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.

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