The Death of Bunny Munro – Nick Cave writes up a storm

The night is a deep velvet blue and the moon an alabaster balloon and the planets and the stars are spilled across the heavens, in handfuls and heaps, like gold coins. The smell of brine lives deep within the breeze that blows up from across the ocean and speaks, in a secret way, to the crowd of women who walk down the main sodium-lit thoroughfare – it speaks of deep, feminine mysteries and unawakened and illimitable desires, of silver-haired mermaids and bearded, trident-waving mermen and the looped humps of sea monsters and bejewelled cities drowned beneath masses of unreadable water. No one can remember a night quite so magical in Bognor Regis for years.

p. 257 The death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave. For that paragraph Sir I might forgive you that lurid Nana-frightening cover.

This book is one of the most filmic I’ve read in ages. I could do casting for it, no problems. Bunny junior would be one of those be-freckled pointy faced Billy Elliott types. Bunny himself – Ian McShane (Al Swearengen of Deadwood fame is his standout role).  Pixie-ish and gloomingly voiced Shirley Henderson would be Bunny’s wife (and little Bunny’s mother).

Sir Cave knows how to tell a story and this one combines the brutal and the beautiful so seamlessly. the title may tell you how it ends, but don’t let it stop you taking a ride in Bunny’s Punto. It’s a picaresque journey round Brighton,  tainted everywhere by Bunny’s libidinous hankerings, and by the soft and sad yearnings of his son who explores his encyclopedia as if knowledge would bring him safety and happiness.

Next stop, listening to Nick tell the story. Can’t. Hardly. Wait.

My Culture Heroes #2 – Nick Cave

I am not built for Goth-dom, but Nick Cave is my man. Australia’s coolest export has just published his second novel The Death of Bunny Munro (which even has a tres cool web site – sign up and you can win a bunny suit!). He also recently rocked at Glastonbury, and in keeping with his contrary cool offered a shout out to Farrah Fawcett instead of MJ.

Why Nick? Like my previous pick Stephen Fry he has layers and layers to his genius – having written novels, a play, movie script ( the brutal Aussie Western The Proposition) and soundtracks, and a poetic sensibility so potent his lyrics have been published in book form.

Cave is intrigued and fascinated by the muse, and the creative process, giving a series of talks on The Secret Life of the Love Song. He has been through the junkie tormented artist stage, and now treats the creative process more like  going to the  office (a recent exhibition in Melbourne explored this ‘work’ element).

He’s a storyteller with a distinctive vein of Southern Gothic – deep, dark, bloody, biblical – but peppered with a dry wit and laconic romance that is endlessly appealing. He’s been making music for more than 30 years, but his creativity is undimmed – his latest musical venture Grinderman is ballsily bluesily good.

He’s collaborated with Kylie Minogue,  he’s been a cheerleader for Leonard Cohen, he’s rocked an awesome Zapata style moustache. Nick rules.