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On September the 17th the Croydon
Guardian, a weekly free local newspaper covering South London,
devoted an article to Iggy after the Church had revealed that Iggy had
probably been a regular visitor at the Purley dancehall The Orchid. The
article was brought to my attention by Matthew Taylor from Escape
Artists who was so kind to point me to a scan
of the article, neatly hidden in a dark corner from the (long deleted)
City Wakes website.
It all started with a remark on the Late Night forum why no one had ever
tried to locate Iggy. Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake promptly denied
this and added some extra titbits to the Iggy enigma. He had found out
that she was probably a South Londoner who used to go dancing in
dancehalls in or around Purley. More about the Church’s quest to locate
Iggy’s dancing habits can be found on a previous entry on this blog: Shaken
This ended with the promise that the Church would try to find some more
information about the place and the people who visited it. A mail was
send to a historian of the Bourne
Society but without success. The same message however to a
journalist of the Croydon Guardian was immediately replied. Some initial
information was exchanged and journalist Kirsty Walley did an excellent
job by getting testimonies, not only from Anthony Stern, but also from a
DJ who used to spin records at the Orchid, Jeff Dexter, and who still
So, where did she go to, our lovely? By Kirsty Whalley
In the Swinging 60s she was an iconic model who broke the heart of Pink
Floyd's Syd Barrett. Known only as Iggy she is thought to have lived in
Thornton Heath and was a regular at the Orchid Ballroom in Purley
between 1963 and 1967. Then she vanished and for the past three decades
the former 60's in-crowd has wondered where she went?
Former friends, director and artist Anthony Stern and DJ Jeff Dexter,
are both searching for the enigmatic model, who featured naked on the
cover of Barrett's solo album Madcap Laughs. She was nicknamed "the
Eskimo" because it was thought that she was part Inuit. DJ Jeff Dexter,
who regularly played at the Orchid, vividly remembers the beautiful girl
who used to talk to him while he played his set. He first noticed her in
1963. He said: “Iggy was part of a group of very wonderful looking south
London girls. She was unusual because she did not look like anyone else
at the time. Since she disappeared, she has become a bit of an enigma.”
Dexter says that he met the director and artist Anthony Stern in 1967
and that Iggy became involved with him at about the same time. Anthony
took many pictures of the model and also made a film of her, which will
be shown for the first time at the City Wakes festival this October in
Cambridge. Stern said: “Iggy was my muse. I met her at a Hendrix gig at
the Speakeasy. She was a lovely inspiration and free spirit. I never
knew her real name.” “We used to hang out together, occasionally
dropping acid, staying up all night, going for walks at dawn in
Battersea Park.” The artist said he recently discovered photographs that
he took of Iggy on a houseboat near Lots Road in Chelsea. “She entirely
captures the spirit of the Sixties, living for the moment, completely
Photographer Mick Rock remembers turning up at Barrett’s to take
photographs for his solo album cover. At an interview in 199 he said:
“Syd was still in his underpants when he opened the door. He’d totally
forgotten about the session and fell about laughing. Iggy the Eskimo was
naked in the kitchen making coffee. She didn’t mind either. They both
laughed a lot and it was a magical session.” The most iconic images of
her appear on the album, where she poses naked in the background.
After she broke up with Barrett she disappeared. Felix Atagong, who has
set up a website in her honour, said: “According to the painter Duggie
Fields, she got married to a rich guy from Chelsea and led a ‘decent’
life after that.”
Anthony and Jeff both admit they have spent time looking for her. “the
truth is, if she has not come forward by now, she probably doesn’t want
to be found,” said Anthony.
(picture insert: It-crowd icon: Iggy the Eskimo). An online version of
the article can be found here.
An entirely new and previously unreleased picture
of Iggy accompanies the newspaper article. This comes out of the
personal collection of Anthony Stern. It is believed that more pictures
from his collection may be unearthed on a later date.
Last summer the Church wrote about Iggy’s noticed visit at the
Cromwellian club in November 1966, where the dance-crew of Ready Steady
Go! were launching the latest dance-craze The
The club existed since 1964 or 1965 and in the autumn of that year
jazz-singer, writer, critic and generally bad tempered journalist Georges
Melly wrote a piece about the place, that was later re-printed in
his excellent account of the pop art days in Britain Revolt
Into Style. In contradiction with most flower power studies his
book did not appear two decades or more after the facts happened. Melly
wrote his essays when Swingin’ London was still swinging although it was
slightly running out of breath. The Reverend finds it funny how many of
the anecdotes that Melly has noted on the spot can now be found in other
The Church’s archive had a copy of this work for ages, but dark forces
made it disappear into the same vortex that also swallows the Reverend’s
second sock when he is in search for a clean nice pair. But this summer
the book miraculously re-appeared from the vaults of Atagong mansion. As
the book has been long out of print we hereby re-print Mr. George
Melly’s reflections. The Church is confident he won’t mind…
I don't know the details of Roy Harrod's quarrel
with the Cromwellian, but there is no doubt that it is ‘out'.
I went there six months ago (early 1965, FA) and it was full of
well-known faces. On my recent two visits I recognized nobody.
Bart Kimber, the general manager, says he is delighted. 'It's back to
sanity and smartness' is the way he puts it. He hated the place full of
paint-stained jeans and last century T-shirts. 'We get three distinct
crowds,' he told me, 'downstairs the younger set. We offer them
name-groups, and records introduced by disc jockeys from the pirate
radio stations. In the ground floor bar, there's a higher age group,
drinkers you see. While upstairs there's gambling. Would you care to
The club is in a large house in the Cromwell Road. It too is decorated
in the baronial style except here there are suits of armour and old
master reproductions in heavy gold frames. The basement has murals of
nymphs seducing puritans, and is very noisy. The atmosphere of the whole
complex is relaxed and pleasant. 'Nobody rushes' is how Mr Kimber puts
it. The prices seem very reasonable. 'Here,' he says, ‘the artists are
not being fleeced, but they're just too high for the kids.' Quite a lot
of pop performers still come; Georgie Fame, the Zombies, the New Faces,
Jonathan King were all there on one night he told me, and Dusty
likes it. What about the top groups, I asked. 'We have them here
occasionally,' he said, 'and we're pleased to see them, but were not
desperate.' The club was full and spending so I am inclined to believe
him. I asked him who his clientele was. 'A lot of continental people,
film extras, hairdressers, P.R.OS, advertising people, no boxers. They
cause bother, but quite a few wrestlers.' In fact the club is owned by
five wrestlers so of course it's natural that they have never had any
'Look,' said Mr Kimber, 'of course we're successful. Parking's easy out
here, and you can get stoned out of your eyeballs for 2£. We don't want
to be in.'
George Melly’s description starts with the observation that a certain Roy
Harrod has had some troubles with the Cromwellian. Rod (not Roy)
Harrod had been attached to The Cromwellian but offered his services to The
Scotch of St James club after a quarrel with the owners. Rod Harrod,
who made some fame in the city as a music journalist, knew several bands
personally and had enough influence to invite them to the club that he
favoured. When he left The Crom that club was out and, in a
matter of weeks, The Scotch of St. James was in. Harrod’s guests
weren’t second grade. The Beatles, The Stones and The Animals eagerly
accepted his invitations (consumptions were always on the house for
these bands). Although the club obviously benefited from these famous
visitors Roy Harrod tried to respect their privacy, George Melly tells
the story how a visitor, who had the audacity to ask George Harrison for
an autograph, was immediately removed from the club. His account ends
with the fact that Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon would arrive in
five minutes, reason enough for George Melly to go home.
Rod Harrod had a nose for bands and singers and on the 24th of September
1966 he invited a young American guitarist to have a blues jam on stage.
The contract, hastily written on a napkin, was signed by an unknown
artist called Jimi Hendrix. (back to George Melly's
Update 2010: Rod Harrod has shared some of his memories with the
Harrod remembers The CromJust another world exclusive of
the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.
Ready Steady Go!
Regular visitors of the Church will know that the Reverend strongly
beliefs in a connection between Ig and Ready Steady Go! The evidence is
rather flimsy to say the least, but George Melly’s account adds another
piece of the puzzle that may prove this theory.
When George Melly interviewed Bart Kimber that last one claimed that
Dusty (Springfield) liked the Cromwellian (autumn of 1965). The next
year Ig was spotted by NME on a Cromwellian RSG!-party
and the person who (probably) introduced Ig to Syd Barrett maintains
that Ig invited her ‘once to a party with Dusty Springfield and
crew’ (see When
Syd met Iggy).
So far for this weeks sermon from the Reverend, go in peace, sistren
and brethren, and don’t do anything that Iggy wouldn’t have done.
Sources (other than the above internet links):
Melly, George: Revolt Into Style – The Pop Arts In Britain,
Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1972, p. 98-101.
Tranquillity is slowly descending upon the Holy Church of Inuit like
smog upon Victorian London. Several brethren and sistren
of the Church, and one-time visitors who entered through the front gate
to study its baroque interior, have passed some valid information to the
Reverend and these will be further investigated in the future. The
Reverend also wants to apologise to the people that have been contacted
(and interviewed) last year, especially those associated with The
Cromwellian club. The articles about The Crom have been postponed due to
the unexpected result the Mojo Syd Barrett article created, but they
will - one day - hopefully appear.
To all our readers: please keep on going on giving the Church
information, how futile it may be, but remember that the Reverend will
not break its own rules that stay unchanged even now that Iggy (Evelyn)
has been found. Especially now that Iggy (Evelyn) has been found.
The Reverend is not a souvenir collector who will ring at her bell like
all those so-called (and in the Reverend's eyes: messed up) true fans
used to do at Syd Barrett’s door. Evelyn's wish to be left in peace is
and will be unconditionally granted. The same goes for other witnesses
of the Barrett era, the Church will send them a nice note from time to
time, as a reminder of its presence, but will not break their privacy.
Some will call this bad journalism but the Church is not dependent from
sold issues and follows a strict deontological code.
On the thirteenth of February of this year The Croydon Guardian
published a short, hastily noted down, interview with (a quite
reluctant) Iggy, titled: Croydon
Guardian tracks down elusive rock star muse. Here it is in full
(with some comments from the Reverend):
Croydon Guardian tracks down elusive rock star muse By Kirsty
An iconic model who stole Syd Barrett’s heart in the 1960s has been
found after three decades of anonymity. Known only as Iggy, the
enigmatic woman was immortalised posing naked for the Pink Floyd star’s
solo album, Madcap Laughs. She disappeared in the late 1970s and has
been living in West Sussex, oblivious to her iconic status. In September
2008, the Croydon Guardian appealed for information about the model and,
more than a year later, we managed to track her down.
She inspired artist Anthony Stern, who filmed her dancing in Battersea
Park and also took striking photographs of her on a houseboat in
Chelsea. They were released at the City Wakes festival – a tribute to
Syd Barrett – in October 2008, in Cambridge.
The above has of course been extendedly covered by the Church as well: Anthony
Mr Stern said: “Iggy was my muse. I met her at a Hendrix gig at the
Speakeasy. She entirely captures the spirit of the Sixties, living for
the moment, carefree.”
The club has been described in the (excellent) London Live book
from Tony Bacon as follows (most information about the club has been
taken from that book).
When The Speakeasy was opened by Roy Flynn around the end of 1966 in
Margaret Street, just north of Soho, the rock elite soon discovered a
handy new watering hole, a prime early-hours jamming post, and an
altogether useful hanging-out kind of place.
By May 1967 the club was part of the London spot-the-celebrity
circle next to - amongst others - the Scotch (of St. James) and of
course the Crom. On a good night you could having a drink next to The
Bee Gees, Jeff
Beck or The
Who, although, keeping up his avant-garde experimental jazz
Wyatt from The Soft Machine couldn't care less: "Rock groups meeting
in expensive clubs that are difficult to get into? What's all that crap?"
On the 19th of January 1967 Jimi Hendrix gave the first of 3 concerts at
The Speak. On top of that he would also jam a few times with other
people on stage, including Jose
Feliciano and Georgie
Fame. That night in January he tried to get into Marianne
Faithfull's pants with the seductive remark: "What are you doing
with this jerk, anyway?" The jerk in question was of course Mick Jagger
who wanted to check out the new kid in town.
will know the club for its owner Roy Flynn. When, on the 13th of
December 1968, Sly
And The Family Stone didn't show up for their gig an impromptu band
was found to take their place. When Roy Flynn saw Yes's performance he
was so thrilled that he became their manager for a while. The band
eagerly agreed, not because he had some managerial skills but because
the restaurant at The Speak had an excellent reputation:
Roy had never managed a band before and he kind of took us on and then
the whole world of the Speakeasy opened up (laugh). It was a great club,
I mean, it was a wonderful club, it used to close at 4 AM and we would
not only rehearse there, we would play there some nights, and of course
after a gig if we were playing within, let's say 150 miles from London,
we would rush and go to the Speakeasy and eat there, and most of the
meals were completely free. So for about a year I ate pretty good. Most
of the evenings I ate there. Because that was the life style, we would
be in the Speakeasy after 3 AM and the kitchen still would be opened and
the food was not fantastic but thanks to Roy Flynn we would get free
food and quite a lot of few drinks as well. (Peter
Banks, who invented the band's name and left the group in 1970)
The extensive Jimi Hendrix gig database
located at Rich Dickinson only mentions 3 genuine Jimi Hendrix
performances in 1967: the aforementioned gig on the 19th of January 1967
and two more in March: 8th March 1967 and 21st March 1967. So Iggy (and
Anthony Stern) must have attended one of these. For the completists
amongst us the Church gives now the complete list of Hendrix sightings
at the Speakeasy (1967): 67-01-19: Gig. 67-02-22: Press
reception for the Soft Machine. 67-03-08: Gig. 67-03-16:
Launching party for Track records (Jimi gives three interviews). 67-03-21:
Gig. 67-04-17: Jam (on bass) with Georgie Fame (on organ) and
Ben E. King (drums). 67-05-08: Brian Auger Trinity Concert. 67-06-04:
Jose Feliciano concert and onstage jam. 67-12-06: Party for The
Foundations. 67-12-22: Musicians from Christmas on Earth and Hendrix
jam until the morning hours. 67-12-31: New Year's Eve Party where
Jimi plays a thirty minute 'Auld Lang Syne'.
There is quite an intriguing picture
on page 103 of the London Live book, showing co-managers Roy Flynn and
Mike Carey, sitting at the Speakeasy bar, accompanied by two ladies.
According to CowleyMod
one of the women undoubtedly is Ig. Although most of the members of the
Church do not think it is her the Church wants to give Cowleymod the
benefit of the doubt and the visitors of the Church the chance to make
up their own mind (click here
to see the full picture). Update (November 2010): it has been
confirmed to the Church that the person on the picture is NOT Iggy /
Iggy said: “I cannot believe there is a film of me, that there are
photos of me.”
Iggy spent a brief part of the 60s
living in Croydon with DJ Jeff Dexter, who used to play at the Orchid
Ballroom. She said: “The Orchid Ballroom was the place to be, the
atmosphere was fantastic. I loved going there, I loved to dance. Jeff
wanted to turn me and two other lovely girls into the English version of
the Supremes, but that never happened.”
She does not
like to talk much about Syd Barrett, but admits she lived with him in
Chelsea in the late 1960s. She said: “Syd was so beautiful looking. We
had a relationship, I lived with him for a while.”
Although the Reverend is aware of at least four witnesses who have
confirmed in different biographies (and directly to the Church) that
Iggy and Syd weren't an item this is now contradicted by Evelyn herself.
It was at that time she became known as Iggy the Eskimo. She said: “In
part I made up the nickname. The rest was the photographer Mick Rock,
who asked where I was from. I said ‘my mother is from the Himalayas’ and
he said ‘we will call you Iggy the Eskimo’.”
Update March 2018: Iggy's mother, so was confirmed to us, didn't
live near the Himalaya's, but at the Lushai Hills, a mountain range in
Mizoram, Mizoram, situated at the North-East of India, sharing borders
with Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The Church will not deny that Mick Rock may have thrown around the 'Iggy
the Eskimo' nickname to describe the mysterious girl on his pictures but
the epithet dates from much earlier. It was first spotted in the NME
magazine from the 25th of November 1966 (more than 2 years earlier)
where Evelyn was described as 'Another Bender - model IGGY, who is
Mick Rock took the pictures for Madcap Laughs. Iggy said: “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. In the
pictures my hair looks quite funny, I remember hiding my face behind it
because I did not want my mum and dad to see it."
Again other witnesses tell other stories. They claim that Syd (with a
little help from Iggy) painted the floor boards early in the year,
certainly before April 1969. As Syd only started recording mid-April it
is a bit weird that he painted the boards especially for the album
cover, unless - of course - he (and with him Mick Rock) already had the
cover in mind before the recording sessions started. A theory that is
She broke up with Syd Barrett shortly after the photo shoot and moved to
Brighton. She said: “I have just been living very quietly, I left London
in the 70s and I got married in 1978. I met so many people in the 60s –
the Beatles, the Who, the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart. I was a free
spirit. I have left that life behind me now.”
The Church would gladly accept to publish her memoires though.
But until that happens, my dear sistren and brethren,
don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done…
A new gallery has been uploaded containing the complete Come
with NME for a pic-visit to THE CROMWELLIAN article and pictures
from New Musical Express 1037, 25 November 1966. Photographs by Napier
Russel & Barry Peake. Words by Norrie Drummond. (Just another world
exclusive from the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.)
Sources (other than the above internet links): Bacon, Tony: London
Live, Balafon Books, London, 1999, p. 101-104.
Years before she entered the Underground and met Syd Barrett, Ig’s first
venture for glory and fame came when the cameras of NME
magazine spotted her in November 1966. Issue 1037 had an article Come
with NME for a Pic-Visit to the Cromwellian, written by Norrie
Drummond (who passed away in April 2005) with photos by Napier
Russell and Barry Peake.
Some relevant info can be found in two previous articles
at the Church but it need to be stressed that, already then, Iggy
claimed she was a model and used to throw around her alleged Eskimo
roots. (The complete NME
Cromwellian Pic-Visit article can be consulted on this blog. Just
another world exclusive of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.)
It is not unthinkable that Ig may have worked, at one time or another,
Quorum was a boutique led by the eccentric fashion designer Ossie
Clark, whose ‘stuff was fluid and drapey and revealing all at once,
in key places it fit so exactly that you couldn’t wear a bra or
panties’. To Marianne Faithfull he once told that the dress he presented
to her was so designed she could have sex anywhere.
One of the people bragging he was a Quorum model was a lad called David
Gilmour but in reality he just drove Quorum’s delivery truck around.
"Dave Gilmour never really said very much. He just used to stand around.
It was a bit unnerving.", recalls Celia Birtwell in Pigs Might Fly.
Syd Barrett used the Quorum boutique not only to pick some clothes.
Quorum models Gilly Staples and Kari-Ann Moller (of Roxy Music album
cover fame) have been ‘associated’ with Syd at one time or another.
one of Syd’s Cantabrigian girlfriends, who lived in Anthony Stern’s flat
for a while and who suggested The Pink Floyd to Peter Whitehead when he
was looking for a soundtrack of Tonight
Let’s All Make Love In London, first met Ig in 1966. Iggy
invited JenS to a Dusty Springfield and crew party and this may have
taken place at The Cromwellian as well, one of the clubs Dusty liked to
frequent if we may believe George
Revolt Into Style
Musician, critic, journalist and raconteur George Melly reviewed the
place in Revolt Into Style. That ‘brilliant guidebook’ about the
pop arts in Britain is a collection of essays, written between 1965 and
1972 and it has the advantage that the situations and anecdotes
described were noted down when they were actually happening and are not
(blurry) memories from three decades later. The Church would not like to
feed the authors who have taken bits and pieces from Melly's essays to
add some extra candy to rock biographies or Swinging London books.
George Melly’s Cromwellian
piece dates from 1965 and tells how the club was already old news by
then. When Disc and Music Echo journalist Rod Harrod, who used to be the
Crom’s PR-moonlighting-agent, offered his services to The
Scotch of St. James, the Crom suddenly relegated from premier to
second league. In only a couple of weeks time the, still rather
exclusive and expensive, Crom club would only host and entertain some of
the minor gods from the rock pantheon.
In the only interview
we have got from Iggy she says:
I met so many people in the 60s – the Beatles, the Who, the Rolling
Stones and Rod Stewart.
She may have met them in one of the many artist clubs that were around:
The Scotch of St. James, The Cromwellian, The Speakeasy (where she met
Anthony Stern during a Jimi Hendrix gig). The London Live music
club anthology has an intriguing picture,
to say the least, depicting Speakeasy managers Roy Flynn and Mike Carey
with two ladies. One of them could be Iggy, although not all Church
members agree with that. Update November 2010: it has now been
confirmed - by a very reliable source - that the woman on that picture
is not Iggy / Evelyn.
In 2009 the Church contacted the man whom George Melly had interviewed
45 years ago but just when the Church wanted to publish the article
Iggy, now known as Evelyn, was featured in a couple of articles in Mojo. Quitesomebuzzhappenedafterthat,
but as the spring storms have settled down a bit, the Church finds it is
about time to get on with its business.
Update December 2021: Rod Harrod died on the 3rd of December 2021
in his home village of Dinas Powys in South Wales. Rod will be
remembered for so many things both locally and Internationally. As the
Host of the Scotch of St James Club in London in the 60's Rod gave Jimi
Hendrix his first chance to play at the Club.
Harrod describes himself as a doyen of music business and is
remembered by some as the person who offered Jimi Hendrix his first gig
on British soil and made him sign a record contract on a napkin from the
St. James club. Harrod more or less tones this down a bit:
I did not make Jimi Hendrix sign a record contract on a napkin. The
Heads of Agreement were drafted on a napkin between Jimi's co-manager Chas
Chandler and the owners of soon-to-form Track
Records - Kit
Lambert and Chris
Stamp (brother of actor Terence Stamp).
I do not want people
thinking I forced Jimi to sign anything... I didn't.
Etchingham, who lived in a flat in Zoot
and Ronnie Money's house in Fulham, was DJ for me at the Scotch of Saint
James at the time Jimi made his first appearance. (Rod Harrod, 30
July 2010, e-mail)
The first night Hendrix arrived in London, he began a relationship with
Kathy Etchingham that lasted until February 1969. (Taken from: Wikipedia.)
After a life in music business Rod went to South Africa where he was
founder of PROmpt
(Professional Music Performance and Technology) trying to bring music
closer to the life of the disadvantaged youth in Cape Town.
Living in Great Britain, Harrod seriously thinks of moving back to South
Africa to revitalise his music-training
centre and to finally start writing his memoirs. Some facts that
have appeared in rock biographies over the past decades didn’t really
happen as such and Harrod would like to put the record straight once and
Obviously the Church's first question was if Harrod remembered the girl
called Iggy whose snapshot had been taken at The Cromwellian:
...sorry to disappoint but although I have vague recollections from the
photo I can not add more...
One of the people pictured on the NME article is Lynn Annette Ripley aka Twinkle
who had several hits in the mid Sixties.
I immediately spoke to Twinkle (Ripley) who lives quite close to me. She
used to go out with Simon (Hayes)... but she does not even remember him
being the PR there...
She remembers him as working in a PR Agency
in Berkley Square or somewhere - not owning it. Trouble is when you run
down memory lane these days you sometimes hit cul de sacs and others
take you in totally the wrong direction...
But Harrod’s trip down memory lane isn’t exactly a dead end street,
quite the contrary… The Church is proud to publish some of his
Cromwellian memories in avant-première…
So many things changed quickly in those days...
I was around at
the Cromwellian as PR around 1964 – 1965 before I moved on to the Scotch
of Saint James that became even more famous as THE Club... The late
George Melly's account is reasonable except he got my name wrong (it is
not Roy, but Rod).
George Melly's account of the Crom can be found at the Church article: The
Style Council. Rod Harrod continues:
George Melly missed mentioning the very camp 'Harry the Heart' of
Harry's International Bar on the ground floor of the Cromwellian (the
'Heart' bit came from his delightfully effeminate wave over the heads of
a packed bar as you walked in: 'Hello (dear) Heart, how are we? Be with
According to Melly, Harrod left the Crom club after a quarrel with its
owner. Rod disagrees:
I do not remember having a row with the owner - wrestler and promoter
Paul Lincoln - who wrestled incognito wearing a mask, just that the Crom
decided they did not want to pay my bar bill anymore. I had a better
offer anyway from Louis Brown who, with Lenny Bloom, owned the Scotch of
Ready, Steady, Kerr!
Dusty (Springfield) was closely associated with Ready Steady Go! and the
show's booker Vicki Wickham. It was her idea for a RSG Motown Special
that broke Motown in the UK after a flop theatre tour.
The importance of Ready,
Steady, Go! as an instant pop style catalyst can not be emphasized
enough. The program literally uphove the island of Britain from a
dark and gloomy past. George Melly in Revolt into Style:
In the McLuhanesque
sense RSG was an important breakthrough. It plugged in direct to the
centre of the scene and only a week later transmitted information as to
clothes, dances, gestures, even slang to the whole British teenage Isles.
When I was touring in the 50s fashions took an almost incredible time to
spread. Even the large provincial centres like Liverpool and Manchester
were at least six months behind, while in small Yorkshire mining
communities as late as 1960 it was still possible to find Teddy Boy
suits, and not only that. They were tailored in ruby red or
billiard-table green cloth. As for the borders of Scotland the girls'
dresses had hardly altered since the middle 30s.
RSG changed all that. It made pop work on a truly national scale. (…)
The whole chemistry of RSG was right. So was its timing. Friday night
just after work. ('Your weekend begins here' was its slogan.)
Already in 1964 George Melly had described the program as an example of telly-brutalism,
never seen before on British television.
New trends in dancing, clothes, even erotic habits (a tendency to tug
gently at the legs of the singers has recently become common) appear on
this programme at the same time - or even in advance of - what's going
on in the teenage clubs.
Patrick Kerr was a national celebrity thanks to his involvement in Ready
Steady Go! Nearly every week the choreographer (and his go go girls)
presented a brand new hot dance that would be copied and mimicked in
dance halls all over the country.
In the early sixties Kerr turned to full-time dancing with his dance
partner (and future wife) Theresa Confrey. After a contract on a cruise
ship in the Americas he returned to Britain in 1963 where he was
immediately spotted by RSG! to promote the most popular (American)
dances. Later on he picked them up at the hip London clubs, often the Sabre
where he would also recruit the weekly bunch of volunteers to appear at
the show, but if no hip dance could be found he designed the new moves
by himself. The RSG! dance of the week would be published in newspapers
and youth magazines so that the kids were able to learn it for their
week-end dance hall debauchery.
(In the mid-sixties Kathy
McGowan used to present the show in Biba
clothes and on Saturday morning Carnaby Street was invariably overrun by
fans looking for gear they'd seen on Ready, Steady, Go! the night
before. Patrick Kerr (and Theresa Confrey) cashed in on that trend as
well by opening the Hem and Fringe boutique on Moreton street.)
In 1964 Patrick Kerr debuted as a pop singer. Although he was in the
capable hands of Adam
Faith and Sandie
Shaw's manager, Eve Taylor, his career would be limited to one
single only: Magic
Potion / It’s no trouble to love you. After a UK package tour with
Adam Faith, Sandie Shaw, The
Barron Knights and the proto-Procol-Harum-gang The
Paramounts he returned back to Ready, Steady, Go! as its main
But perhaps Kerr's recording contract was not based upon his singing
qualities alone. When Sandie Shaw was due on stage for Top Of the Pops
the floor buzzed with the rumour that she and Kerr had been found inside
a broom cupboard and that the thing they were looking for wasn't exactly
Kerr passed away on the 15th of August 2009 so the Church can’t ask
for his comments anymore, regarding Iggy obviously…
It' came out, the programme controller of the pirate station Radio
London, Alan Keane, was very reluctant to play it as he suspected it was
obscene. So we came up with the ruse that 'The Bend' was intended as a
new dance, hopefully dance craze. (Taken from davedeedozybeakymickandtich.nl)
Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley hastily wrote (and recorded) a few other
Bend songs and approached Patrick Kerr from Ready, Steady, Go! fame to
devise a brand new dance. Kerr accepted, the dance was promoted on RSG!
as this week's brand new thing and its steps appeared in the press. Update
October 2012: The Bend-It Step by step link from Sixties City appears to
be broken, here is an alternative: the Bend.
The Bend made it on the Pathé news with Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick &
Tich miming the song, in front of Patrick Kerr and his dance group
Tomorrow's People, at the London Playboy club near Hyde Park (Park Lane
45). More a casino than a club the Hutch On The Park, as the
place was nicknamed, was an immediate success and the place where one
could occasionally meet The Beatles, George Best, Warren Beatty, Michael
Caine, Judy Garland, Sean Connery, Roman Polanski or Sharon Tate. (Taken
Update January 2013: The Playboy promo-clip with DDDBMT & Patrick
Kerr can be seen at Bend
The Playboy Club had only recently opened, described by some as a 1.6
million pounds celebration of female pulchritude, it contained
several restaurants, a nightclub, a casino and flats and suites that
could be rented by the day, week or month. This was not the place the
average Londoner would, nor could, enter. Woody Allen, who had done the
opening night as a favour to Hugh Hefner, called it the London clubhouse
for visiting Yanks and he was spotted joining Telly Savalas, John
Casavetes, Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin during all-night poker games
(this was in 1967 during the shooting of The Dirty Dozen). There
was lots of money, lots of drugs and, not unsurprisingly for a Playboy
subsidiary, one might add, lots of women.
The Bend party at The Cromwellian may have been, according to this source,
the finals of the British national 'Bend' competition, so actually Iggy
may have been one of its contestants, if - of course - there has ever
been a contest to begin with, because it had all been a publicity stunt
just to sell the Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich single.
The ruse worked, and thankfully 'Bend
It' got onto the Radio London playlist, vitally important in those
days. I don't think the 'dance craze' ever quite happened!
As a follow up tune for Bend It Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley wrote a
carbon copy, that even didn't pretend to have been ripped from Mikis
anymore. Simply called The
Bend it was recorded by a non-existent five-strong London group, The
Potatoes, actually Steve
Caddy and Alan Blaikley in disguise. Its flip-side was called Bend
Ahead and that was about the end of this Bend dance craze that never
In Germany a third Bend single was released, apparently recorded by the Gaylord
Parry's Carnival Band. Actually the A-side Let's Bend was
sung by composer Ken Howard, with the help from the same studio
musicians that had recorded the Potatoes single, while the B-side Bending
Kremlin' Gremlin' was mainly instrumental, apart from some fake
Russian grunting. Its sleeve shows Patrick Kerr and Tomorrow's People in
full action, although the British public never was aware that it ever
Thanks for reading (an updated, rewritten and enhanced) part three of
at The Crom series. Part four, that will reveal everything about Doctor
Death, will come out when you see it appearing on this website! In
the meantime, brethren and sistren, don't do anything that
Iggy wouldn't have done!
Many thanks go to: Rod Harrod, Lynn Annette Ripley, the Dutch Dave Dee,
Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich fan community.
Sources (other than internet links mentioned above): Bacon,
Tony: London Live, Balafon Books, London, 1999, p. 103. Blake,
Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 72,
p. 108. Levy, Shawn: Ready Steady Go!, Broadway Books, New
York, 2003, p. 191, p 207-211. Melly, George: Revolt Into Style –
The Pop Arts In Britain, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1972, p.
170-171. Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree, London,
1998, p. 209.
PROfessional Music Performance and Technology
Rod Harrod let the Church know on July 30, 2010:
Things have progressed on the PROmpt training re-opening in Cape Town
front. I got back from meetings with Government Ministers and others
there last week. We have been offered by the Provincial Government a
huge building on three floors that needs a massive amount of renovation
but could work. But first I have to raise a lot of funds for that and to
run the programme.
Please visit Rod Harrod's South-African PROmpt website that says most
that anyone might need to know. Any contacts or potential donors or
anyone interested can contact Rod Harrod through that site: PROfessional
Music Performance and Technology.
The Reverend was silently contemplating the long cold winter, sitting in
his rocking chair, reading in Glenn Povey's Pink Floyd bible Echoes,
woollen socks tightly stuck to the wood stove, a pipe in the mouth and a
glass of flaming Italian Sambuca
with 3 coffee beans in his immediate reach when his laptop went ping. A
minute or so later his HTC smart-phone went ping as well. Thirty seconds
later his iTouch went ping. This meant serious business, probably
instigated by the Holy Igquisition.
At the forum
of a well-known Pink Floyd website
somebody had posted a scan of the latest Iggy interview, done by Mark
Blake, and published in Mojo
207 (February 2011 issue). Last week, the Church had promised that
the interview would not be published here as long as the issue is for
sale in the shops but extraordinary occurrences demand for extraordinary
measures. So here it is. Enjoy!
IGGY THE ESKIMO PHONES HOME SYD BARRETT'S ENIGMATIC COVER
COMPANION CLEARS UP SOME QUERIES BY MARK BLAKE
In March 2010, MOJO 196's cover story on Syd Barrett's The Madcap Laughs
pondered the whereabouts of 'Iggy The Eskimo', the naked girl on the LP
sleeve. It came as a shock to the object of Syd obsessives' fascination;
who contacted MOJO after reading the magazine for the first time last
summer. “I knew nothing about any of this,” says Iggy (real name:
Evelyn) who married in 1978 and lives near the English South Coast. “I
went to a boot sale with my husband to find The Madcap Laughs. When I
saw the cover I thought, Oh, yes, that is my bottom.”
Iggy (she gave 'the Eskimo' name to an NME photographer as a joke) grew
up in the Far East. Her father was an English army officer, while her
mother came from “a remote village in the Himalayas”. After moving to
England Iggy was briefly an art student, a Brighton mod and London
scenester, dancing on Ready Steady Go! and hanging out with Eric
Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and the Stones.
Update March 2017: Iggy's mother, so was confirmed to us, wasn't
from the Himalayas. She probably lived near the The Lushai Hills (or
Mizo Hills), a mountain range in Mizoram, situated at the North-East of
India, sharing borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar.
But in 1969, she ended up at the Earls Court flat Barrett shared with
the painter Duggie Fields. She and Syd became an item.
“I didn't know Syd had been a pop star,” she insists, though she'd seen
Pink Floyd at the UFO club and Alexandra Palace. “Duggie and I were into
soul music, and Syd used to laugh at me dancing to Motown.”
One day after Iggy had been messing around on Syd's guitar he took the
instrument from her and began playing.
“It was the first time I'd heard or seen him to do this, and my mouth
just dropped. He had this reel-to-reel tape recorder and he played me
these songs he'd written. The one that stood out went, “I really love
you and I mean you' [Terrapin] and I remember telling him, That's very
catchy,” she laughs.
Barrett then told Iggy someone at EMI wants me to make a record, how
would you feel about having a rock star boyfriend?”
Later photographer Mick Rock and designer Storm Thorgerson would call to
take the album sleeve image. At Syd's suggestion Iggy was naked: “It was
his wicked sense of humour,” she says. “People talk about Syd's madness
and his dark side but I never saw it. We had a wonderful giggly time.”
“I put the Kohl around his eyes that day and tousled his hair: Come on
Syd, give us a smile, moody, moody, moody! But he knew exactly what he
After a few months Iggy moved on. Returning to the flat later she was
told by Duggie Fields, “Syd's gone back to Cambridge, don't bother
trying to find him.”
Contrary to mythology, she never joined a religious cult or married a
banker. “I heard on the radio that Syd died, and I felt sad but it was
so long ago,” she reflects. It wasn't until I went online for the first
time and read these things that I realised anyone remembered me. I'm
A while ago Mark Blake also had the following to say to the Church:
I have a wealth of other interview material with Iggy. Mojo are
interested in running this additional stuff on their website: there are
also pics of her from early 60s and late 70s. The extra interview
material contains some good stuff for the Syd obsessives, including
stuff about the Madcap photo shoot.
Just a little more Iggy info for anyone interested: there's a chance
that MOJO will run some additional interview material on their website www.mojo4music.com.
Iggy also talked about a trip to the Speakeasy with Syd Barrett and had
plenty more to say about the photo-shoot for the album cover. There are
also some more photos of Iggy from back in the day.
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit wishes to thank Mark Blake and Mojo
for their authorisation to publish this interview. In the next couple of
weeks the Church will probably add some comments, reflections and
And for those new believers, here is a quick overview of the Iggy events
of past year:
This is it for this week, and my dear sistren and brethren,
don't do anything that Iggy wouldn't have done!
Still looking for a Xmas present: Mark Blake has just written a pretty
decent Queen biography: Is This The Real Life? The Untold Story Of
Queen, Aurum Press Ltd. ISBN: 9781845135973 (The Church is not
affiliated with or endorsed by this company.)
Despite the sad news of a couple of days ago (see: RIP
Paul Lincoln) the Church has to look forward. If anyone would
understand this it would surely be Paul Lincoln. As a wrestling promoter
he bloody well knew that each knockout was followed by another match in
the ring. Unfortunately no one will leave the final round unharmed, not
even Dr Death himself.
Kurt Vonnegut once wrote: "So it goes."
To all Iggy pilgrims around the world our most solemn greetings. 2011
started with a bigger bang propelling shock-waves into all known
dimensions of our universe. Not only our heart was shattered by all the
reverberating news but also Evelyn's.
Past week she confessed to Mark
Blake that "she is delighted and a bit shocked by all the interest".
As was expected the recent Mojo
interview raised more new questions than answers. But asking for more is
of course the core business of Syd-anoraks and Iggy-fans alike.
If Ig had never done an interview before, it is not because she avoided
the publicity but simply because nobody had ever asked. Mark Blake
explains that there is no 'big mystery'. Evelyn went on with her life
and didn't read music magazines or looked herself up on the Internet.
"Simple as that." Mark Blake and Iggy did talk about a lot more than
what has been printed on page 18 of the latest Mojo magazine: “More
questions will be covered in the extended version of the interview due
for Mojo's website.”
Once the complete interview is published the Church will of course
further comment on it. So what follows is not an in-depth analysis of
the Mojo interview but just a few quick points the Reverend would like
After moving to England Iggy was briefly an art student, a Brighton mod
and London scenester, dancing on Ready Steady Go! and hanging out with
Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and the Stones.
This single sentence contains enough information to provide the Church
with at least an entire trimester of articles.
Was Evelyn, as a mod, present at the seaside riots of May 1964? Wikipedia
and the BBC
write that over the Whitsun weekend (May 18 and 19, 1964), thousands of
mods descended upon Margate, Broadstairs and Brighton to find that an
inordinately large number of rockers had made the same holiday plans.
The worst violence took place at Brighton, where fights lasted two days
and moved along the coast to Hastings and back.
This news made the Reverend's turned up nose turn up a bit more wanting
to shout to the world: told you so! The Church has been hinting since
day one that Ig had been dancing at RSG! but proof had never surfaced,
Not only did Iggy meet Clapton, Hendrix and the Stones but according to
her first interview (see: Little
old lady from London-by-the-Sea) she also encountered the Beatles,
the Who and Rod Stewart.
Syd, the pop star
“I didn't know Syd had been a pop star,” she insists, though she'd seen
Pink Floyd at the UFO club and Alexandra Palace. One day after Iggy had
been messing around on Syd's guitar he took the instrument from her and
began playing. “It was the first time I'd heard or seen him to do this,
and my mouth just dropped.”
This is not as contradictory as it seems. Mark Blake, who spoke to Iggy
this week, further explains:
She asked me to clarify a couple of things: Iggy didn't make the
connection between Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd because she saw so many
groups, went to so many clubs, and knew so many musicians.
It was the '60s and these people were busy living their lives, with no
idea that 40 years on a music magazine would be asking them such
detailed questions about it. This is why it was a shock to her when he
started playing the guitar at the flat.
Sometimes, it is tempting for people - including writers - to read too
much into all this. Years later, when she watched the Pink Floyd & Syd
Barrett Story documentary, she saw the footage of Syd "in his kaftan,
chanting" (on Pow R Toc H [actually on Astronomy
Domine, note by FA]) and remembered seeing him doing this at
UFO. The memories came back. But she hadn't thought about all this for
many many years.
Over the next few weeks the Church will of course try to reveal more
about Iggy's flamboyant past and here are already some tidbits you can
chew on for now.
Mick Rock pictures
Iggy doesn't have any snapshots of her and Syd, or any of his
possessions. Unfortunately, she no longer has the photo she had of the
two of them, which he tore in half.
We know for sure that Syd tore and/or scratched a few photos when Iggy
left him, but not that she was aware of that. There is the scratched
picture that Mick Rock published in his Psychedelic Renegades
photo-book (see: When
Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 3)) and a 'half-picture' is in the possession
of Margaretta Barclay, published at the Church about a year ago: “This
picture of Iggy was given to me by Syd but for some unknown reason she
had been torn off it.” (see: Gretta
Speaks (Pt. 2)).
Gigs & festivals
Iggy was at the Technicolour Dream "all 14 hours of it!" - and tried,
but couldn't spot herself in the documentary DVD. Iggy was also at the
Isle Of Wight festival in 1970, where she went with Twink of the Pink
Fairies. She also attended the first Glastonbury Fayre (1971).
A new picture
And for those loyal fans who have been reading this article till the
end, a small surprise. Apparently Evelyn isn't too happy with the
picture that could be found in the latest Mojo. So she asked if we had
any objections in publishing a new one. You bet we don't. Here it is.
Just another rumour to end this post with. Recently Iggy did a
photo-shoot with a photography student she knows, and if all goes well
one of these shots could be used for the Mojo website interview as well.
The Church wishes to thank: Mark Blake, Mojo, Amy-Louise, Kieren and
of course... ♥ Iggy ♥.
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
Life, my dear sistren and brethren, is not like a box of
chocolates, except perhaps those from the exclusive and exquisite Tartufo
shop in Louvain. Life is like an Eskimo chain, tattooed all over our
brains. When the Reverend started the Church he didn't realise what a
strange caterpillar ride it would be, a beautiful quest into the
unknown. The path we trod was narrow, the drop was sheer and very high
and ravens were watching from a vantage point nearby, to paraphrase a
On the narrow paths, that Iggy had followed in the past, she had thrown
breadcrumbs to find her way back home afterwards. Only Iggy never
returned on her footsteps but went far ahead into the unknown. Most of
these crumbs had long been eaten, by the ravens cited above, but some
could be traced back by the Church. And one big trail lead to the
The Cromwellian wrestling club
Before it acquired its fame the house at 3 Cromwell Road was known as an
illegal casino, run by the London underworld. When gambling became legal
the three store building turned into Harry's International Bar (run by
the legendary Harry Heart), an elegant casino (quickly moved to the
first floor because some competitors wanted to heat the place with
Molotov cocktails) and a cellar full of boys, much to the enjoyment of
the bartender, but the management decided to repair the equilibrium by
giving 'free entrance for girls'.
Before one could say 'faites vos jeux' the place was visited by Brian
Epstein and his gang of four and that perhaps thanks to one of the
owners who was nicknamed 'the wrestling Beatle'.
Bob 'Anthony' Archer
Anthony (Bob Archer), the wrestling Beatle, was a popular
welterweight during the 1960s and may not be confounded with the
slightly ridiculous George Ringo (Bob Sabre), a Chicago wrestler who had
the same nickname. Bob turned professional in 1956 and around 1962 he
moved to Paul Lincoln Management. He was one of a group of wrestlers
chosen by Paul Lincoln to take part in a prestigious tour of the Far
East in the early sixties.
But, like we have already revealed in our article Dr
Death and other assorted figures..., he was also one of the owners
of the Crom and, what the Reverend didn't know, responsible for booking
the bands that would make the place a legend.
Recently the Church was contacted by Emily Archer and thanks to her we
can bring you the following testimony from her father:
I was part owner and manager of the Crom up to 1967 when I gave up the
management, but not my share, to create Pantiles Club and Restaurant in
Club was built in 1898 for the personal secretary of the Duke
of Connaught who lived at the Royal Bagshot Park opposite. During
the 1920s there was a Pantiles Athletic & Tennis Club, followed by a
Pantiles Swimming Pool Club. In the early 1960s a Pantiles Tea Dancing
Club was opened and in 1967 it would become the infamous Pantiles
nightclub and restaurant owned by Bob Archer.
I was also a Pro Wrestler as Bob Anthony. There were 4 of us wrestlers
involved - who were also 4 good friends, plus the originator of the
Cromwellian Tony Mitchell. Ray Hunter, Judo Al Hayes, Paul Lincoln. Al
died in the States where he wrestled as Lord Hayes, Ray died also in the
U.K. My great friend Paul Lincoln died recently. Paul and Ray also owned
The 2'Is in Old Compton Street, where the whole British Rock industry
Judo Al Hayes
Al Hayes, alias the White Angel, alias Lord Hayes once was the the
nation’s youngest ever judo black belt. He hooked up with Paul Lincoln
and had a fun run as the White Angel, culminating in a famous 1962 fight
were he was unmasked by Doctor Death (Paul Lincoln with a mask).
In the early seventies Hayes went to the United States. After a
successful career as a wrestler he became a television commentator and
manager for the American Wrestling Association.
After a car accident he suffered from several complications and died a
very sad death in 2005, aged 77.
Rebel Ray Hunter
Ray Hunter, Taswegian tag partner of Judo Al Hayes in their Lincoln
days, and a globe-trotting Heavyweight Champion of the Commonwealth.
When Hunter came to Britain in 1950 he had been the youngest
Commonwealth wrestler to do so. Success came in German heavyweight
tournaments but the sixties saw a hedonistic jet-set lifestyle in Soho
where Hunter and Lincoln owned the famous 2'Is coffee bar.
Rumour goes Hunter had a fling with Sophia Loren once.
Around 1970 he disappeared mysteriously from the wrestling scene.
The bar 2Ii’s was located at 59, Old Compton Street. Underground legend Barry
At the 2I’s we sat drinking coffee from glass cups, staring out at Old
Compton Street, thinking this was the centre of the world as Dream Lover
by Bobby Darin played on the jukebox and various sleazy Soho types
drifted in and out. It had opened early in the summer of 1956.
with the other coffee bars in Soho, the 2I’s looked pretty tame. Just
round the corner on Meard Street was Le Macabre, which used coffins as
tables, Bakelite skulls for ashtrays and the jukebox featured the
Funeral March. The 2I’s had been open three weeks when Soho held its
second annual Soho Fair, to coincide with the July 14, 1956, Bastille
Day celebrations. The Vipers skiffle group were among the bands in the
procession. When a downpour made them jump down from their flatbed truck
and take refuge in the 2I’s, the nearest coffee bar, Paul Lincoln
suggested they continue playing there. Immediately a large crowd came in
from the street.
Paul Lincoln realised that live music was
what was needed to pull in the customers and hired them to play a
regular gig from 7 to 11pm, four nights a week. At first they were paid
only in spaghetti, Coca-Cola and any tips they were able to collect, but
their leader Wally Whyton soon decided that a proper fee was required as
the place was crammed to its 80-person capacity every time they played.
Paul Lincoln made a derisory offer and Wally, bravely, said he would
wrestle him for double or nothing. Lincoln was impressed by his guts,
strapped on his Doctor Death mask and lost the fight hands down,
presumably intentionally. The Vipers got their wages. (Taken from: Going
underground: the secret life of London.)
Food and drinks
Le Macabre coffee bar was not unknown to the wrestlers either and was
owned by someone they knew. Bob Archer:
Le Macabre Coffee Bar was in fact owned by Tony Mitchell who was the
original owner of the Crom until we bought in with him. He also had a
restaurant called the New Yorker in Soho. Al Hayes, Ray Hunter
and myself would meet for lunch at his restaurant before going on to
wrestling engagements or sometimes before training at the YMCA.
Paul Lincoln and Ray Hunter also opened The "Trattoria del buon
vivitore", an Italian restaurant in Old Compton Street with the
Wrestling Promotion Office above.
In a previous article (Dr
Death and other assorted figures...) we already mentioned that Paul
Lincoln owned an Italian restaurant in Soho. What we didn't know was
that the place was just a few blocks away from 2I's (56 Old Compton
Street) and located underneath the Paul Lincoln Management offices (36
Old Compton Street). No wonder that Paul Lincoln often took his business
associates to the place and even a top ranking Milanese police officer,
who Lincoln had befriended during an Italian wrestling showtour, always
visited the restaurant whenever he was in London for police business.
Bob Archer continues:
Tony [Mitchell] is long gone so I am the only remaining ex owner. I ran
Pantiles from 67 to 2007, 40 years, till we sold the land. I was the one
who originally created the Swinging London status of the Crom and the
60's celebrity hangout of the stars.
I booked the right bands,
and encouraged the sit in sessions, with The Animals, Clapton, Hendrix,
and you name it. Elton's band Bluesology were probably my most regular
booking, plus Brian Auger. The Drifters, Patti LaBelle, Stevie Wonder,
Wilson Picket, Benny King.
They all worked in that small cellar.
Harry Heart [the bartender] was a legend. I could go on all night. True
fact is the first place Jimi [Hendrix] played in London was The Crom. He
sat in with Brian Auger. Chas [Chandler] brought him in the first night
he arrived. Kathy [Etchingham] worked a bit for me.
JHRG: Are you sure the first jam was at The Cromwellian? Brian
Auger: It was The Cromwellian, yes. JHRG: Some say it was
Blaises, and I think Vic Briggs said he was convinced that it was The
Scotch Of St. James! Brian Auger: Yeah, but it wasn't. I'm
afraid Vic kind of rewrites history a bit, (chuckles) but it wasn't The
Scotch Of St. James, it was The Cromwellian. I have a mental picture of
Jimi being introduced to me and looking out across the stage at the
staircase that goes up from upstairs to the first level of The
Cromwellian. We definitely played at Blaises but that was later. Anyway,
he came down to The Cromwellian and Chas [Chandler] introduced him to me
in the break and he seemed like a very nice guy. He asked me if he could
sit in and I said absolutely, yeah, what would you like to play? Jimi
showed me a chord sequence and said, can you play this? And I said yeah,
it's pretty straight forward, and it turned out to be the chord sequence
for "Hey Joe"!
And all that thanks to a cellarful of wrestlers.
Harry the Heart
The bartender of the 'International Bar' was, to put it in Rod Harrod's
words the “very camp 'Harry the Heart'”. Heart wasn't his real name but
came 'from his delightfully effeminate wave over the heads of a packed
bar as you walked in: 'Hello (dear) Heart, how are we? Be with you now.'"
Unfortunately, not a lot is known about him. Bob Archer:
The last time I heard, Harry was in North, but that was a long time ago,
from Danny La Rue [the famous British drag impersonator]. I fear that he
has passed away. He was amazing. His bar was always full with people
like Tom Jones with his band, Brian Epstein, Lion Bart, Terry Downes,
Lita Rosa, Robert Stigwood. I could go on and on...
A bartender can make or break a place but Harry is surely remembered as
one of those extraordinary people who turned the place into a succes.
He knew what everyone drank, and asked "Your usual Heart?" They
would say: "Yes Harry and will you have one?" Harry then
replied: "Just one for the pot Heart."
This inevitably turned into Harry's own little ceremony, serving a glass
of gin he would...
...throw another gin into the cut glass vase that he had on the bar,
with bits of lemon and cucumber floating about in it.
Bob Archer has nothing but lovely memories about Harry:
He would introduce me to all his friends as "My lovely Boss". We would
often go for a burger after closing, unless he said "I'm trolling
tonight Heart" and would then walk up past Harrods.
Rod Harrod, the club's PR man and interviewed
by the Church as well, wasn't the first journalist who had been hired to
promote the club.
I have been trying to remember who was Rod Harrod. The name rings a
bell, but the guy who I used as PR was Keith Goodwin, who had his column
in either the MM or the NME, where we were regularly mentioned. He was
also PR to quite a few music stars.
Keith Goodwin was indeed an NME journalist in the early sixties and one
of the first professional music publicists in the UK with a diverse,
even oddball, taste in music.
He started his agency with folk band The
Springfields (it is eerie how Dusty materialises every time we
investigate Church matters) and Tom
Springfield was best man on his wedding.
But it was when psychedelia fully hit the scene that Goodwin acquired
the most success for his publicity work. Amongst his clients were –
initially obscure bands like - Argent, Black Sabbath, Camel, Magma and
Yes. One day in 1966 a young singer songwriter, Cat Stevens, was in his
office, looking for an appropriate title for a tune he had just written.
Keith Goodwin looked out of the window and suggested the name of the
shop at the other side of the road: Matthew And Son.
His love for symphonic rock wouldn't falter although the genre was
declared dead in the late seventies, early eighties. He continued
promoting bands like Pallas, Twelfth Night and Pendragon but it was with
Marillion that he could finally prove that the progrock genre still
attracted massive popularity. In 1988 Keith Goodwin retired and settled
in Malta. He died on the 25th of January 2004, only 69 years old. (Taken
Goodwin: early professional music publicist.)
Many thanks to Emily and Bob Archer for sharing these memories with the
Church. Wrestling information and pictures have been taken from Wrestling
Heritage. Grazie mille Gianna!
Somewhere mid December we were informed by Iggy that she had been asked
some questions by the British Jimi
Hendrix magazine: Jimpress.
Jimpress started in July 1991 and is currently at its 100th issue and
obviously no other issue than this centenary one was suited to
welcome Iggy Rose. Pages 9 to 17 have the article Mr Love, where
author Tim Greenhall examines several events from Brook
Street 23 in London.
Mr Love, The Jimi Hendrix London Experience, Tim Greenhall examines
events in Brook Street
The article starts with the memories of Doug
Kaye, who used to work in his brother's restaurant in Brook
Street. Above the Mr Love restaurant was a flat where a certain Jimi
Hendrix and Kathy
Etchingham set up residence. Doug first met Jimi at the cigarettes
machine and they started talking about blues music. Doug lend Jimi two
blues albums that he never saw back but that are now part of the Jimi
at the EMP museum in Seattle.
Doug Kaye started the secret Mr Love Facebook group (later renamed to Echoes)
that unfortunately has been declared terra incognita for the
Reverend but that accommodates quite a few Sixties celebrities among its
members (and many of those are friends of Iggy Rose as well).
One of them, mentioned in the article, is Robert Orbach who owned I
Was Lord Kitchener's Valet and who sold Jimi Hendrix his trademark
cavalry jacket. The Hussars tunic dated from 1850 and was the personal
property of Robert who wore it in his shop. Jimi Hendrix first proposed
to buy it for 20£ but Orbach told the item was not for sale. Over the
next few days Hendrix and his manager would drop by with higher bids and
at the end the uniform changed owner for the tenfold of the originally
proposed price. To modern 2013 standards Hendrix must have paid the
equivalent of about 2000£ (or 2320€ or 3100$), but as it became one of
the most renown jackets in the world of rock that price was probably a
Dexter probably doesn't need to be introduced to Iggy Rose fans,
he tried to make a record with her but this miserably failed when he
found out at the studio that non of the girls he had chosen for his
Motown-like act actually could sing. Dexter met Hendrix on different
Altman would take us at least three Church blog posts, so we
will just say he is a (film & ad) composer, music arranger,
orchestrator, conductor, an occasional contributor to Monty Python and
that he has more anecdotes up his sleeve than the Reverend has ever got
hangovers in his entire life. John Altham talked most about jazz with
Jimi and Hendrix confided him he wanted to take some guitar lessons from John
Iggy Rose @ Jimpress
And then it is finally time to attribute some lines to our goddess:
One of the group's most colourful ladies is the lovely “Iggy Rose”. Iggy
was Syd Barrett's girlfriend and met Jimi on a few occasions. She is
probably best known for being the model on the cover of Barrett's album
The Madcap Laughs, however she has been seen in many a sixties nostalgia
film, most notably Granny Takes A Trip which you can find on YouTube no
doubt. Iggy also worked in the store of the same name.
Note: as far as we know Iggy did not work at Granny's. The
article from Tim Greenhall continues:
I asked Iggy what she remembered about Jimi in that time ?
I never really spent much time chatting but was in his presence. I met
Kathy Etchingham on a couple of occasions. I knew Noel Redding quite
well. I remember seeing him at The Bag o'Nails where he blew everyone
away. I just feel very fortunate to have met him and will always be
grateful for that.
...the article ends with a thank you note to Iggy:
I would particularly like to thank Iggy for putting me in contact with
Jeff Dexter, Robert Orbach and John Altman.
Hendrix at the Church
The Church has destined a few articles to the Iggy Rose - Jimi Hendrix
In 2010 the Church interviewed Rod Harris, who has been described as the
man who launched Jimi Hendrix in the UK: Rod
Harrod remembers The Crom. Co-owner from The Cromwellian club Bob
Archer told the Church he was the first to book Jimi Hendrix:
True fact is the first place Jimi [Hendrix] played in London was The
Crom. He sat in with Brian Auger. Chas [Chandler] brought him in the
first night he arrived. Kathy [Etchingham] worked a bit for me. Taken
A few years ago the Church asked Iggy what she did remember of that
Hendrix gig and here is what she confided to the Church (unpublished
I think the first mind-blowing experience I had of watching Jimi
Hendrix's explosive performance was at the Bag 'O Nails on November the
I actually sat on the edge of its tiny stage waiting for the gig to
The so-called super cool blasé London in-crowd didn't realise what hit
them. From the very first stupendous chord this felt like a typhoon
blasting away all sense and reason, reducing everyone in the public into
a quivering state of amazement. This phenomenally unique sound provoked
a spontaneous eruption in the crowd. Suddenly everyone leapt to their
feet with a roar, clamouring to get near the stage to absorb the
And as if that wasn't enough, as soon as Jimi dropped to his knees and
started to play the electric guitar with his tongue the roomful of
trendy clubbers went ballistic and then he hadn't set his guitar on fire
yet. For me it looked like he continued through the night producing
spectacular feats of unparalleled works of genius.
Then of course his electrifying voice that touched and melted the most
vital. This was oozing raw scalding sex, a river of molten lava erupting
from a volcano. Hendrix created an uncontrollable sensation of having
Unfortunately the pictures that were in her possession from Jimi Hendrix
(with her?) have been lost through the years, as well as those with Eric
Clapton, Roger Daltrey, George Harrison, Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg,
'Keef' Richards and 'lovely' Keith Moon... (and then there is still a
hidden, but rather naughty, but rather arty, Syd & Iggy Madcap
Laughs photo session that is in ultra safe hands somewhere).
But not all is lost, the Church also heard that some people want to
contact Iggy for a new Rolling Stones related project. The Reverend is
pretty sure that somewhere there must be pictures, probably in private
hands: Iggy & the
Many thanks to Tim Greenhall from Jimpress and to all
contributors from previous articles mentioned here: Bob Archer, Mark
Blake, Rod Harris, Kirsty Whalley... ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Do a combined Syd
Obermaier search on Google
and you get approximate 4600 results tying both celebrities together,
the first results being 'who's
dating who' (now called Famousfix) related finds. On the fifth
place, although this result will change from computer to computer is an
entry from the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, but not the regular
Iggy's church can be found on various places on the interweb,
most of the time just to gather some dust. One branch office though, is
alive and kicking, and operates more or less independently from its
headquarters. It is on the microblogging
Tumblr platform, is aptly called The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and
can be found at the following address: http://iggyinuit.tumblr.com.
The first image that is presented, also on the Famousfix
platform, is the one of Syd Barrett on a Formentera
beach, standing behind a woman who hides her nudity behind a red veil.
That picture is actually copyrighted and belongs to John
Davies who took the picture when he went to the island in summer 1969.
Update 2015 02 25: John Davies contacted us to get some facts
The photo of the naked girl behind the red scarf was taken by Imo (Ian
Moore) and not by me although I used it in an article I wrote about
Cambridge, and credited Imo. Secondly, I went to Formentera first in
1963, with some friends from Cambridge, including Richard Eyre. We raved
about the island so much that other friends started going there in the
mid-sixties, including dear Syd. I still spend a lot of time there and
one or two of those Cambridge "hipsters" still live there.
The article from John Davies can be found at A Fleeting Glimpse: The
John Davies Collection. In another Church post (from 2012, time
flies!) we have highlighted the yearly trek from the Cambridge hipsters
to the island of Formentera: Formentera
John Davies was one of those Cambridge hipsters who, between 1963 and
...made the transformation from schoolboys to aspiring beatniks’,
swapping school uniforms for black polo necks and leather jackets,
listening to Miles Davis, riding Vespas and smoking dope purchased from
American GIs on the neighbouring airforce bases at Lakenheath and
He was, with Nigel
Lesmoir-Gordon, one of the people who mastered the Gaggia
espresso machine in the coffee-house El Patio and who (probably)
had his hand in the till when the boss wasn't around, as noted down by
Nick Sedgwick in his roman
à clefLight Blue with Bulges:
Lunch times, just keep the till open, ring up only half of the orders,
keep a check on the rest, then pocket the difference.
Nick Sedgwick, who sadly passed away in 2011, wrote a Pink Floyd 'on
tour' biography in the mid-seventies, but this was never published
because none of the characters came out very well, with the exception of
Roger Waters, who had commissioned the book. In August 2011 Waters
promised to respect his friend's dying wish and release the manuscript
as 'a simple PDF, a hardback version, and a super de-luxe illustrated
limited edition' (see: Immersion).
Transferring a typoscript to PDF literally takes a few minutes, but
nothing has moved three and a half years later and the Church fears that
this is just another case of the ongoing Waters vs Gilmour feud still
lurking behind their smiling faces and fat wallets.
The Church has dedicated some space to the above picture before on the
Lady throwing the hypothesis around that the woman was one of Syd
Barrett's girlfriends nicknamed Sarah Sky. This explanation was
given to the Church by a Barrett fan who quoted her grandmother, but
communication was interrupted before we could get more into details.
According to Emo (Iain Moore) however, the girl was an American tourist
who was visiting Formentera for a day and had arrived at the house they
all rented, close to a nude beach.
In December 2013 The
Groupie Blog claimed the woman on the picture is German photo-model Uschi
Obermaier. This was followed by another post
in January 2014 where the author pretends Syd Barrett used to hit
Obermaier when he had hysteria attacks.
Obviously the Church wanted to get further into this as none of the
biographies mention any kind of romantic (nor aggressive) involvement
between the two of them. As the (anonymous) author of the groupies blog
was not contactable Uschi's autobiography High Times / Mein
Wildes Leben was bought and searched for any Syd Barrett entries.
First things first: Obermaier's autobiography is a fine read, a three to
three and a half star rating out of five.
Born in 1946 Uschi escapes the German conservative square society in the
mid-sixties by clubbing at the Big Apple and PN in Munich
where she is rapidly adopted by the in-crowd because of: a) her good
looks, b) her dancing abilities and c) her free spirit attitude.
She meets with Reinhard
'Dicky' Tarrach from The
Rattles, who will have an international hit with The
Witch, and soon promotes to international bands like The
Kinks, whose Dave
Davies is such an arrogant male chauvinist pig he deserves a
separate entry. She is discovered by a photographer and a career as
photo-model is launched.
Around 1967 Neil
Landon from the hastily assembled The
Flower Pot Men has a more than casual interest and he invites her to
swinging London but she leaves as soon as she finds out about his
jealous streaks. Back in Germany she doesn't fit in everyday society any
more. She joins the alternative Amon
Düül commune, following drummer Peter Leopold, and she
makes it on a few of their jam-session albums as a maracas player.
Through Amon Düül she falls in love with Rainer
Langhans from Kommune
1 (K1). The Berlin communards live by a strict Marxism-Leninism
doctrine where everything belongs to the group and everyday family life
is forbidden. Individualism
is totally annihilated at a point that even the toilet has its doors
removed and telephone conversations need to be done with the speaker on.
Good-looking Rainer and cover-girl Uschi become a media-hyped
alternative couple, the German John and Yoko avant la lettre. She
is by then Germany's most wanted, and some say: best paid, photo-model
and as such not accepted by the community hardliners. Drinking cola or
smoking menthol cigarettes is considered counter-revolutionary.
In January 1969 Uschi hears that Jimi Hendrix is in town and they
meet for some quality time (short
clip on YouTube). He visits the commune which gives it another
popularity boost. Despite its utopian rules the communards have their
intrigues, jealousies and hidden agendas, it becomes a heroin den and
when one of the more extremist inhabitants hides a bomb in the house the
place is raided by the police. Later that year the commune disbands. (It
was also found out that the bomb was planted by an infiltrator, spying
for the police.)
The couple moves for a while into the Munich Frauenkommune
(women's commune), where their bourgeois manners and star allures aren't
appreciated either, but you won't read that in Obermaier's memories.
Movie director Katrin
Do you remember when Uschi Meier and Rainer Langhans stayed with us?
They really moved in at our place, like residents. And while the person
who happened to have money normally bought twenty yoghurts for all of
us, they bought the double for themselves and hid it in their room. They
were a narrow-minded philistine couple within our community. They were
not a bit generous. (Katrin Seybold and Mona Winter in Frauenkommune:
Angstlust der Männer. Translation by FA.)
Leaving the all-women group in 1970 the couple starts the High-Fish
(a pun on German Haifisch, or shark) commune, this time not a communist
but a hedonistic group where sex, drugs and rock'n roll are combined
into art happenings and/or sold as porn movies. The mansion may well
have been the German equivalent of London's 101 Cromwell Road, which was
some kind of LSD temple and the place where Syd Barrett used to live
with some 'heavy, loony, messianic acid freaks', to quote Pete
Jenner. (See also: An
innerview with Peter Jenner )
The Munich Incident
In March 1970 the High-Fish commune was the centre of a rock'n roll
tragedy if we may believe some accounts. In vintage Fleetwood
Mac circles the event is better known as the Munich Incident.
Ultimate Classic Rock:
“It was a hippie commune sort of thing,” said Fleetwood Mac guitarist
Jeremy Spencer. “We arrived there, and [road manager] Dennis Keane comes
up to me shaking and says, “It’s so weird, don’t go down there. Pete
[Green] is weirding out big time and the vibes are just horrible.” Green
was already set to leave the band, but this was, as [Mick] Fleetwood put
it, “the final nail in the coffin.” Friends say Green was never the same
after the Munich incident. (Taken from: 38
Years Ago: Fleetwood Mac Founder Peter Green Arrested for Pulling
Shotgun on His Accountant.)
It's true that we, or more accurately, Pete [Green] was met at Munich
airport by a very beautiful girl [Uschi Obermaier] and a strange guy in
a black cape [Rainer Langhans]. Their focus was definitely Pete for some
reason. The rest of us didn't get it, but we discussed the weird vibes.
We were invited to their mansion in the Munich forest that night. Pete
was already jamming down in the basement (…) when I arrived with Mick
[Fleetwood]. Dennis Keane [road manager] met us in the driveway, ashen
faced and freaking out over the bad vibes and how weird Pete was going.
I don't think Dennis was stoned, he just wanted to get out. (…) Anyway
the house (more like a mansion) was a rich hippy crash pad. And it was
spooky. There was some weird stuff going on in the different rooms.
(Taken from: The
Road manager Dennis Keane maintains they were spiked:
When we went inside there was a party of about 20 people sat around, we
were offered a glass of wine, and the next thing I knew all hell broke
loose in my head - we'd been drugged. Nobody had offered us any tablets;
they just went and spiked us. (Taken from: Celmins, Martin: Peter
Green: The Authorised Biography, Sanctuary, 2003)
Over the years the Munich Incident may have been exaggerated and Rainer
Langhans, in his (free) autobiography, tries to bring the incident back
to its true proportions:
After the performance of Fleetwood Mac in Munich, at the Deutsche
Museum, the band went to the hotel. Peter Green came along with us, with
the High-Fish people. (...) I quickly befriended him but he did not talk
much. We were both, in a way, soul mates. A soft, vulnerable and loving
man. Uschi had no special connection with him. She did not find him
physically attractive. He was too hairy, she said, and also the music of
Fleetwood Mac was too soft and not 'rocky' enough, while I found it very
beautiful. We spent the night together with him, tripping, jamming and
floating through the rooms on LSD. (...)
We met him
twice in London in the next couple of weeks. It was him who brought us
in contact with the Stones and Uschi was able to fulfill her dream of
finally starting an affair with Jagger. With Fleetwood Mac everything
seemed to be fine, but then Peter Green suddenly dropped out of the
band. We heard he was so disgusted with the music business that he no
longer wanted to be there. Much later the band put the responsibility on
the night he was with us in Munich and claimed his trip with us had
completely changed him. (Translated from German to English by FA.)
Green's decline and retreat from the music industry is often
compared to Syd Barrett's 1967 breakdown and although his descend into
madness can't be linked to one single event, just as in the Barrett
case, the gargantuan trip at the High-Fish community may have pushed him
closer to the edge.
Conveniently Uschi Obermaier's excellent memory suddenly fails her when
it comes to the Munich Incident. There is not a single word about it in
her autobiography, but the Frauenkommune testimony from above already
shows she can be rather discrete if she wants to.
With their days of Marxist collectivism gone, she and Langhans are
thinking of organising a German Woodstock festival. Peter Green does
what is asked of him and a few days later the couple is standing in a
London studio where Mick Jagger is working on Sticky Fingers. It is
satisfaction at first sight and a treat for the paparazzi.
But German Woodstock never happens, the relation with Rainer Langhans
comes to an end and Uschi, now an international photo-model, jumps back
into the Munich nightlife, replacing the diet of Champagne and Quaaludes
with the trendier heroin. In Hamburg she meets Dieter
Bockhorn, who is officially an eccentric Reeperbahn strip-club
owner and they start a turbulent relationship. When the Rolling Stones
are in Germany for some recordings she gradually replaces Mick Jagger
for Keith Richards, following them on a European tour and joining them
in the USA. Bockhorn is not amused.
From then on she will have a bizarre love triangle: everyday life with
Dieter and meeting Keith whenever his touring schedule allows him. She
will always have a soft spot for Richards: “The most honourable bad boy
I knew – and I knew some.”
In the mid-seventies Obermaier and Bockhorn, who has made the move to
heroin as well, follow the hippie trail to Asia in a converted bus. It
will be a trip through Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and India that takes
622 days, 55141 kilometres with many weird, unbelievable adventures and
a few narrow escapes. German press, as always, is interested in the
adventures of Germany's baddest Kultpaar (cult couple) and they
are regularly interviewed and photographed 'on the road'.
Back in Hamburg Uschi obviously returns to modelling but the couple
fails to adapt to the western world and their relationship suffers
gravely. She remarks that the hippie days are over and that punks have
taken over the street. Bockhorn's business has suffered from the 20
months they were abroad and he struggles with monetary, legal and not
quite so legal problems. They make plans to leave for America as soon as
they can afford to leave.
In November 1980 they arrive in the USA where they will do a Kerouac,
heroine free after an obliged detox boat journey. In summer they roam
the continent and for three consecutive winters they stay in an
alternative hippies and bikers camp in Baja
California (Mexico). It is in Cabo
San Lucas that Keith Richards arrives one day, carrying a guitar
under the arm and giving a one man campfire gig on the beach, much to
the amazement of the stoned onlookers. In the third year money has run
out and the dharma bum life, with loads of alcohol, 'grass' and
promiscuity, weighs heavily on both of them. On the last day of 1983 a
drunk Dieter Bockhorn crashes his motorcycle on a truck ending his wild
For a while a depressed Uschi Obermaier feels that she has achieved
nothing in her life and that she only got there through her pretty face.
One of her pastimes is scrimshaw and she starts designing jewellery that
she sells through the exclusive Maxfield
store in Los Angeles, where Madonna and Jack Nicholson buy their
trinkets. While she is certainly not an airhead and may have talent as
an artist it can't be denied that her career is a case of, what the
Germans amusingly describe as, Hurenglück.
On top of that the Krauts simply can't have enough of her. The story of
her life as a groupie, a junkie, a starlet, her relations with a
communist rebel, some Rolling Stones and a Reeperbahn crook who thought
he was the Hamburg equivalent of Ronnie
Kray make her autobiography Mein Wildes Leben (literally: my
wild life) a page-turning bestseller.
It is followed by a biopic Das
Wilde Leben, a home-country hit, but not abroad where it is
Miles High. Reviews vary, but in our opinion it is a pretty average
movie, with uneven and often caricatural scenes (check the Mick vs Keith scene
for a ROTFL)
and frankly Natalia
Avelon's gorgeous cleavage has more depth than the script.
Back To Barrett
But to finally get back to the initial subject of this post, because in
fine Church tradition we seem to have gone astray for a while.
Did Uschi Obermaier have a love-interest in Syd Barrett? Did they
meet at Formentera? Did he hit her when he had hysteria attacks?
No. No. No.
We're afraid the answer is a triple no.
Doesn't Mein Wildes Lebens mention Syd Barrett at all?
Yes, his name is dropped once. He is mentioned in a comparison between
Swinging London and 'its psychedelic music scene from early Pink Floyd
with Syd Barrett' and the grey, conservative atmosphere in Germany where
girls in miniskirts were insulted on the street.
Could Uschi have met Syd Barrett in Germany?
No. Vintage Pink Floyd, with Barrett in the band, never played Germany.
A gig for the TV show Music For Young People in Hamburg, on the first
and second of August 1967 was cancelled.
How about Syd hitting her?
The Barrett - Obermaier hysteria attack rumour is probably a mix-up from
Syd's alleged violence towards his girlfriends and the tumultuous
relationship between Obermaier and Bockhorn, who once pointed a gun at
her and pulled the trigger (luckily the weapon jammed).
So how about Uschi Obermaier hiding her precious body behind a red
veil on Formentera in the summer of 1969?
She writes that she visited Ibiza (the island next to Formentera) on the
day Mick Jagger married Bianca, so that places the event in May 1971,
nearly two years after Syd's Formentera picture. When Barrett was
strolling on the beach Uschi was either at K1 in Berlin or at the
Frauenkommune in Munich.
Well, I'm still not convinced until Uschi Obermaier herself tells us
it never happened.
Why didn't you ask before, because we did. We managed to pass Uschi
Obermaier the question through a mutual contact and we even got an
answer back. Uschi Obermaier on the first of February 2015:
They are right, this is NOT me, they researched right. I was at this
time either in Berlin or back in Munich.
Case closed then. Unless Sarah Sky wants to come forward, obviously.
Many thanks to: Bianca Corrodi, John Davies, Little Queenies, Nina,
Uschi Obermaier, Jenny Spires. This is, more or less, an update of a
previous article that can be found here: Formentera
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 28, 83. Langhans,
Rainer: Ich Bin's, pdf
version, 2008, p 39. Palacios, Julian: Syd Barrett & Pink
Floyd: Dark Globe, Plexus, London, 2010, p. 38. Povey, Glenn: Echoes,
the complete history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008, p. 67. Sedgwick,
Nick: Light Blue With Bulges, Fourth estate, London, 1989, p. 37.
When, a couple of years ago, a Brian
Jones Facebook group wanted to know if any members had ever met him,
Iggy Rose chimed in, in her usual diplomatic style, stating that she
still remembered some of the musician’s anatomical details. As Facebook
groups tend to harbour the bottom layer of human intelligence she wasn’t
believed. Perhaps for the better.
After six decades, Iggy still believes in the interconnected goodness of
people and things, something that was already present in her as a
toddler when she wanted to stroke the cat in the garden and her parents
realised, just in time, that it actually was a tiger. Obviously that was
before they relocated to the UK as there are not so many loose tigers
running around in Brighton. Predators in good old England were mostly of
the human kind and playing rock ’n' roll.
Lost weekends 1967 - 1968
How exactly Iggy met The
Rolling Stones has been shrouded in a cloak of mystery. Probably she
met them through psychedelic nobleman Stash (Stash
Klossowski de Rola) who was in their inner circle. It suffices to
say that one day she met them and that they and some of their
girlfriends liked to have her around.
That Iggy had an eerie timing of turning completely invisible had
already been proven a year and a half before when she was invited to
Keith's 15th century country house, Redlands, in West Withering. In the
early evening of 12 February 1967 police officers raided the place and
arrested Keith, Mick and the mysterious Miss X, who was only wearing a
fur rug, but she was not Iggy.
Other guests present in the house that day were: Nicky Kramer, a
dandy dope head, who was unfortunately repeatedly beaten up by some of
Mick’s rougher associates because they suspected him to be the informant
who gave the Stones away; art dealer Robert
‘groovy Bob’ Fraser and his manservant Mohammed Jajaj; Christopher
Gibbs, a friend of Mick; photographer Michael
Cooper, and last but not least: David
Schneiderman, Sniderman aka David Jove, the ‘acid king’ whose
portable drug cabinet with LSD and dope was never confiscated and who
may have been the real snitch, working for British intelligence and/or
The News Of The World newspaper.
Not present any more were George Harrison and Patti Boyd. They left the
mansion before the bust. Brian Jones and Anita Pallenberg had an
argument in London so they never arrived, much to the disappointment of
the police who raided Jones' house later.
And Iggy the Eskimo was nowhere to be seen because… she got lost on her
way to the doomed place.
I had a lucky escape cause I lost my way after all the directions Keef
gave me. (Birdie Hop, 02 June 2015.)
Michael Cooper has made some 70000 pictures of the Rolling Stones, yet,
the first one with Iggy still has to surface. We know they are there,
Literary hundreds of pictures have been lost. Me and Eric Clapton, Roger
Daltrey, George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon… I had quite a few
snapshots with Keef, Brian and Anita…
A great loss happened when Iggy’s suitcase, that contained all her
possessions, was tossed overboard, in the North Sea, after a row with an
abusive friend musician. One picture
that has survived however shows her, Zelig-like indeed, standing next to
John Lennon on Carmen Jiménez’s birthday party, January 1967 at The
Fame had a gorgeous girlfriend, Carmen, and she took me under her
wings when he was touring. Just around the corner of The Cromwellian
Brian Jones has an incredible pad and we all had a scrumptious paella
there, cooked by her. After Brian I rolled into Keef who had a palatial
place at the Chelsea embankment.
In July 1968 Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg and their entourage could be
found in a London house that was easier to find for Iggy. It was the set
for a Donald
Cammell movie that would get cult status: Performance.
This film was one of the rare occasions where there was no real
difference between what happened before and behind the camera, between
fiction and reality... Iggy told us:
They used real magic mushrooms... I was at the house [Powis Square,
Notting Hill, FA] when they where getting ready to shoot the bedroom
scene, the lady in charge was getting shrooms for the cast and offered
me some as well.
Iggy was also proposed a part in the movie for a bedroom scene, but she
politely declined. It didn't stop her though to be friendly with Anita
Pallenberg and with Donald Cammell's 'beautiful dusky' lady, Myriam
On the weekend from the 23rd to the 25th September 2016 BBC4 handed over
its schedule to Keith
Richards (and Julien
Temple) in what was called Keith Richards' Lost Weekend. Apparently
all programs were hand-picked by Keith, ranging from a Hitchcock movie,
cartoons and comedy, documentaries, interviews and obviously some music.
On Sunday morning, starting at 1:25 AM, some Syd Barrett fans did not
only see the object of their adoration on the screen, but Iggy the
Eskimo as well, dancing in a park.
Probably the documentary was a condensed version of Stern's
autobiographical movie Get
All That, Ant that will be premiered at the Cambridge Syd Barrett
movie festival on October the 21st 2016, and that has The Rolling
Stones, Pink Floyd and, of course, Iggy Rose amongst its contributors.
You can read a tad more about the movie, that will hopefully be released
on DVD, on Stern's new website that looks remarkably like a vintage
eighties web-creation: Anthony
Stern Film Archive.
Obviously we had Iggy on the phone about this documentary that she saw
through half-open eyes as she was falling asleep by then. But she did
catch herself in the white dress though...
The fact that Keith Richards, Keith Richards!, hand-picked Anthony
Stern's movie about me is thrilling after all these years.
Must be that he still remembers you, Iggy. Those 'not fit for
publication' scenes happening on the backseat of his Rolls Royce must
have left an unforgettable impression on his scruffy brain, even after
This article is an updated version of Iggy
& the Stones (October 2012). Many thanks to: Lisa Newman,
Anthony Stern, Yeeshkul. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥