The presence of greatness.

Thursday, April 25th, 2002

We interrupt our normal lack of WordRidden updates to bring you this news flash:

My friend Karin and I have started making silver jewelry. This is not the news flash - this is just the background. We took a class a few weeks ago, and now we’re out on our own, buying hammers and blowtorches and pieces of silver so we can set up a kind of home workshop. Today we went out together to a shop in town where they sell all the equipment for making jewelry. Before going back home, we decided to take a slight detour and go by a hardware store in the North Laine to see if we could pick up some more things like drill bits and metal hand files - you know, the normal stuff you’d shop for on an afternoon out with the girls.

(By way of explanation, the North Laine is a series of streets in town that form a kind of mini-Camden Town: lots of cafes, funky clothing stores, record shops, etc. It’s a great place to hang out).

Anyway, we did our bit in the hardware store and then went outside again, where we paused briefly to organize ourselves. As we stood there, Karin suddenly got very…mysterious. She started talking really quickly and quietly, saying, "Turn around - look at this guy - look at this guy - " So I turned around and saw a guy playing slide guitar a little ways down the sidewalk - which was nice and all, but nothing to get all mysterious about - and then I turned some more and looked across the street… and nearly fainted as I saw who was standing there casually as if he were mere mortal, hands in pockets, watching the busker from afar.

It was Nick Cave. It was NICK CAVE!!!!

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! Just thinking about it turns me into a gibbering idiot. I turned back around to Karin, mouth gaping, eyes as wide as saucers, and we just stared at each other in awe. Both of us started talking really quickly and quietly then: "That is him, isn’t it? That really is him… Look at him, look at him! That’s totally him… You know, I saw him over there and I thought, ‘I know this guy from somewhere’ - I can tell his hair is dyed black - oh my gawd, I can’t believe he’s just standing over there! That’s Nick Cave! That’s totally him! Oh my god…"

Now perhaps I should explain briefly that I worship Nick Cave. To me, Nick Cave is to music what Umberto Eco is to books - that is, a god. I don’t just like him, he’s not just one of my favorite musicians - he is it. There are loads of other musicians and bands I love - PJ Harvey, the Afghan Whigs, even U2 - but Nick Cave is only that I can think of offhand who I truly idolize in a completely unhealthy way. He is The Man.

So it took a lot of effort not to stare or run across the street and slobber all over his shoes in adoration. To our credit, Karin and I did a very good job at playing it cool and leaving the man in peace. After my first glimpse of him, I turned around just once more to look again really quickly, then turned back and faced a shop window where I could see his reflection. Then, as Karin and I were standing basking in his presence from afar, a huge truck pulled up the street and parked right between us and Mr. Cave - and a moment later, as I peeked around the truck surreptitiously to see if he was still standing there, he was gone.

Karin and I loitered for a minute, then continued to walk down the North Laine, passing little clumps of people who were standing around asking, "Did you see him?" - and even one girl on a mobile phone saying excitedly, "He’s here in the North Laine! I just saw him!" The excitement got the best of us then and, giggling and squealing like teenagers, we turned back around and headed in the direction he must have gone, thinking that if we could get just one last glimpse of him, we would be satisfied.

We walked all down the North Laine, scanning the crowd, peeking in cafes and clothing shops (stalking the man, in the other words), but alas, he was nowhere to be found. He had disappeared into thin air, just as you would expect him to.

Despite being denied a last look at him, I am still absolutely elated that I saw him at all. It is enough to know that I have walked the same sidewalks as him (and we probably walk the same sidewalks all the time, seeing as he apparently has a house in Hove). Fatboy Slim buying yogurt was very exciting indeed, and Chris’ sighting of Paul McCartney on the next street over was quite a thrill, I’m sure - but nothing, nothing compares to the utter coolness of seeing Nick Cave - in suit jacket and all - hanging out on a Saturday afternoon, listening to a busker in the North Laine.

I have been in the presence of greatness today. Life is good.



Do you think he changed into a bat?

You watched him in the shop window? I didn’t think Nick Cave had a reflection!

This is all news to me.

I shall be busking though everyday this week in Brighton

Posted by Chris


It may have been a bat - or merely a wisp of cigarette smoke…

I think he must have taken on human form to walk the streets of Brighton in broad daylight - hence the shadow.

I think if I were playing music on the street and Nick Cave stopped to listen to me, I would go numb with sheer terror and I wouldn’t be able to play a note. On the other hand, I guess it would be a tremendous compliment if Nick Cave stopped to listen to one’s music on the street. And it would also be an opportunity to give him a demo tape (if you dared….)


Wow, you lucky thing…I love Nick he`s fucking ace. As far as famous people around Brighon I`ve only seen one of the mgann lot…dunno which one but that was pretty dull…but Nick Cave!!! that would just be heaven.


Since this sighting, I’ve passed by him on the street (he had his kids in tow), and Jeremy has seen him buying cheese (!) in the same supermarket where we saw Norman Cook. I feel like I’m living in Hollywood, what with all the star spotting going on!

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