Developing an audience for writers can be a daunting task. But in today’s publishing world, it is sort of a need. Last spring, in a Creative Industries Panel discussion that took place at Concordia’s Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology, a panelist from Montreal’s Drawn and Quarterly (D+Q) publishing company said that having a presence in social media is indeed important. That some of the D+Q authors opted for Instagram to communicate with their readers/followers/the public, she said. Curate a public persona cannot only be time consuming, it can draw questions on identity too (as Instagram celebrity, Tavy Gevinson has recently discussed in an article). Nevertheless, social media, Instagram in particular, it is a venue that more artists use to explore ideas or just for the sake of creativity. This is the case of @thevampiresdoll - An Instagram account that revisits Nick Cave’s lyrics for the entertainment of the fans.
Susie Cave, Nick Cave’s wife, is the creator and curator of the account. She plays with the text of the vocalist of The Bad Seeds and use it to contextualize a tale of two dolls and a cat. For instance, in the installment from October 13, 2018, the characters, a pair of soft dolls with a cartoonish version of Nick and Susie printed on respectively (Nick doll is the only one available for sale) stand close to each other against a white wall, wearing elaborate dark blue velvet. outfits. By Nick doll’s shiny shoes, we see a big yellow flower peeking through a matching visiting bag. “When I get home, I'm gunna unpack my bags” (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Right Now I'm A-Roaming), reads the caption. In the surface scene plays with the normalized idea of romance. Nick doll cherishes Susie doll with a flower. But the flower is there to mislead. If you are familiar with the full song, you know that the minute he finishes to unpack, he is going to pack again and leave. The pass to join a community, a selective community, Nick’s community, is in the inside joke hidden in the post.
The cat is the villain in the story. The Russian Blue cat tries its charms to drive them apart. It steals Susie doll’s tiny purses and shiny sandals, and her lover.
In a photo, the cat snuggles Nick doll really hard while asking “Stay by me”. In the Highlights section, we see the cat chewing Nick doll up!
Ms. Cave clever humour feels refreshing. She engages in a manner with her husband’s fans that feels organic and authentic. Her take on the text develops the bond of Nick and his followers that can only work in favor of the prosperity of his craft.
Nick Cave will be in Montreal on Friday, September 27, 2019 with his Field Audience Questions Tour at the St-Jean Baptiste Church. The show is currently sold out.
By Lily Olivas