Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Iggy's Bogies

I've always loved Iggy Pop. I don't think I could ever really trust anybody who doesn't. So when an opportunity rose to meet the man himself some 18 or 19 years ago, I took it.

Iggy was charming and warm. A little fella with a big heart. And though my meeting with him was brief, it was sweet and memorable. I had my photograph taken with him and I got him to sign my copy of his then-current LP, "Brick By Brick".

The picture from that meeting remains a great personal favourite. My friends Pete and Alison are in the snap, and Iggy has his arms draped over our shoulders. He is half scowling, half beaming in a fashion that is entirely his. He looks so cool - and we don't look too bad either. My LP cover was signed 'To Andy, Iggy Pop x' and featured a little drawing of a face and curly bogies drooping from each of Iggy's nostrils on the back cover photograph. An Osterberg embellishment in dazzling blue ink.

It looked cool enough to hang, so shortly after I got it home I put it in a frame and stuck it on a wall close to the large bay window in my lounge. Pride of place.

The summer of 1991 came and went, and all the while my treasured Iggy autograph shone proudly from my wall. A friend came to visit one day and sauntered over for a look. "Hey, why have you got this Iggy Pop LP in a frame on your wall?" he asked.

"Oh, that's been signed by Iggy. Check out the bogies! He added them himself."

"What bogies? What autograph?"

I raced to Iggy's wall. My friend was right. This was an Iggy Pop LP sleeve with nothing special on it. At all. All trace of signature and hand-daubed bogie squiggle had vanished. The sunlight had bleached the watery ink into a big pile of nothingness. Not a trace of Iggy's customisation remained.

Sadly, I took the frame from the wall and removed the Iggy sleeve. I put it back in the record rack where it now belonged - it was just another LP cover once more. I found something else to hang on the wall in its place. Something less special.

Fast forward a few years to the 'American Caesar' album. Not a bad record at all. 'Wild America', a mid-90s blues/punk rant against the red, white an' blue is an Iggy classic for sure. I got it on release day and devoured the copious sleeve notes as I played it. On the first page was the facsimile of a hand-written note from Iggy himself. It said something like: "I am not a rock star, I am a human being like you. If you want to write to me, feel free. Here is my address. If you write to me, I will reply."

So I put my little story down on paper. I kept it respectfully brief, but told Iggy how I once had his autograph, how it was blasted into a vacuum by sunlight, how I hoped to meet him again one day. I wished him well for the future and thanked him for the music, I put the envelope in the post to the States and forgot all about it.

A good few years later, an A4 card-backed envelope dropped onto my doormat. It had a New York City postmark. So much time had passed, but when I opened the flap and pulled out the 8x10" black and white promo photo of Iggy Pop I knew instantly what it was about. Iggy had signed it "To Andy, Iggy Pop x" and had drawn a little face. And from each nostril drooped a curly hand-drawn bogie... in permanent black ink.

No comments:

Post a Comment