Nick Cave, the Arts, and The Flu

I’m listening to Nick Cave right now, excerpts from his impressive discography from the Bad Seeds Years. I’ve never heard any of The Birthday Party, though I dearly want to. He’s been my constant companion, along with Henry Rollins, through this most recent bout of sickness. So sick I couldn’t move. So sick I couldn’t write. Fucking terrible. Being a smoker, I’m a veteran of lung infections. The first thing anyone will point out to a smoker when they’re sick is –“It’s because you smoke all the time”– Well, this time they’re wrong. I know the bronchitis that comes with smoking in winter. This wasn’t it, folks. This was your plain, run-of-the-mill, old-fashioned, four-alarm, kills between a quarter and a half a million people yearly worldwide influenza, no assistance needed, wanted, keep your cheap tobacco assistances at home WE’RE the PROFESSIONALS.

“So hold me, so hold, don’t tell me your name. This morning will be wiser than the evening is.” Another pearl of wisdom from Nick Cave. How I want to meet that man, though I have no friggin idea what I’d say to him. He’s a real hard-liver, a real knuckle-splitter who shot smoked screamed and fought to where he is now. I almost want to compare myself with him, but it’s a disrespectful move to a great man, even if you want to show why he’s so great and you are not. Can’t imagine what it’s like putting together the sort of stuff he’s got. People say the same about me and mine, and maybe it is the success in his favor, but I still think he’s better than me, and I bow for it. The Curse of Millhaven, or my personal favorite: “The Mercy Seat”. I get the feeling whenever I sit in my writing chair, like it’s my ride away from all the world and its various sicknesses. I feel light, the ambient reality that minutes before was the single, solitary and uncontested true reality fades background, where it is supposed to be. That’s how it feels, it feels right with the power in your hands, carving out the world as fast as your fingers can type. That’s the beauty of the arts. They’re the work of pure ego, in the Freudian sense. Superego, the Id, neither apply. The overbearing parental conscience is lain to rest. The childish, humping animal is silenced. You summon the god within, the thing they tell you that you can never be. Isn’t that what religious people are always telling us? Only God can truly create. Everything else is derivative. Well, there is no god, and it’s a name we attribute to the beginning of reality as defined by the big bang and any other area we don’t quite understand at the moment, so let’s discard that tired element of argument and get back to the real thing. We can create, as our hypothetical gods create. We feel that in our hands, the artist, creating. It is difficult, it is tedious, but it is powerful.

I miss working, I want this fucking illness to pass, so my ears can unclog and I can enjoy my music at full quality again.

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