17 Feb 2009

 The re-scheduled shoot with Nick Cave was 3 hours away. My challenge was to get from my adopted home in West London, weighed down with kit, to Brighton by public transport. I'd worked it all out when Lee suggested that the family tag along. He'd drive us to Brighton and while I worked they'd eat fish 'n' chips and potter on the beach with son Ravi. Grandmother, son, grandson, childminder, buckets, cameras and me, packed into a groaning people carrier. On the M25 grandma Chander punctuated the jollities with howls of incredulity. She was keeping up with events from the motherland, scouring her newspaper for any reports from India. She delighted in systematically deriding the political, judicial and caste systems with unquestionable authority. Once in Brighton the satnav guided us to Nick's basement lair with air-traffic control precision. Nick greeted me tentatively and made the first move with the offer of a cuppa. I set up studio in a spare room at the back of the flat, penned in on all sides by racks of suits, keyboards, guitars, more guitars and a bed. The Nick I encountered two decades before was a brooding stupor of mistrust with eyes of dark-matter black. The revised Nick had crystalline pupils and could walk without the aid of a wall. I asked if he remembered the session? No. The location? No. Could he recall me asking him to stand in the corner of the room and how he then proceeded to flap his arms like a snared crow? No. Did he recognise me? No, no, no! Did he agree that the photograph was irrefutable proof of our encounter? Yes! He pleaded mitigating circumstances- the drugs.

90 minutes later and outside the family was still braving the February squall. Timing was perfect, any longer and we'd both be suffering from photo-fatigue. Back at in London I asked Chander if I could take her photograph. She took my hand and placed it on firmly on her head saying "bless me."

 Nick chose 11 shots from the session, heaping unbridled praise on one image and blessing me with a quote worthy of my epitaph- 'LOVE this photo. One of my favourite Nick Cave (over 50) photo's. Hey, I'd fuck me!'