Bulletin Board Archive II: August – December 2009
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166 thoughts on “BULLETIN BOARD II

  1. Hey guys. I was at the record store and I was looking for a fresh copy of No More Shall We Part when I noticed some sealed copies of some Boys Next Door records. These reissues? They didn’t look like albums, more like compilations.

    • Hey Vinny,
      There have been 2 recent vinyl compilations I am aware of (probably unofficial) – so if that’s what you mean then yep, they’re just brand-new compilations of stuff everyone has already 🙂 But still probably nice to hear on vinyl since they include songs not on “Door, Door”.

      Of course they could be still-sealed copies of older comps/semi-official live recordings, like “Masturbation Generation” but I doubt there are any sealed copies of that left!

    • Wow! That was quite a trip to read. It’s actually nice to read somebody criticizing him instead of praising him, these days. In years past, that was one of the things i found so exciting about Nick’s work: to read an article in which the writer just goes ballistic when trying to come to terms with Nick’s work. It doesn’t happen so much any more. It’s nice to know that Nick still has it in him to bring out so much emotion. It’s obvious that Anwyn Crawford spent a lot of time and effort on that article. Thanks for posting that! I think I’ll go listen to Today’s Lesson.

      • Haha, I love how people must be “sexless” to be bothered with less than kind subject matter about women. . .mostly because I’ve made my peace with it, and I SELF-IDENTIFY as sexless, haha. What a stupid fucking insult to use. Sex-ful or sex-less, people do or do not like this content–whether it gets someone wet really doesn’t contribute anything to the discussion.

        Nick Cave’s music is very lyric-heavy, it’s not like he makes dance music. So the content is important and analyzing its messages and biases can be important to people who are turned on to such things. I don’t think he’s any more misogynistic than your average non-feminist guy. I personally find the thought of worrying overmuch about these things a bit tedious–possibly because Nick’s not a huge cultural figure here in America–when he hasn’t actually committed some heinous crime related to his biases/carelessness/whatever you want to call it. It’s not as though he’s actually raped and/or killed a woman and he’s being excused because he’s a “genius”.

        Personally I’m more offended by a song like “The Kindness of Strangers” than a song where a woman is simply killed. Most of the songs where he kills women involve their lovers being embittered, crazy, whatever–“The Kindness of Strangers” basically insinuates that because she dared to leave her house, it’s her fault she got raped (presumably) and killed. I suppose it’d go along with the song’s tone of a kind of 1950s world or whatever, it definitely didn’t seem modern. . .but it’s still an eyeroll-worthy sentiment. And it’s not as apparent that the lyrics are supposed to reside in some outdated society as in some other songs (take the use of “nigger” in “Saint Huck”, for instance).

        • It’s very interesting what you’re saying about The Kindness of Strangers. I, personally don’t think its insinuated in the lyrics that it was her fault. She was just naive, she trust a stranger, and the song warns all the other girls and their mothers that they should be more careful and trustless than poor Mary Bellows. ^^ It doesn’t lay the blame on her, it pity her, IMO.

        • So, the world is a nasty place, and the women are potential victims as they are victims in other songs too.
          Elisa Day went to the river with her killer just like Mary Bellows undid the latch on her front door, I think they were simply too good/naive to be suspicious. And being good always seals your fate in Nick’s works, I think.

          Sorry for the mistakes, English is not my native language.

          • Saying the world is a nasty place and “vulnerable people” should be kept locked up as a result is really just a hideous sort of message, though. It’s the sort of message that lays blame on the female victim, it’s the same sort of stuff that one hears during rape trials. “What were you doing out at that time of night? Why did you open the door? Weren’t you drinking?” Sure, that story wouldn’t have happened if Mary had stayed home–it also wouldn’t have happened if Richard Slade wasn’t a murderous rapist. But I’ll stop here because I feel a bit silly talking about a song in this tone. I just think it’s a ridiculous sentiment that I can actually point at, as opposed to other songs, which don’t fall into preaching at the end.

      • A fascinating discussion, I have to say! May seem surprising but I find the accusations of misogyny in Nick’s works a bit exaggerated, one should be aware it’s sort of a theatrical scenery the action is placed in. Nick’s songs are almost always narrative, steeped in the Southern Gothic imagery (a certain resemblance to Faulkner was what drew me to this music). And these aesthetics involved a level of disturbance. It’s a matter of genre, methinks. And within these bounds Nick lives up to all standards.

        • I want to jump in quickly about “The Kindness of Strangers” – personally I never thought of it as stating it was the victim’s fault because she left the house, however it WAS her “fault” for being naive…kind of like it’s someone’s “fault” if they forget to look both ways before crossing the street and get hit by a car. Yeah, Richard Slade shouldn’t have killed her, that meanie, (and a car driver should be on the lookout for people x-ing the street) but the reality is killers are out there and you’ve gotta plan for them!
          HOWEVER, I don’t think ANY song off “Murder Ballads” can be analyzed, so whenever essay writers trot that one out to support their argument, it’s…eh, you know. Nick has stated many times that particular album was a silly exercise in paying tribute to the murder ballad art form. And many old-time murder ballads feature women as helpless victims. It’s a tradition. The romance of violence, or whatever Nick called it – it’s a preoccupation of his, artistically, but that doesn’t mean it reflects his own deeply held beliefs. Maybe it does, who knows, but we can’t assume. After all, we don’t actually know the man. I know I certainly have artistic preoccupations that manifest in my creative work but aren’t things I actually want or believe deep down – at least not all the time!

          As for the rest of Nick’s work…he’s always been plain about the fact that he’s committed to his obsessions. And what’s the nature of obsession? you don’t get over it and move on to something else! There’s nothing wrong with him being confused by women, even hating women sometimes. I’ve certainly hated men at times and written about it 😀 I think the fact that women figure so prominently in his work, whether he’s praising them or stabbing them in the head, is more of a testament to the power of women than if Nick ignored their influence over his precious art entirely.

          As for the author’s Nick-oversaturation problems…well jeez, is an artist only valid if everybody thinks their work is crap? That doesn’t make sense. Sure, Nick is EVERYWHERE these days…because he’s doing a lot of different things and people are actually appreciating the fact that his art is amazing. Why not hang his portrait in the national gallery? Isn’t he a renowned artist? Does it make him less “credible” because people actually appreciate him? I loved Anwyn’s piece even though I completely disagree with it. My main problem though is she doesn’t feel Nick is or has ever been very talented. So…already that dooms any argument. For example, I don’t like the work of PJ Harvey (sorry, I know many of you are fans) but even though I can’t stand her music, I can appreciate the fact that she’s an extremely talented singer and songwriter. Just because I don’t like her stuff doesn’t mean her stuff is bad. So I feel like I could come up with a more reasonable argument about her than Anwyn did about Nick, because I can at least allow that we’re talking about a talented person here.

          But whatever, the piece was awesome anyway 😀

          • “I want to jump in quickly about “The Kindness of Strangers” – personally I never thought of it as stating it was the victim’s fault because she left the house, however it WAS her “fault” for being naive…kind of like it’s someone’s “fault” if they forget to look both ways before crossing the street and get hit by a car.”

            Well, what’s bothersome about this type of thing is that it’s even approached with some kind of “well what did SHE do to make this happen?” idea. The whole problem is that one shouldn’t be examining the behavior of the victim to understand why she was raped and murdered. Disregard for a moment that we’re talking about a song; this is how rape and murder articles read all the time. Don’t you think it’s sort of backwards? One should be examining the behavior of the person who raped and murdered her; all she did was exist.

            And I don’t know why I picked that song really–the premise behind “No Pussy Blues” is kind of disgusting, but I think it’s because that song seems self-aware of that. You know, as though “pussy” is some item that every dude is entitled to and something must have gone terribly awry if he doesn’t get his allotted amount of pussy. That and “no” really should mean “no”, not “try harder”.

            For clarification, I don’t think Nick’s a misogynist, I just don’t think he’s. . .operating at a sense of critical awareness that, say, feminists would be. I understand that to examine songs this way may be to take them too seriously. But there’s also the fact that we don’t live in a world where these attitudes don’t actually exist, and don’t result in women being disrespected, diminished, or worse.

            There’s a part of me that believes I -should- care, and it -should- bother me. There’s another that says, at the end of the day, Nick is a musician. He’s not a politician, he’s not even a preacher. He’s not supposed to be anyone’s voice of right and wrong and, often, he’s not even supposed to be his own voice of right and wrong. It’s not his obligation to only sing positive, progressive sentiments. Honestly, I think I might be bored listening to rational, moral songs all the time. . .thinking that music can only be violent or angry when it’s against some huge social injustice.

            But I am conflicted. It’s sort of weird for me to say that consent should be incredibly sacred and respected 100%, and then my speakers are blasting a song that’s painting a figure that fails to do that as sort of harmless and laughable, you know? If someone (yes, even Nick Cave) tried to get me to have sex with them, and kept coming back trying different things after I said “no”, I’d be scared, upset. I’d be astonished that someone could really think my consent was some sort of prize to be won, and that if I said “no” it was clearly because I didn’t know I wanted to fuck them yet.

            Overall I’m leaning toward “listen to what’s right, not what’s morally squeaky clean”, but I can understand why this bothers people. Sometimes people become aware of things like that–sexist sentiments, in this case, in other cases it’s racist sentiments, transphobic sentiments, whatever–and they can’t “turn it off” and just enjoy something, they’re always half-consciously examining every piece of stimulus around them. And that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong about the things that bother them, or that this sensitivity is a bad thing. It certainly sucks the fun out of a lot of things, but. . .I don’t know, I just can’t look down on people for having that “problem”.

    • Thank you for posting this one, Andrew. Before I get into my response, I wanted to recommend ‘Gender, Rebellion, and Rock ‘n’ Roll’ – which Crawford cites it in her essay – as a fantastic book on gender and performance art. Available on Google if you want to skim it before you buy (plenty of used copies out there).

      Gender, Rebellion, and Rock ‘n’ Roll
      By Simon Reynolds & Joy Press

      A Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Book of 1995, Music and Performing Arts Category

      Iggy Pop once said of women: “However close they come I’ll always pull the rug from under them. That’s where my music is made.” For so long, rock ‘n’ roll has been fueled by this fear and loathing of the feminine. The first book to look at rock rebellion through the lens of gender, The Sex Revolts captures the paradox at rock’s dark heart–the music is often most thrilling when it is most misogynist and macho. And, looking at music made by female artists, it asks: must it always be this way?

      On Crawford:

      Refreshing to see a critical essay on Nick Cave written by a female artist/writer of Crawford’s caliber. I didn’t find it pretentious. Her use of language is appropriate and effective. An excellent example of the power of the personal essay in the art of argument and persuasion. In fact, she takes it to the limit with a rhetorical style usually reserved for the political arena – where the stakes are high, win or lose, do or die. When you take an extreme position you must be relentless. You must eviscerate. I confess that, while reading it, I envisioned her slapping his face over and over. Ouch.

      Crawford’s position is that Nick Cave has not earned and therefore does not deserve his current position as an Australian cultural icon. She attacks him where it counts, where she can do the most damage – in the soft underbelly of his misogyny. To support her thesis, Crawford establishes Murder Ballads as the benchmark of Nick’s ‘deplorable career’.

      Only last year MB received critical acclaim as a ‘Great Australian Album’ which is precisely the kind of institutional endorsement that Crawford is railing against in her essay. If the album is important enough to receive that distinction, it cannot be excluded from critical analysis. Further, the Nick/Kylie duet on ‘Where the Wild Roses Grow’ Nick/Kylie duet changed the course of Nick’s career. In fact, the song was so popular that Blixa Bargeld performed it for two years, on the many occasions when Kylie was unavailable.

      (Ironically, Blixa’s performance was so successful that it led to the Cult of Nixa, which takes us in my ‘all things are connected’ manner of thinking back to the Cultural Seeds discussion about gender transgression as a hallmark of rebellion in punk-alt. rock performance art.)

      Crawford is no amateur. She organizes her points of support chronologically so they culminate in the present, hitting hard with Grinderman’s ‘Go Tell the Women’ and the line about ‘consensual rape’, and Bunny Munro’s mindless obsession with vaginas. She is saying, tell me what has changed about Nick Cave the misogynist? To her, nothing. What has changed is the attitude of the ‘gatekeepers’ who are willing to turn a blind eye on Nick’s past, present, and future as an artist obsessed by his fear and hatred of women. Here, Crawford’s outrage becomes a condemnation, of the individuals and institutions that enabled this man’s unworthy ascendancy.


      That’s my analysis of her essay. Did anyone think this essay went too far? Do Australian women tend to think Nick is a ‘bad guy’? I have no idea whether Crawford speaks for a certain demographic, if her opinions fall along gender lines, with women being for and men against? Curious.

      For me the essay’s weakness lies in Crawford’s unwillingness to stipulate that Nick Cave has produced monumental works since Murder Ballads that are anything but misogynistic: Boatman’s Call and No More Shall We Part are brilliant examples.

      Thank you to all who commented. I enjoyed reading the various reactions. I am most proud of those who struggled with the issues raised by this piece, who wrote extensively but carefully through your conflicting points of view. Well done. 🙂

      • Yeah, No More Shall We Part is my favorite album, I think. Which is ironic, because it’s the first full album I heard of his (it had just come out when I “discovered” him), and for years I kind of shrugged it off in favor of Tender Prey, among others. Yet I guess early on I knew it was a favorite because songs from that were the ones I used to introduce people I respected to Nick Cave.

        Personally I still can’t get over the writing voice in that essay. It just bothers me.

        But yeah, I kind of miss classy Nick Cave. He can still exude that in person but I want it back on the albums, haha.

  2. Bad Seed: Nick Cave For Book Sex Gong
    By Luke Turner, The Quietus
    November 18th, 2009

    Nick Cave’s salacious second novel The Death Of Bunny Munroe, has been shortlisted for the annual Bad Sex Award, which acclaims the ‘finest’ trembly-typed fornicatory fiction of the past 12 months.

    Cave’s novel, which features lengthy discourse upon the nature of Avril Lavigne’s vulva and a passage involving the clearing of Bunny’s custard and an expiring, scantily clad heroin addict, will be up against work by established writers such as Paul Theroux and Philip Roth.

    Canongate, no doubt mindful of the excellent publicity, said they weren’t fussed by the nomination: “Frankly we would have been offended if he wasn’t shortlisted,” a spokeswoman told the Guardian


    Photos: Boys Next Door – Crystal Ballroom
    Worth a look, you might find something you haven’t seen.

    A few more here:

    • Yeah, I don’t think he was trying to be sexy, haha. The way sex is portrayed in that book does well in making the people talking/thinking about or doing it seem like uhm. . .well, unappealing scum.

  3. I just read a funny little note on “Rheinland-Pfalz online” *giggles* They say Nick Cave told the german musicmag “Melodie und Rhythmus” that he was a very shy young man – we all know that i think, but his last sentences were: “Because of the fact that i was so shy i admired women like goddesses…I never became a womanizer…anyway, i slept with a lot of women…but in a very shy way” 😀 I don`t know if thats true, but i think this is cute 😉

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