July 7th – August 3rd 2016

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 let’s listen to ‘All That Is My Own’ – this extraordinary final track from Desertshore in which Nico waves goodbye to the colossal sonic Viking ship that she has just built entirely by hand.

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