RIP Duggie Fields 1945 – 2021
The first post that appeared on The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit (on 08-08-08) mentioned Duggie Fields in its second sentence (see that post here: Iggy). For years he was a privileged witness in the world of Sydiots.
In 1963 Duggie went to the Regent Street Polytechnic, where some of the Pink Floyd boys were studying at well.
I met Roger Waters in the same group. On Friday afternoon dances, I was Juliette’s [Gale] dancing partner.
Later he was one of the many people living at 101 Cromwell Road where he witnessed how the Cambridge gang were ‘real acid proselytisers’. Mick Rock:
Apart from Duggie’s room, the rest of the place was full of acid burn-outs.
Syd Barrett used to break into Duggie’s room to read the Dr Strange comic books Fields had imported from the States. Fields was a fan of comics creator Stan Lee. His bedroom wall was covered with Marvel comics. Unfortunately, people used to borrow those and never bring them back.
Around Christmas 1968 Duggie, Syd and a third tenant called Jules moved to Wetherby Mansions. Jules quickly disappeared. After the sessions for the Barrett album were completed in July 1970 Syd began to spend less time at Wetherby Mansions and by 1971 he was living full time in Cambridge. Duggie would live in the same apartment for the rest of his life, turning it into a colourful bric-a-brac museum of his art.
Duggie was about the most reliable witness about Iggy, who was known as the Eskimo girl, and the one who recognised Syd’s car, a Pontiac Parisienne, in the movie Entertaining Mr Sloane.
The car too has its own mythology. (...) I first saw it at Alice Pollock and Ossie Clark’s New Year’s Eve party at the Albert Hall – a memorable event itself where both Amanda Lear and Yes (separately) took to the stage for the first time. (Taken from: Duggie Fields)
Julian Palacios interviewed Duggie in 1996 for his Syd Barrett biography.
He was so cool. Reserved and wary at first, then about halfway through he became super raconteur.
(email to FA, 10 February 2010).
For the Mortal Remains exhibition, Duggie painted Syd Barrett leaning against a pink convertible. It’s a gripping image, loosely based upon one of Mick Rock’s photographs of the madcap. It shows a headless Syd who seems to be humming a tune, hence the musical note appearing behind him.
Although Fields had a great career of his own, painting in a post-modern pop-art comic-strip style, he was forever Syd Barrett’s room-mate which must have been tiring from time to time.
The legend goes that Duggie Fields used to play his records loud. One day he played some Motown and Iggy, in the other room, started to dance, much to the amusement of Syd. They’re all reunited now…
In 2011 Antonio Jesús Reyes from sister-blog Solo En Las Nubes had a self-interview (or autoentrevista) with Duggie Fields that was simultaneously published in Spanish and in English. For the Spanish version, go to: Autoentrevista - Duggie Fields - Mucho más que un compañero de piso. The English version can be consulted at: Duggie Fields, much more than a room-mate.
He was truly one on the last real English gentlemen and it was an honour to have known him.
We were also informed of the death of John Davies, one of the hip boys in Cambridge in the early sixties. As a friend of Syd, he used to trade guitar licks and hangout in El Patio. See also: The John Davies Collection
The Church wishes to thank: Antonio Jesús Reyes, Eleonora Siatoni,
Julian Palacios, Rich Hall.
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (others than the links above):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 81, 82.
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 79.
Palacios, Julian: Darker Globe: Uncut and Unedited, private publication, 2021, p. 133, 484.