July 7th – August 3rd 2016

Day 28

August 3rd 2006
Death of Arthur Lee

“I believe in magic. Why? Because it is so quick.”
– Arthur Lee

Brothers and Sisters, on this the final day of the SydArthur Festival, let us bring our celebrations to a conclusion as we honour psychedelia’s very own poet laureate, Arthur Lee. Bolder, braver, softer, crasser, more shocking than the others, Arthur Lee was one erudite motherfucker. The music of Love spewed forth a classic debut album that holds its own with any other, and a slew of A-sides and LP tracks so inventive that bands could have had a whole career merely ripping each one off. It was, however, the third album that gains Lee entry into Poetville: Forever Changes is flawless. Sure, he’d never approach this kind of artistic level again, but if he was going to peak early, at least he made sure that peak was Mount Everest. But this was 1967, and Forever Changes was two years ahead of its time. Even while the hippie dream was for most people still unfolding, Arthur Lee anticipated the era’s collapse. Refusing to buy into the gilded 1967 zeitgeist which reeked of ostentatious overkill, orchestral uproar and flamboyant military costumes, Lee instead served up a supersized Happy Meal of introspection. Far away from the renaissance fairs, far away from the Berkshire poppies and the getting-it-together in the country, Arthur Lee concentrated his weaponry on the Los Angeles suburbs for his anthropological field research. And with Forever Changes, he brought forth rock’n’roll’s most paranoid and suspicious reading of American culture ever.

What made Love so psychedelic? The vibrations bouncing off Arthur Lee’s lyrics resounded in luminous dimensions: spend time analysing the lyrical content of his melted plastic mind, and you’ll soon be getting lost behind the sofas of Arthur’s convoluted metaphysical genius. The bisexual rumours of the 1970s and the band’s bi-racial line-up remain clear evidence of Arthur Lee’s pioneering willingness to trespass again and again across the social norms of his time. No barriers for this brilliant and spikey motherfucker. The absence of anyone like him ever again is proof of how extraordinary he was.

Today let’s search out Love’s 1968 Elektra single ‘Your Mind And We Belong Together’ and marvel at what the sequel to Forever Changes could have been.

Thu Thursday
Fri Friday
Sat Saturday
Sun Sunday
Mon Monday
Tue Tuesday
Wed Wednesday
Day 1: Thursday Jul :7th
Death of Syd Barrett
Day 2: Friday Jul :8th
Death of Percy Bysshe Shelley
Day 3: Saturday Jul :9th
Cerebration
Day 4: Sunday Jul :10th
Cerebration
Day 5: Monday Jul :11th
Cerebration
Day 6: Tuesday Jul :12th
Henry David Thoreau’s Birthday
Day 7: Wednesday Jul :13th
Cerebration
Day 8: Thursday Jul :14th
The Storming of the Bastille
Day 9: Friday Jul :15th
Roky Erickson’s Birthday
Day 10: Saturday Jul :16th
Cerebration
Day 11: Sunday Jul :17th
Cerebration
Day 12: Monday Jul :18th
Death of Nico
Day 13: Tuesday Jul :19th
Full Moon
Day 14: Wednesday Jul :20th
Death of Dieter Moebius
Day 15: Thursday Jul :21st
Cerebration
Day 16: Friday Jul :22nd
George Clinton’s Birthday
Day 17: Saturday Jul :23rd
Cerebration
Day 18: Sunday Jul :24th
Robert Graves’ Birthday
Day 19: Monday Jul :25th
Cerebration
Day 21: Wednesday Jul :27th
Cerebration
Day 22: Thursday Jul :28th
Cerebration
Day 23: Friday Jul :29th
Suicide of Vincent Van Gogh
Day 24: Saturday Jul :30th
Cerebration
Day 25: Sunday Jul :31st
Cerebration
Day 27: Tuesday Aug :2nd
Death of William S. Burroughs
Day 28: Wednesday Aug :3rd
Death of Arthur Lee