No, it isn't simply the name of Calvin Klein's fragrance, although those sleek, glossy, half-naked ads of his from the 80's where so hot I used to sneak my mother's Vogue and Cosmo magazines up to my room just so I could cut out those ads and paste them in my scrap book. Even as a teenage Madonna clone I was always hot-to-trot.
No I am talking obsessions on the order of when you have one thing of something you simply can not rest until you have everything of that one thing. My particular obsessions usually fixate on either authors, musicians, or collecting tarot decks. But let's Talk about musicians since I happen to be listening to a CD from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. I have in my collection 15 of his albums. And I am still missing some. But I at least have some of the best albums. Nick Cave once said he wanted to create songs so sad, so full of pain, that it was like breaking a finger in three places. That is how I feel a lot of the time. His songs are full of some the most darkly poetic lyrics in music. Such as this line from "Papa won't leave you Henry" from the album "Henry's Dream" c1992
I went out walking the other day
The wind hung wet around my neck
My head it rung with screams and groans
From the night I spent amongst her bones
And then the song continues for another 4 minutes singing about this walk along a dark road, filled with the most surreal images that could in fact happen and if they do you want to keep running down that road and hope someone hears your screams.
For about a month or two over the summer all I did was listen to Nick Cave day and night. I tore out this picture of him taken in November 2005 from the pages of Vanity Fair. I pinned it to my cork board in my writing room. I stare into those intense icy blue eyes, his black hair flowing down to about chin level, wearing a moustache that hangs down either side of his mouth. He's dressed in an all black 3-piece, pinstripe suit, not smiling, just looking out at the camera, head cocked, hands on his slim hips, and I am thinking "I say goddamn, but this man of 50 still looks %^*@# good, and no way I would ever turn down an invitation to sit at his table, eat, and drink with him." Obsession. If he were in front of me I don't know what I would do. Act like a crazed fan probably. But it's more than that. He is a true poet and author. He wrote a book that I read over the summer called "And the Ass Saw the Angel" It's brilliant but difficult to swallow. Almost like the 100 proof, pure gasoline-whiskey one of his characters drinks. It's not simply breaking your finger in three places. It's crawling into your mind and churning up every black, evil, twisted thought that lurks in your all too human heart. I loved it. But as I read it I wondered "How many other people actually finished it and liked it? And how many of them were women?" Probably not many. None of my friends would ever like it. And my male friends, those that do read, would never get past the prologue. Where are all the Nick Cave fans? Where have they all gone to? Crawled into a ruined gothic mansion, with tattered red curtains, smoked too many cloves, drank too much cheap red wine, and soaked themselves into a stupor of melancholia.
Nick Cave even came out with an album called "Murder Ballads" c1996 in which every song sings about a murder; my absolute favorite song being "Where the Wild Roses Grow".
Nick Cave does not sing to millions in sold out concert venues like Madonna or any of the mainstream Buzz Fest bands that come trouping every year to bombard senseless, angst-ridden teenagers. He sings in dark, smoky lounges, on a hard-wood stage, with purple-velvet curtains sashaying behind him while he hums into a microphone, caressing its slender neck, and his deep baritone voice filling the rafters with music so tragic you just want to cry while making love on a dusty mattress in a run-down motel.
He is truly an icon of 20th century music. And he is still making music well into the 21 century.