Συνεχίζοντας να παρακολουθώ τα red hand files του Nick Cave φτάνουμε μία δεκάδα παρακάτω. Ενώ οι θαυμαστές – και αναγνώστες του πλέον – συνεχίζουν με την ίδια αγωνία και αγανάκτηση να του γράφουν για θέματα που ταλαιπωρούν τους ίδιους, ο Cave, εξακολουθεί να απαντά με ειλικρίνεια και δίνει ό,τι έχει να δώσει: την προσωπική μου του ματιά από τις εμπειρίες του σε αυτόν τον κόσμο.
Όσο το note στο κινητό μου γεμίζει αποσπάσματα από τα γράμματά του, τόσο θα φέρνω εδώ τα κομμάτια ενός παζλ που ίσως ενδιαφέρουν κι άλλους με τα ίδια ερωτήματα…
It was the very hardest part – to see, day by day, the uncontainable and merciless dimensions of grief. It is the very reason I am so careful when I reply on The Red Hand Files to people who have lost someone, because I have seen the tenuous hold that a grieving mother has on life itself. I have seen the paralysis and the terrible retreat from the world. I have seen life lived in a darkened room, essentially a tomb, crumpled around a memory, as if to be dead herself somehow brought her closer to the spirit of her departed child. I learned the appalling meaning of the words ‘inconsolable’ and ‘helpless’ – and I never knew a person could cry for so long.
But I have also seen a woman ultimately step from that room, changed – defiant and scoured clean by grief; a woman with a mutinous and ferocious grace, now more open, daring and creative than ever; a woman who has simply defied the cosmic odds and bloomed.
life moves on. That in time we learn to absorb our loss, as a form of armouring, and that it can become our strength. That the very thing we thought would destroy us, now becomes a fierce source of creative power, as if our departed are breathing an essential energy through us, drawn from a wellspring deep within the trauma itself. We want to say that allowing this process of renewal to occur is the greatest gift we can give to those who have left us. We become the living vessels that carry their spirits, out of that dark and shuttered place, and release them into the heavens.
Finally, we want to say that even though there are still the deep and sudden weeps – the flash floods – they don’t assert the same hold on us anymore, for we know they pass, as do all things.
So, here is a list of ten of my most treasured love songs – old, sad songs mostly, and sentimental too, that have travelled with me through the years, holding sway over my world and never failing to rescue me. They are just small unassuming love bombs, but dear Luiza, as important as anything can ever be.
Much love, Nick
Ten Love Songs
To Love Somebody – Bee Gees
My Father – Nina Simone
I Threw It All Away – Bob Dylan
Comfort You – Van Morrison
Angel of the Morning – Merrilee Rush & The Turnabouts
Nights In White Satin – The Moody Blues
Where’s the Playground Susie? – Glen Campbell
Something On Your Mind – Karen Dalton
Always on My Mind – Elvis Presley
Superstar – Carpenters
The truth is that virtually anybody who is trying to do anything worthwhile at all, especially creatively, has seated in his or her brain, a horrible homunculus that blows a dreadful little trumpet, and only knows one song – a song that goes, “You are not good enough. Why bother?” This evil little gnome is full of bad jazz, and is, in the words of author Sam Harris, “an asshole.” The enemy of aspiration, this atrocious inner voice demands you turn away from whatever your higher calling may be and become a second-rate, cut-price version of yourself. As your very own personal detractor it is deeply persuasive in its dark business. Many of us listen, many of us accept its message, and many of us throw up our hands and give in. The problem is, of course, that this inner voice, this monstrous homunculus, is you.
The world, for all its failings, is an extraordinary experiment in rampant human imagination. At its best, it exists because there were people who had the courage to follow through on an idea – who resisted the inner voice that said, “You are worthless. Why bother?”
Some ideas have our singular names inscribed upon them and it is our responsibility to reach beyond our lesser selves to the brightest version of what we can be and breathe life into these ideas. This act of reaching is almost always accompanied by the wretched homunculus and its dreary anthem of personal incompetence, but it is our sacred duty, to turn around and kick this little fucker in the balls. The fight with the dark force inside us is the forge in which true art is formed.
P.S. A homunculus is a very small human or humanoid creature.
And, You, from Xx, whoever you are and wherever you may be, be careful with that third Nick Cave fan you’re kinda involved with. Be nice. Treasure her or him. They are indeed kind and special people, full of a formidable beauty and may just end up being the very best part of you.
Love to you all, Nick
That five minute interlude, puffing on a cigarette, in the deranged chaos of our lives – you on your balcony and me in some alley in some foreign city – was, to paraphrase Leonard Cohen, the crack where the light came in.
Now, I sometimes think I have discovered God in other situations. Sometimes I feel a certain divine presence and sometimes I don’t – but I still long for meaning and I still search. A fool’s mission maybe, but wherever this journey may lead, please Dee, next time you sit on the balcony with the rain coming down, put on a Bad Seeds record – something loud or something soft, it doesn’t matter – and light up a fag for me. I am with you in spirit.
With love, Nick
Sadly, the existential terror we absorb through the constant onslaught of bad news can become the gift we pass onto our children – a terminal anxiety that rings down through the generations and infects everything we do.
I have always seen it as a kind of parental duty to show my own children beautiful stuff, and in doing so reveal to them an alternate world. By beautiful, I mean interesting, inspiring, ambiguous, challenging and sometimes dangerous things that exist within the world of art. I feel that the online world provides us ready access to a vast and ever-deepening barrage of bad shit, where the cruel reality of the world is well covered. This continual onslaught of negativity can erode our souls and the souls of our children. My job is to show my children that there is a whole universe that exists beyond the grim issues of the day. This is not to divert them from certain truths, but rather to remind them that the parallel world of art and the imagination can literally save their lives, as it certainly saved mine.
Often times you think a change in location might put things right, but, of course, in the end, you take yourself with you and the thing you are running from ultimately finds you.
We must live our lives in such a way as to make better, even in the smallest way, the situation that we are currently experiencing. This is what it means to ‘take on the suffering of the world’ – that we each act in accordance with the limits of our own personal capacity for good. By doing this, the lives around us will become incrementally better and therefore, so will our own lives, and the life of the world itself.