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 Post subject: Nick Cave's Red Hand Files #286
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2024 1:06 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:35 pm
Posts: 61
Nick Cave of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds regularly answers submitted questions exploring every facet of life, death, art, religion, and the mundane on his Red Hand Files. This month's issue features a reflection on meeting Bryan and Lucy Ferry in 2000. For those who may not know, Nick's wife Susie Cave [Bick] is the cover model of the Best of Roxy Music album. This was a fun read considering I'm such a fan of both Cave and Ferry.

https://www.theredhandfiles.com/they-say-never-meet-your-heroes-i-met-you-in-a-cafe-when-i-was-travelling-in-london-in-the-early-nineties-and-you-were-pretty-terrifying-but-unexpectedly-kind-to-me-and-funny-have-you-ever-met-a/

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Dear Regina,

I have been fortunate to meet many of my heroes, and rarely have they disappointed me – Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Johnny Cash and George Clinton immediately come to mind. But there is one particular encounter that impacted me enormously, and I often recall it when I feel discouraged and disinclined to work. I wrote about it in my book, The Sick Bag Song, so I apologise if you have heard this story before.

In the summer of 2000, Bryan Ferry’s wife, Lucy, invited Susie and me to spend the weekend at their country house in West Sussex. Susie and Lucy were old friends, but I was reluctant to go because I didn’t want to impose upon Bryan, who I’d never met and who was very much one of my heroes. However, Lucy assured Susie that Bryan would be away that weekend, so I agreed to tag along. I was surprised Susie wanted to go because she was massively pregnant with the twins at the time and barely able to walk – ‘an elephant of woe’, she called herself, as she heaved herself out of the car onto the Ferry’s driveway.

Lucy gave us a tour of the house and the grounds. We saw the magnificent walled garden and walked through the apple orchard. We sat by a brook and met Lucy’s grand Irish mare with her new foal. We ate dinner under a rose arbour and watched rabbits hopping across the lawn. That night, Susie and I lay on our backs in a bed upstairs and listened to the swallows building their nests in the eves, and though we didn’t speak of it at the time, we both felt a kind of subterranean sadness to the place.

The next day we had a late breakfast and Susie and Lucy began reminiscing. I excused myself and wandered around the grounds, eventually coming upon a high hedge that surrounded a swimming pool. I lay down on a lounger next to the pool and took out my pen and notebook to write, but it was hot, and I soon fell asleep.

After a while, I awoke to find Bryan Ferry standing in the swimming pool in his bathing trunks. He was white and beautiful and very still. He turned to me and said, ‘I haven’t written a song in three years.’ ‘Why? ’I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ He made a vague circling gesture with his hand taking in both of us, the swimming pool, the high hedge, the manor house, the apple orchard, the walled garden, the mare and foal, the swallows in the eves, our beautiful arboured wives, and the pure, blue sky itself and said, ‘There is nothing to write about.’ Then he pushed off into the water.

This is a much-treasured memory, full of sorrowing privilege, and I have tried to keep it as it was and not give it too much anecdotal polish. I’m not sure what happened after that, except that on the way home, Susie told me she had once been on a long country drive with Lucy and Bryan, and although Bryan said nothing, he whistled beautifully for the entire journey.

Bryan Ferry has the most unique and unearthly voice in rock ‘n ’roll. He has written some of our greatest songs, often deeply haunted things with the most astonishing and audacious lyrics. He was, and remains, a giant in my mind – a hero.

That brief encounter at the pool shocked and saddened me, though. The memory will remain with me forever, living beyond all expectations, if just for the melancholy, poetic drama of it all. But it is more than a mere story. This incident instructed me on the fragile and capricious nature of the creative spirit and reminded me of the necessity of constant daily work. I think of it when I struggle with my own vacillating creativity. Because deep in my heart, I know there is always something to write about, but there is also always nothing – and terrifyingly little air between.

Love, Nick


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 Post subject: Re: Nick Cave's Red Hand Files #286
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2024 6:36 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:40 am
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Location: Merseyside
That's such an interesting read, Wockawocka, and so beautifully & engagingly written by NC. Fortunately BF subsequently did discover there were things to write about again - for a little while anyway! Thanks so much for sharing.


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 Post subject: Re: Nick Cave's Red Hand Files #286
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2024 3:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:27 pm
Posts: 235
I wonder when “I Thought” and “Reason or rhyme” were started .. IMO these are the two jewels in his post 2000 output.


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 Post subject: Re: Nick Cave's Red Hand Files #286
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2024 9:38 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:32 am
Posts: 76
Location: Suffolk
That’s fascinating wockawocka thanks for posting.

It certainly explains a lot. I’m a big fan of both and will be seeing the Bad Seeds in Oslo this October.

I’ve always felt Cave is the lyrical successor to Ferry and their careers are virtually exact opposites. BF was a master songsmith in the 70s (even better than Bowie) and his star shone bright and faded gradually as many/most artists do. Less than 1% can keep up that creative energy of their early years. Miles Davis and Pablo Picasso are good examples and Nick Cave is that very rare case of an artist who seems to get better with age.


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 Post subject: Re: Nick Cave's Red Hand Files #286
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2024 9:58 am 
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https://www.rollingstone.com/music/musi ... er-176594/


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 Post subject: Re: Nick Cave's Red Hand Files #286
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2024 6:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 7:23 pm
Posts: 1574
[quote="Miniluv]

… I’ve always felt Cave is the lyrical successor to Ferry and their careers are virtually exact opposites. BF was a master songsmith in the 70s (even better than Bowie) and his star shone bright and faded gradually as many/most artists do. Less than 1% can keep up that creative energy of their early years. Miles Davis and Pablo Picasso are good examples and Nick Cave is that very rare case of an artist who seems to get better with age.[/quote]

Elegantly Ageing Hipsters,
Miniliv a fait valoir in point fabuleaux.
Since W2 heard this story - many years ago - he has had exactly the same reflection albeit in a slightly different way.
Normally peak creativity for an artist is somewhere between the ages of 25 and 45. Few sustain it after that.
Ferry is something of an anomaly because his career has really had three waves :
Roxy & Solo ‘one’ 1972 - 1982. Arguably peaking with ‘Avalon’
Solo ‘two’ 1985 - 1994. Arguably peaking with ‘Mamouna’
Solo ‘three’ 1999 - 2010. Arguably peaking with ‘Olympia’
With this hypothesis Ferry has enjoyed 30 years of songwriting creativity between the ages of 27 and 64 - not bad going by anybody’s standards.
Interestingly the interlude with Cave came in 2000 when he’d been in a lull since Mamouna.
Cave on the other hand is, from W2’s perspective, the anomaly because he views him as a late bloomer with the really interesting stuff coming after 2000 - putting his peak creative period as having started at the age of 44.
Windswept violently agrees with Miniluv’s assertion that only about 1% of artists keep the creative energy of their early years but when sighting Miles Davis as an example of that, one has to remember he passed at 65.
Thankfully both Cave and our hero both have that number in their rear view mirror and hopefully both have much road ahead.
The other point that Windswept would make about the creative cycle is the role that fitness plays - like all walks of life, staying in shape pays off.
Finally W2 thinks that big life changes can spark creativity. Both Cave and Ferry have, along with the rest of us, endured more than their fair share of tragedy and it’s little surprise that part of their response to events is creative.
Hopefully our hero will have un quatrieme soufflé de creativity.
Salutations a tous.
Windswept


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