Day 12

July 18th 1988
Death of Nico

I do not feel con­nect­ed enough…to throw stones at a police­man. I want to throw stones at the whole world.” – Nico

Nico’s place in this SydArthur Fes­ti­val was assured when she fired up her new­ly-pur­chased har­mo­ni­um and declared to her gag­gle of swoon­ing devot­ed super-hip song­writ­ers: No More. Jack­son Browne, John Cale, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan – all would have been quite con­tent to con­tin­ue writ­ing mate­r­i­al for this beau­ti­ful for­mer Felli­ni Queen and Warhol Super­star. That she dared and demand­ed to jump off this fab­u­lous con­vey­er belt, and that the results were of such an extra­or­di­nary high qual­i­ty, oblig­es us to read her actions as hav­ing been noth­ing less than Total Per­son­al Revolution.

Nico’s was a career of two halves. From hav­ing for­mer­ly offered in her songs well-organ­ised and charm­ing obser­va­tions about the Fac­to­ry scene, sud­den­ly the New Nico pre­sent­ed us with deeply avant-garde art that inhab­its Jun­gian dream­scapes of unspec­i­fied times and places. Desertshores. Bor­der­lines. “Where land and water meet.” Across these bar­ren land­scapes, Nico’s low-church har­mo­ni­um drones again and again, offer­ing us clan­des­tine med­i­ta­tions and under­world mur­mur­ings. Every­thing becomes merged and some­where between the alpha and theta state. Where­as her Warhol vocal con­tri­bu­tions are spe­cif­ic, her rev­o­lu­tion­ary work occu­pies an entire­ly dif­fer­ent con­scious­ness. She goes from trite to time­less. She becomes shamanic.

As evi­denced by the fact that she often drove the Vel­vet Underground’s tour bus, it is clear that Nico was hands-on when­ev­er she real­ly want­ed to be. But it took Jim Morrison’s chal­lenge to goad her into becom­ing the seer­ess that so many adore. Once that gaunt­let had been thrown down, Nico com­mit­ted her­self utter­ly to sum­mon­ing her own mag­ic. To demand to become the magi­cian and not the magician’s assis­tant: this was her goal, and how high­ly it was achieved. In this Fes­ti­val of the Mind, Nico pro­vides for us all a blue­print for total mind trans­for­ma­tion. She gave her­self per­mis­sion to become a poet. Her actions show us all that there are secret for­mu­las to fath­om and codes to break – but only for those intre­pids who dare.

Today on the 12th day of the SydArthur Fes­ti­val, we throw our arms up to the cos­mos in huge embrace of two colos­sal out­siders. Dear­est Nico, today you sing for Hunter as well. All That Is My Own ter­mi­nates your mar­vel­lous album Desert Shore. Both of you walked at the edges. Nico, you sing where land and water meet. You sing also of the bor­der­line. They who know must pass on…meet me at the desertshore. This blessed SydArthur Fes­ti­val has thrown the two of you togeth­er. What we love so much about you both has prob­a­bly start­ed some cos­mic argu­ment between the pair of you.

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Day 27: Thursday Aug 2nd
Day 28: Friday Aug 3rd