This page contains all the articles that match the Meic Stevens-tag, chronologically sorted, from old to new.
Most browsers have a search function (Ctrl-F) that will highlight the entry you are looking for.
Alternatively there is the 'Holy Search' search field and the 'Taglist'.
In the interview that Iggy - or should we say Evelyn - gave after
nearly 40 years of silence in The
Croydon Guardian she remembers how she helped Syd to paint the
floorboards that would give an extra psychedelic feel to The Madcap
Laughs cover picture.
When Mick turned up to take the photos I helped paint the floor boards
for the shoot, I was covered in paint, I still remember the smell of it.
But Iggy, as we will keep on calling her, isn’t the only one
remembering. Also present were Rusty and Margaretta, better known as
I remember that Iggy was involved with the floor painting project and
that she had paint all over her during the floor painting time but I was
not involved with the painting of the floor.
Several biographies, including Julian Palacios’s Lost In The
Woods (p.241), Tim Willis’s Madcap (p.106) and Mark
Blake’s Pigs Might Fly (p. 141) describe Greta (sic) and
her companion Rusty as homeless ‘speed freaks’. This description almost
certainly comes from painter Duggie Fields who shared the flat with Syd
and who wasn’t very amused with the many people Syd invited to say the
Julian Palacios remembers Duggie Fields from an interview he did in 1996:
He was so cool. Reserved and wary at first, then about halfway through
he became super raconteur. (email to FA, 10 February 2010).
This lead to the following paragraph in the Lost In The Woods
Duggie Fields recalls a steady stream of visitors, ‘some visitors were
parasites and some were confused in their drug use, not even abusing
‘Rusty and Greta were homeless when they came to stay here,’ explains
Fields. ‘Greta became good friends with Jenny Spires, and came into
Syd’s life from that connection. They were in my life to a degree but I
didn’t want them around. (…) They probably brought stimulants for Syd
and he took them.’
Now, for the first time in over 40 years Margaretta Barclay has
decided to share her memories with the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit as
well. But lets starts by setting the record straight:
Your blog relating to Syd Barrett mentions that Rusty and I were drug
addicted. This is most certainly not true and an old friend of
ours - Jenny Spires has made that fact known to you.
My sister Catriona (Trina) and I met Jenny Spires during the mid 1960’s
at a London grooming school. Jenny introduced my sister and I to Syd at
101 Cromwell Rd and at Edgerton Court. Rusty was not with us at that
Rusty and I were not in the ‘steady stream of visitors’. In 1970 we were
in Suffolk at the beginning of that year and Devon for the remainder of
it. Not in London. We were not homeless either. Rusty and I left London
for various reasons but primarily because I was expecting my first child.
Syd was a very dear friend of ours and we did a considerable amount
together in the 60's. Contrary to what I have read, we did not provide
Syd with drugs.
It was of course 40 years ago when Barrett recorded The Madcap Laughs
and memories may have played tricks on people. A famous example is the
Mick Rock statement that Syd Barrett's car was bright pink while the
pictures taken by him on that day show that the car was actually dark
blue. On the DVD The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story Duggie
Fields remembers how Syd painted the floor boards of his flat.
Although the story is rather funny we now know that the actual truth may
have been somewhat different. Similar Syd Barrett myths or legends have
been created (and repeated in books and magazines) that way throughout
the years without veryfying. Margaretta continues:
Without wishing to be vindictive where Duggie Fields and his interviews
are concerned, surely, in order to obtain a balanced view of Syd’s
chosen circle of friends, it would be sensible to back up assumptions
Syd was a highly sensitive, almost delicate person, who was well aware
of his constitution where drugs were concerned and perfectly capable of
not being cajoled in to anything he did not want to do. To my knowledge,
he did not take vast quantities of drugs.
He enjoyed our company and invited us to stay at Wetherby Mansions where
we shared good times together. Iggy was around at that time too and I
remember her helping to paint the room in question. Dominique A., a
French friend of ours, was also close to Syd at this time. Jenny,
Catriona and I lived with her in Chelsea for a time.
Update: the Church managed to contact Dominique A. but she
refused to talk about the past.
According to Margaretta the legends surrounding Syd Barrett contain many
errors and “if they relate to my sister Catriona, Rusty and me, it is my
duty to ensure that they are not perpetuated”.
It is convenient to point a finger at others in order to explain Syd’s
behavioural patterns. Syd behaved in his inimitable way long before he
Duggie did not socialise with us as a group – and his conclusion that I
indulged in such a way - and on my own, is erroneous.
From our point of view Syd was a vulnerable person, we cared for him and
our aim was to encourage him to be creative, to write and play his
guitar. After all, Rusty only wanted to write and play music with Syd -
to give him drugs was not on our agenda; Syd - was ‘far out’ enough
The Reverend was of course anxious to know what kind of music Rusty and
Syd played together:
Rusty and Syd played Syd’s songs and variations on them ’Oh baby my
hairs on end about you’, ‘Octopus’ etc…, as well as songs they created
together and basic blues.
In 1969 we went to Isle of Wight Festival together and at one point, in
an effort to encourage Syd to play his guitar, we took him to stay with
a musician friend of ours in Wales. Gala may remember the journey.
There have indeed been rumours of Syd Barrett visiting the Isle
of Wight festival before and a (much discussed) picture of this
event does exist. Margaretta is formal that the photograph is genuine:
The Isle of Wight picture is definitely of Syd with me beside him. (She
is the woman at his left side, FA.)
Back to Rusty and Gretta. Hoping that the visit would inspire and
encourage Syd to return to the musical ‘land of the living’ they took
him to a ‘brilliant musician’ who lived in Solva, Haverfordwest, Dyfed: Meic
(Update: The next paragraph is totally wrong as the Welsh
musician in question iwas Meic Stevens, not Mike Stevens
(although Meic has also been credited as Mike, early in
his career). But as this Mike Stevens's family was so kind to contact
the Church and as his music is really groovy, the Reverend has decided
not to delete it. See: Gretta
Speaks (Pt. 2))
It is believed that this musician was Mike Stevens from the Welsh
band The Shevells (aka The Welsh Conquerors). In the mid sixties the
band recorded several records featuring Stevens on guitar and vocals.
Around 1966, as Mike Stevens & The Shevells, they recorded a cover
version of Cathy's Clown and the Go-Go
Train and as The Shevelles, Come
On Home. Stevens was an on/off member of the band as he was
apparently also involved in The Squires, originally Tom Jones’s back up
band and the composers of the hit It's Not Unusual. (Information taken
the Church is currently trying to contact M. Stevens.)
In a soon to be published, revised and updated, 2010 edition of Julian
Palacios’s biography Lost
In The Woods the roles of Gretta and Rusty in Syd Barrett’s life
have already been changed for the better. Palacios writes:
Life at home edged further toward the chaotic when Rusty and Greta,
casual friends of Barrett’s, moved in. (…) Only recently arrived in
London, not on the ‘underground scene’, they later left for Devon, where
they married and settled. Greta may have done speed, but the pair were
not the terrible people they have been painted as.
When Rusty B. split with Greta, he came and stayed with Jack Monck and
Jenny (Spires). In late 1972, Jack and Rusty started a new band, Rocks
(Above quotes from 'Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd' by Julian
Palacios - Plexus Books, May September 2010 edition.)
Gretta Barclay remarried, is a proud mother and an even prouder
grandmother, and according to her family ‘she is a wonderful amazing
beautiful lady who has 3 children who love her very much’.
The Reverend can only agree with that. Even for the Church there are
more important things in life than chasing the shadow of a girl who
lived for a while in a house were someone, apparently famous, lived as
The second part of the interview will be published in the weeks to come.
The Church wishes to thank: Margaretta Barclay for her invaluable
testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969. Julian
Palacios for additional information.
Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above): Blake,
Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press, London, 2007, p.141. Fields,
Duggie interview in: The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story, DVD
UK Ltd 2005. Palacios, Julian: Lost In The Woods, Boxtree,
London, 1998, p. 241. Willis, Tim, Madcap, Short Books,
London, 2002, p. 106.
In a previous
post the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit published an interview with
Margaretta Barclay, her first in 40 years, remembering the Syd Barrett
days of 1969.
Margaretta (Gretta), her boyfriend Rusty, JenS,
Iggy and the French Dominique were regular visitors at Wetherby
Mansions, the flat where Syd Barrett lived. Some stories, legends and
rumours surrounding Syd can be traced back to painter Duggie Fields, who
still lives in the flat he co-rented with Syd and Jules (nobody seems to
remember Jules, apparently he disappeared already after a couple of
Syd was a very dear friend of ours and we did a considerable amount
together in the 60's.
He was a highly sensitive, almost delicate
person, who was well aware of his constitution where drugs were
concerned and perfectly capable of not being cajoled in to anything he
did not want to do. To my knowledge, he did not take vast quantities of
This could be correct. Early 1969 Syd Barrett was very well together, at
least compared to the year before where he – if one may believe those
unverifiable rumours again – even added heroin to his daily stash of
hash and mandrax. Recovering his sanity was one thing, tidying up his
love life another. Tim Willis (in Madcap) writes:
While keeping Gala (Pinion, who moved in at the spare room,
FA) as his serious girlfriend and Gilly Staples as a girlfriend
Barrett began an affair with Iggy the Eskimo.
Iggy (or Evelyn) seems to hint this as well in the reluctant interview
she gave to The
Syd was so beautiful looking. We had a relationship, I lived with
him for a while.
But not everybody seems to be certain of this. Duggie Fields told so in
various biographies. And to the Church JenS and some anonymous witnesses
maintain that Ig and Syd were never an item. Perhaps Gretta Barclay can
shed a light on this?
I would not say that Syd and Iggy were girlfriend and boyfriend. She was
his ‘chosen’ model for the Madcap Laughs Album cover. Whatever
may have occurred between Syd and Iggy was kept to themselves. Neither
was Ig the person to stay long at on place. Iggy moved about and
stayed with all sorts of people in all sorts of places without declaring
her intention to do so. To my knowledge there was no ‘when Iggy left
Syd’ moment. We were all free spirits then, who moved whenever and
wherever a whim took us.
There is an intriguing paragraph in Mick
Rock's Psychedelic Renegades book. When the photographer visits Syd
to show him the pictures of The Madcap Laughs photo shoot Iggy is no
Once I’d developed the film, I went round to show Syd the pictures. He
one opposite and scratched some lines and his name to it. I think
there was a bit of negativity towards Iggy. He just started scratching
the print, with a big grin on his face. There was that other side to Syd
which could be a bit mean and malicious, especially towards women, and
this was one occasion when I saw that.
The Church has always found this comment from Mick Rock a bit over the
top (but the Church has been wrong on more occasions). A while later
Margaretta Barclay received one of the original Mick Rock pictures that
were lying in Syd’s room.
This picture of Iggy was given to me by Syd but for some unknown reason
she had been torn off it.
This is the second documented case where we learn that Syd had taken ‘care’
of an Iggy photo after her departure.
Since a couple of weeks we know Iggy’s real name: Evelyn. Jeff Dexter,
Anthony Stern nor JenS ever knew her real name. How about Margaretta?
Iggy was ‘Iggy’ for me also.
Last year the Church tried to pinpoint the date of The Madcap Laughs
photo shoot. With JenS’s help and after blowing up the photo of the ‘dangerous
litter’ sticker on Syd Barrett’s Pontiac the Church concluded that
the pictures had probably been taken shortly after the 14th of April,
but before the 21st, as the sticker only gave a 7 days notice to get rid
of the car. But Gretta disagrees:
The ‘Madcap’ photo shoot dates are probably incorrect as I have a
postcard from a friend addressed to me, Rusty, Syd and Iggy at the
Wetherby Mansion address dated June 1969.
The Magic Christian
Around about that time we did some film extra work for The Magic
Christian. I have a feeling Iggy came with us? But I cannot confirm this.
Magic Christian is a quite nice satirical (but very sixty-nine-ish)
movie, starring Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers and a bunch of
(uncredited) 60-ies icons: Christopher Lee (as – what else – a vampire),
John Le Mesurier, Peter Graves, Raquel Welsh (as priestess of the whip),
Richard Attenborough, Roman Polanski, Spike Milligan and Yul Brynner (as
a transvestite cabaret singer). Fans will also notice the presence of
John Cleese and Graham Chapman who independently wrote scenes for the
movie (and before they teamed up as Monty Python members).
The movie’s main message is that everything can be bought for money and
has scenes of Peter Sellers, an eccentric billionaire, smearing beluga
caviar over his face in a posh restaurant or cutting up a Rembrandt
painting because he is only interested in the nose. His final trick
(minus one) is to make people dive into a big tub filled with blood,
urine and excrements to fish the thousands of pounds that float in it
(although by all means gross this scene is not so far from what has been
shown in some Endemol TV game shows for the last couple of years).
Update: Margaretta and (perhaps) Iggy weren't the only Wetherby-visitors
who got involved with the movie. JenS commented, after reading this
I was also an extra in the Magic Christian, I was one of Raquel's slave
girls in the Galleon scene, but fortunately taken out in the cutting
room, however this tiny scene took two days to shoot. I had done my
piece the previous year, in 1968! It was interesting for me to see the
others had done some for it in June 69. Films do take a long time in
production! (mail to FA, 29th of April 2010)
But according to the BFI
work on the movie started on the 24th of February 1969 and ended on the
14th of May. This still quite fits the dates we have been proposing for
the photo shoot, but the testimony from Gretta that Ig was still around
in June is intriguing to say the least and will have to be further
In the first part of this series it was told how Gretta, Rusty, Syd and
Gala Pinion visited a brilliant musician who lived in Solva,
Haverfordwest, Dyfed. The Church wrongly assessed it was a certain Mike
Stevens and found some very scarce information on him.
It took not long before several churchgoers made it clear to the
Reverend that the Welsh singer-songwriter in question is better known as Meic
Meic Stevens was discovered by DJ Jimmy ‘Jim‘ll Fix It’ Savile, who saw
him performing in a Manchester folk club in 1965. It is believed that he
was a session man on several recordings (Gary Farr springs to mind) and
he may have issued a solo single for Decca, but without success.
In 1967 Stevens left ‘England’ and retreated to his home village of
Solva and started to write and record songs in Welsh. From 1967 till
1969 several EPs were issued, first under the name Mike Stevens, later
Meic Stevens. (These ultra rare EPs that according to Record Collector
are searched for against exorbitant prices have been re-issued on CD by Sunbeam
In 1970 Meic Stevens made an English mildly psychedelic rock & folk
album – Outlander - for Warner Bros. On several of its tunes it is
pretty clear why he was nicknamed the Welsh Bob Dylan (acoustic guitar
and mouth organ included), although the first and by far the most
powerful track of that album - Rowena - reminds the Reverend of a Roy
Harper in the midst of one of his legendary fits. Obligatory to the
spirit of those days there are some tabla and sitar inspired pieces as
well. Amongst the people involved on that album are Ian ‘Sammy’ Samwell
(a Shadow before Cliff Richard(s) came into the picture and later
manager of the folk-rock band America) and all-round session guitarist
Bernie Holland (but as far as we know, no Syd Barrett).
The record didn’t sell as hoped, but of course - and this isn’t meant as
a pejorative comment - Meic Stevens was fishing in about the same pond
as Kevin Ayers, Michael Chapman, Donovan, Roy Harper and of course Syd
It has come to the Church’s ears that Meic Stevens visited Syd on
several occasions at Wetherby Mansions and that he 'recalls the bare
room with one Telecaster and little else'.
Update: Prydwyn was so kind to translate the Syd Barrett related
parts of Meic Stevens Welsh autobiography into English: Meic
meets Syd. A photograph of Meic Stevens with Syd Barrett (and
perhaps Rusty and Gretta) has also surfaced.
In an old post we had JenS talking about her friends Gretta and Rusty.
However there is a mistake in the following quote:
You may be inferring that Rusty and Greta were from Cambridge but they
were from Suffolk and went to Colchester Art School (50 miles from
Cambridge and London respectively), and had only recently come to London.
Rusty did not go to Colchester art School, he went to Ipswich Art
School. His parents eventually moved to Cambridge and he considered it
his base from that point on.
After a while Rusty and Margaretta went separate ways. Rusty apparently
traveled a lot before settling down on a North Frisian island (Germany)
from 1978 till 1993. After a brief stay in a village in the North of
Germany, where he participated in a few art exhibitions, he moved to a
Hamburg suburb and it is believed he is living there since 1995.
Update: the Church managed to contact Mr. Burnhill, but he
refused to talk about the past. Update 2016 11 26: RIP
We leave the final words to Margaretta Barclay:
I feel that Syd has, in the main, been portrayed wrongly as a drug
orientated and mentally deranged musician.
My impression of Syd
was that he was an intelligent, finely tuned artist and extremely
sensitive artist who could not stand the pressure of the attention his
unique talents attracted.
If he locked himself in his room for
days on end, he was entitled to do so - he certainly was not mad - he
did it to preserve his 'genius sanity' and maybe that is why the album
is titled the Madcap Laughs.
A word of the editor
The posts at The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit are not read by a lot of
people. The topics presented here only trigger a small niche market, to
use the marketing vernacular of today and the blog’s harebrained title
may not really invite readers to click.
The amount of people consulting each topic will lie closer to 100 than
to 500 (and these are totals, not clicks per day). But quantity doesn’t
matter, quality does.
It is clear that The Church is consulted, not only by hardcore Syd fans,
but also by newspaper and music magazine journalists and authors of Syd
Barrett related books that have appeared in the past, that will appear
in the (near) future and even some that are still on the author’s laptop.
Furthermore, several people whose name and fame have been discussed here
(and recently in other places) have visited the Church, so tells us The
And perhaps, one day, some of them will agree to see their story
published here as well.
So long my sistren and brethren, and don’t do anything
that Iggy wouldn’t have done!
The Church wishes to thank: Margaretta Barclay for her invaluable
testimony about what really happened in those early days of 1969. JenS.
Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above): Rock,
Mick: Psychedelic Renegades, Plexus, London, 2007, p. 20. Willis,
Tim: Madcap, Short Books, London, 2002, p. 107.
In a previous
post it was told how Margaretta
Barclay and Rusty Burnhill took Syd Barrett to acid-folk singer Meic
Stevens in Wales, trying to raise Syd's appetite to play some music
again. None of the Barrett biographies, including the most recent one
from Rob Chapman, have mentioned this, although it was not exactly a
secret as Stevens recalls the visits in his autobiography that appeared
The Church is much obliged to Prydwyn who guided us towards Meic
Stevens's autobiography and who was so friendly to translate the texts
from Welsh to English. This article has mainly been written by him.
Meic Stevens is as huge and influential a name in the Welsh-language
folk, rock, and pop scene as Bob Dylan is (was) in the English-speaking
world. Meic has been recording since 1965 (mostly in Welsh, although for
those not willing to take him on in the language of Heaven, his
outstanding 1970 psychedelic masterpiece Outlander
has recently been reissued on CD).
For the most part he has performed under his own name, although in the
late 60s he was a member of Gary Farr’s backing group in London (playing
with Farr at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1969, the festival Syd
went to with Margaretta Barclay [note from FA]). Meanwhile in Wales
(and in Welsh) he, Heather Jones, and Geraint
Jarman performed as ‘Y Bara Menyn’ as well (late 60s).
I got a contract in 1965 for a record I’d written myself called Did
I Dream. Decca were going to try to market me as another Donovan or
Bob Dylan. But it all got too much for me, I had a nervous breakdown and
ended up back at Solva.
Meic returned to his home village of Solva, Pembrokeshire, to recover, a
time he details in his first autobiography, Solva
Blues, and he soon became a feature of the Welsh-language folk and
blues scene. In 1969 he was signed by Warner Brothers but after his
first album Outlander, the contract was abandoned by mutual
consent. (Taken from: Wales
Online, interview by Robin Turner.)
The following extracts are from Meic Stevens's first biography, Hunangofiant
y Brawd Houdini(2nd edition 2009, originally from 2003),
with translations following. An English version of this autobiography
has also been issued, although I haven’t read it and so am not 100% sure
it contains the same information. Update: There is one
significant difference between the English and Welsh version, see: Syd
meets... a lot of people.
Syd Barrett and Meic Stevens in a lost BBC documentary
The first piece refers to 1969. It must have been spring or summer, as
the next section in Stevens's autobiography is about the Isle of Wight
Festival. Meic Stevens, his partner and children were living in a
farmhouse (called Caerforiog) near Solva in rural southwest Wales.
Ro’n i’n dal i wneud peth gwaith i’r BBC yng Nghaerdydd pan gwrddes i â
chyfarwyddwr ifanc, Gareth Wyn Jones, oedd am ffilmio rhaglen ddogfen
amdana i a ’mywyd. Cymeradwyodd y pennaeth rhaglenni y syniad o gael y
cywaith ’ma yn rhan o bump o raglenni dogfen am Gymry cyfoes. Roedd un
ohonyn nhw am waith gwneuthurwr drymie o Gasnewydd.
ffilmio i lawr am wthnos a ffilmio yng Nghaerforiog, Solfach, a
Thyddewi. Wedyn wthnos arall lan yng Nghaerdydd a Llunden. Y cwbwl
wnaeth Gareth oedd ffilmio ein bywyd arferol ni o ddydd i ddydd...
y rhai eraill a ymddangosodd yn y ffilm roedd Heather a Geraint, Gary
Farr a Mighty Baby yn Llunden, a Syd Barrett o Pink Floyd fydde’n dod
i’n gweld ni yng Nghaerforiog.
Yn nes ymlaen, ffraeodd
Gareth ’da’r BBC a mynd i weithio yn Singapore, gan adael y ffilm heb ei
golygu. Beth amser wedyn, rhoddodd y BBC ganiatâd i gyfarwyddwr arall
olygu portread pum munud ohona i mas o gesys ffilm Gareth, a chafodd
beth oedd yn weddill ei daflu mas. Wyth rîl o ffilm un milimedr ar
bymtheg oedd yn gyfnod o’n bywyde ni yn 1969! Bachan drwg, Rhydderch
I was still doing a bit of work for the BBC in Cardiff when I met a
young director, Gareth Wyn Jones, who wanted to film a documentary about
me and my life. The chief programming approved the idea of getting this
joint effort as a part of five documentary programs about contemporary
Wales. One of the other ones was about a drum-maker from Casnewydd.
film crew came down for a week and filmed in Caerforiog, Solva, and St.
Davids. Then another week in Cardiff and London. All Gareth did was to
film our normal day-to-day life…
Among the others who
appeared in the film were Heather [Jones] and Geraint [Jarman], Gary
Farr and Mighty
Baby in London, and Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd, who came to
see us in Caerforiog.
Later on, Gareth quarrelled with the BBC
and went to work in Singapore, leaving the film unedited. Some time
later, the BBC gave permission to another director to edit a
five-minutes portrait of me out of the cases of Gareth’s film, and what
was left over got thrown out. Eight reels of 16mm film that were a
record of our lives in 1969! Shame on you, Rhydderch Jones!
Rhydderch Jones was a producer/director for the BBC’s Welsh-language
service at the time. This excerpt doesn’t make it fully clear if Syd
appeared in the London or Wales parts of the shooting, although it is
hinted that it was made while Syd visited Meic in Wales (note
from FA). Neither do we know if any of Syd's footage survived at all
in the five-minute segment that was eventually broadcast. But it does
confirm the year (1969) and the place (Caerforiog near Solva) where Syd
Update 2011 07 08: The Church found this picture on the Laughing
Madcaps Facebook Group depicting Meic Stevens and his shortlived
Bara Menyn. This folk trio also included Geraint
Jarman and Heather
Jones who made an album in March 1969. The Dylanesque man at the
back is Meic Stevens, the man with the hat and the guitar at the front
appears to be Syd Barrett. Standing behind Syd could be his friend Rusty
Burnhill, sitting behind Syd could be Gretta
Barclay. Unfortunately nobody (not even Barrett photo archivist Mark
Jones) seems to know where this picture comes from, nor if it is
authentic or not.
A message from the Church: We leave it up to other Syd scholars
to contact the Welsh branch of the BBC in order to locate the missing
reels of the original documentary. Some of the people mentioned above
are still around and can be contacted through the BBC or are present on
social network websites. And if you do find something, please let us
know! (Note: written in 2010 and 6 years later not a single soul
has attempted this.)
The next bit is part of the description of the recording sessions for
Meic’s 1970 (mostly) English LP, Outlander. As the album was recorded in
1969 it fixes the date of this anecdote also in that year.
Y dyddie hynny, fe fydden ni’n recordio gefen nos fel arfer. Bydde rhai
o’r sesiyne’n para tan orie mân y bore – neu drwy’r nos ambell waith –
ac wedyn bydden ni’n cael brecwast mewn caffi yn Soho tua saith neu wyth
o’r gloch... Allwn i ddim ymdopi ag Olympic, oedd yn hen sgubor fawr o
le ’da pentyrre Marshall ar hyd y lle ym mhobman, gwifre spaghetti, a
blyche llwch gorlawn.
Daeth Syd Barrett lawr yno un noson pan o’n
i ar fy mhen fy hun yno ’da gitâr acwstig, ac ro’n i’n falch pan
gyrhaeddodd Syd y tresmaswr ’da’i gariad, mynd â’r gitâr, iste ar lawr,
a dechre chware iddo fe’i hun. Ro’n i wedi recordio trac y noson honno,
o’r enw ‘One Night Wonder’, ac mae e ar Ghost Town, Tenth Planet
Records. Ar lawr y bydde Syd wastad yn iste; doedd dim celfi yn ei
stafell, dim ond estyll pren moel neu rai wedi’u peintio’n oren neu’n
las, ffôn gwyn, a Fender Telecaster.
Fi oedd un o’r ychydig
oedd yn cael mynd yno; dwi’n credu ’i fod e’n hoffi bod ar ei ben ei hun
lawer o’r adeg. Ambell waith, fe fydde’n chware’i Telecaster heb ei
chwyddo. Dro arall, syllu trwy’r ffenest neu i’r gwagle fydde fe. Doedd
Syd ddim fel ’se fe moyn llawer mewn bywyd, dim ond bod ar ei ben ei hun
’da’i feddylie. Roedd e’n foi golygus iawn, wastad ’da merch hardd ar ei
fraich pan oedd e mas neu’n gyrru’i Mini Cooper, yn dene fel styllen, ac
yn gwisgo dillad ecsotig few siwtie satin croendynn, cryse sidan
ffriliog, sgarffie hirlaes, a bŵts croen neidr!
Those days, we usually recorded in the middle of the night. Some of the
sessions would continue until the wee hours of the morning – or right
through the night sometimes – and afterwards we’d have breakfast in a
café in Soho around seven or eight o’clock… I couldn’t cope with Olympic
[Studios], which was an old barn of a place with Marshall stacks
everywhere throughout the place, wires like spaghetti, and overflowing
Syd Barrett came down there one night when I was on my
own with an acoustic guitar, and I was glad when Syd trespassed his way
in with his girlfriend, took the guitar, sat on the floor, and started
playing to himself. I had been recording a track that night called One
Night Wonder, which is on Ghost Town, Tenth Planet Records.
Syd would always sit on the floor; there was no furniture in his room,
just bare wooden planks or ones painted orange or blue, a white phone,
and a Fender Telecaster.
I was one of the few who got to go
there; I believe he liked being on his own most of the time. Sometimes,
he would play his Telecaster unamplified. Other times, he would stare
through the window or into empty space. Syd didn’t seem to want much in
life, just being on his own with his thoughts. He was a very
good-looking boy, always with a beautiful girl on his arm when he was
out or driving his Mini Cooper. He was as thin as a rail, and wore
exotic clothes like skin-tight satin suits, frilly silk shirts, long
scarves, and snakeskin boots.
Probably NOT Syd
Finally, there is mention of a Syd somewhere in 1964 or 1965, although I
don’t think the man in question is Syd Barrett. Still, just in case.
Ro’n i’n iste ar y stâr yn Chalk Farm un noswaith yn trial chware fel
Big Bill Broonzy, pan ddaeth Syd, y boi oedd yn byw drws nesaf, mas a
sefyll yno’n edrych arna i. Ymhen dipyn, medde fe, “Can you play what
you’re thinking?” Wedyn, yn ôl â fe at ei deipiadur a chau’r drws. Do’n
i rioed wedi meddwl am chware beth o’n i’n feddwl; ro’n i wastad yn
trial copïo cerddoriaeth pobol eraill. Ar chwap fel ’ny, fe wnaeth e i
fi feddwl yn wahanol am gerddoriaeth, a dwi’n fwy gofalus byth ers hynny.
I was sitting on the stair in Chalk Farm one evening trying to play like
Big Bill Broonzy, when Syd, the boy who lived next door, came out and
stood there looking at me. After a while, he said, “Can you play what
you’re thinking?” Then, back he went to his typewriter and closed the
door. I’d never thought about playing what I was thinking; I was always
trying to copy other people’s music. Just like that, he made me think
differently about music, and I’ve been more careful ever since then.
Chalk Farm is an area lying in the London borough of Camden. In 1964 Syd
Barrett was living in Mike Leonard's house in Stanhope Gardens,
Highgate. The next year he moved to the West End, renting rooms at 12,
Tottenham Street. As none of these addresses are next door to
Chalk Farm it probably was another 'Syd' Meic Stevens is talking about.
Also if Meic had met Syd Barrett (who was still an amateur musician at
that point) in 1964 or 1965 he would certainly have stressed this a bit
Many thanks to Prydwyn for his writing and translating skills.
Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above): Chapman, Rob: A
Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London, 2010, p. 81. Stevens,
Meic: Hunangofiant y Brawd Houdini, Y Lolfa, Talybont, 2009, p.
138, p. 190-191, p. 202 .
A couple of weeks ago this blog published excerpts
from Meic Stevens' autobiography Hunangofiant
y Brawd Houdini (in Welsh, but awesomely translated by Prydwyn)
describing how the Cymry
bard encountered Syd Barrett in the late Sixties.
These meetings, as far as the Church is aware, have never been mentioned
before, not in any of the four main Syd Barrett biographies and not on
any website, blog or forum dedicated to the Pink Floyd frontman. It is a
bit weird, seen the fact that the biography already appeared in 2003.
Normally Syd related news, regardless of its triviality, is immediately
divulged through the digital spider web tying Syd anoraks together. The
Church does not want to take credit for this find, it is thanks to Prydwyn,
who contacted the Church, that we now have this information, and we hope
that it will slowly seep into the muddy waters of the web. (Strange
enough the Church post was almost immediately detected by (Welsh) folk
music blogs but completely ignored by the Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett
communities. Is the rumour true that there is a general Syd Barrett fatigue
The psychedelic London Underground was not unlike the rapid
transit system that listens to the same name. The counterculture wasn't
really an organised movement, but constituted of many, independent
stations with tubes going from one station to the other. Some
persons travelled a lot, switching from line to line using intersecting
stations as apparently Syd Barrett's Wetherby Mansions flat was one,
much to the dismal of Duggie Fields who wanted to produce his art in
Syd meets Spike Hawkins
In a YouTube
interview Rob Chapman, author of the Syd Barrett biography A
Very Irregular Head, recalls how he found out that beatnik and poet Spike
Hawkins was an acquaintance of Syd Barrett. He was interviewing Pete
Brown for his book and when the interview was over he remarked that
some Barrett lyrics had a distinct Spike Hawkins style. At that point
Pete Brown remarked: "I think Spike Hawkins knew Syd Barrett." Without
that lucky ad hoc comment we would (probably) never have known
that the two artists not only knew, but also met, each other at
different occassions, although it was probably more a Mandrax
haze that tied them rather than the urge to produce some art together.
Syd meets Dominique
The Church already mentioned the names of Meic Stevens, Jenny Spires,
Trina Barclay, Margaretta Barclay and her friend, painter and musician
Rusty Burnhill (who used to jam with Barrett), Iggy (or Evelyn, who is
rather reluctant to talk about the past) and the French Dominique A.,
who was - at a certain moment - rather close to Barrett.
Dominique is, like they say in French, un cas à part.
Unfortunately nobody seems to know what happened to her, but if the six
degrees of separation theory is accurate it might not be too
difficult to find her. The problem is that nobody remembers if she
stayed in Great Britain or returned to France. But if you read this and
have a granny, listening to the name Dominique A., who smiles
mysteriously whenever you mention the name Pink Floyd, give us a call.
Update May 2011: thanks to its many informants, the Church has
traced the whereabouts of Dominique. She currently lives in a small
village, close to Bayonne, near the Bay of Biscay (French: Golfe de
Gascogne). Unfortunately she doesn't want to talk about the past.
Update June 2018: Iain Moore, aka Emo, uploaded a picture, taken
in the mid-Seventies. From left to right: Dominique, Gala (Gaylor?)
Pinion, Lyndsay Corner.
Syd meets Carmel
Church member Dark Globe compared the English version of Meic
Stevens' biography Solva
Blues (2004) with the excerpts of the Welsh version we published at Meic
meets Syd and found a few differences. Apart from the fact that Meic
Stevens also had an Uncle Syd who appears quite frequently in the book
there are some minor additions in the English version, absent from the
The Welsh version notes fore instance that 'Syd Barrett from Pink
Floyd came to see us in Caerforiog':
Syd Barrett o Pink Floyd fydde’n dod i’n gweld ni yng Nghaerforiog.
The English version adds a small, but in the life of a Barrett anorak,
rather important detail. It reads:
Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd who used to visit us at Caerforiog with
his girlfriend Carmel.
It is the first time the Church (and Dark Globe) hears from this lady,
and she is probably one of those two-week (or even two-day) girlfriends
Mick Rock and Duggie Fields have been talking about.
(Warning Label: The picture just above has been taken from the
Mick Rock movie Lost
In The Woods, nobody knows for sure who is the mysterious brunette.
This blog does not imply she is Dominique A. or Carmel, for that matter.)
The second reference (about Syd visiting the Outlander
sessions) also has one addition in the English version. Solva Blues adds
I wouldn't have thought he had a drug problem - no more than most
people on the scene.
If there is one returning constant about the underground days it is its
general tunnel vision. In the brave new psychedelic world every move,
the crazier the better, was considered cool and there was a
general consensus to deny any (drug related) problem that could and
would occur. Rob Chapman is right when he, in his rather tempestuous
What do you do if your lead guitarist is becoming erratic / unstable /
unhinged? Simple. You send him off round the UK on a package tour
(…) with two shows a night for sixteen nights.
Mason acknowledges this illogical (not to use another term)
If proof was needed that we were in denial about Syd's state of mind,
this was it. Why we thought a transatlantic flight immediately
followed by yet more dates would help (Syd) is beyond believe.
Syd almostmeets R.D. Laing
Of course looking for professional psychiatric help in those crazy days
wasn't that simple either. Bluntly said: you could choose between the
traditional cold shower - electroshock therapy or go for anti-psychiatry.
Although it is impossible to turn back the clock it still is the
question if experimental anti-psychiatry would have helped Barrett. In a
previous post we have given the example how an experimental therapist
administered LSD to a Cantabrigian
friend of Syd as an alternative way of therapy and R.D. 'I like
black people but I could never stand their smell' Laing was no
exception to that.
Pink Floyd's manager Peter Jenner made an appointment for Syd with R.D.
Laing, but Syd refused to go on with it, but this didn't withhold Laing
to make the following observations as noted down by Nick Mason:
Syd might be disturbed, or even mad. But maybe it was the rest of us
(Pink Floyd, note by FA) who were causing the problem, by
pursuing our desire to succeed, and forcing Syd to go along with our
This is the main theory that is overzealously, but not always
successfully, adhered by Chapman in his Syd Barrett biography. R.D.
Laing ended his Barrett diagnosis, who he never met, by saying:
Maybe Syd was actually surrounded by mad people.
Although some biographers may think, and there they are probably right,
that the other Pink Floyd members may have been an ambitious gravy
train inspired gang, there was also the small matter of a 17,000
British Pounds debt that the architectural inspired band members
still had to pay off after the split. They didn't burden Syd Barrett,
nor Peter Jenner and Andrew King with that. Now that is what the Church
We now know that giving Syd Barrett the time and space, outside the
band, to meddle at his own pace with his own affairs and music was not
entirely fruitful either. In the early to mid Seventies Syd Barrett
entered a lost weekend that would almost take a decade and that
is a blank chapter in every biography, apart from the odd Mad Syd
Mini Cooper (based upon a remark from Dark Globe)
It is also interesting that Meic Stevens mentions Syd's Mini Cooper:
He was a very good-looking boy, always with a beautiful girl on his arm
when he was out or driving his Mini Cooper.
Presumably this is the same car Syd drove all over England in, following
the band, when he was freshly thrown out of the Floyd.
Syd swapped this Mini Cooper for a Pontiac
Parisienne (and not a Buick as car fanatic Nick Mason writes,
although Buick and Pontiac were of course closely related brands) with
T-Rex percussionist Mickey Finn in the beginning of 1969, which would
date the first meetings between Stevens and Barrett prior to the Mick
Rock photo sessions.
But that photo session has been discussed here ad nauseum already
so we won't get further into that. So, my sistren and brethren, bye,
bye, till the next time, and don't do anything Iggy wouldn't have done.
Especially at this warm weather.
Many thanks go to: Dark Globe for checking the English version of Meic
Stevens' autobiography. Prydwyn for checking and translating the Welsh
version of Meic Stevens' autobiography.
Sources: (other than internet links mentioned above):
Chapman, Rob: A Very Irregular Head, Faber and Faber, London,
2010, p. 201, p. 227. Green, Jonathon: Days In The Life,
Pimlico, London, 1998, p. 210. (R.D. Laing quote) Mason, Nick: Inside
Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Weidenfeld & Nicolson,
London, 2004, p. 87-88, p. 95, p. 129. Stevens, Meic: Hunangofiant
y Brawd Houdini, Y Lolfa, Talybont, 2009, p. 190-191, p. 202. Stevens,
Meic, Solva Blues, Talybont, 2004 (English, slightly updated,
translation of the above).
So busy, the Reverend has been, that he forgot to mention the second
birthday of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Luckily there was the
Holy Igquisition, sending him a memorandum on parchment paper.
And a whip. And a letter of instructions.
For the past year the Reverend tried to re-trace Iggy's footsteps and
that not always with success. Knowing that Ig had once been to a
Dusty Springfield party we asked Dusty's bass
player if he remembered her. The answer was he didn't. We asked
Vickie Wickham, from RSG! fame and Dusty's manager. The answer was she
remembered hardly anything from the sixties. We asked Rod
Harrod from the Cromwellian, where Ig was spotted dancing The
Bend, but he apologised for not remembering her.
What the Church couldn't achieve, Mojo
did. January 2010 saw the appearance of the March issue of that
particular music magazine, dedicated to the 40 years anniversary of Syd
Barrett's mythical album The Madcap Laughs. On the 6th of
February 2010 the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit triumphantly broke the
news that Ig was alive and well and living in the south of England: World
Exclusive: Ig has been found!
One week later saw Evelyn's (her real name) first, and rather reluctant,
interview in 40 years, by Kirsty Whalley from The Croydon
Guardian. (The transcript from that interview, with some extra
comments from the Church can be found here: Little
old lady from London-by-the-Sea.)
But the Church did achieve something else. Margaretta Barclay, who often
visited Syd in 1969, gave an exclusive
interview, revealing - en passant - that the controversial
picture of Syd visiting the Isle of Wight festival in 1969 was genuine
indeed. Also musician Meic Stevens used to visit Syd in those days, but
alas, the Welsh proto-punk-folk-rocker had no further comments for the
Church. His memoirs reveal though that the BBC filmed a visit of Syd
Barrett at Stevens' house in Caerforiog, but that the rolls may have
been lost: Meic
The Church will continue, at its own pace, to look further for people
and clues that can explain the madcap's enigma. The Reverend recently
revealed the (first) names of two women who knew Syd in the late
sixties, early seventies: Dominique (from France) and Carmel. We would
like to see these grannies talk about their trip, for sure.
But not all people are inclined to talk about their flower power days. A
musician, who used to jam with Syd Barrett in his flat at Wetherby
Mansions, recently told the Reverend:
Isn't it time this all ends? This has been going on for 40 years now. Can't
you just let the music speak for itself?
Upgrade November 2016: this artist was Rusty Burnhill, who sadly
passed away in November 2016.
But as any Barrett anorak will tell you, it is hard to close our eyes
and just enjoy the octopus ride… now going strong for its third
consecutive year... In the meantime, sistren and brethren, don't do
anything that Iggy wouldn't have done!
Last year's birthday party can be found here: Catwoman,
containing an exclusive (and unpublished) poem dedicated to Iggy, by Dr.
Denis Combet (Manitoba University, Canada).
The Anchor's editor was kindly asked, although summoned would be a more
appropriate term, to do an independent review of an interview of the
Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit that recently appeared on
the extraordinary Spanish Barrett blog Solo
en las Nubes (Alone in the Clouds).
Run by Antonio Jesús the blog is a mix of information and
fun, containing several references to La Sagrada Iglesia de Iggy La
Esquimal, that could be without doubt a title for one of the weirder Pedro
Almodóvar movies. Quite recently, in a dark corner of The
Anchor, dimly lit by a dripping candle in a bottle on the rough
wooden table, I bend over to the gorgeous black-haired girl sitting in
front of me, slowly whispering 'La Sagrada Iglesia de Iggy La Esquimal'
in her ears (actually, in one ear only as it is quite infeasible to
whisper in two ears at the same time, except for Mick Jagger perhaps).
Oh Alex Fagotin baby, she passionately sighed with heaving
breasts, say that to me one more time, but unfortunately my hair already
had caught fire by then.
One very interesting part of the Spanish Barrett blog are the so-called self-interviews
(or autoentrevista) and so far Antonio has persuaded Duggie
Fields and Laughing Madcaps front-man Kiloh Smith to reveal
their souls in these autobiographical Rorschach
Titled 'Felix Atagong: "Un hombre sincero"' the latest
self-interview has provoked roars of hysterical laughter from the Åland
Islands to Wallis
and Futuna. We reveal no real secrets if we tell you that the
Reverend has left a trail of female victims from Oslo to Tarzana
and rumour goes there will be more to follow despite many international
The Reverend's self-interview can already be described as absolute
rock-bottom and without doubt it will be voted the all-time-worst-entry
at the - otherwise excellent - Spanish Barrett blog. Time to let you
decide for yourself what a kind of pompous pathetic pumpernickel that
Reverend of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit really is. Ladies and
gentlemen, the Anchor presents, but not too proudly: Felix Atagong: an
Felix Atagong: "Un hombre sincero"
Even the roads of rock are unfathomable.
Felix Atagong, from Belgium, has created a blog dedicated to Iggy, the
model of The Madcap Laughs album. Nobody knew her whereabouts for almost
forty years. The coincidence of life, meaning that it is not
coincidental at all, has lead this case to an unexpected but
In his self-interview, Mr. Atagong, the Sherlock Holmes of the Floydian
world (he even helped to clarify the Publius Enigma) and always
committed to the truth he slowly peels the layers of the story of his
blog, and more... (introduction written by Antonio Jesús)
1. What is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit?
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is a blog for Syd Barrett fans dealing
with the – very short – period in 1969 when Syd's alleged girlfriend
Iggy lived with the singer. Apart from some unverified rumours about her
Eskimo roots nobody really knew something about her, nor what happened
to her after her sudden disappearance in 1969.
2. How did it all start?
The Church more or less started as a prank. Discussing the (theoretical)
possibility of a Barrett religion on the Late Night forum I mentioned a Saint
Iggy Congregation in 2007 and when, in March 2008, DollyRocker
recognised Iggy acting in a 1967 British documentary, I jokingly announced
the Church's birth. But the idea still ripened for five months before
any blog post appeared.
3. What were your intentions?
These were quite ambiguous by design.
Obviously the Church frame, lead by an all-knowing Reverend who
addresses his flock in a swollen and theatrical language, is satirical.
I wanted to imitate those overzealous fans, who can't stop arguing that
Barrett is the world's most underrated musical genius and graphical
artist and who painstakingly, almost in religious stupor, scrutinize
every minute of his life.
But while I was developing the blog I soon realised that I was
painstakingly, almost in religious stupor, collecting all available
puzzle pieces that lay shattered over the net, on blogs, in forums, that
were published in different articles and biographies, thus creating the
ultimate Iggy repository.
Both concepts share an an osmotic relationship and - by being what it is
and what it pretends to be – the Church has evolved into a meta-concept,
although that thin ironic line is probably completely ignored by the
people who visit it.
4. But the Church did trigger an Iggy revival, didn't it?
Not really. Every avalanche starts with a couple of snowflakes and by
sheer luck the Holy Church happened to be on the right place at the
right time. After nearly 40-years of silence several people
simultaneously remembered Iggy. Most of the time the Church was not
involved but has been monitoring and commentating these events. What
nobody expected, except perhaps for the Holy Igquisition, is that it
resulted in some sort of Iggymania.
Iggymania started when Mojo magazine put Syd Barrett on its cover in
2010. Of course that cover story was all about The Madcap Laughs 40th
birthday but the Church had clearly inspired one of the articles. Not
only did this boost the hits on the website but a few days later The
Church could reveal that Evelyn (Iggy) had been found back as well and
that thanks to Mojo.
Beginning of this year Pink Floyd biographer Mark Blake could finally
interview Iggy and that is when Iggymania fully exploded.
5. Not bad for something that started as a joke.
The Church had already turned serious when JenS shared her memories with
us, revealing that she (probably) introduced Iggy to Syd and pinpointing
The Madcap Laughs photo-shoot date in spring, rather than in the autumn
of 1969. Some time later another acquaintance of Syd gave her first
interview ever to the Church. Margaretta Barclay and her boyfriend Rusty
were regular visitors at Syd's flat and they even tried to resuscitate
Barrett's interest in music by dragging him over to Meic Stevens, who is
still some kind of weird folk cult figure.
I find it rewarding that some of the Church theories have been reprinted
in magazine articles and biographies, so I guess we're not all rubbish
6. But finding Iggy also presented a major crisis for the Church,
It is the ambiguity of all organisations that have a certain goal. What
do you do if the goal has been reached? What will Greenpeace do if
no-one hunts little seals any more? The worst thing that could happen to
the Church was to find Iggy! But every time the Reverend uttered the
fear there would be lack of Iggy, something new turned up. And 2011 has
already proved to be no exception.
Thinking about the future the Church did some reorganising and will
continue developing into other areas, of course not neglecting its
primary task to inform about al things Ig. One of the new items at the
Church will be a gossip corner called 'The Anchor', named after the
Cambridge pub Syd Barrett used to visit in the early Sixties. We hope it
will stir things up as the Barrett community has become quite lethargic
lately. We're all old farts who fall asleep after our afternoon tea and
7. The question we are all waiting for: is Iggy aware of it at all
and what does she think of the Church?
Evelyn kept a low profile over the years, although she apparently never
hid the fact that she had been on the cover of The Madcap Laughs album.
But the path of Iggy and the path of the Barrett fan community simply
didn't converge for the last 40 years.
Recently Iggy has contacted the Church and she gave us valuable
information. However the question is what will happen when Iggymania
freezes over. I feel it a bit hypocrite to say that now, but it was
never the Church's intention to invade Iggy's privacy.
8. This interview should have at least one anoraky question,
reflecting the true nature of the Church. Does the 'eskimo chain' line
in Barrett's Dark Globe refer to Iggy?
Dark Globe is a very poignant, hermetic track and, as is the case in
many of Syd's songs, its lyrics can be interpreted in different ways. I
think Julian Palacios describes it as a lament to Pink Floyd or
something of that order. It also reads as a goodbye song to a past love
and here is where the 'eskimo chain' line fits in – or doesn't.
I'm only a person with Eskimo chain I tattooed my brain all the way... Won't
you miss me? Wouldn't you miss me at all?
Most people who read Barrett blogs will know that Barrett recorded under
the guidance of Malcolm Jones, but somewhere in May 1969 he passed the
torch to David Gilmour (Roger Waters would join in as well on a later
date). Jones had given up in desperation, as Peter Jenner had done the
year before, that last one declaring that the sessions had been 'chaos'.
Finally it was David Gilmour who pleaded Harvest records to allow
Barrett a third and final chance to finish his solo record. Of course
this is just one interpretation and not all biographers and witnesses
agree with that. Another story goes that Malcolm Jones simply invited
Gilmour (and Waters) for marketing reasons: three Pink Floyd members for
the price of one, so to speak (four if one adds Rick Wright who might
have done some uncredited overdubs on Golden Hair). Probably the truth
lies, as is often the case, somewhere in the middle.
The first session of the third recording round took place on the 12th of
June 1969. Barrett premiered two new songs: Dark Globe and Long Gone. On
the third (and final) session (26th of July) Roger Waters joined David
Gilmour and a couple of other attempts were made of the same songs.
(this alternative version of Dark Globe, now retitled as Wouldn't You
Miss Me, was later released on the Opel outtakes album.)
It would be logical to see Long Gone and Dark Globe as an indivisible
pair as they are both sad love songs. But there is an abundance of that
theme on The Madcap Laughs. Jenny Spires told the Church: “Syd wrote
songs and not all of them were about one person or another. It was his
job. (…) Syd was not romantically inclined this way. 'I'm only a person
with Eskimo chain' refers to the evolutionary chain, not to a specific
person. He was on a very much higher spiritual plane, not so much on the
But on the other hand Syd liked to put wordplay and little nods to
reality in his texts. Pink Floyd's second single See Emily Play refers
to psychedelic debutante Emily Young and to Libby Gausden, Jennifer
Gentle from Lucifer Sam is a mixture between Jenny Spires and an ancient
English ballad called 'There were three sisters' (Jennifer, Gentle and
Dark Globe also contains the verse: “'The poppy birds way, swing twigs
coffee brands around.” At first sight this is just a nature description
set in a romantic mood but if one knows that a former girlfriend of Syd
was Vivian 'Twig' Brans it becomes quite clear that Syd has cryptically
entered her name in that line.
So while Dark Globe may have no-one specific in mind the Eskimo chain
line may have been a slight nod toward Iggy.
9. This explanation made my appetite grow for more. How can one join
To paraphrase Groucho Marx: I don't want to belong to any Church that
will accept me as a member, so you can't. The Church does have some
loyal friends though who have helped by passing on valuable information.
Basically the Church just reaps what others have sown (a common practice
amongst churches, I might add). Many kudos go to a long list of loyal
brainstormers, informants, witnesses and friends (and I already want to
apologise for the ones I have forgotten): Anne, Anthony, Bea, Denis,
DollyRocker, Douggie, Eternal, Gretta, Jenny, Julian, Kieran, Lisa,
Mark, Paro, Prydwyn, Rod, Sadia, Sean, Vicky, our many visitors and
fans... And of course Iggy herself.
10. What is this recurring thing about the Holy Igquisition?
Nobody expects the Holy Igquisition!
Self-interview courtesy of: Solo en las Nubes (2011) - Felix
Atagong: "Un hombre sincero", introduction written by
Antonio Jesús. Self-interview written in December 2010 and updated in
The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical
division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad
character. More info: The
Anchor. Read our legal stuff: Legal
The Church was informed, a couple of days ago, that Rusty Burnhill died
at the age of 70.
Rusty, and his girlfriend (and later wife) Gretta Barclay, were a
'hippie couple' who were in Syd Barrett's inner circle and who visited
him in his apartment at Wetherby Mansions. It is there that they met
Iggy and helped painting the floorboards in blue and red (or any colour
variation you like).
Unfortunately the other tenant of the apartment wasn't really amused
with the constant stream of visitors around the has-been pop-star and,
in several interviews, many years later, he still uttered his
frustration about this, naming the couple as one of the heavier nutcases.
This unfavourable account found its way in at least three renowned Pink
Floyd and Syd Barrett biographies and as such the Holy Church of Iggy
the Inuit repeated that testimony as well. (Source: Love
In The Woods (Pt. 2)).
However, another friend of Syd Barrett, who we may only address under
the pseudonym JenS, for reasons too much complicated to explain here,
vehemently disagreed and called the couple 'art school kids' who
probably goofed out on booze and mandrax, like everyone else did in
those days (Source: When
Syd met Iggy... (Pt. 3)).
Gretta Barclay denied the accusations in her interview with the Church:
Syd was a very dear friend of ours and we did a considerable amount
together in the 60's. Contrary to what I have read, we did not provide
Syd with drugs. (Source: Gretta
JenS had met Gretta and her sister Trina during the mid sixties in a
London grooming school and she introduced them to Syd when he was still
living at 101 Cromwell Road. JenS, Gretta, Trina and the French
Dominique (who apparently had a huge crush on Syd) lived together in
Chelsea for a while. Then Gretta met Rusty.
In late 1969 or early 1970 the couple, who had never been part of the
underground, left hectic London for Suffolk mainly because Gretta was
pregnant from her first child. Later in 1970 they moved to Devon.
Barrett still was a close friend and they did visit him, but obviously
not to indulge in drugs and booze. Rusty was a pretty good guitarist and
he jammed with Syd on tracks as Terrapin, Octopus and the blues
standards they both loved. The couple tried to upkeep Syd's interest for
(his own) music and Rusty silently hoped to do something together.
Although Gretta, in her first and only interview she ever gave, is
pretty vague about Syd's condition the couple must have sensed there was
something terribly wrong with the Cambridge wonderboy. They actively
tried to reactivate his musical interest by introducing him to the Welsh
They all visited the Welsh singer-songwriter in his house in Solva,
where Syd and Rusty jammed with Meic's band Bara
Menyn. A pretty bad photo exists of the encounter, perhaps with
Gretta and Rusty sitting around the table with Syd, Meic, Heather
Jones and Geraint
Jarman. (Syd and Meic would meet several times and they were the
subject of a BBC documentary that has probably been lost. See Meic
meets Syd for the story.)
After a while Rusty and Margaretta went separate ways. Rusty lived for a
few months with Jenny Spires and Jack Monck in Cambridge. Jack and Rusty
even started a band, in 1972, right after the Stars debacle. Rocksoff
(or Rocks Off) had Rusty Burnhill (gtr/voc), Jack Monck (bass/voc),
George Bacon (gtr/voc), Dan Kelleher (gtr/pno/voc) and a succession of
drummers, including Chris Cutler and Laurie Allan. (Source: http://calyx.perso.neuf.fr/mus/monck_jack.html.)
Rusty apparently travelled a lot before settling down on the North
Frisian island Amrum
(Germany) from 1978 till 1993. After a brief stay in Worpswede, a
village in the North of Germany, where he participated in a few art
exhibitions, he moved in 1995 to Barmstedt, a Hamburg suburb.
In March 2010, after some holistic detective agency proceedings, the
Church could find Rusty's address. We knew he wasn't using mail and that
he was very reluctant to speak about the past, so we wrote him a letter
to ask for an interview.
It took quite a while, and actually we had forgotten all about it, but
one day he called us out of the blue. Unfortunately the conversation
wasn't going into the direction we had hoped for. After a tirade that
took a few minutes Mr. Burnhill asked us:
Isn't it time this all ends? This has been going on for 40 years now. Can't
you just let the music speak for itself?
Wise words. There are more important things in life than chasing shadows
of dead men.
We really hope, Rusty, that you can finally form that band, you've
always dreamt about.
Many thanks: Gretta Barclay, Thomas Hartlage, JenS, Gus Mark Peters,
Rebecca Poole, anonymous. Picture of Rusty Burnhill: courtesy of Gretta
We ended the first season on a low note because it seemed that the
entire Iggy story had been told in a handful of articles. It seemed that
she had disappeared and that she would not be found back.
How wrong we were, but we were not the only ones. Duggie Fields (to Mark
I have no idea who Iggy was or even what her real name was. (…) I
saw her not long after Syd left the flat and she was looking more like a
Sloane Ranger. I heard she’d become involved with one of the voguish
religious cults at the time.
(As a matter of fact, this was not that far from the truth, but of
course we didn’t know that in 2009. For a while Iggy was signaled in Scientology
circles, one of those incredible stories we might tell you one day.)
Here is an overview of the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit’s tumultuous
second season (August 2009 -July 2010).
Fille de l’espace
We celebrated our first birthday with the publication of a brilliant
poem written by Dr.
Denis Combet, professor at Brandon University, Manitoba, Canada, who
specialises in French literature of the 17th and 18th centuries, but he
has also written lyrics for the pretty awesome stoner rock band Rescue
Rangers. In 2006 – 2007 he published a Syd Barrett inspired
multimedia project under the title Guitars and Dust Dancing (that
is unfortunately no longer online, but archive.org has a partially saved
and Dust Dancing).
The Church could exclusively issue the French version of the poem ‘De
Quétesh à Bastet’, dedicated to Iggy the Eskimo, and would
later publish Crystal Blue Postcards, a digital booklet with
(mostly) new poems, dedicated to Syd and Iggy. It can still be found
Iggy was moved to tears when she found out that someone in Canada had
written a poem for her and she kept on repeating that on our weekly
phone-calls. Thanks Denis!
The Iggy story, so we thought, was a dead end street or at least a slow
lane. In absence of our subject of adoration we started a series about
the legendary Cromwellian club, bar and casino. We also looked deeper
into The Bend dance craze, a clever marketing scheme started to twist a Dave
Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich single into a genre.
don’t have to believe us but we think these are still the best articles
about this nightclub on the web, with several interviews from people who
were there. The complete Cromwellian & The Bend series (running from
2008 till 2015): The
The Madcap’s Mojo
2010 started with a bang. Rock magazine Mojo had a Madcap Laughs 40
years anniversary special, annex tribute CD, and it was undoubtedly
clear that some writers had found inspiration at the Church, but without
mentioning where they had found the information. (It needs to be said
that our secret informant in those days, Mark
Blake, who also wrote for the special, was not amongst those.)
We ended our review of the Mojo special with the prophetic words:
Ig’s story as published in Mojo may be the butterfly effect that will
cause the storm at the other side of the world. So perhaps, thanks to
Mojo, the Church will be one day able to fulfil its quest.
On the fifth of February 2010 Mark Blake informed us that Iggy was alive
and well and living in a small village in Southern England. The Church
were the first to publish this news on this entire planet. World
Exclusive: Ig has been found!
Initially Iggy wanted to anonymously live her life in her little village
in South-England, but her cover was blown by The Croydon Guardian. (Here
was another journalist suffering from amnesia. She didn’t find it
necessary to give a nod to the Church, although it was us who had
informed her about Iggy.)
Timing couldn’t have been better. Iggy was found just when we were going
to publish an interview with Gretta Barclay, who – with her friend Rusty
Burnhill – was a regular visitor at Wetherby Mansions in 1969.
A decade later this is still Margaretta’s one and only interview in the
We also tracked down Rusty Burnhill, living in a small town in Northern
Germany and sent him a polite letter where we asked if we could ask him
some questions. To our amazement he called us a few months later,
started swearing and shouting, threatened to call the police and smashed
down the phone. Needless to say that we didn’t pursue our plans to have
Iggy had been located (by a few journalists) but wasn’t communicating to
the outer world (yet). A decision we obviously accepted. The Church has
never been into trophy hunting.
The Holy Church had already published the intriguing theory that the
painted floorboards at Syd’s flat didn’t date from autumn 1969, but from
spring 1969. This was contradicting all witness reports and all
biographies and obviously it was clear evidence that the Holy Church was
lead by a raving lunatic.
But our anonymous witness JenS had said so, Gretta Barclay and Iggy
confirmed it and more ‘proof’ for this was found by Barrett enthusiast
Dark Globe, a member of the Late Night Syd Barrett forum and one of the
people helping the Church with valid information.
Rob Chapman didn’t update this information in his Syd Barrett biography,
but Julian Palacios did, just before the printing deadline, making him
one of the believers. What was a wacky theory at first, laughed at by
several people, has now become the gospel.
Our review of Rob
Chapman’s Syd Barrett biography A Very Irregular Head
was quite polemic (and made us persona non grata in top level
Barrett circles). We did conclude it was one of the better biographies
around but there was of course the Octopus – Clowns & Jugglers
Rather than stirring up a dying fire and prejudicing you we suggest you
read the review first and we’ll talk about it afterwards.
An intriguing anecdote was told to us by Gretta Barclay. One that also
couldn’t be found in any biography. Syd Barrett and his Welsh
counterpart Meic Stevens, who also suffered from a few psychological
drawbacks, met each other at different occasions.
Prydwyn read Steven’s autobiograpy (in Welsh) and translated the
relevant bits into English for generations to come. One pretty exiting
bit is that the two musicians were filmed by a BBC camera-team, but
apparently the movie has been destroyed, unless it still is hiding in a
BBC archive somewhere.
2019 sees Meic Stevens gigging again in Britain (although he immediately
started with some controversial
On The Border singer Göran Nyström published an excellent follow-up
to our Solva Blues article just a few days ago, with a few new
discoveries. Or how an article from a decade ago inspires people today
to further investigate in all matters Syd.
The Church wishes to thank all of those who helped us 10 years ago.
Unfortunately, many of them have already left the scene. : Anonymous,
Banjer and Sax, Margaretta Barclay, Paul Belbin, Mark Blake, Rusty
Burnhill, Constance Cartmill, Rob Chapman, Denis Combet, Duggie Fields,
Dark Globe, Rod Harrod, JenS, Pascal Mascheroni, Kerry McQueeney, David
Moore, Julian Palacios, Paro नियत, Prydwyn, Douggie Reece, Lynn Annette
Ripley (Twinkle), Brian Roote, Beate S., Jenny Spires, Allison Star,
Jean Vouillon, Kirsty Whalley, Vicky Wickham and the Dutch Dave Dee,
Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich fan community (not online any more)… (Sorry to
those we have forgotten to mention.) ♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥