The Mighty Queen
In January of this year Mojo published a (way too short) Mark Blake article about Iggy, who – in the Sixties - was metonymically but erroneously described as an Eskimo. There is a realistic chance that this blog, politically correct named the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, would never have seen the light of day if Iggy had been nicknamed something else.
Titled SYD BARRETT'S ENIGMATIC COVER COMPANION CLEARS UP SOME QUERIES the article actually added to the mystery, although Mark Blake is, of course, not to blame: Iggy is just mysterious by nature. And the more we find out, the more mysterious it gets.
The Church was erected for just that, to reveal the enigma behind an enigmatic woman but now that Evelyn has stepped into Mark Zuckerberg's limelight the Church has made a deliberate step backwards. Let it be known that the Church will be discreet about present Evelyn. She is not Truman Burbank and it is none of our business what she had for breakfast this morning anyway (bacon butties and a steaming hot cup of tea, if you wanna know, and the Reverend had some croissants and a cup of coffee).
Mark Blake also published an extended 'director's cut' of his interview and now the time for the Church has come to comment, amend or append on some of his poignant paragraphs. We will be cruel and ruthless although the reader should realise that above every line a virtual 'Well done, Mark Blake!' Church sign is blinking. A bit like this:
Before long, The Holy Church Of Iggy The Inuit, a fansite in her honour, had appeared, its webmaster, Felix Atagong, sifting through ever scrap of information gleaned from MOJO and elsewhere with a forensic scientist's attention to detail. Among Felix's discoveries was a November 1966 issue of NME which featured a photo of "Iggy who is half eskimo" dancing at South Kensington's Cromwellian club. (The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 3)
Mark gives the Reverend too many credits here. The Church mainly rips other people's ideas (not an uncommon practice with Churches, although they mostly prefer to rip other people's wallets) and the November 26, 1966 New Musical Express Iggy picture was not discovered by the Church. The scan was already floating around on the web. Neptune Pink Floyd, for instance, published it in November 2006, two years before the Church started.
However the Church did trace a copy of that particular NME, hoping there would be some extra news about Evelyn, but to our regret Iggy is not mentioned at all in the accompanying text (several scans of NME 1037 can be found in our gallery).
The Croydon Guardian
Believing that Iggy may have gone to school in Thornton Heath, Jeff and Anthony contacted The Croydon Guardian, who ran an article - So Where Did She Go To, My Lovely - enquiring after the whereabouts of the girl "who entirely captured the spirit of the '60s". (The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 4)
Time to pull the plug of that 'Well done, Mark Blake!' sign above we're afraid, as The Croydon Guardian was informed by none other than the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.
After the Church was informed that Iggy had been a regular visitor of The Orchid in Purley the Reverend googled and found two Croydon Guardian articles about the dance hall: In dance hall days (9th August 2006) and We remember the Orchid (29th August 2006).
The Church contacted Brian Roote, a historian from the Bourne Society who had been researching the history of the Orchid, but without success. Journalist Kerry McQueeney, author of the Orchid articles, passed the Church mail to Kirsty Whalley, editor of the Croydon Guardian Heritage pages. She replied the Church on the third September of 2008:
We would like to feature this story in the newspaper next week and hopefully it will prompt a few people to call in.
Kirsty Whalley also asked the Church for a decent Iggy picture and here is what the Reverend answered:
Probably the best way to get an (unpublished) picture of Iggy is to contact Anthony Stern (former boyfriend of Iggy in 1966) who made a movie with her that will be shown on The City Wakes festival in Cambridge, so more than 40 years after it was filmed. (Taken from: Visitor at Orchid Ballroom - 1965 – 1967, mail to Kirsty Whalley, 3 September 2008 22:04.)
Kirsty Whalley took the information, given by the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, to heart (probably the first time in the Reverend’s entire career that a woman actually listened to his advice) and interviewed Anthony Stern who also donated a previous unpublished picture of Evelyn, just like the Church had predicted. She then did an excellent job by contacting Jeff Dexter (or perhaps Jeff Dexter contacted her after having spoken to Anthony Stern) and wrote a damn fine article: Where did she go?
It took over a year for someone to 'call in', because in February 2010 Kirsty Whalley published the very first Iggy interview in 40 years that even took the Church by surprise (see: Little old lady from London-by-the-Sea). What the Reverend doesn't understand though is why the Croydon Guardian journalist doesn't like to be reminded that it was the Church who gave her the scoop. So no pretty blinking Church sign for you, Kirsty!
From Dieppe to Delhi
Iggy's father was a British army officer, who served alongside Louis Mountbatten, and attended the official handover ceremony from Great Britain to India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharial Nehru in 1947. (The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 7)
Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten, born in 1900 and killed by an IRA bomb in 1979, was destined to pursue a glorious military career. Like so many of his aristocratic peers this career was not per se based on actual military performances but on the amount of names he had been given at birth. After a military débâcle at Dieppe in 1942, where 3,623 out of 6,086 soldiers, mostly Canadians, were either killed, wounded, or captured by the Germans, Mountbatten was given a new military playground as Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia Command. The Dieppe raid (unauthorised by the general staff) provoked a schism between the Canadian and British army leaders during the second world war and the mistrust would linger on for decades to come.
In 1947 Mountbatten was nominated Viceroy and Governor-General of India and his principal task was to lead India (separated from Pakistan) in a peaceful way towards independence. This lead to one of the bloodiest massacres the subcontinent has ever seen. Muslims fled from India to Pakistan, Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan to India and about 500,000 people lost their lives in the process (death toll numbers vary from 200,000 to a million).
Up the Khyber
"My father also knew all about Mountbatten's wife's affair with Nehru," she adds mischievously. During a spell of leave, he had travelled to a remote village in the Himalayas "where he met the woman that would become my mother." Iggy was born in Pakistan, and attended army schools in India and Aden, before the family moved to England. (The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 7)
In the night of 14 to 15 August 1947 India and Pakistan officially separated from London and because this had been supervised so well by Mountbatten, he was entitled to another promotion. From now on he could add the title of Governor-General of India on his business card. In other words: Mountbatten was now the de facto monarch of the new state.
Lucky there was still his wife, Edwina Cynthia Annette Mountbatten. Her part-time job was to visit the refugee camps her husband was so kind to fill up and to hump India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, although there are some biographers who maintain that their relationship was purely platonic.
But enough politics. Around that time Iggy's father, posted in Pakistan, went for an evening stroll in the Himalaya's where his spell of leave soon developed in a spell of love. It is believed that in March 1947 the couple did exchange something more than friendly kisses. The Church always believed that Iggy was somewhat older than Syd Barrett (see: When Syd met Iggy), but this new evidence shows she is nearly two years younger than him (and, should this be of any interest to anyone, both Syd and Ig were born on a Sunday).
If Ig attended school in Pakistan, the family must have been there until early 1950. Although the country was independent several hundred of British officers stayed in Pakistan until the Pakistan army had enough officers to take care of its own. There was a 1st Battalion Wiltshire Regiment at Rawalpindi (Pakistan), with Indian bases at Amritsar, Calcutta, Jhansi, Jullunder (Jalandhar) and Lahore (Pakistan) but the Church's research couldn't link Ig's father to this battalion. The Wiltshire Regiment left the Indias in October 1947, but her father stayed in Pakistan for a couple of years longer.
Update March 2018: Iggy's mother, so was confirmed to us, wasn't from Pakistan, but from Mizoram, situated at the North-East of India, sharing borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar. Probably that is where Iggy was born and went to school. The 'evening stroll' of Iggy's dad did not take place in the Himalaya's, but at the Lushai Hills, a mountain range in Mizoram and Tripura, India.
The garden of Aden
It is not that weird either that the family was dispatched to Aden. Before 1937 Aden was an (overseas) part of British India and after that it became a separate British Crown colony, much to the enjoyment of philatelists from all over the world. It would stay under British reign until 1963 and in 1967 it was absorbed by the People's Republic of South Yemen.
Kids could go to the Khormaksar primary and secondary school (close to the RAF airport base), but there was the (Roman-Catholic) Good Shepherd Convent School for girls as well, the Isthmus School and the Selim Girl's School that was badly damaged in the anti-Semitic pogroms from 1947.
There are quite a few blogs and forums about Aden with hundreds of pictures of the fifties and sixties, but the Reverend couldn't find Iggy back, yet. The Mojo article has a picture from Ig at Worthing Beach, in the early Sixties, so around 1963 they may have returned to England.
In January 1969 Iggy met Syd, thanks to their common friend Jenny Spires. The outside world didn't always realise that Ig and Syd became an item. Ig was unaware that Syd had been a pop star, but then one day:
He [Syd] then said, 'Would you listen to this?' And he bought out this big, old-fashioned reel-to-reel tape recorder, and said, 'Tell me what you think'." Syd then played her the songs that would end up on The Madcap Laughs. One track, Terrapin, made an immediate impression. "I said, 'That's quite catchy', and, of course, I don't think Syd was really into catchy...It was a long tape, and he didn't demand any opinion, but just asked if I thought it was OK. At the end he said 'Someone at EMI - I cannot remember the name - wants me to make a record. How would you feel about having a rock star boyfriend?'" (The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 1, paragraph 12)
This may have happened in the weekend of 12 and 13 April 1969 after Malcolm Jones and Syd had started working on the new album:
During the tea break we discussed going back to some of the songs started the previous year, in particular 'Golden Hair', and perhaps 'Late Night' although the original version of that had been destroyed, it seemed. We returned to the studio and started work on another new song, 'Terrapin'. In one take Syd laid down a guitar and vocal track that was to be the master! At my suggestion Syd double tracked his vocal part, and that was it!
One day Syd Barrett disappeared from the flat and Iggy, in a jealous mood, fearing he was seeing another woman, tracked down her friend in David Gilmour's appartment, just a few blocks away.
"I went in, shouting, 'OK, where is she?' thinking there was a woman hiding in one of the rooms. But, of course, the meeting had been with Dave about the record they were making together." Barrett left Iggy with Gilmour, but rather the worse for wear, she knocked the stylus on his record player accidentally scratching his copy of Pink Floyd's brand new album. "I have no idea what album it was, only that it was their new album," Iggy sighs. (The likely candidate seems to be Soundtrack From The Film More) "So Dave threw me out..." (The Strange Tale Of Iggy The Eskimo Pt. 2, paragraph 3)
Here is again an excellent opportunity to grab the Church's copies of Glenn Povey's 'Echoes' and David Parker's 'Random Precision'. According to David Parker Barrett had his last recording session with Malcolm Jones on the 3rd and 4th of May, while the David Gilmour sessions started a month later (see our 1969 calendar). On the 6th of May however 'a set of rough mixes' of the album was made, presumably to be handed over to Gilmour (and Waters), who had promised to finalise the album (it is significant that on that tape Opel, Swan Lee and Rhamadan are still present).
But probably Barrett, Jones, Gilmour and Waters had been discussing about all this before. The Church has always believed that Iggy left Syd somewhere in April and up till now Ig's visit to Gilmour's apartment fits nicely into that scheme.
Mark Blake wisely deducts the scratched record has to be 'More'. More was released on Friday, the 13th of June 1969, but of course Gilmour may have had a copy some weeks before. Another, but more unlikely, candidate is 'Ummagumma'. Although only released in November the Floyd had already been recording some pieces for this album in January and February, together with the 'More' sessions, so perhaps Gilmour and Barrett could've listened to an acetate instead. And of course the live tracks of that album must have been circulating amongst the band members as well.
But there is still another possibility. Margaretta Barclay told the Church she has a postcard sent to her and Ig at Wetherby Mansions in June 1969 so perhaps Ig's departure took place after More had been officially released (see: Gretta Speaks 2).
Notes (other than internet links mentioned above):
Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 139-158.
Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p. 7.
Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 104-112.
The Church wishes to thank: Adenairways.com, Mark Blake, Jenny Spires,
Natashaa' and the beautiful people at Late Night.
♥ Iggy ♥