Iggy Rose: Eskimos and Unicorns
You could find many weird folk running around in London in the sixties, but there was only one Eskimo. On the 13th of December 2017, just a couple of minutes before her seventieth birthday, Iggy Rose, aka Iggy the Eskimo, peacefully died.
She was born in the Himalayas, on the fourteenth of December 1947, in a country she has always refused to name, but it was probably that part of India that became Pakistan, after a particular bloody separation, with its death toll running into the hundreds of thousands. Her father was an officer in the British army who married a local beauty. Their first child was Evelyn, but for one reason or another she would be known as Iggy. Her mother gave her an indigenous name as well, Laldawngliani, meaning gift of the gods, in a language Iggy never spoke.
Update December 2017: 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.
Iggy grew up as any normal child, although she already had the special gift of running into trouble. There is the family anecdote of the cat Iggy wanted to pet in the garden, until her parents, or the servants, found out it really was a hungry tiger on the loose.
For a while all went well, with Iggy and family living a luxurious and protected life in one of the British enclaves, politely ignoring that a civil war was raging around them. One day a mob invaded their house, burned it down and, if Iggy’s recitation of the events is accurate, they narrowly escaped a lynching party.
Next stop: Aden, Yemen. Another melting pot of colonial and religious problems. This was only a temporary solution as the family returned to England where they lived the upstairs life. Iggy always stayed vague about her family ties, but there might have been some railway money in the family, from the time that railways were still a great money-making thing.
Iggy hit puberty, running away from home at fourteen, discovering boys, girls, booze, and speed. These were the days when young adults refused to lead the life of their grey parents, refused to listen to that boring BBC and refused to agree with the après-guerre nuclear warmongering. There may also have been some family turmoil, at times Iggy alluded to that, other times she just blamed her exit from home upon her temperamental character.
Iggy danced through life, her pretty looks and free spirit mostly assured her some food and a place to stay. Through a well-known DJ she turned from mods to rockers and Brighton was changed for London.
Enter Brian and Keith and others, for what could be called a groupie career, although she never was a groupie pur sang. In contrast to some flower power beauties who have made a fortune by talking out of bed, Iggy stayed discrete about the people she met, from Beatles to Yardbirds. There is the story how she was at a Rolling Stones party, went 'home' in the evening, slept on the stairs of a house portal, returning the next day as if it was the most normal thing in the world. Probably for Iggy, it was. She never was a trophy hunter, nor a fortune seeker.
Iggy and Jenny Spires met at Biba and they went to a Dusty Springfield après-event. Jenny returned the favour and introduced her to Syd Barrett who had left Pink Floyd, a band Iggy wasn’t particularly fond of. Iggy had always been more of a Motown girl. She stayed for a couple of weeks at Wetherby Mansions and she visited Barrett over the period of a few months, until – one day – Duggie Fields told her that Syd didn’t live there any more.
The legend that Iggy vanished all of a sudden isn’t true, she just wasn’t traceable on the Floydian radar any more. In those days it was enough to move a couple of blocks where she frequented other, equally alternative and underground, circles. There were painters, musicians, actors, movie directors...