I was just sitting down to do the blog and I checked my email, and what to my wondering eyes should appear? A Red Hand Files newsletter (two, actually) announcing a new double album from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds coming next week.
It sounds like it is going to be sort of intense. As if Skeleton Tree wasn’t difficult enough for me to listen to. Of course, it’s worth the emotional payoff. In spades, but still. A tiny little voice, deep in the center of my mind is fearfully fretting: oh no, now what?!
Because I don’t ever just listen to Nick Cave; I react on every level.
It’s funny, during the night, I awoke and was thinking about the Conversation from Saturday night and when a guy in the balcony asked him when a new album would be coming out, Nick Cave didn’t reply to it. I can’t recall now if he literally did not reply or if he said something that was not a reply. Anyway, I was pondering that during the night; wondering why he didn’t reply. And now, voila. The real reply.
I was also thinking last night how interesting it is that the 2 songs I remember most from Saturday night were 2 songs that he didn’t write. I remember all of the songs, but just the 2 that stood out most for me emotionally were songs he didn’t write: Cosmic Dancer and Shivers.
I think that Shivers is such a beautiful song. It seems like it always bothered Rowland Howard a lot — how people responded to that song. I don’t think he wanted people to like it so much. He seems maybe to have written it from a perspective of ironic contempt and then people responded to the ironic beauty of it, instead. (Well, there’s irony for you!) I personally think it’s a song of truly timeless relevant beauty. I really do. I was wondering if Rowland Howard has a different perspective on it now from where he’s at. I’m guessing he does. I think that when we die, we immediately embrace and embody the love of everything beautiful that we created while we were physical, even if we were at odds with it and couldn’t see its beauty while we were alive.
Anyway, Nick Cave sang it so beautifully on Saturday night; it was spellbinding.
Last night, I looked it up on YouTube and there’s an extremely old live version of it. I don’t remember now if it was the Boys Next Door or the Birthday Party, but it was really cool to watch it.
There is something sort of cosmic in just that process. You know, on the one hand, experiencing the emotional beauty and intensity of hearing Nick Cave sing that song live right now, at his age now — a song of such precise teenage angst; and then holding a little phone in your hand and watching him sing it so differently but no less beautifully when he’s so young. Maybe close to 40 years ago — something like that.
Perhaps you can see that I had sort of a strange evening last night.
I was determined to just rest and not go out walking. It was hot out and of course teeming with people everywhere. Plus, I really was just exhausted. So I forced myself to stay in and go to bed early. And I probably really and truly did relax for the first time in a year. But I did find my thoughts going to strange places. Or unexpected places, is more accurate.
For instance, I listened to an old audio interview with Tom Petty from the late 80s, when Full Moon Fever first came out. Back in the days when he only just barely tolerated interviewers and you can always hear his contempt for the person and the whole process bobbing just under the surface of everything he says. The guy asked him a question about perspectives in songwriting and Tom Petty replied re: using all three perspectives at various points— first, second, and third perspectives. And I found myself feeling a little surprised that he knew about terms like that! But you know — he was actually really smart. I’m not sure why I find it surprising that he could express concepts and stuff like that. How weird, right?
Ah well. It only made me start missing him a lot, so I stopped listening to it.
And then I was also thinking about certain streets from my past that are right around here. For instance, this street I’m staying on — W.53rd. MoMA is on this street, but a few avenues east. I used to work at MoMA a long, long time ago. In fact, that’s where I met Peitor and we became instant friends. It was an important time in my life— working at MoMA. Frank O’Hara is probably my most favorite poet. I first fell in love with him when I was 15. And so for me, working at MoMA was my way of trying to absorb his spirit, his essence. (He worked there as a curator when he wrote pretty much ALL of his best poems and when he died, he was still working there. Modern Art was a huge part of his emotional sensibilities.)
Anyway. I had nearly forgotten all about that. And then W.50th Street. I’ve walked across it numerous times this trip, and only last night recalled that I used to live on it —just around the corner from here — and that my song, “Breaking Glass,” was written about a relationship I was in while living there. My first husband proposed marriage to me in that apartment — one afternoon while he was visiting me.
And then on Saturday, on my way to that incredible meeting with the director re: my play, the Lyft driver drove passed E. 66th Street on 3rd Avenue and it was in an apartment on that very block of E.66th Street that my one and only baby was conceived.
I thought last night about how strange it was that I have always retained that. Not the actual apartment number. I would not recognize the building if I saw it again. I just always remember that it was on E.66th Street, between 3rd and 2nd Avenues. So sad.
Well, anyway. I must say that blogging on a phone is a wee bit annoying… this one-finger typing business.
Okay, so I’m gonna close this now. I’m gonna try to wash my hair before Valerie arrives. And then I will be indescribably eager to see Nick Cave in Conversation again tonight. I think it will be an entirely different experience from up in the balcony, though — even though, normally, I actually prefer the balcony at Town Hall. (Tonight, however, I think that I will not be preferring it.) (If only I were one of those people who felt really comfortable defying public convention; I would look to see which seats remain empty down on the main floor and go sit in one! But I’m just somebody who totally behaves in public and does not wish to draw undue attention to myself, ever!!)
All righty!! Have a great Monday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting. I love you guys. See ya!