Calling myself a Nick Cave fan would be an insult to all those Nick Cave fans, who have been with the Aussie from The Birthday Party days, with the The Bad Seeds, and Grinderman, who have autographed first editions of And the Ass Saw the Angel and The Death of Bunny Munro. But I just put on The Lyre of Orpheus for the first time and a long time. Mostly gentle and dozy, that album was released as a pair along with the aggressive and dark Abattoir Blues, and this this coupling goes a long way describing the sometimes conflicting variety of Cave's. Nick Cave's kind of a weird old house, but with many ways to get there and countless points of entry. If you're more traditionally minded, you come in through 1996's Murder Ballads, and once in can find something for yourself in previously thought out there Grinderman. Now, 20, 000 Days on Earth, makes for another means of getting in.
Fans of Cave couldn't ask for a better floor plan of that weird old house that he is. 20, 000 Days on Earth consists of conversations, monolgues, therapy sessions, recording sessions, all of which never quite feel completely off the cuff, but never feel completely prepared. In therapy with a nodding Alain de Botton, Cave recounts stories of Nina Simone, or his father enthusiastically reading Lolita to him as a child. Driving through the rain, Cave ruminates at the wheel in a way that may bring Matthew McConnaughey's recent commerical for Lincoln to mind. An ever-greying The Bad Seeds record the new album Push The Sky Away. Cave sifting through his own past--literally going through archives--manages to tell an implied story of how eccentricities refine and mature when a person isn't destroyed by them.
20, 000 Days on Earth amounts to a collage, addressing being an artist and being a performer; the nature of creation, and the nature of being creative. "All of our days are numbered," says Cave in the film. "We cannot afford to be idle. To act on a bad idea is better than to not act at all. Because to worth of an idea never becomes apparent until you do it." It's not likely that the uninitiated will run out and buy Cave's whole discography after viewing the film, but, spurned on by the character and sensibility and spirit of the guy, keep in mind that there's something out there for everyone. And while the aesthetic may change, it all comes from the same place, is a product of the same 20, 000 or so days.