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Melbourne hosts Cave retrospective -

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ALI MOORE: When musician Nick Cave left Australia in search of broader musical horizons in London
and Berlin in the early 1980's, the idea he might one day become an Australian cultural hero seemed

But 2007 his 50th year has proved something of a milestone.

Once considered a maverick, Nick Cave is now teetering on the brink of respectability and
mainstream appeal.

After years of sell-out tours with his band 'The Bad Seeds', and AFI awards for his film 'The
Proposition', he was recently inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, and is the subject of a major
retrospective exhibition in Melbourne.

Quiet comfort, perhaps for a man who hasn't lived here for nearly three decades, but still calls
Australia home.

Tracee Hutchison reports.

TRACEE HUTCHISON: Nick Cave might not be everyone's idea of the quintessential Aussie rock and
roller but the man himself is in little doubt.

NICK CAVE: I see it as my duty in some way is to be out in the world as an Australian putting
forward what I consider to be authentic Australian music.

TRACEE HUTCHISON: Despite spending most of his adult life living abroad, there's a pride in Nick
Cave's Australianness that is unmistakable.

NICK CAVE: For me it's always been fundamentally important that I am seen as an Australian
performer. It has always been my thing. It's my schtick and that the Bad Seeds are an Australian

TRACEE HUTCHISON: Not everyone agrees. Cave's recent induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame excluded
his band mates. He's been at pains to make it right.

NICK CAVE: For better or for worse, the ARIA Hall of Fame is Australia's kind of collective memory
in regard to music and for them to not remember the Bad Seeds is not just, it's a personal affront.

So that's why I felt it was my duty to, if they weren't going to induct them I had to induct them,
you know. And those members of the birthday party too.

TRACEE HUTCHISON: Despite the solo focus, there are no such omissions in Nick Cave the exhibition
at Melbourne's art centre gallery.

Collaborating with art centre curator Janine Barrand the exhibition tracks Cave's career through
his lyrics, manuscript, novels and rare


JANINE BARRAND, CURATOR: He's had an amazing life and I suppose for a curator it is incredible, not
only in what survived but how I suppose prolific Nick has been and to have kept all of that and to
I suppose, to have entrusted things that are so personal, meant that we could do this exhibition.

NICK CAVE: You know I just basically think it's a whole lot of really cool stuff. I've always
thought that, you know, but I just didn't assume that anyone else would particularly think that.

TRACEE HUTCHISON: This cool stuff, as Cave calls it, reveals a studious and fastidious fascination
with literary classics, religion and language.

NICK CAVE: It has surprised me, actually. I do have an unnatural drive to do things. I mean it's a
compulsiveness about the whole thing. And I think that's got a lot to do with an attempt to sort of
escape the past all the time. I mean that's not to say that I have any deep regrets about my past
or anything like that because I do not.

I'm superstitious about the idea of looking backwards.

TRACEE HUTCHISON: How do you feel about the person revealed here?

NICK CAVE: I actually feel kind of warm, warmly to that person, struggling away against the odds.

You know, someone has spooned out a decent amount of kind of self loathing and all of that sort of
stuff. Maybe it's far enough away that I can kind of now I don't look at it critically.

Look, oh God, you know, those lyrics or that hair do or whatever, you know. I just, there's just
enough removed from it to be able to look a little more kindly.

JANINE BARRAND: I think that was interesting for Nick to sort of come to terms with because I think
there are lots of sort of stereotypes about him and I was very, very keen to, I suppose, explode
some of those myths for people.

TRACEE HUTCHISON: Is there anything here that might surprise people about Nick Cave?

JANINE BARRAND: I think how prolific he is, the sort of breadth of work he does, but I think also
people will discover that he is very Australian and he's got a kind of great sense of humour.

MICK HARVEY: It must be weird for Nick to see all of his kind of, you know, fetishes and kind of
obsessions kind of all over the place.

TRACEE HUTCHISON: Long time collaborator Mick Harvey compiled the video component of the

The pair has worked together since they were in high school.

MICK HARVEY: Throughout the thing you're sort of surrounded by evidence of the chaos and mania that
creates all this stuff and it's kind of interesting, yeah.

TRACEE HUTCHISON: What is it about your relationship with Mick Harvey that has sustained it for 35

NICK CAVE: You know, I need Mick, you know. Even though it's in different ways for different
records, I feel like if it wasn't for him I'd be standing in a soup queue somewhere, you know.

MICK HARVEY: He thinks so. I don't know, maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. I'm not that, I'm not as

TRACEE HUTCHISON: But the partnership keeps delivering with another new album due early next year.

NICK CAVE: It's just a new Bad Seeds record. It's a Stone classic.

TRACEE HUTCHISON: Of course it is.

NICK CAVE: Of course.

NICK CAVE: It's called Dig Lazarus Dig with three exclamation marks at the end.

TRACEE HUTCHISON: It adds to an ever growing catalogue for an ever expanding audience. From an
artist increasingly finding himself the

focus of a mainstream spotlight.

Is there a quiet comfort for you that Australia might have finally embraced you after all these

NICK CAVE: It's important for me to be seen as an Australian artist so to be, for this sort of
stuff to be happening back here, that the art centre has my stuff, you know, the Australian Hall of
Fame, it is actually important.

ALI MOORE: Nick Cave, the exhibition is on at the George Adams gallery at the Melbourne art centre
until April 2008.

Tracee Hutchison with that report.