Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

A different kind of book by Nick Cave

No sooner do I gripe about how the urge to do something different is all but whipped out of us by the publishing business than I read of rocker Nick Cave’s remarkable new project, The Sick Bag Song.

I’ve been trying to think of ways to play with the art of the novel for some time now, after concluding, for myself anyway, that there’s not a lot of spark left in the form. Going back to the chaos and angst that Ulysses caused, back in the day, up to maybe the mid-1960s, it seemed like the novel was a flexible yet durable mode of creation that gave the writer plenty of room to wiggle around in while remaining stable and recognizable and therefore familiar. Like I’ve said before, though, things got stagnant somewhere in there — probably when acquisition became more of a marketing thing than a creative thing in the publishing houses.

But Nick Cave is on my wavelength and he’s come up with a fresh approach. He’s written some poetry and other stuff, including song lyrics, on airplane sick bags, he’s photographed them, and he’s compiled them in a book: The Sick Bag Song. On top of that, he’s decided to sell the book only through his own website: http://thesickbagsong.com/ .

Click on the link and you can see images from the book, which will run you thirty quid, or about forty-five bucks. It comes in a clamshell slipcase, and if I’m reading things right, you’ll also get the audiobook and the ebook when you purchase the Unlimited Edition. (I’m not sure what shipping to the U.S./Canada will cost, but the site says you’ll be shown the amount in full before finalizing the transaction.)

True, this is not a novel, but since it is a description of his 2014 North American tour, it’s something of a narrative. Cave calls it an epic poem.

I love what he’s done here. I love that he’s stretching boundaries. I love that he’s going around the publishing industry. And I love that so many sick bags have not gone to waste.

We need more of this kind of thing!

2 comments on “A different kind of book by Nick Cave

  1. 1WriteWay
    April 23, 2015

    I just hope the airline attendants replaced the sick bags he used for writing … can you imagine someone actually getting sick and finding no sick bag! Okay, I’m just being silly. I checked out the link and it is an interesting project. I’d be tempted to purchase a copy but $45 is kind of steep for me right now … even for something so original and with multimedia (so it’s really not a bad deal at all).

    • Kevin Brennan
      April 23, 2015

      I guess if you think of it more as an art book the price seems reasonable. Maybe the shipping’s a killer, though!

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This entry was posted on April 21, 2015 by in Writing and tagged , , , , .
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