Monday, June 14, 2021


The extraordinary story of how I bought a real, 100% genuine Iggy Pop signature

without knowing it.

Tuesday the 8th of June 2021 I bought  four cd albums in the Sister Ray record shop in Soho.  One was Iggy Pop's American Caesar, which he produced and toured in 1993.

About half an hour later on the train back home, basking in the wonderfully hot sun that day, I opened the case and decided to read the sleeve notes.  The train had stopped on the tracks and it was a convenient thing to do.  Opening the first two pages, I discovered the message you can see above.  

I kind of went into shock.  I looked over at the man sitting across me as if to say....look at this?  The last time that happened I was on top of a bus in the Angel Islington.  There in front of it a tall man in a long expensive black coat and a flat cap was waiting to cross the road.  He turned his head and I recognised him.  I had no idea what else to do with the experience but share it.  So I turned to the rather aggressive and tough looking man sitting opposite me and said....THAT'S KEVIN SPACEY DOWN THERE.

The man on the bus looked down and said...really?  I said, yes.  Oh he replied.  (This was whilst Mr Spacey was running the Old Vic theatre, and was a respected member of a civilisation that knew all about this 'offering to help young actors who were working in bars with their careers' and ordering his lunch with 'a special saveloy' male prostitute to go with it.  I heard all about that).

So there I was, supposed to believe that this was a bona fide Iggy Pop signature in my hands.  Not only that it had provenance.  There was an accompanying message that located it's time, place and circumstances.  it was addressed to one Sam.  Sam who?  

The theory I entertained was that a bored arts graduate in the shop was forging such things every now and again and posting them into random sleeve notes.  I thought Prince turned up and likes of Joe Strummer.  I never bothered to look such things up online.  I looked up Sister Ray's phone number and used it.

The man who answered had no idea what I was talking about and, on the basis of my description, suggested that the writing was merely part of the sleeve notes.  I mentioned the slight smudge you can see?  (Did this contain Iggy Pop's fingerprints as well?  Blimey).  He was as confused as I was.

I got home and placed images on the internet.  Then after a few days I posted to Sister Midnight's Facebook page.  They responded that Sam was in fact Sam Ireland, the lead singer with the band that had supported Iggy on the 12th December 1993.  Die Cheerleader.

Even a friend of mine later told me he was at that gig.  I sent messages to Sam Ireland via her SoundCloud and Facebook.

Finally after nearly a week of pondering and having to accept the signature must be real, Sister Ray records contacted me again.  They told me that Sam Ireland's husband had accidentally included it in a whole pile of materials he had brought to the shop to sell.  They said '..IT IS OF GREAT SENTIMENTAL VALUE AND THEY WOULD LIKE IT BACK.  I was offered £30 worth of goodies in return.  

Of course I will return it.  What do you think I was going to do - hold onto it and ruin it with tears because it's an Iggy Pop signature?  Sell it in the future and make some easy cash?  I had no idea if it was real.  Fact is its clearly worth a lot of money beyond being an Iggy signature on account of its place in music history.  

It is not mine.  I bought an ordinary cd album with sleeve notes.  I am a Buddhist.  I'm taking back as soon as I can.  Besides, as Iggy Pop signatures go, it's rather easy to trace back to its origin and original owner.  Provenance is a word I had to invent because I needed to describe the concept it embodies.  It was later on that I looked it up to see if I had it right.  So:  

  • a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.
    plural noun: provenances
    "the manuscript has a distinguished provenance"

Kind of a block - chained signature?  Anyhow, in my case it has been more than enough to simply own it.  If the story is true, the poor man must have thought he was selling an ordinary cd they picked up at the time. 

I have no idea what is going to happen to it now.  I can only trust others to be as honest as myself, which has been my fate in life so far once matters were out of my hands.  I for my part have satisfied my own ethics.  

The album's okay to listen to.