Nick Cave Shares Letter About Creativity In The Time Of Coronavirus On His Website

Nick Cave has again taken to his website The Red Hand Files – where he answers questions submitted by fans – to discuss the impact of coronavirus on the world and himself personally.

The Bad Seeds frontman was asked by a number of curious fans about his plans for filling the time were during self-isolation, and how to stay creative during this time, and responded in a predictably insightful fashion.

“My response to a crisis has always been to create,” Cave opens, explaining that his mind went into “overdrive” with ideas to fill spare time given The Bad Seeds having to postpone their planed European tour – everything from streaming solo performances from his home, making an isolation album, writing an “apocalyptic film script”, creating a pandemic playlist on Spotify.

“As I sat there in bed and reflected, another thought presented itself, clear and wondrous and humane — Why is this the time to get creative? Together we have stepped into history and are now living inside an event unprecedented in our lifetime,” offers Cave, acknowledging the dizzying news cycle we are seeing unfold every day throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have become eyewitnesses to a catastrophe that we are seeing unfold from the inside out. We are forced to isolate — to be vigilant, to be quiet, to watch and contemplate the possible implosion of our civilisation in real time,” continues Cave.

“When we eventually step clear of this moment we will have discovered things about our leaders, our societal systems, our friends, our enemies and most of all, ourselves. We will know something of our resilience, our capacity for forgiveness, and our mutual vulnerability. Perhaps, it is a time to pay attention, to be mindful, to be observant.

“As an artist, it feels inapt to miss this extraordinary moment. Suddenly, the acts of writing a novel, or a screenplay or a series of songs seem like indulgences from a bygone era. For me, this is not a time to be buried in the business of creating. It is a time to take a backseat and use this opportunity to reflect on exactly what our function is — what we, as artists, are for.”

Answering a fan who asked what people who aren’t particularly creative can do to fill time during isolation, Cave suggested simple gestures such as emailing a distant friend, a phone call to a friend or a kind word to a neighbour, suggesting these acts help connect and unify us for when we finally emerge from the current crisis.

“Perhaps, we will also see the world through different eyes, with an awakened reverence for the wondrous thing that it is. This could, indeed, be the truest creative work of all.”

In the past, Cave has taken to his Red Hand Files to share insight about processing the grief of his son’s passing, and more recently, not changing “problematic” older lyrics when performing live.

Read the full essay over on Cave’s website here.

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