Nick Cave - The Death of Bunny Munro

Rating 6.8

Next to a whole room dedicated to the deeds of a horse named Phar Lap - whose stuffed bulk looms over the bored pupils of a local school and the puzzled visitors from overseas - the Melbourne Museum offers a little corner to the music scene of Victoria.

Among a documentary worshipping AC/DC, posters of distant gigs and photos portraying groupies and clubgoers wearing awful trousers, pops up the kohl eyelined face of the vocalist of The Boys Next Door, a local band.
That lad with a pale pale skin and a dark dark tuft of hair is no less than Him. The frontman of The Birthday Party, The Bad Seeds and Grinderman, the actor, screenplayer and author: ladies and gentlemen let me introduce you to Niiick...Caaave.

The local pupils in their green blazers may not know who Mr Cave is, but their parents and some of the visitors from overseas do.
Just like Phar Lap, the horse, Nick Cave left Melbourne long ago to pursuit a career who made him an international artist and an ambassador of Australia. Whereas Phar Lap found his death in the US (and some say he was poisoned), Nick Cave decided to settle in Brighton, UK.

It's important to know the current whereabouts of Mr Cave because The Death of Bunny Munro - his second novel - takes place in Sussex, and more precisely between Brighton and Newhaven.
Now, chances are you've been to glamorously decadent Brighton at least once in your life, but most likely not to Newhaven.

If that's the case, let me just tell you that you lost one of the dullest and most depressing towns in England. Newhaven is a built-up area of depauparated cottages, deserted flats and shut factories facing a port canal where rust and seagulls dung pile up on boats, ships and a half-sunk hydrofoil.
The reason why I know this is that you can take a ferry from Newhaven to the French city of Dieppe which I once did with a return ticket. You won't be surprised to know that even a backwater French town like Dieppe looks as vibrant and sophisticated as Paris when compared to gloomy dead Newhaven (pictured in all of its splendour above).

It's hardly surprising to learn that Bunny Munro - the marvelous anti-hero of this novel - is a familiar presence in Newhaven. In fact, it's between Rottingdean and Newhaven that Mr Munro makes most of his business of a door-to-door (but by appointment!) seller of beauty products on a perpetual sexual heat.
Bunny Munro is a lust-driven, theatrical bastard who drools over every female between 12 and 60 years old and whose ultimate purpose in life is screwing around as much as he can. A man masturbating himself thinking about the genitalia of Avril Lavigne (!) and the golden hot pants of Kylie Minogue (which is pretty ironic if you think that Nick Cave himself sang a famous duet with the petite pop star back in 1995: as shown below).

Picture a 30 something guy in an awful suit driving his yellow shit-stained Punto in the streets of Sussex with Spinning Around as a background music and howling obscenities at the local teenagers and you will have Bunny Munro.
Visualize a 9 years old kid sticking his reddish eyes into a voluminous encyclopedia sitting in the passenger's seat of the Punto and you will have Bunny Junior, the Boy of his Dad and the former apple in the eye of his Mummy.

Yes, horny Bunny Munro is a married man. And in the course of this novel, his poor wifey Libby will manage to haunt Bunny's escapades, thus paying off his infidelity. But let's say no more. The title of the novel will suggest you its ending but not how it ends.
I'd say it's worth reading what Nick Cave has to say here although it's sometimes very hard to distinguish between the dirty thoughts of Bunny Munro with his anti-social behaviors and the impression that the Australian songwriter himself is the main character of this novel.

I thought about Leonard Cohen more than once while reading this as the Canadian minstrel shares a similar - if more talented - approach to sexual perversion in his books with Mr Cave here. And I suspect that the leader of The Bad Seeds wouldn't be displeased by this analogy.
Cohen and Cave are two Don Juans who elevated the literary status of the word "vagina" with their lyrics and prose and I bet that even the most hardened feminist would close an eye or two when confronting them.

No, it's not some random formaldheyded horse by Damien Hirst, this fellow is Phar Lap - the former Melbourne glory.

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