Nick Cave & Typewriters.

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So, the Nick Cave film ‘20,000 days on earth’ is coming out soon, and the promotional dance has begun. The trailer has a significant amount of typewriter and writing love. I spotted two typewriters in the trailer, but there may be more.

For those not familiar with Nick Cave, he’s a singer and songwriter that is also a novelist and screenwriter. Like his music, his writing is filled with dark and gothic themes. He was once the darling of the Melbourne indie music scene, where he performed with some brilliant goth-rock groups such as ‘The Birthday Party’, and ‘The bad seeds’. 
But when he became internationally famous and began to collaborate with artists such as Kylie Minogue, he lost part of that following and was labelled a ‘sell out’ – probably the greatest insult you can give the the indie music scene. He now doesn’t even live in Australia anymore. 
I’m rather a fan of his work to be honest. The dark tones and the exploration of complex themes of sex, religion along the greyness of morality is something I always like to read or listen to. It follows a tradition in Australian art that explores what happens in the shadows that we don’t talk about, as opposed to the bright and sunny leisurely lifestyle that often Australians prefer to identify with. 
I feel that Cave has been an influence on the way that I write. I prefer honest narratives and an eschewing of the need to write with bright and positive stories simply to appeal to an audience that prefers to feel good and warm at the end of a tale. But that there’s a real positive that comes from being honest about looking at the full gamut of the human experience – the bright is only bright beside the dark. 
Anyway. I’ve always heard that Cave wrote on a typewriter. It is great to see that he’s kept that up. The last time I saw Cave in person was at the Esplanade hotel where he was practically chased out of the now non-existent “Public Bar” by another artist – Fred Negro, who was the lead singer of a band called ‘The F**k F**ks‘. With taunts of ‘Sell-out’, Cave was followed out the door by what seemed to be the eternally drunk Negro into the cold, bitter St Kilda night. This struck me as a piece of poetry in its own right. 

14 thoughts on “Nick Cave & Typewriters.

  1. The unused typewriter to the side of the desk is a Olivetti Lettera 25. However, I can confirm that Nick isn't writing on a Tippa S. The construction is too different. It is definitely plastic with black keys. But I can't identify it.


  2. oh hell, I didn't know Cave used a machine! That might explain some of the mannerisms of '…And the ass saw the angel'. In fact, I feel better knowing he's a typerman, considering he's also old-school about his Muse and Protecting his Muse from the influences of cleaners, sycophants etc. Looking FW to film even if I don't have many of his discs.


  3. Richard, Cave's own typewriter was an exhibition here in the National Library a few years ago, along with that which had belonged to Patrick White and others. It's an Olivetti Lettera 25, in a pale grey.


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