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Tome On The Range

An Exclusive Extract From The Bad Seeds' Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! Book
The Quietus , July 18th, 2008 17:28

Nick Cave has collaborated with artists Sue Webster and Tim Noble to produce Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, a superb little book of sketches, photographs, and sundry scribbles. In an extract from the book, they explain how it all came together.

1st February 2008 CHAPTER ONE

“SO WHEN DID WE FIRST MEET THEN?”

Nick Cave: So when did we first meet then?

Tim Noble: Well…

NC: You came to Iceland. Why don’t you tell that story?

Sue Webster: It was the year before last…

TN: It was your birthday

SW: My two passions in life are travelling and music – especially live bands and as it was my birthday, I thought, “I’m going to treat myself, I wonder where Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are playing?” I googled it, and you happened to be playing Reykjavik a couple of days after my birthday, so I thought, “OK, I’d never been to Reykjavik…what a great thing to do”. I booked a flight for the weekend but didn’t have a ticket to the show…let alone two tickets…

But I thought, “Fuck it, I’m just going to go anyway, I’m sure I’ll find a way in, I always do”. And then I remembered that I’d met a lady a few years before that said if I was to ever come to Reykjavik to give her a call.

We often have studio visits by patrons of museums and we happened to have some of the patrons of the Guggenheim Museum around as the museum had recently purchased a work of ours…so there were all these rich ladies…

TN: There was about fifty of them…

SW: Yeah and their husbands are influential and they give money to museums…

TN: The smell of them was so intense. They were here in our studio and they all had their handbags lined up. We laid on food for them, but there was this one woman who was a real pain. She started making herself an omelette in our kitchen. She turned out to be Dorrit Moussaieff.

SW: She gave me her card and said if you ever want to come to Iceland you can come and stay with me…

NC: Oh, and that was Dorrit?

SW: Yes. I thought, “well, maybe she can get me a ticket for the gig” so I called her up and said “I’m coming to Iceland” and she said “oh fantastic, darling”, and I said “but the thing is I’m actually going to see Nick Cave and I wonder if you can get me a ticket?” She said “Well who is this person?” and I said “well, you know, he’s my favourite rock star and it’s my birthday” and she said “OK darling, I’ll see what I can do” and then a few days later I got a phone call from Dorrit saying the President of Iceland requests the pleasure of your company on Saturday night for dinner. It turns out that Dorrit was married to Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the 5th President of Iceland.

NC: You didn’t know that at the time?

SW: No. Anyway, I said, “That’s all well and good, but that’s the night of the gig, so no, I can’t come to dinner’.

NC: Quite right…

SW: And she said “What about lunch?” And I said, “Have you got me a ticket yet?”

NC: Oh, the tenacity…

SW: And she said “we’re so intrigued as to why you’re coming all the way to Iceland to see this Nick Cave guy, we want to come with you…”

SW: But you must have got a similar invitation. We turned up to the lunch and there you were…

NC: Yes, I had been invited too. I think we were set up…

SW: So that was how we met. The President put on a lunch and then they brought out a birthday cake. I didn’t know that it was your birthday the following week. So the cake said “Happy Birthday, Sue” and then you announced that it was your birthday too and suddenly Dorrit snapped her fingers and the chocolate cake was whisked off back into the kitchen and it came back with “Happy Birthday Sue and… Nick”.

SW: Sort of hanging off the edge of the cake, wasn’t it? It was a good moment. And then we sat in the concert next to the president.

SW: It was a bit like going to a gig with your mum and dad. And I was thinking “don’t…”

NC: …do ‘Stagger Lee’….

SW: Yeah. And you did it. You did ‘Stagger Lee’.

NC: I did a particularly obscene version for the Crown Prince of Denmark once…

TN: Oh yeah?

NC: He sent my mother a signed photograph as a way of saying thanks.

TN: The President of Iceland and his wife were pretty good though, weren’t they? They’re totally open.

NC: He seems like a really good guy…and Dorrit was sweet…

TN: Yeah…

NC: I think she thought I was Nicolas Cage.

Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! the limited edition, 4", 46 page book comes with a 3" CD of the track of the same name. It is available now from all good record shops and internet emporia.

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