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Articles

2008-10-03

Iggy played guitar

The Trashcan Sinatras
Oranges & Apples, The Trashcan Sinatras.

The Trashcan Sinatras, probably the best band name ever since the Soup Dragons, have recorded a 6 minutes and 41 seconds single commemorating Syd Barrett. Oranges And Apples will be released on the 13th October on iTunes and will later appear on their forthcoming album In The Music.

A percentage of every sale will be donated to the Syd Barrett Trust in support of arts in mental health.

The first two minutes of the song can be heard on The City Wakes and these contain the following lyrics:

Emily and the English Rose
Shining out the UFO
Hand in hand with your Eskimo.

As far as the Church is aware of this is the first time Iggy has ever been mentioned in a song… and actually… it is a rather good and catchy tune as well…. Now if only they could get rid of that iTunes download… 8-(

The Church is still following the path as it leads towards the darkness in Iggy’s past. In the near future we will dedicate some space to a movie featuring Syd Barrett and our goddess. It can be found on YouTube (in rather bad quality) but the Church of Iggy the Inuit managed to locate a low generation copy. As soon as that version will arrive at Atagong manor it will be revealed by the Reverend to his disciples.

Until that moment arrives we bid you to live long and prosper, dear brethren and sistren, and don’t do anything that Iggy wouldn’t have done.


2008-10-19

Iggy played guitar (2)

Oranges and Apples by The Trashcan Sinatras
Oranges and Apples by The Trashcan Sinatras.

A couple of weeks ago the Church signaled that The Trashcan Sinatras recorded a 6 minutes and 41 seconds single 'Oranges And Apples' commemorating Syd Barrett and his companion Iggy (Iggy played guitar).

The song is now available for download at the devil’s pit, better known as iTunes, but Amazon will follow as well. A percentage of every sale will be donated to The Syd Barrett Trust in support of arts in mental health. As far as the Church is aware of this is the only song that has a direct Iggy reference.

Lyrics

Evening sun in an English sky
Orange as the pigeons eye
No-one knew when you cycled by..

Oranges were made for you .... apples too, all made for you

Emily and the English Rose
Shining out the UFO
Hand in hand with your Eskimo

Oranges... they fell for you.. and the apples too.. all fell for you

Light shines through
Brightest of all was you
and i just don't know what i would do without your light

Green wheelbarrow, Bikes, red and blue
Orange drawers that winked at you
All the colours that fell from you

and all the things that you went through
and now everything is enhanced by you
and the oranges were made for you
and the apples too.. all made for you

© and (p) Trashcan Sinatras 2008

Update April 2017: replaced invalid YouTube link with a new one.


2008-12-24


2009-01-02

Eskimono

Iggy by Anthony Stern
Iggy by Anthony Stern.

To all followers of the cult of Iggy: a happy new year!

The Church received a nice mail from Anthony Stern last week:

I see that you have continued to update your website and that the cult of Iggy is snowballing. Although my Iggy photos were shown on City Wakes website nobody was interested in buying the framed prints.

If you are still looking for a belated Xmas present: Anthony’s Iggy pictures are on sale, signed, numbered and framed: £225 for the Triptychs, individual pictures for £175 (plus postage). For more info please contact Anthony Stern Glass. (The Church is not affiliated with or endorsed by this company.)

Another message came from Mark Blake, author of the Pink Floyd biography Pigs Might Fly:

Good luck with the Iggy hunt. I spoke to Ant Stern and Jeff Dexter again last week. They're no nearer to finding her than they were before. I think it's funny that nobody even knew her real name.

For that matter we don’t even know if she was Eskimaux or not.

My good old encyclopaedia Brittanica divides the people that we commonly describe as Eskimo in two categories: Eurasian and Western Arctic people. The Western Arctic people are the Eskimo (including Inuit and Yupiit) and the Aleuts who originate from North America, Greenland and part of Siberia. Amongst the Eurasian arctic people are the Sami (or Lapps) from northern Fennoscandia and several other cultures dispersed over the Ural Mountains and Siberia.

According to the Narwhal Inuit Art Education Foundation there are no Inuit currently living in England (confirmed to the Church by mail). Is it more logical to believe that Iggy’s roots originate from Europe rather than America or Siberia? In that case Iggy, the Eskimo really had to be nicknamed Iggy, the Lapp by her contemporaries.

Translating these into politically correct terms The Church of Iggy the Inuit really had to be baptised the Holy Church of Iggy the Sami to begin with.

As Mark Blake stated above, we don’t know if Iggy was her real name. Iggy could be an alias or perhaps an anglisized version of a foreign name.

If she has Sami roots her name could be Ing, originally meaning progenitor, ancestor, leader – which of course she is for the Church – Ingegerd or one of the many variants such as Inge, Ingine, Yngva, Ingar, Iŋgir… The more popular Ingrid also has its roots in the Nordic countries and this could have easily been shortened to Iggy by her relatives or friends.

Greenland
Greenland.

The problem is that not a lot of Sami people have the so-called Inuit look Iggy is famous for. There is however a part of Europe (although geographically it belongs to North America) that was originally populated by Inuit people and was later on colonised by Iceland, Norway and Denmark. The Church is of course referring to Greenland.

The Inuit are believed to have crossed from North America to northwest Greenland, the world's largest island, between 4000 B.C. and A.D. 1000. Greenland was colonized in 985–986 by Eric the Red. The Norse settlements declined in the 14th century, however, mainly as a result of a cooling in Greenland's climate, and in the 15th century they became extinct. In 1721, Greenland was recolonized by the Royal Greenland Trading Company of Denmark. (taken from Infoplease)

In November of last year 3 out of 4 Greenlandic voted yes on a referendum that could eventually lead to the complete independence of the country. About 88% of the Greenland population has Inuit(-mixed) roots. The following link shows a (slow-loading) picture of premier Hans Enoksen voting for Self-Governance in Greenland with 5 year old Pipaluk Petersen (added here to show the Inuit characteristics).

So Iggy’s ancestors could have come from Greenland.

Well perhaps... at least one other Iggy enthusiast believes she is not Inuit at all, but (partly) Japanese, probably belonging to the Ainu people of Hokkaidō (who had their own language and were maybe the first settlers on America). Iggy could then be a nickname for Igumi.

And aside from that there might be a very slim chance that Iggy hides behind the Philippine Maria Ignacia as another author from a Floydian biography has whispered in the Church's confessional box.

Update: the above post is somewhat redundant as Iggy Rose's mother came from the Himalayas: Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea 


2009-03-10

SBRS

Syd Barrett Research Society (deleted)
Syd Barrett Research Society (deleted).

Update April 2015: the SBRS forum no longer exists as its hosting company has suddenly disappeared from the web. This post stays here for archival purposes only. If you would like to join a Syd Barrett forum, we gladly suggest the Late Night Syd Barrett Discussion Room.

Update September 2016: while the Late Night forum still exists it has hardly any posts and visitors, probably due to the dozens of Facebook groups that give instant gratification but are, quite frankly, a mess for the 'serious' Barrett investigator.


The Syd Barrett Research Society forum has been down now since Sunday the 8th of March. This is not, to deny some rumours, due to SBRS, nor to the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, but to the (free) hosting company running these forums: http://www.hostingphpbb.com.

All the forums (more than 10,000 apparently) on their domain (and even the introduction page) show the following error:

Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.
Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@hostingphpbb.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.
More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
Additionally, a 500 Internal Server Error error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Apache/1.3.41 Server at www.hostingphpbb.com Port 80

SBRS has contacted the server administrator who replied with a very dry...

Hi,
We are aware and working on the problem.
Apology for the inconvenience.
regards
(no signature)

This is what their website usually has to say about their performance…

Since august 2004, we have achieved 99.999% server's uptime.
Hosted by liquidweb - one of the most reliable dedicated server provider - our servers are guaranteed 100% network uptime and 2 hours of hardware replacement.
Our web network has been designed to accommodate clients demanding the highest quality network performance. There is a central focus on redundancy allowing our network to rapidly self-heal failures without interruptions to connectivity.

For the moment SBRS and the Church are waiting until hostingphpbb gets back online. But at the same time we are already looking for alternative solutions if the forums will not reactivate in the next few days.


2009-03-27

Tattoo You

Tattooed Inuit Woman
Tattooed Inuit Woman.

Le premier Pink Floyd.

In a new Syd Barrett biography that was recently published in France its author, Emmanuel Le Bret, can get quite lyrical from time to time. How this reacts, interferes or enriches the biography is a question that will be further investigated in our review to be published here in a while (see: Barrett: first in space!). But the Church can’t of course not ignore some Iggy statements to be found in a chapter well spend on The Madcap Laughs:

La cinquième chanson est Dark Globe (Sphère Sombre), un titre inspiré du Seigneur Des Anneaux. C’est l’un des moments les plus forts de l’album, une chanson où Barrett démontre une fois encore ses talents d’écriture.
The fifth song is Sphère Sombre (Dark Globe), a title inspired by Lord Of The Rings. It is one of the strongest moments of the album, a song where Barrett can once again demonstrate his writing talents…

Then, in fine French tradition, starts an in-depth review of some of the themes to be found in Dark Globe. What to think of the following:

Il y a une allusion à la drogue (l’opium que l’on fume allongé) et qui explique le vers suivant: « Ma tête embrassa la surface de la Terre. » Quant à « La personne enchaînée à une Esquimaude », c’est bien sûr Syd qui vit épisodiquement avec Iggy, moitié Inuit!
There is an allusion to the drug opium that is smoked lying on the floor and that explains the following verse: “my head kissed the ground”. “I'm only a person with Eskimo chain” is of course about his short episode with Iggy, who was half Inuit!

The opium reference is quite far-fetched and the head down / ground image symbolism can be found in several Syd songs:
I'll lay my head down and see what I see - Love Song
She loves to see me get down to ground - She Took A Long Cold Look
Creep into bed when your head's on the ground - It Is Obvious.

That the Eskimo Chain verse could refer to Ig is something that the Church has wondered about before in When Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 3) , but according to JenS, who knew both Iggy and Syd in the Sixties this is quite a preposterous idea:

Syd wrote songs and not all of them were about one person or another. It was his job.
His songs were more often a jumble of ideas put together to serve his purpose. I think it’s risky, even though you like the idea, to project this as it just leads to further mythologizing. 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.
I find this idea quite funny and I just hear Syd roaring with laughter.

But Emmanuel Le Bret mythologizes, to use JenS’ discourse, even a bit further…

Le célèbre vers « J’ai tatoué mon cerveau », qui fit les gorges chaudes de journaux à sensation, possède un pouvoir évocateur exceptionnel. Parmi les nombreux sens qu’on peut lui donner, n’oublions pas que, dans la tradition shamanique Inuit , il existe une tradition du tatouage (comme chez les Maoris) qui consiste à se tatouer le crâne en bleu. L’on peut interpréter ces mots comme l’allusion à un rite initiatique pour rentrer dans la « famille » d’Iggy.
The famous verse ‘I tattooed my brain all the way’, which was a splendid headline for the tabloids, has an extraordinary evocative power. Of all the significances one can find, we may not forget, that in Inuit shamanic tradition, there is a tattooing tradition (as with the Maori) to tattoo the skull in blue. One could interpret these words as an allusion to the ritual initiation to enter Iggy’s ‘family’.

Lars Krutak, an anthropologist who specializes in body adornments, has written about Inuit tattoos:

Arctic tattoo was a lived symbol of common participation in the cyclical and subsistence culture of the arctic hunter-gatherer. Tattoo recorded the “biographies” of personhood, reflecting individual and social experience through an array of significant relationships that oscillated between the poles of masculine and feminine, human and animal, sickness and health, the living and the dead. Arguably, tattoos provided a nexus between the individual and communally defined forces that shaped Inuit and Yupiget perceptions of existence… (Taken from: Vanishing Tattoo. An updated version of the same article can be found at: Lars Krutak.)

Although all the writings of Lars Krutak are very interesting it would take us to far to dig further into the specifics of tribal tattooing. Further more, regardless of the fact that ‘Eskimo chain’ may well or not refer to Iggy, who may have acted as a muse for Syd, rather than the groupie some biographers have made of her, she probably was not Inuit at all.

And as far as the Reverend can see, with his little piggy eyes, he cannot distinguish any tattoos on her body.

(The in-depth review of Le Bret's biography can be found at Barrett: first in space!)

Update: some of the above post is redundant as it has been established that Ig has got no Eskimo roots whatsoever: Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea 


Sources (other than internet links mentioned above):

Le Bret, Emmanuel : Syd Barrett. Le premier Pink Floyd., Editions du Moment, Paris, 2008, p.210-211. (Translations from French to English done by the Reverend.)


2009-06-01

Rock around the Blog

Syd Barrett and Sheila Rock
Syd B. & Sheila Rock, by Mick Rock.

One of the lesser profane tasks of The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is to check the amount of iggybility on the World Wide Web and to act (or react) accordingly. As the one and only keeper of the true faith this means that in very grave situations the Holy Igquisition has to intervene.

Here is such a case.

It came to the attention of the Church that the popular website whodatedwho.com has got a webpage devoted to Iggy. That is no problem as such, but a closer look on the page in question reveals that it contains some errors and some unaccredited links.

The Iggy picture gallery contains a lot of video-screenshots that have been taken from The Holy Church, but without referencing it. The Igquisition does not need any divine intervention to make this assumption as several screenshots have been taken from an alternative copy of the Syd Barrett home video that isn’t widely available on the web but that belongs to the Church’s archives.

The Holy Church does not pretend to be the one and only gospel and anyone is entitled to add his (or her) own interpretations on the web. On the other hand the Holy Church has the ambition to become the one and only godspell, god spell as in collection of (good) news, the one a bit more canonical than the other.

After long consideration the Holy Igquisition has decided that the true believer will find the Church anyway, so every Iggy webpage, even considered heretic by The Church, will be beneficiary at the end. But there is another matter with graver consequences the Igquisition has to look into...

The Who Dates Iggy page has some limited space to add links to other websites. The most prominent one links to a forum thread located at pinkfloydfan.net. The Who is Iggy?-thread, dating from 2004, starts with the following remark ‘these are some links to pictures with her (meaning Iggy) and Mr. Barrett’ and point to 5 pictures located at the pink-floyd.org website.

Syd Barrett and Sheila Rock
Syd Barrett and Sheila Rock, by Mick Rock.
 

The pictures present at this location have been described here and there as Iggy with Syd, sitting in the back of his garden in Cambridge in 1971. To avoid any rumours of a Syd and Iggy reunion in the Seventies the Church vehemently wants to contradict this mystification. The woman present on the picture is not Ig, but Sheila Rock, Mick Rock’s first wife:

I met my first wife Sheila in 1969 and within about six months we were married. (…) The images were taken in Syd’s mother’s house to accompany a small article that I did for Rolling Stone magazine in 1971. (…) By that time Syd had moved back to Cambridge. The pictures were shot in the garden. Sheila took the pictures of me and Syd together…

Although all trace of Sheila has been carefully removed from the pictures in the Psychedelic Renegades book, with the exception of her hand on Syd’s sleeve on page 132, some uncensored pictures made it to the fans, probably through Bernard White who issued the Terrapin magazine in the Seventies. But to settle this matter once and for all: she is not Ig; she is Sheila Rock.

The pictures of Sheila Rock and Syd Barrett, taken by Mick Rock, can be found on the heretic Madcap page of pink-floyd.org. Please note that the description of the pictures is wrong and that the woman on the picture is not Iggy.
Syd Barrett & Iggy #1 NOT!
Syd Barrett & Iggy #2 NOT!
Syd Barrett & Iggy #3 NOT!
Syd Barrett & Iggy #4 NOT!
Syd Barrett & Iggy #5 NOT!


Notes (other than internet links mentioned above):

Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 98.

The Reverend wants to apologise for the - sometimes harsh - tone of the above text. It has been written by the Holy Igquisition, and nobody expected the Holy Igquisition, not even the Reverend...


2009-08-08

Catwoman

Iggy in Space by Felix Atagong
Iggy in Space by Felix Atagong.

Rejoice, dear followers of the Esqimau, as The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit celebrates its first birthday. On the eight day of the eighth month of the eight year of the third Millennium the Church was born. That day two messages were posted, the first, a very modest one, was a mere introduction that was basically written by someone else, the second post however told the story of the first public appearance of Iggy, already nicknamed the Eskimo, in November 1966.

Ig, as the Church prefers to call her now, was spotted by NME on a party in the presence of Patrick Kerr, the main choreographer of the Ready Steady Go!-show, one hit wonders Twinkle and Adrienne Posta, Frank Allen from the Searchers and Mick Jagger wannabee Chris Farlowe. Already then she was about a mover and could bend it better than Wickham. (Read the article here: Bend It!)

It is possible that Ig was a dancer / guest / visitor at a couple of Ready Steady Go!-shows, but the Church’s investigations have only found circumstantial evidence of that. The Church is still trying to get hold of some courageous witnesses who want to testify this before the Holy Igquisition. Also present at the NME party was pop-PR-publicist Simon Hayes who may have made the aspiring model believe that he was her agent. Up till now The Church couldn’t trace the man although several attempts to contact him have been made.

But this is no time for grief, let us rejoice, rejoice, as today, so declares the Church, is Ig’s day. And celebrate we will…

In the summer of 2006 Denis Combet, professor at Brandon University, wrote a collection of poems as a tribute to the musician and painter Roger Keith Barrett who passed away in Cambridge on the 7th of July 2006. The poems highlight the life of the young artist as a nonconformist who preferred – or was forced – to withdraw from the music world for a more humble existence.

About a year later, part of the collection was published under the title Guitars and Dust Dancing, in the student webzine Ecclectica (site no longer active), together with art work from Lou Visentin and music from Pascal Mascheroni.

The poems describe fragments of Barrett’s life, his youth, his hometown, his friends and relatives and the collection contain poems dedicated to and inspired by David Gilmour, Gala Pinion, Lindsay Corner, Nick Mason, Rick Wright, Roger Waters, Rosemary Breen and Winifred Barrett. And one of them From Quetesh to Bastet is all about Ig.

From Quetesh to Bastet  
 
Quetesh,
Majestic.
 
Iggy the Eskimo,
Girl of space.
 
Often very alone,
But always a friend.
 
Star fallen from the black sky:
Solar, solitary, solstice, soloist.
 
Pale blue crystal dawn, pearl wine dusk.
A mauve Venus, disrobed on the silk orange milky way.
 
Magical music, medieval Median, magnetic:
Even in worlds where love is impossible.
 
Transcended, transparent, translucent, transitory:
Life together unconditionally and forever.
 
And that black cat caressing him with a glance, the night.
The malefic vision of Lucifer Sam.
 
© Denis Combet, English translation by Constance Cartmill (2007). Previously published at: Guitars and Dust Dancing (website no longer active).

Denis Combet had originally written the poetic cycle in French and when the Reverend contacted him to get permission to publish the above the Church also asked for the original to be published as well. It is with great proudness that we hereafter present the original version of the Iggy poem that, as far as we know, has never been published before… Just another world exclusive of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

De Quétesh à Bastet
 
Quétesh,
Impériale.
 
Iggy l’Esquimo,
Fille de l’espace.
 
Souvent très seule,
Mais toujours amie.
 
Étoile tombée du ciel noir:
Solaire, solitaire, solstice, soliste
 
Aube de cristal bleu pâle, crépuscule de vin de perles.
Une Vénus mauve, dénudée sur voie lactée de soie orangée.
 
Musique magique, médique médiévale, magnétique:
Même dans des univers où l’amour est impossible.
 
Transcendée, transparente, translucide, transitoire:
La vie ensemble sans détours et pour toujours.
 
Et ce chat noir qui le caresse du regard, la nuit.
La vision maléfique de Lucifer Sam.
 
© Denis Combet, 2006. Previously unpublished.

Originally it was planned to launch a separate website (poemstosydbarrett.com) in 2008 containing the complete works (poems, music and art) and to publish the cycle in book form. But due to the high costs involved to print an art book the author is still looking for a publisher who would be interested. For the time being the Reverend wants to invite you all to read the poems, have a look at the artwork and listen to the music at Ecclectica: Guitars and Dust Dancing (website no longer active).

The Reverend wants to thank Dr. Denis Combet for his permission to publish the Ig poems on this space. And with this final message comes an end to the official proceedings of the first anniversary of The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Let's have some booze and party! Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice but… to carry on… A la prochaine, my friends, et ne fait pas ce que Iggy ne ferait pas

Update 31 12 2013: The original Ecclectica and Poems To Syd Barrett links no longer work. In 2011 Denis Combet allowed the Church to upload his poems and artwork as a Flash 'pageFlip' book: Crystal Blue Postcards.

Guitars and Dust Dancing by Denis Combet
Crystal Blue Postcards, exclusively for the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

Notes:
Born in Marseille, France in 1955, Professor Denis Combet holds a doctorate from the Universit de Nancy II. Since 1975 he works in Canada at the University of Manitoba, the College Universitaire de Saint-Boniface, and the University of Victoria. He is currently an associate professor in Arts > Languages at Brandon University (Brandon, Manitoba, Canada).

Dr. Denis Combet is (co-)author of several historical works and articles:
º Gabriel Dumont, Mémoires/Memoirs was nominated by the Manitoba Writing and Publishing Awards for the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award, Winnipeg 2007.
º In Search for the Western Sea/A la recherche de la mer de l’Ouest, mémoires choisis de La Vérendrye, Selected journals of La Vérendrye was selected by The Globe and Mail (November 24, 2001, p. D 40) among the «Best of the year» 2001, in the category Gift-History. It was nominated by the Manitoba Writing and Publishing Awards, for five awards, and won two, Best Design, and the Mac Williams Awards, for best Popular History book.

Guitars and Dust Dancing. Poems to Syd Barrett, written by Denis Combet, translated by Constance Cartmill, illustrated by Jean Vouillon and music by Pascal Mascheroni. All texts © Denis Combet, 2007. Poèmes a Syd Barrett, écrits par Denis Combet, traduits par Constance Cartmill, illustrés par Jean Vouillon et musique par Pascal Mascheroni. Tous les textes © Denis Combet, 2007.

The above poems are the property of Denis Combet and are protected by international copyright laws. You may not reproduce, modify, distribute or republish materials contained on this site (either directly or by linking) without prior written permission from the author.


Authorised subsidiaries:
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit Youtube channel
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit Facebook Fanpage


2009-08-10

Pink Dreams

Metallic Spheres featuring David Gilmour
Metallic Spheres featuring David Gilmour.

Some exciting news arrived last weekend through a Pink Floyd portal. Alex Paterson, head spinner of the band The Orb, said in an interview that he and David Gilmour had entered a studio ‘to work on an album’.

The news was vague and titillating enough to make all kind of assumptions. Did this mean that LX & DG were attempting a Fireman trick à la Youth and Mc Cartney? Perhaps Alex had finally lured Dave in his spider web with a little help from Guy Pratt who can be found as bass player and co-composer on several Orb, Pink Floyd and David Gilmour records from the past? (Pratt and Paterson also teamed up in a band called the Transit Kings.)

The Orb's record output is prolific and even then a lot of tunes and mixes stay hidden in the closet until LX decides to put them on a compilation album somewhere. They just celebrated a third release in the Orbsessions series from record company Malicious Damage and according to some online reviews I read it is either brilliant or utterly irritating, which makes it typically Orb, I guess. I haven't bought Baghdad Batteries yet, my days that I ran to the shop to get me their latest release are over as The Orb has left my attention span somewhat thanks to the record Okie Dokie that wasn't okie dokie at all but a mediocre Thomas Fehlmann album with the brand name glued over it to sell a few extra copies more.

The Orb The Dream
The Orb The Dream.

It took me over a year to listen to The Dream that followed Okie Dokie and although it has Youth written all over it the result is pretty average. Not pretty average as in pretty average but pretty average as in pretty but nevertheless a bit average. Probably I’ll get to Baghdad Batteries one of these days but I wouldn’t hold my breath, if I were you…

Although one fan found that the announcement came about two decades and a half too late the GilmOrb collaboration was making both Floyd and Orb communities very excited but excitement is something David Gilmour does not favour anymore in his line of work. This week the following comment could be found on his official website

David & Orb Rumours True – Up To A Point
Recent comments by ambient exponents The Orb's Alex Paterson that they have been collaborating with David Gilmour are true – up to a point. David has done some recording with The Orb and producer Youth, inspired initially by the plight of Gary McKinnon. However, nothing is finalised, and nothing has been confirmed with regards to any structure for the recordings or firm details re: any release plans.

In other words: forget it…

Update 2010: as the Metallic Spheres collaboration album came out in 2010, the above article was a tad too pessimistic.


This article first appeared on Felix Atagong's Unfinished Projects: Pink Dreams, some updates have been made.

The Orbian 'Metallic Spheres' posts:
Pink Dreams 
Metallic Spheres 
The Relic Samples 


2009-12-24


2010-01-02

Back to the future...

Terrapin Cartoon
Terrapin Cartoon.

First of all, happy 2010 to all brethren and sistren of our Church!

It was in the Seventies that Bernard White’s Syd Barrett Appreciation Society and its fanzine Terrapin died a silent dead because of what was later described as ‘lack of Syd’.

There has been fear that The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit would also vaporize into a state of oblivion for ‘lack of Iggy’. The Reverend however assures this will not be the case. Although about all there is to find about Iggy has been published on this holy place there are still enough spin-off scenarios to make a Star Trek producer grow pointed ears. Of course the Church will still be looking for her but, and that is primordial, it may never slide down into a witch-hunt. Confucius once said that the quest for a goal is more important than to reach it. On second thought that could have been Obi-Wan Kenobi as well.

In 2010 the Church will further publish articles about The Cromwellian (the bar where Iggy was first spotted) and has (some very premature) plans to dedicate some of its space to the Ready Steady Go!-phenomenon.

And of course the Reverend will go on lobbying at Chimera Arts to finally release the Iggy, Eskimo Girl movie if the judges will be willing to ease his restraining order a bit.

So far for the New Year’s resolution list of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Watch this space, my sistren and brethren, and don’t you do anything that Iggy wouldn’t have done.


2010-03-25

All about Evelyn

Mojo 197 (April 2010)
Mojo 197 (April 2010).

Nothing is so stupid as New Year resolutions, especially when you read them when the katzenjammer is over. On the second of January of 2010 the Reverend uttered the fear that the Church would soon disappear by lack of Iggy. If this meant one single thing it is that the Reverend is by no means a reliable prophet.

The March edition of the music magazine Mojo, that mysteriously appeared in January 2010, had a 14 pages cover story about the Syd Barrett album The Madcap Laughs that was finally released in January 1970 after nearly twenty months of tinkering. Its main article I'm Not Here (Pat Gilbert) gave the portrait of the artist as a young man and his struggle to get his first solo album done. A small insert Who's That Girl (Mark Blake) tried to reveal some of the mysteries around Iggy The Eskimo, but to no avail (more questions were raised then answered, see: (I've got my) Mojo (working...). Last, but not least, In My Room (Paul Drummond) gave some background information about The Madcap Laughs photo shoot, interviewing Duggie Fields, Storm Thorgerson, inevitably Mick Rock and en passant citing Jenny Spires and the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit (but not in so many words, see Goofer Dust [(I've got my) Mojo (working)... Part 2] .

(For your information: the complete Mojo article can could be downloaded quite legally and for free at the official Syd Barrett website: direct link to the scanned pdf document, hosted since 2016 at the Church.)

It needs to be said that the Mojo article achieved in two week time what the Church couldn't achieve in two years: finding Iggy. On the 6th of February 2010 it was revealed that she was alive and well and living in southern England and although this news was covered by the Church the scoop arrived, noblesse oblige, at the Mojo offices in a letter from an acquaintance of her: Peter Brown (not the Pete[r] Brown from Cream and Piblokto fame).

Part of this letter has been published in issue 197 (April) and goes like this:

Peter Brown letter in Mojo 197
Peter Brown letter in Mojo 197.
One woman,
with many faces
Re Iggy’s whereabouts, I can enlighten you a little on her post-Madcap life. I first met Iggy - her real name was Evelyn - in the early ’70s, when she arrived from the King’s Road to the house where I lived in Brighton with a miscellany of artists and eccentrics.
I spent a lot of time with Iggy including nights ‘on the town’. She was a loose cannon, absolutely stunning, and fab company I soon discovered that it was none other than Iggy gracing my copy of The Madcap Laughs, and told her that Syd had been a peer of mine in Cambridge. I also knew Jenny Spires (who introduced Iggy to Syd), and saw Pink Floyd at various venues. I spent an evening with Syd once and we walked back together to our respective homes near Cherry Hinton in stoned stupor.
In the mid ’80s I learned that Iggy was living in Sussex and working at a racing stables, where she married a farmhand. She’s since kept her whereabouts quiet, though a friend at the stables, who I spoke to recently informs me of Iggy’s low-key flamboyance in the area. There are a wealth of other stories, but brevity forbids!

Next to Brown aka Thongman, Jenny Spires decided to comment as well:

Jenny Spires letter in Mojo 197
Jenny Spires letter in Mojo 197.
I struggle,
you collaborate
I’ve read your Syd article and there are two or three things to correct. First, I met Iggy [the Eskimo] in 1966, not 1969 as stated. Also, the floor was painted as soon as Syd moved into Wetherby Mansions, and was already done when I was there. Part of it, under the bed, wasn’t finished, but was done by the time I left in early 1969. I don’t think it was painted with a photoshoot in mind. Also, in the larger photo, the daffodils look quite fresh, but in the photo used for the cover they are dead. This seems to suggest that that photo was done a couple of weeks later?
With reference to Mandrax - there were no Mandrax in the flat at this stage. These came later, around early summer. This is not to say Syd had never had Mandrax, but they weren’t readily available to him at that time.

It seems now that there is enough material left for the Church to go on with its mission for the next lustrum. So keep watching this space and remember, don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done.


The Reverend wants to thank Mojo for donating a copy of the April issue to the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Thanks guys!


2010-04-24

We are all made of stars

Ponji in India (1967)
Ponji in India (1967).

History, as we know it, is the story of royalty and generals and does not contain the memory of the millions who succumbed or who tried to build a normal life.

This also applies to modern popular history. Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett biographies and the so-called Sixties counter-culture studies that have appeared all repeat the memories of a small, nearly incestuous, circle of people who made it, one way or another. You always stumble upon those who have become the royalty and generals of the Underground. Others are less known, the lower rank officers, but still officers.

Other people had less luck, but at least we know some of their stories. Syd Barrett, although a millionaire in pounds, still is the prototype of the drug-burned psychedelic rock star. But there are other members of the Sixties Cambridge mafia, a term coined by David Gilmour, who didn’t make it and whose stories are less known.

Pip

Ian Pip Carter, whose career started in Cambridge in the early Sixties as pill pusher, had to fight a heroine addiction for most of his life. After a visit to his friend (and employer) David Gilmour in Greece Pip was imprisoned for drug possession where he was forced to go cold turkey but he fell again for the drug once released, despite the fact that the Pink Floyd guitarist send him to (and paid for) several rehab sessions. “The needle had dug so far; searching relentlessly for a vein, (that it) had decimated the nervous system in his left arm”, writes Matthew Scurfield in his account of the Cantabrigian London mob.

Described by Nick Mason as 'one of the world's most spectacularly inept roadies' the Floyd eventually had to let Pip go. He was the one who accidentally destroyed a giant jelly installation at the Roundhouse on the 15th October 1966 by parking the Pink Floyd van in the middle of it or, different witnesses tell different stories, by removing the wooden boards that supported the bath that kept the jelly. (You can read the story, taken from Julian Palacios 1988 Lost In The Woods biography here.)

In 1988 Carter was killed during a pub brawl in Cambridge. Mark Blake writes how David Gilmour used to help his old Cambridge friends whenever they were in financial trouble and Pip had been no exception.

People familiar with the finer layers of the Syd Barrett history know how Maharaj Charan Singh, the Master of the Sant Mat sect, rejected the rock star for obvious reasons. The religion was strictly vegetarian, absolutely forbid the use of alcohol and drugs and didn’t allow sex outside marriage. Syd 'I've got some pork chops in the fridge' Barrett hopelessly failed on all those points.

Ponji

It is believed that John Paul Robinson, nicknamed Ponji, a very ardent follower of the Path, tried to lure Syd into the sect after he had visited India in 1967. And probably it had been another Cantabrigian, Paul Charrier who converted Ponji first. (Paul Charrier was one of the people present at Syd's trip in 1965 where he was intrigued for hours by a matchbox, a plum and an orange. This event later inspired Storm Thorgerson for the Syd Barrett (compilation album) record cover and an impressive and moving Pink Floyd backdrop movie.)

John Paul Robinson had his own demons to deal with and in the Sixties he visited a progressive therapist who administered him LSD to open his doors of perception. Only after he had returned from India he ‘literally seemed to be shining with abundance’, passing the message to all his friends that he had been reborn. Ponji gave up his job, wanted to lead the life of a beggar monk, but his internal demons would take over once in every while.

He'd sit on the stairs with his elbows on his knees and forehead placed carefully at the tips of his fingers, reeling out the same old mantra proclaiming how he was just a tramp, that his body was an illusion, a mere prison, a temporary holding place for his soul.

The story goes that he shouted ‘I refuse to be a coward for the rest of my life’ just before he jumped in front of an oncoming train (1979?).

Kaleidoscope

We only happen to know these people in function of their relationship with Syd Barrett. Their paths crossed for a couple of months and we, the anoraks, are only interested in that one small event as if for the rest of these peoples lives nothing further of interest has really happened.

But the truth is that their encounter with Barrett is just one small glittering diamond out of a kaleidoscope of encounters, adventures, joys, grieves, moments of happiness and sadness. It is the kaleidoscope of life: falling in love and making babies that eventually will make babies on their own. A granddaughter's smile today is of much more importance than the faint remembrance of a dead rock star's smile from over 40 years ago.

The Church should be probing for the kaleidoscope world and not for that one single shiny stone. Syd may have been a star, but our daily universe carries millions of those.

Dedicated to those special ones whose story we will never know.


Thanks to: Paro नियत (where are you now?)

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press, London, 2007, p. 47, p. 337.
Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree, London, 1998, p. 85.
Scurfield, Matthew: I Could Be Anyone, Monticello Malta 2009, p. 151, p. 208, p. 265-266. Photo courtesy of William Pryor, p. 192.

Update 2016: In the 2015 coming of age novel Life Is Just..., Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon describes early sixties Cambridge and the submersion into eastern religions.


2010-05-29

Updates and stuff

The Magic Christian.
The Magic Christian.

The Holy Igquisition, that part of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit that nobody likes to talk about, firmly controls the state of Iggyness on the world wide web and on printed matter.

Thus, after their monthly congregation, held in a Trappist monastery, they issue a report that is handed over to the Reverend who will take note of its accounts.

Siren's of Sound and Image

So they had, for instance, noticed late in 2009 that the Siren's of Sound and Image blog had consecrated an entry to none other than our goddess. On Wednesday, April 29, 2009 that blog published a post aptly titled: Iggy and Syd: How I wish you were here. Its text sounded remarkable familiar but luckily at the end of the article due credit was given to the Church.

Vintage Groupies

More recently (2010-05-18), another blog, Vintage Groupies dedicated a page to Iggy the Eskimo, with its text largely based upon the articles that have appeared in the Croydon Guardian. Further investigations from the Holy Igquisition have found out that this blog has already consecrated 5 articles to Evelyn, the earliest dating from 2008.

Rod Harrod

Last year the Church contacted Rod Harrod, the person who organised Jimi Hendrix's first gig on British soil and made him sign a record contract on a napkin from The Scotch of St. James club. Before joining the Scotch Harrod had been the public relation manager (although that term probably didn't exist by then) of The Cromwellian. The Church was, of course, eager to know if he remembered Iggy who had been snapped, dancing The Bend, by a photographer of NME.

The Church is a little bit ashamed that the post, although largely written, has not been published yet but sees now the chance to pay back its debt. In his later career Rod Harrod started the South-African PROmpt music school and he has asked us now to vote for his candidate in the National Anthem contest for the FIFA World Cup.

Zami from Guguettu is representing Cape Town and currently FOURTH just go to: www.singitloudandproud.blogspot.com and vote for ZAMI now!

Gretta Speaks

Last but not least, a message from our own house. When JenS, who may well have been the person who introduced Iggy aka Evelyn to Syd Barrett, read our Margaretta 'Gretta' Barclay articles, she remembered that she had been involved as well with The Magic Christian movie (see top left picture).

Margaretta Barclay, from her side, found back a picture of Rusty Burnhill in her archives and gave us the kind permission to publish it at the Church. Gretta Speaks (Pt. 2) has been updated as from today.

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


2010-07-14

Julian Palacios' Syd Barrett biography

Julian Palacios, Dark Globe
Dark Globe, Julian Palacios.

Julian Palacios, contributor and friend of the Church let us know that the revised version of his Syd Barrett biography (first edition, 1998 already) will be out any day now. So, for the first time in the history of the Church, let us celebrate a commercial break.

Update: The final title is 'Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe', and it is out 29 September (2010) in Europe and America (Source: Julian Palacios).

Here is a loud announcement.
Silence in the studio!

Syd Barrett, who died in 2006, was a teenage art-school student when he founded Pink Floyd. Famous before his twentieth birthday, Barrett led the charge of psychedelia onstage at London s famed UFO Club, and his acid-inspired lyrics became a hallmark of London s 1967 Summer of Love. Improvisatory and whimsical, Zen-like and hard-living, Barrett pushed the boundaries of music into new realms of artistic expression while fighting what would prove to be a losing battle against his inner demons.

Julian Palacios' probing and comprehensive biography, ten years in the writing, features a wealth of interviews with Syd s family, friends, and members of the band, providing an unvarnished look at Barrett s life and work. Author Julian Palacios traces Syd s evolution from precocious youth to psychedelic rock star; from leading light to drug burnout; from lost exile to celebrated icon, examining both his wide-ranging inspirations and his enduring influence on generations of musicians. A never-to-be-forgotten casualty of the excesses, innovations and idealism of the 1960s, Syd Barrett is one of the most heavily mythologized men in rock, and this book offers a rare portrayal of a unique spirit in flight and freefall.

Buy Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe on Amazon.

The official (still not updated) page:
Julian Palacios. Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe. Plexus Books.
320 pages / 60 photos / 230 x 155mm
ISBN10 85965 431 1
ISBN13 978 0 85965 431 9

(The Church is not affiliated with or endorsed by this company.)


2010-08-10

Octopus Ride

Variation on an Iggy theme (artist unknown)
Iggy (variation), Artist unknown.

So busy, the Reverend has been, that he forgot to mention the second birthday of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Luckily there was the Holy Igquisition, sending him a memorandum on parchment paper. And a whip. And a letter of instructions.

Founded on the eight of August two thousand and eight the Reverend didn't know what a strange trip it would eventually prove to be. More than a trip, it was a true octopus ride taking the Church from childhood to stardom.

For the past year the Reverend tried to re-trace Iggy's footsteps and that not always with success. Knowing that Ig had once been to a Dusty Springfield party we asked Dusty's bass player if he remembered her. The answer was he didn't. We asked Vickie Wickham, from RSG! fame and Dusty's manager. The answer was she remembered hardly anything from the sixties. We asked Rod Harrod from the Cromwellian, where Ig was spotted dancing The Bend, but he apologised for not remembering her.

What the Church couldn't achieve, Mojo did. January 2010 saw the appearance of the March issue of that particular music magazine, dedicated to the 40 years anniversary of Syd Barrett's mythical album The Madcap Laughs. On the 6th of February 2010 the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit triumphantly broke the news that Ig was alive and well and living in the south of England: World Exclusive: Ig has been found!

One week later saw Evelyn's (her real name) first, and rather reluctant, interview in 40 years, by Kirsty Whalley from The Croydon Guardian. (The transcript from that interview, with some extra comments from the Church can be found here: Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea.)

But the Church did achieve something else. Margaretta Barclay, who often visited Syd in 1969, gave an exclusive interview, revealing - en passant - that the controversial picture of Syd visiting the Isle of Wight festival in 1969 was genuine indeed. Also musician Meic Stevens used to visit Syd in those days, but alas, the Welsh proto-punk-folk-rocker had no further comments for the Church. His memoirs reveal though that the BBC filmed a visit of Syd Barrett at Stevens' house in Caerforiog, but that the rolls may have been lost: Meic meets Syd.

The Church will continue, at its own pace, to look further for people and clues that can explain the madcap's enigma. The Reverend recently revealed the (first) names of two women who knew Syd in the late sixties, early seventies: Dominique (from France) and Carmel. We would like to see these grannies talk about their trip, for sure.

But not all people are inclined to talk about their flower power days. A musician, who used to jam with Syd Barrett in his flat at Wetherby Mansions, recently told the Reverend:

Isn't it time this all ends?
This has been going on for 40 years now.
Can't you just let the music speak for itself?

Upgrade November 2016: this artist was Rusty Burnhill, who sadly passed away in November 2016.

But as any Barrett anorak will tell you, it is hard to close our eyes and just enjoy the octopus ride… now going strong for its third consecutive year... In the meantime, sistren and brethren, don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done!


Last year's birthday party can be found here: Catwoman, containing an exclusive (and unpublished) poem dedicated to Iggy, by Dr. Denis Combet (Manitoba University, Canada).

2010-08-21

Metallic Spheres

Marija Oršić
Marija Oršić, extraterrestrial.

About, let me count, thirty-four to thirty-five years ago I was seriously investigating the so-called UFO phenomenon. Or whatever serious means for a sixteen years old adolescent who urgently wants to get laid but has found out that the chance to witness an encounter of the third kind is statistically more probable than to have an close encounter with the opposite sex.

I was a member of the Belgian Sobeps association, long before the Belgian UFO wave hit the skies and as the Internet was still a science-fiction thing we had to rely on their magazine Inforespace and the books, case files and real UFO pictures they sold by mail-order to their members. They also had an electronic UFO detector in their catalogue what made me wonder, already then, if they just weren't a bunch of petty crooks. I must still have a Betty and Barney Hill picture somewhere that I bought through their shop and who were then (and maybe still now) regarded as the proverbial Saul-stroke-Paul of the Holy Church of Ufology.

After a while opportunity knocked, even for me, and I didn't see the purpose anymore to devote my life to the flying saucer - abducting people for out-of-orbit enemas - enigma. But I am still mildly amused by the phenomenon, especially from a historical perspective. Not that long ago (at least not on the cosmic timescale) I partially read The Coming Race (1871) from Edward Bulwer-Lytton, a (rather tedious) adventure book that apparently inspired Nazi-Germany to start building flying saucers. An internet search lead me to through several dubious websites, some that might even be legally forbidden to consult in my country as they vehemently propagate what I will mildly describe as Aryan beliefs, and only strengthening me in my opinion that for crackpots from all over the world the internet is Ultima Thule indeed.

If I have understood it well American secret services grabbed nazi occult mysteries by the truckload although it is not clear if they could ever restore the phone lines to the Aldebaran star system that became an après-guerre nudist resort for the mystical and mythical Vril Society pin-up girls (see image above and try not to drool). Thanks to these secret nazi inventions the Americans not only landed on the moon (although paradoxically enough conspiracy theory buffs deny this ever happened) but they also tested anti-gravity engines in earth-designed flying saucers and solved the so-called zero-point energy problem.

How do I know all this? Because Gary McKinnon told us so.

U.F.Off
U.F.Off, The Orb (compilation).

Beam me up Scotty

Gary McKinnon is a Glasgow hacker who thought for a while he was a Lone Gunman on a mission against the American government. Wanting to prove the things mentioned above he hacked into 97 United States military and NASA computers over a 13-month period between February 2001 and March 2002, using the name 'Solo'.

Hacking is not really the term one should use here, more trial and error. Consulting a 1985 copy of Hugo Cornwall's The Hacker's Handbook McKinnon copied a Perl script that looked for Windows computers without a password and to his amazement there were still lots of unprotected computers residing in the NASA and military networks 15 years after the book appeared. One can duly wonder what these CIA, FBI and military secret service IT security guys had been doing in the meantime. Playing Pong, probably.

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.", wrote Douglas Adams in the twelfth chapter of Mostly Harmless (1992). That quote may not be entirely his. Nobel price winner and inventor of the H-bomb Edward Teller noted down a couple of years before: "There's no system foolproof enough to defeat a sufficiently great fool." Anyway, in 2002 Gary McKinnon was the fool who undermined the American's pigheaded assumption of safety. Military security thought they had devised this big unsinkable Titanic and all it took was a entrepreneurial nerd with a screwdriver and a sack of sugar to pour inside the gas tank.

Rather than admitting they had done an enormous security cock-up the American powers-that-be turned Gary McKinnon into a terrorist super-hacker whose sole intention it was to metamorphose American secrets to putty and hand them over to Al-Queda, who - as we all know - have been praying a long time for this UFO technology. In consequence Gary could face a 60-years prison sentence if condemned before an American judge. Unfortunately the UK voted the 2003 extradition act making it possible to extradite UK citizens for offences committed against US law, even though the alleged offence may have been committed in the UK by a person living and working in the UK. A review of the extradition act was voted down by British parliament although there is a growing consensus amongst British members of parliament that Gary McKinnon will not stand a fair trial in the US.

Several charities have been raised to help Gary McKinnon in his struggle against the extradition and in August 2009 David Gilmour, Chrissie Hynde, Bob Geldof and Gary McKinnon recorded the Chicago (Change The World) single. The only awareness it ever raised was that extraditing Bob Geldof to Guantanamo Bay would be a benefit for mankind to say the least. Perhaps the US authorities could consider that for a while.

As a Pink Floyd collector for over thirty years now, with over a dozen legit versions of Dark Side Of The Moon, I was obviously offended. Probably I am just being jealous here but I still can't grasp the concept that a lawbreaking idiot with a UFO fixation got a chance to make a record with one of the ten best guitarists of this world while moi who has in his possession the ridiculously shaped Love On The Air (1984) picture disk and Gilmour's lamentable Smile (2006) single will never get the change to meet his idol from less than a 100 meters distance. Phew, nice I have finally got that off my chest.

Metallic Spheres (cover: Simon Ghahary)
Metallic Spheres (cover: Simon Ghahary).

Pink Florb

Last year, in the aftermath of the Chicago single, Alex Paterson of the ambient house band The Orb made a strange announcement:

I’ve just started work on an album with David Gilmour from Pink Floyd which I think every Orb and Pink Floyd fan will want to hear.

The news was almost immediately downsized by David Gilmour who acknowledged he had jammed a bit in a studio with Martin 'Youth' Glover but that nothing had been confirmed 'with regards to any structure for the recordings or firm details re: any release plans'.

But this week David Gilmour's blog had the following news:

David's 2009 jam session with ambient collective The Orb has grown into an album, Metallic Spheres, to be released via Columbia/Sony Records in October. David's contribution to the charity song Chicago, in aid of Gary McKinnon, sparked the interest of producer Youth (Martin Glover), who remixed the track and invited David to his studio for a recording session. With additional contributions from Orb co-founder Alex Paterson, the album took shape from 2009 into 2010, eventually becoming Metallic Spheres, to be released by The Orb featuring David Gilmour.

The album will be divided into two 25 minutes parts with five movements each, a 'Metallic Side' and a 'Spheres Side'. The Orb will consist of founder Alex Paterson (sound manipulation, keyboards and turntables) with part-time member Youth adding bass, keyboards and handling the production. It is not certain if Thomas Fehlmann (full member of The Orb since 1995, absent on The Dream (2007), but back on Bagdhad Batteries (2009)) and long time Orb and Pink Floyd collaborator Guy Pratt will be present or not. For the moment it looks like a three men line-up with David Gilmour contributing guitar, lap steel guitar and some of his Chicago vocals.

Simon Ghahary created the artwork (see image above) and all artist royalties will go to helping Gary McKinnon fight his extradition.

When Gary McKinnon logged in on the military computers he allegedly found proof of extra-terrestrial involvement in the NASA space program, but unfortunately his telephone line did not allow him to download the pictures and documents. The only tangible result of his actions will be a Floydian cooperation that Orb (and some Pink Floyd) fans have been dreaming about for the last two decades.

Long live Gary McKinnon, long live the greys! U.F.FlOrb is finally on its way! And don't worry, I'm sure those pretty Aldebarans will rescue Gary if he ever gets imprisoned in the land of the free.


(This article first appeared on Felix Atagong's Unfinished Projects: Metallic Spheres)

The Orbian 'Metallic Spheres' posts:
Pink Dreams 
Metallic Spheres 
The Relic Samples 


2010-10-10

The Relic Samples

Metallic Spheres, The Orb
Metallic Spheres, The Orb.

There was a time when I would put in the latest Orb CD and murmur blimey! Blimey because The Orb pleasantly surprised you or blimey because Alex 'LX' Paterson and band utterly frustrated you. They had that effect on me for years from their very first album Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld (1991) until the quite underrated Cydonia (2001) and often the wow! and shit! effect could be witnessed on the same disk, most notably on Orbus Terrarum that probably contains the freakiest ambient track ever (the heavenly Oxbow Lakes) but also some of the worst.

The Millennium Orb

After 2001 Paterson continued to make albums under the Orb banner but the wow! effect had largely disappeared and his most prolific output lay on quite a few (from good to excellent) compilation and/or remix albums: Dr. Alex Paterson's Voyage Into Paradise, Auntie Aubrey's Excursions Beyond The Call Of Duty (containing an Orb remix of Rick Wright's Runaway), Bless You (the best of the Badorb label), Orbsessions I and II (outtakes), Back To Mine, The Art Of Chill and last but not least The BBC Sessions.

For ages The Orb has been called the Pink Floyd of ambient dance but the only fusion between both bands was the use of some Pink Floyd samples on early Orb anthems (the four note Shine On You Crazy Diamond signature tune on A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld) and the presence of Pink Floyd bass player ad interim Guy Pratt on a couple of Orb albums. Contrary to a stubborn belief the so-called ambient (and illegal) Pink Floyd remix albums from the Nineties were not the work from The Orb, nor from Alex Paterson. Neither will we ever know Pink Floyd's retaliation: when the band worked on their 1994 The Divison Bell album they ended up with so many left-over material that - in the words of Nick Mason - "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".

Update 2015 01 15: Parts of The Big Spliff may have appeared on the latest Pink Floyd album: The Endless River. See our review: While my guitar gently weeps... 

Metallic Spheres
Metallic Spheres, The Orb (alternative cover).

Rumours...

Exactly one year ago Alex Paterson, who has always been a bit of a bigmouth, revealed:

I’ve just started work on an album with David Gilmore (sic) from Pink Floyd which I think every Orb and Pink Floyd fan will want to hear.

But that news was hurriedly demoted by David Gilmour.

Recent comments by ambient exponents The Orb's Alex Paterson that they have been collaborating with David Gilmour are true – up to a point. David has done some recording with The Orb and producer Youth, inspired initially by the plight of Gary McKinnon. However, nothing is finalised, and nothing has been confirmed with regards to any structure for the recordings or firm details re: any release plans.

On the 17th of August of this year, however, the David Gilmour blog had the following to reveal:

David is not working with The Orb on a new album, contrary to some reports, but you may remember that he had been in the studio jamming with Martin “Youth” Glover in recent months. (…) Alex Paterson was not involved in the sole jamming session and the only plan initially was for David to play guitar on that one track.
However, as it turns out and as you can see, the result of that jam session has now been spread across the next Orb album, Metallic Spheres, which will be released as ‘The Orb featuring David Gilmour’. So there you have it. He was working on an album with The Orb. Sort of.

If I may read a bit between the lines I feel some friction here between Sir David and this Orb thingy. But the next day, David Gilmour's official website had the next comment:

David's 2009 jam session with ambient collective The Orb has grown into an album, Metallic Spheres, to be released via Columbia/Sony Records in October. David's contribution to the charity song Chicago, in aid of Gary McKinnon, sparked the interest of producer Youth (Martin Glover), who remixed the track and invited David to his studio for a recording session.
With additional contributions from Orb co-founder Alex Paterson, the album took shape from 2009 into 2010, eventually becoming Metallic Spheres, to be released by The Orb featuring David Gilmour. (underlined by FA.)

Calling LX Paterson an Orb co-founder is technically not untrue, but it feels a little weird when you have just been presenting Martin Glover. It is comparable to describing Syd Barrett as a Pink Floyd co-founder while discussing Bob Klose. Agreed, Youth (from Killing Joke fame) was probably around when The Orb saw the light of day but it is generally acknowledged that the band was formed in 1988 by Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty. Cauty's primary project however, the Kopyright Liberation Front (with Bill Drummond) pretty soon outgrew The Orb and when - at a certain point in time - some Orb remixes were released in Germany as KLF remixes this provoked a rupture in the co-operation between the duo as Alex and Jimmy started fighting over… copyrights.

After the split between KLF and The Orb Martin Glover helped LX out with two tracks (on two separate albums): Little Fluffy Clouds and Majestic, but he did not become a member of the band. Only in 2007 Youth will join The Orb for a one album project: The Dream.

Orb remix from Rick Wrights Runaway
Orb remix from Rick Wright's Runaway.

...and gossip

Together with the announcement on David Gilmour's website, and then we're back on the 18th of August of this year, a promotional video for the Metallic Spheres album is uploaded to YouTube. Depicting only Youth and David Gilmour several Orb fans wonder where LX Paterson, and thus The Orb, fits in this all. The first, original movie disappears after a couple of days for so-called 'copyright' reasons but is rapidly replaced with a second version (unfortunately taken down as well, now), containing some hastily inserted images of LX Paterson strolling through the grasslands and recording some outdoor musique concrète. It feels, once again, as if the Floyd-Orb connection didn't go down well at the Gilmour camp and Paterson's image was only included on the promo video after some pressure had taken place. But the above is of course all pure speculation and not based upon any fact, so tells you Felix Atagong who has been closely following the band for over two decades.

Bit by bit we hear how the album came into place. It all started with David Gilmour's charity project for Gary McKinnon, an X-Files adhering half-wit who hacked into American military and NASA computers in order to find out about extra-terrestrial conspiracy theories. Because of this he faces extradition from England to the USA where apparently they take these kind of idiots very seriously, see also the 43rd president who governed the country from 2001 to 2009.

It is not quite clear if Gilmour asked Youth (David Glover) to make a remix of the Chicago charity tune or if Youth got hold of the project and proposed to help (I've come across both explanations). The two may know each other through Guy Pratt who played in Glover's band Brilliant in 1986 (LX Paterson was their roadie for a while). In 1990 Youth founded Blue Pearl with Durga McBroom who had toured with Pink Floyd for the previous three years. Amongst the session musicians on their Naked album are Guy Pratt, David Gilmour and Rick Wright.

This isn't Glover's only connection with the Floyd however. In 1995 he teamed up with Killing Joke colleague Jaz Coleman to arrange and produce a symphonic tribute album: Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd, but only The Old Tree With Winding Roots Behind The Lake Of Dreams remix from Time combines a modern beat with romantic classical music.

Island Jam

To spice up the Chicago remix Youth invited David Gilmour in his home studio and out of it came a twenty minutes guitar jam. Glover soon found out that he could expand the session into an ambient suite and asked old chum LX Paterson for his opinion and to flavour the pieces with typical Orbian drones and samples, rather than to turn this into a sheepish Fireman-clone.

The Orb featuring David Gilmour can only be a win/win situation. Orb fans have dreamed about this collaboration for the past two decades and that will add to the sales figures for sure. And although artist royalties go to the support of Gary McKinnon there will always be a spillover effect for the artists involved, good news for The Orb whose last album Baghdad Batteries sunk faster than the Kursk in the Barents Sea.

Rest us to say that an Orb album is an Orb album when it has got the name Orb on it, whether you like it or not (and in the case of Okie Dokie, not a bit).

Promotional copy of Metallic Spheres
Promotional copy of Metallic Spheres, The Orb vs. Dave Gilmour.

Metallic Spheres

Metallic Spheres starts with Gilmour's pedal steel guitar over some keyboard drones that makes me think of those good old days when the KLF shattered the world with their ambient masterpiece Chill Out (LX Paterson - as a matter of fact - contributed to that album, although uncredited). But soon after that Gilmour's guitar wanders off in his familiar guitar style with axiomatic nods to The Wall and The Division Bell albums. A welcome intermezzo is Black Graham with acoustic guitar, not from Gilmour but by ragtime busker Marcia Mello. The 'metallic side' flows nicely throughout its 29 minutes and has fulfilled its promise of being 'the ambient event of the year' quite accurately.

The CD is divided into two suites: a 'metallic side' and a 'spheres side' (and each 'side' is subdivided in five - not always discernable - parts). The second suite however, is more of the same, clearly lacks inspiration and ends out of breath at the 20 minutes mark.

So no wow! effect here (but no shit! either)... Youth has done what was expected from him and produced an all-in-all agreeable but quite mainstream product leaving ardent anoraky Orb fans with their hunger, but perhaps winning a few uninitiated souls.

As far as I am concerned this is about the best Orb CD I heard for the past couple of years, but it is still far from Orblivion, U.F.Orb or Ultraworld. But as this is 2010 already you won't hear me complaining.


(This article first appeared on Felix Atagong's Unfinished Projects: The Relic Samples)

The Orbian 'Metallic Spheres' posts:
Pink Dreams 
Metallic Spheres 
The Relic Samples 


2010-11-13

2011

Imaginary Mojo cover.
Imaginary Mojo cover.

On Friday, the fifth of November, an entrepreneurial rock journalist of the best music magazine in the world, who happens to have written - en passant - the most accurate Pink Floyd biography in ages, met a mysterious Asian looking lady. Although this was meant to be kept secret the news had leaked to the headquarters of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit before the meeting even took place. Thus are the hidden special forces of the Holy Igquisition.

We can now say it is official. The Mojo issue of January, the 1st, 2011 will have an Iggy / Evelyn interview by Mark Blake. It will have a recent picture of her and - perhaps - an unpublished photograph from the Seventies.

Update December 2010: the January issue of Mojo (nr. 206) doesn't have the Iggy interview (yet), although Mark Blake is omnipresent with a 13-pages in-depth article about Freddie Mercury and Queen. (If you are still looking for a Xmas present: Mark Blake has just written a pretty Queen biography: Is This The Real Life? The Untold Story Of Queen, Arum books).

For the rest the Reverend is as anxious as you to read the interview, dear followers of the Church who not only visit us from the United Kingdom and the States (the mythical place Tarzana comes to mind), but also from the northern chilly depths of Oslo, the accordion larded ruelles of Montmartre and several unspeakable places in Russia and the rest of the world.

And late last night when the Reverend was contemplating his inner musings he was interrupted by the tantalising ping of an incoming mail. It read as follows:

Hello Felix.
I am truly overwhelmed by your interest in me.

And ended with:

Yours truly and eternally.
Iggy.

The bit in between shall remain a mystery for now, but hopefully 2011 shall start with a bang. Have some patience, brethren and sistren, and remember...don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't do.

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit wishes to thank Mark Blake, Natasha M. and of course... Iggy / Evelyn.

P.S. We have from a quite reliable source that the picture taken at the Speakeasy club isn't Evelyn at all. The Church apologises for the inconvenience: Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea.


2010-12-24


2011-01-29

Church Mailboxes Offline

Mailbox
Mailbox.

For one inexplicable reason or another the Atagong domain mailboxes are not or only partially responding and that since probably a week.

Some senders may have received a warning note, others not.
Some mails passed through, others not.

The thing is that - in these days of recent Iggy activity - quite some people have tried to contact the Church (including perhaps Iggy herself) and were (probably) unable to do so (and they may not always have been informed that the mails never arrived).

The Church and her Reverend duly apologise.

If you have tried to reach us past week and didn't receive an answer, please resend the message to the following mailbox: atagong@lycos.com.

Update 31st of January 2011: Apparently there has been a conflict in the mx records (& mxav1 & mxav2). The necessary changes have been made but it can take 8 to 12 hours before all servers in the world accept the new records.


2011-02-05

Reaction time

Iggy, Seventies
Iggy in the Seventies.

Prologue

Let's start with what you are all waiting for. At the left you find another unpublished picture, from the mid Seventies, Iggy was so friendly to mail us. The recent interviews at Mojo, probably the best music magazine in the world, by Mark Blake, probably the best music journalist in the world, has triggered a gentle snowfall of friendly reactions all over the web.

At night, before going to sleep, you notice but a few snowflakes falling down and you think: is this all? But the next morning the garden has been transformed in a peaceful white blanket only disturbed by the parallel stepping marks of a passing Lucifer Sam.

The Church has gathered some of these heartwarming reactions. Let's start with one from the city of light:

I’ve just read Mark Blake’s article and I am extremely moved to read Iggy’s words about those months with Syd in 1969 and extremely moved to see her on a brand new photo. She looks like an attractive lady.
Some elements are quite interesting : the fact that Syd wanted Iggy to be naked on the photos and the fact he decided not to smile on the photos are a great new perspective on that shooting.
Also the fact that she confirms she and him were together (which some people seemed to doubt about these latest years) is a lovely confirmation. And when she says he wasn't a dark-minded man and used to laugh a lot with her, this is so cute...
By the way, the article ends with Iggy saying she’s very flattered to discover she hasn’t been forgotten by everyone: what a pity we have no (mail) address to write a small message to her, to tell her that not only many of us hadn’t forgotten her at all but, on the contrary, her photos and especially the album sleeve have been part of our lives. (Taken from: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit @ Late Night.)

Questions for Iggy

The past year several questions have been submitted to be asked to Iggy, for the then unlikely event an interview would take place. Some of those have been asked by Mark Blake and were (partially) answered in the Mojo extended interviews:

I would just ask her what she remembers about Syd...
Dear Iggy, do you have anything of Syd's that I can have?
Did you think there was anything wrong with Syd mentally?
Do any particular discussions stand out for you... were they deep and philosophical, did you discuss current events or just what you needed at the market...
In his song "Dark Globe" Syd Barrett says: "I'm only a person with Eskimo chain". Do you think that is/could be a reference to you?
Maybe you have some personal photos/snapshots of Syd.
Was Syd violent towards you like he was with others girlfriends?
Were you at the 14 Hour Technicolour Dream at the Alexandra Palace? If yes could you tell us your impressions about that?
What do you think happened to Syd in 1967/1968?
What happened to you after you last saw Syd?
Would you prefer to be called Iggy or Evelyn?

Mark Blake added to this:

Off the top of my head, (…) Iggy doesn't have any snapshots of her and Syd, or any of his possessions (unfortunately, she no longer has the photo she had of the two of them, which he tore in half, mentioned in some of the books). She was at the Technicolour Dream '"all 14 hours of it!" - and tried but couldn't spot herself in the documentary DVD. She was also at the Isle Of Wight festival in 1970 (went with Twink of the Pink Fairies) and the first Glastonbury Fayre. (Taken from Questions for Iggy @ Late Night.)

People and places

The recent interviews show that Iggy met a lot of people and visited lots of places in Swingin' London. The Croydon Guardian and Mojo articles mention Brian Epstein, Brian Jones, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon, Keith Richards, Rod Stewart & other assorted Beatles, Who and Rolling Stones. Oh yeah, and of course also a bloke named Syd Barrett.

The clubs she visited did not only include the Cromwellian, the Flamingo, the Orchid Ballroom, the Roaring Twenties and the Speakeasy, but in a mail to the Church Iggy also remembers other places like the Alexandra & Crystal Palace, Annabel's, Bag O'Nails, Embassy, Garrick & Hurlingham private clubs, Roundhouse (Chalk Farm), UFO, Marquee, Middle Earth, Tramps (Tramp Club?) and generally everything that was located in or around Carnaby Street. Needless to say that we try to look further into that for the next couple of months.

But after the many pages the Church and Mojo have dedicated to Evelyn, it is perhaps better to let Ig speak for herself. She send a long mail to the Church and we hope she doesn't mind that we will publish some of its heartwarming highlights here. Ig doesn't have an Internet account so the mail was written and send by a friend. The Church took the liberty of omitting some names and places.

Iggy wishes to express her thrill and excitement for putting this factual and honest portrayal of her and is enchanted by your unwavering interest. She is utterly flabbergasted of the magnitude of it all.
Many thanks to Mark Blake, for his perseverance and the genuine way he has cared for and protected Iggy.
Many thanks go to Ig's wonderful husband and to her most trusted and loyal friends [some deletions here by the Church] and Z., who was there for us right at the beginning by printing hundreds of pages on her computer.

But some old friends from the past haven't been forgotten either:

Iggy also feels the need to mention the charismatic Jeff Dexter, who has given so much of his precious time by always welcoming and receiving all her calls at all hours day and night.
Anthony Stern, Storm Thorgerson, Mick Rock, who created such amazingly beautiful images. To debonair Nigel Waymouth and the extraordinary couple Pete and Sue.
Many thanks and good love for the wonderfully exquisite description of Iggy. She is totally overwhelmed and humbled by the delightful memories of her.
Much love,
Iggy

Vintage groupies

Reading the pages that a good friend had printed for her, Iggy got hold of the Vintage Groupies website that also dedicated some space to her. She asked the Church:

Felix, would you do me a really big favour and contact vintage groupies (little queenies) to express my gratitude to all the lovely people who left all the nice comments about me.
Love from Iggy.

Immediately after it had been published several reactions arrived:

Wow, thanks so much Felix for the message, please tell to Iggy thanks so much from Little Queenies :)
This is so great, she is so kind to think about us :)
Warm regards to her and to you Felix
Elia & Violeta, Barcelona, Spain
Its wonderful, to hear from her.
Dancas
So amazing! Thank you so much for not only sharing the interviews but relaying the message to us here at Vintage groupies! So fantastic.
Lynxolita
Iggy now (photo: Chris Lanaway)
Iggy, 2011 (photo: Chris Lanaway).

Iggy the Eskimo 2011 photo shoot
by Chris Lanaway

The Mojo article had a recent Iggy picture, taken by Chris Lanaway. A second picture has recently turned up at his Tumblr account. Chris writes:

Here is a teaser from a recent series which will be viewable soon: Iggy the Eskimo.

A hi-res version of the picture in question can be found here.

This article has nearly ended, and we pass the word to Anne from Paris who passed us a letter for Evelyn:

Dear Iggy,
Because you told Mark (Blake) that you were surprised and flattered to discover that so many persons were interested in you (and I'd even say that they're your fans!), I want to tell you that many of us have got a great tenderness for you; you've been part of our lives during decades and were at the same time a magnificent mystery and a flesh and blood woman in Syd's life, two good reasons not to be able to forget you!
Of course, the fact that in these latest years, a great deal of beautiful photos of you appeared just increased the admiration and fascination about you.
I hope that the affection, admiration and fascination that many of us have been feeling towards you warm you up and that you'll stay in touch with us in any way you want ("us" means Felix, Mark, Syd's fans and even maybe, one day, the organization around Syd's memory in Cambridge).
Needless to say that not only was it a great relief and a great joy that you were found again last year, but it's also a great joy now to see new photos of you.
Friendly regards.
Anne (Paris, France)
(I've got the "Madcap laughs" since 1988, I was 17 then)

From an entirely different continent comes the following:

It was really nice to know that you are around and OK. My happiness is enormous! I’ve just loved your recent interviews and pictures. You are indeed a beautiful person! I hope you share with us some of your views and stories on those fabled years that influenced the cultural paradigms in so many ways and in so many countries. I wish you the best with all my heart.
Peace and Love,
Dan, Ottawa, Canada

And...

HI. My name is Griselda. I just wanted to say I am a big fan of Iggy. When I saw on your website that she was going to be on Mojo Magazine, I was so excited. I can't imagine how you felt!
You may find it strange that a 19 year old girl is so interested in Evelyn, but I really think she was a wonderful model. The pictures taken by Anthony Stern are really beautiful. She was such a free spirit, living in the moment. I think most models today are so polished up, their too skinny, or try to change their looks as much as possible to look like Barbies or something. That's why I love Iggy so much because she was a natural beauty, and she didn't have to try hard to look wonderful in pictures.
Take Care.
Griselda, USA

Space girl

The Mojo (extended) interview ends with an excited Iggy who phones Mark Blake out of the blue.

Last week, Iggy called to tell me she had found a poem online written about her by a professor at a university in Missouri. "And it's in French," she said, sounding astonished. "'Iggy l’Esquimo, Fille de l’espace.'...it goes. I never believed anyone would ever write a poem for me."

Although the professor actually lives in Manitoba, Canada, where the temperature descended to a blistering minus 41 degrees in January, the news arrived to him. Probably by sledge-dog express, driven by – who else? – an Eskimo.

In the summer of 2006 Denis Combet wrote a collection of poems as a tribute to the musician and painter Roger Keith Barrett who passed away in Cambridge on the 7th of July 2006. The poems highlight the life of the young artist as a nonconformist who preferred – or was forced – to withdraw from the music world for a more humble existence. They were published (in an English translation) in the online magazine Ecclectica of February 2007.

The Church got the permission to pick an Iggy dedicated poem out of the collection, not only in English, but also the original French version, that had never been published before: From Quetesh to Bastet / De Quétesh à Bastet .

Unfortunately these poems never went into print, because of the high cost involved for publishing poetry, that often sells no more than a few dozen of copies. But miracles sometimes do happen and hopefully we might read more from Denis Combet in the near future.

Epilogue

In the next post the Church will probably give a detailed analysis of the latest Iggy interviews, until then, sistren and brethren. We leave the last word to Anne from Paris:

I don’t think Iggy's mystery will be over from now on;
I do think the mystery that comes out of her photos in the 60’s just cannot die.

The Church wishes to thank: Anne, Dan, Dancas, Denis, Ela & Violetta (Little Queenies), Griselda, Jenny, Kieren, Lynxolita, Mark, Zoe, Late Night, Mojo magazine & Vintage Groupies and all others who commented and contributed.

Last but not least: ♥ Iggy ♥ and her loyal friends who pass her messages to and fro.


The Mark Blake Iggy tapes can be found at:
Iggy The Eskimo Phones Home (Mojo 207 article - hosted at the Church)
The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo - part 1 (hosted at the Mojo website Church, update August 2013)
The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo - part 2 (hosted at the Mojo website Church, update August 2013)


2011-04-15

Rockadolly

What a strange few weeks it has been. A new Barrett book was launched with a big Syd exhibition in London, attended by the crème de la crème of the Cambridge mafia, freewheeling dharma buns, madcap mad cats, Sydney fans, look-alikes and collectors, Late Night friends, the odd blurry rock star, unfortunately no Reverend and at least one thief, but more of that later.

Iggy by Dolly Rocker
Iggy by Dolly Rocker.

Syd Barrett | Art and Letters

The Barrett book, that the Church still has to savor in detail, but like Romeo thought he ought to do with Julia, the Reverend is waiting till the time is ripe, is indebted to (amongst others) eternal goddesses Libby Gausden and Jenny Spires, whose presence radiated through the vernissage.

Mount Olympus is a place filled with many splendors. For many it was an unsurpassed surprise when Iggy appeared, like Ayesha out a pillar of fire, leaving a trail of buzzed excitement wherever she went. She said: "Captain?" and he sensibly said: "Wot!" dragging Ian Barrett over to have their picture taken. Red carpet paparazzi asked her to do the famous Iggy pose and fans wanted her to autograph the Barrett book although she has, strictly speaking, nothing to do with the book at all. (Several pictures of Iggy at the IG (!) Gallery can be found at the appropriately titled post: Iggy at the Exhibition.)

Barrett, the book

There isn't really a trace of Iggy in the Barrett book, apart from the well known Madcap back cover shot that has been reproduced on page 178, but pages 114 to 121 contain a few outtakes of The Madcap Laughs photo sessions, wrongly dated as Beecher & Shutes maintain they were taken in autumn 1969. Probably autumn 1969 was when a second photo session by Storm Thorgerson took place, the so-called yoga shots that have already been discussed extensively on this place before (see, for instance: The Case of the Painted Floorboards).

Iggy revealed to Mark Blake that, on the same day, there was an alternative photo session as well:

I don't think Storm and Mick were very impressed by them. If you've ever seen the cover of the Rod Stewart album, Blondes Have More Fun, they were a bit like that... Of me and Syd. There were others of me and Syd, as well, which remind me of the picture of John and Yoko [on Two Virgins] which came out later. I'd love to see those pictures now. (Taken from: The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 2)

But despite some discrete investigations nothing so far nothing has been unearthed, yet.

La Gazza Ladra

That not all Syd Barrett fans are trustworthy holy men proves the following story.

Last Saturday, 9th of April, a self-portrait of the artist as a young man (page 187 in the Barrett book) was stolen from the Idea Generation Gallery between 2:15 and 3 PM. It belonged to Libby Gausden since 1962, who had received the painting as a present from her boyfriend Syd and who had lend it to the exhibition to commemorate the Barrett book-launch.

In a short press release Libby stated that she was devastated: “I am very upset at the theft of the painting, it has huge personal value to me and I am appealing for its safe return.”

For once the Barrett and Pink Floyd community reacted unisono, fans and foes all alike condemned the theft and promised to be on the lookout for the painting and to return it immediately to Libby if it would show up.

And the improbable did happen. On Tuesday, the 12th, the painting was brought back to the gallery which provoked the following dry comment from Libby (once she had finished jumping up and down in the air): “'I'd give it to you if I could - but I 'borrowed' it.”

Miracles do happen from time to time.

Iggy Fandom

Iggy has been a source of inspiration through the ages: Anthony Stern, Storm Thorgerson, Mick Rock... and it will never change. The fantastic drawing at the top of this post has been made by Dolly Rocker from Buenos Aires, proving that we are all Eskimos in our hearts. Thanks Gaby!


Beecher, Russell & Shutes, Will: Barrett, Essential Works Ltd, London, 2011.
The Church wishes to thank: Mark Blake, Libby Gausden Chisman, Dolly Rocker, Jenny Spires and the beautiful people at Late Night and Facebook.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2011-07-02

AnthropoLSD

Anthropologie du Rock Psychédelique Anglais
Anthropologie du Rock Psychédelique Anglais, Alain Pire.

Let me start this review with a quote at the end of 'Anthropologie du Rock Psychédelique Anglais', a title that is so universal that I don't have to translate it into English, unless for some Americans, I guess. Alain Pire quotes Simon Frith who wrote in 1978:

The rock audience is not a passive mass, consuming records like cornflakes, but an active community, making music into a symbol of solidarity and an inspiration for action.

Obviously this quote should be branded on the bodies of record company executives all over the world, especially those that gave us the music of Britney Spears and other singing cattle, and who think that pop music is something repetitive, uninspired and slick (but alas not Slick as Surrealistic Pillow Grace once was). But this post seems to be turning psychedelic before it has even started, so I'll wait a bit until that sugar cube wears off a bit.

Jenny Spires.
Jenny Spires.

Anthropology of English Psychedelic Rock

Alain Pire is a Belgian musician whom I may have caught about 30 years ago when he was a member of the Jo Lemaire & Flouze band, although he won't probably remember that gig in the Stella Artois Feestzaal in Louvain anymore. Neither do I, by the way, I only have a slight recollection that I may have watched that band through a beer enhanced haze.

It was Jenny Spires who pointed me to him, noting that I would perhaps be interested in his (French) study of English psychedelic rock. It is weird that a member of the Sixties underground Cambridge mafia, a term coined by David Gilmour if my memory is correct, had to point me to a book written by a compatriot. The gap between the Belgian French and Dutch community is so deep and our internal relations are so troubled that we don't know any more what the other community is up to, even on a cultural level.

In the Sixties we would have called this divine intervention but I thank social networking services for bringing this study into my attention.

Anthropology of English Psychedelic Rock is based upon Alain Pire's doctoral dissertation for the University of Liège in 2009, counts roughly 800 pages and is divided into 4 parts:

English psychedelic music
Analysis of British psychedelic songs
British counter-culture
Psychedelic drugs

Functional psychedelic nude.
Functional psychedelic nude.

English psychedelic music

Paradoxically the subject of the book is its biggest weakness. Defining psychedelic music is like describing a butterfly's flight. We all know instinctively how psychedelic music sounds, but it is nearly impossible to write down its genetic formula on a piece of paper.

It is extremely complex to give a definition of a musical genre that is so protean as psychedelic rock. (p. 92)

Basically Alain Pire, or Dr. Alain Pire for you, doesn't get any further than stating that psychedelic music is music that simulates or evokes psychedelic sensations. It's a bit like saying that the girl above is nude because she has no clothes on.

As vague as the above definition is, psychedelic music does have some common points. It uses technical novelties that had only recently been introduced in the record studios and that in some cases were invented on the spot by sound engineers at the demand of the musicians.

One of these psychedelic sound effects is the so-called phasing (or flanging) that was already invented in 1941 by Les Paul but was largely ignored for nearly 25 years until it reappeared briefly on Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. The first 'full' utilisation of this effect can be witnessed on the Small Faces' Itchycoo Park (1967).

Another psychedelic brand mark is the reverse tape effect or backmasking. The legend goes that John Lennon, under the influence of cannabis, 'invented' the effect by listening to a tape that had not be rewound, but sound modifications and (reverse) tape loops had already been used in avant-garde music circles since the early fifties. Those same avant-garde musicians had also experimented with musique concrète, using acousmatic sound as a compositional resource, and with tape speed effects but, once again, these techniques were made popular by psychedelic rock bands in the Sixties, notably The Beatles who seemed to be one step ahead of all the others.

It is due to George Harrison that Indian instruments invaded psychedelia as well, first used in Norwegian Wood and later picked up and copied by The Rolling Stones, Traffic, Pretty Things, Donovan and others. I won't give the other characteristic instruments of psychedelic music here, otherwise there would be no reason to buy the book, but I'll gladly make an exception for the psychedelic instrumental gimmick par excellence: the mellotron.

The basics of this instrument was already around since the late forties, but once again, and I'm starting to sound like a stuck vinyl record here, it was re-discovered by English psychedelia. Graham Bond may have been the first to record it on Baby Can It Be True (1965), but its full potential was used by The Beatles and The Moody Blues who made it their signature instrument. For a while it was even nicknamed a Pindertron, after the keyboards player of that band.

Love, peace, understanding and lots of pot
Love, peace, understanding and lots of pot.

Music Analysis

It took me a couple of months to finish Anthropology of English Psychedelic Rock and that is due to the second part where the author analyses 109 psychedelic songs. I had the chance to listen to the songs on my iPod while reading the book and that is of course the ideal way to benefit of the detailed descriptions.

Starting with Shapes of Things (Yardbirds, 1965) and ending with Cream's I'm so glad (1969) it describes the four heyday years of psychedelia. Influental bands and their albums get extra attention and a short biography: The Beatles (obviously), but also The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Pretty Things, The Soft Machine and Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd.

It struck me, quite pleasantly, that Pire quotes Julian Palacios' Lost In The Woods on page 251, intriguingly not in the Pink Floyd, but in the Sergeant Pepper section, an album that – according to both Pire and Palacios - started the end of the psychedelic era.

This strange psychedelic movement, blossoming quickly in an explosive flash of colour, already seemed to be withering slightly. Its momentum was to be felt everywhere in the world, but the original Big Bang, so to speak, was nearing an end.

Of course Pire can't write detailed biographies about every band, that isn't the purpose of his work, but the anoraky nitpicker in me came across some mistakes that could have been weeded out by a better editor or proofreader. Some examples:

The influence of science fiction stories will be found later in the lyrics of 'Interstellar overdrive' or 'Astronomy Domine'. (p. 289)

I agree with Astronomy, but I have some difficulties believing that the lyrics of Interstellar Overdrive find their origins in a science fiction story as it is... an instrumental. Alain Pire knows bloody well that the track contains no lyrics as he gets quite lyrical about the piece later on:

This track is more than a piece of music: it is the testimony of an era, a musical spokesman for a generation. When the band was in a good shape its open structure symbolised, on its own merits, the term Psychedelic Music. (p. 369)

Another mistake that slipped through is this one:

Duggie Fields, painter and friend of Syd Barrett at that time, still lives at 101 Cromwell Road (p. 293).

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit has dedicated enough space to Syd's (and Duggie's) apartment, located at Wetherby Mansions, Earls Court Square. Of course Duggie lived at 101 Cromwell Road before and that is probably were the error comes from.

During the year 1968, Barrett recorded his first solo album: The Madcap Laughs, with the help from David Gilmour and Waters... (p. 340)

Also this is only part of the truth, Syd Barrett recorded some demos in 1968, but the sessions were abandoned after Peter Jenner agreed they were 'chaos'. In April 1969, perhaps thanks to the the good influence of Iggy, Syd found himself fit enough to start with the real recordings for his first album.

But like I said, nitpicking is unfortunately enough the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's core business and the few mistakes certainly don't take away the merits of this study. (But I would have a stiff talk with Gérard Nguyen 'secrétariat de rédaction et mise en page' if I were you, Alain, there are still too many printing errors in this release.)

Alain Pire doesn't only describe the psychedelic big shots but also dedicates some space to bands like Tintern Abbey, who only issued one single in their entire career or the almost forgotten band Blossom Toes. Butterfly flights indeed.

Anthem of the sun
Anthem of the sun.

Echoes

Throughout the book Alain Pire has the funny habit of first fully explaining a quote that he has found in an extensive bibliography or from interviews taken by himself, then followed by the quote itself and thus merely repeating the previous.

I can understand that a doctoral thesis must be large and that some professors at the University of Liège may be a bit slow to understand but printed in a book this makes you feel like you are standing on top of echo mountain. (Of course it could be that he uses this gimmick as the written equivalent of the psychedelic tape loop trick.)

Even then, by deleting these double entries Alain Pire could at least have saved 20 pages, handy for an index that is now missing.

It must be a second millennium thing that scholars don't put indexes any more in their books. Alain Pire's study literally cites hundreds of people, but the reader is unable to find these back once you have closed the book. That's a pity. Especially as I like to borrow these things myself for my various web doodles. Perhaps it is another way of saying, look it up yourself, buddy.

(I suddenly realise that if I ever publish a Pink Floyd inspired book the people that I have duly pissed of in my blog reviews will jump on my back as a horde of hungry dogs.)

Meditating hippie
Meditating hippie.

Counter Culture

The third part of the study, a description of the London Counter Culture, is a book in its own right.

Of course there isn't much new you can tell about the underground. Jonathon Green wrote perhaps the ultimate counter culture bible with Days In The Life: Voices from the English Underground 1961-71 and its alter ego All Dressed Up: The Sixties and the Counterculture and recently Barry Miles has added a sequel to his In the Sixties book, London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945.

But Alain Pire puts down some cleverly made points here and there, such as the following remark about the decline of the traditional British values in the Sixties:

Family, religion, marriage, faithfulness get beaten in the face and other values like sexual liberation, hedonism and alternative spiritualism emerge. These new values embrace individualism like the growing importance of one's appearance, but also, and paradoxically, new forms of group participation like the ritual passing of a joint, the sharing of sexual partners and living in communes. (p. 538)

Of course the Sixties counter culture could only thrive under the favourable economical and cultural circumstances of that period.

Counter culture can only live a parasitic life, meaning that it carries, right from its start, the seeds of its own failure. (p. 563)

Basically the classless society of Swinging London was a (very small) mixture of (rock) stars, young aristocrats and middle class youth who had the financial means (or their parent's support) to live outside the square world.

Sundancing
Sundancing.

Psychedelic drugs

One of the many instruments that helped creating psychedelic music was a wonder drug called LSD. Alain Pire tries hard to give an unbiased, albeit slightly favourable, opinion about the drug that was, almost from one day till the other, reviled by the American and British governments.

LSD has been tested as a medicine or therapy by several scientific investigators but these experiments had to be stopped, despite the fact that most clinical test gave positive results, especially with proper professional accompaniment.

Of course LSD also had its negative sides, even more when people started to use it as a leisure drug, Pire notes about Barrett:

If LSD helped Syd in the beginning to reveal his genius as a composer, it became a real brake for his creativity and progressively sucked away his writing potential. (p. 324)

Not that the dangers of LSD were not known. Michael Hollingshead, one of the early LSD researchers, accidentally administered himself a massive dose of the drug. After that event he got the constant impression of living in a no man's land, partially in reality and partially in the twilight world and at one point he asked Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary for help.

While LSD seems to be the ideal method to open certain doors of perception it can turn into a living nightmare if these doors refuse to shut again, leaving its victim behind like a character from an Arthur Machen story. I may not think if this is what really happened to Syd Barrett.

Mudbaths: good for the skin!
Mudbaths: natural skin care.

Conclusion

The psychedelic era and its music is still greatly remembered and loved. It mainly arrived because several puzzle pieces, randomly thrown in the air, landed in such a way that they formed a nice picture.

Alain Pire divides these puzzle pieces into two parts: the pedestal and the components.

The pedestal of the psychedelic era was a thriving economic situation and a socio-cultural context that was open for change. George Harrison called the Sixties a period of 'mini renaissance'. Alain Pire rightfully mentions the art schools that were a pool of inspiration and experiment. The list of those who attended art school is long: Chris Dreja, Dick Taylor, Eric Burdon, Eric Clapton, Iggy Rose, Jimmy Page, John Lennon, John Whitney, Keith Relf, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, Phil May, Ray Davies, Robert Wyatt, Roger Chapman, Roy Wood and Syd Barrett.

Three extra components were the psychedelic icing on the cake:
First: extremely talented musicians suddenly came out in the open;
Second: psychedelic drugs opened doors of (musical) imagination and experiment;
Third: technical wizardry made it possible to find new ways to deal with sound.

But all this couldn't have happened without the support of a fifth pillar: the public. Without a public open for change and experiment the psychedelic movement would have stayed a small avant-garde movement unknown to the outside world.

Let me end with a quote taken from the introduction by Barry Miles:

Anthropology of English Psychedelic Rock is the most complete history of that period's music that I have ever read. The author has to be complimented for his erudition and I heartily recommend his book to anybody who wants a profound explication of what really happened during the Swinging Sixties. (p. 9)

I couldn't say it better. Anthropologie du Rock Psychédelique Anglais is a damn well read and urgently needs to be translated into English.

Pire Alain, Anthropologie du Rock Psychédelique Anglais, Camion Blanc, Rosières en Haye, 2011. 815 pages, foreword by Barry Miles. 38 Euros. (Link)

The Church wishes to thank: Alain Pire, Jenny Spires.


Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above):
Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree, London, 1998, p. 153.
Image 2: © Jenny Spires. Special effect by Felix Atagong.
Images 3 to 8: © Glastonbury Fayre (1972). Special effects by Felix Atagong.
All excerpts from the Anthropology book have been translated from French into English by Felix Atagong, who is the only person to blame if they sound dodgy.


2011-08-08

Cut the Cake

Iggy Rose,April 2011 (picture by Gianna)
Iggy Rose, April 2011 (picture: © Gianna)

Sistren and brethren, behold!

On the eight day of the eight month of the eight year of the third millennium the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit saw the light of day (read our first article: Iggy).

Its initial function, goal or intention wasn't really clear from the start as has been revealed in an intriguing interview the Reverend had on the Syd Barrett blog: Solo en las Nubes. The (Spanish) interview can be read at Autoentrevista - Felix Atagong: "Un hombre sincero" but for those ignorants who aren't fluent in the language of Cervantes an English version can be found at The Anchor: Felix Atagong: an honest man.

La Iglesia empezó como una especie de diablura. Discutiendo la (teórica) posibilidad de una religión con Barrett como centro en el foro de Late Night, mencioné la existencia de una congregación de Santa Iggy.
(Translation) 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.

That was in May 2007, but it would take until August 2008 before the Church published a first article, triggered by Argentinian Dolly Rocker. In those past three wonderful years magical things happened to the Church and its Reverend. JenS and Margaretta Barclay added some missing puzzle pieces to the mystery of the singer and his Eskimo Girl (the Church was less lucky with Rusty B. and one of Syd's 1969 temporarily girlfriends Dominique H., but our first rule is to respect their wish for privacy). The support from Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake and Mojo magazine made it possible to locate the mystery woman who had posed on the rear cover of The Madcap Laughs and – en passant – to debunk several myths about those days (although it is not always that easy to revive situations that happened in 1969).

Dozens of contributors and fans of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit have helped with our quest but aren't mentioned here, let it be known that their names have been encrypted in solid gold in the Church's secret archives.

Even more: real friendships emerged out of this, not least from Iggy Rose, whose phone calls to the Reverend are a mixture of roaring laughter, psychedelic tomfoolery and do sometimes contain, but luckily not very often, an odd tear drop about long-lost persons and situations. The future looks bright for the Church although this will not always result in articles on this place. Our apologies for that. (In the meantime, you can always check the Holy Church Facebook page, that publishes unassorted bits and pieces now and then.)

It sparkles and shines

The sparkle that lit the Church's fuse was a 2007 Late Night forum post: Possibility of new religion, asking if a religion could be based upon the writings of Barrett. That thread was started by Stanislav (alias ~SVG75~) a Russian Barrett fan who has always flirted with the boundaries of reality. As a computer graphics programming teacher he has published several Syd Barrett parodies in the fine (Belgian) tradition of surrealism and dadaism and this at several places on the web.

Not unlike Marcel Duchamp, who painted a moustache on the Gioconda and gave the ready-made its bawdy title LHOOQ, Stanislav took existing pictures of Barrett and electronically modified them, thus creating alternative but non-existent realities in the life of Syd Barrett.

Stanislav's work has not always been appreciated by the Syd Barrett community. The average (read: non-anoraky) fan could easily be misguided by the near-authenticity of some of his pictures and stories and sometimes only those 'in the know' were able to distinguish the parody from the original.

Book covers that picture Syd Barrett
Book covers that picture Syd Barrett.

Syd Barrett dot CON

Stanislav's most spectacular guerilla art attack was when his subverted graphical work infiltrated the official Syd Barrett website. He fooled the Syd Barrett Estate and Pink Floyd Ltd. by making them believe his creations were genuine Barrett related artworks or publications.

The official Syd Barrett website started on the 19th of February 2010 (not taking into account the test page that had been present several months before) and in the next couple of days different Late Night punters tracked down several mistakes ranking from the silly to the stupid.

Dark Globe was the first to spot a non-existent biography that had crept into the book section:

The books section of the new site lists a book called 'Crazy Diamond' by Tony Bacon.
The cover looks like a Stanislav design.
I'm wondering - is it for real?
I can't find reference to it anywhere else.
(Taken from: Syd's Official site gets a makeover.)

Well spotted.

It was indeed a Stanislav mash-up deconstructing two existing books: Crazy Diamond by Mike Watkinson & Pete Anderson and London Live by Tony Bacon (see pictures at the left for the real covers). That last book is still on the biography list from the official Syd Barrett website although it is an inventory of bands who played London clubs from skiffle, rock'n roll and trad in the 1950s to progressive, pub-rock and punk in the 1970s, passing by at the London venues during the R&B, folk and psychedelia years (it does have Syd on the cover though, but isn't a Barrett biography as such).

Another proof that the website's authors didn't (and still don't) have a clue about what they are publishing. It is a damn disgrace that the best Syd Barrett biography that has appeared in the last decade, Julian Palacios' Dark Globe, isn't put there, but that is probably because the Barrett Estate are actively sponsoring an 'approved' biography from someone else.

Syd Barrett in Formentera by Stanislav
Syd Barrett in Formentera, Stanislav artwork.

Prior to the website launch Mark Jones, the (unofficial) Syd Barrett picture archivist, had been consulted by Pink Floyd Ltd. to render his expertise on Barrett and early Pink Floyd photo material. So he was quite surprised to find many dating errors and another Stanislav-readymade that had mysteriously placed itself in the art section of the official Syd Barrett website:

In the 'Paint' section, 1 across 3 down, Syd with the windmill, is another homemade job by Stanislav.
(Taken from: Syd's Official site gets a makeover.)

Mark Jones mailed the manager of the Syd Barrett Estate on Sunday, the 21st of February, and by Monday all the errors had disappeared. The makers of the website never did comment on their mistakes hoping that the matter would soon be forgotten.

Unfortunately the Holy Igquisition never forgets and the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit finds it among its tasks to praise Stanislav for his impromptu Banksy-like actions. The fact that his forgeries were published at the official Syd Barrett site give his works a meta-realistic certificate of authenticity. Syd Barrett, quite a jokester himself so we have heard, would probably have liked this very much and is laughing his arse off from the great gig in the sky.

Stanislav's Signature
Stanislav's signature.

When geniuses meet

It was written in the stars that on Friday, the 5th of August 2011, Stanislav and the Reverend would meet in front of the Brussels Magritte museum. On that occasion Stanislav handed over a present for the Church that was immediately digitally immortalised by hordes of visiting Japanese tourists. The Church and Stanislav will now be for ever bonded and Iggy Rose has commented on Stanislav's new artwork with the following unforgettable phrase:

Oh WOWEEEE that is FANTASTIC XXXX
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit poster by Stanislav.
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit poster by Stanislav.

Let's end this article with the words of a wise man: “In the sunny land of Belgium Stanislav was forced to eat a Brussels waffle and there was much rejoicing.”
Happy Birthday, Stanislav!
Happy Birthday, Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit!


The Church wishes to thank all the fans and contributors of the Church, especially the lovely people of the Late Night community from the past and present. Stanislav and Dolly Rocker for sparkling the fuse, JenS and Julian Palacios for rolling the ball, Margaretta Barclay and Mark Blake for adding up to the Iggy Follies. The French connection for putting my feet back on the ground.
And, last but not least: ♥ Iggy ♥.


2011-08-28

Immersion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nick Sedgwick's manuscript

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update 2016 12 04: the Sedgwick Floyd biography 'In The Pink' has not been published yet. In a 2015 interview for Prog magazine Roger Waters, however, said that the project was still on.
Update 2017 07 30: The 'In The Pink' journal can now be bought at the Pink Floyd Their Mortal Remains exhibition in London or at a Roger Waters gig: see In The Pink hunt is open! 


The Church wishes to thank: Mark Blake, Mark Jones & although he will probably never read this, Roger Waters.


2011-12-10

Iggy Rose's Fantastic Birthday Bash!

Iggy Rose
Iggy Rose, mid 70's. Artwork: Felix Atagong.

The Reverend confesses that the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit has been vegetating somewhat for the last year. Lucky for us there was the international cooperation with the excellent Spanish Syd Barrett blog Solo en las Nubes who gave us the exclusive rights to publish their interviews with Warren Dosanjh, Lee Wood and Duggie Fields.

Then there was that foul-mouthed Alex Fagoting vulture of The Anchor, who jumped into the void and published some wretched articles on the Church's space. The Reverend solemnly apologises for that.

To our defence we can add that at the beginning of this year the Church was struck as if by lightning. Shortly after Mark Blake published his Iggy the Eskimo article in Mojo #207 the Church made contact with the subject of its adulation: Ms. Iggy Rose.

The initial hesitant passes towards each other where a bit like kittens exploring a strange new world outside their mother's nest but it didn't take long before it grew into a profound friendship. And when Iggy discovered the power of social media it became soon clear that Iggy fandom wasn't something that was run by a weird Reverend alone.

At the Barrett IG exposition in March the promoters of the event scratched their heads trying to find out why so many visitors had their Barrett books signed by this unknown woman and not by the authors of the book: Iggy at the Exhibition.

Iggy Rose, also known as the Eskimo, is an international woman of mystery. So make a mark on your agendas, dear sistren and brethren, because next week, on the 14th of December, an unforgettable Facebook event will take place under the signature: Iggy Rose's Fantastic Birthday Bash! Instigator is artist and general troublemaker Jenni Fiire who promises 'an online celebration to show Iggy Rose how much we love and appreciate her on her birthday. A groovy electronic party!!'

This could well become the Facebook event of the year (and if by sheer luck it isn't, we will still maintain it is and anyone denying will be ostracised from the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit anyway), so do the wise thing and leave a message on the fourteenth and all your sins, and the Reverend knows what kind of despicable sinners you all are, will be forgiven. For a very short while...

And it could possibly be that some things might happen here as well next week, so turn on, tune in and certainly don't drop out.


2011-12-13

Happy Birthday Iggy Rose!

Well, in a couple of hours we will celebrate Iggy's birthday (14th of December) so please forgive the Reverend to add his personal wishes at first...

Happy Birthday, Iggy Rose!
The Reverend's wishes...

Something to watch: Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card

A while ago the Holy Igquisition got hold of an unseen home movie from Iggy from the mid Seventies. Although it only takes a few seconds this is the right moment to release it here. The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit would like to inform you that the Reverend overdid himself and that the Flash version will take about 5 Megabytes to download, so a quick Internet connection is needed... (and it has a happy tune as well). A (smaller) Youtube version of the birthday movie has been published as well...

Electronic Birthday Card
Electronic Birthday Card.

Flash link: Happy Birthday Iggy Rose!

Something to read: Crystal Blue Postcards

When Syd Barrett's seminal record The Madcap Laughs hit the record stores, the woman who was immortalised on its back cover had already disappeared from his life.

Multiple fireside legends emerged throughout the years, but we now know that Iggy's naked presence was a cleverly staged act, an underground performance, directed by Barrett, rather than a psychedelic drug-induced pun.

Feet stained by the freshly painted floor, Iggy the Eskimo materialises behind Syd, symbolising Aoidē, the ancient Boeotian muse of song. Although in the background, her appearance is doubtlessly omnipresent, an ethereal antenna capturing floating words and sounds from the space between men.

Like the flutter-by butterfly, Iggy was never the girl to stay long at one place. But she always left an ineradicable impression in the minds of the minds she touched. Even in the third millennium, people are still finding archaeological traces of her presence in a long forgotten past.

Journalists and bloggers can reconstruct, archive and catalogue Iggy's past moves with clockwork precision, but this doesn't say anything about her real self. Only the poet, musician or painter is able to capture a fleeting glimpse of her free spirit. It takes a common soul to encompass another one.

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit proudly presents:

Crystal Blue Postcards, Denis Combet
Crystal Blue Postcards, Denis Combet.

Over two years ago the Reverend unearthed a poem, dedicated to Iggy: From Quetesh to Bastet. Author was Dr. Denis Combet, professor at Brandon University (in the middle of Eskimo-land) and now a very close friend of the Church. Iggy was so impressed with this that it even got mentioned in her interview with Mark Blake:

Last week, Iggy called to tell me she had found a poem online written about her by a professor at a university in Missouri [in fact Manitoba, Canada, FA]. "And it's in French," she said, sounding astonished. "'Iggy l'esquimo, Fille De Le Space'...it goes. I never believed anyone would ever write a poem for me." (Taken from: The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo.)

Since then Denis has been tinkering and polishing at his poems and especially for Iggy's birthday he has now released an electronic 'pageFlip' book of his work: Crystal Blue Postcards. With excellent digital artwork by Jean Vouillon this is, without doubt, a work of art, a worthy present for a celestial goddess.

Crystal Blue Postcards (Flash pageFlip presentation).

Something to listen to: "Guitars and Dust Dancing" by Rescue Rangers

Rescue Rangers are a stoner power trio from Marseille. As an extra present for Iggy's birthday, Pascal Mascheroni sent us the haunting (& slightly psychedelic) power ballad Guitars and Dust Dancing that can be found on their first album. We present this song with a slide show of the artwork of Jean Vouillon (see above).

And while we're at it, don't forget to check some of their other songs out, especially Black As Bastet (yes, here comes that that Bastet chick again) that has its lyrics written by none other than the aforementioned Denis Combet.

Something else to listen to: "Iggy the Eskimo" by The Underground Youth

In 2010 the British band The Underground Youth released their third album called Mademoiselle. Track seven is called Iggy the Eskimo although we seriously doubt it is about our rose.

Something extra to listen to: "Oranges and Apples" by Trashcan Sinatras

Dating from 2008 this Trashcan Sinatras tune hints at Iggy with the enigmatic lyric:

Emily and the English Rose
Shining out the UFO
Hand in hand with your Eskimo

WHY DON'T YOU WISH IGGY A HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOURSELF?

Instead of reading and watching all this you should be heading at Facebook where you can leave your messages, poems, songs and images at:

Iggy Rose's Fantastic Birthday Bash! or at
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and of course on Iggy's personal page as well.

Let's raise our glasses to our darling mad cat who laughed at the man on the border. Make this a birthday to remember, brethren and sistren, but remember: don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't do!


The Church wishes to thank Denis Combet, Pascal Mascheroni (Rescue Rangers) & all the nice people at Blah F. Blah, Clowns & Jugglers, Late Night, No Man's Land and all the others we have forgotten.
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥




2011-12-24

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit wishes you...

Happy Igmas!
Happy Igmas. Original: Jenni Fiire. Adaptation: Felix Atagong.

...and don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't do.

Iggy Rose's Fantastic Birthday Bash! was a huge success with our dear Iggy literally not sleeping for two days because she didn't want to miss the hundreds of messages that came zooming in from all over the world.

Iggy may have been but a small footnote in the world of rock but to us and dozens of fans she is far more human than those with a 'I was awfully big in the Underground' attitude.

The above image is a variation on an original drawing from Jenni Fiire with advice, ideas, help and input from Amy Funstar, Brett Wilson & the Reverend. A very – very – very special hug goes to Libby Gausden, femme extraordinaire, Iggy's dearest friend and keeper of the holy flame that warms the hearts of all Syd Barrett admirers. And the jacket of course, let us not forget the jacket...

See you in 2012.


2012-01-06

Antonio Jesús Reyes, a new career in a new town

Iggy Rose, mid 70's.
Iggy Rose by Felix Atagong.

First of all, happy New Year sistren and brethren of the Church. These wishes do not only come from the Reverend but also from our mutual point of adoration, our nadir and zenith, Ms. Iggy Rose. With every contact she proves to us that she still is extremely exuberant, hilariously silly and all together daft as a brush (all used in a non-pejorative way).

Today, the 6th of January, is a special day as well for Sydaholics all over the world and it rejoices us that Iggy has been a part in the life of the diamond. Our wish to you, dear Iggy, is not to change a bit, because wherever you walk rainbows magically appear. We take the small inconvenience for granted that our ears are ringing when we lay down the phone. Keep on shouting to the world, Iggy, not only your anger, but your happiness and joy as well.

Somewhere near the end of 2010 the Reverend was invited by the webmaster of the Spanish Syd Barrett blog Solo en las Nubes (Alone in the Clouds) to produce a so-called auto-interview. You can read the original Spanish version of this slightly ludicrous interview at Autoentrevista - Felix Atagong: "Un hombre sincero" and an English version was later published at the Church (Felix Atagong: an honest man).

Solo en les Nubes

So now it is about time for La Sagrada Iglesia de Iggy La Esquimal to return the favour. Antonio Jesús Reyes from the Spanish Syd Barrett blog has finally found the time to add his version of the truth and nothing but the truth.

Antonio Jesús Reyes, a new career in a new town

Antonio Jesús
Antonio Jesús.

Tell us about your Syd-Floyd connection. How did you end up living in Cambridge?

This is a short but complex story. I met an English girl in Seville whose mother was moving to Cambridge and I ended up going out with her… no, not with the mother! So, we decided at some point to move from Seville to Cambridge although I did not know what to expect.

Things began to get surreal when we went to the first City Wakes concert (2008). I was introduced to Rosemary Brent, and after the show we had a drink (without Rosemary). In the pub I introduced my girlfriend’s mother to a good friend of Syd, who had played the drums in Those Without (I remembered his name from a picture I saw years ago).

From that moment on, and for the rest of my stay there, these two years were sydbarretianly amazing. I nearly met every Cambridge mafia member in town. Two years after the end of it all, I’m still realizing that I was often ignorant of the fact that I met these people who had been part of Syd's and the early Floyd’s life.

So coincidentally Stephen Pyle almost became my father-in law. He told me lots of anecdotes. We talked about films, paintings, music and his work for The Rolling Stones, Queen, U2… I miss him most of all.

I worked with him at The City Wakes. One day he introduced me to Jenny Spires at Mick Brown’s and it was only after thirty minutes of conversation that I realized that I had heard that name before. She was quite kind to me and has an extraordinary good taste in music.

The Cambridge experience was incredible. My literary idol, Laurence Sterne, ‘studied’ where David Bowie played in the 70’s and… ...well, there are too many stories to tell them all.

My relationship finished some time after returning to Seville. Let me quote John Milton’s Paradise Lost, I can affirm that it is "better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven". My Cambridge bonds are mostly cut off now but I still appreciate the friendship forgetting they were connected to one of my idols.

How did you begin to listen to Syd-Floyd music?

I hope I can tell you in a chronological way:

First: in 1994 I was watching a documentary about the career of Pink Floyd. I remember someone saying something like “If we could make it without X, we can make it without Y”. I was reading or writing something while watching it, so I was not paying much attention. First there came a lot of noise from the TV speakers, which annoyed me… and then… a piece of music that was enchanting. It was A Saucerful of Secrets, performed live in Pompeii. It was a life-changing experience forgotten in a minute or two. I was a teenager, and it was summer, please, understand me.

Second: one day while listening to the radio, I heard a song that really touched me. It was 'Wish You Were Here’. I completely misunderstood every single thing the radio show host said and thought it was written by Syd Barrett.

Third: in a record store I found the Crazy Diamond Box. I quickly read the info and I remembered all I seemed to know about him. There was a mistake in the price as well as one of those boxes was priced 1700 pts instead of 7100 pts. You don't have to guess which one I bought.

When I got home, and listened to it, I did not like it at all. With the passing of time (a year or longer!!) I tried to listen to Opel and found that it was so different to the stuff I was usually listening to, that I got hooked.

By chance, a friend of mine lent me The Piper at the Gates of Dawn… I began to listen to Pink Floyd, the band founded by the Opel guy. At the time, I was studying English Language and Literature, so Syd was a source of knowledge here (Lewis Carrol, Hilaire Belloc, Edward Lear, James Joyce…).

With Stephen Pyle
Antonio Jesús with Stephen Pyle.

Wontcha tell us about your blog?

Why not? It all began when I posted Here I Go, sung by David Gilmour on a radio show. I noticed this post got some visitors and as it was the only Syd blog in the Spanish language on this side of the universe, I decided to do something about it.

After some entries I added a device to translate the entries into other languages. I thought that other people would be interested in some of the posts like, for example, the ones offering essential and very good bootlegs. I even dared to share a home-made compilation of the Have You Go It Yet? series. Things are growing rapidly and news is becoming the core of the blog.

I also wanted to share things that haven’t got a place in the project I’m working on, that is, a book about Syd… which is going to be a quite hard task to do. Time & money, apart from Pink Floyd songs, are quite annoying. I cannot say much about this yet. There’s always the bittersweet risk of giving up, so don’t hold your breath, or you’ll suffocate. I’m trying to do my best, I swear.

The self-interview section is my favourite. I got Duggie Fields, some Belgian Reverend and Kiloh Smith to interview themselves for the blog and others are in the pipeline. It is not easy as you run the risk of being misinterpreted when choosing the subjects. Basically there are only two rules:

1. Have fun.
2. Free subject matters.

What's next? It was a surprise when I found that www.sydbarrett.es was free… so my blog points to this URL as well. One problem is that my computer skills are limited. I need designers for the bootlegs and layout artists for things unseen in the sydbarretian world. The number of visits is high, the collaborators are scarce. The pipe of the pipeline is going to explode.

Why Syd Barrett?

His music works like a hyperlink (a thing he has in common with David Bowie). It’s because of him that I got to know some writers I didn’t study at the university. His musical influences are quite rich. By scratching the surface you end up knowing lots of amazing musicians and albums like Zappa’s Freak-Out, Love’s Forever Changes, the works of Kevin Ayers, and The Byrds to mention a few. It made me fully appreciate other genres like psychedelic folk and blues. Syd's friend, Stephen Pyle, showed me to appreciate blues. He used to play Bo Diddley (whom he met once!), John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, Buddy Guy...

With Barrett, I learned to see what’s behind a song. Some of those, for reasons we know, were under-produced (sometimes, even less than that) and yet they have reached a kind of status that will make them last forever. You know they are quite good songs even without a proper production, even with a quite imperfect performance.

Today, we see the contrary. No matter the means musicians have today, most of contemporary music seems to suffer from a dance song fate and their perishability is faster than the yoghourts in your fridge. There must be something extremely special in those under-produced Syd Barrett tracks, rougher than demos, that makes them what they are.

Grantchester Meadows
Antonio Jesús at Grantchester Meadows.

Tell us about your favorite music.

Recently, I’ve been listening to Kevin Ayers a lot, and The The. Also The Beach Boys are on my mp3 player. They are something special. The sound and the songs of The Beach Boys have a special quality which makes this music a kind of healing experience, the kind of help we need to survive modern life. …The Manics, Travis, Maximilian Hecker, Sun Ra… Spanish singer-songwriters like Nacho Vegas and Diego Vasallo… Good old rock and roll, like Chuck Berry, Jerry-Lee Lewis, Elvis…

You could say I’m a kind of David Bowie connoisseur. I collaborated on Nicholas Pegg’s The Complete David Bowie proposing some ideas I found interesting. I strongly recommend it. Bowie’s 1967 album is very avant-garde, and very ironic.

In general, I like artists who are innovative, like producer Joe Meek, and those who can transform the past into something completely different or revive it in a new and exciting way, like Suede.

What do you think about the recent Pink Floyd re-re-re-re-re-releases?

Those are not my cup of tea. These boxes have so much useless gimmicks and several music stuff is simply repeated! The unreleased material of every album could have been compiled in the way of The Beatles Anthology and then everyone would have been satisfied. The Pink Floyd vaults seem not to be very deep, but the treasures are so hard to get!

I understand that EMI intends to make business, however, at the same time and paradoxically, they don't make their customers happy. So what’s this for? To get cash and disappoint people? It makes people eager to download the stuff instead of buying it.

I don’t need a Piper / Saucerful Immersion set. I don’t want those marbles, I don’t need a scarf, I don’t use placeholders (I got plenty of them during my stay in Belgium). I haven’t got a Blue-ray player. In summary, I don’t want to create more needs… Do ya?

Would Barrett have become a second Bowie if only?

The otherness in Barrett could have derived into something different from Bowie or the other way round, but never would he have become a second Bowie. They would have provoked some kind of artistic turmoil in the best of the senses. Along with Brian Eno, both are (were) aware that "music is where you can crash your plane and walk away”. Songs like Arnold Layne, so childlike, or Astronomy Domine, with such an exciting and new sound, were made with a goal. Bowie and Barrett are the kind of artists carrying that old Monty Python sentence: “And now… for something completely different”. That’s what Barrett did most of the times. Every Syd tune was different.

Best memories of England?

It was all quite surreal. I remember walking on the grass of Grantchester Meadows, having coffee in The Cambridge Corn Exchange, and feeling like in a dream I had never dreamed, just because I was there by chance. I visited every place I had read about in the books, like St. Margaret Square. I also did the same in London, the three times I went there.

I arrived there in a sort of tele-transportation. I did not have the time to think of the things I knew I would see there. And surprises came in little by little; I did not know the grass of King’s College was the one mentioned on ‘Brain Damage’, for example.

I remember working for The City Wakes, restoring old magazine adverts for concerts and saying to myself… “What is this where I’m in??!!”. The result was part of a collage by Stephen Pyle (again), and it ended up on the wall of a jazz bar (and part of a postcard collection).

But life was not always easy for an immigrant. All in all it was a beautiful and wonderful bitter-sweet experience.

Storm Thorgerson signature.
Storm Thorgerson signature.

Apart from the aforementioned people… who else did you meet?

I met Storm Thorgerson during one of his exhibitions. I had some kind of problem with him. I had a City Wakes poster with me he made the artwork for and he put his autograph on it. I was going to leave, when he said “you have to pay 20 pounds”. I said I did not have a penny! And he let me go in a… special way.

I had the chance to meet Mick Rock, but I did not make the effort to avoid another disappointment. Steven Pyle and Mick met… and… during a chat in a bar, they removed a Syd poster from a wall and Mick dedicated it to me. Stephen said he was a very nice person, to which I thought… “****!”, it was like winning the lottery without having a coupon. A good summary of my stay.

What more can you say?

Not much. Visit Solo En Las Nubes using the translation tool or read it like that in order to improve your Spanish. There are a lot of surprises to come, not only for the Spanish speakers. Cool compilations, some material to read (in English too) and lots of music recommendations.

In the meantime, enjoy music.

© 2012 Antonio Jesús Reyes, Solo en las Nubes. Pictures courtesy of Antonio Jesús Reyes. 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.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2012-03-02

The Sixties Unplugged

The Sixties Unplugged
The Sixties Unplugged by Gerard De Groot.

What a wonderful decade the sixties were. A small group of students at both sides of the Atlantic changed the world forever, by making weird music, weird posters and even weirder sex, and since then we live in continuous paradise. Of course this is utterly bollocks but for the bulk of I Remember the Sixties-books this is the general atmosphere they exhale. For the business hippies, who have made successful careers out of the sixties by rehashing pink coloured memories in their coffee table books, the legend has become reality, but they are probably just a minority. The sixties had a silent majority, in- and outside the Underground, that will never be heard.

In 1988 Jonathon Green compiled an oral history of the sixties titled: Days In The Life: Voices from the English Underground 1961-71. In it a constellation of Underground self-proclaimed heroes repeated the clockwork adagio that the sixties were fantastic, but this book was the first, for me at least, that contained some less triumphant testimonies as well. Nicola Lane, who by her own account 'did little other than sit in a corner, roll joints and nod when required' had a stab at the sexual morals of the period in general. Susan Crane (better known as Sue Miles) confirmed that the Beat movement was very sexist towards women, invariably called chicks, and when her husband Barry Miles had those very important International Times meetings her job was 'to make the tea and the sandwiches' and to leave the room 'whenever they were going to actually take decisions'. Which she did.

Another International Times-founder Jim Haynes, by definition a messiah of the Underground, was described by Cheryll Park, then a 19-year old coming from the North of England, as a sexual pervert who wanted her to end up in his bed with six other women. “I'd love to meet Haynes again, now that he's a shrivelled-up old man, and humiliate him in the way he humiliated me.”, she snapped. Be it Jim Haynes, Julian Assange or Dominique Strauss-Kahn, some men will never ever change.

In The Sixties Unplugged, Gerard De Groot repeats the above testimonies of Nicola Lane, Sue Miles and Cheryll Park. The book already appeared in 2008, but I was unaware of it until now. A few copies ended up in the sales bin of a local bookshop and that is how I got hold of it. I hesitated first as the book, at first glance, seemed to be a mere recollection of the counter-culture in America, but browsing through the contents I saw that the author also had things to add about Biafra, China, Congo, France, Germany, Great-Britain, Holland, Indonesia, Vietnam and even our closest extra-terrestrial neighbour, the Moon.

Free Speech movement at Berkeley
Free Speech movement at Berkeley.

Ronnie takes a trip

The Sixties Unplugged is a decade's compendium in 67 short essays and rather than repeating what good things came out of it, it attempts to describe where we went wrong. The book is sceptical, ironical and cynical but also utterly readable, vivid and funny at places. What could have been lying on your stomach as a gloomy brick becomes the proverbial box of chocolates, especially thanks to the many unexpected anecdotes that lighten it up. De Groot constantly dips his pen in a vitriolic inkpot (does anybody in the 21st century understand this?) and like a pigeon flying over an open air statue exhibition he has plenty of choice where to launch his droppings.

I do have the impression that De Groot has more fun in ridiculing the liberal caste than the conservative one, but I could be wrong as we have been taught that the sixties were generally progressive anyway. It is true that lots of noise was coming out of progressive circles... in Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris or London... but De Groot also notes that 20 miles outside the city or university centres life went on its usual conservative way. As a matter of fact, while the progressive thinkers were believing that they were going to change the world by smoking pot and listening to Hendrix guitar solos the conservative movement was silently preparing its coup with repercussions that are still visible today.

But some changes even the conservatives didn't see coming. A bit like Rick Santorum now, a certain Ronald Reagan was first laughed away by his fellow republicans and called 'a flagrant example of miscasting'. The man didn't know anything about politics, they quipped and this was probably true, but that was precisely Reagan's strength. He started his career by saying that he wasn't a politician but a simple citizen who understood the needs of the common Californian. While his opponents, republicans and democrats alike, were sneering at him from their élite business millionaire clubs, smoking expensive cigars and showing general disdain for their voters, Reagan proved that the time was ripe for popular conservatism, based on easy to digest one-liners (“One of the great problems of economics is unemployment.”).

To get elected in 1966 Reagan needed to convince over a million of democrat voters to cross over to his side and paradoxically enough one of the issues that helped him to achieve that were... the hippies. Berkeley had a history of tumultuous student uprisings (free speech movement, Vietnam war protest & People's Park) that had infested other Californian universities as well. Reagan only needed a one-liner to describe those radicals: “His hair was cut like Tarzan, and he acted like Jane, and he smelled like Cheetah.”

Those beatniks at Berkeley University thought they were changing the world, and they did indeed, but not as they intended. Ronald Reagan got elected in California... This was the start of a brilliant political career and may have been the pivotal point turning the world into an arena of conservative capitalism...

Lumumba arrested
Patrice Lumumba arrested.

There's a killer on the road

Did anybody notice dead bankers hanging on trees, lynched by an angry mob lately? I don't think so. But we did see poor, unemployed and homeless people, frozen to death this winter, because this crisis – created out of greed – has hit them hard. Jean-Luc Dehaene, ex-prime minister of Belgium and representative of the Christian Labourers Union, will receive a tax-free bonus of 3.26 million Euro (4.35 million dollars) this year. He is the man who led the Dexia bank to its bankruptcy, well knowing that the Belgian government would be obliged to intervene. The Belgian caution for the Dexia 'bad bank' is 15% of our BNP, so if the holding goes into liquidation, a scenario that is not improbable, all Belgians will face a general tax increase and cutbacks on all social programs...

Speaking about Belgium, my little country gets a mention in Gerard De Groot's book as well. Congo, once the sadistic playground of a Belgian king who thought that cutting off hands was a pleasant pastime, got independent in 1960. When its first democratically elected leader, Patrice Lumumba, had the guts to insult the Belgian king on Congo's independence day this was nothing less than an invitation to murder.

Not that the Belgians were playing solo, on a White House meeting in August 1960 president Dwight D. Eisenhower vaguely proposed to assassinate Lumumba and CIA director Allen Dulles, who described Lumumba as a mad dog who needed to be put down, immediately gave orders to his secret agents to come up with a cunning plan.

While the CIA was thinking of an all-american-superhero sophisticated way to get a poisoned toothbrush over to Congo and hand it over to the prime minister the Belgians had a much simpler idea. Under mild Belgian pressure Lumumba was arrested, ceremonially and perpetually beaten and tortured and finally shot through the head while four Belgian officials were looking, mildly amused, from a few yards distance. Incidentally, the prime minister of Belgium who was aware of this all, Gaston Eyskens, belonged to the same Christian party as Jean-Luc Dehaene now, but this is of course just a silly coincidence.

Although Gerard De Groot obviously agrees that this was an act of 'cynical criminality' he refuses to believe in the Lumumba myth, that is as big in Africa now as the Che Guevara-myth in the sixties. De Groot quips Lumumba would have been assassinated anyway and if not, he dryly adds, the Prime Minister would probably have grown into a typical African corrupt dictator just like his spiritual heroes Nkrumah, Nyerere or Kenyatta.

Forgive me Chairman Mao.
Forgive me, Chairman Mao.

Love, peace & happiness

And these are just two of the 67 essays in this book. The general rule is that De Groot shows almost no respect for anybody (with some notable exceptions here and there) although there is of course not always reason for respect in his stories.

Biafra had an outburst of ethnic and political violence from 1966 to 1970 causing one to two million deaths, most of starvation. This happened while the 'civilised' world was dutifully monitoring the situation and organising UN congresses.

China had a few uprisings in the mid sixties. In 1968 communist government troops killed 200 thousand rebels in the Guanxi province, although the term rebel could mean women, children, babies or someone wearing glasses or the wrong clothes. One of the weirder, perhaps tribe related, rituals in Guanxi was to eat the enemy and over 3000 cannibalistic acts in the name of communism have been documented. Called an orgy of violence by Gerard De Groot the Cultural Revolution would make 2.8 million victims, although these numbers greatly vary from source to source. The amount of people persecuted, imprisoned, beaten, tortured or raped out of love for the Great Helmsman is estimated to at least a tenfold of the previous number.

That not all political violence had a communist signature was proven in Indonesia. In September 1965 and the months to follow between 500 thousand and one million 'communist' sympathisers were killed in Indonesia, with just a little help of the intelligence services of Great Britain and the USA. Joseph Lazarsky, deputy station CIA chief in Jakarta, revealed that the CIA had made a top 5000 hit-list to help the government troops. The list was crossed off as enemies were liquidated and as an extra bonus president Suharto received lucrative contracts with American Express, British American Tobacco, British Leyland, General Motors, Goodyear, ICI, Siemens and US Steel...

The shameful lesson of this book is that in 30 or 40 years time, absolutely nothing has changed in this world, except perhaps for the fact that in Syria people now have smartphones and can put music in their ears to stop hearing the falling bombs.

Free love, acid not
Free love, acid not.

Parallel lines

One review of the book I found on the net says that Sixties Unplugged often follows very familiar lines.

Although he claims that his work is 'more global than any book previously produced', it is dominated by American characters and events, most of which have been written about dozens of times before. His selection policy is nothing if not orthodox, so his opening sections cover such well-worn topics as the origins of the transistor, the invention of the Pill and the poetry of the Beats. Later, we read about the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the expansion of the Vietnam War, the development of the hippy movement and the Civil Rights marches. The supporting cast is the usual mixture of hairy protesters and senior politicians, above all Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

There is some truth in that, and when Gerard De Groot hits the ground I am a bit familiar with, namely the British psychedelic scene, all he can come up with are testimonies from a book that appeared twenty years ago. Sometimes he even tries too hard to make a point. I don't think that using British Underground quotes to add value to an American situation is really deontological. And there is a certain shock-jock aspect present as well, as the chapter 'Summer Of Rape', amongst others, shows:

Rape was popular in the Summer of love. Rape was easy because there were so many naïve young girls separated from parental protection.

or, quoting some juicy sixties newspaper article...

A young long-haired girl stripped and danced in the warm rain... (…) Her friends stood by while a dozen young men raped her in an animal frenzy.

But it needs to be said that the sensational stories and its many anecdotes make this book a real page-turner. Gerard De Groot likes to divulge that every important man has his smaller side. Martin Luther King, for instance, not only had a dream but also a busload of extramarital affairs and probably that is one of the few things he had in common with JFK. If sex oozes from the pages, it is because the sixties had a sexual revolution and revolutions not only tend to liberate but often lead to an aftermath of violence as well. One hippie leader literally said that women needed breaking like a horse before entering his commune (I wonder how he could get any female followers) and the average discours érotique of the Black Panthers Party then wasn't really different from gangsta-rap today.

Rupert Bear, exposed
Rupert Bear, exposed (Oz magazine).

The Hole in the Ozone Layer

There aren't a lot of women in the book, and when there are they don't always like to be reminded of the sixties. Bernardine Dohrn's 1969 eulogy to Charles Manson, for instance, can't be found on her CV at the Northwestern University School of Law and neither is the fact that she once was one of the most wanted terrorists of the United States. But of course that is nothing to be proud of, The Weathermen only succeeded in blowing their own members to pieces rather than turning America into a communist republic.

In September 1967 hundreds of New York Radical Women assembled before the Miss America contest in Atlantic City. They massively removed their bras, much to the enjoyment of the watching crowd, threw those in a dustbin and set the contents on fire. Unfortunately, this is one of the sixties feminist myths that is just that, a myth. The truth was slightly different. About twenty protesters threw some symbolic girlie stuff in a trashcan: girdles, bras, makeup, curlers, mascara, shoes... and apparently they also crowned a sheep as Miss America, but that was all that happened.

A reporter however called it bra-burning and from then on the legend mushroomed until the point was reached that feminists really started to believe in burning bras or protesting topless, a tradition that happily lingers on till today, but now you will call me a male chauvinist pig probably.

According to The Sixties Unplugged the decade ended in 1971 with the obscenity trial of Oz. One of the questions was if a bawdy cartoon of Rupert Bear (made by a fifteen years old) was obscene or not. The judges decided it was but nobody really cared any more. The world had changed, only the judges didn't know it yet.

Despite some flaws this is a very interesting book indeed. Even with 67 chapters and almost as many topics it gives you something to chew on and makes you start thinking. Lucky we have Wikipedia nowadays, to further dig into those subjects one really digs... but what did the sixties bring into our world then, other than perpetual paradise... Gerard De Groot:

The decade brought flowers, music, love and good times. It also brought hatred, murder, greed, dangerous drugs, needless deaths, ethnic cleansing, neocolonialist exploitation, soundbite politics, sensationalism, a warped sense of equality, a bizarre notion of freedom, the decline of liberalism, and the end of innocence.

Groovy man, really groovy...


Sources (other than the above internet links):
De Groot, Gerard: The Sixties Unplugged, Pan Macmillan, London, 2009.
Green, Jonathon: Days In The Life, Pimlico, London, 1998, p. 60, 119, 418-419, 448 (first edition: 1988).


2012-03-26

Formentera Lady

Formentera Magical Mystery Tour
Formentera Magical Mystery Tour.

Despite the fact that the sixties children of the revolution all wanted to express their individualism and refused to be a part of the square 9 to 5 world they all managed to show up at the same places, dress virtually the same and take the same chemical substances.

This also applied for their holidays. Although they had been seeing each other the whole year in old rainy England, in summer they would pack their bags and flee – en masse – to the same cool (but sweaty) locations, following the so-called Hippie Trail.

The Hippie Trail extended to the Himalayas and several Cantabrigian hipsters made it to the Indies, looking for a guru who would teach them things a local vicar couldn't teach them. Paul Charrier, one of the Cantabrigian mods, beats or whatever denomination they liked that week, was one of the first to witness this. When he returned to England and opened his bag of tricks, he managed to convert a few others to the narrow path of Sant Mat, but others, like Storm Thorgerson and Matthew Scurfield, opposed to this 'wave of saccharine mysticism hitting our shores' (see also: We are all made of stars).

India and Pakistan were long and hazardous journeys and for those who only had a few weeks to spend there were always the Balearic islands where they would meet at La Tortuga or La Fonda Pepe.

Some 700 hippies arrived in Formentera in 1968 and by the summer of 1969 there were already 1,300, almost one for every 2.5 islanders. They didn’t stay all year round but were usually university students spending their holidays on the island. In 1970, Franco’s regime threw all 3,000 of them off Ibiza and Formentera. According to the regime, the hippies gave the place a bad name, but the islanders didn’t agree – for them the hippies were simply tourists. (Taken from: Thinkspain.)

Of course the islands of Formentera and Ibiza (Balearic Islands) already had some reputation of their own. The place not only gained popularity by (American) writers and artists after the second world war for its mild climate, but also because it was a central drug smuggling point. The heroes of Beat literature not only liked the bohemian's life, but in their quest for nonconformity they also actively sought contact with 'the perilous margins of society - pimps, whores, drug dealers, petty thieves'.

Quite some Dutch artists visited the place, for one reason or another. The proto-hippie-folk singing duo Nina & Frederik (Dutch-Danish, in fact), who had some hits in the fifties and early sixties, lived there. In his later life Frederik Van Pallandt attempted a career as drug smuggler and his murder in 1994 may have been a direct result. Other artist included poet Simon Vinkenoog, author Jan Cremer and Black & Decker trepanist Bart Huges. The sixties saw visits from the Beatles, the Stones and in their wake some beautiful people from London (for a more detailed list: Ibiza in the beatnik & hippie eras.)

1963

David Gale, his girlfriend Maureen, Dave Henderson, Storm Thorgerson and John Davies went to Ibiza in 1963 for their holidays where they visited Formentera island for a day. Back at home they all decided to have another holiday there.

1965

Mary Wing (and her friend Marc Dessier) found Formentera so beautiful that in 1965 they decided to stay there.

Syd Barrett, Formentera 1967.
Syd Barrett, Formentera 1967.

1967

Nick Mason acknowledges that after the '14 hour technicolour dream' (29 April 1967) the band was very tired and that Syd showed more severe symptoms than the others. Despite all that the continuous, eight days a week, gigging went on with the mythical Games For May concert two weeks later (12 May), the memorable Hans Keller BBC interview (14 May) and the See Emily Play recording session (18 May). There were nearly daily concerts or recording sessions between May and June of that year, but little by little cracks started to appear in their overcrowded agenda.

June, 11: two cancelled concerts in Holland
June, 18: public appearance on a bikini fashion show for Radio London, cancelled
June, 24: two cancelled concerts in Corby and Bedford
June, 25: two cancelled concerts in Manchester

On Thursday, July the 27th 1967, the Pink Floyd mimed (for the third time) on the Top Of the Pops show although Barrett was rather reluctant to do it. The next day they had a recording session for the BBC, but apparently Syd was seen leaving the block when it was their turn. This time the band and its management took Syd's behaviour seriously and decided to cancel all August gigs (with the exception of some studio recording sessions).

Update September 2012: one of these cancelled gigs was the 7th National Jazz, Pop, Ballads and Blues Festival that was visited by Iggy the Eskimo: Iggy - a new look in festivals.

Now what would you do when the lead singer of your band has got mental problems due to his abundant drug intake? You send him to a hippie, drug infested, island under the supervision of a psychedelic doctor who thinks that LSD has been been the best invention since masturbation.

Sam [Hutt, aka Smutty] was the underground's very own house doctor, sympathetic to drug users and musicians: as Boeing Duveen And The Beautiful Soup and later Hank Wangford, Sam was able to introduce a performer’s perspective. (Nick Mason)

In 1969 Smutty would have his medical office at Jenny Fabian's apartment: “I did find it a bit weird though, trying to lie around stoned listening to the sounds of vaginal inspections going on behind the curtain up the other end of the sitting-room."

Hell O Formentera © Stanislav
Hell O' Formentera © Stanislav Grigorev.

After a first attempt in the studio on Scream Thy Last Scream, Pink Floyd finally went on holiday for the second half of August. Syd Barrett, Lindsay Corner, Rick Wright, Juliette Gale (Wright), Dr. Sam Hutt, his wife and baby went to Formentera while Roger Waters and Judy Trim (Waters) headed for Ibiza. They all had a good time, except for Barrett who – during a storm - panicked so hard he literally tried to climb the walls of the villa, an anecdote that is so vehemently trashed by biographer Rob Chapman that it probably did happen.

In retrospect the decision to take a hippie doctor on holiday wasn't that stupid. One of the underlying ideas was that he would be able to communicate with Syd on the same level. The band, conscientiously or not, were also aware that 'there was a fear that sending Syd to a [traditional] doctor for observation might lead to his being sectioned in a mental hospital'.

In those days most care centres in Great Britain were still Victorian lunatic asylums where medical torture was mildly described as therapy. At least these were the horrid stories told by the people who had been so lucky to escape.

He showed me to the room that was to be mine. It was indeed a cell. There was no door knob on the inside, the catch had been jammed so that the door couldn't be shut properly, the window was high up in the wall and had bars over it, and there was only a standard issue bed and locker as furniture. (William Pryor)

Nobody wanted this to happen to Syd, but a less prosaic thought was this would have meant the end of the band, something that had to be carefully avoided. “The idea was to get Syd out of London, away from acid, away from all his friends who treated him like a god.”, Rick Wright explained but in reality Dr. Hutt, and the others, merely observed Syd Barrett, catatonic as ever and still 'munching acid all the time'. Nick Mason, in his usual dry style: “It was not a success.”

Whoever thought that giving Barrett a few weeks of rest was going to evaporate the demons from his brain must have been tripping himself and on the first of September the agenda was resumed as if nothing had happened. The first 6 days were filled with gigs and recording sessions. Three days later a Scandinavian tour with the legendary Gyllene Cirkeln and Starclub gigs, followed by an Irish Tour and later, in October, the disastrous North American Tour...

Although the previous paragraphs may seem harsh they are not meant to criticise the people nor their actions. It is easy to pinpoint what went wrong 45 years ago, but as it is impossible to predict an alternative past we will never know if any other action would have had a different or better effect. The Reverend is convinced that Syd's friends, band members and management tried to do their best to help him, but unfortunately they were running in the same insane treadmill as he was. Syd wasn't the only one to be exhausted and at the same time the atmosphere was imbibed with the 'summer of love' philosophy of respecting someone's personal freedom, even if it lead to self-destruction...

1968

In 1968 Aubrey 'Po' Powell (Floydian roadie and later Hipgnosis member) visited the Formentera island together with some friends.

I first came here forty-one years ago [interview taken in 2009, FA] with David Gilmour, and then the year afterwards with Syd Barrett. The first year I came to Formentera I stayed about four months living like a hippie, and I just fell in love with it. (…) Also it was kind of difficult to get to. You had to get the plane to Ibiza and then the ferry which at that time was the only ferry that went between Ibiza and Formentera and that took about two hours to get across and it only went twice a day. So it was an effort to get there, you know, it was a rather remote place. But a lot of writers, painters and musicians gravitated there. (Taken from: Aubrey Powell: Life, light and Formentera’s influence on Hipgnosis.)
a smile from a veil
A smile from a veil.

1969

Shortly after Syd Barrett watched the first moon-landing (that had been given a Pink Floyd soundtrack on the BBC) he panicked when he found out that his pal Emo (Iain Moore) and a few others (Po, John Davies) had left Albion for sunny Formentera. He literally grabbed a bag of cash and dirty clothes and headed to Heathrow, driven there by Gala Pinion.

The story goes that Syd tried to stop an aeroplane taxiing on the tarmac. In at least one version the plane actually stopped and took him on board, but other say he had to wait for the next departure. Again it is biographer Rob Chapman who categorises this anecdote as 'unsubstantiated nonsense', on the weird assumption that it failed to make the newspapers, but other biographies have also omitted this story for simply being too unbelievable.

Anyway, somewhere in July or early August 1969 Syd arrived in Ibiza and met Emo who was on his way to San Fernando (Formentera). The biographies Crazy Diamond (Mike Watkinson & Pete Anderson), Madcap (Tim Willis) and Dark Globe (Julian Palacios) all add bits and pieces to that particular holiday.

Iain Moore: “He had a carrier bag of clothes that I could smell from where I was standing.”

Emo says Syd's behaviour was pivoting like a see-saw. One moment he could be seen laughing, joking and singing with the gang; the next moment he could snap into an emotional freeze. It was useless to warn him for the blistering sun and in the end his friends 'had to grab him, hold him down, and cover him from head to toe in Nivea'.

At Formentera Syd stayed with Mary Wing, who had left Great Britain in 1965 to live on the island with Marc Dessier. According to them Barrett was a gentle soul but 'like a little brother who needed looking after'. Barrett was in good form and to an audience of European hippies he claimed he was still the leader of Pink Floyd.

Barrett borrowed Dessier's guitar: “Then he sat there, chose a letter of the alphabet and thought of his three favourite words starting with the same letter. He wrote them on three bits of paper, threw them in the air and wrote them again in the order that he picked them up.” This technique was not uncommon for beat poets and Syd may have been inspired by Spike Hawkins who showed Barrett his Instant Poetry Broth book the year before.

One Formantera picture shows Syd with an unknown girl who hides her nudity behind a red veil. The (copyrighted) picture can be found on John Davies MySpace page (image link) and has been published in the Crazy Diamond biography and on A Fleeting Glimpse.

For Pink Floyd buffs the picture shares a resemblance with the red veil picture on the Wish You Were Here liner bag, that actually exists in a few different versions. Storm Thorgerson has used the past from the band and its members for his record covers, backdrop movies and videos on several occasions, like the Barrett vinyl compilation that had a cover with a plum, an orange and a matchbox.

Hipgnosis collaborator 'Po' Powell was with Syd in Formentera in 1969, but what does Storm Thorgerson has to say about it all? He reveals that the idea for the veil came from John Blake, and not from Po:

John Blake suggested using a veil – symbol of absence (departure) in funerals ans also a way of absenting (hiding) the face. This was the last shot (…) which was photographed in Norfolk.

And in Mind Over Matter:

The red muslin veil is an universal item, or symbol, of hiding the face, either culturally as in Araby, or for respect as in funerals. What's behind the veil?
Sarah Sky, Formentera 1969
Sarah Sky, Formentera 1969.

Formentera Lady

According to Nick Mason a female nude can be seen on the Wish You Were Here inside cover but of course this doesn't say anything about the unknown woman on Formentera. Who is she?

Nobody knows. And that secret remained a secret for over 40 years.

Now let's suppose a witness would show up who remembers she has been seen walking near Earl's Court.
And that she was called Sarah Sky although that probably was not her real name.
And that she spoke with a foreign accent and lived in London.
And that Sarah Sky vanished around the late 1970's and has never been heard of since.

Partially solving a problem only makes it bigger. A new quest has begun.

Updates

Iain Moore

Update 2012.05.26: According to Emo (Iain Moore) Sarah Sky may have been one of the girls who went with them to Formentera. The Syd Barrett Archives (Facebook) have the following quote:

Actually, I spoke to Emo last night and he said she was just another person who was staying at the house they rented. It was a nudist beach, lol. At least Syd kept his pants on this time! (…)
Anyway, Emo said they didn't know her and he couldn't remember who she was with. (...)
The girl in this photo is name unknown. She was American and staying in a house in Ibiza. She was visiting Formentera for the day.

Iain has, since then, reconfirmed that the Formentera Girl was an American tourist. He has also posted a new picture of Syd and the girl.

Nigel Gordon

Update August 2012: Author and movie maker Nigel Gordon does not agree with a quote in the above text, taken from Matthew Scurfield:

I just want to respond briefly to your article on Formentera etc where you wrote or quote that Santmat is ‘saccharine mysticism’. I don’t agree with you. Santmat recommends that we meditate for two and a half hours a day. It’s pretty ‘salty’!

Uschi Obermaier

Update February 2015: Some 'sources' on the web pretend the Formentera girl is none other than German photo-model Uschi Obermaier. Obviously this is not true and if you want to know how the Church came to this conclusion you can read everything at Uschi Obermaier: Proletarian Chic.


Many thanks to: Nina, ebronte, Julian Palacios, Jenny Spires.

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 90, 131.
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 228, 341.
Davis, John: Childhood's End, My Generation Cambridge 1946-1965.
De Groot, Gerard: The Sixties Unplugged, Pan Macmillan, London, 2009, p. 27.
Gordon, Nigel: Santmat, email, 18.08.2012.
Green, Jonathon: Days In The Life, Pimlico, London, 1998, p. 286.
Green, Jonathon: All Dressed Up, Pimlico, London, 1999, p. 255.
Mason, Nick, Inside Out, Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue, p. 95-97.
Palacios, Julian: A mile or more in a foreign clime': Syd and Formentera @ Syd Barrett Research Society, 2009 (forum no longer active).
Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 265, 353.
Pryor, William: The Survival Of The Coolest, Clear Books, 2003, p. 106.
Scurfield, Matthew: I Could Be Anyone, Monticello Malta 2009, p. 176.
Spires, Jenny: The Syd Barrett Archives, Facebook, 2012.
Thorgerson, Storm: Mind Over Matter, Sanctuary Publishing, London, 2003, p. 80.
Thorgerson, Storm: Walk Away René, Paper Tiger, Limpsfield, 1989, p. 150.
Thorgerson, Storm & Powell, Aubrey: For The Love Of Vinyl, Picturebox, Brooklyn, 2008, p. 104 (essay written by Nick Mason).
Watkinson, Mike & Anderson, Pete: Crazy Diamond, Omnibus Press, London, 1993, p. 90-91.
Willis, Tim, Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p. 113-114.


2012-06-29

Men On The Border: full of guitars and no dust...

alien coaster from DSOTM
Alien coaster, from The Dark Side of the Moon Immersion set.

Summer time has come and this means it is time to take the plastic chairs and table into the garden and have an afternoon drink. The main problem always is: where are the coasters to put the glasses on? Surely you didn't pay 120 Euros for a Dark Side of the Moon Immersion box set to ruin its cheap (but expensive) content by putting a glass of Mojito on top of those exclusive carton collector's coasters, did you?

Thank god there is Mojo's Return to the Dark Side of The Moon - Wish You Were Here Again from a couple of months ago. I you have ever listened to it then you certainly would wish you were over there, praising that nobody can hear crap in a vacuum. My Wall Re-Built albums are still shrink-wrapped and will probably stay like that until eternity or till I finally have the nerve to make the final cut.

The Madcap Laughs Again treatment from 2010 was slightly better, probably because nobody tried to make too much of a fool out of the mad cat, but nevertheless I only gave the album a 4 out of 10 score. It does contain some interesting versions though, like Marc Almond's Late Night that has grown on me like a wart on a witches nose.

But for most of those covermount disks the only slightly ecological way to give them a purpose in life is to recycle them as beverage coasters. By the way, Mojo should realize that these CDs can be counter-productive as well. A while ago I saw the issue with Pet Sounds Revisited and because I didn't want to spoil my good mood I simply turned my back, deciding not to buy it. No way I was going to listen to the massacre of one of the finest albums in the world.

This just to say I am slightly grumpy when it comes to these tribute albums. But sometimes there are exceptions, like...

Men On The Border
Men On The Border.

Men On The Border

Swedish Men On The Border, so learns us the blurb, started as a project inspired by the music and art of Roger Keith ”Syd” Barrett. The power duo consists of Göran Nyström and Phil Etheridge and the result is Shine!, a CD of interpretations of songs by Syd Barrett.

And what interpretations they are, rather than dumbfoundedly mimicking Roger Keith they flavour their interpretations with power chords, contemporary sounds, odd humour and slightly hidden musical references.

I have a soft spot for track number 5 that starts as a Joy Division, Gary Numan or Blur inspired rendition of No Man's Land, seamlessly sliding into Golden Hair and retreating to No Man's Land again. The track is dark, a bit industrial with screaming guitars and probably a signature track for what Men On The Border really stand for. Göran Nyström:

(I'm) quite happy with it. As black as it should be. And yet with a little golden shimmer deep inside.
Shine!, art by Kajsa-Tuva Henriksson
Shine! cover by Kajsa-Tuva Henriksson.

The cool thing is that MOTB give an odd, unexpected, turn to the classics we know so well. Wined And Dined makes you think that the song will dive into Irish jig territory but the guitar that follows (not that far from Gilmour’s Raise My Rent, if you ask me) brings back happy memories from the music I liked in the seventies (those heavenly oohs and aaahs), ending with a Beatlesque streak. Göran Nyström:

I want to do this with great respect, yet not ending up imitating Syd and his weaknesses at the time. I always felt uncomfortable with cover artists trying to be the sick and poor Syd. I think his songs should shine.

Listening to Gigolo Aunt, that I have always found a bit simple as a song, it comes to me that some of the influences of MOTB lay in the pub-rock from Graham Parker & The Rumour, Rockpile (with Nick Lowe & Dave Edmunds) and the cruelly under-appreciated The Motors (their Airport still is in my all times Top-20).

Opel, here renamed as Opal which is probably more correct, has an intro reminding me of a hungry Jaws swimming towards some EMI sales representatives who immediately devour the poor animal. First its intro made me think of an Emerson, Lake and Palmer thing... but at second thought some classic Deep Purple may be a bit closer to it. Anyway it is classic stuff. The song has glimpses of an all female string quartet, playing in the nude, but probably my imagination is having a go at me now.

Long Gone starts – literally - with an interstellar joke before jumping into Mark Bolan or David Bowie cockney territory , it's a totally loony, but irresistible version (and it has a fine moog-a-like outro as well).

Gigolo Aunt by JenniFire
Gigolo Aunt by JenniFire.

What did I forget so far:
Octopus, not as erratic as the original and larded with slight psychedelic effects...
Dark Globe, loving the crack in Göran's voice at the 'wouldn't you miss me at all' bit...,
No Good Trying, a straight forward rocky rendition with lots of reverb, oohs, aahs and nananananas...
Feel, well over seven minutes it starts with a slightly Floydian ambient intro and it further meanders into a pastoral Grantchester Meadows classic but at the four minutes mark a slightly brilliant Narrow Way guitar solo takes over...

Late Night must be one of the most beautiful songs that Syd Barrett ever wrote and Men On The Border also get this one right. Love, peace and understanding are omnipresent (not only on this track, but on the whole album) and, frankly, this is a quite moving version.

You may have deducted by now that the album is excellent and then we haven't said a word about the art department yet, one of the extra reasons you should buy this album for.

The cover art has been made by Kajsa-Tuva Henriksson and the booklet illustrates every song with a painting from Jennifer D'Andrea's (aka JenniFire) I.N.Spired series. Buying the CD will also financially help the Cambridge based Squeaky Gate organisation.

Men On The Border haven't set up a web-shop for their album yet, but you would be more than obliged to mail them at info@menontheborder.com and ask for a copy.

And if the above review didn't convince you, you can listen and watch their songs on the Men On The Border Sound & Vision pages (have a go at Feel with more intriguing art work from JenniFire).

Those Swedish surely have something I can't explain.


Many thanks to: Göran Nyström, Phil Etheridge & JenniFire.


2012-07-14

The Rape of Emily (three different ones)

Groovy Hits for Dancing, the Okey Pokey Band & singers.
Groovy Hits for Dancing, the Okey Pokey Band & Singers.

In 1967 Pink Floyd suddenly had a hit with See Emily Play and their name was all over the music press in England. As such they were spotted across the ocean by the Canadian record company Arc that specialised in so-called low-budget sound-alike greatest hits albums.

Sound-Alike

Before we start making fun of the sound-alike phenomenon we would like to point out that there was still a great musical rift between America and Great Britain and that covers were often the only way for an English audience to hear an American record, and vice versa. In 1965 the proto-Pink Floyd combo Jokers Wild, with David Gilmour, tried to cash in on the Sam & Dave classic You Don’t Know Like I Know, but not fast enough as the original hit the English market before Decca could issue the Jokers Wild version. The rise and fall of David Gilmour's first band had been decided on by bad timing and a stroke of bad luck.

Next to the 'cover' market, where local record companies tried to be the first to issue their cover of an overseas hit, there was the 'sound-alike' market, with a slightly different sense of timing. Once a hit record entered the charts, sound-alike singles were rapidly recorded by session musicians and put in the stores to sell their rip-off versions in the slipstream of the original hit.

While some of these sound-alike versions were deliberately made to confuse the customer ('I Walk The Line' by 'Jonny Cass' comes to mind) most of them ended on low-budget hit or party albums, EPs and singles. Nobody would notice the difference anyway, especially on warm barbecue days with lots of booze and a Dansette portable record player screeching in the garden.

There is a thin line between sixties 'covers' and 'sound-alikes', because the cover bands often did their best to sound as close to the original as was humanly possible, while the sound-alike bands often did their best to sound as close to the original as was humanly possible. Sound-alike labels from different countries and continents traded tracks and identical tracks would often appear under different band names.

Warning: if you are already confused by now, you will even get more confused by what follows next, this will not be easy reading. Most has been pinched from collector's blogs and newsgroups and we will do our best to give credit to the original authors and websites.

Arc Records
Arc Records.

Arc Records

One record collector describes Arc records as follows:

Arc Records was Canada's most notorious low-budget label, in the same league as labels like Crown or Alshire in the States. They were famous for taking famous pop songs by one artist and getting some schmo to cover them and giving him a phoney name similar to that of the original artist. (Listener Klip at WMFU blog.)

A slightly more academic description of the label can be found on the Canadian Encyclopedia (page no longer active):

Arc Records, subsidiary of Arc Sound Co Ltd, which was established in Toronto in 1958 by Philip G. Anderson and William R. Gilliland. At first a record distributor, Arc Sound began releasing recordings under its own Arc label in 1959 and purchased the Precision Pressing Co in 1961. Arc Records released a series of pop singles albums under the name "Hit Parade" (1963-64). Arc Sound and its subsidiaries came under the control of a Canadian-owned holding company, the Ahed Music Corp Ltd, Toronto, in 1969 and ceased operations in 1986.

Arc Records in Canada were doing a lot of sound-alike records in the sixties. They had the Hit Parade series and at least two of them are carbon copies of Current Hits albums that appeared on the American Hit Records label.

Arc also apparently got tied in with Embassy Records (Great Britain), the label of the English Woolworth stores. It churned out top hits as well, usually with two different artists on one 45. All of the Embassy recording was done by Oriole Records, with mostly in-house musicians and groups. One of the cover bands on Embassy were The Jaybirds who became famous after Alvin Lee renamed the band to Ten Years After.

Embassy quit the sound-alike business in the late sixties and Oriole was bought by Columbia about the same time. Some of the Embassy/Oriole stuff showed up on American Top Hits albums from Columbia Record Club as well.

Arc Records had at least five LP's of Mersey Beat out in the mid sixties. Some of those list the individual Embassy performers, but most credit the group sounds to The Mersey Beats Of England. Unfortunately there is only a partial list of Arc releases available on the web. (Above text almost literally copied from KenB/Rockin' Bee.)

Three To One (re-issue)
Three To One (re-issue).

Three To One

In 1967 the Vancouver band Three To One issued a mono single considered to be the very first cover of a Pink Floyd song: See Emily Play / Give My Love (Arc 1186, most pictures and sound-bits on the web are from a 2008 collector's edition replica of that single, except - perhaps - the picture underneath that could be an original.)

Let's switch over to Kiloh Smith who describes this little gem in his weird enthusiast style...

Check out this rare Canadian psych 45 by Three To One - See Emily Play b/w Give Me Love on the Arc Label. This one’s got two monster tracks from Three To One, including what must to be the very 1st Pink Floyd cover in history. You might’ve heard their creepy cover of See Emily Play on a comp or two before - it’s pretty faithful to the original, at least up until the second chorus, when a little girl suddenly pops her head into the studio to ask “Everyone know how to play?” while someone in the sound effects library drops in a bunch of outer space phaser effects from the albino gorilla episode of the original Star Trek series.

This would have been an interesting titbit for all the Sydiots among us, but there is more going on. Arc was a rather dodgy label to say the least and also with this release they lived up to their expectancies.

Three To One (original)
Three To One (original).

See Emily Play was Three to One's only claim for fame. The Canadian Pop Encyclopedia describes them as follows:

Three To One

John Renton, Derek Norris (bass), Brian Russell (guitar), Claudette Skrypnyk

After leaving The Classics, Brian Russell formed Three To One in Vancouver in 1966. The band soon relocated to Yorkville in Toronto to try and catch a break. They soon got signed to Arc Records for one single - a cover of Pink Floyd's See Emily Play.

They also performed on CTV's 'After Four' TV show and appeared on Yorkville's tie-in compilation album to the show. They would later change their name to Raja before calling it quits.
After Four Compilation
After Four (compilation).

After Four

The After Four (dead link) TV-show compilation album was issued in 1968 on Yorkville, a sub-label of Arc. It has covers from well-known tracks such as You Keep Me Hangin’ On (Teak Wood, dead link) or Winchester Cathedral (The Chain Rattlers Orchestra). Several things are wrongly stated on its cover: Four In The Morning (dead link) from The Scarlet Ribbon is actually a track in disguise from a Canadian band called The Quiet Jungle (more about them later), Changin' Time (dead link) from Patrician-Anne is a cover from Janis Ian's I'll Give You a Stone If You'll Throw It (Changing Tymes) and the second track on the B-side is not I'm A Bad Boy by Bob Francis, but See Emily Play by Three To One. Nobody knows why there is a different track listed on the sleeve notes than there is pressed on vinyl. (Listen to the complete album on Grooveshark.)

So far so good, but here is where things get a bit more complicated. We did warn you.

Flower Power
Flower Power, the Okey Pokey Band & Singers.

Flower Power

At about the same time, 1967-1968-ish, another Arc compilation album sees the light of day, featuring the Okey Pokey Band & Singers. The album with number A-735 is called Flower Power and has sound-alike versions of several 1967 hits, including See Emily Play. Here is what the liner notes have to say:

On this recording the zany, irrepressible Okey Pokey band & Singers focus on Flower Power. Resultant is a boss album highlighting the best sounds to blitz your transistor over the past months.

See Emily Play from Okey Pokey uses the same bed track (or background music, if you like) as the Three To One version but has different vocals. Some of the wacky sci-fi sound effects are missing, but the good thing is the track is in magnificent stereo hi-fidelity. The 'everyone know how to play' sample at 1:29 has mysteriously disappeared from this version as well.

In short: we have two versions of the same track, slightly remixed and with different vocalists, as if this had been recorded in a karaoke bar.

Okey Pokey Logo
The Okey Pokey Band & Singers (logo).

The Okey Pokey Band & Singers

The Okey Pokey Band & Singers released two full albums but were obviously a studio project. According to the liner notes the band and singers:
'have played San Francisco, capital of the hippy world',
'have blown their minds at Fillmore' and
'loved-in at Ashbury Heights',
but the credits show that the tracks were originally 'recorded in England' and not in Canada.

This could make sense as we have already stated that low-budget record companies from different continents used to trade tracks, just to keep the costs low.

The Okey Pokey version has a certain British feel and when Arc got a copy of the master tape they may have removed the British vocals, replacing them with the Canadian singer of One To Three. Of course there is always the possibility that the English tape only contained an instrumental track and that both singing parts were recorded in Canada. A lot of sound-alike songs do exist that share the same bed track, but have different vocalists.

The Quiet Jungle

In 2007 Garage Hangover suspected that members of The Quiet Jungle could have been part of the deal.

Toronto based The Quiet Jungle started originally as The Secrets. The band was signed by Arc Records and, next to releases in their own name, some of them hit records, they were used as (anonymous) session musicians on a Monkees sound-alike album and on a children's album called The Story of Snoopy's Christmas. Vocalist Doug Rankine, however, denies any involvement on the Okey Pokey Flower Power album:

We had nothing to do with the "Flower Power" album. There were a couple of TV shows at that time called After Four and High Time that were on CTV. We were on those shows verily often. There was an album produced at the time called "After Four". (…) At the time of the album we recorded a song entitled "Four In the Morning". Without going into a lot of detail, we recorded it under the name of the Scarlet Ribbon.
John Smith
John Smith & The New Sound.

John Smith

Anton from Freqazoidiac adheres the theory that the Okey Pokey version, including its vocals, is entirely British.

The missing link could be John Smith, who - as John Smith and the New Sound - had several big hits, notably in France and Germany, with Manchester Cathedral, Snoopy vs the Red Baron, Just A Looser and Judy In Disguise.

It has been rumoured that Manchester Cathedral by The Chain Rattlers Orchestra (see the After Four album above) was in fact done by John Smith. You Keep Me Hangin' On from Teak Wood on that same compilation is definitely John Smith's work. He has acknowledged this himself on Garage Hangover.

The only problem is that John Smith (that is his real name, by the way) denies having ever recorded See Emily Play:

In answer to your first question "See Emily Play", I didn't record that song. If my name and my band was used, this is new to me, but I don't think there's much I can do about that is there!

The real John Smith left after the first album but the band continued to record, with different lead-singers as John Smith and the New Sound. None of their three official albums (and singles) have See Emily Play. John Smith and the New Sound (and their alter-ego band The Beat Kings) took a joyride on the wave of British and Canadian pop, but they can't be linked to the Okey Pokey / Three To One See Emily Play versions. This means we are back to square one.

Ben Cash & The Cash-Tons
Ben Cash & The Cash-Tons.

Ben Cash & The Cash-Tons

Probably the John Smith rumour can be traced back to a typo on, where else?, the Internet. In a comment on the Red Telephone 66 (dead link) blog Jancy claims that John Smith and The New Sound recorded See Emily Play for a German compilation (that appeared in 1972).

However, on the record itself, England's Top 14 of Pop (20. Folge) (private link) from Deutsche Vogue, See Emily Play is credited to Ben Cash & The Cash-Tons, and not to John Smith, nor The Beat Kings.

And yes, might you wonder, this third 'German' cover version is exactly the same as the Okey Pokey one. It could be interesting to compare the Ben Cash & The Cash-Tons cover from My Generation with the Arc release (if any) but this would bring us too far in this messy labyrinth.

David Byron
David Byron.

David Byron

There is an unconfirmed rumour that Ben Cash was none other than David Byron (real name: David Garrick) from Uriah Heep fame. The (more than excellent) David Byron fansite claims that the singer could be present on at least 140 low-budget covers on Avenue Records. They have - so far - identified (and re-issued) 40 tracks sung by Byron, but they don't include See Emily Play on this list.

Multiple versions were recorded of many of the Avenue tracks and sometimes included as many as five different lead vocalists. These tracks were released on various vinyl records under titles such as Top Six, Top Six From England, 12 Top Hits, England’s Top 12 Hits, Chartbusters, Studio 33; and compilations such as Groovin’, The Rock Star Parade, Super Soul Sounds and multiple other titles. David participated on multiple releases under these names but its apparent some of the releases listed false artist names but not the actual participants. David sang under listings such as Dave’s Soul Group, The Beat Kings and the rehashed name John Smith and The New Sound. Multiple other names are known and they overlap by other artists as well but again this can't be listed with accurate results. (Taken from Travellers In Time.)

Update 21 07 2012: Ron Mann from David Byron Net confirmed us that: "David Byron wasn’t part of that [See Emily Play] session", but he doesn't know who the singer is. He was so kind to lead us to some people who do know a lot more about these low budget sessions, so fingers crossed and keep on checking the Church. (February 2012: it needs to be said that we didn't find new information about this release, but we still keep on searching.)

Amongst the other lead singers that have participated on the hundreds of Avenue sound-alike recordings are: Reginald Dwight who was a bit more successful later in his career as Elton John, Tony Steven, Peter Lee Stirling (aka Daniel Boone) and Danny Street.

Ben Cash, My Generation
Ben Cash, My Generation.

John Smith (reprise)

The David Byron website continues with the following information.

At one point there was a real John Smith and a real New Sound backing band. In the 60s he signed a solo deal with Parlophone and released singles under the name of Bobby Dean. Being managed by Bill Wellings he ended up at EMI's Top Six label doing discount records cover songs.

These recordings were released in the UK and Germany and had some success. The Vogue record label released these songs under the original band name but also as The Four Kings. By late 1967 John Smith himself had lost interest in the group and moved on.

This left Bill Wellings with a band but no lead-singer but nevertheless he decided to continue the band, without the consent or knowledge of the real John Smith. As Wellings was deep in the discount records business and was interchanging vocalists with Avenue Records at PYE Studios in London he had several people to choose from.

Several tracks were done by the lead vocalist of The Excheckers, Phil Blackman, but also David Byron did vocals on some tracks for the two John Smith and the New Sound albums that followed.

The Golden Ring EP
The Golden Ring EP.

The Golden Ring

But the confusion isn't over yet, because the See Emily Play cover will appear once again under another name. So far we are aware of four releases of this cover:
1. Three To One (1967, Canadian single)
2. Three To One (1968, Canadian album, same as 1)
3. Okey Pokey Band & Singers (1968, Canadian album, same backing track, but other vocalist)
4. Ben Cash & The Cash-Tons (1972, German album, same as 3)

All these versions take about 2 minutes and 50 seconds, but Cicodelico came across a version on an Arc EP that is about a minute shorter: See Emily Play. The EP in question (TS 10) has All You Need Is Love, See Emily Play and With A Little Help From My Friends and is recorded by The Golden Ring. It is just a shortened version of the Okey Pokey original and probably this was done to fit on the seven-inch record with the other songs.

The Golden Ring are another one of these tribute bands on Arc who issued several albums, EPs and singles: A Man Without Love, A Tribute To Johnny Cash, Love Me Tonight, The Little Drummer Boy, Tribute To Glen Campbell and others...

Epilogue

If the original See Emily Play sound-alike has been recorded in England, with or without vocals, then the (Canadian) Three To One version is not the first cover of a Pink Floyd song. Unfortunately, we don't know where, when and by who this took place. Okey Pokey, The Golden Ring and The Cash-Tons are all fictitious bands that never existed as such. Three To One, however, did exist as a band and they were probably glad to add their voices to an already existing bed track, coming from the UK. It is pretty weird that nobody has located a British release, but perhaps the Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett were already considered too weird to fit in the low-budget marketing scheme.

Links & Stuff

We apologise for this post that is probably the most confusing ever at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. We have tried contacting a few people and as such there may still be updates to be published. And if someone of you happen to know who really recorded the (probably English) low-budget-version of See Emily Play, let us know!

See Emily Play flowchart

See Emily Play flowchart.
See Emily Play flowchart, by Felix Atagong.

See Emily Play versions @ YouTube

Okey Pokey tracklist (side A)
Okey Pokey tracklist (side A).

Three To One single version (1967, 2008 re-issue)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpSfgRxz704
(The 1967 version was also re-issued on Pebbles, Volume 14 in 1984.)

Three To One - Give me Love (flip-side)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS8vo34UamU

CTV’s After Four - album version (1968)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq0pKQzaU94

The Okey Pokey Band & Singers - Flower Power (album version, 1968)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4M_qBw2q40

The Golden Ring - All You Need Is Love (EP version, 1968)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJYgzSbb1rw

Ben Cash And The Cash Tones - England's Top 14 of Pop (20. Folge) (album, 1972)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlKubn-hTqs

Links

CTV’s After Four - album (1968)
http://freqazoidiac.blogspot.be/2007/06/ctv-after-four-1967-canada-yorkville.html

John Smith & The New Sound
http://www.myspace.com/johnsmithsound
http://www.garagehangover.com/?q=johnsmith
http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/SMITHjohn.htm

The Quiet Jungle
http://www.garagehangover.com/?q=QuietJungle


Updated version, July 2017, some rewriting, weeding of dead links, updating of pictures. Many thanks to: Anton (Freqazoidiac), Cicodelico, Greeneyedbetsy, Jancy, KenB / Rockin' Bee, Kiloh Smith, Listener Klip, Ron Mann...
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2012-10-26

Iggy & the Stones

Iggy (fantasy)
Iggy, mid Seventies.

The Holy Church's secret service, also know as the Igquisition, has sent over its latest trimester report about all things Iggy. Underneath the smooth surface of our blog and Facebook page a maelstrom of facts and rumours are reinforcing and contradicting each other, making the Church's hidden agenda to inundate the Barrett world with false and gratuitous information so much harder to achieve. So let us immediately open this can of worms and have a meditative look at what the (2013) future may bring (or not).

1. Photo shoot

Recently Iggy was the subject of a photo shoot by a Canadian journalist / photographer and we are pretty sure these pictures will eventually find their way into a magazine or to the different Iggy Rose pages on the web.

Update December 2016: nothing has ever been heard of this photo project.

2. Rolling Stones

Iggy was also contacted by a renowned journalist and biographer who wanted to know if she would be willing to share some memories about her days with the Rolling Stones, to appear in a new biographical article or even a book about the band. Iggy Rose has told the Church and Mojo a few anecdotes about her different encounters with the Stones before, but it would be nice to see these all bundled into one publication.

Iggy met Syd Barrett in the spring of 1969 but before she had been spotted in Rolling Stones circles, as has already been revealed in the Mark Blake's Mojo article from 2011.

In February '67, [Iggy] narrowly avoided the police raid at Richards' country pile, in West Wittering: "The night before, I decided not to go, thank God." A year later, still in the Stones' orbit, she found herself watching the recording sessions for what became Sympathy For The Devil. where she was present at several studio sessions.
Carmen Jimenez, a Beatle and Iggy
Carmen Jimenez, a Beatle and Iggy (picture: Bruce Fleming).

Iggy 'rolled' into the Stones through Stash (Prince Klossowski de Rola) who presented her to Brian Jones. There is a picture of Iggy, taken by Bruce Fleming, standing close to John Lennon, at the party of Georgie Fame's girlfriend Carmen Jimenez at the Crom (January 1967) and Iggy still remembers eating Carmen's delicious paella at Brian's apartment just around the corner.

After some time she befriended Keith Richards although one thing she says she will ever regret is turning down 'Hot Rod' Stewart in favour of Keith. Photos of her with the Stones should exist, but those in her property have all been stolen, lost or destroyed (see also: Iggy - a new look in festivals).

Having met Keith Richards she also befriended Anita Pallenberg and went with her to the set of Performance where most of the action did not take place in front of the camera. Iggy told the Church:

They used real magic mushrooms... I was at the house [Powis Square, Notting Hill, FA] when they where getting ready to shoot the bedroom scene, the lady in charge was getting shrooms for the cast and offered me some as well.
Pallenberg & Cammell
Anita Pallenberg & Donald Cammell.

At the set she met Donald Cammell, the co-director of the movie and his 'beautiful dusky' girlfriend (probably Myriam Gibril). Unfortunately this is not the time nor place to start writing about Iggy's adventures in movie land but we certainly hope someone will some day.

Donald Cammell would only make half a dozen of movies in 30 years, being burned after the Performance débâcle (the movie only gained notoriety decades later), and one of these, White Of The Eye (1987), is known by Pink Floyd fans for its soundtrack by Nick Mason & Rick Fenn.

More about the movie at the excellent Another Nickle In the Machine blog: Donald Cammell’s Performance at Powis Square.

Syd's Bench, Cambridge.
Syd's Bench, Cambridge.

3. Cambridge Summer Meeting 2013

On the 15th of June 2013 the first annual Birdie Hop meeting will take place in Cambridge. It will be a small, exclusive and informal encounter between about 20 fans from all over the world and those that still carry Syd Barrett deep in their heart. Although an agenda has not been set yet there will probably be a guided Cambridge Pink Floyd Walking Tour and some drinks in The Anchor (or another relevant pub) afterwards. The only official demand to make this fan meeting possible was that the Church would not be present and in his infinite goodness the Reverend has agreed.

4. The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit next Big Thing

The weirdest rumour, with echoes arriving only this week, is that the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is preparing a Big Thing for 2013. Unfortunately nobody seems to know what this big thing is going to be and when asked, the Reverend didn't have a clue what it was all about, so you might as well just forget about that. On the other hand, this blog publishes nothing but big things, so keep on checking once in a while.


Many thanks to: Alexander P. HB.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2012-12-13

Happy Birthday Iggy Rose!

After someone thought Iggy's birthday was the beginning of this week, probably due to a Facebook reminder that arrives every Sunday, her birthday went nearly viral and people have been congratulating her for this fabulous event every single day. This proves two things:
One, that 'rumours' quickly snowball on Facebook without being checked first; and
Two, that Iggy Rose is loved and cherished and appreciated by lots of people on this globe...

Not that weird, because - and this is the only time in the year you may believe the Reverend - Iggy Rose is authentic, she is real and she won't change her opinion, nor her mind, because some ninkenpoop thinks that would be better...

...and in an hour time (for the West-European Time Zone) we will officially shout:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IGGY ROSE!

Happy Birthday, Iggy Rose!
Happy Birthday, Iggy Rose!

(Yeah, we are aware that the Reverend's handwriting looks like the trail of a wildebeest on LSD.)

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card

We know it is from past year, but Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card contains a few seconds from a super-secret mid-Seventies home movie (and we added a nice tune as well). Flash link (warning: 5 MB!): Happy Birthday Iggy Rose! or YouTube:

Crystal Blue Postcards

An electronic book of poems and art, dedicated to Syd and his muses, by Denis Combet, with a little help from his friends Constance Cartmill and Allison Star. Digital artwork by Jean Vouillon and some tinkering from Felix Atagong (more about Denis Combet and his Iggy poem(s): Catwoman).

Crystal Blue Postcards (Flash pageFlip presentation).

Guitars and Dust Dancing by Rescue Rangers

Last year, Pascal Mascheroni, from the stoner power trio Rescue Rangers donated the haunting (& slightly psychedelic) power ballad Guitars and Dust Dancing from the album with the same name (buy your copy at iTunes: Guitars and Dust Dancing). In the meanwhile enjoy this Youtube clip with the artwork from Jean Vouillon (see above).

Oranges and Apples by Trashcan Sinatras

Dating from 2008 this Trashcan Sinatras tune hints at Iggy with the enigmatic lyric:

Emily and the English Rose
Shining out the UFO
Hand in hand with your Eskimo

WHY DON'T YOU WISH IGGY A HAPPY BIRTHDAY?

Instead of reading and watching all this you should be heading at Facebook where you can leave your messages, poems, songs and images at: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and of course on Iggy's personal page as well.

Let's make this a birthday to remember, brethren and sistren, but always: don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't do!


The Church wishes to thank Denis Combet, Pascal Mascheroni (Rescue Rangers) & all the nice people at Birdie Hop, Bill's Blah Blah Blah, Dark Globe Syd Barrett, Late Night and all the others we have forgotten.
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥


2012-12-24

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit wishes you...

Happy Igmas 2012!
Happy Igmas 2012!

...and don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't do.

Iggy Rose's birthday didn't went by unnoticed and literally hundreds of people wished her all the best on Facebook, proving that it is not only a wacky Reverend who cherishes her. Later that evening Iggy asked the Holy Church to post a thank you note on her behalf, you can have a look at it here: Thank You (Facebook link).

The above image is a variation on an original drawing from Dolly Rocker from sunny Buenos Aires who gave us some other sparkly Iggy-art in the past (see: Rockadolly), thank you for your drawings! This is the time to thank all the friends, fans and collaborators of the Church (and even some foes who - unwillingly - carry our name around): Adam, Alain, Alex, Alexandre, Allison, Amanda, Amy, Amy-Louise, Ana, Anas, Andre, Angel, Anne, Anni, Anthony, António, Argus, Artemis, Babylemonade, Beate, Bernie, Bianca, Bill, Brian, Brooke, Chang (Phi Phi), Chelsea, Cherri, Chris, Christos, Chuck, Damien, David, Débora, Denis, Dinkie, Dolce, Dolly, Dominique, Duggie, Ed, Edouard, Emily, Eternal, Eva, Evanthia, Ewgeni, Flame, Gary, Gaz, Gian, Giulio, Göran, Greta, Hally, Helen, Hugh, Ian, Ilich, Irmi, Jane, Jennifer, Jenny, Jessica, Jimmie, Joe, Johann, John, José, Joshua, Judi, Julia, Kathy, Keith, Kiloh, Kimberley, Larisa, Leni, Lia, Lisa, Little Queenies, Madcap, Margaretta, Maria, Mark, Marlies, Marsha, Mary, Maynard, Mhari, Michael, Mohammed (Twink), Moon, Nadine, Nancye, Natashaa, Nemanja, Nick, Nigel, Nina, Paloma, Pat, Paul, Paulina, Penny, Phil, Psylo, Rachel, Rafa, Rebecca, Riccardo, Rich, Rick, Robert, Roger, Russell, Sana, Sarah, Scarlet, Shen, Shunda, Sky, Stanislav, Susan, Tam, Terri, Theo, Tiana, Vera, Violetta, Wil, Will, Winnie, Zale... sorry for all those we have forgotten...

And a very – very – very special hug to ♥ Libby Gausden ♥ and ♥ Iggy Rose ♥ ...

See you all in 2013.


2013-01-01

Bend It (2013)

Patrick Kerr & dancers.
Patrick Kerr & dancers.

Happy New Year to all visitors, sistren and brethren, of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

When this blog was created on the eighth day of the eight month of the eight year, more or less as a harmless prank, we didn't know yet it would grow into a little monster when, in a weird apotropaic collision, synchronicity and serendipity morphed into Iggymania.

The Holy Igquisition interrupts this post for the following message:
Dear Reverend, please be more careful with the eggnog.
Dear Reverend, please be more careful with the eggnog.

We had our good and lesser days in 2012 and a quick glance at the articles we published learn us that this blog would not have existed without our friends, colleagues and (sometimes reluctant) informants from Argentina, England, Germany, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, Russia, Spain and Sweden... we may not always have the same opinion but the common thing that binds us all is our love for Syd & Iggy...

2008 - 2013: 5 years in the name of the Rose

This year we will celebrate the Church's first lustrum and how can we honour this better than with a little dance that brought a certain Iggy the Eskimo into the spotlights.

Dave Dee
Dave Dee.

The Band

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich formed a band in 1961 but it would take until 1964 before they got a recording contract (together with their impossible name) with Fontana. After a few false starts DDDBMT finally hit the British charts late 1965 and the next year they were ready to conquer America. September saw the release of 'Bend It', a catchy tune with some saucy vocals. However, the suggestive lyrics put their managers (and authors of the song) Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley (nicknamed Spike & Owly) before a dilemma:

The song stormed the charts in no time. It teased the audience with its sped-up tempo and an offbeat guitar break midway but mostly with its salacious lyrics! The heavy tongue-in-cheek suggestiveness arose some moral outcries - but exactly that was probably the extra boost to shoot the single to #2 in UK in September and even #1 in Germany! (Taken from: www.dddbmt.com)

Conquering decadent Europe was one thing, but to win puritanical America over some drastic measurements had to be taken. NME reported:

Dozens of US radio stations have banned Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich's 'Bend It' because the lyrics are considered too suggestive, and the group have responded by recording a new version in London with a different set of words.

According to the official DDDBMT website the band recorded two new versions of the single, a clean one for the American market and an even smuttier one, that is - as far as we know - still unreleased 47 years later. The band apologised in an open letter:

As a pop group we have no right or wish to set ourselves up as arbiters of public taste or morals. But neither would we want to be viewed in any way as corrupters of these standards. Our two countries are so close in most things that it is always surprising to find the exceptional cases where meaning and innuendo differ between us. (Taken from: www.davedeedozybeakymickandtich.nl)

The replacement of the dirty single for a clean one was done with almost KGB secret service efficiency as the catalog numbers of both versions are identical. Collectors, however, can recognise the different versions by comparing the master number and the duration of the single printed on the label. On Youtube a 'clean' version can be heard in the cover version by Barbara Eden: 'Bend It!'.

Patrick Kerr
Patrick Kerr.

Bandits

By re-recording the single an American boycott had been avoided but at least one British radio station had threatened to put the single on the blacklist as well (see also: To bend or not to bend). A somewhat cheaper trick was used to divert the attention from the English censors. It was explained that The Bend was really a brand new dance craze sweeping the country, like The Watusi or the Twist.

The only problem, there wasn't a dance to start with, so one had to be invented, and really fast.

In came Patrick Kerr, choreographer of Ready Steady Go!, who didn't mind creating a few steps that, if we may be so bold, look a bit like Zorba the Greek staggering home after his eleventh ouzo. On the 23rd of September 1966 Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich played their single on RSG! and the dance was promoted in the teenage pop music papers. (See also: Ready, Steady, Kerr!)

Bend It, step by step
Bend It, step by step.
BEND IT! STEP-BY-STEP
It had to happen! That smash hit for Dave, Dee, Beaky, Mick and Tich - “Bend it” - has just been crying out for some bright person to devise a '66 dance for it. And who better than Patrick Kerr who introduced countless dances to “Ready Steady Go” viewers? Above is his step-by-step idea of how it should be done. Read it, put on the record and get bending!
1. Step forward on to left foot, at the same time bending at the knees and lowering the left shoulder.
2. Step forward on to right foot, still with knees bent, but on this beat lower right shoulder.
3. Take a step back with left foot at the same time beginning to straighten.
4. Take a step back with the right foot, now straightening to upright position. Repeat this three more times.
5. Step to side with left foot. Close right foot to left. Bend knees and then straighten again. Step to side with right foot. Close left foot to right. Once again bend knees and then straighten them. Repeat this three more times. Now repeat first step four times. Now repeat pattern once more but this time make a quarter of a turn each time on the first variation and a half turn on each of the second variations. With feet slightly apart, bend at the knees and sway from left to right. Repeat this three times more.
6. Take a step forward with the left foot at the same time bending at the knees and lowering left shoulder. Without moving feet sway back so that weight is on the right foot. Repeat three more times. Now go back to the first variation for four more times. Then, starting from first variation, do each of the other variations doing only one of each. Kepp going until fade of the record.
© 1966 by Lynn Music Ltd., 142 Charing Cross Road, London W.C.2.
Kerr-girl posing as a Playboy visitor.
Kerr-girl posing as a Playboy visitor.

Inside Playboy

The above instructions, we are afraid, read a bit like a Korean micro-wave manual and therefore a Bend It video was shot by Pathé News who showed it in the ABPC movie theatres all over the country as part of their Inside The Playboy Paradise documentary. Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich mime their greatest hit (so far, there would be others) in the London Playboy club and Patrick Kerr, in a Bend shirt, demonstrates the dance with his group Tomorrow's People, a few Playboy Bunnies and some random guests who miraculously know the dance moves as well. One of them, the girl in the plastic triangle dress, will even show up in The Cromwellian, a few weeks later. The full documentary is on British Pathé (with an annoying watermark) but the song (and dance) that make up the biggest chunk of it anyway can be found on YouTube:

To give The Bend a status of authority there was even a national competition although it can be discussed if regional contests were ever organised. A so-called final took place in November at The Cromwellian with as one of the contestants an unknown model named Iggy the Eskimo. The report about this event in NME started this blog, almost five years ago: Bend It! 

Happy New Year!

(This text is a partial rehash / redux / upgrade / update from a 2010 article that has even more detailed information about Patrick Kerr, DDDBMT & the different Bend singles: Rod Harrod remembers The Crom.)

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Tobler, John (editor): NME Rock ‘N’ Roll Years, Hamlyn, London, 1992, p.163.

Many thanks to: Ron Cooper, Herman van Gaal.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2013-03-16

King's Road Chic(k)

A familiar face?
A familiar face?

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

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

From Kathmandu to London

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

Iggy Pocahontas Rose
Iggy 'Pocahontas' Rose.

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

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

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

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

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

From London to Cadaqués

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

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

Iggy lookalike by John Hendy
Iggy lookalike by John Hendy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amanda Lear in Ossie gear
Amanda Lear in Ossie gear.

Bentleys & Pontiacs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


2013-03-30

Songs of Praise

Iggy Rose, ca. 1975.
Iggy Rose, ca. 1975.

The BBC describes its program Songs of Praise as 'inspiring hymns and songs, together with uplifting stories of faith from around the UK and beyond' This is what we immediately thought of when church-member Rich Hall from Illinois send us a copy of his song The Reverend.

In our humble opinion there is no other day better than Easter to listen to this gem that perfectly describes the Church, its Reverend and our prime object of adoration, Iggy Rose.

Here it is in splendid hi-res, hi-fi and 25 frames per second. As it is a Flash presentation, it might not be visible on your portable phones and other overpriced Apple stuff like that. A fast internet line is recommended.

The Reverend (hi-res Flash version)

The Reverend by Rich Hall (hi-res, Flash)
The Reverend. Music: Rich Hall. Video: felix Atagong. High resolution, Flash version.

And as this is Easter and Songs of Praise we hereby give you the text, so that you can all join in this magnificent hymn.

The Reverend

Oh, congregation
Standing here before me
I offer you this simple sermon

You can trust in Iggy
She's never led me wrong
In Iggy we trust

Don't put your faith
In medieval superstitions
Believe in something that matters

Release your inhibitions
Sit back; let it envelope you
Soon you'll feel Iggy's love

Out in the snow
The wind was starting to blow
As the sun went down
And the fire began to glow

Have you ever looked for someone so long
You have to wonder if they even exist

Here in my igloo with Iggy the Eskimo
Watching the snow falling down

Devoted listeners
Hanging on my every word
I give you Iggy's love

No need to look we further
We can stop the inquisitions
Iggy's message is love

Don't be afraid
to let yourself go
give in to Iggy's love

You'll feel it wrap around you
It's all you'll need to keep you warm
You're no longer alone.

Have you ever looked for someone so long
You have to wonder if they even exist

Here in my igloo with Iggy the Eskimo
Watching the snow falling down

Have you ever looked for someone so long
You start to wonder if they even exist

Here in my igloo with Iggy the Eskimo
Watching the snow falling down

© Rich Hall, 2013.

The Reverend (YouTube version)

For those who haven't got a Flash-enabled webbrowser, let's try it another way. Here is a, somewhat downgraded, version on Youtube. Even if this was created using a 2.64 Gigabyte AVI file, it has some stuttering and, unfortunately, the music came out not entirely synchronised with the graphics. But don't let that spoil the fun.

Happy Easter!


Richard Michael John Hall is a self-publishing artist in the 'alternative' or 'indie rock' genre with about ten releases on his name. It is rumoured that his next release will be a concept album about the weird world of Barrett anoraks.
Website: Richard Michael John Hall
BandCamp channel: RichMFHall
SoundCloud channel: RichMFHall
YouTube channel: RichFMHall

The Church wishes to thank: Amy Funstar, MAY, Brett Wilson for their (un)willing cooperation in the making of the videoclip.
Thanks to Rich Hall and Joe Perry for making music.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2013-06-28

Birdie Hop: wasn't it the most amazing meeting?

Picture: Eva Wijkniet
Photo: Eva Wijkniet.

We have just all had the BEST time ever in Cambridge - with the best people in the world - we have laughed and hugged and kissed and talked and none of us wanted to come home! (Libby Gausden Chisman)

Undoubtedly the best, friendliest, most lively and most accurate Syd Barrett group on Facebook is Birdie Hop.

It is the equivalent of Eternal Isolation's Late Night forum that, let's not be fussy about that, has suffered a lot from Facebook's ever-groping octopus tentacles. A person (m/f) with a critical mind could add that Facebook is shallow and volatile, that any post older than three days tends to disappear in a bottomless pit never to be found again and that, to the Reverend's mind, there is continuous repetition and proportionally it can get a bit boring.

But Birdie Hop has an audience. And people who have an audience ought to be heard. There is no point in constantly hammering that Betamax is the better recording system when VHS has conquered the world. Now there's a comparison that seems to be fruitless today and quite opaque for the young people among us.

Birdie Hop is a spirited place and like Late Night at its peak period it is the village pub. People come and go, friendships are made (and sometimes lost) and scarcely hidden love affairs happen, with snogging outside in the garden under the cherry tree.

But all this happens in the relatively safe environment of cyberspace. In September of last year the idea was uttered, among Birdie Hop members, to meet and greet in Cambridge. (The Holy Igquisiton has vainly tried to find that post back on Facebook, while on a forum it would take about a minute, perhaps somebody should call the NSA.)

We all have seen this happen before really, people saying 'let's meet', but when push comes to a shove, nothing happens. But Birdie Hop has an excellent set of administrators, not only they are friendly, beautiful and intelligent but they can be bloody effective as well.

Alexander the Great

Alexander made it his mission to make this happen, immediately a date was pinpointed (14 to 16 June 2013) and Mick Brown was kindly asked to act as Birdie's local liaison officer. The bandwagon started rolling and an I Spy Syd in Cambridge tour (with a bus) was organised through the capable hands of Warren 'Bear' Dosanjh. In March of this year Alexander travelled to Cambridge to tie the loose ends (and test the quality of the local beer) and from then on it was a restless wait for the day to come.

Here we go. (Underneath text largely taken from Alexander & Warren's tour program.)

Friday 14 June 2013

An evening at the Cambridge Blue on Gwydir Street: a totally real ale pub with the best selection of (Belgian!) ales in Cambridge plus pub grub and a large beer garden.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
Giulio Bonfissuto, Neil Chisman, Jenny Spires, Alexander.

Saturday 15 June 2013

09.30 Meet at Le Gros Franck for breakfast and to buy a take-away lunch from a fantastic choice of international dishes, 57 Hills Road.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
Fernando Lanzilotto, Libby Gausden, Viv Brans, Mick Brown.

10.00 Botanical Gardens, where the actual tour started. Unfortunately they had to chase a bum away who had been sleeping on Syd's bench.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
The incredible Mr. Mick Brown.

10.30 Pick-up by coach at the main entrance of the Botanical Gardens in Bateman Street.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
Warren Dosanjh, Alexander, Viv Brans.

Stops at:

183 Hills Road, Syd's house.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

The Cambridgeshire High School for Boys (now the Hills Road Sixth Form College), where Syd, Roger Waters, Bob 'Rado' Klose and Storm Thorgerson studied.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

Morley Primary Junior School where Mary Waters taught her son and Syd.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

The Friends Meeting House on Hartington Grove, where Geoff Mott & The Mottoes played their one and only gig.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

6 St. Margaret's Square, where Syd last lived after moving back to Cambridge.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits where some Birdie Hop members did a bizarre reenactment of the Syd's First Trip movie.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
Giulio Bonfissuto, Fernando Lanzilotto, Alexander, Brian Wernham, Viv Brans, Mario von Barrett, Libby Gausden, Neil Chisman, Tio Junior, Mary Cosco, Eva Wijkniet.

Grantchester Meadows: lunch stop with a pint (BYO) from the Blue Ball pub opposite.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
Neil Chisman, Peter Gilmour.

Walk on the meadows...

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
And a river of green is sliding unseen beneath the trees
Laughing as it passes through the endless summer
Making for the sea.

...and back on the bus at David and Peter Gilmour's house, 109 Grantchester Meadows.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

City walk (Corn Exchange, Union Cellar, King´s College, Market Square etc..)

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

18.30: meet at the Geldart for dinner and drinks.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
Mario von Barrett, Giulio Bonfissuto, Mrs & Dave "Dean" Parker, Fernando Lanzilotto.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Informal meet and goodbye greet at the Earl of Derby, 129 Hills Road for a full English breakfast from 8.30 in the morning or lunch from 12.00 for those who couldn't get out of bed. Unfortunately nobody seemed fit enough to take any pictures or wanted their pictures to be taken!

Birdie Hop

Be a part of the legend!

Why don't you join Birdie Hop, not only you'll be able to see all the pictures of this amazing journey, but you'll meet a bunch of friendly, sexy people!

The list of attendees of the 2013 meeting not only had the best Birdies around but also reads like a Cambridge Mafia wet dream: Libby Gausden Chisman, Neil Chisman, Jenny Spires, Viv Brans, Eva Wijkniet, Sven Wijkniet, Dave "Dean" Parker, Mrs. Parker, Vic Singh, Brian Wernham, Mick Brown, Peter Gilmour, Mary Cosco, Antonio (Tio Junior), Mario von Barrett (González), Fernando Lanzilotto, Giulio Bonfissuto, Hazel (Libby´s school-friend), George Marshall (school-friend of Syd and Roger Waters who happened to be drinking in the Blue Ball when the gang arrived), Gary Hill, Stephen Pyle (only Friday afternoon, afterwards he had to run a street fest), Warren Dosanjh (tour guide), Alexander P. Hoffmann (host)...

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
Two of a kind: Alexander & Warren Dosanjh.

Eva Wijkniet: Warren was the best tourguide and took us to the best pubs in Cambridge. Great guy to talk to and we have to thank him massively for the effort he made for us.

Brian Wernham: What a great day in Cambridge doing lots of Syd stuff, meeting some of Syd's old friends, Peter Gilmour and meeting some wonderful Syd fans as well!

Warren Dosanjh: I have guided nearly all Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett tours in Cambridge since 2006. But this was the best and most extraordinary ever.

Libby Gausden Chisman: too exhausted to tell you atm - I have lost my voice due to over talking and over laughing and over kissing and hugging - it was just the best time evah!

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting
A nice pair: photographers extraordinaires Vic Singh & Mick Brown.

A 'many thanks' line to end this article would merely repeat the people who are all cited above, but let's have an exception and thank the most extraordinary person who wrote the most peculiar kind of tunes.

Many thanks to Roger Keith 'Syd' Barrett, for making this all happen and for creating friends for a lifetime.

Birdie Hop 2013 Cambridge meeting

See you in 2015...

Update 03 01 2014: Mick Brown made a video of the event that we forgot all about, so - with over a half year's delay - here it is.
Update 16 06 2014: The copyright gestapo censored Mick Brown's original movie, so a second version was uploaded with an excellent soundtrack by Rich Hall (taken from his Birdie Hop and the Sydiots record).


Many thanks to: Alexander P. HB.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

A second Birdie Hop meeting took place in 2015: Iggy Rose in Cambridge.


2013-08-08

Reverends and Sydiots

5 years Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit: 5 years.

(This article contains a much concealed review of the Rich Hall album Birdie Hop and the Sydiots, to immediately access it, click here.)

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit celebrates its fifth birthday.

An official statement by the Reverend:

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is five years old. It has always taken an independent road and has maintained an ironic and satirical view on the Syd Barrett phenomenon and its fans.

We will, however, never spit on the fans. We have embraced the term Sydiot as our Geusenwort, meaning that we have reappropriated this derogatory nickname as an honorary title.

While we have the utmost respect for the casual Barrett fans, the cosmic brides (persons [m/f] who claim to have a relationship with Syd of some kind, often crossing spiritual boundaries) and the Sydiots, we intuitively question the official Barrett organisations, record companies and nincompoops who circle around Syd like vultures. We will not automatically endorse their websites, their records and their books... and this has not always been appreciated. It seems that nothing has changed much since those days in 1967 when Norman Smith was reprimanded by his boss:

EMI were ignorant, lazy and paranoid. I'd once been carpeted by Sir Joseph Lockwood, almost fired, told to stay away from courting Pink Floyd. But I took no notice.

If Norman Smith had obeyed we would never have had The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. Taking no notice was, is, and will always be the Holy Church's attitude, even if this puts us in the firing line of some of the minor half-gods and makes us wonder if this Church was just a waste of time. But:

This is my church
This is where I heal my hurt
It's a natural grace
Of watching young life shape
It's in minor keys
Solutions and remedies
Enemies becoming friends
When bitterness ends
This is my church
(Faithless, God is a DJ, 1998)

All tomfoolery aside, we are proud to have put a thing or two on the Floydian agenda in the past five years that would otherwise have stayed unnoticed. If we may lead you to one paragraph on this blog, that we are particularly fond of, it is this one and we constantly try to live by those standards. So-called social media make witnesses easy accessible nowadays but this doesn't give the Sydiot nor the Reverend a wildcard to constantly harass them with questions about how 'Syd really was'. Remember:

A granddaughter's smile today is of much more importance than the faint remembrance of a dead rock star's smile from over 40 years ago. (Taken from: We are all made of stars.)

And for those who don't agree the Church can only bring solace by citing the following words of that great Cantabrigian band:

So I open my door to my enemies
And I ask could we wipe the slate clean
But they tell me to please go fuck myself
You know you just can't win
(Pink Floyd, Lost For Words, 1994)

But this speech has been going on for too long, so...

Let's party!

It's a fucking birthday godammit! And we have exactly the right party album for that... and you can have yours too!

Rich Hall
Rich Hall.

Birdie Hop and the Sydiots

Richard Michael John Hall is a self-publishing artist in the 'alternative' or 'indie rock' genre with about a dozen releases on his name. In March 2013 he surprised the world with his songs The Reverend and Uncle Alex and it came to the Church's ears that this was going to be a part of a quintessential concept album. Written in about a month's time the album has been released a couple of weeks ago.

Birdies and Barretts

Birdie Hop and the Sydiots is named after a rather decent Facebook group and its members who range from the wacky to the insane now that an old cricketer has left the crease. Its first song, Birdie Hop, is a pastoral tune about this relatively calm oasis and how it is a reference to all who have enclosed Syd Barrett in their hearts.

I've seen your mother (and she's beautiful) is a track about our most cherished and most hated family member. Rich Hall perfectly catches that ambiguity (see also John Lennon & Roger Waters) but apparently that is not what the song is about. Let's just resume by saying that Barrett fans come in different colours and sizes. Cosmic brides are fans, who declare their unconditional love for Syd and sometimes meet him on a higher esoteric level. It is good that what happens in the spirit world cannot be seen by the naked eye although sometimes weird erotomanic anecdotes drip through. Cosmic brides are usually harmless, although they can be annoying when they start messaging people with important directives from the other side.

With Cheesecake Joe, a catchy hard rock tune built around one of Birdie Hop's most flamboyant members, the Birdie suite lifts off into the higher stratosphere. Cheesecake is the deadhead equivalent of the Floydian fan. He is the UFOnaut who still claims Pink Floyd is a stoner band and that their main message is to turn on, tune in & drop out...

The Reverend is the first highlight of the album, what a psychedelicate song, what a fine realistic description of this genius, what an adoration for Iggy the Eskimo, what a magic looking glass. But even after having heard this song for about 45 times I still don't know if the song really isn't an insult packaged as a gift. But walking the thin line between praise and mockery is what the Holy Church is all about. Great song. It should be a hit. Really.

A high-res Flash clip of this song can be found here.

The Reverend, by Rich Hall
The Reverend. Sound: Rich Hall. Vision: Felix Atagong. Hi-resolution Flash movie.

And for those who prefer a somewhat lighter YouTube version:

Just when you think that it can't get any better there is Uncle Alex, an ear-worm of a song. Not wanting to go too far into details I can only say that some of the apparently throw-away lines are far closer to the truth than you possibly can imagine. Rich Hall is a poignant observer. This should even be a bigger hit.

A videoclip for this song can be found on the Reverend's YouTube channel.

Solo en las Nubes could be the theme song for a Sergio Leone spaghetti western with Antonio Jesús as the vengeful balded bad-ass. On his own this man is responsible for most of the Barrett admiration in the Spanish-speaking world and thus he is, by definition, regarded as a potential danger by the powers that be. Speak out his name in a certain provincial university town, close by the river Cam, in East Anglia and gallows are spontaneously risen again. This is a song that should be played around camp-fires all over the world. This is an urban hymn.

Jenny and Libby makes me think of the Television Personalities for one thing or another. Throughout the song Rich Hall name-drops several Birdie Hop alumni and their doings. I wonder if the artist has amazing powers of observation and if he knew, when he wrote the song in spring 2013, that the refrain was predictive for the shape of things to come.

Jenny and Libby ends, what I call, the birdies section of the album. This is being followed by the madcap suite, a trilogy about the darker side of Barrettism where the weirdness, the madness and the obsessiveness turns into a Stephen King nightmare...

Blow Syd
Blow Syd.

Madcap Laughter & Hammerings

Fuggitaboutit, build around a fifties teenage tragedy song, is based upon the endless laments of certain self-proclaimed Barrett scholars.

Your Significant Other is a track about those weird trolls who infests groups with different aliases, spreading false information and starting discussions, sometimes among themselves, just for the sake of argument. So what's your name today, which identity will you choose?, is the question Rich Hall asks. Based upon a true story.

Yer List Monger. Call it this album's The Trial but with a haunting Twin Peakish atmosphere, a hot burning sun, a mad priest preaching on the telly about sin and redemption, a fat red-neck orating conspiracy theories at the end of the bar, suddenly spitting out the venomous question: are you real Syd Barrett fans? Dwarfs are passing by, walking backwards and speaking in tongues. Meet the Hannibal Lecter of the Syd Barrett world.

A Cry From The Outside

Birdie Hop and the Sydiots has its coda with a rather alienated version of Barrett's Feel that leaves me with a bitter-sweet taste in the mouth. It's puzzling, it's not nice. It's all dark, as a matter of fact.

At times Rich Hall's way of words makes me think of Jason Lytle and Lee Clayton, his music is a kaleidoscope of sounds that reminds my fragile memory of T-Rex, neo-psych or garage rock. But of course Rich Hall is at first Rich Hall and nobody else.

Throughout this article I have dispersed some quotes from Pink Floyd and I did catch some resemblances here and there with themes from The Wall, but that is probably because I've recently watched a Mr. Roger Waters show. Let's hope this album will never grow into a monster and that a 69 years-old Rich Hall will not be obliged to lip-synch next to a 130 metres long plastic wall with hi-tech projections and a ridiculous flying cactus balloon in the air.

You don't need to be a Birdie Hop member to enjoy this album as all songs stand by themselves, but if you grab this and listen to it why don't you let the birdies know what you think of it.

Birdie Hop and the Sydiots @ Bandcamp

Birdie Hop and the Sydiots
July 2013
Instruments & vocals by Rich Hall.
Mixed by Rich Hall and Ron Bay.
Mastered by Ron Bay.

Streaming & digital download (name your own price system, 0.00 is an option as well).


Sources (other than the above internet links):
Jefferies, Neil, Dartford's Finest Band, Record Collector 417, August 2013, p. 54-55.

Website: Richard Michael John Hall
BandCamp channel: RichMFHall
SoundCloud channel: RichMFHall
YouTube channel: RichFMHall

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Thanks: Anonymous • Freqazoidiac • Solo En Las Nubes • Psych62 • Anni • Bill • Euryale • Brooke • Jeff • Prydwyn • Chris • Helen • Sean • JenniFire • Sadia • Herman • JenS • Vince666 • Nipote • Gretta • Viv • Adenairways • Giuliano • Dolly • John • Babylemonade • Duggie • Synofsound • Mark • Xpkfloyd • Rich • Brett • Krackers • Peter • Phil • Zag • Warren • Listener • Bob • MOB • Nina • Dark Globe • Emily • Retro68special • Natashaa' • Vic • Jenny • Neonknight • Lord Drainlid • Ebronte • Simon • Ian • Will • Motoriksymphonia • NPF • Greeneyedbetsy • Anton • Hallucalation • PF Chopper • Lee • Felixstrange • Michael • PhiPhi • Eva • Cicodelico • Julian (Gian) • Denis • Dallasman • Emmapeelfan • Paro नियत • Ewgeni • Matt • Kiloh • Elizabeth • Alexander • Kirsty • Paul • Mohammed (Twink) • Nigel • Rusty • Braindamage • Pascal • Mark • Stanislav • Anthony • I Spy In Cambridge • Mick • Alain • Wrestling Heritage • Bloco do Pink Floyd • Moonwall • Rod • Charley • Amy • Joe • Griselda • Eternal • Dominae • Russell • Beate • KenB • Dan5482 • Tim • Antonio • Party of Clowns • Anne • Late Night • Lori • Colleen • Brian • Christopher • Jose • Göran • Jancy • Banjer and Sax • Ron • Vicky • ...and all those we have forgotten to mention!


2013-12-14

Happy Birthday Iggy Rose!

One

There is a story how Iggy the Eskimo, Syd Barrett and a bunch of other musicians gatecrashed a Speakeasy gig from a band that would become rather famous in prog, rock, jazz and even techno circles. It is a hilarious anecdote, with rumours of mandrax-champagne cocktails and a lot of twist and shouts. We can imagine how Iggy's roaring laugh echoed through the club, once you have heard that laugh, it is imprinted in your memory forever.

The Church is still trying to get some information, tie some loose ends, interview some people, especially as this happened in the mid-summer of 1969, when everyone thought Iggy had disappeared from Syd's life. Perhaps she did, perhaps they just met by accident that day. But that is for later.

Little things that matter.

Two

Birdie Hopper Manzano Meza Cota posted a Mick Rock picture a couple of days ago, it is a new one of Syd and Iggy, which makes us think that this old geezer still has got some hidden gems in his archive.

Iggy and Syd, Mick Rock
Iggy & Syd. Picture: Mick Rock.

Three

In a couple of hours it will be Iggy's birthday. As usual we were too late posting our card as we only did it this afternoon...

Happy Birthday, Iggy!
Happy Birthday, Iggy!

Should you not know it by now, it is Iggy's birthday! So this is the time and place to shout:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IGGY ROSE!

Four

LET'S PARTY!!! Please enjoy this mix of visual extravaganza that comes straight out of the hidden vaults of the Church. Swedish band Men On The Border were so kind to let us use one of their songs from their latest album Jumpstart. Thanks guys, you rock!

Men On The Border
Let's Party (yeah yeah)
Jumpstart © 2013

Five

And now for the classics:

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card (2011) contains a few seconds from a super-secret mid-Seventies home movie (and we added a nice tune as well). Flash link (warning: 5 MB!): Happy Birthday Iggy Rose! or YouTube:

Crystal Blue Postcards

An electronic book of poems and art, dedicated to Syd and his muses, by Denis Combet, with a little help from his friends Constance Cartmill and Allison Star. Digital artwork by Jean Vouillon and some tinkering from Felix Atagong (more about Denis Combet and his Iggy poem(s): Catwoman).

Crystal Blue Postcards (Flash pageFlip presentation, 2011).

Guitars and Dust Dancing by Rescue Rangers

Pascal Mascheroni, from the stoner power trio Rescue Rangers donated the haunting (& slightly psychedelic) power ballad Guitars and Dust Dancing from the album with the same name (buy your copy at iTunes: Guitars and Dust Dancing). In the meanwhile enjoy this Youtube clip with the smashing artwork from Jean Vouillon.

WHY DON'T YOU WISH IGGY A HAPPY BIRTHDAY?

Instead of reading and watching all this you should be heading at Facebook where you can leave your messages, poems, songs and images at: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and of course on Iggy's personal page as well.

Let's make this a birthday to remember, brethren and sistren and don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't do!


The Church wishes to thank Men On The Border (Phil Etheridge & Goeran Nystroem), Bruce Fleming, Mick Rock, Anthony Stern, Storm Thorgerson, Iggy Rose, unknown & anonymous..., Denis Combet, Pascal Mascheroni (Rescue Rangers), Manzano Meza Cota, Christopher Farmer & the nice people at Birdie Hop, Late Night and all the others that we seem to have forgotten...

Men On The Border
http://menontheborder.com/
http://www.facebook.com/MenOnTheBorder

Birdie Hop
http://www.facebook.com/groups/birdiehop

♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥


2013-12-24


2014-01-01

Love, Pain & Sorrow

Lindsay Corner, 1969
Lindsay Corner, 1969.

Happy New Year, sistren and brethren of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Another year has passed by, with ups and downs, with happiness and grief, with joy and pain... In our Inuit realm some people passed away unfortunately, and luckily some new ones were born... welcome Vasilisa Alla... to this world of magnets and miracles...

Browsing through our scrapbook with unfinished articles, pictures and movies for the Church we noted this report from our fashion department. It is a 1969 documentary about Ossie Clarke with Lindsay Corner as one of the models.

To quote our fashion specialist:

In the first bit Lindsey Corner is on the left, then in the yellow dress with the blonde in blue, then in the middle with a long pink thing, then again in yellow with the blonde. She's the one with darker blonde wavy hair basically.

And yes we are aware of the rumours that circle about Lindsay Corner and Gala Pinion since a year or two. And no, we don't know when this will see the light of day...

2013

2013 was a weird year for the Church and its Reverend. Again we thought we would not be able to write anything for our lustrum, but in the end we clocked down at 20 slightly stupendous articles.

We started anoraky enough with an article about Syd's hair-length in the early Seventies, this to please the female audience of our little cult: Hairy Mess. Sometimes the Reverend regressed into Brian Eno mood and then he wrote some ditty texts about sweet nothings: King's Road Chic(k).

For Easter Iggy and the Reverend were remembered in a song from Rich Hall (Songs of Praise) whose concept album Birdie Hop and The Sydiots was released around the Church’s fifth birthday: Reverends and Sydiots. Thanks Rich!

Among the monks

The Church's biggest scoop this year was made in collaboration with the Spanish Sole En Las Nubes blog. Not only did Antonio Jesús find back the article that started the infamous Oseira rumours, but he also managed to interview the author of the hoax, Jose Ángel González. The Church merely harvested Antonio's excellent work, like churches mostly do: Spanishgrass.

Facebook's thriving Syd Barrett community, Birdie Hop, organised a meeting in Cambridge with several young and less younger Barrett fans, friends and lovers. It was a most amazing meeting in remembrance of a man who wrote the most peculiar kind of tunes: Birdie Hop: wasn't it the most amazing meeting? 

Did Syd leave us a message in a letter from a decade ago? Sometimes the truth is more beautiful than the legend: Making it clear... 

2014

And that is what we will continue to do in 2014, make it a fantastic year, boys and girls! And everything seems so much brighter... Let's party! Thanks Men On The Border!


Many thanks to Alexander, Amy Funstar, Anonymous, Antonio Jesús, Babylemonade Aleph, Baron Wolman, Birdie Hop, Bob Archer, Brett Wilson, Cambridge News, Christopher Farmer, Col Turner, Dion Johnson, Elizabeth Voigt-Walter, Stanislav, Euryale, Göran Nyström, Herman van Gaal, HYGIY, Joanne 'Charley' Milne, Joe Perry, Jon Felix, Jonathan Charles, Jose Ángel González, Julia, Kiloh Smith, Kirsty Whalley, Late Night, Laughing Madcaps, Lori Haines, Mark Blake, MAY, Men On The Border, Michael Rawding, MvB, No Man's Land, Phil Etheridge, Psych62, Radharani Krishna, Rich Hall, Rod Harris, Ron Cooper, Simon Hendy, Stefan Mühle, USA National Register off Historic Places, Viper, Vita, Wolfpack, Younglight, Yves Leclerc... Love you Swoonies!

And if I go insane,
And they lock me away,
Will you still let me join in the game?

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥ Rich ♥ Alexander ♥ Liza ♥


2014-04-19


2014-08-08

666 is happy now

6
6.

Listening to the French Elli & Jacno minimalistic masterpiece L'âge atomique, from their 1980 synthpop album Tout Va Sauter, it suddenly dawned to the Reverend that the Church was, as the cliché goes, nearly 6 years young. Suddenly he felt 666 years old.

In a streak of well-rehearsed, but overacted and slightly pathetic drama, the Reverend looked for Robert Wyatt's Rock Bottom, probably the best record ever made, not in his CD collection, as he probably wouldn't find it, but on Spotify. Even old geezers have to go ahead with time.

"What am I doing it for", he sighed, "pearls for the swine", drinking a tequila. It was his first, but it wouldn't be his last.

The ping of an incoming mail message lead him to the hidden corners of the Late Night forum. It was a message of the Astral Piper's high priestess, who had telepathically received his cry for help. She wrote:

We two are the original dinosaurs.

At that exact moment Robert Wyatt sang:

Your lunacy fits neatly with my own
my very own
We're not alone...
(Sea Song)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Hamlet (1.5.167-8).

Happy sixth anniversary,
Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.

Iggy Rose, mid-70s

♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Thanks: Anonymous • Alexander P. HB • Anthony Stern • Antonio Jesus • B_squared • Baron Wolman • Beechwoods • Bruce Fleming • Carlton Sandercock • Christopher Farmer • Col Turner • Cyberspace • Demamo • Denis Combet • Didier Marouani • Dion Johnson • Ebronte • Eternal Isolation • FraKcman (Mark Graham) • Fred Frith • Gary Lucas • Gian Palacios • Giulio Bonfissuto • Göran Nyström • Hallucalation • Ian Barrett • Jim Gillespie • Joanne 'Charley' Milne • Jon Felix • Jonathan Charles • Keith Jordan • Kiloh Smith • Lisa Newman • Manzano Meza Cota • Mark Blake • Michael Rawding • Mick Brown • Mike Kemp • Mohammed Abdullah John 'Twink' Alder • Mr. Pinky • MvB • Orgone Accumulator • Pascal Mascheroni • Peter Jansens • Peter Jenner • Phil Etheridge • Psych62 • Radharani Krishna • Rich Hall • Rick Barnes • Saygeddylee • Stefan Mühle • Supervehicle • Syd Wonder • Sydzappa • Viper • Warren Dosanjh • Wolfpack • Younglight • Yves Leclerc


2014-12-12

The perfect Xmas gift: put Iggy on your fridge!

Flower Children by Anthony Stern
Flower Children (movie festival), Anthony Stern.

In April the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit reported about the Sydge that was part of Anthony Stern's new project that can more or less be followed on his Anthony Stern Films blog. Something will, hopefully sooner than later, be compiled on a DVD that will contain an overview of Stern's career. In September there was a screening of his movies at BFI that was immediately sold out and was described it as follows:

In the most swinging of decades Anthony Stern was friends with ‘Pink Floyd,’ worked closely with cult director Peter Whitehead and also shot a series of his own vibrant, playful 16mm titles. Infused with the spirit of the psychedelic lightshow and the French New Wave, they paint a joyous, celebratory picture of the 1960s counter culture as it came into full dizzy bloom. In Iggy the Eskimo Girl (1966. 4min), red double-deckers whizz by while Syd Barrett’s then-girlfriend cavorts joyously in the bright London sun; and in Nothing To Do With Me (1968. 35min) Stern’s mentor Peter Whitehead – arguably at the peak of his own creative powers – opens his mind and riffs on the themes of alienation and his relationship with the camera. Also included in the programme is the mind-bending, truly psychedelic San Francisco (1968. 15min), which features an unreleased version of the Floyd’s ‘Interstellar Overdrive,’ alongside never-before-seen footage of the USA in 1968.

The DVD is not out yet, but there is something else you can get from Ant. Those who didn't get a Sydge (Syd Barrett fridge magnet) in the past (see: Magnets & Miracles), can now buy a limited set from him, containing two magnets: one with Syd Barrett and the other one with Iggy, taken from one of the triptychs Ant made from her in 1967. We'll let Stern speak for himself:

Sydge & Iggnet
Sydge & Iggnet.

The Sydge & The Iggnet have landed!
Get your Sydge Magnet and Iggy Iggnet here!
£15 for both (excl. postage)
Please email anthony@anthonysternglass.com

An early bird told us these limited collectibles will have a numbered card of authenticity, signed by Anthony Stern and perhaps... someone else. So get yours now, as your life will otherwise be empty! You can take it horse riding or swimming... You can give it to the ones you care for. Don't leave your house without a Sydge or Iggnet.


Many thanks to: Anthony Stern. (The Church is not affiliated with or endorsed by this company.)
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2014-12-13

Happy Birthday Iggy Rose!

Magical Iggy

A couple of weeks ago Iggy and the Reverend browsed through a stash of mid-seventies photos and selected nearly 60. They have been (and will still be for quite a while) simultaneously published at Iggy's Facebook page and at the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit Tumblr site under the Magical Iggy flag.

How, you didn't know that existed? Here it is again, you ignorant people:
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit Tumblr blog, its Magical Iggy section and the Archive.

Magnetic Iggy

Have you seen our latest post about the Syd & Iggy magnet: The perfect Xmas gift: put Iggy on your fridge! To get one, please email anthony@anthonysternglass.com. We assure you that, for once, the money will be well spent.

Iggy magnet
Iggy the eskimo magnet. Picture: Anthony Stern.

Birthday Iggy -14th of December 2014

In less than an hour it will be Iggy's birthday. The Reverend fought blizzards, storms and packs of hungry wolves to go to Louvain's postal station to find out, then, that he had forgotten Iggy's birthday card at home.

Happy Birthday Iggy Rose!

Should you not know it by now, it is Iggy's birthday! So this is the time and place to shout:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IGGY ROSE!

Partytime Iggy

LET'S PARTY!!! Please enjoy this mix of tracks that have been made the past few years to celebrate our goddess. Swedish band Men On The Border were so kind to let us use one of their songs from their latest album Jumpstart. Thanks guys, you rock!

Men On The Border
Let's Party (yeah yeah)
Jumpstart © 2013

Reverends & Eskimos

In 2013 Rich hall made a concept album that has this fine pearl... (click on the image below for the hi-res Flash version)

The Reverend by Rich Hall (hi-res, Flash)
The Reverend by Rich Hall (hi-res, Flash).

For those who haven't got a Flash-enabled webbrowser, let's try it another way. Here is a, somewhat downgraded, version on Youtube, but don't let that spoil the fun.

Rich Hall
The Reverend
Birdie Hop © 2013.

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card (2011) contains a few seconds from a super-secret mid-Seventies home movie (and we added a nice tune as well). Flash link (warning: 5 MB!): Happy Birthday Iggy Rose! or YouTube:

Crystal Blue Postcards

An electronic book of poems and art, dedicated to Syd and his muses, by Denis Combet, with a little help from his friends Constance Cartmill and Allison Star. Digital artwork by Jean Vouillon and some tinkering from Felix Atagong (more about Denis Combet and his Iggy poem(s): Catwoman).

Crystal Blue Postcards
Crystal Blue Postcards, Denis Combet (Flash pageFlip presentation, 2011).

Guitars and Dust Dancing by Rescue Rangers

In 2011, Pascal Mascheroni, from the stoner power trio Rescue Rangers donated the haunting (& slightly psychedelic) power ballad Guitars and Dust Dancing from the album with the same name (buy your copy at iTunes: Guitars and Dust Dancing). In the meanwhile enjoy this Youtube clip with the smashing artwork from Jean Vouillon.

WHY DON'T YOU WISH IGGY A HAPPY BIRTHDAY?

Instead of reading and watching all this you should be heading at Facebook where you can leave your messages, poems, songs and images at: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and of course on Iggy's personal page as well.

Let's make this a birthday to remember, brethren and sistren and don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't do!


The Church wishes to thank Constance Cartmill, Denis Combet, Phil Etheridge, Amy Funstar, Rich Hall, Pascal Mascheroni, MAY, Goeran Nystroem, Allison Star, Anthony Stern, Jean Vouillon, Brett Wilson and all the others that we seem to have forgotten...
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥


2014-12-24


2015-01-01

Of Promises Broken

Sad Barrett
Sad Barrett. Artwork: Felix Atagong.

Happy New Year, sistren and brethren of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. 2014 is gone and again what a long strange trip it has been, to quote – once again - musician, lyricist and poet Robert Hunter. Syd Barrett is dead all right and unfortunately his legacy hasn't been ageing gratefully at all last year. An enlightened visionary once said that if you put two Barrett fans together they will start a group and if you'll put three they will start a fight. This is past year's history in a nutshell and enough reason for the Reverend to say adieu to all Facebook Syd Barrett groups, without exception, even the ones he co-founded. 2014 showed they are as unique as Pepsi is to to Coca Cola, perfect clones and excelling in superfluous and sickly sweet mediocrity. This crusty dinosaur needed to get rid of the bickering, the hijacking of each other's members, the shouting to and fro, the arrogant standpoint of people who never heard of Syd Barrett three months before but who feel it their constitutional right to surpass their ignorance and insult the old farts for the only reason they can.

Luckily there are still some free minds around who do the things they do, unburdened, in all artistic freedom and who we can call our friends. Rich Hall comes to mind, over the years this multi-instrumentalist has acquired an impressive back catalogue of indie records, with of course the impressive Birdie Hop & The Sydiots that appeared in 2013.

This year he surprised the lethargic Syd Barrett world with an enhanced version of the Barrett track Opel. Opal, as some people claim it should be, is a haunting tune and has some of Barrett's finest verse (crisp flax squeaks tall reeds) but it only exists as a demo. Hall added additional layers of guitar, thus creating something that could be close to the definitive Opel / Opal version.

Opel (upgrade) by Rich Hall
Opel (upgrade) by Rich Hall. Opens in a separate window.

Link: Opel (Rich Hall upgrade)

Rich Hall
Rich Hall.

Roger Keith Barrett Superstar

In the privacy of the confessional Rich had already whispered into the Reverend's ears that he was of the opinion that Barrett's seminal 1974 sessions could be turned into something more coherent and because nobody believed him, the Reverend included, he decided to give these tapes the Opel treatment as well.

The Dark Side of the Moon had made Pink Floyd a supergroup and their record companies decided to earn some quick cash, surfing on the success of the million seller. The first budget release was A Nice Pair (1973) that combined the Floyd's first two records, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and A Saucerful Of Secrets, although American copies had some alternative mixes of some of the tracks. Actually this was not such a bad idea, because in America Pink Floyd had been a relatively unknown band till then. The compilation hit the Billboard top 40.

For the first time American kids heard of Syd Barrett and his two solo albums, that had never crossed the ocean, were re-packaged in 1974 as a double album with a 'founder member of Pink Floyd' sticker on the front. The album rose to position 163 in the American charts, which was an unexpected success and made the record executives hunger for more at both sides of the Atlantic.

Bryan Morrison, who was still Barrett's agent, convinced Syd to get back in the studio with Peter Jenner (who we interviewed this year: An innerview with Peter Jenner) to start a third studio project, but it only resulted in some hastily shambolic recordings. But now, in 2014, Rich Hall took the 1974 demos, added extra guitar, bass, drums and sleigh bells (where would rock music be without sleigh bells?) and here is how it sounds. The result is still best described as your drunk uncle torturing his guitar on Christmas eve after his fourth coffee cognac, but kudos to Hall for enriching the demos. At least we hear now where it could have led into if only Barrett would have had the balls...

Tracklisting: Start
Boogie #1 (with a trace of Bo Diddley’s ‘Pretty Thing’) 0'00
Boogie #2 1'28
Boogie #3 2'58
If You Go #1 4'24
If You Go #2 6'38
Untitled 8'25
Slow Boogie 9'40
Fast Boogie 12'22
Ballad 13'30
John Lee Hooker (actually Lighting' Hopkins' Mojo Hand) 15'20
Chooka-Chooka Chug Chug 18'18

Endless Insults

Opposed to a band called Pink Floyd there is a company with the same name that seems to have other interests than to serve the band it represents, even going as far as insulting and legally threatening webmasters and active forum members (read: über-fans) because they dare to write something that doesn't fit into saint David's money scheme, who thinks he is the caretaker of all things Syd Barrett, which – in reality – means buying all possible Barrett-related items, movies and recordings and hiding them in a storage place, out of sight of the public and the fans. Ted Shuttleworth about his Crazy Diamond movie script in 2011:

Presently, the script is with a guy who has been placed in charge of the Syd Barrett estate. He is also David Gilmour's manager, and ostensibly Pink Floyd's manager as well. I have no idea if he's ever read it. I imagine he hasn't. But if a movie about Syd is ever going to seriously happen, he is the man who is going to give the first OK. Maybe one of these days he'll call me back. (Taken from: Ted Shuttleworth and the "Crazy Diamond" Movie)

Well, in the case of the Crazy Diamond movie, that was equally trashed down by Roger Waters and by David Gilmour, this might have been a good thing.

Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band.

The Last Minute Never Mentioned Boogie Band

Not that the webmasters of the Pink Floyd fan sites are any better. The three big Pink Floyd fan-sites, two of them serious and a third who copies all from the others, wet their trousers whenever a Floyd member or Floyd collaborator does a 'thing' however trivial that 'thing' might be. The Igquisition made a nice table about some recent Floydian events, counting the times they have been mentioned.

   

Event Person AFG BDA NPF
Goldtop 1957 auction Snowy White 2 1 0
Bombay Bicycle Club David Gilmour 1 1 1
Kirsty Bertarelli Nick Mason 1 1 1
Signal To Noise Andy Jackson 2 3 0
The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band Syd Barrett 0 1 0

Of course we don't mind that Snowy White selling his 1957 Goldtop Standard Les Paul guitar gets a mention, it can be heard on the 8-track version of Animal's Pigs On The Wing (this track was later re-issued on Snowy's Goldtop compilation).

It is not more than normal that Nick Mason, sitting in on drums on a (frankly dreadful) Kirsty Bertarelli Christmas single (The Ghosts Of Christmas Past), or David Gilmour, joining Bombay Bicycle Club at the last gig ever on Earls Court, is documented on the fan-sites, that is what fan-sites are for.

But that Andy Jackson's solo album gets mentioned 5 times more by the fan-sites than the The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band, with Syd Barrett guesting on 3 tracks, is frankly unbelievable. The original tape of this concert was confiscated in 1985, in a rather NSA-shaped way, by a Pink Floyd black suit and then hurled into the maelström they call their archive (see: The Last Minute Put Together Reel Story). Luckily a second copy of this tape was found back in 2005 and issued by Easy Action records after nearly a decade of legal struggle.

When I am A Good Dog They Sometimes Throw Me A Bone In

That Neptune Pink Floyd is not aware of this release is probably just a sign of their overall ignorance. However it is more problematic for A Fleeting Glimpse not mentioning it. Col Turner, by his own words a fan of Pink Floyd since 1966, should be well aware of Syd Barrett's importance and legacy. His website, that has attracted over 50 million visitors and whose forum has over 13000 members, brags that it is the most accurate, the most informed and the first to come out with officially confirmed news. Not mentioning the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band could be a sign that Col T only publishes what his One Fifteen puppet master allows him to publish, as the Endless River incident has clearly proven past year (see: The loathful Mr. Loasby and other stories...).

Update 2015 08 02: Browsing through the Late Night forum we came across a post from Lee Wood who made the Syd's Cambridge DVD Box Set, limited to 100 copies, in 2009. He send a copy of the box to one of the leading Pink Floyd fan-sites but was informed by the webmaster that they would not review the release. Lee Wood:

"The Management" of PF seems to like total control. I sent a review copy of the box set to Brain Damage whom I always thought were a good source of information but they couldn't run a review until they got permission from official sources. Needless to say it's been several months and nothing has appeared. So perhaps its not worth looking to them for unbiased information or any form of news of interest to fans. (Source: Syd's Cambridge Box Set.)

Oh by the way, the official Syd Barrett website never mentioned the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band release either. But they are a One Fifteen product as well, and as such only interested in selling t-shirts, some of those are quite nice even.

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit published several articles about this record, with interviews of Carlton Sandercock, Mohammed Abdullah John Alder (Twink for short) and Fred Frith. Pearls for the swine, one might say, because even the self-proclaimed Syd Barrett fans largely ignored this release and were openly shouting for the tracks to be illegally published on YouTube.

Spanishgrass album 2014
Spanishgrass album 2014.

Caca Del Toro

When a Mexican Syd Barrett fan asked the Church, in May 2012, if we knew anything about a third solo album, allegedly recorded in a Spanish monastery, we didn't know this old urban legend would rip the Barrett community open like zombies with their entrails gushing out of their bellies.

All the Church did was looking into this (obvious) myth and reporting about it. The research was taken a step further by Antonio Jesús from the phantasmagorical blog Solo En Las Nubes who not only tracked down the rumour to its source, an article in a satirical magazine, but also managed to interview the person who started this hoax. What we thought was a fine piece of investigative journalism, taking months of research (the last articles were published in 2013), was considered inappropriate by those people who fill their time by studying the hair-length of Barrett (see: Hairy Mess) on coloured photographs that were once published in magazines back home.

However, the myth was far from over. In August of this year, four reel-to-reel tapes were sent in a luxury 'immersion' box to 4 people on 3 continents containing a 2014 re-imagination of the record. Two of them were the people who had published the Spanishgrass files on their blogs: Antonio Jesús & the Reverend. The two others were Rick Barnes, record collector, music investigator, administrator of the Facebook Syd Barrett group Birdie Hop and Stanislav Grigorev, whose Floydian con-artistic artwork even fooled the professionals that are Barrett's management.

Obviously the Church reported and commented about this (quite intriguing and musically excellent) record and published a review when it was streamed on Bandcamp (see: Spanishgrass by Spanishgrass, a review of the 2014 album). Useless to say that it was mostly disregarded by those fans who squawk orgasmically over photoshopped Barrett images where it looks as if someone has just vomited a bowl of three-coloured pasta all over him.

The general disinterest and the continuous backstabbing was a sign o' the times, so thought the Reverend, to seek up new pastures and to say goodbye with a cheerful bless you all.

Welcome to 2015.


♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2015-02-22

Uschi Obermaier: Proletarian Chic

Uschi Obermaier? Not!
Not Uschi Obermaier.

Do a combined Syd Barrett Uschi Obermaier search on Google and you get approximate 4600 results tying both celebrities together, the first results being 'who's dating who' (now called Famousfix) related finds. On the fifth place, although this result will change from computer to computer is an entry from the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, but not the regular one.

Iggy's church can be found on various places on the interweb, most of the time just to gather some dust. One branch office though, is alive and kicking, and operates more or less independently from its headquarters. It is on the microblogging Tumblr platform, is aptly called The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and can be found at the following address: http://iggyinuit.tumblr.com.

The first image that is presented, also on the Famousfix platform, is the one of Syd Barrett on a Formentera beach, standing behind a woman who hides her nudity behind a red veil. That picture is actually copyrighted and belongs to John Davies who took the picture when he went to the island in summer 1969.

Update 2015 02 25: John Davies contacted us to get some facts right.

The photo of the naked girl behind the red scarf was taken by Imo (Ian Moore) and not by me although I used it in an article I wrote about Cambridge, and credited Imo. Secondly, I went to Formentera first in 1963, with some friends from Cambridge, including Richard Eyre. We raved about the island so much that other friends started going there in the mid-sixties, including dear Syd. I still spend a lot of time there and one or two of those Cambridge "hipsters" still live there.

The article from John Davies can be found at A Fleeting Glimpse: The John Davies Collection. In another Church post (from 2012, time flies!) we have highlighted the yearly trek from the Cambridge hipsters to the island of Formentera: Formentera Lady.

John Davies

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

...made the transformation from schoolboys to aspiring beatniks’, swapping school uniforms for black polo necks and leather jackets, listening to Miles Davis, riding Vespas and smoking dope purchased from American GIs on the neighbouring airforce bases at Lakenheath and Mildenhall.

He was, with Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon, one of the people who mastered the Gaggia espresso machine in the coffee-house El Patio and who (probably) had his hand in the till when the boss wasn't around, as noted down by Nick Sedgwick in his roman à clef Light Blue with Bulges:

Lunch times, just keep the till open, ring up only half of the orders, keep a check on the rest, then pocket the difference.

Nick Sedgwick

Nick Sedgwick, who sadly passed away in 2011, wrote a Pink Floyd 'on tour' biography in the mid-seventies, but this was never published because none of the characters came out very well, with the exception of Roger Waters, who had commissioned the book. In August 2011 Waters promised to respect his friend's dying wish and release the manuscript as 'a simple PDF, a hardback version, and a super de-luxe illustrated limited edition' (see: Immersion). Transferring a typoscript to PDF literally takes a few minutes, but nothing has moved three and a half years later and the Church fears that this is just another case of the ongoing Waters vs Gilmour feud still lurking behind their smiling faces and fat wallets.

The Church has dedicated some space to the above picture before on the post Formentera Lady throwing the hypothesis around that the woman was one of Syd Barrett's girlfriends nicknamed Sarah Sky. This explanation was given to the Church by a Barrett fan who quoted her grandmother, but communication was interrupted before we could get more into details.

According to Emo (Iain Moore) however, the girl was an American tourist who was visiting Formentera for a day and had arrived at the house they all rented, close to a nude beach.

Famous Groupies

In December 2013 The Groupie Blog claimed the woman on the picture is German photo-model Uschi Obermaier. This was followed by another post in January 2014 where the author pretends Syd Barrett used to hit Obermaier when he had hysteria attacks.

Obviously the Church wanted to get further into this as none of the biographies mention any kind of romantic (nor aggressive) involvement between the two of them. As the (anonymous) author of the groupies blog was not contactable Uschi's autobiography High Times / Mein Wildes Leben was bought and searched for any Syd Barrett entries.

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

Wild Thing

First things first: Obermaier's autobiography is a fine read, a three to three and a half star rating out of five.

Born in 1946 Uschi escapes the German conservative square society in the mid-sixties by clubbing at the Big Apple and PN in Munich where she is rapidly adopted by the in-crowd because of:
a) her good looks,
b) her dancing abilities and
c) her free spirit attitude.

She meets with Reinhard 'Dicky' Tarrach from The Rattles, who will have an international hit with The Witch, and soon promotes to international bands like The Kinks, whose Dave Davies is such an arrogant male chauvinist pig he deserves a separate entry. She is discovered by a photographer and a career as photo-model is launched.

Around 1967 Neil Landon from the hastily assembled The Flower Pot Men has a more than casual interest and he invites her to swinging London but she leaves as soon as she finds out about his jealous streaks. Back in Germany she doesn't fit in everyday society any more. She joins the alternative Amon Düül commune, following drummer Peter Leopold, and she makes it on a few of their jam-session albums as a maracas player.

Commune Love
Rainer Langhans & Uschi Obermaier, November 1969.

Through Amon Düül she falls in love with Rainer Langhans from Kommune 1 (K1). The Berlin communards live by a strict Marxism-Leninism doctrine where everything belongs to the group and everyday family life is forbidden. Individualism is totally annihilated at a point that even the toilet has its doors removed and telephone conversations need to be done with the speaker on. Good-looking Rainer and cover-girl Uschi become a media-hyped alternative couple, the German John and Yoko avant la lettre. She is by then Germany's most wanted, and some say: best paid, photo-model and as such not accepted by the community hardliners. Drinking cola or smoking menthol cigarettes is considered counter-revolutionary.

In January 1969 Uschi hears that Jimi Hendrix is in town and they meet for some quality time (short clip on YouTube). He visits the commune which gives it another popularity boost. Despite its utopian rules the communards have their intrigues, jealousies and hidden agendas, it becomes a heroin den and when one of the more extremist inhabitants hides a bomb in the house the place is raided by the police. Later that year the commune disbands. (It was also found out that the bomb was planted by an infiltrator, spying for the police.)

The couple moves for a while into the Munich Frauenkommune (women's commune), where their bourgeois manners and star allures aren't appreciated either, but you won't read that in Obermaier's memories. Movie director Katrin Seybold:

Do you remember when Uschi Meier and Rainer Langhans stayed with us? They really moved in at our place, like residents. And while the person who happened to have money normally bought twenty yoghurts for all of us, they bought the double for themselves and hid it in their room. They were a narrow-minded philistine couple within our community. They were not a bit generous. (Katrin Seybold and Mona Winter in Frauenkommune: Angstlust der Männer. Translation by FA.)

Leaving the all-women group in 1970 the couple starts the High-Fish (a pun on German Haifisch, or shark) commune, this time not a communist but a hedonistic group where sex, drugs and rock'n roll are combined into art happenings and/or sold as porn movies. The mansion may well have been the German equivalent of London's 101 Cromwell Road, which was some kind of LSD temple and the place where Syd Barrett used to live with some 'heavy, loony, messianic acid freaks', to quote Pete Jenner. (See also: An innerview with Peter Jenner )

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

The Munich Incident

In March 1970 the High-Fish commune was the centre of a rock'n roll tragedy if we may believe some accounts. In vintage Fleetwood Mac circles the event is better known as the Munich Incident. Ultimate Classic Rock:

“It was a hippie commune sort of thing,” said Fleetwood Mac guitarist Jeremy Spencer. “We arrived there, and [road manager] Dennis Keane comes up to me shaking and says, “It’s so weird, don’t go down there. Pete [Green] is weirding out big time and the vibes are just horrible.” Green was already set to leave the band, but this was, as [Mick] Fleetwood put it, “the final nail in the coffin.” Friends say Green was never the same after the Munich incident. (Taken from: 38 Years Ago: Fleetwood Mac Founder Peter Green Arrested for Pulling Shotgun on His Accountant.)

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

It's true that we, or more accurately, Pete [Green] was met at Munich airport by a very beautiful girl [Uschi Obermaier] and a strange guy in a black cape [Rainer Langhans]. Their focus was definitely Pete for some reason. The rest of us didn't get it, but we discussed the weird vibes. We were invited to their mansion in the Munich forest that night. Pete was already jamming down in the basement (…) when I arrived with Mick [Fleetwood]. Dennis Keane [road manager] met us in the driveway, ashen faced and freaking out over the bad vibes and how weird Pete was going. I don't think Dennis was stoned, he just wanted to get out. (…) Anyway the house (more like a mansion) was a rich hippy crash pad. And it was spooky. There was some weird stuff going on in the different rooms. (Taken from: The Munich accident.)

Road manager Dennis Keane maintains they were spiked:

When we went inside there was a party of about 20 people sat around, we were offered a glass of wine, and the next thing I knew all hell broke loose in my head - we'd been drugged. Nobody had offered us any tablets; they just went and spiked us. (Taken from: Celmins, Martin: Peter Green: The Authorised Biography, Sanctuary, 2003)
Miss Kommune
Uschi Obermaier, "Miss Kommune".

Over the years the Munich Incident may have been exaggerated and Rainer Langhans, in his (free) autobiography, tries to bring the incident back to its true proportions:

After the performance of Fleetwood Mac in Munich, at the Deutsche Museum, the band went to the hotel. Peter Green came along with us, with the High-Fish people. (...) I quickly befriended him but he did not talk much. We were both, in a way, soul mates. A soft, vulnerable and loving man. Uschi had no special connection with him. She did not find him physically attractive. He was too hairy, she said, and also the music of Fleetwood Mac was too soft and not 'rocky' enough, while I found it very beautiful. We spent the night together with him, tripping, jamming and floating through the rooms on LSD. (...)
  
We met him twice in London in the next couple of weeks. It was him who brought us in contact with the Stones and Uschi was able to fulfill her dream of finally starting an affair with Jagger. With Fleetwood Mac everything seemed to be fine, but then Peter Green suddenly dropped out of the band. We heard he was so disgusted with the music business that he no longer wanted to be there. Much later the band put the responsibility on the night he was with us in Munich and claimed his trip with us had completely changed him. (Translated from German to English by FA.)

Peter Green's decline and retreat from the music industry is often compared to Syd Barrett's 1967 breakdown and although his descend into madness can't be linked to one single event, just as in the Barrett case, the gargantuan trip at the High-Fish community may have pushed him closer to the edge.

Conveniently Uschi Obermaier's excellent memory suddenly fails her when it comes to the Munich Incident. There is not a single word about it in her autobiography, but the Frauenkommune testimony from above already shows she can be rather discrete if she wants to.

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

Reeperbahn Prince

With their days of Marxist collectivism gone, she and Langhans are thinking of organising a German Woodstock festival. Peter Green does what is asked of him and a few days later the couple is standing in a London studio where Mick Jagger is working on Sticky Fingers. It is satisfaction at first sight and a treat for the paparazzi.

But German Woodstock never happens, the relation with Rainer Langhans comes to an end and Uschi, now an international photo-model, jumps back into the Munich nightlife, replacing the diet of Champagne and Quaaludes with the trendier heroin. In Hamburg she meets Dieter Bockhorn, who is officially an eccentric Reeperbahn strip-club owner and they start a turbulent relationship. When the Rolling Stones are in Germany for some recordings she gradually replaces Mick Jagger for Keith Richards, following them on a European tour and joining them in the USA. Bockhorn is not amused.

From then on she will have a bizarre love triangle: everyday life with Dieter and meeting Keith whenever his touring schedule allows him. She will always have a soft spot for Richards: “The most honourable bad boy I knew – and I knew some.”

In the mid-seventies Obermaier and Bockhorn, who has made the move to heroin as well, follow the hippie trail to Asia in a converted bus. It will be a trip through Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and India that takes 622 days, 55141 kilometres with many weird, unbelievable adventures and a few narrow escapes. German press, as always, is interested in the adventures of Germany's baddest Kultpaar (cult couple) and they are regularly interviewed and photographed 'on the road'.

Back in Hamburg Uschi obviously returns to modelling but the couple fails to adapt to the western world and their relationship suffers gravely. She remarks that the hippie days are over and that punks have taken over the street. Bockhorn's business has suffered from the 20 months they were abroad and he struggles with monetary, legal and not quite so legal problems. They make plans to leave for America as soon as they can afford to leave.

In November 1980 they arrive in the USA where they will do a Kerouac, heroine free after an obliged detox boat journey. In summer they roam the continent and for three consecutive winters they stay in an alternative hippies and bikers camp in Baja California (Mexico). It is in Cabo San Lucas that Keith Richards arrives one day, carrying a guitar under the arm and giving a one man campfire gig on the beach, much to the amazement of the stoned onlookers. In the third year money has run out and the dharma bum life, with loads of alcohol, 'grass' and promiscuity, weighs heavily on both of them. On the last day of 1983 a drunk Dieter Bockhorn crashes his motorcycle on a truck ending his wild life.

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

Biography

For a while a depressed Uschi Obermaier feels that she has achieved nothing in her life and that she only got there through her pretty face. One of her pastimes is scrimshaw and she starts designing jewellery that she sells through the exclusive Maxfield store in Los Angeles, where Madonna and Jack Nicholson buy their trinkets. While she is certainly not an airhead and may have talent as an artist it can't be denied that her career is a case of, what the Germans amusingly describe as, Hurenglück.

On top of that the Krauts simply can't have enough of her. The story of her life as a groupie, a junkie, a starlet, her relations with a communist rebel, some Rolling Stones and a Reeperbahn crook who thought he was the Hamburg equivalent of Ronnie Kray make her autobiography Mein Wildes Leben (literally: my wild life) a page-turning bestseller.

It is followed by a biopic Das Wilde Leben, a home-country hit, but not abroad where it is baptised Eight Miles High. Reviews vary, but in our opinion it is a pretty average movie, with uneven and often caricatural scenes (check the Mick vs Keith scene for a ROTFL) and frankly Natalia Avelon's gorgeous cleavage has more depth than the script.

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

Back To Barrett

But to finally get back to the initial subject of this post, because in fine Church tradition we seem to have gone astray for a while.

Did Uschi Obermaier have a love-interest in Syd Barrett?
Did they meet at Formentera?
Did he hit her when he had hysteria attacks?

No.
No.
No.

We're afraid the answer is a triple no.

Doesn't Mein Wildes Lebens mention Syd Barrett at all?

Yes, his name is dropped once. He is mentioned in a comparison between Swinging London and 'its psychedelic music scene from early Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett' and the grey, conservative atmosphere in Germany where girls in miniskirts were insulted on the street.

Could Uschi have met Syd Barrett in Germany?

No. Vintage Pink Floyd, with Barrett in the band, never played Germany. A gig for the TV show Music For Young People in Hamburg, on the first and second of August 1967 was cancelled.

How about Syd hitting her?

The Barrett - Obermaier hysteria attack rumour is probably a mix-up from Syd's alleged violence towards his girlfriends and the tumultuous relationship between Obermaier and Bockhorn, who once pointed a gun at her and pulled the trigger (luckily the weapon jammed).

So how about Uschi Obermaier hiding her precious body behind a red veil on Formentera in the summer of 1969?

She writes that she visited Ibiza (the island next to Formentera) on the day Mick Jagger married Bianca, so that places the event in May 1971, nearly two years after Syd's Formentera picture. When Barrett was strolling on the beach Uschi was either at K1 in Berlin or at the Frauenkommune in Munich.

Well, I'm still not convinced until Uschi Obermaier herself tells us it never happened.

Why didn't you ask before, because we did. We managed to pass Uschi Obermaier the question through a mutual contact and we even got an answer back. Uschi Obermaier on the first of February 2015:

They are right, this is NOT me, they researched right. I was at this time either in Berlin or back in Munich.

Case closed then. Unless Sarah Sky wants to come forward, obviously.


Many thanks to: Bianca Corrodi, John Davies, Little Queenies, Nina, Uschi Obermaier, Jenny Spires.
This is, more or less, an update of a previous article that can be found here: Formentera Lady.

Sources (other than the above internet links):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 28, 83.
Langhans, Rainer: Ich Bin's, pdf version, 2008, p 39.
Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 38.
Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 67.
Sedgwick, Nick: Light Blue With Bulges, Fourth estate, London, 1989, p. 37.

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


2015-06-14

Iggy Rose in Cambridge

Iggy Rose by Vic Singh
Iggy Rose by the legendary Vic Singh.

The second weekend of June has the second Cambridge biennial Birdie Hop meeting, with special guest stars: Viv Brans, Vic Singh, Peter Gilmour, Men On The Border, Jenny Spires, Warren Dosanjh, Libby Gausden, Dave 'Dean' Parker & Iggy Rose (and some more).

Unfortunately the Facebook group for this event has been closed for prying eyes, but some pictures and videos have already leaked out.

Iggy Rose and Goran Nystrom
Iggy Rose, in great shape, & Göran Nyström from Men on the Border.

Pictures and videos will be regularly uploaded to the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit Tumblr page, as soon as the Holy Igquisiton gets hold of them.

Iggy Rose admiring a record cover
Iggy Rose admiring a record cover. Picture: Mick Brown.

For the latest (public) pictures and videos of the 2015 Birdie Hop event, please check: http://iggyinuit.tumblr.com/tagged/june-2015.
Our review of the first Birdie Hop meeting in 2013: Birdie Hop: wasn't it the most amazing meeting? 


Many thanks to: Sandra Blickem, Mick Brown, Warren Dosanjh, Vanessa Flores, Tim Greenhall, Alex Hoffmann, Antonio Jesus (Solo En Las Nubes), Douglas Milne, Göran Nyström (Men On The Border), Vic Singh, Abigail Thomson-Smith, Eva Wijkniet...
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2015-12-13

Happy Birthday Iggy Rose!

Lost for words. That is what we are this year, with only a few hours left to celebrate Iggy’s birthday, on the fourteenth of December. Next to a legend, she is also a good personal friend and an incorrigible prankster. Today as well she managed to confuse us with one of her practical jokes that made us shake our head in disbelief. She’s a real sweetie, our Ig.

So, dear sistren and brethren, followers of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, let us raise our glasses high to the Eskimo, because without her this earth would be quite a dreary place.

Birthday Greetings, Felix Atagong
Birthday Greetings, Felix Atagong.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IGGY ROSE!

And because traditions are traditions, and meant to be kept alive, we will continue with our annual sing-along and poetry reading that turn this birthday into a real birthday bash.

Partytime Iggy

LET'S PARTY!!! Please enjoy this mix of tracks that have been made the past few years to celebrate our goddess. Swedish band Men On The Border were so kind to let us use one of their songs from their latest (studio) album Jumpstart. Thanks guys, you rock!

Men On The Border
Let's Party (yeah yeah)
Jumpstart © 2013

Reverends & Eskimos

In 2013 Rich hall made a concept album that has this fine pearl... (click on the image below for the hi-res Flash version)

The Reverend by Rich Hall.
The Reverend. Sound: Rich Hall. Vision: Felix Atagong. (hi-res, Flash)

For those who haven't got a Flash-enabled webbrowser, let's try it another way. Here is a, somewhat downgraded, version on Youtube, but don't let that spoil the fun.

Rich Hall
The Reverend
Birdie Hop © 2013.

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card

Iggy's Electronic Birthday Card (2011) contains a few seconds from a super-secret mid-Seventies home movie (and we added a nice tune as well). Flash link (warning: 5 MB!): Happy Birthday Iggy Rose! or YouTube:

Crystal Blue Postcards

An electronic book of poems and art, dedicated to Syd and his muses, by Denis Combet, with a little help from his friends Constance Cartmill and Allison Star. Digital artwork by Jean Vouillon and some tinkering from Felix Atagong (more about Denis Combet and his Iggy poem(s): Catwoman).

Crystal Blue Postcards, Denis Combet.

Link: Crystal Blue Postcards (Flash pageFlip presentation, 2011).

Guitars and Dust Dancing by Rescue Rangers

In 2011, Pascal Mascheroni, from the stoner power trio Rescue Rangers donated the haunting (& slightly psychedelic) power ballad Guitars and Dust Dancing from the album with the same name (buy your copy at iTunes: Guitars and Dust Dancing). In the meanwhile enjoy this Youtube clip with the smashing artwork from Jean Vouillon.

WHY DON'T YOU WISH IGGY A HAPPY BIRTHDAY?

Instead of reading and watching all this you should be heading at Facebook where you can leave your messages, poems, songs and images at: The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and of course on Iggy's personal page as well.


The Church wishes to thank Constance Cartmill, Denis Combet, Phil Etheridge, Amy Funstar, Rich Hall, Pascal Mascheroni, MAY, Goeran Nystroem, Allison Star, Anthony Stern, Jean Vouillon, Brett Wilson and all the others that we seem to have forgotten...
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥


2015-12-24


2016-07-29

Coming Back To Life (David Gilmour, Tienen)

Yesterday I had the privilege of watching David Gilmour perform at the historical marketplace of the small city of Tienen. I'm very glad my LA-girl pushed me to get tickets as I was so disappointed in his solo album I didn't even wanted to go. You can read my review of the Rattle That Lock (RTL) album at: Attack the troll!

David Gilmour, Tienen
David Gilmour, Tienen.

First Set

The concert started with three RTL-tunes and although they certainly have more balls in a live rendition, it didn't really help me to get in the mood. Actually I found the ambient-soundscape before the concert way better. Rattle That Lock had lost the annoying sample it was build around but that still doesn't make it a good song. What Do You Want From Me gave the concert a necessary kick-start, but as it was followed by The Blue the flow sank down like a soufflé that has just been taken out of the oven. So far the concert had just been hot air.

There was a second highlight with The Great Gig In The Sky with excellent vocal work by the backing singers, two ladies and a man. David Gilmour used the opportunity to say that the song had been written by Rick Wright, forgetting the little fact this the concert was actually taking place on Rick's birthday, but perhaps he had a valid reason as he also had his wedding anniversary to remember the next day. Understandably Great Gig was followed by A Boat Lies Waiting, Gilmour's musical eulogy to his old friend, but although I appreciate his honest effort to commemorate his friend it still is pretty average.

The set kept yoyoing between classics and RTL. Wish You Were Here, followed by Money, then In Any Tongue, the only song on his latest album that shows a momentarily glimpse of Floydian grandeur. High Hopes finished the first set.

As far as I was concerned, I couldn't call this a good concert by now. The general flow of the music was spoiled by the lesser RTL tracks, dragging the Floydian classics down. I gave it a 65% rating and was getting a bit depressed.

David Gilmour, Tienen
David Gilmour, Tienen.

Second Set

But I also remembered my previous David Gilmour concert, in Amsterdam, in 2006, where the public politely applauded after the obligatory bunch of On An Island, but not with much gusto. The second set, however was an eargastic spectacle with Echoes. Of course, in those days, Rick was still moving the Moog, getting a standing ovation from the crowd.

The second set could only be better, I braindamaged myself. Luckily, it was.

Astronomy Domine hit my body like a cocaine snort. Fuck, fuck and triple fuck. This was an entry with a big E. Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Fat Old Sun. Then a drop down with Dancing Right In Front Of Me, one of the unnecessary fillers on RTL. But the upward momentum couldn't be stopped. Coming Back To Life was a treat and On An Island couldn't spoil the good mood I was in (that album is quite an intimate and exquisite jewel compared to Rattle, if you ask me).

The Girl In The Yellow Dress is just a San Tropez throw-it-away kind of song, so I just put my attention on things I could pick in my nose.

It was finally time to work towards an apotheosis. First with the obnoxious floor-filling disco of Today, that I loathed on the record, but that seemed more or less to do its work here. If you have to pick one memorable tune from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason, it is without a doubt Sorrow. Feeling the bass tones tremble in your stomach is a goosebumps experience. Run Like Hell is one of the worst Pink Floyd tracks if you ask me, but as a concert highlight it is.. well, a highlight. This was not a Pink Floyd tribute band, this was the real deal, helped by Mr. Brickman's fabulous light and laser show and an ear-splitting volume that you normally only have at Iron Maiden shows.

The second set also had its deal of yoyoing, but the last quarter made my rating rise to 80%

David Gilmour, Tienen
David Gilmour, Tienen.

Encores

The encores started with some ticking clocks, enough for the public to go berserk. A drizzle had started at exactly the moment when Gilmour sang 'outside the rain, fell dark and slow', but now it was pouring. (A proof that this man has some connections at Valhalla.)

Lucky for me because so nobody could see the tears running from my face. Time was given the full treatment with Breathe (Reprise) and that seeded without a break into the song everyone was waiting for: Comfortably Numb.

What can one say about Comfy? Let's say nothing about it as mortal beings have not the words for it. Tongue-tied and twisted this earth-bound misfit rated the encores at a whopping 110%.

Oops, you did it again, Gilmour. See you again in a decade.

David Gilmour, Tienen
David Gilmour, Tienen.

Setlist

First set: 5am, Rattle That Lock, Faces Of Stone, What Do You Want From Me, The Blue, The Great Gig In The Sky, A Boat Lies Waiting, Wish You Were Here, Money, In Any Tongue, High Hopes.

Second set: Astronomy Domine, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Fat Old Sun, Dancing Right In Front Of Me, Coming Back To Life, On An Island, The Girl In The Yellow Dress, Today, Sorrow, Run Like Hell.

Encores: Time/Breathe (Reprise), Comfortably Numb.

Pictures

A photo-impression of the show can be found at the Church's Tumblr, this page will be daily updated for about a week, so keep on visiting: David Gilmour, Tienen.


♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥


2016-08-29

Miraculous Magnets

Sydge
Sydge, by Anthony Stern.

Get All From That Ant

About two years after the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit came with the news of an Anthony Stern anthology, showing an overview of his work, including unseen Pink Floyd footage and our own Iggy the Eskimo, it might finally get a release to the general public. Well, sort of. (See: Magnets & Miracles)

Get All From That Ant will be shown at a Syd Barrett (mini) festival that will be held in October in Cambridge when also a Syd Barrett memorial artwork will be unveiled. Men On The Border will interpret the mad cat’s wacko music with the Sandviken symphony orchestra, some mystery guests and a groovy lightshow from Peter Wynne Wilson.

Have You Got It Yet

Although not confirmed (yet) the Barrett movie festival may also feature Storm Thorgerson’s legendary Have You Got It Yet. This movie is being finalised by Roddy Bogawa, whom you might know from the excellent documentary Taken By Storm, that any Hipgnosis fan needs to have in his / her collection. We had a chat earlier this year with the movie maker and here is what he had to say.

I can answer some of the rumours! Yes, we are hoping the film will be released this year - it is in the editing stage - and yes, Lindsay [Corner] and Gayla [Pinion] are interviewed in it as well as Jenny Spires and Libby Gausden... I think it is ok to make that public...
Also Roger, David and Nick appear in new interviews which I think are quite different than most of the ones they've done before because Storm was present and he grew up with Syd, David and Roger.
So...it's exciting and once the film gets closer to completion, we'll talk it up more!
(Source: Facebook Chat, 2016 06 03)

Surely a release to be yearning for, even when Iggy wasn't interviewed, due to unforeseen circumstances.

Sydge and Iggnet

It is not certain if Stern’s anthology will get the DVD release as promised a couple of years ago. Our efforts to ask Anthony stayed unanswered. Artists, huh…

In 2014 some extremely lucky people received a Syd magnet, aka Sydge, for a Stern project that had to culminate in a book. Unfortunately all the relevant pages on the Anthony Stern Films blog have been removed, so we fear it has been shelved.

In December 2014 an Iggy the Eskimo magnet was announced (see: Iggy on your fridge!), but although the Holy Church ordered about a dozen that project was indefinitely postponed as well. Until now…

Iggnet by Anthony Stern
Iggnet by Anthony Stern.

Syd Barrett and Iggy Photo Art Collectable Fridge Magnets.

2 Magnets in total.
Taken from original photos by Anthony Stern are these fantastic, practical and groovy fridge magnets featuring both Syd Barrret playing live and Iggy during a creative photoshoot with Anthony.
Both images can also be found in the new and upcoming GATA? Get ALL That Ant? .....biographical film of Anthony Stern's youth when he was friends with the infamous couple at the start of the Pink Floyd band creation.
An original piece of Uk Rock History documentation and a great gift idea for the Syd Barrett and Iggy fans.

The Syd and Iggy magnets are now for sale at Anthony Stern’s Etsy page. Get them while you still can…
(The Church is not affiliated with or endorsed by Mr. Stern's company.)


Many thanks to: Roddy Bogawa, Anthony Stern.
♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥

Tumblr pages:

Anthony Stern:
Iggnet
Sydge

Roddy Bogawa:
Taken By Storm

Felix Atagong:
Sydge (Atagong Mansion)


2016-12-24


2017-01-04

Happy New Year 2017 (and Happy Birthday Syd)

We wish you a very happy 2017, sistren and brethren of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Last year was a pretty active one, on the Iggy, Syd and Pink Floyd front, although that didn't always show on the site you are currently reading.

Luckily there is a Tumblr micro-blog that we daily update, with coloured photographs!, a Facebook timeline and a Twitter account.

A short and sweet 2016 Tumblr overview

Barrett Celebration at The Geldart, Cambridge.
January 2016: (Private) Barrett Tribute and sing-along at The Geldart, Cambridge.
Barrett Celebration announced at Corn Exchange, Cambridge.
February 2016: Barrett Celebration announced at Corn Exchange, Cambridge.
Barrett bike wheel tribute artwork announced at Corn Exchange, Cambridge.
March 2016: Barrett 'bike wheel' tribute artwork announced at Corn Exchange, Cambridge.
Mojo Syd Barrett special
April 2016: Mojo Syd Barrett special.
French Octopus single sells for 10,500 Euro.
May 2016: French Octopus single sells for 10,500 Euro.
La gazza ladra. Picture by Charlie Gilmour.
June 2016: La gazza ladra. Picture by Charlie Gilmour.
David Gilmour, Tienen, 28.07.2016.
July 2016: David Gilmour, Tienen, 28.07.2016. Picture: Felix Atagong.
Anthony Stern Iggy Rose 'Iggnet' magnet.
August 2016: Anthony Stern's Iggy Rose 'Iggnet' magnet.
The Cracked Ballad of Syd Barrett, NME 1974.
September 2016: The Cracked Ballad of Syd Barrett, NME 1974.
Graham Coxon and Rosemary Breen, Corn Exchange, Cambridge.
October 2016: Graham Coxon and Rosemary Breen, Corn Exchange, Cambridge.
Programme of Syd Barrett: A Celebration.
November 2016: Programme of Syd Barrett: A Celebration (8 pages).
Merry Christmas from Terrapin.
December 2016: Merry Christmas from Terrapin.

The Church wishes to thank: Mick Brown, Mary Cosco, Rich Hall, Lisa Newman, Göran Nyström, Anthony Stern, Perse pigs, County cunts and Cambridge spies.
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥


2017-02-03

Psychedelic Celluloid

This article started as a review of Psychedelic Celluloid by Simon Matthews but ended up as a long-read about Pink Floyd at the movies. Sorry, I can't help it. (This article does not pretend to describe all Pink Floyd related movies.)

Contents: • Psychedelic CelluloidThe Big BossConfessions of a Chinese CourtesanMore Sound DelinquentsPsychedelic Celluloid (reprise)À Coeur JoieThe TouchablesThe CommitteeThe Magic ChristianMoreThe BodyEntertaining Mr. SloaneLa ValléePsychedelic Celluloid (listomania)SalomePsychedelic Celluloid (conclusion)La MargeKindle rant

Psychedelic Celluloid by Simon Matthews
Psychedelic Celluloid by Simon Matthews.

Psychedelic Celluloid

I got a mail, a couple of months ago, from Simon Matthews, saying that he was working on a book that would explore the interaction between (psychedelic) pop music and British movies, in the golden era that was Swinging London. Not really coming as a surprise he added that Pink Floyd would figure in it a couple of times. I made a mental note to check it out, but like so many things it got lost in the dark corners of my soul. Call it divine intervention, or just a case of serendipity, but when Brain Damage did a short write-up of the publication it all came back to me and ten minutes later my Kindle was purring with joy.

Matthews starts his book by mentioning George Melly’s Revolt Into Style, a collection of sixties essays that has been borrowed from in all self-respecting Swinging London books in the past forty years. His introduction ends with the ad-hoc announcement that the most prominent ‘movie’ music performers between 1965 and '74 were not The Beatles, nor The Rolling Stones, but, yes, you’ve already guessed it: (The) Pink Floyd.

During my four decades long love/hate relationship with the band I have trodden many paths, some narrower than others, and so it may not come as a surprise to you that I have also tried to acquire some information on the lads in movieland. We all know that several members of the Cambridge mafia, revolving around the band, were dabbling into film: Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon, Mick Rock, Anthony Stern, Storm Thorgerson to name just a few.

It happily surprised me that, in the chapter ‘Set the Controls for the Heart of W1!’, Matthews is casually mentioning that the Floyd’s music can also be found on two kung fu flicks: ‘Fist of Fury’ and ‘Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan’. I am familiar with those as well as my quest into Floyd in filmland has brought me to the weirdest places. Did you know there is a Syd Barrett presence in a Freddy Mandingo movie? Well, let me tell you, you really don't want to know.

(Back to contents, top of the page.)

The Big Boss
Die Todesfaust Des Cheng Li (The Big Boss).

A fistful of Floyd

唐山大兄 Tang Shan Da Xiong (The Big Boss) is a (fairly stupid) 1971 Hong Kong movie that put a fairly unknown martial artist into the spotlight. Bruce Lee plays a somewhat dorky fellow, revenging the murders on his relatives, who found out the local ice factory is being used for drugs smuggling.

When the movie arrived in an American version it was retitled as Fists Of Fury, creating a mess for generations to come as there would be another Bruce Lee movie the next year called Fist Of Fury (without the s). Perhaps it was the other way round, as even Wikipedia isn't really sure which is which (and neither does Simon Matthews). Most of the world calls the movie The Big Boss, except for Germany, who like to give the plot away and baptised it Die Todesfaust des Cheng Li (The deadly fist of Cheng Li).

Not only the title gives food for confusion. The movie has been issued in half a dozen of different versions with entirely different soundtracks.

A first music score was composed by Wang Fu-ling for the (original) Mandarin release. It is believed Cheng Yung-yo assisted with that soundtrack, although uncredited. This movie was horribly dubbed into English for a limited run in the Anglo-Saxon world.

A second soundtrack was made by German composer Peter Thomas when the movie was re-cut and re-dubbed for the international market. This 1973 westernised version had several erotic and gory scenes deleted, including the legendary scene where Bruce Lee cuts an adversary's head in two halves with a saw.

A third soundtrack, using the international cut, was arranged by Joseph Koo, for a Japanese release, probably around 1974.

A fourth soundtrack for a Cantonese release in 1983 combines the Joseph Koo score (#3) with the one of Peter Thomas (#2) and adds incidental 'stock' music. This one includes snippets from Pink Floyd and King Crimson (Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part Two).

Peter Thomas (2016). Picture courtesy Stanislav Gregorev.
Peter Thomas (2016). Picture: courtesy Stanislav Gregorev.

Cut Into Little Pieces

An overview of Pink Floyd music in The Big Boss, thanks to the Martial Arts Music Wiki, with links to the exact sequence. Contains some minor spoilers.

Obscured by Clouds (1972, Obscured by Clouds)
Cheng Chao-an (Bruce Lee) and his cousin Hsiu are being followed by casino bouncers (13:05).
Repeated when Hsiao Mi (the big boss), his son Chiun and some henchmen are training (26:35).

Time (1973, The Dark Side of the Moon)
Hsiu and his brother visit the big boss at his mansion, trying to find out why two of their family members have disappeared (29:05).
Chen Chao-an (Bruce Lee) is invited for a meeting with the ice factory's manager (47:50).
Chen Chao-an visits the big boss to find out why four of his relatives have disappeared (01:06:14).

Time / The Grand Vizier's Garden Party (Entertainment) (1969, Ummagumma)
Mixed together this can be heard when Hsiu and his brother try to escape from Mi's killer squad (31:58).

As far as we know, the Floydian soundtrack was only available on a Cantonese 1983 re-release, explaining that a 1973 song anachronistically appears on a 1971 movie. It isn't certain if the Pink Floyd tracks were properly licensed as they are not mentioned on the end credits. To add insult to injury other cuts of the movie - with alternative 'hybrid' soundtracks and extra or longer scenes - have circulated, so it is all rather messy. For a (partial) comparison of the different versions: Big Boss @ Movie Censorship.

Bruceploitation

Bruce Lee died unexpectedly in 1973 and the posthumous documentary The Man and the Legend (original title: Li Xiao Long di Sheng yu si) contains next to the King Crimson piece that was already mentioned above, Pink Floyd's One of These Days (1971, Meddle) and On The Run (1973, The Dark Side of the Moon).

After 1973, several Bruceploitation movies were made, often with a conspiracy theme. Tian Huang Ju Xing (Exit the Dragon, Enter the Tiger) from 1976 is not different and has actor Bruce Li (real name: Ho Chung Tao) fighting his way through some shady drug deals in something that will not be remembered as a great martial arts movie. Even the soundtrack borrows completely from others and has next to Isaac Hayes and John Barry, Shine On You Crazy Diamond (1975).

(Back to contents, top of the page.)

Ai Nu
Ai Nu.

Trouble in the brothel

A decade before The Big Boss (1983 cut) another kung fu movie had found out about the martial strength of Pink Floyd.

愛奴 Ai Nu, awkwardly renamed for the western market as Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan, is a 1972 Hong Kong movie about the 18-year old Ai Nu who is kidnapped from her family and brought to the governor's brothel.

After the default set of humiliations and punishments she apparently accepts her fate and learns the noble art of self-defence from 'madam' Chun Yi. Once a kung fu champ she uses her seductive powers to eliminate her wrongdoers, one by one.

Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan is a mixture of blood vengeance, lesbian sensualism (in covert seventies style) and it has been named as one of the inspirational landmarks for Quentin Tarantino's Killl Bill. Every scene looks so artificially crisp it nearly hurts the eyes and if Walt Disney ever makes a movie set in a brothel this is certainly how it will look like. Undoubtedly a seventies classic, director Yuen Chor (Zhang Baojian) can, without doubt, be placed next to Borowczyk, Fellini or Pasolini.

Another one bites the dust

Unfortunately the original soundtrack can't really decide between traditional Chinese and Tex-Mex western style tunes. Two Pink Floyd tracks of the 1970 Zabriskie Point soundtrack are prominent in three decisive scenes. (The links given here point to a very bad copy, dubbed in English, with terrible sound.)

Come In Nr. 51 (Your Time is Up)
Ai Nu has just been tortured by Chun Yi, who promptly falls in love with her (link).
After the final duel, when Ai Nu kisses her dying lover goodbye (link).

Heart Beat, Pig Meat
A few seconds of Heart Beat, Pig Meat at 43 minutes when Ai Nu and her lesbian lover openly discuss the first murder (not present on the YouTube version).
(The DVD has a documentary about the movie that uses the Zabriskie soundtrack even more, by the way.)

(Back to contents, top of the page.)

Fen Nu Qing Nian (Street Gangs of Hong Kong or The Delinquent)
Scene from The Delinquent.

More Sound Delinquents

In Psychedelic Celluloid, Simon Matthews writes that Pink Floyd can be heard in two kung fu movies, but there is more, much more...

The Kung Fu Magazine forum has a 27-pages thread with, at the time of writing, 386 verified tracks (of different composers, bands and artists) that have been used, legally or illegally, in dozens of films. Sometimes the songs are used in its entirety, but often snippets of a second or less have been 'sampled' into the soundscape. Venomous Centipede at shaolinchamber36.com came up with the following impressive Pink Floyd list. All Hong Kong or Taiwan movies with a Pink Floyd soundtrack:

April Fool Come in Number 51, Your Time is Up - Zabriskie Point
Bedevilled, The Echoes - Meddle
Chinatown Capers The Grand Vizier's Garden Party – Ummagumma
When You're In - Obscured By Clouds
Delinquint, The The Grand Vizier's Garden Party – Ummagumma
Astronomy Domine - Ummagumma
Fist of Unicorn * One of These Days - Meddle (* Added by: OldPangYau.)
Gambling For Gold The Grand Vizier's Garden Party - Ummagumma
Astronomy Domine - Ummagumma
Atom Heart Mother - Atom Heart Mother
Happenings, The Echoes - Meddle
Absolutely Curtains - Obscured By Clouds
Hunchback, The One of These Days - Meddle
Kung Fu Inferno Echoes - Meddle
Legends of Lust Heart Beat, Pig Meat - Zabriskie Point
Operation White Shirt Time - Dark Side of the Moon
On the Run - Dark Side of the Moon
Pier, The Time - Dark Side of the Moon
Roaring Lion, The One of These Days - Meddle
Tales of Larceny Careful With That Axe, Eugene
Tiger Jump Time - Dark Side of the Moon
Training Camp Atom Heart Mother - Atom Heart Mother
Young Rebel, The Time - Dark Side of the Moon
On the Run - Dark Side of the Moon
Operation White Shirt Time - Dark Side of the Moon
On the Run - Dark Side of the Moon

So prepare a big bag of popcorn if you want to check these out.

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Blow Up in Psychedelic Celluloid.
Blow Up in Psychedelic Celluloid.

Psychedelic Celluloid (reprise)

Let’s get back to Simon Matthews’ Psychedelic Celluloid. After the introduction and a chapter dedicated to Pink Floyd the main bulk of the book consists of a chronological listing of about 120 movies, starting with Richard Lester’s The Knack (1965) and ending with Stuart Cooper’s Little Malcolm and his struggle against the Eunuchs (1974), described by some as the most expensive home movie ever made as it could only be seen at George Harrison’s place.

There is nearly a movie on every page, with a picture, a short description, some info on the director, the actors and its soundtrack, but that is exactly where the cookie crumbles, as this information is almost identical to what you can already find on IMDB and Wikipedia. The author could've added more anecdotes or juicy rumours if you ask me. Take Performance, for instance, not a word about the orgies and the drugs in front and behind the camera, as Iggy Rose once testified on this holy place (see: Iggy & the Stones). But of course, books have already been written about that movie alone.

Several times when I was at the point of saying 'this is starting to get interesting' the article ends and makes place for another one, leaving my hunger unsatisfied. The intriguing story of the (disappeared) movie Popdown is a perfect example. Starring Zoot Money, with music of Brian Auger, Blossom Toes, Dantalion's Chariot, Julie Driscoll, Gary Farr and a couple of others, its history is so fascinating that it could easily have taken six pages, but it stops at two. After reading that entry I spend a good hour browsing the Internet for more information, reading about a maniacal fan, Peter Prentice, who nearly spend a fortune trying to locate a surviving copy. Unfortunately I never found out if he succeeded in his mission, or failed. Perhaps that is what Simon Matthews really wants as I'm pretty sure he knows more about these movies than he was allowed to write. And the beauty of this guide is that it assembles a list of 120 'flower power' films in the first place.

Two Weeks In September
Two Weeks In September, French-Dutch poster.

The Pink Jungle

Pink Floyd are the uncrowned champions of the 'pop' movies during the psychedelic heyday, roughly from the mid-sixties till the mid-seventies, and that despite the fact that they even rejected a soundtrack for Kubrick. (Even more of a surprise is that Amon Düül ends second.) I count 26 Pink Floyd entries in the book and 5 for Syd Barrett. Let's have a nerdy look through our pink tinted glasses, shall we?

À Coeur Joie (1967), aka Two Weeks in September

This movie is only mentioned in one of the appendixes of the book. Starring Brigitte Bardot it is the story of a model, with a photo shoot assignment in London, who has to choose between her husband and a much younger passionate toy boy. This was Bardot's first attempt to excel in a serious movie, away from the sex kitten romantic comedies she had done before. Probably that could be the reason why the public didn't want to see it, but critics say the movie tried to look sophisticated but ended up pretty dull. Next to BB two English popstars play a small role: Murray Head and Mike Sarne, who had a number one hit in 1962 with Come Outside.

In a 2015 BBC documentary 'Wider Horizons' it was revealed that David Gilmour sang two tracks for the movie, composed by Michel Magne: Do You Want To Marry Me? and I Must Tell You Why. This was before he joined Pink Floyd and that is perhaps why Psychedelic Celluloid isn't aware of this.

The Holy Church Tumblr blog has several links to the songs and the movie itself: À Coeur Joie.

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The Touchables.
The Touchables.

The Touchables (1968)

Simon Matthews throws an ace with the news that The Touchables has Interstellar Overdrive during one of its scenes, something that – as far as I know – has never been put in a Floydian biography before. It is one of those thirteen in a dozen, throwaway, sex comedies with a plot 'thinner than a paper towel'.

Four good-looking beauties, who like to walk around in their underwear and who are literally living in a bubble, kidnap a wax sculpture of Michael Caine and then repeat the act with a popular pop singer, whom they abuse as a sex slave, not that he resists a lot. After having a go at the four of them he finally tries to escape but they shoot him down. The situation looks grim for a minute, but even that can't spoil the fun. It all looks like one of the less interesting Monkees shows.

Add a subplot with a few gangsters and, for an incomprehensible reason, some professional wrestlers and you have a product that creates immediate amnesia after watching it.

The story was written by Donald Cammell who would later enlarge some of its situations for Performance.

Dumb movie. Great find.

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The Committee.
The Committee.

The Committee (1968)

The Committee entry has one of Mick Rock's pictures with Syd Barrett standing in front of his Pontiac Parisienne - more of that car later (obviously) - which I found a bit weird, even for a Barrett buff like me.

Then it occurred to me that Barrett had first been asked to compose its soundtrack, without the Floyd. The reason is not entirely clear, maybe Barrett was thought to be cheaper than the entire band, maybe Peter Jenner wanted to give Syd's solo career a boost (although he was officially still in the band), maybe it was believed that Syd would better understand the movie's philosophy, inspired by the theories of R.D. Laing. Whatever...

On the 30th of January 1968, a couple of days after the Floyd – now with David Gilmour - 'forgot' to pick Syd up for a gig, he arrived one and a half hour late at Sound Techniques without a guitar and without a band. A guitar was found, Nice-drummer Brian 'Blinky' Davidson and Barrett-buddy Steve Peregrin Took were presumably called in and five and a half hours later a twenty minutes music piece was in the can. Unfortunately Barrett thought it sounded better backwards so at midnight they called it a day and all went home.

The collaboration with Barrett was stopped because his studio time was too expensive and their budget was practically zero. Syd didn't show any further interest for the project either and when a studio employee tried to phone him there was 'nobody home'. Roger Waters heard about the fiasco and agreed to do the soundtrack with the rest of the band, minus Syd, in an improvised studio for practically nothing. Max Steuer in Sparebricks:

The address was 3, Belsize Square, London NW3, the basement flat of the painter Michael Kidner and his wife Marion. (…) It was amazingly professional.

Steuer remembers that Syd's piece was 'jazzy, with a groove' and that Peter Jenner took the tape with him. In 2014 we asked Jenner about the whereabouts of this 'holy grail'. Peter Jenner in The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit innerview:

As far as I know I am not in possession of these tapes, I might have been given a copy, but surely not the masters. (…) Many things disappeared with the sudden collapse of Blackhill. My recollection is that they were less than amazing. However if I come across anything I will let you know.

The Committee is now part of Pink Floyd's Early Years box set, without – of course – the Syd Barrett tape. Unfortunately Psychedelic Celluloid was already in the can when that set was released and several times the author states that a Pink Floyd soundtrack has not been officially released, while some of it can now be found on the luxury box set (The Committee, Amougies 1969 with Frank Zappa, Kralingen 1971, Pompeii 1972).

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The Magic Christian (1969)

There is no immediate link with Pink Floyd in The Magic Christian, but Gretta Barclay and her boyfriend Rusty Burnhill worked on it. Gretta Barclay in the interview she gave at the church:

We did some film extra work for The Magic Christian. I have a feeling Iggy came with us? But I cannot confirm this.

As the movie was shot in March 1969, Iggy could indeed have been around. It wouldn't be the first time that Iggy was on a film set, nor the last. Another Syd Barrett friend made it even in front of the camera. One of Raquel Welsh's topless slave girls in the galleon scene was none other than Jenny Spires, but she didn't make it to the final cut, so don't ruin your eyes looking for her.

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More.
More.

More (1969)

How could we forget More? This Barbet Schroeder movie follows the hippie trail to Ibiza, but instead of sea, sun and illicit sex it adds the deadly ingredient of heroin. Pink Floyd wrote the soundtrack.

There are some differences between the music on the album and the songs in the movie. 'Main Theme' lacks some guitar and 'Cymbaline' has alternate lyrics and is sung with a 'head voice'. The movie also contains a short instrumental 'Hollywood' that is not on the album. The Early Years compilation includes an early version of this track, titled 'Song 1'.

The song that has made fans go crazy for almost five decades is 'Seabirds'. It is a pastoral hymn à la Grantchester Meadows, but unfortunately it can only be heard during a party scene in the film. When Pink Floyd announced that 'Seabirds' was included in The Early Years box this was considered as one of those great revelations everyone was hoping for. Unfortunately the song in the box was not 'Seabirds', but an alternate take of the instrumental Quicksilver. Apparently the master tape of the 'real' Seabirds was given to the movie producers who used it for their final cut and who destroyed the only copy afterwards.

Seabirds is probably lost forever. (For our critical review of The Early Years compilation, see: Supererog/Ation: skimming The Early Years.)

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The Body.
The Body.

The Body (1970)

Simon Matthews overzealously implies that Pink Floyd did the soundtrack for The Body, although it was a co-operation between Ron Geesin and Roger Waters (who can be found on 8 tracks of 22). One of these, Give Birth To A Smile, was recorded with the entire band, but it was credited as a Roger Waters solo effort. (Give Birth To A Smile was considered for inclusion on The Early Years box, but at the end it didn't happen.)

Psychedelic Celluloid also states that:

The majority of the music was assembled from sounds made by the human body – burps, farts, coughs, sneezes, heartbeats, human voices, general stomach noises, etc. (p. 132)

This is only the case on two numbers (from 22), Our Song and Body Transport.

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Entertaining Mr. Sloane (1970)

Described by the author as a considerable tour de force of bad taste he rightfully notes that Georgie Fame wrote the soundtrack, but he fails to say that the most important actor of the film, a Pontiac Parisienne with numberplate VYP 74, first belonged to Mickey Finn and later to Syd Barrett. It would have been a fun anecdote.

Check some pictures of the movie on our Tumblr page: Entertaining Mr. Sloane.

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Miquette Giraudy (2016).
Miquette Giraudy, with The Orb (2016).

La Vallée (1972)

During the making of the soundtrack of La Vallée, so tells us Nick Mason, there was a (financial) misunderstanding between Pink Floyd and the film company. The band removed the title from the album and called it Obscured By Clouds instead. But for once Pink Floyd didn't have the last laugh as the movie was immediately sub-titled Obscured By Clouds for the English market.

Perhaps the weirdest thing is that Matthews finds La Vallée (Obscured by Clouds) a well made film with excellent photography. That last one is certainly true but most of the world is still trying to find out what the hell the story was all about. La Vallée regularly makes it into 'worst movies of all times' lists.

Throughout Psychedelic Celluloid the author duly notes when a rock or pop star occupies a (minor) role in a film. However, for La Vallée he overlooked the fact that Miquette Giraudy, wife of Steve Hillage, member of Gong and System 7, is playing the part of Monique.

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Listomania

The last part of the book has several entries that didn't make it to the central part, for one reason or another.
Appendix 1 (fiction) mentions Zabriskie Point, not a London based movie, and the French À Coeur Joie (see above).
Appendix 2 (documentaries and concert films) has Pink Floyd in Dope (1968) and Sound Of The City (1973).
Appendix 3 (shorts) lists Peter Whitehead's London '66-'67 with Pink Floyd playing the 14 Hour Technicolour Dream.
Appendix 4 (TV specials, documentaries & concerts) mentions the Belgian 'Pink Floid' special that has been unfortunately released on the Early Years with the wrong soundtrack.

One category that can't be found in this pretty coherent and detailed work are the many (perhaps too many) underground and avant-garde movies, for instance from the London film-makers' co-operative LFMC, started in 1966 by Stephen Dwoskin, Bob Cobbing and others in the legendary Better Books shop. Carolee Schneemann's Viet Flakes (1965) that puts happy pop songs over Vietnam images isn't there, nor is Malcolm Le Grice's Berlin Horse (1970) with a Brian Eno soundtrack and – oblesse oblige - neither is Iggy, Eskimo Girl from Anthony Stern that has See Emily Play. But avant-garde art movies probably belong more in specialised studies for a specialised clientele (and at special rates, Oxford University wanted me to pay £119 to consult an article).

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Salome.
Salome.

Salome (1970)

On three different occasions Simon Matthews mentions a Spanish movie that claims to include on its soundtrack a rearrangement by Jorge Pi of a Pink Floyd arrangement of Richard Strauss' Salome. Somewhat exasperated he adds 'if anyone ever finds a copy and manages to investigate'...

Well it is not that the Church didn't try.

In 1970 Rafael Gassent, the 'father' of indepent Valencian cinema, made a 51 minutes adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play and Richard Strauss opera Salomé. According to the IMDb movie database the soundtrack is composed by Richard Strauss, arranged by Pink Floyd and re-arranged by Jorge Pi.

Rafa Gasent, also known as Rafael Gassent and all combinations in between, is an experimental Spanish movie maker whose 23 and some movies are even more difficult to track down than those of Anthony Stern. Salome was allegedly shot in the Sagunto castle, inspired by the Andy Warhol school of filming and is apparently a blend of the hippie era and Spanish avant-garde 'grunge' from the early seventies. No wonder that these experimental directors weren't liked by general Franco and his Opus Dei cohorts and that these movies were only shown in underground clubs. Rafael Gasent would later work for Spanish television and his cinematographic work is now and then shown on movie festivals.

Obviously the Holy Church tried to find out what this 'arranged by Pink Floyd' means at the end credits of the Salome movie, but we couldn't find a copy to check if it is really there or not. The Church also asked Rafael Gasent Garcia for information, in English and in Spanish, but unfortunately posting holiday pictures is a more interesting activity for him than sparing a minute for some quick comment.

So until somebody clears this up, there is a kind of enigma here. Unless...

Rafael Gasent.
Rafael Gasent (2014).

Pinfloy

This doesn't mean that the Church doesn't have a theory. Personally I think it was nothing but a youthful joke, like the Spanishgrass hoax, and that Gasent didn't use Pink Floyd as a bandname but 'pinfloy' as a noun.

Just like the Dutch language had the term 'beatle' in the sixties, for a long-haired no-good (my mother used it all the time to shout at me), the term 'pinfloy' was introduced in Andalusia in the seventies as an equally pejorative term. A 'pinfloy', to paraphrase Antonio Jesús, is somebody who acts silly, crazy, or who is quite gullible, naive and/or a bit rare.

In underground and artistic circles however, 'pinfloy' may have been re-appropriated and stripped from its derogatory meaning although it was still used for alternative people from the wackier side of the spectrum.

If Jorge Pi (or Jordi Pi) is indeed the musician of the Desde Santurce a Bilbao Blues Band, as Simon Matthews writes, this all starts to make sense. The DsaBBB were a satirical band, who weren't from Bilbao to start with and who didn't play the blues either. The band mixed rock, charleston, folk, tango and forms of classical music, combined with humorous lyrics. This was not always appreciated by the Franco regime and in one case they were even arrested.

So, to get this over with once and for all, the Salome soundtrack may not contain a Pink Floyd arrangement but a Jorge Pi 'pinfloy' treatment of Richard Strauss, meaning that the Richard Strauss melody was given a goofy swing.

Case closed then, unless somebody else comes up with a more coherent theory.

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Psychedelic Celluloid (conclusion)

Psychedelic Celluloid is an excellent vade mecum, a quick reference book, for those that are interested in the interplay of British bands and movies of the psychedelic years. The description of the individual titles could have been more detailed at points, but somewhere I have the feeling that the author wants us, the reader, to move our lazy ass and go look for it ourselves. As a whole, bringing these 120 titles together in one volume is already a gargantuan task. Mission accomplished then.

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Sylvia Kristel in La Marge.
Sylvia Kristel in La Marge.

La Marge (1976) aka The Streetwalker, aka Emmanuelle '77, aka Emanuela '77.

Here is a movie that isn't mentioned in Psychedelic Celluloid, for obvious reasons. First: the setting takes place in Paris, not in London. Second: it was made outside the 'swinging London' decade, covered in the book. Still it is a must-see for people who want to know more about Floyd in film.

There is a French comedy about a film director who sells his dramatic script to a movie studio and finds out that he is expected to make a porn flick instead. This is exactly what happened to Walerian Borowczyk whose filmography evolved from art-house avant-garde to European soft-core, including the almost parodical Emmanuelle V in 1986.

Borowczyk started with ingenious stop motion and animations and shocked the public (and the censors) with the live action Immoral Tales (1974), The Story of Sin (1975) and The Beast (1975), movies that acquired a cult status and that placed him next to contemporary directors as Stanley Kubrick and Roman Polanski. These directors didn't avoid experiment either but were popular while Borowczyk was only known to a small circle of critics and movie buffs. For his next production he wanted to go for something less shocking and more accessible...

All the necessary ingredients for a successful product were there:
• Andy Warhol superstar and beautiful boy Joe Dallesandro, hot in France after appearing in Serge Gainsbourg's movie Je t'aime moi non plus, was hired for the male lead role.
Sylvia Kristel was the female lead. Although remembered as a sex-goddess, she was actually an excellent much-wanted actress and Europe's box-office queen (thanks to the Emmanuelle franchise).
• A top-score soundtrack was assembled with French songs, old and new, and international hits by 10CC (I'm Not In Love), Elton John (Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)), Sailor (Glass of Champagne) and Pink Floyd (Shine On You Crazy Diamond).
Bernard Daillencourt was the cinematographer and his work for Borowczyk was so appreciated that David Hamilton hired him for his flimsy but utterly lucrative erotic trilogy: Bilitis, Laura and Tendres Cousines. Actress Camille Lariviere would also figure in Bilitis.
• The original novel, from writer André Pieyre de Mandiargues, had won the Prix Goncourt for the best novel of 1967. He had also written The Girl on a Motorcycle, put to film with Alain Delon and a young Marianne Faithfull.

Joe Dallesandro in La Marge.
Joe Dallesandro in La Marge (screenshot).

Warning: spoilers ahead.

La Marge is a dramatic mixture of love, death, adultery, suicide and full frontal Euro-chic. A rich and handsome vine-grower, madly in love with his family, visits a brothel on a business trip to Paris. After the obligatory nookie he receives a letter that his son has drowned in the swimming pool and that his wife has taken her own life. Instead of returning home for the double funeral the widower tries to cope with the tragedy by visiting the prostitute who feels that something basically has changed in his, and her, attitude.

About everything was present to make this movie the autumn box-office hit of 1976 but La Marge sank without a trace. The blowjob scene, with Shine On You Crazy Diamond on the background, should have been tattooed in our brains, like Marlon Brando's butter extravaganza in Last Tango In Paris. To cash in on Kristel's fame the movie was renamed (and re-dubbed) as Emmanuelle '77 (or Emanuela 77) but that only added to the confusion. It has been rumoured that new scenes, filmed by another director without the knowledge of Borowczyk, were added for an American cut, known as The Streetwalker, but nobody has ever managed to compare both versions.

The soundtrack, with 10CC, Elton John and Pink Floyd, may have been the reason why the movie has never became a cult classic in later years. Pink Floyd's legal stubbornness, so is whispered, has prevented a general release on DVD. A Japanese version does exist, with several blurs at strategic places, and there also floats a French Canal+ copy around, omitting a few (voyeuristic) scenes.

The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit Tumblr has some pictures: La Marge.

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The Magic Christian in Psychedelic Celluloid.
The Magic Christian in Psychedelic Celluloid.

Kindle rant

While I would give the book Psychedelic Celluloid a seven rating (out of ten) for its contents, I am somewhat disappointed in the Kindle edition.

The book, as a traditional book, is beautifully printed, with a lot of white-space next to the text to include pictures in a separate column or to interact with the text as in the 'Magic Christian' example at the left.

However, the Kindle version does not allow in-text searching, nor adding notes, nor changing the font size. On my medium sized tablet screen (10.81 by 6.77 inches / 27.46 × 17.20 cm) the letters are the size of miniature ants due to the fact that every page can only be shown in its entirety. The picture legends have golden letters on a white background and are completely unreadable (you can't change the background colour either, as in other Kindle books).

Reading the Kindle version of Psychedelic Celluloid is like reading a badly xeroxed book but with the one difference that on good old photocopies you could still scribble some notes.

I would like to say to Oldcastle Books and/or Amazon this is a fucking disgrace and that you only bring the author's reputation down with this kind of crap.

Still a good book though.

Simon Matthews
Psychedelic Celluloid
Oldcastle Books, 2016.
224 pages.

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The Church wishes to thank: Gretta Barclay, Vanessa Flores, Stanislav Grigorev, Rich Hall, Peter Jenner, JenS, Antonio Jesús, Göran Nyström, OldPangYau, Dylan Roberts, Venomous Centipede.
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥

Sources (other than the above mentioned links):
Jesús, Antonio: Curiosidades - Pinfloy, un vocablo del sur, Solo En Las Nubes, 16.09.2011.
Mason, Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue, p. 169.
Muños, Abelard: Rafa Gassent, director de cinema, La Veu, 07.01.2014.
Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 320.
Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 119.

Our Tumblr page contains a description of another movie with Pink Floyd music, that we deliberately didn't include here: Alex De Renzy‘s Little Sisters (1972).