Day 1

July 7th 2006
Death of Syd Barrett

I don’t think I’m easy to talk about.
I’ve got a very irreg­u­lar head.
And I’m not any­thing that you think I am anyway.”
– Syd Barrett

Syd Bar­rett is Psy­che­del­ic Fron­tiers­man No. 1. For he sums up the West­ern Exper­i­ment: “To be extreme, just to be extreme.” That is to say, that to come back alive is pre­ferred – but not pre­sumed. That sac­ri­fice will be made in order to make progress. As T. S. Eliot declared: “Only those who will risk going too far can pos­si­bly find out how far one can go.” Syd was a son­ic ter­ror­ist, per­pet­u­al­ly beat­ing at the bound­aries of rock’n’roll. But he was a cau­tion­ary tale to us all: he was the one that went out there and nev­er came back.

Syd summed up Eng­lish Psy­che­delia even bet­ter than the peo­ple who influ­enced him – Ray Davies, the Bea­t­les – because his way­ward tra­jec­to­ry pro­vid­ed us with the guide to the post-rab­bit-hole ride of Alice in Won­der­land once it peters out and is reduced to noth­ing more than a rarely-used track­way. Syd deliv­ers to us a psy­chic com­men­tary using a reme­di­al set of sym­bols, and all over a pil­lar of rev­o­lu­tion­ary sound. Mind-man­i­fest­ing as Humphry Osmond defined the tru­ly psy­che­del­ic expe­ri­ence, Syd’s work siz­zled with a seem­ing­ly effort­less sense of melody and lyri­cism – a hero­ic child­like Pandora’s Box of mag­ic. When you’re a kid you’re in a world of frogspawn and cater­pil­lars but you grow out of it. But that Syd did not grow out of it was a rev­o­lu­tion for all of us. For­ev­er fuck­ing with people’s heads with­out telling them, Syd was nev­er by rote and unwill­ing to make a career from his place in the music biz. He was the obsti­nate child deter­mined to sub­vert the form at all points.

To be a psy­che­del­ic artist you need to know there are neu­ro­log­i­cal prob­lems you might encounter that will shut you down way before your mis­sion is com­plete. Syd is indis­pen­si­ble because he tells you how far you can’t go. Hug You, Moth­er­fuck­er! You dared to do all this on our behalf. In bequeath­ing us your mind map, you lost your mind.

Day 1 of this sec­ond SydArthur Fes­ti­val (Sum­mer of Love edi­tion) opens with the French Nation­al Anthem, in trib­ute to Sgt. Bea­t­les’ ‘All You Need is Love’ – released on July 7th, 1967. There­after, comes Pink Floyd’s ‘Inter­stel­lar Over­drive’ which con­tains the essences of both Syd AND Arthur – for Syd was ini­tial­ly inspired to cre­ate the song’s main riff by copy­ing Arthur Lee’s own Top 10 hit, Love’s 1966 ver­sion of Burt Bacharach’s ‘My Lit­tle Red Book’. How vision­ary of Syd that his fum­bling dress­ing-room attempt to cre­ate what his man­ag­er Peter Jen­ner had been hum­ming would lead to such a dra­mat­ic pow­er drive.

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