Britain's first book blogger (November 2000). This Space is now a major motion picture, or something.

Friday, May 06, 2016


Showed up to Heathrow today for the two-thousandth time.
Got into my taxi and I learned Nick Cave's son died.
The news hit me like a bus into a hill.

                                                                          from Exodus by Jesu/Sun Kil Moon 

He fell from a chalk cliff last Summer, July 15th, two miles east from where I sit writing this and beside the cycle path along which I have cycled west many hundreds of times, slogging into the prevailing wind. In the background to this photograph is the final uphill ramp before home.

Two years before, as I slogged along the same path in the same direction, Nick Cave's car overtook me as he filmed 20,000 Days on Earth. Here he is in the film driving by the black patches on the cycle path that I had just rolled over.

20,000 Days on Earth

His son is reported to have died in the hospital a hundred yards from the church where, on August 1st, I saw Sun Kil Moon perform a cover of The Weeping Song.

Four weeks after that, on a sunny Saturday morning, I considered cycling eight miles west to the crossing by the airport I have used many times to reach the narrow lane and country silence around St Botolph's, the Saxon church in the village of the same name, minus the saint and the apostrophe.

An obscured medieval wall painting

Three hours later, this happened.

Sunday Mirror
Inserting the song, these images and these words is an attempt – another attempt – to cover the distance of survival, to approach the aura of proximity to this, the distinguished thing.

Perhaps it is notable that when I was actually involved in such an event, this time very much to the north rather than to the east or the west, no memory was retained, no experience as such, and is thereby no closer and no less foreign.
This is the route to the south:

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