Nick Cave isn't exactly known for his cheery tunes - but among all the weird dark stuff, he's got some tremendously hopeful songs. New Morning is one of them.
I first came across Nick Cave when my brother excitedly brought his Murder Ballads home, and I can honestly say that he's been a major influence since. (Nick Cave, I meant, but my brother has been as well.) Being a writer made him even more irresistible. His stunningly strange "And The Ass Saw The Angel" is right next to Leonard Cohen's "Beautiful Losers" on my bookshelf.
For quite some time his words were my oxygen. I even forgave him all the really awkward music videos. While at university, his music clearly dominated my iPod. For motivation I had a picture of him on my desktop - it was a very unflattering shot of him holding a cup of coffee while teaching at the Vienna Poetry School. This, I told myself, was my ambition. To one day teach at the Vienna Poetry school. I think in actuality my ambition was to be Nick Cave - but I was probably in denial.
I'm picky when it comes to choosing my heroes. He reached that status effortlessly. I was particularly impressed by his rejection of his MTV award nomination:
"...My relationship with my muse is a delicate one at the best of times and I feel that it is my duty to protect her from influences that may offend her fragile nature.
She comes to me with the gift of song and in return I treat her with the respect I feel she deserves — in this case this means not subjecting her to the indignities of judgement and competition. My muse is not a horse and I am in no horse race and if indeed she was, still I would not harness her to this tumbrel — this bloody cart of severed heads and glittering prizes. My muse may spook! May bolt! May abandon me completely!..."
I have changed my aspirations many times since - I haven't taught creative writing in Vienna, and neither am I Nick Cave, but he's still one of the giants whose shoulders I was able to stand on, and who helped me see the sky.