confidant and cicerone of the British master, are reflected in the novel "Monsignor Quixote". In one of its pages Greene defines Oseira as "a deserted island colonized by just a handful of adventurers determined to build a home on the ruins of a bygone civilization."

Perhaps this same idea was playing in the mind of the monastery's other annual guest: Syd Barrett, founder and leader of the group Pink Floyd that coloured the sixties. One of the legends that periodically amused the world of 'pop' referred to the premature retirement of Barrett to a 'Spanish monastery', but hardly anyone decided to check this at the actual place. Barrett, more wintry than Greene, annually visited Oseira in the month of December and that since 1968.

The author of the two 'most genuine psychedelic albums of pop', as quoted by John Peel when describing 'The Madcap Laughs' and 'Barrett', searched each year for celestial harmony in Oseira that neither fame nor LSD could give him.

The village is gloomy, with that special, deep and captivating sadness that is standard for the northern beauty of Spain. However, the exception is the monastery 'El Escorial de Galicia', in the great plains surrounding the sandy slopes of Serra do Faro. For the monks in cyclic retirement the maelstrom of Oseira is a spiritual refuge.

La naval: original artwork
La Naval: original artwork.

There is also a pub, of course. The 'Sabadelle' is a sad café, with its original walls in rough granite that have been cemented by poorly masons. It is a sad place that is in tune with the landscape and its owner, Arcadio Mourin, admits with watery eyes that he 'has lived for thirty years in Galicia but has been homesick for Catalonia for at least twenty'.

From his two Mediterranean decades Mourin keeps a firm disgust for 'Pa amb tomàquet' [traditional dish with bread or toast with tomato rubbed over and seasoned with olive oil and salt, the Anchor] and a no less vehement passion for Football Club Barcelona, evident on the walls of the 'Sabadelle', that is covered by Blaugrana flags and pictures of 'Lobito' Carrasco. The bar's decoration is further completed with calendars from Carballiño and Chantada ironmongers and bazaars that are nailed into the wall next to a tattered rag that announces a big 'fiesta' in Villamarin.

In a small shed, with a green semi-transparent corrugated plastic roof, attached to the 'Sabadelle' Arcadio Mourin has installed a youth club for the town youngsters. They meet on Saturday afternoons to play table soccer, seven balls for a peseta. Next to the wall is a stack of soft drink cases and at the other end stands a jukebox, a 'Wurlitzer' made in 1966, adorned with abundant chrome and painted fuchsia and blue, a nod towards the preferred soccer team of the owner.

The musical menu of the 'rockola' is renewed every Blue Monday by an Orense salesman, who also represents a famous brand of biscuits, and his choice is colourful but commonplace. For a peso you can musically acclimatise the place with songs of Georgie Dann, Fuxan os Ventos, Azul y Negro, Golpes Bajos, Xoán Rubia or Duran Duran. The least heard song of the entire repertoire of the machine is identified by the letter B and number 7. Rarely a young man will decide to spoil a coin on it, perhaps because the small piece of paper with the title and performer is illegible. But when Arcadio Mourin permits it, visitors can open the plastic dome of the Wurlitzer and examine the single in question. It is the only one not coming from the travelling salesman from Orense and is a British 1967 edition of 'See Emily Play' and 'Scarecrow', two songs written by Syd Barrett and performed by the group Pink Floyd.

Jose Ángel González


Interviews

To add further credibility to the article several small interviews and quotes were added from people who testify about Barrett's yearly trip to the monastery: Arcadio Mourin (pub owner), Francisco Gasalla (Spanish friend of Syd Barrett), Leopoldo Durán (Oseira monk), Joe Boyd (producer), Kurt Digger (journalist), Jo Cannon (lightshow designer), Robert Wyatt (musician) and Rodney Bennett (movie maker).


Oseira Bar
A bar in Oseira.

Oseira. 1985 by Arcadio Mourin

We thought he could not speak our language or that he was dumb. Coming down here almost daily, at nightfall, he took a few glasses of wine while watching television. (...)

We knew that he lodged at the monastery and that he was an English countryman and novelist... Sometimes he headed towards Povadura to walk in the mountains in silent solitude. I think he came here the first time in '68 or '69 and after that we got used to see him arriving every year, in early December. Today he is liked much more and he relates more to the people, but he still leaves after a short time. He gave me a single for the machine that is there and it will continue to stay there, because the youngsters will not spend a peso on it. (...)

His best friend here is Paco Gasalla, from the Chamber of Agriculture, who was an immigrant in England and speaks the language.

Comments:
A search on Arcadio Mourin or on the Sabadelle pub was without results.


Oseira. 1985 by Francisco Gasalla

I personally met Syd when I paid a visit to Father Durán, a long time family friend. It was in the monastery at Christmas 1975... Barrett and the Father spoke of Graham Greene. (...)

I thought he was a painter because I saw him walk on the mountain, carrying a large book, the kind of book to put sketches in, and a case of coloured pencils. At first he did not speak a Castilian word. With the monks he spoke in English, especially with Father Durán, and with others in French. (...)

I still don't know him very well, I did not even know he was a musician until an English journalist came by. We see him every year with the Christmas holidays. He always brings something from Cambridge and I use the opportunity to practice my English, because I miss that. And he asks me things about the people of the village, things about people's lives. (...)

He is very shy, very artistic.

Comments:
A search on Francisco Gasalla was without results.


Leopoldo Duran with Graham Greene
Leopoldo Durán with Graham Greene.

Oseira. 1985 by Leopoldo Durán, Oseira monk and a personal friend of Syd Barrett and Graham Greene.

Mr. Barrett, whom I have known for many years, has asked me to be discreet and not to have contact with the press. Year ago a British weekly published a sensationalist story full of exaggerations and we would not want something similar to happen.

Comments:
Leopoldo Durán, 1917-2008, was a professor in theology, philosophy and literature and a close friend (and biographer) of Graham Greene. There is no proof he ever met Syd Barrett. In over 35 years of Pink Floyd research the Reverend has never encountered an English press article mentioning Syd's annual retreats into a Spanish monastery, neither has it been cited in any of the biographies.


Oseira. 1985 by Francisco Gasalla

Once we went to Carballiño. We especially invited Syd because the annual Film Festival had put a film with Pink Floyd music on the agenda. It was called "The Valley", it was an African adventure film, made by some Germans. Syd had not seen it before and was very quiet, chewing 'Sugus' sweets, a sight I will not forget. Every year he would take several packages back to England. "They're for my hippie friends"; he once said. I asked him if he liked the movie and he said: “only the music”. (...)

I proposed him to come to my house if he wanted to grab a guitar or the Casio that my daughter's grandparents had given her for her name day, but he always said no. He said he had done 'too much music'.

Comments:
La Vallée is a (horrible and pretentious) 1972 French film written and directed by Barbet Schroeder. The most notable point of the movie is its soundtrack by Pink Floyd, resulting in one of their finest albums ever (Obscured By Clouds). A trifle more (satirical) info at: Careful with that stash, Gini.


Joe Boyd
Joe Boyd.

San Francisco (USA). 1983 by Joe Boyd, record producer and film maker in an interview for the magazine Cult

My first job as a record producer was in 1967, in London, a city that went through a musical frenzy. I did several singles with Pink Floyd, a group of Cambridge that had very little to do then with the band they are today. They were crazy, really crazy, continuously taking all kinds of drugs, but they were really creative, especially Syd Barrett, singer, guitarist and principal songwriter. (...)

I lost their track for a while, but Barrett once wrote me to ask for a copy of 'See Emily Play'. I sent it to Cambridge and I knew nothing more of it. The letter said he wanted to give the disk to a good friend.

Comments:
Joe Boyd is of course known by Pink Floyd admirers, he opened the UFO club and produced the Floyd's first single Arnold Layne. In contradiction with the above 'quote' he was not involved with the Floyd's second single, See Emily Play. Several magazines called 'Cult' have existed throughout the years but no interview with Joe Boyd for one of them could be found.


London. 1982 article signed by Kurt Digger in the weekly Sounds magazine, headlined "Barrett: Mad as Always"

The darling son of psychedelia has found peace in the arms of contemplative Catholicism. In the monastery of Oseira (Galicia, geographically the closest Spanish region to the UK), Syd Barrett, founder of Pink Floyd and 'enfant terrible' of the London 'underground' 66-67 years, has retreated for a long stroll through the wastelands. (…)

Surrounded by monks Barrett showed himself proud, arrogant and even rude. (...)

"You are still waiting for me to return, vultures", he yelled semi-hysterical. (...)

No wonder his mother expels him annually from his home in Cambridge, thus the patient lady can enjoy a pleasant Christmas.

Comments:
Sounds magazine did exist in 1982, but a search on the title or the author didn't give any results.


LONDON. 1969 by Jo Cannon, head of the light show of the first concerts of Pink Floyd, in an interview published in the magazine Oz.

Late last year I received a postcard from Syd. It was a tourist view of a Spanish monastery called Ossarium (sic). Written on it were two stanzas of 'See Emily Play': “There is no other day. Let's try it another way. You'll lose your mind and play. Free games for May." Since then I've heard nothing more."

Comments:
Syd Barrett was already interested in light experiments before he hit the charts with Pink Floyd. Anthony Stern has told how he and Syd had been fascinated by Reg Gadney at King's College who made light projections (1964-ish) and later Syd tried to repeat these at home with John Gordon. In the early days of Pink Floyd the band lived in the house of Mike Leonard, who experimented with oil slides, rotating mirrors and lights. When the Floyd went professional in 1966 their first light show came straight from Haight-Ashbury, thanks to a couple of hippies, Joel and Toni Brown. Unfortunately they returned to the USA and Peter Jenner (and his wife Sumi) had to improvise a copycat-light-set.

At one point seventeen years old Joe Gannon was hired who became their first lighting tech, but he had already left when the Floyd started hitting the market.

It is improbable that Joe Gannon (not Jo Cannon) would have received a Spanish holiday card from Syd Barrett in December 1968. That month Syd, Duggie Fields and Jules moved into Wetherby Mansions and according to Jens she visited Syd there before year's end.


LONDON. 1968 anonymous entry, inserted in the journal 'International Times', part of the British Underground.

The sorcerer's apprentice can't stand 'speed'. Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd's first singer, lived for two lost months a monastic life in a small place in north-western Spain. Barrett's mother confirmed a few days ago that her son is 'travelling', but denied that it had to do with any physical or mental problems. “He simply is doing some sightseeing.", said Mrs. Barrett, who owns a pottery shop in Cambridge. (…)

After his final separation with Pink Floyd, Barrett travelled last January through various countries on the continent and finally settled in a monastery in Galicia, in north-western Spain. This was revealed by light expert and close friend of the singer, Jo Cannon.

Comments:
As far as we know Syd's mother didn't have a pottery shop. It is also weird that the same wrongly named person, Jo Cannon, surfaces in two different articles in the English press. A search for Jo Cannon on the extensive IT database didn't give any result, neither did Joe Gannon, by the way.


Robert Wyatt
Robert Wyatt.

MENORCA. 1975 by Robert Wyatt, British musician and inhabitant of the Balearic Islands, in an interview by Claudi Montaña and published in the magazine 'Vibraciones'.

I knew that Syd Barrett was going through a bad time and invited him to spend some time at home, here in Menorca. He wondered where this place was and I answered that it was in Spain, next to Ibiza. "In that country only one place interests me," he replied but I had never heard of it. (...)

A few months ago he sent me a tape with traditional music of that Spanish region. It was similar to Scottish bagpipes but with more emotions. Something really spiritual.

Comments:
The Spanish magazine Vibraciones did have a Robert Wyatt article in its issue of November 1975 called En Menorca, de week-end con Robert Wyatt. Unfortunately the article itself could not be consulted.


LONDON. 1985 by Rodney Bennett, director of the 'Monsignor Quixote' production for Thames Television, filmed partly in Oseira and based on the novel of the same name by Graham Greene. Published in the magazine Film Maker.

I knew that Syd Barret was a regular of the Oseira monastery and I wrote to Cambridge offering him to compose the music of 'Monsignor Quixote'. Graham Greene and the producers knew of the agreement. However, Barret declined the offer in a very nice letter. He wished me luck and success with the series, admitted being a fan of Greene and a "staunch defender of the purity of Oseira".

Comments:
The American magazine Filmmaker only started in 1992, but it is possible that a magazine with the same name existed before, although the Church didn't find any trace of that. Rodney Bennett did make a Monsignor Quixote television movie but nowhere he has mentioned Syd Barrett as a possible collaborator. Neither does any of the Barrett biographies mention him.


CONCLUSION

The La Naval Barrett article could be the source of the Oseira Floydian legend. It needs to be remarked though that in this article there is no word of an unpublished Spanishgrass album. That part of the story seems to have been added in a later stage when the story mushroomed in the pubs around A Coruña by people who failed to see the satire of it all.

Seventeen years later, in 2003, a certain Eric Burdon published a Spanish Internet article called 'Discos perdidos - Spanish Grass- Syd Barrett' that has been quoted ever since... And perhaps more solutions will be revealed by Antonio Jesús when he will publish his investigations at Solo En Las Nubes.


This is a follow-up of the 2012 post: Spanishgrass or Syd Barrett's lost Spanish record 

Scans of the original La Naval article, in Spanish, can be consulted at our Spanishgrass gallery.

Many thanks to Babylemonade Aleph for rolling the ball in the beginning and Antonio Jesús for his incredible research.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Sources (other than the links above):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 32, 40-42, 60, 65.
La 'movida' que rompió con el 'telón de grelos' @ El Mundo
La efervescente esquina atlántica @ El País

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

2013-06-22

Spanishgrass, the hoax revealed...

Previously on Spanishgrass...

Spanishgrass, the hoax revealed
June 2013: Syd in Spain. Spanishgrass, the hoax revealed.

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit receives many letters from believers all over the world and on the 23rd of may 2012 at 04:31 AM (UTC+1) Babylemonade Aleph asked the following to the Reverend:

I have read that Syd made a trip to A Coruña, who was in a monastery, and recorded some songs that formed part of a recording entitled, "Spanishgrass, songs for the space and the nap". What you know about that, friend?

Frankly this didn't ring a bell, but the Church decided to look further into the matter. As the story of Syd Barrett recording a partly Galician album in a monastery in Spain seemed rather improbable an article was published in the satirical The Anchor division (Spanishgrass or Syd Barrett's lost Spanish record).

Normally this should have been it. But some dull boring people didn't like that the Holy Church, always in for a bit of controversy – we duly admit, had thrown a stone into the quiet Barrett-pond, where self-proclaimed fisher-kings have been angling for the same fish for the last four decades. One of them even found it necessary to comment as follows:

Wierdos (sic) come on here presenting this sort of stuff as FACT, fake pictures, stupid stories about Syd recording an album in a Spanish monastry (sic). All balls.

Just when the Reverend was going to go into zen-therapy to recover from that vicious blow help came from the Iberian peninsula in the form of Antonio Jesús from Solo En Las Nubes. Not only did he find back the original article that started the Syd In Oseira rumour (Spanishgrass, one year later), he also managed to interview the author of the article (Jose Ángel González, Spanishgrass & more).

Jose Ángel González reveals that there has been more than one Oseira article and that he also invented the Spanishgrass album:

A few years after the publication of the La Naval article I wrote an extended and corrected version for a series about hypothetical records. It was published on a blog that eventually ended and added the lyrics of some of the songs from Spanishgrass.

And so, without further ado, here it is... (for the original, Spanish version, please click on the image below)

Solo En Las Nubes

Syd Barrett
"Spanish grass (twenty songs about space and siesta)"
Nonsense music, 1978

Spanishgrass (original cover)
Spanishgrass (original cover).

Manantial (Spring) / Reverential mourners / Black maid / Plastic gunpowder / Mouse after a fête / Breakwater and tea / Grey trees / Two bangers + mash / Whining at the moon / Greenland / Eu son Dhaga (I am Dhaga) / Na outra banda (On the other hand) / Un poeta esquece os días de chuvia (A poet forgets the rainy days) / Saturnalia / William Phips / Stede Bonnet / Gabriel Spenser / Gospel at noon / Waste Deep / Frog

Before leaving the world to enclose himself at Hotel Schizophrenia, Syd Barrett (Cambridge, United Kingdom, 1948), the founder and evicted leader of Pink Floyd, traveled to Spain for two years (1976 and 1977). Suffering from dromomania, the same paranoid ambulatory psychosis Rimbaud and other chronically restless people endured, Barrett toured anonymously, using public transport or by hitchhiking, through Andalusia, Extremadura and Galicia. No one was with him and his luggage was scarce and revealing: a backpack, a Martin acoustic guitar and the complete works of the visionary William Blake.

During one of his wanderings he discovered what would become his private retreat, the Oseira monastery in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula.

Nestled in a secluded canyon of the City of San Cristovo de Cea (Ourense), the Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Oseira is the first establishment in Spain (twelfth century) of the Cistercian monastic order, founded as a radical alternative to the aristocratic congregation of Cluny. The Cistercians practice Christian friendship, revere poverty, adhere mythical culture and establish themselves remotely from the world, in places away from roads and population.

Caught by the sturdy charm of the place, the quiet floating of monastic life and the hospitality of the monks, he was at peace with himself, perhaps for the first time since the wicked years of psychedelia. Barrett stayed in one of the Oseiran guest cells for four months in 1976 (September-December) and for three months the following year (April to June) and only left the monastery to roam the nearby hills. He liked in particular two nearby sites: Loma Chaira, a wide panoramic grassy terrace situated nearly 1200 metres high, and Penedo de Cuncas, a ridge shaded by an abundant mass of chestnut trees.

Jose Ángel González
© Jose Ángel González.

During his stay the visitor wrote and recorded a dozen songs. He sat in the courtyard of the monastery, usually at the siesta time, and softly sung accompanied by his guitar, afraid to disturb the community. The sound of the recordings is technically bad, but from a poetic viewpoint very suggestive: Barrett's voice is hushed, like it would never be recorded in a studio, by the wind blowing and the effervescing water fountain. Perhaps this was the 'untanned arms' and forestry environment he vainly had tried to outline in his two solo works "The Madcap Laughs" (1970) and "Barrett" (1971). [Note: this seems to be a Spanish poetical description the Reverend frankly doesn't understand.]

Late 1978 twenty songs were released on vinyl by a bootleg record company in A Coruña, called Nonsense Music, using the unique tape recording made by Barrett and smuggled outside by a deserting Oseira novice. The album was titled "Spanishgrass" ("Hierba española") accompanied by the subtitle "twenty songs about space and siesta," a phrase the artist used when the monks asked him about the meaning of his songs.

"Spanishgrass" is currently unavailable. The first and only edition of the record - about 20 copies – wase not made for profit. All copies were given away by Gema Noya, the Nonsense Music manager, to her closest friends, under the promise that they would not distribute or duplicate the material, a pact that was fulfilled to the letter thanks to the loyalty of these good hippies. Noya used the record as a farewell gift before retiring to a Buddhist community at Pokhara (Nepal), where she still resides. According to sources close to her family, she burned the original tape and scattered the ashes on the beach of Carnota, close to the Pindo mountain, the Celtic Olympus, after she had sent a copy to Barrett, who lived in Cambridge since 1978.

The tracks on the secret record are musically blunt with guitar arrangements that are stripped of all artificiality, almost always orbicularly strumming a single chord, but the lyrics are, in contrast, very dense. They range from the usual surreal Barrett humour (Mouse after a fête, Two bangers & mash) to Pentecostal mysticism, with quotations from ancient Welsh bard songs taken from “The White Goddess", Robert Graves's work that the English musician consulted with interest at the Oseira library.

Also other books Barrett read at the monastery seized him deep in his mind. He dedicates three songs (William Phips, Stede Bonnet and Gabriel Spenser) to the flamboyant characters described by the extravagant Marcel Schwob in "Imaginary Lives". But above all, Barrett was seduced by the medieval-sounding poems "Herba aquí ou acolá" from the fabulist Alvaro Cunqueiro. He put music and sings three poems of the book in Galician (Eu are Dagha, Na outra banda and Un poeta esquece os días de chuvia).

© 2003 Jose Ángel González (parts of the above text have already been published in: Spanishgrass or Syd Barrett's lost Spanish record.


Lyrics

Jose Ángel González
© Jose Ángel González.

Black Maid

Little cloud,
the grass is green,

look at the time
of the black skirts.

An extra life,
among the flowers,

and saffron
wet with tears.

Pale
pale light,
I'm hungry,
hungry for tomorrow.

Maid
black maid,
detached
like a dry leaf.

© Jose Ángel González
© Jose Ángel González.

Breakwater and tea

A gift of the night from the black tie
starting the rumour of my breath
for ink waltz
with smoke
teacup.

Breakwater and tea
nothing more.

Breakwater and tea.

Saturnalia

King
of the Habichuelas,
Mister
Disorder,
Bishop
of Fools,
Abbot
of Unreason,
expelled of
time.

© Jose Ángel González
© Jose Ángel González.

Gospel at noon

The moon is my constant mistress
and the lonely owl my marrow.

The Mallard brand
and night raven

make music
for my affliction.

Amen.

Plastic Gunpowder

Praise the Lord
of heaven,

Kids say
with eyes of soot
and pockets full of
plastic gunpowder.

I sleep in peace.

Grey trees

Thorny
trees
shelter
against
the wind

Under the Milky Way.

© 2003 Jose Ángel González. Pictures courtesy of Jose Ángel González. Notes & Introduction : the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Translation mistakes, typos and all possible errors are entirely the responsibility of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.


Many thanks to Babylemonade Aleph for rolling the ball in the beginning and Antonio Jesús for his incredible research. All pictures © Jose Ángel González.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Jose Ángel González can be found at the following places:
Blog: http://joseangelgonzalez.com/
Photography: http://joseangelgonzalez.net/
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bichito/
Oraciones Sucias: http://oracionessucias.tumblr.com/
Hot Parade: http://hotparade.tumblr.com/
Canto de Caza (2010): http://cantodecaza.wordpress.com/

Soy padre de un hoax (I am the father of a hoax)

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

2013-09-15

Syd's Doorstep Video For Sale. Not!

Syds Doorstep Video For Sale. Not!
A day so dark.
'A day so dark, so warm' video.

A wise man once said: put two Barrett fans together and they start a group, put three and they start a fight.

When in May 2007 the Astral Piper forum came to a standstill it was all due to a quarrel that had started a lustrum before and that suddenly turned ugly.

Dark Days In Paradise

In 1998 an Australian fan with a movie director's dream went to London and Cambridge. He visited the traditional Floydian landmarks and of course he also headed for St. Margaret Square where he caught a glimpse of Mr. Barrett on his way for his daily newspaper. Somehow he managed to get his camera out and recorded a take of the ex-rock-star returning home.

Back at home he compiled his holiday souvenirs in a 12 minutes 58 seconds video tape, named it R. K Barrett - A Day So Dark So Warm (by Reflecting Electric Eye Films) and started selling those at record stores and fairs.

Apparently this wasn't a release Australia was waiting for and in order to conquer the world the tape was (briefly) advertised on A Fleeting Glimpse. Almost immediately the footage was baptised the 'stalker video' by the Yahoo Laughing Madcaps group where the mindless bleaters were instructed to drag the maker down by the stone. Kiloh Smith:

His video was 40+ minutes of Cambridge footage (filler) with about a minute of him following Roger down the street with Roger looking bewildered and upset. Oh yeah, the shitbag slowed the footage down to milk even more "time". We obtained a copy and put it on HYGIY? and gave it away for free thereby rendering his profit thing moot. We also did a hate email campaign to him from my 3,000+ member group. We were also the ones who coined the phrase: Stalker Video. (Kiloh Smith on Facebook, 14 September 2013.)

Unfortunately Col Turner (from the aforementioned A Fleeting Glimpse website) who had only agreed to put up an ad for a fellow countryman was targeted in the same hate campaign as well. Things got so heated that one of those loud-mouthed, self-proclaimed Barrett prophets send death threats to the website owner. Col Turner at first retaliated that he would report this at the police, but gave in at the end:

I WAS involved with selling that wretched video for all of 12 days about 4 years ago (written in 2005). I NEVER claimed that it had the approval of Syd's family. (...) I made a mistake, and as soon as I realised I had made a mistake, I corrected it, and refused to have anything more to do with it. I had NOTHING to do with the filming of it, in fact, it was about two years old when it was shown to me. (Col Turner on NPF, 9 March 2005.)

And all this for a one minute long sequence of someone who made a dozen of decent songs somewhere in the late sixties, although we may not forget that the movie maker was of course first interested in his own wallet and not in the preservation of Syd's legacy. As a matter of fact you had to be a fool to believe the somewhat redundant message at the end of his movie that went like this:

A day so dark screenshot A day so dark screenshot
'A day so dark, so warm' screenshots.
Barrett in 2002
Barrett doorstepped in 2002.

There's some Syd on your doorstep

Despite the insults and the threats that made you wonder who the bad guys really were, the movie maker in spe returned to the UK and again he took his camera with him. In Tim Willis' book Madcap it is written that he acted as a spokesman of the Echoes community who had paid for a Syd Barrett bench in the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge, but the Echoesians have always denied they appointed someone to break the news to Barrett. Anyway, carrying a few hand-drawn maps of the bench in his hand, he rang the door at number 6 of St. Margaret Square.

Barrett opened the door, a look of unnerving intensity on his face. The man explained why he was there and Barrett asked where it was. The man handed over a map with directions to the bench. As he glanced over the page Barrett’s rather severe expression melted into a smile the outside world had not seen in decades. Barrett asked for the other map. He signed it ‘R Barrett’. (Taken from: Dark Globe by Julian Palacios.)

What lots of people don't know is that the event was filmed in real candid camera style using the camera that was recording in the fan's shoulder-bag. A couple of 'doorstep' pictures were leaked to the outside world but the movie itself of Syd putting his autograph on the map was never shown to the general public, although rumours go that the door-stepper tried to sell the tape to a few hardcore collectors.

Astral Piper
Astral Piper.

We're all following a strange melody

On Sunday, the third of April 2005 Astral Piper was launched, a website and forum that described itself as the New Syd Barrett Appreciation Society. Its owner, Dion Johnson, was not someone who saw things small. On one of the introductory pages he expresses his wish to have a society 'of mammoth numbers', to personally design the sleeve for the soon to be released Vegetable Man single, to issue a Barrett tribute CD (urging Robyn Hitchcock, Graham Coxon and Michael Stipe to contact him, sito presto) and to erect some kind of 'memorial tribute' in Cambridge.

T-shirts were made (at a total cost of 1347.50 AUD, if our information is right) that could be purchased through Astral Piper. The benefits would be used to erect a 12 feet (3,65 metres) tall monument, standing on 4 curved metal legs, with the sunlight streaming through a metal cut-template of Syd's face, as if a bench on a park wasn't already enough. This wild idea apparently pleased Syd's family and made it into the local press but alas the Cambridge city council wasn't jumping for joy.

Astral Piper was a remarkable website, not only because it was a perfect example of how letter-types, colours and styles can clash (one look at the html code makes you run away, screaming), but also because it contained little gems, like the Actuel article, translated in English, and interviews with and collaborations of Darryl Read and Vic Singh, to name just a few. A mirror of this website has been archived at Astral Piper Redux 2013.

Syds signature (enhanced)
Syd's signature (enhanced).

Syd on it!

The 'A Bench for Syd' page, so was promised, was going to be one of the most exciting parts of the website.

It will contain a recent 2002 conversation with Syd Barrett featuring our astral piper and Cambridge astronaut in very good spirits. For those who don't know, back in 2001 a worldwide group named "Echoes", (with some help from friends around the world), as well as some very nice people within the city of Cambridge, a park bench was commissioned in honour of our hero, Mr Roger Keith (Syd) Barrett. Sporting a commemorative brass plaque, it was placed in a section of Cambridge parklands. (…) The full story of the bench and how its location was revealed to Syd in person (making his day, and mine), is to be loaded on this web-page soon.

This was definitively the proof that the owner of the Astral Piper website was also the person who had made the (unreleased) doorstep video. Unfortunately, this was also the beginning of the end. Dion was accused on his own forum of being the maker (and seller) of the A Day So Dark So Warm movie which he vehemently denied (needless to say proof was against him). The situation escalated and one day he pulled the plug out of the forum and the 'A Bench for Syd' webpage was never updated.

There were some fresh starts and some friendly offers to continue Astral Piper, but these all failed. The relentless persecution of a few genuine Barrett 'fans' who filled their days by sending insults to the people involved had become too much.

End of story? Not really.

Doorstep Stills
Doorstep Stills.

The Final Cut

Two days ago an interesting item could be found on eBay (page taken down), being sold by I.E. it was described as follows:

Final video chat filmed with Syd Barrett in 2002 (Roger Keith Barrett) from Pink Floyd with autograph by Syd Barrett.
Up for auction is an incredibly RARE and UNIQUE item!
This is the last known VIDEO RECORDING and conversation with Syd Barrett, the genius and founding member of great British rock band, Pink Floyd.
Up until now this doorstep recording was only spoken about in Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd forums, discussed among fans and written about in the now well known book and biography about Syd Barrett's life called Madcap, by Tim Willis.
In the book, it speaks of an Australian fan who knocked Syd’s door to tell him about a special park bench seat which had been erected in the Cambridge Botanical Gardens in honour of him. I am that fan. Since Syd’s death this bench has become even more meaningful. And I believe this recording of Syd Barrett is incredibly rare, unique and valuable.
I am the person who knocked Syd’s door, and I am the person who filmed the conversation with him. He was very happy to learn about the location of the garden bench, and he can be seen smiling quite a lot during the casual conversation and very happy to speak. Syd used to enjoy walking in the Cambridge Botanical Gardens, and this enthusiasm is evident.
This video recording is now an important part of Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett history.
Syd smiles
Syd smiles.
I think it is safe to say that this is the final known video recording of Syd (Roger Keith) Barrett. He never gave interviews in his later years and spent most of his life in the privacy of his Cambridge based home in the suburb of Cherry Hinton.
The original camera tape was badly damaged years ago but thankfully it was captured to a digital format in the beginning and so up for auction is the original recording transferred into two formats. A normal DVD which can be played in a domestic DVD player and also a USB stick which contains a digital file format of the recording which can be played on any home computer. Plus I will include a Data DVD for archiving. Also included is a hand drawn map of the bench’s location which Syd also kindly “signed” on the day. It has been framed in a high quality frame, matte-board and photos associated with the conversation with Syd, including some stills taken from the video recording are also in the frame. Filmed in January 2002 it is a brief conversation with Syd which shows Syd speaking and clearly in a good mood.
I cannot stress enough that this is a ONE OFF ITEM! It will be sold ONCE here on ebay!!
It will be sold here on ebay and the winning bidder can do whatever they like with the footage. Maybe it could be used as part of a BBC documentary one day (and sold to the BBC) or it may simply go to an avid fan or collector for their private collection. Possibly even someone famous like David Bowie (who I believe is a dedicated Syd Barrett fan) could purchase it. Or perhaps a Hard Rock Cafe or some crazy casino in the US may want to buy it?
Part of the final price will go to charity Stroke. My father died from a Stroke and it is a charity I strongly believe in.
Like many people living in the UK at the moment, I struggle to pay the rent, bills and put food on the table. I’m selling something quite valuable from my past which hopefully will make somebody happy as this is a genuine once in a lifetime opportunity to buy something incredibly rare and unique. I have no idea what this recording is worth, and so I will make it a simple start bid with a no reserve price.
It is available on ebay worldwide and will be sent via Insured/Registered/Tracked DHL courier. Or if the buyer is based in the UK, the item will be sent Registered/Signed For Courier. Alternatively, the item may be picked up in person from an address here in Cambridge, England.
CD
Data DVD.
Winning bidder will receive the following:
1) A DVD of the footage which can be played on any domestic DVD Player or computer
2) A data DVD which has a raw file of the footage.
3) USB stick containing an MP4 video file of this conversation with Syd (Roger Keith) Barrett
4) A framed print containing a map personally signed by Syd in 2002. The large framed print also contains photograph srelating to the bench and chat with Syd at his home in Cambridge. Frame dimensions are 76cm wide, 67cm high and 3cm thick.
More about this rare meeting I had with Syd in 2002 may be read here in some extracts from the book called Madcap, the half-life of Syd Barrett by Tim Willis: http://www.pink-floyd.org/barrett/madcbarr.htm
Any questions, please ask. This item ends on Sunday 22nd September at 11.06pm (British standard time).

This sale was not only picked up by Cambridge News, but unfortunately also by those Syd Barrett fans who never forget and called the seller some very bad names. Two days after the item was put for sale, it was withdrawn from eBay.

The Anchor got hold of the news that the Barrett Trust may have intervened and that they had the item removed. This is understandable, they can only agree with Syd being sold if they can have their share of the profit, they're not called the Cambridge Mafia for nothing, you know.

A gallery, containing all the known doorstep pictures, has been added to this blog: Doorstep.


(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
The Anchor wishes to thank: Anonymous, Cambridge News, HYGIY, Dion Johnson, Joanne 'Charley' Milne, Kiloh Smith, Col Turner.

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Luminous_grin & others, Stalking Syd Barrett, NPF forum, 25 June 2007.
Col Turner & others, Syd Stalker, NPF forum, 19 March 2005.
Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 434.

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

2014-02-09

Pictorial Press selling fake Pink Floyd pictures!

Pictorial Press selling fake Pink Floyd pictures!
Shindig Interstellar Overdrive
Shindig Interstellar Overdrive.

Interstellar Overdrive is the name of a January 2014 Shindig guide and it's worth every penny you spend on it. In 35 articles on 170 pages, it tries to define and explore the space rock phenomenon. It has in-dept articles on Acid Mothers Temple, Tim Blake, Neu!, Ozric Tentacles, Yes and many others without forgetting The Tornados' Telstar and the obligatory space rock top 30 countdown. A 6-pages article, called 'The Reluctant Spacerockers', written by Austin Matthews, investigates the frail relation between Pink Floyd and space rock.

This is part two of our review, for part one that covers an entirely different matter, please check:
Pink Floyd. Still First in Space. NOT!  

Interstellar Overdrive

Even if it omits the ambient Cluster One instrumental from The Division Bell, that with Storm Thorgerson's artwork of the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile, refers to Astronomy Domine, we thoroughly enjoyed the well researched 'Reluctant Spacerockers' essay. What we are not happy with however, is the picture that is put on top of the article.

Here it is (we have cropped the picture a bit to only show the band members and we put some nifty numbers above each person).

5 man Floyd?
5 man Floyd? Not.
Copyright: Pictorial Press. We honestly think we can publish this picture under the 'Fair Use' rules, especially as it will be used for criticism, comment reporting, news gathering and frankly, for taking the piss out of the copyright holders. See also: legal stuff.

It is a nice picture, no problem about that, but unfortunately the band isn't Pink Floyd. There are five musicians on the picture but the five man Floyd barely existed for 8 days in the beginning of 1968.

This picture goes around for ages but the question if this is really the Floyd was raised on the 'A Fleeting Glimpse' forum in 2009, where Mr. Pinky identified the band as Dantalian's Chariot.

Hi all. Only to say you that, according with Ian Russell, this picture, posted in the page 57, shows a band called Dantalian's Chariot, a famous psychedelic band in the end '60. This photo was also in the Cliff Jones 'Echoes' book, but has nothing to do with the Floyd at all.
It seemed to be a 5-man Floyd pic, but NOT, we really should know better, wrong instruments, wrong equipment etc.
5 man Floyd promo pic
5 man Floyd promo picture.

That band's something we can't explain

The picture shows five musicians and that particular setup in Pink Floyd was only known for five live gigs between 12 January 1968 and 20 January 1968. On the Yeeshkul forum this picture has been further analysed by fans who know these things much better than we do...

The five men on the picture should be, left to right, numbers one to five:

1: Roger Waters playing the bass. The picture isn't clear enough to recognise the bass player, but the bass should've been a Rickenbacker and the musician on the left is holding a Fender.

2: Nick Mason. First of all: this isn't Nick's drum set. The silver toms look the same, but the bass drum is smaller and doesn't have a front skin. Pink Floyd always had a front skin on the drums and furthermore Nick always had two bass drums instead of one.

3: David Gilmour. It is weird that the third man doesn't play a guitar. Especially for David Gilmour who normally is glued to his axe and who was hired in to mimic Syd's solos.

4: Syd Barrett. The man on the picture is playing a black or sunburst Strat, a guitar Syd didn't have, as far as we know. David Gilmour only acquired one two years later. A white strat would have been more appropriate for Syd.

5: Rick Wright. Although the keyboard player is nearly completely hidden in the dark one can see something that resembles a huge perm. Richard was never the man to have an afro. It is awfully dark but the organ doesn't seem to be a Hammond, Rick Wright's favourite instrument.

And there is more. The equipment is not Pink Floyd's. There is a Marshall stack and a Fender Bassman and these are not Floydian at all, so tell us the people who know. What the equipment does have in common with Pink Floyd is a Watkins (aka WEM) PA unit, but that is hardly unique.

Then there is the projection of the nude woman left on the picture, she also appears on the right side of the stage (on the uncropped version). We have never seen something similar on the dozens of live pictures of the Floyd of that era. Often avant-garde movies were shown on the walls (or the ceiling) while bands where playing in the psychedelic clubs, but it is again one of those things that don't add up.

And last: this picture is often described as taken at the UFO club but the 5 man Floyd didn't play there in the 8 days they existed.

As for the assumption that the band is Dantalian's Chariot with Zoot Money on keyboards and a young Andy Summers on guitar the cons are about the same. That band consisted of four members, not five, and Zoot Money didn't have a big hairdo either. But apparently Jeff Dexter confirmed it is them allright. So this could have been taken during their UFO gig on the 22nd of September, 1967.

5 man Floyd promo pic
5 man Floyd promo picture.

Copy copy

The above picture is copyrighted by Pictorial Press who have it in their Pink Floyd folder as number 1398. Unfortunately they can't give us a date but they do mention it was taken at the UFO club. To further demonstrate their competence they categorise Pink Floyd under the category 'metal', a class they share with KC and The Sunshine Band, Dionne Warwick and Sandie Shaw. These people are professionals, we can tell you that! (We are aware of the existence of The Nile Song and Ibiza Bar, though.)

But scallywags or not, Pictorial Press has several times managed to sell this picture. We find it on page 20 of William Ruhlmann's Pink Floyd (1993), but luckily the author caught the error in time and describes it as 'an unidentified group at UFO'. This biography is one of those mass printed 'take your money and run' budget releases with scarce text and plenty of pictures. It is also one of the few biographies that was published in Dutch and in that edition the picture can be found on page 16.

In 1996 Cliff Jones published the picture on page 25 of his Echoes biography, not to be confused with the Glenn Povey history book that has the same title. Subtitled 'the stories behind every Pink Floyd song' the book attempted to tell the band's history track per track and album per album, but there it miserably failed. There are plenty of mistakes in the text and also on the pictures: on page 29 Roger Waters can be seen but the picture is described as 'a young Dave Gilmour'; page 25 has the UFO picture this article is all about, captioned 'The Floyd light show, UFO club'. Apparently David Gilmour was so angry about this book that he threatened to sue the author:

"The book has a very large number of errors - over 120 - some careless, some very serious", the star's solicitors, tell me. "We have also identified four serious libels of David Gilmour. The band take a very serious view of this and are furious." (Daily Express Dec. 9th 1996, quoted on Brain Damage)

An agreement was reached and the book was shipped to the shops, but with a sticker on page 107 that replaced 23 lines with new text. We will never know how the passage reads that infuriated Gilmour so much. Original copies were send back to the publisher and seem to have vanished from this planet. For those interested in the many mistakes there is this webpage showing them all and for a review we can guide you to Brain Damage. To add insult to injury this book was also issued under the title Another Brick In The Wall (for the overseas market?) but it comes with exactly the same mistakes.

London Live by Tony Bacon could be found for years on the official Syd Barrett website where they thought it was all about the person that makes them sell these t-shirts. However, the book is not a Pink Floyd, nor a Syd Barrett biography but an 'inside story of live bands in the capital's trail-blazing music clubs' of London. Page 90 and 91 have the (artificially coloured) picture where it is called 'a majestic lightshow at UFO', not mentioning any band.

In October last year, a new biography, Behind the Wall, appeared, written by Hugh Fielder. Floyd anoraks say that the book doesn't really reveal new facts, apart from the obligatory updates about the Roger Waters never ending Wall-world-tour. One thing that makes us hesitate buying it is that the UFO club picture is in there and that it apparently is attributed to the band we all love.

Shame on Shindig!

Of course Pictorial Press, in their role as entrepreneurial con men, are not entirely to blame for selling their crap images. Authors and graphical editors should not only check and double-check text material but also the pictures they publish.

The guys from Shindig normally deliver excellent work, but before he gave his fiat for this issue Jon 'Mojo' Mills must have inhaled a wee bit too much sweet smoke from his water-pipe.

Shame on you, crazy Shindig!

P.S. Obviously The Anchor has warned Pictorial Press about their mistake and as soon as we will receive an answer this article will be updated. (Update 2016: they never answered.)
P.P.S. Shindig was so kind to give us the following message: "We were duped! I should have spotted it. Many apologies."


(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)

The Anchor wishes to thank: the Yeeshkul and A Fleeting Glimpse forums and their members, b_squared, demamo, Rich Hall, hallucalation, Mr. Pinky, Orgone Accumulator, saygeddylee, supervehicle, sydzappa...

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Bacon, Tony: London Live, Balafon Books, London, 1999, p. 90-91.
Jones, Cliff: Another Brick in the Wall, Broadway Books, New York, 1996, p. 25. In the UK this book has been published under the title 'Echoes'.
Ruhlmann, William: Pink Floyd, Magna Books, Leicester, 1993, p. 20.
Ruhlmann, William: Pink Floyd, ADC, Eke (Belgium), 1994, p. 16. Dutch edition of the above.
Fielder, Hugh: Behind The Wall, Race Point Publishing, New York, 2013.

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

Pink Floyd. Still First in Space. NOT!

Pink Floyd. Still First in Space. NOT!
Shindig Interstellar Overdrive
Shindig Interstellar Overdrive.

Interstellar Overdrive is the name of a January 2014 Shindig guide and it's worth every penny you spend on it. In 35 articles on 170 pages, it tries to define and explore the space rock phenomenon. It has in-dept articles on Amon Düül II, Gong, Hawkwind, Pink Fairies, Spacemen 3, Sun Ra and many others without forgetting the sci-fi movie soundtracks of the fifties (Forbidden Planet!) and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (Doctor Who!).

In a six pages article 'The Reluctant Spacerockers' the on-off relationship between Pink Floyd and space rock is examined and what an enjoyable essay that is.

While journalists, who are nothing but a bunch of lazy buggers anyway, have labelled the band as space rockers, its members denied this, in particular Roger Waters who reacted in his usual diplomatic style: “Space – what the fuck are they talking about?” Probably the bass player is so demented nowadays that he has forgotten that his lame Amused to Death album features some alien anthropologists trying to find out why all these skeletons are sitting before their TV sets.

Then Austin Matthews chimes in and quite intelligible shows where and how the Pink Floyd used space rock tricks to appease the masses.

TM-7 mission patch
TM-7 mission patch.

Space 1988

There is an error in the article although the author is only partially to blame. (We are just being gentle here, that spaced out sod could of course have done a search on the Internet first.) On page 29 David Gilmour is cited:”To say that we are thrilled at the thought of being the first rock band to be played in space is something of an understatement.”

This refers to the Soyuz TM-7 rocket launch from the 26th of November 1988 five days after Pink Floyd had released their Delicate Sound Of Thunder (live) album. The French president François Mitterrand attended the launch because of cosmonaut Jean-Loup Chrétien, who was the first western European man in space (this was his second flight, by the way, his first was in 1982). David Gilmour and Nick Mason attended because a cassette of their latest album was sent to the MIR space station, apparently on demand by one of the cosmonauts. We'll never know if this is true or just a staged lie but surely there was a mighty PR machine behind the band who made it clear to the world that this was the first rock music recording played in outer space.

Which was not true. Simple as that.

Soyuz TM-3 mission patch
Soyuz TM-3 mission patch.

spAce 1987

In 2003, while researching for an Orb biography that would never see the light of day, the Reverend stumbled upon the electronic band spAce who had a million-selling disco hit in 1977 with Magic Fly. The band split in the early eighties but electronic composer Didier Marouani had a particular successful solo career in Russia (and the East-European communist countries), often using the spAce name and logo, depending on the lawsuit of the month that ex-members were bringing on each other.

Marouani's solo work is slightly reminiscent of Jean-Michel Jarre, Mike Oldfield or Tangerine Dream and was (still is) inspired by Russian and American space programs and sci-fi themes. In 1987 he released a CD called Space Opera (got the slight promotional nudge towards his old band?) and that CD was taken by cosmonauts Alexander Viktorenko, Syrian Muhammed Faris and Aleksandr Aleksandrov to the MIR orbital station in July 1987, more than a year before Pink Floyd made all that brouhaha.

In 2003, long before the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit was founded, the Reverend interviewed Didier Marouani who had the following to say:

I was composing my album Space Opera and I had the idea to bring Americans and Russians together on my album which at that time was very difficult (especially from the USSR). After negotiating with the Soviet ministry of Culture for 6 months I got the authorization to have the Red Army Choir together with the Harvard University Glee Club choir, who were recorded separately.
Following my concept I thought it would be very nice to have this first Space Opera shipped to MIR and then launched into outer space. They asked me to wait while they would study my request and in the meantime I wrote a letter to Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev who answered very positive.
Two months later the Ministry of Space confirmed an appointment. On July, the 2nd, 1987 I was received by the Russian cosmonauts and I gave them a CD, together with a CD-player and 2 small speakers. This was extensively reported in the Russian press.
The cosmonauts left Baikonur on the 22nd of July 1987 and in October 1987 the CD, the player and the 2 speakers were launched into outer space. So my music really floats into space which is for me a very big and happy achievement.
So for sure Pink Floyd did not have the first music in space. During a concert tour in the USSR, I met cosmonaut Aleksandr Pavlovich Aleksandrov, twice Hero of the Soviet Union, again who told me that he worked in space for 7 months, listening to my music. [Note: actually Aleksandrov stayed 160 days in Space in 1987.]
Pink Floyd patch
Pink Floyd patch.

Lie for a Lie

But of course Mr. Gilmour may not entirely have been lying when he said Pink Floyd was the first rock band to be played in space. Didier Marouani's oeuvre is more electronic, new age (and recently: dance) oriented and the Floyd, as we all know, have never flirted with these musical styles before. (Yes, this is called irony.)

The last laugh may be for Didier Marouani though. In 2011 he released an album called From Earth to Mars and it was officially appointed by Roskosmos as the album that will go with the first manned Russian flight to that planet. But we earnestly doubt that listening to it for 6 months in a row will have a positive effect on its crew.

This is part one of the Shindig Interstellar Overdrive review. Part two covers an entirely different subject: Pictorial Press selling fake Pink Floyd pictures!


(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Marouani, Didier: First In Space, mail to Felix Atagong, 01 June 2003.

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

2014-06-06

Grab that cash

The Floyds rockn roll swindle
Roger Waters, holding his favourite album
Roger Waters, holding his favourite Pink Floyd album.

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 Bell 20.

Chernobyl Blues

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 toasters.

Division Bell - limited 20 anniversay set
The Division Bell - limited 20 years anniversay set.

So basically Pink Floyd decided to ride the gravy train (again) by repackaging the same product five times in the same box and throwing it at the fans for the giveaway price of £157.50 (about 263 $ or 193 Euro, the unlimited box [without t-shirt and coasters] comes somewhat cheaper and is still available).

Each man has his price, Fred

The fact that it is Gilmour now who spits the fans in the face even made it into the papers and generally there is much disdain from the fanbase. What seemed to be the hype of the year was nothing but a cheap stunt to sell some recycled material at exorbitant prices. That the memory of Rick Wright and the legacy of Storm Thorgerson were thrown in to make a cynical million bucks more makes this release even more sickening. Polly Samson once wrote: “David Gilmour should be cloned so that every crowded house might have one”, but at this rate she can keep him inside, lock the door and throw away the key.

Did you understand the music, Fat Dave, or was it all in vain?

And when you feel you're near the end
And what once burned so bright is growing dim?
And when you see what's been achieved
Is there a feeling that you've been deceived?
Near The End - David Gilmour, 1984.

Upgrade 2014: a month after the publication of this article it was found out that a brand new 'recycled' Pink Floyd album was in the make, loosely based upon the Big Spliff sessions. However, this resulted in an unprecedented attack of the Floyd management towards its fans. Read: The 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 Stuff.

2014-07-12

The loathful Mr. Loasby and other stories...

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

Last weekend, we, The Anchor, the satirical division of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, felt the peculiar need for an apology. It is a feeling we seldom have, being a general pain in the arse and having carefully cultivated the pompous pernickety air our spiritual job has brought upon us. You may remember that we were not entirely favourable of the anniversary release of the Division Bell album. In the article Grab that cash we described it, and we quote:

What seemed to be the hype of the year was nothing but a cheap stunt to sell some recycled material at exorbitant prices. That the memory of Rick Wright and the legacy of Storm Thorgerson were thrown in to make a cynical million bucks more makes this release even more sickening.

We duly admit this was not nice at all and due to the recent developments in the Pink Floyd camp, more about that to follow later, we profoundly apologise. This doesn't mean that we are suddenly of the opinion that the Division Bell Anniversary Edition is worth the bulldog's bollocks, even if it may contain a hidden Publius Enigma hint. It still is utterly overpriced and utterly redundant, but of course what the honourable reader does with his money is his own business and not ours.

Europe Endless

On Saturday, the 5th of July 2014 at 3:13 PM (UTC), a mysterious tweet was send into the multiverse by Polly Samson, a tweet that created a heavy storm in the mostly silent waters of modern Floydiana:

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

The world first took its time to digests its scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, toast, coffee and marmalade (at least in the proper time-zone) but about 45 minutes later the news had been retweeted a few thousand times and had been copied on Facebook walls, forums and blogs all over the planet.

Durga McBroom and David Gilmour
Durga McBroom and David Gilmour.

Singer Durga McBroom, confirmed the news less than an hour later and added that a recent picture of her with David Gilmour hadn't been taken during a solo album session, as she had stated before, but that she had been asked to do vocals on a new Pink Floyd album.

Remember this photo? It wasn't what you THOUGHT it was.

A third confirmation came from Pink Floyd engineer Andrew Jackson, so the rumour that Polly Samson's Twitter account had been hacked and that this was nothing but a hoax was becoming less and less believable. There was going to be a new Pink Floyd album, after twenty years of silence.

This was not going to be just another Pink Floyd album. The starting point were the Division Bell ambient demos that had been nick-named The Big Spliff in the good old Floydian tradition to give recording sessions silly names. Work on the mixes started over a year ago and probably, although this is nothing but an assumption, it was foreseen as a short and sweet bonus disk for a Division Bell Immersion set. While working on the music however, David Gilmour and Nick Mason must have felt something of the excitement from two decades before, they must have felt the muse, the inspiration and the spirit of their friend and colleague (and in the case of bass player ad interim Guy Pratt, father in law) Rick Wright and decided to enhance the jams into a proper record, asking Phil Manzanera and Martin ‘Youth’ Glover to sit behind the mixing console.

Called The Endless River, after a line from the Division Bell’s magnum opus High Hopes (in itself cryptically referring to See Emily Play), the album will be mainly ambient and instrumental, although at least one track will be sung by David Gilmour with lyrics by Polly Samson.

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

Recycling Facts

Reactions from that strange horde, also known as the Pink Floyd fandom, ranged from scepticism to enthusiasm. Some critics found it strange that Pink Floyd would be recycling old material, perhaps unaware of the fact that this is something the band has been doing for ages. The whale song section from Echoes was borrowed from their concert staple Embryo, Us and Them was originally called The Violent Sequence and a Zabriskie Point soundtrack leftover, and the magnificent Comfortably Numb was something David Gilmour had been messing with for his eponymous solo album.

Half of the Animals (1977) album consists of songs the Floyd played live in 1974 but none of those fitted the Wish You Were Here (1975) concept. Animals was and still is a landmark album, something that can’t be said of The Final Cut (1983), practically a Roger Waters solo album, featuring some The Wall (1979) rejects (and unfortunately it shows).

Let’s not be cynical for once and forget that a separate release of The Endless River will shelve a few million copies more than a Division Bell bonus disc. Even if the record will mostly have ambient atmospheric pieces and may fail the default description of a typical Pink Floyd album we will consider it as Richard Wright’s musical testament and an honest tribute from the rest of the band.

Now, and here is a confession this old bartender has to make, when we read Polly Samson's tweet, we were literally shaking all over our body as excited as a puppy who has just been thrown a bone. We started browsing the well-known Floydian fan-sites for more and the first website who added the news to its page was Col Turner's A Fleeting Glimpse.

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

Segmental Pig File

Col Turner is not your average Pink Floyd fan site webmaster, he has dedicated his life to the Floyd and if you ask us, we think he is pretty daft for doing so. Nevertheless, we appreciate his masochist streak and if we want to know the latest news of the Dark Side universe Fleeting Glimpse (and Brain Damage) are the first ones we open.

When we say that Colin Turner is not an average fan, we mean he is not an average fan. Turner eats, feels, dreams and breaths Pink Floyd (frankly we are a bit curious what he does in the bedroom) and as such he already knew for a while that a new album was in the make. However, instead of putting that news on his wall, like we would have done in a nanosecond, he promised the Pink Floyd management to shut his mouth and wait until an official announcement of the band was made.

Now, we ask you, dear reader, can you get any closer to an official band announcement than the wife of the band leader, who happens to be the main lyricist as well, tweeting the news into the world?

Well, opinions seems to differ apparently.

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

The Bleeding Hearts and the Artists

An artist is, by definition, a creative person, a sensitive person, someone with a frail mind. He writes these songs that appeal to people all over the world, people who recognise themselves in these songs, who recognise the feelings, the emotions, the love, the sadness, the anger, the Angst.

We, the fans, may think these songs have been written for us and sometimes we are so touched by the beauty and sincerity of it all that we will ask the artist to play the latest album in our backyard, for a beer and a whopper on the grill. That is why an agent, or some management, comes in... While the artist may not have the guts to disappoint the fan, his agent's preferable syllables are invariably 'no', 'fuck off' and, if this is your lucky day, 'how much'.

There has always been a huge gap between Pink Floyd, the band, and Pink Floyd, the company, and it is pretty impossible to determine how the one has influenced the other. Although some of its members openly preached a socialist philosophy their business manners have always been exactly the opposite, at least after the Peter Jenner days. Steve O'Rourke was not only a quasi-mythical agent who uplifted the band from the gutter towards the moon, but he was a bully as well, bombastic in his manners, a Floydian pit-bull and above all... über-greedy. Rumour goes O'Rourke started his career as a dog food sales rep, so determined to succeed that he ate the stuff in front of his prospects to prove it was quality meat.

Giving none away

The band who criticised capitalism on Money, paid Clare Torry £30 for her input on The Great Gig In The Sky, less than a third of what a Dark Side of the Moon Immersion set costs. In a nineties interview for the Dutch Penthouse a bitter Alan Parsons recalled how the four gentlemen in the band never told him that he had the right to earn some ‘points’ on his engineering / producing work for Dark Side of the Moon. That situation was settled later when Parsons was asked to remaster the album for an anniversary release. Clare Torry had to seriously threaten with legal action before the band agreed to share a small slice of the pie.

Roy Harper sung the lyrics on Have A Cigar, another one of these sarcastic songs describing the shady corners of music business. It was made clear to him that he wouldn't receive any copyright so Roy asked for some football tickets instead. Although the band were multi-millionaires by now a season's ticket was too much to ask and he never received it. The kids, singing ‘we don’t get no education’, were only given a copy of The Wall album after a newspaper turned it into a scandal.

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

Turn, Turn, Turn

Colin Turner published the news about the new Pink Floyd album on A Fleeting Glimpse, after it had been tweeted by Polly Samson. Then he messaged the Pink Floyd management that the floodgates had been opened. While hundreds of others were already retweeting and commenting on social media a Pink Floyd goblin found it necessary to threaten Colin with legal action and made him remove the post.

This made Colin so bitter that he deleted the entire news page, and at a certain point he was so disillusioned he wanted to close down AFG completely.

I was (...) asked to remove the story as it had not been cleared by official channels. This I did and I am now awaiting approval to publish full details about the album, despite it now being widely spread across the Internet. I intend to honour the commitment I made and the site will remain down until such a time as I receive official approval to publish.

Louis Matos (and with him many other AFG readers) reacted in shock:

That high service to the fans and to the Pink Floyd brand (...) was respected by Steve (O'Rourke), is respected by Mark (Fenwick) and should be respected by whomever now attends to David's business. I find it insulting - as a professional of the music business - that a loyal dedicated fan had to be "disciplined" for reproducing a Tweet by Polly by anyone other than Polly or David (and they could have done it, mind you). Even - and especially - anyone on the business side of it. Remember "Welcome to the Machine"? Well, it was about that kind of abuse. (Taken from: The Endless River)

To add insult to injury, at the moment when one of Pink Floyd's little hitlers found it necessary to threaten to close down A Fleeting Glimpse, the official Warner Music Why Pink Floyd website had already inserted the announcement on its news stream. Double standards, anyone?

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

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

David Gilmour and Paul Loasby
David Gilmour and Paul Loasby.

Slithered Nerves

David Gilmour's (and also Syd Barrett's) management happens to be in the hands of One Fifteen who have the following Hunter S. Thompson quote on their site:

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

If our information is correct Paul Loasby probably was the toerag (note) who intimidated the Fleeting Glimpse webmaster. According to a Cambridge mafia insider, who we will not name, Paul Loasby is the opposite of a villain and an amicable man:

I have met him and spoken to him many times. He seems very pleasant and was always totally respectful of Syd... and others...

But apparently that is only when he doesn't see a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, which he will receive anyway, regardless of him throwing a tantrum about a leaked tweet or not.

What had to be, for the fans, one of the most joyous days in Pink Floyd history, a new album, a much awaited tribute to Richard Wright, an indirect nod to Syd Barrett (mind you, not that we think One Fifteen knows anything about Syd Barrett), the Pink Floyd agent managed to turn it into something of a misplaced nightmare.

Mister Loasby, you are a party pooper and you should be ashamed of yourself.

David Gilmour and his dog
David Gilmour and his dog.

Game of Thrones

But in a way: hats off to Paul Loasby. In four minutes he managed to kick Steve O'Rourke from his throne as the eternal Pink Floyd baddy, simply by putting the knife in the back of someone who does a lot of Pink Floyd promotion, for free. If you are somewhat familiar with the Floydian canon – this is something dogs do for a living. Welcome to the machine, indeed.

We want to end this article with a friendly suggestion for Col Turner, who was at the centre of this crisette. There is a Dutch saying, dating from the Middle Ages: "Tis quaet met heeren criecken eten'." "It's difficult to eat cherries with noblemen", meaning that if you want to schmooze with the higher crowd you will be treated as their servant whether you like it or not.

Better be independent, better be vigilant, better be critical than to bark only when the puppet master allows it, this is The Anchor's motto and it will always be. While A Fleeting Glimpse may generally be the first and the best in giving Pink Floyd news, it slightly troubles us that they have completely forgotten to mention the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band release, with Syd Barrett's last performance.

Sitting to close to the throne, too busy eating cherries over a lavish Division Bell box set, no doubt.

Epilogue / Update

On the quadrophonicquad forum Pink Floyd engineer Andy Jackson wrote on the 14th of July (2014):

No, still can't talk about Endless River, the 'leak' was damage limitation as a UK newspaper had got hold of the story.

So if we read this well, a newspaper - rumoured to be The Sun - heard about the new Pink Floyd album on the fifth of July and was going to publish the news, perhaps even in next day's Sunday paper. Polly Samson was then asked to tweet the news to the world before the newspaper would publish it. It all makes perfect sense.

But what we still don't understand is why Paul Loasby had to threaten A Fleeting Glimpse then. Why Pink Floyd? Why?

Can't you see
It all makes perfect sense
Expressed in dollars and cents,
Pounds, shillings and pence
Can't you see
It all makes perfect sense
(Roger Waters, Perfect Sense, Amused to Death, 1992)
Harvested logo
Harvested logo.

The Floydian empire strikes back
(Update: 2014 09 14.)

For the past few months early Pink Floyd songs have been disappearing from YouTube: Scream Thy Last Scream, Vegetable Man, Astronomy Domine, Lucy Leave, King Bee. Even the Men On The Border live cover of Scream Thy Last Scream has been silenced and has now got the text:

This video previously contained a copyrighted audio track. Due to a claim by a copyright holder, the audio track has been muted.

Obviously this is a blatant lie and could be considered illegal, as the copyright holder of the audio track is Men On The Border itself and not Pink Floyd, nor EMI, Warner Music Group or one of its little helpers.

Harvested, a volunteer-driven organisation that archived, restored and weeded (for free) Pink Floyd live audio and video recordings has been taken down after a friendly reminder from Mr. Loasby. All its torrents have been deleted from Yeeshkul who suddenly went chicken shit and have forbidden the further use of the 'Harvested' word to all its members. Also the Pink Floyd Multicam website has been closed down.

The argument (from Pink Floyd) that ruthless entrepreneurs take the freely distributed material from Harvested (like The Man and The Journey), press it on a CD or DVD and sell it to the public doesn't make sense. Warner should go after the companies who sell these bootlegs and not after the people who give it away for free and thus spoil the 'market' for the bootleggers (although we do understand this is something of an illegal situation). By closing down Harvested (and in a near future, perhaps Yeeshkul?) fans will again be obliged to buy these recordings from shady companies if they want them, instead of downloading them for free.

As usual the big three fansites (A Fleeting Glimpse, Brain Damage, NPF) haven't mentioned this news at all, afraid to no longer receive the crumbles falling off the Pink Floyd table and to be left in the cold when 'The Endless River' will come out. Col Turner, who went apeshit over Paul Loasby threatening him (read the article above) has removed all trace of the incident and, as such, it never happened. (It is still in the forum, but you have to dig deep to find it.)

Acoustic Sounds, who will press the vinyl version of 'The Endless River' (they also did the recent 'Division Bell' release), received the lacquers cut straight from Doug Sax and crew at The Mastering Lab (Los Angeles) and posted some pictures on their Facebook page this week. Guess what, these (innocent) pictures have now been deleted and we can only guess who is behind that.

Who would have thought that ultimately Pink Floyd would turn into the neo-fascist impersonation of their Wall album?


(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)

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

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

2014-08-31

Spanishgrass, the myth continues...

Spanishgrass: Redux 2014
a mysterious package
A mysterious package...
It was on the sad last week of August that a mysterious package from an unknown sender arrived at Atagong mansion. Packed in a brown plain cloth with a just distinguishable flowery motive, it was held together with thin brown rope and sealed with red wax.
two boxes
Two boxes.
After breaking the seal and removing the cloth, two carton boxes were revealed. One 7 inch (7-1/4 x 7-1/4 x 1/2" - approx. 185 x 185 x 16 mm) containing the text 'REEL FOUR' and, on the spine, 'SPANISHGRASS GCA-19B 4B4.

A bigger 11 inch (11 x 11 x 3/4" - approx. 280 x 280 x 20 mm) is titled 'SPANISHGRASS 20 SONGS ABOUT SPACE AND SIESTA GCA-19B 4/4', on the spine 'SPANISHGRASS GCA-19B 4A'.
a real reel
A real reel.
The small box contained a tape all-right. On an inlay from High Fidelity GCA Sound, Purveyors of Fine Audio Equipment, are written the following titles:
William Paips (1:10)
Stede Bonnet (2:08)
Gabriel Spenser (2:39)
Gospel At Noon (3:00)
Waste Deep (2:52)
Frog (1:01)

The big box contained several wrapped packages, a CD and a letter, signed and sealed by Leopoldo Duran.

the interior of the big box
The interior of the big box.

Here it is.

partial scan of the Galician letter
Partial scan of the Galician letter.

Written in the Galician language, we managed to scan, OCR and translate it as good as were able to.

Dear Felix Atagong,

I hope this letter finds you well. My name is Leopoldo Duran. I serve as a monk at the Monastery of Santa Maria de Oseira. If you are reading this, it means I'm dead, and that my heirs followed the instructions in my will to send you this parcel. Our abbey is a beautiful monastery dedicated to Our Lord and has been around for almost 900 years. Unfortunately. the weather was not so kind to our abbey as we had expected from our Lord; as such, a number of necessary repairs had to be carried out in many sections of several buildings.

One such recent repair involved a rarely used room that belonged to an old and dear friend of mine, who at the time expressly proclaimed his desire to remain forever anonymous. My friend would spend the morning hours of the Vespers in our yard, quietly and respectfully playing his guitar, singing songs that were inspired by his stay. I have many memories of him taking his reel-to-reel tape recorder very early in the morning, while the rest of us went to mass. In fact, I told him and his friends, many non-Catholics, who would also visit us that if they wanted to confess at any time, they could talk to me, instead of talking to this tape machine that didn't listen. None of them ever thanked us, but that's another topic.

My apologies, but my mind begins to wander at this age... we were talking repairs. A worker found a box embedded in the corner of the room of my friend, initially thought to be rubbish, as on top of the disorganized pile there was a note saying 'please burn this'. It appeared that it contained four tape reels from my old friend, along with a pile of old photographs and other things. As they were old, I thought it would be best to send these tape recordings to an expert to have them restored. A non-Catholic boy in the village told me about something called 'web'. This 'web' apparently has information and on my demand the 'web' found a place in the United States of America where they agreed to take the music performed on these four reels and produce one copy of something called 'digital'.

This American assured that these 'digital' music storage techniques are much more preferred for these older reels. He also said that to extract the music from these very old tapes, he had to 'feed' the reels. This made sense to me, because I suddenly remembered my dear old friend, explaining how he 'roasted' these tapes. Apparently, the process can be repeated many times but the tape starts to degrade; therefore, the American issued the following warning. ”Play this on a clean machine and make sure to register the first playing, as each additional playing will degrade the tape.”

Once again, after the North-American information about these 'records' I was at a loss about what to do next. I wanted to share this wonderful discovery to someone who wants it. Unfortunately, time makes disappear all things, and I think less and less people will recognize the name of my dear friend.

Also, next to my unyielding desire I was reminded of the promise to my friend to remain anonymous. "I would remain silent until my death...”, I said nothing then! I made the non-Catholic village boy do another search on this 'web' and let him come with four names. In my will I am instructing my heirs to send each one of the reels. Due to a communication error four 'albums' that contain the complete content of all four reels combined were put on a disc. Each 'disc' includes the content of the four combined reels that the American produced for me. I remember my friend saying at the time that these recordings are called 'Spanishgrass' and that they were 'twenty songs about space and siesta'.

It is my wish that this answers any questions you may have regarding this package you received unsolicited. If it gives you more questions, I can only tell you what I tell everyone. So Jesus and the Holy Church know it's true.

Leopoldo Duran

(This is part one of the Spanishgrass, the myth continues... series. Hi-def scans and pictures will be revealed, on an irregular basis, at our Spanishgrass Tumblr gallery.)


Many thanks to Mr. Anonymous for sending us this package.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Babylemonade Aleph ♥

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

2014-09-06

Spanishgrass, or the Duran Durán mystery...

Spanishgrass Redux 2014
Spanishgrass Polaroid cover
Spanishgrass Polaroid cover.

Last week, dear fanoraks, we wrote how a mysterious package arrived at Atagong mansion: Spanishgrass, the myth continues... 

It contained, next to a CD and several goodies, a tape reel, marked 'reel four'. An undated letter from High Fidelity GCA Sound, Purveyors of Fine Audio Equipment, explains how the four reels have been transferred to CD.

GCA Sound letter
GCA Sound letter.
Mastering Report:

Project instructions: Leopoldo Duran (customer) provided four reel to reel tapes. Customer stated reels have been left unprotected in a drafty room. Customer would like archive copies made from whatever is on tapes. No alterations to the sound are to be made. Please deliver transferred files on to a compact disc.

Project Engineer Notes:

Minor water damage to tapes. Main concern is tape quality. Tape age is estimated to be mid 1970s. Due to the age of the tape, the tape is oxidizing and showing wear. In order to achieve the most optimum archival copy, the reel to reel machine heads were cleaned and aligned before each reel. Tapes were baked to achieve optimum quality from source. While a digital copy has been created from the reels provided, certain audio defects remain present. Even with adequate preventative measures, tape transfer achieved was not optimal. Listener should expect audio imperfections. This is most noticeable as minor distortions, speed inconsistencies, and subtle drop outs.
Reel 1, courtesy Rick Barnes
Reel 1, courtesy Rick Barnes.

And then there were three

Our assumption that four tapes, each containing different tracks, have been anonymously 'delivered' to people around the world seems right.

Last week boxes arrived in Spain at the Solo En Las Nubes webmaster Antonio Jesús (reel 2) and in the USA at Birdie Hop administrator and music collector (and professional) Rick Barnes (reel 1). As a matter of fact the Spanishgrass set made it onto Rick Barnes' VC Vinyl Community update on Youtube (skip to 20 minutes to watch the Spanishgrass bit.)

For the moment we still have no clue about the whereabouts of reel number 3.

Next to the music on tape and CD there are some Polaroids from the Oseira monastery that further immerse the listener into the Spanishgrass set. These will be published on a daily base at the Spanishgrass section of our Holy Church Tumblr page.

The question that troubles most anoraks though is: do the tapes (and CD) really contain lost Syd Barrett tunes that have been recorded during his alleged stay at the Oseira monastery, somewhere in the seventies? We will only publish a review of the record next week, but this is what we can already divulge.

Reel 2, courtesy Antonio Jesus
Reel 2, courtesy Antonio Jesus.

Save a prayer

Leopoldo Durán, professor of (English) literature, philosophy and theology, lived for three decades in Great Britain where he was contacted by Graham Greene after Durán's doctoral dissertation about priesthood. The two men became friends for life and the author annually visited the priest at the Oseira monastery. Greene's humorous and satirical novel Monsignor Quixote was a direct result of the long religious and political conversations both friends had, more triggered by visits to local vineyards than for the need of philosophical discours. Graham Greene died in 1991, after his final confession was taken by his Spanish friend. Durán would still correspond with Greene's widow and family until his dead in 2008 and published several biographical books about the author.

The Durán archives, 48 boxes in total, containing letters, manuscripts, pictures from Durán, Greene and others are archived at the Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center, Washington, D.C., but nowhere there is a trace of a certain Roger Keith Barrett staying at Oseira.

Leopoldo Durán died in 2008, but the alleged Spanishgrass tapes were only posted six years later to four Syd Barrett scholars, after the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and Solo En Las Nubes articles about the 1986 hoax (and its follow-up, by the original author, Jose Ángel González, in 2003). See: Spanishgrass or Syd Barrett's lost Spanish record, Spanishgrass, one year later and subsequent articles on this blog.

Where did the tapes stay between 2008 and 2014? Surely, if Leopoldo Durán would have had the Spanishgrass tapes, they would logically be in his archive, but they are not.

Leopoldo Duran signature
Leopoldo Duran signature.

Last but not least. In the letter that can be found in the four Spanishgrass Immersion boxes (with one box still missing), Leopoldo Durán misspells his own name consequently as Leopoldo Duran, without an accent on the last a. On top of that Durán was a professor of English literature, so it is weird that the letter, destined for an English speaking audience, has been written in Galician.

Sometimes a hoax can be too elaborated...

So who or what is this Spanishgrass band or artist and what is on the album? Be patient, sistren and brethren, all will be revealed in due time...

(This is part two of the Spanishgrass, the myth continues... series. For part one press: Spanishgrass, the myth continues... Hi-def scans and pictures will be revealed, on an irregular basis, at our Spanishgrass Tumblr gallery.)


Many thanks to Mr. Anonymous for sending us this package.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Babylemonade Aleph ♥

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

2014-11-08

What the fuck is your problem, Pink Floyd?

Hey Dave, leave them fans alone.
Oi! Where's the fucking bar, John?
Oi! Where's the fucking bar, John?

Our love for Pink Floyd will be eternal and is not limited to one of the roughly six or seven different incarnations, although we can be happy they didn't have as many personnel changes as, for instance, Yes, dog beware. We unconditionally love proto Floyd, vintage Floyd, classic Floyd, acidic Floyd and diet Floyd that transformed slowly into newborn Floyd. They all had their pros and cons, so to speak, their highs and lows and we have never understood the fan-wars that automatically start when Pink Floyd announce a new album. Just go and have a look at the two main fora: A Fleeting Glimpse, from Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band negationist Col T, and their eternal enemies, the deaf, dumb and blind Neptune Pink Floyd copycats. The good thing is that the announcement of a new Floyd album had the two fora starting internal wars for a change, instead of constantly pissing each other off.

Not that the Church and its Reverend are any better, au contraire. Amongst Sydiots it is the general rule to bitch and to fight, to diss each other on sight, that's the things we do...

While Pink Floyd have made the most heavenly music in the world, and we repeat: in all their incarnations, we have some difficulties with Pink Floyd, the business mogul and their foul-mouthed representatives who will not blink once when, for hard cash, they lie and deceive, to quote one of the minor poets.

Grab that cash

Wolfpack, at the Late Night forum, recently came up with a 2011 discussion, from Neptune Pink Floyd, of a fraudulent 1994 Saucerful Of Secrets reissue (it was also discussed at Steve Hoffman's place).

Not wanting to sound too anoraky but apparently the 1994 European EMI CD release, pretending to have a 1992 Doug Sax remaster, did not use that particular tape, but an old, sloppy one from somewhere in the eighties.

Let us rephrase that again to let it quietly sip in.

Laughing all the way to the bank.
Laughing all the way to the bank.

In 1994 EMI (Europe) was advertising and selling remastered Pink Floyd CDs, only what was baked on the disk was not a remaster at all but a murky old version (EMI modulated the volume here and there to cover up for their cheating). This can be clearly heard on the A Saucerful Of Secrets track that has a distinct 'snap' around the 2 minutes and 30 seconds mark, with a 5dB volume drop for about 5 seconds, a problem that was partially solved by Doug Sax on his 1992 remaster. The EMI fraud, we can't think of any other name to define what they deliberately did and that may have literally run into the millions, was not only limited to the second Pink Floyd album but perhaps on seven so-called remasters: A Saucerful Of Secrets, Meddle, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall and A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. A detailed overview, with links and soundbytes, can be found at the bottom of this article.

Yes, these are the people saying that home-taping is killing music. By the way, not a single Pink Floyd, or ex-Pink Floyd, -member objected apparently. But of course this was twenty years ago and surely the geriatric Floyd have gotten softer by now. Well... apparently it has only gotten worse...

Charade you are

The thing is that Pink Floyd, and any other popular and self-respecting band, consists of two parts, what is not always fully understood by the fans. There is a cultural or artistic pillar with the performers exclaiming their angst, fear, hope, friendship and love in their songs. There is also an economic or capitalistic division where these same performers, represented by their agents, publishing and record companies, try to sell you as much junk as is humanly possible. Only... they don't call it junk but Immersion sets, compilations, remasters, even if these remasters aren't remasters at all.

While fans were eagerly awaiting The Endless River, the Floyd's latest album, the band and its record company were trying to create a buzz, which has pretty much succeeded. To the outside world at least. Hardcore Pink Floyd fans, those crusty old dinosaurs with big wallets, felt a bit neglected.

We won't repeat everything we wrote in The loathful Mr. Loasby and other stories... but Floyd acolytes have been insulting, intimidating and legally threatening the Fleeting Glimpse webmaster because he dared to publish the news of a new album after Polly Samson and Durga McBroom had already done so. For the last six months, their legal division has deleted lots of archive material from YouTube, which they are of course entitled to (leading to much speculation about an immense 2017 Piper / Saucerful Immersion set). Floyd gave the Harvested organisation a one day warning to stop their illegal activities, namely archiving and restoring Floyd concerts and weeding these to the fans, for free. Basically Harvested did what they expected Harvest to do, but the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band tape that was bought and immediately buried by EMI and/or Pink Floyd shows that they had no intent releasing it. The Gyllene Cirkeln tape, same story. When the Floyd buy a tape, it is not to praise, but to bury it.

Draconian measurements, so it seems, and sometimes taking innocent victims with them, like censoring a video from the Men On The Border band, because it happened to cover a Syd Barrett song.

Update 2016: The Gyllene Cirkeln gig has been officially released now, as part of The Early Years box-set. See: Supererog/Ation: skimming The Early Years.

Row, row, row your boat... Courtesy of Rocco Moliterno.
Row, row, row your boat... Artwork: Rocco Moliterno.

The odd couple

In their interviews Gilmour and Mason look nothing like rock stars, they are amiably chatting about their latest release, and they could easily be mistaken for elderly countrymen, retired landlords discussing the sweet life of rural Great-Britain. While they are quipping how sweet their friendship was with Rick Wright and how this record is a tribute to him, their copyright gamekeepers are shooting at the poachers. Did Roger Waters knew he was predicting the future when he turned Pink into a crypto-fascist on The Wall album?

Sometimes the Floyd's hammering attempts are bluntly pathetic.

On the 9th of October one track of the album, Louder Than Words, was premiered on BBC radio (and later repeated on a few other stations), but unlike the seventies, people were not holding a cassette player with a microphone in front of a transistor radio. In the twenty-first century radio stations can be captured on the internet and songs can be sent to the world wide web with a simple right-click. Copies were almost uploaded immediately and put on Soundcloud, YouTube and other places.

A day later A Fleeting Glimpse, who are again big buddies with Floyd's management, warned their forum members that Warner would be hitting hard on those fans seeding the track and most copies disappeared after a few hours, except the one on the BBC website.

We shall not stop until all illegal copies of Louder Than Words have been destroyed!
We shall not stop until all illegal copies of 'Louder Than Words' have been destroyed! Artwork: Felix Atagong.

The Church is aware of at least four Pink Floyd fans who listened to advanced copies of the album, but who were explicitly told to not to express their opinion about it on Pink Floyd forums. This happened less than five days before the official launch and after all great music magazines, Q, Mojo, Uncut, Rolling Stone had already published their reviews.

All this secrecy and bullying can only mean one thing. That the album is a big bummer and that the record company does not want the fans to realize that before they buy the album. And if it's not, there remains only one question:

What the fuck is your problem, Pink Floyd?

Well, there is only one way to find out...

(This is part one of our The Endless River article, part two or the actual review can be found here: While my guitar gently weeps...)


(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)

Many thanks to Danielcaux, Rocco Moliterno, Wolfpack and countless people on the NPF and Fleeting Glimpse forums.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

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

Different Saucerful versions (back to article)

The different versions are discussed, in detail, on the Neptune Pink Floyd forum: "Saucerful" on CD - defective??. Danielcaux compared the different A Saucerful Of Secrets CD versions and posted some clips on Soundcloud (about 34 seconds each).

EMI 1994 'fraudulent' remaster (with the obnoxious glitch, probably dating from the sixties) : https://soundcloud.com/o0d/stcfthots-1994-emi-asos-cd
Doug Sax 1992 remaster (repairing the glitch, more or less): https://soundcloud.com/o0d/stcfthots-shine-on-doug-sax
Echoes (Best Of, 2001 remaster, another attempt to repair the mistake): https://soundcloud.com/o0d/stcfthots-echoes-best-of
James Guthrie 2011 Discovery remaster (almost identical to the Doug Sax version): https://soundcloud.com/o0d/stcfthots-2011-discovery-cd

and how it should really sound:

Works CD version, 1983 (the only version that hasn't got the glitch): https://soundcloud.com/o0d/stcfthots-works

2014-11-15

Chin Chin

Diet Floyd officially fat-free.
Gilmour, Astoria studio, 1993.
David Gilmour, Astoria studio, 1993.

The new Diet Pink Floyd album The Endless River is conquering the world, perhaps to the absence of any real competition. We don't think Susan Boyle's cover version of Wish You Were Here will pose a real threat, does it? In Holland the album, currently at number one, sells five times as much as the number two.

The Endless River is a slow evolving, ambient piece of work with obvious nods to the Floyd's glorious past... one hears traces of A Saucerful Of Secrets (Syncopated Pandemonium), Astronomy Domine, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Cluster One, Interstellar Overdrive, Keep Talking, Marooned, Money, One Of These Days (I'm Going To Cut You Into Little Pieces), Run Like Hell, Shine On You Crazy Diamond and probably half a dozen more we've already forgotten.

The familiarity of it all has created raving enthusiasm for some and 'mainly yesterday's reheated lunch' for others and this also seems to be the opinion of the press. Mark Blake (in Mojo) politely describes the album as 'big on atmosphere, light on songs', Mikael Wood (in the Los Angeles Times) states that Pink Floyd drifts towards nothingness with aimless and excruciatingly dull fragments.

While the 1987 A Momentary Lapse Of Reason album was a David Gilmour solo effort, recorded with 18 session musicians and with the Pink Floyd name on the cover to sell a few million copies more, The Endless River originally grew out of jams between Gilmour, Mason & Wright.

Actually these were rejected jams, not good enough to include on The Division Bell, but over the years they seem to have ripened like good old wine. Well that's the PR story but in reality Andy Jackson, Phil Manzanera and Martin 'Youth' Glover had to copy bits and pieces from twenty hours of tape and toy around with every single good sounding second in Pro Tools to obtain something relatively close to Floydian eargasm. Phil Manzanera in Uncut:

I would take a guitar solo from another track, change the key of it, stick it on an outtake from another track. 'Oh that bit there, it reminds me of Live At Pompeii, but let's put a beat underneath it.' So then I take a bit of Nick warming up in the studio at Olympia, say, take a bit of a fill here and a bit of fill there. Join it together, make a loop out of it.

This doesn't really sound like an organic created piece of music, does it? The result is a genetically modified fat-free sounding record and while this is the most ambient experiment of Pink Floyd it will never get extreme, despite Martin Glover's presence whose only ambient house additions seem to be the On The Run VCS3 effect that comes whooshing in several times. Youth isn't that young and reckless any more so don't expect anything close to the KLF's Madrugada Eterna, Jimmy 'Space' Cauty's Mars or the Orb's A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld, unfortunately.

Update April 2017: One and a half year after the record has been released the involvement of Nick Mason can be finally discussed as well. Pink Floyd know-all Ron Toon at Steve Hoffmann:

Nick had nothing to do with this project except to play a few new drum tracks basically being brought in as a session drummer. Of course he was / is a member of Pink Floyd but his involvement in this project was minimal at best. The vision was David's and the other producers and Andy [Jackson] did most of the work. Source: Pink Floyd - The Early Years 1965-1972 Box Set.

But the music isn't the only thing that seems to be embellished. Last week long-time Echoes mailing list member Christopher, also known as 10past10, went on holidays, taking with him the new Pink Floyd CD and, as reading material, Nick Mason's Inside Out book. Then something happened which unleashed the power of his imagination (read Christopher's original mail).

The mid-book picture of The Endless River shows the Astoria studio with Rick Wright, David Gilmour and Nick Mason jamming in 1993, taken by Jill Furmanovsky. This picture has been stitched out of several shots, the borders don't match (deliberately) and Nick Mason (or at least his arms) can be seen twice.

Astoria session, 1993, courtesy of Jill Furmanovsky
Astoria session, 1993. Picture: Jill Furmanovsky.

But Christopher was in for another surprise when he looked at the fourth picture gallery in Nick Mason's Inside Out soft-cover (or on page 313 if you have the coffee-table edition). It shows another picture of the same session, with Rick Wright, David Gilmour and Bob Ezrin.

Astoria session, 1993, courtesy of Jill Furmanovsky
Astoria session, 1993. Picture: Jill Furmanovsky.

Now look at the man in the middle, the one who doesn't like to be called Dave. Christopher:

If you look closely at every piece of David's clothing, his hair, the way he is holding his guitar, the chords, the lot. It all matches exactly ... too much not be a match.
David Gilmour with double chin.
David Gilmour with double chin.
David Gilmour with single chin.
David Gilmour with single chin.

Not only does The Endless River centrefold superimposes Nick Mason twice, but they have glued in David Gilmour from another shot (and removed Bob Ezrin).

And still, that is not all.

Look very closely to Gilmour's face in the 1993 picture (left) and to his face on the 2014 release (right). Christopher explains:

The difference is in the original shot.
David has a double chin.
In The Endless River shot it has been dealt with.

There will be no fat on The Endless River, not on the music and certainly not on Air-Brush Dave.

(This is The Anchor's satirical review of The Endless River, or part three if you like. For the Reverend's opinion, check: While my guitar gently weeps...)


(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)

Many thanks to Christopher (10past10), Ron Toon. Pictures courtesy of Jill Furmanovsky.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Sources (other than the above internet links):
10past10 (Christopher), Alcog Dave no more, mail, 2014 11 14.
Bonner, Michael: Coming back to life, Uncut, November 2014, p. 39.
Echoes mailing list: to join just click on the appropriate link on their sexy echoes subscription and format information webpage.

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


Christopher's original posting to Echoes: (Back to article)

Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2014 18:00:32 +1000
From: 10past10
Subject: Alcog Dave no more ...
To: echoes@meddle.org

Hi Ho All,

I do believe there is photographic trickery afoot!

Exhibit A: The centrefold picture in The Endless River depicting Richard, David and Nick in the studio.

Exhibit B: Inside Out; the fourth lot of pics in the paperback or p313 in hardback (1st ed), depicting Richard, David and Bob Ezrin.

Obviously it is a different pic of Richard and Bob/Nick. But I reckon the picture of David is the same one; except for one difference.

So, I reckon, to get the wider shot for the TER CD centrefold (I don't know how it may or may not appear in the other versions as I haven't seen them yet), they have made a composite photo using the shot of David rom the one Nick originally published and shots of Richard and Nick from one or two different pictures.

If you look closely at every piece of David's clothing, his hair, the way he is holding his guitar, the chords, the lot. It all matches exactly ... too much not be a match.

Does this matter? Of course not. Why not do that to get what you need. Obviously Nick himself is double exposed when you look at his arms.

Is it worth pointing out? Yes (but just because you can, not because it will change the world). Why? Because of the one difference.

The difference is in the original shot David has a double chin. In The Endless River shot it has been dealt with.

Some time ago I was castigated for calling David, Fat Dave. So I changed that to Alcog Dave. He is that no more. In my more whimsical moods I shall hence forth refer to him as "Air-Brush Dave".

I like Pink Floyd.

Rock On
Christopher

i am remotely morty

(Back to article)

2015-02-09

Blitz Books: filled with an urge to defecate

50 shades of shit
50 years on the dark side, don't buy it!
Warning: don't buy it.

When the Reverend spotted an expensive collectors limited edition 4 DVD & book set in his favourite bookshop last week there was a little voice going in his head whispering: “Don't buy it, don't buy it...” Unfortunately the Reverend has this problem with authority, so this good advice was completely ignored. The moment he had paid 60 Euro (44.65£, 68.00$) he immediately regretted the purchase, but by then it was already too late. “Told you so!”, said the voice in his head. Little bugger.

The Reverend, Felix for the rapidly diminishing herd he calls his friends, should have been warned by the fact that there was no author on the cover and that the editor goes by the name of Blitz Books, but the promise on the back that read: four DVD films packed with in-depth rare archive interviews with the band, made him forget several of the seven deadly sins.

So he returned to Atagong mansion with Pink Floyd: 50 Years On The Dark Side tucked inside his overcoat and he only opened it in the privacy of his study room.

The Book

At first sight the 110 pages coffee table book looks impressive. It starts with an essay titled Pink Floyd In The Beginning that covers their early history from The Pink Floyd Blues Band, although that name may have been some kind of an urban legend, until Ummagumma, so roughly from 1965 till 1969. It's not particularly innovative, nor original as Barry Miles has his 2006 The Early Years book that roughly covers the same old ground and that is well worth the read. But, it has to be said, the article is not bad and does quote a lot from early interviews with the band.

The text, however, is not original, it was first published in a book called Pink Floyd: Reflections and Echoes from Bob Carruthers, that also had – coincidence ? - 4 DVDs packed with in-depth rare archive interviews with the band.

We're starting to see a pattern here.

Part one ends at page 58 but, mind you, two-thirds of the pages are filled with pictures from our friends at Pictorial Press who, by the way, still haven't answered if they have any Iggy Rose pictures in their archive, which we know with certainty they do.

After the quite enjoyable read about vintage Floyd and the somewhat quirky attempts from the remaining members, plus one newbie: David Gilmour, to find a new direction it is time for the rest of the Floydian history. That second part start with The Wall.

Which one's Pink? Phil Rose.
Which one's Pink? Phil Rose.

The Wall?

Does this mean the book skips a whole decade, not coincidentally the one that had the Floyd's classic albums Meddle, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and the somewhat underrated Animals and Obscured By Clouds?

Apparently it does.

Blitz Books' business plan is to have some text on paper, any text, so that they can put (coloured) photographs around. On top of that The Wall-part mainly tells what happens on the album, song per song, so it is not even a review. We're still trying to recover from the disastrous catastrophe that was Roger Waters' The Wall show in summer 2013 and we solemnly confess we didn't read this chapter because reading about The Wall is even more tedious than listening to the album. We once tried getting through Phil Rose's Which One's Pink that analyses the concepts of the different Roger Waters albums, as a solo artist and with Pink Floyd, but it only made our psycho-therapist wealthier.

Discography

The third and final part of the 50 Years On The Dark Side book is a discography of the studio albums from The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn till The Division Bell, with a (small) description of every song. The Floyd's debut, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is described as 'deeply disappointing' where 'two completely different, and totally irreconcilable, musical personalities battle for supremacy'. As long as we know where these fans really stand it is fine for us.

Not only is the page order for the A Saucerful Of Secrets review wrong, but the (anonymous) author also seems to have found a new Floyd track called 'Heavenly Voices', probably the ending piece of the title track is meant, better known as 'Celestial Voices'.

The other album reviews are generally acceptable and from page 100 to 103 The Wall comes around for a second time and again all individual tracks are mentioned with some titbits her and there.

It would have been an excellent idea to have added the track-listing of The Endless River, but that was too much asked from the Blitz boys. To add insult to injury the Division Bell review omits the last three songs... because there are no more pages left in the book. Really, it is, we're not trying to tell you a joke or something...

Conclusion

This book is an even greater insult than the history book that could be found in the Pink Floyd 1992 Shine On box set that mysteriously ended in mid sentence on page 107. All in all 50 Years On The Dark Side is not a book, it is merely text on paper.

Shine On (1992) the last sentence...
The luxurious Pink Floyd box-set Shine On (1992) had a book ending in mid sentence.

The DVDs

After the obvious debacle that is the piece of printed paper pretending to be a book, it was time for the Reverend to sit in front of the monitor and have a four hours DVD watching marathon.

Inner back cover
Inner back cover.

Theoretically the four DVDs should be well attached to plastic 'teeth' (probably there is a more scientific term) at the inside-back-cover, but these things are from such a poor quality that when you grab the book, at least one DVD will lose its grip and fall with a kling klang on the floor. Yes, Kraftwerk has build an empire on these things.

This is not really unique for Blitz Books. David Gilmour's solo album On An Island is packed in a digibook that has a rubber round soft cap to hold the compact disc. The only problem is that once you take the CD out it often is impossible to slide it again over the rubber plug. It's about the same problem as getting a cork back inside a bottle. In the Reverend's case this lead to the situation that for years he knew where the digibook was, but that he had lost the whereabouts of the CD.

The same situation happened with the over-expensive Pink Floyd Immersion sets of Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. While the marbles ("Marbles? Yes, marbles.") were individually packed in bubble-wrap bags the unprotected CDs and DVDs would freely roam all over the box, collecting scratches during the transport on plains, trains and auto-mobiles. (Read more at: Fuck all that, Pink Floyd Ltd.)

The Syd Barrett Years

DVD 1 (The Syd Barrett Years) seems to be a compilation of at least 2 to 4 other documentaries as one recognises people from the awful 'Inside Pink Floyd' set, the 'Critical Rock Review' series, the aforementioned 'Reflections and Echoes', plus 'Musical Milestones - Reflections on the Wall', although these documentaries may already share the same pieces. It is a common trick from these low-budget companies to repackage the same garbage. The documentary 'Pink Floyd behind the wall' is basically the same, perhaps with some cuts here and there, as 'Pink Floyd in their own words' to give just one example.

But actually the first DVD isn't that bad as it has interviews with Duggie Fields, Joe Boyd, Norman Smith, Ron Geesin and the recently deceased John 'Hoppy' Hopkins...

List of interviewees.
List of interviewees.
Carbon Copy
The Ultimate Critical Review: Atom Heart Mother.

Pink Floyd in Development

DVD 2 (Pink Floyd in Development) highlights the Floyd's career from A Saucerful Of Secrets to Atom Heart Mother. Here is where shit really starts to hit the fan. Basically these are interviews with people who have absolutely nothing to do with the band whatsoever, sharing their opinions. One could say that the presence of some journalists eases the pain a bit: John Cavanagh (read an interview with him here: so much to do, so little time), author of the 33 1/3 book The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn has the most intelligent things to say, followed by Syd Barrett & the Dawn of Pink Floyd biographer Mike Watkinson. Chris Welch who wrote the stinker Learning To Fly in 1994 comes in as third.

The notable exception on the second DVD is Ron Geesin, who gives his side of the Atom Heart Mother story, but stays gentle in regard to the boys who didn't want to put his name on the sleeve. Ron's name can only be found in small print, on the credits for the suite, and that duly pissed him off at the time. Geesin wrote the sublime The Flaming Cow in 2013 and as Nick Mason provided the introduction it seems that the problems have been solved 44 years later. Even with Ron Geesin's testimony the second disk lingers on and on, dragging for minutes that turn into quarters, a bit like Atom Heart Mother itself, one might say. If you might have a 2005 DVD called The Ultimate Critical Review: Atom Heart Mother don't bother to watch this as it is the same material.

Getting back to the sleeve one more time. We are probably all aware about Lullubelle the third, the iconic cow on the Atom Heart Mother album cover. It is funny..., no we're looking for another term here, it is pathetic that the people on the 50 Years On The Dark Side DVDs keep on discussing the merits of Storm Thorgerson and his Hipgnosis team without actually showing the covers. What they show are replicas of the covers, a generic cow for Atom Heart Mother, a three-dimensional prism for Dark Side of the Moon, a psychedelic picture of Battersea Power Station for Animals. This is the Aldi approach, replacing the real deal with a cheap lookalike.

Momentary Lapses

Let's be brief about the third and fourth DVDs that are called 'Momentary Lapses 1971-1977' and 'Momentary Lapses 1979-1994'. Again these DVDs are filled with people who have absolutely nothing to do with the band saying lots of things about the band. One wonders if these 'specialists' could talk for 52 minutes about a loaf of bread instead, and probably they could: “This is a remarkable loaf of bread, considered when it was made in 1975 without the technology of today. That loaf of bread has set the standard for all other loafs of bread to come.” Ad infinitum.

Back cover.
Back cover.

The only exception on these DVDs are some interviews, but not as elaborated as the Ron Geesin one before, with Clare Torry, who did the vocals on The Great Gig In The Sky, Snowy White who sheds some light on his (live) work on Animals and The Wall, Andy Roberts who replaced Snowy White as a Surrogate Band member on the 1981 Wall shows and Tim Renwick who sessioned for the diet Pink Floyd that emerged after Roger Waters had left the band. Don't get too overexcited either, what they tell is something that has been rehashed in a million magazine articles and books before.

Several of the Pink Floyd specialists are chosen a bit too incestuously. Amongst these are people who are (or were) associated to Classic Rock magazine and members of the prog-rock band Mostly Autumn, who – what a coincidence! - were under contract at Classic Rock when the Inside Pink Floyd DVDs came out. As a matter of fact the second Inside Pink Floyd DVD tried so hard to be a Mostly Autumn promotional film that the Reverend took a solemn oath never ever to allow any of their mediocre albums to enter Atagong mansion.

As stated before, 'Pink Floyd: 50 Years On The Dark Side' is a combination of four or more of these pseudo-documentaries and – on paper – it was a good idea to weed out the crap and only to keep the interesting stuff. Both 'Pink Floyd: Reflections and Echoes' and 'Inside Pink Floyd' have interviews with members of the band, although coming from other sources like the BBC Omnibus documentary, radio shows, snippets from TV clips, parts of the KQED performance and others.

Unfortunately, all copyrighted material showing the Pink Floyd lads and music has now been removed and only the talking heads remain. '50 years on the dark side' is even crappier than the original DVDs it has compiled. This is not a documentary, this is a bloody insult.

And oh, by the way... that line on the back cover saying 'four DVD films packed with in-depth rare archive interviews with the band', nothing of that is true, but you had figured that out by now, we think.

Conclusion

The only reason why we should advise you to buy this DVD set is to ritually burn it, cast a spell over its makers, so that they will land in the fourth circle of hell, where they will be tortured until eternity by the rancid muzak of Mostly Autumn.

This image says it all, we think...

Bollocks!

(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)

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

2016-05-27

Floyd Gestapo Strikes Again

Floyd gestapo strikes again
Syd Barrett (tripping)
Syd Barrett (tripping). Picture: Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon.

For the second time in its career Swedish based Men On The Border has a YouTube video censored by the Pink Floyd management. This time not because they are interpreting a Syd Barrett song, which is something of a condicio sine qua non if you are a Syd Barrett cover-band but because they use Barrett imagery in the video-collage of their latest song To The Promised Land.

To The Promised Land is the B-side of their latest single Dominoes, a dreamlike evocation with friendly nods to early Emerson, Lake & Palmer, the eerie minimalism of Mike Oldfield and The Beatles’ I Am The Walrus, performed in their typical cool Nordic style. The song certainly is a grower for those who can hear and watch it.

Update 2016 05 29: A reworked version of the videoclip, with Syd Barrett cut out, has been released on YouTube: Men On The Border - To The Promised Land.

Men On The Border have been invited to Cambridge to play on the Syd Barrett celebration on the 27th of October, something Pink Floyd and its geriatric members are probably not aware of. That there is a touch of senility roaming through the Pink Floyd ranks was already suspected when they managed to censor a David Gilmour track on his own website.

Just another example, now we're on it. On the 24th of April 2016, David Gilmour added a tribute to Prince's Purple Rain in Comfortably Numb. Fan-made recordings were quickly removed from YouTube and then added to Gilmour's own channel, claiming to be 'official'...

And did we tell you the name of the game, boy?
We call it Riding the Gravy Train.

Some screenshots of the deleted video can be found on our supergastic IggyInuit Tumblr page.


(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)

Many thanks to Göran Nyström.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

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