Sunday, June 30, 2019

The right to be far right

As part of his recent In Conversations tour, Nick Cave has been tackling questions from his audience on everything from the art of songwriting and the nature of grief to the DVLA and where the stopcock is in his old Hove flat. Tickets were prohibitively expensive for many (myself included), but the good news is that you can still ask him a question via his website The Red Hand Files.

One recent enquiry concerned Cave's thoughts on Morrissey - both the musician and the man. The response was a classic statement of the view that artist can and indeed should be separated from art. Cave was unequivocal in his assessment of Moz's contribution to music, referring to his creation of "original and distinctive works of unparalleled beauty", though was also clear that the former Smiths frontman has now fallen "prey to regressive and dangerous belief systems".

More controversially, though, Cave also defended Morrissey's right to freedom of expression, arguing that "conflating the concept of free speech with bigotry" is "very dangerous territory indeed". Yes - but perhaps less dangerous than allowing him and unapologetic proponents of far-right views to continue to spew their bile?

Cave's position is at least consistent with his stance on Israel and Palestine, whereby he has repeatedly insisted that artists should have the freedom to perform where they like (and for their own reasons) and not be pressured into boycotts by others on political grounds.

Incidentally, Cave took time out from answering questions today to duet with Kylie Minogue on 'Where The Wild Roses Grow' in front of an enormous Glastonbury audience. Also putting in a guest appearance on the Pyramid Stage over the weekend was Johnny Marr, who pitched up to run through 'This Charming Man' with yesterday's headliners The Killers. Strangely, I'm starting to warm to Morrissey again...

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