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Our lives are complicated and we all think and do things that are often unfathomable to one another, but we do so because we live our experiences and find our truths in different places. To my considerable surprise, I have found some of my truths in that wholly fallible, often disappointing, deeply weird, and thoroughly human institution of the Church. At times, this is as bewildering to me as it may be to you.

In the end I suspect that it is within the music that we will all find one another.

Source: The Red Hand Files #280 by Nick Cave

Nick Cave on the importance of the artist being honest to themselves and finding each other in the music.

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I appreciate the fact that you acknowledged those of us that work in jobs that are so necessary that nobody really ever thinks about it (Issue #274). I worked in the sewer system for over 35 years cleaning up everybody’s crap. The wealthy and the poor. I went to work every day and night and missed a lot of my children’s stuff so everyone else could go on spewing their crap in the world. Everyone in the Hallmark world is a writer, artist, antique shop owner, and it isn’t real, so give me a freaking break. Yes, I speak in past tense and present tense but I don’t give a crap about that either. Pouring a lot of crap out there, but I actually am a very happy person and love The Red Hand Files.

Source: Red Hand Files No. 275 by Nick Cave

Nick Cave responds to the comment about the thankless job of both those who work in the sewer system and the artist.

Just as the New York sewerage system is a critical pillar of public health, so too is art, and although art may not literally protect a city from plague and pestilence, it does, in its way, make the world we inhabit that little less noxious. And without pursuing the comparison to absurdity, art has its equivalent trials – blockages abound and gloomy artistic ‘fatbergs’ clog the pipes of inspiration, yet still we gallantly gather up the brown water of experience and rinse it through the purifying vats of our imagination!

Source: Red Hand Files No. 275 by Nick Cave

This reminds me of Brian Eno’s argument that “beautiful things grow out of shit“.

Liked So, the next Red Hand File is #200! What are The Red Hand Files? I mean what are you trying to do with them?… by Molly CairnsMolly Cairns (The Red Hand Files)

Today, John and Marina, my advice is to go out and save the world. Smile and say ‘hello’ to the mean old bastard who lives next door, or the cranky cow at the corner shop, for they suffer too, and watch this small act of unsolicited kindness gather momentum and begin its journey around the world – watch it thunder and roar through the ages and change the nature of the cosmos itself.

Liked Nick Cave – The Red Hand Files – Issue #126 – Hey first I wanna say really like your music i have lost my beautiful wife in cancer and my dear brother in covid 19 my question to you is how keep you going on after lost your son its hard sometimes to keep going on with life. (The Red Hand Files)

Matti, forgive me if this makes no sense to you, but perhaps there is a way to summon your wife and dear brother and release them from your despair so that they can attend to you — allow them to become your spiritual companions in that impossible realm, to look after you in their imagined presence, and guide you forward until things get better. For they do, in time, they do.

Liked What do you do when the lyrics just aren’t coming? (

Marko, our task is both simple and extremely difficult. Our task is to remain patient and vigilant and to not lose heart — for we are the destination. We are the portals from which the idea explodes, forced forth by its yearning to arrive. We are the revelators, the living instruments through which the idea announces itself — the flourishing and the blooming — but we are also the waiting and the wondering and the worrying. We are all of these things — we are the songwriters.

Liked The piano you played for Idiot Prayer was magnificent. Was it a personal instrument, or is this just the kind of thing people put in front of one when they go places? (

Andrew, I agree — the Fazioli is a glorious piano. Magnificent, as you say. As Herbie Hancock said about his Fazioli — that ‘one note announces the celebration of the freedom and creativity of the human spirit’. This is true. The Fazioli is warm and delicate and remarkably subtle, but has a deep, strong heart. It is full of angel tears and il sangue dei santi and encompasses the universe. It is a dream piano.And yet I wait for the day a giant removal van will pull up outside my house, my manager hanging out the passenger window, wearing a t-shirt with a piano on it, and a big smile on his face, screaming ‘Fazioli!’

Until then my little Chinese upright grins at me from the corner of my room. I walk over and sit down and I begin to play.

Love, Nick

Bookmarked Nick Cave – The Red Hand Files – Issue #48 – I was lucky enough to be at your recent London show and you played Cosmic Dancer by T Rex. It reminded me how Morrissey also covered and released this. In turn it reminded me of my current struggle reconciling his recent unsavoury far right support to how I used to put him on a pedestal. Generally, is it possible to separate the latter-day artist from his earlier art? More specifically, what are your views on Morrissey, both early days and his newer more ugly persona? (The Red Hand Files)

Personally, when I write a song and release it to the public, I feel it stops being my song. It has been offered up to my audience and they, if they care to, take possession of that song and become its custodian. The integrity of the song now rests not with the artist, but with the listener.

Nick Cave responds to questions surrounding Morrissey and he political views. Similar criticism has been raised against artists, such as Ryan Adams. For Cave, once recorded, music takes on a life of its own. This makes me think about covers and their association with original tracks.