Nick Cave: The Love Song Lecture

nick-cave

‘I see that my artistic life has centered around an attempt to articulate the nature of an almost palpable sense of loss that has laid claim to my life. A great gaping hole was blasted out of my world by the unexpected death of my father when I was nineteen years old. The way I learned to fill this hole, this void, was to write. My father taught me this as if to prepare me for his own passing. To write allowed me direct access to my imagination, to inspiration and ultimately to God. I found through the use of language, that I wrote god into existence. Language became the blanket that I threw over the invisible man, that gave him shape and form. Actualising of God through the medium of the love song remains my prime motivation as an artist. The love song is perhaps the truest and most distinctive human gift for recognising God and a gift that God himself needs. God gave us this gift in order that we speak and sing Him alive because God lives within communication. If the world was to suddenly fall silent God would deconstruct and die. Jesus Christ himself said, in one of His most beautiful quotes, “Where ever two or more are gathered together, I am in your midst.” He said this because where ever two or more are gathered together there is language. I found that language became a poultice to the wounds incurred by the death of my father. Language became a salve to longing.

Though the love song comes in many guises – songs of exultation and praise, songs of rage and of despair, erotic songs, songs of abandonment and loss – they all address God, for it is the haunted premises of longing that the true love song inhabits. It is a howl in the void, for Love and for comfort and it lives on the lips of the child crying for his mother. It is the song of the lover in need of her loved one, the raving of the lunatic supplicant petitioning his God. It is the cry of one chained to the earth, to the ordinary and to the mundane, craving flight; a flight into inspiration and imagination and divinity. The love song is the sound of our endeavours to become God-like, to rise up and above the earthbound and the mediocre’. – Nick Cave, ‘Love Song Lecture’.

4 comments

  1. Thanks Jason, Funnily enough I was just reading the latest issue of Mojo and it’s cover story is about Nick Cave. I’ve been a huge fan since his “Birthday Party” days. Still have to see him live in concert, but next time I’m doing a road trip for business I’ll take his “The Secret Life of the Love Song: The Flesh Made Word” CD off the shelf and relisten to it…

    Happy Easter.

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  2. Paul. Thanks for highlighting the feature in the latest Mojo. I’m keen to read Cave’s And the Ass Saw the Angel and Amy Hanson’s Kicking Against the Pricks: An Armchair Guide to Nick Cave. Have you read either? I’d be keen to hear your thoughts.

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  3. Hi Jason. I haven’t read “And the Ass Saw the Angel”. I’ve seen it, looked through it, but at the time I wasn’t grabbed by it. Aside from articles etc, I haven’t read any bio’s on Cave. Just listened, re-listened to, and watched his DVD’s.

    I did see “The Proposition” (Cave’s script). Can’t say I enjoyed it -incredibly bleak and relentless in it’s sense of hopelessness. I watch lot’s of art-house / alt. movies, but this was a hard watch.

    About “The Ass Saw the Angel” Cave said in Mojo. “It was about an imaginary church religious community in the Deep South so I started reading the Old Testament. And it drew me in… I used it as the debrock of the novel…”

    He’s a fascinating guy. Have you read his introduction to Mark’s gospel? See my post here:

    http://prodigal.typepad.com/prodigal_kiwi/2005/09/nick_cave_st_ma.html

    Have a good Easter.

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