Junkyard Poet: Nick Cave’s The Sick Bag Song Reviewed

Nick Cave is a punk-rocker from Victoria, Australia. Now living in Brighton, he got his start in music in the early eighties in a filthy punk band named The Birthday Party. After a few years he mellowed out and gained infinite sophistication as frontman for his band The Bad Seeds – producing albums packed with love songs, Greek tragedies and homicide (featuring Kylie Minogue.) The wordy musician has also written the screenplays for western movies Lawless and The Proposition and his first two novels And The Ass Saw The Angel and The Death Of Bunny Munro were lurid affairs dealing with murder and mortality. The Sick Bag Song is his third novel but, as the title might suggest, also acts as an elongated poem: a confusing mix of fact and fiction which tones down the murder but ratchets up the mortality to a deafening degree. Cave describes it as “the SCUM Manifesto meets The Shropshire Lad meets Apocalypto meets Kanye West meets PornHub…” and so on. I’d describe it as a freshly trawled shell. Difficult to grasp and hard to break: but if you can crack it, there are pearls to be revealed within.

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