Addenda and Errata with Gala and Gretta
The Reverend’s last post was rather freewheeling and not always up to par. For one mystical reason or another Iggy’s divine intervention didn’t come through, possibly hindered a bit by an abundance of pints of that black stuff that tastes so good by the gallon.
So it is time to clear things up, like the surge in that same glass, although what remains isn’t crystal clear at all but rather a dark shade of ruby.
As always, many thanks to JenS for spending her cybertime with the Reverend and passing him the stories that happened 40 years ago. It is obvious that any mistake and/or misinterpretation is entirely by the hand of the author of this blog and not by his witness.
Gret(t)a and Rusty
The last post may have hinted that Gretta and Rusty were from Cambridge, just like Syd and (many of) his friends. JenS specifies that they weren’t.
You may be inferring that Rusty and Greta were from Cambridge but they were from Suffolk and went to Colchester Art School (50 miles from Cambridge and London respectively), and had only recently come to London. They were not on the underground scene as such and later that summer they left London and went to live in Devon where they then married and settled.
Update: in an exclusive interview to the Church Margaretta Barclay pointed out a mistake in the above quote: Gretta Speaks (Pt. 2)
The importance is not how Greta (or Gretta) is spelled but that is pronounced as with a double T.
Rusty and Greta, one T or two TT’s, it doesn’t really matter. Her name was Margaretta.
And the allegations that they were speed freaks, is once again denied.
Rusty and Gretta were not drug-addicted. Greta may have done a lot of speed, but she was not drug-addicted and as mentioned at the beginning. They were goofing.
As Duggie Fields was Syd’s roommate it is logical that he has been questioned a lot about what happened at Wetherby Mansions. But, and not only according to JenS, his memories seem to have quite a few holes. JenS already disproved the story that Gretta went to America in our last post and now adds:
I think Duggie must have got these two sister muddled and at this time. Trina was long gone. She went to America in January (1969) but didn’t know Duggie particularly.
Update: in an exclusive interview to the Church Margaretta Barclay absolutely denies the drug stories surrounding Rusty and her. Please consult: Gretta Speaks
Wetherby Mansions was a three bedroom apartment and was originally rented by Duggie Fields, Syd Barrett and Jules, a dropout who nobody really seems to remember and who disappeared very shortly after they moved in. After a while the vacant bedroom was given to Gayla Pinion (top left picture) but this happened after Iggy had cleared the place (who might have been using the spare bedroom as well). This adds further proof to the theory, although in reality not a theory anymore, that the photo sessions for The Madcap Laughs were held in spring, and not in autumn. When JenS visited Syd Barrett…
…Gayla was not there. She moved in later hooking up with Syd in May or June.
She was the one who dropped Syd off when he flew out to meet Emo (Iain Moore) in Ibiza. They had known each other for a few years, as she was an old school friend of Lindsay’s and used to visit them when they were staying in Egerton Court.
When Gayla was around (after Iggy had left) Syd’s behaviour or mental health deteriorated (let it be clear that the former does not imply that these women actually triggered the situation) as has been stated in several biographies, perhaps due to an excessive Mandrax intake. Some events that happened then would fuel the many Crazy Syd legends that were floating around during the Seventies and Eighties.
When Syd met Iggy
In the first instalment of this series JenS reported:
I took Ig to Wetherby Mansions in January or February 1969 where she met Syd Barrett. He was 22 and she must have been about 24, 25 years old.
The Church, as churches do, turned this phrase into a slogan and the reader may have been lured into the idea that January 1969 was the very first time when Syd and Iggy met. But this might not have been the case as JenS wishes to clarify:
This is a little misleading and it is unlikely that this was the first time Syd had met Iggy. She was well known on the scene and it’s more than likely he’d have come across her before. She was around all the same venues as the rest of us, UFO, the Speakeasy, the Roundhouse, Alexandra Palace. Whether he ever chatted to her or was formally introduced in any way is unknown to me, but what I did was to take her round to Syd’s new flat. And at the time she had nowhere to live, so she stayed on.
Here I Go
Malcolm Jones once wrote how he witnessed that Syd Barrett could write a song in a few minutes of time, referring to Here I Go, probably the wittiest song ever by Syd. The Church wondered if this track, recorded on the 17th of April 1969, was perhaps written with Iggy in mind.
This was an inside joke, albeit not a very good one.
Here I Go was a song that Syd Barrett had already home-recorded, on acoustic guitar, in 1967, although it was then titled Boon Tune. When The Purple Gang were looking for a successor of their Granny Takes A Trip-single Barrett, whose band Pink Floyd had shared the same studio to record Arnold Layne, handed over the demo tape to Joe Boyd.
When the gang looked for the tape it was untraceable and Joe Boyd believed that Syd Barrett had retrieved the demo for use on the first Pink Floyd record. To make a long (and incredibly complicated) story short the Purple Gang Boon Tune single project was abandoned.
Rumours went that The Deviants stole the original tape out of the studio and at The City Wakes festival someone said that it has been miraculously found back. It would be nice if it could be issued on a new Syd Barrett record project (that was also rumoured at The City Wakes).
Update 2014: The story of Here I Go & The Purple Gang can be found on the following page: Hurricane over London.
Also the Church’s musings about the songs Dark Globe and Long Gone have to be taken with lots of grains of salt. We will probably never know if Iggy was Syd’s muse, or not…
So far for the Reverend's confessions for this week, more to come at a later stage because that pink Pontiac has given the Church the blues...
Until then, brethren and sistren, and don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done!