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.
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 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 ♥