In The Name of 2018... Laibach and Nick Cave.
Updated: Mar 30, 2019
Let's sum up 2018.
For it’s been a most important and effective year. This was the year of growth for me.
But! in order to sum up 2018 I need to go back to 2017 for 2018 was the result of 2017.
So, here is what happened in to 2017:
I started this year with a new job, as a Production Assistant, at a very small production company.
At first it was vey exciting. There were many details and new things to learn, and I wanted to know as much as I could, thinking I will manage to combine my day job and my studio work.
My day job turned out to be more and more demanding by the day (well expected from productions business, isn’t it?!) and I found myself working long hours, sometimes 12-16 hours a day, and when working the usual 9 hours a day, coming back home, continuing working from home, emailing, phoning, typing etc…
Somewhere in the middle of all that I went to a concert by ‘Laibach’. It was their first concert in Israel and I knew I couldn’t miss it, even though I wasn’t that much of a fan or even that familiar with their albums, but I did know they are an important group making important art, wether with their music, or with their films and work within the NSK group, which you can find out more about here.
I went not knowing what to expect, with an open mind that it can go either way.
I was a blanc canvas.
All dressed in white, I stood there absorbing.
And it was amazing!
Right from the beginning, just as I walked into the venue, it was obvious that everything here is well thought, planned, choreographed, and that you are now walking into a work of art.
The sound track of ‘Sound of Music’ was playing at the background while we all got our beers before the show, and well, that’s it. They got me right there, with the soundtrack of my childhood, with all its emotional baggage, playing to the screening of the image of Milan Fras (Vocalist) pointing his finger at you and written bedside it : ‘Join The Party’.
That was everything.
No, it wasn’t. Because what came afterwards was.
The first sound emerges from the speakers and you’re on a spaceship going to Mars.
The band plays their songs, and every movement is choreographed, each has a reason, a purpose, and with each my heart fills with strong, living emotion that I can’t define in that very moment, but when it all ends, and I walked back to my car, and knew, that was a call for action.
That walk to the car, I asked myself ‘What the fuck are you doing with your life?’
‘Why am I working in this job, that after learning it, seemed to be pretty boring and repetitive, in a company with no artistic vision or agenda. Why am I not making more art? Art can save this shitty damn world. I see so much wrong doings, especially in the country I live in, and all its problems, why am I not doing more?’
It was a sweet and sour moment.
I carried that moment with me for quite a while.
It took some time, and many things that happened which had no connection to this concert (everything had connection to this concert), but I quit my job, giving few months in advance so they could find a proper substitute.
November that year, I went to another meaningful concert.
It was Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, coming back to Israel after 20 years, and I never got to see them back then as I was still a clueless teenage listening to black metal, and knew nothing of Nick Cave, although his video with Kylie marked the very beginning of my fascination with pale skin, black hair, scarlet blood and well… red headed women.
Now, I knew about the concert from the moment it was announced, and there's been one concert and all the seats were taken within 24 hours.
Then, the second concert was announced, and as much as I wanted to go, knowing I’ll be soon unemployed, I couldn’t pay for it, as it was pretty expensive even for the lousy seats.
Few days before the first concert, a friend of my wife (her name is Isabelle and I love her very much), suggested a free ticket and to join her! Well of course I jumped on the offer, got all dressed up again (this time all black) and went to see the prince of darkness in action.
Note, that although I listened to Cave for a while, I was far from being a fan, didn’t know most of his materials, however, did know the last album which is ‘Skeleton Tree’ and the personal tragedy behind it, knew his top selling and such, but really… I had no idea.
And yet again, I was a blanc, black clueless canvas, not knowing what to expect, yet very excited about what I was going to find out.
Well people… I am well known for my atheistic opinions and anti- religion one direction kind of mind, but that concert my friends, that concert, was a religious, spiritual experience.
I was there at the moment, together with some 10,000 strangers in the audience, all amazed by this charismatic angel demon, jumping all over the stage, the venue, us, touching us, singing to us about love, about grieve, about obsession, and god, whispering then yelling, turning every stone in the venue to find out what’s underneath it.
And again, from the moment the first notion merged on stage, I knew I was in. I was in Cave’s story now, and all I needed to do is just be there.
I didn’t even video or photographed that much, as I didn’t want to miss out on anything.
I was in.
We were all in.
And when it ended it seemed like everyone came out enlightened, as if stepping out of church on a Sunday morning. And I’m Jewish, so I have no idea what it feels like stepping out of church on a Sunday morning, but right at that moment I had a clue. A huge one.
I never knew I could realize this side in me.
I walked home from the venue, uplifted, on air, no questions in my head, just a secured kind of feeling, ‘This is what I should do. That’s how I want people to react to my art. I want to give love, I want to give love by fronting the fear and horror and all that stuff’.
That was a sweet moment, and I carry it with me, in lower volumes, till now.
Few days afterwards, my most beloved cat of all times, the only creature I felt motherly feelings towards, died.
I know it might sound absurd (‘but I can hear the most melancholy sound I’ve ever heard’- for fans only), to some people its only a cat, not a person, it’s sad, but you know… it’s a cat.
Well, not for me.
It took some days to calm down, but when I did the grieving part began, and I went into the studio, put on ‘Skeleton Tree’ on repeat, and painted the hell out.
So, actually 2018 started as an unemployed, grieving, lazy, self pitying, miserable, depressing, whining, period of time.
And when money started to knock on hells’ doors, I went to find a job, with the decision that it needs to be a simple, nice, “small minded”, that will sure pay less, but will give me the time and mindfulness to continue making art, struggle as it is, that’s how it is, and this is what I needed doing.
And indeed, I found myself a nice part-time job at the local Art Supply shop, working 6 hours a day, 3 days a week at the shop, and rest in the studio.
My work in the studio has developed, and there was a smell of little changes, like the beginning of a new season, when winter makes its first hints from the sea, behind the curtains of humidity that stands in the air (welcome to Tel Aviv).
Then I took on a short course for ‘Emerging Entrepreneur’ to get some idea on how a business should work, but mostly to get some self esteem on the financial side of things and what it takes to be a freelancer.
It made it clearer that I’m with Frank Zappa on that matter, that making art is not a job, but something I love and need to do, and that every Shekel I’m making will be for the next project or just so that I’ll be able to continue making more, and that I will forever aim to not work and only make art!
Other than that, it really did the trick and arranged my thoughts on how I should manage myself.
During the last few months I have tried and failed in growing on few projects and now it seems like I found what I needed, but I’ll keep it as a surprise.
I would say however, that I’m in the process of signing a contract with an online gallery that seems promising, and that what kept me going through some of the rough times this year, other than my lovely wife, is the music and lyrics of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.
Throughout this year I studied him and his inspirations, read all his books and lyrics, also read some of the books he mentioned which influenced him, and still have so many to read! Seen the films he wrote screenplays and music for, read about him and watched many, many interviews from his young life till now.
Following his writings on ‘The Red Hand Files’, Here.
Got inspired from his life as a young troubled rock n roller, to his life now as an inspiring valued writer, musician, and a family man.
Got inspired by his ever enchanting wife Susie, who I don’t know how, but her elegant energy moves from the screen directly to my heart. Following her activity in fashion, reading her ‘Stuff’ blog on her website Here, which just gives me more and more referents of artists, poets, writers, I should read and get to know their work, and so I can’t keep up!
You might call me a slightly obsessed fan, go ahead, I don’t care.
It might sound childish, as no one really knows what goes on between two people, but their relationship, or at least, what I see of it, gives me hope and inspiration of how love could save your life, as sometimes I tend to forget, even within my own relationship.
And that’s how I sum up 2018.
As the year I understood the power of love.
May we all have love and light in the year to come,
Go to some transformative concerts, or any kind of art that keeps you alive.
With much love,
Here is #Laibach #myfavoritethings official video.
And in a whole other direction:
From Copenhagen with the astonishing performance of Elsa Torp.
P.S - I wrote this blog on the night between Dec. 26-27th. On the morning of the 27th a friend of mine sent me this link to an article on the New Yorker, written by Emily Flake, on how Nick Cave's song changed her life.
She writes it much better than me, here it is.