Anecdote –

#3This simmering space…

Based on a true story.

As if it was being announced, as at the start of a movie.

 

She remembers that she once watched a documentary about a musician… Who was it? Yes, it was about Nick Cave. It had been a few months ago. She tries to recall what it was about. In a notebook, she finds a few quotes which she collected from the documentary. It was not that she was a fan of Nick Cave. Of course, she had heard of him, as the frontman of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. But this documentary was more about the artistic process, rather than a simple documentary about a famous band, with interviews interspersed with stage recordings. She had watched the film about eight times, but still it took her some time, now, to remember the scenes. The first quote she found in her notebook was:

“In the end I’m not interested in that which I fully understand. The words I have written over the years are just a veneer. There are truths that lie beneath the surface of words. Truths that lie like a sea monster…they come up, and then they disappear. What performances and songs are to me, is finding a way to tempt the monsters to the surface. To create a space where the creature can break through, to what is real and what is known to us. This simmering space, where imagination and reality intersect, this is where all love and tears and joy exist. This is the place. This is where we live.”

To break through the surface

of the real and the known.

 

This was the end of the documentary, she recalls. It’s a beautiful description of the artistic process, of the artistic value, and the need to create. To break through the surface of the real and the known. To look further, beyond what we can see. To not just accept realty as it appears to us. She knows Nick Cave as the musician, the singer and songwriter, the actor, the composer, the screenwriter, the man with the long black hair, the intense eyes and always sophisticated appearance. Every detail of his appearance is controlled. His kind of pretending to be out of control, to be the rockstar.

 

“This is my 20.000th day on earth.”

 

In the first scene of the documentary, Nick is waking up in this bedroom, next to a woman. It must be his wife. She remembers her from photos in a magazine of them together. The curtains are white and waving, the window behind them open. Nick is getting up; he walks into the bathroom and looks at himself in the mirror. She remembers the voiceover is his own voice, talking about marriage. Marriage is a kind of cannibalism. He cooks her in a big pot, something like that. Maybe she can find this scene… She doesn’t have the DVD, or the download anymore, but it’s probably online, posted illegally by somebody. She finds it a nice way to start a documentary: with the most intimate space – someone’s bedroom and their wife.

 

Jaguar, Ray Winstone, Blixa Bargeld

 

The next page of her notebook. Yes, the in-between places. Nick was driving a beautiful car; she imagined it was a Jaguar, his own Jaguar. He talks to actor Ray Winstone, as if he is a good friend. She can’t remember their conversation; only that he was an older-looking guy. And suddenly he disappears from the car. Blixa was the former band member. They are talking about the good old times. She realizes that they must have separated on good terms.

 

ARCHIVE space projector, mess, books, records, personal stuff etc.

 

In this scene we are viewing Nick’s personal archive. It looks like an old-fashioned library. On the wall there are photos being projected. His wife, his muse, how he met her in a London Museum; at that moment, there was a ‘big bang’. Every woman he ever wanted – they all came together in one big bang. She remembers that she felt touched by this scene. The ultimate love. It does exist.

”It happens when you discover a piece of art,

or have a giant traumatic experience.”

 

“Because memory is what we are.”

“Those moments are the keys of the heart, that really change things. It happens when you discover a piece of art, or have a giant traumatic experience.”

 

She had forgotten about this part of the documentary completely,; yes, of course, famous creative people go to a psychoanalyst, and they can afford the best. Darien Leader. Clichéd- looking guy, with a bald head, sitting in a comfortable chair. Something about his childhood. Daredevil stuff like jumping of train bridges and kissing girls. Yes, that is his main inspiration. He tries to get back to his childhood times.

 

Pizza with his children

Image by Lotte van Geijn ©

She searches the Internet and starts to read articles and reviews about the documentary, which was made by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. The cover of his latest album, ‘Push the sky away’, shows a photo of Nick’s bedroom. Exactly the same as in the film. With his wife naked, standing. Is this really their own bedroom or is this a stage?

Maybe she is just part of his imagination;

a real muse.

The Jaguar is not his Jaguar… the conversations were not scripted… but when former band member Blixa left the band back in the days, there was a big fight… Would they just have cut out, in the montage room, the pieces in which they fought each other outside the car? She didn’t think their contact would be really good now. The library-looking archive is not real. It is a piece of décor built specially for the film, although the items in there are real. She realizes the space doesn’t exist. And how can she be sure now that the objects really do belong to Nick… Is Suzie, his wife, even real? Maybe she is just part of Nick’s imagination; a real muse. Nick had never met the psychoanalyst Darien Leader before they shot this scene. She doubts if his memories are true and sincere. The way he talks is very natural and real. “Memory is what we are.” She feels confused. In the final scene of the movie, Nick is having pizza with his two children. It looks natural, but strange at the same time. Do we want our heroes, our celebrities, to be just like us? Being normal, eating pizza with their children. Is this a documentary or is it a fictional story about the illusion of the celebrity that is Nick Cave? She tries to understand what she’s watched… Nick Cave starring as Nick Cave. This is a way how they can create a world around a famous person. This part of his image. This ‘documentary’ just another part of the myth ‘Nick Cave’. She re-reads the end of her first note again:

 

“…To create a space where the creature can break through to what is real and what is known to us. This simmering space, where imagination and reality intersect, this is where all love and tears and joy exist. This is the place. This is where we live.”

We would we like to take off the mask

and put down the burden of perfection.

The mask of how we are supposed to be.

Do we all live in this simmering space: between imagination and reality? How we imagine it would be, and how it is in reality… This is confusing and it can be disappointing. If you look at it from another perspective, it can be wonderment – the place where all love and tears and joy exist. She realizes that it is possible for us all to create an image of our lives. That’s what we are trying to do. For example, on our Facebook pages, we show happy faces and the exciting parties we go to, the many good friends we have, and the amazing places we’ve travelled to. The same with modern dating, online dating. The perfect profile image of ourselves we use on the Tinder-app. It’s a frozen moment, often a photoshopped moment. It’s just one perspective. We communicate by written language. Without sound, without smell, without bodily movements, or eye contact. She is not sure if this is the world we’d like to live in. The gap when we meet in real live is too big. We like to believe we are living the life of a celebrity. This doesn’t this make us happy. We would we like to take off the mask and put down the burden of perfection. The mask of how we are supposed to be. We would prefer to eat a pizza, sitting on a comfortable couch with our children. Wearing a damp sweatsuit and smelly socks, while the tomato sauce drips off our shin onto the not-so-white-anymore couch. We don’t mind; we are not as perfect as Nick Cave, and we love it.

Image by Lotte van Geijn ©