Nick Cave on Shyness

I thought to share quotes from some of the stories and articles I’ve read this week, but they were mostly depressing and/or terrifying (like the Atlantic piece on the election). Instead, I wanted to share a site that I love to explore, especially when the news gets to be too much (which is often). It’s The Red Hand Files, a personal blog where singer/songwriter Nick Cave answers questions from readers and fans about anything from writing to death.

Daniel from Sydney, Australia, asked: What is shyness?

Here is part of Cave’s response:

Shyness is the tentative sound of the orchestra tuning up before the symphony begins. It is a beautiful, fractured piece of music in itself. It is the orchestra attempting to find its shared intent and is over all too quickly if you ask me.

He occasionally combines readers’ questions, which he does here, also answering the question, “What was your first date with your wife like?”

My wife, Susie, has a hummingbird shyness. In social situations she displays herself for a magical, weightless moment then darts away.

The remainder of his response is just as beautiful.

Cave’s writing grounds and calms me. The Red Hand Files is a lovely little space he’s created on the internet. I recommend it, even if you’re not necessarily a fan of his music.

Published by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

I am an editor at Longreads. For over a decade, I've worked on curation, editing, and storytelling projects across Automattic, including

5 thoughts on “Nick Cave on Shyness

  1. Thank you. I’ve just subscribed to The Red Hand Files—his writing is inspiring. Going to check his music now as I hadn’t heard of Nick Cave until just now.

  2. Thank you for the link ~ and what a great read. I feel the same way these days when reviewing articles, so many are simply depressing and/or terrifying so I like diving into something like this. Wishing you and your family well ~ be take care.

  3. I bought a First Class ticket once on the Victoria-Brighton (‘the gatwick express’).

    I joined, as I would from platform two from East Croydon. At some point the inspector came rolling along the carriage justifying his job. His call was “Tickets, please.”

    In the seats behind me I heard a traveller being questioned about his lack of first class ticket. The usual, vague argument between authority and punter ensued as he didn’t have the requisite ticket. My ear was drawn. My eye was blind. An embarrassing argument ensued only garnering my interest with the passenger uttering the words, “Don’t you know who I am?” “No, sir,” came the reply. As I recall the surplus sum was paid eventually and all was resolved. As we passed through Three Bridges my curiosity got the better of me and I glanced between the seats to see Nicholas ‘Red Right Hand’ Cave sat there.

    It was another ten minutes to Brighton, my coffee was almost tepid, I pondered punk rock.

    PS – Lovely day in Brighton. WYWH xx

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