At the grand old age of 54.76, hoary Aussie rocker Nick Cave felt it was time to take stock of his life – and invited a film crew along to help.
But just as Cave isn’t your typical pop icon, the resulting film 20,000 Days on Earth isn’t your typical BBC Four Friday-night rockumentary. Instead, it’s a compelling, whimsical, convoluted – and occasionally very droll – schlep down memory lane, complete with juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits, poetry on Brighton beach and Kylie Minogue.
“All of days are numbered,” Cave notes. Here’s some stats gleaned from the film.
7am: The time Nick Cave gets up in the morning
3: The number of passengers Cave chauffeurs in his car during the film (cockernee actor Ray Winston, former Bad Seed Blixa Bargeld and one-time collaborator Kylie Minogue).
5: The peak number of waxwork models of Kylie Minogue in existence at one time, according to Minogue (she thinks only the Queen had more).
15: The age at which Cave first encountered a female body.
30: The age at which Cave composed his first last will and testament (sample clause: all his money will be donated to “a small but adequate room or rooms that will serve as the Nick Cave Memorial Museum”).
44: The body count of Scarface, the film Cave watches in the film with his two 14-year-old sons.
1983: The year Scarface was made and Lionel Richie’s 'All Night Long' was released (the song that Bad Seed Warren Ellis says that one of Cave’s compositions sounds like). It’s also the year The Birthday Party split up. Two years previously, the band played a gig in Cologne, Germany, during which a “great photograph of [bassist] Tracy [Pew] being urinated on” was taken.
2: The number of dead birds Cave gives Ellis during the film.
3: The number of items on Nina Simone’s rider when she played London’s Meltdown festival with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in 1999, according to Ellis (“champagne, cocaine and sausages”, in case you wondered).
97: The film’s running time in minutes (with no encore).
(19: The date in September 20,000 Days on Earth is released).