The piece below came via email. It was intended for the journal’s correspondence section but, given the online discussion sparked by the Crawford essay, it seems more appropriate to reproduce it (with the permission of its author) here.
What is going on? Is this Overland – a substantial contributor to Australia’s otherwise anodyne literary culture, and my favourite lit publication?
Anwyn Crawford’s piece on Nick Cave is pure undergraduate feminist critique from the 80s – worse, it smacks of Anglo puritanical, sexless debasement of the art.
It says nothing of the Duende that Cave has in his songs, of the sex, the darker romance, the blood and violence, the addiction to love and other things.
He is the closest thing to pure Rebetica (Greek blues), or Flamenco we have in the contemporary world and he is made in Australia.
He brought out one of the great Cretan lyre players last year, Psarantonis, and Cave is considered as a serious artist, not a pop musician in Italy, Spain, Greece, Germany, etc etc…
I saw Cave in Athens in 1986 in front of thousands of people, when in Australia he could hardly amass a crowd in Fitzroy.
Ms Crawford writes, ‘like many women, I have troubled relationship with the sexism and, yes, misogyny that continues to shape pop music’- she must mean like the very few sexless Anglo middle class women I represent – as most of the Greek, Spanish, African and Italian women I know love Cave’s sexually dark malaise, his overture to death and lust .
My wife Charito Saldana, one of Australia’s most renowned Flamenco dancers sees him as a poet ala Lorca.
On the issue of sex, as it seems that’s what Ms Crawford is really worried about, what would she have pop music, art, culture, myth, literature do?
Wash it’s sins away! Maybe Zeus can negotiate his relationship with Hera rather than rape her …
Ms Crawford should head up a central planning committee on getting rid of all darker sexual elements from our music and dance.
Puritanism and left wing remnants of Trotskyisms should be left where they belong in the late 70s.
Avid Overland reader and subscriber