St. Nick’s Christmas Gift to a Lifelong Fan

Boys Next Door, Crystal Ballroom, 1977
Boys Next Door Crystal Ballroom, 1977

Melbourne native Debra Mineely has been a Nick Cave fan since the Boys Next Door regularly played at local venues like Crystal Ballroom and the Tiger Lounge. After thirty years of devotion to her very special “boy next door”, Deb decided to write and tell Nick how much he and his music have meant to her all of this time. A mutual acquaintance kindly agreed to bring two of Deb’s prized Nick Cave books to be signed by the author. Deb slipped her letter inside even though she was told not to expect anything more than a signature. Well, St. Nick surprised everyone, especially Debra, by reading her letter and responding with a note of acknowledgement. The acquaintance told Deb that Nick smiled when asked what was in the letter, and said, “It was very nice”.

Debra Mineely
Debra, a lifelong Nick Cave fan

Debra’s Story, as told to Morgan Wolf:

MW: You and I are friends, so I know that you are a longtime Nick Cave fan. We’ve shared a lot of emotion together, and I think it would be great for the newer fans, the younger fans, to hear about what it’s been like loving Nick Cave, through all of it, for three decades.

DM: I first saw Nick Cave in 1978 and knew right away there was something very different about him, an aura, a look, and the eyes – the most beautiful blue I have ever seen. For 30 years I have followed this man. I have seen him go from a shy young boy to a confident man of the world. Proud father, incessant performer, author, the list goes on. I cannot help but feel my heart swell with pride when I see him on stage and think of his success. I have seen him live countless times. His performances are something to behold. His energy and sexiness are relentless. I sometimes wonder what I would have done without him and his music in my life. My daughter has listened to him in utero and all her life – hey, she had no choice. She jokingly tells me that she has been ‘scarred’ by him. She loves to stir me up.

MW: Why did you feel it was important to write this letter to Nick now, after all these years?

DM: I just had to tell Nick “thank you for thirty years of music.” I guess I wanted Nick to know that I had “walked” with him through his life and he never knew I existed. At the same time he has been a golden thread thru out my life. I think it is important to say thank you, not only to Nick but to all people, and for all things. I still can’t believe I have been listening to him for so long; doesn’t seem like it. When I see him, I still see the young man I did in 1978. It is a hard thing to try and describe. (I put something similar in the letter as well). I see him as he is now but in my head I can see him in all his different incarnations. I don’t pretend to like everything the man does. Sometimes I catch on even years later!! I just think I am not ready to receive some songs and sometimes I just don’t like them and you know what, I don’t have to like them either. I do manage to get hooked on the most lovely of his songs: Nobodys Baby Now, Idiot Prayer, Your Funeral My Trial, Straight To You, The Carny, Cassiel, Grief Came Riding, Lovely Creature, and Loom of the Land, to name but a few.

MW: You’ve said you turned off of Nick’s music with The Birthday Party. Can you talk about the violence? How long before you reconnected?

DM: The Birthday Party were a very very different band to the Boys Next Door. BND were a much more danceable band (insert getting pissed and dancing your arse off here). I didn’t like the TBP because I couldn’t dance to them and then they left for the UK. What was filtering back (bear in mind only print media and taking a while to reach oz shores also) was a very different band in the form of the TBP. It was a shock. I couldn’t even understand what he was singing. Still a beautiful man of course and I still held my torch. I just left him musically. People throwing bottles and grabbing at him all drunk and drugged. It wasn’t a place I wanted to be. Scary. I was scared. Maybe because I was young I couldn’t see where it was all going. Hey I wanted to dance and that wasn’t dancing music! Thrown in with this was Nick’s own drug use and my fear that one day his demise would be front page news. I am much more appreciative of it now.

MW: So what about after TBP?

DM: I saw him with what must have been the “Cave Men” tour with Hugo Race but in OZ terms it was Nick’s gig with Hugo on guitar! The Singer and Tupelo reeled me in, and when I saw Blixa in the Tupelo vid I nearly fainted.

MW: Well, we have something in common there! [Laughter across the miles!]

MW: Were there periods in your life when you listened more closely to Nick Cave’s music?

DM: I identified a lot with Henry’s Dream. Knowing that he had become a father and I was a mother. I guess I wanted to hear the “new parent” Nick. I remember playing “Janglin’ Jack” in the car and my daughter (prolly aged 10 or so) said “did he just say yackety yak?” I said “don’t be silly. He wouldn’t write a lyric like that”. So I listened again and yep, it sure was “yackety yak”. Oh why did I doubt her? It is still something she brings up to me to this day.

MW: Nick is on his second novel, and he’s getting older. How would you feel if he quit to become a full time author after being a fan of his music for so long?

DM: I don’t think I would care if he stopped making music. Still have plenty to go on with. It would be enough for me to know that he is happy and doing what he feels he needs and wants to do. I make no demands upon him. I gratefully accept what he has to offer. His gift.

MW: What does Nick Cave mean to you, now?

DM: It’s hard to say what he means to me now. He is a constant thing. He is a husband and father. I am happy if he is happy. If he chose to give it all up I would respect that and say nothing of it. His decision. He knows what is best for him. I would never expect him to keep going for the ‘fans’. I would always be interested to know what he is up to. I know that he has always given 100% artistically and performance wise.

MW: What did you most enjoy including in your letter to Nick?

DM: I told Nick that my favorite song is “Nobodys Baby Now” with “the blue quilted violets across the breast” – I picture that special detail in my mind everytime I hear it. I cannot help but smile and feel proud of [Nick’s] success when I see [him] perform.

MW: How does it feel to have finally reached Nick Cave after three decades?

DM: This morning, I thought, “I have been reading that bastard’s words for 30 years, now I made him read mine!”

On that well-salted bit of Melbourne humor, we concluded our interview.

Deb’s signed books, and Nick’s beautiful acknowledgement:

Nick Cave's gift to Debra, Book 1 Nick Cave's gift to Debra, Book 2

A special hug, kiss, and thank you to our friend, ‘Melbourne Deb’, for her patience, and for sharing her Christmas story about St. Nick’s gift. She looks forward to seeing her old pal Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds when they play Melbourne in January. *If anyone can arrange for Debra to meet with Nick in person, please let us know? Meanwhile, be sure to visit Deb’s Photostream @Flickr, to view the original photographs we have reprinted here, as well as more of Debra’s Nick Cave related collection, and other gorgeous photography.

This video is for Debra:

Nobody’s Baby Now – (Live @Bizarre Fest 1996)

Tx to almeidasuzana

Let us raise a glass and offer our thanks
and praise to ‘St. Nicholas’ Cave:

Nick, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
with love and gratitude for enriching the lives of so many. Cheers!

Christmas Holiday Blessings,
Morgan, Laura, & Caroline
(Editor, Associate Editor, Contributor, respectively)
@Nick Cave Fixes

Photos: Top, Boys Next Door @ Crystal Ballroom, 1977. Photo 2, Debra Mineely, supplied by Deb, along with photos 3 & 4, of her personal books with Nick Cave’s note and signatures. All photographs printed with permission (originals at Deb’s Photostream) and may not be copied or republished without written permission from Debra Mineely. Text portions of this article may not be reproduced without written consent from Morgan Wolf, author/editor. *NOTE: This article was edited to add further e-mailed content @7.25 pm EST, 24.12.08. ~MW.

This entry was posted in Memorabilia by Morgan Wolfe. Bookmark the permalink.

About Morgan Wolfe

I write contemporary LGBTQ fiction that explores the dark & light of human love and desire. Interests: Progressive politics, visual arts, vintage illustration, mid-century design. French films, Queer cinema. Literary quotes. J'adore Paris. Ich liebe Berlin.

8 thoughts on “St. Nick’s Christmas Gift to a Lifelong Fan

  1. Hello from a newbie to this blog, I am already totally immersed in all the wonderful words about Our Wonderful Nick throughout this blog. I am still in rapturous afterglow (and severe withdrawls) from the All Tomorrow’s Parties weekend at Mt Buller and the opportunity to bask in Our Nick’s presence several times over the weekend.

    This story from a Melbourne fan has struck a chord for many reasons. Because I’m in Melbourne. Because all Melbournians have a special connection with the Man. In fact, I grew up just out of Wangaratta where Nick famously sang in the choir 10 years before I lived there.

    But also because I know I have connection (a 6 degrees connection) with Deb, because I too have that first pic up the top of the page taken from behind the chandelier! Interesting thing though, mine has been emailed to me with the title “Tiger Lounge, Richmond, 1978”. I also have another couple of pics with it. Which I will get to you sometime soon.

    We NEED to clear this up, I’m intrigued!! Is it in St Kilda or in Richmond? Is it 1977 or 1978? Deb, did you take the pic yourself? If not, we do have friends in common!

    I will return to chat. Thanks for the wonderful site!

  2. Hi Maddy, it’s good to read a comment from you! There’s more going on over here, as you can see! I’m considering publishing bits of that great response you posted at my other blog. I will email you to see what we can work out. Fan stories are hot right now because Nick has so many new ones joining the ranks of the devoted! It’s good to share how it all came about, in part, to contrast with Deb’s experience as a longtime fan, and also, to validate that Nick’s music has gained much wider appeal since Dig Lazarus Dig!!! X-mas was fab, thanks! I hope you had a great one, as well. 😀 Cheers – I’ll be in touch.

  3. Hi Deb, well I’m a relative newbie to the awesome world of Mr Cave, only 5 months of devoted fandom. I found your story heartwarming and I’m glad that I’m amongst such good company! I totally agree that it is so important to say thankyou to people that make this world a better place to live in. So thanks to Mr Cave for being…well, Nick Cave, and thanks to you for sharing this lovely story, and thanks to Morgan for writing and posting. Hope you are all having a fab xmas!

  4. You are welcome, Sweetie. Strange co-incidence where Nobody’s Baby Now is concerned. I do hope that you meet him someday. He doesn’t know what he’s missing! You’re a gem, Gal! So glad your Christmas was extra special!

  5. thank you so much morgan for this lovely piece and for the “nobody’s baby now” dedication. can you imagine my surprise when i heard that this was nicks favorite song (that he had written) as well. this is a fine version.

    it was a lovely xmas present indeed. 🙂

  6. Thank you for the complimentary comments, Caroline & Laura! I hope your respective Christmases were wonderful. Mine was blissfully quiet, except for writing this article, but I'm a workaholic freak, so what!

    You know, I had tons more material that Deb and I exchanged in our long conversation and I felt we needed to include it, to get the full flavor of what she had to say, the length be damned. This was our Deb's moment in the Sun.

    Now, we need to start working on the Nick Cave New Year's retrospective… 😉 Just call me Simone Legree, cracking that whip.

  7. Waow, this is great!
    Deb, I’m really happy for you! 🙂

    Merry Christmas to the Bad Seeds (current and former 😛 ) and to all the fans 🙂

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