Nick Cave has used his fan forum, Red Hand Files, where connects with and answers the questions of his fans, to share what he plans to get up to during the coronavirus lockdown.
With so many of us practising social-distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak, Cave’s fans thoughts turned to what the Aussie singer may get up to while spending time locked away. The answer was both simple and beautifully complex.
The Red Hand Files have become a place for Nick Cave to share his thoughts with his fans and answer their questions directly. While he can’t answer them all, he does often answer the very difficult questions about love, loss and everything in between.
Of late, with the coronavirus pandemic still on the surge, questions have been targeted around the virus. This instalment of the Files sees Cave answer three similar questions at once, namely, what does Cave plan to do with his time and what should someone who isn’t very creative do.
“My response to a crisis has always been to create,” replied the singer. “This impulse has saved me many times — when things got bad I’d plan a tour, or write a book, or make a record — I’d hide myself in work, and try to stay one step ahead of whatever it was that was pursuing me.”
Cave continues: “So, when it became clear that The Bad Seeds would have to postpone the European tour and that I would have, at the very least, three months of sudden spare time, my mind jumped into overdrive with ideas of how to fill that space.”
The singer suggests that he and his team pondered a lot of different scenarios, thinking he could, “stream a solo performance from my home, write an isolation album, write an online corona diary, write an apocalyptic film script, create a pandemic playlist on Spotify, start an online reading club, answer Red Hand Files questions live online, stream a songwriting tutorial, or a cooking programme, etc” But none seemed to work.
With so much work being completed by Cave in the run-up to lockdown, he asks, “Why is this the time to get creative?” The singer reflects on the current worldwide situation, “Every day the news provides us with dizzying information that a few weeks before would have been unthinkable. What deranged and divided us a month ago seems, at best, an embarrassment from an idle and privileged time. We have become eyewitnesses to a catastrophe that we are seeing unfold from the inside out. We are forced to isolate — to be vigilant, to be quiet, to watch and contemplate the possible implosion of our civilisation in real time.”
“When we eventually step clear of this moment we will have discovered things about our leaders, our societal systems, our friends, our enemies and most of all, ourselves. We will know something of our resilience, our capacity for forgiveness, and our mutual vulnerability. Perhaps, it is a time to pay attention, to be mindful, to be observant.”
Cave also speaks about how it feels as though now, this weird moment in time, must be documented but instead, “For me, this is not a time to be buried in the business of creating. It is a time to take a backseat and use this opportunity to reflect on exactly what our function is — what we, as artists, are for.”
For those who aren’t particularly creative anyway, Cave suggests, “An email to a distant friend, a phone call to a parent or sibling, a kind word to a neighbour, a prayer for those working on the front lines. These simple gestures can bind the world together.”
Cave concludes, “when we do emerge from this moment we are unified by compassion, humility and a greater dignity. Perhaps, we will also see the world through different eyes, with an awakened reverence for the wondrous thing that it is. This could, indeed, be the truest creative work of all.”
Read the full letter here at Red Hand Files.