writer, performer, musician, wine drinker

Monthly Archives: April 2013

Cry of the Cave People

26th April: Brighton was an unseasonably warm 22 degrees yesterday, but I doubt that its most famous rock and roll resident was donning flip flops and knotted hankie headgear. I may be wrong, but it just doesn’t sound like Nick Cave’s style: a recent interview in the Guardian confirms that he even shops at Homebase fully suited and booted.

I came to Nick Cave late, thanks to my nephew Dave Allen, always a touchstone for stuff I should be listening to. He not only got me along to a gig at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange, a couple of years ago, but diligently burned a pretty comprehensive collection of the great man’s oeuvre for me in advance. The gig was fantastic, with Cave in storming form.

Not long after, I organised Dylan Uncovered at the Voodoo Rooms, a series of 8 acts reprising and reinterpreting that other great rock poet’s work. It was one of the most stressful nights of my life (key learning outcome: 8 acts + grumpy sound guy + inexperienced promoter + three hours = a lot of blue-arsed fly impersonation for promoter) people seemed to enjoy it, and shortly after, Mike Melville (another purveyor of excellent aural narcotics) said I should ‘do a Nick Cave one next time.’

That was over two years ago, and like childbirth (I imagine) the pain recedes and is replaced by a happy, warm glow of how successful the event was. So, what I’m looking for is:

– 3 more bands (Isaac Brutal and the Trailer Trash Express are already signed up, and will close the show)

– Twenty minute to half an hour each of imaginative reworkings of Nick Cave songs: Birthday Party, Grinderman, Bad Seeds, you choose. I’m not looking for faithful replicas. Take Cave’s version as the jumping off point, not holy writ. You can slip in one  or two of your own songs if they’re compatible, but the vast majority of the set should be Cave.

– If possible, some sort of demo of a song or two uploaded somewhere by 14th July. If I know you already I may trust you but the more info you can give me the better. It would be great if we could use some of that as trailers for the show but I would ask you first of course.

– A list asap of what songs you’re thinking of, to avoid too much duplication. Taken already:

15 feet of pure white snow

Bring it on

The weeping song

Death is not the end (yeah I know it’s Dylan, but Cave does it too)

Nick the Stripper

The Carny

The Singer (Johnny Cash)

From Her to Eternity

We Call Upon the Author

Higgs Boson Blues

Henry Lee

Are You the one that I’ve been waiting for?

Red Right Hand

Jubilee Street

Where the Wild Roses Grow

We No Who U R

The gig will happen in September, as a warm up for the great man himself descending on us at the Usher Hall on 1st November (already sold out, so there’s pretty clearly an audience).

I’m still finalising venue. It’s looking like the Citrus Club on 14th September.

Financials will be dependent on venue cost, back line hire (if necessary) and so on but I’ll basically be looking to share any proceeds with the bands. Dylan Uncovered left enough for a beer or two for everyone, and while I want to improve on that, if money’s your motivation, maybe this isn’t the gig for you.

Once we’re off and running I’ll create a page on my site which I’ll keep updated as we go along. If you want your possible involvement to be top secret, let me know.

If you have any queries, contact me at venus [dot] carmichael [at] gmail [dot] com.


Postcard from Cordoba

Madrid – Cordoba – Madrid April 2013


Airport taxi traversing the patchwork quilt of roads in North Madrid, unsparing accent flat to the floor; then, typically, reversing to check the directions to the hotel entrance were understood;


A walk in chilly spring sunshine through the Parque Del Buen Retiro to catch the southbound express: broad acres, Victorian stone majesty shrinking beneath the new season’s growth, the breeze-ruffled lake, runners pounding miles of gravel paths;


The AVE, leaning into the countryside, laser-straight, clean and spacious to an inch of its state-owned life, to Cordoba, drenched to its ancient bones in a rain storm;


An apartment blotch-bright in Andalucian ceramics, quirky, the shower floor lumpy as a Gaudi sculpture, but warm, fringing a patio clambered with plant life; welcoming smiles;


Then sun, watery at first, turning to full beam, and a Saturday when the quiet square erupts, sprouting crowds, old, young, red wigged stags, eating, drinking, dogs barking, toddlers passed from hand to hand, drinking, eating, empty Amstel bottles multiplying, just a thing they do each Saturday the sun shines (and by the morning, the ghosts have swept the square clean again);


A Sunday in Seville, the two Guillermos showing us the futuristic town square in the sky, the city spread before us, cathedral spires and telecom spikes and ruined banks’ towers of hubris holding up a sky as blue as any flag; a local restaurant, tureens of paella;


Back in Cordoba, Plaza de la Corredera rough and ready with watchful drinkers, scooters exploding from side alleys, beer lorries from improbable corners, harder edged; best cerveza del grifo in the whole damn place;


La Juderia, streets like fingers of light and shade in a broken Moorish tile, sudden wells of coolness glimpsed through iron gates, clamour of tourist shops and French voices quieting as you head uphill, scents of frying garlic, spice and orange blossom;


Everywhere, Moorish mouth music, shivering Andalucian guitars in a minor key, dark eyes, dark hair, (or bleach-blonde);


Last but not least the Mezquita, giant mosque that swallowed a cathedral, losing it in telescoping vistas of red and white arches, peace ruptured only by the messy business of living, whining drills, and distantly, the organ pondering the morning mass; a glass floor unmasking pointedly, below, tiles said to show before the cathedral, before the mosque, an ancient basilica.