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(This is part two of our Mojo magazine review, for part one, click here).
As if the world has suddenly been hit by a temporal rift in spacetime
the March 2010 issue of Mojo music magazine has inundated the stores
bearing a big (slightly photoshopped) portrait of a mister Syd Barrett.
The well-written and rather accurate cover article, by Pat Gilbert,
ranges from page 70 to 81 and tells the story of The Madcap Laughs, Syd
Barrett’s first solo album.
Two other articles are of particular interest to the Church as they
describe the mythical presence of a ‘girl whose naked body graced the
back cover of The Madcap Laughs’.
we discussed the Who’s That Girl article written by Mark
Blake, and this week the Church will scrutinize Paul Drummond’s In
My Room (Mojo 196, p. 82 - 84). Out of courtesy (and for copyright
reasons) the Reverend has decided not to publish the articles as long as
the magazine is for sale in the shops. Update: Direct link to
the article: Mojo
March 2010. (hosted at the Church as the article was removed from
the official Barrett website in 2016).
The article, about The Madcap Laughs photo sessions, has interviews with
Duggie Fields, Mick Rock and - so it seems - Jenny Spires. But although
she was interviewed by email for the main article by Pat Gilbert, she
has told the Church she wasn’t really questioned about Iggy.
I guessed, when I saw it, they must have looked at your site (re Daffodils
and photo shoot etc…), as I was not asked about this
or about Iggy. (JenS, 10th of February 2010, mail to the Church)
The Reverend could do no other thing than to summon the Holy Igquisition
to stick in a few comments as the In The Room article clearly
breathes the holy air of the Church but neglects to mention its
existence in its columns.
Ig and Jenny Spires meeting each other for the first time
Mojo 196 reports:
Jenny Spires first met Iggy in January 1969 and introduced her to Syd
and he let her stay. (p. 83)
The Holy Igquisition wants to set this straight: According to
the Church’s archives JenS first met Ig in summer 1966 (cfr. When
Syd met Iggy). The year thereafter (1967) they met again and from
then one they went on clubbing together. This has once again been
confirmed by Jens this week:
I was surprised they had mistakenly printed that I met her in 1969. This
annoys me really because of its inaccuracy.
The date of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot
Mojo 196 reports:
Iggy’s involvement appears to date the shoot as spring ’69 as she was
long gone by autumn. (p. 83)
The Holy Igquisition wants to set straight: JenS has situated
the photo shoot in spring 1969 (March or April) (cfr. When
Syd met Iggy 1). Further investigations by the Church have
pinpointed a possible date in April 1969 (cfr. When
Syd met Iggy 2).
Mojo 196 reports:
It’s more likely Syd picked them (the daffodils found on the cover of
the album) while in the park with Iggy, as captured on Super-8 film.
The Holy Igquisition wants to set straight: The Holy Church of
Iggy the Inuit has discussed the lost In The Woods movie at great extent
and Pontiacs). However the theory that the Lost in The Woods video
was shot before the photo shoot is new and quite intriguing. However the
idea that Iggy, Mick and Syd picked the daffodils is, according to JenS,
Mojo 196 writes:
When the photo shoot was over, Rock continued outside using Syd’s blue
Pontiac Parisienne as a prop. (…) The life of this inanimate object
(registration: VYP74) helps confirm that the shoot wasn’t in the autumn.
The Holy Igquisition wans to set straight: The story of Syd
Barrett’s car has been the object of different posts at the Church (cfr. When
Syd met Iggy 2), but the initial quest for the car was done at the Late
Night forum by Dark Globe, Sean Beaver and others… they found out
that the car appeared in the movie Entertaining Mr. Sloane. Unlike Mojo
magazine, the Church does like to give credit to the people who deserve
The Holy Igquisition concludes:
It is clear that Mojo magazine has extensively browsed through the pages
of the Holy Church of Inuit but has somehow forgotten to mention
this in its articles. The Holy Igquisition has therefore sent the
following objurgation at Mojo:
It was nice to see that the many theories of the Holy Church of Iggy the
Inuit have been reproduced in The Madcap Laughs photo shoot article,
albeit without mentioning where these originally came from.
However the Holy Igquisiton knows that any true believer will find the
Church, so every Iggy publication will be beneficiary in the end. Ig’s
story as published in the March issue of Mojo may be the butterfly
effect that will cause the storm at the other side of the world. So
perhaps, thanks to Mojo, the Church will be one day able to fulfil its
Rather than to start an endless polemical discussion the Holy Church of
Iggy the Inuit would like to end this post with Duggie Fields’s
magnificent description of our skyclad sistren (p. 82):
I remember being at a 31 bus stop and seeing her coming down the stairs
very elegantly in this gold lame 1940s dress that had bell sleeves that
buttoned to a train but with no underwear and completely exposed…
Not a care in the world.
Lo and behold brethren and sistren, and don't do anything
that Ig wouldn't have done.
In the interview that Iggy - or should we say Evelyn - gave after
nearly 40 years of silence in The
Croydon Guardian she remembers how she helped Syd to paint the
floorboards that would give an extra psychedelic feel to The Madcap
Laughs cover picture.
When Mick turned up to take the photos I helped paint the floor boards
for the shoot, I was covered in paint, I still remember the smell of it.
But Iggy, as we will keep on calling her, isn’t the only one
remembering. Also present were Rusty and Margaretta, better known as
I remember that Iggy was involved with the floor painting project and
that she had paint all over her during the floor painting time but I was
not involved with the painting of the floor.
Several biographies, including Julian Palacios’s Lost In The
Woods (p.241), Tim Willis’s Madcap (p.106) and Mark
Blake’s Pigs Might Fly (p. 141) describe Greta (sic) and
her companion Rusty as homeless ‘speed freaks’. This description almost
certainly comes from painter Duggie Fields who shared the flat with Syd
and who wasn’t very amused with the many people Syd invited to say the
Julian Palacios remembers Duggie Fields from an interview he did in 1996:
He was so cool. Reserved and wary at first, then about halfway through
he became super raconteur. (email to FA, 10 February 2010).
This lead to the following paragraph in the Lost In The Woods
Duggie Fields recalls a steady stream of visitors, ‘some visitors were
parasites and some were confused in their drug use, not even abusing
‘Rusty and Greta were homeless when they came to stay here,’ explains
Fields. ‘Greta became good friends with Jenny Spires, and came into
Syd’s life from that connection. They were in my life to a degree but I
didn’t want them around. (…) They probably brought stimulants for Syd
and he took them.’
Now, for the first time in over 40 years Margaretta Barclay has
decided to share her memories with the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit as
well. But lets starts by setting the record straight:
Your blog relating to Syd Barrett mentions that Rusty and I were drug
addicted. This is most certainly not true and an old friend of
ours - Jenny Spires has made that fact known to you.
My sister Catriona (Trina) and I met Jenny Spires during the mid 1960’s
at a London grooming school. Jenny introduced my sister and I to Syd at
101 Cromwell Rd and at Edgerton Court. Rusty was not with us at that
Rusty and I were not in the ‘steady stream of visitors’. In 1970 we were
in Suffolk at the beginning of that year and Devon for the remainder of
it. Not in London. We were not homeless either. Rusty and I left London
for various reasons but primarily because I was expecting my first child.
Syd was a very dear friend of ours and we did a considerable amount
together in the 60's. Contrary to what I have read, we did not provide
Syd with drugs.
It was of course 40 years ago when Barrett recorded The Madcap Laughs
and memories may have played tricks on people. A famous example is the
Mick Rock statement that Syd Barrett's car was bright pink while the
pictures taken by him on that day show that the car was actually dark
blue. On the DVD The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story Duggie
Fields remembers how Syd painted the floor boards of his flat.
Although the story is rather funny we now know that the actual truth may
have been somewhat different. Similar Syd Barrett myths or legends have
been created (and repeated in books and magazines) that way throughout
the years without veryfying. Margaretta continues:
Without wishing to be vindictive where Duggie Fields and his interviews
are concerned, surely, in order to obtain a balanced view of Syd’s
chosen circle of friends, it would be sensible to back up assumptions
Syd was a highly sensitive, almost delicate person, who was well aware
of his constitution where drugs were concerned and perfectly capable of
not being cajoled in to anything he did not want to do. To my knowledge,
he did not take vast quantities of drugs.
He enjoyed our company and invited us to stay at Wetherby Mansions where
we shared good times together. Iggy was around at that time too and I
remember her helping to paint the room in question. Dominique A., a
French friend of ours, was also close to Syd at this time. Jenny,
Catriona and I lived with her in Chelsea for a time.
Update: the Church managed to contact Dominique A. but she
refused to talk about the past.
According to Margaretta the legends surrounding Syd Barrett contain many
errors and “if they relate to my sister Catriona, Rusty and me, it is my
duty to ensure that they are not perpetuated”.
It is convenient to point a finger at others in order to explain Syd’s
behavioural patterns. Syd behaved in his inimitable way long before he
Duggie did not socialise with us as a group – and his conclusion that I
indulged in such a way - and on my own, is erroneous.
From our point of view Syd was a vulnerable person, we cared for him and
our aim was to encourage him to be creative, to write and play his
guitar. After all, Rusty only wanted to write and play music with Syd -
to give him drugs was not on our agenda; Syd - was ‘far out’ enough
The Reverend was of course anxious to know what kind of music Rusty and
Syd played together:
Rusty and Syd played Syd’s songs and variations on them ’Oh baby my
hairs on end about you’, ‘Octopus’ etc…, as well as songs they created
together and basic blues.
In 1969 we went to Isle of Wight Festival together and at one point, in
an effort to encourage Syd to play his guitar, we took him to stay with
a musician friend of ours in Wales. Gala may remember the journey.
There have indeed been rumours of Syd Barrett visiting the Isle
of Wight festival before and a (much discussed) picture of this
event does exist. Margaretta is formal that the photograph is genuine:
The Isle of Wight picture is definitely of Syd with me beside him. (She
is the woman at his left side, FA.)
Back to Rusty and Gretta. Hoping that the visit would inspire and
encourage Syd to return to the musical ‘land of the living’ they took
him to a ‘brilliant musician’ who lived in Solva, Haverfordwest, Dyfed: Meic
(Update: The next paragraph is totally wrong as the Welsh
musician in question iwas Meic Stevens, not Mike Stevens
(although Meic has also been credited as Mike, early in
his career). But as this Mike Stevens's family was so kind to contact
the Church and as his music is really groovy, the Reverend has decided
not to delete it. See: Gretta
Speaks (Pt. 2))
It is believed that this musician was Mike Stevens from the Welsh
band The Shevells (aka The Welsh Conquerors). In the mid sixties the
band recorded several records featuring Stevens on guitar and vocals.
Around 1966, as Mike Stevens & The Shevells, they recorded a cover
version of Cathy's Clown and the Go-Go
Train and as The Shevelles, Come
On Home. Stevens was an on/off member of the band as he was
apparently also involved in The Squires, originally Tom Jones’s back up
band and the composers of the hit It's Not Unusual. (Information taken
the Church is currently trying to contact M. Stevens.)
In a soon to be published, revised and updated, 2010 edition of Julian
Palacios’s biography Lost
In The Woods the roles of Gretta and Rusty in Syd Barrett’s life
have already been changed for the better. Palacios writes:
Life at home edged further toward the chaotic when Rusty and Greta,
casual friends of Barrett’s, moved in. (…) Only recently arrived in
London, not on the ‘underground scene’, they later left for Devon, where
they married and settled. Greta may have done speed, but the pair were
not the terrible people they have been painted as.
When Rusty B. split with Greta, he came and stayed with Jack Monck and
Jenny (Spires). In late 1972, Jack and Rusty started a new band, Rocks
(Above quotes from 'Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd' by Julian
Palacios - Plexus Books, May September 2010 edition.)
Gretta Barclay remarried, is a proud mother and an even prouder
grandmother, and according to her family ‘she is a wonderful amazing
beautiful lady who has 3 children who love her very much’.
The Reverend can only agree with that. Even for the Church there are
more important things in life than chasing the shadow of a girl who
lived for a while in a house were someone, apparently famous, lived as
The second part of the interview will be published in the weeks to come.
The Church wishes to thank: Margaretta Barclay for her invaluable
testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969. Julian
Palacios for additional information.
Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above): Blake,
Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press, London, 2007, p.141. Fields,
Duggie interview in: The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story, DVD
UK Ltd 2005. Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree,
London, 1998, p. 241. Willis, Tim, Madcap, Short Books,
London, 2002, p. 106.
Nothing is so stupid as New Year resolutions, especially when you read
them when the katzenjammer is over. On the second
of January of 2010 the Reverend uttered the fear that the Church
would soon disappear by lack of Iggy. If this meant one single thing it
is that the Reverend is by no means a reliable prophet.
The March edition of the music magazine Mojo,
that mysteriously appeared in January 2010, had a 14 pages cover story
about the Syd Barrett album The Madcap Laughs that was finally
released in January 1970 after nearly twenty months of tinkering. Its
main article I'm Not Here (Pat Gilbert) gave the portrait of the
artist as a young man and his struggle to get his first solo album done.
A small insert Who's That Girl (Mark Blake) tried to reveal some
of the mysteries around Iggy The Eskimo, but to no avail (more questions
were raised then answered, see: (I've
got my) Mojo (working...). Last, but not least, In My Room
(Paul Drummond) gave some background information about The Madcap Laughs
photo shoot, interviewing Duggie Fields, Storm Thorgerson, inevitably
Mick Rock and en passant citing Jenny Spires and the Holy Church
of Iggy the Inuit (but not in so many words, see Goofer
Dust [(I've got my) Mojo (working)... Part 2] .
(For your information: the complete Mojo article can could be
downloaded quite legally and for free at the official Syd Barrett website:
direct link to the scanned pdf
document, hosted since 2016 at the Church.)
It needs to be said that the Mojo article achieved in two week time what
the Church couldn't achieve in two years: finding Iggy. On the 6th of
February 2010 it was revealed
that she was alive and well and living in southern England and although
this news was covered by the Church the scoop arrived, noblesse oblige,
at the Mojo offices in a letter from an acquaintance of her: Peter Brown
(not the Pete[r] Brown from Cream and Piblokto fame).
Part of this letter has been published in issue 197 (April) and goes
One woman, with many faces
Re Iggy’s whereabouts, I can enlighten you a little on her post-Madcap
life. I first met Iggy - her real name was Evelyn - in the early ’70s,
when she arrived from the King’s Road to the house where I lived in
Brighton with a miscellany of artists and eccentrics.
I spent a lot of time with Iggy including nights ‘on the town’. She was
a loose cannon, absolutely stunning, and fab company I soon discovered
that it was none other than Iggy gracing my copy of The Madcap Laughs,
and told her that Syd had been a peer of mine in Cambridge. I also knew
Jenny Spires (who introduced Iggy to Syd), and saw Pink Floyd at various
venues. I spent an evening with Syd once and we walked back together to
our respective homes near Cherry Hinton in stoned stupor.
In the mid ’80s I learned that Iggy was living in Sussex and working at
a racing stables, where she married a farmhand. She’s since kept her
whereabouts quiet, though a friend at the stables, who I spoke to
recently informs me of Iggy’s low-key flamboyance in the area. There are
a wealth of other stories, but brevity forbids!
Next to Brown aka Thongman, Jenny Spires decided to comment as well:
I struggle, you collaborate
I’ve read your Syd article and there are two or three things to correct.
First, I met Iggy [the Eskimo] in 1966, not 1969 as stated. Also, the
floor was painted as soon as Syd moved into Wetherby Mansions, and was
already done when I was there. Part of it, under the bed, wasn’t
finished, but was done by the time I left in early 1969. I don’t think
it was painted with a photoshoot in mind. Also, in the larger photo, the
daffodils look quite fresh, but in the photo used for the cover they are
dead. This seems to suggest that that photo was done a couple of weeks
With reference to Mandrax - there were no Mandrax in the flat at this
stage. These came later, around early summer. This is not to say Syd had
never had Mandrax, but they weren’t readily available to him at that
It seems now that there is enough material left for the Church to go on
with its mission for the next lustrum. So keep watching this space and
remember, don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done.
The Reverend wants to thank Mojo for donating a copy of the April issue
to the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Thanks guys!
Purloined Letter (1845) from Edgar
Allan Poe dozens of intelligence officers search a room to
recuperate some blackmailing material but they fail to locate it. Enters C.
Auguste Dupin, probably the very first detective in fiction, who
simply picks the letter from a card-rack. It had never been concealed
but as the policemen had been looking for a hidden object they never
cared to check the paper, lying out in the open.
When the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit started its mission it was
generally believed that The
Madcap Laughs photo shoot had taken place in the autumn of 1969.
Mainly because every Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett related book said so and
- for over 30 years of time - nobody had ever cared to check the facts.
(Also Rob Chapman's A
Very Irregular Head biography, that has just appeared a couple of
days ago, situates the floor paint job and thus the photo shoot
somewhere between August and November 1969.)
Of course the witnesses saying that the shoot had taken place in the
last quarter of 1969 were quite privileged authorities on the life and
works of Barrett and thus their testimonies have never been questioned
(and as we will reveal later, their comments may be - partly - true).
Malcolm Jones was the Harvest manager who partly produced Barrett's
first solo album and who wrote an acclaimed (for Syd fans anyway) book
about these sessions.
One day in October or November (1969, FA) I had cause to drop in
at Syd's flat on my way home to leave him a tape of the album, and what
I saw gave me quite a start. In anticipation of the photographic session
for the sleeve, Syd had painted the bare floorboards of his room orange
and purple. (…) Syd was well pleased with his days work and I must say
it made a fine setting for the session due to take place.
And in his Psychedelic Renegades book Mick Rock writes:
We shot The Madcap Laughs in the autumn of 1969 and I don’t think that
Syd and Duggie Fields had been living in the flat that long. (…) Soon
after Syd moved in he painted alternating floor boards orange and
The above contains a contradiction, although Mick Rock probably isn't
(wasn't) aware of that. Syd Barrett, Duggie Fields and a third tenant
called Jules moved in the apartment in January 1969 (perhaps December
1968) and certainly not later. A while later Jules was kicked out
because he didn't pay the rent.
Duggie Fields recalls in The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story
that the floorboards were painted 'quite quickly' after they had moved
in and said in the Mojo Madcap issue:
When Jules left Iggy came soon after and she wasn't there for long.
Jenny Spires (Syd's ex) brought her round. Iggy was just around, she
didn't officially live here.
has indeed confirmed to the Church: "I took her (Iggy) to Wetherby
Mansions in January 1969." (Did the Reverend ever tell that it was
thanks to biographer Julian Palacios that the Church got in contact with
It is hard to remember things after 40 years, and even harder to
pinpoint an exact date for certain events, but JenS certainly wasn't in
England anymore in April as she had left for America, and by then the
floor boards had already been painted. "When Syd and Gretta et al went
to The Isle of Wight Trina - Gretta's sister - and I were in America and
heading for the Woodstock Rock Festival."
Also Iggy (or Evelyn, in her interview with
the Croydon Guardian) and Margaretta Barclay (in her interview
with the Church) remember the painted floorboards. But opinions differ
whether the floor boards were painted with a photo session in mind or
Just like several (tiny) details in the pictures have given away the
date, the answer may lie in the pictures themselves. What most
people, including the Reverend, have neglected to do for the last 40
years was to look for the obvious. Not so for Late
Night member and Syd Barrett collector Dark Globe:
After reading Jenny Spires's claim that the floorboards were painted
when Syd moved into the flat, long before the Madcap photo session, I
had another look at some of the photos. (…)
gun' for me is the can of paint and paintbrush which appears in one of
the Madcap session photos:
this would imply that the floorboards had only been painted recently.
course, it could be that he was only 'topping them up' but it certainly
looks like he (and maybe Iggy) had done some painting close to the
The photographic evidence is there.
The Mick Rock pictures from Syd Barrett's room not only reveal that
parts of the floor had not
been painted yet but also show that a can of (blue) paint and a big
paintbrush are hiding next to Syd's mattress, together with a coffee mug
and an empty wine glass.
At least two Storm Thorgerson pictures from that spring day show the
paint can as well. The booklet
of the Crazy Diamond Syd Barrett box shows the (partly cut off) can at
the left side of the picture and the print of the so-called toy plane picture
that was sold on eBay in November last
year has it in full. It is a pity that only a very small image of
this print exists and that its owner, if (s)he is aware of its
existence, still hasn't donated some hi-res scans to the Syd Barrett
Whilst Mick Rock was at it he also took some 'nude
study' pictures from Iggy but this time the Reverend will not get
exited over her churrigueresque features but over her dirty feet. Her
feet are black (or should that be: blue?) and probably she had been
walking barefoot over the wet paint.
Stating the obvious is difficult when one is too concentrated on a
subject. Church member Banjer and Sax found a simple explanation
why painting a floor in two different colours will take several days or
Maybe it took several days to complete the job, more than two days, and
they would not necessarily have to have been consecutive days. So maybe
days passed or even months passed between different phases of floor
painting. It seems like it could have been difficult to do both colours
at the same time.
The logical thing to do is indeed wait for the first colour to dry
before starting the second colour. But the mystery of The Madcap Laughs
photo shoot only gets bigger and, as usual, archbishop Dark Globe
is to blame:
There was more than one photo shoot though. A second photo shoot (not by
Mick Rock, but by Storm Thorgerson, FA) shows Syd doing yoga and
posing in front of one of his paintings. The floorboards are painted in
these photos so they were probably taken sometime after the session with
Iggy. Syd's hair is a noticeably longer in these photos too.
These pictures were used by Hipgnosis for the cover of the vinyl
compilation Syd Barrett. It is obvious that they were taken on a
later date: the floor seems to be completely painted, but also the room
has been reorganised. While the far left corner on the daffodil session pictures
is empty it suddenly contains some canvas and paint during the yoga
Perhaps Storm took some photos later in the year and maybe this is how
the legend came into place that The Madcap Laughs photo session was made
This is not as far-fetched as it seems.
Autumn Photo Session
Mick Rock states: "This '69 session was specifically done for Syd's
first solo album, The Madcap Laughs" and Storm Thorgerson more or less
claims that Hipgnosis had been summoned by record company Harvest to do
But if the daffodil photo shoot really took place, as proposed by the
Church between the 14th and 21st of April 1969, Syd
Barrett had only been at two, maximum three, recording sessions for the
album. (If only we could find out the date of the newspaper lying next
to Barrett's bed?)
It is hard to believe that Harvest would approach Hipgnosis after three
studio sessions, especially as Syd Barrett was still regarded as a
liability. Between May and July of the previous year Barrett had wasted
eight recording sessions and basically EMI had given up. Peter Jenner:
It was chaos…. (…) There were always these tantalising glimpses and that
was what kept you going. (…) I think we just came to the conclusion that
we weren't getting anywhere.
So although the April 10 and 11 sessions of 1969 had been very promising
(and the one on the 17th as well) it is unlikely that the managing
director of Harvest was already thinking he had chart material. And
quite rightly so, because the fourth session was disastrous and has been
used in books and articles to emphasize Syd's lunatic behaviour. And it
wasn't getting better...
Different people tell different stories but the bottom line is that less
than a month after the first (April 1969) recording session Malcolm
Jones simply gave up. David Gilmour, who took over the producer seat in
June, maintains until today that he was asked to salvage the sessions
from the dustbin, although Malcolm Jones has tried to minimise this and
claimed that the Madcap project had not really been shelved.
It was already August 1969 when the Cantabrigian Pink Floyd members
started (stereo-)mixing the tapes, and as the band had a busy schedule
and wanted to have some holidays as well, it would take until October
for the master tapes to be ready. Now here is what the Reverend calls an
appropriate moment for the record company to commission a sleeve.
Summer 1969. Harvest hotshots ask Hipgnosis to design a sleeve for the
album that is in its final mix. Storm Thorgerson goes to Syd's flat to
take the so-called yoga-shots,
but decides later, for whatever reason, to use the (Mick Rock
influenced) daffodil-shots instead. (Probably when Thorgerson presented
the sleeve to Harvest, he didn't tell that the pictures came really from
a photo shoot earlier in the year. That's how we know Storm.)
A legend is born.
We leave the last word to JenS who was so friendly to contact us again:
It's truly astonishing about the floor! All I can say is the floor had
already been painted when I arrived. (January 1969, FA)
There were parts of the room unfinished in the bay window and to the
right hand corner of the room and fireplace where Syd's bed was
originally and where Iggy is poised on the stool. I guess they must have
had to paint these remaining bits before the shoot. They may also of
course given it a second, more refreshing coat for the shoot.
Interesting, bit by bit a more accurate picture is emerging.
To accompany this article a new gallery has been uploaded: Paintbox.
Sources (other than the above internet links): Chapman, Rob: A
Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 235. Drummond,
Paul: In My Room, Mojo 196, March 2010, p. 82. Direct link
to the scanned pdf
document (hosted at the Church). Fields, Duggie
interview in: The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story, DVD UK Ltd
2005. Jones, Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain
Damage, 2003, p. 13. Parker, David: Random Precision, Cherry
Red Books, London, 2001, p. 136, p. 138. Rock, Mick: Psychedelic
Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 18-19, p. 58. The paint can
pictures can be found at pages 72, 76, 83 and 84. Iggy's dirty feet on
A couple of weeks ago this blog published excerpts
from Meic Stevens' autobiography Hunangofiant
y Brawd Houdini (in Welsh, but awesomely translated by Prydwyn)
describing how the Cymry
bard encountered Syd Barrett in the late Sixties.
These meetings, as far as the Church is aware, have never been mentioned
before, not in any of the four main Syd Barrett biographies and not on
any website, blog or forum dedicated to the Pink Floyd frontman. It is a
bit weird, seen the fact that the biography already appeared in 2003.
Normally Syd related news, regardless of its triviality, is immediately
divulged through the digital spider web tying Syd anoraks together. The
Church does not want to take credit for this find, it is thanks to Prydwyn,
who contacted the Church, that we now have this information, and we hope
that it will slowly seep into the muddy waters of the web. (Strange
enough the Church post was almost immediately detected by (Welsh) folk
music blogs but completely ignored by the Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett
communities. Is the rumour true that there is a general Syd Barrett fatigue
The psychedelic London Underground was not unlike the rapid
transit system that listens to the same name. The counterculture wasn't
really an organised movement, but constituted of many, independent
stations with tubes going from one station to the other. Some
persons travelled a lot, switching from line to line using intersecting
stations as apparently Syd Barrett's Wetherby Mansions flat was one,
much to the dismal of Duggie Fields who wanted to produce his art in
Syd meets Spike Hawkins
In a YouTube
interview Rob Chapman, author of the Syd Barrett biography A
Very Irregular Head, recalls how he found out that beatnik and poet Spike
Hawkins was an acquaintance of Syd Barrett. He was interviewing Pete
Brown for his book and when the interview was over he remarked that
some Barrett lyrics had a distinct Spike Hawkins style. At that point
Pete Brown remarked: "I think Spike Hawkins knew Syd Barrett." Without
that lucky ad hoc comment we would (probably) never have known
that the two artists not only knew, but also met, each other at
different occassions, although it was probably more a Mandrax
haze that tied them rather than the urge to produce some art together.
Syd meets Dominique
The Church already mentioned the names of Meic Stevens, Jenny Spires,
Trina Barclay, Margaretta Barclay and her friend, painter and musician
Rusty Burnhill (who used to jam with Barrett), Iggy (or Evelyn, who is
rather reluctant to talk about the past) and the French Dominique A.,
who was - at a certain moment - rather close to Barrett.
Dominique is, like they say in French, un cas à part.
Unfortunately nobody seems to know what happened to her, but if the six
degrees of separation theory is accurate it might not be too
difficult to find her. The problem is that nobody remembers if she
stayed in Great Britain or returned to France. But if you read this and
have a granny, listening to the name Dominique A., who smiles
mysteriously whenever you mention the name Pink Floyd, give us a call.
Update May 2011: thanks to its many informants, the Church has
traced the whereabouts of Dominique. She currently lives in a small
village, close to Bayonne, near the Bay of Biscay (French: Golfe de
Gascogne). Unfortunately she doesn't want to talk about the past.
Update June 2018: Iain Moore, aka Emo, uploaded a picture, taken
in the mid-Seventies. From left to right: Dominique, Gala (Gaylor?)
Pinion, Lyndsay Corner.
Syd meets Carmel
Church member Dark Globe compared the English version of Meic
Stevens' biography Solva
Blues (2004) with the excerpts of the Welsh version we published at Meic
meets Syd and found a few differences. Apart from the fact that Meic
Stevens also had an Uncle Syd who appears quite frequently in the book
there are some minor additions in the English version, absent from the
The Welsh version notes fore instance that 'Syd Barrett from Pink
Floyd came to see us in Caerforiog':
Syd Barrett o Pink Floyd fydde’n dod i’n gweld ni yng Nghaerforiog.
The English version adds a small, but in the life of a Barrett anorak,
rather important detail. It reads:
Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd who used to visit us at Caerforiog with
his girlfriend Carmel.
It is the first time the Church (and Dark Globe) hears from this lady,
and she is probably one of those two-week (or even two-day) girlfriends
Mick Rock and Duggie Fields have been talking about.
(Warning Label: The picture just above has been taken from the
Mick Rock movie Lost
In The Woods, nobody knows for sure who is the mysterious brunette.
This blog does not imply she is Dominique A. or Carmel, for that matter.)
The second reference (about Syd visiting the Outlander
sessions) also has one addition in the English version. Solva Blues adds
I wouldn't have thought he had a drug problem - no more than most
people on the scene.
If there is one returning constant about the underground days it is its
general tunnel vision. In the brave new psychedelic world every move,
the crazier the better, was considered cool and there was a
general consensus to deny any (drug related) problem that could and
would occur. Rob Chapman is right when he, in his rather tempestuous
What do you do if your lead guitarist is becoming erratic / unstable /
unhinged? Simple. You send him off round the UK on a package tour
(…) with two shows a night for sixteen nights.
Mason acknowledges this illogical (not to use another term)
If proof was needed that we were in denial about Syd's state of mind,
this was it. Why we thought a transatlantic flight immediately
followed by yet more dates would help (Syd) is beyond believe.
Syd almostmeets R.D. Laing
Of course looking for professional psychiatric help in those crazy days
wasn't that simple either. Bluntly said: you could choose between the
traditional cold shower - electroshock therapy or go for anti-psychiatry.
Although it is impossible to turn back the clock it still is the
question if experimental anti-psychiatry would have helped Barrett. In a
previous post we have given the example how an experimental therapist
administered LSD to a Cantabrigian
friend of Syd as an alternative way of therapy and R.D. 'I like
black people but I could never stand their smell' Laing was no
exception to that.
Pink Floyd's manager Peter Jenner made an appointment for Syd with R.D.
Laing, but Syd refused to go on with it, but this didn't withhold Laing
to make the following observations as noted down by Nick Mason:
Syd might be disturbed, or even mad. But maybe it was the rest of us
(Pink Floyd, note by FA) who were causing the problem, by
pursuing our desire to succeed, and forcing Syd to go along with our
This is the main theory that is overzealously, but not always
successfully, adhered by Chapman in his Syd Barrett biography. R.D.
Laing ended his Barrett diagnosis, who he never met, by saying:
Maybe Syd was actually surrounded by mad people.
Although some biographers may think, and there they are probably right,
that the other Pink Floyd members may have been an ambitious gravy
train inspired gang, there was also the small matter of a 17,000
British Pounds debt that the architectural inspired band members
still had to pay off after the split. They didn't burden Syd Barrett,
nor Peter Jenner and Andrew King with that. Now that is what the Church
We now know that giving Syd Barrett the time and space, outside the
band, to meddle at his own pace with his own affairs and music was not
entirely fruitful either. In the early to mid Seventies Syd Barrett
entered a lost weekend that would almost take a decade and that
is a blank chapter in every biography, apart from the odd Mad Syd
Mini Cooper (based upon a remark from Dark Globe)
It is also interesting that Meic Stevens mentions Syd's Mini Cooper:
He was a very good-looking boy, always with a beautiful girl on his arm
when he was out or driving his Mini Cooper.
Presumably this is the same car Syd drove all over England in, following
the band, when he was freshly thrown out of the Floyd.
Syd swapped this Mini Cooper for a Pontiac
Parisienne (and not a Buick as car fanatic Nick Mason writes,
although Buick and Pontiac were of course closely related brands) with
T-Rex percussionist Mickey Finn in the beginning of 1969, which would
date the first meetings between Stevens and Barrett prior to the Mick
Rock photo sessions.
But that photo session has been discussed here ad nauseum already
so we won't get further into that. So, my sistren and brethren, bye,
bye, till the next time, and don't do anything Iggy wouldn't have done.
Especially at this warm weather.
Many thanks go to: Dark Globe for checking the English version of Meic
Stevens' autobiography. Prydwyn for checking and translating the Welsh
version of Meic Stevens' autobiography.
Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above):
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London,
2010, p. 201, p. 227. Green, Jonathon: Days In The Life,
Pimlico, London, 1998, p. 210. (R.D. Laing quote) Mason, Nick: Inside
Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Weidenfeld & Nicolson,
London, 2004, p. 87-88, p. 95, p. 129. Stevens, Meic: Hunangofiant
y Brawd Houdini, Y Lolfa, Talybont, 2009, p. 190-191, p. 202. Stevens,
Meic, Solva Blues, Talybont, 2004 (English, slightly updated,
translation of the above).
Words: Mark Blake. Pictures: Storm Thorgerson, Iggy Rose, Rank
Organisation. Date: 20 January 2011. Previously published on
If there is one image of Syd Barrett that never ceases to fascinate it's the
back cover of his debut album, The Madcap Laughs. The reason: the
mysterious naked woman perched on a stool with her head thrown back and
face obscured by swathes of long dark hair. Syd's companion was known
only as "Iggy The Eskimo". But as Barrett fans have been
wondering since 1970 - who was Iggy and where did she go?
Rock believed that his cover girl had "married a rich guy and moved
off the scene". Barrett's old flatmate, the artist Duggie Fields,
heard that "Iggy had become involved with one of the voguish religious
cults of the time", before adding to the mythology with a story of once
seeing her disembarking from a Number 31 bus in Kensington, wearing a
1940s-era gold lamé dress, and very little else.
In 2002, Mick's coffee-table book Psychedelic
Renegades featured more shots of Syd and Iggy posing outside the
Earls Court mansion block, alongside Barrett's abandoned Pontiac. Rock's
photos found their way onto most Pink Floyd fansites, where Iggy
had acquired cult status. 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.
While researching my Pink Floyd biography (2007's Pigs
Might Fly: The Inside Story Of Pink Floyd) I quizzed everyone about
Iggy's whereabouts. Anthony Stern, formerly a schoolmate of David
Gilmour's, told me he had met her at a Hendrix gig and had
just discovered photos he had taken of her on a houseboat in Chelsea;
Anthony had also filmed Iggy dancing in Russell Square. Meanwhile,
former Middle Earth club DJ Jeff Dexter recalled meeting "the
mysterious-looking" Iggy in 1963, when she was a "part of a group of
very wonderful looking South London girls" that danced at The Orchid
Ballroom in Purley. Jeff even hatched a plan with his friend, the late
DJ and Shadows songwriter Ian "Sammy" Samwell, to turn
Iggy and two of her friends into "a British version of The
Supremes. We booked a studio but unfortunately none of them could
sing." 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".
Then, in March 2010, MOJO received a letter from ex-Cambridge mod Pete
Brown, who had "shared some wild nights on the town with Iggy in the
1970s". Pete informed us that Iggy had been last heard of in the '80s
"working at a racing stables... and has since been keeping her
whereabouts quiet." Pete sent a copy of the letter to The Croydon
Guardian, whose reporter traced Iggy through the stables and phoned her
out of the blue. Their subsequent article included a handful of quotes
from its reluctant subject, including the words: "I have now left that
life behind me." Which is why it came as a surprise when my mobile rang
late one Saturday night. "It's Iggy!" declared the voice at the other
end, as if I would have known that already. "I've been reading what you
wrote about me in MOJO... about the pictures of my bottom."
The local newspaper's call had prompted Iggy to borrow a neighbour's
computer and go online for the first time. She was amazed to discover
MOJO, the fansites, the photos, and the wild speculation and
misinformation about her time with Syd Barrett. Which is why, in October
2010, I found myself stepping off a train at an otherwise deserted
Sussex railway station to be met by the woman that had once graced the
cover of The Madcap Laughs. Three hours in a local gastro-pub and
countless phone calls later, Iggy pieced together her story. Some of it
was printed in MOJO
207, the rest is here...
Firstly, why Iggy? "My real name is Evelyn," she explains. "But when I
was a child, my neighbour's young daughter could never pronounce Evelyn,
and always called me Iggy. Now everyone calls me as Iggy. But 'The
Eskimo' nickname was a joke. That was something I told the photographer
from the NME when he took my picture at The Cromwellian." 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. "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. But not, as believed, Thornton Heath. "I
grew up by the seaside," she reveals. "I went to art school. I became a
mod in Brighton, and saw the fights with the rockers, and I met The
Who when they were on Ready Steady Go! I loved soul music, loved The
Righteous Brothers, and I loved dancing, so I used to go to all the
clubs - The Orchid Ballroom in Purley, where I met lovely Jeff Dexter,
The Cromwellian, The Flamingo, The Roaring Twenties..."
It was at The Cromwellian that Iggy encountered Eric Clapton. "I
didn't know who he was at first," she insists. "He took me to meet Lionel
Bart and to a party at Brian Epstein's place..." By the
mid-'60s Iggy had become a Zelig-like presence on the capital's music
scene, sometimes in the company of Keith Moon, Brian Jones,
Keith Richards.... She saw Hendrix make his UK debut at the Bag
O' Nails in November '66, and in February '67, narrowly avoided the
police raid at Richards' country pile, in West Wittering: "The night
before, I decided not to go, thank God." A year later, still in the
Stones' orbit, she found herself watching the recording sessions for
what became Sympathy For The Devil.
By then, Iggy had made her film debut. In 1967, IN Gear was a short
documentary screened as a supporting film in cinemas around the country.
Its theme was Swinging London, including the chic Kings Road clothes
shop Granny Takes A Trip, a place, according to the breathless narrator
that "conforms to the non-conformist image of the !" A
mini-skirted Iggy can be seen in one silent clip, sifting through a
rack of clothes and chatting with Granny's co-owner Nigel Waymouth.
By 1967, pop music had changed. The summer before, Iggy had met Syd
Barrett's girlfriend Jenny Spires, and drifted into the Floyd's social
clique, showing up at the UFO club nights where Pink Floyd played
regularly: "When I recently watched that Syd Barrett documentary [The
Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett & Story] and saw Syd in the kaftan,
chanting [on Pow R Toc H], the memories came rushing back," she
explains. "I'd been there. I'd seen that." In April '67, Iggy joined the
counter-culture throng in Alexandra Palace for The
14-Hour Technicolor Dream - "all 14 hours of it!" - where Floyd
played a hypnotic set at dawn.
By early 1968, though Barrett had been replaced by David Gilmour, and,
according to many, was on a drug-fuelled downward spiral. Towards the
end of the year, he moved into a new place with his level-headed friend,
the would-be artist Duggie Fields. The pair took over a two-bedroom flat
Wetherby Mansions in Earls Court. Around January '69, at Jenny
Spires' suggestion, Iggy, needing a place to stay, moved in. She hooked
up with Barrett, but shared a musical bond with Fields: "Duggie and I
were into soul music, and Syd used to laugh at me dancing around to
As Iggy told MOJO 207: "I didn't know Syd had been a pop star."
Elaborating further, "I didn't make the connection between him and the
person I had seen at UFO. I knew he was beautiful looking and he had
real presence, but that was all." Once, when she picked up his acoustic
guitar, fooling around, he took it off her and started playing properly.
"I was overwhelmed. The way he played the guitar, the way he moved. He
said, 'Do you think I look good?'," she laughs. "I said, 'You look
amazing. Wow!' He 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
In January of this year Mojo
published a (way too short) Mark
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 ♥
The Anchor's editor was kindly asked, although summoned would be a more
appropriate term, to do an independent review of an interview of the
Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit that recently appeared on
the extraordinary Spanish Barrett blog Solo
en las Nubes (Alone in the Clouds).
Run by Antonio Jesús the blog is a mix of information and
fun, containing several references to La Sagrada Iglesia de Iggy La
Esquimal, that could be without doubt a title for one of the weirder Pedro
Almodóvar movies. Quite recently, in a dark corner of The
Anchor, dimly lit by a dripping candle in a bottle on the rough
wooden table, I bend over to the gorgeous black-haired girl sitting in
front of me, slowly whispering 'La Sagrada Iglesia de Iggy La Esquimal'
in her ears (actually, in one ear only as it is quite infeasible to
whisper in two ears at the same time, except for Mick Jagger perhaps).
Oh Alex Fagotin baby, she passionately sighed with heaving
breasts, say that to me one more time, but unfortunately my hair already
had caught fire by then.
One very interesting part of the Spanish Barrett blog are the so-called self-interviews
(or autoentrevista) and so far Antonio has persuaded Duggie
Fields and Laughing Madcaps front-man Kiloh Smith to reveal
their souls in these autobiographical Rorschach
Titled 'Felix Atagong: "Un hombre sincero"' the latest
self-interview has provoked roars of hysterical laughter from the Åland
Islands to Wallis
and Futuna. We reveal no real secrets if we tell you that the
Reverend has left a trail of female victims from Oslo to Tarzana
and rumour goes there will be more to follow despite many international
The Reverend's self-interview can already be described as absolute
rock-bottom and without doubt it will be voted the all-time-worst-entry
at the - otherwise excellent - Spanish Barrett blog. Time to let you
decide for yourself what a kind of pompous pathetic pumpernickel that
Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit really is. Ladies and
gentlemen, the Anchor presents, but not too proudly: Felix Atagong: an
Felix Atagong: "Un hombre sincero"
Even the roads of rock are unfathomable.
Felix Atagong, from Belgium, has created a blog dedicated to Iggy, the
model of The Madcap Laughs album. Nobody knew her whereabouts for almost
forty years. The coincidence of life, meaning that it is not
coincidental at all, has lead this case to an unexpected but
In his self-interview, Mr. Atagong, the Sherlock Holmes of the Floydian
world (he even helped to clarify the Publius Enigma) and always
committed to the truth he slowly peels the layers of the story of his
blog, and more... (introduction written by Antonio Jesús)
1. What is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit?
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is a blog for Syd Barrett fans dealing
with the – very short – period in 1969 when Syd's alleged girlfriend
Iggy lived with the singer. Apart from some unverified rumours about her
Eskimo roots nobody really knew something about her, nor what happened
to her after her sudden disappearance in 1969.
2. How did it all start?
The Church more or less started as a prank. Discussing the (theoretical)
possibility of a Barrett religion on the Late Night forum I mentioned a Saint
Iggy Congregation in 2007 and when, in March 2008, DollyRocker
recognised Iggy acting in a 1967 British documentary, I jokingly announced
the Church's birth. But the idea still ripened for five months before
any blog post appeared.
3. What were your intentions?
These were quite ambiguous by design.
Obviously the Church frame, lead by an all-knowing Reverend who
addresses his flock in a swollen and theatrical language, is satirical.
I wanted to imitate those overzealous fans, who can't stop arguing that
Barrett is the world's most underrated musical genius and graphical
artist and who painstakingly, almost in religious stupor, scrutinize
every minute of his life.
But while I was developing the blog I soon realised that I was
painstakingly, almost in religious stupor, collecting all available
puzzle pieces that lay shattered over the net, on blogs, in forums, that
were published in different articles and biographies, thus creating the
ultimate Iggy repository.
Both concepts share an an osmotic relationship and - by being what it is
and what it pretends to be – the Church has evolved into a meta-concept,
although that thin ironic line is probably completely ignored by the
people who visit it.
4. But the Church did trigger an Iggy revival, didn't it?
Not really. Every avalanche starts with a couple of snowflakes and by
sheer luck the Holy Church happened to be on the right place at the
right time. After nearly 40-years of silence several people
simultaneously remembered Iggy. Most of the time the Church was not
involved but has been monitoring and commentating these events. What
nobody expected, except perhaps for the Holy Igquisition, is that it
resulted in some sort of Iggymania.
Iggymania started when Mojo magazine put Syd Barrett on its cover in
2010. Of course that cover story was all about The Madcap Laughs 40th
birthday but the Church had clearly inspired one of the articles. Not
only did this boost the hits on the website but a few days later The
Church could reveal that Evelyn (Iggy) had been found back as well and
that thanks to Mojo.
Beginning of this year Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake could finally
interview Iggy and that is when Iggymania fully exploded.
5. Not bad for something that started as a joke.
The Church had already turned serious when JenS shared her memories with
us, revealing that she (probably) introduced Iggy to Syd and pinpointing
The Madcap Laughs photo-shoot date in spring, rather than in the autumn
of 1969. Some time later another acquaintance of Syd gave her first
interview ever to the Church. Margaretta Barclay and her boyfriend Rusty
were regular visitors at Syd's flat and they even tried to resuscitate
Barrett's interest in music by dragging him over to Meic Stevens, who is
still some kind of weird folk cult figure.
I find it rewarding that some of the Church theories have been reprinted
in magazine articles and biographies, so I guess we're not all rubbish
6. But finding Iggy also presented a major crisis for the Church,
It is the ambiguity of all organisations that have a certain goal. What
do you do if the goal has been reached? What will Greenpeace do if
no-one hunts little seals any more? The worst thing that could happen to
the Church was to find Iggy! But every time the Reverend uttered the
fear there would be lack of Iggy, something new turned up. And 2011 has
already proved to be no exception.
Thinking about the future the Church did some reorganising and will
continue developing into other areas, of course not neglecting its
primary task to inform about al things Ig. One of the new items at the
Church will be a gossip corner called 'The Anchor', named after the
Cambridge pub Syd Barrett used to visit in the early Sixties. We hope it
will stir things up as the Barrett community has become quite lethargic
lately. We're all old farts who fall asleep after our afternoon tea and
7. The question we are all waiting for: is Iggy aware of it at all
and what does she think of the Church?
Evelyn kept a low profile over the years, although she apparently never
hid the fact that she had been on the cover of The Madcap Laughs album.
But the path of Iggy and the path of the Barrett fan community simply
didn't converge for the last 40 years.
Recently Iggy has contacted the Church and she gave us valuable
information. However the question is what will happen when Iggymania
freezes over. I feel it a bit hypocrite to say that now, but it was
never the Church's intention to invade Iggy's privacy.
8. This interview should have at least one anoraky question,
reflecting the true nature of the Church. Does the 'eskimo chain' line
in Barrett's Dark Globe refer to Iggy?
Dark Globe is a very poignant, hermetic track and, as is the case in
many of Syd's songs, its lyrics can be interpreted in different ways. I
think Julian Palacios describes it as a lament to Pink Floyd or
something of that order. It also reads as a goodbye song to a past love
and here is where the 'eskimo chain' line fits in – or doesn't.
I'm only a person with Eskimo chain I tattooed my brain all the way... Won't
you miss me? Wouldn't you miss me at all?
Most people who read Barrett blogs will know that Barrett recorded under
the guidance of Malcolm Jones, but somewhere in May 1969 he passed the
torch to David Gilmour (Roger Waters would join in as well on a later
date). Jones had given up in desperation, as Peter Jenner had done the
year before, that last one declaring that the sessions had been 'chaos'.
Finally it was David Gilmour who pleaded Harvest records to allow
Barrett a third and final chance to finish his solo record. Of course
this is just one interpretation and not all biographers and witnesses
agree with that. Another story goes that Malcolm Jones simply invited
Gilmour (and Waters) for marketing reasons: three Pink Floyd members for
the price of one, so to speak (four if one adds Rick Wright who might
have done some uncredited overdubs on Golden Hair). Probably the truth
lies, as is often the case, somewhere in the middle.
The first session of the third recording round took place on the 12th of
June 1969. Barrett premiered two new songs: Dark Globe and Long Gone. On
the third (and final) session (26th of July) Roger Waters joined David
Gilmour and a couple of other attempts were made of the same songs.
(this alternative version of Dark Globe, now retitled as Wouldn't You
Miss Me, was later released on the Opel outtakes album.)
It would be logical to see Long Gone and Dark Globe as an indivisible
pair as they are both sad love songs. But there is an abundance of that
theme on The Madcap Laughs. Jenny Spires told the Church: “Syd wrote
songs and not all of them were about one person or another. It was his
job. (…) Syd was not romantically inclined this way. 'I'm only a person
with Eskimo chain' refers to the evolutionary chain, not to a specific
person. He was on a very much higher spiritual plane, not so much on the
But on the other hand 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 and to Libby Gausden, Jennifer
Gentle from Lucifer Sam is a mixture between Jenny Spires and an ancient
English ballad called 'There were three sisters' (Jennifer, Gentle and
Dark Globe also contains the verse: “'The poppy birds way, swing twigs
coffee brands around.” At first sight this is just a nature description
set in a romantic mood but if one knows that a former girlfriend of Syd
was Vivian 'Twig' Brans it becomes quite clear that Syd has cryptically
entered her name in that line.
So while Dark Globe may have no-one specific in mind the Eskimo chain
line may have been a slight nod toward Iggy.
9. This explanation made my appetite grow for more. How can one join
To paraphrase Groucho Marx: I don't want to belong to any Church that
will accept me as a member, so you can't. The Church does have some
loyal friends though who have helped by passing on valuable information.
Basically the Church just reaps what others have sown (a common practice
amongst churches, I might add). Many kudos go to a long list of loyal
brainstormers, informants, witnesses and friends (and I already want to
apologise for the ones I have forgotten): Anne, Anthony, Bea, Denis,
DollyRocker, Douggie, Eternal, Gretta, Jenny, Julian, Kieran, Lisa,
Mark, Paro, Prydwyn, Rod, Sadia, Sean, Vicky, our many visitors and
fans... And of course Iggy herself.
10. What is this recurring thing about the Holy Igquisition?
Nobody expects the Holy Igquisition!
Self-interview courtesy of: Solo en las Nubes (2011) - Felix
Atagong: "Un hombre sincero", introduction written by
Antonio Jesús. Self-interview written in December 2010 and updated in
The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical
division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad
character. More info: The
Anchor. Read our legal stuff: Legal
Those that have been living on planet Magrathea for the past
couple of months may not have been aware that Thursday, 17th of March
2011 was a great day in the life for a Barrett-fan.
The long awaited book 'Barrett',
apparently nobody attempts to use a combination of Madcap or Crazy
Diamond any more, which is a good thing, was launched with a
mega-party and exhibition at Idea
The Church will review the definitive visual companion to the life of
Syd Barrett in the weeks to come so for the moment you have to content
yourself with the message that it is a splendiferous (and heavy... and
pricey) work of art... and love.
Attending the launch were Anthony Stern, Aubrey "Po" Powell, Captain
Sensible, Dark Globe, David Gale, Duggie Fields, Graham Coxon, Ian
Barrett, Irene Winsby, Jenny Spires, John 'Hoppy' Hopkins, Libby
Gausden, Mark Blake, Miles, Philip James, Rosemary Breen, Vic Singh,
Warren Dosanjh and many others... enough to make a Pink Floyd aficionado
But for the Church (and not only for the Church) the star of the evening
undoubtedly was a woman of international mystery... and here are some
pictures of her:
Libby Gausden and Iggy
John "Hoppy" Hopkins and Iggy
Iggy and Andy Rose
Ian Barrett, Iggy and Captain Sensible
Duggie Fields and Iggy
Brian Wernham and Iggy
Iggy having some fun with the paparazzi
Where is Iggy? and who else can you recognise on this picture?
Some answers: Antonio Jesús: "The tall guy in brown is Warren
Dosanjh." Mark Jones: "Duggie Fields." Jenny
Spires: "Nigel Gordon and Jimmie Mickelson, Will Shutes and Viv's
nephew, Kieren and his partner..." Libby Gausden Chisman: "Roe
Barrett and her husband Paul Breen, Buster and his partner who used to
come swimming with Dave Gilmour and me at Jesus Green swimming pool in
One of our brethren told the Reverend afterwards:
I saw Iggy at the launch yesterday. She did very well, considering it
was her first public appearance. She had a legion of female admirers so
she was happy, and people were thrilled to meet her.
The Church wishes to thank: Antonio Jesús, Mark Blake, Libby Gausden
Chisman, Dark Globe, Paul Drummond, Jimmie James, Mark Jones, Jenny
Spires, Brian Wernham and the beautiful people at Late Night and
Facebook. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
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
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
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
La Gazza Ladra
That not all Syd Barrett fans are trustworthy holy men proves the
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
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 ♥
the definitive visual companion to the life of Syd Barrett, by Russell
Beecher & Will Shutes arrived at Atagong Mansion on the
second day of its release, Friday the 18th of March, but I have to
admit, I didn't really look at it, apart from some glancing through its
The reason is simple, the book is a visual biography collecting
many (unseen) photographs of Syd Barrett and his band The Pink Floyd,
facsimiles from letters to Libby Gausden and Jenny Spires and the very
first detailed catalogue of Syd's paintings, and I am more a man of
words, too many words some people say (and perhaps there is a a yet
undiscovered trail of prudence in me, as I am a bit reluctant to read
Syd's letters written to Libby and Jenny).
I care for Syd the musician but I don't get overexcited when a new
Barrett (or vintage Pink Floyd) picture appears on the web. First: this
has been happening on a regular basis since Barrett's death when people
suddenly remember that they have got an exclusive picture lying on their
attic. Second: these pictures will arrive, in due time, on the more than
excellent Have You Got It Yet? v2.0 Vol 11 Photo/Info DVD-Rom from Mark
Jones that can be freely downloaded at several places on the web, but I
as it is the 'official' home for Floydian audio & video collectors.
Although not entirely legal this picture DVD was asked for by the Pink
Floyd management who gave Mark Jones a copy of Oh
By The Way, the Pink Floyd 14 CD compilation, in return. I am quite
convinced that the pictures of the Barrett visual companion will, one
day, mysteriously appear on a new release.
Photographs (editor: Russell Beecher)
Barrett is roughly divided into three unequal parts. Part one #1 shows
many unseen and previously unpublished pictures of vintage Pink Floyd,
#2 has pictures from the Syd Barrett solo era, about 110 pages in total.
They are printed in big format (one photo per page or double page, many
pictures have been spliced), in high quality and 'digitally' restored.
Most of the pages have a description of the picture, the date it was
taken and an appropriate quote or anecdote from the Cambridge mafia
or the photographer in question.
A so-called signature or limited edition has got a third, separate,
photo series by Irene Winsby, but to acquire these additional 72
pages you have to cough up an extra 235 £ (282 €). Unfortunately for me
the signature issue is bound in leather and as a strict vegetarian it is
against my conscience to skin a cow to watch a Barrett picture. If you
find this silly just try to imagine what the master of Sant
Mat would have said to Syd Barrett about that.
(A short description of the picture section can be consulted at: Rockadolly.)
Letters (editor: Russell Beecher)
Part two, the shortest one with 25 pages, is destined to letters from
Syd to Libby Gausden, Jenny Spires and ends with the famous little
twig poem to Viv Brans. Tim Willis already described some of these
letters in his Madcap biography, but didn't actually put these in
print (with one exception and about 4 times smaller in size).
Anoraks know that Syd decorated his letters with funny doodles and this
section is obviously more interested in the drawings than in the actual
letters. Libby and Jenny give cute explanations in what probably was a
very weird menage-à-trois (our quatre or quarante,
if we may believe the rumours about Syd's omnivorous female appetite).
Art (editor: Will Shutes)
Section three (over 90 pages) is what everybody has been waiting for,
for all these years. At least that is why I have bought the book for.
For ages fans have been drooling over Syd, the painter, but I never
really bothered. I did not put Syd Barrett in the same category as Ron
Wood and Grace
Slick who also smear paint on canvas (and that's about all that can
be said about them), but I adhered the theory that was written down by Annie
Marie Roulin in The Case of Roger Keith 'Syd' Barrett (Fish
Out Of Water, 1996).
The symmetries among the geometrical shapes painted by Barrett show an
embarrassing absence of 'concept', of hidden flaming which makes
doubtful the real artistic value of these works. As to the technique
they can compete only with works by low talented students of low
In other words, paintings of Barrett may have been slightly therapeutic
(and this can be debated: art sessions can also have the uncanny feature
of sliding a mentally unstable person further into regression) but - if
one can fully grasp Anne Marie Roulin's Italo-English - they
could certainly not be considered as art with a capital A. A daring
theory and certainly not liked by many Barrett fans, nor by his family,
and that is why journalist Luca Ferrari invented a female alter ego to
publish this controversial thesis (Luca's confession in Italian,
and an English translation on Late
In the past, biographies have tried to convince the reader that Barrett
was an art-painterpur sang, but none of these could win
me over, basically because writing about paintings without seeing the
actual work (or only two or three foggy examples) is like talking about
music without listening to it. For the first time in history a book
publishes Syd's whole oeuvre or what is left of it, about 100 of
his paintings; and Will Shutes has written an impressive 25 pages long
essay about Barrett's canvas outings throughout the years. While reading
the excellent essay one is obliged to constantly switch from text to
illustration and luckily the book has two ribbon-markers to facilitate
Shutes admits that Barrett's work lacks 'consistency', a remark
originally made by Duggie Fields and cited in Rob Chapman's A Very
Irregular Head, but he immediately turns this into a plus factor.
"The variety this implies is at the core of his originality."
, but one could use exactly the same reasoning to deduce that Barrett's
artwork isn't original at all.
Just like Julian Palacios
in Dark Globe has tracked down musical influences in Syd
Barrett's discography, Shutes cites several examples for Barrett's
graphical work. If there is one work of Barrett that stands out (in my
opinion, FA) it is the 1964-ish Untitled 15 (Cat. 20) lino print
with its evaporating crosses, but Barry Miles (also in A Very Irregular
Head) explains it has been clearly influenced by Nicolas
Staël, although Shutes reveals that there must have been some
Klee ingredient at work as well.
Rosemary Breen told Luca Ferrari that Barrett could make ten paintings a
day, and even if this was exaggerated the one hundred in the Barrett
book only represent a small percentage of his output. Although nobody
actually witnessed Barrett destroying his work, it is assumed he burned
them or threw them in the rubbish bin. Some have said that Barrett
destroyed only those paintings that weren't perfect to him, but actually
he destroyed them all although some seem to have survived for a couple
of months before disappearing. The few exceptions are those he gave away
to family or visiting friends. Beecher & Shutes could trace 49 surviving
artworks by Syd Barrett and were lucky that Rosemary found some photo
albums of Syd's art. For most of his life Roger Barrett had the weird
habit of photographing his work before destroying it, as if he wanted
the destruction to be a bit less final. Opinions differ as well why
Barrett did this, and range from a mental disorder to an artistic
concept. Will Shutes:
of a drawing by de
Kooning in 1953, Barrett's act of destruction is not a negation – it
achieves something new. Barrett is doing something when he destroys what
he has done, not merely erasing it.
Even a Barrett scholar can have it wrong sometimes, the author describes
an Arnold Layne flyer, allegedly dating from March 1967, as designed by
Syd Barrett, unaware of the fact that it is fan-art, dating from the
late seventies, early eighties, and published in a Barrett fanzine. A
quick glance on Mark Jones' HYGIY picture DVD would have settled that
once and for all (remarked by Mark Jones at Late Night: Barrett
What intrigues me is that Roger Barrett continued to make abstract and
realistic paintings, as if he was afraid to make an irrevocable choice.
Personally I find his water-coloured landscapes or florals
uninteresting, although they do show some métier, especially
compared with the abstract works of the seventies or eighties that are
visually more compelling but technically mediocre. I'm quite fond of Untitled
67 (2005) that represents a pie chart of the summer and winter
solstices, although some
will of course recognise it as a pastiche of the Wish
You Were Herecover
art. That's the main deviation of the maniacal Pink Floyd and Syd
Barrett fan, seeing links that (perhaps) aren't really there.
This book contains the best descriptions and illustrations of Syd's
artwork, it is a collector's dream, but in the end Will Shutes can not
convince me that Barrett was a graphical artist in the true sense
of the word. It's a matter of personal opinion and I'm not sure if
Barrett knew it himself or if he even cared.
I hope the authors will not hold it against me if I tell that this book
is not destined for the average Floyd or Barrett fan. It contains no
juicy stories of feeding Syd biscuits through a closed locker door. Its
sole purpose is to ease the hunger of the Barrett community that is
easily recognised by its general daftness and its deep pockets.
Despite the blurb that states the opposite Barrett is not essential for
the music loving fan, but the book is no waste of time for those that
want to acquire it either. Barrett has been made with love, caring and
respect for its subject, is a work of art and quality and has been
authorised by the Estate of Roger Keith 'Syd' Barrett. But at 90 £
(108 €) for the classic edition (including delivery) it is also pretty
expensive, perhaps not overpriced, but still a lot of money.
In his witty introduction Russell Beecher writes that over the years
there was "a need for a well-researched, intelligent, and
well-thought-through account of Syd's life and work". I completely
agree. He then continues by stating that this was fulfilled with the
publication of "Rob Chapman's excellent An Irregular Head in 2010".
Thank you, Russell Beecher, but I prefer to make up my own mind. In my
humble opinion Chapman's biography fails against at least one of the
qualities you have mentioned above. Those in need for an independent
opinion can consult Christopher Hughes's Irregular Head review at Brain
Damage, by and large the best Pink Floyd fan-site in the world.
Russell Beecher proceeds:
An Irregular Head is the definitive textual work on Syd. What you now
hold is the definitive visual work on Syd's artistic life. The two
books compliment one another.
Did I just pay 90 £ for a vaguely concealed commercial, wished for by
the Barrett Estate? The Barrett book is quite exceptional and possibly
'the definitive visual work on Syd's artistic life' indeed, but linking
its destiny to An Irregular Head, way off definitive if I am
still allowed to express my opinion, undermines its own qualities. This
feels like reserving a table at Noma
in Copenhagen to hear René
Redzepi announce that the food will reach the level of the local
McDonald's. Can I have some ketchup on my white truffles, please?
Some will find me overreacting again, but I had to get this off my
chest. Although a bit superfluous, and destined for the capitalist über-Syd-geek
alone, Barrett is far too luxurious and well-researched to have its
image tramped down.
The Church wishes to thank: Dan5482, Mark Jones, PoC (Party of Clowns)
and the beautiful people at Late Night.
Sources (other than internet links mentioned above): Beecher,
Russell & Shutes, Will: Barrett, Essential Works Ltd, London,
2011, p. 10, 11, 145, 162, 163, 170, 175. Chapman, Rob: A Very
Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 49, 232. Ferrari,
Luca & Roulin, Annie Marie: A Fish Out Of Water, Stampa
Alternativai, Rome, 1996, p. 31, 95, 97.
Let me start this review with a quote at the end of 'Anthropologie du
Rock Psychédelique Anglais', a title that is so universal that
I don't have to translate it into English, unless for some Americans, I
Pire quotes Simon
Frith who wrote in 1978:
The rock audience is not a passive mass, consuming records like
cornflakes, but an active community, making music into a symbol of
solidarity and an inspiration for action.
Obviously this quote should be branded on the bodies of record company
executives all over the world, especially those that gave us the music
of Britney Spears and other singing cattle, and who think that pop music
is something repetitive, uninspired and slick (but alas not Slick as in Surrealistic
Pillow). But this post seems to be turning psychedelic before it has
even started, so I'll wait a bit until that sugar cube wears off a bit.
Anthropology of English Psychedelic Rock
Alain Pire is a Belgian musician whom I may have caught about 30 years
ago when he was a member of the Jo
Lemaire & Flouze band, although he won't probably remember that
gig in the Stella Artois Feestzaal in Louvain anymore. Neither do
I, by the way, I only have a slight recollection that I may have watched
that band through a beer enhanced haze.
It was Jenny
Spires who pointed me to him, noting that I would perhaps be
interested in his (French) study of English psychedelic rock. It is
weird that a member of the Sixties underground Cambridge mafia, a term
coined by David Gilmour if my memory is correct, had to point me to a
book written by a compatriot. The gap between the Belgian French and
Dutch community is so deep and our internal relations are so troubled
that we don't know any more what the other community is up to, even on a
In the Sixties we would have called this divine intervention but I thank
social networking services for bringing this study into my attention.
Anthropology of English Psychedelic Rock is based upon Alain
dissertation for the University of Liège in 2009, counts roughly 800
pages and is divided into 4 parts:
English psychedelic music Analysis of British psychedelic songs British
counter-culture Psychedelic drugs
English psychedelic music
Paradoxically the subject of the book is its biggest weakness. Defining
psychedelic music is like describing a butterfly's flight. We all know
instinctively how psychedelic music sounds, but it is nearly impossible
to write down its genetic formula on a piece of paper.
It is extremely complex to give a definition of a musical genre that is
so protean as psychedelic rock. (p. 92)
Basically Alain Pire, or Dr. Alain Pire for you, doesn't get any further
than stating that psychedelic music is music that simulates or evokes
psychedelic sensations. It's a bit like saying that the girl at the left
is nude because she has no clothes on.
As vague as the above definition is, psychedelic music does have some
common points. It uses technical novelties that had only recently been
introduced in the record studios and that in some cases were invented on
the spot by sound engineers at the demand of the musicians.
Another psychedelic brand mark is the reverse
tape effect or backmasking.
The legend goes that John Lennon, under the influence of cannabis,
'invented' the effect by listening to a tape that had not be rewound,
but sound modifications and (reverse) tape loops had already been used
music circles since the early fifties. Those same avant-garde
musicians had also experimented with musique
concrète, using acousmatic
sound as a compositional resource, and with tape speed effects but,
once again, these techniques were made popular by psychedelic rock bands
in the Sixties, notably The
Beatles who seemed to be one step ahead of all the others.
It is due to George Harrison that Indian instruments invaded psychedelia
as well, first used in Norwegian
Wood and later picked up and copied by The Rolling Stones, Traffic,
Pretty Things, Donovan and others. I won't give the other characteristic
instruments of psychedelic music here, otherwise there would be no
reason to buy the book, but I'll gladly make an exception for the
psychedelic instrumental gimmick par excellence: the mellotron.
The basics of this instrument was already around since the late forties,
but once again, and I'm starting to sound like a stuck vinyl record
here, it was re-discovered by English psychedelia. Graham
Bond may have been the first to record it on Baby
Can It Be True (1965), but its full potential was used by The
Beatles and The
Moody Blues who made it their signature instrument. For a while it
was even nicknamed a Pindertron,
after the keyboards player of that band.
It took me a couple of months to finish Anthropology of English
Psychedelic Rock and that is due to the second part where the author
analyses 109 psychedelic songs. I had the chance to listen to the songs
on my iPod while reading the book and that is of course the ideal way to
benefit of the detailed descriptions.
Starting with Shapes
of Things (Yardbirds,
1965) and ending with Cream's
I'm so glad (1969) it describes the four heyday years of
psychedelia. Influental bands and their albums get extra attention and a
short biography: The Beatles (obviously), but also The Rolling Stones,
Jimi Hendrix, The Pretty Things, The Soft Machine and Syd Barrett's Pink
It struck me, quite pleasantly, that Pire quotes Julian Palacios' Lost
In The Woods on page 251, intriguingly not in the Pink Floyd,
but in the Sergeant Pepper section, an album that – according to both
Pire and Palacios - started the end of the psychedelic era.
This strange psychedelic movement, blossoming quickly in an explosive
flash of colour, already seemed to be withering slightly. Its momentum
was to be felt everywhere in the world, but the original Big Bang, so to
speak, was nearing an end.
Of course Pire can't write detailed biographies about every band, that
isn't the purpose of his work, but the anoraky nitpicker in me came
across some mistakes that could have been weeded out by a better editor
or proofreader. Some examples:
The influence of science fiction stories will be found later in the
lyrics of 'Interstellar overdrive' or 'Astronomy Domine'. (p. 289)
I agree with Astronomy, but I have some difficulties believing that the
lyrics of Interstellar Overdrive find their origins in a science fiction
story as it is... an instrumental. Alain Pire knows bloody well that the
track contains no lyrics as he gets quite lyrical about the piece later
This track is more than a piece of music: it is the testimony of an era,
a musical spokesman for a generation. When the band was in a good shape
its open structure symbolised, on its own merits, the term Psychedelic
Music. (p. 369)
Another mistake that slipped through is this one:
Duggie Fields, painter and friend of Syd Barrett at that time, still
lives at 101 Cromwell Road (p. 293).
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit has dedicated enough space to Syd's
(and Duggie's) apartment, located at Wetherby Mansions, Earls Court
Square. Of course Duggie lived at 101 Cromwell Road before and that is
probably were the error comes from.
During the year 1968, Barrett recorded his first solo album: The Madcap
Laughs, with the help from David Gilmour and Waters... (p. 340)
Also this is only part of the truth, Syd Barrett recorded some demos in
1968, but the sessions were abandoned after Peter Jenner agreed they
were 'chaos'. In April 1969, perhaps thanks to the the good influence of
Iggy, Syd found himself fit enough to start with the real recordings for
his first album.
But like I said, nitpicking is unfortunately enough the Holy Church of
Iggy the Inuit's core business and the few mistakes certainly don't take
away the merits of this study. (But I would have a stiff talk with
Gérard Nguyen 'secrétariat de rédaction et mise en page'
if I were you, Alain, there are still too many printing errors in this
Alain Pire doesn't only describe the psychedelic big shots but also
dedicates some space to bands like Tintern
Abbey, who only issued one single in their entire career or the
almost forgotten band Blossom
Toes. Butterfly flights indeed.
Throughout the book Alain Pire has the funny habit of first fully
explaining a quote that he has found in an extensive bibliography or
from interviews taken by himself, then followed by the quote itself and
thus merely repeating the previous.
I can understand that a doctoral thesis must be large and that some
professors at the University of Liège may be a bit slow to understand
but printed in a book this makes you feel like you are standing on top
of echo mountain. (Of course it could be that he uses this gimmick as
the written equivalent of the psychedelic tape loop trick.)
Even then, by deleting these double entries Alain Pire could at least
have saved 20 pages, handy for an index that is now missing.
It must be a second millennium thing that scholars don't put indexes any
more in their books. Alain Pire's study literally cites hundreds of
people, but the reader is unable to find these back once you have closed
the book. That's a pity. Especially as I like to borrow these things
myself for my various web doodles. Perhaps it is another way of saying,
look it up yourself, buddy.
Update 2020: nowadays this study can be bought as an e-book on
Kobo and Kindle, probably these editions can be indexed and searched.
(I suddenly realise that if I ever publish a Pink Floyd inspired book
the people that I have duly pissed of in my blog reviews will jump on my
back as a horde of hungry dogs.)
The third part of the study, a description of the London Counter
Culture, is a book in its own right.
Of course there isn't much new you can tell about the underground. Jonathon
Green wrote perhaps the ultimate counter culture bible with Days
In The Life: Voices from the English Underground 1961-71 and its
alter ego All Dressed Up: The Sixties and the Counterculture and
Miles has added a sequel to his In the Sixties book, London
Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945.
But Alain Pire puts down some cleverly made points here and there, such
as the following remark about the decline of the traditional British
values in the Sixties:
Family, religion, marriage, faithfulness get beaten in the face and
other values like sexual liberation, hedonism and alternative
spiritualism emerge. These new values embrace individualism like the
growing importance of one's appearance, but also, and paradoxically, new
forms of group participation like the ritual passing of a joint, the
sharing of sexual partners and living in communes. (p. 538)
Of course the Sixties counter culture could only thrive under the
favourable economical and cultural circumstances of that period.
Counter culture can only live a parasitic life, meaning that it carries,
right from its start, the seeds of its own failure. (p. 563)
Basically the classless society of Swinging London was a (very small)
mixture of (rock) stars, young aristocrats and middle class youth who
had the financial means (or their parent's support) to live outside the
One of the many instruments that helped creating psychedelic music was a
wonder drug called LSD.
Alain Pire tries hard to give an unbiased, albeit slightly favourable,
opinion about the drug that was, almost from one day till the other,
reviled by the American and British governments.
LSD has been tested as a medicine or therapy by several scientific
investigators but these experiments had to be stopped, despite the fact
that most clinical test gave positive results, especially with proper
Of course LSD also had its negative sides, even more when people started
to use it as a leisure drug, Pire notes about Barrett:
If LSD helped Syd in the beginning to reveal his genius as a composer,
it became a real brake for his creativity and progressively sucked away
his writing potential. (p. 324)
Not that the dangers of LSD were not known. Michael Hollingshead, one of
the early LSD researchers, accidentally administered himself a massive
dose of the drug. After that event he got the constant impression of
living in a no man's land, partially in reality and partially in the
twilight world and at one point he asked Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary
While LSD seems to be the ideal method to open certain doors of
perception it can turn into a living nightmare if these doors refuse to
shut again, leaving its victim behind like a character from an Arthur
Machen story. I may not think if this is what really happened to Syd
The psychedelic era and its music is still greatly remembered and loved.
It mainly arrived because several puzzle pieces, randomly thrown in the
air, landed in such a way that they formed a nice picture.
Alain Pire divides these puzzle pieces into two parts: the pedestal and
The pedestal of the psychedelic era was a thriving economic situation
and a socio-cultural context that was open for change. George Harrison
called the Sixties a period of 'mini renaissance'. Alain Pire rightfully
mentions the art schools that were a pool of inspiration and experiment.
The list of those who attended art school is long: Chris Dreja, Dick
Taylor, Eric Burdon, Eric Clapton, Iggy Rose, Jimmy Page, John Lennon,
John Whitney, Keith Relf, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, Phil May, Ray
Davies, Robert Wyatt, Roger Chapman, Roy Wood and Syd Barrett.
Three extra components were the psychedelic icing on the cake: First:
extremely talented musicians suddenly came out in the open; Second:
psychedelic drugs opened doors of (musical) imagination and experiment; Third:
technical wizardry made it possible to find new ways to deal with sound.
But all this couldn't have happened without the support of a fifth
pillar: the public. Without a public open for change and experiment the
psychedelic movement would have stayed a small avant-garde movement
unknown to the outside world.
Let me end with a quote taken from the introduction by Barry Miles:
Anthropology of English Psychedelic Rock is the most complete history of
that period's music that I have ever read. The author has to be
complimented for his erudition and I heartily recommend his book to
anybody who wants a profound explication of what really happened during
the Swinging Sixties. (p. 9)
I couldn't say it better. Anthropologie du Rock Psychédelique Anglais
is a damn well read and urgently needs to be translated into English.
Pire Alain, Anthropologie du Rock Psychédelique Anglais, Camion
Blanc, Rosières en Haye, 2011. 815 pages, foreword by Barry Miles. 38
The Church wishes to thank: Alain Pire, Jenny Spires.
Early November 2008, while we were baffled by The
City Wakes festivities in Cambridge, a mystery man send the
following message to some Syd Barrett oriented forums:
Next Week (November 10th) I begin filming a DVD of places associated
with Syd and the roots of Pink Floyd in Cambridge. I'm looking for
someone to assist as a production assistant. This will be PAID work.
Three days - Monday, Tuesday and Friday. There are 25 locations I am
aware of that were not included on the tours and I will also be
including interviews with many people not at the Wakes events.
What does a production assistant do? Lugs equipment, gets coffee but
also has an input into the production and filming. If anyone is
interested please email me. (Taken from: Syd's
Cambridge, help wanted.)
That man was Lee Wood who, in the sixties & seventies played in a
few obscure bands such as The Antlers, The Pype Rhythms, The New
Generation, The Sex and LSD. Because it was so difficult to find obscure
records he opened a record store “Remember Those Oldies” in
1974 that grew into an independent punk rock record company after he had
witnessed a rehearsal session from the legendary punk band The
The sessions were recorded in Spaceward
Studios who are known in Pink Floyd's territorial waters because
they used to have the only tape
in the world of a concert of the Last
Minute Put-Together Boogie Band, recorded on the 27th January 1972
at Corn Exchange, featuring a certain Syd Barrett. Also present were Hawkwind
and their live set of that day has just been issued by Easy
Action. There is no clearance yet for the other bands and at their
website Easy Action has only put the following enigmatic message:
Syd Barrett, Pink Fairies
Easy Action has purchased a number of reels of master tape capturing a
performance by Hawkwind, Pink Fairies and a band hastily assembled
featuring Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett NOT Stars!
Recorded in Cambridge in January 1972, we will be investigating further
copyright clearances and one day hope to produce the whole lot for your
Unfortunately Lee Wood did not become the second Brian Epstein or
Richard Branson. As a newbie in the record business he didn't realise
that even punk bands need a business plan (and some proper bookkeeping).
He kept on releasing those records he liked, and about the only one that
actually made a decent profit was 'Settin'
The Woods On Fire' from rockabilly rockers Matchbox.
Other bands that landed on Raw Records were The Killjoys whose leader
Kevin Rowland would later form Dexy's Midnight Runners, The Soft Boys
(with Robyn Hitchcock) and even Sixties sensation The Troggs:
When I was growing up in the 1960’s I loved The Troggs. It’s a long
story but in 1977 I became their manager and we recorded “Just A Little
Too Much” at the legendary Olympic Studios in London. (…) It was issued
in 1978. (Taken from: Just
A Little Too Much.)
Raw Records also had its Decca
audition disaster. Between 1977 and 1978 Lee Wood literally received
hundreds of demos, after he had put an ad in a music magazine. One came
from an average Manchester band called Warsaw and the tape was
binned without further ado. A year later the band had changed its name
to Joy Division and hit the post punk scene with its dark and
In 1979 the company was losing so much money that the record store
couldn't cope any more for its losses (several singles only had white
sleeves because there was no money to print covers) and after about 30
singles and a few LPs Raw Records was history. (Raw Records history
compiled from: Punk
But a decade before Lee Wood ventured into punk he had been following
the Cambridge R&B scene. Antonio Jesús could persuade him to confess the
following on the Solo en las Nubes blog... and here it is, for
the first time in the English language and exclusively licensed to the
Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit...
I have lived in Cambridge since 1962. My parents moved to a small
village called Histon just outside Cambridge when I was 12 years old and
they ran a Public House.
Did you ever meet Syd or members of Pink Floyd?
I never met Syd but I probably bumped into him (literally) as I used to
go Roller Skating about 3 or 4 times every week at Cambridge Corn
Exchange and I’m told Syd went there with his sister.
I knew David Gilmour to say hello to, as I played in a band and spent a
lot of time in the local music shops. In fact I was in a shop called Ken
Stevens on the day David came in and bought a Fender Stratocaster. 3
days later we all read in Melody Maker magazine he had joined Pink Floyd.
I have since met a lot of his friends. People like Warren (Dosanjh,
Syd Barrett's first manager), the very beautiful Jenny Spires, Clive
Welham (drummer in Geoff Mott and the Mottoes) and many more. Let me say
– I can understand why Syd liked them so much. These people are loyal
friends and wonderful human beings. It is a pleasure to know them.
Did you ever see Pink Floyd play live?
Yes. At The Dorothy Ballroom in Cambridge. Of course they were amazing.
Note: The Floyd played that venue on Friday, 17 February 1967 for the
St. Catherine's College Valentine Ball, with Bob Kidman, Alexis Korner's
Blues Incorporated and Pearl Hawaiians.
What was the music scene like in Cambridge during the period 1965 to
It was probably like any other town or city of its size. There were lots
of groups and a lot of places for them to play. Unlike today you could
put on a concert at virtually any church hall or the back room of a pub
and people would turn up. It was a very vibrant place. The music scene
was incredible. Everything you read about the 60’s – and more. The Corn
Exchange and The Dorothy ballroom put on lots of famous bands every
week. I saw The Who just after My Generation came out, The Kinks, The
Rolling Stones, Spencer Davis Group, The Kinks, Small Faces and many
Did you ever see Syd perform in his first band “Those Without”?
It is possible. When I was 15 some of the older guys who used to drink
in my parents pub in Histon would go to another pub in Cambridge called
"The Racehorse". Even though I was underage they would take me virtually
every week and I saw a lot of bands. I didn’t drink – I just went to see
the bands play. I am sure I saw Jokers Wild play there and I know Those
Without played there around that time. The band I remember the most and
my favourite were called “Something Else” after the Eddie Cochran song
but it is possible I saw Syd play there and didn’t realise it. There was
also another great band from the area where Syd lived called The Go Five.
Note: Those Without played The Racehorse on Sunday, 20 June 1965 while
Jokers Wild had passed there on Friday, the 26th of March 1965. In those
days Jokers Wild were quite popular, in 1965 they swept the Dorothy
Ballroom 9 times and gigged 22 times at Les Jeux Interdits
Were there any other bands in Cambridge who sounded like Pink Floyd?
Yes. There was a group called "This Sporting Life" who really liked them
and copied their light show. They were a really good band. The drummer
was a friend of mine called David Orbell who actually had a professional
recording studio in Histon from 1965 and recorded a lot of bands. He is
certain Syd came over and played guitar with another band on one
Note: the garage freakbeat compilation Le Beat Bespoké 3
(Circle Records, 2008) has an intriguing 1966 track, from an unknown
Cambridge band: Time's
A Good Thing by Syd's Group. Obviously the liner notes hint
that Syd Barrett had a hand in this recording but actually nobody knows
the band members, the record studio or the exact date. While some claim
that the guitar play is similar to Syd's in a typical fuzzy Sixties
style, Kiloh Smith from Laughing
Madcaps has suggested that the track is an Eighties forgery annex
tribute annex pastiche by a neo-garage-freakbeat band. If only someone
could access those tapes in Lee Wood's collection...
He gave me the tapes of a lot of local bands who recorded there,
including "The Wages of Sin" with lead guitarist Tim Renwick. David
lives in somewhere like Brazil nowadays so I never see him.
Do you still have the tapes?
Yes I do. But I sold my old reel-to-reel tape recorder many years ago
and have no way of playing them. But I did hear the track and it is
possible. It certainly sounds like Syds style but was recorded in 1965.
Do you know where the famous bench dedicated to Syd that two fans
told him about when they visited his house is located?
I know exactly where it is. I have visited it on several occasions. The
inscription is not obvious. It doesn’t actually mention Syd by name. I
show details of it on the DVD I produced called "Syd's Cambridge".
Can you tell us what is on the DVD?
The DVD consists of three seperate tours of Cambridge.The first tour is
the City centre. The second tour is the area were Syd grew up and lived.
The third tour is all the places inside and just outside Cambridge
connected with Syd and the early days of Pink Floyd. As I have lived
here all my life I know the city very well. A lot of the books that have
been published have incorrect information so I decided to include all
the correct details. It shows over 30 locations associated with Syd and
Pink Floyd. It even shows the place where Stars played that no one knew
It also corrects details about the only performance by Geoff Mott And
The Mottoes. They didn’t actually play at the Friends Meeting House – or
other places previously mentioned. I give the real location on the DVD.
You can see it all. It also shows the inside of Syds house and garden
and has an interview with the girls in the artshop where Syd bought his
Can you tell me about the special box set as I have heard about it
but never seen one.
The box set is very special. A beautiful pink box with a ribbon
containing two DVD, the tours DVD plus one of Matthew Scurfield and Emo
talking about Syd and life in the 60’s. The box also contains a book of
places connected to the band, the real estate agents details of Syds
house when it was for sale (with details from his sister), a Cambridge
postcard and bookmark, some special wrapping paper I had designed and
specially made and also a small plastic bag with some soil I took from
Syds garden when I visited it. There are also some other items in it.
There were only 100 copies of the box set made. Each one is individually
numbered and when I sent them out to people they were sent from the Post
Office Syd used just round the corner from his house. I also had a
special cardboard posting box made to make sure the box set arrived in
perfect condition. I’m quite proud of it and the comments and thank you
letters I received bear this out.
Some people have asked me about the box set and what it contains, so
The first DVD
is divided into 3 tours. In total we cover 58 locations. There is a lot
of new information, including a review of a little known STARS
performance at The Perse School, with the actual date and a review of
the concert. There is also video of the hall where it took place.
The Geoff Mott And The Mottoes performance did not take place at either
the Friends Meeting House or in the Union Cellars. The DVD reveals for
the first time where this historic event did take place.
As has been revealed - our research proves beyond a shadow of doubt Sid
Barrett was the Double Bass player with the Riverside Jazz Band - not
the drummer as claimed in virtuallly every book and article. We also
discovered the origins of his nickname originally given to him in the
Note: this was later confirmed by Syd's school and scouts group mate
Geoff Leyshon in A very Irregular Head (Rob Chapman, 2010).
The DVD has footage of 183 Hills Road including the back garden and
takes you right up to the front door. There is exclusive footage from
INSIDE the Union Cellars and inside Homerton College. Both of these
locations are not open to the public.
New information about David Gilmour just days before joining Floyd, the
exact location of the park bench dedicated to Syd, the EXACT spot on the
Market Square where STARS performed plus lots of photos from the
1960's/70's including The Dandelion Cafe.
There is also an interview with the girls from the art shop where Syd
(Roger) purchased his brushes and paints.
Plus a lot more - his local shops, post office, supermarket and places
he played when a member of Those Without, including Cheshunt College
The city centre tour is conducted by two friends of Syd and at each
location they reveal details of their times with him.
The box set also includes a DVD
of the City Wakes discussions by Emo and Matthew Scurfield, a book with
maps and places around Cambridge, details
of Syd's house, cuttings
from the local newspaper including adverts for the STARS concerts, a
card and a small sample of soil
taken from 6 St Margaret's Square. There is also exclusive video footage
of Syd's house and garden filmed by me in 2006. (Taken from: Syd's
Cambridge Box Set.)
Syd's Cambridge Box Set Gallery
Our new gallery shows artwork of the (sold out) Syd Barrett Limited
Edition Deluxe Box set issued in 2008 by Sound Publishing. The scans
contain (most) material of the box and follow the numbering of the certificate.
Some parts have (deliberately) not been scanned and some have been
slightly tampered with: Syd's
Cambridge Box Set Gallery. The interesting book
inside the box is Pink Floyd Fans Illustrated Guide of Cambridge
(96 pages) by Mark Warden and Alfredo Marziano. A review of this book
can be found at Brain
Damage and Amazon still has got a few copies left.
Notes (other than internet links mentioned above) Chapman, Rob: A
Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 11-12. Povey,
Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing,
2008, p. 25-27.
In the Seventies, Eigthies, Nineties and Naughties (sic) no
interview with an (ex-) Pink Floyd member could be published without the
obligatory Syd Barrett question. This enervated the interviewees
sometimes at a point that they may have said things they would later
regret but that are continuously repeated, decades later, by Sydiots all
over the world in their quest to prove that member D, R or N still holds
a grudge against that godlike creature named Syd.
I's a bit like Paul McCartney who will, forever and ever, be reminded of
a drag' comment the day John Lennon died, a comment he gave to the
press vultures while he was emotionally exhausted.
In 2005 when Roger Waters' (rather unexciting) Ca Ira opera saw
the light of day he was obliged to face the press, but his management
insisted to talk about the opera and not about Pink Floyd. Belgian
journalist Serge Simonart described this wryly as interviewing
Winston Churchill and only asking about his hobbies. The music
journalist however smuggled in a Barrett-related question and noted down
the following statement:
The press is also to blame, because they want a juicy tale. Syd was a
juicy tale, and that is why his influence seems to be so much bigger
than it was in reality: he barely was a year in the band, and we have
made our best work later without him. (Taken from WHERE ARE THEY NOW...
ROGER WATERS (PINK FLOYD), currently hosted at A
Apart from the fact that Roger Waters needs an extra semi-trailer to
transport his ego while he is on tour, he has a valid point although
some Syd anoraks will obviously not agree with the above.
In December 1968 (give or take a month) Syd Barrett, Duggie Fields and a
drop-out named Jules rented a three bedroom apartment at Wetherby
Mansions. As Jules left a short while later the witnesses who can tell
us something substantial about Syd's daily life are Duggie Fields, Gala
Pinion (who took the spare bedroom about 6 months later), Iggy Rose plus
the circle of close friends and, unfortunately enough, hanger-ons who
were only there for the free food, free booze and free drugs. Syd
Barrett was either a very generous host or simply too spaced-out to
understand that he was being ripped-off.
Our good friend Iggy Rose is rather reluctant to divulge too much to the
outside world and anything that she has told the Reverend stays well
inside the Church's sigillum confessionis. Gala seems to have
disappeared in Germany of all places, so perhaps someone ought to create
a Semi-Holy Church of Jules in order to find and question him.
Most people who knew Syd seem to have valid enough reasons to keep a low
profile, unless they want to sell overpriced Barrett photo books.
The result is that all weight falls upon the man who lived with Syd for
a couple of years and who tried (and succeeded) in making a successful
art career of his own: Duggie Fields. But it must have been, and
probably still is, a pain in the arse that whenever he wants to inform
the press about a new exposition they all friendly smile into his
direction and say: “Fine, but we only want to know about Syd Barrett
So let's set the record straight, shall we? With a little help of our
Spanish-sister-blog Solo En Las Nubes we hereafter present you an
exclusive Duggie Fields self-interview (from the 24th November of 2010)
and we will not add another word about Syd. Sort of.
Artistically, a Duggie Fields interview speaks for itself and needs no
Although there are some obvious influences on his paintings, his art –
like with all great artists - is immediately recognisable. But the
Duggie Fields label is not limited to canvas alone.
His life is filled with very curious anecdotes. One of those is how he
shared a flat with Syd Barrett (and – although only for a couple of
weeks – with Iggy Rose [note from FA]), the protagonist of
this blog. Exclusively for Todos En Las Nubes Mr. Fields has written
this self-interview. An honor.
So how do you start your day...?
Usually at the computer. In the winter in my dressing gown; in the
summer in my underwear, with a cup of green tea....
I check my emails. Facebook.
And then sometimes I sit working on a new idea, a picture or less
frequently a piece
of music. And some times hours can pass without me registering.
What are you working on then now?
On the computer I have a couple of new image ideas started. How well
they’ll develop I don’t yet know. And a new piece of music on the way,
the first for quite some time. There’s also the canvas I’ve been working
on for most of the summer now.
So what’s that all about?
That’s not so easy for me to say. If it has a narrative I’ve yet to work
out what it is about. There seems to be some kind of story. There are
two figures in the picture occupying the same, but not quite the same,
space. Both looking at something but not quite the same something. Both
figures have spiritual overtones. The male figure came from a statue in
the graveyard just around the corner from here. The female figure was a
chance vision at an Arts and Antiques Fair up the road in Olympia.
Photographed randomly, not initially intended to pair with him but
somehow ending there intuitively.
What’s “just around the corner” ?
Just around the corner is Brompton Cemetery. Just around the corner is
also the name of a series of photographs I have been taking. Almost
daily and with my mobile phone and then posted on my Facebook page. The
Cemetery is Victorian, designed to echo on a much smaller scale
St.Peter’s in Rome, and ravishing when over-grown and wild as it was
last year. I photograph in there regularly. Always managing to discover
unseen statues, so many angels, and a wealth of ever-changing imagery.
And also I take pictures just around the corner on the streets where I
And where is that?
Earls Court, an area I’ve lived in now for over 40 years. In the same
home, the one I first got with Syd Barrett shortly after he’d left the
Pink Floyd and which we shared together for a couple of years or so
before he left even further from the life he’d once lived, and that I’ve
lived in ever since.
Have you always taken photographs?
At Art School I did photography briefly as part of my course there,
enjoying time in the dark-room developing, processing and printing my
own film, but not really getting on with their prevailing concepts of
what the subjects should be. Over the years I’ve had various cameras,
though nothing got me so involved again until going digital allowed me
to print and process on screen. The camera phone I enjoy enormously, not
having to carry a separate camera with me, one less item to fill the
pockets and think about. I use it kind of as a visual diary. I upload
the images to Facebook as it is currently simpler than adding them to my
own website the way it is set-up at the moment.
Note: This year (2011) Just Around The Corner evolved into a very
That implies you might change it..?
That will change at some stage, but it’s a job that just adds to the
list of things to do. And right now that’s a growing list. The website
works well enough as it stands. But all its sections, and there are many
already, could be expanded on. Like everything it is a question of time,
and of priorities.
What’s the biggest change then that might happen to it?
Well apart from a dedicated Photography section, I have over 1,000
images to choose from to add there. Mostly landscapes and things, the
“Just around the corner” series, “Tree offerings”, and “Curiosities”.
There is more music to add. Quite a few more pieces in addition to what
is already online. And lastly to update the “Word” section with some new
writing. Have been working for the past few years on anecdotes from my
life, from childhood on. Currently have written up to my early years in
And when might this happen?
You might well ask that. Really it depends. Right now I’m finishing off
one very large acrylic canvas; thinking about what the next one I paint
might be, painting always being my priority over everything, though now
first starting with imagery made on computer whereas before it would
start on tracing and graph paper. Working on a couple of digital images
that will stay digital whatever, possibly being output as digital
printed canvasses an option. As well as continuing with the music piece
I started only recently. So I am occupied, pre-occupied, engaged, and
other-wise committed. Enough in fact to think, this is enough for this
too so I can back get on with some real work, which of course it always
is. Time demanding however rewarding it feels in the process, which it
does, there is never enough of it it seems........
The Holy Igquisition has got a little black book with Roger
Waters' interesting quotes in. Needless to say that this is a very
thin book, with lots of white space, but here is a phrase from the Pink
Floyd's creative genius (his words, not ours) this article
would like to begin with.
There are no simple facts. We will all invent a history that suits us
and is comfortable for us, and we may absolutely believe our version to
be the truth. (…) The brain will invent stuff, move stuff around, and so
from 30 years ago (…) there's no way any of us can actually get at the
The Reverend would – however – first want to ask one fundamental
question, of which our readers may not be quite aware of the
significance of it... If Roger Waters is such a creative genius writing
poignant one-liners criticizing his fellow rock colleagues:
Lloyd-Webber's awful stuff. Runs for years and years and years. (…) Then
the piano lid comes down. And breaks his fucking fingers. (It's
A Miracle, Amused
...why then does he agree to release hyper-priced Immersion boxes
containing a scarf, some marbles, carton toasters, playing cards, other
debris and, oh yeah, incidentally some music as well? One can only
conclude it's a miracle. Let's just hope he doesn't get near a
piano for the next couple of years.
But probably we are too harsh in our criticism, Roger Waters has told
the press before that he is simply outvoted by the other Pink Floyd
members. This is a situation that used to be different in the past when
he reigned over the band as the sun
king, but like he will remember from his Ça
Ira days, these are the pros and cons of capitalist democracy.
A typical Floydian example of false memory syndrome is the visit of Syd
Barrett in the Abbey
Road studios on the 5th of June 1975. It is a mystery to us why EMI
didn't ask for entrance money that day as a complete soccer team,
including the four Pink Floyd members David
Mason, Roger Waters and Rick
Wright, claim they have seen, met and spoken to Syd Barrett.
Roadie (and guitar technician) Phil Taylor remembers he had a
drink in the mess with Syd and David. Stormtrooper Thorgerson
has had his say about it all but if one would give him the opportunity
he would argue – probably in yet another book rehashing the same old
material – that he started the band Pink Floyd at the first place. Other
'reliable' witnesses that day include (alphabetically sorted): Venetta
Fields, backing singer and member of The
Leckie, EMI engineer and producer (but not on Wish
You Were Here) Nick
Sedgwick, friend of Roger Waters and 'official' biographer of Pink
Shirley, Humble Pie drummer and friend of David Gilmour Carlena
Williams, backing singer and member of The Blackberries
Some say that Barrett visited the studio for two or three days in a row
and three people, including his former managers Peter
Jenner and Andrew
King, claim they spoke to Syd Barrett about a month later on David
Gilmour's wedding while the bridegroom himself claims that Syd Barrett
never showed up. To quote Pink Floyd biographer Mark
Blake: “...not two people in Pink Floyd's world have matching
stories...”, and neither do two biographies...
(A more detailed article about Barrett's visits during the Wish You Were
Here sessions, with pictures!, can be found at: Shady
In his most recent, but probably not his last, picture book about Syd
Rock writes the following:
He (Syd Barrett, FA) asked me to take photos for the sleeve of
his first solo album The Madcap Laughs that autumn. At the time he was
living with yet another very pretty young lady known only as Iggy the
Eskimo. She wasn't really his girlfriend although clearly they had a
sexual relationship. But of course her presence in some of the photos we
took that day added an important element that enhanced their magical
Most biographies (all but one, Julian Palacios' Dark
Globe, in fact) put the date of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot in the
autumn of 1969 and this thanks to testimonies of Storm
Thorgerson, Mick Rock and, most of all, Malcolm
Jones. The Church, however, beliefs there is a 'misinformation
effect' in play. Researchers have found out that people will
automatically fill in the blanks in their memory if a so-called reliable
witness comes with an acceptable story. This would not be the first time
this happens in Pink Floyd history. And probably there have been 'cover
picture' meetings after summer between Harvest
perhaps even leading to an alternative Storm Thorgerson photo shoot (the
But in the end it was decided to use the daffodils session from
That the Church's theory (with the help of JenS) wasn't that far-fetched
was proven in March 2010 when the rock magazine Mojo
consecrated a three pages long article to pinpoint the date of the
shooting of The Madcap Laughs, with testimonies from Duggie Fields, Mick
Rock, Jenny Spires and Storm Thorgerson. The article and the Church's
comments can be found at Goofer
Dust [(I've got my) Mojo (working)... Part 2].
We know from JenS, Duggie Fields and Gretta
Barclay that Iggy arrived early 1969, and helped painting the floor,
but the only person who didn't comment on this was Iggy Rose herself. So
one freezing winter day The Holy Church asked her if she could have been
around at Wetherby Mansion, after the summer of 1969...
Iggy Rose: "I don't think it was that late, but I have to admit
it was almost 45 years ago. I remember I was cold, and they had a
one-bar-heater to try and keep me warm. I stayed a week here and there
and I never gave that photo shoot another thought. Later I found out
when Mick Rock came back for the second shoot he was disappointed I
Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)): "I took Ig to Wetherby Mansions in January or
February 1969 where she met Syd Barrett. (…) I introduced Iggy to Syd
shortly before I left (to America, FA), and she was around when I
left. She wasn’t there for long and generally moved around a lot to
Iggy Rose: "I had absolutely no idea how mammoth he was. Syd
never came on to me as the Big I Am. In fact when he played his rough
tracks of The Madcap Laughs he was so endearingly sweet and appealing...
Even asking me whether it was good enough to take to some bloke at EMI
Margaretta Barclay (Gretta
Speaks (Pt. 2)): "Iggy moved about and stayed with all sorts of
people in all sorts of places without declaring her intention to do so.
To my knowledge there was no ‘when Iggy left Syd’ moment. We were all
free spirits then, who moved whenever and wherever a whim took us."
Iggy Rose: "I wasn't even aware of who Syd Barrett really was. Of
course I knew of Pink Floyd. I must have seen them perform at Crystal
Palace but they were to me an obscure avant-garde underground band, who
played way-out music I couldn't dance to."
Jenny Spires (public conversation at Iggy Roses' Facebook
page): "Ig, Syd painted the floor boards as soon as he moved in
Christmas 68. When I moved in with him in January there were still
patches not done, by the door, in the window under the mattress where we
slept, in top right hand corner of the room. When he painted it
initially, he didn't wash the floor first. He just painted straight onto
all the dust etc... Dave (Gilmour) also painted his floor red..."
Duggie Fields (Mojo): "It was pretty primitive, two-bar electric
fire, concreted-up fireplaces... it was an area in decline. I don't
think there was anything, no cooker, bare floorboards..."
Mate (alleged visitor at Wetherby Mansions, FA): "The
three rooms all faced the street. On entering the house, the first room
was Fields', the second and largest, I guess about 25 square meters,
Barrett's. The third and smallest room was a communal room or a bedroom
for guests. Gala (Pinion, FA) stayed there. In the corridor were
some closets stuffed with clothes.
Then the floor bended to a small bathroom, I think it was completely at
the inside without a window. At the back was the kitchen with a window
to the garden. It was not very big and looked exactly like in the
Fifties. The bathroom was also rather simple, I mean, still with a small
tub. I don't remember how the bathroom floor looked like though."
Update 2016: 'Mate' is an anonymous witness who claims to have
been an amorous friend of Syd Barrett, visiting him several times in
London and Cambridge between 1970 and 1980. However, later
investigations from the Church have found out that this person probably
never met Syd and is a case of pseudologia fantastica. This
person, however, has a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of Syd Barrett and
early Pink Floyd and probably the above description of Syd's flat is
Iggy Rose: "I think Gala had the small room, Duggie the second
and Syd the largest. She had a lot of perfumes and soaps and gave me a
nice bubbly bath once... ...and tampons." (Launches one of her legendary
roaring laughs provoking a temporarily hearing loss with the Reverend.)
Any colour you like
Ian Barrett: "The stereo in the picture ended up at my house, and
I am pretty sure I had the record player in my bedroom for a good few
years. God knows where it is now though..."
Iggy Rose: "I wonder what happened to the old heavy tape recorder
with the giant spools. I remember Syd carrying it over for me to listen
to his rough cut of The Madcap Laughs."
Malcolm Jones (The Making Of The Madcap Laughs): "In anticipation
of the photographic session for the sleeve, Syd had painted the bare
floorboards of his room orange and purple."
Mick Rock (Psychedelic Renegades): "Soon after Syd moved in he
painted alternating floor boards orange
JenS: "I was staying with Syd between the New Year and March '69.
(…) Anyway, at that time, the floor was already painted blue
and orange and I remember thinking how
good it looked on the Madcap album cover later on when the album was
Iggy Rose (The
Croydon Guardian): "When Mick (Rock, FA) turned up to
take the photos I helped paint the floor boards for the shoot, I was
covered in paint, I still remember the smell of it."
Margaretta Barclay (Gretta
Speaks): "I remember that Iggy was involved with the floor painting
project and that she had paint all over her during the floor painting
time but I was not involved with the painting of the floor."
Iggy Rose (Mojo):
"He jumped off the mattress and said, 'Quick, grab a paint brush.' He
did one stripe and I did another. If you look at Mick Rock's pictures, I
have paint on the soles of my feet."
Duggie Fields (The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story): "I think he
painted the floor boards, sort of quite quickly. He didn't prepare the
floor, I don't think he swept the floor actually. (…) And he hadn't
planned his route out of the bed that was over there. He painted around
the bed and I think there was a little problem getting out of the room.
(…) He painted himself in."
Jenny Fabian (Days In The Life):: "He'd painted every other floor
board alternate colours red and green."
Iggy Rose: "I remember the mattress being against the
wall......Soooooo either we ran out of paint, or waited till the paint
dried, so poor Syd was marooned in the middle of the floor. (…) The
floorboards were painted red and blue.
I do remember, as the paint was on my feet and bottom. Did you know that
Syd wanted to take the colours right up the wall?"
Mate: "The planks were painted in a bright fiery-red,
perhaps with a slight tendency towards orange,
and dark blue with a shadow of violet.
Iggy is absolutely right: this was no orange's
orange. The curtains were dark
green velvet." (This witness may be a mythomaniac,
Mick Rock: "They were long exposures because of the low light and
they were push-developed which means that you give the film more time in
the processing fluid. You can tell because the colour changes and
the film starts to break up which causes that grainy effect."
Libby Gausden: "I always thought it was orange
paint, not red." Iggy
Rose: "Careful Libs darling! People will start to analyse that, the
way they did with the dead daffodils." Libby Gausden:
"Well they had faded from red to orange
when I got there."
Jenny Spires (public conversation
at Iggy Roses' Facebook
page): "The floor was painted long before you arrived Ig and was blue
and orange. You and Syd might have given
it another lick of paint and covered up some of the patchiness and bare
floorboard that was under the mattress before the Rock/Thorgersen shoot.
Perhaps, he only had red paint for that,
but it was blue and orange."
Mate: "Even in 1970 there were still unpainted parts in the room,
hidden under a worn rug. I suppose the floor had been beige-white before
Syd and Iggy painted it in dark blue
with a shadow of violet and bright orangy
red . The floor boards had not been carefully painted and
were lying under a thick shiny coat. The original pitch-pine wood didn't
In my impression it was an old paint-job and I didn't realise that Syd
had done it all by himself the year before. I never spoke with him about
the floor as I couldn't predict that it would become world-famous one
day. It is also weird that nearly nobody seems to remember the third
room..." (This witness may be a mythomaniac, see above.)
Mick Rock: "I actually went back a couple of weeks later. We
still didn't know what the LP was going to be called and we thought we
might need something different for the inner sleeve or some publicity
Iggy Rose: "I did go back afterwards and maybe Syd mentioned this
to someone. I wasn't bothered and I didn't know Syd was some big pop
star. He never lived like one and certainly didn't behave like."
When Iggy disappeared it wasn't to marry a rich banker or to go to Asia.
As a matter of fact she was only a few blocks away from the already
crumbling underground scene. One day she returned to the flat and heard
that Barrett had returned to Cambridge. She would never see Syd again
and wasn't aware of the fact that her portrait was on one of the most
mythical records of all time.
Update 2016: The above text, although meant to be tongue in
cheek, created a rift between the Reverend and one of the cited
witnesses, that still hasn't been resolved 4 years later. All that over
a paint job from nearly 50 years ago.
Many thanks to: Margaretta Barclay, Duggie Fields, Libby Gausden, Mate,
Iggy Rose, JenS & all of you @ NML & TBtCiIiY...
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 231-232. Clerk,
Carol: If I'm honest, my idea was that we should go our separate ways,
Roger Waters interview in Uncut June 2004, reprinted in: The Ultimate
Music Guide Issue 6 (from the makers of Uncut): Pink Floyd, 2011, p. 111. Gladstone,
Shane: The Dark Star, Clash 63, July 2011, p. 53 (Mick Rock
picture outtakes). Green,
Jonathon: Days In The Life, Pimlico, London, 1998, p.168. Jones,
Malcolm: The Making Of The Madcap Laughs, Brain Damage, 2003, p.
13. Mason, Nick: Inside Out, Orion Books, London, 2011
reissue, p. 206-208. Rock, Mick: Psychedelic Renegades,
Plexus, London, 2007, p. 18-19, Rock, Mick: Syd Barrett - The
Photography Of Mick Rock, EMI Records Ltd, London & Palazzo Editions
Ltd, Bath, 2010, p. 10-11. Spires, Jenny: Facebook
conversation with Iggy Rose, July 2011.
Despite the fact that the sixties children of the revolution all wanted
to express their individualism and refused to be a part of the square 9
to 5 world they all managed to show up at the same places, dress
virtually the same and take the same chemical substances.
This also applied for their holidays. Although they had been seeing each
other the whole year in old rainy England, in summer they would pack
their bags and flee – en masse – to the same cool (but
sweaty) locations, following the so-called Hippie
The Hippie Trail extended to the Himalayas and several Cantabrigian
hipsters made it to the Indies, looking for a guru who would teach them
things a local vicar couldn't teach them. Paul Charrier, one of the
Cantabrigian mods, beats or whatever denomination they liked that week,
was one of the first to witness this. When he returned to England and
opened his bag of tricks, he managed to convert a few others to the
narrow path of Sant
Mat, but others, like Storm
Thorgerson and Matthew
Scurfield, opposed to this 'wave of saccharine mysticism hitting our
shores' (see also: We
are all made of stars).
India and Pakistan were long and hazardous journeys and for those who
only had a few weeks to spend there were always the Balearic islands
where they would meet at La Tortuga or La
Some 700 hippies arrived in Formentera in 1968 and by the summer of 1969
there were already 1,300, almost one for every 2.5 islanders. They
didn’t stay all year round but were usually university students spending
their holidays on the island. In 1970, Franco’s regime threw all 3,000
of them off Ibiza and Formentera. According to the regime, the hippies
gave the place a bad name, but the islanders didn’t agree – for them the
hippies were simply tourists. (Taken from: Thinkspain.)
Of course the islands of Formentera
(Balearic Islands) already had some reputation of their own. The place
not only gained popularity by (American) writers and artists after the
second world war for its mild climate, but also because it was a central
drug smuggling point. The heroes of Beat literature not only liked the
bohemian's life, but in their quest for nonconformity they also actively
sought contact with 'the perilous margins of society - pimps, whores,
drug dealers, petty thieves'.
Quite some Dutch artists visited the place, for one reason or another.
The proto-hippie-folk singing duo Nina
& Frederik (Dutch-Danish, in fact), who had some hits in the
fifties and early sixties, lived there. In his later life Frederik
Van Pallandt attempted a career as drug smuggler and his murder in
1994 may have been a direct result. Other artist included poet Simon
Vinkenoog, author Jan
Cremer and Black & Decker trepanist Bart
Huges. The sixties saw visits from the Beatles, the Stones and in
their wake some beautiful people from London (for a more detailed list: Ibiza
in the beatnik & hippie eras.)
David Gale, his girlfriend Maureen, Dave Henderson, Storm Thorgerson and
John Davies went to Ibiza in 1963 for their holidays where they visited
Formentera island for a day. Back at home they all decided to have
another holiday there.
Mary Wing (and her friend Marc Dessier) found Formentera so beautiful
that in 1965 they decided to stay there.
Nick Mason acknowledges that after the '14
hour technicolour dream' (29 April 1967) the band was very tired and
that Syd showed more severe symptoms than the others. Despite all that
the continuous, eight days a week, gigging went on with the mythical Games
For May concert two weeks later (12 May), the memorable Hans
Keller BBC interview (14 May) and the See
Emily Play recording session (18 May). There were nearly daily
concerts or recording sessions between May and June of that year, but
little by little cracks started to appear in their overcrowded agenda.
June, 11: two cancelled concerts in Holland June, 18: public
appearance on a bikini fashion show for Radio London, cancelled June,
24: two cancelled concerts in Corby and Bedford June, 25: two
cancelled concerts in Manchester
On Thursday, July the 27th 1967, the Pink Floyd mimed (for the third
time) on the Top Of the Pops show although Barrett was rather reluctant
to do it. The next day they had a recording session for the BBC, but
apparently Syd was seen leaving the block when it was their turn. This
time the band and its management took Syd's behaviour seriously and
decided to cancel all August gigs (with the exception of some studio
Update September 2012: one of these cancelled gigs was the 7th
National Jazz, Pop, Ballads and Blues Festival that was visited by Iggy
the Eskimo: Iggy
- a new look in festivals.
Now what would you do when the lead singer of your band has got mental
problems due to his abundant drug intake? You send him to a hippie, drug
infested, island under the supervision of a psychedelic doctor who
thinks that LSD has been been the best invention since masturbation.
In 1969 Smutty would have his medical office at Jenny
Fabian's apartment: “I did find it a bit weird though, trying to lie
around stoned listening to the sounds of vaginal inspections going on
behind the curtain up the other end of the sitting-room."
After a first attempt in the studio on Scream
Thy Last Scream, Pink Floyd finally went on holiday for the second
half of August. Syd Barrett, Lindsay Corner, Rick Wright, Juliette Gale
(Wright), Dr. Sam Hutt, his wife and baby went to Formentera while Roger
Waters and Judy Trim (Waters) headed for Ibiza. They all had a good
time, except for Barrett who – during a storm - panicked so hard he
literally tried to climb the walls of the villa, an anecdote that is so
vehemently trashed by biographer Rob
Chapman that it probably did happen.
In retrospect the decision to take a hippie doctor on holiday wasn't
that stupid. One of the underlying ideas was that he would be able to
communicate with Syd on the same level. The band, conscientiously or
not, were also aware that 'there was a fear that sending Syd to a
[traditional] doctor for observation might lead to his being sectioned
in a mental hospital'.
In those days most care centres in Great Britain were still Victorian
lunatic asylums where medical torture was mildly described as therapy.
At least these were the horrid stories told by the people who had been
so lucky to escape.
He showed me to the room that was to be mine. It was indeed a cell.
There was no door knob on the inside, the catch had been jammed so that
the door couldn't be shut properly, the window was high up in the wall
and had bars over it, and there was only a standard issue bed and locker
as furniture. (William Pryor)
Nobody wanted this to happen to Syd, but a less prosaic thought was this
would have meant the end of the band, something that had to be carefully
avoided. “The idea was to get Syd out of London, away from acid, away
from all his friends who treated him like a god.”, Rick Wright explained
but in reality Dr. Hutt, and the others, merely observed Syd Barrett,
catatonic as ever and still 'munching acid all the time'. Nick Mason, in
his usual dry style: “It was not a success.”
Whoever thought that giving Barrett a few weeks of rest was going to
evaporate the demons from his brain must have been tripping himself and
on the first of September the agenda was resumed as if nothing had
happened. The first 6 days were filled with gigs and recording sessions.
Three days later a Scandinavian tour with the legendary Gyllene
Cirkeln and Starclub gigs, followed by an Irish Tour and later, in
October, the disastrous North American Tour...
Although the previous paragraphs may seem harsh they are not meant to
criticise the people nor their actions. It is easy to pinpoint what went
wrong 45 years ago, but as it is impossible to predict an alternative
past we will never know if any other action would have had a different
or better effect. The Reverend is convinced that Syd's friends, band
members and management tried to do their best to help him, but
unfortunately they were running in the same insane treadmill as he was.
Syd wasn't the only one to be exhausted and at the same time the
atmosphere was imbibed with the 'summer of love' philosophy of
respecting someone's personal freedom, even if it lead to
In 1968 Aubrey
'Po' Powell (Floydian roadie and later Hipgnosis member) visited the
Formentera island together with some friends.
I first came here forty-one years ago [interview taken in 2009, FA] with
David Gilmour, and then the year afterwards with Syd Barrett. The first
year I came to Formentera I stayed about four months living like a
hippie, and I just fell in love with it. (…) Also it was kind of
difficult to get to. You had to get the plane to Ibiza and then the
ferry which at that time was the only ferry that went between Ibiza and
Formentera and that took about two hours to get across and it only went
twice a day. So it was an effort to get there, you know, it was a rather
remote place. But a lot of writers, painters and musicians gravitated
there. (Taken from: Aubrey
Powell: Life, light and Formentera’s influence on Hipgnosis.)
Shortly after Syd Barrett watched the first moon-landing
(that had been given a Pink Floyd soundtrack on the BBC) he panicked
when he found out that his pal Emo (Iain Moore) and a few others (Po,
John Davies) had left Albion for sunny Formentera. He literally grabbed
a bag of cash and dirty clothes and headed to Heathrow, driven there by
The story goes that Syd tried to stop an aeroplane taxiing on the
tarmac. In at least one version the plane actually stopped and took him
on board, but other say he had to wait for the next departure. Again it
is biographer Rob Chapman who categorises this anecdote as
'unsubstantiated nonsense', on the weird assumption that it failed to
make the newspapers, but other biographies have also omitted this story
for simply being too unbelievable.
Anyway, somewhere in July or early August 1969 Syd arrived in Ibiza and
met Emo who was on his way to San Fernando (Formentera). The biographies
Crazy Diamond (Mike Watkinson & Pete Anderson), Madcap (Tim Willis) and
Dark Globe (Julian Palacios) all add bits and pieces to that particular
Iain Moore: “He had a carrier bag of clothes that I could smell from
where I was standing.”
Emo says Syd's behaviour was pivoting like a see-saw. One moment he
could be seen laughing, joking and singing with the gang; the next
moment he could snap into an emotional freeze. It was useless to warn
him for the blistering sun and in the end his friends 'had to grab him,
hold him down, and cover him from head to toe in Nivea'.
At Formentera Syd stayed with Mary Wing, who had left Great Britain in
1965 to live on the island with Marc Dessier. According to them Barrett
was a gentle soul but 'like a little brother who needed looking after'.
Barrett was in good form and to an audience of European hippies he
claimed he was still the leader of Pink Floyd.
Barrett borrowed Dessier's guitar: “Then he sat there, chose a letter of
the alphabet and thought of his three favourite words starting with the
same letter. He wrote them on three bits of paper, threw them in the air
and wrote them again in the order that he picked them up.” This
technique was not uncommon for beat poets and Syd may have been inspired
by Spike Hawkins who showed Barrett his Instant Poetry Broth book the
One Formantera picture shows Syd with an unknown girl who hides her
nudity behind a red veil. The (copyrighted) picture can be found on John
Davies MySpace page (image link)
and has been published in the Crazy Diamond biography and on A
For Pink Floyd buffs the picture shares a resemblance with the red veil
picture on the Wish
You Were Here liner bag, that actually exists in a few different
versions. Storm Thorgerson has used the past from the band and its
members for his record covers, backdrop movies and videos on several
occasions, like the Barrett vinyl compilation that had a cover with a
plum, an orange and a matchbox.
Hipgnosis collaborator 'Po' Powell was with Syd in Formentera in 1969,
but what does Storm Thorgerson has to say about it all? He reveals that
the idea for the veil came from John Blake, and not from Po:
John Blake suggested using a veil – symbol of absence (departure) in
funerals ans also a way of absenting (hiding) the face. This was the
last shot (…) which was photographed in Norfolk.
And in Mind Over Matter:
The red muslin veil is an universal item, or symbol, of hiding the face,
either culturally as in Araby, or for respect as in funerals. What's
behind the veil?
According to Nick Mason a female nude can be seen on the Wish You Were
Here inside cover but of course this doesn't say anything about the
unknown woman on Formentera. Who is she?
Nobody knows. And that secret remained a secret for over 40 years.
Now let's suppose a witness would show up who remembers she has been
seen walking near Earl's Court. And that she was called Sarah Sky
although that probably was not her real name. And that she spoke with
a foreign accent and lived in London. And that Sarah Sky vanished
around the late 1970's and has never been heard of since.
Partially solving a problem only makes it bigger. A new quest has begun.
Update 2012.05.26: According to Emo (Iain Moore) Sarah Sky may
have been one of the girls who went with them to Formentera. The Syd
Barrett Archives (Facebook) have the following quote:
Actually, I spoke to Emo last night and he said she was just another
person who was staying at the house they rented. It was a nudist beach,
lol. At least Syd kept his pants on this time! (…) Anyway, Emo
said they didn't know her and he couldn't remember who she was with.
(...) The girl in this photo is name unknown. She was American and
staying in a house in Ibiza. She was visiting Formentera for the day.
Iain has, since then, reconfirmed that the Formentera Girl was an
American tourist. He has also posted a new picture of Syd and the girl.
Update August 2012: Author and movie maker Nigel
Gordon does not agree with a quote in the above text, taken from
I just want to respond briefly to your article on Formentera etc where
you wrote or quote that Santmat is ‘saccharine mysticism’. I don’t agree
with you. Santmat recommends that we meditate for two and a half hours a
day. It’s pretty ‘salty’!
Update February 2015: Some 'sources' on the web pretend the
Formentera girl is none other than German photo-model Uschi Obermaier.
Obviously this is not true and if you want to know how the Church came
to this conclusion you can read everything at Uschi
Obermaier: Proletarian Chic.
Many thanks to: Nina, Ebronte, Julian Palacios, Jenny Spires.
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 90, 131. Chapman,
Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p.
228, 341. Davis, John: Childhood's
End, My Generation Cambridge 1946-1965. De Groot, Gerard: The
Sixties Unplugged, Pan Macmillan, London, 2009, p. 27. Gordon,
Nigel: Santmat, email, 18.08.2012. Green, Jonathon: Days In
The Life, Pimlico, London, 1998, p. 286. Green, Jonathon: All
Dressed Up, Pimlico, London, 1999, p. 255. Mason, Nick, Inside
Out, Orion Books, London, 2011 reissue, p. 95-97. Palacios,
Julian: A mile or more in a foreign clime': Syd and Formentera @ Syd
Barrett Research Society, 2009 (forum no longer active). Palacios,
Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London,
2010, p. 265, 353. Pryor, William: The Survival Of The Coolest,
Clear Books, 2003, p. 106. Scurfield, Matthew: I Could Be Anyone,
Monticello Malta 2009, p. 176. Spires, Jenny: The
Syd Barrett Archives, Facebook, 2012. Thorgerson, Storm: Mind
Over Matter, Sanctuary Publishing, London, 2003, p. 80. Thorgerson,
Storm: Walk Away René, Paper Tiger, Limpsfield, 1989, p. 150. Thorgerson,
Storm & Powell, Aubrey: For The Love Of Vinyl, Picturebox,
Brooklyn, 2008, p. 104 (essay written by Nick Mason). Watkinson, Mike
& Anderson, Pete: Crazy Diamond, Omnibus Press, London, 1993,
p. 90-91. Willis, Tim, Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p.
On Wednesday, 9 May 2012, it was reported that Clive
Welham passed away, after having been ill for a long time.
50 years earlier, he was the one who introduced a quiet, shy boy to
Roger 'Syd' Barrett at the Cambridge College of Art and Technology. The
boys had in common that they both liked to play the guitar and
immediately became friends, that is how Syd Barrett and David Gilmour
met and how the Pink Floyd saga started.
Just like in the rest of England, Cambridge was a musical melting pot in
the early sixties with bands forming, merging, splitting and dissolving
like bubbles in a lava lamp.
Clive 'Chas' Welham attended the Perse
Preparatory School for Boys, a private school where he met fellow
student David Gilmour. As would-be musicians they crossed the
social barriers and befriended pupils from the Cambridge and County
School for Boys, meeting at street corners, the coffee bars or at home
were they would trade guitar licks. Despite their two years age
difference Clive was invited to the Sunday afternoon blues jam sessions
at Roger Barrett's home and in spring 1962 this culminated in a
'rehearsal' band called Geoff Mott & The Mottoes. Clive
Welham (to Julian Palacios):
There was Geoff Mott [vocals], Roger Barrett [rhythm guitar], and
“Nobby” Clarke [lead guitar], another Perse boy. I met them at a party
near the river. They’d got acoustic guitars and were strumming. I
started picking up sticks and making noise. We were in the kitchen, away
from the main party. They asked me if I played drums and I said, “Not
really, but I’d love to.” They said, “Pop round because we’re getting a
Clive Welham (to Mark Blake):
It was quite possible that when me and Syd first started I didn't even
have any proper drums and was playing on a biscuit tin with knives. But
I bought a kit, started taking lessons and actually got quite good. I
can't even remember who our bass player was...
Although several Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett biographies put Tony Sainty
as the Mottoes' bass player Clive Welham has always denied this: “I
played in bands with Tony later, but not with Syd.”
Another hang-around was a dangerous looking bloke who was more
interested in his motorbike than in playing music: Roger Waters.
He was the one who designed the poster for what is believed to be The
Mottoes' only public gig.
After Clive Welham had introduced David Gilmour to Syd Barrett, David
became a regular visitor as well. Surprisingly enough Syd and David
never joined a band together, starting their careers in separate bands.
Although they were close friends it has been rumoured there was some
pubertal guitar playing rivalry between them.
1962: The Ramblers
The Mottoes never grew into a gigging band and in March 1962 Clive
Welham, playing a Trixon
drum kit, stepped into The Ramblers with Albert 'Albie' Prior
(lead guitar), Johnny Gordon (rhythm guitar), Richard Baker (bass) and
Chris ‘Jim’ Marriott (vocals).
The Ramblers’ first gig was at the United Reformed Church Hall on Cherry
Hinton Road. They used their new Watkins Copycat Echo Chamber giving
them great sound on The Shadows’ Wonderful Land and Move It.
The Ramblers soon acquired a certain reputation and gigged quite a lot
in the Cambridge area. One day Syd Barrett asked 'Albie' Prior for some
rock'n roll advice in the Cambridge High School toilets: “...saying that
he wanted to get into a group and asking what it involved and in
particular what sort of haircut was best.”
Unfortunately the responsibilities of adulthood crept up on him and lead
guitarist 'Albie' had to leave the band to take a job in a London bank.
On Tuesday, the 13th of November 1962, David Gilmour premiered at a gig
at the King's Head public house at Fen Ditton, a venue were they would
return every week as the house band. Gilmour had joined two bands at the
same time and could also be seen with Chris Ian & The Newcomers,
later just The Newcomers. Notorious members were sax-player Dick
Parry, not unknown to Pink Floyd anoraks and Rick
Wills (Peter Frampton's Camel, Foreigner and Bad Company).
Memories have blurred a bit but according to Glenn Povey's Echoes
Gilmour's final gig with The Ramblers was on Sunday, 13 October 1963.
Beginning of 1964 The Ramblers disbanded but three of its 5 members
would later resurface as Jokers Wild.
1963: The Four Posters
But first, in autumn 1963, a band known as The Four Posters was
formed, although it may have been just a temporarily solution to keep on
playing. David Altham (piano, sax & vocals) and Tony Sainty (bass &
vocals) were in it and perhaps Clive Welham (drums). Unfortunately their
history has not been documented although according to Will Garfitt, who
left the band to pursue a painting career, they played some gigs at the
Cambridge Tech, the Gas Works, the Pit Club and the university. Contrary
to what has been written in some Pink Floyd biographies John Gordon was
I was never in The Four Posters. Clive and I were together in The
Ramblers, and we left together to join Dave, David and Tony to create
Jokers Wild. I don't know whether Dave and Tony came from The Newcomers
or The Four Posters...
1964: Jokers Wild
The Ramblers, The Four Posters and The Newcomers ended at about the same
time and the bands more or less joined ranks. Renamed Jokers Wild
in September 1964 it was at first conceived as an all-singing band. “We
were brave enough to do harmony singing that other groups wouldn’t
attempt, including Beach Boys and Four Seasons numbers”, confirmed Tony
Sainty. The band had good musicians, all of them could hold a tune, and
they soon had a loyal fanbase. They became the house-band at Les Jeux
Interdits, a midweek dance at Victoria Ballroom. Clive Welham: “We
came together in the first place because we all could sing.”
Some highlights of their career include a gig with Zoot
Money's Big Roll Band, The
Paramounts (an early incarnation of Procol Harum) and a London gig
as support act for The
Animals. This last gig was so hyped that a bus-load of fans followed
them from Cambridge to the big city of London.
1965: Walk Like A Man
Mid 1965 the band entered the Regent Sound Studios in Denmark Street,
London. They recorded a single that was sold (or given) to the fans
containing Don’t Ask Me What I Say (Manfred
Mann) and Big Girls Don’t Cry (The
Four Seasons). Out of the same session came a rather limited
one-sided LP with three more numbers: Why
Do Fools Fall in Love, Walk
Like a Man and Beautiful
Delilah. This is the only 'released' recording of Jokers Wild
although there might be others we are not aware of. Peter Gilmour
(David's brother) who replaced Tony Sainty on bass and vocals in autumn
1965 commented this week:
Sad news. A great bloke. I'll replay some of those old recordings doing
Four Seasons and Beach Boys numbers with his lovely clear falsetto voice.
Somewhere in October 1965 they played a private party in Great Shelford
together with an unknown singer-songwriter Paul
Simon and a band that was billed as The Tea Set because Pink
Floyd sounded too weird for the highbrow crowd. Clive Welham:
It was in a marquee at the back of this large country house [that can,
by the way, be seen on the cover of the Pink Floyd album Ummagumma,
FA]. I sat on and off the drum kit because of my wrist problems. Willie
Wilson sat in on drums and I came to the front on tambourine.
The musicians enjoyed themselves, jamming with the others and Paul Simon
- 'a pain in the arse', according to drummer Willie Wilson - joined in
on Johnny B. Good. A couple of days later Jokers Wild supported Pink
Floyd again, this time at the Byam Shaw School, Kensington, London. Each
band was paid £10 for that gig.
1965: the Decca tapes
By then Jokers Wild were seriously thinking of getting professional.
They were not only known by the locals in Cambridgeshire, but did
several society parties in London as well. Also the military forces had
discovered them: Jokers Wild was invited for the Admiral League dance at
the Dorchester Hotel in London and played several dances at the RAF and
USAF bases of Mildenhall, Lakenheath, Alconbury and Chicksands. Their
repertoire changed as well, shifting more towards soul, R&B and Tamla
Motown. Libby Gausden: “How we danced to David Gilmour, Peter Gilmour,
David Altham, John Gordon, Tony Sainty and dear Clive xxx.”
Some promoters were sought for and the band recorded a single for Decca:
You Don’t Know Like I Know (Sam
and Dave) / That’s How Strong My Love Is (Otis
Redding), but unfortunately it was never released because the
original version by Sam and Dave had already hit the UK market.
After the Decca adventure the original band slowly evaporated over the
next few months. Peter Gilmour left (probably after the summer of 1966)
to concentrate on his studies. Clive Welham had difficulties combining
his full time job with a semi-professional rock band and had some
medical problems as well. John Gordon further explains:
Clive [Welham] became unable to play any more (with a wrist complaint)
and was replaced by Willie Wilson... and that line-up continued for some
time. It was later still that Tony Sainty was replaced by Rick
[Wills]... and then, when the band was planning trips to France, I had
to 'pass' to finish my degree at college.
1966: Bullit & The Flowers
Now a quartet with David Altham, David Gilmour, John 'Willie' Wilson and newcomer
Rick Wills on bass, they continued using the known brand name, a trick
Gilmour would later repeat (but slightly more successful) with Pink
Floyd, touring around Spain, France and The Netherlands. Another failed
attempt to turn professional made them temporarily change their name to Bullit
and when David Altham also left the remaining trio continued as The
Flowers, mainly playing in France. Around camp-fires on this planet
it is told how a sick (and broke) David Gilmour returned to London, just
in time to get a telephone call from Nick Mason, asking if he had a few
minutes to spare.
2012: Nobody Knows Where You Are
Clive worked at the Cambridge University Press but always continued with
his music. According to Vernon Fitch he played in a band called Jacob's
Ladder in the Seventies and was a successful singer with local
Cambridge band Executive Suite in the Nineties. Helen Smith
remembers him as the leader of Solitaire, what must have been
(according to Colleen Hart) in the mid-Seventies:
A brilliant front man in his band 'Solitaire' - he had a wonderfully
sweet singing voice and could easily hit the high notes!
Update 2012 08 12: In 1978 Clive made a private, non commercial
recording of Peanuts, originally a 1957 hit from Little
Joe & The Thrillers:
David Altham: guitar, saxophone, keyboards, vocals David Gilmour:
guitar, vocals, harmonica John Gordon: rhythm guitar, vocals (1964 to
late 1965) Tony Sainty: bass, vocals (1964 to early 1966) Peter
Gilmour: bass, vocals (early 1966) Clive Welham: drums, vocals (1964
to late 1965) John 'Willie' Wilson: drums (from late 1965)
Jokers Wild #2 (Summer 1966 - Summer 1967 / Source: Glenn Povey) AKA
Bullit (3 summer months in 1966 at the Los Monteros hotel in Marbella?) AKA
The Flowers (end 1966)
David Altham: rhythm guitar (to December 1966) David Gilmour: guitar,
vocals Rick Wills: bass (from January 1967) John 'Willie' Wilson:
According to Julian Palacios in Dark Globe, quoting David Gale,
'perse pigs and county cunts' were friendly nicknames the pupils of
these rivaling schools gave to each other. David Gale's assumption can
be found on YouTube
although it may have been a raunchy joke towards his audience and part
of his 'performance'. (Back to text above.)
Syd Barrett in Jokers Wild?
In an interview for the Daily
Mirror in August 2008 Rosemary Breen (Syd's sister) told:
He [Syd] started his first band, Jokers Wild, at 16. Sunday
afternoons would see Cambridge chaps and girls coming over for a jamming
session. The members of Pink Floyd were just people I knew. Roger Waters
was a boy who lived around the corner and Dave Gilmour went to school
over the road.
This seems to be a slip of the tongue as Syd Barrett never joined the
band. In a message on Facebook,
Jenny Spires adds:
Syd was not in Jokers Wild... He jammed with all the various members at
different times, but he wasn't in it. When I met him in 64, he was
playing with his old Art School band Those Without. He was also in The
Tea Set at the same time. He played with several bands at the same time,
for example if someone needed a bass player for a couple of gigs they
may have asked him to stand in. Earlier, he played with Geoff Mott and
also with Blues Anonymous. There were lots of musician friends in
Cambridge that Syd played and jammed with. (Jenny Spires, 2012 06 30)
Many thanks to: Viv Brans, Michael Brown, Lord Drainlid, Libby Gausden,
John Gordon, Peter Gilmour, Colleen Hart, Chris Jones, Joe Perry,
Antonio Jesús Reyes, Helen Smith, Jenny Spires & I Spy In Cambridge. All
pictures courtesy of I
Spy In Cambridge. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 22-23, 34. Clive
Welham at Cambridge News Death
Notices, May 2012. Dosanjh, Warren: The music scene of 1960s
Cambridge, Cambridge, 2012, p. 42, 46-47. Free download
Spy In Cambridge. Fitch, Vernon: The Pink Floyd Encyclopedia,
Collector's Guide Publishing, Ontario, 2005, p. 342. Gordon, John: Corrections
re Jokers Wild, email, 2012-05-12. Palacios, Julian: Syd
Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p.
27-28, 31. Povey, Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd,
3C Publishing, 2008, p. 13, 20-24, 29.
On the 6th June of 1970 Syd Barrett gave his short Olympia concert
together with David Gilmour and Jerry
Shirley. We won't get further into the discussion about the set's
brevity and about the fact that a certain faction of Barrett fans and
musicians, including Mohammed Abdullah John 'Twink' Alder, think
that the tape of that gig is in fact a Stars performance of February
1972, but we will use this date as a calibration point for Syd's...
length of hair.
The friendly discussion about the exact colour of Syd's floor boards
created an existential crisis in Barrett-land (see: The
Case of the Painted Floorboards (v 2.012)), with people who refuse
to talk to each other ever since, and the hair-length discussion
promises to be as lively. As a matter of fact Syd's Hair Chronology is
not a new topic, we could find a Late Night forum
thread from 2007, but like all things Syd this discussion comes up
about every 6 months or so.
the second solo album, was released on 14 November 1970 and his
management found it advisable to have some photo shoots and interviews
to promote the album.
Barrie Wentzell had the following to say about this:
Chris Welch and I went along to do a quick interview with Syd at his
managers office. We were a bit apprehensive, as stories of Syd's
behavior of late seemed bizarre. When we got there, we were met by a
very upset guy who said Syd had locked himself into a room and he
wouldn't come out. Oh dear! It seemed the stories were true. Chris and I
spoke to him through the door and tried to convince him that we were his
friends and that everything was ok. He slowly opened the door and
ushered us in quickly shutting and locking the door behind us. He stood
there looking very frightened, muttering, Those people out there are
aliens, and are after me! We tried to tell him that they were his
management and friends and they cared about him, as do we. He seemed
unconvinced, and I took this dark side of Syd pictures and managed to
persuade him to let Chris and I out and that we'd send help. He took the
key from his pocket, unlocked the door. We escaped and Syd locked
himself back inside. Taken from: Snapgalleries.
The pictures of Syd Barrett, taken that day by Barrie Wentzell, have
been nicknamed the 'stoned tramp' session and show an unshaven Syd
Barrett with mid-long hair and a pair of eyes that not always seem to be
focusing on something (see: second picture). One of them appeared in
Melody Maker of the 31st of January 1971, next to the Chris Welch
article that was titled: Confusion
and Mr Barrett. (To add further discombobulation Barrie Wentzell
dates the picture as 1971 on his own website,
but it is – probably – from November 1970.)
Let's Call the Whole Thing Off (aka I like tomato)
In Autumn 1970, Barrett was living semi-permanently in his mother's
house in Cambridge, far away from the frantic London beatnik drug scene
he had been a member, propagator and victim of. He had deliberately left
everything and everybody behind to find some peace of mind. Perhaps he
had decided to follow Gala Pinion, who had found a job at Joshua Taylor,
a Cambridge department store and who had left London a few months
earlier. One of Syd's many dreams was to settle down and start a family.
Gala and Syd officially announced their engagement in October after they
had found a ring at Antiquarius on King's Road.
To celebrate this event a joint family engagement dinner was organised
but that day Syd was not in a very good shape. While Donald, Alan, Ruth,
Roe and Gala's father where staring at each other in silence he threw
some tomato soup over his fiancé and disappeared for the bathroom when
the roast pork arrived... Julian Palacios:
He cut off his long hair to an inch from his skull and returned
downstairs. As though the sixties had never happened, he severed links
with his past with a pair of scissors. He rejoined the family fold,
taking his place at the table in silence. Gala said, ‘No one batted an
eyelid. They carried on with the meal as if nothing had happened, didn’t
say a word. I thought, “Are they mad or is it me?’”
It is not sure when this dinner took place, but it might have been after
the Barrett promo interview(s), so December 1970 seems like a valid
candidate. The dinner fiasco was an omen for things to come, Syd would
spy on Gala at her work and accused her to have an affair with a sales
assistant and with his former drummer, Jerry Shirley. One day Barrett
wrote a formal letter to break off the engagement and she returned the
ring, but he would still harass her for weeks to come. During a final
row, incidentally at Jerry Shirley's place, Barrett finally understood
that he had lost. Even Syd must have grasped at one point that showing
up at night and scaring the shit out of her was not the proper way to
win her back.
A few months later, that same Barrie Wetzell photographed Barrett to
accompany the famous Michael Watts article that appeared in Melody Maker
on the 27th of March 1971 (see third picture above).
Barrett has very short hair and looks rather agile:
Syd Barrett came up to London last week and talked in the office of his
music publisher, his first press interview for about a year. His hair is
cut very short now, almost like a skinhead. Symbolic? Of what, then? He
is very aware of what is going on around him, but his conversation is
often obscure; it doesn't always progress in linear fashion. Taken from: Syd
Barrett interview, Melody Maker, Mar 27 1971, Michael Watts.
The above quote points out that the 'skinhead' pictures date from mid
March 1971, although on Wetzell's website
they are mislabelled as 1970. Steve Turner of Beat Instrumental met Syd
on the 19th of April 1971:
He now has his hair cropped to Love Me Do length but compromises with a
purple satin jacket and stack heeled boots. During the interview he
relights each cigarette from the remnants of the previous one and pivots
his eyeballs at an incredible speed as he speaks. "I've just left a
train and had to pay an awful taxi ride" he says slowly tipping his ash
into an empty coffee cup. "I've come to look for a guitar. I've got a
neck in the other room. Quite an exciting morning for me." Something
about him makes you think that this may well be right. Taken from: Syd
Psychedelic Veteran (free subscription to read).
And in May Barrett had a visit from Mick Rock and his wife Sheila (and
not Iggy Rose as has been hinted here and there). Syds' hair already has
grown a bit (see fourth picture above).
In early 1972, with the Stars gigs, he will have very long hair and a
beard (see fifth picture).
We will never be sure about what Barrett's motivation was for his
actions, but we can be sure about one thing, his hair grew at a
Sources (other than the above internet links): Chapman, Rob: A
Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 281. Palacios,
Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London,
2010, p. 383, 389. Willis, Tim, Madcap, Short Books, London,
2002, p. 121-123.
Pictures: 1: 1970 06: Syd at Olympia, photographer unknown, Rex
Features. 2: 1970 11: 'Barrett' 'stoned tramp' promo shot by Barrie
Wentzell. 3: 1971 03: 'Barrett' 'skinhead' promo shot by Barrie
Wentzell. 4: 1971 05: Syd in his mother's garden, Cambridge, by Mick
Rock. 5: 1972 02: Syd performing with Stars by Jenny Spires.
Many thanks to: Psych, Stanislav & the gang at Late Night & Birdie Hop. ♥
Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
We have just all had the BEST time ever in Cambridge - with the best
people in the world - we have laughed and hugged and kissed and talked
and none of us wanted to come home! (Libby Gausden Chisman)
Undoubtedly the best, friendliest, most lively and most accurate Syd
Barrett group on Facebook is Birdie
It is the equivalent of Eternal Isolation's Late
Night forum that, let's not be fussy about that, has suffered a
lot from Facebook's ever-groping octopus tentacles. A person (m/f) with
a critical mind could add that Facebook is shallow and volatile, that
any post older than three days tends to disappear in a bottomless pit
never to be found again and that, to the Reverend's mind, there is
continuous repetition and proportionally it can get a bit boring.
But Birdie Hop has an audience. And people who have an audience ought to
be heard. There is no point in constantly hammering that Betamax
is the better recording system when VHS
has conquered the world. Now there's a comparison that seems to be
fruitless today and quite opaque for the young people among us.
Birdie Hop is a spirited place and like Late Night at its peak period it
is the village pub. People come and go, friendships are made (and
sometimes lost) and scarcely hidden love affairs happen, with snogging
outside in the garden under the cherry tree.
But all this happens in the relatively safe environment of cyberspace.
In September of last year the idea was uttered, among Birdie Hop
members, to meet and greet in Cambridge.
(The Holy Igquisiton has vainly tried to find that post back on
Facebook, while on a forum it would take about a minute, perhaps
somebody should call the NSA.)
We all have seen this happen before really, people saying 'let's meet',
but when push comes to a shove, nothing happens. But Birdie Hop has an
excellent set of administrators, not only they are friendly, beautiful
and intelligent but they can be bloody effective as well.
Alexander the Great
Alexander made it his mission to make this happen, immediately a
date was pinpointed (14 to 16 June 2013) and Mick Brown was
kindly asked to act as Birdie's local liaison officer. The bandwagon
started rolling and an I
Spy Syd in Cambridge tour (with a bus) was organised through the
capable hands of Warren
'Bear' Dosanjh. In March of this year Alexander travelled to
Cambridge to tie the loose ends (and test the quality of the local beer)
and from then on it was a restless wait for the day to come.
Here we go. (Underneath text largely taken from Alexander & Warren's
Friday 14 June 2013
An evening at the Cambridge
Blue on Gwydir Street: a totally real ale pub with the best
selection of (Belgian!) ales in Cambridge plus pub grub and a large beer
Saturday 15 June 2013
09.30 Meet at Le
Gros Franck for breakfast and to buy a take-away lunch from a
fantastic choice of international dishes, 57 Hills Road.
10.00 Botanical Gardens, where the actual tour started. Unfortunately
they had to chase a bum away who had been sleeping on Syd's bench.
10.30 Pick-up by coach at the main entrance of the Botanical Gardens in
183 Hills Road, Syd's house.
The Cambridgeshire High School for Boys (now the Hills Road Sixth Form
College), where Syd, Roger Waters, Bob 'Rado' Klose and Storm Thorgerson
Morley Primary Junior School where Mary Waters taught her son and Syd.
The Friends Meeting House on Hartington Grove, where Geoff Mott & The
Mottoes played their one and only gig.
6 St. Margaret's Square, where Syd last lived after moving back to
Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits where some Birdie Hop members did a bizarre
reenactment of the Syd's First Trip movie.
Grantchester Meadows: lunch stop with a pint (BYO) from the Blue Ball
Walk on the meadows...
And a river of green is sliding unseen beneath the trees Laughing as
it passes through the endless summer Making for the sea.
...and back on the bus at David and Peter Gilmour's house, 109
City walk (Corn Exchange, Union Cellar, King´s College, Market Square
Informal meet and goodbye greet at the Earl
of Derby, 129 Hills Road for a full English breakfast from 8.30 in
the morning or lunch from 12.00 for those who couldn't get out of bed.
Unfortunately nobody seemed fit enough to take any pictures or wanted
their pictures to be taken!
Be a part of the legend!
Why don't you join Birdie
Hop, not only you'll be able to see all the pictures of this
amazing journey, but you'll meet a bunch of friendly, sexy people!
The list of attendees of the 2013 meeting not only had the best Birdies
around but also reads like a Cambridge Mafia wet dream: Libby Gausden
Chisman, Neil Chisman, Jenny Spires, Viv Brans, Eva Wijkniet, Sven
Wijkniet, Dave "Dean" Parker, Mrs. Parker, Vic Singh, Brian Wernham,
Mick Brown, Peter Gilmour, Mary Cosco, Antonio (Tio Junior), Mario von
Barrett (González), Fernando Lanzilotto, Giulio Bonfissuto, Hazel
(Libby´s school-friend), George Marshall (school-friend of Syd and Roger
Waters who happened to be drinking in the Blue Ball when the gang
arrived), Gary Hill, Stephen Pyle (only Friday afternoon, afterwards he
had to run a street fest), Warren Dosanjh (tour guide), Alexander P.
Wijkniet: Warren was the best tourguide and took us to the best pubs
in Cambridge. Great guy to talk to and we have to thank him massively
for the effort he made for us.
Brian Wernham: What a great day in Cambridge doing lots of Syd stuff,
meeting some of Syd's old friends, Peter Gilmour and meeting some
wonderful Syd fans as well!
Dosanjh: I have guided nearly all Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett tours
in Cambridge since 2006. But this was the best and most extraordinary
Libby Gausden Chisman: too exhausted to tell you atm - I have lost my
voice due to over talking and over laughing and over kissing and hugging
- it was just the best time evah!
A 'many thanks' line to end this article would merely repeat the people
who are all cited above, but let's have an exception and thank the most
extraordinary person who wrote the most peculiar kind of tunes.
Many thanks to Roger Keith 'Syd' Barrett, for making this all happen
and for creating friends for a lifetime.
See you in 2015...
Update 03 01 2014: Mick Brown made a video of the event that we
forgot all about, so - with over a half year's delay - here it is. Update
16 06 2014: The copyright gestapo censored Mick Brown's original movie,
so a second version was uploaded with an excellent soundtrack by Rich
Hall (taken from his Birdie
Hop and the Sydiots record).
In a previous article, The
Last Minute Put Together Reel Story, you could read how the reel
came into place, how a first copy was found back in 1985 and immediately
seized, in about the most moronic way ever, by Pink Floyd Ltd (or EMI),
who put it into one of their secret locker rooms.
The second (and last) copy was found back 20 years later and when it was
put on sale, EMI nor Pink Floyd reacted, which could have been their
ultimate chance to bury this release forever and ever... They were so
full of themselves they thought they could delay this release even with
another copy floating around.
Easy Action purchased it and after an immense struggle, behind the
scenes, to get the copyrights (partially?) settled it was finally
released, in June 2014. Of course this isn't an audiophile release, it
is nothing more than an audience recording (but one of the slightly
better ones) and the band that plays is rough and sloppy at times, but
they seem to enjoy the gig. The Number Nine jam is, for Barrett fanoraks,
as essential as the Rhamadan
download, that – if our information is correct – has disappeared from
the official sydbarrett.com
servers, but can still be downloaded on iTunes.
The Syd Barrett website
is run by One
Fifteen that, like a good dog chained to Pink Floyd Ltd, has to lick
its master's orifices for a living. Is that why you won't find a trace
of LMPTBB on the official Syd Barrett news overview? And now that we are
on to it, stop that irritating jukebox, will you.
But perhaps we, members of the Sydiot league, are just a bit
over-sensitive and too unrealistic to acknowledge that Syd Barrett was
just a very small sardine in a fishbowl of sharks? Isn't the Reverend
getting too geriatric for this kind of goody good bullshit? Anyway, here
is our second article in our Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band series,
because nobody seems to care if we don't.
Update 2016: in January 2016 the official Syd Barrett website
changed hands. It is now maintained by the Barrett family. After a good
start with some out of the ordinary articles about Octopus
Dylan Blues, it has - unfortunately - retreated into internet limbo.
After Barrett's second solo album failed to impress the charts Syd
retreated to Cambridge where it became clear that not all was well (see
also: Hairy Mess).
Trying to find his way back in music, at his own pace, he met Jenny
Spires, who had returned to Cambridge as well and was now married to
bass player Jack Monck whom Syd jammed with at least once. On the
26th of January 1972 Jenny took Syd to an Eddie
‘Guitar’ Burns gig that had Jack Monck and John
'Twink' Alder as backing musicians. Of course Twink was not unknown
to Syd, they once had managed to gatecrash the launch party of King
Crimson's first album, high on a dangerous cocktail of Champagne
Peregrin Took) and mandrax (accidentally misplaced in Iggy Rose's
handbag who would otherwise never carry such a thing with her).
Somehow Jenny and Jack persuaded Syd to bring his guitar and when the
Burns gig ended Syd joined the backing band for an impromptu jam. In Terrapin
3 from February 1973 this gig was reviewed by Mervyn Hughes:
Eddie (Burns) does a solo spot, then announces his “Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band” which consisted of Twink on Drums and Jack Monck
on Bass. This band was given a set on their own and Syd was roped in to
play too. (…) Although he stood at the back (just jamming as he
obviously didn't know the numbers) play he did.
Our previous article
in the LMPTBB series has a testimony of Jim Gillespie who noted that the
jam with Syd Barrett took place as a supporting act, before the Eddie
'Guitar' Burns gig. He claims the LMPTBB played two short sets, one
before (with Syd) and one after (with Bruce Paine). This is just
another example of how memories can differ between persons, especially
after a four decades interval.
In the extremely well written and definitive Stars (and LMPTBB) article: Twilight
of an Idol, Mark Sturdy quotes another witness, Steve Brink:
There was a real natural musical empathy between the three of them. In
any improvisational band, the musicians have to be interested in what
each other are doing, and Syd was genuinely interested. It was just a
free-form jam for about half an hour – more improvisatory than 12-bar
blues, and I’m sure it changed key on any number of occasions. But
there’s always that moment, that dynamic thing when three musicians make
something that works.
Steve Brink was the man who organised the Six Hour Technicolour Dream
festival the next day and perhaps he was secretly hoping for Barrett to
show up again. We can't be sure of what Syd Barrett thought of it all,
but Jenny Spires, Jack Monck and Twink convinced him to rehearse the
next afternoon. The band tried to have Syd sing at least one of his own
songs, but that plan was abandoned as Syd was still too fragile. Fred
Frith, from Henry
Cow fame, was quite disillusioned and would still be after the gig:
Syd played “Smokestack
Lightning” or variations thereof in every song, and didn’t really
sing at all.
Well let's find out if he spoke the truth, shall we?
Why don't you listen to the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band album
on Spotify while reading this interview? (A Spotify membership is
probably needed, but this is free. There is no need to download and
install the Spotify player, the music will (hopefully) play in your
It is clear that this is not a soundboard, but an on stage recording and
already after 41 seconds there seems to be a microphone falling out.
Actually this is good news because it accentuates Fred Frith's guitar
playing that surely is inventive and most of the time right to the
point. Don't worry, sound quality will get better after a while, or
perhaps it is just our ears getting used to the recording. The first
number undoubtedly is just a warming up for better things to come.
The band introduces itself after the first track. Tape completists like
to have the full recording of a concert, including guitar tunings and
chatter in between numbers, and these seem to be left in. Of course
every commercial release might be edited and snipped here and there, but
if it is done it is pretty well done. However there are some places
where we think some cuts have been made.
L.A. To London Boogie
Singer Bruce Paine announces the second number as one he wrote himself.
Bruce Michael Paine, who sadly passed away in 2009, started as a folk
singer in Greenwich Village (NYC) in the 60's. Like Dylan, his music
became “electrified" by the middle of the decade, and he signed with
Atlantic Records. He joined the Apple
Pie Motherhood Band after their eponymous first album (1968) and
sang on their second and last (Apple Pie, 1969). Both records can be
found on the web and don't really impress, call it contemporary
psychedelic oddities of the average kind.
After Apple Pie (without the crust, as Nick Mason would say) Bruce Paine
stars in the San Francisco production of the musical Hair,
then he moves to London where he meets drummer Twink and bass player
John 'Honk' Lodge, from Junior's
Eyes and later Quiver.
They form a power blues trio, the 'Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band'
(luckily they didn't pick Honk, Twink & Paine for a band's name). After
some demo sessions at Polydor the band is denied a recording contract
and a disillusioned Honk leaves the band. With Jack Monk as replacement
the band mysteriously ends up in Cambridge, but after about ten gigs the
claim for fame is over.
In May 1972 Bruce Paine briefly joins Steamhammer
for their European and UK tour, but then he calls his European adventure
quits and returns to the States to star in another musical, this time Jesus
Later on he will do session and acting work, with (small) roles in
Married with Children and Quantum Leap. According to his self-penned bio
he appeared in numerous films and television series and kept on gigging
with his own band.
L.A. to London Boogie is a straightforward seventies rock song and the
good thing is that about one minute into the tune Paine's micro switches
back on. Remarkable is that Fred Frith keeps throwing arpeggios around
as if they come thirteen in a dozen. All in all the band plays pretty
tight, but the song itself is nothing more than a good average and
leaves no lasting impression.
The third song is called Ice. It is a cover from the first Apple Pie
Motherhood Band album, the one Bruce Paine didn't sing on, and written
by Apple Pie member Ted Demos and session singer Marilyn Lundquist. On
the album Ice is a trippy psychedelic blues that seems to go nowhere in
the end but how does the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band deals with
One thing you can say that it is longer, almost the triple longer than
the original. Frith adds guitar lines that don't always seem to be
coherent in the beginning but that get better later on. At the three
minutes mark Twink and Frith start an experimental cacophony and this
makes us wonder if this is what Spaceward Studios archivist Mark
'FraKcman' Graham described as dreadful, stoned, out-of-key noodlings
Last Minute Put Together Reel Story). It sure is a weird fusion
between blues, hard rock and the avant-garde prog sound of Henry Cow,
the band Frith started in 1968. The prog-rock stoners in the public
must have loved it. Of course this is a cheap reflection afterwards
but in this track Paine really shows he is the right person to star in
those hideous Andrew
Lloyd Webber rock operas, that man has a throat and he knows how
to use it.
A heckler in the audience shouts for some some rock'n roll and we get
the classic Nadine. Also known as "Nadine (Is It You?)" it is a song
written by Chuck
Berry who released it as a single in February 1964. A
straightforward and simple rendition this is, nothing less, nothing
more, these guys know their business.
We haven't said a lot about Twink and Jack Monck yet, but the band
certainly is inspired and well-trained. In the liner notes Twink
reveals that they recorded several demos for Polydor, including L.A.
To London Boogie and one that isn't on this live set, called Smoke.
The band did about 10 gigs in total and as this could well have been
their last gig they were a well oiled machine by now and it shows.
From now on the gig can only get better and better.
Drinkin' That Wine
Time to announce a special guest:
We'd like to bring Syd Barrett up to the bandstand. Will you come on
and (???) how about a hand for Syd Barrett?
We hear some polite applause and a guitar that is plugged in. Bruce
Paine tells the public that the last group he toured with in the
States was Gideon
Daniels' gospel band and that he picked the next song from their
set. There isn't much about him on the net, but one comment on a YouTube
video tells this:
I saw Gideon & Power numerous times, and to this day (…) they were the
best live act I've ever seen -- and that includes Jimi Hendrix. I
remember when Mickey [Thomas] joined. Prior to that, there was Bobby
Castro, Bruce Payne [sic], and Charlie Hickox on piano and vocal.
According to Bruce on the Six Hour Technicolour Dream record the song
is about a funky dude who gets drunk by stealing the mass wine but in
fact this is a traditional communion song that has been described in
several anthologies and studies, like The
Negro And His Songs from 1925 (page 136) and Slave
Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands from 1942 (page 249-251):
The swinging rhythm of the communion song, “Drinkin' of the Wine”,
made it a favorite with the chain-gang for cutting weeds along the
American minstrel Bascom
Lamar Lunsford learned the song around 1900 in Wilkes County,
North Carolina and you can hear him singing it at the beginning of
The history of the Drinkin' That Wine traditional is fascinating (the
Reverend lost nearly three hours reading about it) but it would bring
us too far. What matters for us, Syd fans, is that Syd Barrett plays
on it and that it is a mighty earworm and the catchiest song on the
album. Once you've got in into your head it is difficult to get it out
The track turns into a power blues that pushes Syd's guitar to the
background at points, but his playing can be well distinguished if you
take attention. His playing is in a different style from Frith's,
muddier, sloppier perhaps... He does not spit out the notes at 120
beats per minute but this is about having a good time and not about a
finger speed race.
This is good, this is really good.
As if a gospel wasn't weird enough, in a Floydian context, the gig
turns even weirder. Number Nine is a bluesy jam that starts pretty
traditional and then develops further into space. This could well be
the highlight of the album for vintage Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett
freaks. It catapults this reviewer back to the Abdab days when the
proto-Floyd struggled with psychedelic versions of Louie Louie and
other R&B standards. This may well sound like early Pink Floyd may
have sounded in their experimental days. In the Barrett biographies to
come this track will be described as being as essential as the
Whitehead Interstellar Overdrive and the recently (and reluctantly)
released Rhamadan. We took the liberty of grabbing some comments on Yeeshkul:
Demamo: “The guitar playing and sound is very "Lanky" and "Gigo Aunt"
Orgone Accumulator: “For all his psychedelic leanings, Syd tapped into
that earlier Bo Diddley and Buddy Holly groove, with an emphasis on
Beechwoods: “I must admit that musically I like it and there is an
interesting progression between Interstellar and his '74 guitar pieces
('Chugga Chugga Chug Chug' etc) that is worth hearing.”
Like Rhamadan this isn't easy listening, but just like Rhamadan it
isn't the disaster everyone feared for either. Listen to it,
concentrate, feel the groove. It will grow on you.
Just before the eight minutes mark a micro falls out again for a
couple of seconds, resulting in - weird enough – a better sound
quality because the sound isn't distorted any more.
Gotta Be A Reason
At ten minutes the track segues into Gotta Be A Reason, probably the
second LMPTBB original on this record. This track is only mentioned as
a separate number for copyright (read: financial) reasons because
after the strophe and refrain it further develops into Number Nine
territory. As a matter of fact, early track listings just mentioned it
as Number Nine (Gotta Be A Reason) and not as two separate numbers.
The jam ends somewhat sloppy with Twink, who has been in excellent
shape throughout the record, in an obvious death struggle on drums.
Perhaps it is just a clumsy way to have Syd unplug his guitar and
leave the stage.
What a weird trip it has been.
The eighth track is named Let's Roll on the CD, and this can be open
to some controversy.
Actually this fun piece is a close cover of Elvin
Bishop's Party Till the Cows Come Home that is equally
irresistible (watch this 2013
version and try not to tap your feet), co-written with S. Colby
Miller and recorded on the Elvin Bishop Group's second album Feel
While the lyrics of the verses are different in both versions:
Everybody out for a have a good time I say wiggle baby and I'll be
mine You gotta shake your legs and wiggle with your hip
Kick out the windows bust down the doors We`re drinkin` half
gallons and shoutin` for more Take off your shoes and let yourself
The refrain, melody and chord progression are almost identical:
We're gonna boogie till the rooster crows We're gonna party till
the cows come home Let's roll. Let's roll. (Let it roll in
the Elvin Bishop original).
Bruce Paine toured with Gideon Daniel's gospel band in the USA, before
he went to the UK, and that musician worked, on different occasions,
with Elvin Bishop, so perhaps a link can be found there. Perhaps both
tracks are based on a communal forefather or traditional, who knows?
When the Reverend remarked on Birdie
Hop that he found it weird that none of the Boogie Band song
credits mentions copyright owners, nor lyricists and composers,
although the two owners had nine years to sort this out, the answer -
from a music insider - was laconic as ever:
It is gray area and not as uncommon as you think, especially in the
world of music. (…) The usual reason is that it's a sorted affair,
meaning multi copywriters on the same tune. The composers also have to
agree with how it is going to be submitted to ASCAP or BMI. So rather
than hold it up, the material gets released.
In other words, by not sorting out the copyrights beforehand, the hot
potato is pushed forward until the record has been released. If the
copyright holders eventually find out they can ask for a slice of the
pie (or in this case: potato) and if they don't: tough luck. And just
yesterday morning the Church was informed that the reason why this
release still isn't widely available in the shops is there still is 'a
small issue with agreements...'
Let's Roll aka Party Till the Cows Come Home gets a great round of
applause, but alas it is time to say goodbye with a last tune,
originally from B.B King.
Sweet Little Angel
Shivers down the spine, although the song is given a somewhat shady
treatment, but that adds to its integrity.
Not only a great band was lost with the Last Minute Out Together
Boogie Band, but lead singer Bruce Paine surely deserved a better
musical career than he actually had. If you don't want to buy this
record for Barrett's involvement, do it to remember Bruce Paine. We
certainly hope he is drinkin' that wine with Syd, up there in nirvana.
Guitars (3 different ones)
The Reverend is so tone-deaf that if you play him a trumpet and tell
him it is a guitar, he will believe you. So all we hear, thanks to
god's unequal distribution of the aural senses, is a mud-pool of
guitar noise. Luckily some people can distinct instruments, like Syd
Wonder does on Late
There are three guitarists on this set... Two of them play on tracks
without Syd. Barrett's announced when he joins the group in mid-show,
while Frith isn't. I think Frith plays the entire show, with Bruce
Paine on guitar as well.
This could be correct as Bruce Paine joined LMPTBB the day before, on
the Eddie Burns gig, with his guitar to have a jam.
About the tracks with Syd he adds:
"Drinkin' That Wine" - vocals were recorded very loud; I hear three
guitars. Instrumental sections are from 1:50-3:03 (Syd heavily
distorted, playing rhythm, searching, finding a groove - when he
starts to solo, Paine starts to sing again), and 3:41-4:49 (Syd plays
some solid leads).
"Number Nine" - highlight of the set, it begins with a repeated riff
from Barrett. The band doesn't react, so he stops and they all start
again. Some worthy improvisations emerge, as it continues. Frith's
guitar work is more trebly and rather busy, Barrett's comparatively
relaxed and textural. At times I hear three guitars. I really like
what Syd plays in the last couple of minutes.
"Gotta Be A Reason" - it segues out of Number Nine, in a continuous
performance. Syd solos for about 30 seconds near the beginning. Paine
sings a bit, ceases at 2:05. Three guitars again... Frith becomes very
busy... Barrett responds with strong counter-melodies, seems to vanish
sometime after the 5-minute mark.
Sound quality: slightly above bootleg quality, with tape damage
here and there and mikes that fall out (and are plugged in again).
Towards the middle of the gig the sound gets rather distorted due to
the higher volume levels and there is a lot of resonance. At Yeeshkul,
where sound fanatics reside, questions have already been raised that
the cleaning and denoising was clumsily done, but this can't be
verified without a raw tape leaking out.
Performance: sloppy and muddy at times, but great fun that
still can be felt 4 decades later. The band is a typical seventies
power blues construction, think : Led Zep, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple.
Syd is not in super form, but he isn't that bad either.
Packaging: it looks great, with a 12 page booklet and an
exclusive Twink interview, but lacking song copyright information.
Accuracy: grumpy as we are, we need to get the following of our
chest. The back cover correctly places three asterisks next to the
three tracks that feature Syd Barrett. However, both Fred Frith (who
is on all tracks) and Syd Barrett (who is only on three) get an
asterisk next to their name. Blimey, Easy Action record cover people,
you have had 5 fucking years to get that cover right. As mentioned
above, there are 3 guitar players present, something that is
overlooked as well on the sleeve.
Trivia: the poster, used for the front cover, was meticulously
scanned in by Warren
Dosanjh of I
Spy in Cambridge fame and a honorary member of the Birdie Hop
Facebook group. Eternal thanks to Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, not
only for a magnificent performance but also for rolling, pushing and
squeezing the ball.
Many thanks to: Mohammed Abdullah John 'Twink' Alder, Rick Barnes,
Beechwoods, Birdie Hop, Mick Brown, Cyberspace, Demamo, Chris Farmer,
Late Night, Orgone Accumulator, Syd Wonder, Yeeshkul. ♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 171-173. Chapman,
Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p.
283-285. Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe,
Plexus, London, 2010, p. 392-400. Six Hour Technicolour Dream
poster scanned in by Mick Brown.
The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band Six Hour Technicolour Dream
gig, on January the 27th 1972, was not, as you probably know, Syd's last
gig, nor was it his last recording. Actually, Syd never joined LMPTBB
but gigged with them twice as a surprise guest. How the tape survived
into the twenty-first century and was finally published by Easy
Action records is a story you can read here: The
Last Minute Put Together Reel Story.
Apparently the vibes were so good that two out of three LMPTBB members
started dreaming of a post-Floyd Barrett band, not very much to the
amusement of singer Bruce Paine if we may believe Joly MacFie
(Twink's business partner in the Cambridge music club Juniper Blossom
and Stars roadie annex sound-man):
I was sharing a house with Twink and Paine. Paine was a somewhat vain
and career oriented American who went on to join Steamhammer. He wasn't
compatible with Syd. When Twink showed more interest in Syd, Bruce got
pissed off and moved out and that was the end of the band. (Taken from
So what's with 1972 Stars reel? @ SBRS (forum no longer active.))
was formed shortly later and would gig about five times, dates and
venues can be found at the Pink
1972 01 26
King's College Cellars
1972 01 27
The Corn Exchange
1972 02 05
The Dandelion Coffee Bar
1972 02 12
Petty Cury, Market Square
1972 02 12
The Dandelion Coffee Bar
1972 02 24
The Corn Exchange
1972 02 26
The Corn Exchange
Pink Floyd biographer Mark
Blake tried to find out more about the mythical Stars tapes, that
have been rumoured to exist, and posted his finding on the Late
Night and Syd Barrett Research Society forums (here edited a bit):
Rehearsal tapes - Twink has mentioned on more than one occasion that Syd
recorded the early practices. It goes without saying that these tapes
must be long lost. Dandelion Cafe - lots of people (Twink, Jack and
possibly Joly [MacFie]) remember Victor Kraft sitting there with his
Nagra tape machine at the Dandelion, and possibly the Corn Exchange as
well. Market Square - recorded, supposedly, by a friend of someone
who mentioned it on the Laughing Madcaps list. The tape, supposedly, is
at the taper's parents' house in Oxford. [Note from FA: this is probably
the tape mentioned at Fortean Zoology. All efforts to make the blogger
move his lazy ass have been effortless: Beatles:
Off topic but not really.] Final Corn Exchange show (with Nektar)
- according to Joly MacFie, his co-roadie Nigel Smith had a friend
called Chris who taped this show.
Although some YouTube videos claim to contain Stars tapes these are
believed to be either fakes
or mislabelled Barrett solo concerts, so it is still waiting for the
real deal, if they not have been buried in the vaults of Pink Floyd Ltd.
But the good news is that the Six Hour Technicolour Dream tape has been
released by Easy Action, that Syd Barrett stars (sorry, we couldn't
resist the joke) on three of its tracks and although the sound quality
is only slightly more than average, the fun is dripping out of our
stereo boxes. Mythical drummer Twink, who is currently recording a
follow-up of his legendary Think Pink album (1968), lend us some of his
time to tell us the following...
An innerview with Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, better known as Twink
BH: Of course we all know this record is interesting for Syd
Barrett's performance, but the real discovery on the Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band is that amazing singer, Bruce Paine. How did you
and John Lodge (Honk) meet up with him and how did the band come
MAJA: I first met Bruce Paine in the autumn of 1971 at Steve
Brink's boutique "What's In A Name" in Union Rd just before he rented a
room in Steve's cottage which was situated next to the shop. We talked
very briefly about putting a band together because at that time I was
just helping Hawkwind out from time to time. Once Bruce had moved
into the cottage the band came together quite quickly. I recruited John
"Honk" Lodge as our bass player who was living in London but that didn't
seem to get in the way of the band project. Other members included Dane
Stevens (The Fairies & The Cops And Robbers) on vocals & Adam Wildi on
congas but both only lasted one show. We called the band The Last Minute
Put Together Boogie Band.
BH: Who came up with the idea of naming it the Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band? Is there any explanation for the band's name?
MAJA: Bruce came up with the name and I think it was simply that
the band came together quite quickly once show offers began to come in.
BH: After a record deal with Polydor had failed, Honk left the
band and was replaced by Jack Monck.
MAJA: Yes, "Honk" left immediately the Polydor deal fell through.
I think he was disheartened because Polydor's A&R department made it
clear that after the demos we did for them, we were in. The whole thing
fell down at the contract stage because the contracts manager there was
having a bad day. He refused to raise the contracts and kept playing Led
Zeppelin at full volume which drove us out of his office. He apologised
to me about a month later just after he had been fired from his job. But
the damage was done and there would be no record deal for The Last
Minute Put Together Boogie Band.
BH: Did you meet Syd in Cambridge before the Eddie Guitar Burns
gig? Did you know that Syd was going to jam with LMPTBB on the 26th of
January 1972 or were you as surprised as the audience?
MAJA: I was surprised and happy to see Syd arrive at the Eddie
"Guitar" Burns gig with Jenny and carrying his guitar case. He arrived
while we were sound checking, came to the back of the stage area, took
his guitar out of its case and started to tune up. We had been friends
since 1967 but we had lost touch in '68. It was wonderful to see him
again. The following day Syd came to The Six Hour Technicolour Dream
where The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band was supporting Hawkwind &
The Pink Fairies. Again I was surprised to see him there with his guitar
case. Syd was keen to play so we invited him to join us on stage along
with Fred Frith from the band Henry Cow who was guesting with us
BH: It must not be easy trying to remember a gig from 40 years
ago, but there are two different testimonies about the Kings Cellar's
concert. One witness says that LMPTBB played twice on that concert.
According to him, the opening support gig had Syd, Monck and you. After
the Eddie Guitar Burns gig, LMPTBB returned, this time with Bruce Paine.
According to Terrapin magazine Syd jammed with LMPTBB after the Eddie
Guitar Burns show. Not that it really matters, this only shows how
anoraky we are.
MAJA: The Terrapin report is correct however it is possible the
Syd, Jack & I tuned up together but that was not part of the show.
BH: Now to the Six Hour Technicolour Dream concert of the
following day. How did Fred Frith come on board? Did he know Syd Barrett
was going to be there as well? What was his reaction? What was your
opinion after the gig had ended?
MAJA: We had a lot of contact with Fred Frith & Henry Cow who
frequently played at The 10p Boogie Club which was run by Joly MacFie &
myself at Fisher Hall in Cambridge having taken over the venue from
Jenny Spires & Jack Monck and renamed it Juniper Blossom.
The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band often played there and so did
Henry Cow. Fred Frith guested with The Last Minute Boogie Band there
too. Fred guesting with us at The Six Hour Technicolour was more formal
and when it was decided that Syd would guest too he was welcomed by all
concerned with open arms. Our performance was well received and with
Syd's enthusiastic participation at both the Eddie "Guitar" Burn gig &
The Six Hour Technicolour Dream our creative wheels began to turn
resulting in the formation of STARS with Syd Barrett, Jack Monck &
myself a few days later.
BH: Was this the LMPTBB's last gig? Did anyone say, this is it,
last gig, finished?
MAJA: The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band continued after
Jack & I left for STARS with replacement musicians.
BH: Did you, at one point or another, think of asking Syd to join
MAJA: It was Jack & Jenny that thought about forming a band with
BH: If our information is correct you have been pulling some
strings to make this release possible.
MAJA: The only things that needed sorting out were group members
and song details as well as contract details to include both Bruce Paine
& Roger Barrett's Estates. Then there was restoring, mastering and the
cover to achieve as well. Everyone was very helpful.
BH: As you probably know, Pink Floyd (or EMI) have another copy
of the LMPTBB tape, however at one point there were rumours this tape
actually contains a Stars concert rather. know what they really have?
MAJA: I have no idea what EMI have. It's possible they have a
BH: Any chance that the LMPTBB Polydor tapes will ever see the
light of day? Does anyone know where these demos are?
MAJA: It is possible The Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
demos will be released as they are probably sitting in Polydor's
archives. I think Honk may well have a copy tape.
BH: In retrospect, what was the band you were happiest with? If
you could go back to these days what would you have changed to make it
MAJA: Playing with The Pretty Things made me happy and I wouldn't
want to change a thing.
BH: Many thanks, Mohammed, and good luck with Think Pink 2!
End of part four of our LMPTBB
series. If you don't stop us, there will probably be a part five. You
have been warned.
Many thanks to Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, Rich Hall, Peter Jansens.
Inspired by questions from: Mike Baess, Rick Barnes, Andre Borgdorff,
Anita Buckett, Rich Hall, Jane Harris, Alexander P.H., Peter Felix
Jansens, Raymond John Nebbitt, Lisa Newman, Göran Nystrom, Anni Paisley,
Cheesecake Joe Perry, Paul Piper, Michael Ramshaw, James Vandervest.
While posting Facebook Barrett fan-art has become a booming niche-market
with no immediate end in sight and self-proclaimed visionary Syd
professionals have to devise fraudulent telemarketing schemes to cover
for their rising costs it was pointed to the Church, by someone we know
and admire for years, that Syd Barrett is not, like we wrote in a previous
article, neglected. Ebronte:
Syd is not neglected. Syd is sinking into oblivion, precisely
where it seems his family (and friends?) want him to go. This is thanks
to their continued simplistic insistence that he was a brief spark, who
became "ordinary", and a drug addled loser, and thanks to the dreary
It didn't sell well, and probably anyone who did read it was left
depressed and utterly disinterested in ever reading or hearing another
word about Syd. Too bad that gloomy book came out the same time as
Julian's revised and wonderful
book, most likely obscuring it. (Taken from: An
innerview with Carlton Sandercock (Easy Action), Late Night forum.)
Of course our world has changed as well (“I'm Syd Barrett's biggest fan,
I've watched all his YouTube videos.”) and it is apparently easier
nowadays to sell a Barrett mug
than a Barrett record.
Recently the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band's Six
Hour Technicolour Dream record was released that has a Cambridge
Corn Exchange gig from the 27th of January, 1972. The Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band were a power blues trio with singer and lead
guitarist Bruce Paine, bass player Jack Monck and drummer Twink.
Through Jenny Spires, who was married to Monck, Syd Barrett got hold of
the band and on that particular night he arrived with his guitar case
and agreed to jam with them for a couple of numbers. Monck and Twink
were thrilled and started Starsa couple of days later, not to the amusement of Bruce Paine who saw
his band going up in smoke. Unfortunately Stars would only survive for a
month as Barrett was still to frail to cope with the stress of gigging,
especially when things got bad on a concert where Stars was the
head-liner, after the sonic bulldozer that was MC5,
and with buses of fans coming over from London, eager to watch the
return of the flamboyant piper. Mark Sturdy:
In reality, Stars simply wasn’t cut out to be a high-profile project:
while the initial shows had not been without their virtues, the band had
existed for less than a month and, as such, was understandably
under-rehearsed. New material was non-existent beyond a couple of loose
12-bar jams, so in effect Stars was little more than a loose covers
band. (Taken from: Twilight
of an Idol.)
We read somewhere that giving Syd Barrett the top position on a much
advertised gig was like throwing him before the lions and it was,
understandably, the end of Stars, and, less understandable, the end of
his musical career, with the exception of the disastrous 1974 sessions.
While Syd Barrett was an unexpected guest on the Six Hour Technicolour
Dream gig, Fred
Frith was not. He had been invited by the Last Minute Put
Together Boogie Band to join them for the show.
Fred Frith was in Cambridge in 1968 when he met with some fellow
students and started the avant-garde band Henry
Cow. Actually the Cow's first concert was supporting Pink Floyd at
the Architects' Ball at Homerton College, Cambridge on 12 June 1968.
Eternal student Frith would also frequent (and jam at) the Juniper
Blossom club that was first run by Jack Monck and Jenny Spires, and
later by Twink and Jolie MacFie.
Since his Henry Cow day's Frith has played in a myriad of bands and his
musical input can be found on over 400
records. So it is a bit awkward to ask him about that one one
concert he played on over 40 years ago, but we tried anyway.
An innerview with Fred Frith
BH: Are you happy with the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
release and your own input on it? Your guitar is pretty much in front of
the mix most of the time.
FF: I haven’t heard it. I didn’t know about it prior to release
and I don’t have a copy I’m afraid.
BH: At the Six Hour Technicolour Dream, Syd Barrett more or less
was a surprise guest, while your presence had already been agreed on
with Paine, Twink & Monck for that night. At the time, did you find it
significant that Syd Barrett had decided to make a public appearance?
FF: There was a rumour beforehand that Syd might join us. This
was of course exciting for me, given that Syd was one of my heroes.
BH: You have said in an interview:
At the only concert that I did with them, Syd played “Smokestack
Lightning” or variations thereof in every song, and didn’t really sing
at all. To say I was hugely disappointed is maybe the wrong way of
putting it. I was shocked, angry, devastated, that it had come to that.
Now that we finally have the chance to listen to the concert is your
opinion still the same (I need to add that most Barrett anoraks don't
think his playing is that bad at all, but that is why we are sometimes
called Sydiots anyway).
FF: Like I said, I haven’t heard it, but the event I was
referring to wasn’t this concert anyway. After the Corn Exchange gig we
rehearsed together with a view to creating a group for Syd to play his
songs. At the only rehearsal I attended, my memory has him playing
variations of Smokestack Lightning (which, after all, was the prototype
for Candy and the Currant Bun) throughout the session, which was
mercifully not recorded. And please note, I was “shocked, angry and
devastated” BECAUSE of my deep love of Syd’s playing, composing and
legacy, not for any other reason. He was clearly not himself, and that
was really sad.
BH: How was Syd's state of mind during the said Boogie Band
session? Was he into the music, enjoying himself?
FF: He appeared to be mentally completely absent.
BH: What were rehearsals like? Were any numbers written by Syd
FF: As far as I was concerned we were only there in order to try
and play Syd’s songs and give him a vehicle where it might seem possible
to perform again. We did it because of our love and respect for him. I
don’t remember any other material.
BH: Did you ever discuss musical theory with Syd Barrett? If so,
what were his ideas on composition?
FF: Syd was in no state to discuss anything during the very brief
period when our paths crossed. It would have been nice. But his
compositional ideas tend to shine through his compositions, which is the
way it should be.
BH: Did you have contact with Syd outside of the jam environment?
He was not unknown in Cambridge and he did know (and visited) Jenny
Spires, Monck and Twink.
FF: No. We had mutual friends, but we didn’t hang out. I was
young (19) and in awe and would probably have been too shy anyway. I did
talk to Nick Mason about it a few years later when we were working
together. But there wasn’t anything anyone could really do.
BH: Do you know of any other recordings in existence? Rumours go
that Stars rehearsals and gigs have been recorded. You don't have one of
these in your archive, by accident?
FF: I don’t know of anything, no. Certainly not in my possession.
BH: Looking back on the situation, do you find the Boogie Band to
be significant for your career?
FF: It was significant in providing me with some sobering food
for thought. Musically I have no recollection of anything beyond the
fact of having done it. Maybe if I hear the record it’ll stimulate some
BH: Many thanks for the interview and we'll hope that a copy of
that LMPTBB record arrives with you soon...
End of part five of our LMPTBB series. We know that there will be cries
of grief from our many fans, but this is probably the last article in
this series, unless the third Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band
member suddenly decides to answer our calls for another Birdie Hop
The second weekend of June has the second Cambridge biennial Birdie Hop
meeting, with special guest stars: Viv Brans, Vic Singh, Peter Gilmour,
Men On The Border, Jenny Spires, Warren Dosanjh, Libby Gausden, Dave
'Dean' Parker & Iggy Rose (and some more).
Unfortunately the Facebook group for this event has been closed for
prying eyes, but some pictures and videos have already leaked out.
Pictures and videos will be regularly uploaded to the Holy Church of
Iggy the Inuit Tumblr
page, as soon as the Holy Igquisiton gets hold of them.
Many thanks to: Sandra Blickem, Mick Brown, Warren Dosanjh, Vanessa
Flores, Tim Greenhall, Alex Hoffmann, Antonio Jesus (Solo En Las Nubes),
Douglas Milne, Göran Nyström (Men On The Border), Vic Singh, Abigail
Thomson-Smith, Eva Wijkniet... ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
June had the second (and if rumours are correct: last) Birdie Hop
meeting in Cambridge with Syd Barrett fans having an informal drink with
some of the early-sixties Cambridge beatniks we know and love so dearly:
Jenny Spires, Libby Gausden, Mick Brown, Peter Gilmour, Sandra Blickem,
Vic Singh, Warren Dosanjh and others...
Special guest star was none other than Iggy Rose who left, if we may
believe the natives, an everlasting impression. You can read all about
it at: Iggy
Rose in Cambridge.
Men On The Border came especially over from the northern parts of
Europe, leaving their igloo, so to speak, to gig at the Rathmore
Club where they not only jammed with other Syd-aficionados, but also
with Redcaps frontman Dave Parker. (For the history of those sixties
Cambridge bands check the excellent: The
Music Scene of 1960s Cambridge.)
The night before however, on Friday June 12th, Men On The Border played
the legendary Prince
Albert (that name always make us chuckle) music pub in Brighton.
This gig was recorded and is now the third album of Men On The Border,
(2012) that consisted of Barrett covers and Jumpstart
(2013) that mainly had original songs but with a slightly concealed
This live release shows that Men On The Border is a tight band and that
they can play their material without having to revert to digitally
wizardry. In a previous review we already remarked that:
...some of the influences of MOTB lay in the pub-rock from Graham Parker
& The Rumour, Rockpile (with Nick Lowe & Dave Edmunds) and the cruelly
under-appreciated The Motors...
This live album certainly proves that. The versions are pretty close to
the recorded versions and singer Göran Nystrom manages once again to
give us goosebumps on Late Night and their own Warm From You
that is a pretty ingenious song if you ask us (with a sly nod to Jimi
So give them a warm hand of applause and make them feel welcome in this
mad cat world of random precision.
01 Terrapin (Jumpstart) 02 No Good Trying (ShinE!)
03 Scream Thy Last Scream (2015 single) 04 Long Gone (ShinE!)
05 Gigolo Aunt (ShinE!) 06 Late Night (ShinE!)
07 Octopus (ShinE!)
08 Warm From You (Jumpstart) 09 Baby Lemonade (ShinE!)
Digital release only, people don't buy plastic any more, unfortunately.
Pink Floyd, dear sistren and brethren of the Holy Church
of Iggy the Inuit, will never stop to amaze us, for better and for worse.
Riff-raff in the room
Two weeks ago saw the umpteenth incarnation of The Wall concept.
Let's try to count how many times this important work of musical art
more or less exists. We'll only take count of official and 'complete'
versions as individual songs from the Wall can be found on compilations,
live albums and concert movies from the band and its members going solo.
First there was The
Wall album by Pink Floyd (1979), followed by the 1982 movie
with the same name. In 1990 Roger Waters staged his rock opera in
Berlin, with guest performances by other artists, and this was
immortalised with an album
and a concert movie.
The twenty year anniversary of the album was celebrated at the turn of
the millennium by Is
There Anybody Out There, a live album taken from the eighties tour
by the classic Floyd, although Rick Wright technically was no longer a
member of the band.
2011 saw the Why
Pink Floyd? re-release campaign and three epic albums were issued in
an Experience and Immersion series, each with added content. The Wall Immersion
has 7 discs and four of these are the regular album and its live clone.
A third double-CD-set has the so-called Wall demos and WIP-tapes that
had already been largely around for a decade in collector's circles. A
bonus DVD contains some clips and documentaries, but not the concert
movie that is known to exist. For collectors The Wall Immersion was the
most disappointing of the series and the presence of a scarf, some
marbles and a few coasters only helped to augment that feeling.
Am I too old, is it too late?
In 2010 Roger Waters started a three years spanning tour
with a live Wall that promised to be bigger and better. It was certainly
more theatrical and if we may believe the Reverend, who watched the show
as interested as Mr.
Bean on a rollercoaster, boring as fuck. But with 4,129,863 sold
tickets it set a new record for being the highest grossing tour for a
solo musician, surpassing Madonna and Bruce Springsteen.
So it is no wonder that the show would be turned into a movie. It needs
to be said that Roger Waters should be thanked for stepping outside the
concert movie concept, adding a deep personal touch to the product.
Those people who already saw the Blu-ray praise its sound quality that
is conform to what we expect from a Floydian release, despite Waters'
obvious lip-synching on about half of the tracks.
And that is why the CD-version of The Wall live is such a disaster.
There are serious indications that some sound studio jerk took the
superior Blu-ray surround mix and simply downgraded it to stereo without
reworking the parts that make no sense when you only have got the audio
to rely on. Apparently making 459 million $ with The Wall tour didn’t
give Roger Waters enough pocket money to make a proper CD mix for this
Riding the gravy train, or as the Sex Pistols named it: doing a rock 'n'
roll swindle, is something we are already familiar with in Pink Floyd
(and former EMI) circles. The
Anchor wrote in the past about scratched and faulty discs that were
put in those expensive deluxe sets (Fuck
all that, Pink Floyd Ltd. – 2011 12 02) and how the band and its
record company pretended to sell remastered albums while the music on
the CD was just goody good bullshit taken from an old tape (What
the fuck is your problem, Pink Floyd? – 2014 11 08). It makes us a
bit sad for all those fans who have bought the super
deluxe set of The Wall at 500 dollars a piece. The show must go on,
But anyone familiar with the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit knows lengthy
introductions are our trademark and it will not come as a surprise that
this article isn't about The Wall at all.
Buzz all night long
Friday, the 27th of November 2015, sightings were published on the
social media of an unannounced Pink Floyd 7-inch-vinyl-double-set that
had hit records shops in the UK. It was named 1965:
Their First Recordings and claimed to have the following tracks.
Record 1A: Lucy Leave
Record 1B: Double O Bo Remember Me
Record 2A: Walk with me Sydney
Record 2B: Butterfly I’m a King Bee
Composers: 1, 2, 3, 5: Syd Barrett 4: Roger Waters 6: Slim
Personnel: Syd Barrett: Vocals, Guitar. Bob ‘Rado’ Klose: Guitar. Nick
Mason: Drums. Roger Waters: Bass, Vocals. Richard Wright:
Keyboards. Juliette Gale: vocals on Walk with me Sydney. (Some
pictures of the 'first' five man Floyd can be seen here: Pink
It was soon confirmed that the records were official, contrary to the
many bootlegs that already exist of the first and last track of the set,
and that it was a so-called 'copyright extension release'. According to
European law, sound recordings have a seventy years copyright, provided
that they are released within five decades. If the recording fails to be
published within 50 years it automatically becomes public domain, the
'use it or loose it'-clause, and that is something that The Floyd didn't
want to happen, especially not as there seems to be an Early Years
Immersion set on its way, predicted for the end of 2016.
That six tracks were released from the Floyd's first session(s) was
something of a surprise. Up till now, every biography only spoke of four
tracks put on tape. Let's see what Nick Mason had to say about it:
Around Christmas 1964, we went into a studio for the first time. We
wangled this through a friend of Rick’s who worked at the studio in West
Hampstead, and who let us use some down time for free. The session
included one version of an old R&B classic ‘I’m A King Bee’, and three
songs written by Syd: ‘Double O Bo’ (Bo Diddley meets the 007 theme),
‘Butterfly’ and ‘Lucy Leave’.
This was repeated in an August 2013 interview for Record Collector.
In Latin in a frame
However, in a letter to Jenny
Spires, presumably from late January, early February 1965, Syd
Barrett speaks about five tracks:
[We] recorded five numbers more or less straight off; but only the
guitars and drums. We're going to add all the singing and piano etc.
next Wednesday. The tracks sound terrific so far, especially King Bee.
At the bottom of this letter
Barrett also drew the studio setup with Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Robert
'Rado' Klose and himself ("Me. I can't draw me.").
The early sessions also appear in an (unpublished) letter to Libby
Tomorrow I get my new amp- Hooray! - and soon it's Christmas. (…) We're
going to record 'Walk With Me Sydney' and one I've just written '
Remember Me?', but don't think I'm one of those people who say they'll
be rich and famous one day, Lib.
In another letter he writes:
We just had a practice at Highgate which was OK. We're doing three of my
numbers – 'Butterfly', 'Remember Me?' and 'Let's roll another one', and
Roger's 'Walk with me Sydney', so it could be good but Emo says why
don't I give up cos it sounds horrible and he's right and I would, but I
can't get Fred [David Gilmour, note from FA] to join because he's
got his group (p'raps you knew!). So I still have to sing.
Tim Willis concludes in his Madcap biography that:
Sydologists will be astounded to learn that by '64, Barrett had already
written 'Let's Roll Another One', as well as two songs 'Butterfly' and
This is slagged by Rob Chapman in A Very Irregular Head. According to
Chapman the letters date from December 1965, and not 1964, for reasons
that are actually pretty plausible.
Bob Klose told Random Precision author David Parker that he only
remembers doing one recording session with the Floyd late Spring 1965
and that he left the band in the summer of that year.
In other words, dating these tracks is still something of a mess. At the
Steve Hoffman forum the tracks were analysed by Rnranimal and he
concluded that the 6 tracks do not origin from the same source either,
so they could originate from different recording sessions. According to
him; tracks 1, 2 and 6 sound like tape and 3, 4 & 5 like acetate.
Legally all songs need to be from 1965, and not from December 1964, as
Mason claims in his biography, because... that would make these 1964
songs public domain and free to share for all of us. Perhaps the band
started recording in December 1964 but added vocals and keyboards a
couple of weeks later, in 1965. Surely an army of lawyers must have
examined all possibilities to keep the copyrights sound and safe.
Good as gold to you
1965: Their First Recordings is exactly what the title says. Never mind
the cover with its psychedelic theme as it is obviously misleading. In
1965 The Pink Floyd were still a British
Rhythm & Blues outfit and not in the least interested in
psychedelic light shows. Barrett tries hard to impersonate Jagger and
even uses an American accent on the songs. And not all songs are that
original either. We skip Lucy Leave and I'm a King Bee for the following
short review as they have been around for the past few decades.
Double O Bo is a pastiche of Bo Diddley's signature song,
but has a weird chord change that is inimitably Syd Barrett. Baby Driver:
It's a straight forward enough tip of the hat to Bo Diddley musically,
but then he throws in those two chords: F, G# which is something Bo
Diddley NEVER would have done. Syd was a genius. what would otherwise be
throwaway songs from a band in its infancy, make for compelling
listening due to his voice and his unique lyrics.
In Remember Me, the weakest song of the set, Syd strains his
voice so hard that it nearly sounds that someone else is singing (some
people claim it is Bob Klose and not Barrett). As Marigoldilemma remarks:
To me this one sounds like Syd trying to sound like Eric Burdon of the
Walk with me Sydney, from Roger Waters and with Juliette Gale on
vocals, is a spoof of Roll
with me, Henry aka The Wallflower, written in 1955 by Johnny Otis,
Hank Ballard and Etta James. As it is not sure yet when Walk With Me
Sydney was exactly recorded this could – perhaps – even be a track
without Bob Klose. It is also the first time that we have a Roger Waters
lyrical list, a trick that he will repeat for the fifty years to come:
Flat feet, fallen arches, baggy knees and a broken frame, meningitis, peritonitis, DT's
and a washed out brain.
Medical Product Safety Information: Don't listen to this song if
you don't want it continually on repeat in your brain.
Butterfly is the surprise song of the set. This track shows the
potential Barrett had in him and could have been included, in a slightly
more mature version, on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. The lyrics are
pretty dark as well and typical Syd:
I won't squeeze you dead. Pin things through your head. I just
want your love.
Catch you soon
Not only was Parlophone
pretty vague about the recording dates, the record was also released
without any publicity and in very limited quantities, only 1050 copies
for worldwide distribution, including 350 for the UK. Not one of the
serious Pink Floyd fansites knew about the release and they were pretty
late diffusing the news, further proof these websites only publish what
Pink Floyd Ltd allows them to publish.
Pretty remarkable is that the Floydian fan-forums didn't really go into
overdrive about this set either and that the best comments and
information could be found on Steve Hoffman's Music
Corner. Yeeshkul had a pretty interesting thread as well, but this
was removed when people started discussing alternative ways of requiring
these tracks. It just makes one wonder how tight the grip is of the Pink
Floyd Gestapo Legal Council around Yeeshkuls' neck.
When it became clear that this edition was a) genuine and b) rare, prices
sky-rocketed. Hundreds of dollars were offered for a set and there have
been cases of record shop owners raising the prices for the copies they
still had in their racks. It needs to be said that a thousand copies for
a new Pink Floyd product is ridiculously low, even if it only interests
a small part of the Floydian fanbase.
Luckily for all those who didn't get a copy this is the age of the
internet and needle-drops can be found in harbours in silent waters
around us. Mind you, this is not psychedelic, nor classic dreamy Floyd,
but an R'n'B band in full progress, still looking for its own sound.
Vinyl collector Rick Barnes:
What I heard earlier was amazing ! Like the stones but sharper and more
original. They were a lot more together than I ever gave them credit.
I'm surprised they were not discovered in '65. Had they met Giorgio
Gomelsky or someone similar things might have been very different...
We end this post with an opinion from Mastaflatch at Neptune Pink Floyd:
With many bands such as Pink Floyd, who had been there for very long,
some people tend to forget the real crucial points when the band was
struck by genius and only find comfort in the familiar songs or familiar
patterns or familiar guitar solos. Between 1965 and 1967, something
major happened to PF and it's plain as day here. If not for Syd, it's
pretty likely that NOTHING of what we know and love from this band would
have reached our ears.
But, if you listen closely, the weirdness was already there in Syd's
chord changes and lyrics. (...) To get a band going though, especially
in the 60s when you had The Beatles leading the pack, you couldn't only
rely on blobs and gimmicks and Syd had what it took in spades: great
songs, fierce originality and a tendency to NOT rest on his laurels and
I think that Pink Floyd, somewhere in the 70s ended up lacking at least
one of those attributes - mostly the latter and it only got worse as
time went on. I'm not saying that their later stuff wasn't good but at
some point, Pink Floyd ceased to invent its sound and became content to
play within its previously defined boundaries. Good music but far less
In 1965 these boys were hungry, literally sometimes, and that is what
you hear. Their main preoccupation wasn't how to earn some 459 million $
turnover on a pre-recorded jukebox show from some 30 years before and it
Many thanks to: A Fleeting Glimpse Forum, Baby Driver, Rick Barnes,
Goldenband, Steve Hoffman Music Corner, Late Night Forum,
Marigoldilemma, Mastaflash, Göran Nyström, Neptune Pink Floyd Forum,
Rnranimal. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above mentioned links): Beecher, Russell &
Shutes, Will: Barrett, Essential Works Ltd, London, 2011, p.
152-153. Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber,
London, 2010, p. 56-57. Gausden Libby: Syd Barrett Letters.
Photographed by Mark Jones and published at Laughing Madcaps (Facebook). Geesin,
Joe: Acid Tates, Record Collector 417, August 2013, p 79-80. Mason,
Nick: Inside Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books,
London, 2011 reissue, p. 29. Parker, David: Random Precision,
Cherry Red Books, London, 2001, p. 1. Willis, Tim, Madcap,
Short Books, London, 2002, p. 43-44.
About two years after the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit came with the
news of an Anthony
Stern anthology, showing an overview of his work, including unseen
Pink Floyd footage and our own Iggy the Eskimo, it might finally get a
release to the general public. Well, sort of. (See: Magnets
Get All From That Ant will be shown at a Syd Barrett (mini)
festival that will be held in October in Cambridge when also a Syd
Barrett memorial artwork will be unveiled. Men On The Border will
interpret the mad cat’s wacko music with the Sandviken symphony
orchestra, some mystery guests and a groovy lightshow from Peter Wynne
Have You Got It Yet
Although not confirmed (yet) the Barrett movie festival may also feature
Storm Thorgerson’s legendary Have You Got It Yet. This
movie is being finalised by Roddy
Bogawa, whom you might know from the excellent documentary Taken
By Storm, that any Hipgnosis fan needs to have in his / her
collection. We had a chat earlier this year with the movie maker and
here is what he had to say.
I can answer some of the rumours! Yes, we are hoping the film will be
released this year - it is in the editing stage - and yes, Lindsay
[Corner] and Gayla [Pinion] are interviewed in it as well as Jenny
Spires and Libby Gausden... I think it is ok to make that public...
Also Roger, David and Nick appear in new interviews which I think are
quite different than most of the ones they've done before because Storm
was present and he grew up with Syd, David and Roger.
So...it's exciting and once the film gets closer to completion, we'll
talk it up more! (Source: Facebook Chat, 2016 06 03)
Surely a release to be yearning for, even when Iggy wasn't interviewed,
due to unforeseen circumstances.
Sydge and Iggnet
It is not certain if Stern’s anthology will get the DVD release as
promised a couple of years ago. Our efforts to ask Anthony stayed
unanswered. Artists, huh…
In 2014 some extremely lucky people received a Syd magnet, aka Sydge,
for a Stern project that had to culminate in a book. Unfortunately all
the relevant pages on the Anthony
Stern Films blog have been removed, so we fear it has been shelved.
In December 2014 an Iggy the Eskimo magnet was announced (see: Iggy
on your fridge!), but although the Holy Church ordered about a dozen
that project was indefinitely postponed as well. Until now…
Syd Barrett and Iggy Photo Art Collectable Fridge Magnets.
2 Magnets in total.
Taken from original photos by Anthony Stern are these fantastic,
practical and groovy fridge magnets featuring both Syd Barrret playing
live and Iggy during a creative photoshoot with Anthony.
Both images can also be found in the new and upcoming GATA? Get ALL That
Ant? .....biographical film of Anthony Stern's youth when he was friends
with the infamous couple at the start of the Pink Floyd band creation.
An original piece of Uk Rock History documentation and a great gift idea
for the Syd Barrett and Iggy fans.
The Syd and Iggy magnets are now for sale at Anthony
Stern’s Etsy page. Get them while you still can… (The
Church is not affiliated with or endorsed by Mr. Stern's company.)
Many thanks to: Roddy Bogawa, Anthony Stern. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
The Church was informed, a couple of days ago, that Rusty Burnhill died
at the age of 70.
Rusty, and his girlfriend (and later wife) Gretta Barclay, were a
'hippie couple' who were in Syd Barrett's inner circle and who visited
him in his apartment at Wetherby Mansions. It is there that they met
Iggy and helped painting the floorboards in blue and red (or any colour
variation you like).
Unfortunately the other tenant of the apartment wasn't really amused
with the constant stream of visitors around the has-been pop-star and,
in several interviews, many years later, he still uttered his
frustration about this, naming the couple as one of the heavier nutcases.
This unfavourable account found its way in at least three renowned Pink
Floyd and Syd Barrett biographies and as such the Holy Church of Iggy
the Inuit repeated that testimony as well. (Source: Love
In The Woods (Pt. 2)).
However, another friend of Syd Barrett, who we may only address under
the pseudonym JenS, for reasons too much complicated to explain here,
vehemently disagreed and called the couple 'art school kids' who
probably goofed out on booze and mandrax, like everyone else did in
those days (Source: When
Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 3)).
Gretta Barclay denied the accusations in her interview with the Church:
Syd was a very dear friend of ours and we did a considerable amount
together in the 60's. Contrary to what I have read, we did not provide
Syd with drugs. (Source: Gretta
JenS had met Gretta and her sister Trina during the mid sixties in a
London grooming school and she introduced them to Syd when he was still
living at 101 Cromwell Road. JenS, Gretta, Trina and the French
Dominique (who apparently had a huge crush on Syd) lived together in
Chelsea for a while. Then Gretta met Rusty.
In late 1969 or early 1970 the couple, who had never been part of the
underground, left hectic London for Suffolk mainly because Gretta was
pregnant from her first child. Later in 1970 they moved to Devon.
Barrett still was a close friend and they did visit him, but obviously
not to indulge in drugs and booze. Rusty was a pretty good guitarist and
he jammed with Syd on tracks as Terrapin, Octopus and the blues
standards they both loved. The couple tried to upkeep Syd's interest for
(his own) music and Rusty silently hoped to do something together.
Although Gretta, in her first and only interview she ever gave, is
pretty vague about Syd's condition the couple must have sensed there was
something terribly wrong with the Cambridge wonderboy. They actively
tried to reactivate his musical interest by introducing him to the Welsh
They all visited the Welsh singer-songwriter in his house in Solva,
where Syd and Rusty jammed with Meic's band Bara
Menyn. A pretty bad photo exists of the encounter, perhaps with
Gretta and Rusty sitting around the table with Syd, Meic, Heather
Jones and Geraint
Jarman. (Syd and Meic would meet several times and they were the
subject of a BBC documentary that has probably been lost. See Meic
meets Syd for the story.)
After a while Rusty and Margaretta went separate ways. Rusty lived for a
few months with Jenny Spires and Jack Monck in Cambridge. Jack and Rusty
even started a band, in 1972, right after the Stars debacle. Rocksoff
(or Rocks Off) had Rusty Burnhill (gtr/voc), Jack Monck (bass/voc),
George Bacon (gtr/voc), Dan Kelleher (gtr/pno/voc) and a succession of
drummers, including Chris Cutler and Laurie Allan. (Source: http://calyx.perso.neuf.fr/mus/monck_jack.html.)
Rusty apparently travelled a lot before settling down on the North
Frisian island Amrum
(Germany) from 1978 till 1993. After a brief stay in Worpswede, a
village in the North of Germany, where he participated in a few art
exhibitions, he moved in 1995 to Barmstedt, a Hamburg suburb.
In March 2010, after some holistic detective agency proceedings, the
Church could find Rusty's address. We knew he wasn't using mail and that
he was very reluctant to speak about the past, so we wrote him a letter
to ask for an interview.
It took quite a while, and actually we had forgotten all about it, but
one day he called us out of the blue. Unfortunately the conversation
wasn't going into the direction we had hoped for. After a tirade that
took a few minutes Mr. Burnhill asked us:
Isn't it time this all ends? This has been going on for 40 years now. Can't
you just let the music speak for itself?
Wise words. There are more important things in life than chasing shadows
of dead men.
We really hope, Rusty, that you can finally form that band, you've
always dreamt about.
Many thanks: Gretta Barclay, Thomas Hartlage, JenS, Gus Mark Peters,
Rebecca Poole, anonymous. Picture of Rusty Burnhill: courtesy of Gretta
As I get older, one day closer to death to quote the great bard,
I see all my old chums and chumnettes getting less and less
active on social media, which is a pity but also a bit understandable.
At a certain age, you start to understand that life with a spouse,
children and grandchildren is getting more important than a Facebook
It is nice that Syd Barrett still means something to youngsters
and that the online communities keep on gaining young members, gradually
replacing the old farts. New faces mean new ideas, new insights and new
theories and that can only be encouraged. But that doesn’t want to say
that the crusty old dinosaurs who have been roaming through Pink Floyd
land for decades no longer have valid things to say.
I know the impatience of the young. I once was young myself although
some people will seriously doubt that. But it is not because you
discovered this sensational Pink Floyd singer a month ago that you have
magically turned into a madcap/mad cat specialist.
At the left, you can see one of the more famous Syd Barrett fakes.
Actually, I don’t like the term fake. It is not fake, it is an example
of meticulously crafted appropriation art. My good friend Stanislav,
a digital artist, crafted these during a long and cold Siberian winter.
They were published on his ironic blog ‘Far
further than you could possibly imagine’ or on the once leading Syd
Barrett forum ‘Late
Night’. Not a single soul on there claimed these were real but they
did trigger some heated discussions.
Unfortunately, the pictures started to lead their own life on the
internet when they appeared on popular image sharing platforms like
Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram. Nowadays it is nearly impossible to
find the original picture from Mexican featherweight boxer Salvador
Sánchez Narváez that inspired Stanislav to create his
mashup. Over the years the copy has cannibalised the original. The same
happens with all the digitally colourised Pink Floyd pictures that flood
the net. They are already replacing the original black and whites and in
a couple of years, fans will believe these are originals.
The impertinence of the young was shown in May 2021 when a cover of Have
A Cigar was published on Facebook. A nice elderly gentleman, going
by the name of Roy
Harper, reacted that he had sung the original on the Wish
You Were Here album. It didn’t take long before some self-proclaimed
Pink Floyd specialist accused him of spreading fake news. That’s why it
matters that some old-fashioned sources of information still exist, to
keep the idiots away.
So whether it interests anybody or not, let’s get this overview of what
happened ten years ago, on this ridiculous example of a blog, started.
2011-2012 - Selfinterview
The Holy Church’s fourth season started with a guest article from the
Spanish Syd Barrett blog Solo
En Las Nubes.
Pink Floyd, believe it or not, is a great band, perhaps the greatest
band in the world. The Pink Floyd company, however, is lead by a bunch
of greedy bastards who give the record industry a bad name. If Pink
Floyd (the band) could create a car it would be – on paper – the best
car ever. If Pink Floyd (the company) could build it wheels would be
falling off while driving at 120 km/h on the motorway.
2011 was the year some Immersion
sets saw the light of day. These were deluxe box sets of the big three: Dark
Side Of The Moon, Wish
You Were Here and The
Wall. Soon horror stories were published on several music forums.
The disks were not protected in the box and arrived scratched. Blu-ray
disks were unplayable and Pink Floyd (the company) was very reluctant to
On the most active (and knowledgeable) Syd Barrett forums (i.c. Late
Night) and groups (i.c. Birdie
Hop) there has always been some bickering about some minor details.
One of these recurring discussions are the colours Syd and Iggy painted
the floorboards in, in anticipation of the Storm
Thorgerson and Mick
Rock photoshoot, for The
Madcap Laughs album. (That photoshoot in itself has created several
threads about who took what, with Mick Rock recently suggesting he did
it all by himself.)
In January 2012 I found it a good idea to assemble different testimonies
about the floorboard colours in Syd’s (and Duggie’s) apartment, taken
from recent interviews (some by myself) or quotes from magazine articles
and books. A majority of the witnesses put the colours as orange
(5 votes) and blue (3 votes), but also red
(2 votes), purple, turquoise
and green were mentioned: The
Case of the Painted Floorboards (v 2.012).
What had to be a tongue in cheek article turned into something of a godzillanesque
Jenny Spires and Iggy Rose had a big fight, fuelling their
mutual hate for each other that would go on for ages. Unfortunately, the
Holy Church, which had an excellent relationship with both of them, was
the subject of some collateral damage. Tired of the constant
pettifoggeries I left the Birdie Hop community where I had been one of
the founding fathers.
The floorboard fiasco was one thing, Spanishgrass another.
A Mexican fan of the Holy Church asked me if I had ever heard of the
Spanishgrass urban legend. During Syd Barrett’s lost weekend, which
lasted for several decades, he allegedly visited a monastery in Spain,
stayed there for several months and recorded some songs on a cheap
portable cassette deck.
While this hoax did the rounds in the Spanish speaking hemisphere east
and west from the Atlantic ocean it was virtually unknown in English
speaking regions. At least I had never heard of it. In the first article
(from a series that would take two years to complete) I searched for the
origins of the hoax, with the help of Antonio Jesús of Solo En Las
or Syd Barrett's lost Spanish record.
But there will be probably more on that next year, if we are still
On French Bastille
Day of 2012, The Church went into another investigation, this time
about the very first Pink Floyd cover versions that have been put on
record. I dug into the foggy history of sound-alike recordings that
could be found on budget records from the sixties and seventies,
recorded by anonymous artists and often released under different names.
The Holy Church has always been helped by a lot of people. Here is a
list of those who participated to one of our articles of the fourth
season, voluntarily or not: 2braindamage, Anton, Antonio Jesús Reyes,
Babylemonade Flowers, Blah F. Blah, Bloco do Pink Floyd, Camilo Franco,
Charlas Bronson, Chris Jones, Cicodelico, Clowns & Jugglers, Colleen
Hart, Denis Combet, Duggie Fields, Ebronte, Eleonora Siatoni, Eric
Burdon, Ewgeni Reingold, Freqazoidiac, Göran Nyström, Greeneyedbetsy,
Helen Smith, Iggy Rose, I Spy In Cambridge, Jancy, Jenell Kesler, Jenni
Fiire, Jenny Spires, JenS, Joe Perry, John Gordon, Julian Palacios,
KenB, Kiloh Smith, Late Night, Lee Wood, Libby Gausden, Listener Klip,
Little Turtle, Lord Drainlid, Margaretta Barclay, Mark Blake, Mark
Jones, Mate, Matt, Michael Brown, Neptune Pink Floyd, Nina, Nipote, No
Man's Land, Pascal Mascheroni, Rescue Rangers, Peter Gilmour, PF
Chopper, Phil Etheridge, Ramjur, Rockin' Bee, Ron Mann, Simone Saibene,
Streetmouse, Viv Brans, Warren Dosanjh and all those that we have
forgotten! ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
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