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I was browsing through what was once one of the most important Syd
Barrett groups on Facebook. and it struck me that it was all yesterday’s
jam. The group, with its 8000 members, is a boiling puddle of
continuous repetition, publishing the same (often colourised)
photographs ad infinitum.
If an interesting discussion magically appears it has been instigated by
the same pool of people, about a dozen of them. Most of them I still
remember from over a decade ago, but luckily there are a few exceptions.
As the attention span of the Facebook crowd is very limited, the thread
will quickly descend into the dark and hollow depths, where it eternally
resides in limbo. It is – of course – the business model of Facebook,
but I know from a rather good source that some administrators prefer
quantity over quality. It is a never-ending race to be the biggest Syd
Barrett community, rather than to be the best.
But when something good happens, we are all ears and this time we mean
that literally. Laughing Madcaps, that uncoordinated mob of
Sydiots, led by the uncurbed warlord Kiloh 'mad Max' Smith,
has issued a new version of the unofficial early Pink
Floyd and Syd compilation Have You Got It Yet?, or as we
retards call it: HYGIY? The blurb goes as follows:
This Syd Barrett Have You Got It Yet? (HYGIY?) 3.0 attempts to gather
all of the best quality unofficial material under a single collection.
There may be some stray tracks, that were officially released, contained
here. These tracks are here because the official versions are not
necessarily the best in quality.
The compilation is dedicated to Steve Czapla and Victor E. Reyes (RIP).
I don't say it often, but this time I do. Respect.
Who is Who: Arnold Layne
There are a few, relatively new, people around who manage to find
interesting Pink Floyd related material and one is the person who has
led me to the next story: Eleonora Siatoni. While she has found and
researched the following, all possible mistakes in this article are the
sole responsibility of the Reverend.
Cambridge is a website from the Museum
Of Cambridge that wants to share the extraordinary stories of the
people of Cambridgeshire. One entry, about Laundry Lane, a side
street of Cherry Hinton Road, caught the eye of Eleonora.
Cherry Hinton women had traditionally taken in washing from the
university colleges, delivered by a regular donkey cart service. Empty
ground was used for drying the linen. One of the companies employing
these women was the Cambridge Steam Laundry Co., founded in 1883.
It had 5 acres (slightly over 20,000 square metres) of drying grounds
and served families, schools, hotels and colleges. Around 1964 it was
known as Cambridge Laundry and Cleaners Ltd.
Barbara, who used to live in Laundry Lane number 5 as a child remembers:
In the 50s the cottages were, I think, much as they had been built –
there was no electric lighting upstairs, only cold water to both the
sink and a brick-lined drain in the kitchen and the usual outside toilet
and coal shed in the tiny yard; not unusual in the post-war years, I am
sure. They do look tiny, to accommodate the families with all those
children… but from memory, it was a very happy and safe place to grow
One comment, for Laundry Lane #1, reveals an early Floydian secret. It
was added by a certain KA (identified later as Kevin Arnold).
I was born and lived in Steam Laundry Cottages. My father was Leonard
Percy Arnold, my grandmother was Cecilia Dora Arnold. So many Arnolds
lived and worked at the laundry. John (Beefy) Arnold was my uncle and
had many children.
One notable small-time criminal in our family,
who was well known to the police and an alcoholic, was renowned for
stealing high-end garments and linen from the laundry and selling them
around Cherry Hinton to feed his habit. Later he built his own still in
a shed at the back of the house, also selling cheap liquor.
of his clothing customers and friend was a certain Syd Barrett of Pink
Floyd fame who penned a song called Arnold Layne which became their
debut single. (Link)
In 1939, Steam Laundry cottages, Steam Laundry Lane was occupied by many
of the Arnold family, I myself was born there. Grandmother Cecilia Dora
Arnold had 8 children, all lived & worked at the laundry. Kath Arnold
married into the Abbs family & also lived in the Cottages.
particular member of our family was well known to the police for his
activities (no name to protect remaining relatives). He was a thief & an
alcoholic, stealing high-end linen & clothes from the laundry, he also
built an illicit still in the garden shed.
He was friends with
Roger Barrett, latter to become Syd Barrett.
Because so many
Arnolds occupied the Lane, it was affectionately known as Arnold Lane,
Syd later wrote the song Arnold Layne based on it. If you listen to the
lyrics, you'll understand.
Syd Barrett didn’t live far from Laundry Lane. Hills Road 183 was
situated about 1600 metres from where the Arnolds lived.
So much history around Arnold Lane (Steam Laundry Lane). Cecilia was the
matriarch, children were Leonard (my father), Frank, John, Gertrude,
Ena, Kath, Dora & Gladys. (Link)
Not only was Kevin Arnold an acquaintance of young Syd, but he was also
apparently one of his friends in his later life.
I knew him & visited him shortly before he passed on, most people who
saw him would never have recognised the sad-looking bald guy who lived
in abject poverty, the house was bare, with few comforts, he was often
seen topless, displaying the operation scar from throat to navel. Very
sad ending for such an influential music icon.
Moonshine Washing Line
The Pink Floyd biographies never managed to solve the Arnold
Layne riddle. Mark
Blake notes in Pigs Might Fly:
The lyrics were supposedly inspired by a real incident in Cambridge,
where an unidentified knicker thief had raided Mary Waters’ washing
line. Roger had regaled Syd with the story.
Julian Palacios in Lost In The Woods adds some extra info:
Winifred Barrett, like Mary Waters, took in student boarders, common
practice in Cambridge. Female nursing students from Homerton College
lived in the Barrett home. Roger Waters said, ‘my mother and Syd’s
mother had students as lodgers. There was a girls’ college up the road.
So there were constantly great lines of bras and knickers on our washing
In one curious incident, brassieres, knickers and
garters hanging on washing lines in the Barrett garden proved
irresistible to a local underwear fetishist. This character made off
with nursing students’ undergarments. (…)
said, ‘Arnold Layne happened to dig dressing up in women’s clothing.’ Roger
Waters said, ‘‘Arnold’, or whoever he was, had bits and pieces off our
washing lines. They never caught him. He stopped doing it after things
got too hot for him.’
To identify the thief Julian Palacios quotes David Gale, who – just like
Syd Barrett – used to work for British mail as a student.
David Gale recalled when they were doing their Royal Mail rounds, a van
driver they dubbed ‘Rigor Mortis’ for his laziness would drive them
pointing out knickers on washing lines, exclaiming, ‘Cor, I’d like to
meet the owner of those.’
But there is another theory, coming from Mick Brown, Cambridge music
archivist, painter, cartoonist, satirist and Pink Floyd’s enemy number
one, who we all love to hate. He has been outing Arnold for ages and did
it once again, as a reply to Kevin Arnold’s story:
The real 'Arnold Layne' was John Chambers who came from Sturton Street.
He was well known around Cambridge in the early 1960s and often used to
hang about at the Mill Pond.
The Arnold Layne name was simply a
typical Barrett parody of the Beatles' Penny Lane that was recorded at
the same time. There are loads of Arnolds in Cambridge and they could
all claim to be the source of a famous song.
Here is a photo of one of Syd Barrett's earliest girlfriends. (…) Her
name was Jenny Chambers. She had a brother called John who was
immortalised and renamed Arnold Layne in a song Syd wrote. The photo was
taken in a part of Cambridge known as Stourbridge Common. Update
2021 11 13: Mick Brown has confirmed that the lady is NOT Chambers'
sister, however he stands by his Arnold Layne theory.
This seems to be acknowledged by Roy Alan Ethridge, who was also a part
of the Cambridge mods and rockers in the sixties and an acquaintance of
I knew John Chambers. Mick lived not far (…) and always knew he was
Arnold Layne but was told that it wasn’t him. It was a chap that lived
on Hills Rd. Now we know it was John. He really changed during the 60s
and was often caught snooping up Mill Rd.
According to Brown, Arnold – or John – wasn’t a cross-dresser:
So-called Arnold Layne wasn't a transvestite but a pervert. I remember
him clearly being a friendly chubby little chap who mingled with us down
at the Mill. Yes, he ended up in jail.
His name was John
Chambers. Of course, Syd used Arnold Layne as a parody of the Beatles.
So we have two contradicting stories here (if we forget the story of the
mailman). Kevin Arnold replied that he has at least one picture but is
reluctant to have it published.
I could verify it, but that would mean revealing the name & pic of Roger
(Syd) & my relative together.
In a private chat, that the Church was allowed to see, Kevin Arnold adds
even more details:
Roger was friends with a relative of mine who was, shall we say, less
than honest & often on the wrong side of the law. He used to steal high
end & fancy clothing from the launderette & I believe Roger was one of
the people he sold to. (...)
He and my cousin formed a friendship
although I stress Roger (Syd) was in no way involved in the criminal
I must protect my cousin’s name for the sake of
his remaining family. I will approach them & ask if I can show photos of
him & Syd, but not without permission.
But even when these pictures exist (and there must be some more of a
young Syd Barrett in private collections) it still isn’t proof that the
‘unknown cousin’ was the one and only Arnold Layne. Unless there was
more than one knicker picker running around in Cambridge in those days,
which is not such a crazy idea.
Syd liked to put wordplay and little nods to reality in his texts. Pink
Floyd's second single See
Emily Play refers to psychedelic debutante Emily
Young, his friend Libby Gausden and shows his fondness for the name
Emily that he would’ve liked for a daughter.
Sam has only 8 lines but it is bursting with mystery. The Jennifer
Gentle character is a mixture of Jenny Spires and Rosemary Barrett.
Syd quotes from an ancient English ballad, noted down in 1823 by Davies
Gilbert, called 'The
Three Sisters' or ‘The Riddling Knight’. These sisters (in the
folksong) are Jennifer (or Juniper), Gentle and Rosemaree. In the
ballad, they have to solve a few riddles for the youngest (Rosemaree) to
marry a ‘valiant knight’.
The ballad has some older and darker versions (Inter
Diabolus et Virgo, c. 1450) where the devil threatens to abduct a
young virgin unless she can answer some riddles. Was Syd Barrett aware
of this early version from five centuries before the summer of love? It
is uncanny that the devil appears in his song, disguised as a cat.
Julian Palacios adds some other points of interest regarding Lucifer
Sam. One underground member was ‘Thai Sam’ who dealt acid from a flat in
Beaufort Street, where Sue Kingsford and Alistair ‘Jock’ Findlay lived.
He shared a flat with Thieu, another member of the Cambridge Mafia who
later married Fizz (Frances Fitzgerald).
Last but not least Lucifer Sam could also have been inspired by Peter
‘Lucifer’ Walker, who was a warlock and disciple of Aleister
Crowley. Lucifer was the lead singer of The
Purple Gang and, as most of us will know Syd Barrett, who was
impressed with Peter’s occult appearance, presented them Boon Tune (Here
I Go) and an early version of Jugband Blues to cover. (Read more at: Hurricane
The obfuscated Dark Globe contains the verse: “'The poppy bird’s way.
Swing twigs coffee brands around.” If one
realizes that a former girlfriend of Syd was Vivien Brans,
nicknamed Twig, it becomes clear that Syd has cryptically entered
her name into the song.
Then there is the ‘Eskimo chain’ line that has confused Barrett fans for
decades. Although Jenny Spires vehemently denies that it has something
to do with Iggy the Eskimo the consensus is that Syd added a second,
failed, love interest in the song.
And don’t let us get started about Octopus
(Clowns and Jugglers). You can read all about the many hidden layers in
the excellent Untangling the Octopus essay from Paul Belbin,
first published in 2005, five years before someone else claimed he
discovered it all by himself. If you have an hour to spare you can read
this 'Rosetta stone' for decoding the writing inspirations for one of
Syd Barrett's most beloved songs right here, at the Church: Untangling
the Octopus v2 - 2006 (Paul Belbin) Untangling
the Octopus v3 - 2009 (extended version 3, Paul Belbin & Julian
The previous examples hopefully show that Barrett loved riddles and word
games that he liked to put into his lyrics. So what if Syd mixed several
situations and anecdotes from his past in the song that made Pink Floyd
a force to reckon with?
Syd loved intricate puzzles and this could be a very clever one,
amalgamating John Chambers, Kevin Arnold’s cousin, Rigor Mortis and a
road called Arnold Lane all into one song.
If there is one thing for sure, Syd Barrett will never stop amazing us.
The Church wishes to thank: Kevin Arnold, Barbara, Mark Blake, Mick
Brown, Roy Alan Ethridge, Eleonora Siatoni, Julian Palacios. ♥ Libby
♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (others than the links above): Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly,
Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 75. Palacios, Julian: Darker
Globe: Uncut and Unedited, private publication, 2021, p. 118-119,
Rock (1948-2021) we have lost another member of the Cambridge mafia,
although he wasn’t from that town, so perhaps Floydian mafia is a better
description. Rock, a Londoner, was a student in Cambridge where he took
a degree in Medieval and Modern Languages. He frequented some of the
local beatniks, Emo (Ian Moore), Pip (Pip Carter) and Fizz (Frances
Fitzgerald), and followed them to London to the legendary 101 Cromwell
Rd drugs pad. Later he moved to Egerton Court where Syd Barrett, Duggie
Fields, David Gale, Dave Henderson, Nigel and Jenny Lesmoir-Gordon,
Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell, Ponji Robinson, Matthew Scurfield, Storm Thorgerson
and Yes-collaborator Roger Dean all lived together.
In the beginning, was Syd
Rock knew Barrett since December 1966, they were hanging out together,
getting high, discussing literature, playing Go,
and developed some kind of virtual friendship that – according to Rock –
would go on for decades. Syd’s last interview, for Rolling Stone in
1971, was taken by Mick Rock. Syd’s last ‘public’ outing was when he
autographed 320 copies of Psychedelic Renegades, a 2002 Mick Rock
coffee table book. Mick was one of the very few photographers who
managed to picture Barrett in a relaxed state, laughing, as the 1971
pictures, taken in Syd’s back garden, prove.
My experience of Syd was he wanted to have fun. But somehow he was
stymied and then he got caught in this trap, this psychological trap and
he couldn’t get out of it.
The last time Mick Rock saw Syd was on an unexpected visit to Rock’s
flat in Notting Hill Gate in early 1973.
Caught in a storm
There has been some animosity for years between Storm
‘Hipgnosis’ Thorgerson and Mick Rock over The
Madcap Laughs pictures. History has been interpreted, changed and
rearranged by both and different versions of what ‘really’ happened can
be found, depending on the source one consults. Julian Palacios keeps it
diplomatic in his Syd Barrett biography:
Storm Thorgerson supervised the photo session for the cover of The
Madcap Laughs, bringing in Mick Rock to photograph, whom Syd requested.
Rock: ‘Syd just called out of the blue and said he needed an album
The Holy Church already mentioned the divergence in a 2008 article: Stormy
Pictures. Legally, the cover and back cover shots for Syd’s first
solo album belong to Hipgnosis. The official story is that these have
been taken by Storm, but Mick Rock has several times suggested that he
was behind it all.
Thorgerson gave his point of view in the 2007 edition of Mind Over
A photo session was duly arranged at Syd’s request in the flat in Earls
Court that he shared with the painter Duggie Fields. (…) My only
decision was to use a 35mm camera (to adapt to Syd’s mercurial moods)
and upgraded colour transparency, partly because of the low-level light
conditions and partly for the grainy effect.
Mick Rock’s presence, that same day, is dryly explained as follows:
Friend and photographer Mick Rock, later famous for his Bowie photos
amongst many others also came on the photo session, but I can’t remember
why. I think it was to help me, which seemed ironic given his subsequent
lensmanship and success in the rock business, especially in New York.
Mick Rock books (three different ones)
Mick Rock has devoted three books entirely to Syd Barrett. Two of them
are part of a box that also contains some music.
Syd Barrett – The Madcap Laughs – The Mick Rock Photo-Sessions
(UFO Books, 1993) is a limited deluxe box combining a book, a vinyl
album and a t-shirt. The elaborate and well-researched text of this
(sold out and deleted) book has been written by Pete Anderson, who is
the co-author of the Syd Barrett biography Crazy Diamond. Pete Anderson
wrongly dates the photoshoot in October and writes:
The task of designing the album sleeve fell to Storm Thorgerson and his
partner Aubrey 'Po' at Hipgnosis.
When it comes to the actual photoshoot there isn’t a single word about
Storm Thorgerson being there. Throughout the essay, it is mildly
suggested that Mick Rock did all by himself.
The startling colour images were taken in a single two-hour session in
the autumn of 1969 in the spartan bedroom of Syd Barrett's Earls Court
flat in London. (...) The sleeve, showing the beleaguered "star"
squatting bird-like in a room devoid of all creature comforts save a
vase of flowers and a battered electric fire, perfectly summed up the
mood of the record which many have interpreted as a scream for help.
But isn’t the above description about the Thorgerson picture? Mick Rock
(and Pete Anderson) carefully dance around the subject.
"We hadn't had any discussion about how the pictures were going to be,"
says Rock. "I suppose the idea had always been to do them in the flat
because Syd had told me about the floorboards and he was pretty excited
about that.” “But there had been no talk of getting a model in.
Iggy just happened to be there. I have no idea where she came from or
where she went to. Everyone just knew her as Iggy the Eskimo." (...) "There
were no curtains, just the bed, Syd's record player, the vase, and maybe
the stool. I can't remember if that was because the floor had just been
painted or because he didn't like furniture."
It is no secret that Mick Rock used to work as a freelancer for
Hipgnosis in his early career. His camera was a black Pentax that he had
bought from Po (Aubrey Powell), equipped with a cheap 28mm wide-angle
Soligor lens. The following paragraph however seems to imply that there
was more than one person around (without naming them):
"I think we did make a conscious decision not to have Iggy's face in the
pictures and we also decided that Syd would look good with a bit of kohl
make-up around his eyes. Iggy put that on. "Syd was pretty passive about
the whole thing and he was never that interested in the pictures
afterwards. (…) Syd could be quite uncommunicative but I can see from
the pictures that he was relaxed that day."
The photoshoot only took about two hours. Mick Rock used only two rolls
of film, simply because he couldn't afford a third.
"There had been no discussion about money at all. Later on I did get a
very minor payment but it couldn't have been more than £50 and I don't
know if it came from Syd or EMI."
Again, not a word about Storm Thorgerson nor Hipgnosis.
Two of a kind
In his other books, Mick Rock is a bit less authoritative.
Psychedelic Renegades – Photographs of Syd Barrett by Mick Rock.
Genesis Publications published a limited first edition in 2002. 320
copies were autographed by Roger Barrett & Mick Rock and 630 copies were
signed by Mick Rock alone. In 2007 the book was published in a regular
version, by Plexus (London) and Gingko (USA).
This is the picture book to get if you are interested in Mick Rock's Syd
pictures. It has an introduction/essay by Rock and throughout the book
there are some observations by the photographer, although these are not
always accurate. Contrary to the first book Rock acknowledges that Storm
was around that day, although he still stresses the fact that the
initiative came from him:
Syd asked me to take the pictures. We had talked about the shoot for a
while, and the day before it happened I told Storm from Hipgnosis, so he
came along because they were putting the package together. So the
actual session turned out to be a collaboration really because Storm
also took some pictures. I remember Storm asking me whether to credit
the image, ‘Hipgnosis and Mick Rock’ and I said, ‘No just credit it
This must have been a decision Rock regretted later.
Syd Barrett – The Photography Of Mick Rock is a tin box
that includes a 128 pages booklet and a 7-inch single 'Octopus' b/w
'Golden Hair' (EMI Records Ltd & Palazzo Editions Ltd, Bath, 2010).
There is an introduction and some observations by Mick Rock who repeats
that Syd asked him to do the photoshoot in autumn.
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit was the first blog in the world where
it was suggested that The Madcap Laughs photoshoot took place during
spring. This theory, originating from Jenny Spires, has now been largely
accepted by Syd fanatics and scholars. It is possible that a second
photoshoot took place later in the year, but the sleeve uses the
pictures of April 1969.
Remarkably, ‘Renegades’ and ‘Octopus’ contain a picture that was cropped
on the back cover of Syd’s second solo album, without crediting Mick
Syd Barrett (1974, double album vinyl compilation)
In 1974 Storm and Po knocked on Syd’s door asking if they could take
some pictures for a budget vinyl compilation that was going to be
released. Barrett never let them in and told his old chums to ‘fuck
off’. Thorgerson designed one of his iconic sleeves instead, the one
with a plum, an orange and a box of matches.
The inner sleeve of the Syd Barrett double album contains a bunch of
disorganised press clippings and pictures of Syd and Pink Floyd. Some of
these undoubtedly are Mick Rock’s. It means that Hipgnosis, at one
point, did have access to Mick Rock’s negatives. It is believed that
Mick Rock gave his film rolls to Storm, to have them developed.
(Pictures of the Syd Barrett inner sleeve can be found at our Storm
There are quite a few Hipgnosis related coffee table books around (the
reverend’s wife claims he’s got at least six too many). We have already
quoted from Mind Over Matter, but what do the others have got to say?
It needs to be said that the sleeve pictures of The Madcap Laughs can
not be found in any of Mick Rock’s books, these can only be found in
Hipgnosis/Storm Thorgerson related works.
Walk Away René
The 1978 book Walk Away René (The Work of Hipgnosis, Paper Tiger, 1978)
contains a detailed description of every picture in the book, except for
The Madcap Laughs. It gives conspiracy theorists a field day, although
it doesn't help anyone any further.
Taken By Storm
Taken By Storm (The Album Art of Storm Thorgerson, Omnibus Press, 2007)
leaves no ambiguity as Storm writes:
He crouched down by the fireplace and I took a 35mm pic quite quickly.
For The Love Of Vinyl
One year later For The Love of Vinyl (The Album Art of Hipgnosis,
Picturebox, 2008) was published and obviously the cover of The Madcap
Laughs is represented as well. Storm Thorgerson:
Back in 1970, the Floyd helped him make a solo album called The Madcap
Laughs. I told him I was coming over to his Earls Court flat to take a
picture. Mick Rock came too. I think Syd painted the floor specially for
us. He crouched. I took a pic. A naked girl appeared. Mick took a pic,
and we went home.
Storm Thorgerson died in 2013. Po published another Hipgnosis book one
year later: Portraits. According to Po, the Madcap sleeve was taken by
Storm Thorgerson, using a Nikon with a 500 ASA 24 x 36 mm film.
Powell writes that Syd invented the word Hipgnosis and that he wrote it
on the front door of the Egerton Court house they all lived in. About
The Madcap Laughs photoshoot Po has the following to say:
Syd's management company, Blackhill, commissioned us to do the Madcap
cover, and Storm went to the flat with our assistant, Mick Rock.
(Translated from the French edition by FA.)
Suddenly Mick Rock has become merely an assistant of Storm Thorgerson.
It gives the story about who did what a completely new insight.
But our investigations aren’t over yet.
In the 2017 documentary Shot! – the Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock –
Mick Rock hints again that he was behind the cover shot.
In the beginning, was Syd. Psychedelic Syd. (…) Syd had actually left
Pink Floyd and was living in relative obscurity. He asked me to take the
cover photo for his solo album The Madcap Laughs.
It is then that the official ‘Hipgnosis’ sleeve picture appears, for the
first time, in a Mick Rock publication, albeit without giving credit to
Storm Thorgerson. The image, with a handwritten title, clearly hints
that it is Mick Rock’s work, not Storm’s. Of course, when this
documentary came out Storm wasn't around anymore to comment on Rock's
interpretation of the past.
I didn't really have any plans. It simply was to shoot El Syd... and
Iggy opened the door in the altogether. All together now, miss Iggy. She
was holding company with Syd... but of course, the gift was the
floorboards. He had moved in not long beforehand and he was painting the
floorboards and he... he was painting all over these... I mean, there
were dog ends buried in there. He didn't clean the floor before he
Rock shows one of the better known Madcap pictures and claims:
That should really have been the cover of The Madcap Laughs. (…) That’s
what me and Syd wanted.
While he testified earlier that Syd wasn’t interested in the pictures at
all, he suggests in Shot! that they both agreed on a sleeve cover, an
opinion that wasn’t followed by Hipgnosis.
For years there have been rumours in anoraky Floydian circles that
Thorgerson and Rock sued (or threatened to sue) each other over the
ownership of The Madcap Laughs pictures. Probably a deal was made – a
bit like the one between Roger Waters and Pink Floyd over The Wall. The
Madcap Laughs front and back sleeve pictures officially belong to
Hipgnosis (Storm Thorgerson). The out-takes belong to Mick Rock. It has
been hinted before that Rock handed over his film rolls to Thorgerson to
have them developed and part of the deal must have been that the
negatives were returned to him.
This could be the reason why the Mick Rock out-takes can’t be found in
Hipgnosis / Storm Thorgerson books. This could be the reason why
‘official’ Madcap pictures can’t be found in any Mick Rock publication,
except for Shot!
Both parties seem to agree that Hipgnosis was commissioned by the record
company (Harvest, EMI) to supervise the record sleeve.
Did Syd Barrett ask his friend Mick Rock, an aspiring would-be
photographer, to organise the shooting for the forthcoming album? As
Rock was freelancing for Hipgnosis and they all were buddies anyway, he
may have warned Storm that Syd was expecting a photographer the next
day. The result was that Storm was there, not as Mick Rock’s colleague,
but as his boss.
We keep hearing from people how nice a person Mick Rock was. From Men On
The Border we have this reaction, coming from Jenny Spires:
The wonderful Mick Rock, unmatched intelligence, kind and generous,
totally lacking in malice, a dear friend. RIP. I will miss you, Mick.
That’s why it is a pity that Storm and Mick never conciliated, fought
over the legacy of the Madcap pictures and refused to give the other one
Because of their stubbornness, there will always be some doubt who took
The Madcap Laughs cover (and back cover) pictures. But it doesn't matter
really. It's the stuff legends are made of.
Many thanks to: Anonymous, Göran Nyström. ♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (other than the links above): Chapman, Rob: A Very
Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 385. Palacios,
Julian: Darker Globe: Uncut and Unedited, private publication,
2021, p. 823, 963.
Hipgnosis & Storm Thorgerson: Powell, Aubrey: Hipgnosis, Les
Pochettes Mythiques du Célèbre Studio, Gründ, Paris, 2015,
p. 40, 118 (French edition of Hipgnosis Portraits). Thorgerson, Storm
& Powell, Aubrey: For The Love Of Vinyl, Picturebox,
Brooklyn, 2008, p. 38. Thorgerson, Storm & Curzon, Peter: Mind
Over Matter 4, Omnibus Press, London, 2007, p. 234. Thorgerson,
Storm & Curzon, Peter: Taken By Storm, Omnibus Press, London,
2007, p. 100. Thorgerson, Storm: Walk Away René, Paper
Tiger, Limpsfield, 1989, p. 103.
Mick Rock: Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London,
2007, p. 20. Rock, Mick & Anderson, Pete: Syd Barrett - The
Madcap Laughs - The Mick Rock Photo-Sessions, U.F.O. Books, London,
1993. The text of this book ca be consulted at Luckymojo.com. Rock,
Mick: Syd Barrett - The Photography Of Mick Rock, EMI Records
Ltd, London & Palazzo Editions Ltd, Bath, 2010.
Videos: Syd Barrett related excerpt from Shot!: The Psycho-Spiritual
Mantra of Rock: Syd
Barrett SHOT! Mick Rock Shot! Q&A, hosted by Barney Hoskyns.
Filmed Wednesday 12th July 2017: Mick
Rock Q&A (Syd bit starts at 5:30, do not miss the hilarious
anecdote about David Gilmour being chased by Brian Epstein in his
bedroom). Mick Rock: on shooting Syd Barrett for 'Madcap Laughs'
album cover. Interviewed in his studio, September 2001: Mick