Nick Cave/ Endlessly Cool/ the Ship Song

Essay by Luke Foster

“An artist’s duty is rather to stay open-minded and in a state where he can receive information and inspiration. You always have to be ready for that little artistic Epiphany”. Nick Cave

Nick Cave is without doubt my favourite musician however he is also an accomplished author, actor, and screen writer. I have seen Nick Cave in concert three times and his stage presence and back-up band the Bad Seeds are amazing. I saw them first at the big day out in Sydney in 1995 or 1996 and then at the state theatre in Sydney in 1999 with my friend Cara. The third time was just Nick on his own with a piano at the Home of the Arts near Surfers Paradise a few years back where he performed alone on stage with a piano where he took song requests from the audience and answered questions about him from the audience.

My favourite song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is The Ship Song an amazingly moving love song.

“Come sail your ships around me
And burn your bridges down
We make a little history, baby
Every time you come around

Come loose your dogs upon me
And let your hair hang down
You are a little mystery to me
Every time you come around

We talk about it all night long
We define our moral ground
But when I crawl into your arms
Everything, it comes tumbling down”

The Ship Song by Nick Cave

While I was an English teacher in Busan South Korea twenty years ago, I used to teach my teenage students reading and writing by writing questions on the white board and I frequently asked my class: What’s your favourite song? Then I would give my example the Ship Song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

I have tried to read his book The Ass Saw the Angel but found it so dense that I only read around twenty pages.

I feel sad for Nick as he has lost two of his sons in recent years and the trauma of that must be immense.

“After a while, you just don’t do things you don’t wanna do – that’s the great freedom you get, the older you get. You learn what to do and what not to do, and what will be a waste of time and what won’t be a waste of time.” Nick Cave