Frankly I was shocked when a friend told me recently I didn’t like Nick Cave’s early work. There are a few certainties in my life, and I thought Nick Cave was one of them. His observation was true though. Reading old notes, and doing some serious soul-searching made me realise I only started liking Nick Cave around ‘Your Funeral, My Trial’ (1986), and I only started loving him eight years later, when ‘Let love in’ (1994) was released. It was love at third sight and my girlfriend was to blame for it. She made me listen to Nick Cave, The Pixies, The Fall, The Swans, Sonic Youth, Red Hot Chili peppers, Jesus and Mary Chain, Front 242 and many other bands I don’t even remember. I hated them all. Don’t ask me why, don’t even ask me to explain the rationale of my behaviour. Lets just say I was young, barely 18, and still a boy. In retrospect she only successfully introduced me to Tuxedomoon and Crime & the City Solution. Quite an achievement, knowing how hard I made it for her. In my late teens I loved The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Roxy Music, Kind Crimson and some other icons of the 60’s and 70’s. I also loved old school Punk, New Wave and Gothic. That was it. Nothing else.
Secretly, I did like much of what she made me listen to, I just had a hard time admitting it. I was like an even younger me on the football pitch. Countless times I ran off the pitch after being treated unfairly, crying, shouting, vowing never to return again, only to sneak back into the game after 5 or 10 minutes. I just needed some time to cool off and come to my senses. People telling me what to like never worked for me. I like the illusion of finding out myself. After the relationship with this first girlfriend I finally found the emotional freedom to deal with new music. In quick succession I fell in love with The Pixies, allowed the Red Hot Chili peppers to blow me away with Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991) and bought myself The Fall’s ‘This nat-ions saving grace’ (1985) and ‘Extricate’ (1990) on tape. These tapes were part of a whole bunch of illegal tapes I bought on a flea market in Krakow. They were 2 guilders a piece, a laughable low price. Together with ‘Bend Sinister’ (1986), ‘This nat-ions saving grace’ is still my favourite Fall album. Both albums have a very powerful start-to-finish drive. Unlike some other Fall albums I like to consume those ones integrally. But, it was actually ‘Extricate’ that made me take my new girlfriend to a Fall concert in May 1992. It was a beautiful night. I know because I remember us sitting outside having an awful fight. Not about The Fall, but about my inability to read female communication. What did I know. I was only 23, still a boy.