Musician after musician turned down invitations to perform at King Charles’ Coronation concert and it’s likely that even more declined invitations to just show up as attendees. Not Nick Cave, though. In a newsletter to his fans, addressed specifically to four who inquired about why he’ll be attending, the singer put it pretty simply: There was no way he was going to willingly miss the trainwreck of a century.
“I am not a monarchist, nor am I a royalist, nor am I an ardent republican for that matter,” Cave wrote. “What I am also not is so spectacularly incurious about the world and the way it works, so ideologically captured, so damn grouchy, as to refuse an invitation to what will more than likely be the most important historical event in the UK of our age. Not just the most important, but the strangest, the weirdest.”
Why the matters of the U.K. monarchy matter so much to Cave, who is Australian, is just as strange and weird as he expects the coronation to be. “I guess what I am trying to say is that, beyond the interminable but necessary debates about the abolition of the monarchy, I hold an inexplicable emotional attachment to the Royals.”
What preceded this was a description of how the musician has essentially been Stockholm Syndrome’d into this connection to the country by his memories of a brief encounter with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 2006.
“It was a mostly awkward affair, but the Queen herself, dressed in a salmon coloured twin-set, seemed almost extraterrestrial and was the most charismatic woman I have ever met,” Cave wrote. “Maybe it was the lighting, but she actually glowed.” When he told his mother the story, she cried. When the Queen died, he cried.
“The strangeness of them, the deeply eccentric nature of the whole affair that so perfectly reflects the unique weirdness of Britain itself,” he explained, “I’m just drawn to that kind of thing — the bizarre, the uncanny, the stupefyingly spectacular, the awe-inspiring.”
One fan who wrote to him, Matt from Leeds, asked of his decision to attend: “What would the young Nick Cave have thought of that?” In short, what Cave’s younger self would or wouldn’t have done isn’t of any concern now.
“The young Nick Cave was, in all due respect to the young Nick Cave, young, and like many young people, mostly demented, so I’m a little cautious around using him as a benchmark for what I should or should not do,” he wrote. “He was cute though, I’ll give him that. Deranged, but cute.”