The new rules of growing old gracefully

Nick Cave 2009 New York City David Shankbone

I was reminded an old post I made here, back when I could write. It’s not that I’ve forgotten how to do it, or magically been zapped by some wicked witch, but I’ve just run out of time and enthusiasm. I wonder if that’s what happens to everyone in the end. When was the last good Metallica album you heard? Isn’t the best recent Ministry album a pale copy of Psalm 69? I might hope for a good new NIN album, but we’ll likely get a dull slab of corporate dad-rock with some tinkly bits.

What happened to us all?

We got old. Rock ‘n’ roll comes with a deadline, and when you reach it, time to die or move on. You’re not supposed to still be there at 50.  Continue reading

#musicmonday : Nick Cave and the Stool Pigeon’s guide to music journalism


Bugger! Is that the time already? Sorry, I have been too busy laughing my assorted menagerie off at this piece from The Stool Pigeon someone’s just passed to me:

Bastard lovechild — Is sex out of wedlock still considered edgy? So why would anyone still be writing that albums ‘sound like the bastard lovechild of X and Y musicians’? I mean, there’s a good chance your parents hadn’t gotten round to tying the knot by the time you were conceived. But so what? It doesn’t make you a latter-day Edmund from King Lear. Hell, it doesn’t even make you Jon Snow off Game Of Thrones. And he’s f***ing boring.

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15 of your favourite people … as ZOMBIES!

Sarah Michelle Gellar by David Shankbone - zombiefied

I don’t give much of a crap what Kim Kardashian looks like as a zombie, but Sarah Michelle Gellar is another matter. Those nice people at The Walking Dead have put online an app that allows you to to turn yourself into a shambling flesh-eater. Buzzfeed had a little fun with your mainstream celebrities, but I figured it would be much more fun to put the likes of Grimes and Bat For Lashes and the cast of Doctor Who through the zombie-making machine … Continue reading

Top 100 singles of all time: 66 – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – The Weeping Song

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - The Good Son

From 1990’s The Good Son, this was the first song I heard by Nick Cave and my enduring favourite. No. Wait. Foi Na Cruz was the first Bad Seeds song I heard, but this was the first I didn’t think was crap. The Ship Song was another single, but I don’t even remember how that one goes. This was the one that had me humming right away – so immediate, so accessible, so belt it out on the way home from the pub. Continue reading

Fans Behaving Badly: Nick Cave

This is old, but it still makes me giggle.

If you are in a band, you are going to be lusted after by fans in the audience. Being a “sex symbol” is on page one of the job description – and fitting any narrow definition of conventional beauty is immaterial: even Thom Yorke is sexy when he’s dancing like a loon.

I do recall a friend, when I was in my early teens, vowing to “never wash again” when she was splashed with the sweat of the lead singer of the band we were watching. The same girl accidentally sent Richie flying when she burst into the Manic Street Preachers’ dressing room, gasping that she “really respects their music”, while really meaning that she wanted to do things to him that monkeys wouldn’t do to each other. Bless her! She was just 14. That lust, even underaged and unrequited, is part of the job – as was the obligation to scribble an autograph and politely send her away.

Even so, there are boundaries to the expression of said adoration. I don’t think anyone would advocate groping band-members of any age or gender, because really it’s just not on. What’s a guy to do, go on stage with a Do Not Touch notice pinned on to his hairy chest? Sometimes you can get away with stuff at a gig that you couldn’t outside the venue, but sheesh. Nick’s hilarious, spot-on reaction earns my eternal respect.


So. Nick Cave. Lives in Hove now. “Hoveactually”, as we used to call it – the place where people lived who were too posh to live in Brighton. (“Oh, no, I’m from Hove, actually.”) Safe, boring Hove with its white-fronted Regency terraces and endless seafront of grey waves and squalling gulls. There’s something actually perverse about Nick Cave living there, but I’m happy for him: you can’t sit there wailing at the walls forever.

I’ve been hearing about Grinderman for two years now, and for some reason never got around to checking them out. I wouldn’t call myself a Nick Cave fan – got the greatest hits and been to a couple of concerts – but he’s the sort of man I’ll take an avid interest in, because everything he does is interesting.

He looks these days like he ought to be in No Country for Old Men – a film that isn’t nearly as interesting as it thinks it is. Its jarring soundtrack distracts more than it unsettles, and it spends more time telling you that it’s a masterpiece than even coming close to being one. It’s not a bad film by any stretch, but it just doesn’t merit the attention.

Does Grinderman?

I’m not overwhelmed by the earlier single, but Heathen Child … well, that’s something special.

It’s actually fairly poppy – reminiscent of something like Papa Won’t Leave You Henry, drenched in lazy lo-fi riffs pulled straight from the mid-70s. It could be a Led Zeppelin cover for all I know, with its hypnotic repetition, tamborines and distorted squealing guitars. I like it a lot.

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Awesome Compilation I Just Found

I just found this home-burnt compilation that I made about 10 years ago. I made it for a friend but kept an extra copy for myself. Some great tracks here …

1. Madonna – Drowned World/Substitute For Love


2. Portishead – Numb


3. Massive Attack – Teardrop


4. Plexiq – RubberSoul

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Cheer up …

A tweet yesterday asking for mood-improving music made me think about the subtle differences between things that can make you feel better and things that can make you feel worse. Everybody is different, so what works for me might not work for you, but broadly these are the things that really help if you’re feeling a bit Mondayish.


I generally look for “someone who’s more unhappy than I am”, but Liz’s link to Swans made me feel about a billion times worse. That’s probably why I never really got into them, even though I think the music is good.

The trick is for there to be an “up” in the “down”. The reason why tracks like NIN’s Hurt are so popular is because they end on a note of optimism – yes, life sucks, but we’ll get through it. I love Pink Floyd, but that’s because after enough guitar solos you’ve forgotten whatever it was you were upset about in the first place. I basically love music that jumps right down into the hole with you and then pulls you up by the heartstrings.



I used to listen to Nick Cave a lot because “he’s someone more miserable than I am”, but really the appeal is that there’s an element of parody to what he does. Take a song like (my favourite) Weeping Song. For a song about crying, they actually look extremely bloody cheerful. He’s so completely enjoying himself there that you can’t help but smile.



Yes, The Cure work too, for exactly the same reasons. Even better was The Mary Whitehouse Experience‘s take on Robert Smith.



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