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Iggy Pop and Chicken © Kevin Armstrong

Iggy Pop and Chicken © Kevin Armstrong

Iggy Pop stars in Squirrel Mountain’s ‘Iggy Pop to the Rescue’

Hastings is continually full of surprises; it never ceases to deliver. Just as you thought you’d seen it all, you round a corner and come face to face with something surreal. In this instance, the surreal head of punk extraordinaire Iggy Pop raises his head, featuring in a Hastings created film, Squirrel Mountain’s Iggy to the Rescue. HOT’s Lauris Morgan-Griffiths spoke to the writer, producer Angelica Campion.

Anyone who knows anything about Iggy Pop with that lived-in face is surprised he is still on this planet. However, he is very much alive, kicking, and able to tell the tale. As evidenced by this short film, very much in touch with his inner child.

So how did it all come about? Angelica is not unfamiliar with the theatre world. Her father, although he did not live with them, played the part Billy Bunter for nine years, her mother Jean Symond was a dancer and Angelica worked in theatre as a wig maker before turning to gigging and songwriting, then co-running a live music nd film space in Notting Hill, The Pnkpoos Experience.

The idea for  the fantasy world of Squirrel Mountain came to her about ten years in a hotel room in Sharm el Sheik.  To entertain her six year old son she created the set and filmed it using a grocery box as a set and the knitted characters came to life. Her husband, Kevin Armstrong, record producer and song writer also played guitar in Iggy Pop’s band. He showed the little film to Iggy who instantly loved it and said to Angelica “if you ever make another one I’d like to be in it.”

Iggy & Angelica © Kevin Armstrong

Iggy & Angelica © Kevin Armstrong

Having repeated the request a few years later, it would have seemed rude not to have obliged. So Iggy to the Rescue was conceived. The line about hypnotising chickens from his hit Lust for Life, written by David Bowie, was  too tempting a line not to incorporate it into the action. Angelica said “From that line about hypnotising chickens, the script practically wrote itself,”

The film featuring handmade characters, leads viewers on a ‘psychedelic journey’ into the magical land of Squirrel Mountain, where ‘The Evil Egg’ has persuaded the ‘Knitted Chickens’ to build a wall to keep out the ‘riff-raff.’  Iggy puts a stop to Evil Egg’s dastardly plan by enticing the knitted chickens away using a trail of frozen peas.

The icon has provided both the voiceover for his character and vocals for his character’s song, Frozen Pea. It might only be a 15 minute film but there are six songs featured in the storyline, all produced by  Kevin Armstrong.

The film is a bit of a family affair: Angelica Campion producing and writing the film as well as appearing as mum; daughter, Baylee, the voice of Stanley. Son Fox, who also helped in the creation of the original Squirrel Mountain is Rocket and Kevin Armstrong was in charge of music production and sound design.

Sculptor Suzie Zamitt produced the Iggy Pop puppet

Angelica moved to St Leonards to be near her mother. She has discovered some old friends and colleagues  amongst the many creatives who have moved to St Leonards: Maureen Bocking, who in a former incarnation was costume designer for Pink Floyd’s The Wall, made many of the Squirrel Mountain characters; Sculptor Suzie Zamitt, who, amongst other projects  has worked for the Royal Mint and sculpted Jane Austen for the Jane Austen Society. She had never worked on such a small scale as when she sculpted Iggy’s head.

Narrator, Stefan Ashton Frank is a well known voice on TV, in commercials, films and pretty much everything in between. Johnny Daukes as the Evil Egg is the leader singer of Fin and is also a soundtrack composer, TV and cinema director and a popular voice-over artist.

The film might be only 15 minutes but is intended to act as a calling card.  Angelica is hoping that more episodes might be commissioned. Although she feels it is an odd time to be releasing and streaming this films with the tensions of Covid and American elections,  it could be viewed as a good time, counteracting all that doom and anxiety by introducing some childish innocence “it’s not animation, it’s  more Bagpuss than cartoon” – appealing both to children and Iggy Pop fans.

Although news of the film was only announced recently, the news has gone viral since Iggy Pop’s management put it on  social media. He has a global following for his BBC Radio 6 Music show Iggy Confidential and has appeared in numerous art house films. His pet cockatoo ‘Biggy Pop’  is also a star in its own right with over 90,000  Instagram followers. Big  also has a ‘flap on’ part at the end of the film, so I don’t think the film will go unnoticed.

Iggy has seen the film and apparently loved it, declaring,“This is beyond. This is the best.” Having been forced to stop touring due to Covid-19 restrictions, Iggy said: “Well at least we’ve got the chickens! Squirrel Mountain is my favourite thing!”

Squirrel Mountain’s Iggy to the Rescue is to to be streamed online on 5pm on Saturday 17th October on Squirrel Mountain’s website, YouTube channel and Vimeo. And follow Squirrel Mountain on Facebook.

 

Posted 13:53 Wednesday, Oct 14, 2020 In: Arts News

Also in: Arts News

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