Nick Cave and Byng’s Irregulars

The crowd was hip, the room had black walls and Nick Cave’s larger-than-life face gazed off-screen as he read from his first novel for almost twenty years, The Death of Bunny Munro.

Scottish publishers, Canongate, have teamed up with club night, Limbo, to host a series of events called ‘Irregular’, featuring poets, writers, live acts – and veteran cultural icons via the magic medium of technology. Thursday night was the first ‘Irregular’ night, something that no doubt will become a regular feature of the Scottish artsy scene.

Canongate secured the British rights to publish The Death of Bunny Munro, a cult work of towering genius (I can already see the cover puff), last year. It’s due for release in September 2009, but Canongate, being the trendy publishing house that they are, have produced a filmed reading with ambient music from Cave’s Bad Seeds, and plan to release extracts in PR friendly lumps.

The first instalment was shown last night to a cool cats crowd, who were justly appreciative of the honour conferred on them. Apparently, Canongate director, Jamie Byng, has prophesied that the book will ‘shock and amaze a lot of people’. This wasn’t quite true on Thursday night, with most people wailing with laughter, alcohol being only tangentially responsible. The Death of Bunny Munro seemed pretty funny. There were some good lines about how hotels are dead brilliant because they have the tiniest soaps you’ll ever see – individually wrapped, which Cave tripped off with a fine sense of timing. A nice reference to bananas in f….g pyjamas was also appreciated, by me at least.

The Death of Bunny Munno focuses on a man who travels around the South of England with his son after the suicide of his wife. Maybe there are some shocking/amazing bits to come, but I quite liked the humour myself. It’s not often you get to laugh at someone with multiple ASBOs without looking uneasily over your shoulder. Bunny Munro junior has four separate ASBOs and has been banned from many fast food outlets.

What perhaps was more shocking than the bunny boiler was Nick Cave’s appearance. If, like me, you’ve always had a hazy idea that he looks like Frankenstein, minus green hue and bolt, you’ll be shocked and amazed that he now looks middle-aged and sports a very dubious moustache. However, he is still a cultural icon so he may yet get away with it.

© Hannah Adcock 2009

Nick Cave reads his fan mail


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