Saturday, July 11, 2009

Welcome To Australia-Let's Talk About Nick Cave

Having spent four days in Australia so far, there’s no question that Nick Cave is considered a national hero. You can’t go five minutes without someone mentioning him. He’s as big as Bob Seger is in Detroit. Fortunately, that’s ok by me. And not only are people constantly talking about him, but as it turns out, he even has an exhibit at the Western Australian Museum here in Perth, where I’ve spent the last few days. The show is pretty cool. It’s essentially Nick Cave ephemera mania. Three or four rooms filled with journals, folios, sketch books, studio notes, curios from Cave’s house, bookshelves filled with books from his Sussex home, artwork that inspired him, and original photos spanning his career, many of which you’re all familiar with. There are lots of Birthday Party and Bad Seeds videos, as well as Nick Cave docs screening on monitors spread throughout the exhibit. There are also some very cool curio cabinets hung on the wall. They contain little speakers and when you open them, you hear Cave wax rhapsodic about love and life. For some reason, all the 10-year-old kids at the museum were immediately drawn to those. There was something perverse about that.

And if that wasn’t enough Nick Cave for the day, later that evening, I caught a Nick Cave doc at the Revelation Film Festival (the reason why I’m in Perth in the first place). Do You Love Me Like I Love You, Part 5: Tender Prey is a 30 minute doc by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard on the making and the meaning of Tender Prey. Apparently, they’ve made 14 of these films, interviewing over 300 people in the process. They’ve made one film for each Bad Seeds’ record and the films appear as bonus material on re-issued collectors’ editions of each record. The film is pretty awesome. 30 minutes of beautifully shot talking head interviews with the people involved and influenced by the record in question. It is a thorough analysis of all things Tender Prey. Dissected are the songs, the lyrics, the emotion, the smuttiness, the meaning, the images, the photography, the recording, the mixing. Weighing in are the likes of Blixa, Mick Harvey, Alan Vega, Kid Congo, Mark Arm, Noah Taylor, Flood and many, many more both male and female. At times, the film yearns for a little music or a little live footage, but the interviews are so good that’s all forgiven, especially considering these are ultimately part of a cd package where you can pop on whatever song you want to hear.

Heck, I even debased myself before the screening, crooning a little bit of Lover Man in order to win a giveaway of From Her To Eternity.

Now I’m off to hunt down Bon Scott’s grave.

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