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Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - 'Henry's Dream'

As mentioned in my previous post, my older and wildly charismatic brother passed away in 1991.


At his wake, a very cool and stylish outsider girl named Kipley, who was the older sister of one of my brother's good friends Courtney Mathieson, asked if she could give me a cuddle. We were both quite drunk at the time. 


Soon enough we were kissing and the night turned into morning and no sleep had either of us had.


Kipley had lost her Dad a year earlier I think from memory, and we both did all we could to lose ourselves in the liberation and transcendence of passion and the mad old moon.  


I was living in Sydney when we first met, studying at NIDA, but by the years end, I was back into the grit of Melbourne, whose muddy womb my brother's bones were now resting in. 


Kipley was a total rock star. She'd lived in a squat in dirty old London and have travelled through Egypt on a camel. 


She was four years older than me, she was wild and wise and I was her eager student. 


She gifted me a book 'And the ass saw the angel' written by Nick Cave. 


I fell in love. What an evocative writer this guy is. I loved the dark and dirty world he created. I loved the grotesque characters and his depiction of the monstrous behaviour of a town toward Cave's mute, il-favoured, innocent starry eyed lover. It is truly a beautiful book and so full of pathos. 


I loved that I needed a dictionary with me at all times too, and not just any dictionary either, for this baby you needed The Complete Oxford. 


Nick Cave's love of language was intoxicating.


I was hooked.


'Henry's Dream' came out not long after and was my new favourite kind of beauty.


It was dark and veiled in mystery. 


Every track a stunning poem and performance delivered it seemed by an impassioned fallen angel, who stood lean and tall and suited in black, growling and barking and howling to the moon, and to the father who'd forsaken and abandoned him to suffer alone the stupidity and failings of man. These haunting songs seemed like moans from a burning pulpit of an old dilapidated and decaying church, on a rainy night amidst the most violent of storms. 


The band sounded like thunder rolling in behind his lightening strikes. 


But it was so much more than all that, there was heart and compassion, there was pathos and sincerity and longing. 


"All the towers of Ivory are crumbling and the swallows have sharpened their beaks, this is the time of our great undoing, this is the time that I'll come running straight to you coz I am captured one more time." 


Nick Cave and the bad seeds seemed to know just how I felt.


The organ sounded like a choir of mourners at a funeral and Nick too sounded like he was grieving for the loss of something. 


Their music wrapped me up in a beautiful empathy for the suffering that none of us can ever avoid. 


I went along and saw the band live at The Pallais Theatre in St Kilda, which was the suburb we were living in at the time.


It was an incredible gig. What a monstrous beast of a band they were that night. I remember the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end electrified by the collective hum in the room and tears ran overwhelmed as I was by the immense power of 'The Mercy Seat' live. 


Years later I would be so lucky enough to be asked by MIck Harvey to open for them in Sydney and Brisbane. 


It was a dream come true and an incredible honour. 


Mick was very kind to me, kind to us all and put us all at ease.


I went backstage after the Brisbane gig and helped myself to sandwich. I introduced myself to Nick. 


"Hi, I'm Andy, I was your support tonight."


Nick looked at me and his face lit up.


"How was it?"


"Overwhelming!" I said and Nick burst into laughter.


Later we all went to dinner and I got to tell Nick about a dream I'd had with him it, where we'd been walking arm in arm around the school yard and I said to him, "Nick what do I have to do to be a Rock Star?" 


To which he responded, "It's as simple as sticking your dick in a dim sim."


Nick nearly fell off his chair when he heard of my dream.


"Maybe it is?" he said and continued laughing. 


"Hang on was it steamed, or fried, or still cold from the freezer? Maybe I was trying to tell you it's really difficult"


He laughed some more and added, "I think you should talk to your analyst about that one."


It was a golden moment I'll treasure to the grave. 


I've loved their music every since. Every member past and present a true artist to behold.


I love Nick's songs, writing, his screen plays and his collaborations, particular the one with Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard titled '20, 000 Days on Earth' from 2014, which I own and have watched many many times.


But it all started here for me back at Henry's Dream. 


Of course I was quick to track down his back catalogue, but Kipley already had most of it anyway. 


Here's the opening track of the album, 'Papa won't leave you Henry' - What a band! What a songwriter! What a piece of beauty to behold!


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