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Archive for September, 2014

cave book signedI’ve been neglecting my blog all summer. The weight of the growing space between my posts has only made moving to break the inertia more difficult. My muse for this post is Nick Cave.

I adore Nick Cave. I admit it.

With its etymological overtones of worship, supplication and confession, ‘adoration’ is not too strong a word. Not only does to describe Cave’s approach to his art and well-spring for inspiration and imagery in much of the content of that art, but it sums up the feelings that his art (especially in its live performance) engenders in others.  I’ve seen the Bad Seeds play four times (all in Hungary) over the years and they are – far and away – the best live band I’ve come across. Thanks to the generosity and planning of my younger daughter during a festival where the band were playing, I have been the proud owner of a dedication written in a copy of  Cave’s book The Death of Bunny Munro (see photo) since the occasion of my 50th birthday. I’d frame it, but one must keep books where they can be touched, flipped through and occasionally read.

Then this week I went to see 20,000 Days on Earth, a new film about Nick Cave and his music/identity/past/present beautifully made by (and for) Cave fans.The film contains documentary elements, but is more a creative act than a chronicle (although the act of archiving, chronicling and in particular remembering are central themes). It follows Cave and several band members while they write, rehearse and record the album Push the Sky Away, but really this is a look at how Cave’s mind works and how different types of collaboration help feed his creativity. There are some beautiful lines in his voice-overs and a few devices such as the conversation with a therapist and another with some archivists. Some of the most interesting moments come about in conversations he has with charatcers from his past as he drives around Brighton in his Jaguar. These include Ray Winstone (on performance and acting), Blixa Bargeld (on the Berlin days) and Kylie (on that duet). And then there are snippets of songs at rehearsal and in concert, ending with just about the whole of Jubilee Street, a crescendo performed at the Sydney Opera House.

Cave was born on September 22nnd 1957 (happy birthday to him!) and has been involved in music, art and literature (but mostly music) for many decades. I was aware of, but not attracted to, the Birthday Party in my early 20s in London, so my adoration begins during the late 1980s with the Bad Seeds and has remained steadfastly devout ever since. But I think you have to see Nick Cave perform live and then you have to decide whether that is what moves you.

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