Day 20

July 26th 1943
Mick Jagger

Rock’n’roll’s ulti­mate lead singer takes his right­ful place in the SydArthur Fes­ti­val as the High Magi­cian who dealt direct­ly in duende. Duende: the arcane, elu­sive spir­it-muse of evo­ca­tion, that “mys­te­ri­ous pow­er that every­one feels but no philoso­pher can explain,” as Fed­eri­co Gar­cía Lor­ca would have it. The artist pos­sess­es it, but – per­haps even more so – he is pos­sessed by it. Mick Jag­ger sum­moned it, bat­tled with it, merged with it and, as a con­se­quence, re-pagan­ised the West. This strut­ting, sashay­ing, seduc­tive, provoca­tive, con­fronta­tion­al, vul­gar and slight­ly dia­bol­i­cal fem­mie pea­cock stirred in a pub­lic just bare­ly get­ting used to the be-suit­ed and hand-hold­ing Bea­t­les some­thing hea­then, vis­cer­al and ecsta­t­ic. His wan­ton move­ments, his sub­ver­sive sub­ject mat­ter, and the bound­ary-push­ing way he dared to look – this was the delib­er­ate self-cre­ation of noth­ing less than a Sex­u­al Rev­o­lu­tion­ary. What could have been more ter­ri­fy­ing to the old­er gen­er­a­tion than this big-lipped girlie-look­ing man demand­ing Sat­is­fac­tion? We can in no way under­es­ti­mate the effect of Jagger’s one-man rev­o­lu­tion – for the fire that he start­ed was down­right Promethean.

Let’s put Mick Jag­ger in his mytho­log­i­cal place. Like Odin’s requests for knowl­edge in the tomb of the Grand­ma, Jag­ger went direct­ly to the Ur-source for his own sacred infor­ma­tion: he demand­ed of Tina Turn­er that she teach him to dance like a black woman. Every­one laughed, but still he per­sist­ed until it was mas­tered. And this rit­u­al­is­tic dance would become his incan­ta­tion – Jag­ger the incubus, the con­jur­er, cast­ing his inti­mate spell over are­na-sized audi­ences. He was the first white rock’n’roller to invoke the Dev­il as a muse: urged on by his Fates Mar­i­anne Faith­full and Ani­ta Pal­len­berg, Mick Jag­ger became the whirling dervish aim­ing to incite a fren­zy. This is duende in it its purest form.

Pay no mind to what a twat he is nowa­days. Who in their right mind looks to rock’n’rollers for nice heroes? And who can expect to drink from the cup of life with­out spilling a drop? Mick Jag­ger is ver­i­ly a fig­ure worth reclaim­ing. This Sacred Klep­to­ma­ni­ac culled from black peo­ple, women and gays. He looked to the under­dogs of soci­ety, demand­ed to legit­imise them and made them wor­thy of admi­ra­tion and imi­ta­tion. He was right­eous enough to see it, and can­ny and trans­gres­sive enough to do it.

Day 20 of this SydArthur Fes­ti­val, let’s cel­e­brate Mick Jagger’s birth­day with the Rolling Stones great­est unre­leased sin­gle of all time: ‘Cock­suck­er Blues’. Who knows what the crusty exec­u­tives at Dec­ca Records made of this offer­ing. Sound­ing as though it was record­ed on the same portable machine that cap­tured Robert John­son, provin­cial school­boy Jag­ger walks us through the seami­est side of the Lon­don under­world offer­ing all of his nether regions to any­one who will put a roof over his head for the night. Bel­low­ing like a horny bull wal­rus and accom­pa­nied by the most diminu­tive Keef acoustic of all time, this is the Mick the world will remember.

Sat Saturday
Sun Sunday
Mon Monday
Tue Tuesday
Wed Wednesday
Thu Thursday
Fri Friday
Day 1: Saturday Jul 7th
Day 2: Sunday Jul 8th
Day 3: Monday Jul 9th
Day 4: Tuesday Jul 10th
Day 5: Wednesday Jul 11th
Day 6: Thursday Jul 12th
Day 7: Friday Jul 13th
Day 8: Saturday Jul 14th
Day 9: Sunday Jul 15th
Day 10: Monday Jul 16th
Day 11: Tuesday Jul 17th
Day 12: Wednesday Jul 18th
Day 13: Thursday Jul 19th
Day 14: Friday Jul 20th
Day 15: Saturday Jul 21st
Day 16: Sunday Jul 22nd
Day 17: Monday Jul 23rd
Day 18: Tuesday Jul 24th
Day 19: Wednesday Jul 25th
Day 20: Thursday Jul 26th
Day 21: Friday Jul 27th
Day 22: Saturday Jul 28th
Day 23: Sunday Jul 29th
Day 24: Monday Jul 30th
Day 25: Tuesday Jul 31st
Day 27: Thursday Aug 2nd
Day 28: Friday Aug 3rd