Today—July 7th—marks the beginning of the first SydArthur Festival, a mental celebration (or “cerebration”) of Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett (who died ten years ago today) and Love’s Arthur Lee (who died 28 days later). The SydArthur Festival—organized by Arch Drude Julian Cope, his wife Dorian Cope (proprietor of the On This Deity blog) and their daughter Avalon—takes place entirely in your mind, and aims to get you (yes you) to contemplate the lives, art and influence of not only Syd and Arthur, but also Percy Bysshe Shelley, Henry David Thoreau, Roky Erickson, Nico, Cluster’s Dieter Moebius, George Clinton, English poet Robert Graves, Carl Jung, Aldous Huxley, Vincent Van Gogh, 17th century apocalyptic anarchist Abiezer Coppe (who, I am guessing, must be a Cope ancestor?) Jerry Garcia, William S. Burroughs and more.
By dint of having died just one lunar month apart, Syd and Arthur have given us the rich opportunity to celebrate the summer henceforth and under the given name of the Buddha ‘Siddhartha’. Despite not being Buddhists ourselves, we’re nevertheless delighted to appropriate his name for rock’n’roll: For a great name it is. And ‘twas ever the truth that our divine artform takes, takes and takes whenever and wherever its voracious trip will best be served.
These 28 days are a grand opportunity to make a carnival time of this serendipitous cosmic accident. Accident? Do the heroes of Western culture move in any less mysterious manner than the gods of ancient times? Let’s take advantage of their overt poetry, of their celestial dance, and avail ourselves of the chance to build the first truly psychic and near-religious rock’n’roll festival. For this is – in the psychedelic spirit of its two major players – a mind-manifesting festival. No pricey tickets, no camping like sardines in some infernal swamp. For those of you who choose to engage in these proceedings, you may do so from your own homes, your favourite areas, but most specifically from within your own minds.
Between the pillars of Arthur and Syd lies a rich fertile land inhabited by a multitude of psychedelic events and of artists, authors and practitioners whose births and deaths fall conveniently within this 28-day period. These too are venerated. Miffed we are that not all of our heroes can be included. But hey, this be just the first such festival.
Let us put our minds together, deeply consider these people and events, and in doing so harness the energy of their seismic actions. Overall, during this moon tour let us consciously raise our Collective Consciousness.
A fun idea, I think you’ll agree, but especially when they put it that way. So if you will click on over to the SydArthur website, you can read today’s meditation on Syd Barrett and cerebrate his contributions. The Copes chose “Astronomy Domine” as the track they posted to represent maximum Sydness asking “Was psychedelic rock’n’roll ever more advanced than this?”
As I listened, I thought about that question, before ultimately coming to the conclusion that no, it never was.
Here’s my contribution to today’s festivities: Dig the sprawling freeform psychedelic jazz of Barrett’s 20-minute long shambolic—yet extremely cool—low-fi improvised jam (with Steve Peregrin Took from Tyrannosaurus Rex on congas) titled “Rhamadan.”