Sending love and condolences to my old flame, Nick Cave.

Sending love and condolences to my old flame, Nick Cave.

By on Jul 17, 2015 in Reflections

Image sourced from Boatman's Call album cover

Image sourced from Boatman’s Call album cover © remains with original publisher

Sending love and condolences to my old flame, Nick Cave.

At 16, I snuck into my first over-age gig at The Forum to see Nick Cave. I elbowed my way to the front row and when he bent down on one knee and sang “last night my kisses were banked in black hair,” I was sure he was whispering just to me.

As the years went on, Nick Cave and I shared stories. We howled about the devil that sometimes comes beating at the door… the beast you know will hurt you but his painful presence is so familiar and seductive, that you can’t help but let him in. We cooed about what happens when you fall in love, about losing yourself to find yourself, about surrendering to another. We screamed abusively into each other’s faces about how angry we were with God, with other people, with ourselves. We stayed up late to talk to one another in total darkness. We talked about what it’s like to be an outsider, about crafting chaos into stories, about the rhythmic dance that begins between the mind and flesh when pen touches paper…

Nick Cave you were my lover. We rendezvoused in different venues throughout Melbourne, at different ages, in different moods. I yearned between each meeting. I left sated after every encounter.

Until a few years ago when we met at the Music Bowl and I noticed something had changed. Now in my mid-thirties, I sat sensibly at the back. It was good to see you. That familiar arch of your back. The sway of your hips. The way you jut your forearm out, flicking the weight of the microphone from your elbow to your wrist, punctuating the delivery of the last line performed. You still had that same seductive fire… but I noticed that the emotions you stirred were just memories from the past.

You are within me but you are no longer my present. I’ve since cooled the fire. I walk a more gentle beat.

But we have an embodied history together because that is what artists create. They bare pieces of their soul to us. They ask us to listen. They ask us to love them. And in return, they mirror our own emotional questions, stories, torments, joys and discoveries. They offer a point of connection. They reflect our own vulnerabilities. They create spaces that shape meaning into our daily lives.

To hear of Nick Cave’s son dying today upsets me. Not because I presume to share his private and personal grief but because he has given me so much throughout my lifetime, that I’m saddened to know he’s now suffering.

I lament that life can be cruel and unfair and devastating beyond all description.

Nick Cave, I send you my love and condolences in the small but most meaningful way I know how: by taking a moment to craft a few words and reflections onto paper.

I’m so sorry for your terrible loss.