I am one of those people who secretly doesn’t know how lucky they are.
That’s a lie, actually.
I am one of those people who occasionally is convinced that luck completely passes them by but, in actuality, it washes up like waves on a beach more often than not. For every instance of not putting one of those new five pound notes in my wallet (everywhere else they jump out and I’m a fiver down) there is something else waiting round the corner, be it a clear run into work on a morning or a one in a mil find on eBay.
Let me tell you about the 23 June 2019.
I am invited by a friend to go to a gig in case someone drops out. I am officially on the ‘waiting’ list so to speak. The closer it gets to the gig it is quite clear that the other person is not coming so the ticket is offered to me, and despite my pleas it is given for free (no, I’m not spitting rhymes over a hot beat, the sentence came out that way). The gig in question is Nick Cave in Conversation at the Sage. I have dabbled in wor Nick and the Bad Seeds over the years with mixed results. This is not the kind of evening that you say no to; you grab it with your sweaty hands and you run away screaming like a frantic, happy loon.
So I turn up and meet the rest of the friends group, who are all rallied round drinking wine, and everyone seems really nice. The usual polite tidbits of conversation are floated round although that doesn’t last for very long because out of the corner of my eye I can see a man approaching. He is coming directly for us.
“How many are in your group?” he says. We all look at each other, we need someone to volunteer as spokesperson. I don’t remember who but a few people stumble up that there are six of us. “Great,” says the guy, “how would you fancy sitting on stage with Nick? You have to be by this door at exactly 7pm (11 minutes time!) and wear these special bands. I’ll run you through the rest of the rules when you’re led to your seats.”
We all look at each other again; what just happened there? There’s not much time to lose though so we all rush to the toilet and head to the door. More stagehands lead us right onto the stage: there are tables set aside with candles on, creating a kind of arc around the middle, which contains a beautiful piano and nothing more. The rules are pretty simple; shut the fuck up, don’t go near him and don’t bother him. Even I, with my primitive brain can handle this.
Nick Cave talks and plays music for almost three hours. He is roughly ten feet from where I am sitting. Nobody is allowed to take photos of him when he is performing meaning that the only memento I have, apart from the ticket and the special band, is a picture of an empty piano with no-one playing it taken about half an hour before it all started. He was amazing, a voice still raw and strong, a plethora of songs all hand-picked on the night, right there and then, whatever people suggest or he feels like playing is done. I have never seen anything like it and I doubt I will ever again.