Secret Life of the Love Song

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Nick Cave: "The Love Song" (Sept. 25th, Atelierhaus der Akademie der Bildenden Künste) Ladies and gentlemen, To be invited to come here and teach, to lecture, to impart what knowledge I have collected about poetry, about song writing has left me with a whole host of conflicting feelings. The strongest, most insistent of these concerns my late father who was English Literature teacher at the high school I attended back in Australia. I have very clear memories of being about twelve years old and sitting, as you are now, in a classroom or school hall, watching my father, who would be standing, up here, where I am standing, and thinking to myself, gloomily and miserably, for, in the main, I was a gloomy and miserable child, "It doesn´t really matter what I do with my life, as long as I don´t end up like my father." At forty years old i would appear that there is virtually no action I can take that does not draw me closer to him, that does not make me more like him. At forty years old I have become my father. And here I am. Teaching. What I wanted to do here was to talk a bit about "The Love Song", to speak about my own personal approach to this genre of songwriting which I believe has been at the very heart of my particular artistic quest. I want to look at some other works that, for whatever reason, I think are sublime achievements in this most noble of artistic pursuits: the creation of the great love song. Looking back at these last twenty years , certain clarity prevails. Midst the madness and the mayhem, it would seem I have been banging on one particular drum. I see that my artistic life has centered around an attempt to articulate the nature of an almost palpable sense of loss that has laid claim to my life. A great gaping hole was blasted out of my world by the unexpected death of my father when I was nineteen years old. The way I learned to fill this hole,
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